Michael Wharton There Is Always A Theory: politics, anarchy, religion, atheism and science. now with poetry!

2Jul/100

Your Freedom: A Forum For Internet Activism In The UK

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Your Freedom

Yesterday on the first of July Your Freedom was launched by the coalition Liberal Democrat/Conservative government. It seems that Nick Clegg is at the lead of the project, spearheading a new avenue of internet political interactivity. Over the last couple of years, there have been more and more politically charged social networking sites springing up on all bands of the political spectrum. Several of these were single policy sites, pushing a particular agenda, some were more broadly focused with a particular political slant. In the UK, the government is attempting to give all of these disparate viewpoints a forum for debate and discussion of ideas.

Although it's still a little shaky due to the fact that demand for the service is so much higher than anticipated, the functionality of the front end more than makes up for it. There's an intuitive tagging system, which allows all users to add tags to all campaigns, and all users can leave comments too. It's like we are truly entering a state of Twittocracy (well there is always a theory...), a society shaped by the majority, with their collective opinions being aggregated automatically through what I like to call Interactivism (maybe Hacktivism?) which is basically a marriage of internet and activism.

A number of campaigns are theoretically sound, but the methodology is lacking (poor spelling and grammar...). A great many campaigns are identical to others and sevceral recurring themes have sprung up; such as repealing the Digital Economy Act and the Legalization of Cannabis.

I believe that this proactive platform for public political promotion is pretty provocative. It is probably paramount to protect personal privacy and post (okay, enough alliteration...) anonymously to begin with. Compared with Petition The PM at Number 10 it is definitely an improvement in that it is much less patronising.

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9Jun/100

An Ode To War: Poem by Michael Wharton

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An Ode To War: A Poem by Michael Wharton


You are a weapon in the war against peace,
They use your fear to control your actions,
On either side they produce vile propaganda,
Take care to examine the motives of factions.

Why fight at all, what is your main objective?
Power, money, control, cruelty and corruption,
Power over the minds of the people and opinions,
Money is the constant for supply and production.

Control over land mass, of which there is finite,
Cruelty to those who disagree with your virtues.
Corruption of the virtues you pretend to uphold,
Evolution's Nature's job we have to let her choose.

We are at peace with war so it seems in the media,
The news is just numbers now, in bite size chunks.
Between targeted product informational programming,
Sold to you by plastic chicks and shredded hunks.

This may be very short and succinct but the topic and subject matter are distasteful and abhorrent, so I kept it concise. I didn't really have to include details of war or its atrocities, as we are all very much aware of the obvious physical realities. I wanted to keep it simple, as war often is; a struggle for resources at the cost of human life.

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13May/100

Internet Censorship: Cause

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Internet Censorship: The Internet Is Under Attack?

According to many key sources of internet trends, the recent governmental seizure of control over the internet has been perceived as a threat to global freedom. The internet culture has flourished from what once was the domain of the knowledgeable few, to what is often called "Web 2.0"; user generated and driven content, shared and open to all interactively and easily. Nowadays, most people between their childhood and retirement age will spend time online regularly. They do so to catch up on the latest news, kill time watching funny videos of cats, keep in touch with long lost friends and relatives, etc... The list of activities people perform regularly online is pretty endless, as new applications of the internet are coming along every day. Some of the things people do online are currently illegal, in quite a few countries, and for years now the governments of those (often developed) countries have been trying to figure out how to enforce laws on the internet. From copyright infringement to "Indecent Pornography", it has been a game of cat and mouse, as technology on both sides is developed to outsmart the other.

We were all made aware of this arms race when sites like Napster and The Pirate Bay were legally challenged, when news of sting operations on paedophile and terrorist networks hit the papers. We were glad of our Government's action against those who would harm or way of life. Now however, it is our governments themselves who are threatening our way of life; in a new development in this arms race, we the people are being targeted with internet censorship.

