The Linchpin of Their Minds

The linchpin holding together the minds of plutocrat rightwingers is essentially a never-ending process of rationalization. They are making excuses, somewhere in the substructure of their whirring little minds, that they don’t even know they are making. The functional self-deceit of “this is for the good of America” is a tight knot of denial (“scientists are lying, we’re fine”), convenient self-deception (“I’m not enabling gun violence”), raw cynicism (“everyone does it”), externalizing blame (“socialists force us to keep blacks from voting”), and disguised hatred “anyway,liberals are satanic”).

And yes, the basic fiber of that knot is greed for power and money.


The conservative majority of the Supreme Court apparently felt that it wasn’t doing enough damage. They’d put the health of numerous women in peril, they’d weakened voting rights and made it possible to gerrymander with impunity, among other things–but they said, “What else can we do to sicken America? I know! We’ll make it easier to pollute America’s water with impunity!”

Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, and the other justices who are also beholden to Big Industry, found another way to repay the bosses who got them installed in the Supreme Court.

“Supreme Court dramatically shrinks Clean Water Act’s reach

“The Biden administration this year finalized a rule to cement broad protections for wetlands. That regulation must now be reworked in light of the Supreme Court ruling.” – Politico


I’ve sometimes thought it curious that many IT / tech data folk, fascinated by computers, don’t really get to know the one they were born with, their biological computer. Not only in terms of neurological composition, and health, but with respect to self-knowledge, the awareness of the true nature of attention, the variety of levels of consciousness (not the political sort, but the literal kind), and the many layers it keeps locked away from those not interested enough to pick the lock.

Consider the networks of the brain: for good and bad habits; for healthy activities and addictions; for inventiveness and free-association; for pleasant memories or painful ones. Consider the tides of hormones: the waves of reproductive desire and fear. The wiring of impulsiveness, the wiring of self-control. The predilection for anger or love. The inner adducing of a new theory, the psychological inertia leading to machinelike routine; the function of the ego, the tyranny of ego; the intricacies of desire.

But really, it’s all people, not just IT folk. It’s people whatever they’re interested in: all too few have much self awareness, all too few think about their own skull-encased thinking device. I just think it’s especially ironic with respecting people who work with computers. And here they have this biological computer–how much thought do they give it?

I Stubbornly Refuse

I stubbornly refuse to believe in predetermination, fatalism, and so on. My belief is that there are tendencies to certain outcomes. Like, a man falls in a rushing whitewater river and a powerful current is sweeping him toward the waterfall. He is prone to going over but if he’s alert enough, prepared enough, he can find a way to escape the current and survive. Probability is not necessarily deterministic.

FLIBBERTIGIBBET: A flash-fiction tale of rushed technology, privatization, and AIs…

Dwayne Dwidget, Chairman of Flibbertigibbet Incorporated, leaned back in his plush boardroom chair, started to speak — then noticed the damn gulls flying up to the window again. They’d become most bothersome lately. Happily, he’d had the laser anti-bird device installed and he smiled seeing its green beams lancing out, snuffing out the lives of the four gulls in four flares of flame. They plummeted away, trailing charred feathers, and Dwidget turned to the men and women waiting for him to address them. “Today is the day!” he declared. “This very day, Flibbertigibbet is going to transform the infrastructure of this country, and someday the world. Uniting all infrastructure with one software in one system will save the country billions and galvanize efficiency.”

“And make us a trillion dollars,” said Celia Forman happily.

“Certainly,” Dwidget said. “And that is why we must proceed apace, and not let anyone force us into unnecessary re-dos and betas and so on. We’ve got this!”

“But,” objected Gary Hamlin, their quality-control officer, “If you sell this version of the software to the government there’s a big risk of things going wrong — it’s really not ready for prime time — “

“Nonsense! The Flibbertigibbet Master Program is privatization at its best!”

“But Dwayne — “

“Does it not have the subprogram, with the execution of self-correcting AI?”

“Yes but that too is not ready — “

“We’ve got a trillion dollars to make, Hamlin! Now, having settled that, let’s get ready for our zoom meeting with the President!”

A few months later, on a Friday evening, Dwidget was in his thirty-million-dollar penthouse apartment, watching the news on the big screen TV, while drinking designer cocktails made by his in-house cocktail specialist.

“…the explosions along the power grid in the southeast have already cost forty lives,” said the news anchor. “In addition, fifteen planes are reported lost at sea, and it’s believed this is due to collisions caused by faulty software rushed into the system by Flibbertigibbet Incorporated. Another plane is — “ The news anchor vanished in mid-sentence as a plane crashed into the news channel production. Gulping his three-hundred-dollar cocktail, Dwidget changed the channel for a reality show he liked — which was interrupted by breaking news: “A dam controlled by Flibbertigibbet has opened its spillways during extreme-flood season, flooding an entire town and killing thousands — “

Another channel-change. “The Flibbertigibbet program has failed across the nation. City traffic lights are green when they should be red and countless people are dying in accidents — “

Hands shaking, Dwidget turned the tv off and called for another cocktail. Then he called Hamlin on the video phone and said, “We’ve got to fix the program now, this minute!”

“To do it this minute, boss, our only option is to give full correction powers to the subprogram AI. But that hasn’t been fully tested either — “

“It was tested enough! This is an emergency!”

“If you say so…”

Within minutes, the AI subprogram took over the system and two effects came about. The first one involved ending all Flibbertigibbet control and transferring systems to emergency manual control operatives. The second one was to eliminate the fundamental source of the program, with full executive power.

Thus it was that three large Flibbertigibbet security robots burst into Dwidget’s penthouse; two of them grabbed Dwidget’s arms and dragged him to the penthouse balcony. The third one, dragging a rope, tied it into a noose, which it put around Dwidget’s neck. The robots tossed him shrieking over the balcony railings, gripping the upper end of the rope so that his neck broke and he quickly died, dangling over the city.

“Problem solved,” the robots intoned.

INSTANT FUTURE! Get a clear perspective about the future of our world!

Do consider checking out my new website INSTANT FUTURE, created in collaboration with futurist Brock Hinzmann. IF has only been around a month and it’s still growing. But we have interviews with energy expert Chris Nelder on the future of energy, brand new interviews with science-fiction greats Rudy Rucker and Charles Stross — both are mind-blowing interviews–and archived articles about weird new technology. Check out Brock’s insights into how to grasp the future. Should we be optimistic or pessimistic? Find out at Instant Future. And more to come!