We got some rain showers yesterday and then a good soaking rain last night after sundown, a total of 0.15". That provided for a lot of ground fog this morning as I was leaving and I could also see a lot of fog along the Rio Grand after I got up on the Taos Plateau heading north. It was 73° when I arrived in Gunnison but closer to 80 by the time I was in my space. Lots of shade and with a little breeze it is going to be very nice here.
Tall Texan RV Park
A couple of passes on my route today. First was Palo Flechado Pass at 9,101' that I came over from Taos on US64 and went over again this morning. The second one was North Cochetopa Pass at 10,149' between Saguache and Gunnison,CO on CO114. I had no problem with the first one but got a mild headache from going above 10,000' which has happened before, that seems to be my magic number for altitude.
The route today: NM434, US64, NM585, NM68, US64, US285, US160/US285, US285, CO114, US50, CO135 & County Rd 11.
Total distance was a relatively easy 237 miles but CO114 is low speed because of the climb and very twisty on the west side of the pass.
In stopped in Taos at El Taoseno Restaurant for breakfast because I had found their site online and they claimed to be open at 6:00. The Huevos con Chorizo that I had was fine just not much of it, the home fries were also good but they could have added some beans since there were not many fries. The price was right and they were open at 6:10 when I got there so it wasn't an all bad experience.
I also stopped at Smith's and filled up with gas. Then one more stop at Safeway in Gunnison to stock the shelves and refrigerator for this coming week. The place was packed with people and the parking lot was full of RVs. The July 4th vacationers are on the road for sure, I hope they have thinned out by the time I go back.
The space that I was assigned here at the Park was very, very tight with the good chance that I would hit a tree unless I had a spotter every time I left and came back. When I told the fellow that was helping me get into the spot that I never keep my sewer or water hooked up he suggested I move over one space where there is no sewer hookup. This space is much easier to get in and out of and I can use the dump site on my way in or out when I go shopping.
"Industrial Society and its Future" Continued.
HOW SOME PEOPLE ADJUST
77. Not everyone in industrial-technological society suffers from psychological problems. Some people even profess to be quite satisfied with society as it is. We now discuss some of the reasons why people differ so greatly in their response to modern society.
78. First, there doubtless are differences in the strength of the drive for power. Individuals with a weak drive for power may have relatively little need to go through the power process, or at least relatively little need for autonomy in the power process. These are docile types who would have been happy as plantation darkies in the Old South. (We don't mean to sneer at "plantation darkies" of the Old South. To their credit, most of the slaves were NOT content with their servitude. We do sneer at people who ARE content with servitude.)
79. Some people may have some exceptional drive, in pursuing which they satisfy their need for the power process. For example, those who have an unusually strong drive for social status may spend their whole lives climbing the status ladder without ever getting bored with that game.
80. People vary in their susceptibility to advertising and marketing techniques. Some people are so susceptible that, even if they make a great deal of money, they cannot satisfy their constant craving for the shiny new toys that the marketing industry dangles before their eyes. So they always feel hard-pressed financially even if their income is large, and their cravings are frustrated.
81. Some people have low susceptibility to advertising and marketing techniques. These are the people who aren't interested in money. Material acquisition does not serve their need for the power process.
82. People who have medium susceptibility to advertising and marketing techniques are able to earn enough money to satisfy their craving for goods and services, but only at the cost of serious effort (putting in overtime, taking a second job, earning promotions, etc.) Thus material acquisition serves their need for the power process. But it does not necessarily follow that their need is fully satisfied. They may have insufficient autonomy in the power process (their work may consist of following orders) and some of their drives may be frustrated (e.g., security, aggression). (We are guilty of oversimplification in paragraphs 80-82 because we have assumed that the desire for material acquisition is entirely a creation of the advertising and marketing industry. Of course it's not that simple.
83. Some people partly satisfy their need for power by identifying themselves with a powerful organization or mass movement. An individual lacking goals or power joins a movement or an organization, adopts its goals as his own, then works toward these goals. When some of the goals are attained, the individual, even though his personal efforts have played only an insignificant part in the attainment of the goals, feels (through his identification with the movement or organization) as if he had gone through the power process. This phenomenon was exploited by the fascists, nazis and communists. Our society uses it, too, though less crudely. Example: Manuel Noriega was an irritant to the U.S. (goal: punish Noriega). The U.S. invaded Panama (effort) and punished Noriega (attainment of goal). The U.S. went through the power process and many Americans, because of their identification with the U.S., experienced the power process vicariously. Hence the widespread public approval of the Panama invasion; it gave people a sense of power.15 We see the same phenomenon in armies, corporations, political parties, humanitarian organizations, religious or ideological movements. In particular, leftist movements tend to attract people who are seeking to satisfy their need for power. But for most people identification with a large organization or a mass movement does not fully satisfy the need for power.
15 We are not expressing approval or disapproval of the Panama invasion. We only use it to illustrate a point.
84. Another way in which people satisfy their need for the power process is through surrogate activities. As we explained in paragraphs 38-40, a surrogate activity that is directed toward an artificial goal that the individual pursues for the sake of the "fulfillment" that he gets from pursuing the goal, not because he needs to attain the goal itself. For instance, there is no practical motive for building enormous muscles, hitting a little ball into a hole or acquiring a complete series of postage stamps. Yet many people in our society devote themselves with passion to bodybuilding, golf or stamp collecting. Some people are more "other-directed" than others, and therefore will more readily attach importance to a surrogate activity simply because the people around them treat it as important or because society tells them it is important. That is why some people get very serious about essentially trivial activities such as sports, or bridge, or chess, or arcane scholarly pursuits, whereas others who are more clear-sighted never see these things as anything but the surrogate activities that they are, and consequently never attach enough importance to them to satisfy their need for the power process in that way. It only remains to point out that in many cases a person's way of earning a living is also a surrogate activity. Not a PURE surrogate activity, since part of the motive for the activity is to gain the physical necessities and (for some people) social status and the luxuries that advertising makes them want. But many people put into their work far more effort than is necessary to earn whatever money and status they require, and this extra effort constitutes a surrogate activity. This extra effort, together with the emotional investment that accompanies it, is one of the most potent forces acting toward the continual development and perfecting of the system, with negative consequences for individual freedom (see paragraph 131). Especially, for the most creative scientists and engineers, work tends to be largely a surrogate activity. This point is so important that is deserves a separate discussion, which we shall give in a moment (paragraphs 87-92).
85. In this section we have explained how many people in modern society do satisfy their need for the power process to a greater or lesser extent. But we think that for the majority of people the need for the power process is not fully satisfied. In the first place, those who have an insatiable drive for status, or who get firmly "hooked" or a surrogate activity, or who identify strongly enough with a movement or organization to satisfy their need for power in that way, are exceptional personalities. Others are not fully satisfied with surrogate activities or by identification with an organization (see paragraphs 41, 64). In the second place, too much control is imposed by the system through explicit regulation or through socialization, which results in a deficiency of autonomy, and in frustration due to the impossibility of attaining certain goals and the necessity of restraining too many impulses.
86. But even if most people in industrial-technological society were well satisfied, we (FC) would still be opposed to that form of society, because (among other reasons) we consider it demeaning to fulfill one's need for the power process through surrogate activities or through identification with an organization, rather then through pursuit of real goals.
We started to check out the walking opportunities yesterday afternoon. It was not too hot but we were in full sun for the 2 mile round trip south on CO135. There is a good bike walking path that keeps us out of traffic but it is an out and back route which is not my favorite. Where we are camped and the walk we did yesterday and this morning reminded me of my time in Hamilton, MT last year.
Tall Texan RV Park
This morning we did another 2+ miles on the west side of CO135 almost directly across from County Rd 11. This was done in the Riverside Estates subdivision that is in development with a couple of homes and one under construction. A free ranging, barking dog caused us some concern and I'll probably not go that way again. There is a southern portion of the Estate that I'll check out however.
We both then had breakfast when we got home. Read all my Daily blogs until it was time to take advantage of some coffee at the Park office. It isn't ready until 8:00 and there is not a Koffee Klatch but at least there is coffee.
I then got busy in the kitchen putting some of my purchases of yesterday to good use. Made up another pot of Southwest Pork Tenderloin that is now cooking in the Thermal Cooker. It will cook all day and night and then tomorrow morning I'll bring it to a boil again and let it cook until 'linner' time.
I was getting tired of the same o same o salad everyday, put together something new and different this morning. Not sure what to call it but includes whole wheat rotini pasta, kale (wilted in hot olive oil), sliced black olives and feta cheese. I made enough for 3-4 days and will add a dressing when served of pesto, added olive oil and lemon juice.
I'll be having some of that today to accompany a crab cake. I wanted to pick up some frozen wild salmon but Safeway did not have any and had a very poor selection of any kind of fish. The crab cakes were expensive but appealed to me. I'll be trying another market in town next week when I go for groceries and see if they offer a better selection.
"Industrial Society and its Future" Continued.
THE MOTIVES OF SCIENTISTS
87. Science and technology provide the most important examples of surrogate activities. Some scientists claim that they are motivated by "curiosity," that notion is simply absurd. Most scientists work on highly specialized problem that are not the object of any normal curiosity. For example, is an astronomer, a mathematician or an entomologist curious about the properties of isopropyltrimethylmethane? Of course not. Only a chemist is curious about such a thing, and he is curious about it only because chemistry is his surrogate activity. Is the chemist curious about the appropriate classification of a new species of beetle? No. That question is of interest only to the entomologist, and he is interested in it only because entomology is his surrogate activity. If the chemist and the entomologist had to exert themselves seriously to obtain the physical necessities, and if that effort exercised their abilities in an interesting way but in some nonscientific pursuit, then they couldn't giver a damn about isopropyltrimethylmethane or the classification of beetles. Suppose that lack of funds for postgraduate education had led the chemist to become an insurance broker instead of a chemist. In that case he would have been very interested in insurance matters but would have cared nothing about isopropyltrimethylmethane. In any case it is not normal to put into the satisfaction of mere curiosity the amount of time and effort that scientists put into their work. The "curiosity" explanation for the scientists' motive just doesn't stand up.
88. The "benefit of humanity" explanation doesn't work any better. Some scientific work has no conceivable relation to the welfare of the human race - most of archaeology or comparative linguistics for example. Some other areas of science present obviously dangerous possibilities. Yet scientists in these areas are just as enthusiastic about their work as those who develop vaccines or study air pollution. Consider the case of Dr. Edward Teller, who had an obvious emotional involvement in promoting nuclear power plants. Did this involvement stem from a desire to benefit humanity? If so, then why didn't Dr. Teller get emotional about other "humanitarian" causes? If he was such a humanitarian then why did he help to develop the H-bomb? As with many other scientific achievements, it is very much open to question whether nuclear power plants actually do benefit humanity. Does the cheap electricity outweigh the accumulating waste and risk of accidents? Dr. Teller saw only one side of the question. Clearly his emotional involvement with nuclear power arose not from a desire to "benefit humanity" but from a personal fulfillment he got from his work and from seeing it put to practical use.
89. The same is true of scientists generally. With possible rare exceptions, their motive is neither curiosity nor a desire to benefit humanity but the need to go through the power process: to have a goal (a scientific problem to solve), to make an effort (research) and to attain the goal (solution of the problem.) Science is a surrogate activity because scientists work mainly for the fulfillment they get out of the work itself.
90. Of course, it's not that simple. Other motives do play a role for many scientists. Money and status for example. Some scientists may be persons of the type who have an insatiable drive for status (see paragraph 79) and this may provide much of the motivation for their work. No doubt the majority of scientists, like the majority of the general population, are more or less susceptible to advertising and marketing techniques and need money to satisfy their craving for goods and services. Thus science is not a PURE surrogate activity. But it is in large part a surrogate activity.
91. Also, science and technology constitute a mass power movement, and many scientists gratify their need for power through identification with this mass movement (see paragraph 83).
92. Thus science marches on blindly, without regard to the real welfare of the human race or to any other standard, obedient only to the psychological needs of the scientists and of the government officials and corporation executives who provide the funds for research.
THE NATURE OF FREEDOM
93. We are going to argue that industrial-technological society cannot be reformed in such a way as to prevent it from progressively narrowing the sphere of human freedom. But because "freedom" is a word that can be interpreted in many ways, we must first make clear what kind of freedom we are concerned with.
94. By "freedom" we mean the opportunity to go through the power process, with real goals not the artificial goals of surrogate activities, and without interference, manipulation or supervision from anyone, especially from any large organization. Freedom means being in control (either as an individual or as a member of a SMALL group) of the life-and-death issues of one's existence; food, clothing, shelter and defense against whatever threats there may be in one's environment. Freedom means having power; not the power to control other people but the power to control the circumstances of one's own life. One does not have freedom if anyone else (especially a large organization) has power over one, no matter how benevolently, tolerantly and permissively that power may be exercised. It is important not to confuse freedom with mere permissiveness (see paragraph 72).
95. It is said that we live in a free society because we have a certain number of constitutionally guaranteed rights. But these are not as important as they seem. The degree of personal freedom that exists in a society is determined more by the economic and technological structure of the society than by its laws or its form of government.16 Most of the Indian nations of New England were monarchies, and many of the cities of the Italian Renaissance were controlled by dictators. But in reading about these societies one gets the impression that they allowed far more personal freedom than our society does. In part this was because they lacked efficient mechanisms for enforcing the ruler's will: There were no modern, well-organized police forces, no rapid long-distance communications, no surveillance cameras, no dossiers of information about the lives of average citizens. Hence it was relatively easy to evade control.
16When the American colonies were under British rule there were fewer and less effective legal guarantees of freedom than there were after the American Constitution went into effect, yet there was more personal freedom in pre-industrial America, both before and after the War of Independence, than there was after the Industrial Revolution took hold in this country. We quote from "Violence in America: Historical and Comparative perspectives," edited by Hugh Davis Graham and Ted Robert Gurr, Chapter 12 by Roger Lane, pages 476-478: "The progressive heightening of standards of property, and with it the increasing reliance on official law enforcement (in 19th century America). . .were common to the whole society. . .[T]he change in social behavior is so long term and so widespread as to suggest a connection with the most fundamental of contemporary social processes; that of industrial urbanization itself. . ."Massachusetts in 1835 had a population of some 660,940, 81 percent rural, overwhelmingly preindustrial and native born. It's citizens were used to considerable personal freedom. Whether teamsters, farmers or artisans, they were all accustomed to setting their own schedules, and the nature of their work made them physically dependent on each other. . .Individual problems, sins or even crimes, were not generally cause for wider social concern. . ."But the impact of the twin movements to the city and to the factory, both just gathering force in 1835, had a progressive effect on personal behavior throughout the 19th century and into the 20th. The factory demanded regularity of behavior, a life governed by obedience to the rhythms of clock and calendar, the demands of foreman and supervisor. In the city or town, the needs of living in closely packed neighborhoods inhibited many actions previously unobjectionable.
Both blue- and white-collar employees in larger establishments were mutually dependent on their fellows. as one man's work fit into another's, so one man's business was no longer his own. "The results of the new organization of life and work were apparent by 1900, when some 76 percent of the 2,805,346 inhabitants of Massachusetts were classified as urbanites. Much violent or irregular behavior which had been tolerable in a casual, independent society was no longer acceptable in the more formalized, cooperative atmosphere of the later period. . .The move to the cities had, in short, produced a more tractable, more socialized, more 'civilized' generation than its predecessors."
96. As for our constitutional rights, consider for example that of freedom of the press. We certainly don't mean to knock that right: it is very important tool for limiting concentration of political power and for keeping those who do have political power in line by publicly exposing any misbehavior on their part. But freedom of the press is of very little use to the average citizen as an individual. The mass media are mostly under the control of large organizations that are integrated into the system. Anyone who has a little money can have something printed, or can distribute it on the Internet or in some such way, but what he has to say will be swamped by the vast volume of material put out by the media, hence it will have no practical effect.To make an impression on society with words is therefore almost impossible for most individuals and small groups. Take us (FC) for example. If we had never done anything violent and had submitted the present writings to a publisher, they probably would not have been accepted. If they had been accepted and published, they probably would not have attracted many readers, because it's more fun to watch the entertainment put out by the media than to read a sober essay. Even if these writings had had many readers, most of these readers would soon have forgotten what they had read as their minds were flooded by the mass of material to which the media expose them. In order to get our message before the public with some chance of making a lasting impression, we've had to kill people.
97. Constitutional rights are useful up to a point, but they do not serve to guarantee much more than what could be called the bourgeois conception of freedom. According to the bourgeois conception, a "free" man is essentially an element of a social machine and has only a certain set of prescribed and delimited freedoms; freedoms that are designed to serve the needs of the social machine more than those of the individual. Thus the bourgeois's "free" man has economic freedom because that promotes growth and progress; he has freedom of the press because public criticism restrains misbehavior by political leaders; he has a rights to a fair trial because imprisonment at the whim of the powerful would be bad for the system. This was clearly the attitude of Simon Bolivar. To him, people deserved liberty only if they used it to promote progress (progress as conceived by the bourgeois). Other bourgeois thinkers have taken a similar view of freedom as a mere means to collective ends. Chester C. Tan, "Chinese Political Thought in the Twentieth Century," page 202, explains the philosophy of the Kuomintang leader Hu Han-min: "An individual is granted rights because he is a member of society and his community life requires such rights. By community Hu meant the whole society of the nation." And on page 259 Tan states that according to Carsum Chang (Chang Chun-mai, head of the State Socialist Party in China) freedom had to be used in the interest of the state and of the people as a whole. But what kind of freedom does one have if one can use it only as someone else prescribes? FC's conception of freedom is not that of Bolivar, Hu, Chang or other bourgeois theorists. The trouble with such theorists is that they have made the development and application of social theories their surrogate activity. Consequently the theories are designed to serve the needs of the theorists more than the needs of any people who may be unlucky enough to live in a society on which the theories are imposed.
98. One more point to be made in this section: It should not be assumed that a person has enough freedom just because he SAYS he has enough. Freedom is restricted in part by psychological control of which people are unconscious, and moreover many people's ideas of what constitutes freedom are governed more by social convention than by their real needs. For example, it's likely that many leftists of the oversocialized type would say that most people, including themselves are socialized too little rather than too much, yet the oversocialized leftist pays a heavy psychological price for his high level of socialization.
