We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Thursday, June 7. 2007
Aldous Huxley's Brave New World is more relevant today than it was when it was written 75 years ago.
This creepily prophetic, forcefully anti-utopian science fiction novel describes a world government which scientifically manages everything from hatchery to grave for the happiness and safety of all - except for the Alphas, who have the responsibility for running the whole thing. Truly rule by experts. Freedom is an antiquated illusion, and the government is an omnipotent, benevolent god.
Caitrin Nicol, in The New Atlantis, takes a fresh look at the book. Some quotes from her piece:
The scariest things about Huxley's book are 1) On a bad day, anyone might be willing to sacrifice some liberty for security, and, 2) On a bad day, the Brave New World Huxley imagined has a certain regressive, hedonistic appeal and, 3) There are politicians who, unknowingly, use the idea of such a world as an ultimate goal - assuming, no doubt, that they would be the Alphas, and not me.
At Maggie's Farm, we try to make a stand for the messy, often-difficult, often-painful freedom of the human soul and spirit. Please take the time to read the whole thing. And read the book, if you haven't.
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Did Huxley have anything to do with springing Ms. Hilton from what must have been a hell hole for her...
She was so brave to endure those dark days. And justice was served.
When she went in I had flashbacks to Rodney King, the riots..I could see Rodeo Drive littered with rhinestones, oh the humanity, and youths running wide setting off car alarms..whew..we were lucky this time.
What would we do if AQ kidnapped her? I guess we could ransome Hillary.
It is a brave new world. So in that vein I am ramping up a new improved muticultural program.
BECOME ......*AN INSTANT IMAM*
Yes friends just think of the power...my kit contains Cliff Notes on the Q'uran,Koran,KQ'ran...you'll also receive the seed stock for your own secret army. Here's how it works
1. You simply use the words Fatah al (them pick a word)
here's an example Fatah al Fruitcake or Fatah al Trifecta.
Yes, you too can strike fear inot the hearts of millions of Mall goers.
But wait there's more... INSTANT IMAM also includes easy to follow instructions on issuing "fatwas" on people. Fatwas are closely associated with Haitian voodoo practice of sticking pins in dolls to hurt your enemies.
Got a neighbor with a dog pooping on your lawn...fatwa his ass, and the dog too.
For those medically inclinded INSTANT IMAM deluxe kit also provides all the tools necessary for those all important clitorectomies.
Naturally a turbin and shemagh headwrap w/ instructions!!
and as a free gift for the first 200 orders I will include the Islamic Adhan (The Call to Prayer) recorded right in Dearborn Michegan!!
So send M.O. or PayPAl to
Habu's INSTANT IMAM KIT don't delay offer ends soon.!!
Hey, this is Habu. I want to ask your indulgence for the spelling errors and other errors made by Ninni, my Swedish au pair/exchange girl. I will instruct her as soon as I can.
She failed to include the prices.
Regular INSTANT IMAM KIT ... $29.95US
Deluxe ..................................... $35.95US
Re:Instant Imam Kit
yer onto something,bud.
mocking the Islamo-clergy is good comedy fodder,
and an anti-jihad elixir as well,one might hope.
there was an Iranian film mocking the Iranian clergy as kleptos and thieves.
naturally it didn't go down well with the mullah squads,
but reports said the general popualtion got a good laugh out of it while it was possible to see it.
have you seen the video of ventriloquist Jeff Dunham's "Achmed the Terrorist"??
(apparently withdrawn from youtube for copyright reasons...or i'd link to it).
Wish I could take credit for the idea ...it actually came back from deeper crevices of my brain from the 1960's and 1970' where you could become an ordained minister in the Church of What's Happening Now from an ad in the back of Rolling Stone Magazine...heck you can probably still do it
O should have mentioned the tax free aspects.
Also I could promise that all turbins had been cleaned and washed by illegal aliens since to true American ever wshes their own clothes and such..
Thanks fo rthe heads up on the Jeff Dunham piece.I'll look it up.
here's one for our brave new world.
