Add to My MSN

ACLU Prepares To Defend Clones, Cyborgs

10/8/2010 3:56:19 PM

Tags: science fiction, ACLU, civil liberty, science and technology, The American Prospect, The New Republic, Will Wlizlo

 robohuman 

Science fiction has long been a safe harbor for extreme politics. From Robert A. Heinlein’s amphetamine-jacked libertarian utopias, to Kim Stanley Robinson’s epic conservation-centric future history of Mars, to Margaret Atwood and Ursula K. Le Guin’s radical feminism, alternate universes have been an effective place to voice fringe positions. Some key conservatives have even been using pulp apocalyptic thrillers to advocate for increased military spending and weapons-defense research, reports The New Republic. On the other side of things, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is now looking to sci-fi novels to plan its future battles for individual freedom.

“In the aftermath of September 11, when the government was expanding its surveillance powers and preparing for an invasion of Afghanistan, the ACLU began gaming out worst-case scenarios of civil-liberties violations,” writes Adam Serwer in The American Prospect. “With both science and surveillance on his mind, a policy analyst named Jay Stanley decided that the ACLU needed to be better prepared for threats to liberty that, at the time, existed only in the imagination.”

Stanley published a report called Technology, Liberties, and The Future that drew inspiration from sci-fi novels and movies like Gattaca, Brave New World, and Blade Runner to predict the next affront to civil liberties—many of which, Stanley predicts, will likely come not from an authoritarian government, but from the private sector. According to Serwer, “Stanley's report successfully convinced the ACLU leadership that these plots were rooted in science as much as fiction.”

Sources: The American Prospect, The New Republic 

Image by WebWizzard, licensed under Creative Commons. 

 

 



Related Content

Mexicans Don't Need Twitter to Tell Them Arizona is Hostile

Mexico's ambassador to the United States is covering all the bases and broadcasting the Mexican gove...

ACLU Challenges Arkansas' Act 1

The ACLU has gone to court to challenge Act 1, a new Arkansas law that bars unmarried couples from a...

UtneCast 18: Vicki Robin on 'Authentic Freedom' and the Power of Limits

Vicki Robin, the bestselling author of Your Money or Your Life, talks about her latest passion: the ...

President Obama's Personal and Political Plight

The Boston Review’s Mark Schmitt has a pragmatic take on Obama’s pragmatism that should be required ...

Content Tools




Post a comment below.

 



Pay Now & Save $5!
First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Want to gain a fresh perspective? Read stories that matter? Feel optimistic about the future? It's all here! Utne Reader offers provocative writing from diverse perspectives, insightful analysis of art and media, down-to-earth news and in-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.

Save Even More Money By Paying NOW!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5 and get 4 issues of Utne Reader for only $31.00 (USA only).

Or Bill Me Later and pay just $36 for 4 issues of Utne Reader!