May 03, 2007

Eject? Eject? Eject?

" Something wonderful is about to Happen"
Bill Whittle is posting again at "Eject! Eject! Eject". If you have not yet partaken of this wondrous feast, stop reading right now and follow the link on the sidebar. Bring lots of coffee and write back when you are done. See you in about a month. Bill has just announced his intention to begin the creation of what he describes as a "Virtual City-State". You can even take the "Paules Pledge" written by our very own Basil of Riverdale. Bill's instructions are to think about what you really love to do, what you can do really well, and whether or not you can teach that skill to others. He is also bringing Rachel Lucas on board after her long absence. Although I have not personally read her stuff as yet, her reputation precedes her and I am looking forward to it.
What exactly is a "Virtual City-State"? Well, Mr. Whittle has not provided us with a blueprint exactly, but we do know that it is something that we must build ourselves. The purpose seems to be nothing less than the creation of a virtual Polis of the willing and the capable. As a comparison let's look at the United Nations. This organization was founded after WWII to essentially eliminate warfare as a means of dispute resolution among nations. Great idea. Too bad it turned so quickly into a democracy of dictators, thieves and terrorists. A new proposal has been floating around for some time that it should be replaced with a Council of Democratic States, whose membership eligibility would be determined by the relative state of liberty existent at the time of application. Great idea says I, but there are the nagging ghosts of "The League of Nations" and earlier still, Napoleon's "Continental System" and so on, all the way back to the Athenian Empire.
Mr. Whittle, I desperately want to believe in this new project. I also want to be the voice of caution. I would encourage everyone interested in this new project to read two books. The first is Robert Heinlein's award winning "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. The second is Neal Stephenson's "Cryptonomicon" Both deal with the establishment of new societies. The first is a parable. The second is an instruction manual. This assumes one has already read the Federalist Papers, The Bill of Rights, The Declaration of Independence and comparable works. Again, see the links on the sidebar for a taste of Nicollo Macchiavelli, Freidrich Nietzsche, and Ayn Rand.
As you have written recently in your own comments section, if this becomes just a debating society, we might as well just go play World of Warcraft. Well Bill, trying to build a base of over a million intelligent individuals seems a whole lot like herding cats, but I'm game if you are. I don't want it to end up like the picture at the top of this post, but I am just old and a bit cynical when it comes to human nature. In the mean time "Ad astera volemus sella tonanti" (iirc).


Basil said...

We don't know what Bill is up to yet. He's working on it, whatever it is.
And he's promised to deliver something this weekend. This man has an
exceptional mind, and a clear yet compelling way of expressing his thoughts.
By now his data base is crammed with like-minded talent. The group
represents a blend of high intellect, genuine insight, and practical
ability. That's a powerful combination. What remains to be seen is how he
intends to expand the base and direct its energy toward a specific goal.
Give him a chance and let's see what happens. One thing we do know, the
power of the Internet has possibilities as yet untapped. Drudge, Google and
Ebay are primitive steam engines compared to what we'll see in the future.

Munnin, your comments about human nature are based experience and a long
historical record. But every now and then something truly radical pops out
of thin air and revolutionizes human affairs. The printing press comes to
mind, because it broke the monopoly on information held by the Church and
aristocracy. That will be key here, to break the power of entrenched
interests in favor of something new. You see it already happening to print
media. The Gutenburg Revolution is getting old in the tooth. What happens
next? Do we stand on the cusp of the world's next Big Idea? Out with the
old, in with the new?

We shall see. Have patience.


muninn said...

I know, I gotta give it time. Patience just aint my strong suit these days, but hope springeth eternal. Thanks for bracing me up a bit. This chair better make a DAMNED LOUD NOISE!
"Down the hatch, and confusion to the French."

muninn said...