The role of informants in modern society

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The role of informants in modern society

#1  Postby pantodragon » Jun 03, 2013 4:06 pm

A:

Took seat as usual at library computer.
Head librarian approaches me. Face red.
Tells me: there’s been an anonymous complaint.
(Confidentiality assured, of course.)
I’m too noisy. So is head librarian.
We must both keep noise down.

Complaint made over librarian’s head. And mine.
Someone --- who? --- complained to manager.
Manager works at head office. Not in library.
EVER in library?

How does manager know I’m noisy?
DOES he know I’m noisy?
Does it matter if I am NOT noisy?
No.
Complaint made. Guilt assumed.

I look around me.
That woman at the photocopier: is she the informant?
That man sitting at next computer: was it him?
Or the woman over there – she keeps looking my way: was it her?
Or him at the desk?………
I view everyone now with suspicion.


B:
As I sit down to watch a film on DVD, the following:

This product is licenced for retail sale only. If you have rented rather than purchased this product, the store that rented it to you is unauthorised to do so.
You should contact: XXXXXXXXXXXXXX etc.,
and provide details of the rental store that supplied it to you. All communication will be treated with strict confidence.


C:
In my local pub, a police poster invites me to inform on anyone I see leaving the pub to drive home having drunk more than the legal limit, or who looks drunk etc.

D:
At a local agricultural show, the police stand displays large posters urging me to “grass” on local “criminals”.

………………….Look around you. The list of opportunities to be an informant is endless.


During and after the WWII, French informants were dealt with by summarily i.e. execution.

Today, Nazism is alive and well and living in the UK.

Your neighbour could inform on you. Your child could inform on you. Your employer could inform on you. Your colleague could inform on you. Your solicitor could inform on you. Your pupils could inform on you. Your customer could inform on you. Your doctor could inform on you. Your spouse could inform on you. A total stranger could inform on you. ANYONE could inform on you.

The only place safe from informants is the Catholic confessional (I think). Even so, the way things are going, how long will that last?

Anyone who informs on other people needs their head looked.

What do you think?
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Re: The role of informants in modern society

#2  Postby Doubtdispelled » Jun 07, 2013 10:20 am

pantodragon wrote:What do you think?

What do I think? Well, I was thinking of informing on you, but then I decided not to, as it isn't my job to police the web.

I also think it isn't just informants who need their heads 'looked'.
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Re: The role of informants in modern society

#3  Postby mattthomas » Jun 07, 2013 10:49 am

A... people are entitled to make complaints... they aren't informants but complainants.
B... rental shop is breaking the law, down to your personal choice whether you comply and help the bloated entertainment industry find and prosecute small business owners.
C... I would inform on a drunk driver in a heartbeat. They are breaking the law and putting lives in very real danger
D... Maybe if more people informed on criminals we'd have a better safer wealthier more prosperous society... crazy thinking I know.
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Re: The role of informants in modern society

#4  Postby kennyc » Jun 07, 2013 12:12 pm

Your right to swing your fist ends at my nose.....or someone else's...
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Re: The role of informants in modern society

#5  Postby Blackadder » Jun 07, 2013 1:09 pm

A friend of mine who works for the Special Branch (a UK police unit dealing with intelligence gathering for national security and anti-terrorism, for our non-UK readers) informs me (see what I did there?) that most terrorist plots are foiled by informants and infiltration.

There's a world of difference between the collaborateurs of Nazi occupied France and an informant who helps to stop child abuse, major crime or a terrorist attack.
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Re: The role of informants in modern society

#6  Postby laklak » Jun 07, 2013 2:40 pm

I'd drop the dime on a drunk driver, absolutely. If I knew someone who committed a serious crime I'd inform the police. I'd call animal control if someone was abusing an animal. I draw the line at victimless crime - I wouldn't inform on drug users or dealers (unless they committed other serious crimes). If it harm no other then go for it, bro.
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Re: The role of informants in modern society

#7  Postby Mazille » Jun 07, 2013 2:47 pm

Pretty disrespectful to people who were forced to collaborate with dictatorial governments (some 5-10% of the whole of the DDR's population, for example, were informants, many of them not of their own will) or normal citizens who report on drunk drivers out of legitimate concern to lump them into one heap with Nazi goons.
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Re: The role of informants in modern society

#8  Postby Onyx8 » Jun 07, 2013 3:46 pm

Gotta love the leap to Nazism. :nono:
The problem with fantasies is you can't really insist that everyone else believes in yours, the other problem with fantasies is that most believers of fantasies eventually get around to doing exactly that.
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Re: The role of informants in modern society

#9  Postby tuco » Jun 07, 2013 4:05 pm

Anyone who informs on other people is, by my guess as I lack data/theories, doing it for her/his own benefit in the first place so I am not sure what could we find looking at such people heads. Perhaps Gauss curve, but ..

