Melior Diabolus Quem Scies
Technological innovations are a marvel to be embraced until they become the pitchfork of cultural corrosion and the tool of repressive rule posing to save us from that very corrosion.
Censorship is fine until it's censorship we don't like; then it's an outrage that simply must be stopped.
Rights are paramount until they are demanded by and then granted to things that aren't even persons.
You think PIPA (Senate 968) and SOPA (HR 3261) can be derailed? Authoritarians don't give up. Moneyed interests don't let go. Privileged people won't quit.
You think you've won, only to find out you lost because you revealed your tactics they will use against you when they come back; and come back they will, as many times, with as much stridence, capital, and force as necessary.
Sooner or later, they'll win.
In this case, those malevolent forces already have, and they have done so at our own behest: technological innovations are wonderful when they give us the means to be weak, lazy, and irresolute; censorship is fine when it's the kind we like; and constitutional rights are already being handed out to things that aren't even humans, much less citizens.
We will tire of the fight long before the authoritarians do; and when we bow ever lower to the unrelenting fist of those who know better than we, as a people we shall once again take some comfort in saying, "Melior diabolus quem scies." After all, at least we'll still have our computers, we'll never be offended by anything we see or hear on the Internet, and we'll have the wisdom and capital of corporations to help us decide who will lead our vibrant democracy away from the perilous temptations of unbridled freedom.
Salus pro licentia.
Forever the Sunset
The future will come quickly, now. It will not be apocalyptic, not for most people, at least; but it will be obvious that where we are is not as good as where we were. Part of that feeling is the old story of a better time, a Garden we know was there because we were there, whether or not we really were; another part of that sense, however, is quite a bit less fanciful.
I fondly remember the nights when I was a childa thin, active, outgoing little boywhen my parents would take me places. It was so good, especially on a cold night, when I would sit in the back seat of our big yellow Chevy Impala, all warm and enthralled in the sights of the countryside in the darkness.
We would travel the long, lonely roads of the rural Midwest of that era, and I could look out into the blackness of the night through the side windows. Occasionally, I'd see the light from a mercury vapor lamp off in the distance. That meant someone lived way back there. It was probably a family. They had a light, so that meant everything was okay, just like it was for me in that big back seat, where I could lie down when I got sleepy.
Every once in a great while, we would come to an overpass. That was exciting since it was about the only place where big lights illuminated the whole road. Better still, there would usually be at least one, maybe two, all-night diners. When I'd feel the car slowing down, I knew that meant we were going to stop at one of those restaurants, where it would be bright, music might be playing, and I'd get to have a cheeseburger and a vanilla milk shake. Usually, there'd be some kind of a little shop where I could see some really cool stuff, and I'd be able to watch people I didn't know.
Mom and Dad would chat with each other, and the waitress would talk to all of us, including me.
When we'd finish eating, Dad would get ready to pay the bill, and I'd hurry outside, where I could stand in the lights of the parking lot and experience things I really liked. On a cold night, it was especially great because even my skin would have something to do as it tingled in the frosty night air. I could smell the diesel fumes from trucks pulling into and out of the parking lot, and I could hear the semi truck tires howling away on the big interstate that went under the overpass.
The lights from the restaurant and the parking lot were so bright that I could see in the night.
Mom and Dad would come out. Dad would be stuffing his wallet back in his pants while Mom would be chattering away. We'd go to the car, but I'd always take one last deep breath of the night before I'd climb in. Back on the road, I'd try to look out the car windows for a while, but weariness from the good meal would inevitably, and pretty quickly, set in, and I'd lie down on that big back seat, where I'd fall asleep, safe and warm.
It wouldn't be too many years later that Dad would get sick and die from lung cancer our doctor too long told him was just pleurisy. Blue Shield cut off paying for the horrible chemotherapy and Betatron treatments long before the doctors gave up trying to make the cancer go away.
The Sunday afternoon Dad died, I left the room when Dad, in his last moments, asked my eldest brother to lift him up so he could see the towering pine tree outside the second-story bedroom window.
