Posts Tagged ‘George Orwell’

We’ll Tell You What You Need To Know

April 4th, 2023 No comments

I’ve spilt plenty of virtual ink discussing the evolution of the accessibility of information to the masses over the course of history.

There have always been those in any given society who had preferential access to knowledge, or at least information, that they used to great advantage over those less in the know.  For the longest time and even up to present day, religious practitioners were the arbiters of information and truth.   Entire civilizations were founded and run by those with the power conferred upon them by a religious hierarchy and this continues to this day.  Thus, access to information and knowledge was the key to population control.

This model works pretty well since being the ultimate authority on information and truth means that it wasn’t necessary to actually prove anything.  To paraphrase the utterance of Al Gore, the truth is like gravity….it just is.  Of course we know what happened over time.  Some of the great thinkers of humanity decided to take more objective measures on truth and reality.  Men of great intelligence and bravery dared to challenge the established truths of their time and thus their revelations laid the foundation for modern education. Men such as Da Vinci, Copernicus and Galileo showed that knowledge can be empirically achieved and not just by taking someone’s word for it.

Most of everything which we consume and from which we benefit in our daily lives depends on empirical science.  Observations are made about our environment, they are measured, there are experiments and then there are conclusions which become universal truths.  Notwithstanding that in modern times, the notion that 2 plus 2 equals 4 is a racist construct to some, this does not change the fact that 4 is always the answer when 2 plus 2 is the question.

The entire point of education is to spread the ability to think and act rationally via legitimate processes of thought.  It is therefore of the greatest irony that despite mankind having the greatest access to information ever in human history, that populations are as clueless as those who used to depend on the town gossip for their truths.  The modern purveyors of ‘truth’ are often the most vapid.

Part of this paradox lies with what actually constitutes an education.  Whereas once rational processes were taught at schools, now we see more and more squishiness on topics of knowledge.  Relativism is as important in education as are the lenses through which education is transmitted.   At the end of the process, we get people who are pretty sure that 2 plus 2 equals 4, but we also have those who think that this result has an asterisk.  Both of these constituencies have the same nominal degree, but both operate under quite different realities.  Thus, entire populations emerge, notionally ‘educated’ populations, who can never agree on a plainly evident logical construct.   You cannot easily make good policy decisions if there are those who think 2 plus 2 contributes to Global warming.

Unfortunately, in a free society, such people can, and often do, rise to positions of political influence which detrimentally affects everyone.  Anyone who was perhaps a drama teacher or part time snowboard instructor, could impress their version of 2 plus 2 upon a population vastly more educated and qualified than them to make big picture decisions.

So it appears as if we’ve come full circle on the distribution of information and knowledge.  The only difference is that this time people actually know the truth and are able to verify thus for themselves….should they choose.  Oddly, large numbers don’t.  They instead rely on the utterances of those unable to give an answer to a simple 2 plus 2 question.  Entire societies have been run like this for the better part of two generations.  They have allowed the least qualified to make policy. Given the tack taken by governments of many nations on numerous favored woke issues,  we can easily see the day when we don’t even need schools, the government will just tell you all you need to know in official pamphlets….or they could employ a national broadcasting corporation.  As is already true in nations such as China, we can see the circumstance when disagreeing with the official narrative is made illegal; but at least they help to ‘re-educate’ you if you so stray.  Or Canada, where they close your bank accounts down if you don’t agree with their positions.

I mentioned some of the great thinkers of history above as being foundational for rational thinking and education which led to the creation of great civilizations.  But it’s also thanks to authors such as George Orwell and Ayn Rand to remind us that the natural inclination of man to control others by information or misinformation is always at work.  Julian Assange has proved this. There may be the equivalents of Da Vinci and Galileo somewhere today, great thinkers who may yet lead civilization again, but in the meantime, the mental midgets…er, little people,  are running the show.

Use Cash

July 2nd, 2019 No comments

Source: Meet Facebooks Libra, a digital currency for the social network – CBS News

Hopefully this ‘invention’ will be like New Coke; a product in search of an audience.  As the pervasive creep of the big social media networks is allowed to reach further into our lives, digital currency is apparently the next frontier for them.  It’s all about convenience for the customers they’ll say…what can go wrong?

This is backwards evolution of the financial system.  Over a century ago, many different banks would issue notes that were only fungible at their outlets; others were not accepted. With the passage of time, the nation evolved to create a common coin of the realm so that the currency could be used anywhere in the country.  This was the ultimate form of freedom and democracy since your money was as good as the next guy’s.  Someone could refuse your business but they certainly would not refuse your money.

This concept extrapolated to the credit system as credit cards were able to extend the reach of a consumer society by eliminating the hassle of carrying around bundles of cash.  Cash and its related credit card transactions were agnostic to consumers and vendors.  The rise of the influence of large social media companies introduces a new dynamic to this agnostic system.

As we are aware, corporations now wade boldly into the social justice business, ‘encouraging’ but actually pushing social ‘values’ which they deem to be acceptable.  You practically need a portable spreadsheet to determine which company is pro or against some issue.  Issues such as animal rights, fair trade practices, LGBT issues, environmental concerns, civil rights and of course political leanings now enter into the routine of making a simple  purchase.  It’s now difficult to buy something and not be given a side serving of sanctimony. Hey man, I just want to buy a coffee, I don’t need a lecture on global warming.

Thus far, this PC landscape has been only a minor annoyance as you are still free to do your business while controlling your eye rolls.  The issuance of online currency will move the control of the very many to the hands of a very small few to a whole new level.  Think about it.  If your online presence offends the sensibilities of those that monitor these kinds of things (and they do monitor this stuff), then they could conceivably deny your access to your digital money.  If you’ve said something online which offended  the accepted zeitgeist of the ‘community’, you can be blackballed.

This is not some unwarranted paranoia.  In fact, large banks have already decided to ban businesses that are active in the firearms industry.  If banks, which are quasi utilities can do that, why wouldn’t actual utility companies be able to deny you service because you wanted to buy rib eye steaks and they happened to be PETA supporters?  Why couldn’t they deny you service because you didn’t recycle?  We can easily see the logical extension of big brother monitoring your spending habits based on your on line persona.  Anyone remember the ‘big brother” apple advertisements from the ’80’s?  George Orwell wrote prescient dystopian warning satire during the 1930’s and eerily, the social network behemoths have taken his writings to be operations manuals.

We can never completely stop the emergence of Dr. Evils; unfortunately, it’s a part of human nature.  What people can do however is not willingly submit to the dystopian world they plan for us.  They can reject the social pressure to be a cog in someone’s digital empires.  They can reject the pressure to conform by their unthinking peers.  As in The Matrix films, be Neo, reject the agent Smiths.  Use cash.