Even on this very board we have those who never "report", then we have others who "report" on regular basis and also those who do not have clear pattern. Do not ask me what I think of those who "inform" here as that would be informing and I could breach FUA ;)

For human society feedback of the kind mentioned in OP is not only natural but I would go as far as saying its essential to stability, prosperity and evolution. In this sense, "informants" are more like conformists and less like revolutionists.
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Re: The role of informants in modern society

#10  Postby BraveScout » Jun 08, 2013 5:05 pm

In the United States when the topic of informant come's up, the norm is to assume it relates to a police matter. In some communities and pockets of poverty stricken areas in major cities....to be labeled a snitch (a.k.a. informant) can get you killed or maybe some of your loved ones as well. Ironically it is a statistical fact that much crime would go unsolved were it not for confidential informants. Myself, I'm not into ratting on fellow human beings struggling to survive in a crazy world no matter what they could be into long as they aren't being violent and hurting anybody. Now if I became aware of a heinous murderer or child molester I would not hesitate to report that information to the police.
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Re: The role of informants in modern society

#11  Postby pantodragon » Jun 10, 2013 3:40 pm

mattthomas wrote:
D... Maybe if more people informed on criminals we'd have a better safer wealthier more prosperous society... crazy thinking I know.


This is such complete nonsense that I can't help wondering if you have given your age correctly. 32 going on 2???? I mean, you REALLY need to get a better grasp of reality. "if more people informed on criminals we'd have a better safer wealthier more prosperous" --- the simple logic is so juvenile, gullible and just plain stupid..................I'm still trying to pick my jaw up off the ground.
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Re: The role of informants in modern society

#12  Postby pantodragon » Jun 10, 2013 3:48 pm

Blackadder wrote:A friend of mine who works for the Special Branch ..... informs me that most terrorist plots are foiled by informants and infiltration.

There's a world of difference between the collaborateurs of Nazi occupied France and an informant who helps to stop child abuse, major crime or a terrorist attack.


Oh yes, the old platitudes, the old self-righteousness. It has ever been the way: when THEY do it, it's immoral, evil, vicious; when WE do it, it is moral, for the good of society, kind and at the very worst, the lesser of two evils. Trouble is, if I was an alien from outer space, I'm damned if I could see the difference.

As to the terrorist problem, I'm so very glad that you are comforted by the illusion that informing on and catching terrorists is making society safer or better, or is improving it in any way or, indeed, is doing anything OTHER than exacerbating the problem which is, in fact, what is happening.
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Re: The role of informants in modern society

#13  Postby pantodragon » Jun 10, 2013 3:51 pm

laklak wrote:I'd drop the dime on a drunk driver, absolutely. If I knew someone who committed a serious crime I'd inform the police. I'd call animal control if someone was abusing an animal. I draw the line at victimless crime - I wouldn't inform on drug users or dealers (unless they committed other serious crimes). If it harm no other then go for it, bro.


Consider these scenarios where a drunk grandfather intending to drive his grandchildren home was informed on by a shop manager "for the sake of the children":

a) The drunk driver drives home more slowly than normal, whereas if he had not been drunk he would have driven home at his usual, faster speed. By driving home more slowly he avoids an accident he would otherwise have been caught up in, and which would have resulted in the deaths of his grandchildren.

b) The drunk driver drives home but gets caught in an accident resulting in the instant, painless deaths of the grandchildren. Had they not died, the next day they would have been abducted by a serial killer who would have subjected them to weeks, perhaps even months, of agonizing torture before they finally died.

c) The drunk driver gets caught in an accident. He dies but the children survive. By shear chance, subsequent police investigations into the accident uncover the fact that these children are suffering abuse at the hands of their parents and/or grandparents. Action is taken. The abuse is stopped. If the accident had not happened, the child abuse would never have been uncovered.

d) The drunk driver is reported to the police by a shop manager. Police intervention prevents a fatal accident. One of the children whose life has been saved by the shop manager grows up to become a dictator, an Idi Amin or Pol Pot type character, who instigates the torture and murder of thousands upon thousands, perhaps even millions, of people.

