Sunday, January 08, 2012

Ante up

When I started college in 1988, there was no popular internet as we know it. I had a raw computer programming class at UW-Eau Claire - PASCAL, I think. When I left UW-Platteville in the mid-90's (no, I'm not a doctor - just not a great student), I had email, and was using a web browser (Mosaic). So the internet, this instant access to immense amounts of information, is only 15 - 20 years old.

The internet is growing beyond the reach of the historic powers of the world - our governments, the patricians and super-rich and their economic machines - corporations. We are seeing governments of many forms push back against this popular uprising (the censorship of the internet in the communist state of China over the past few years, the attempts of the Congress of the democratic republic of The United States of America to pass a law restricting the rights of individuals to share ideas, the theocracy of Iran moving towards blocking their citizens access to the information of the internet and replacing it with a censored national intranet) - not merely a groundswell of opinion - but really, a rising of classes of people. Upper, middle and lower classes will always exist - they're relative. But when people learn and organize their abilities, they improve their lives. The balance that exists in the social and economic structure of the world is upset. And if the lower classes are rising, the upper class is falling.

But we're not noticing much change in our lives down here. Nope - it's gradual from this perspective - we are the vast majority of the world's population, making a gradual gain. The super-rich are noticing the erosion of their economic position and the power that comes from that vantage point.

We are human, animals striving to be god-like . We can be weak or strong. We are selfish and altruistic. We are individuals and also a part of a society. As the world population increases, as our technological advancement continues, as our borders fade and our differences wear away - we realize we are one people - and if we work together, we can build a better world.

This free communication of ideas is what drives our world forward. It's difficult enough to understand someone from another culture, speaking a different language. We should not allow this facilitator of understanding to be taken from us.

If we let the powered interests of the world conserve the status quo, we will not continue to grow. Our society will stagnate. It is natural and good to grow and change. But if you've got it good, well maybe you just want to stay with the hand you've got. Good luck. It's time to show your cards and pass the deck.. we're gonna play some more.