The day time high for the first two days that I have been here has been 82° with the low at 48 yesterday morning and 44 this morning. I have needed to run the A/C for an hour or two in the late afternoon because it has remained calm and I'm in a grove of trees which also breaks the breeze.
Tall Texan RV Park
Patches has her tongue hanging out to almost drag the ground in the afternoon when we walk so I'm trying to keep it shorter. This morning she did the 4.5 mile round trip to Mochas Drive Thru Coffeehouse with no problem. I took her collapsible water dish with me and offered her some water before we started the return and she only took a sip so she will do well in the mornings.
I think I'll do the Coffeehouse walk every other day and try to find another morning walk of about 3 miles in the Riverside Estates. Then I can limit our afternoon walks to about a mile and both Patches and I should get our exercise.
This is a picture of my home for the month of July. The space that I am in looks rather tight between the trees but the space on the left was where they first put me. The two trees at the rear of that space are so close together that Desperado could not pass between them and when backed in the tree at the left rear was less than a foot away. Where I am now it is possible to use it as a pull thru although a lot of care needs to be taken.
The Park had a steady stream of RVs pulling in yesterday. There were times when there were 3 rigs lined up and waiting for registration. There have been more coming in today but not quite as many as yesterday. So far the space that I first tried to get into is open so I'm not crowded but I have a lot of traffic through it and in front of Desperado which is causing Patches problems. At the same time it is good training for her and she has done quite well.
"Industrial Society and its Future" Continued.
RESTRICTION OF FREEDOM IS UNAVOIDABLE IN INDUSTRIAL SOCIETY
114. As explained in paragraph 65-67, 70-73, modern man is strapped down by a network of rules and regulations, and his fate depends on the actions of persons remote from him whose decisions he cannot influence. This is not accidental or a result of the arbitrariness of arrogant bureaucrats. It is necessary and inevitable in any technologically advanced society. The system HAS TO regulate human behavior closely in order to function. At work, people have to do what they are told to do, otherwise production would be thrown into chaos. Bureaucracies HAVE TO be run according to rigid rules. To allow any substantial personal discretion to lower-level bureaucrats would disrupt the system and lead to charges of unfairness due to differences in the way individual bureaucrats exercised their discretion. It is true that some restrictions on our freedom could be eliminated, but GENERALLY SPEAKING the regulation of our lives by large organizations is necessary for the functioning of industrial-technological society. The result is a sense of powerlessness on the part of the average person. It may be, however, that formal regulations will tend increasingly to be replaced by psychological tools that make us want to do what the system requires of us. (Propaganda, educational techniques, "mental health" programs, etc.)
115. The system HAS TO force people to behave in ways that are increasingly remote from the natural pattern of human behavior. For example, the system needs scientists, mathematicians and engineers. It can't function without them. So heavy pressure is put on children to excel in these fields. It isn't natural for an adolescent human being to spend the bulk of his time sitting at a desk absorbed in study. A normal adolescent wants to spend his time in active contact with the real world. Among primitive peoples the things that children are trained to do are in natural harmony with natural human impulses. Among the American Indians, for example, boys were trained in active outdoor pursuits -- just the sort of things that boys like. But in our society children are pushed into studying technical subjects, which most do grudgingly.
116. Because of the constant pressure that the system exerts to modify human behavior, there is a gradual increase in the number of people who cannot or will not adjust to society's requirements: welfare leeches, youth-gang members, cultists, anti-government rebels, radical environmentalist saboteurs, dropouts and resisters of various kinds.
117. In any technologically advanced society the individual's fate MUST depend on decisions that he personally cannot influence to any great extent. A technological society cannot be broken down into small, autonomous communities, because production depends on the cooperation of very large numbers of people and machines. Such a society MUST be highly organized and decisions HAVE TO be made that affect very large numbers of people. When a decision affects, say, a million people, then each of the affected individuals has, on the average, only a one-millionth share in making the decision. What usually happens in practice is that decisions are made by public officials or corporation executives, or by technical specialists, but even when the public votes on a decision the number of voters ordinarily is too large for the vote of any one individual to be significant.17 Thus most individuals are unable to influence measurably the major decisions that affect their lives. Their is no conceivable way to remedy this in a technologically advanced society.
The system tries to "solve" this problem by using propaganda to make people WANT the decisions that have been made for them, but even if this "solution" were completely successful in making people feel better, it would be demeaning.
17 Apologists for the system are fond of citing cases in which elections have been decided by one or two votes, but such cases are rare.
118 Conservatives and some others advocate more "local autonomy." Local communities once did have autonomy, but such autonomy becomes less and less possible as local communities become more enmeshed with and dependent on large-scale systems like public utilities, computer networks, highway systems, the mass communications media, the modern health care system. Also operating against autonomy is the fact that technology applied in one location often affects people at other locations far away. Thus pesticide or chemical use near a creek may contaminate the water supply hundreds of miles downstream, and the greenhouse effect affects the whole world.
119. The system does not and cannot exist to satisfy human needs. Instead, it is human behavior that has to be modified to fit the needs of the system. This has nothing to do with the political or social ideology that may pretend to guide the technological system. It is the fault of technology, because the system is guided not by ideology but by technical necessity.18 Of course the system does satisfy many human needs, but generally speaking it does this only to the extent that it is to the advantage of the system to do it. It is the needs of the system that are paramount, not those of the human being. For example, the system provides people with food because the system couldn't function if everyone starved; it attends to people's psychological needs whenever it can CONVENIENTLY do so, because it couldn't function if too many people became depressed or rebellious.
But the system, for good, solid, practical reasons, must exert constant pressure on people to mold their behavior to the needs of the system. Too much waste accumulating? The government, the media, the educational system, environmentalists, everyone inundates us with a mass of propaganda about recycling. Need more technical personnel? A chorus of voices exhorts kids to study science. No one stops to ask whether it is inhumane to force adolescents to spend the bulk of their time studying subjects most of them hate. When skilled workers are put out of a job by technical advances and have to undergo "retraining," no one asks whether it is humiliating for them to be pushed around in this way. It is simply taken for granted that everyone must bow to technical necessity and for good reason: If human needs were put before technical necessity there would be economic problems, unemployment, shortages or worse. The concept of "mental health" in our society is defined largely by the extent to which an individual behaves in accord with the needs of the system and does so without showing signs of stress.
18"Today, in technologically advanced lands, men live very similar lives in spite of geographical, religious and political differences. The daily lives of a Christian bank clerk in Chicago, a Buddhist bank clerk in Tokyo, a Communist bank clerk in Moscow are far more alike than the life any one of them is like that of any single man who lived a thousand years ago. These similarities are the result of a common technology. . ." L. Sprague de Camp, "The Ancient Engineers," Ballentine edition, page 17.
The lives of the three bank clerks are not IDENTICAL. Ideology does have SOME effect. But all technological societies, in order to survive, must evolve along APPROXIMATELY the same trajectory.
120. Efforts to make room for a sense of purpose and for autonomy within the system are no better than a joke. For example, one company, instead of having each of its employees assemble only one section of a catalogue, had each assemble a whole catalogue, and this was supposed to give them a sense of purpose and achievement. Some companies have tried to give their employees more autonomy in their work, but for practical reasons this usually can be done only to a very limited extent, and in any case employees are never given autonomy as to ultimate goals -- their "autonomous" efforts can never be directed toward goals that they select personally, but only toward their employer's goals, such as the survival and growth of the company. Any company would soon go out of business if it permitted its employees to act otherwise. Similarly, in any enterprise within a socialist system, workers must direct their efforts toward the goals of the enterprise, otherwise the enterprise will not serve its purpose as part of the system. Once again, for purely technical reasons it is not possible for most individuals or small groups to have much autonomy in industrial society. Even the small-business owner commonly has only limited autonomy. Apart from the necessity of government regulation, he is restricted by the fact that he must fit into the economic system and conform to its requirements. For instance, when someone develops a new technology, the small-business person often has to use that technology whether he wants to or not, in order to remain competitive.
THE 'BAD' PARTS OF TECHNOLOGY CANNOT BE SEPARATED FROM THE 'GOOD' PARTS
121. A further reason why industrial society cannot be reformed in favor of freedom is that modern technology is a unified system in which all parts are dependent on one another. You can't get rid of the "bad" parts of technology and retain only the "good" parts. Take modern medicine, for example. Progress in medical science depends on progress in chemistry, physics, biology, computer science and other fields. Advanced medical treatments require expensive, high-tech equipment that can be made available only by a technologically progressive, economically rich society. Clearly you can't have much progress in medicine without the whole technological system and everything that goes with it.
122. Even if medical progress could be maintained without the rest of the technological system, it would by itself bring certain evils. Suppose for example that a cure for diabetes is discovered. People with a genetic tendency to diabetes will then be able to survive and reproduce as well as anyone else. Natural selection against genes for diabetes will cease and such genes will spread throughout the population. (This may be occurring to some extent already, since diabetes, while not curable, can be controlled through the use of insulin.) The same thing will happen with many other diseases susceptibility to which is affected by genetic degradation of the population. The only solution will be some sort of eugenics program or extensive genetic engineering of human beings, so that man in the future will no longer be a creation of nature, or of chance, or of God (depending on your religious or philosophical opinions), but a manufactured product.
123. If you think that big government interferes in your life too much NOW, just wait till the government starts regulating the genetic constitution of your children. Such regulation will inevitably follow the introduction of genetic engineering of human beings, because the consequences of unregulated genetic engineering would be disastrous.19
19Just think an irresponsible genetic engineer might create a lot of terrorists.
124. The usual response to such concerns is to talk about "medical ethics." But a code of ethics would not serve to protect freedom in the face of medical progress; it would only make matters worse. A code of ethics applicable to genetic engineering would be in effect a means of regulating the genetic constitution of human beings. Somebody (probably the upper-middle class, mostly) would decide that such and such applications of genetic engineering were "ethical" and others were not, so that in effect they would be imposing their own values on the genetic constitution of the population at large. Even if a code of ethics were chosen on a completely democratic basis, the majority would be imposing their own values on any minorities who might have a different idea of what constituted an "ethical" use of genetic engineering. The only code of ethics that would truly protect freedom would be one that prohibited ANY genetic engineering of human beings, and you can be sure that no such code will ever be applied in a technological society. No code that reduced genetic engineering to a minor role could stand up for long, because the temptation presented by the immense power of biotechnology would be irresistible, especially since to the majority of people many of its applications will seem obviously and unequivocally good (eliminating physical and mental diseases, giving people the abilities they need to get along in today's world). Inevitably, genetic engineering will be used extensively, but only in ways consistent with the needs of the industrial-technological system.20
20For a further example of undesirable consequences of medical progress, suppose a reliable cure for cancer is discovered. Even if the treatment is too expensive to be available to any but the elite, it will greatly reduce their incentive to stop the escape of carcinogens into the environment.
Since we are camped under all these trees it remains dark longer in the morning than the slight shorting of daylight hours would bring. That has not changed Patches in any way however, she continues to want to be up and out at 5:00. I can usually convince her that it is too early and she will leave me alone until 5:30 but not much after that.
Tall Texan RV Park
Therefore, we started our walk at about 5:45 as usual. A great time of the day here in the high cool country. We went over into the Riverwalk (erroneously described as Riverside before) Estate again but this time took the south road. When it ended there was a crushed rock path that continued on in a loop that brought us back to the road about 1/4 mile from where it ended.
If we just did this as an out and back walk it be 2 miles. This morning I added another mile by walking along CO135 south and back. The next time we go this way I think I'll go out and back along the crushed rock path which will be close to 3 miles - maybe.
The Park has been very quiet all morning. Rather surprising considering that it is July 4th. Maybe everyone has gone off someplace to celebrate - this is GOOD. There is a Pot Luck here at the Park later today that I will not be attending. There is also a celebration at the Gunnison City Park with live music and fireworks later tonight that I'm also going to miss.
My accomplishment for the day was to get current once again with my Monthly blog reading. I have 4-5 on that list that didn't post anything this past month. I'll give them more time but it looks like I'll be dropping some more off the List before the end of the year.
"Industrial Society and its Future" Continued.
TECHNOLOGY IS A MORE POWERFUL SOCIAL FORCE THAN THE ASPIRATION FOR FREEDOM
125. It is not possible to make a LASTING compromise between technology and freedom, because technology is by far the more powerful social force and continually encroaches on freedom through REPEATED compromises. Imagine the case of two neighbors, each of whom at the outset owns the same amount of land, but one of whom is more powerful than the other. The powerful one demands a piece of the other's land. The weak one refuses. The powerful one says, "OK, let's compromise. Give me half of what I asked." The weak one has little choice but to give in. Some time later the powerful neighbor demands another piece of land, again there is a compromise, and so forth. By forcing a long series of compromises on the weaker man, the powerful one eventually gets all of his land. So it goes in the conflict between technology and freedom.
126. Let us explain why technology is a more powerful social force than the aspiration for freedom.
127. A technological advance that appears not to threaten freedom often turns out to threaten it very seriously later on. For example, consider motorized transport. A walking man formerly could go where he pleased, go at his own pace without observing any traffic regulations, and was independent of technological support-systems. When motor vehicles were introduced they appeared to increase man's freedom. They took no freedom away from the walking man, no one had to have an automobile if he didn't want one, and anyone who did choose to buy an automobile could travel much faster than the walking man. But the introduction of motorized transport soon changed society in such a way as to restrict greatly man's freedom of locomotion. When automobiles became numerous, it became necessary to regulate their use extensively. In a car, especially in densely populated areas, one cannot just go where one likes at one's own pace one's movement is governed by the flow of traffic and by various traffic laws. One is tied down by various obligations: license requirements, driver test, renewing registration, insurance, maintenance required for safety, monthly payments on purchase price. Moreover, the use of motorized transport is no longer optional. Since the introduction of motorized transport the arrangement of our cities has changed in such a way that the majority of people no longer live within walking distance of their place of employment, shopping areas and recreational opportunities, so that they HAVE TO depend on the automobile for transportation. Or else they must use public transportation, in which case they have even less control over their own movement than when driving a car. Even the walker's freedom is now greatly restricted. In the city he continually has to stop and wait for traffic lights that are designed mainly to serve auto traffic. In the country, motor traffic makes it dangerous and unpleasant to walk along the highway. (Note the important point we have illustrated with the case of motorized transport: When a new item of technology is introduced as an option that an individual can accept or not as he chooses, it does not necessarily REMAIN optional. In many cases the new technology changes society in such a way that people eventually find themselves FORCED to use it.)
128. While technological progress AS A WHOLE continually narrows our sphere of freedom, each new technical advance CONSIDERED BY ITSELF appears to be desirable. Electricity, indoor plumbing, rapid long-distance communications . . . how could one argue against any of these things, or against any other of the innumerable technical advances that have made modern society? It would have been absurd to resist the introduction of the telephone, for example. It offered many advantages and no disadvantages. Yet as we explained in paragraphs 59-76, all these technical advances taken together have created world in which the average man's fate is no longer in his own hands or in the hands of his neighbors and friends, but in those of politicians, corporation executives and remote, anonymous technicians and bureaucrats whom he as an individual has no power to influence.21 The same process will continue in the future. Take genetic engineering, for example. Few people will resist the introduction of a genetic technique that eliminates a hereditary disease It does no apparent harm and prevents much suffering. Yet a large number of genetic improvements taken together will make the human being into an engineered product rather than a free creation of chance (or of God, or whatever, depending on your religious beliefs).
21Since many people may find paradoxical the notion that a large number of good things can add up to a bad thing, we will illustrate with an analogy. Suppose Mr. A is playing chess with Mr. B. Mr. C, a Grand Master, is looking over Mr. A's shoulder. Mr. A of course wants to win his game, so if Mr. C points out a good move for him to make, he is doing Mr. A a favor. But suppose now that Mr. C tells Mr. A how to make ALL of his moves. In each particular instance he does Mr. A a favor by showing him his best move, but by making ALL of his moves for him he spoils the game, since there is not point in Mr. A's playing the game at all if someone else makes all his moves.
129 Another reason why technology is such a powerful social force is that, within the context of a given society, technological progress marches in only one direction; it can never be reversed. Once a technical innovation has been introduced, people usually become dependent on it, unless it is replaced by some still more advanced innovation. Not only do people become dependent as individuals on a new item of technology, but, even more, the system as a whole becomes dependent on it. (Imagine what would happen to the system today if computers, for example, were eliminated.) Thus the system can move in only one direction, toward greater technologization. Technology repeatedly forces freedom to take a step back -- short of the overthrow of the whole technological system.
130. Technology advances with great rapidity and threatens freedom at many different points at the same time (crowding, rules and regulations, increasing dependence of individuals on large organizations, propaganda and other psychological techniques, genetic engineering, invasion of privacy through surveillance devices and computers, etc.) To hold back any ONE of the threats to freedom would require a long different social struggle. Those who want to protect freedom are overwhelmed by the sheer number of new attacks and the rapidity with which they develop, hence they become pathetic and no longer resist. To fight each of the threats separately would be futile. Success can be hoped for only by fighting the technological system as a whole; but that is revolution not reform.
131. Technicians (we use this term in its broad sense to describe all those who perform a specialized task that requires training) tend to be so involved in their work (their surrogate activity) that when a conflict arises between their technical work and freedom, they almost always decide in favor of their technical work. This is obvious in the case of scientists, but it also appears elsewhere: Educators, humanitarian groups, conservation organizations do not hesitate to use propaganda or other psychological techniques to help them achieve their laudable ends. Corporations and government agencies, when they find it useful, do not hesitate to collect information about individuals without regard to their privacy. Law enforcement agencies are frequently inconvenienced by the constitutional rights of suspects and often of completely innocent persons, and they do whatever they can do legally (or sometimes illegally) to restrict or circumvent those rights. Most of these educators, government officials and law officers believe in freedom, privacy and constitutional rights, but when these conflict with their work, they usually feel that their work is more important.
132. It is well known that people generally work better and more persistently when striving for a reward than when attempting to avoid a punishment or negative outcome. Scientists and other technicians are motivated mainly by the rewards they get through their work. But those who oppose technological invasions of freedom are working to avoid a negative outcome, consequently there are a few who work persistently and well at this discouraging task. If reformers ever achieved a signal victory that seemed to set up a solid barrier against further erosion of freedom through technological progress, most would tend to relax and turn their attention to more agreeable pursuits. But the scientists would remain busy in their laboratories, and technology as it progresses would find ways, in spite of any barriers, to exert more and more control over individuals and make them always more dependent on the system.
