Is this the dawn of a new age? Is this the Information Age? The domain of Hi-Tech?
Connected intelligence? The arrival of the web society? Back in the just ’90s Al Gore, the US Vice President in Clinton’s administration coined the phrase – the information superhighway – which ultimately became the ‘internet’. The World Wide Web, Social Media, e-shopping, e-everything in fact all emanated from US Defence programmes. A system of communication designed to survive a nuclear attack was transformed into a virtual reality fantasy for the consumer. An addiction you might say! Kick the habit? Who wants to! This civvies version had legs. Would it have continued to exist if a nuclear conflagration had occurred? Who cares!
Hey, wait, stop a moment. We’ve been here before. What we mean is over the centuries the human race has been optimistic when faced with a new advance. Technical or social, it doesn’t matter. Over-optimistic and buoyant with confidence. Almost fanatical, if you will.
Perhaps in the Stone Age, more likely the New Stone Age to be exact, tribes changed tack. A really drastic transformation occurred. The tribe or group changed from a matriarchy into a patriarchy. The war party became ascendant. The hunter-gatherer changed in part into a warrior. The goods and chattels of neighbouring tribes became very attractive. The war leader and war emerged from this new orientation. Yes, it seems this way of life has lasted thousands of years. Up until today in fact. Only the weapons have changed. And promises were made. Things would be shared more or less equally. Amongst the men. In some Middle-Eastern ruins you can still see the sacred vows chiselled in stone. Sure, chiselled is the word? Absolutely!!
Wars, no matter who won, led to slavery. Routinely men who were not victorious ended up in slavery. Until the death rate made this counterproductive, these defeated warriors were emasculated.
Wars led to empires and to the aggrandizement of leaders. These leaders protested. However, there were enough flatters around to enforce their deification. From then on obeisance became a popular trend. Forget to prostrate oneself and woe betide the transgressor. Some leaders reluctantly became kings or dictators. And no matter what form the city or state took these were still slave states.
The Ancient Romans had a pretty crude class structure. Patricians, Roman citizens and Slaves. Civil wars were even fought over Roman citizenship. The colour of power then was a Tyriannian hue as near as damneth ‘purple’. Emperors loved the colour. The patrician class could also wear the colour. `However, some became anxious about wearing a toga with a visible purple hem. It gave them prestige but some were only too aware that Rome’s slaves outnumbered them by 20 to 1, or more. What’s more, no police!
Jumping over the mediaeval period where the militarised class had the very best of things, we come chronologically to our information technology age.
Yet, we still have private sector education, besides major public schools. And state grammar schools as a sop to Plato. Social engineering in a great big way. Not to mention a mediaeval system of government. It works? So did Ancient Egypt – and for thousands of years. Not to mention China. Is the House of Lords still going strong? Yes, they say it’s the best club in the United Kingdom or anywhere else for that matter.
Remember Wandsworth council and the Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire [ Redundant]? ‘Homes for Votes’ Scandal? Yes, Dame Somebody or Other was instrumental in obtaining a ‘spectacular victory’ for the Tories. Johnny Major, the Brixton and grammar school boy, felt honour bound to present the award.
Across the pond, forgetting what the Seventh Cavalry and the settlers did to the Native Americans, and not excusing what the whites did to the blacks, what with slavery, the Mason Dixon line, and Jim Crow atrocities, some architects, at the instigation of promoters, built structures with a hidden purpose. Stealthy bozos!
To end up at Jones Beach on Long Island(NY) the traveller in a vehicle of any sort has to pass over a bridge giving access to that resort. There are in fact 200 of these structures. But Jones Beach was meant to be invisibly segregated. Pioneer and deal-maker Robert Moses vision was an island get-a-way for middle-income tourists. Only middle-class folk were meant to frolic in the sand and the sea – the main natural facilities making up Jones Beach resort. Low-income ( and mostly black ) New Yorkers travelled by public transport. No bus could clear overpasses with such height restrictions. Ingenious design! Not an oversight but created to have a deliberate social effect.
And what about the Arab Spring? US Intelligence thought the cell(mobile) phone would unleash a social earthquake, in their favour, we might add, in the Mid-East. Syria was only the half of it – if that. US IT even tried to overthrow a NATO ally. Regime change a go-go. Exception – US mate Egypt. Every night on television news programmes we can observe how successful they have been.
Mid-East users know how different a computer game is from facing real bullets etc. Not exactly revolutionary material either.
What’s this got to do with anything? Darned if we know. Oh wait. Hang on a mo! Yes, something to do with net neutrality. That’s it! Have you heard of it? Yeah. Sure! It’s called network security. It’s all about blocking and filtering. Internet fast lanes. Guiding principles relating to market competition. Zero-rated services. OK, but tell me in simple terms. Well it just means the providers want more money. From whom? DOH! The users of course.
Now where’s my fidget
Hey, selfie anyone?