There is No Revolution Without Revolutionaries [cr-95/9/13]


Sender: MARK STAHLMAN <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Re: PFF Agenda


Give up on the Magna Carta.  It's dead, dead, dead.  There was no attempt to
discuss it at this year's event and there is no plan to revive it.  It was a
camel (horse designed by committee) to begin with and it will never get any
better.  Textual analysis of such an abortion may be of  medical interest
but is not intellectually worthwhile.

The fact that someone with no connection to these events, who has only read
the document (yes, Richard Moore) and has spent so much time criticizing it,
is only a reflection of his bad judgement and/or a lack of more important
resposibilties.  Don't treat his analysis as informed discourse.

The extreme deregualtory action item in last year's Magna Carta was inserted
by George Gilder -- most likely as a quid-pro-quo for his bothering to be
involved with the whole process.  Gilder is available in print and in a CMU
archive if you want to read the original stuff.  This is *not* the principle
point of the Magna Carta (it was grafted on at the last minute) and it is
not PFF's bandwagon.

The PFF is Tofflerian and technocrat, just like Gingrich -- read my "There
is No Revolution Without Revolutionaries" post for the background on all of
that -- not extremely deregulatory.

Gilder was also quite frustrated at this Aspen conference and he repeatedly
gave impassioned mini-speeches about how the current telecom bills do *not*
decrease regulation but instead add tons of new ones -- and he's right.
Anyone who considers this Congress as pushing for total deregulation is
either one of them looking for re-election or a total fool who has never
read the legistlation.  Gilder was brushed aside by the moderator (who
kicked me in the nuts) with, "Yeah, George we've heard all that before."
Only Arno Pensias (head of Bell Labs) was equally dissed because he mildly
objected to the railroading of the event.

You know the cool thing about the Net is that you only get away with sh*t
when no one really cares what you're saying.  Since I care and know
something about it I can say "Cut this cr*p out and discuss something that
you understand" -- although honest references on the "Robber Barons" was a
welcome relief to the usual posturing.

Mark Stahlman
New Media Associates
New York City


Sender: MARK STAHLMAN <•••@••.•••>


I'm back at work after a two-week breather and this is the boldest of my
various takes on PFF's Aspen coronation, it's context and some of it's wider
implications.  I've been more explicit about names and relationships than I
have been otherplaces because I didn't feel like being polite.  I urge you
to not be polite in your replies, either (just don't repeat the whole dang
thing, OK?).

              There is No Revolution Without Revolutionaries

After being identified in the Wall Street Journal as the "gadfly" who
asserted "there is no revolution" at the recent Progress and Freedom
Foundation's (PFF) "Cyberspace and the American Dream" event in
Aspen, I thought I'd take advantage of the fact that I own a printing
press (the Net) and detail what I actually said in Aspen (mostly off the
"record" due to my being muzzled by PFF's moderator Vlahos) and some
of the implications of this discussion for future action.

PFF had a very practical goal in Aspen.  Coronate Newt as digital king.
Combined with the Dyson-on-Newt "Friend and Foe" cover-interview in
WIRED magazine and the current attempt at reviving the moribund
Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) by replanting it in more forgiving San
Francisco soil, there was a fix in the works.  The "left" had embraced the
"right."  EFF board members Esther Dyson, John Barlow (also EFF co-
chairs) and Stewart Brand and WIRED's exec. editor Kevin Kelly did the
honors under the tutelage of Newt's think-tank, the expansive PFF.  By
acceding that we are indeed in a "digital revolution" (WIRED's vacuous
editorial stance and EFF's cynical rallying call) and that Newt "get's it",
the political reality of Newt Gingrich and his "revolution" was
acknowledged and the scepter was passed.  Gore was out (for now)
and Gingrich was in (for now).

Next, you should be looking for a WIRED feature article (or is it going into
the Economist?) about how Newt and Al Gore were actually separated
at birth -- but Newt's the much more effective twin.   Information Age
Solons.  Phooey.

