Dec 22, 2007

Thou Shalt Always Kill

Still fracking awesome.

Dec 21, 2007

Its over

At last, the academic nightmare that is my dissertation has been sent off, so that second rate thinkers can try and pick apart my unassailable genius of a thesis.

So that's that over with, at least.

Now I'm technically on my holidays I should have more time to contribute to this and some creative endeavours. I'll probably be able to do my long awaited podcast before February, as well as some more creative pieces of writing as well.

However, for a few days, I'm just going to collapse into my bed, so if you'll excuse me...

Dec 20, 2007

Malcolm X on the money, as per usual

"When you begin to start thinking for yourself, you frighten them, and they try and block your getting to the public, for fear that if the public listens to you, then the public won't listen to them anymore. And they've got certain Negroes whom they have to keep blowing up in the papers to make them look like leaders. So that the people will keep on following them, no matter how many knocks they get on their heads following him. This is how the man does it, and if you don't wake up and find out how he does it, I tell you, they'll be building gas chambers and gas ovens pretty soon -- I don't mean those kind you've got at home in your kitchen..."

And this just doesn't apply to race relations, either. Its just a shame more people don't grasp that.

Dec 17, 2007

Merry Christmas, seasons greetings, now bugger off

This will be my only concession to Christmas at all on my blog, and even then I'm making sure its Discordian related (bonus points for whoever can figure it out without using Google). If you don't like that, tough, because Christmas sucks.

Dec 16, 2007

Guilt free voyeurism

Not sure exactly what it is about this site, but I find it very relaxing, looking at the many and varied cities and landscapes of the world through CCTV. Especially at this time of year, with the snow etc (most of the cameras are in the northern hemisphere).

I probably have too much time on my hands, but anyway, I'd thought I'd share. Especially since Central Scrutinzer reminded me I had this link knocking around.

Dec 15, 2007

The State isn't public enemy number one...but probably should be

Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin to slit throats.
- H. L. Mencken

Urgh. Another day, another moronic attempt at self-justification by a New Labour cheerleader. The suspects are not new, and neither is the subject, but simply because of the concentration of hideous sentiment that are far too common among the political elite of the moment, it deserves attention.

As the cheerleader in chief, Polly Toynbee points out, Monday was International Human Rights Day, a day that has become increasingly important in a world where rendition, torture and suspension of haebus corpus under the guise of counter-terrorism legislation is a fact of life not only under faraway dictatorships, but supposedly free and democratic countries.

Yet, for the likes of Toynbee and the rest of the Bolsheviks masquerading as Fascists in Parliament, this is not a cause for concern, because the decade of rule under Labour has been the best for freedom. Apparently independently investigated police are much more important than the fact that the same police can arrest and fine you for insulting Our Glorious (ex) Leader, to make one of many comparisons.

Furthermore, she dismisses the brilliantly concise reply from Henry Porter as enabling the privileged classes to engage in fashionable persecution paranoia. While some of his claims may have been contentious, can anyone really consider laws that create arbitrary zones of trespass and the interception of all major communication systems without recourse to even a court as being those of a government concerned with liberty and freedom?

Apparently so. Because, you see, these are individual rights. Apparently, this isn't done for the individual good, oh no. This is done because the state has a duty to all, and your rights stop where...well, somewhere along the line to be defined at a later date. Arbitrarily, knowing this government, for whom “well-defined and limited” is a foreign, and possibly dirty term. Either way, because your individual right to not be spied on for no reason conflicts with my right to not be murdered in my bed by swarthy foreign extremists, your right is clearly the lesser.

Or something.

The real battles are not to be waged on these grounds. There are far more important and pressing issues. Such as neglect. Liberty is a lesser necessity, don't you know? If you didn't, you can look it up on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. See its, science, we cannot start whinging about silly little things like removing the right to be tried by your peers until everything else in society is perfect. So sit down and put your little banners away (because the police will only beat the shit out of you and throw you in jail if you dare to use them near Parliament anyway). I presume soon we will bring Solidarity and Vaclav Havel to task for their pathetic right wing agitation which bought down the Warsaw Pact before the Soviets could eliminate poverty.

Best of all, this silly insistence on individual claims is just another right-wing wolf dressed up in leftist clothing. Oh yes, you may be for the minimum wage, a mixed economy and the use of government spending to help cure social ills, but if you start getting funny ideas about you being a sovereign individual with inalienable rights, then you're a tool of a vast right wing conspiracy. And no, we wont refund your centre-left club membership card either, you traitorous little scumbag.

