Salvador Allende the Orwellian Technophile

In the Wrong Hands: Machine A Gouverner,” by Theodore Roszak, The Cult of Information, ppg 200-201, 1986.

I bet you didn’t know the former Marxist leader of Chile, Salvador Allende:

Perhaps the most ambitious effort at applying information technology to the art of government took place in Chile in the early 1970s. Then President Salvador Allende brought in the British cybernetics expert Stafford Beer to develop and administer and optimum economic order for the country. Working from the formula, “information is what changes us; information constitutes control,” Beer had brainstormed an intricate computerized system which he quaintly called the Liberty Machine. Its purpose was to concentrate every scrap of data available from a national, or even from the world economy, and form this to fashion a “cybernetic model.” The computers governing the model would “receive real-time data from the systems which they monitor, and they would distill the information content.” It would be possible to “formulate hypotheses, undertake simulations, and make predictions about world trajectories. Between 1971 and 1973, Beer, working in secret for the Ministry of Finance, sought to establish something called the Liberty Machine in Chile. The effort was a serious one, installed at great expense in a central control room (“the Opsroom”) in Santiago, where is succeeded at the height of its powers in bringing 60 percent of the Chilean economy into its data gathering and governing network. The system included the ability to anticipate and break strikes. Beer has reported: “We used every scrap of relevant scientific knowledge in designing the place — neurocybernetic knowledge of brain processes, knowledge from applied and group psychology, knowledge from ergonomics. ” The exercise entailed an interesting new conception of “freedom.” Liberty,” Beer decided, “may indeed be usefully redefined for our current technological era. It would say that competent information is free to act — and that this is the principle on which the new Liberty Machine should be designed.” It is a definition that makes the computer an integral part of the concept.

Thank God Augusto Pinochet vanquished Allende and saved Chile.

Misguided Politics of Personal Destruction (Clean Cut Kid Should Know Better)

Republican Party Vice Chair needs a lesson in flag etiquette,” by Seth Hahn, Clean Cut Kid, 20 May 2005, http://www.cleancutkid.com/2005/05/20/republican-party-vice-chair-needs-a-lesson-in-flag-etiquette/.

Far too often, we confuse agreement with virtue. People say that Osama bin Laden and Abu Zarqawi are stupid, or foolish, or cowardly. In fact they are smart, wise, and brave. Politcally, I have heard men such as Rush Limbaugh and Michael Moore called dumb when both are intelligently acting on a dream for the future.

No matter who you are, your long-time enemy is probably smart. If he was stupid he would have failed by now. Zarqawi does know better, Limbaugh does know better, Moore does know better, Hu Jintao does know better.

However, an enemy can be stupid. Enemy actions can be stupid. Serious thinkers have argued that the anti-Iraqi insurgents are losers. Just losing isn’t a sign of stupidity — it can be a sign of weakness or growth. But losing combined with counter-productive attacks can be.

An enemy that loses and isolates himself may be acting stupidly.

I apologize for the long prologue. I don’t share Collounsbury‘s penchant for pithiness. I try to be polite. I thought over my original comment and this post, and I am now convinced.

Seth Hahn’s attack is stupid. Just stupid.

I was driving through Rapid City today and remembered a house with obscene amounts of Republican propaganda plastered over the front yard and on the vehicles in the driveway during the election. The house is very nice, in a nice neighborhood, neatly trimmed lawn, perfectly manicured hedges, flags draped just outside the door…

Whoah. Wait a minute. That flag is improperly displayed. It is hung vertically with the union in the observer’s upper right. But subsection (i) of U.S. Code 4.1.7 quite clearly and in plain English says:

When displayed either horizontally or vertically against a wall, the union should be uppermost and to the flag’s own right, that is, to the observer’s left.

Basically, the stars always go in the upper left.

But it gets much, much more interesting than a rabid Republican not knowing how to display a flag.

It turns out that this particular rabid Republican is Elli Schwiesow, Vice Chair of the South Dakota Republican Party and Immediate Past President of the South Dakota Federation of Republican Women.

Elli, it’s pretty hard to be a higher up in the party claiming to respect and revere the flag when you won’t even take the time to learn how to properly display it in front of your own house.

