Adiaphora, 7/27/21

[T]he problem with the Freedom Phone … is that it exists in an ecosystem where the user’s options for having a useful device without connecting it to services that deprive it of its “freedom” are exceedingly small.

Still, say you decide to buy one. Congratulations, you’re the proud owner of a new Freedom Phone, “free” from Google’s intrusive monitoring and censorship. But it’s also free of most of the reasons you’d bother to own a phone and keep it charged and connected to the internet in the first place. You want email? You want to have your phone guide you to your next insurrection-planning meeting? You want a calendar to put that meeting on? You want a contact list that is shared with your computer? You want to make a handy shopping list (of groceries or, say, materials for protest signs and Molotov cocktails)? You want to do some research on just how bad critical race theory is? The minute you try, you’ll notice that your phone simply isn’t as useful as it would be if it were connected to some of the services Big Tech provides. If you want to do those things, you’ve got to start installing Gmail and Facebook and the other apps that, well, defeat the purpose of having such a device.

You see—the phone isn’t the problem. In fact, you can turn any Android phone into a “freedom” phone by signing out of your Gmail account, turning off your location sharing, and then only using the apps that swear on their mother’s graves never to track you (and they might be lying).

All snickering aside, if the Freedom Phone were better executed, and perhaps marketed less to the right wing than to those with a general, both-sides-of-the-aisle concern about the growing social and political dominance of the tech giants, it might conceivably be a pretty resounding shot across the bow of smartphone retailers. After all, this is a device that’s as disengaged from the primary culprits of digital dictatorship as it can be while still being minimally useful.

If the makers of the Freedom Phone genuinely cared about freedom, they would not be focusing just on the right, but trying to tap into the widespread desire to use technology that doesn’t exploit us or take advantage of our proclivity to become addicted to outrage. This is an admirable sentiment. If there really is a market for such a thing, perhaps someone of better faith and more competence can come and service this market. For now, though, the Freedom Phone is a gimmick being sold to people who don’t know any better, and its purpose is not to reduce political anger but to put it front and center.

The Freedom Phone Is a Cynical Gimmick – The Bulwark


I may have just found the perfect label for my kind of conservatism: anti-Promethean.

[T]he fantasy that humans can somehow shift ‘offworld’ and recreate such systems on Mars or the Moon when we can’t or won’t live with Earth anymore, is just that: a fantasy, peddled as we saw in the last essay, by the likes of Jeff Bezos and his fellow techno-apostles.

Paul Kingsnorth. Damon Linker also raised the issue and provided le mot juste.


The prevailing strategy is not to ignore Trump or just hope for the best, but “to treat him like a crazy person who’s pushing conspiracies, not as an equal.”

Finally, a Biden policy I completely endorse.


In the past two weeks, I’ve added to my knowledge of Latin: Motu Proprio means "because I damn well say so, that’s why!"


Who knew? ‌Giannis Antetokounmpo As An Orthodox Christian And Star Of The 2021 NBA Champion Milwaukee Bucks. (Well, who knew the first part anyway?)


Mississippi Asks Supreme Court to End Roe v. Wade Abortion Rights
The state’s brief for coming high court case says landmark abortion decision violates the Constitution’s provisions on states’ rights.

Wall Street Journal Headline, subheadline. Need I say that this optics on this would be better if the argument came from just about anywhere but Mississippi?


Why Vaccinated People Are Getting ‘Breakthrough’ Infections
The vaccines are effective, but they are not a golden shield, resulting in some vaccinated people getting infected, mostly with mild or asymptomatic cases.

How do I learn that I have asymptomatic Covid?


Two employees out of more than 1.3 million have quit over this issue, so of course that’s a news story.

Jesse Singal, on internal efforts at Amazon to deplatform Abigail Shrier’s book Irreversible Damage.


It’s fine for the Washington Redskins to rename themselves, and I suggest, thinking of Washington, that Lickspittles would be appropriate or Filibusterers.

Garrison Keillor, Scribble, scribble, quibble, quibble, ishkabibble


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