The ACTA has been implemented in several "Freedom Loving" countries such as Australia, America, and now the United Kingdom has followed suit with the Digital Economy Bill (The DEBill is now The Digital Economy Act since it was pushed through parliament... shouldn't have dragged my feet writing this blog...). Now we have internet censorship, blacklisted websites and filtered content.

Internet Censorship: Spreading The Word!

Internet Censorship Youtube Video Playlist:

So as far as I can tell, the internet is going to become more strictly controlled, surveilled, filtered and censored worldwide. Copyright piracy, inappropriate porn and terrorist communication are simply convenient distractions, so that dissent can be monitored and controlled. If any of the videos in the internet censorship playlist are removed, or if you can no longer gain access to this page then you will know that I was right.

Since the development of the internet, it has been used to express opinions and information freely with the rest of the world. Don't allow this tool to be used to gag and control you, speak out against this right infringement. Several organisations have interactivist campaigns you can join to let your voice be heard; The EFF, The ORG, 38 Degrees and of course Project Freeweb.

If we do nothing, we are in very real danger of losing access to the "real" internet like other less than free countries with more extreme levels of internet censorship ( an obvious example is the People's Republic of China (oh no, I guess that my site's blocked there now...)). Internet superstars such as Tim Berners Lee and John Perry Barlow have declared their opposition to internet censorship. Internet deity Google have spoken out against the global trend towards internet censorship measures and the state controlling the web. Google even released this handy tool to see how much your internet content is being filtered. We have to all stand together and say "No, we DO NOT WANT internet censorship, filtered content or our internet to be arbitrarily cut off!". Of course as with anything online, you have an overwhelming choice of mediums for interactivism to convey such a message!

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31Mar/100

Anarchy, In The UK?: Theory

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Anarchy - A Chaotic Mayhem Surely?

Or is it simply the destination?

Is Anarchy The Way Forward?

Anarchy is inevitable, that much is known for certain, or at least a wide held belief. Where can one draw order from Chaos? Well according to Chaos Theory, patterns emerge organically in nature and are much more stable than those that we have artificially created. Take this principal from physics to biological evolution and you have the origin of Species Theory being proven. Take it further to sociology and politics and you have Anarchy emerging as the only sensible logical, rational state of Utopia in which we can have world peace. Okay, it's a bit of a leap of faith, although faith is belief in the absence of evidence, this would require belief in the overwhelming presence of irrefutable and undeniable evidence. Money is the deciding point; throughout history, goods have been traded according to both the effort of acquisition and scarcity. When money began to flourish as a means of fair exchange, the problems really started. It stopped being fair for a start, where there is somebody making money, in every case, there is somebody off of whose back that money was made. Financial and managerial hierarchies formed, allegiances were made according to financial benefits to the parties involved. In my opinion, Religion must have facilitated money's rise to power due to self interest (that's if money wasn't the idea of some form of Religion...). There are many interactivist organisations dedicated to Freeing us from the tyranny of money, such as The Really Really Free Market, Buy Nothing Day, the Freeconomy Community or even Craigslist and all of the Freecycle community. These are only examples of the myriad of NPOs (None Profit Organisations) trying to make the world a fairer nicer place without financial divisions through interactisism.

What does this brief history of Politics mean?

Well in short, it means that until Religion and money are ultimately removed from society, Anarchy will always have strong opposition from those who currently have power. Those with political power who may somehow agree with the ideals of Anarchy, have no real power to promote it as a means to a utopian end. There is no way to democratically vote for a state of Anarchy, I see this as wrong and almost dictatorial. In states where there is an entry for none of the above candidates in the ballot, this is simply taken as a protest vote and not a meaningful dissolution of parliament option.