Its articles like these that make me question my stated political affiliation. If left-leaning, Millian liberalism is going to be associated with this sort of morally bankrupt political philosophy, then fuck it – I'm now a rather weak-willed anarchist (“gently push over the State!”). I have no problem with what I think, its just if I don't spend 20 minutes trying to explain the essential ideas from On Liberty to a curious bystander, I'll likely be considered a believer in the above garbage.

Even worse, its allowed the Tories, the bloody Tories, to claim some sort of moral high ground and present themselves as a party dedicated to freedom. Freedom? Hah! Liberty? Sure, if you're white, male and rich, perhaps. Maybe one day the Tories will finally realize their plans to combine free market economics with social conservatism are doomed to failure, because the two don't actually mix, but that day is still far off.

Now, I know some of you out there may still be wondering, OK then, well what's your case that the state should be public enemy number one? Well I am glad you asked, oh literary-device-which-allows-me-to-move-onto-a-new-point. My position is very simple, and grounded in what I like to think of as common sense. It goes a little something like this: every single state, regardless of the people who run it, are capable of great evil and the mere existence of such concentrated power in the hands of so few, with so many resources to hand, constitutes a direct and ongoing threat to my personal freedom.

Did you catch all that? Good. Its a very simple position, which basically reverses the logic of a police state, that the possibility of threat leads to its actuality, back onto itself. People might be naughty, therefore we need lots of laws to protect YOU before they commit a crime. The State might be naughty, therefore we need a lack of laws and well defined limits on their powers to protect ME before they commit a crime.

And of course, the scope for crimes by the State are potentially so much higher than even the most ambitious individual could hope to aspire to. Ordinary people have, at best, mass murder and grand theft. Nations can inflict genocide and steal entire regions of resources. Not only can they, its happened fairly often before. They can keep hundreds of thousands in fear with their thuggery, engage in any form of theft they like, restrict your ability to move freely forever, torture, brutalize and rape...with impunity. While with the advent of WMDs ambitious individuals may be able to scale similar heights in murder and intimidation, states will long retain the monopoly, will to use violence, and legitimacy that your average, casual murderer lacks.

That's not to say the state cannot be a force for good. I'm rather keen on poor people making enough to actually live on, affordable housing, protection from people who actually intend to harm my liberty or person (as opposed to those the state says want to) and other similar things. But I fail to see how these, in any way conflict with not throwing people in jail simply because they dare to not show proper deference to their leaders. That's because it doesn't. It is a false dichotomy, an intellectually shallow position that tries to force the social conscience of people into accepting intolerable violations of their liberty.

Once you have a state which has the power to do such things, you have a serious problem. Because unless its the prelude to installing an 'enlightened' dictatorship, there is no way you can know the nature of the government in 10, 20 or 50 years time. People always forget that one, that their own favourite lia-um, politicians, will not be in power forever. And when was the last time you remember state power being voluntarily rolled back, once those special powers had been acquired? Exactly, almost never.

You can't dictate the terms of the future political landscape. You see, this is the problem with the inherently short sighted supporters of New Labour. We may not be in a police state, not yet. Widespread abuse of these powers has not happened. But the fact remains that the tools are already in place and all that is lacking is the political will, not the ability itself. The state cannot be trusted, because the nature of democracy inherently brings uncertainty into the future trends of policy. You'd think people who actually grasped the concept of voting would understand that.

All of the above is precisely why the state should always be viewed as the foremost enemy of liberty and the enemy of the public at large. Someone who views the state as their enemy is not going to be tricked into foolish nationalistic squabbles, isn't going to buy lines about excessive protections “for your own good” and in short, is not going to open themselves and the larger community as a whole to the sort of deprivations of state power which make up almost all of history for the last 100 years.

The state may be a necessary evil (depending on who you talk to, it may not be), but its certainly an evil of some sort. Trusting in it is the action of a fool or a madman, and no excuse can be made for it.

Dec 12, 2007

Adam Weishaupt Society: Notice

The AWS Grand Master has suspended the Great Game in order to undertake a special Christmas themed subversion. All cells, including the Illuminatus! Trollogy and International Masonic Conspiracy will be considered as working as one towards this goal.

Please direct yourself to the The Adam Weishaupt Lounge for more information, as well as reports on recent high-profile successes.

Those of you still not members, but wishing to take part should click here and sign up for an account.

