Political Science V: Net Neutrality

“All traffic is equal but some is more equal than others”
The Pigs

Heuristically, there is no such thing as “net neutrality”…there hasn’t been since the 1988 Morris Worm. Without heuristic filtering by the tiered network providers, the public internet1 would be practically unusable. It would certainly be unreliable.

The Administrative State implementation of “net neutrality” presages the end of civilian control of the internet, the fossilization of corporate monopoly over the “last mile” and the formalization of a surveillance regime against “unauthorized traffic” (read: IP). The Administrative State enforcement of a “public network” will invite the same censorship that the government imposes over that other decreed thing: “the public airwaves,” even though that thing doesn’t even really exist anymore.

On the one hand, the cognitive dissonance being displayed by so-called civil libertarians is stupendously mind boggling, after all this is the same Administrative State engaged in unnumbered secret activities to undermine an open, free and secure internet in the name of the geopolitical status quo(what it calls “terrorism”). If this was a FCC composed of three republicans instead of two, and they had voted to “save the internet” on a pretense of “we have to implement before you know what is in it,” then the chants would be “bloody murder” instead of self-congratulated “salvation.” Of course every school boy knows the difference between tyranny and liberty is “two republicans instead of three, three democrats instead of two.”

On the other hand, it is not only unsurprising, but predictable. This is the de Jasay method in full effect. States persist because everyone thinks they can use the State for their own ends, but the only result is the persistence of the thing itself, the only demonstration being how state and society interact to disappoint and render each other miserable.

vive le moment libertaire!

1 The “public network,” that small network(small as in the number of hops between any two nodes) where the default condition is pass, is a emergent de facto phenomenon, not a de jure decreed thing.

Political Science II

The Tor Project has issued a warning that the United States government may soon start seizing core nodes of the Tor Network under the pretext of investigating the “Sony Hack.”1

Of course, Pravda, Inc disseminates the Sony breach as being the handiwork of the North Korean government. LOL. Even if we concede the claim for the sake of argument, there is the conspicuous omission of any argument why bad movies and George Clooney gossip fall under the purview of national security. Then again, the hallmark of a national security state is that “national security” is what the national security state says it is. This, of course, is classic doublethink.

It is worth pointing out that the FBI seizing Tor Direct Authority nodes seems suspiciously consistent with the FBI’s internal objective of an internet wiretap regime by whatever means necessary. Very convenient, but as discussed in the previous “political science” posts, quite predictable. Perhaps the illustrative point here is that political science reducible to “the conspiracy without the conspiracy”2 not only makes for bad church, it also makes for bad Hollywood.

1 Reading is more or less a useless skill if you can’t read between the lines

2 “Conspiracy without the conspiracy” means conspiracy is the rational/scientific pattern…hence no subversion

Pravda, Inc.

Back in 2010, the subject matter of this recent American Conservative article, Our American Pravda, was a dominant theme of my blog. Just compare, for example, my deconstruction at the time of Christine O’Donnell,Andrew Codevilla & the Country Class with the last part of Unz’s article. Frankly, I had no idea who Boris Berezovsky was(apparently, Boris Yeltsin’s puppet master), but his idea of exporting the fake American two-party political model to Russia as means to sustain a bloodless Russian oligarchy was, unfortunately, spot on. Numerous times I laid out the working mechanics of the American culture war–precisely how it negates and thwarts any possible challenge to the status quo–but perhaps my aforementioned linked post was the best and most concise explanation of it. But I’m just making a straight-forward application of Orwell. Mr. Orwell’s work gave us the socialist version. You just have to tweak it a bit to apply it to our present-day capitalist version.

Often is said that we as Americans are the most heavily propagandized people in the history of civilization. But the distinguishing factor of our propaganda is that we actually believe it. The difference between Pravda and Pravda, Inc is that under the Soviet Pravda model, when the walls came down, the people cheered their destruction. But under Pravda, Inc, if our walls came tumbling down, we would dress in sackcloth and ashes and mourn our eternal intent to rebuild the damn things. Pravda, Inc. demonstrates the most virulent form of social control is that which is propagated by the illusion of choice.

Conservatism is Collectivism

The old adage is that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, in my case, it’s worth approximately 500,000 words. The intellectual entirety of this blog can be neatly summarized by the graphic above. I would laugh at the farcical irony of it all if not for the fact that those 500,000 words expatiate on an enduring topic: there is no irony in American politics. That’s the genius of the system.

Your guess is as good as mine whether Rich Lowry and the folks at National Review intentionally borrowed from Soviet propaganda or whether soviet propaganda is simply a natural unconscious habit of minds unburdened by irony. The propaganda is that the American presidential election is a contest between the competing world views of Karl Marx vs Ayn Rand. But Ayn is slumming in CCCP drag, and Karl is pimping for Bank of America.

Charles Baudelaire and Keyser Söze are both noted for having uttered the famous phrase: “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” But I disagree. I think the greatest trick the Devil ever pulled is having a devil without the details.

(Hat Tip: LRC)

Chris Matthews’ Culture War Orwellian DoubleThink

Some are referencing this Chris Matthews performance last week on Hardball regarding his defense of Michael Chertoff. Quite rigtly…It was a particularly putrid performance. But what Matthews said on his show yesterday, in his ending segment, “Let Me Finish,” is worse. It’s obscene.

