I’ve grown impatient.
I’ve grown impatient in a few discussions I’ve had with Facebook friends in which accusations of liberalism, leftism, secular, interventionist and that of western post enlightenment bully have been hurled at me. I’ve grown impatient because with the exception of the very last description, I am none of the above.
I suppose I am an ideological bully as well, although I try not to be.
I just find it difficult obeying the decorum of conventional rhetoric when the threatre actually is on fire and if you don’t get out soon, you’re going to be burned alive or suffocated by your own ignorance. I may be a bully-boy for secular rationalism but I have lost patience with decadent partisanship, especially of the Left/Right variety.
I would have at one time described myself as a Leftist, a Liberal. . . . yeah, about 30 years ago.
Allot can change in 30 years. Especially the political topography. I find Left and Right to be redundant terms, moribund, dead. Conservative and Progressive also are beginning to stink of irrelevance. Conservatives these days are more like crypto-fascists, Mussolini like corporatists. And the so-callled Progressives have progressed themselves largely to a surivival mode of whatever works to keep things from declining further. So they act like Conservatives used to act.
No, I definitely don’t buy in to yesterday’s newspapers.
My beliefs are simply that things in general, have gotten very bad (politically and socially), and that things are more likely to get much worse unless citizens start taking responsibility citizenship and start insisting on leadership from their leaders. Politics isn’t fun, it’s not a vocation; it’s a duty, like doing the dishes every day. If you don’t do your dishes, they stack up, become a hazard and eventually someone will come and do your dishes for you. So it is with politics.
I believe that my daughter’s generation is facing a future bleaker in prospect than our own was at the same exact stage of time. Our parents did better by us than we are going to be able to do for our children. And that’s a real tears, crying shame.
This state of things is entirely and directly due to the ongoing consolidation of wealth and power by fewer and fewer individuals of the last 30-40 years. The ideological and value shift debuted with Ronald Reagan and in Europe the Neo-Liberalism of Dame Margaret Thatcher. These two individuals and their buccaneer followers were the primary instruments of the destruction of post modern society. It was their ideologically-driven policies that deliberately re-engineered the political, social and economic sense of our socities. They changed the internalized map of reality for millions, indeed, billions of people.
Unfortunately their map, the Neo-Liberal mapping graph, was not a more accurate reflection of the economic territory it was supposed to navigate through and it failed, badly. This was what we experienced as the global financial collpase and on going recession from 2008. The one that nobody caused, the one that ‘just happened’ the one that we should shut up about and just pay off the banks for. This act of international economic sabatoge unprecedented even by the great Deprssion of the 1920’s was a direct causal result of the Neo-Liberal policies and dismantlement of the public sector state instituted by both Reagan and Thatcher in the early 1980’s.
So this leads us to the state of things now: the state of all things.
In the wake of the economic, political and moral collapse of Neo-Liberalism, there has been a distinct lack of response; like someone caught the pendulum on the other side in theri hand and won’t let go of it to let it swing the other way. The best has been from women and the Latino communities in the US, but although building, they currently lack cohesive momentum to represent one political force. There also needs to be a tighter common cause with the trade unions and the African American communities, who share a first hand legacy of enacting social change in the face of mass market injustice.
England is a disaster, a museum piece of progressive liberalism and social integrity. Once the international leader in post WWII recuperation with the foundation of the NHS, public housing and the rebuilding efforts of a generation, the UK has now receded into an increasingly impoverished nation in the midst of selling off all of its silver and linen in order to afford to pay its heating bills. The Red Cross has opened food kitchens to feed the poor in the Britain for the first time since the war. And no one blinks. While of course, the ministers of government and the uber-wealthy line their pockets with public swag. They literally STEAL people’s taxes and place them in the pockets of their patrons. It is shameless and the British people shuld be ashamed of themselves that they’ve allowed a once world beacon of humane governance descend to such soul wrenchingly low depths of avarice and xenophobic paranoia. Where is British pride in their nationalism now?
The rest of Europe has at least been swayed enough by public disapproval of austerity measures and have made adjustments, mainly funded by Germany. At least Europe has responded to the neeeds of its people. The British government takes its electorate for fools and cattle to be milked and eventually slaughtered; if for example, Boris Johnson the Mayor of London’s request for water cannons in central London comes through. How many burglars or muggers can you catch with a water cannon, I wonder?
I’m fed up with conventional politics and I have greater faith in computer hackers to enforce reasonable moral governance than the government or Google will. I believe in the Open Source revolution, where information is linked and liberated. That data about us, belongs to us. I beleive in Tim Berner-Lee because he never patented html or the web browser or the world wide web; he could of, but he didn’t. Unsound business strategy; sound human being.
I believe our future as a species lies in our machines, not as their servents (or masters, for that matter), but in the same way early Man domesticated the wolves and panthers that crept near his open fires, so we are on the brink of domesticating the strange-seeming powers of computation. We are on our way to using our tools in ways we hadn’t ever even contemplated were possible. We are living Star Trek in our own lifetimes.
I believe that the Net is Us . . .
and that we can prosper by taking a deeper, closer look at ‘Us’.
So it is important not so much to control the digital tools and the tool makers but to make certain that no one else controls them.
That’s what Liberty really is.
And fortunately, the levels of expertise required to be an effective ‘digital warror’ is not only specialised and unique, it tends to come with its own accompanying set of values, derived from the realities (Realpolitik), of developing software applications.
There is an organic sense to coding which requires you to think in other categories and their consequences. These other categories and the walking through them, brings insight on many levels beyond the screen. In the same way that software development has impacted on the way all industries operate and manage themselves, those with the digital savvy understand a dimension to their realm that makes them allergic to traditional means of governance or indeed, the way traditional consumer capitalism works. Hackers don’t do tricks for Scooby Snacks, they tend to work alone and realte to the world as individuals.
Most importantly, like the Occupy Movement (which was not, by the way, a political movement as much as a self-education campaign), there is no central leadership to the hacker community. It is a network based solely on group consensus. It’s structure is like the Al Qaeda without the same agenda. Instead, some of the more Radical affiliates has chose to play moral vigilante on several key businesses and government agencies involved in Congressional re-districting, to redress what they see as the current imbalance in power and democratic representation.
I applaud their efforts not because I’m in favour of sabatoge but because it draws focus to the issues that should be the central focus of any citizen on the planet these days: where is my power to control my own circumstances going? Do I have more or less value in my life compared to a year ago? What lies ahead of me around the bend? What is my level of security and what hopes do I have for a better tomorrow for myself and for my loved ones? And just as important, who is making all the money off of the impoverishment of the majority?
These are Radical questions to be asking and demanding (fist poundingly), a response to.
That’s why I’m not a Liberal anymore.
That’s why I’m a Radical.