I’ve been seeing a resurgence in this line of reasoning lately:

  1. A need is identified
  2. A flawed implementation is developed
  3. Anyone questioning (2) is accused of dismissing (1)

I’d say this isn’t so much shifting the goalposts as much as a deliberate case of misdirection. Once you identify it, it’s impossible not to see it absolutely everywhere, from political press conferences to social media and journalism.

Take the various COVID-tracking applications being released around the world. There’s a legitimate case to be made for their necessity, and their advocates are—arguably—coming from a place of good faith. That doesn’t excuse the serious privacy and functional issues with the current software which render them entirely ineffective at delivering on their stated goals. Pointing these out is not a judgement on their necessity.

State-based Internet filtering, encrypted communication backdoors, Keurig coffee pods, there are so many examples of this.

We can’t live in good intentions, as Ned Flanders opined on The Simpsons. Nor can they be used as a shield to excuse broken tech. Like when I say this is the greatest blog of all time, it’s fundamentally dishonest.