Strutting Prisms show off their weapon psychoses for all to see; they’re unmistakable. Subtle Wimps make stealthier antagonists. The epithet “Wimp” should be political poison for a tyrant and his lovers. Beware of Wimps who call themselves Learners! Fortunately for us, Wimp elites betray themselves as follows.
They consolidate political power to the loftiest, most centralized height they fantasize they can control. Their impulses are irrational and reflexive. They can’t tolerate the probing questions of public discourse that Learners would thrive on. Learning declines, even among children of the elite, despite endless micromanagement by remote education bureaucracies.
On WeaponWorld, skinheads in suits run dissolving weapon states. Political, economic and police terror extract submission from a disarmed citizenry. Militarized police conduct security crackdowns with no checks and balances against their abuse. “Non-lethal” weaponry makes this reflexive terrorism less controversial even as it becomes more widespread and arbitrary. Democratic institutions become shameless facades for Conspiracies of Greed. Government seeks omniscience by spying on everyone and everything; so-called transparency hides a methodical witch-hunt for whistle blowers, and mass deportations underline the promise of improved migration policies. Republican policies become Democratic showpieces while the Republicans wallow in neo-Nazi psychobabble and nationwide sabotage. Living standards may rise somewhat for a privileged few as poverty gets worse for a swelling underclass and a shrinking middle one.
Ripped away from the land and deprived of legitimate livelihood, entire peoples are turned into stateless pariahs and hunted down like animals. Their desperate leaders accept token development aid and millions more to acquire weapons. The UN Security Council, which rules on their legitimacy, is a private club for the worst weapon merchants.
Meanwhile, weapon dissidents nurse their sense of inferiority: a more taxing liability than any police repression. Our passive acceptance of this disgrace strengthens weapon tyranny and demeans us all in proportion.
Not too long ago, corporate elites cut up the Earth into First, Second and Third Worlds — the better to swallow it whole. Nowadays, those Wimps plot to segment the bloated info proletariat into two groups.
1. The slaves: a drab mass of human cogs that over-consume and over-produce to meet the profit quotas of info elites. Most of us shuffle on this pathetic treadmill. We wage-slaves no longer realize the primary object of our forced labor: that we’re on permanent standby to arm the world for its next paroxysm of total war … whether or not that priority is rational. Otherwise, we can be incinerated or plagued in a few desperate months along with our defenseless cities, vulnerable power grids and fragile food supplies.
2. The unpeople: unemployable, untouchable, invisible and stripped of rights … pour encourager les autres ("to motivate the others," us slaves).
For Wimps, human rights are a marginal concern at best. When civil rights and other ethical considerations clash with weapon protocols, flagrant abuses are tolerated, promoted and officially sanctioned. The administration of President Bill Clinton specialized at this kind of sellout à la Democratic Leadership Council; his replacements before and since got even better at it. Good for nothing, mind you, but military catastrophe for the nation and economic decline for the masses.
As a fashionable dissident, you may have protested against the World Trade Organization (WTO). Nonetheless, the World Village is going to need a well-ordered Bazaar to manage its global transactions.
What we should have protested was the weapon content of the WTO (which no “activist” bothered with): its refusal to regulate military affairs to ensure regional reconstruction and enforce global peace. No anti-WTO activist demanded such things during Seattle’s 1999 WTO police riot. It occurred neither to them nor to anyone else.
I was too busy with the nth rewrite of this book and didn’t much care in any case for “social activism” as malpracticed those days. Besides, my few efforts in that direction fell on the deaf ears of local and global “activists” as bossy as they were clueless about constructive alternatives. Those factors they got around to protest were, as usual, marginal peace requirements such as more labor- and environment-friendly regulations. Weapons organizations like the WTO are sure to neglect them — at least until world peace is secured first and forces them to pay closer attention to such things.
Meanwhile, as if by magic, titanic peace dividends are sent down bottomless pits of financial scandal, weapon deficit, wars of corporate convenience, preventable disasters and handouts to the rich. That shouldn’t bother Learners. It will just consolidate the funds needed to build PeaceWorld into fewer hands and among fewer decision-makers ― fewer mid-level managers who will have to be brought down from their sniper’s nests.