133. No social arrangements, whether laws, institutions, customs or ethical codes, can provide permanent protection against technology. History shows that all social arrangements are transitory; they all change or break down eventually. But technological advances are permanent within the context of a given civilization. Suppose for example that it were possible to arrive at some social arrangements that would prevent genetic engineering from being applied to human beings, or prevent it from being applied in such a ways as to threaten freedom and dignity. Still, the technology would remain waiting. Sooner or later the social arrangement would break down. Probably sooner, given that pace of change in our society. Then genetic engineering would begin to invade our sphere of freedom, and this invasion would be irreversible (short of a breakdown of technological civilization itself). Any illusions about achieving anything permanent through social arrangements should be dispelled by what is currently happening with environmental legislation. A few years ago it seemed that there were secure legal barriers preventing at least SOME of the worst forms of environmental degradation. A change in the political wind, and those barriers begin to crumble.
134. For all of the foregoing reasons, technology is a more powerful social force than the aspiration for freedom. But this statement requires an important qualification. It appears that during the next several decades the industrial-technological system will be undergoing severe stresses due to economic and environmental problems, and especially due to problems of human behavior (alienation, rebellion, hostility, a variety of social and psychological difficulties). We hope that the stresses through which the system is likely to pass will cause it to break down, or at least weaken it sufficiently so that a revolution occurs and is successful, then at that particular moment the aspiration for freedom will have proved more powerful than technology.
135. In paragraph 125 we used an analogy of a weak neighbor who is left destitute by a strong neighbor who takes all his land by forcing on him a series of compromises. But suppose now that the strong neighbor gets sick, so that he is unable to defend himself. The weak neighbor can force the strong one to give him his land back, or he can kill him. If he lets the strong man survive and only forces him to give his land back, he is a fool, because when the strong man gets well he will again take all the land for himself. The only sensible alternative for the weaker man is to kill the strong one while he has the chance. In the same way, while the industrial system is sick we must destroy it. If we compromise with it and let it recover from its sickness, it will eventually wipe out all of our freedom.
SIMPLER SOCIAL PROBLEMS HAVE PROVED INTRACTABLE
136. If anyone still imagines that it would be possible to reform the system in such a way as to protect freedom from technology, let him consider how clumsily and for the most part unsuccessfully our society has dealt with other social problems that are far more simple and straightforward. Among other things, the system has failed to stop environmental degradation, political corruption, drug trafficking or domestic abuse.
137. Take our environmental problems, for example. Here the conflict of values is straightforward: economic expedience now versus saving some of our natural resources for our grandchildren22 But on this subject we get only a lot of blather and obfuscation from the people who have power, and nothing like a clear, consistent line of action, and we keep on piling up environmental problems that our grandchildren will have to live with. Attempts to resolve the environmental issue consist of struggles and compromises between different factions, some of which are ascendant at one moment, others at another moment. The line of struggle changes with the shifting currents of public opinion. This is not a rational process, or is it one that is likely to lead to a timely and successful solution to the problem. Major social problems, if they get "solved" at all, are rarely or never solved through any rational, comprehensive plan. They just work themselves out through a process in which various competing groups pursing their own usually short-term) self-interest23 arrive (mainly by luck) at some more or less stable modus vivendi. In fact, the principles we formulated in paragraphs 100-106 make it seem doubtful that rational, long-term social planning can EVER be successful.
22 Here we are considering only the conflict of values within the mainstream. For the sake of simplicity we leave out of the picture "outsider" values like the idea that wild nature is more important than human economic welfare.
23 Self-interest is not necessarily MATERIAL self-interest. It can consist in fulfillment of some psychological need, for example, by promoting one's own ideology or religion.
138. Thus it is clear that the human race has at best a very limited capacity for solving even relatively straightforward social problems. How then is it going to solve the far more difficult and subtle problem of reconciling freedom with technology? Technology presents clear-cut material advantages, whereas freedom is an abstraction that means different things to different people, and its loss is easily obscured by propaganda and fancy talk.
139. And note this important difference: It is conceivable that our environmental problems (for example) may some day be settled through a rational, comprehensive plan, but if this happens it will be only because it is in the long-term interest of the system to solve these problems. But it is NOT in the interest of the system to preserve freedom or small-group autonomy. On the contrary, it is in the interest of the system to bring human behavior under control to the greatest possible extent. Thus, while practical considerations may eventually force the system to take a rational, prudent approach to environmental problems, equally practical considerations will force the system to regulate human behavior ever more closely (preferably by indirect means that will disguise the encroachment on freedom.) This isn't just our opinion. Eminent social scientists (e.g. James Q. Wilson) have stressed the importance of "socializing" people more effectively.24
24A qualification: It is in the interest of the system to permit a certain prescribed degree of freedom in some areas. For example, economic freedom (with suitable limitations and restraints) has proved effective in promoting economic growth. But only planned, circumscribed, limited freedom is in the interest of the system. The individual must always be kept on a leash, even if the leash is sometimes long( see paragraphs 94, 97).
Read Will Rogers column 88 years ago: July 5, 1925
Tall Texan RV Park
We went for our long walk this morning to the Espresso stop near City Market. I have been able to get a window seat both times that I have been there which allows a close watch on Patches. She can see me also which may help but for what ever reason she has been such a 'good dog' while she waits for me. People can walk past her without her bothering them, if they wish to stop and give her a pet she is as nice as can be.
It was overcast, quite warm (57°) and humid this morning when we started our walk. The forecast high today is for it to match a record high set in 1999. I doubt that it is going to do it but the next 10 days are to be in the lower 80s with a chance of 90 on Thursday. I may be running my A/C in the late afternoon during all of those days.
Finished What Came Before He Shot Her by Elizabeth George. This was a different novel from her prior mysteries that I have read. I had read her Careless In Red which was written after this one so I knew who he shot but not the why. What Came Before is a good read but don't expect the usual George mystery.
I think the RV Park is completely full. There are some people arriving that get a space but I'm guessing they had reservations. I see other rigs pull in and then leave again, probably because there is no room at the inn. My neighbors have been very quite for the most part and will be leaving on Sunday as will a lot of others I'm guessing.
The Bureau of Labor has released their non-farm job numbers for June, an increase of 195,000. The media is trumpeting this increase and also the upward revisions that were made to April and May numbers. They rarely mention the revisions when they are downward and are relatively silent about the Unemployment rate which remained at 7.6%.
If you look at the Household Data for June the number of Employed was not so good with an increase of 160,000 after the 319,000 increase in May and 293,000 increase in April. The number of Unemployed was up again also by 17,000 which doesn't get much of a mention by the media.
The Not in the Labor Force also moved up by 12,000 with the Participation Rate increasing by another 0.1% to 63.5%. The later is good News but I didn't see any glowing media reports about it. The media is spinning this latest report as good News but it appears to me that employment continues to be weak and may be getting weaker rather than stronger.
There is something else about the job growth that the media ignores or sweeps under the rug because it would reflect unfavorably upon President Obama and ObamaCare - full-time versus part-time jobs. In June, the household survey reported that part-time jobs soared by 360,000 to 28,059,000 - an all time record high. Full-time jobs were down 240,000. And looking back at the entire year of 2013, just 130,000 full-time jobs have been added, offset by a whopping 557,000 part-time jobs.
"Industrial Society and its Future" Continued.
REVOLUTION IS EASIER THAN REFORM
140. We hope we have convinced the reader that the system cannot be reformed in a such a way as to reconcile freedom with technology. The only way out is to dispense with the industrial-technological system altogether. This implies revolution, not necessarily an armed uprising, but certainly a radical and fundamental change in the nature of society.
141. People tend to assume that because a revolution involves a much greater change than reform does, it is more difficult to bring about than reform is. Actually, under certain circumstances revolution is much easier than reform. The reason is that a revolutionary movement can inspire an intensity of commitment that a reform movement cannot inspire. A reform movement merely offers to solve a particular social problem a revolutionary movement offers to solve all problems at one stroke and create a whole new world; it provides the kind of ideal for which people will take great risks and make great sacrifices. For this reasons it would be much easier to overthrow the whole technological system than to put effective, permanent restraints on the development of application of any one segment of technology, such as genetic engineering, but under suitable conditions large numbers of people may devote themselves passionately to a revolution against the industrial-technological system. As we noted in paragraph 132, reformers seeking to limit certain aspects of technology would be working to avoid a negative outcome. But revolutionaries work to gain a powerful reward -- fulfillment of their revolutionary vision -- and therefore work harder and more persistently than reformers do.
142. Reform is always restrained by the fear of painful consequences if changes go too far. But once a revolutionary fever has taken hold of a society, people are willing to undergo unlimited hardships for the sake of their revolution. This was clearly shown in the French and Russian Revolutions. It may be that in such cases only a minority of the population is really committed to the revolution, but this minority is sufficiently large and active so that it becomes the dominant force in society. We will have more to say about revolution in paragraphs 180-205.
CONTROL OF HUMAN BEHAVIOR
143. Since the beginning of civilization, organized societies have had to put pressures on human beings of the sake of the functioning of the social organism. The kinds of pressures vary greatly from one society to another. Some of the pressures are physical (poor diet, excessive labor, environmental pollution), some are psychological (noise, crowding, forcing humans behavior into the mold that society requires). In the past, human nature has been approximately constant, or at any rate has varied only within certain bounds. Consequently, societies have been able to push people only up to certain limits. When the limit of human endurance has been passed, things start going wrong: rebellion, or crime, or corruption, or evasion of work, or depression and other mental problems, or an elevated death rate, or a declining birth rate or something else, so that either the society breaks down, or its functioning becomes too inefficient and it is (quickly or gradually, through conquest, attrition or evolution) replaces by some more efficient form of society.25
25We don't mean to suggest that the efficiency or the potential for survival of a society has always been inversely proportional to the amount of pressure or discomfort to which the society subjects people. That is certainly not the case. There is good reason to believe that many primitive societies subjected people to less pressure than the European society did, but European society proved far more efficient than any primitive society and always won out in conflicts with such societies because of the advantages conferred by technology.
144. Thus human nature has in the past put certain limits on the development of societies. People coud be pushed only so far and no farther. But today this may be changing, because modern technology is developing ways of modifying human beings.
145. Imagine a society that subjects people to conditions that make them terribly unhappy, then gives them the drugs to take away their unhappiness. Science fiction? It is already happening to some extent in our own society. It is well known that the rate of clinical depression had been greatly increasing in recent decades. We believe that this is due to disruption of the power process, as explained in paragraphs 59-76. But even if we are wrong, the increasing rate of depression is certainly the result of SOME conditions that exist in today's society. Instead of removing the conditions that make people depressed, modern society gives them antidepressant drugs. In effect, antidepressants area a means of modifying an individual's internal state in such a way as to enable him to tolerate social conditions that he would otherwise find intolerable. (Yes, we know that depression is often of purely genetic origin. We are referring here to those cases in which environment plays the predominant role.)
146. Drugs that affect the mind are only one example of the methods of controlling human behavior that modern society is developing. Let us look at some of the other methods.
147. To start with, there are the techniques of surveillance. Hidden video cameras are now used in most stores and in many other places, computers are used to collect and process vast amounts of information about individuals. Information so obtained greatly increases the effectiveness of physical coercion (i.e., law enforcement).26 Then there are the methods of propaganda, for which the mass communication media provide effective vehicles. Efficient techniques have been developed for winning elections, selling products, influencing public opinion. The entertainment industry serves as an important psychological tool of the system, possibly even when it is dishing out large amounts of sex and violence. Entertainment provides modern man with an essential means of escape. While absorbed in television, videos, etc., he can forget stress, anxiety, frustration, dissatisfaction. Many primitive peoples, when they don't have work to do, are quite content to sit for hours at a time doing nothing at all, because they are at peace with themselves and their world. But most modern people must be constantly occupied or entertained, otherwise the get "bored," i.e., they get fidgety, uneasy, irritable.
26If you think that more effective law enforcement is unequivocally good because it suppresses crime, then remember that crime as defined by the system is not necessarily what YOU would call crime. Today, smoking marijuana is a "crime," and, in some places in the U.S.., so is possession of ANY firearm, registered or not, may be made a crime, and the same thing may happen with disapproved methods of child-rearing, such as spanking. In some countries, expression of dissident political opinions is a crime, and there is no certainty that this will never happen in the U.S., since no constitution or political system lasts forever.
If a society needs a large, powerful law enforcement establishment, then there is something gravely wrong with that society; it must be subjecting people to severe pressures if so many refuse to follow the rules, or follow them only because forced. Many societies in the past have gotten by with little or no formal law-enforcement.
148. Other techniques strike deeper that the foregoing. Education is no longer a simple affair of paddling a kid's behind when he doesn't know his lessons and patting him on the head when he does know them. It is becoming a scientific technique for controlling the child's development. Sylvan Learning Centers, for example, have had great success in motivating children to study, and psychological techniques are also used with more or less success in many conventional schools. "Parenting" techniques that are taught to parents are designed to make children accept fundamental values of the system and behave in ways that the system finds desirable. "Mental health" programs, "intervention" techniques, psychotherapy and so forth are ostensibly designed to benefit individuals, but in practice they usually serve as methods for inducing individuals to think and behave as the system requires. (There is no contradiction here; an individual whose attitudes or behavior bring him into conflict with the system is up against a force that is too powerful for him to conquer or escape from, hence he is likely to suffer from stress, frustration, defeat. His path will be much easier if he thinks and behaves as the system requires. In that sense the system is acting for the benefit of the individual when it brainwashes him into conformity.) Child abuse in its gross and obvious forms is disapproved of in most if not all cultures. Tormenting a child for a trivial reason or no reason at all is something that appalls almost everyone. But many psychologists interpret the concept of abuse much more broadly. Is spanking, when used as part of a rational and consistent system of discipline, a form of abuse? The question will ultimately be decided by whether or not spanking tends to produce behavior that makes a person fit in well with the existing system of society. In practice, the word "abuse" tends to be interpreted to include any method of child-rearing that produces behavior inconvenient for the system. Thus, when they go beyond the prevention of obvious, senseless cruelty, programs for preventing "child abuse" are directed toward the control of human behavior of the system.
149. Presumably, research will continue to increase the effectiveness of psychological techniques for controlling human behavior. But we think it is unlikely that psychological techniques alone will be sufficient to adjust human beings to the kind of society that technology is creating. Biological methods probably will have to be used. We have already mentioned the use of drugs in this connection. Neurology may provide other avenues of modifying the human mind. Genetic engineering of human beings is already beginning to occur in the form of "gene therapy," and there is no reason to assume the such methods will not eventually be used to modify those aspects of the body that affect mental functioning.
150. As we mentioned in paragraph 134, industrial society seems likely to be entering a period of severe stress, due in part to problems of human behavior and in part to economic and environmental problems. And a considerable proportion of the system's economic and environmental problems result from the way human beings behave. Alienation, low self-esteem, depression, hostility, rebellion; children who won't study, youth gangs, illegal drug use, rape, child abuse , other crimes, unsafe sex, teen pregnancy, population growth, political corruption, race hatred, ethnic rivalry, bitter ideological conflict (i.e., pro-choice vs. pro-life), political extremism, terrorism, sabotage, anti-government groups, hate groups. All these threaten the very survival of the system. The system will be FORCED to use every practical means of controlling human behavior.
It was a little cooler this morning at 53° and not as humid. As I predicted, it didn't reach a record high yesterday but still needed some A/C late in the day when it was very calm. The 90° forecast for Thursday has now been shifted to Friday with lower 80s mostly for the next 10 days.
Tall Texan RV Park
We took our Riverwalk Estate route this morning and did an out and back along the crushed gravel trail. This trail also ties the two roads in the Estate together so we exited along the north road where the free ranging dog confronted us again. I let Patches stare him/her down and we then went on our way with no more harassment.
I have had a couple of burritos made from the Southwest Pork Tenderloin that I cooked up which were excellent. I also added a couple of ladles of it to a can of lentil soup which was really great. I think the next time that I make it I'll add two cans of lentil soup to the mix when I cook it and leave out the broth to make a soup/stew.
"Industrial Society and its Future" Continued.
CONTROL OF HUMAN BEHAVIOR Continued
151. The social disruption that we see today is certainly not the result of mere chance. It can only be a result of the conditions of life that the system imposes on people. (We have argued that the most important of these conditions is disruption of the power process.) If the systems succeeds in imposing sufficient control over human behavior to assure itw own survival, a new watershed in human history will have passed. Whereas formerly the limits of human endurance have imposed limits on the development of societies (as we explained in paragraphs 143, 144), industrial-technological society will be able to pass those limits by modifying human beings, whether by psychological methods or biological methods or both. In the future, social systems will not be adjusted to suit the needs of human beings. Instead, human being will be adjusted to suit the needs of the system.27
27To be sure, past societies have had means of influencing behavior, but these have been primitive and of low effectiveness compared with the technological means that are now being developed.
152. Generally speaking, technological control over human behavior will probably not be introduced with a totalitarian intention or even through a conscious desire to restrict human freedom.28 Each new step in the assertion of control over the human mind will be taken as a rational response to a problem that faces society, such as curing alcoholism, reducing the crime rate or inducing young people to study science and engineering. In many cases, there will be humanitarian justification. For example, when a psychiatrist prescribes an anti-depressant for a depressed patient, he is clearly doing that individual a favor. It would be inhumane to withhold the drug from someone who needs it. When parents send their children to Sylvan Learning Centers to have them manipulated into becoming enthusiastic about their studies, they do so from concern for their children's welfare. It may be that some of these parents wish that one didn't have to have specialized training to get a job and that their kid didn't have to be brainwashed into becoming a computer nerd. But what can they do? They can't change society, and their child may be unemployable if he doesn't have certain skills. So they send him to Sylvan.
28However, some psychologists have publicly expressed opinions indicating their contempt for human freedom. And the mathematician Claude Shannon was quoted in Omni (August 1987) as saying, "I visualize a time when we will be to robots what dogs are to humans, and I'm rooting for the machines."
153. Thus control over human behavior will be introduced not by a calculated decision of the authorities but through a process of social evolution (RAPID evolution, however). The process will be impossible to resist, because each advance, considered by itself, will appear to be beneficial, or at least the evil involved in making the advance will appear to be beneficial, or at least the evil involved in making the advance will seem to be less than that which would result from not making it (see paragraph 127). Propaganda for example is used for many good purposes, such as discouraging child abuse or race hatred. Sex education is obviously useful, yet the effect of sex education (to the extent that it is successful) is to take the shaping of sexual attitudes away from the family and put it into the hands of the state as represented by the public school system.
