Alara's Collection o'Sigs

Since first I decided to use sigs (for my first few months on the Net I was sigless), I've deliberately chosen sigs that reflect political opinions, and that sound cool, at least to me. Some of my sigs have been picked up and used by other people (most notably my "First they came for the hackers" sig.) In the interest of sparking debate, and keeping credit where it is due, I'm going to put up all the sigs I've used.

Note that these reflect my opinions alone, and not the opinions of anyone who may be archived or linked to by my site. I can't believe I actually have to say this, but there, I've said it.

If these sigs irritate, anger, intrigue or amuse you, write me.

First sig:

"Soon you'll attain the stability you strive for
In the only way that it's granted..."

This comes from Crown of Creation by Jefferson Airplane. Like many 60's generational-warfare songs, this one, to me, suggests that to seek stability and the status quo is to seek death. Adapt or die.

Second sig:

"First they came for the hackers.
But I never did anything illegal with my computer, so I didn't speak up.

Then they came for the pornographers.
But I thought there was too much smut on the internet anyway, so I didn't speak up.

Then they came for the anonymous remailers.
But a lot of nasty stuff gets sent from, so I didn't speak up.

Then they came for the encryption users.
But I could never figure out how to work PGP anyway, so I didn't speak up.

Finally they came for me.
And by that time there was no one left to speak up."

This one is by me, yes, me, Alara Rogers, not Anonymous or Unknown. It's based on the quote from Pastor Martin Niemoller, "First they came for the Jews..." I'm far from the first person to do this sort of adaptation (see sigs below for others), but this one is mine. I've made a slight change to it-- the version that's currently appearing all over the web (mostly credited to "anonymous") has "Then they came for me", not "Finally they came for me." As the author, I reserve the right to revise if I feel like it. :-)

This came to me after reading Bruce Sterling's "The Hacker Crackdown", an excellent book that all concerned netizens should read, about how computer users were demonized and persecuted by know-nothings in law enforcement and the media. Sound familiar? I thought so. There's a lot of similarities between Internet hysteria ("pedophiles will stalk my children on the Internet!" Pedophiles can't do *anything* to your kids on the Net unless they give out their real address, folks) and hacker hysteria from the 1980's.

By the way, that bit about PGP is completely true. To this day I don't know how to work it. :-)

Third sig:

"The 1990's will be remembered as the decade when the Russians gained freedom of speech and the Americans lost theirs."

Dark and inflammatory? You betcha. This is another of mine. Thankfully, my grim prediction has not yet come to pass. At the time I wrote this, the CDA had been signed into law, an action that simply made my jaw hit the floor. How such an unbelievably unconstitutional law got into the Telecommunications Bill was beyond me.

Fourth sig, quote one:

"These are my opinions. If they were the gospel truth, your bushes would be burning."

This isn't mine; it comes from Nancy Lebovitz' buttons page. You would think there would be more people who can comprehend the difference between a person making a statement, which is by definition their opinion, and a person saying that no one else has the right to have a dissenting opinion. I kept getting into flame wars with people who insisted that my statement of my beliefs-- which, of course, I believe, otherwise they wouldn't be my beliefs-- was morally tantamount to my saying "You must believe in the words of the great Alara Rogers."

Fourth sig, quote two:

"Freedom of religion includes freedom from religion."

Again, not mine-- it's a bumper sticker. In a country supposedly based on freedom of religion, where a former president (George Bush) can say that he isn't sure atheists can be patriots, or even citizens, this principle seems to get lost a lot. There can be no true freedom of religion in a society where atheism is not considered a valid religious choice. (That being said, the atheists who want the curriculum stripped of all historical religious references are as big morons as the fundamentalists who want the curriculum stripped of anything they disapprove of.)

Fifth sig:

"If blacks were supporting whites through their taxes, regardless of need or income, while whites sat back and insulted their intelligence and culture, we would call it racism. If women were supporting men through their taxes, regardless of need or income, while men called them lazy whining slackers, we would call it sexism. When it's the young and the old, we call it Social Security."

