Monday, March 8, 2010

Calling All Rebels

Calling All Rebels By Chris Hedges

Ends with:

"Those who do not rebel in our age of totalitarian capitalism and who convince themselves that there is no alternative to collaboration are complicit in their own enslavement. They commit spiritual and moral suicide."

Chris Hedges is an excellent thinker/writer, and this compelling piece is certainly one of his best. The trouble is the picture it paints.

I still hold out hope because I see one possibility (and one only!), that we can somehow remove money from the political system (using the Internet) and thus elect representatives who do represent us. I still trust the "average American" to, on balance, do the right thing and select/elect our best people. I know they are out there, but I also know they have no power whatsoever. This is the problem and this is what we need to reverse, and we should waste no time doing it.

Maybe it's just me, but it's very clear how the Internet can be used for a voting system, and since I'm a programmer, how it can be done with enough security and integrity as to make it trustworthy. Why, I ask, isn't there a movement to do this? Where is M.I.T's design?

What makes Chris's piece so very scary is the scope of the problem.

For too many years now, I have been focused on what I saw as the Big 3 protagonists: Big Oil, the Military Industrial Complex, and Israel as being responsible for America's precipitous decline in almost every respect (freedom of speech being one of the remaining goodnesses). But I argued, essentially, that power in the hands of these organizations was very bad for America and we needed to do something about it.

Then, when we invaded the Middle East, it was no longer much of an argument. The dice were rolled and our farm was bet. Heretofore, the argument was that we might bet the farm, but now we had.

Of course, there are those who believe it's not that serious. People watch Fox "news" would never get this impression. But it's true. We did bet the farm on their crusade to establish military authority in the Middle East. We don't see it this way, because the "news" doesn't see it this way, but if you have any common sense left, you'll see that they have absolutely no intention of removing our military from the Middle East. Shifting it to Afghanistant - which everyone knows is impossible to conquer - but it serves as a convenient holding location for all those troops, who will be needed once the next phase of their crusade cuts in. They can't bring the troops home and disarm them, because they know they'll never get another shot at such a crusade again. That, another invasion, will not be tolerated, even by sheep.

So the troops are there, being moved around, but they are still there and - I fear - soon to become engaged in yet another campaign in the area, to keep the engine going until all the "terrorists" (anyone who opposes their authority) are dead. That's a lot of killing. But to people who truly believe the ends justify the means, it's a small price and well worth it.

Someone close to me recently pointed out that the Iraq's have their election and it's all evidence of the democracy we instituted in Iraq, and therefore how, in the end, we ultimately did the right thing. You don't have to play with words too much before you can see the sameness of "ends justify the means" and "ultimately did the right thing". One wording or the other denotes a fundamental attitude, that what we do along the way, as long as we get "there".

It's the kind of attitude that says there is no God, no purpose for our existence, no use to be good for it's own sake, no need for justice, no such thing as love, ...

Those afflicted with this attitude share much in common with their twain. Both enjoy music, travel, food, and those with the most money can indulge in the finest products mankind can create. They can have you send them your children to do the killing and dying, and they can pull more money right out of your pocket for their causes in a number of ways, all legal. Wars of conquest can be launched. All these things can happen so long as there are people to put together words and videos that tell people every day how right they are. Watch Fox "News" (or any of major news reporters) to see how it works.

We can fix this problem, hopefully before it's too late, by replacing those in power with people who believe the opposite: that the means justifies the ends.

One solution is to use the Internet to reinvent the election process. At last we can have gov't of/by/for the people, as our common hero Lincoln so eloquently said at Gettysburg, and it's actually within our reach, if we want it.

Of course, as the argument against goes, people need to be educated to make the best choice. But do people need to be educated before instituting such a system? No. We can err on the side of getting this job done, and we can trust that it will self-correct over time. Certainly the majority of Americans do not believe the ends justify the means (to put the whole wrong-headed philosophy I'm so against into a single perspective) and would replace all of it's practitioners given the chance.

America is in decline. Instead of staying the terrible course we're on, we can literally switch tracks. The world awaits and will support us. And regaining the world's respect is the best way to reduce, if not remove, the threat of terrorism using the terrible weapons that exist today. There are too many people quite willing to carry any weapon at all into battle, anywhere, and with the fevor of the zealot, knowing he/she is a hero to others. We cannot live under this threat, it's killing us.

We cannot kill all of the people who hate us. It's impossible. The more we kill, the more hate us. And how many people does it take to deliver a terrible weapon? I wouldn't digress into the meaning of terrible weapon, you can read all day about them using Google. They are real and they are terrible in every sense of the word.

With people who represent us and mankind at the helm, we can do wonderful things, such as replacing the TV with the Internet, and let a new breed of editors help guide us through the mass of channels it makes available. We can use our machines to feed and otherwise benefit everyone on the planet, and then we can reach for the stars. There are plenty of challenges out there to keep us busy. Compare this world to the one on a mission to establish authority in the Middle East, and ask yourself which road you want to be on.


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