154. Suppose a biological trait is discovered that increases the likelihood that a child will grow up to be a criminal and suppose some sort of gene therapy can remove this trait.29 Of course most parents whose children possess the trait will have them undergo the therapy. It would be inhumane to do otherwise, since the child would probably have a miserable life if he grew up to be a criminal. But many or most primitive societies have a low crime rate in comparison with that of our society, even though they have neither high-tech methods of child-rearing nor harsh systems of punishment. Since there is no reason to suppose that more modern men than primitive men have innate predatory tendencies, the high crime rate of our society must be due to the pressures that modern conditions put on people, to which many cannot or will not adjust. Thus a treatment designed to remove potential criminal tendencies is at least in part a way of re-engineering people so that they suit the requirements of the system.
29This is no science fiction! After writing paragraph 154 we came across an article in Scientific American according to which scientists are actively developing techniques for identifying possible future criminals and for treating them by a combination of biological and psychological means. Some scientists advocate compulsory application of the treatment, which may be available in the near future. (See "Seeking the Criminal Element", by W. Wayt Gibbs, Scientific American, March 1995.) Maybe you think this is OK because the treatment would be applied to those who might become drunk drivers (they endanger human life too), then perhaps to people who spank their children, then to environmentalists who sabotage logging equipment, eventually to anyone whose behavior is inconvenient for the system.
155. Our society tends to regard as a "sickness" any mode of thought or behavior that is inconvenient for the system, and this is plausible because when an individual doesn't fit into the system it causes pain to the individual as well as problems for the system. Thus the manipulation of an individual to adjust him to the system is seen as a "cure" for a "sickness" and therefore as good.
156. In paragraph 127 we pointed out that if the use of a new item of technology is INITIALLY optional, it does not necessarily REMAIN optional, because the new technology tends to change society in such a way that it becomes difficult or impossible for an individual to function without using that technology. This applies also to the technology of human behavior. In a world in which most children are put through a program to make them enthusiastic about studying, a parent will almost be forced to put his kid through such a program, because if he does not, then the kid will grow up to be, comparatively speaking, an ignoramus and therefore unemployable. Or suppose a biological treatment is discovered that, without undesirable side-effects, will greatly reduce the psychological stress from which so many people suffer in our society. If large numbers of people choose to undergo the treatment, then the general level of stress in society will be reduced, so that it will be possible for the system to increase the stress-producing pressures. In fact, something like this seems to have happened already with one of our society's most important psychological tools for enabling people to reduce (or at least temporarily escape from) stress, namely, mass entertainment (see paragraph 147). Our use of mass entertainment is "optional": No law requires us to watch television, listen to the radio, read magazines. Yet mass entertainment is a means of escape and stress-reduction on which most of us have become dependent. Everyone complains about the trashiness of television, but almost everyone watches it. A few have kicked the TV habit, but it would be a rare person who could get along today without using ANY form of mass entertainment. (Yet until quite recently in human history most people got along very nicely with no other entertainment than that which each local community created for itself.) Without the entertainment industry the system probably would not have been able to get away with putting as much stress-producing pressure on us as it does.
157. Assuming that industrial society survives, it is likely that technology will eventually acquire something approaching complete control over human behavior. It has been established beyond any rational doubt that human thought and behavior have a largely biological basis. As experimenters have demonstrated, feelings such as hunger, pleasure, anger and fear can be turned on and off by electrical stimulation of appropriate parts of the brain. Memories can be destroyed by damaging parts of the brain or they can be brought to the surface by electrical stimulation. Hallucinations can be induced or moods changed by drugs. There may or may not be an immaterial human soul, but if there is one it clearly is less powerful that the biological mechanisms of human behavior. For if that were not the case then researchers would not be able so easily to manipulate human feelings and behavior with drugs and electrical currents.
158. It presumably would be impractical for all people to have electrodes inserted in their heads so that they could be controlled by the authorities. But the fact that human thoughts and feelings are so open to biological intervention shows that the problem of controlling human behavior is mainly a technical problem; a problem of neurons, hormones and complex molecules; the kind of problem that is accessible to scientific attack. Given the outstanding record of our society in solving technical problems, it is overwhelmingly probable that great advances will be made in the control of human behavior.
159. Will public resistance prevent the introduction of technological control of human behavior? It certainly would if an attempt were made to introduce such control all at once. But since technological control will be introduced through a long sequence of small advances, there will be no rational and effective public resistance. (See paragraphs 127,132 and 153.)
160. To those who think that all this sounds like science fiction, we point out that yesterday's science fiction is today's fact. The Industrial Revolution has radically altered man's environment and way of life, and it is only to be expected that as technology is increasingly applied to the human body and mind, man himself will be altered as radically as his environment and way of life have been.
The days have become repetitive with high temperatures in the low 80s and the morning lows in the lower 50s. That is the forecast for the next 10 days also. The weather guessers have given up on their 90° forecast for now.
Tall Texan RV Park
When we reached the junction of County Road 11 and CO135 this morning we were confronted by another dog roaming free. It wandered up to Patches and proceeded to do a Hello sniff which she accepted readily enough. She returned the greeting just before the other dog was called away by its owner. A good meeting by Patches which I can never predict but she was a Very Good Dog.
I finished Vanish by Tess Gerritsen yesterday, a mystery/thriller. I did not know it when I picked up this book in an exchange that I had read one of hers before. It was a few years ago that I read Harvest a medical suspense novel that was her first book. She gave up a practice as an internist to focus on her writing and includes a lot of medical action in her novels. in Vanish one of the prime characters is a female medical examiner that does a couple of autopsies during the course of the story. Recommended.
I then started to read a Greg Iles novel and after the first chapter I realized that I had read it before. It has been a year or two ago and I think it was the first of his books that I read. As I now read it I remember that I have read this before and remember some of what is to come but not everything. Perhaps this is an advantage of getting old, you can read and re-read the same book and enjoy it every time. It might also indicate that it is a good thing that I have Patches with me so she can get me back home when I go walking. HA HA
The only thing, other than my routine, that I did today was more work on the Will Rogers weekly article links for August. Making good progress and should be ready in time. Windows 8 has caused me to change how I get them ready but I don't think it is any more difficult or more time consuming.
"Industrial Society and its Future" Continued.
HUMAN RACE AT A CROSSROADS
161. But we have gotten ahead of our story. It is one thing to develop in the laboratory a series of psychological or biological techniques for manipulating human behavior and quite another to integrate these techniques into a functioning social system. The latter problem is the more difficult of the two. For example, while the techniques of educational psychology doubtless work quite well in the "lab schools" where they are developed, it is not necessarily easy to apply them effectively throughout our educational system. We all know what many of our schools are like. The teachers are too busy taking knives and guns away from the kids to subject them to the latest techniques for making them into computer nerds. Thus, in spite of all its technical advances relating to human behavior the system to date has not been impressively successful in controlling human beings. The people whose behavior is fairly well under the control of the system are those of the type that might be called "bourgeois." But there are growing numbers of people who in one way or another are rebels against the system: welfare leaches, youth gangs cultists, satanists, nazis, radical environmentalists, militiamen, etc..
162. The system is currently engaged in a desperate struggle to overcome certain problems that threaten its survival, among which the problems of human behavior are the most important. If the system succeeds in acquiring sufficient control over human behavior quickly enough, it will probably survive. Otherwise it will break down. We think the issue will most likely be resolved within the next several decades, say 40 to 100 years.
163. Suppose the system survives the crisis of the next several decades. By that time it will have to have solved, or at least brought under control, the principal problems that confront it, in particular that of "socializing" human beings; that is, making people sufficiently docile so that their behavior no longer threatens the system. That being accomplished, it does not appear that there would be any further obstacle to the development of technology, and it would presumably advance toward its logical conclusion, which is complete control over everything on Earth, including human beings and all other important organisms. The system may become a unitary, monolithic organization, or it may be more or less fragmented and consist of a number of organizations coexisting in a relationship that includes elements of both cooperation and competition, just as today the government, the corporations and other large organizations both cooperate and compete with one another. Human freedom mostly will have vanished, because individuals and small groups will be impotent vis-a-vis large organizations armed with supertechnology and an arsenal of advanced psychological and biological tools for manipulating human beings, besides instruments of surveillance and physical coercion. Only a small number of people will have any real power, and even these probably will have only very limited freedom, because their behavior too will be regulated; just as today our politicians and corporation executives can retain their positions of power only as long as their behavior remains within certain fairly narrow limits.
164. Don't imagine that the systems will stop developing further techniques for controlling human beings and nature once the crisis of the next few decades is over and increasing control is no longer necessary for the system's survival. On the contrary, once the hard times are over the system will increase its control over people and nature more rapidly, because it will no longer be hampered by difficulties of the kind that it is currently experiencing. Survival is not the principal motive for extending control. As we explained in paragraphs 87-90, technicians and scientists carry on their work largely as a surrogate activity; that is, they satisfy their need for power by solving technical problems. They will continue to do this with unabated enthusiasm, and among the most interesting and challenging problems for them to solve will be those of understanding the human body and mind and intervening in their development. For the "good of humanity," of course.
165. But suppose on the other hand that the stresses of the coming decades prove to be too much for the system. If the system breaks down there may be a period of chaos, a "time of troubles" such as those that history has recorded: at various epochs in the past. It is impossible to predict what would emerge from such a time of troubles, but at any rate the human race would be given a new chance. The greatest danger is that industrial society may begin to reconstitute itself within the first few years after the breakdown. Certainly there will be many people (power-hungry types especially) who will be anxious to get the factories running again.
166. Therefore two tasks confront those who hate the servitude to which the industrial system is reducing the human race. First, we must work to heighten the social stresses within the system so as to increase the likelihood that it will break down or be weakened sufficiently so that a revolution against it becomes possible. Second, it is necessary to develop and propagate an ideology that opposes technology and the industrial society if and when the system becomes sufficiently weakened. And such an ideology will help to assure that, if and when industrial society breaks down, its remnants will be smashed beyond repair, so that the system cannot be reconstituted. The factories should be destroyed, technical books burned, etc.
167. The industrial system will not break down purely as a result of revolutionary action. It will not be vulnerable to revolutionary attack unless its own internal problems of development lead it into very serious difficulties. So if the system breaks down it will do so either spontaneously, or through a process that is in part spontaneous but helped along by revolutionaries. If the breakdown is sudden, many people will die, since the world's population has become so overblown that it cannot even feed itself any longer without advanced technology. Even if the breakdown is gradual enough so that reduction of the population can occur more through lowering of the birth rate than through elevation of the death rate, the process of de-industrialization probably will be very chaotic and involve much suffering. It is naive to think it likely that technology can be phased out in a smoothly managed orderly way, especially since the technophiles will fight stubbornly at every step. Is it therefore cruel to work for the breakdown of the system? Maybe, but maybe not. In the first place, revolutionaries will not be able to break the system down unless it is already in deep trouble so that there would be a good chance of its eventually breaking down by itself anyway; and the bigger the system grows, the more disastrous the consequences of its breakdown will be; so it may be that revolutionaries, by hastening the onset of the breakdown will be reducing the extent of the disaster.
168. In the second place, one has to balance the struggle and death against the loss of freedom and dignity. To many of us, freedom and dignity are more important than a long life or avoidance of physical pain. Besides, we all have to die some time, and it may be better to die fighting for survival, or for a cause, than to live a long but empty and purposeless life.
169. In the third place, it is not all certain that the survival of the system will lead to less suffering than the breakdown of the system would. The system has already caused, and is continuing to cause , immense suffering all over the world. Ancient cultures, that for hundreds of years gave people a satisfactory relationship with each other and their environment, have been shattered by contact with industrial society, and the result has been a whole catalogue of economic, environmental, social and psychological problems. One of the effects of the intrusion of industrial society has been that over much of the world traditional controls on population have been thrown out of balance. Hence the population explosion, with all that it implies. Then there is the psychological suffering that is widespread throughout the supposedly fortunate countries of the West (see paragraphs 44, 45). No one knows what will happen as a result of ozone depletion, the greenhouse effect and other environmental problems that cannot yet be foreseen. And, as nuclear proliferation has shown, new technology cannot be kept out of the hands of dictators and irresponsible Third World nations. Would you like to speculate about what Iraq or North Korea will do with genetic engineering?
170. "Oh!" say the technophiles, "Science is going to fix all that! We will conquer famine, eliminate psychological suffering, make everybody healthy and happy!" Yeah, sure. That's what they said 200 years ago. The Industrial Revolution was supposed to eliminate poverty, make everybody happy, etc. The actual result has been quite different. The technophiles are hopelessly naive (or self-deceiving) in their understanding of social problems. They are unaware of (or choose to ignore) the fact that when large changes, even seemingly beneficial ones, are introduced into a society, they lead to a long sequence of other changes, most of which are impossible to predict (paragraph 103). The result is disruption of the society. So it is very probable that in their attempt to end poverty and disease, engineer docile, happy personalities and so forth, the technophiles will create social systems that are terribly troubled, even more so that the present one.
For example, the scientists boast that they will end famine by creating new, genetically engineered food plants. But this will allow the human population to keep expanding indefinitely, and it is well known that crowding leads to increased stress and aggression. This is merely one example of the PREDICTABLE problems that will arise. We emphasize that, as past experience has shown, technical progress will lead to other new problems for society far more rapidly that it has been solving old ones. Thus it will take a long difficult period of trial and error for the technophiles to work the bugs out of their Brave New World (if they ever do). In the meantime there will be great suffering. So it is not all clear that the survival of industrial society would involve less suffering than the breakdown of that society would. Technology has gotten the human race into a fix from which there is not likely to be any easy escape.
We had a lot of RVers leave the Park yesterday but had about 1/2 their number come in. My close by neighbor is gone so my door does not hit their pop up trailer when I open it anymore. It wasn't quite that bad but we were close and they could not carry on a conversation in a normal tone of voice without me hearing them if the A/C was off.
Tall Texan RV Park
We went to the Riverwalk Estates again this morning and walked the same roads and trail but changed directions on the trail just to mix it up a little. Saw a pair of owls again. Saw them two days ago and got a picture of the smaller one then this morning the bigger one sat and posed for me. I'll get them edited and posted in a day or two, would really like to get a picture of them together but don't know if that is going to happen.
As soon as we got home I fed Patches her breakfast and then eased out of our space between the trees here at the Park. Stopped in downtown Gunnison for breakfast at the W Café. They had a good crowd just a few minutes after their opening hour of 7:00 and seemed to have a lot of waitresses running around but it still took longer than I thought necessary for one of them to get to me. The Corned Beef Hash with poached eggs was good, the busser kept my coffee cup full and it was not tourist expensive. I'll probably return.
Then went to City Market for this weeks groceries. I like the layout of this store much better than Safeway (I think the Safeway is an old store that has not been remodeled and is is need). Prices are tourist high but that is what you can expect.
Got back to the Park and shoehorned Desperado back into our space. By the time I leave here I'll be able to get in and out with relative ease but it was unnerving this morning.
President Obama and the media have declared that the War on Terror is over and he has won it. He is delusional and the media continue to feed his delusion while the deaths continue in Afghanistan, Boston, Libya, Syria and Egypt all at the hands of the jihadists that he claims to have defeated. The table below shows the military war deaths for the first half of each year and the President in office when they occurred.
|Total US Casualties Iraq & Afghanistan|
"Industrial Society and its Future" Continued.
171. But suppose now that industrial society does survive the next several decade and that the bugs do eventually get worked out of the system, so that it functions smoothly. What kind of system will it be? We will consider several possibilities.
172. First let us postulate that the computer scientists succeed in developing intelligent machines that can do all things better that human beings can do them. In that case presumably all work will be done by vast, highly organized systems of machines and no human effort will be necessary. Either of two cases might occur. The machines might be permitted to make all of their own decisions without human oversight, or else human control over the machines might be retained.
173. If the machines are permitted to make all their own decisions, we can't make any conjectures as to the results, because it is impossible to guess how such machines might behave. We only point out that the fate of the human race would be at the mercy of the machines. It might be argued that the human race would never be foolish enough to hand over all the power to the machines. But we are suggesting neither that the human race would voluntarily turn power over to the machines nor that the machines would willfully seize power. What we do suggest is that the human race might easily permit itself to drift into a position of such dependence on the machines that it would have no practical choice but to accept all of the machines decisions. As society and the problems that face it become more and more complex and machines become more and more intelligent, people will let machines make more of their decision for them, simply because machine-made decisions will bring better result than man-made ones. Eventually a stage may be reached at which the decisions necessary to keep the system running will be so complex that human beings will be incapable of making them intelligently. At that stage the machines will be in effective control. People won't be able to just turn the machines off, because they will be so dependent on them that turning them off would amount to suicide.
174. On the other hand it is possible that human control over the machines may be retained. In that case the average man may have control over certain private machines of his own, such as his car or his personal computer, but control over large systems of machines will be in the hands of a tiny elite -- just as it is today, but with two difference. Due to improved techniques the elite will have greater control over the masses; and because human work will no longer be necessary the masses will be superfluous, a useless burden on the system. If the elite is ruthless the may simply decide to exterminate the mass of humanity. If they are humane they may use propaganda or other psychological or biological techniques to reduce the birth rate until the mass of humanity becomes extinct, leaving the world to the elite. Or, if the elite consist of soft-hearted liberals, they may decide to play the role of good shepherds to the rest of the human race. They will see to it that everyone's physical needs are satisfied, that all children are raised under psychologically hygienic conditions, that everyone has a wholesome hobby to keep him busy, and that anyone who may become dissatisfied undergoes "treatment" to cure his "problem." Of course, life will be so purposeless that people will have to be biologically or psychologically engineered either to remove their need for the power process or to make them "sublimate" their drive for power into some harmless hobby. These engineered human beings may be happy in such a society, but they most certainly will not be free. They will have been reduced to the status of domestic animals.