How many Americans know that the word “democracy” is found neither in the Constitution nor the Declaration of Independence, our very founding documents?
Interesting isn't it?
H., interesting morning read you left me. You make a very persuasive case for the apocalypse. And you may well be right. But, and naive of me perhaps, I feel we shall hold, ultimately, against all the b******s who wish to destroy us.
We are a divided country at the moment, mainly because most of us have the luxury of ignoring that which makes us uncomfortable. When the s*** hits the fan, I am still optimistic that the survival gene will kick in and our enemies will fear us. I could be wrong.
As far as the "Church of What's Happening Now" I'm pretty sure you are referring to the 'Universal Life Church', founded by J. Hensley(sp) within which I happened to have become an ordained minister in 1973. I have since performed seven, absolutely legal, weddings. The receptions were always good.
I can't resist telling this story. I was attending my brother-in-laws wedding. 300 or so in attendance. 20 minutes before the ceremony they came to me and said the designated 'reverend' could not make it, and could I perform the ceremony. I said three shots of 'Jack' and a Bible and I'm on the job. All went remarkably well. Twelve years later and they are still married.
Now, as too the topic. Honestly, I need to be 18 again. That is when, plus or minus 5 years, I read all. Now, forty years later, I need to read them all again, to refresh my memory. I don't have time for that. I read and understood it then, now I need read them again to make a responsible comment. I give up. Its just data in, data out, now.
I hope you are correct. I just know when the power goes out for any lenght of time bad things happen and your genes can't feed you or provide you with drinking water.
This is a bit lenghty but I believe you'll find it interesting, Reverend!
Open Source Warfare
John Robb’s chilling brief on postmodern terrorism
23 May 2007
Brave New War: The Next Stage of Terrorism and the End of Globalization, by John Robb (Wiley, 224 pp., $24.95)
Last year, I wrote a book called An Army of Davids: How Markets and Technology Empower Ordinary People to Beat Big Government, Big Media, and Other Goliaths. It was a celebration of how technology empowers the little guy, though I did spend some time discussing the darker sides of this development. John Robb’s Brave New War is in a way the mirror image of my argument: it devotes a lot of space to the dark side of the technological empowerment of individuals and small groups, and much less to potential upsides.
The dark side is certainly there. In the old days, you needed many people to commit significant mayhem—something like a Roman legion, or at least a century. Nowadays, one man with an AK-47 is probably a match for a hundred Roman legionaries, and modern explosives make matters even more asymmetrical. In the foreseeable future, Robb concludes, we may even see a situation where an individual can declare war on the world—and win. Or as science fiction writer Vernor Vinge put it in his recent book Rainbows End, set in 2025: “Nowadays Grand Terror technology was so cheap that cults and criminal gangs could acquire it . . . . In all innocence, the marvelous creativity of humankind continued to generate unintended consequences. There were a dozen research trends that could ultimately put world-killer weapons in the hands of anyone having a bad hair day.”
All sorts of technological trends—from biotechnology to nanotechnology—work to amplify the lethality of individuals and small groups. But the biggest contemporary source of bad-guy empowerment, Robb rightly notes, comes from the vulnerability of our own modern systems and networks for electrical distribution, telecommunications, transportation, food distribution, and more, which are subject to swift disruption if critical nodes or resources are destroyed. Robb may overstate the prospects for devastating damage; system disruption has been a goal of air forces for nearly a century, but actually pulling it off in the face of efforts to reroute or repair has always been harder than anticipated. Still, the fragility is acute. Just-in-time inventory systems save on costs, but even brief interruptions in deliveries will cause production to shut down. Deregulated telecommunications systems tend to concentrate traffic into a small number of high-traffic trunks, again in order to cut costs; take out the hubs, the system goes down. And system redundancies, as well as extensive maintenance and repair capabilities, are often casualties of tight budgets. Ma Bell gave us fewer telecom services at higher prices, but her network was much more robust than those we enjoy now, so much so that—as Paul Bracken observed in The Command and Control of Nuclear Forces—her capabilities were tougher than those of most military networks.
