Charles Stross on pre-emptive counter-revolution

The British SF writer Charles Stross, disturbed by the UK equivalents of the U.S. Homeland Security Administration, thinks his government is acting as if the powers-that-be fear a public uprising.

I have a new speculative hypothesis … . It is this: the over-arching reason for the clamp-down on dissent, migration, and freedom of expression, and the concurrent emphasis on security in the developed world, constitutes the visible expression of a pre-emptive counter-revolution[snip]

Charles Stross

Charles Stross

I believe what we’re seeing is a move towards the global imposition of a police state in the developed world, leveraging the xenophobia that naturally emerges during insecure times, by a ruling elite who are themselves feeling threatened by a specter.  Controls on movement, freedom of association, and speech are all key tools in the classic police state’s arsenal.

What’s new about this cycle is that the police state machinery is imposed locally, within national boundaries, but applies everywhere: the economic system it is intended to protect is transnational and unconstrained.  Which is why even places that were largely exempt during the cold war are having a common police state agenda quietly imposed. There is to be no refuge, other than destabilized “failed states” where the conditions of life make a police state look utopian in comparison.

via Who ordered *that*? – Charlie’s Diary.

Democracy in the UK is ineffective, Stross wrote.  He sees the Conservative, Labor and Liberal Democratic parties as different wings of the same Ruling Party—much as I see the Republican and Democratic parties in the USA.  If there is no hope for progressive change within the political system, then, as a matter of logic, the only possibility for change is a revolt against the system.

My conclusion is that we are now entering a pre-revolutionary state, much as the nations of Europe did in 1849 with the suppression of the wave of revolutions that spurred, among other things, the writing of “The Communist Manifesto”. It took more than a half-century for that pre-revolutionary situation to mature to the point of explosion, but explode it did, giving rise to the messy fallout of the 20th century.

I don’t know how long this pre-revolutionary situation will last — although I would be surprised if it persisted for less than two decades — but the whirlwind we reap will be ugly indeed: if you want to see how ugly, look to the Arab Spring and imagine it fought by … killer drones that know what you wrote on Facebook eighteen years ago when you were younger, foolish, and un-cowed.  And which is armed with dossiers the completeness of which the East German Stasi could only fantasize about.

via A Bad Dream – Charlie’s Diary.

Revolutionary violence does not appeal to Stross, nor to me.  But as President John F. Kennedy said, those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.

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One Response to “Charles Stross on pre-emptive counter-revolution”

  1. Chico Says:

    Reblogged this on The Deliberate Observer.


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