from “Progress Report for a Goodthinking UniSocAm”

I found this fragment buried in a government website a few weeks ago and wanted to share it. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t supposed to be public, as I haven’t seen it since. I don’t know the author or to whom it’s addressed, but it’s obviously fairly recent and seems to be part of a larger document or book. Please read it and spread it around. It’s important we don’t allow this kind of thinking to continue. In the meantime, I will see if I can find more.

– sd

There are five primary beliefs that must be imparted upon any citizenry in order to ensure the party’s long life. They are as follows:

  1. Participation in a republic is voluntary
  2. Responsibility for the republic rests solely on the shoulders of the elected
  3. Public is private
  4. Protection is control
  5. War is peace

During the early and middle stages of conversion to a single system of political and social thought, we must put all of our efforts into the five beliefs above. As the years go by and we find that the citizenry truly believes in the five points above, we can turn our efforts to other efforts (outlined in chapter 5 below).

At this point in time, we are very close to a complete adoption of the above beliefs by the majority of the voting public. The rest of this report will outline how we’ve accomplished what many people have said is impossible.

First is the task of getting the public to believe that participation in a republic is voluntary. We worked towards this goal first as it is the single weakness of our current government’s constitution. If enough people are convinced of a voluntary participation, then general human apathy will ensure that only a handful of the total population will turn out to vote. By limiting the numbers of voters, we can ensure a larger percentage of our own sympathizers, or sympathizers of issues that are not important to the running of a government. Recent history can give us many examples: religious freedom, abortion, homosexual marriage. None of those issues are truly important to the longevity of our current republic, but by ensuring that the only people participating are those who see them as issues, we have created a distracted and frustrated citizenry that is – in turn – less likely to vote in the next election.

How have we done this? The primary method is by not revealing to the public the weakness of the constitution. While our publicly funded education programs certainly outline the structure of the government, they do very little to educate students on the reasons for the structure or, indeed, the participation from the governed on which that structure depends. That added to a general human apathy, confusion around what the electoral college is, which election cycle is truly important (as an aside, we have been working very closely with the press on this one and have truly convinced citizens that the presidential election is more important than the congressional), and the convoluted unimportant issues mentioned above, we have come very close to bringing the voting pool down to a manageable and steady 30 percent of the populous.

Second on the list is to convince that the tasks of governing and oversight are the sole responsibilities of the elected and appointed officials. This is a key point. Imagine for a minute what might happen if each citizen took it upon himself to keep track of what government was doing. It would undermine our current progress and become very difficult to implement some of the future changes that are being planned. However, by the combination of human apathy mentioned above and a belief that governing is not a citizen’s responsibility, we can foster feelings of frustration and helplessness within the general public. These feelings lead to a continued trend of non-participation which leads to deeper feelings of alienation. When citizens feel alienated and disenfranchised, it makes it easier to suppress them with work, entertainment, the lottery, etc. (more on our work in those areas in chapter 2).

Third is that the public must believe that the behavior of government is private while their own private information is in fact public. The accomplishment of this step has taken many years and is only 60 percent complete at this point; however we anticipate great strides in this area with our current administration. The keys to this are jargon and volunteerism. Let me explain.

By wrapping governmental work within complicated language specific to certain areas of expertise such as law, science, economics, etc. the government can actually convince citizens that there’s nothing within the information for them. Additionally, our current administration’s pledge of openness will convince citizens to look at only what they are told to monitor – www.recovery.gov for instance – and keep them away from the inner workings that could actually tell a complete story. The press, of course, will request deeper access, but these few individuals are easy enough to control (more on this in chapter 3). With the citizenry volunteering to be left out of public processes, it’s very easy to convince them that those processes are actually private. From there, it’s even easier to convince people to volunteer personal information to the government: spending, travel, food preferences, closest friends’ names, political and religious views, etc. We can accomplish this in one of two ways.

The first is to simply say that we require such information to better understand their needs in order to properly govern. We could conceivably use the current US Census for such a purpose if necessary. The second method – which is also beneficial to our business interests and therefore preferred – is to allow the public to willingly send all kinds of information to their favorite companies. Once that’s gone on for a couple of years, we can institute oversight on the companies to ensure a protection of privacy. Of course, in doing so we gain access to unprecedented amounts of data.

In these ways we can ensure that the information our citizens think of as private becomes public, and at the same time generate a disinterest in government processes without passing any laws that could raise suspicious too early.

Fourth, we must convince the public that protection and control are the same activities with the same ends. Already there is evidence that people believe protection can only be gained by giving up control of their lives. This is a good first step. The next step is to demonstrate how without the government controlling their lives they would lose the protection that it offers. This demonstration has already begun, in fact, with the advent of the current financial crises and our work towards indicating blame.

People already believe that the sole reason for the banks’ collapse was lack of government oversight, and that it had nothing to with greed, mismanagement, and a healthy shove from the Fed. Now are nationalizing the problem banks, increasing oversight, and gaining control of those finances. The people – according to stock market movement – have reacted favorable. It’s apparent that society is beginning to equate control with protection.

Outside of the financial arena, we are using fear and paranoia in order to increase people’s desire for protection. This works especially well where many people are gathered together: airport, subway, train station. This, too, seems to be having a positive effect. We’re able to request identification at our leisure, subject anybody to an invasive and unwarranted search, as well as broadcast messages to everyone that encourage them to be suspicious of others’ behavior. All of this with little or no protest. We are very close to accomplishing our goals in this area much sooner than we expected.