35 best antisocial behaviours

Taken from various members at

1. Excuse yourself to go to the bathroom, come back sopping wet, offer no explanation.
2. Claim you must wear a bicycle helment all the time as part of your "astromaut training".
3. Just mutter the words "Can't get away, can't hide" over and over.
4. Hiding in a dark corner mumbling curses.
5. Take "a Sabbatical" from bathing.
6. Start walking your cat on a leash. When asked why or given funny looks by people, sick your cat on them.
7. Screaming "Attack of the flying monkeys" at random strangers.
8. At the gym, tell an employee your clothes were stolen. When asked what they look like, describe what they're wearing.
9. Start practicing the ancient art of the lite-brite.
10. When someone talks to you, cover your ears and say "LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA" until they leave.
11. Phone everyone you know, yell at them to stop calling you.
12. Listen to elevator music on repeast, loud.
13. Scream "I know you are but what am I?" at the top of your lungs every hour on the hour.
14. When people walk by, hide behind a fire hydrant and pretend they can't see you.
15. Ask everyone you see who isn't smiling if you can hug them.
16. Every time you see a co-worker yell "We meat again" and laugh evilly.
17. Yell at the ants on your lawn to leave you alone.
18. Answer the phone by saying "Can't talk right now, busy dancing."
19. At the zoo, talk to the monkeys as if you're visiting a loved one in prison.
20. As someone exits the elevator, whisper "I love you" as the door shuts.
21: Shit yourself on a regular basis.
22: Scream at the top of your lungs every 5 minutes.
23: Kill someone in public, then appologize profusely to their body. Tell them you thought they were someone else.
24: Post on a discordian forum, it's totally cool and subversive even if you never leave your house or interact with anyone.
25: Go to McDonalds drive-thru, order 20 double quarter pounders with extra tartar sauce, leave without paying.
26: Make lists of anti-social things that you can do.
27: Leave one of the numbers blank.
29: Call an 800 number, put them on hold, call them back and complain when they hang up. Demand to speak with their manager.
30: Get a job at McDonalds or Walmart, get fired with style.
31: Play Grand Theft Auto.
32: Spend an entire week using only the phrase "Go fuck yourself."
33: Never laugh at anybody's jokes but your own. If someone playfully calls you a name (Mr. "Hole-In-One," Honey, dude) or makes some playfully depreciating statement about you, lash out at them and throw a tantrum. Key their car. Buy some coffee or ice cream for the singlular purpose of spilling it on them. Basically, take revenge on them forever.
34. Qualify all sentences with the following beginning and/or ending: "in accordance with the prophecy"
35. Indiscriminate and obvious use of superglue on everything and everyone.

Dec 9, 2007

Oh, and by the way...

Disinfo is back and up and running. I like the make over, by the way guys and gals. Its sleek, but retains some of the original feel of the Disinfo site, which I like. It also looks less messy, and easier to navigate. I know it took a while, but I should also add Disinfo did an excellent job while the main site was not updating by working through social networking sites. Both on Myspace and Facebook I was invited to add their profile/join their group without even having to look for it.

All in all, good job peeps. It is nice to have the main site back up and running again.

A response to Ayaan Hirsi Ali

This was originally written on EB&G in response to the New York Times op-ed by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, basically complaining, yet again, about "tEh eViL mUsLiMs aNd hOw tHeY hAtE oUr fReEdOmS", or words to that effect, with all the usual NeoCon fury and lack of nuance or reality:

I think we can all agree what is happening is barbaric by anyone's standards. That's the point. It was raised in order that the main assertion by the writer, which apparently the majority of Muslims are extremists of some form, goes unchallenged.

She even uses a familiar form of argumentation for it - state fact about the world, through omission and distortion of evidence create another claim, and link the two in a causal relationship.

You see, if you look at the tagline of the article, the author in question is an "academic" (and I use that term loosely) working for, oh what a surprise, the NeoCon American Enterprise Institute, and a member of the racist Dutch party, The Peoples Party for Freedom and Democracy, who intended to close the Dutch border to Muslim immigrants had they won the 2002 elections.

What makes the above deliciously ironic is that she lied about her name, age and country of origin when applying for asylum in Holland.

Ironically, she was also a Muslim up until 2002, the year she ran for Parliament in Holland, yet somehow claims that Islam is incompatible with democracy. This irony is compounded when you realize her homeland, Somalia, was destroyed by secular warlords who hate Islam as much as she does.