I went to the back yard, where I sat down behind a big old maple tree. Mom didn't see me when she came out to watch the sun set and maybe to see if Dad's soul was safely on its way. I heard her quietly say his name, then she went back inside.
I didn't understand on a deep level why we had to move from that nice, big house, and why we'd end up sleeping in the old station wagon that replaced the Impala.
I didn't understand on a deep level why I became more and more isolated and disliked by just about everyone at school. I withdrew. I didn't think about it; I didn't consciously decide to; I just did. By the time I was in my early teens, I sat in a corner of the run-down apartment we got. I surrounded myself with stacks of boxes and books. Those were my things, and they were all I had, except for Mom, and she was prone to acting pretty loud and crazy. She'd still put herself together and turn into a sharp, fiece lioness when she needed to, but she really acted strange far too often, and that made me withdraw even more.
Dad and Mom had managed a loan company for the wealthy local owners, and he'd been covering increasingly bad problems the company was having with payments. Mom kept it going as long as she could until those wealthy people threw her out one day because she couldn't make the dividend and coupon payments they were expecting. She blamed Dad and all the cronies to whom he'd made bad loans, including my eldest brother's customers at a boat shop he owned by the lake. I knew she was right about all that, but what I didn't know was that Dad had been forestalling economic disaster in a tiny company that was a meaningless bit player in a global drama of shifting financial, monetary, and power paradigms. I would realize that much, much later in my life; but at the time, all I knew was that I needed to wear a big overcoat whenever I was outside because that was the way the world couldn't touch me. (See my story, "The end of all things.") No one knew what to do about me. A few were bold enough to tell me to lay off the self-pity and grow up (as if that or the occasional threats of violence were going to straighten me up), but most others just sort of left me alone, some of them imagining that I would grow out of my crash into self-absorbed oblivion, which I did when my Mom and I took up residence in an abandoned farm house. I learned to clear fields, kill food, and generally feel good about losing weight and gaining muscles through hard, sweaty work.
Eventually, we had to move from there. One night later on, Mom dropped to the floor in a coma at the all-night diner where she worked. She'd been holding back the progressive ravages of diabetes for too long, and it finally got her good. By the time she came back, she was pretty much blind from retinopathy, in pain and constantly trembling from neuropathy, and in even worse debt from the new medical bills that were now piled on the bills we hadn't gotten paid off from Dad's time. After she collected Social Security Disability payments and some food stamps for a while, she got word that the government had decided she could be retrained for gainful employment, so she got sent to a place where blind people learn how to do things. They cut off most of her food stamps and reduced her disability checks.
For her, it was just about the end of the world because retirement benefits were still a few years away. What she didn't know, and probably wouldn't have cared about, anyway, was that another wave in those shifting paradigms of global finance, money, and power was sweeping through the land, once again culling the populace of its weak and infirmed, along with the old memories of a better time those kind might carry with particular clarity.
Under mounting pressures for my lack of a plan for my life, having quit high school and having failed at college, I enlisted in the Army. That was an awful mistake and a fine platform for starting over (see my story, "I Am Become Battle, How White Be My Tears").
Times were good when I got back to college and soon thereafter became a college teacher. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I think I imagined that everything would get better from year to year, and it did for a good run. I hadn't learned the lesson of my youth, though: the waves of that shifting economic reality would return, one after the other, through my life, which would be nothing but one more tiny piece of driftwood in a roiling ocean of kindling from little trees of personal hopes lifted up and thrown to the currents like meaningless toys in a vast drama. The scope and meaning of that large play would not be appreciated for many decades to come, even by those with nominal control over events on the ground.
The robust economic growth of the 1990s was the staging platform for a hard shift into the 21st Century, and all of what seemed like willful and terrible acts were random but precisely understandable set props in the larger, heaving, pushing tide of history in constant birth. The near-catastrophe that swept through the global financial system in 2008 was symptomatic of an unstoppable force pulling economic life for the world's peoples into a gruesome maw of new and complex relationships between sovereign states and the far more efficient generators of innovation and attendant revenue of large corporations.
