Monday, May 9, 2011

Why I Own a PC

A discussion on individual liberty by Zach Foster

It never fails to amaze me (and cause me great shame) that the main reason I watch the later seasons of South Park is not to laugh, but rather to be engaged by a social criticism of current events and trends.  Matt Stone and Trey Parker have managed to outdo just about every news anchor and political pundit on television when it comes to political and social analysis.  The latest episode, a highly disturbing one that satires both the Apple Corporation and the horror film Human Centipede, reminded me exactly of why I own a PC computer and not a Mac (or any of the latest lines of the Apple Whatever Device).  The fact of the matter is that I like my freedom.

Plain and simple; I’m one of the few non-sheep in modern society who objects to constantly being tracked, constantly being advertised at, constantly being solicited to contractual agreements and eternally bound by them, and constantly enduring the whittling away of personal freedom by a globalized corporation (which begins to impede on my personal liberties almost as much as the mentally challenged collectivist federal leviathan based in Washington D.C.) all in the name of technology, progress, and an abstract concept called “the future.”

When I log onto the Internet, I do so for a variety of reasons.  One of the first things I do is log onto social networks like Facebook—not because I’m addicted to a social network, since four out of five contacts I don’t talk to even on a semi-regular basis—but because I enjoy communicating with and hearing from friends and relatives I don’t get to see often enough.  Still, every once in a while I’ll see some foolish thing they write and post for the world to see, and I have to question my sanity as well as the reason I associate with these individuals.  And no, I will not play Farmville nor will I join anyone’s cause.

The good thing about the social network is that I can log off at any time.  Furthermore, my PC has settings that allow my information to not be tracked.  While others would be lazy and allow the machine to store their information, including email addresses, ID names, and passwords, I take the rougher path and resign myself to the hardships of typing out my email address and password every time I log on.  No computer or database needs to store that information; my privacy is my own, and especially not the business of an outside party.  Or maybe I’m just a masochist who enjoys making life harder for himself.  We’ll just have to wait and see how the future plays out.

Many people make the grievous error of mistaking their computers for simple machines, like cars, and think nothing else of storing personal information inside those machines.  The reality is that computers are not just machines, but more so they are windows into another world, and just like cars can be broken into, computers can be hacked, often by legitimized e-peddlers like Apple and Google.

Continued in Part 2: There are two things that distinguish Apple computers from PCs

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