Whatever else happened in Aspen, including some fabulous
grandstanding mini-speeches from other quarters, the conference had
achieved its only goal.  The lack of action/policy orientation which
Business Week complained about in their coverage and the
unchallenged puffery of "future schlock" noted by the Wall Street Journal
were entirely on the mark -- if not overly penetrating.  There was no
need to discuss a conference "document" such as last year's "Magna
Carta for Cyberspace"; there was no attempt to reach agreement on
any issues; there was no requirement to debate any policy;  there was
no effort to honestly tackle any basic issues.  The event was staged.  The
bizarre boot-in-the-throat applied to me only added to the theater; it
didn't alter the pattern.  Coronate Newt.

But, what about the others at the table?  While it's understandable why
WIRED and EFF are eager to be the condoms for the Gingrich "digital"
screw-job, why were the others there lending their names to the event?
Well, as they say, there are a million stories in the naked city.  Some
were simply naive and/or misled.  Some were insiders working the
crowd.  Some were outsiders clawing to get inside.  Some even had
something to say.  But, for all the talk of "revolution", the only honest-to-
Babbage pretend-revolutionary in the pack, Al Toffler, made only a
cameo appearance.  And, in that appearance, he was dull and
occluded.  He really wished he knew "what to do" -- the self-consciously
Leninesque throw-away from PFF moderator (and author of the soon-to-
be-published viciously technocratic screed "ByteCity") Michael Vlahos.
Could Toffler have wanted to avoid public debate too?

What is a revolution?  Is it replacing the Democrats with the Republicans?
No.  Even if it is for 40 years?  Well, if you are a Democrat or a
Republican (or one of their thinktanks), it's important to you but it's no
revolution.  Is it shrinking the size of government by 10-20% a revolution?
No. Most people would call that a long overdue downsizing but, if you're
job is on the line, it seems like a pretty big deal to you.  Is Newt
becoming Speaker or the Contract With America or Packwood leaving
the Senate a revolution -- or even the harbinger of one?

No, not-so-gentle reader, none of these things are either revolutionary or
the signal of one to come.  There is no revolution without revolutionaries.
None of these people are revolutionaries.  None of them are prepared to
even think about revolution, write about revolution, act upon revolution.
At least not in public.

A revolution is a cataclysm.  It's such a sharp break with the past that no
one would argue its severity.  A revolution is a battle.  The old system
falls; a new system is erected.  A revolution isn't fought from inside the
old system.  Coup-d'etats are.  Insiders and insider-wantabes like the
Aspen crowd aren't revolutionaries.  They are coup-plotters at their best
and, more commonly, merely pathetic sycophants.

Toffler is somewhat different.  He's written about revolution.  He's also
admitted (following my prompting during a keynote speech and a
dinner for which I paid him) that the "paradox" of his life is that while he
talks about "revolution" he spends all his time in the halls of power.  He's
Newt's 20-year-long revolutionary buddy, though.  Labor Secretary Reich
has also claimed him in an Op-Ed in the NYTimes as Gore's revolutionary
muse.  Everyone loves to use the Tofflerian Third Wave "metaphor" to
describe the "Information" revolution.  Nevermind that the Third Wave
"metaphor" is largely empty of specifics despite an entire book on the
topic.  All the better, if there is no meaning then what's there to argue
about, right?

But, Toffler has been specific about a few things -- although not in that
book.  Try finding Toffler's long out-of-print "Eco-Spasm Report" -- he's
quite explicit there.  He wants to destroy the American Constitution and
this Republic.  You see, these are "Second Wave" institutions.
Appropriate for the mechanical and industrial age of the past.  We're in
a New(t) Age now.  Industrialism is on the wain.  Information is taking
over.  So, out with the old institutions, in with the new information age
institutions.  Or, so the Tofflers say.

Al (and Heidi) Toffler have been clear about this for 20-30 years.  Both
ex-socialists (they both went to work in factories to experience working-
class life) and both deeply involved with anti-republican circles since the
1960's, the Tofflers have made themselves very clear.  They want to be
given the power that they assert elected representatives cannot ever
competently exercise.  They want the power over the future.