The story that wasn’t a story at all: the fuss over the TSA pat downs.
Let’s compare a couple of things: How do you compare the GI who loses an arm overseas — or more — to the embarrassment someone might feel during an airport scan or even a pat down?
How do you compare those two? How do you say that one is worth the fight against terror and the other is not?
How do you compare the denial that waterboarding is torture, not that it may not be necessary (that’s another argument) but that it’s not torture? That’s what the people on the right have been swearing to on a stack of Bibles.
And then, hear from this same howling crowd that they just can’t stand the pain and human hurt of a pat down at the airport. One is not torture, the obvious torture, and one is.
I guess it depends on what your definition of “is” is.
I’ve been thinking of all this over Thanksgiving weekend, and thinking about what the Theodore Roosevelt historian Edmund Morris said on “Face the Nation” Sunday.
He was asked what Teddy Roosevelt would say about people today and instead he offered a view from an immigrant to this country: that Americans are “lazy, obese, and complacent.”

What he is actually saying? He’s saying that soldiers getting blown up in Iraq and Afghanistan obligates us to invasive security searches here at home. To deny this duty is to be “lazy, obese, and complacent.” This, quite accurately, could be labeled as Mussolini, fascist tripe. But he is not saying this directly. He is making the argument in the language of the left/right cultural war. So, in this language, he delineates the duties the political right have championed in the War on Terror and then caustically chides the right for shirking a “far less” intrusive duty of the simple pat-down in the execution of this war. In the left/right cultural war, it is only the right that now opposes the TSA.

Now Matthews is someone I used to watch pretty regularly back in the early part of the Bush Admin before the Iraq War. At that time, the running theme of Hardball was that the push for the Iraq war was underlain by a Neo-conservative ideological conspiracy. And he was right. Later, he would zealously cover the “Valerie Plame” story as it transpired on a daily basis. This was the smoking gun of the conspiracy–that the WMD rationale for the Iraq war was an outright fabrication. However, as the Democrats regained power, and particularly when Obama assumed power, this reporting slant all but faded from the show. The ideological basis for this War on Terror, or at least the execution of it, was no longer questioned. Now it was secure.

DoubleThink, of course, is where the political context determines what you think about something. In one context, you may be for A, and in another, against it. The restrictive dichotomous language/vocabulary of NewSpeak allows DoubleThink without cognitive dissonance. DoubleThink, however, is not hypocrisy. Indeed, in Orwell’s novel, the past is changed at will. There is no hypocrisy. DoubleThink is simply thought control.

Reality, however, is not quite the George Orwell novel. Politically there is a dichotomous left/right culture war that feeds a restricted vocabulary that allows DoubleThink to thrive with impunity; but, empirically, for those outside this left/right culture war, the cognitive dissonance is plain as day. Glenn Greenwald makes his living deconstructing this cognitive dissonance every day. To see how permanent war in this left/right cultural war leads to a toxic authoritarianism, simply reference Matthews’ commentary above. For those who claim left/right is a struggle between reality vs reality denial, that is fucking laughable…

Comrade Joe Biden: “Every Great Idea the Past 3 Centuries has Required Government Vision and Incentive”

The intrepid vice-president on the campaign trail:

“Every single great idea that has marked the 21st century, the 20th century and the 19th century has required government vision and government incentive,” he said. “In the middle of the Civil War you had a guy named Lincoln paying people $16,000 for every 40 miles of track they laid across the continental United States. … No private enterprise would have done that for another 35 years.”

Oh, the irony. In one hypertrophied moment of campaign propaganda, Biden managed to undercut the entire historical progressive critique against laissez faire. After all, how could Progressivism, historically, be a movement to tame the “excesses of laissez faire” when every great idea the past three centuries has been the result of government intervention? In Biden’s own words, private enterprise could not have completed the transcontinental railroad until the 20th century. So, we apparently have Lincoln to thank for the post-civil war Robber Baron era that otherwise could not have happened if private enterprise would have been left to it’s own devices. No transcontinental railroad, no robber baron era.

This is classical politician doublethink. In one context, to justify political intervention, we are told of the utter inertness of the private market in comparison to the power of the State. In another context, we are warned of the need for intervention to restrain the powerful unbridled, unregulated market. In doublethink, there is never any need to reconcile these contradictory statements. Which one is true simply depends on the political objective to be had at the given moment.

Of course, we don’t quite live in an Orwell or Huxley novel where doublethink political reality is the only reality or where historical reality is subsumed by complete distraction. There have been several great technologies–steam engine, telegraph/telephone, AC(alternating current) Electricity, automobile, airplane and transistor–that I would classify as having the greatest impact on civilization over the last three centuries. Most, at the outset at least, had little or nothing to do with government intervention. The transistor is debatable, but like anything significant that has come off the drawing board since the early to middle part of the 20th century, it’s going to be ambivalent/murky because the government is so involved in the control of the economy and funding the nexus of corporate/university research.

What’s not debatable, however, is that, in the end, everything becomes incorporated into the political economy. For the politician, an idea is only great if it can be monetized by artificial rents. So, in empirical political reality, it is empirically true for the politician that every great idea the past three centuries indeed has required government intervention. No doubt….