One of mine. This one gets misunderstood a lot, which is part of the reason I retired it. I believe that the people who are currently young are being massively and unfairly burdened to pay for the people who are currently old. Demographically, the young are the poorest group in America, and the old are the richest, yet all benefits paid to younger people (such as welfare, WIC, student grants, student loans, etc) are means-tested (that is, middle-class and wealthy people don't get them), but benefits paid to older people (Social Security and Medicare) are not (so a 67-year-old millionaire can collect Social Security.) The baby boom, who will become a tremendous financial burden on the Social Security system, to the point that the system will collapse if it is not reformed before they enter, seem to have no political motivation for reforming the system, and are sitting on their butts, while the young cannot afford to start building a retirement stake because housing and college expenses are astronomical. And yet the baby boom and the elderly call teens and young adults apathetic slackers and hype problems such as teen pregnancy (which is overwhelmingly caused by adult men having sex with teenage girls, but the problem is phrased as if it's entirely the girl's fault) and teen crime (which, when you factor out poverty, is less prevalent than adult crime.)

My purpose was to point out that currently, there is no situation where people who are being supported by the taxes of others feel free to attack, belittle and denigrate the people who are supporting them, except the case of the young supporting the old. A whole lot of people seem to interpret this as me whining that I don't have all the cool stuff older people have, right now. Frankly, that's stupid. I'm just concerned that when I'm their age, I won't have anything, because I spent it all supporting them.

Sixth sig, quote one:

"Conservatives should learn the difference between a sin and a crime, and liberals should learn the difference between a virtue and a requirement."

Not mine-- a Nancy Lebovitz button. If there's anything that pisses me off as badly as conservatives assuming their provincial little religious beliefs should be a guide for my actions, it's liberals assuming their pie-in-the-sky ideals of proper human behavior should be overlaid over everyone's actions like a trowel. The US Constitution grants freedom of religion, folks, and it does not grant "freedom not to be offended." In a society with free speech, someone's going to get offended.

Sixth sig, quote two:

"First they came for the fourth amendment, but I said nothing because I wasn't a drug dealer. Then they came for the sixth amendment, but I kept quiet because I wasn't guilty. Finally they came for the first amendment, and by then it was too late to say anything at all."

Again, a Nancy Lebovitz button (and by the way, you can find the list at The way the "war on drugs" has eroded Constitutional freedoms like the right not to be searched without a warrant drives me insane (and note that I'm not talking about situations like the time in New York that the rapist caught practically red-handed almost got off because the warrant said "any time of day" and the search was conducted at night. I'm talking about DEA agents smashing in your door in the middle of the night because you're suspected to be a crack dealer.) The degree of overcrowding in the judicial system is a joke. If so many people are becoming criminals, perhaps one should take a good hard look at the causes of crime, and the natures of the crimes, to see what can be headed off before it happens.

By the way, a lot of people have written me to ask "what about the Second Amendment?" Well, the short answer is: it wasn't in the quote. Only so much can be fit on a button. The longer version is that vocal support of the Second Amendment is often taken as shorthand for "I don't want any gun regulation and I want to be able to carry an assault rifle." No. I believe in gun regulation; that is to say, I believe strongly in the right to bear arms, if one has proven oneself a responsible citizen by meeting qualifying criteria of some kind, having a license, taking some sort of course in responsible gun ownership, etc. I think it should be harder to qualify to own a gun than to own a car (I don't think it should be harder to buy a gun, mind, because that's mostly a financial thing, and guns are cheaper than cars, and should remain so.)

Seventh sig:

"Be good, servile little citizen-employee, and pay your taxes so the rich don't have to."

This one belongs to Zepp Weasel, a friend of someone I know. It should be reasonably self-explanatory. If it's not... I'm in the same tax bracket as my boss, who makes much more money than me. Social Security is only taxed on the first $64 K or so, so if you make more than that, you pay less Social Security in proportion to your income than I do. Many of the things that cause you to get a tax shelter can only be afforded by the well-to-do.

No, I'm not a socialist. I'm perfectly happy with a system where the rich pay as much as I do. I just find it rather offensive that they pay less.

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