As I grew up many pejoratives were applied to me from retard to bastard, and a whole range around this range. As the son of a carpenter, I learned early the joy of putting things together, discovering I was good at it. The computer was not a part of my life growing up though, so there were two pejoratives I never wore - nerd or geek.
Getting into computers a quarter century ago, and discovering that once again I had the ability to put one of these things together did not come without cost. Carpenters and woodworkers can show pride in the craftmanship they employ to make something out of wood. There is no such pride one can show in building a computer from motherboard out. To try to explain this effort to someone who is not versed in this technology will cause the eyes to glaze over and the intelligence expressed to be considered a threat - hence the pejorative nerd, geek, or worse.
Whiie working for CompUSA, I constantly tried to quash the expression "computer illiterate". I explained that people never walked into a lawyer's office saying they were legally illiterate, or a doctor's office saying they were medically illiterate, but those unfamiliar with the technology of the hour felt more comfortable putting down their lack of experience rather than just walking in with a question and asking it.
We all have to learn somewhere, but this inane fear of technology is one reason why it takes some effort to grasp the technology used by Big Brother today and the FBI tomorrow. The perception is that this technology comes from some amorphous world where strange, ungraspable things happen. So to try to explain the new Big Brother and the new efforts of the FBI, and even connect those dots to the concern over the survelience efforts facing the OWS movement is like washing one's hands in used motor oil - extremely yucky.
There is nothing special about understanding the Silicon Moat. If the son of a carpenter can comprehend this, most people can. As the Robinson robot in Lost In Space kept yelling while waving his arms, we need to pay heed to the warning "Danger. Danger Will Robinson". It is out there and we can't let the warning go over our heads.