If you think the grim future can be stopped with protests, elections, wishful thinking, and apocalyptic articles whipping your political cohorts to action, you haven't been where I lived, and you haven't looked at the young people today, so many of whom are acting eerily like I did two generations ago at the shock front of the new world that was to sweep away the strength and success of the post-World War II era. The shadows of the darkening landscape are lengthening right before our eyes, and before long, they will merge into the seemingly bottomless well of night. All those kidsthe emos, the goths, the juggalo trash, the semi-literates, the losers, the TV and music-addicted wastlings, the failures of the education system, the ones who can't compete academically against kids from just about any other country on Earth? Those are the ghosts of our future. That ought to scare the Hell out of you, especially considering that we made them. In so doing, we really did make the future, notwithstanding all those shifting global paradigms flogging us with the demoralizing whip of our own irrelevence.
Imagine, if you choose, that you can stop that future. That's not the worst lie you can tell yourself, but it's still a lie if you think stopping the future means stopping someone else who's to blame for how bad it's going to be. Times will not get better just because we want them to or just because men and women who pose to be our leaders promise they will if only we'll crawl to their special signature brand of conservative or neoliberal authoritarianism.
In the end, I was the creator of my own destiny. Wallowing in self-pity postponed the time when, instead of hiding from the world or, far worse, trying as a self-loathing narcissist to confront its awful monsters, I had to take on the miserable task of fixing the mess that was myself. I'm still working on it. Some days are better than others.
We, like the world, all have a whole lot of good as we careen out of control into the bad times ahead. We have already waited way too long to seize our own day and, in so doing, we have made the task of taming that angry, destructive unknown all the more difficult and unlikely. We should try, anyway.
I explain it to my students like this:
The sunset of Empire is behind us. No onenot you, not I, not wecan return the sun to the warmth of day; we must, instead, go into the night. You can walk in darkness and expect someone to hold a torch for you, or you can carry your own torch. By either of these two means, you might survive the long night ahead; but know this: you have a third way. Instead of following the torch or carrying the torch, you can be the torchthe very light, itselfon your path through the darkness. If you choose this way, in time you will learn the most important lesson of all as you journey through the night searching for the morning. Not only were you the night as you let the fall of Empire consume you in darkness, but when you chose to be the torch in the darkness, you became the morning.
Powerless, yet still we created the dark future we must now survive.
Imagine the morning of the future if we choose to be powerless no longer.
The End of Time, Epilogue
We may expropriate from future generations as much as we wish; in return, those future generations can take nothing from us but respect for who we were and what we did.
We have again and now plundered their land with our self-gratifying impunity, lying to ourselves that we are somehow doing this for them.
We are not. We are doing this for ourselves. We know that, and surely they will, too. Our choice of whether or not to acknowledge this is irrelevant: they, not we, control the words that will be inscribed about us in their history books.
In their time, in bitter disgust, those now very young and those yet to be born will plunder our graves of honor. It is their privilege and right; it is, in fact, their grim and solemn duty.
Without the past, which we have already bled of its treasure gifted to us, and without the future, which we are now about to bleed of its treasure gifted by us, we have reached the end of time, that circle of light in the present from which we have drawn what light the times that have passed could offer and from which we have no light to cast into the swallowing blackness of the ages and years to come.
Celebrate this day: we vanquished the past, and we have now sacked the future. Victory is ours.
The consequences are theirs.
"What should we do, sir, submit or fight?"
On October 3, 2008, a revised version of the bailout bill passed the Senate and then the House of Representatives, with President Bush signing the legislation that afternoon. The core feature of the new bill, the bailout of the financial services industry at a minimum cost of $700 billion, remained intact. Sweeteners designed to turn the legislation into a Christmas tree of desires for representatives who had voted against the first version of the bill ensured its passage in the second round. Expensive as they are, those added expenditures, promises, and mandates notwithstanding, the bailout bill is nothing other than a taxpayer-funded government giveaway to financial institutions that took excessive, imprudent, reckless risks for profit and, in so doing, ultimately placed their companies and, indeed, the global financial system at appalling risk. The U.S. Treasury Secretary and the Federal Reserve Chairman virtually told Congress that, unless the bailout bill passed, the irresponsible activities of those private institutions imperiled the stability of the entire global economy, and President George W. Bush said as much in his address to the nation on September 24, 2008.