Technology Is Evolving Towards Anarchy

Obsolete is the technology of mining and burning fossil fuels that do not replenish. We now know that the Carbon Dioxide released is warming the planet to the point where methane deposits in the world oceans could melt ending much of the life on this planet incredibly quickly. This is alarming as the last time this happened it wiped out 95% of all life on earth. Science and technology are key to preventing this potential apocalypse, not one particular technology or science, but an advanced amalgamation of all of the latest developments in green energy and manufacture. The hydrogen fuel cell is set to replace the internal combustion engine as a means of effectively powering our road and aerial vehicles. Soon enough the means of producing the Hydrogen will be available cheaply from wind and solar energy in and around the homestead. At this stage an individual dwelling will have no need for energy from the national grid and will become self sufficient and green. Other technologies set to influence the political arena are geothermal energy, high rise farms, nano-scale replication and manufacturing (essentially the ultimate form of recycling, put in your old phone, it gets taken apart to its molecules and reassembled get the latest model printed out), and of course stem cell research and gene therapy (potentially curing deadly diseases like cancer and HIV). My interpretation of the effect these technologies will have on humanity is not unique to me. Many libertarian Freedomists or advocates of political and economic Anarchy believe that these technologies will bring about an end to money's totalitarian reign over us. These technologies are a decade, or less, away but in my opinion they could be here sooner if we change our combined political and financial attitude. There are lots of examples of projects like The Venus Project and even mainstream efforts like the Greensburg GreenTown Project , these projects could be done faster and better if money were not a factor in the decision making process.

How Can I Get Involved In Advocating Anarcho-Capitalist-Libertarianism?

My Utopian vision of the future, is somewhat identical to the world John Lennon described so vividly in his most famous song; Imagine. The journey from here to there is fraught with perilous downfalls, with temptations for greed and self service. To ensure we make it safely we need to ensure we do not lose our footing and slip back into a possessive consumerist culture. Short of what Anarchists all over the world are already doing (which in my opinion only gives credence to the consensus of the masses that we are all a bunch of violent destructive simpletons who hate the police), you can stop consuming as much and try to become greener with regards to technology. Become part of a movement, whatever one you like, that is doing something that you can see is shifting paradigms towards a utopian vision. Or something like that.

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30Jan/100

Name The Decade! Teenties? Tweens? Eleventies!

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What is in a Name? 1910 -2000 Back In The Decade!

Over the past hundred years, it has become more and more popular a cultural phenomenon to name the decade. There was the Roaring Twenties, the Thirties and Forties, Fifties and Swinging Sixties. The Seventies, Eighties and Naughty Nineties were relatively straightforward. Right up until the new millennium it took little imagination to perpetuate this new-found tradition.

Some kind of social genius, with a degree in semantics, came up with a name for the decade following the Millennium; The Noughties. It's not like it was entirely on the money (not many people say nought-one, nought-two etc...) but it was quirky and kitsch and it rolled of the tongue. That's what we need for this decade, something that sounds cool. It doesn't have to be massively accurate, just passably sensible. Oh, and it has to end in "ties", you know, to fit in with all of the other decades rhyming scheme.

What Shall We Call This Decade 2010-2019 ?

There are a few suggestions out there on the internet, and let's face it, that is where this will be decided. We have the "Teens", now obviously this doesn't come up to the standard of ending in "ties". We could add "ties" to "Teens" and get "Teenties", but that is a really unwieldy word, also it doesn't cover the period of 2010 to 2012 with the numbers ten through twelve not actually being classified as teens. We could take what we know so far to make a new word "Tenties", but that sounds really awkward and like a vague reference to camping. The list of examples in this ball park is fairly short so I might as well include all of them, here is the last runner up, "Tweenties" (shudder).

My favourite concept word for this occasion is definitely the "Eleventies", it may surprise you, as it seems to defy any definition itself, let alone as a defining term for this decade. My favour is spawned from the repeated utterances in the literary classic series Lord Of The Rings, and lead furthermore by the repeated references of the word such as "111EleventyOne!111!1!!" etc on internet messaging boards due to its overuse in on-line gaming. The word eleven (11) refers to the number between ten (10) and twelve (12), the word Eleventy refers to the number range of a hundred and ten (110) to a hundred and nineteen (119).

Why Will Eleventies Work?

I believe these factors; previous knowledge of the word amongst a large sub-culture (Examples of its use in context already found here , here and here) and the numerical logistical applications of the word itself, will contribute to the word Eleventies becoming the defining term used for this decade.

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