Insurance companies garner more and more profits by ejecting indigents, the unhealed and the mentally ill from hospital beds. A century of centralized, IMF/Supreme Soviet-style mismanagement has nursed neo-colonial condescension towards every despised Other. The same type of thinking brought us the Titanic, Paschendale, Auschwitz, Hiroshima, Dien Bien Phu, Khe Sahn, the Bhopal gassing and the Exxon Valdez disaster; it brought us Mad Cow disease and today’s forestry and fisheries sterilization programs. The demolition of the World Trade Center was their handiwork, systematically provoked but officially “unforeseen.”
A series of ecological disasters has been brought together under the term “global warming” and thus handily dismissed. Some bold scientists, carefully ignored, had predicted the influence of human industry on global warming since the 1800s. All they had to do was choke on Victorian smog and calculate its simple growth curve.
Industrialists shouted them down. As signs of global warming grew more spectacular and inarguable, those shouters got louder, more numerous and better paid. Their arguments resemble the deft maneuvers of a defeated army’s rear guard falling back on a succession of barely tenable arguments that assert the influence of human industry on global warming:
A. doesn’t exist;
B. is a statistical blip on a flat line of environmental stability;
C. is irrelevant to natural phenomena insufficiently explored and thus unaffected by man;
D. cannot be prevented economically;
E. is drowned in a flood of cosmic influences; and finally
F. repeat the above idiocies until you’ve convinced everyone to do nothing.
Given our leaders’ long history of inducing mass misery among select prey by “thinking the unsinkable for reasons of cost” (think of the Titanic, built on the cheap and sailed full speed into disaster), what political legitimacy can they claim? Only that which we surrender to them through our listless submission.
Shifting tornadoes of military violence land here, land there… They pause long enough to devastate communities, level cities and decimate peoples. Then – just as suddenly – they spin away with no one any wiser.
Learner civilization will foster peaceful talent instead of this expertise at killing. Unlike revolutions of the past, there will be no call this time for mass violence, oppression and destruction.
The media praise inept foreign relations and inflame our fear of new immigrants; they refuse to analyze world events for content and context. Gross miscalculations and institutional blunders are conveniently ignored. Without explanation, deadpan newscasters report worsening international atrocities as minor potholes on the superhighway of global morality.
TV and movie dramas worship thugs and bullies we wouldn’t hire to sweep the sidewalk. Reporters have exposed our leaders as hypocritical buffoons and done so so frequently we’ve stopped expecting good leadership and started overlooking their misdeeds. Newscasters have helped promote their corrupt sponsors to the highest rungs of power, which must have been their principal if unprincipled task all along.
If the rich and powerful are exposed and punished, it’s only because they pissed off richer superiors. Those superiors hold that a scapegoat be thrown to the mob every once in a while, to divert its attention from their riper misdeeds.
Just follow along behind fictitious Indiana Jones or all-too-real Bush the Lesser (and now Trump), and catalog the infrastructure and lives they’ve wrecked. Each one of them belongs in the docks of Justice.
On Learner PeaceWorld, Administrative responsibilities will settle to the most local level to which they can be delegated, including police and self-defense functions. A well-regulated– of the kind ignored in the United States despite its Constitution and practiced only in part in Switzerland and Israel – will see to local defense.
The broader the mandate of a Learner agency, the more reluctant it will be to micro-manage local affairs. By constitutional decree and universal consent, World Government will limit itself in scope and, more importantly, in tax receipts. Reflexively, it will defer decision-making to lower levels of Administration that benefit from a greater share of tax receipts to deliver local services in well-balanced proportion. Most social problems will be handled at municipal, county and bioregional levels (this last per Joel Garreau in The Nine Nations of North America). Only the broadest tasks will be delegated to continental levels of administration and only peacemaking, globe spanning and extra-planetary projects will receive attention from the World Government.
Learners will diversify ethnic and multiply cultural inputs, they will reinvest in peace the dividends we’ve wasted on the illusion of military security. They will turn political power, security and Learning into constitutional rights. Schools will be rebuilt to honor these principles; (see “”, “ ”, and “ ”).
Info proletariats will merge with their elites into the Learner Commonwealth. No longer will populations splinter between well-schooled elites and dunce-head majorities. At worst, tiny info proletariats will emerge composed of know-nothing extremists, disability-illiterates, and ideological and religious fundamentalists intent on boycotting World Peace. Nothing they do, short of violence, will reduce their share of rights on PeaceWorld. Only diagnosed psycho- and sociopaths will be filtered from power.
