For last few weeks my mind has been occupied by two national topics: the baffling resilience of D. Trump’s presidential candidacy and the security vs. privacy debate reignited by the case of FBI demanding the Apple Corporation to help open the locked iPhone of one of the terrorists that killed 14 people in San Bernardino, CA.
I have been amused, puzzled, perplexed, and then – finally these days – disconcerted by the resilient popularity of Donald Trump as the GOP’s most “winning” presidential candidate in spite of his many statements that would normally derail another politician’s or CEO’s successful career: he won three primaries in New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Nevada consecutively. Now, many people, including the pundits, suspect that he will win the GOP candidacy. This socio-political phenomenon is quite baffling to me. However, after reading Thursday’s WSJ’s small, whimsical article titled “Some Married Couples Vow, Till Death – or Donald – Do Us Part” I came to realize that the people who support Donald Trump are mostly the white men (young and old) who, feeling emasculated by their super-civilized society ruled by political-correctness, are nostalgic about the famed patriarchal power they think they once had. These white men are like the anonymous narrator of Chuck Palahniuk’s cult favorite Fight Club (in the film adaptation of the novel, this character was played by Edward Norton), who creates in his subconscious the super-macho Tyler Durden (in the film played by Brad Pitt) that is a hallucinatory product of the narrator’s insomnia. Perhaps, Donald Trump, blond like Tyler Durden, reminds these resentful men of Tyler Durden who founds “fight club” and then later terroristic “Project Mayhem.”
Apple Inc. vs. FBI
When I first heard that FBI was asking Apple to decrypt the phone of one of the San Bernardino terrorists in order to get more information about the terrorists’ activities, I, lacking the minute knowledge of digital technologies, simply thought that Apple should help. But after a second thought or so (perhaps I was influenced by the BBC TV mini-series, London Spy), I side with Apple’s chief executive, Timothy Cook, who rejected FBI request by saying, “At stake is the data security of hundreds of millions of law-abiding people, and setting a dangerous precedent that threatens everyone’s civil liberties.” As we know from history, governments can go rogue just like individuals. Governments should not have unbridled power over individuals’ privacy. In addition, I wonder why FBI or NSA did not have any idea about the San Bernardino terrorists’ murderous plan beforehand. I had thought that sizable number of Americans were already under surveillance, with their phone conversations secretly monitored. Didn’t Edward Snowden say “90 % of those placed under surveillance in the U.S. are ordinary American, and are not the intended targets” (reported by The Washington Post)? I wonder if what many NSA analysts are interested in is mostly “nude photos of someone in a sexually compromising situation” (as quoted by Edward Snowden).