Virtual Worlds Threaten Values

Posted by Anti Citizen One on October 29th, 2007

From the BBC, Lord Puttnam said:

The growing number of toy-themed virtual worlds aimed at young people risks undermining the basic human values we wish to instil in children.

Saudi’s “Advise” on Terrorism

Posted by Anti Citizen One on October 29th, 2007

While talking about terrorism on BBC Radio 4, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia said “Most countries are not taking this issue too seriously, including, unfortunately, Great Britain”.

Hopefully, the UK will not be taking any advise from the Saudis on internal “security”. Since opposition parties and ciriticism of the government are are illegal in Saudi, how are opponents allowed to change the government? Being backed into a corner, many have turned to overthrow of the government – possibly using force – including Movement for Islamic Reform in Arabia and Committee for the Defense of Legitimate Rights. Remember one persons freedom fighter is another persons terrorist. And if the government use force or the threat of force to achieving their goals, are they not terrorists? (That idea terrorism in state and group level moral equivalence, I nicked from Chomsky).

I am just imagine the UK run along these lines with political opponents being kidnapped, tortured, etc. Our response to terrorism is more of a threat than terrorism itself!

Anti Citizen One

(Although not relevant to this topic, I saw this photo of a Muslim only road in Saudi. Rather Odd.)

Review: The Shock Doctrine by Naomi Klein

Posted by Anti Citizen One on October 28th, 2007

In a word: wow. This book examines the history of neoliberalism in economic policy since the 1960s (ish). As you probably know, neoliberalism supports free trade, deregulation and privatisation. The title comes from the idea that these economic policies can only be introduced by force (i.e. torture and electric shock) or by lies and deception (often using some crisis or shock as distraction or false justification).

The worrying thing is to maintain this unstable equilibrium, shocks need to be repeated to keep people off balance – eternal war (aka “war on terror”), unstable world markets, etc. As they said on the TV series 24 when Jack first talks to the “mastermind” in series 2:

Kingsley: If someone wants to buy it, it’s for sale.
Jack: How can you justify starting a war to profit from the outcome?
Kingsley: We’re just controlling the chaos, that’s all.
Jack: No, you’re causing it.
(emphasis mine)

You see these free marketeers don’t see themselves as bad people. But conveniently they stand to benefit most from the implementation of their ideas. They are totally self interested.

The neoliberal has the goal of “maximising wealth”. To say that this is best achieved by “unrestrained generation of wealth” is trivial to see – yet this is supposed to be an “insight”. But what is not considered, is the human and environmental cost. Since these things can be costed by pure neoliberalism – they cannot be preserved by neoliberalism.

The only hope for control of our world and our lives is independence of the institutions that propogate these ideas. These institutions include the IMF and World Bank. I am deeply skeptical about stock exchanges where all the traders see is a number (of stock value) and how the number goes up and down. The number does not express the social and environmental context of the company business.

Anti Citizen One

The Way Ahead (aka Stumbling in the Dark)

Posted by Anti Citizen One on October 20th, 2007

As you know, we have both been busy in the last few weeks. I wanted to update the blog again to avoid death by neglect.

My current thinking is we will go to a “duel monologue” style. This is because imposition of anything else limiting in style or objectionable to one of us for some reason. The blog still presents two perspectives since we are both contributing and I would not bother with a solo blog. I do commit to read all your posts and perhaps respond in private email. This also has an advantage of saving time. You are welcome to comment on posts but I think we should not get defensive – just carry on regardless!

I came very close to insisting the termination of the blog. I still want to finish my series on Babylon 5. I still find different perspectives on philosophy interesting. They are reason enough to continue.

I observed an interesting debate at Guildford Cathedral a few days ago entitled: “The God Particle: Is Science the New Religion?”. They covered some of the ground we have previously discussed on the blog. It was interesting that both sides did not come to head to head conflict as we seem to. This is not a compliant but just an observation worth consideration. The panel consisted of a particle physicist (with existential leanings in my view – rather like myself), a science journalism (strong atheist), an artist (and probably a fan of Wittgenstein although she did not have an opportunity to get into detail) and the dean of the cathedral (who seemed to me an very liberal religious leader).

I am reading “The Shock Doctrine” by Naomi Cline which is a great book – and rather worrying. More when I finish. I have “History of Western Philosophy” by some guy called “Bertrand Russell” to read next, which I am looking toward to tackling.

As you know, I have moved from engineering to a more science based career. I figured if I envied scientists, it would be worth a change of career tracks!

Anti Citizen One