Episode 168: The TikTok Law

Is the so-called TikTok law a tool to enable the US President to censor apps and websites at will? Yes and no. One thing is certain: This law isn’t about TikTok; that’s just a smokescreen.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://privatecitizen.press/episode/168

Well, this sucked. Just when I was basically finished recording this episode (during the outro song) my computer lost power. This means I lost the audio recording. Luckily, I could recover the audio track from the video recording. I stitched it back together and it should barely be noticeable. But please excuse the slight drop in audio quality. I decided that releasing it this way would be preferable to re-recording the whole episode. It’s just never the same the second time around. Doesn’t sound as natural.


I have a somewhat uninformed idea about wartime Germany. While I in know way condone the actions of WW1 or 2 I think it is more complicated that Germany=evil. When you think about the “Allies” many also have a “evil” past. Great Britain colonised and enslaved half the world, the US… and the Soviet union well. It seems to me Germany just wanted a piece of the pie that had already been gobbled up by these “Allies”.
This is just me playing devils advocate, obviously war and atrocities committed in it’s name are horrible; as is colonisation and fucking up indigenous peoples. I wish GB & USA would get depicted as equally the bad guy.

Me too, I think someone said that History is written by the Victor. I will not try to make moral equivalence, but it’s easy to make everything into a binary: right and evil, black and white.

For me I see an issue when anyone (including me) start to speak about a “collective” of people. So when someone says “Germany”. What is Germany? Is it Hitler? The ruling system? All of the population to very last child?

I think, intentionally or unintentionally, we mean by such a label (also for other countries and groups: think Jews, Muslims, Christians, Palestinians, Europeans, Chinese, Iranians,…) those who are in power to dictate or influence said group.

And of course there might be even a competition for control (think, Trump, Biden and “America”).

This brings us back to the issue of the actions themselves: for sure there are good and bad actions, but unfortunately, with our own “allegiance” to some group tend to find justifications, so the same action would be acceptable from our in-group, and is pure evil if done by the other side.

My only hope is that people start to see things for what they are, unpainted by internal biases.

But that’s the naive optimist in me

While agreeing with everything said here, I can’t help pointing out that this here is a very complicated topic. Some philosophy schools would disagree with this very statement and say that there’s nothing inherently good or bad.

Some say there are actions that are by themselves bad or good. Unfortunately, there’s no consensus about which actions are which, so some people think burning a woman alive is a good thing (besause she’s a witch, and witch-fighting is noble), and some people think eating pork is so bad it should be punished by throwing stones at the offender.

Some would say every action should be judged by the outcome. Like, killing people is bad, but killing a mass-murderer is ok, because it results in less people killed. This, as already pointed out, results in conflicting views on what to optimize for, and finding justifications depending on who does what to whom.

The trouble is, these views on how to judge actions are inherently incompatible. There’s no logical middle ground between declaring killing people a sin and decorating war heroes; this leaves no space for compromise, only for accepting that there will be unresolvable differences, “agreeing to disagree”.

Unfortunately, it looks like since we ceased to be forced to communicate with whichever people happen to live around us, and can now instead by virtues of technology communicate with people we like communicating with, the “agreeing to disagree” skill went largely out of demand, and we as a society are worse and worse at it.