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Thread: Welcome to the future

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    Default Welcome to the future

    Awesome essay by Maggie McNeill


    Welcome To The Future

    (Click the link above for the full version with onward links & references)

    As long-time readers know, I’m very fond of science fiction and fantasy; the difference between the two is that the latter describes a world which (by our understanding of the laws of the universe) could not actually exist, while the former describes a world which could but does not (at least yet). As some have pointed out, though, the term “science fiction” is really too limited; very often the world described in such a story differs from our own not due to some scientific discovery or technical development, but in a social or cultural way. For this reason, some writers and critics prefer the term “speculative fiction”, which broadens the genre to include things like alternate-history stories; my tale “For I Have Sinned”, for example, imagines what our modern world might be like had the Catholic Church won the Crusades and successfully suppressed the Protestant Reformation. The story is an example of a type called a dystopia; while a “Utopia” is a fictional world better than our own1984 (at least in the writer’s estimation), a dystopia is one that is worse. But just as the traditional science fiction of yesterday (e.g. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Destination Moon) can become the science fact of today, so can what was once the stuff of dystopian speculation become the true and horrible political reality.

    The process is usually very gradual, just as technological development is; a poisonous idea becomes established in one place and spreads to others, expanding in scope once it’s in place. The wicked Swedish model of prostitution law, which defines women as moral imbeciles and men as their evil oppressors, is sold to the delusional, the misandrist and the ignorant as a means of “protecting” women from dirty, bad sex, and though it has been repeatedly beaten back in England and Scotland it has now taken root in Northern Ireland:

    "The Northern Ireland Assembly has voted by 81 to 10 in favour of making it a crime to pay for sex…Northern Ireland is the first part of the UK to vote in favour of the measure. There is still some way to go before the bill becomes law, but the prospect of a ban on paying for sex in Northern Ireland has taken a significant step forward…Opponents included Justice Minister David Ford who claimed it would be difficult to enforce…"

    “Difficult to enforce” is an understatement; the US has criminalized both the buying and selling of sex for a century now, and though only a tiny fraction of all such transactions are caught by police it takes “sting” operations and other violations of civil liberties to accomplish it. In other words, even if you believe that stopping consensual behavior is somehow a good thing, prohibition can’t actually accomplish that. It does, however, provide a useful excuse for the construction of a vast police state; “protecting children from porn” was the rationale for establishing the UK’s internet censorship regime, but it’s now being extended to allow suppression of any viewpoint of which “authorities” disapprove. Nor will they be content with merely silencing such people:

    "People found guilty of Internet “trolling” in Britain could be jailed for up to two years…following a number of high-profile cases of abusive and threatening behaviour on Twitter. Justice Secretary Chris Grayling…[said] “This is a law to combat cruelty — and marks our determination to take a stand against a baying cyber-mob”…last month a man was jailed for 18 weeks for what prosecutors described as “a campaign of hatred” against a [politician]. “These internet trolls are cowards who are poisoning our national life…” Grayling said. “That is why we are determined to quadruple the current six-month sentence”…The government proposes to amend two existing laws to extend the maximum jail term and also the time limit for prosecutions, from six months to three years…"

    I edited this item to remove the cases politicians are using to win the support of the thoughtless and focus on their real motive: shielding politicians from criticism. Thoughtcrime is now a very real offense in Britain; perhaps you read about this case:

    "Robul Hoque…[was convicted for] his collection of Japanese Manga or Anime-style images alone…His barrister Richard Bennett said: “These are not what would be termed as paedophilic images. These are cartoons”…Police found the images when they seized Hoque’s computer…none were of real people. They were classified as prohibited images as they depicted young girls, some in school uniforms…exposing themselves or taking part in sexual activity…Six years ago he was prosecuted for having “Tomb Raider-style” computer-generated pictures of fictional children…"

    That’s right, he was convicted for having drawings of a taboo subject. Drawings. And pay attention to that line about how they found the forbidden doodles, because their power to search you for “evidence” (or any other excuse) is increasing all the time:

    "Registered gun owners in the United Kingdom are now subject to unannounced visits to their homes under new guidance that allows police to inspect firearms storage without a warrant. The new policy from the British Home Office went into effect Oct. 15…Britain’s gun owners were subject to the home visits before the update, but the inspection had to be conducted with prior notice…the Association of Chief Police Officers [claimed] the revamped guideline does not grant police any new powers…ACPO is also encouraging [informants] to call a new Crimestoppers hotline to report any [people they want harassed by police]…The Home Office is [pretending] that legitimate guns could easily be stolen and wind up in the hands of terrorists…"

    Of course, guns aren’t the only things which terrorists might use; knives, household chemicals, cars, computers, money…why, the list is endless! Clearly the police need the power to “inspect the storage” of those things in private homes, without warning or warrant. And if the owners aren’t home when they arrive, well, in the interests of national security the police should clearly be given the power to let themselves in, and if the place gets ransacked in the process you can be sure those in charge will dismiss any claims the householders make with the assurance that proper procedures were followed.

    All of us are time travelers, and though the process is both slow and unidirectional, it inevitably brings us into a world very different from the one where we started. Unfortunately, we cannot merely hop into the TARDIS and return to the past or visit a different future if we don’t like the one in which we find ourselves; we are stuck there, like it or not. Tyrannies don’t materialize without warning overnight, nor are they usually imposed from outside any more; the world around us is a prison we have allowed the powerful to build, stone by stone and bar by bar. They capitalized on our fears, our intolerance, our greed, our envy, our laziness and our wrath, and though we could have stopped them many times over we were always more concerned with what other people were saying, doing or thinking, and thus handed our self-proclaimed “leaders” the weapons they needed to dominate us all. Welcome to the future, and if you think all the things I described above are hunky-dory just wait until the inexorable action of legal precedent brings your face under the boot next.
    Perhaps V for Vendetta wasn't so far-fetched after all. And we're not far behind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by liffey View Post
    Awesome essay by Maggie McNeill


    Welcome To The Future

    (Click the link above for the full version with onward links & references)



    Perhaps V for Vendetta wasn't so far-fetched after all. And we're not far behind.

    Chilling stuff.

    And this ...

    The process is usually very gradual, just as technological development is; a poisonous idea becomes established in one place and spreads to others, expanding in scope once it’s in place. The wicked Swedish model of prostitution law, which defines women as moral imbeciles and men as their evil oppressors, is sold to the delusional, the misandrist and the ignorant as a means of “protecting” women from dirty, bad sex, and though it has been repeatedly beaten back in England and Scotland it has now taken root in Northern Ireland:

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