Ask Your Mother: Could Your Friends Save Programming from Being Banned?


If you had to put together a scrappy band of misfits to take over the world in order to stop programming from being prohibited by law, who would you recruit to that team?


Dear Curious, 

This is definitely the most bizarre ‘Ask Mom’ question I’ve received yet, but I’ll take a stab at answering it!  

A group of eight people standing in front of a chalkboard with their fists raised
Photo by fauxels

The Hacker

If the government wants to make programming illegal, we’ll likely have to fight fire with fire–so, we’ll need a really good hacker, ideally someone who can switch hats as needed.  They could both bypass security measures taken by the government so that we could retrieve classified information, but also ensure that our own operations are secure.  I’d start with my friend Josh, AKA Witchcu1t; with his history background he could also assist the propaganda minister.

The Technologist

Obviously, we’ll need a technical expert who knows programming concepts inside and out.  It’d be great if this person had some killer soft skills, too, so that they could translate programming concepts into plain English for the rest of the team, the media, and laypeople.  There’s a ton of friends I could pick from for this, but Sadukie, Jordan Thayer, Matt Eland, and Sarah Withee come to mind as folks who are very proficient at operating in the space between pure tech and people

The Propaganda Minister

Both my BA capstone and my MA dissertation dealt with mass media and propaganda, so I understand that any cause needs a good media campaign, preferably a multilayered one where at least one of those layers is insidious enough that folks don’t realize it’s happening.  When the government is being unreasonable (which, let’s face it, happens a lot), you need the power of public opinion on your side, because the government will try twice as hard to have it on theirs. 

The Attorney

I’m not a lawyer–but if we’re going to fight the government, we’ll need someone who is. Not only are we going to need a good legal defense for if the hacker gets caught participating in illegal activity, we’ll also need someone who can file a bunch of suits to block governmental action and stall for time.  I don’t know many lawyers, and my family law attorney is probably not the person to help with this, so… now taking recommendations, I guess? 

The Project Manager

Someone has to convince all of these people to work together, and having a dedicated team member for managing the project will give us a higher chance of success.  This needs to be someone who definitely gets stuff done (AKA, not me), so I’d pick my colleague Chelsea, who is an absolute beast at making things work.  I also trust her to keep lots of disparate personalities in line and make sure everyone is working together effectively! 

Disclaimer: I did utilize ChatGPT to identify the roles this band of misfits would have! I wasn’t coming up with anything good on my own, haha!

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