While Neal Stephenson’s book The Diamond Age (TDA) obviously features in the title of this blog, today’s exploration will touch on his earlier work Snow Crash, and its (generally compatible with TDA) techofuturistic vision.
I urge anyone who seeks Dark Enlightenment to read these two books. Long before the deep implications of the Computing Age were really clear, Stephenson envisioned them with remarkable clarity and detail (von Neumann, Ulam, Turing and others also envisioned them way back in the 1940s and 50s, but that’s for another time). They’re also highly entertaining to an intelligent and discerning reader.
No doubt, this applies to each and every reader of this post.
All flattery aside, to the matter at hand; in Snow Crash, an occasionally mentioned second-tier actor is something called “the Feds,” which is our own beloved USG, still hanging around as a small percentage of its former Bad Self, still in possession of dangerous weapons, but mostly disregarded as a major player. The government has been unable to control the Metaverse (think Web. 4.0) and consistently enforce the “law” (and more importantly, collect enough taxes).
This Glenn Reynolds column, wherein pot legalization in the states of Washington and Colorado, and passive resistance to Obamacare everywhere, are compared to “Irish Democracy,” is telling. Variations of the word “nullification” are bandied about by the Instapundit without any apparent guilt or dread of jack-booted thugs descending on his home or office, and he features this quote from Two Cheers for Anarchism:
One need not have an actual conspiracy to achieve the practical effects of a conspiracy. More regimes have been brought, piecemeal, to their knees by what was once called ‘Irish Democracy,’ the silent, dogged resistance, withdrawal, and truculence of millions of ordinary people, than by revolutionary vanguards or rioting mobs.
It’s real, and it’s happening now in the USA, the UK, and to a lesser extent in the EU. The NSA revelations have shown the deepest/darkest organs of the government both menacing and incompetent, and the piteous US Congress and especially the metrosexual faux professor occupying the Office of the President inspire the least respect ever held for USG in its 225-year history. More importantly, the least fear.
Despite majority opposition, Congress is poised to pass, and the President to sign, some sort of illegal alien “amnesty” this year. Far from dreading it, the Neoreaction should be relishing the coming train wreck. Almost certainly, some states and localities will take some sort of “nullification” measures, leading to additional threatening rhetoric from DC and more hard feelings by the folks in Flyover Country. This can only help to bring closer the day when “the Feds” will be shadows, and city-states based on neoreactionary ideas will be a reality.