In fact, here are her full views on Islam: it is not "a fringe group of radical Muslims who've hijacked Islam and that the majority of Muslims are moderate. [...] Violence is inherent in Islam—it's a destructive, nihilistic cult of death. It legitimates murder."

Funnily enough, so do her NeoCon masters, who have raised nihilism to a level that any religion could not hope for, and legitamizes world violence, but hush, we're not meant to do comparitive political philosophy! We have to keep pretending that Islam is a monolithic movement and not distinguish between its Jihadist, conservative and liberal strains. If we start doing proper political analysis, the whole war of the civilizations thesis falls apart!

She also thinks all Muslims should be screened for potential terrorist links before getting a job.

In short, she is a high profile Muslim hater on the payroll of AEI, a group whose intellectual dishonesty leads them to bribe scientists to argue against human caused global warming, as well as support all major policy initiatives of the NeoCons. Hell, their scholars list is like a whose-who of criminals and frauds, from Michael Leeden of Iran-Contra to Charles Murry of The Bell Curve infamy.

The fact is, if you protest as Muslim in a Middle Eastern country about this sort of thing, you can expect to end up in jail as well. In western countries, Muslim protests are routinely denied coverage in the national press - or worse - linked to extremists regardless of the reasons for protest.

For example, Indian Muslims staged a protest outside the Saudi embassy, which thus far has only been reported in the Malaysian Sun. Oh, I note the woman in question is in fact a Shi'ite, something that I haven't seen in other analyses of the trial. Has anyone mentioned that Shiites are second class citizens in many Arabic countries, especially those of a fundamentalist bent like Saudi Arabia, and thus are often disproportionally punished, for feared linked with revolutionary Iran and Hizb'allah in Saudi Arabia?

And more importantly, why should every damn Muslim in the world drop everything they are doing to protest against something that the oh-so enlightened scholars at the AEI don't like? I don't see the majority of Americans or Brits protesting the Iraq war, so I call you all murderers and exponents of an extremist doctrine by proxy - until you get out there and prove otherwise. You see how that works now? Since President Bush has proven he has no problems with executing mentally retarded prisoners, until the majority of American protest at his actions, I'm going to consider all Americans retard murderers until they prove otherwise. Why aren't the AEI protesting the use of torture and kidnap by the CIA....etc

This is exactly how these people operate, on a hypocritical double standard that, if employed against our own countries, would cause them to implode into a frenzy of deceit and hatred. But as we all know, its far easier to deplore the terrible crimes of far away countries from a comfy office (and get paid for it) rather than look into the crimes taking place far closer to home (usually while being labelled a traitor and being character assassinated in the press).

I have to say, I'm surprised so far I am the only person who has dealt with the article in its entirety. I thought some of you would have caught the rhetorical trick that was being used, and refuse to be led down the garden path laid out by the AEI NeoCons. Instead, you seem content to focus on what is already agreed by anyone with a brain and some compassion - that whipping someone to death for the "crime" of being raped is evil and disgusting. But is it more evil than labelling an entire religion as being mostly the same, the publication of said allegation in a major paper and the lack of rebuttal in her assertions from any of the mainstream media?

Why isn't that question being asked?

Real Fascism or STFU

This is a reprint of an excellent article on the Eurofascism blog, and one I felt should be reproduced. Øyvind Strømmen has written a book about a subject that really does concern me, in all seriousness - the resurgence of European, classical Fascism. Not the "Fascism-lite" of general authoritarianism, but the whole pure race, threatened by outsiders, hail Great Leader deal.

As someone who has studied Fascism in more than just a historical context (I've spent pretty much 4 years of my life studying the consequences, causes and philosophy of Fascist ideology - most as part of my A-Levels but the philosophy especially at a University level) I can feel his anger at the misuse of the term - in fact this very much echoes the excellent point about Fascism Orwell made in Politics and the English Language, but for a more modern audience.

I intend to buy the book sometime after Christmas and will give it a reading, but for now, his website is in my boomarks and I look forward to some provocative essays on a subject that both interests and terrifies me, and best of all from a European perspective.

Anyway, without another word, here is Strømmen's article:

To many people, I am afraid, fascism is just a word to describe things they do not like.

Lately, the American blogosphere has been full of talk about the Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week. For a while, I though the intention of this event was to tell people that Ahmadinejad is the leader of a totalitarian country, and that his ideology sucks big time. Personally, I had an impression that many people were already aware of these simple facts, but what the heck - at least it could have been a good excuse for drinking beer and walking around with a cowboy hat.