While handing the U.S. Treasury the power to expend what could result in several trillion dollars of money the United States will have to borrow or print, since its expenditures already exceed by hundreds of billions of dollars its tax revenues, neither the original bailout bill nor the one that ultimately passed offered average Americans any relief whatsoever from the destructive economic downturn that has been underway for months. The bill that passed did not place a moratorium on foreclosures, which are putting millions of American families on the street. The bill that passed did not authorize the U.S. Treasury to bail out any homeowners or small businesses whose indebtedness now exceeds real asset value of mortgaged property. The bill did not make even the slightest attempt to bring under strict regulatory scrutiny and control the Federal Reserve, which has maintained a virtually zero-growth regime on the money supply average Americans use (the so-called "M1" monetary aggregate) while allowing the money supply used by massive financial institutions (the so-called "M3" monetary aggregate) to grow out of control. The bill did not make any mention whatsoever of mandating investigations of the regulatory agencies and personnel who had oversight responsibilities but were somehow unable to see, prevent, or even mitigate what came to be a "crisis" so severe that the President of the United States, in a historical and historic first, went before the American people to speak of looming economic disaster.
Despite overwhelming anger among constituents, the members of Congress capitulated to the threats from Wall Street, the Bush Administration, and the Federal Reserve. Despite an unprecedented influx of phone calls, e-mail messages, faxes, and other communications from average Americans, the members of Congress capitulated.
It is unlikely that even one elected representative saw my September 29 article, "To the Members of Congress Concerning the Bailout Proposal," in which I pointed out the stark similarities between the Bush Administration's manufactured hysteria about a collapse of the global financial system and its manufactured hysteria in 2002 about Iraq producing weapons of mass destruction that Congress needed to give President Bush the unfettered power to stop. Others who wrote articles condemning the bailout were similarly ignored.
The majorities in both houses of Congress did not listen to those who vote for them, nor did they listen to the writers, academics, and others who articulated in published works what was clearly and indisputably an overwhelming consensus of will against the bailout. Perhaps unique in modern American politics, last Friday, October 3, 2008, the United States Congress, together with the President of the United States, demonstrated in one act that the unquestionable, visible, evident, unarguable will of the citizenry is subordinate to the demands of something that is neither constitutionally recognized nor inhered of rights under any legitimate conceptual philosophy of natural law. In a battle of starkly defined opponents, Congress and the President chose the side of and made victorious that which is not even living, much less citizen.
Yet, despite that crushingly obvious reality, most of those who are reading this article will go to the polls on November 4 and vote for either Barack Obama or John McCain, both of whom voted for the bailout. Almost every last one of you, the readers of this article, will vote for one of these two men who have both indicated in no uncertain terms that your will means nothing to them other than that it will put them in a position of even greater power to ignore your will at their convenience and situational expedience; and you will cast your vote with no small degree of conviction that your chosen candidate will somehow bring changereform, evento a system that has ensured their rise to power within that very system. One calls himself a "maverick," the other lays claim to the banner of "hope and change"; yet these two men have already shown you which side they will choose when the veneer of democracy is denuded of its hiding places for raw power and greed.
Will there ever be a time when the politicians stop lying to us about their agenda? Not until we stop lying to ourselves about the wellspring of our powerlessness.
In the comment thread of my graphical post, "The People (Who Matter) Have Spoken," at Big Brass Blog, long-time friend Missouri Mule asked the salient question: "What should we do, sir, submit or fight?"
Given that she has known me for quite a while, she knows very well what my answer is. What she does not know is that I will not answer the question just yet.
There is no reason to expend great energy fomenting an angry mob to doomed rebellion when, not so long from now, that angry mob might very well become a desperate legion spontaneously exploding in all-consuming revolution.
