So, here’s the introduction I should probably have started with. I’m writing this because I am seeing a continuing, across the board, attack on most of the things I consider to be vital to personal freedom in the US today. Let me say straight out that I am not a conspiracy theorist. I don’t believe that the members of the Illuminati, or the Bilderberg or the Club of Rome are collectively conspiring to murder us all in our beds. What I see is something worse, the convergence of the goals of many systems, political, economic, societal, psychological. Why is it worse? Because like any other self-generating force, it is likely to be unstoppable. You can compare it to the white settlers populating the American west in the 1800s. There was no plot. There was no secret society. There was just this vast yearning by tens of thousands for land and opportunity. The effect on the Native Americans was the same.
The last half-century has seen a remarkable empowerment of the individual, and the belated scramble by the powers that be to contain it. Not quite fifty years ago, the dirty hippies of my generation started it, with their opposition to the war in Vietnam. (I wasn’t part of their efforts, or my world line would have taken a totally different track. What I did was right for me. What they did was right.) Thirty years ago, the first three nodes of ARPANet were turned on. Roughly twenty years ago, the Internet became open to commercial users. This promoted the most massive explosion of information in the history of mankind. More people know more today, can find out more, and can act on their knowledge than at any time in history. I won’t go into a long hymn of praise for the Internet, you either get it or you don’t, and if you get it, you’ve already read more, and better-written praise than I could hope to write. It changed the world.
One of the things it changed was transparency. There may not be secret societies, but there are secrets. Secret deals, secret crimes, secret abuses of power. How many novels have been written about large families, small towns, or giant corporations where Boss Jones runs things his way, until some outsider wanders in and exposes all the evil? They are myriad, and they are so ubiquitous because they expose a truth about how power works. How are such evils possible? Because detailed knowledge of what is going on has been in the past limited to the local power elite, and general knowledge is limited to people within the power of that power elite. No more.
Now, if a town sets up a revenue-enhancing speed trap, it will be on Twitter within hours. If they rig their traffic lights to have an unsafely quick yellow, it will show up on some blog within days. If the local police feel it’s OK to beat up on some motorist because he didn’t get out of the car fast enough, the YouTube videos will flash ’round the world before they can get the blood off their boots. And that’s just the small evils of small towns. Think about what you have read over the last year, or month, or week about the power abuses of corporations, of countries. The best antiseptic is sunlight, and the Internet has let us shine the light under rocks that have been shaded for ages.
But evil powers aren’t stupid. Well, yes, they are, but they have to be smart about something, or they wouldn’t be powers. The rest of these essays will be me exploring my thoughts about how evil is fighting back, how the fight has spread. Will it include how to stop it? I don’t know. I’m not there yet.