We care a lot,
About you people 'cos we're out to save the world...
This new talk about implants in humans for identification purposes is very, very disquieting. For all of Applied Digital Solutions' assurances to the contrary, this scheme does sound a lot like the Bible's 'Mark of the Beast.' Heh-heh... Seriously, though, this is the kind of thing that can start out with the most noble and benevolent goals, and get twisted and perverted into something much worse. Once people are used to the idea of getting a chip implanted under their skin, how hard do you think it would be to come up with chips that can be located via satellite, enabling the government (or Microsoft, or your choice of evil empires) to track you wherever you go? Or to create one which can stimulate your nervous system, so that the threat of pain is implied for actions not deemed acceptable? Paranoid? Yes, a little. But human experience indicates that we are capable of treating each other this way, and I see this as a slippery slope. I'm also afraid that the current security-overconscious federal government is going to approve it.
The Saudis have made an incredible proposal, and the Palestinians and other Arabs seem to be generally enthusiastic. The United States and Israel, typically, are hedging. Meanwhile, the Israeli Defense Forces are battering refugee settlements. Disgusting. This may be the last, best hope for peace in the region; if the Saudi proposal is left to die, many Arabs will be able to convincingly argue that it seems that Israel doesn't want to negotiate, and it will be that much harder for both sides to come to the table again.
It occurred to me the other day that I can't think of any group of atheists that has engaged in large-scale violence and murder. Which is not to say that they're incapable of it... But, really, doesn't it seem that much of the world's violence (particularly recently, but certainly in the past as well) is inspired by religion? Jews and Muslims are killing each other in the Middle East, Muslims and Hindus are killing each other in India and Kashmir, Christians and Muslims are killing each other in Chechnya, and Afghanistan... and let's not forget the Christian-on-Christian violence still simmering in northern Ireland. Has every war in history been waged over religion? Of course not. But many of them have, and even when they haven't, often the opposed armies have been of different faiths, and that probably only intensified the conflict.
A few weeks ago, author Norman Mailer made some comments with which I heartily agree, about America's "almost obscene infatuation with itself." Since the horrible attacks of September 11th, people have pulled together, yes, but it almost seems that they've pulled together only to protect their own interests and to tell the rest of the world to back off. Mailer used the phrase "patriotic fever," but I'm afraid "nationalism" is more accurate, the same kind of nationalism we've seen in Serbia and the other former Macedonian republics, in people like Russia's Vladimir Zhirinovsky and Israel's Ariel Sharon, and in other regimes and people I will not mention. The attacks were wrong, despicably wrong, but they were a crime against all humanity, not just against the United States, and all humanity should be involved in wiping this scourge from the face of the earth. Americans, and the American government, need to keep in mind that we're not living on an isolated island away from everyone else. We are part of a global community, and we have to stop thinking of our nation exclusively. That's very closed-minded, and if you need an example of where this kind of narrow, snowballing nationalism can go, think about Germany in the 1930s.
I'm also perturbed by the U.S. sending forces, in various roles and guises, to Yemen, the Philippines, and Georgia (no, not that Georgia, nimrod). Obviously, the Bush administration sees itself and the nation as the world's supercop, but while the goal of wiping out terrorism is admirable, we're only going to upset and antagonize other nations by getting involved in everything that seems to be (or is) terrorist-related. This really does need to be a global effort, not dominated by any one party.
In other news, this Web site's look has been revamped, yet again. I
get bored... Heh-heh. No, I think this new interface, which I've dubbed AS/2, will stick
around a long while. I've also utilized it for the Not An Exit and Foogar.com Web sites,
which you should check out, too. Foogar.com, for those who've been out of the loop, is a
joint venture between my former Underground Giraffe collaborator Steve
Augulis and me; it is not the Foogar that was to rise from
UG's ashes, however, but a much grittier and meaner ball of earwax. Be warned...