Jim Austin's Vermonter at Large
Jim Austin
Jim Austin
is a freelance writer from Putney, Vermont.

His previous columns are archived HERE.

Posted 09.23.02


Pattern recognition

Our 2002 convocation at Landmark College in southern Vermont featured the usual guest speaker. Landmark bestowed an honorary degree upon Ray Kurweil then sat back to listen to the "You are the future" saws and advice which was old when Og graduated from fire-making college.

Instead of stultifying boredom, Mr. Kurzweil had the joint riveted with his view of our future. In addition to his many books and inventions Mr. K is a "pattern recognition scientist." He has studied the evolution of both the biology and the technology of mankind since the first little micro blob appeared with a smidgen of DNA thus separating it from the other blobs.

His basic premise is that the faster humans and our machines evolve, the faster the pace of our evolution. The progression of our knowledge, he says, is growing exponentially. He sites the growth of the computer as an example.

His first contact with a computer was in the early 70s where he booked time on a computer that would scarcely fit in a gymnasium. Now our cell phones are more powerful. He estimates that in only a few decades our machines will be smarter that we are. When that happens "death and taxes" will no longer be inevitable, as machines will design economic miracles that will eliminate the need to pay Uncle Sam. He's even working on eliminating death-by-72 but that's another story.

So, if we are evolving faster and faster and our machines are more and more sophisticated what the hell happened to the Bush Administration? It seems likely that we should be evolving politically as well but not so. In fact in many areas our government has us "devolving" rapidly.

Civil rights have taken a big hit under the Bush Administration. Attorney General Ashcroft has shredded the constitution by keeping "enemy combatants" under lock and key without benefit of lawyers or trial.

We are watching as more and more brown-skinned people are targeted as terrorists and dragged in for questioning. We have devolved into a state of mind toward anyone Muslim that rivals our xenophobia toward Japanese-Americans during WW11 and Communists during McCarthy's reign of terror.

Bush's plan to invade Iraq is a ringer for Teddy Roosevelt's scheme to topple the government of Columbia and support Panamanian rebels, who subsequently gave us a lease on the Panama Canal. If Bush and his big oil buddies get their way, he will install a compliant government in Iraq and begin pumping their oil into our SUV's before the last body bag comes home.

Will he then have no use for Saudi Arabia? The Saudis sponsor terrorism and supply Al Quaeda with pilots. Will they be the next target when Sadaam is toasted?

Let's hark back to the Crusades in our political devolution of America. Will Bush attempt a religious pogrom against the Muslim world?

The Christian Right would like nothing better. Christians have tried for centuries to destroy Islam. Pope Leo in the year 850 promised Christians their reward in heaven if they were killed fighting for the faith.

Sound familiar?

By abandoning the rest of the world and intimidating allies and enemies alike, Bush and his Cro-Magnons have brought us back to a world where men die to enrich the powerful and soldiers perish in battle against those of a different religious belief. Bush has used the tragedy of 9/11 to advance his agenda. He doesn't care one petro-dollar for those who aren't Christian, rich, and American. (Not necessarily in that order)

Like all good despots in the past Bush has realized that, for now, America holds the upper hand. We are more powerful and richer than any other nation. Instead of using that power to foster a peaceful world we are doing the opposite.

We threaten the U.N., refuse to pay our U.N. bills, and are now preparing to enter a sovereign country, destroy their infrastructure, slaughter their civilians, and place a puppet in command to be our personal pump jockey.

Hussein claims to have no weapons of mass destruction and invites inspectors into his country with unfettered access to all military or other suspected military installations. Bush responds by saying that this is just the same old song and dance that we have heard before. There is really nothing to say to an answer like that.

Hussein is giving in to the demands of the U.N. and granting access to his country. Bush says Hussein is a liar and he won't accept that "song and dance."

What Bush means is "I don't care what you say or do we are going to invade Iraq, kill Hussein, and get "unfettered access" to your oil."

Saudi Arabia is a much bigger threat to us than Iraq. Their schools seethe with anti-American propaganda. Their citizens flew those planes on 9/11. Bin Laden is a Saudi citizen. Yet we attack Iraq.

Why don't we encourage alternate forms of energy in this country? Why isn't oil conservation a top priority? Why are we in bed with the supporters of Bin Laden?

It's all about the oil. The American oil cartel is holding Bush by his choke chain and is about to let him go.

Bush is determined to make enemies of the entire Mideast that will last for decades. The USA may well replace Israel as the most hated entity in the Arab world. If Bin Laden is alive, he must be on his knees thanking Allah for the election of George Bush.