Anonymous, Atlas Shrugged, George Washington, Science Fiction, And Disruptive Technologies

George Washington portrait from The Metropolitan Museum of Art
George Washington portrait from The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The traitor portrayed above, is the most dangerous person that American Government has to face, even though he’s been dead for 211 years.

Dangerous Men

George Washington is the most dangerous person that the American Government currently faces. They’ve made a hero of a traitor, a man who revolted against his government. They’ve made a hero of a man who was opposed to political parties. They’ve spread stories about his honesty (the apocryphal cherry tree incident) making a legend that is impossible to live up to.

In fact Anonymous in the United States is probably heavily inspired by the legend of Washington. Anonymous operates under a set of ethics, like Washington is reputed to have, and is rebellious, like we know Washington was.

In other countries other public figures are the inspiration. People such as Jesus Christ, Mohamed, Gautama Buddha, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, all act as an inspiration for young people. The ethics that they taught, are part of the basis of Anonymous.

Science Fiction and Disruptive Technologies

Ayn Rand’s Science Fiction novel Atlas Shrugged is another inspiration for Anonymous. Atlas Shrugged is a novel about rebellion. It’s also a novel about ethics. The main characters are highly ethical. Their ethics may have been odd by most people’s standards, but ethics are the major theme in Atlas Shrugged.

This is rather amusing, as many of the major Tea Party backers, like the Koch Brothers, appear to believe that they are Ayn Rand’s true heirs. They’ve picked up on the visible theme, that producers are valuable, while totally missing the hidden theme, ethics.

But what does this have to do with Disruptive Technologies?

The average person considers Star Wars to be ‘Sci-Fi’, which it isn’t. Most people haven’t read the classics, only seen the rather bland things that have been done in video.

So they don’t realize that Science Fiction is often about the human interaction with disruptive technologies. Consider a space ship, like the Enterprise from Star Trek. It’s a classical disruptive technology, like the steam powered ships that replaced sailing ships, changing trade dramatically.

Let’s consider the computerized Kitty Litter Box. While it’s not as disruptive as a computer itself, it’s an interesting 21st century invention – or is it? Robert Anson Heinlein wrote about it in 1957 in his novel The Door Into Summer. The Cat Genie isn’t going to change society the way that the automobile did. I mention it as one of the odder inventions that was written about in Science Fiction before it could have been built.

Anonymous is a child of technology, specifically Disruptive Technologies. Computers. The Internet. Automobiles. Airplanes. And many other technologies, all of which combined to offer Anonymous options that the generations before would not have had. And all of these technologies were written about in Science Fiction long before they could be implemented in a practically.

So you could say that Anonymous is a child of Science Fiction. Just like the inventors who’ve devised such things as the TASER (aka Thomas A. Swift’s Electric Rifle) were the children of Science Fiction novels like Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle; or, Daring Adventures in Elephant Land.

Individuality

Most Science Fiction is heavily individualistic. One man or woman, doing the right thing. Science Fiction also tends to be heavily moralistic. Honor Harrington, Signy Mallory, Clarissa Kinnison, Dagny Taggert, and thousands of other heros have strode across the stage in tens of thousands of science fiction novels.

Just like George Washington, Jesus Christ, Mohamed, Gautama Buddha, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi acted as examples of individualism in real life.

Those examples, Washington for example in the United States, tell Anonymous what must be done. And that’s why Washington is the greatest danger that the United States faces.

And as for my calling Washington a traitor – I’m Canadian. To me he is. But to quote Ovid:

Treason doth never prosper: what’s the reason? Why if it prosper, none dare call it treason.

Regards

Wayne Borean

Sunday February 20, 2011

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