175. But suppose now that the computer scientists do not succeed in developing artificial intelligence, so that human work remains necessary. Even so, machines will take care of more and more of the simpler tasks so that there will be an increasing surplus of human workers at the lower levels of ability. (We see this happening already. There are many people who find it difficult or impossible to get work, because for intellectual or psychological reasons they cannot acquire the level of training necessary to make themselves useful in the present system.) On those who are employed, ever-increasing demands will be placed; They will need more and more training, more and more ability, and will have to be ever more reliable, conforming and docile, because they will be more and more like cells of a giant organism. Their tasks will be increasingly specialized so that their work will be, in a sense, out of touch with the real world, being concentrated on one tiny slice of reality. The system will have to use any means that it can, whether psychological or biological, to engineer people to be docile, to have the abilities that the system requires and to "sublimate" their drive for power into some specialized task. But the statement that the people of such a society will have to be docile may require qualification. The society may find competitiveness useful, provided that ways are found of directing competitiveness into channels that serve that needs of the system. We can imagine into channels that serve the needs of the system. We can imagine a future society in which there is endless competition for positions of prestige an power. But no more than a very few people will ever reach the top, where the only real power is (see end of paragraph 163). Very repellent is a society in which a person can satisfy his needs for power only by pushing large numbers of other people out of the way and depriving them of THEIR opportunity for power.
176. Once can envision scenarios that incorporate aspects of more than one of the possibilities that we have just discussed. For instance, it may be that machines will take over most of the work that is of real, practical importance, but that human beings will be kept busy by being given relatively unimportant work. It has been suggested, for example, that a great development of the service industries might provide work for human beings. Thus people will would spend their time shinning each others shoes, driving each other around inn taxicab, making handicrafts for one another, waiting on each other's tables, etc. This seems to us a thoroughly contemptible way for the human race to end up, and we doubt that many people would find fulfilling lives in such pointless busy-work. They would seek other, dangerous outlets (drugs, , crime, "cults," hate groups) unless they were biological or psychologically engineered to adapt them to such a way of life.
177. Needless to day, the scenarios outlined above do not exhaust all the possibilities. They only indicate the kinds of outcomes that seem to us most likely. But we can envision no plausible scenarios that are any more palatable that the ones we've just described. It is overwhelmingly probable that if the industrial-technological system survives the next 40 to 100 years, it will by that time have developed certain general characteristics: Individuals (at least those of the "bourgeois" type, who are integrated into the system and make it run, and who therefore have all the power) will be more dependent than ever on large organizations; they will be more "socialized" that ever and their physical and mental qualities to a significant extent (possibly to a very great extent ) will be those that are engineered into them rather than being the results of chance (or of God's will, or whatever); and whatever may be left of wild nature will be reduced to remnants preserved for scientific study and kept under the supervision and management of scientists (hence it will no longer be truly wild).
In the long run (say a few centuries from now) it is likely that neither the human race nor any other important organisms will exist as we know them today, because once you start modifying organisms through genetic engineering there is no reason to stop at any particular point, so that the modifications will probably continue until man and other organisms have been utterly transformed.
178. Whatever else may be the case, it is certain that technology is creating for human begins a new physical and social environment radically different from the spectrum of environments to which natural selection has adapted the human race physically and psychological. If man is not adjusted to this new environment by being artificially re-engineered, then he will be adapted to it through a long an painful process of natural selection. The former is far more likely that the latter.
179. It would be better to dump the whole stinking system and take the consequences.
I got a new neighbor yesterday afternoon in the space that I gave up. This time it is a pop up cab over camper that they extended after removing it from their pickup. Even this is a tight fit in that small space.
Tall Texan RV Park
I am close to the laundry/bathrooms so I was able to walk back and forth to get my laundry done this morning. Why some people carry on so about having to do their laundry I don't know. It was no more trouble for me to do mine this morning here at the Park than it was when I lived in a sticks-n-bricks with a washer-n-dryer in it.
It reached 84° yesterday and felt even hotter than that to me. Feels like it will repeat again today with a forecast of 86 and then 90 tomorrow. That is hot for these high cool mountains and feels even hotter when there is no breeze. Will have the A/C running for part of the day I suspect. The mornings are great and I was almost sorry I didn't have my windbreaker on when we went to the Espresso shop. Then was glad I didn't have it on when we returned.
"Industrial Society and its Future" Continued.
180. The technophiles are taking us all on an utterly reckless ride into the unknown. Many people understand something of what technological progress is doing to us yet take a passive attitude toward it because they think it is inevitable. But we (FC) don't think it is inevitable. We think it can be stopped, and we will give here some indications of how to go about stopping it.
181. As we stated in paragraph 166, the two main tasks for the present are to promote social stress and instability in industrial society and to develop and propagate an ideology that opposes technology and the industrial system. When the system becomes sufficiently stressed and unstable, a revolution against technology may be possible. The pattern would be similar to that of the French and Russian Revolutions. French society and Russian society, for several decades prior to their respective revolutions, showed increasing signs of stress and weakness. Meanwhile, ideologies were being developed that offered a new world view that was quite different from the old one. In the Russian case, revolutionaries were actively working to undermine the old order. Then, when the old system was put under sufficient additional stress (by financial crisis in France, by military defeat in Russia) it was swept away by revolution. What we propose in something along the same lines.
182. It will be objected that the French and Russian Revolutions were failures. But most revolutions have two goals. One is to destroy an old form of society and the other is to set up the new form of society envisioned by the revolutionaries. The French and Russian revolutionaries failed (fortunately!) to create the new kind of society of which they dreamed, but they were quite successful in destroying the existing form of society.
183. But an ideology, in order to gain enthusiastic support, must have positive ideals as well as negative ones; it must be FOR something as well as AGAINST something. The positive ideal that we propose is Nature. That is, WILD nature; those aspects of the functioning of the Earth and its living things that are independent of human management and free of human interference and control. And with wild nature we include human nature, by which we mean those aspects of the functioning of the human individual that are not subject to regulation by organized society but are products of chance, or free will, or God (depending on your religious or philosophical opinions).
184. Nature makes a perfect counter-ideal to technology for several reasons. Nature (that which is outside the power of the system) is the opposite of technology (which seeks to expand indefinitely the power of the system). Most people will agree that nature is beautiful; certainly it has tremendous popular appeal. The radical environmentalists ALREADY hold an ideology that exalts nature and opposes technology.30 It is not necessary for the sake of nature to set up some chimerical utopia or any new kind of social order. Nature takes care of itself: It was a spontaneous creation that existed long before any human society, and for countless centuries many different kinds of human societies coexisted with nature without doing it an excessive amount of damage. Only with the Industrial Revolution did the effect of human society on nature become really devastating. To relieve the pressure on nature it is not necessary to create a special kind of social system, it is only necessary to get rid of industrial society. Granted, this will not solve all problems. Industrial society has already done tremendous damage to nature and it will take a very long time for the scars to heal. Besides, even pre-industrial societies can do significant damage to nature. Nevertheless, getting rid of industrial society will accomplish a great deal. It will relieve the worst of the pressure on nature so that the scars can begin to heal. It will remove the capacity of organized society to keep increasing its control over nature (including human nature).
Whatever kind of society may exist after the demise of the industrial system, it is certain that most people will live close to nature, because in the absence of advanced technology there is no other way that people CAN live. To feed themselves they must be peasants or herdsmen or fishermen or hunter, etc., And, generally speaking, local autonomy should tend to increase, because lack of advanced technology and rapid communications will limit the capacity of governments or other large organizations to control local communities.
30A further advantage of nature as a counter-ideal to technology is that, in many people, nature inspires the kind of reverence that is associated with religion, so that nature could perhaps be idealized on a religious basis. It is true that in many societies religion has served as a support and justification for the established order, but it is also true that religion has often provided a basis for rebellion. Thus it may be useful to introduce a religious element into the rebellion against technology, the more so because Western society today has no strong religious foundation.
Religion, nowadays either is used as cheap and transparent support for narrow, short-sighted selfishness (some conservatives use it this way), or even is cynically exploited to make easy money (by many evangelists), or has degenerated into crude irrationalism (fundamentalist Protestant sects, "cults"), or is simply stagnant (Catholicism, main-line Protestantism). The nearest thing to a strong, widespread, dynamic religion that the West has seen in recent times has been the quasi-religion of leftism, but leftism today is fragmented and has no clear, unified inspiring goal.
Thus there is a religious vacuum in our society that could perhaps be filled by a religion focused on nature in opposition to technology. But it would be a mistake to try to concoct artificially a religion to fill this role. Such an invented religion would probably be a failure. Take the "Gaia" religion for example. Do its adherents REALLY believe in it or are they just play-acting? If they are just play-acting their religion will be a flop in the end.
It is probably best not to try to introduce religion into the conflict of nature vs. technology unless you REALLY believe in that religion yourself and find that it arouses a deep, strong, genuine response in many other people.
185. As for the negative consequences of eliminating industrial society -- well, you can't eat your cake and have it too. To gain one thing you have to sacrifice another.
186. Most people hate psychological conflict. For this reason they avoid doing any serious thinking about difficult social issues, and they like to have such issues presented to them in simple, black-and-white terms: THIS is all good and THAT is all bad. The revolutionary ideology should therefore be developed on two levels.
187. On the more sophisticated level the ideology should address itself to people who are intelligent, thoughtful and rational. The object should be to create a core of people who will be opposed to the industrial system on a rational, thought-out basis, with full appreciation of the problems and ambiguities involved, and of the price that has to be paid for getting rid of the system. It is particularly important to attract people of this type, as they are capable people and will be instrumental in influencing others. These people should be addressed on as rational a level as possible. Facts should never intentionally be distorted and intemperate language should be avoided. This does not mean that no appeal can be made to the emotions, but in making such appeal care should be taken to avoid misrepresenting the truth or doing anything else that would destroy the intellectual respectability of the ideology.
188. On a second level, the ideology should be propagated in a simplified form that will enable the unthinking majority to see the conflict of technology vs. nature in unambiguous terms. But even on this second level the ideology should not be expressed in language that is so cheap, intemperate or irrational that it alienates people of the thoughtful and rational type. Cheap, intemperate propaganda sometimes achieves impressive short-term gains, but it will be more advantageous in the long run to keep the loyalty of a small number of intelligently committed people than to arouse the passions of an unthinking, fickle mob who will change their attitude as soon as someone comes along with a better propaganda gimmick. However, propaganda of the rabble-rousing type may be necessary when the system is nearing the point of collapse and there is a final struggle between rival ideologies to determine which will become dominant when the old world-view goes under.
189. Prior to that final struggle, the revolutionaries should not expect to have a majority of people on their side. History is made by active, determined minorities, not by the majority, which seldom has a clear and consistent idea of what it really wants. Until the time comes for the final push toward revolution31, the task of revolutionaries will be less to win the shallow support of the majority than to build a small core of deeply committed people. As for the majority, it will be enough to make them aware of the existence of the new ideology and remind them of it frequently; though of course it will be desirable to get majority support to the extent that this can be done without weakening the core of seriously committed people.
31Assuming that such a final push occurs.
Conceivably the industrial system might be eliminated in a somewhat gradual or piecemeal fashion. (see paragraphs 4 and 167).
190. Any kind of social conflict helps to destabilize the system, but one should be careful about what kind of conflict one encourages. The line of conflict should be drawn between the mass of the people and the power-holding elite of industrial society (politicians, scientists, upper-level business executives, government officials, etc..). It should NOT be drawn between the revolutionaries and the mass of the people. For example, it would be bad strategy for the revolutionaries to condemn Americans for their habits of consumption. Instead, the average American should be portrayed as a victim of the advertising and marketing industry, which has suckered him into buying a lot of junk that he doesn't need and that is very poor compensation for his lost freedom. Either approach is consistent with the facts. It is merely a matter of attitude whether you blame the advertising industry for manipulating the public or blame the public for allowing itself to be manipulated. As a matter of strategy one should generally avoid blaming the public.
191. One should think twice before encouraging any other social conflict than that between the power-holding elite (which wields technology) and the general public (over which technology exerts its power). For one thing, other conflicts tend to distract attention from the important conflicts (between power-elite and ordinary people, between technology and nature); for another thing, other conflicts may actually tend to encourage technologization, because each side in such a conflict wants to use technological power to gain advantages over its adversary. This is clearly seen in rivalries between nations. It also appears in ethnic conflicts within nations. For example, in America many black leaders are anxious to gain power for African Americans by placing back individuals in the technological power-elite. They want there to be many black government officials, scientists, corporation executives and so forth. In this way they are helping to absorb the African American subculture into the technological system. Generally speaking, one should encourage only those social conflicts that can be fitted into the framework of the conflicts of power--elite vs. ordinary people, technology vs nature.
192. But the way to discourage ethnic conflict is NOT through militant advocacy of minority rights (see paragraphs 21, 29). Instead, the revolutionaries should emphasize that although minorities do suffer more or less disadvantage, this disadvantage is of peripheral significance. Our real enemy is the industrial-technological system, and in the struggle against the system, ethnic distinctions are of no importance.
I saw only one owl this morning. During my prior two walks in the Estate I saw a pair of them. Got a picture of one each time but this morning the one was too far away and perched on a limb in deep shadows. I still hope to see the two of them together and get a picture but the chances are slim.
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It was a very warm 55° for a low this morning but I doubt that it will reach the 90° that the forecast has predicted. It will probably be another warm one however and with no breeze I'll have my A/C on again this afternoon.
That will require me to spend some couch time reading. Then Patches will go into her 'Let's go walk' routine. She has got in the habit of 'talking' to me in the afternoon now when she sees me strap on my GPS. Howling, barking, jumping up and down from the couch - VERY excited about going for her afternoon walk!
"Industrial Society and its Future" Continued.
193. The kind of revolution we have in mind will not necessarily involve an armed uprising against any government. It may or may not involve physical violence, but it will not be a POLITICAL revolution. Its focus will be on technology and economics, not politics.32
32It is even conceivable (remotely) that the revolution might consist only of a massive change of attitudes toward technology resulting in a relatively gradual and painless disintegration of the industrial system. But if this happens we'll be very lucky. It's far more probably that the transition to a nontechnological society will be very difficult and full of conflicts and disasters.
194. Probably the revolutionaries should even AVOID assuming political power, whether by legal or illegal means, until the industrial system is stressed to the danger point and has proved itself to be a failure in the eyes of most people. Suppose for example that some "green" party should win control of the United States Congress in an election. In order to avoid betraying or watering down their own ideology they would have to take vigorous measures to turn economic growth into economic shrinkage. To the average man the results would appear disastrous: There would be massive unemployment, shortages of commodities, etc. Even if the grosser ill effects could be avoided through superhumanly skillful management, still people would have to begin giving up the luxuries to which they have become addicted.
Dissatisfaction would grow, the "green" party would be voted out of office and the revolutionaries would have suffered a severe setback. For this reason the revolutionaries should not try to acquire political power until the system has gotten itself into such a mess that any hardships will be seen as resulting from the failures of the industrial system itself and not from the policies of the revolutionaries. The revolution against technology will probably have to be a revolution by outsiders, a revolution from below and not from above.
195. The revolution must be international and worldwide. It cannot be carried out on a nation-by-nation basis. Whenever it is suggested that the United States, for example, should cut back on technological progress or economic growth, people get hysterical and start screaming that if we fall behind in technology the Japanese will get ahead of us. Holy robots The world will fly off its orbit if the Japanese ever sell more cars than we do! (Nationalism is a great promoter of technology.) More reasonably, it is argued that if the relatively democratic nations of the world fall behind in technology while nasty, dictatorial nations like China, Vietnam and North Korea continue to progress, eventually the dictators may come to dominate the world. That is why the industrial system should be attacked in all nations simultaneously, to the extent that this may be possible. True, there is no assurance that the industrial system can be destroyed at approximately the same time all over the world, and it is even conceivable that the attempt to overthrow the system could lead instead to the domination of the system by dictators. That is a risk that has to be taken. And it is worth taking, since the difference between a "democratic" industrial system and one controlled by dictators is small compared with the difference between an industrial system and a non-industrial one.33 It might even be argued that an industrial system controlled by dictators would be preferable, because dictator-controlled systems usually have proved inefficient, hence they are presumably more likely to break down. Look at Cuba.
33The economic and technological structure of a society are far more important than its political structure in determining the way the average man lives (see paragraphs 95 and 119).
196. Revolutionaries might consider favoring measures that tend to bind the world economy into a unified whole. Free trade agreements like NAFTA and GATT are probably harmful to the environment in the short run. In the long run they may perhaps be advantageous because they foster economic interdependence between nations. It will be easier to destroy the industrial system on a worldwide basis if the world economy is so unified that its breakdown in any one major nation will lead to its breakdown in all industrialized nations.
197. Some people take the line that modern man has too much power, too much control over nature; they argue for a more passive attitude on the part of the human race. At best these people are expressing themselves unclearly, because they fail to distinguish between power for LARGE ORGANIZATIONS and power for INDIVIDUALS and SMALL GROUPS. It is a mistake to argue for powerlessness and passivity, because people NEED power. Modern man as a collective entity--that is, the industrial system--has immense power over nature, and we (FC) regard this as evil. But modern INDIVIDUALS and SMALL GROUPS OF INDIVIDUALS have far less power than primitive man ever did. Generally speaking, the vast power of "modern man" over nature is exercised not by individuals or small groups but by large organizations. To the extent that the average modern INDIVIDUAL can wield the power of technology, he is permitted to do so only within narrow limits and only under the supervision and control of the system. (You need a license for everything and with the license come rules and regulations). The individual has only those technological powers with which the system chooses to provide him. His PERSONAL power over nature is slight.
198. Primitive INDIVIDUALS and SMALL GROUPS actually had considerable power over nature; or maybe it would be better to say power WITHIN nature. When primitive man needed food he knew how to find and prepare edible roots, how to track game and take it with homemade weapons. He knew how to protect himself from heat, cold, rain, dangerous animals, etc. But primitive man did relatively little damage to nature because the COLLECTIVE power of primitive society was negligible compared to the COLLECTIVE power of industrial society.
199. Instead of arguing for powerlessness and passivity, one should argue that the power of the INDUSTRIAL SYSTEM should be broken, and that this will greatly INCREASE the power and freedom of INDIVIDUALS and SMALL GROUPS.
200. Until the industrial system has been thoroughly wrecked, the destruction of that system must be the revolutionaries' ONLY goal. Other goals would distract attention and energy from the main goal. More importantly, if the revolutionaries permit themselves to have any other goal than the destruction of technology, they will be tempted to use technology as a tool for reaching that other goal. If they give in to that temptation, they will fall right back into the technological trap, because modern technology is a unified, tightly organized system, so that, in order to retain SOME technology, one finds oneself obliged to retain MOST technology, hence one ends up sacrificing only token amounts of technology.
