Apple Has a Liberty Problem

Recently Apple and the iPhone have grabbed all the headlines again. But this time there is no sleek new design or killer innovative new feature. On February 16, Tim Cook, the CEO at Apple wrote a letter to their customers to tell them that the government is trying to forcibly coerce them to create a new version of iOS.

In that letter Cook said, “The same engineers who built strong encryption into the iPhone to protect our users would, ironically, be ordered to weaken those protections and make our users less safe.” He believes that his employees are being forced to do something they consider immoral. He believes his engineers shouldn’t have to create something that violates their conscience.

Let me repeat that. Tim Cook believes American citizens should not be forced to create something that violates their conscience.

Pot, meet kettle.

In an ironic twist Apple now finds themselves tumbling down a slippery mountain where at the top is a Washington Post op-ed written by Tim Cook last year.

In 2015 the Apple CEO led the charge to boycott the state of Indiana with the desire to coerce small businesses like cake bakers, photographers, and florists to use their creativity against their conscience. Now less than a year later, Apple finds themselves defending their own creative liberty.

Now, I agree with Apple here in 2016. I do not believe they should be forced to create a new version of iOS to hack to iPhone. I believe the issue of getting information off a single phone is secondary to protecting the liberty of all Americans.

Realize that the precedent here is massive. If Apple is forced to create new software, essentially the government is saying that it has a claim to our creative thinking and creative power. And if it has claim to my thoughts, it has claim to absolutely everything else. The idea of freedom absolutely evaporates.

Unfortunately, we are already down this path and this is the result. When the government can fine, shut down, and shut up small businesses because they will not conform why would they stop there?

In a world where the government thinks it can forcibly coerce one of the world’s largest companies to bend to its will, what chance does a simple baker in Oregon have?

So, I’m writing this to all Americans. I’m a Jesus freak, bible thumper, fundamentalist and I know we don’t agree on many issues, but liberty of creative expression should be one we can all agree on. We can’t have freedom of creativity for some and not for others. We don’t want to discriminate right? If the government doesn’t get to force Apple to create something that violates their conscience, the government (or CEO’s) don’t get to force bakers or any other creative to create something that violates their conscience.

The beautiful thing about liberty is that it is all-inclusive. And while we may disagree on the morality of certain creative endeavors, the right to create or abstain is fundamental.