Under the tutelage of Kenneth Boulding and the crowd around Margaret
Mead's Salzberg Seminar, Toffler began to lay out his revolutionary thesis
in the mid-1960's.  That's when he started to refer to "future shock" as a
psycho-pathology.  Scare-'em and you can herd-'em.  Fear is great
motivator in the Third Wave (or presumably any Wave).  Daniel Bell had
coined the term "Post-Industrial Society" at Salzburg in 1959 (years before
Toffler was coopted onto their board) and the Ford Foundation had
launched it's viciously anti-republican "Triple Revolution."  "Revolution"
hung heavily in the fetid late 1960's air.

Boulding-protege, Toffler collaborator and Stanford Research Institute
futurist Willis Harman was taking Dept. of Education (later Sloan-Kettering)
grants to describe how an entirely new "image of man" was needed now
that we had left the "industrial age of the past."  Homo-economic was
sadly out of date.  The Enlightment had run its course.  Replace belief in
the individual, reason, science, progress and Christ with a new more
balanced-with-Nature "image" and we'll all be fine (or else we'll have to
brainwash you).  Harman, a Stanford electrical engineer who helped
launch the Association for Humanistic Psychology and helped to provide
cover for extensive British Intelligence sponsored LSD experimentation on
West Coast "intellectuals", personally parallels the launching of the
Technocracy movement from Columbia University's EE Department in the

Take your pick.  Freud/Darwin said we are just fancy apes.  The General-
Systems-Boys say we are just fancy machines.  Aldous Huxley says we
should all just take Soma and let the experts run the world.  It's the same
theme as the OSS/Frankfurt-school attack on Western culture outlined in
"Authoritarian Personality" -- belief in progress means you are (whether
you know it or not) anti-Semitic.  It was the theme behind the SRI-
sponsored launching of the New Age movement and its Aquarian
Conspiracy.  A new man for a new age.  And, it was to become Toffler's
"revolutionary" battle-cry.

In the 1970's, Toffler launched what he called the Anticipatory
Democracy Network (A/D) with the goal of replacing the Republic with a
technocratic state.  Starting out at a dinner at their Connecticut home on
the eve of Nixon's 1972 election victory, with the sponsorship of the
Aspen Institute (Institute Pres. Slater and wife were both there) and
notorious British Labor Pol Tony Wedgewood-Benn, the Tofflers started to
build what he called his "invisible college."  Fueled by the success of his
1970 best-seller "Future Shock" and riding high on his speeches to the
World Future Society, Toffler laid out his revolutionary thesis.

Elected representatives can't anticipate the future.  At best they make
short-term decisions which tend to only postpone disaster while making
real solutions even more difficult.  What is to be done?  Cede major
trading and security issues to a global "commission", break up nation-
states into smaller regional groupings and put the futurists in charge of
interpreting public opinion polls.  Ask all those terrified, future-shocked
(but receptive to a new age "image") commoners what they want.  And,
as only a trained futurist can, by asking the right questions and an expert
reading of the "popular will" tea leaves, then tell those elected
representatives how they should legislate.

It was called "Futures Lib" in the fashion of the day (and the futurist-full-
employment-act by some others) and it had its supporters in Washington
as well as in many statehouses.  The A/D Network cataloged dozens of
state-level projects.  The one in Hawaii helped shape the state
constitution.  The one in Washington state took advantage of the deep
commitment to the older Technocracy movement in that state.  The one
in Georgia was run by the not-yet-governor Jimmy Carter and then by
Sam Nunn when Jimmy took the statehouse.

And, it's as an A/D Network insider that the Tofflers first met the pre-
politician Newt Gingrich.  Newt even wrote a chapter about the Georgia
experience in "futures lib" in the book titled Anticipatory Democracy;
Toffler wrote the introduction.  When Newt came to Washington he
helped out with the Tofflerian Congressional Clearinghouse on the Future
and, for a brief instant, it actually looked like Washington was swallowing
the bait.  Rules changes were even proposed (and adopted piecemeal)
to require Congress to put a "futures impact" statement in all significant

But, Anticipatory Democracy ran out of steam in the late 1970's.  Like the
broader "post-industrial" and "futurist" movements, A/D was more like
Chicken-Little screaming that the sky was failing than a credible
harbinger of change.  Only the "post-modern" version of this hysteria
survived -- largely in humanities departments run by bitter, emasculated,
"post-Marxists" with no place else to go.  Toffler's hysterical "Eco-Spasm
Report" which predicted massive economic collapse, terrible armed
conflicts and Mother Nature rising up against mankind wasn't reprinted.
This whole mad, experts-controlling-the-world, doomsday scenario never
got off the runway in the West (despite its iron grip around the world) --
until now.