Are you Elrond of Rivendell? Do you also have the gift of foresight?
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Re: The role of informants in modern society

#14  Postby pantodragon » Jun 10, 2013 3:53 pm

Onyx8 wrote:Gotta love the leap to Nazism. :nono:


If you find that a leap, then you must have very short legs. Are you an intellectual dwarf or something?
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Re: The role of informants in modern society

#15  Postby mattthomas » Jun 10, 2013 3:55 pm

pantodragon wrote:
mattthomas wrote:
D... Maybe if more people informed on criminals we'd have a better safer wealthier more prosperous society... crazy thinking I know.


This is such complete nonsense that I can't help wondering if you have given your age correctly. 32 going on 2???? I mean, you REALLY need to get a better grasp of reality. "if more people informed on criminals we'd have a better safer wealthier more prosperous" --- the simple logic is so juvenile, gullible and just plain stupid..................I'm still trying to pick my jaw up off the ground.

What don't you understand, if criminals were turned in by their families/communities they would be less likely or less able to offend in the future. We've seen in the past how the families or communities of rapists/murderers/drug dealers/human traffickers shelter and protect these criminals from justice or even close scrutiny.

I'm sorry you fail at basic logic but I assure you that the failing is yours not mine.
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Re: The role of informants in modern society

#16  Postby pantodragon » Jun 10, 2013 4:03 pm

To all:

The people who have replied on this forum to my post have almost universally come down in favour of informants. I am trully shocked. People used to KNOW that there was nothing lower than an informant. If a child in my school cliped on someone, they would have been at the very least ostracised and would have been lucky if even the teachers had not punished them for cliping. What it comes down to is self-respect and respect for others. No one who has an OUNCE of self-respect will stoop to informing. In a society where people respect themselves and others, people take care of their own affairs and respect other people enough to allow them to do the same. I can almost see everyone boggling as they read this. This truth has been lost, this awareness of one's own integrity and its value, because, as I have said elsewhere, our society has succumbed to power. Those in power do not want the lesser beings they control to have the capacity to look after themselves; they want to create a society of dependents.
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Re: The role of informants in modern society

#17  Postby pantodragon » Jun 10, 2013 4:06 pm

mattthomas wrote:
What don't you understand, if criminals were turned in by their families/communities they would be less likely or less able to offend in the future. We've seen in the past how the families or communities of rapists/murderers/drug dealers/human traffickers shelter and protect these criminals from justice or even close scrutiny.

I'm sorry you fail at basic logic but I assure you that the failing is yours not mine.


It's not the failure or otherwise of the logic, it is the application of the simple logic to a situation that is much too complex to be treated so simplistically. You hound criminals like this at great cost to society.
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Re: The role of informants in modern society

#18  Postby Thomas Eshuis » Jun 10, 2013 4:06 pm

pantodragon wrote:To all:

The people who have replied on this forum to my post have almost universally come down in favour of informants. I am trully shocked. People used to KNOW that there was nothing lower than an informant. If a child in my school cliped on someone, they would have been at the very least ostracised and would have been lucky if even the teachers had not punished them for cliping. What it comes down to is self-respect and respect for others. No one who has an OUNCE of self-respect will stoop to informing. In a society where people respect themselves and others, people take care of their own affairs and respect other people enough to allow them to do the same. I can almost see everyone boggling as they read this. This truth has been lost, this awareness of one's own integrity and its value, because, as I have said elsewhere, our society has succumbed to power. Those in power do not want the lesser beings they control to have the capacity to look after themselves; they want to create a society of dependents.

So, if I witness a crime, I shouldn't say anything?
Just let the perp(s) get away with it?
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Re: The role of informants in modern society

#19  Postby mattthomas » Jun 10, 2013 4:08 pm

Thomas Eshuis wrote:Just let the perp(s) get away with it?

Thomas... don't waste your energy with this idiot.
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Re: The role of informants in modern society

#20  Postby Ironclad » Jun 10, 2013 4:17 pm


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