Learner civilization will come to resemble the culture of Bali in its prime. Profiting from much more leisure time and many more mentors than exist today, people will cultivate their topics of passion and contribute to a mighty Learner Commonwealth. Everyone will work various temporary jobs, interrupting them with equivalent sabbaticals. They will live parallel, creative lives much more crucial to their wellbeing and social status. Most will hyper-educate themselves in their topics of passion. A majority of self-taught entrepreneurs (“takers-in-between”, go-betweens) will replace tiny Conspiracies of Greed with Cooperatives of Plenty.
While science renews its expertise, popularity and findings, the sacred will resume its rightful role in commonplace reality with the blessing of the scientific community. Spirit and science seem incompatible because faith is based on personal certitude while scientific inquiry is based on institutional uncertainty. Those are complementary attributes, not mutually exclusive ones. The two will become everyday norms of worship and the arts will welcome every honest contribution.
With due diligence and as a part of their topic of passion, small but vital minorities have cultivated most of the peace technologies we require. Few essentials will need be invented from scratch even though many more details will need to be dreamt up.
This Learner Commonwealth will not coalesce until international majorities practice info politics on a daily basis and a global scale, and until they deck themselves with enough political accountability to claim membership in it.
For the first time in history, Learners can pull fully serviceable, planet-spanning communication systems off the shelf. This is the first time that peace has stood a chance of success. Its prior failures are irrelevant. Humanity lacked the fundamentals of global communication, universal cosmopolitanism, economic commonwealth, and most importantly, the global mass of well-briefed Learners. Prior failures are not valid arguments for further delay; instead, they confirm the fact that peace is just within our reach. PeaceWorld may seem to be beyond our reach at this point: its impracticality verified by every page of our long and bloody history. But it will soon become a practical reality. Our only alternative is annihilation… and we know that perfectly well.
Today’s dollar democrats resemble the owners of the Palace Hotel just before the San Francisco Earthquake in 1906. Back then, that town boasted one of the finest Fire Departments on Earth, with more trained personnel than it hires today. The hotel was built stoutly enough to shrug off the actual quake. Its design incorporated every new-fangled safety feature money could buy.
Unfortunately, other structures roundabout had not been as well thought out. San Francisco’s brilliant Fire Chief was among the first to die in the wreckage of his headquarters. Most of his boys got crushed under collapsing firehouses as did most of his shiny new equipment. Water mains burst and gas mains exploded. A post-quake firestorm engulfed the city.
Seeking to block the fire, poorly trained soldiers blew up block after block of buildings (including a big alcohol depot) with state-of-the-art dynamite, only to feed the firestorm’s wrath. In an attempt to hold out the blaze, the Palace staff and parched firemen pissed away its high-tech emergency rooftop water supply — to no avail. The hotel was a total loss despite every precaution taken during its construction.
Twenty-eight thousand buildings were destroyed; a quarter million San Franciscans lost house and home, including all the occupants of Nob Hill mansions. For fear of crashing property values, the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce lied about the extent of the carnage. It reported 478 deaths when the rubble gave up almost ten times that number of bodies.
Just as the Palace Hotel was no more fireproof than the shoddiest tinderbox next door, so the rich of today are no more secure than the poorest of the homeless surrounding them. Everyone knows this. Irrationally, we’ve papered over our apprehensions with gloating stock market projections. Yet we suspect, in our heart of hearts, that a Learner Commonwealth may be the only sanctuary we could reach in time.
As if from nowhere, rare bursts of new investment opportunities arise between long stretches of creative stagnation like the one we’re experiencing now. A few entrepreneurs achieve tremendous profits by turning someone’s harebrained scheme into a lucrative reality. The upcoming Learner renaissance promises more abundance than any prior growth phase in history, despite and perhaps because of the catastrophic exhaustion of petroleum reserves and the perestroika-like crash of weapon institutions that depended on them.
Unheard-of prosperity awaits us just around the corner, provided we focus on the quality of life — and a lot less on the quantitative, military parameters of national chauvinism. “How much firepower? How many battalions? Built, trained and deployed how quickly?”
And don’t forgetwarning! Humanity and Duty must always overrule mere profit, in the same way a winning football score is trivial compared to the dedication and passion required to achieve it.