Now, we have the digital revolution.  And, now, it's all coming out of the
woodwork again.  All the same people with all the same agendas and
all the same anti-Reason, anti-human social-engineering zeal are
coming back at us.  Now, they have the Internet.  Now, they have the
technology for their technocratic coup -- they hope.

When Gingrich gets up and describes himself as merely the hand-
maiden of the "intellectuals", these futurists are the intellectuals that he's
referring to.  When he says that the "intellectuals figured it all out
decades ago", he means that they figured out that they should rule the
earth in an information age.  When he gets specific, he starts out by
citing his debt to the perhaps not well known but seminal Oxford-
economist and Michigan-based social-engineer, Kenneth Boulding.
Besides having much to do with establishing the fields of "conflict
resolution" and "general systems theory" as cornerstones of mass-
manipulation, Boulding and his wife pioneered the intensely manipulative
field of new human "images" (i.e. new religions).  It was in a review of
Boulding's obscure social-engineering tract "The Meaning of the
Twentieth Century" that Toffler began his public career as futurist
popularizer and anti-Enlightenment new age crusader.

Of course, Gingrich "gets it."  He's been part of this "revolutionary" milieu
for close to 30 years.  Newt's West Georgia College was the East Coast
version of the West Coast's Esalen Institute -- hot tubs and all.  The
academic departments of psychology in the Ivy-covered halls of the
East weren't excited about this new fangled "humanistic psychology"
despite its OSS/CIA/Princeton pedigree.  West Georgia was the best they
could do on the right-coast.  Newt has acknowledged in print how much
he learned from these water-logged shrinks.  Earlier references also cite
Newt teaching courses in "futurism" and "environmentalism" although
today, he's simply identified as a "historian."  Conservative?  Libertarian?
What's a label.  Anyway, it helped to get him elected, didn't it?

Don't be fooled by these modern labels.  They are merely
instrumentalities of history in the hands of a "historian."  Newt needs the
Republicans and the Republicans need Newt.  The Democrats have lost
their chance.  Al Gore and Teddy Kennedy might have done the deed in
another political era but not now -- as EFF/WIRED have already informed
us.  Technocrats like Perot can snap around at the edges.  Threats can
be launched to build a new even more democratic (i.e. technocratic)
"third party."  But, Newt's got 'em by the short hairs, now.  Newt's their
boy -- for now.

But, what's the plan?  It has to seem to be ultra-democratic.  The
"people" have to speak.  Town-meetings are great but we need
something much bigger.  We need a way to organize "public opinion"
and then to sample it.  We need a massive, statistically unchallengeable
sampling of people's deepest fears, guilts and hatreds.  We need to
harness the psycho-pathology called "future shock" in order to get
people to march into the ovens they have built for themselves.  We need
a network that let's us talk with all the "people."   Talk radio has it's strong
points (and Toffler may have helped to launch it with his publicity
campaign for "The Eco-Spasm Report") but it's not "official" enough.  Hey,
how about the Internet?

One honest writer who has been struggling for a decade to formulate the
way that a post-industrial, New Age government might actually take
shape recently wrote me after hearing that I was thrown off the top of a
building in Aspen.  He told me that he has given up trying to fight the
technocrats.  He said that he was now engaged in trying to outwit them.
After all, he said, they'll work for the "people" won't they?  He's even
come up with an elaborate scheme of checks and balances to make
sure that the hired-gun experts who make policy won't feel too cocky.
He's the first one to spout drivel about cultural-relativism and natural
states of tribal governance, also.  I sometimes wonder how he keeps
from going totally insane.

