John McAfee is one of the most influential commentators on cybersecurity anywhere in the world. His new venture — Future Tense Central — focuses on security and personal privacy-related products. McAfee provides regular insight on global hacking scandals and internet surveillance, and has become a hugely controversial figure following his time in Belize, where he claims to have exposed corruption at the highest level before fleeing the country amid accusations of murder (the Belize government is currently not pursuing any accusations against him).
In George Orwell’s novel of the ultimate dystopian future, 1984, he describes a world in which intelligence is methodically erased from the minds of the populace by narrowing language and options for thought. The ultimate goal of the government – ruled by “Big Brother” – was to reduce all language to one word, and all thought to one concept – love of Big Brother.
“Thoughtcrime” was the ultimate crime against Big Brother.
And the United States of America, land of the free and home of the brave, has just experienced a giant leap toward the very soul of Orwell’s nightmare.
Yesterday, U.S. President Barack Obama actually urged American voters to abandon consideration of all issues in future elections except for one. My first thought upon hearing this was that I was in the middle of an acid flashback and I had no benzodiazepines to soften my comedown. My second thought was, what single issue, in this complex society of ours, would even the least intelligent of us fall for as a substitute for deliberation?
One would assume the single issue would be the central core of our national security: the rampant illiteracy of our elected leaders in the science of cyber security. Virtually all experts agree that an all out cyberattack, beginning with an EMP attack on our electronic infrastructure, would wipe out 90 percent of the human population of this country within two years of its occurrence. That means the death of 270 million people in a two-year time span.
Yet our leaders are nearly all ill-prepared for this near certain not too distant event. If I were forced to choose a single issue, this would obviously be the issue.
Imagine my shock and horror when I discovered that the single issue is gun control. Frantically searching again for my benzodiazepines, and certain that rabid squirrels would imminently emerge from my wristwatch and form a tribunal accusing me of crimes against humanity, a thought flashed into my mind: What if the President is right? Could this simplification be the salvation of this long-suffering nation?
“mass murders were virtually unknown prior to 1980.”
This fact disturbed me, since guns have been prominently owned in this society since the founding of our country, and there was no sweeping legislation in 1980 or after that radically changed gun ownership laws or rates of gun ownership. This, to a scientist, without qualification, removes guns as the source of our problem — unless of course guns suddenly achieved the ability to subconsciously tempt their owners to use them in heretofore-unknown ways. If not, then the problem appears to be an increase in violent urgings, stemming from some unknown source deep within the fabric of our society.
What could this source be? There are many possibilities. In the 1980s we saw the first widescale use of selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (anti-depressants) such as Prozac, Paxil, and others. Hundreds of studies have shown that these anti depressants have side effects that include violent thoughts. A few minutes of research will tell us that 8 percent of the U.S. is taking anti-depressants, and 30 percent of all mass murderers since 1980 were taking them. It’s highly suspected that the real number approaches 90 percent — a statistical anomaly of egregious proportions.
But it’s much easier disprove a cause (as I did with guns above) than it is to prove a cause. Abuse of anti-depressants may merely be an artifact of some deeper cause that is as yet unknown.
We do know that governments that turn deceptive and begin spying on their citizens foment unrest, anger, and despair. However, given that we do not have citizens carrying signs in the streets and recalling their representatives en masse — outward signs we would expect from a citizenry that is not afraid of its government — then perhaps that has not happened here in America.
I am left with only one statistic: Since 1982, the democrat/republican ratio has been fairly evenly split, measured in terms of years in power. Yet 85 percent of all mass shootings have happened while Democrats were on watch. This again may be simply an artifact of something deeper, but it bears looking into.
In any case, the President’s proposal — that we abandon the complex process of weighing the near infinite issues that are important to us, and to choose a single issue upon which we can direct the entire future of our society, may well, in the confusion of my simple mind, be the Holy Grail of politics. But if it is then surely we should weigh the possible deaths of 90 percent of our citizens due to cyber warfare against gun violence, which causes fewer deaths per year than traffic accidents.
Is it possible our president is suffering an acid flashback, rather than myself?
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