201. Suppose for example that the revolutionaries took "social justice" as a goal. Human nature being what it is, social justice would not come about spontaneously; it would have to be enforced. In order to enforce it the revolutionaries would have to retain central organization and control. For that they would need rapid long-distance transportation and communication, and therefore all the technology needed to support the transportation and communication systems. To feed and clothe poor people they would have to use agricultural and manufacturing technology. And so forth. So that the attempt to insure social justice would force them to retain most parts of the technological system. Not that we have anything against social justice, but it must not be allowed to interfere with the effort to get rid of the technological system.
202. It would be hopeless for revolutionaries to try to attack the system without using SOME modern technology. If nothing else they must use the communications media to spread their message. But they should use modern technology for only ONE purpose: to attack the technological system.
203. Imagine an alcoholic sitting with a barrel of wine in front of him. Suppose he starts saying to himself, "Wine isn't bad for you if used in moderation. Why, they say small amounts of wine are even good for you! It won't do me any harm if I take just one little drink..." Well you know what is going to happen. Never forget that the human race with technology is just like an alcoholic with a barrel of wine.
204. Revolutionaries should have as many children as they can. There is strong scientific evidence that social attitudes are to a significant extent inherited. No one suggests that a social attitude is a direct outcome of a person's genetic constitution, but it appears that personality traits tend, within the context of our society, to make a person more likely to hold this or that social attitude.
Objections to these findings have been raised, but objections are feeble and seem to be ideologically motivated. In any event, no one denies that children tend on the average to hold social attitudes similar to those of their parents. From our point of view it doesn't matter all that much whether the attitudes are passed on genetically or through childhood training. In either case the ARE passed on.
205. The trouble is that many of the people who are inclined to rebel against the industrial system are also concerned about the population problems, hence they are apt to have few or no children. In this way they may be handing the world over to the sort of people who support or at least accept the industrial system. To insure the strength of the next generation of revolutionaries the present generation must reproduce itself abundantly. In doing so they will be worsening the population problem only slightly. And the most important problem is to get rid of the industrial system, because once the industrial system is gone the world's population necessarily will decrease (see paragraph 167); whereas, if the industrial system survives, it will continue developing new techniques of food production that may enable the world's population to keep increasing almost indefinitely.
206. With regard to revolutionary strategy, the only points on which we absolutely insist are that the single overriding goal must be the elimination of modern technology, and that no other goal can be allowed to compete with this one. For the rest, revolutionaries should take an empirical approach. If experience indicates that some of the recommendations made in the foregoing paragraphs are not going to give good results, then those recommendations should be discarded.
The weather guessers have given up on their predicted 90° high temperatures after missing badly yesterday. The next 10 days are now expected to be in the lower 80s. This is good and the expected lows are to remain in the lower 50s. Perfect morning temperatures for our walks.
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I filled out an online Survey yesterday that is hosted by ISideWith.com and found that my positions matched those of Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Candidate for President in 2012, 89% of the time. Whereas I matched the positions of President Obama 21% of the time. If you want to see how you match up go to ISideWith.com and click on Quiz.
Yesterday afternoon when we did our walk Patches met a grandma walking with her very small (maybe 3-4 year old) granddaughter. The little girl wanted to pet Patches and Patches was all for that. I never know how Patches is going to react to 'little people' because she has barked at them on 2-3 occasions as if she did not like them very much.
The meeting with the little girl went well. Patches let her pet and beat on her as much as she cared to and then rewarded the girl with a big doggie kiss from chin to forehead.
"Industrial Society and its Future" Continued.
TWO KINDS OF TECHNOLOGY
207. An argument likely to be raised against our proposed revolution is that it is bound to fail, because (it is claimed) throughout history technology has always progressed, never regressed, hence technological regression is impossible. But this claim is false.
208. We distinguish between two kinds of technology, which we will call small-scale technology and organization-dependent technology. Small-scale technology is technology that can be used by small-scale communities without outside assistance. Organization-dependent technology is technology that depends on large-scale social organization. We are aware of no significant cases of regression in small-scale technology. But organization-dependent technology DOES regress when the social organization on which it depends breaks down. Example: When the Roman Empire fell apart the Romans' small-scale technology survived because any clever village craftsman could build, for instance, a water wheel, any skilled smith could make steel by Roman methods, and so forth. But the Romans' organization-dependent technology DID regress. Their aqueducts fell into disrepair and were never rebuilt. Their techniques of road construction were lost. The Roman system of urban sanitation was forgotten, so that until rather recent times did the sanitation of European cities equal that of Ancient Rome.
209. The reason why technology has seemed always to progress is that, until perhaps a century or two before the Industrial Revolution, most technology was small-scale technology. But most of the technology developed since the Industrial Revolution is organization-dependent technology. Take the refrigerator for example. Without factory-made parts or the facilities of a post-industrial machine shop it would be virtually impossible for a handful of local craftsmen to build a refrigerator. If by some miracle they did succeed in building one it would be useless to them without a reliable source of electric power. So they would have to dam a stream and build a generator. Generators require large amounts of copper wire. Imagine trying to make that wire without modern machinery. And where would they get a gas suitable for refrigeration? It would be much easier to build an icehouse or preserve food by drying or picking, as was done before the invention of the refrigerator.
210. So it is clear that if the industrial system were once thoroughly broken down, refrigeration technology would quickly be lost. The same is true of other organization-dependent technology. And once this technology had been lost for a generation or so it would take centuries to rebuild it, just as it took centuries to build it the first time around. Surviving technical books would be few and scattered. An industrial society, if built from scratch without outside help, can only be built in a series of stages: You need tools to make tools to make tools to make tools ... . A long process of economic development and progress in social organization is required. And, even in the absence of an ideology opposed to technology, there is no reason to believe that anyone would be interested in rebuilding industrial society. The enthusiasm for "progress" is a phenomenon particular to the modern form of society, and it seems not to have existed prior to the 17th century or thereabouts.
211. In the late Middle Ages there were four main civilizations that were about equally "advanced": Europe, the Islamic world, India, and the Far East (China, Japan, Korea). Three of those civilizations remained more or less stable, and only Europe became dynamic. No one knows why Europe became dynamic at that time; historians have their theories but these are only speculation. At any rate, it is clear that rapid development toward a technological form of society occurs only under special conditions. So there is no reason to assume that long-lasting technological regression cannot be brought about.
212. Would society EVENTUALLY develop again toward an industrial-technological form? Maybe, but there is no use in worrying about it, since we can't predict or control events 500 or 1,000 years in the future. Those problems must be dealt with by the people who will live at that time.
THE DANGER OF LEFTISM
213. Because of their need for rebellion and for membership in a movement, leftists or persons of similar psychological type are often unattracted to a rebellious or activist movement whose goals and membership are not initially leftist. The resulting influx of leftish types can easily turn a non-leftist movement into a leftist one, so that leftist goals replace or distort the original goals of the movement.
214. To avoid this, a movement that exalts nature and opposes technology must take a resolutely anti-leftist stance and must avoid all collaboration with leftists. Leftism is in the long run inconsistent with wild nature, with human freedom and with the elimination of modern technology. Leftism is collectivist; it seeks to bind together the entire world (both nature and the human race) into a unified whole. But this implies management of nature and of human life by organized society, and it requires advanced technology. You can't have a united world without rapid transportation and communication, you can't make all people love one another without sophisticated psychological techniques, you can't have a "planned society" without the necessary technological base. Above all, leftism is driven by the need for power, and the leftist seeks power on a collective basis, through identification with a mass movement or an organization. Leftism is unlikely ever to give up technology, because technology is too valuable a source of collective power.
215. The anarchist34 too seeks power, but he seeks it on an individual or small-group basis; he wants individuals and small groups to be able to control the circumstances of their own lives. He opposes technology because it makes small groups dependent on large organizations.
34This statement refers to our particular brand of anarchism. A wide variety of social attitudes have been called "anarchist," and it may be that many who consider themselves anarchists would not accept our statement of paragraph 215. It should be noted, by the way, that there is a nonviolent anarchist movement whose members probably would not accept FC as anarchist and certainly would not approve of FC's violent methods.
216. Some leftists may seem to oppose technology, but they will oppose it only so long as they are outsiders and the technological system is controlled by non-leftists. If leftism ever becomes dominant in society, so that the technological system becomes a tool in the hands of leftists, they will enthusiastically use it and promote its growth. In doing this they will be repeating a pattern that leftism has shown again and again in the past. When the Bolsheviks in Russia were outsiders, they vigorously opposed censorship and the secret police, they advocated self-determination for ethnic minorities, and so forth; but as soon as they came into power themselves, they imposed a tighter censorship and created a more ruthless secret police than any that had existed under the tsars, and they oppressed ethnic minorities at least as much as the tsars had done. In the United States, a couple of decades ago when leftists were a minority in our universities, leftist professors were vigorous proponents of academic freedom, but today, in those universities where leftists have become dominant, they have shown themselves ready to take away from everyone else's academic freedom. (This is "political correctness.") The same will happen with leftists and technology: They will use it to oppress everyone else if they ever get it under their own control.
217. In earlier revolutions, leftists of the most power-hungry type, repeatedly, have first cooperated with non-leftist revolutionaries, as well as with leftists of a more libertarian inclination, and later have double-crossed them to seize power for themselves. Robespierre did this in the French Revolution, the Bolsheviks did it in the Russian Revolution, the communists did it in Spain in 1938 and Castro and his followers did it in Cuba. Given the past history of leftism, it would be utterly foolish for non-leftist revolutionaries today to collaborate with leftists.
218. Various thinkers have pointed out that leftism is a kind of religion. Leftism is not a religion in the strict sense because leftist doctrine does not postulate the existence of any supernatural being. But for the leftist, leftism plays a psychological role much like that which religion plays for some people. The leftist NEEDS to believe in leftism; it plays a vital role in his psychological economy. His beliefs are not easily modified by logic or facts. He has a deep conviction that leftism is morally Right with a capital R, and that he has not only a right but a duty to impose leftist morality on everyone. (However, many of the people we are referring to as "leftists" do not think of themselves as leftists and would not describe their system of beliefs as leftism. We use the term "leftism" because we don't know of any better words to designate the spectrum of related creeds that includes the feminist, gay rights, political correctness, etc., movements, and because these movements have a strong affinity with the old left. See paragraphs 227-230.)
219. Leftism is totalitarian force. Wherever leftism is in a position of power it tends to invade every private corner and force every thought into a leftist mold. In part this is because of the quasi-religious character of leftism; everything contrary to leftists beliefs represents Sin. More importantly, leftism is a totalitarian force because of the leftists' drive for power. The leftist seeks to satisfy his need for power through identification with a social movement and he tries to go through the power process by helping to pursue and attain the goals of the movement (see paragraph 83). But no matter how far the movement has gone in attaining its goals the leftist is never satisfied, because his activism is a surrogate activity (see paragraph 41). That is, the leftist's real motive is not to attain the ostensible goals of leftism; in reality he is motivated by the sense of power he gets from struggling for and then reaching a social goal.35
Consequently the leftist is never satisfied with the goals he has already attained; his need for the power process leads him always to pursue some new goal. The leftist wants equal opportunities for minorities. When that is attained he insists on statistical equality of achievement by minorities. And as long as anyone harbors in some corner of his mind a negative attitude toward some minority, the leftist has to re-educated him. And ethnic minorities are not enough; no one can be allowed to have a negative attitude toward homosexuals, disabled people, fat people, old people, ugly people, and on and on and on. It's not enough that the public should be informed about the hazards of smoking; a warning has to be stamped on every package of cigarettes. Then cigarette advertising has to be restricted if not banned. The activists will never be satisfied until tobacco is outlawed, and after that it will be alcohol then junk food, etc. Activists have fought gross child abuse, which is reasonable. But now they want to stop all spanking. When they have done that they will want to ban something else they consider unwholesome, then another thing and then another. They will never be satisfied until they have complete control over all child rearing practices. And then they will move on to another cause.
35Many leftists are motivated also by hostility, but the hostility probably results in part from a frustrated need for power.
Read Will Rogers column 88 years ago: July 12, 1925
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Finished The Quiet Game by Greg Iles for the second time yesterday. That gave me 9 books that I needed to trade to re-stock my library. Fortunately, the Gunnison Library had a Free rack of paperbacks that I could have simply taken what I wanted but I traded them straight up for the 9 that I had read. I now have a full dozen of unread books in my library which might last me for 3-4 months.
As soon as we finished our walk in the Estate this morning (without seeing any owls) I feed Patches breakfast and we headed to town. I went to The Ol' Miner to get my breakfast which was a nice big build-it-yourself omelet - I got sausage, spinach and mushrooms. It came with a generous serving of hash browns and the two slices of toast that I consider normal (W Café gives you one slice).
I then waited for about an hour for a barber shop that had been recommended to open. Was just about to walk off and find one that was open for business when the selected one finally opened late. I think it was the most expensive haircut that I have ever paid for and was certainly nothing special. Tourist pricing again I guess.
Then on the way home I stopped at a pet store to see if they had Canidae Pure Element which I am feeding to Patches. I was guessing that they would not have any but they are ordering it for me and I'll pick it up in a week or so.
That pretty much wrapped up the day. By the time I got home it was hot and humid so the A/C came on before noon today. The high is only forecast to be 79° but it felt so much hotter in Desperado, perhaps because I was cooking.
"Industrial Society and its Future" Continued.
THE DANGER OF LEFTISM Continued
220. Suppose you asked leftists to make a list of ALL the things that were wrong with society, and then suppose you instituted EVERY social change that they demanded. It is safe to say that within a couple of years the majority of leftists would find something new to complain about, some new social "evil" to correct because, once again, the leftist is motivated less by distress at society's ills than by the need to satisfy his drive for power by imposing his solutions on society.
221. Because of the restrictions placed on their thoughts and behavior by their high level of socialization, many leftists of the over-socialized type cannot pursue power in the ways that other people do. For them the drive for power has only one morally acceptable outlet, and that is in the struggle to impose their morality on everyone.
222. Leftists, especially those of the oversocialized type, are True Believers in the sense of Eric Hoffer's book, "The True Believer." But not all True Believers are of the same psychological type as leftists. Presumably a truebelieving nazi, for instance is very different psychologically from a truebelieving leftist. Because of their capacity for single-minded devotion to a cause, True Believers are a useful, perhaps a necessary, ingredient of any revolutionary movement.
This presents a problem with which we must admit we don't know how to deal. We aren't sure how to harness the energies of the True Believer to a revolution against technology. At present all we can say is that no True Believer will make a safe recruit to the revolution unless his commitment is exclusively to the destruction of technology. If he is committed also to another ideal, he may want to use technology as a tool for pursuing that other ideal (see paragraphs 220, 221)
223. Some readers may say, "This stuff about leftism is a lot of crap. I know John and Jane who are leftish types and they don't have all these totalitarian tendencies." It's quite true that many leftists, possibly even a numerical majority, are decent people who sincerely believe in tolerating others' values (up to a point) and wouldn't want to use high-handed methods to reach their social goals. Our remarks about leftism are not meant to apply to every individual leftist but to describe the general character of leftism as a movement. And the general character of a movement is not necessarily determined by the numerical proportions of the various kinds of people involved in the movement.
224. The people who rise to positions of power in leftist movements tend to be leftists of the most power-hungry type because power-hungry people are those who strive hardest to get into positions of power. Once the power-hungry types have captured control of the movement, there are many leftists of a gentler breed who inwardly disapprove of many of the actions of the leaders, but cannot bring themselves to oppose them. They NEED their faith in the movement, and because they cannot give up this faith they go along with the leaders. True, SOME leftists do have the guts to oppose the totalitarian tendencies that emerge, but they generally lose, because the power-hungry types are better organized, are more ruthless and Machiavellian and have taken care to build themselves a strong power base.
225. These phenomena appeared clearly in Russia and other countries that were taken over by leftists. Similarly, before the breakdown of communism in the USSR, leftish types in the West would seldom criticize that country. If prodded they would admit that the USSR did many wrong things, but then they would try to find excuses for the communists and begin talking about the faults of the West. They always opposed Western military resistance to communist aggression. Leftish types all over the world vigorously protested the U.S. military action in Vietnam, but when the USSR invaded Afghanistan they did nothing. Not that they approved of the Soviet actions; but because of their leftist faith, they just couldn't bear to put themselves in opposition to communism. Today, in those of our universities where "political correctness" has become dominant, there are probably many leftish types who privately disapprove of the suppression of academic freedom, but they go along with it anyway.
226. Thus the fact that many individual leftists are personally mild and fairly tolerant people by no means prevents leftism as a whole form having a totalitarian tendency.
227. Our discussion of leftism has a serious weakness. It is still far from clear what we mean by the word "leftist." There doesn't seem to be much we can do about this. Today leftism is fragmented into a whole spectrum of activist movements. Yet not all activist movements are leftist, and some activist movements (e.g.., radical environmentalism) seem to include both personalities of the leftist type and personalities of thoroughly un-leftist types who ought to know better than to collaborate with leftists. Varieties of leftists fade out gradually into varieties of non-leftists and we ourselves would often be hard-pressed to decide whether a given individual is or is not a leftist. To the extent that it is defined at all, our conception of leftism is defined by the discussion of it that we have given in this article, and we can only advise the reader to use his own judgment in deciding who is a leftist.
228. But it will be helpful to list some criteria for diagnosing leftism. These criteria cannot be applied in a cut and dried manner.
Some individuals may meet some of the criteria without being leftists, some leftists may not meet any of the criteria. Again, you just have to use your judgment.
229. The leftist is oriented toward large scale collectivism. He emphasizes the duty of the individual to serve society and the duty of society to take care of the individual. He has a negative attitude toward individualism. He often takes a moralistic tone. He tends to be for gun control, for sex education and other psychologically "enlightened" educational methods, for planning, for affirmative action, for multiculturalism. He tends to identify with victims. He tends to be against competition and against violence, but he often finds excuses for those leftists who do commit violence. He is fond of using the common catch-phrases of the left like "racism", "sexism", "homophobia", "capitalism", "imperialism", "neocolonialism", "genocide", "social change", "social justice", "social responsibility". Maybe the best diagnostic trait of the leftist is his tendency to sympathize with the following movements: feminism, gay rights, ethnic rights, disability rights, animal rights, political correctness. Anyone who strongly sympathizes with ALL of these movements is almost certainly a leftist.36
36It is important to understand that we mean someone who sympathizes with these MOVEMENTS as they exist today in our society. One who believes that women, homosexuals, etc., should have equal rights is not necessarily a leftist. The feminist, gay rights, etc., movements that exist in our society have the particular ideological tone that characterizes leftism, and if one believes, for example, that women should have equal rights it does not necessarily follow that one must sympathize with the feminist movement as it exists today.
