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09/09/2004 Archived Entry: "Shadowcrew and a firefly's dilemma"

SHADOWCREW AND A FIREFLY'S DILEMMA. A question came up today. The kind of question we don't like to think about now, but that will devil us in the future days when freedom's been driven entirely underground.

I've recommended Shadowcrew.com as a place to ferret out really hardcore info about alternate ID. Shadowcrew isn't for the faint of heart and isn't for anybody who's just looking to Google some quick info and leave. It's an online underground, where you have to watch, listen, and learn for a long time -- and then be careful before you act.

One TCF firefly registered there then emerged with the horrified discovery that the Shadow Crew are criminals. Crackers. Identity thieves. "They're talking about stealing credit cards and breaking into the e-mail accounts of ordinary Joes," this firefly wrote. "Do you know of any other site or group that's got slightly more noble intentions?"

This firefly added an ironic smiley, indicating that he knew his hope might be slightly misplaced. And that's just the thing.

Steeped in fantasies of "heroic" freedom Outlaws (from Robin Hood to Repairman Jack), we like to believe that our future freedom underground will be entirely pure and virtuous. Yes, we'll trade in banned goods. Yes, we'll used forged IDs or "real" IDs that are illegally obtained. Yes, we'll do our banking privately, without Mr. Ashcroft's successors peeking over our shoulders. Yes, we'll smuggle. Yes, we'll hide fugitives. We'll do it all someday, when things get that bad and America resembles Everyday Stalinism. But we nice, mostly middle-class, mostly college-educated, mostly hyper-ethical fireflies don't like to think that criminals (not just romantic Outlaws) are the folks who do such things best.

Criminals have the skill, the experience, the ruthlessness, the connections, the amorality, and the will to do some of the "noble" things we fantacize about doing in the name of freedom.

We may start out with some clean, noble freedom black markets -- and we may even preserve a few of them on a small scale. But just as in Russia (or Chicago of the 1920s), once you force ordinary trade and ordinary life activities underground, you get ruthless criminal syndicates. Too many noblehearts will get quickly busted. Or driven out by fiercer competitors.

Shadowcrew is a tiny taste of what we're eventually going to have to live with if we fireflies are forced to fly in underground caverns beneath a lost and corrupted America. It ain't pretty. But it's still better than submitting to the omnimptent Big Nanny state.

Posted by Claire @ 10:34 AM CST

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