Once the weather was hot and humid here
at the College of San Hemlock. What’s worse, the room that I teach in has big
south-facing windows letting in scalding-hot sunlight. Fortunately some of the lower
windows open up; and there are big white curtains to roll down, which blocks
most of the light and heat. But not all; and when all the way down, the curtains
block the open windows.
I had a dilemma. Shall
I open the windows and roll up the curtains enough for ventilation, but also
let in some sun-blast; or instead roll the curtains all the way down and block both
sunlight and ventilation?
On Monday I tried a
technical fix. I brought in some tape and a roll of aluminum foil, and taped
the foil (shiny side outwards) to the lower windows. That way I could open the
windows, then raise the curtains just enough, and so get both shade (better
than the curtains!) and breeze.
It worked fine; but on
Tuesday all the foil was gone. Someone (probably custodial staff) took it down.
Heaven forbid that the faculty display initiative! The College of San Hemlock’s
philosophy of climate control is the same as their philosophy of
Thursday, I retried
that technical fix, augmented by political spin. To wit: after taping up the
foil, I taped to the foil some signs saying:
Solar Blast Shielding
“Solar blast” meant hot
sunlight, but I like how it also sounds like a supernova. Don’t worry if the
sun detonates, because there’s aluminum foil on the lower windows! This trumps
duck-and-cover by many orders of magnitude.
Friday I saw, to my
delight, that the foil was still up. The ploy worked! So now I know a way to
survive in a technocratic corporate bureaucracy; give orders in technobabble. Sound
like Starfleet, and the minions will obey.
I owe this knowledge to
the College of San Hemlock, which can be a highly educational institution,
that Hitler won World War Two, in spirit; for how else are we to describe
nuclear deterrence? After Hitler, the threat of genocide was accepted as a
political norm, indeed as the foundation of world order, even though it was a
crime against humanity. We who survived that system called it, fittingly, MAD,
meaning Mutual Assured Destruction. In what way was the Cold War not Hitlerian?
this way only; the superpowers preferred to threaten
all with the genocide that Hitler did
to some. Jews, Roma, homosexuals, Communists and dissidents were the test
subjects; the experiment was a success, and the program was updated and adopted
by the nominal winners of the war.
Those nominal winners added
two reforms; to use atomic fission rather than poison gas for genocide; and to
advertise the city-death threat but not do it (except twice), rather than
murder millions but in secret (mostly). They improved upon Hitler by upgrading
the energy to nuclear and the terror to psychological. Force plus guile equals power.
was defeated in body but victorious in spirit. The Hitlerian spirit of genocide
ruled the world; but in the end Hitler’s dybbuk was exorcised by the end of the
Cold War, and the nominal victory of Capitalism over Communism.
World War Two, the Cold War had an outcome split between body and soul.
Communism was defeated in material terms; but now its spirit rules the planet. I
cite as proof of this the global surveillance state, socialism-for-the-rich, the
suppression of dissent and small business, and the lawlessness of authority.
Another more positive victory
of the Communist way is the ruling technology of the age; namely, the Internet
upon which I publish this essay; for the Internet is Communist in spirit.
was inevitable, given the technological problem that the Internet solved. Any spiritually
Hitlerian polity must have a command-and-control system. How can that system maintain
internal communications during thermonuclear attack? That’s a project as mad as
MAD itself; yet the technologists succeeded!
miracle came at a price; the technological abolition of intellectual property.
For if a C&C system is to survive thermonuclear war, in which any one
communications node can be vaporized instantly, then no one node can be central.
None can hoard information, all must share and share alike. The collectivity of
the Internet is what makes it work.
on the Web tends to become the common property of all humankind, sure as rivers
flow down to the sea. Therefore the Web interprets censorship as damage and
routes around it. The same applies to ownership. Private property is an
absurdity on the Web, and so is money.
the Communist dream come true, built into the wiring of the Web! But with the
dream comes a nightmare; Communism’s inherent inefficiency. How to profit from
what is owned by none or all? What incentive to create is there beyond
have already lost the music industry, book publishing, and newspapers; TV and
movies are under siege; and many more industries will go broke soon.
wants to be free; yet information also wants to be paid; therefore information
is broke! How Communist!