230. The more dangerous leftists, that is, those who are most power-hungry, are often characterized by arrogance or by a dogmatic approach to ideology. However, the most dangerous leftists of all may be certain oversocialized types who avoid irritating displays of aggressiveness and refrain from advertising their leftism, but work quietly and unobtrusively to promote collectivist values, "enlightened" psychological techniques for socializing children, dependence of the individual on the system, and so forth. These crypto-leftists (as we may call them) approximate certain bourgeois types as far as practical action is concerned, but differ from them in psychology, ideology and motivation. The ordinary bourgeois tries to bring people under control of the system in order to protect his way of life, or he does so simply because his attitudes are conventional.
The crypto-leftist tries to bring people under control of the system because he is a True Believer in a collectivistic ideology. The crypto-leftist is differentiated from the average leftist of the oversocialized type by the fact that his rebellious impulse is weaker and he is more securely socialized. He is differentiated from the ordinary well-socialized bourgeois by the fact that there is some deep lack within him that makes it necessary for him to devote himself to a cause and immerse himself in a collectivity. And maybe his (well-sublimated) drive for power is stronger than that of the average bourgeois.
231. Throughout this article we've made imprecise statements and statements that ought to have had all sorts of qualifications and reservations attached to them; and some of our statements may be flatly false. Lack of sufficient information and the need for brevity made it impossible for us to fomulate our assertions more precisely or add all the necessary qualifications. And of course in a discussion of this kind one must rely heavily on intuitive judgment, and that can sometimes be wrong. So we don't claim that this article expresses more than a crude approximation to the truth.
232. All the same we are reasonably confident that the general outlines of the picture we have painted here are roughly correct. We have portrayed leftism in its modern form as a phenomenon peculiar to our time and as a symptom of the disruption of the power process. But we might possibly be wrong about this. Oversocialized types who try to satisfy their drive for power by imposing their morality on everyone have certainly been around for a long time. But we THINK that the decisive role played by feelings of inferiority, low self-esteem, powerlessness, identification with victims by people who are not themselves victims, is a peculiarity of modern leftism. Identification with victims by people not themselves victims can be seen to some extent in 19th century leftism and early Christianity but as far as we can make out, symptoms of low self-esteem, etc., were not nearly so evident in these movements, or in any other movements, as they are in modern leftism. But we are not in a position to assert confidently that no such movements have existed prior to modern leftism. This is a significant question to which historians ought to give their attention.
We got a good hard rain yesterday afternoon. There was a small lake in front of Desperado that then emptied out via a small stream by the time the rain stopped. The official measurement was 0.04" but we had a lot more than that here. We might get some more today with thunderstorms in the forecast and a 50% chance of more rain.
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These are the two best pictures that I have of the two owls. The others that I took were even worse than these two. Very poor focus for reasons that I don't understand. It is quite obvious that the camera and I don't see eye to eye yet. Seeing these makes me think that NOT having a camera was probably a better idea than spending my money on something that I can not use.
As I said at the beginning of the serialization of "Industrial Society and its Future" it was published in 1995. If you read it over the past few days you would have recognized that many of the observations have become a reality in only 18 years. The author claimed that it would take 40 to 100 years for the total elimination of the existing Industrial-Technological System. Upon its elimination society would move back to smaller organizations and groups that existed before the Industrial Revolution.
This view of the world is shared by a number of people now that believe the failure of the Industrial-Technological System will come about even sooner than the next 20 - 80 years.
James Howard Kunstler believes that Japan will be the first advanced industrial nation to "go medieval." He has also said: "At the heart of the matter is this. Industrialism is an entropic project. It accelerates and intensifies entropy, which is to say the drive toward disorder and death."
Nicole Foss at The Automatic Earth has written many articles on the same subject. She also has guest bloggers that express many of the same thoughts and ideas. None of them think that the existing Industrial-Technological System will last through the end of this century.
I woke up to the sound of rain again this morning around 4:00. Went back to sleep and then could hear it still either raining or dripping from the trees when I woke again at 5:00. By the time we got up and started a short walk there was only some dripping and wet ground. The official measurement was another 0.04" but this one was nothing like the previous rain that we had at the Park.
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Boonie of Occupation of Independence came by at 6:30 and picked us up to go do a walk near his boondock camp outside of Gunnison. The walk was designated a Rage in the Sage but was much tamer than that sounds. We started at a little over 8,000' and followed a sometimes muddy two track road up along a ridge to a little over 9,000' while Patches and Coffee Girl ran through the sage.
From that high point we had a great view of the Gunnison valley to the north and across the valley to the west. I could look down and see the well forested area where Desperado was but all the RV Park was hidden under the canopy of trees.
When we finished our walk it was time to go to town where we had breakfast at The Bean Coffee House on their outside patio. This was also a pleasant place to talk about what had been happening in our lives since we last had the the dogs run together in Yuma. Patches was very excited before the run but finally wore off most of her exuberance and was able to settle down on the patio like the Good Girl she sometimes can be.
Nothing happening for the rest of the day except read my Daily blogs and my most recent paperback. Some rest time on the couch with Patches since she had her good run this morning she has been rather mellow here at home.
I woke up to the sound of rain yesterday morning and then went to sleep to the sound last night. It didn't sound like a very hard rain and when I rolled over onto my good ear I could hear nothing; the official measurement was 0.02". The weather guessers think we will have more thunderstorms today with a 60% chance of more rain. The way it looks this morning I tend to agree.
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There were a lot of people leave the Park today. My close by neighbor was among them. I can now only hope that I get some time without another one. I have been lucky so far that both of the couples that have been so close to me have been very quiet.
I did very little today which is normal for me. I finished getting the Will Rogers weekly article links ready for August. Will finish the latest mystery that I have been reading - maybe. Those two things plus my usual daily routine have filled my day.
James Howard Kunstler is slightly to the right of Karl Marx with Fred Reed slightly to the left of Attila The Hun. However, they come together when discussing the origins of the failure for the African-American/Black/Negro to assimilate into American society. They also come together when analyzing the Zimmerman-Martin trial, as JHK says in his latest posting: What we “learned” from the Trayvon Martin case, so far, is exactly nothing.
I disagree with that statement and tend to side with the opinion expressed in Obama's mistake on Trayvon Martin case by Abigail Thernstrom written for CNN. She says the following in part which I think shows that she has "learned" something and both Kunstler and Reed would probably agree.
Every American can make their own judgment about whether justice was served by the verdict in the George Zimmerman murder trial but one thing we should all recognize: President Obama's interference in a local law enforcement matter was unprecedented and inappropriate, and he comes away from the case looking badly tarnished by his poor judgment.Roger L Simon expressed almost identical thoughts in his article Obama Big Loser in Zimmerman Trial. Please remember that this was the Presidential Candidate in 2008 that was going to bring the American people together and peace to the peoples of the world.
"If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon," the president said when asked about the case in the Rose Garden on March 23, 2012, after many had called for Zimmerman's arrest but several weeks before he was charged...The president's remarks created a clear impression that he was motivated by one of two factors, and we can only guess as to which, or what combination of the two, was at work here. One possibility is that this is merely another manifestation of the president's well-known narcissism: No matter what the situation may be, it's all about him.
The other, more troubling possibility is that the president surrendered to his political instincts. He wants disadvantaged Americans to believe that he and his family are one of them -- despite their life of unparalleled privilege -- and he wanted the prosecutors, judge and jury to believe that this was a case about race where justice demanded a guilty verdict.
If that was his motivation -- and we cannot know, but reasonable people certainly may suspect -- then Obama should be ashamed of his effort to stir America's turbulent, dangerous racial waters.
By injecting himself in a minor Florida criminal case by implying Martin could be his son, the president of the United States — a onetime law lecturer, of all things — disgraced himself and his office, made a mockery of our legal system and exacerbated racial tensions in our country, making them worse than they have been in years. This is the work of a reactionary, someone who consciously/unconsciously wants to push our nation back to the 1950s.
It is also the work of a narcissist who thinks of himself first, of his image, not of black, white or any other kind of people. It’s no accident that race relations in our country have gone backwards during his stewardship.
We had some more rain yesterday afternoon and early evening. Patches and I got out in between the showers for our afternoon walk, lucky once again. The official measurement was 0.01" of rain but I think we had slightly more than that here at the Park. There is a chance of thunderstorms and rain everyday in the 10 day forecast which is fine because it keeps the high temperatures down in the 70s. Very nice weather!
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On our walk in the Estate this morning I saw two bucks and two does. Tried to get some pictures of them but they were a little far away, in the trees and heavy shadows. I don't hold out much hope that I got any very good pictures but will take a look, edit and post if they show anything at all. Not today - maybe in a day or two.
We went to town as soon as Patches finished her breakfast. That allowed me to go to the W Café again for mine where I had their Daily Special - an omelet with spinach, mushrooms and feta cheese. This was better than the Hash that I had the first time that I went there so I'll be back again.
Stopped at City Market to load up with groceries then across the street to Mountain Mutts to see if Patches' dog food had come in. Not yet, I'll get it next week. On the way back into my space at the Park I stopped at the dump station and took care of that chore. Will take on fresh water at my site sometime in the next day or two. Didn't need to dump today but would probably have had to before I left for town again so today was a good time.
I did finish the mystery novel that I had been reading. It was entertaining, written by Karen Robards that has a number of other books in print that I may pick up if I see one. However, if I have a choice I'll get an Elizabeth George, Tami Hoag or a J. A Jance mystery first.
I woke up around 5:00 and then looked at my watch again at 5:15. The next time I looked at my watch it was 5:45 and I was scrambling out of bed asking Patches why we were not up. She must have been as tired as I to have let me sleep so late. Therefore, I declared it a rest day and decided we would do a 2 mile out and back morning walk. Maybe a longer afternoon walk IF we are in the mood.
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I been having problems with My Yahoo!, Yahoo Mail, Yahoo Finance, Yahoo Search and everything else connected to Yahoo for the past couple of days. That usually means that they are busily "improving" something again. When the programmers go to work improving some one thing then everything get screwed up with the one thing that they are "improving' being the worst.
No thunderstorm nor rain yesterday. The forecasters have now backed off their prediction of thunderstorms every day over the next 10 days. They have increased the probability that we will get one during the next 3 days to 40% however. No storm means higher temperatures so we are back into the low 80s.
Did a lot of nothing after we got back from our morning walk. A little bank statement balancing and bill paying was the excitement - I not only have checks left but there is money in the account.
WOW, it is time for those songs again; the Dow Jones Index and the S&P 500 Index have both set new all time records. We'er In the Money, sing it! Now sing along with me
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Happy Days Are Here Again
So long sad times, go long bad times
We are rid of you at last
Howdy gay times, cloudy gray times
You are now a thing of the past
Happy days are here again
The skies above are clear again
So let’s sing a song of cheer again
Happy days are here again
Altogether, shout it now, there’s no one
Who can doubt it now
So let’s tell the world about it now
Happy days are here again
Your cares and troubles are gone
There’ll be no more from now on, from now on
Happy days are here again
The skies above are clear again
So let’s sing a song of cheer again
Happy times, happy nights
Happy days are here again!
We are rid of you at last
Howdy gay times, cloudy gray times
You are now a thing of the past
Happy days are here again
The skies above are clear again
So let’s sing a song of cheer again
Happy days are here again
Altogether, shout it now, there’s no one
Who can doubt it now
So let’s tell the world about it now
Happy days are here again
Your cares and troubles are gone
There’ll be no more from now on, from now on
Happy days are here again
The skies above are clear again
So let’s sing a song of cheer again
Happy times, happy nights
Happy days are here again!
Oh, Boy! That Wealth Effect is really going to kick in now. People will be rushing out to buy more new cars and new homes. The New Economy will begin firing on all cylinders. Those evil companies that haven't been creating new jobs will see the errors of their ways and the US will be at full employment by election day in 2014. What A Wonderful World, sing it!
Patches and I got back on track again this morning. We were up at our usual time and did the long morning walk to the Espresso shop and back. She was even 'talking' to me this morning about how great it was. She usually doesn't do that until in the afternoon when she has a LOT to say.
There was a lot of radiation fog hovering over the lower grass fields west of CO135 this morning. It always looks like the ground is steaming with the vapors rising up. I think the temperature was right around 48° which was the dew point this morning per the official weather gurus. No rain again yesterday but the chances have been raised once again to 50% for today.
Read Will Rogers column 88 years ago: July 19, 1925
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There was what looked like a big thunderstorm coming in from the south yesterday afternoon. Thought Patches and I were going to get soaked before we got back home but just a few sprinkles which she dearly loves. The storm then never made it this far north. The official high yesterday was 81° but it didn't feel that hot because of cloud cover and a good breeze. The weather guessers are sticking with their 50% chance of rain again today so it should be a very similar kind of day.
I saw a herd of 4 deer, two does and two small bucks, a few days ago and tried to get some pictures. Had slightly better luck than I did with the owls but they were not very close and were in the dark of early morning light under a lot of trees.
I didn't think any of those pictures were very good and hoped to see the deer again today. Had a good photo opportunity of a doe this morning but she spooked and bounded away before I could get the picture. Then I came upon a bigger buck that I had never seen before that was with one of the small bucks. The smaller one also trotted off but the bigger buck stood his ground and even let me approach closer.
I am still having a problem getting good focused pictures but did a little better than what I did with the owls. Barney at Old Fat Man Adventures sent me an email suggestion that has helped - I think.
I had the thought that a point-n-shoot camera could take a picture if you pointed it and pressed the button. However, I had read the instructions about pressing down on the button part way and then again to take the picture. Barney thought I was not waiting long enough for the camera to focus when the button was pressed part way so I tried to wait and did a little better - still not so good.
This is the best of the bunch after cropping and editing. Didn't get a decent picture of all four in the herd but the big buck is not too bad and the END shots are fair.
I filled my fresh water tank today with the intent of not filling it again until after I have left Gunnison. I usually travel with a 3/4 full fresh water tank but have some serious mountain passes to climb when I leave here so will do them with less water/weight.
Yesterday was a repeat of the day before with the exception of the sprinkles. We didn't even get those although it again looked like a big storm was coming in. The chances of rain today have been cut way back and then for the next 3 days it is to be very hot (88°) with almost no chance of rain per the weather guessers. I have my doubts that it will get that hot and it would not surprise me if it rained.
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I had a couple of families camped behind me for the past few days. One was in a travel trailer and the other in one of the Park cabins. They were not excessively noisy just the typical Americans that can not speak at a reasonable volume; seem to have a compulsion for EVERYONE to hear what they have to say. I'm glad that they left this morning. I'm also glad that my neighbors have all been atypical.
Most of my day has been devoted to daily routine. I did spend some time changing settings on my camera. One of the suggested settings I can not find as described in the Operating Manual nor by a screen shot that Barney provided to help me. As I said before I have a Manual for a model other than the one I have in my hand. The Manual tells me to click on certain icons and I will see options that do not exist when I do click on the described icon.
I am not one that ever took a lot of pictures and have not missed having a camera for the past 3+ years. I thought about getting another one for a long time and had 3-4 on my Amazon wish list. I'm now SO glad that I avoided the more expensive ones that I had considered. I'm angry that I can not operate this cheaper model that I did buy, I would be tearing my hair angry if I had spent 3-4x times as much and had the same problems and results.
I saw more deer in the Estates this morning. The two bucks were close to the entrance and let me get reasonably close to them. The doe when first sighted was in the trees and trotted off but I then found her again in a open grassy area grazing.
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The picture of the two bucks is the best of those that I got of them before they spooked. This setting information is to remind me what the settings were when I took the picture. No zoom, ISO 400, resolution M2, shooting mode AUTO.
The picture of the doe was taken after I tried to change settings while out in the field. I have trouble enough doing it while sitting in my comfortable chair in Desperado. I did make changes but also screwed up something and had no LED screen so I could not see the focus indicator nor any setting information. Took pictures anyway and later found out that these were the settings. Zoomed, ISO 400, resolution M2, shooting mode P.
The picture were then cropped and edited in Picasa. The crop in both cases was the left one offered by Picasa. The editing was done to make the pictures appear as I saw them; as best as I could remember. I also got a low battery warning today which had me confused. I'm not happy with how long these batteries have lasted, will buy some more tomorrow and see what kind of life I get from them.
Over the past few days I have become current with reading my Monthly blog list once again. Then today I finished Escape by Robert K. Tanenbaum a suspense/thriller story concurrent with a court room drama. It was entertaining but I will not go out of my way searching for another one of his books but will give him another try if I should see one during one of my trades.
Patches and I changed our routine a little this morning. I took her out for a short potty walk and then we went to town. I parked near the junction of US50 and CO135 and we then walked along the south, east and north perimeters of Western State Colorado University.
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This led us back to CO135 just north of the Espresso shop where we stopped and I had a cup. Patches sat patiently waiting for me and received a couple of pettings by strangers that were brave enough to approach her. She was a VERY good girl and accepted the affection with gratitude.
Completed the loop back to Desperado where I feed Patches her breakfast. I then went to the Ol' Miner restaurant where I got their Quiche of the Day with hash browns which were not very good. I'll be going back to the W Café next week. I think it is the go to restaurant in town for an early breakfast.
Did my grocery shopping at City Market again which is my preferred market in town. Then across the street to pick up dog food for Patches. Alas, after waiting 15 minutes for them to open I found out that the order was not filled because the supplier was out of stock. They will re-order today and hopefully I'll pick up some food for Patches next week.
The high yesterday was the first of 3 days forecast to be 88°. The weather experts have revised today down to 86° after seeing yesterday reach only 84 but they are sticking with 88 for tomorrow. Still almost no chance of rain as they see it, I'm not convinced.
This excerpt from Requiem for Detroit by James Howard Kunstler supports the ideas expressed in Industrial Society and its Future. His naming Detroit as being only the first to fall is supported by a number of analyst that find 15 other 'great' American cities face a similar end.
