No politics please, we’re hackers, too busy to improve the world · Jacques Mattheij

Source: No politics please, we’re hackers, too busy to improve the world · Jacques Mattheij

If there is one thing that never ceases to amaze me it is that the hacker community tends to place itself outside and by their own perception above politics.

What bugs me about this is that anything you make or do has a political dimension, and that hackers, more than any other profession, create the tools and the means with which vast changes in the political landscape are effected. It’s as if arms dealers and manufacturers refuse to talk about war, the ultimate consequence of the tools they create in the environment where they will be used.

Both from an ethical viewpoint as well as from one related to personal responsibility this is simply wrong. The ability to influence with disproportional effect on the outcome of all kinds of political affairs compared to someone not active in IT, the ability to reach large numbers of people, the ability to pull on very long levers, far longer than you’d normally be able to achieve comes with some obligations.

Hackers, computer programmers and associated groups can not afford this Ostrich mentality

As soon as you and your software hit the real world politics will rear its ugly head. … everything has a political dimension and sometimes that political dimension can overshadow all other aspects of the project. This translates into an obligation to engage the political angle of whatever it is that we collectively produce in order to minimize feelings of regret later on and to really help to make the world a better place, rather than just to pay lipservice to that concept.