Whose Tea Party?
by Butler Shaffer
They plainly did not know how to treat me, but behaved like persons who are underbred. In every threat and in every compliment there was a blunder; for they thought that my chief desire was to stand the other side of that stone wall. I could not but smile to see how industriously they locked the door on my meditations, which followed them out again without let or hindrance, and they were really all that was dangerous. As they could not reach me, they had resolved to punish my body; just as boys, if they cannot come at some person against whom they have a spite, will abuse his dog. I saw that the State was half-witted, that it was timid as a lone woman with her silver spoons, and that it did not know its friends from its foes, and I lost all remaining respect for it, and pitied it. ~ Henry David Thoreau
For decades, I have maintained that the entire institutional order is in a state of entropic collapse, and that Western civilization, itself, is in its final days. I have gone on to suggest that, depending upon how we respond to all of this, our future may become far more free, peaceful, and productive than what we have known. Events of recent weeks reinforce my opinion that Western society is in the process of a major transformation in how it is to be organized; changes that portend something far more dynamic than what the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and the Scientific and Industrial Revolutions combined to produce.
The words of Thoreau keep coming back to me as I watch the fallout, first from the TSA buffooneries, followed by the second feature: the arrest of Julian Assange for having dared to reveal the underbelly of the state’s dark side. Though I am close to illiterate when it comes to computers, even I could see how far out of touch the established order is from grasping what it is up against. Some have suggested that the Assange episode is the opening round in “Cyberwars,” an assessment that only touches the surface in trying to understand the continuing metamorphosis. Unlike Thoreau, however, I am unable to engender any sense of pity for the state as it counts its silver spoons and plots to get more of your silver to redistribute to its corporate co-schemers.