Does that sound far-fetched? Indeed, it probably does, which means you really aren't ready for my answer to Missouri Mule's question. For your own sake, I genuinely hope you never will be. For our children's sake, I truly hope otherwise.
The Dark Wraith has spoken.
The 21st Century, Epilogue
In 1999, the PBS series NOVA presented a documentary on the manned space race to the moon. Visually fascinating and quite informativeeven to those who were thoroughly engrossed in all things NASA during the 1960sthe producers expended no small effort convincing viewers of the enormity of the technological, logistical, and theoretical challenges that faced the National Aeronautics and Space Administration as it prosecuted fulfillment of President Kennedy's 1961 vow that the United States would put a man on the moon by the end of that decade. So much had to be done to make this happen. Technological achievements were abundant, and no less so were large leaps in understanding of how everything from massive ships to human beings can move in space. Engines more powerful than anything ever before built by humankind had to be designed, constructed, and then used to heave thousands of tons up the sky, into orbit around the Earth, and then out of that gravity well into the black, barren ether from our planet to a child world we had seen since forever but had touched only in our dreams and literature.
What was donewhat they who accomplished this did, what we as a very species didwas genuinely epic. The science fiction writer Ray Bradbury summarized the 20th Century processual change in our thinking with the titles of his two books, R Is for Rocket and S Is for Space.
Of the U.S. space program of the 1960s, the narrator of that PBS television program said that it was as if a slice of the 21st Century had been carved out and placed right in the middle of the century before it.
"Disruptive technology" is the name sometimes given to a feat of engineering because it is so extraordinarily different: so much more efficient, so lacking in use of existing ways of doing things, so innovative. Frequently, however, the disruption is only apparent: the technology that seems so radical is built upon ideas, work, and understandings that have been in development or even use for quite some time, perhaps even decades or centuries. Yet, still, the disruptive aspect is there because almost no one knows about all the work that came to be embodied in the amazing technology that suddenly arrives, seemingly in the blink of a single generation's eye, into the world of the known.
As the great achievement of putting a person on the moon illustrated, however, sometimes a disruptive technology can seem to vanish as quickly as it had appeared. After a few years and a few more manned missions to the moon, we stopped going; and we never went back, not for the long remainder of the 20th Century, not even in this first decade of the following century. It is as if the manned moon missions were, indeed, an out-of-place, out-of-context slice of another century set into the middle of a far less technologically advanced, far less prepared world. And so, even as a living thing that could manage to be born and grow to stun the 20th Century peoples of the Earth, its maturation required far more nourishment than that time, place, and people could give it; and so it died, leaving its seed for a more inviting, better prepared world of some tomorrow in the century from which its slice of life had been carved.
Although the mission to put a person on the moon might seem unique when described as a 'slice of the 21st Century' placed in the century before, it certainly was not: the 20th Century was a veritable grafting tree for apparently disruptive technologies that would come into the world of perception only to go away. Nuclear weapons are a striking example: used twice in short succession, these bombs so phenomenally more powerful and destructive than any war weapon ever before built then simply vanished from use to their intended purpose. And just like how the technologies and work on space missions survived the end of the successful Apollo program, so too did the technologies and work on nuclear weapons continue apace after the successful attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Certainly, people talked endlessly about nuclear weapons after World War II, just as people went on, sometimes breathlessly, about missions to the moon and beyond after Apollo; but neither moon landings nor nuclear attacks ever again occurred. Historical records have the last say: both technologies vanished from operational use.
Yet another technology came and went in the middle part of the 20th Century; but to note this one, the term "technology" must first be elucidated in a way somewhat unusual to common understanding. In typical usage these days, "technology" carries a connotation of something improved, probably electronic or otherwise employing very modern devices, but this usage of the word is only exemplary of technology as a much broader thing. "Technology," in its general sense, is just the combination of the five production factorsland, labor (brute muscle), human capital (knowledge and learned skill), physical capital, and (in capitalist types of economic systems) entrepreneurial skillused to produce a good or service. To make or create something, various combinations of the input factors might be employed, each with some cost associated with it. Some combinations work better than others to make specific things and provide specific services, and as a general rule, the most efficient combination to a given purpose tends eventually to dominate, although efficiency might be measured in some societies by measures other than mere cost per unit of output.