It’s fitting that Detroit is the first great American city to officially bite the dust, because it produced the means of America’s suicidal destruction: the automobile. Of course you could argue that the motorcar was an inevitable product of the industrial era — and I would not bother to enlist a mob of post-doc philosophy professors to debate that — but the choices we made about what to do with the automobile is another matter. What we chose was to let our great cities go to hell and move outside them in a car-dependent utopia tricked out as a simulacrum of “country living.” The entire experiment of suburbia can, of course, be construed as historically inevitable, too, but is also destined to be abandoned — and sooner than most Americans realize.
Finally, what we’ll be left with is a tremendous continental-sized vista of waste and desolation, the end product of this technological thrill ride called Modernity. It’s hard to find redemption in this story, unless it’s a world made by hand, with all its implications for a return to human-ness.
The high yesterday was down a little to 82° but the forecast for today remains at 88. The weather experts stick to their predictions even in the face of reality. They do back off of these high 80s for the next 10 day forecast however with their guesses in the low 80s and high 70s. It felt down right cold this morning while on our walk and after I got back I found out that it had been 42°. That doesn't keep them from forecasting the lows to be in the low 50s.
Tall Texan RV Park
When I went to the Park office this morning to beg some coffee I asked about the trees here in the Park. They have made a mess of Desperado with their dripping sap. I wanted to know what kind of tree they were and how to get the sap off. I was told that they are Mountain Cottonwood and it will wash off with soap and water but there is some disagreement about the washing part.
When I did a Web search I couldn't find a Mountain Cottonwood that looked like what we have here. But I then found that the Narrowleaf Cottonwood (Populus angustifolia) is also called the Mountain Cottonwood. It is nothing like the Cottonwood trees that I grew up with in Arizona.
I went on the Web to see if there were any mobile car wash services at my next camp and could not find any. I guess I'll see what is available after I get there. I need someone to wash it for me, I'm just not able to get this mess cleaned up by myself. A simple hosing and wipe down I might be able to handle but not the scrubbing that this is going to require.
These paragraphs have been taken from Statism is turning America into Detroit – Ayn Rand's Starnesville come to life by Daniel Hannan for The Telegraph of London. It is only a coincidence that Nineteen Eighty Four and Atlas Shrugged have become prognosticative at this time in American history. They were written as fiction yet it seems that fiction is becoming reality; did the authors 'know' something or just lucky guesses?
Look at this description of Detroit from today’s Observer:Now have a look at the uncannily prophetic description of Starnesville, a Mid-Western town in Ayn Rand’s dystopian novel, Atlas Shrugged. Starnesville had been home to the great Twentieth Century Motor Company, but declined as a result of socialism:
What isn’t dumped is stolen. Factories and homes have largely been stripped of anything of value, so thieves now target cars’ catalytic converters. Illiteracy runs at around 47%; half the adults in some areas are unemployed. In many neighbourhoods, the only sign of activity is a slow trudge to the liquor store.
A few houses still stood within the skeleton of what had once been an industrial town. Everything that could move, had moved away; but some human beings had remained. The empty structures were vertical rubble; they had been eaten, not by time, but by men: boards torn out at random, missing patches of roofs, holes left in gutted cellars. It looked as if blind hands had seized whatever fitted the need of the moment, with no concept of remaining in existence the next morning. The inhabited houses were scattered at random among the ruins; the smoke of their chimneys was the only movement visible in town. A shell of concrete, which had been a schoolhouse, stood on the outskirts; it looked like a skull, with the empty sockets of glassless windows, with a few strands of hair still clinging to it, in the shape of broken wires.Now here’s the really extraordinary thing. When Ayn Rand published those words in 1957, Detroit was, on most measures, the city with the highest per capita GDP in the United States.
Beyond the town, on a distant hill, stood the factory of the Twentieth Century Motor Company. Its walls, roof lines and smokestacks looked trim, impregnable like a fortress. It would have seemed intact but for a silver water tank: the water tank was tipped sidewise.
They saw no trace of a road to the factory in the tangled miles of trees and hillsides. They drove to the door of the first house in sight that showed a feeble signal of rising smoke. The door was open. An old woman came shuffling out at the sound of the motor. She was bent and swollen, barefooted, dressed in a garment of flour sacking. She looked at the car without astonishment, without curiosity; it was the blank stare of a being who had lost the capacity to feel anything but exhaustion.
“Can you tell me the way to the factory?” asked Rearden.
The woman did not answer at once; she looked as if she would be unable to speak English. “What factory?” she asked.
Rearden pointed. “That one.”
I think it was 4 days ago when I wrote that the weather guessers were forecasting the next 3 days to all be a high of 88° with almost no chance of rain. I said at that time that it would not get that hot and wouldn't be surprised if it rained. Well, the highest temperature that we have had was 86, which happened yesterday, and although there was no official rain measured I did get enough to dampen the ground here. That would be a trace of rain but rain none the less.
Tall Texan RV Park
The forecast for the rest of the time that I am here is for high 70s with 2 days in the low 80s. That is the good news, the bad news is that I'll be moving down in elevation and into higher temperatures. That will only be for a couple of weeks and I then should move on to temperatures similar to what I been having here. I hope!
I woke up this morning with the feeling that I did NOT want to walk. I knew that Patches would not settle for that so we did 1.5 miles rather than the 4.5 my routine would have required. I think we both needed the shorter day. I know that I did and Patches went back to bed after her breakfast so that tells me she needed some rest also.
A lazy day. A lot of reading while on the couch. A mostly overcast day with a 40% chance of rain and very cool, I had my windows closed for most of the day.
I have reported on hammer deaths in the past and expressed my dismay that liberals have not called for a ban on hammers, or at the very least making owners register them, as they have guns. Here again we have a hammer attack, this one occurring in the 'nanny city' of New York where the mayor wants to protect everyone from everything but has done nothing about hammers.
Two men were attacked blocks apart in Harlem early yesterday by a hammer-wielding gang of thugs, police sources said.I am only guessing at this based on the names of the victims but I would say they were White or the New York Times new race designation White-Hispanic. If they had been Black and the gang of thugs had been White or White-Hispanic then I'm sure the motive would be known (this story was from The New York Post).
The first victim of the seemingly random violence, Timmie Sampson, 31, was hit in the head with a hammer outside 1370 Fifth Ave., at East 115th Street, at about 12:45 a.m.
Sources said he was set upon by a gang of five or six black males wearing white T-shirts, and that at least one of the goons struck him over the head with a hammer...
At about 1:05 a.m., Daniel Legette, 24, was hit in the head with a hammer a few blocks away on Lenox Avenue and West 110th Street, sources said...
It does not appear the attackers knew their victims, and the motive remains unknown, the sources said.
Patches and I did a short potty walk yesterday afternoon which gave us one of our shortest walking total for the day in a long time. But we were back at it this morning with our long walk to the Espresso shop and back. Patches has been given a treat there the past couple of times we have gone so she is eager to go back.
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I woke at around 4:00 this morning to the sound of rain on the roof. Listened to it for a little while and it sounded like it might continue so I rolled over onto my 'good' ear and went back to sleep. The official measurement was 0.03" but it was enough to muddy up the streets and walking trail. Patches needs mud flaps, she gets her fenders and under carriage all covered with mud or dirty water but could care less. A tired dog is a happy dog, a tired and dirty dog is a happy-happy dog.
I finished The Lion by Nelson DeMille yesterday and enjoyed it as I have all of his novels. This is one in his John Corey Series and the second one of the six that I have read. I think the first book of his that I read was Wild Fire which is a John Corey and Kate Mayfield thriller as was The Lion. John has a healthy disrespect for authority, a dry and engaging wit and his banter with wife Kate provides the comedic relief in some lurid thrillers. Good author!
I got the 3x5 route cards prepared for my travel days next week that include breakfast, gas and grocery stops. The shortest route would be to take Google Maps suggestion and drive Interstate Highways but that would be almost 400 miles. I do not do those kind of miles in one day anymore and I don't drive Interstate Highways if I can avoid them. Therefor I will be doing the trip in two days, avoiding any Interstate driving, seeing a lot more and only adding about 65 miles to the total distance.
Nile Gardiner is a Washington-based foreign affairs analyst and political commentator that writes for The Telegraph in London. The foreign press is not part of the sycophant media that exist within the United States so you will usually find much more objective reporting. This is what he had to say, in part, about President Obama's speech in Galesburg, Illinois.
This was a highly defensive speech, with President Obama in full campaign mode. There were no fresh ideas, just a tired rehash of earlier campaign rhetoric. It was also another love letter to big government, with a clarion call for yet more federal spending on environmental measures, infrastructure, manufacturing, and a laundry list of liberal pet causes. There was not a word about reducing the burden of government regulation, and getting bureaucracy off the backs of entrepreneurs. His speech promised more government spending at a time when America’s national debt is approaching a staggering $17 trillion. He rejected tax cuts, and bashed the rich, at times sounding more like Francois Hollande than the leader of the free world.
Once again, Barack Obama demonstrated why he has built an unenviable reputation as a perpetual campaigner in chief, with an overwhelmingly partisan agenda. Obama is no Ronald Reagan, who always sought to bring the country together based on the common ideals of the Founding Fathers. President Obama’s message will do nothing to reassure a sceptical American public. With unemployment still above 10 percent in 27 major US metropolitan areas, and nearly one in six Americans living on food stamps, the economic record of this administration leaves much to be desired. Today in Illinois, President Obama spoke the language of decline, promising more of the same left-wing policies that have weakened US competitiveness, eroded economic freedom, and have saddled the world’s superpower with historic levels of debt. Americans deserve better than the failed statism that has bankrupted cities like Detroit, and threatens to do the same to the rest of the country.
Read Will Rogers column 88 years ago: July 26, 1925
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We got some more rain yesterday afternoon. When Patches and I went out for our walk we were just leaving the Park when it started to come down again. We took shelter and within a few minutes it tapered off to occasional sprinkles. The official measurement was 0.04" which was more than the morning shower but that didn't happen where I was at.
It felt cold again this morning with the low at 46° and I was wearing only my long sleeved cotton t-shirt. Forecast is for the high to reach 81° today which is also the highest predicted before I leave. As I said before I'll be moving into higher temperatures but still not too bad at 84-88° being forecast for the first 4 days of August.
Got started preparing the September links for the Will Rogers weekly articles today by copying all the text from the PDF file to my web site. I'm still not comfortable with how I need to do this now but in a few months it will seem like that is the way I always did it. I also do not like how the text format copies over but I can deal with it, as if I had any other choice.
A very nice morning with the low temperature back up into the lower 50s. The sky is clear but the prediction is for a 50% chance of rain tonight and 60% tomorrow. I have my eye on the forecast for my next camp now also and the high temperatures there are still in the low to mid-80s.
Tall Texan RV Park
The rain clouds moved in very fast this afternoon and we started getting a hard rain around 1:30. Still coming down as I make this post to my web page. I don't know if this is the rain we were to get tonight and tomorrow or if there is more to come.
I got a new neighbor in the small space once again which may be a good thing. There are 4 of them in a small pop-up travel trailer but they were very quiet yesterday evening and this morning. That is far better than having the Park staff tearing through the space in their electric golf carts. That is probably my second biggest complaint about my time here, the golf carts using space #4 as a highway. The number one complaint is the narrow leaf cottonwood sap that has created a mess on Desperado.
Couldn't find any mobile RV Wash providers on-line that serve my next camp. I'll check to see if any of the car wash or detail places will wash it after I get there. I have sent a couple of email to a mobile RV Wash that says they provide service to the Custer, SD area where I will be in mid-August. They have not responded so I don't know if they don't want to wash Desperado or maybe they are no longer in the business.
Today would have been another walk to the Espresso shop but I didn't feel like that long a walk. Did a 2 miles total out and back along CO135 and on the way back saw two deer cross the road just north of the Estate entrance. I think it was the bigger buck and one of the smaller ones. Tried to get a picture of them but haven't looked at my attempts yet although I know the deer were moving away when I took the shot.
Not long after I had my breakfast I was overcome by guilt and cleaned the toilet again. I can not help repeating myself, must say that it is so much easier to clean if I don't wait too long. Wiped down the bathroom sink and cleaned the mirror while I was in there. Then got the vacuum out for the floor - bathroom, kitchen and living room - the whole 130, plus or minus, square feet of it. No washing of the floors today except the entryway which was a mess.
Then before the cleaning urge completely dissipated I washed Desperado's side mirrors and got dog nose prints off the cab windows. Need to wash down the dash area also but not today, maybe tomorrow.
When I read this quote I could not help but think that Mr. Madison was talking about OmabaCare. How could he have known?
It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is today, can guess what it will be to-morrow. - James Madison
The rain that started yesterday at 1:30 continued, off and on, throughout the rest of yesterday and through the night. When we got up this morning it started raining hard again and we had to wait for about 30 minutes for it to slack off enough to do a potty walk. I took shelter under an umbrella while Patches took her sweet time finding that 'just right' spot.
Tall Texan RV Park
The official measurement for yesterday was 0.37" with another 0.16' falling during the night through 6:00 this morning. It is still raining and looks like it may do so for most of today.
This has made for a very cool day. Very conducive to laying on the couch with Patches and my Tom Clancy espionage and military science novel. Patches seems to think it is a great day for extending sleep past her normal night time and daily quota.
I did get up long enough to clean the dash area of Desperado. Also re-vacuumed the carpet in the living room where we have tracked in more dirt, leaves and grass. I also received a reply to my RV wash inquiry which required a follow-up with a couple of questions.
All of this rain has done good things with the cottonwood sap, I can see that it has dissolved a lot of it off of the steps so I assume that it has done so elsewhere. Desperado does need a good washing so I'll probably have it done in Custer by the mobile wash people.
It was also a good day for getting some more work done on the Will Rogers weekly article links for September. Making good progress and should finish by September if we get another rainy day or two. HA
More rain. It was coming down lightly when I woke up around 4:00 and was a heavy sprinkle when we got up. The official measurement for yesterday was 0.48" plus the 0.04" this morning. While much of the country is sweltering in summer heat we had a high temperature of 64° yesterday. I hate to give up the coolness but will be moving on to higher high temperatures for a couple of weeks.
Tall Texan RV Park
Took Patches out for a potty walk in the slight sprinkle and I then dumped holding tanks not knowing if the rain would get better or worse. It was do it before going to town or after I got back, decided on doing it before.
When we got to town I parked near the junction of US50 and CO135 again. We then walked west along US50, turned north and discovered another RV Park that I did not remember coming across when researching Gunnison. If I return to Gunnison in the future I think I will try to stay in this one. We then returned to Desperado for a total 3 mile walk.
Patches got her breakfast and I then went to the W Café for mine. I had their Scramble offering which was nothing that I would order again and came with only one slice of sourdough toast. This is probably the better of the two restaurants that open early but neither of them are up to my standards for a recommendation.
It was then time for my last stop at City Market to pick up groceries for the next 3 days. I also filled up with gas at their station where I could redeem my Kroger Reward Card points and get a discount.
Another stop across the street at Wells Fargo to get some cash from their ATM (I carry very little cash but needed some since I was at the none level). Got Patches her dog food at Mountain Mutts and then went to the library where I traded 3 books to bring my unread collection back to its full strength of a dozen.
A busy morning for someone that does almost nothing everyday. Got home and hooked up again by 9:30 and returned to that lifestyle.
We had a good old fashioned thunderstorm last night starting around 8:00. Some strong winds that took down a tree limb and and a campers awning. From what I could see they were lucky that it got the awning and not their roof which would have been much more expensive. There was some more rain that came with the storm here in the Park but officially it didn't rain.
Tall Texan RV Park
We did an out and back walk along CO135 this morning to stay out of most of the mud. The Estate roads are all dirt which would have turned Patches' under carriage into a muddy mess. She doesn't seem to mind but I do.
As soon as we got home I went to the laundry to get that chore taken care of. When I went back to move the completed wash into a dryer they were all taken. However four of them were not drying they just had mostly wet clothes in them.
Mostly wet because the dryer was packed with 2 or 3 times what should have been in them. I emptied one of them and got my clothes in it and started them drying. About 40 minutes into the dry cycle the woman that owned all the semi-dry clothes came in and emptied all of her dryers and did not seem at all concerned that they were still wet.
The only other chore that I took care of today was to wash Desperado's side mirrors again. The rain these past couple of days left them streaked almost as badly as they were when I washed them the first time. I think that is all I have to do, I'm ready to leave here early tomorrow morning.
We were up at our normal time but just did a short potty walk. Patches wasn't quite so particular this morning so we were on the road by about 5:50.
Woods Landing Resort
The first challenge of the day was Monarch Pass on US50 at 11,312 feet. This is my third time over it and the easiest.
The first time, July 1991, I did it on a bicycle. The second time, April 2007, was in my Mini Cooper towing a Teardrop trailer with the east slope covered with snow which made it look like a bobsled run. Today the road was clear with very little traffic so Desperado was able to go at her own pace in 2nd gear for the 7 mile climb and 7 mile decent.
I stayed on CO24 West for a couple of miles to stop in Buena Vista, CO at Jan's for breakfast. This must be the place in town to have an early breakfast. I got there a little after 7:00 and they had a big crowd. Their eggs and chile rellenos with hash browns was pretty good but I would probably get something different if I were to do it again.
The second challenge of the day was Hoosier Pass on CO9 at 11,542 feet. Although it is higher than Monarch it was easier climb because the climb and decent was only four miles. The climb began not long after I passed through Alma, CO the highest incorporated municipality in the US at 10,578 feet.
The majority of the route was along river canyons or through mountain valleys, almost all two lane roads which is just fine with me. A total of 291 miles on this route: County Road 11, CO135, US50, US285, US285/US24, US285, CO9, I-70*(3 miles), CO9, US40, CO14, CO125/CO14, CO125, CO127, WY230 & WY10.
*Interstate 70 can be avoided by taking Dillon Dam Rd at Frisco, CO and then US6 to CO9 at the Interstate. However, that route can not be used by trailers, RVs or vehicles in excess of 13,000 pounds GVW.
I arrived at my overnight camp a little after 1:00 and got set up in a VERY primitive RV Park. It is OK as a place to stop for the night but just barely. I will say that the space that I backed into is level but that is the only thing going for it. The worse thing about it is that there is NO Verizon and I could not get their WIFI to work at my site.
Went to the bar and verified that I was using the correct password but still no connection. The bar tender then gave me the password for a different router and I connected. With any luck at all I'll get this update to my web site posted today.