We all accept that a man has a right to expect an evening of pleasant company if he buys a woman a nice dinner. It's a reasonable expectation that makes sense.
We are all creeped out, despite the fact that it's ubiquitous, when a man assumes that the woman will have sex with him because he bought her dinner. We are downright angry if he acts on that it either by forcing her or by being mean to her if she does live up to his expectation.
Which is to say, there is an implied obligation incurred when we accept free stuff but that obligation is not unlimited. The distinction between 'pleasant company' and 'assumption of sex' is level of personal intrusion. They are divided over a boundary that all decent people understand as intrinsic to the natural human rights of a person.
I claim that it is reasonable to expect me to see advertisements but that it is creepy and makes me angry when they share my personal information with anyone if they feel they can benefit. I think it's wrong. I think it's dangerous and intrusive.
There are people who focus on the supposed benefit of targeted ads. "Why wouldn't you want the big old internet figuring out just what you want? It showed your new favorite band. What's wrong with that?"
To me, that's like saying, 'the guy was clean and a considerate lover. She even had an orgasm. Why are you mad that he coerced her into having sex with him?'
I am a huge fan of Europe's GDPR. It recognizes information about you as yours. Their constitution explicitly asserts that privacy is a fundamental human right, just as we all understand that we all have a fundamental human right not to be raped. (And no, I'm not saying that privacy violation is the same, or as bad, as rape, or murder. I am saying it is analogous.)
I would add that I think that the level of coercion is worse than expectations for after dinner. These corporations are holding my friends and livelihood hostage.
If I do not make myself vulnerable to their depredations, I do not get to talk to my friends on Facebook. I live in a remote location. I have very little social contact without it and its ilk. I would be alone. I need to use Google a hundred times a day to do my work. Practically speaking, I would be out of business without it.
These corporations are essentially saying to me, "You choose, starve and be lonely, or let us sell your information to anyone we feel like selling it to. You live your life seeing your secrets [one time I googled breast cancer about a friend; for the next couple of weeks, corporations made clear they knew about it in ads] spread all over the internet. Don't like that, Tough shit."
I am pissed. I do not grant them permission to share my information and consider their doing so to be unethical and when I notice it, I feel violated.
I did a false start where I considered the idea of 'faith', per se, as the culprit and I will, after I think about it for awhile, probably conclude that faith, per se, is a bad thing.
But, I set that aside for now, party because I have to think it through and partly because it misses the point.
All religions have bad actors but only one has an organization embodied, for nearly two thousand years, in a global network of pedophiles and murderers. I readily concede that there has also been much good done but am very, very skeptical about the cost.
The reason I have a trouble separating the Christian wheat from the organization chaff is that, when Christians finally overthrew the pure tyranny of Catholicism, they chose Martin Luther to become a movement where bigotry replaced pedophilia while the murder and power mongering continued with zeal.
I might still be able to find a way around my distress over the singular damage Christians have done by comparing it to Islam, also a religion that uses it's 'prince of peace' concept as a shroud to conceal it's bloody minded attitude about those who resist its power. After all, it's not really just Christians.
But today, we have American Christianity showing huge support for every vile oppression the right-wing wants to put upon us. Anti-choice. Anti-vax. Pro-Trump. Pro-1/6. Pro-white-supremacy. Anti-environment. Anti-immigrant. Anti-science.
More than half of America Christians voted for Trump and all the vile practices he embodies as the leader of the most powerful country on the planet. The Moslems have done nothing that compares. Their influence in the world overall is small. Had Donald gotten another term, the Christians would have been the largest identifiable group that put him in a position to ruin the world.
Is it because of Christianity? Correlation is not cause. I still think that Christianity is a pretty doctrine. It is said that humans can mess anything up and with that, I emphatically agree. But, some things are easier to mess up than others. Nobody every committed genocide in the name of loving quantum physics.
I am of the opinion that life is probably common, an inevitable property of resource availability, like rust where iron and oxygen are present. I suspect it is *everywhere*.
I also think that the variation we see on Earth is an indication of both how varied life forms are and how parochial our perspective is. We live in a place that got DNA. All the life has DNA and we think that means that 'life' means DNA. Considering the fact that those lifeforms range from humans to bacteria to lichens and that we can only communicate with mammals tells me that 1) we are stuck in a local paradigm and, 2) we are not taking the lesson.
The Fermi Paradox seems apparent because we imagine that life out there resembles us but, there could be a thousand trillion civilizations of dolphins and we would never know because their life habit makes the sky and stars and radios irrelevant. There could be lichen civilizations that develop and communicate at glacial speed and, having no thumbs, don't build tools, only communicating by chemical signals.
There are forests of thousands of acres that are a, genetically, a single individual connected by their roots and chemicals they secrete into the air. There is absolutely no reason to think that the interactions among them are not some amazing form of poetry.
The final piece of the puzzle, in my view, is the fact a mobile, tool building lifeform stands a really good chance of killing itself off well before it could make itself apparent to us.
The Fermi Paradox reflects a failure of imagination based on an arrogant belief in our own superiority and importance.
People complain about the civil rights consequences of No-Fly lists. Mysterious bureaucracy than can truly ruin your life with no recourse.
I complain about the credit rating companies. Another mysterious bureaucracy that can ruin your life.
One is the government. We love to note that the Constitution applies to them, not corporations. Facebook, we note, can selectively stop covid disinformation and should, even if our ideas of free speech are violated by that.
The story here is that the credit card processing companies are making decisions about what sorts of goods and services we can buy, about how people can make money and force changes in corporate policy.
Imagine, I digress, if the cellphone companies decided you were no longer allowed to phone Democratic congress people. You would be outraged, of course, but it's a corporation and it is allowed to have policies it prefers.
In that case, politicians who have power would probably beat them into submission. But, what if the affected party had no power? The policy would stand.
It turns out that sex workers have no power. The companies that run the movement of money around our countery don't like them. As with the cellphone companies in my example, they have simply told companies, you can't do business with them.
And so, OnlyFans.com is forcing them out of business in order to stay in business itself.
Someday we are going to have to wake up and force some changes. Our capitalist system is supposed to provide a free market, to provide options and the variety of services desired by the market.
There was an idea called "lassez faire capitalism" that was fully discredited in the Gilded Age, the time when the Rockefellers and Edisons and other wealthy people wielded their unlimitted wealth so ruthlessly that it resulted in the trade union movement, anti-trust legislation, and other reforms. Laisez faire capitalism, capitalism with no limits, was stopped.
Well, slowed down because it's been on the rise again since Reagan and it's become as pernicious as before. Obamacare is hobbled because he had to bend a knee to insurance companies. The Great Recession produced barely any reforms because the wealthy would not allow it. Our society is again brutally dominated by wealthy people and their corporations.
And so, sex workers pummeled by the technology that ruined the pornography business found a new way to make a living and have a decent life. And so, a cadre of corporations said, "We don't like that," and took it away.
Did you have any say in it? According to this article, the 'free' market said it was a good thing. According to studies, almost all of us use porn. But, the corporations do not like it so and their rules are enforceable while yours are not.
I do not know what the solution is because their power is so entrenched. Violent revolution honestly seems like the only possibility except that they control the security apparatus. Troops in Portland last summer were there at the behest of the rich people.
It requires some thinking, though. The future of freedom in America, well, really, the world, is bleak if we are limited to only doing things that are in the interest, religiously or economically, of the wealthy and their corporations.