If you know Elli, feel free to send her in the direction of this website. I’d be happy to discuss correct American flag position and manner of display with her any time. In fact, I will personally correct her mistake and hang it correctly for her. This is something I can do because I respect the flag enough to take the time to learn the rules for its display.

Mrs./Ms. Schwiesow, I’m sure our veterans appreciate your slap in the face!

The post tries to be a 4GPS1/Node Takedown/Politics-of-personal-destruction attack/. I just makes Seth look petty.

It’s a self-inflicted moral Isolation [PISRR] attack.

Moving out of Iowa, I cut myself. That was stupid. Most self-inflicted wounds are.

Lovingly Holy Wars Against Loneliness (Isolation and Counter-Isolation)

Freedom in Christ,” by Saint Paul, Letter to the Galatians, chapter 5 verse 14, circa AD 60.

The Cost of Following Jesus,” by Saint Matthew, The Gospel According to St. Matthew, chapter 8 verse 22, circa AD 60.

Shiva,” by Orson Card, The Shadow of the Giant, pg 71-72, 2005.

Defusing A Bomb,” by Eric Martin, Liberals Against Terrorism, 18 May 2005, http://www.liberalsagainstterrorism.com/drupal/?q=node/1178.

Two interesting points about a particular breed of Fourth Generation Warrior — the Salafist suicide bomber

Further, as Sageman notes in his groundbreaking psych-profiles of the Salafist terrorists, including the 9/11 crews, the issue of U.S. troop presence was not of tantamount importance in any significant way. More prevalent was a sense of alienation from society (often caused by the physical disconnect from family and culture felt by Muslims living in non-Muslim countries) and a reaching out for community at local mosques spurred on by the same.

As such, a common biographical occurrence was a recent personal reaffirmation of religiosity in the form of dedication to Salafism (given impetus by attendance at the area mosque which was, in turn, caused by feelings of isolation and lack of community).

Alienated, disconnected isolated, without community.

That is a recipe for disaster.

Salafism’s a PISRR. The goal of any 4G movement is to penetrate a society, isolate that society’s members against each other, subvert the society’s rule sets for its ends, reorient the society around the movement’s goals, and reharmonize the society so that every member internalizes the movement. But for these poor men who became suicide 4G Warriors, they were already isolated. The weed of Salafism found a garden, with healthy soil, already tilled.

Salafism reconnected these men — on Salafism’s terms. Like so many violent revolutionary movements, it spreads because of its message: “We can do it. You can help.” A song of meaning is sung to the future 4G Warriors and they are seduced.

Salafism is spreading along the same lines of the Revolutions of 1848. In nation after nation it finds the atomized, the isolated, the alienated, and reconnects them. It shouts “We can do it. You can help.” In nation after nation it will root itself and try to take over.

In the real 1848, one European state was immune. While hosting some agitators from oversees, no internal revolutionary movement was created. The United Kingdom was inoculated by its civil institutions.

Civil society — a thick web of horizontal controls — existed in the United Kingdom in 1848. Men who wished meaning could find it in local clubs, societies, and faiths in a way their Continental brothers could not. “We can do it. You can help” is the disease. “I love you” is the vaccine.

But then, what to make of a movement that combines both?

Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

Christ Jesus

Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Saint Paul

How many movements have combined an overarching political agenda with a relentless campaign of integration. I can think of one (it’s not my church and it’s quite recent). Failures include

  • The Protestant Reformation focused mostly on the Great Enemy (specifically, the Holy Father as Anti-Christ and Universal Church as Whore of Babylon).
  • The Heavenly Kingdom of Great Peace (Taiping) likewise had its bete noire (the Machu Chi’in dynasty).
  • Liberation Theology was a non-autonomous adjunct to Marxism, focused on ending capitalism

So who am I thinking of?

One last thought: Since 4G movements grow in isolating societies, they would whither in connecting cultures. In The Shadow of the Giant, Orson Scott Card dramatizes this. A revolutionary leader is condemning his compatriots for insufficient loyalty to the cause:

“You’ve resigned from the human race is what you’ve done,” said Peter. “Because you invented marriage and children, suddenly you don’t have to be part of anything.”

“Opposite,” said Petra. “We’ve joined the human race. We’re like most people. Our life together is everything. Our children are everything. The rest is — we do what we have to. But it doesn’t matter to us as much. I’m sorry that bothers you.”