As long as we're talking about Newt, let's talk some history.  A quick
history of revolution and a history of ideas.  The Renaissance was a
revolution -- against the Church.  The Enlightenment was a revolution --
against the King.  By the 17th century in the West (and no where else on
earth), it was occurring to people that they might actually be in a
position to run their own lives.  Not only was God in his heavens but his
representative here on earth, the monarch, seemed out of touch.
Human rationality and the inalienable rights associated with Free Will
were beginning to be taken seriously.  The American Republic (yes, our
Republic) was very self-consciously formed on these anti-oligarchy,
Enlightment-era, Free Will and rationality premises.

Now when the human prophylactic John Perry Barlow proudly proclaims
that we are post-Reason in his upcoming piece for SPIN on the "Future of
Governance", you don't need a copy of "Atlas Shrugged" to know which
way the wind blows.  Like in those futurist nightmares called cyberpunk
fiction, Barlow is talking about a new dark ages.  Before the Renaissance,
before the Enlightenment, before the Republic; a medieval mindscape of
hierarchies, secret societies, oaths and blood-sport.  Barlow is an
advanced scout for the technocratic apocalypse -- whether he knows it
or not.

Glibly rhapsodizing (like his mindless Grateful Dead lyrics) about
meaningless hyperbole, Barlow was naturally the star of the PFF's Aspen
coronation.  He came in a close second to my feeble attempt to disrupt
the event when he began to violently agree with what little Toffler could
barely bring himself to say.  And, I was merely trying to say something
unpleasant.  The end-of-meaning, end-of-reason "notion" is one we will
undoubtedly hear much more of.  And, BTW, even if you don't need an
antidote, Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" is a wonderful tonic when dealing
with this aspect of humanity in all of it's splendid variety.

The only trouble is that the Net won't go along with the plan.   That's why
Barlow doesn't hang out on the Net anymore.  That's why the PFF's Aspen
coronation attracted only one other pre-event poster from the "invited
guests" besides my own.  The Net is two way.  It's conversational.  It's
confrontational.  It doesn't tolerate stupidity or duplicity or scamming.
Hidden agendas have a way of being exposed.  Lack of clarity or
inaccurate data will be ferreted out.  If it's important enough (and most
Net chatter isn't, of course) then the Net will get to the bottom of things.
Like in the cyberporn case which knocked the stuffing out of TIME.  Or, in
the EFF-gave-us-the-FBI-Digital-Wiretap-Bill case which knocked the
stuffing out of a Washington-based EFF.

Hyper-democracy in support of a technocratic coup will fail on the
Internet.  That doesn't mean it won't be tried.  That doesn't mean we'll be
spared endless assertions about the digital "revolution."  That doesn't
mean that there isn't a battle for cyberspace.  There is.  And, it's a
revolutionary one.  And, it's one that I intend to write about.

The battle to place human Free Will at the center of the stage is not yet
over.  After the revolution which established this Republic, there was
another far more messy and ultimately degenerate revolution in France.
And, then hundreds of additional battles were fought on hundreds of
additional battlefields around the globe.  For the past century, we have
been in the throws of a powerful counter-revolution against the human
mind.  Socialism -- the name of the anti-mind counter-revolution -- and
all it's spawn (like sociology and social-engineering, to name a few)
have attempted to crush human consciousness.  Socialism (and all it's
spawn) has failed -- but that doesn't mean that there wasn't a battle.
And, it doesn't mean that the vast majority of humanity isn't still trapped
under its bootheel.

When I was walking to the PFF dinner in Aspen, I bumped into Al Toffler.
After greeting him I told him that I'd been pouring over his private papers
which he had thoughtfully contributed to a local rare books collection.
After telling me that I shouldn't mention those because his wife Heidi
would just start yelling at him again about how bad a decision it had
been, I told him that I had been looking at the A/D material particularly
closely.  What was going on with A/D now, I asked?  Oh, it's still my hope
and plan, he said.  If only we could figure out how to make it work.  Then
he walked away.

In the name of humanity and its right to be free, I'm going to help make
sure that it never does.

Mark Stahlman
New Media Associates
New York City

 Posted by --  Andrew Oram  --  •••@••.••• --  Cambridge, Mass., USA
                 Moderator:  CYBER-RIGHTS (CPSR)

    World Wide Web:

You are encouraged to forward and cross-post messages and online materials,
pursuant to any contained copyright & redistribution restrictions.