Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Vacation Wrap-Up

I get a lot of vacation advice from the View-Master company; the only reason my Traveling Companion and I stopped at Quebec’s shrine of Ste. Anne de Beaupre (the “e” is supposed to be accented) – indeed, the only reason we knew the church existed – is because I have the vintage three-reel set in my stereoscope collection. The photo I took is considerably less cool, what with the lack of 3-D effects. But my pic, unlike the View-Master company’s, features some Japanese ladies. I have no idea who they are; I wanted to take an unobstructed, tourist-free shot of the church and the fountain before it, but never had the opportunity:

I spent the second half of my Canadian vacation in Montreal, so my Traveling Companion could attend Anticipation, the 67th annual world sci-fi convention. One discussion panel, which had a title like “Legal Systems Past, Present and Future,” had as a panelist a Scottish writer named Charles Stross who, at one point, while discussing some particularly nasty laws of days gone by, said “If you think the U.S. has draconian laws now …” My now-required-to-return-home passport weighed heavy in my purse when I heard this; damn Ronald Reagan, I thought, whose ramping up of the war on drugs led to a country formerly known as a bastion of freedom being known instead for things like “draconian laws.” Damn the second George Bush, whose cowardly response to the 9/11 attacks turned this up to 11. And damn Barack Obama for reneging on his promises to reverse this trend.

These patriotic platitudes remained in my head a day or so later, when I watched Cory Doctorow receive his Prometheus Award for best freedom-themed fiction (for his novel Little Brother). It’s a fine book to be sure, but has no goddamned business being considered “relevant” in a country that labels itself “free.” Of course, that’s the country’s fault, not the author’s.

During the question-and-answer portions of these panels I kept my hand down, because I couldn’t think of a non-plaintive way to ask the only question on my mind: “Yes, our country and the entire Western world is on the wrong path these days. What the hell can we do to stop it? What can anyone do?”

Do you guys have any suggestions? I’m clean out of ideas.


Anonymous Jeff P said...

Well, first off I'd recommend that the chatty contigent of libs that frequent the internet stop trumpeting their moral sobriety and erecting free-range troll habitats and do something substantive, like bringing pressure to bear on the LP or Reason Foundation to preach to someone other than the converted. Next would be an organized campaign to get streaming vids and other relevant content onto major web outlets. This would require press releases and blogstorms. It would also require a degree of coordination, which is the biggest hurdle.
Movements with less wits and a lot less resources have managed to effect widespread high-impact change. There are enough connected tech-savvy folks in the loop to get it done easily. But they won't, as it will cut into their time reserved for swallowing bait and nurturing the vast herds of jackasses that manage to distract and derail libertarian discourse on a daily basis. Getting pro-liberty subjects inserted into public discussion is apparently too much of a bother.

Case in point: The Prometheus Awards, and the content of Cory's acceptance speech, got zero coverage outside of one-lines in SF blogs. Media could easily have been carpet-bombed with links and other messages to make the award something other than a fanboy oddity.

The existing circles of Libertarians need to shut up, get off their asses, and do something meaningful. Period.

6:21 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

*sigh* Regarding preaching to the non-converted ... I tried that at my last couple of writing jobs, and have objective evidence to show my work was fantastically popular with the readers, but that still wasn't enough to keep even a low-paid writing gig. Since "being a good, reliable writer who gets a lot of readers" is apparently not a job-keeping strategy, and I have no adolescent interest in being a flaming martyr, I'm plumb out of ideas.

And it doesn't help that opposition to the status quo is dominated by extremists. Opposed to Obama? Pffft, yeah, you must be one of those birth-certificate conspiracy freaks. Opposed to Bush and Cheney? Uh-huh, I bet you think they brought down the Twin Towers, too.

If I believed in collective guilt or collective punishment, I'd almost say the Western world deserves what it's going to get over the coming decades. But I don't and it doesn't. And I look at the small children of some of my friends, and cringe to think of the sort of world they'll face when they grow up.

*sigh* Maybe I'll feel better once my morning caffeine fix kicks in.

7:15 AM  
Blogger Taktix® said...

Solution? I'm still banking on the Grey Goo to come along and take care of this for us.

As they say, it only take one failed lab experiment...

8:20 AM  
Blogger Taktix® said...

takes dammit, takes...

8:20 AM  
Blogger rhhardin said...

Ridicule the seriousness impersonation of soap opera news audiences.

You can't stop the MSM business model, but you can at least make them as relevant as the flat earth society.

Otherwise they edit every national debate.

12:04 PM  
Blogger rhhardin said...

The problem is voters, not government.

12:04 PM  

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