However, the point of Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week, according guide to hosting the event, is neither to drink beer nor to walk around with cowboy hats. It is not even about telling nasty stories about Iran (there would have been plenty). Nope. The point of the event is to “confront the two Big Lies of the political left: that George Bush created the war on terror and that Global Warming is a greater danger to Americans than the terrorist threat”.

Yep. That’s right. Global warming, which could potentially screw up the economy, the climate, the whole friggin’ world and Ann Coulters hairdo, is nothing compared to a bunch of reactionary extremists keeping themselves busy with blowing up bombs in Iraq. I have to admit, guys: I wasn’t aware of that.

Now, Islamofascism does exist. But that does not mean every single reactionary extremist of the Muslim world is a fascist.

Others talk about income tax as a variant of fascism. This guy, for instance. Has he spent much time studying fascism to reach that conclusion? What about the people who spend their time talking about Environazism - do they actually know much about real-life fascism, about the kind of fascism that killed millions during WWII or even about the kind of fascism which merely involves firebombing the local mosque in the middle of the night?

Did I forget about the tons of blogs claiming that Bush is Hitler, and reposting the same essays over and over and over and over again? Or the guys who keep on comparing 911 with the Reichstag fire? These guys are no better than the “buhu-the-bad-environazi-feminazi-Muslim-gay-activists-are-going-to-kill-us-all-lot”.

Having spent some time surfing around on the blogwaves, you can soon come to conclude that in the blogosphere everyone is a fascist.

That is not true. It’s quite ridiculous. And it really makes it difficult to use Technorati to do any sensible research into actual fascism around the world. Because, guess what, it does exist. Fascism as a political ideology is alive and in some cases alarmingly well. Although it is mostly hiding away at the fringes of politics it has a lethal potential: hatred, violence, terrorism… it all follows in the footsteps of fascism. Today.

So, here’s my prayer: Stop writing nonsense about fascism. Either drop the subject in its’ entirety. Or do some proper research.

A Chaotic time of year...

I'm still not commenting too much right now, certainly not in any detail, but I have to write about this sooner or later, before the window of opportunity closes.

In fact, you would have to be blind not to have noticed, but the political situation in the UK right now is in a state of flux which brings up all sorts of interesting and potentially amusing future scenarios.

The cause is simple. The Brown government, like every other government in history, is useless and corrupt. However, it fucked up because it showed itself to be both at the same time. You can get away with one, or the other, but not both. The Northern Rock nonsense was more a symptom of the underlying problems with the current incestuous nature of international banking and American economics that would have hit regardless of policies here, but since when does public opinion care about that? There was also no need to ensure the shares - both the left and supposed right in this country seem more than willing to back failed businessmen and women with taxpayers money, while spouting free market mantras to keep everyone else out of the game. Very naughty.

Secondly, there was the missing database stuff. A perfect example of why we cannot and should not entrust our security to the government. Well, pushing one's security beyond a certain level is pretty much a waste of time anyway, but this...well, in addition to opening up 25 million people to identity fraud for the rest of their lives, just proves the government cannot keep vital information safe at all. Just think about the implications of the loss of your ID card data, NHS central database, or genetic information the police seem intent on having. DNA in particular could be bad...I have a sneaking suspicion tailor-made, targeted genetic weapons will be big business one day, and genetic databases worth a lot of money.

There is the cash for loans scandal, ongoing of course. Everyone is on the take with this, but since the Tories managed to bury most of the evidence, and Labour are in power, Brown will take the hit for this. Guido has been taking notes on the Donorgate scandal, so you can go this site for the particulars.

And we have the slowdown in the economy, the refusal to allow a referendum on the EU Constitution-lite, problems with the Cabinet, the drift in overall policy and direction adding up to what looks like a Labour re-run of the John Major years of Government.

Through into the mix new anti-terrorism legislation (increasing detention to 42 days), the Lib Dem election race, the Tories taking an 11 point lead in the polls, the SNP making some interesting noises re: independence and a continuing uncertain international situation and...well, the possibilities are endless. Any number of things could tip in so many different ways, the outcomes are many and varied.

