Before Marcus holds the first alternative/video-game-generated/XNet run press conference the world has ever seen after the gross media bias taking place in response to the Don’t Trust “riot,” Ange gives him this pep talk—“If you want to really screw the DHS, you have to embarrass them…your only weapon is your ability is to make them look like morons.”
Although perhaps a little simplified in this instance, the influence of one common adage is pervasive—How do you fight a war against terrorism, a fight against ideology? You introduce better ideas.
The influence of doctrines on the war on terror such as this one in Little Brother is not surprising, although I will admit, I found it the slightest bit ironic. While plenty of idealists are familiar with the theory of introducing new and better ideas, Doctorow’s main character Marcus turns this theory on its head, instead using his knowledge of the dark web and his impressive ability to mobilize other likeminded young idealists to take a different approach. So how do you, if you are Marcus, fight an ideology (in this case the distorted ideas about privacy by the DHS)? You recruit a brilliant group of internet vigilantes to prove the ideas are wrong by speeding up the process of self-implosion inevitable for the bad ideas. You can spend your whole life trying to spread new, better ideas—the process will be long, tiring, laborious, and might seem absolutely fruitless at times—or you can take a page out of Marcus’s book and sabotage an entire operation to make the bad ideas so present in everyone’s lives that they are unrefutably bad. Although I definitely admit Marcus’s strategy is not the most orthodox of practices, I genuinely admire the guts.