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Re: Opium [was: Re: freelance sysadmining -- superlong -- [WAS: "Red Hat recommends Windows for consumers"]]

On Fri, Nov 14, 2003 at 10:14:38AM -0800, donw@examen.com wrote:
> On Fri, Nov 14, 2003 at 11:39:31AM -0600, Ron Johnson wrote:
> >
> > Since the US hasn't ratified the ICJ treaty, it can't happen, unless
> > the Europeans come in (in force) and *take* GWB.  (Ha ha ha ha ha.)
> First off, my advance apologies for a bit of rambling; I'm quite tired,
> overly caffeinated, and coming off a very long work-week.  That being
> said...
> To be honest, I doubt the Europeans would have to; they just need to stay
> out of our way as we self-destruct.  The U.S. is, sadly, heading along
> the merry path of the Roman empire.  I'd wager that in less than a
> century, you will see the birth of a true theocracy within the U.S.,

Nah. An untrue theocracy, perhaps. Or a stone-owl-ocracy.

> with a very well-defined caste system (serfs of the state/wage slaves,
> civil servants, warriors/military personnel, and the ruling/business elite).
> You can already see portions of this framework forming; the masses shop
> at the same stores, purchase the same shoddy goods, listen to the same
> music, and are only very superfically differentiated.  Most Americans
> are undereducated, ignorant of most of the world, and indifferent
> towards learning *anything* new.  The only things that matter are
> expensive shiny toys and gossip.

s/Americans/Americans and British/

> Democracy will be preserved, but only for appearance.  People can
> vote, but the elections will be rigged, with no paper trails and no
> accountability.

They're already rigged, by the selection of the candidates. Doesn't
matter who you vote for, the practical result is that things go on
pretty much as they did before.

> The gap betwen the rich and poor has been growing at an astronomical 
> rate, and public education is quickly reaching a point where only those
> lucky and/or smart enough emerge from high school with even the most 
> elementary grasp of the arts, sciences, or of the English language; my
> father used to teach a 'computer basics' class to high-school freshmen,
> and many of them were almost completely illiterate.  Drop-out rates have
> been increasing exponentially, and with the rising cost of higher
> education, fewer students can afford to attend college.  Compounding
> this is the fact that blue-collar work is generally frowned upon by
> Americans, which has resulted in us having a horrible lack of trade and
> technical schools.  For those wealthy enough to attend college, many
> will attain near-useless English and Liberal Arts degrees, because they
> lack the impetus, drive, and determination to pursue a more difficult
> degree.

UK education is going the same way. University teaching staff complain
that the knowledge base of new entrants is shrinking year by year. The
government wants 50% of school leavers to go on to university, which
means that university entrance standards have to drop dramatically and
the vast majority of students take useless degrees of which the
canonical example is "media studies".

> Within a century, I'd say that the U.S. will be a country much like the
> one outlined in 'Higher Education' by Charles Sheffield, with a largely
> illiterate, ignorant, and blissful populace, an incredible overabundance 
> of lawsuit-happy lawyers, useless public schools, and a 'fortunate' 
> ruling elite who are the keepers of knowledge and power.

From the outside, it looks like that already... and the same thing is
happening in the UK.

> It's sad, very sad, but I don't see much that gives me hope things will
> happen any other way.  On the upside, those with the brains to move
> themselves up on the socioeconomic ladder will do quite well.

...for suitable values of "well".

> Yorn desh born, der ritt de gitt der gue,
> Orn desh, dee born desh, de umn bork! bork! bork!

I keep seeing this in people's sigs; what's the derivation?


Be kind to pigeons
Get my GPG key here: http://pgp.mit.edu:11371/pks/lookup?op=get&search=0x21C61F7F

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