And chaotic periods always make for a good time, even for a low level player of the game like myself. It might be time to once again take up my role as an Agent of Chaos and stir some mischief and confusion among the ranks, perhaps even to my own own benefit. Things will invariably die down for the next 4 weeks, as a mass consumerist/party rush descends on the nation, but the underlying tensions wont go away, and the new Lib Dem leader will likely want to make an impact and so start asserting himself too.

Yes, 2008 is shaping up to be what a certain Chinese curse would refer to as "interesting times."

Dec 7, 2007

It is always 1939

This is a fact and it cannot be denied. No matter who the enemy is, no matter how miniscule their forces or ambitions or influence, or how open they are to diplomacy, it is ALWAYS 1939, for certain people. And needless to say, Godwin never existed either.

Dec 6, 2007

Interesting, how things change...

Just flicking through my well thumbed copy of Imperial Hubris by Michael Scheuer, looking for some interesting arguments to back up my thesis re: Iraq and Al-Qaeda, when I came across this little tidbit:

It also is not good enough to keep inferring that only those who have been in the military can criticize military policy and operations, which now seems to be the default response to criticism by many in the Department of Defense ... As Ralph Peters recalled for his countrymen, "The American tradition has been to despise and distrust the military. Our founding fathers debated and debated again the wisdom of maintaining a standing army of even a few battalions. . . . Soldiers were regarded as incapable do-nothings with their snouts in the national trough." Only postwar conscription made "military experience" common for Americans and for some of today's U.S. politicians.

Dec 4, 2007

Don't expect many updates

Moving into the final stages of my fact, I'm a few days behind, so I'll be working extra hard to catch up. I hate having to do actual work for my Masters, I much preferred just doing the research...

Dec 3, 2007

"Waaaah, Putin is a fascist!"

I can hear the Russophobic media bleating already about the Russian decision not to let the OSCE monitor the 2008 Duma elections.

Of course, we should ignore the fact that the OSCE is a Western propaganda tool masquerading as an apolitical, democracy orientated organization. And that allegation doesn't come from the notoriously paranoid and conspiratorial Russian press, but instead the man who headed the OSCE's 1996 election mission in Russia, Michael Meadowcroft.

According to his interview in The eXile, he was forced to ignore irregularities in the Russian elections that year. Not really a surprise, to those of us that pay attention to such things, but still, quite an admission to be made openly, and one that is hard to refute. After all, a democratically elected Marxist is something the West simply will not stand for, despite the democratically elected bit. If they take power by force, like the CCP, then that is fine, but if its a legitimate expression of the will of the population...well, look at Allende in Chile.

This isn't about Putin. Well, it is, but only since he crossed the West's oil barons. To me, its about our complete and utter hypocrisy in our dealings with Russia. Our press are too timid and spineless to even consider investigating our countries policies, but are more than willing to blast Russia for it (consider reporters deaths in Iraq vs the Anna Politkovskaya, in terms of coverage). It shows our national interests being subordinated to the personal interests of businesmen and women who haven't a care in the world for the wider ramifications of their actions. And, ultimately, it shows both our politicians and press are willing to manipulate the facts and fool people for the most stupid and pointless of reasons.

Dec 2, 2007

The good times are killing me...

Excellent quote from Duncan Kinder over at Global Guerrillas which happens to pretty much echo my sentiments on the overlap of international chaos and culture. It also happens to be far better expressed than I could do, so I'm stealing it for all of you to consider:

Destructiveness and creativity are often the flip sides of each other. To carve a wood statute, I must cut down a tree.

My survey of history suggests that cultural achievement and political comfort rarely go hand in hand. The glory that was Greece was more creative yet more unstable than the prosaic, stable, repressive grandeur that was Rome. The dull British have been far better governed than the exuberant French. The great period of Chinese philosophy was known as the "Waring States Period" while the great period of Chinese poetry took place during the An Lu-shan Rebellion, a horrific civil war that nearly destroyed the Tang Dynasty.

There are various reasons for this: Necessity is the mother of invention; these are times that try one's soul, etc. Artists are "mad, bad, and dangerous to know," so you are asking for trouble if, for some reason, they wind up in charge.

Conversely, order is repressive. I am not really interested in your expressing yourself by your conducting a drag race down the Interstate. When Salvador Dali threw bricks through a window, he also created a mess. The Beasleys in Harry Potter are not just nasty; they are bores. Bruce Schneier is now discussing the "War on the Unexpected." Any good art is "Unexpected."

So whatever the politics of the upcoming era may be, we are apt also to have quite a bit of creativity. Enjoy the ride.