We are headed towards a disaster. It will not come with the sounds of a plane hitting a building or the screams of crying victims. It will not occur with the screams of protest or even the remarks of skeptical inquiry. It will occur with thunderous applause from both government and civilians. It will be the death of liberty.
I was talking with a few people today about politics. the people I was talking to aren’t your typical political consumers. They were open minded about things that would seem crazy to the average consumer. We talked about fascism, capitalism, and communism. The thing that still kept on coming up was the attempt to tie fascism to adolf, communism to the Russians, and capitalism to the modern neo-liberal economy that we “enjoy”. The thought occurred to me that we have a problem.
The individuals with whom I was talking with seemed to blindly, without consideration, follow the age-old stereotypes which plague the average people of this great nation (the one who’s name is merely a description). I emphasize that they were not morons. They listened to me talk about fascism and communism without ignorant bursts of force-fed rhetoric. They were willing to learn, but they seemed to fear acting.
We also talked about the candidates and most of them were Paul supporters (duh…) and one or two were probably Edward supporters. Ok, to tell you a little about myself. i don’t like talking about myself since I don’t like the idea of looking arrogant. I have always been, to some degree, a dissenter. I avoid simple trends all the time. I wear a coat at all times, I don’t care about the car I drive, I run linux and BSD on my computer (albeit more recently), and I can’t stand flat screen monitors (like the low resolution one in front of me). I tell you this since I want you to understand that I will not just rattle on about something I found in the paper or on the web. In fact, I don’t like reiterating anyone else’s stories and therefore come up with my own material.
What is the American? Who is he or she? And more importantly: why are they that way? I love computers and thus run into computer related material on the internet. Each time I seem to see someone tell me about how great Mac OSX is. Mac OSX is, in fact, BSD with some modifications. It is no better than most versions of BSD or Linux. Why do people care about it then? Marketing. It is marketing on a grand scale that gets people to blindly praise Macs or blindly assume political ideas. We assume that marketing is created by marketing gurus in a meeting room with charts and statistics; but that is not where the best marketing comes from.
The best marketing, the kind that gets people to blindly follow a product or service, no matter how crappy it really is, is through word-of-mouth. Word-of-mouth advertising is recognized as the best form of advertising. It is the form that is used by many companies that want to escape from the dangers of high cost marketing schemes that can send a business down the tube. But this technique is not just used for products you can buy, and also it is not just created intentionally. The forces that make it be the best form of marketing have been around for a long time and only recently have been proven to be great.
Humans are, in their nature, a social being. We are, there is no getting around that. That may be one of the reasons why forms of autism, a syndrome that can cause a person to have problems interacting in society, also bring with them depression. The internet has spawned many mass movements of similar ideas through the use of social web sites and social networking services. 4chan, youtube, facebook, myspace, orkut, etc… People also do another thing: they act like those they are around. It has been shown in phycological studies that you can make someone like you more if you act like them. It is also true that people don’t really care as much about the opinions of their dissenters and enemies as they do about their friends. According to Dale Carnegie’s book “How to Win Friends And Influence People”, the key to getting someone to listen is to show interest in their beliefs. I don’t think that it would take too much thought to look at something like politics, the people that are involved in it (voters), and the way in which people act towards one another to come to the conclusion that politics is greatly influenced by the trends in society. Trends form because people try to act like one another. If a person likes faded jeans and their friends start to like them, since doing so would protect their friendship, then you will start to get a cascading effect where large groups of people start to follow a large trend even for a reason that is based more on their personal relationships than the aggregate society.
In politics, these trends exist too. I know people that follow an ideology because either a family member or their friends do. The one big difference between politics and faded jeans is that politics, unlike colored fabric, is very, very, complex. We live in a world where we are encouraged to be involved. A hear breaking story with a seemingly simple political solution can cause countless individuals to become involved in something they may not understand. Such is true with the issue in the area I live where the town folk are banding together on an issue of property rights. They are not going at it from the angle of individuals pondering a moral dilemma, but instead as an angry mob who all want the same simple solution. The solution they want is not one that even makes much sense but, since it became a local trend and the threat of ostracism is at large, the people blindly followed the rhetoric of the few trend setters.
Though, you may be thinking, that wasn’t a very inspiring story, I don’t think I have to remind you of a more popular, and bigger, issue: the 2008 elections. The trend setters are not just at the local level, they are at the national level. And, through the use of the internet, they are also at the level of every individual in this country with a connection to that giant web of fiber optics and servers. The trends, though very big now, are also very powerful at the local level. I can tell you, with experience of watching democrats and republicans battle it out in front of me, that the big trends descend on the populous very well.
My friends that I was with were talking about who they support, and thus will vote for. The candidates were the few major party candidates, of course. Like I said before, I am not the kind of person who likes following trends. I am not a person who wears pre-damaged jeans or thinks that pamala Anderson is hot (damn she is ugly). Because of that, I don’t think that I should blindly through my allegence towards some group that others support. I have thought about politics for a while and did something that few of you seem to be able to do: I looked into the non-mainsteam ideologies. That’s right, I looked at fascism, falangism, paleoconservatism, neoconservatism, greenism, communitarianism, and the list goes on. I am a fascist.
Many of you seem to be putting images in your head from the last sentence. You are thinking of Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, etc… But I assure you that I have no allegiance to any of them. I have allegiance to truth. If you want to know why, just read the latest fascism page I created. The problem these days is that the people who are dumb just blindly follow an ideology and the people who are smart, still keeping with the idea of supporting a mainstream ideology, just support the same crap as the idiots but instead try to find as many worthless statistics and ad hominims as possible to justify their blind allegiance.
We are headed towards a disaster. It will not come with the sounds of a plane hitting a building or the screams of crying victims. It will not occur with the screams of protest or even the remarks of skeptical inquiry. It will occur with thunderous applause from both government and civilians. It will be the death of liberty. This event will not come about in a sudden conflict or even during a war. This event will slip in through the curtains and snatch our liberties. This event will be seen as a form of enlightenment by the masses as they are striped of the ability to be something they will never be.
This event will come about soon. The American people patently awaited the creation of Windows Vista. They are just now talking about it as though it is a great operating system. Those that are loud enough to be heard, the Mac users and developers, cry words of dissent but, behind their seemingly flawless rhetoric, there lies the truth that they are no different. They, like the windows fan boys, are blind followers of a system. A system that is not founded on functionality, looks, or even value but one that is founded on the impenetrable foundation of marketing and conformity. It is this foundation that will keep people in their place.
The event, like the coming of vista, will be big. It will be supported since it will be the “in” thing to fight for. It will protect the kids or help secure our nation. The internet will be the first big thing to fall. The internet will be deemed a threat to world peace and tranquility. You can see the warning signs already: the crackdown on piracy, limiting of things you can say on many forums and blogs, and the government monitoring of your every move.
The next big thing, supported by the elimination of net freedom, will be the elimination of your right to property. Oh, wait, that already exists. Try to stop paying your property tax. You will also loose your ability to own certain things, like guns and drugs. The system will be, like vista and osx, set up for the lazy and the simple. The justification will be such phrases as: “life is tough, simplifying it is worth it” or “I am not a bad person, why should I care?”. It will be these words that write the epitaph for the first and second amendment. It will be these words that will be regretted.
Support freedom. Freedom starts, not from protesting and revolting, but from research and personal identification. If doing that can’t change the world, guns, freedom fighters, and words must wake the sleeping giants in all of us.