Because illiteracy is cute in politics

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As a general rule, we try not to reward idiots for being it.

And so, logically, people try to conceal the fact.

For some reason, it is acceptable for politicians to adopt ambitious technological policies while at the same time admitting that they understand absolutely nothing about technology and IT issues. How does that even work?

In Danish politics, the political parties designate speakers on a number of topics. The environment, social issues, that kind of thing – and IT. The latter has traditionally been a post rewarded to good party soldiers. They are just generally completely clueless on the issue. In what appeared to herself to be a stroke of genius but to everyone else merely appeared a stroke, Social Democrat speaker on IT issues Trine Bramsen wrote a guest blog post encouraging the ” IT nerds” to start dressing nicely and speaking a language other people could understand. She was relieved from her duties shortly after that, only to reincarnate as the speaker on legal rights issues (retsordfører), where she brought up the idea of banning the TOR network because it hampered surveillance by the police.

I am not an IT professional by any means, but on this topic, I think it is fair to say that I am an informed citizen. And so, it is like being part of the IT Crowd:

Is it supposed to be cute? I mean, it is not like any politician would grin, wave the arms and say Well, it is not as if I understand all this economy stuff anyway. But we have a lot of smart people around. Imagine the prime minister doing that? Or I generally think lowering taxes will improve employment, but it is not like anyone actually knows. Well, it is worth a go.

In my workplace, the decisionmakers I work with who appreciate that they are not completely informed on the issues will simply ask, Is this realistic? – or What are the practical implications of that? – which makes sense. But actually bragging about ignorance?

The latest example which prompted this piece was the trial against Gottfrid Svartholm Warg – also known as Anakata, who some will know as one of the founders of the Pirate Bay (and if not, I very much recommend watching TPB AFK). He is on trial in Denmark accused of having taken part in the break-in on the mainframe of CSC.
But during the trial, all parties showed every indication of not understanding the essential problems of the case, and several times the prosecutor has admitted to not understanding the extent of the accusation. What?

This is the 21st century. Ignorance is ignorance, but acting as if this is an insignificant shortcoming is simply not acceptable .

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