There are multiple revolutions taking place all at once. The most dangerous ones are in virtual space.
On the one hand, you should expect to see some very serious efforts at Internet censorship during the Trump administration. On the other hand, you should expect to see more and better efforts to evade government controls.
Once more: Instantaneous global communications in the hands of average nobody citizens is so revolutionary in itself that the mind cannot comprehend. While the vast majority of common network users will never bother to take full advantage of what’s possible, but will content themselves in merely having more control over whom they can socialize with, there remains a tiny few who will leverage this radical freedom to change civilization forever.
Those few who put their hands on the levers will be the new plutocrats-in-effect, the new ruling elite. Your future will be governed by the likes of Google, Facebook, and other tech giants. While traditional political governments will still be around for a long while yet, their power will fragment and leak away. And while old style disruption of government by politics and violence will still continue, the far bigger threat is the Internet. Worse in the long run, there is nothing those authorities can do to contain that threat. Get used to the idea of a new kind of turf war between technology giants and traditional governments, which the former will most certainly win.
Welcome to the new Virtual Babylon.
Right now I’m watching closely the rise of crypto-currencies. I’m not equipped to think in terms of investment and financial maneuvering so as to profit, but I am called by God to pay attention to how His hand works through these things. These new electronic monies will destroy the traditional banking industry.
Keep in mind that “money” is anything folks are willing to use as a store of value and means of exchange. Virtual currencies have so far worked quite well to get goods and services into the hands of people who want to evade the government and private financial controls on their economic activity. It’s just a natural portion of the wider global communications networking; the term “communication” includes trade in goods and services.
A few months ago I bought something with a trivial monetary price, but which I did need, and which was not available through normal retail channels in my area. I found it listed on eBay, offered by a vendor whose office was in China. But this vendor had forward placement of their stock in strategic locations around the US. In my case, it turns out one of those little warehouses was in my local metropolitan area. So the thing I ordered “from China” ended up in my US postal delivery in just two days. That’s sharp business; that’s a very strong customer satisfaction effort. It was not possible until the Internet, and electronic money exchanges, and the whole business climate that encourages using plain old warehouses without all the expensive retail fixtures of a store front. The eBay website replaces all of that, and the consumer wins.
Current big American retailers have already figured this out, and those who can find a path to conversion of their business, and engage the customer by satisfying their demands, those will be the ones surviving through the coming turmoil as we all shift to an Internet based economy and way of life.
Right this moment, we are testing the latest technology for rescue and recovery from disaster in southeastern Texas. Today, more people than ever before have gotten the word that the traditional relief agencies are by far the biggest threat to relief. They always were in the past, but now people know it because the likes of Facebook and other social media outlets are awash in horror stories of bureaucratic bungling. Meanwhile, the mainstream media outlets are filled with stories urging folks to channel all donations through those very same bungling bureaucracies. The Red Cross turned away a hot food delivery at a shelter they operated in Houston because it didn’t come through their system. The folks inside the shelter were infuriated as they watched the first hot meal they might have had in days was kept from them. Fortunately, the private relief volunteers fought back and handed out the food and other donated items.
I’ve had plenty of direct experience with the Red Cross, both as victim and volunteer. Most of the time, I did all I could do to avoid that agency, and only worked with them when compelled by law. They live in a different universe; it’s all about the control, not the relief. I’ve watched them seize donated goods so they can charge for them. I’ve come to hate the Red Cross, even dreading their arrival on scene just as much as FEMA. Recall that it was FEMA officials who kept cutting the one communication cable to a small Louisiana parish during recovery from Hurricane Katrina. See this transcript from a TV interview with Jefferson Parish President Broussard; open the full text view and scroll down about half-way:
Let me give you just three quick examples. We had Wal-Mart deliver three trucks of water, trailer trucks of water. FEMA turned them back. They said we didn’t need them. This was a week ago. FEMA — we had 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel on a Coast Guard vessel docked in my parish. The Coast Guard said, “Come get the fuel right away.” When we got there with our trucks, they got a word. “FEMA says don’t give you the fuel.” Yesterday — yesterday — FEMA comes in and cuts all of our emergency communication lines. They cut them without notice. Our sheriff, Harry Lee, goes back in, he reconnects the line. He posts armed guards on our line and says, “No one is getting near these lines.” Sheriff Harry Lee said that if America — American government would have responded like Wal-Mart has responded, we wouldn’t be in this crisis.
I know for a fact that FEMA has not changed since then, except in terms of being a little more careful not to get caught. The mere fact you and I can read this transcript these many years later, and that people have not forgotten what it says, is the stuff of revolutions. But it’s not so much the kind where people take up arms against government officials (at least, not yet) but where people route around the official system and simply do the best they know. They are doing that via the organization possible with social media. Yes, such private efforts can be hit and miss, but they accomplish far more with far less resources and reduce human suffering far more effectively.
There’s more trouble coming. There will be turmoil and government agencies like FEMA, and quasi-government agencies like Red Cross, will do their best to assert full government control. By and large, it will fail. Localized efforts will tend to succeed as long as they don’t surrender much to centralized federal and global agencies. This is what God is doing; watch and see for yourself.