In terms of what is produced, technologies are always, by definition, being deployed. Some goods and services do not exist because no combination of inputs has been found to render the needed result. Before any "thing" can be made, of course, the very idea of it must first come into existence, and this is where the essence of human imagination has its great strength; but the idea must be brought by some means from the mind to the world of reality, and this requires the imagination of a combination of the factors of production that might accomplish the realization of the idea. In capitalist societies, the factor of production called entrepreneurial skill takes on this task: some person or group bears risk in combining the other four factors to the conscious or unconscious purpose of garnering a reward at least as great as he, she, or they would earn from doing the next best thing with their time, minds, resources, and energy. In what are called "command economies," this task of bringing together those four factors of production is assumed by a central authority acting perhaps for the good of the society or for those in control of the machineries of state. But whether by the initiative of those pursuing free choice in trying to make money or by the authority of sovereign controllers pursuing large ambition, ideas are brought to reality by combining factors of production in such a way that output is created; and the number of ways of combining the production factors is so vast that it might be that there is simply no limit to what can be made once the idea of it comes to someone and then one or more ways of combining the factors can be worked out to get an actual product or service into the world.
Technology, then, is a possibly infinitely large set of variations on land, labor, human capital, physical capital, and the willingness and ability to combine those first four. For example, one technology for making fire might involve flint, stone, and some dry grass, along with a bit of brute muscle (labor) and a learned or developed understanding (human capital) of how to use the muscles and other stuff to get the fire going; yet, that same flint, stone, dry grass, labor, and human capital might be used to make something else, instead. Furthermore, other technologies exist for making fire, technologies that employ quite different levels of some factors and perhaps not a bit of others that are used to make fire the old-fashioned way. Even more astonishing upon careful thought is that some of the very same factors of production (labor and human capital, for instance), combined with other resources, can be used to make something completely and fundamentally different from fire, something like, say, an axle for a truck, a masterpiece of sculpture, relief from a hard day at work with a back massage, or the pleasurable sensation of good music.
Technology is capable of rendering anything, and all that separates the 'what might be' from the 'what really is' boils down, first, to what has been imagined as possible and, second, to what combination of productive factors can make it real.
In this light, "disruptive" technology is nothing other than a combination of productive factors far outside the typically marginal steps that are taken from one means of production to another. Flying to the moon and backcertainly imagined for agesrequired an extraordinary effort to develop the full gamut of inputs and combinations thereof that would be capable of turning the idea into reality. Annihilating cities with single bombs, once again, required extraordinary effort to develop a previously uncontemplated inventory of inputs and combinations thereof that could turn what was also an age-old dreamin this case, utterly staggering, city-wide, virtually instantaneous destruction of property and livesinto reality.
Briefly stepping back from the truly awesome aspects of lunar landings and nuclear annihilations, though, the disruptiveness of the end results of such technologies is only relative. Over and over again, across the world, adventurers had throughout history flung themselves on voyages of unimaginable duration and peril; and by the same token, so too had the belicose wrought upon others unimaginably horrific destruction in what to the times was the blink of an eye. The great "disruptive" technologies of our own ages are but the most recent in a continuing history of technologies disrupting the world and leaving its people in awe and wreckage.
Nevertheless, traveling to another celestial body and wiping out entire cities with single bombs were both extraordinarily impressive to the peoples of the mid-20th Century, and so each rightly stands as disruptive to its time: they were, indeed, slices of the 21st Century arriving, then departing, a world not braced for the impact of the profound novelty of the end results.