Even without terrorists or war, things can easily go wrong in our interconnected world, as became exceedingly clear in 2003. The SARS epidemic sent shockwaves throughout the global economy, and threatened to ground air travel. The Northeast blackout left 40 million Americans without power for periods ranging from hours to days. And the former Soviet Republic of Georgia suffered a major blackout of its own, one that affected millions—though that one, like the great power outage in Memphis that left over 1 million people without power, some for weeks, got less attention because it affected fewer media people. Likewise, a broken gas pipeline that left Phoenix and its environs desperately short of fuel got relatively little attention. You can exaggerate this vulnerability—as people did in the Y2K hysteria—but that doesn’t mean it isn’t real.
That puts a premium on planning, to respond effectively when things go wrong. And that’s a place where there’s much room for improvement—both in our world and, to a degree, in Robb’s book. When it comes to survivability, Robb is a small-is-beautiful kind of guy. Solar and wind power generation are close to the end user and harder to disrupt, so he likes them. (A critic might argue, however, that at this point a switch to such technologies would create more disruption than terrorists are likely to manage.) Likewise for many other crunchy and sustainable technologies, from walking-distance commutes to local farming. Robb’s basic point about system vulnerability is surely right. We should start designing systems to be not only cheap, and robust against ordinary sources of trouble, but also resilient enough to withstand and recover from unanticipated shocks. Unfortunately, the book’s description of this topic is itself a bit underfunded. Robb is a fan of resilience, but his book provides scant help for those who accept the message and want to know where to start fixing things.
Robb is a critic of “brittle security”—the approach that produces a hard shell but a soft center. He’s right to be critical. As Robb makes clear, terrorism is a fast-moving, dispersed phenomenon that depends on the varying talents of lots of enthusiastic participants. In my own book, I noted that the passengers on United Airlines Flight 93 staged the only really successful response to the 9/11 terrorists. Likewise, I pointed to “white hat” hackers who were pursuing jihadist websites (with little or no cooperation from the duly constituted authorities) and the rapidly improvised evacuation effort in lower Manhattan on September 11. Successful approaches to terrorism are likely to incorporate, and facilitate, responses like these. It seems plausible to me that we will want a security approach that integrates the talents and observational abilities of ordinary people in ways that our professionalized security bureaucracies generally resist. The same is true for disaster response generally. A considerable academic literature exists on this subject, and Robb could have drawn upon the work of people like Kathleen Tierney and others in an expanded version of his rather brief “what to do” discussion.
Nevertheless, Robb has written an important book that every policymaker should read. While brief, it is also—quite justifiably—frightening. My worry is that the paucity of constructive suggestions will cause many a rightly frightened policymaker to put down Brave New War, order a stiff drink, and think about something more pleasant, surely not the result that Robb intends.
Glenn Harlan Reynolds is the Beauchamp Brogan Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Tennessee, and the publisher of InstaPundit.com.
great read at
the article refrenced in your thread above.
the future is going to be a close run thing between
freedom and liberty vs. the appetite for security.
and the terror-oriented-manipulators
are well aware of the internal conflict
the threat of terror
forces on a target society.
your link might just prompt me to read Brothers Karamazov.
missed that one as a pup.
looks like i'm overdue for a reading.
I first read BNW is the '50s and Orwell's 1984 about the same time. If one re-reads Orwell's 1984 along with Huxley's BNW, one suddenly realizes it's 2007!
Understand that I am not, particularly or even necessarily, disagreeing with you. But, for me personally, I prefer too have hope and optimism (and I'm not inferring that you do not). Not the blind type, of course. I have no doubt that the scenarios you describe and that are mentioned in Glen's review of Robb's book are not only plausible, but will likely play out in some manner over the next several decades or longer.
But when I say 'we shall hold' it is in the long term that I am referencing. There may indeed be great and bloody battles in the interim, some of which we may lose.
But when the dust clears I still expect "Old Glory" to be flying proudly. That's all I'm saying really.