The last important item to discuss is a concept popularized by George Orwell’s 1984. Surprisingly, the widespread popularity of this novel has not prepared people against many of the practices it attempts to vilify, among them the concept that war is peace.

We have been able to quite successfully convince citizens that only by violently protecting our interests in an area of the world can we assure a peaceful existence in our own country. Of course, this is not a new concept and precedent for such a philosophy can be found throughout documented history. Luckily, however, we have at our disposal governmental approvals of such behavior with the Monroe and Truman Doctrines. This ensures that even if a body of citizenry were to point out the fallacies of such a philosophy, we can simply respond that it is in the nature of our country and begin the process of proving them unpatriotic (chapter 6 for more on this).

Admittedly, we have had undreamed of success in this area over the past 20 years. There was some initial concern among some of our group based on how the constitution set forth the rules of declaring war. This was soon overcome, however, through a steady application of principals one through three and we eventually saw put in place a congress fitting our needs. That body put into law the War Powers Act in 1973 which gives the president the ability to preemptively invade another country. This relegated congress to the role of financiers, and while that could theoretically lead to problems, the successful disenfranchisement of citizens has ensure a steady stream of war-bound funds even to the point – if we may celebrate a bit – of bankrupting the country for generations to come. There is always a risk of relapse, however, so we must continue to devise a method of ensuring a steady stream of money (see chapter 4).

We hope you’ve found this overview of principles and application of same to be enlightening. Remember: through the steady, confident, daring, and unwavering application of the five principles outlined here, we will continue to march towards a future we can all be proud of.

Alternatives to Google

As I do this little experiment, I’m making some finds and reconfirmations of things that are viable replacements for google-based technology. Here’s my list so far:

  • Jabber is a great, free, open source IM protocol. Keep all of your contacts from GTalk, too. I’m using the chrome.pl server.
  • Free office software such as openoffice.org, AbiWord, etc. should serve all your writing needs.  I’m still looking for a remote solution with collaboration, which is a really important feature.
  • Ask.com has been working very well for me: mobile, images, video, maps, etc.
  • I realize I don’t need iGoogle with Firefox’s built-in RSS feeds. Netvibes is a fair alternative, though.
  • Still looking for a Feedburner replacement, but systematic use of RSS feeds using Firefox should cover it.
  • WordPress for blogging. I can host it on my own server, and it beats blogger hands-down.
  • Still looking for photo management/hosting, though both Windows and Apple have system-based solutions for management.
  • Web-based email solution is pending, as well.

That’s my list so far. Of course, I’m not paying much attention to webmaster tools such as AdSense or Analytics because I don’t use those in my daily life, anyhow. If you’re a webmaster or just interested in analytics, what do you use instead of Google?

I guess what I’m really doing is working to wrest back control of my life. It’s not an easy path, though. My wife and I are often working to simplify our daily interactions with the world, except that in order to do so one often has to do some up front work.

While google certainly simplified my life, I began to feel as though the trade-off — not actually being in control of my own stuff — was too expensive.

I will continue to share the results of my experiment here.

Mission (nearly) Complete

Yeah! Turns out WordPress has built-in import tools, so all I had to do was figure out how to get it to work with blogger.com (hint: the secret is to transform your blogger.com blog into one hosted at blogspot).

Now, to explain a bit about what I’m doing. I’ve been watching Google for a number of years. I first heard of and started using Google when I was a reporter about 9 years ago. At that time, the search engine was the best one to use for the kind of research I had to do for news articles and I supported it fully. Over the course of the past five years, however, the company has begun to slowly reach further and further into the information space to an extent I am no longer personally comfortable with. To that end, I am removing the company from my life.

I’ve been able to accomplish the following:

  • Switched from GTalk to Jabber (all of my GTalk contacts are still available to me)
  • Switched from blogger to WordPress
  • Deleted my iGoogle page
  • Removed Picasa and all images from my Picasa account
  • Deleted Chrome from my PC
  • Disconnected from Feedburner
  • Deleted my AdSense account
  • Removed Google Analytics from my website
  • [edit] Removed Google Notebook

I have a few things I’ve yet to do, but as you can tell I’m working pretty hard at getting out. The response to my announcement on Facebook that I’m going through this has been varied which is what I expected. My reasons are my own, and I’ve no intention of encouraging others to do the same nor do I believe anyone will.

So that’s about it for now. Thoughts?

Switching to WordPress

Okay, I’m back online. I’ll be reworking the site over the next few days as I figure out the format for WordPress.

[edit] So far, I’ve gotten the shell back and most of the styles in place. Looking good so far. Hopefully I can get the old content back in, as well.

So much for overclocking …

A week or so after my overclocking adventure below, my computer started showing signs of instability. The fan became noisy, it would freeze up little speckles of color on the screen, crash after sleeping, etc. I downclocked it bit by bit in the hopes that I could save any gains on speed but with no luck. As of this writing, I’m back at the stock configuration for both the CPU and GPU. I’ve lost framerates in WoW (down to an average of about 20.5 fps from 40 fps), but at least I can play again. And in reality, my fps is never that much lower than a typical movie, so no worries.