Friday, March 5, 2010

Denotations, Please!

"New rule: anyone who uses the word "corporation" in a debate has to define in within 15 seconds, or else forfeit entirely." --Adam "Rutskarn" DeCamp, via Twitter.

Good rule! Mind if I add a few words to that list? "Empire", "imperialism", "capitalism", "liberalism", "conservatism". The first two have some fairly specific denotations which tend to get lost in transcriptions, and the last three will change with time and place (e.g. P.J. O'Rourke's notes that American Capitalism = Wall Street and Albanian Capitalism = pyramid schemes). Any other words I should add?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A History of the Twenty-First Century--2012 to 2045, excerpts

(If Adalore at Cryptic Check is going to update on his fictional worlds, then goddammit, I am too! This is the history of "our world" before the discovery of the "fantasy world" in the same category. I'm trying to go for the stage or two before "post-apocalyptic dystopia"--the idea being that the 2045 world is one that could very easily reach that point, even if it hasn't yet.)

2012--Beliefs that the world will end on December 21st of this year leads to massive increases in "millenium" and apocalypse cults--self-flagellation and ritual bloodletting are common. December 20th and 21st sees a massive, massive spike in mass suicide and mass homicide--Masada and Jonestown carried out worldwide in hundreds, if not thousands, of communities. The world doesn't end, but the bloodshed and chaos is a harbinger for the rest of the century.

2017--The debate over the Kashmir still isn't settled. In an effort to "hurry things along", the Pakistani president begins brandishing the country's nuclear arsenal. The Indian leader takes this as an immediate act of war and orders the nukes launched. Pakistan retaliates just before the Indian nukes hit. Total dead estimated at over 150,000,000--total affected is over 1 billion.

2022--Palestinian extremists successfully smuggle "dirty bombs" into key areas in Israeli cities and set them off as planned. Their rejoicing is short-lived, however, as the fallout blows back into their faces, as well as into Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the Sinai Peninsula and the Gaza Strip. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is thus settled for at least one hundred years, as the Holy Land is currently too radioactive to live in.

2025--A Russian-Polish conference over gas supplies in Krakow ends badly when the negotiation building is blown up. (Among the casualties are Davin's parents.) Both sides accuse the other of double-dealing, negotiations stall, and relations between Russia and the former Soviet Union worsen dramatically.

2027--Getting annoyed at the lack of progress on the UN Millenium goals (now 27 years late), various social justice groups assert 2027 as the year where all those happy qualities will finally come to pass. Unfortunately, various radical and anarchist groups in developed countries take this to be a sign to go on the attack, and almost immediately begin classically "resistive" actions such as fire-bombing businesses deemed "un-progressive" and nail-bombing and lynching people believed to be "tools of oppression". By 2045 most of this has calmed down, but there's still a distressing number of Molotov Cocktail incidents.

2033--Thanks to the same party causing the current Sudan genocide gaining new power, another genocide is occurring in Africa--this one a bit further east, in the Uganda-Kenya-Somalia area. This time, however, three U.S. military commanders convince the President to go forward with Operation Firebreak, an air and land invasion planned to suppress the new government. International troops slowly but surely make their presence known in the region on the U.S. side, including SAS forces, Ethiopian regular units, and Polish spec ops. However, the moment the "maneuvering war" is over in six months, Congress immediately cuts all funding for Operation Firebreak, and command is turned over to an international body. Believing that the enemy still has strength and that the world is no longer interested in victory, one of the commanders shoots himself on the way home.

2037--For some time now a new ideology has been spreading worldwide--a call for a new unity and internationalism, evoking the highest ideals of the U.N. (the body has been seen as hopelessly corrupt for a decade) and one-worldism. 140 countries sign the Global Union Charter, officially linking them politically, economically and militarily. This last one, as well as various pundits citing how such high ideologies usually turn bad, causes the remaining countries, including the U.S., Britain, and Japan, no small worry.

2038--The fears of the pundits are realized--Ramstein AFB in Germany is overrun in mid-decommission, as well as a number of smaller countries which did not originally sign the G.U. charter. The 15 or so countries left immediately sign on to a new military alliance. Attempting to evoke a sense of history, the alliance is named Nations Against Totalitarian Oligarchism, or NATO.

2044--The sixth nuclear arms reduction talk in six years between the two alliances breaks down over questions of trust and surveillance. A high G.U. leader blames NATO for the repeated breakdowns, and suggests that if the seventh one, scheduled for next year, meets similar failures, he may be forced to begin applying pressure.

August 15, 2045--the seventh arms talk begins...

Sudden Acceleration Incidents...Eighteen Years Ago

Caught a news report discussing Toyota's recalls of various cars for "sudden acceleration" incidents. It reminded me of a PJ O'Rourke piece on the Audi 5000, which had similar complaints. As it turned out there, there were no defective parts on the Audi 5000--just a brake and acclerator pedal close together and a price low enough to be imported regularly during a time when imported cars were much in fashion. There was much hulabaloo over it, multiple government expensive mess. Wonder if something similar is going on now.