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Saturday, November 26, 2011

OWS: An Autopoundical Dogmatic View

Today I received a dispatch from the ACLU about Senate Bill 1867, the National Defense Authorization Act bill, with which the Senate will deal Monday. It was drafted by Senators Carl Levin and John McCain. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) explained the bill will “basically say in law for the first time that the homeland is part of the battlefield” and people can be imprisoned without charge or trial. Another supporter, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), says the bill is needed because “America is part of the battlefield.”

This is awful! Thing is, the military requires no modification to carry out this directive. All tools, equipment and methods for rounding up citizens in their own yards and carrying them to detention are on hand at animal control branches in every town and city. Nobody wants to die in the pound but this is the sort of legislation that makes me want to stand in my yard and bark all day --or the park or Wall Street-- and that's the kind of behavior they're after. Thinking some rich people will view the cages and take me home is just delusional. I'm simply not that adorable any more and I fart.

I will not even address the idiotic notion of a "battlefield".

Perhaps I overreact. One gets older and remembers less draconian directives. One insists upon treatment as a human. One finds it harder to express opinions without frequent use of the phrase "by cracky!". But, by cracky, we are under surveillance now by pilotless flying drones, furnished with joyless artificial intelligence, studying our little lives for sedition, insubordination and political outrage. This constitutes a metaphysical distress far beyond childhood's neatly packaged boogeymen.

Machines that promise conformity and enforce domestic obedience are surely the most saleable of modern technology. And what, do you think, will become of us poor products of natural selection under such stewardship? Where machines obtain there is invariably a scrapheap. Indeed, I overreact. Surely artificial intelligence may be trusted to recognize the harmless eccentricities of its biological precursor. There will be no scrapheap. But, by cracky, I'm still worried about the pound.

I realize this has been a departure from the sort of enigma toward which I usually turn my attention but I can't help wondering if our senators, nomographers and engineers might be swayed by discussion, by inquiry. So I use an increasingly unpopular word: humane. Is it more humane for our robot masters to round up old intractables like you and me --mainly raised in captivity-- and impound them, scrap them, or release them into the wild?


  1. Can I choose D) None of the above?
    These days I wonder if the German people felt as powerless as we do in the face of these evil minions.

  2. Difficult questions, Austan, but hopefully not so hard as finding a definition for "autopoundical".


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