Taking "technology" in its broadest sense, the 20th Century holds in its fading inventory another disruption worthy of note. This other disruptive technology was one of governance, a means by which society could be organized to the desirednot necessarily achieved, but nevertheless desiredend of maintaining internal stability and external security. In the celerity of its rise from the ashes of a defeated state, the scope and scale of its outward, militaristic push, and the sheer phenomenality of its willingness and ability to kill people by the millions, European fascism rightly stands as a disruptive technology of the 20th Century. Other states in historical proximity might have carried one or more of its striking featurescertainly, Stalinist Russia and Maoist China qualify as superficially comparable experimentsbut fascism stands alone in the technology it employed to govern by means of power consolidation within the states it infected, the speed and power with which it projected outward from its ideological and political bases of birth, and its sweeping, rapid, systematic, conscious use of human slaughter to achieve its perception of what constituted both internal stability and external security. And just like the other disruptive technologies described above, fascism was disruptive only in a relative sense: history offers many examples of quickly rising, unbelievably violent, hegemonic states; yet, just like the lunar landing program and nuclear weapons program, fascism stood in its time as a technology that legitimately merits the term "disruptive."
And there it was, right smack in the 20th Century. It arrived, it shocked an unprepared world, and then it seemed to vanish. As if by the magic of the words "never again," fascism evaporated in the overweaning hubris of the Allied victors hanging the men who had served their purpose as the faces of something far more evil than human souls, even in their collective madness, could construct from mere ideas brought to the world of the real by some remarkable combination of productive factors.
Only those completely bereft of futuristic hopes would claim people will not return to the moon and, in fact, go far, far beyond that small staging ground to the planets and then, someday, to the stars. That slice of the 21st Century will find its way back to where it belonged in the first place, not because it will again be disruptive, but rather because the process never ended, even as the outward product of the process was no longer seen by the common people. By that same motive force defying the terms of a single age and the limits of imagination of the people who populate it, nuclear weapons will again be used, not as disruptions to the time of their reintroduction in 21st Century war theatres, but as the inevitable operational outcome of processes that never ended even though use of the final products stopped so abruptly in 1945.
So, too, will fascism return, motivated as it was in its first instance by forces featured in awful ideas and violently sweeping solutions never globally addressed when its European version was crushed and hauled away in body bags from the gallows at Nuremburg.
The slices taken from the 21st Century will find their own ways home to their own time, where they will no longer be disruptions, but instead, anticipated arrivals to the world that will surely believe it needs them.
Anticipate too soon the return of previously disruptive technologies and thereby find frustration; believe that the undesirable of those old technologies can be stopped and thereby find even greater frustration. We will return to the moon and then go on to the planets, finally settling some of our kind there, not because we want to do that, but because it is the way we will escape, as people always have, the pressures of states and their weapons of repression that always attend too many people and too many ways to deny them their mind to free will, mythical as that might or might not be.
We will use nuclear weapons on one another again, and all the angry demands to forestall that time will be for naught because sovereignties and peoples cannot be stopped in the long run from manifestly fullfilling their belief that what they will do, however horrific it is, simply must be done because beliefs must endure, even if millions must die for the immortality of the imagined.
We will return to repressive statesto fascist and quasi-fascist means of governanceand the frustrations now evident as those who apparently could stop it, like the Democratic majority in the United States Congress, simply cannot stop it. Despite their representations to the contrary, Senators and Representatives just keep allowing further and further inroads into what at one time were unassailable and precious liberties of the "We the People" of this nation.
The re-emergence of the fascist technology of goverance is the Hegelian "historical inevitability," only Georg Hegel perhaps did not appreciate the processual imperative driving what is easily mistakable for mere similarities of precedents leading to similarities of outcomes. The world is, in fact, far more consistent: rending the weed from the soil does nothing to its roots; tearing the roots from the ground does nothing about its seeds; burning the very ground on which the seeds have scattered does nothing to prevent nature from bringing back, in another time, the very same intruder which, when all have wearied of the fight against the menace, will finally be accepted as part of the landscape. Stories about the weed when it first arrived will become fables about the flowering vine that was always there, even when no one could see it.
The 21st Century will proceed through its course, no less and no more than that for which it was born. Its peoples might have been prepared for its grand and fearsome inevitabilities if not for the awe with which they were blinded to forethoughts of inevitable, unstoppable triumph and grief in the generations and times to come. Even then as it proceeds, the 21st Century thus stands in epilogue.
The Dark Wraith has spoken.