Saturday, April 23, 2011

Landslide (from RAW's The Universe Next Door)

The story herein (Robert Anton Wilson's Schrödinger's Cat Trilogy: The Universe next Door) is set in a variety of parallel universes in which most of the politicians are thieves and most of the theologians are maniacs. These universes have nothing in common with our own world, of course.

Of course.

Bryce S. DeWitt states: "The Copenhagen view promotes the impression that the collapse of the state vector, and even the state vector itself, is all in the mind." . . . One fact which seems to emerge from the present discussions of the nature of consciousness is that it is nonlocal (i.e., not confined to a certain region of space-time). . . .
-lawrence beynam, Future Science

Furbish Lousewart V was elected President of the United States in 1980 with the greatest landslide since Roosevelt II buried poor Alf Landon alive in 1936. The People's Ecology Party also gained control of both the House and the Senate and twenty-three governorships out of the fifty-one.

The PEP platform, a weird mixture of tangled religiosity and New Left antirationalism, became official policy.

The New Order began mildly-at least by comparison with what was to follow-and the major changes of the first administration consisted only of cutting the NASA budget to zilch; banning McDonald's hamburger shops (which resulted in underground "Steakeasies," where you gave the right password and got a Big Mac for $7); outlawing tobacco (a "lid" of Chesterfields was soon selling for $50 to $75 coast to coast); appointing three antitechnology fanatics to the first three vacancies in the Supreme Court; forbidding the teaching of Logical Positivism in colleges; throwing everybody off welfare (the streets were soon full of crippled and schizophrenic beggars, some of whom also slept there or even starved there on occasion, creating that Third World look which PEP regulars regarded as "spiritual"); cutting the use of electricity by 50 percent, gas by 70 percent, and atomic energy by 97 percent, thereby causing millions to freeze to death and millions more to join the army of unemployed beggars on the streets; beginning all Cabinet meetings with hatha yoga sessions and Krishna chanting; serializing the collected works of Ralph Nader in the official Party newspaper, Doom; encouraging Party members to beat up mathematicians, geologists, science-fiction fans, and other "non-ec" types ("non-ec" types were those either known to be disloyal to the Party or suspected of such disloyalty); encouraging the reemergence of cottage industry by rigidly repressing every more advanced kind of industry; introducing Zen meditation to grammar schools; and most important of all, blaming the host of new and tragic problems that resulted from government policies on an alleged conspiracy of "scientists" and instituting a nationwide witchhunt to round up the members of this conspiracy for incarceration in reeducation centers.

The Revolution of Lowered Expectations had triumphed. By 1984 nobody in the country had any higher expectations than a feudal serf.

Actually, the apotheosis of Furbish Lousewart V had been engineered by the same group of alpha males who had been promoting the Revolution of Lowered Expectations all along.

These were very cunning old primates in several of the most skillful predator bands on Terra. Because of the stealth and skill of these bands-made up of successful predator families that had been intermarrying for several generations-they collectively owned 99.4 percent of all the territory and resources of Unistat.

They only owned about 40 percent of the rest of Terra, and that seriously annoyed them.

The Revolution of Rising Expectations annoyed them even more, because it led many primates to argue that the reason poverty and starvation still continued in an advanced technological society was that Somebody Was Getting More Than Their Share. Whenever anybody asked who that Somebody might be, all eyes turned on these royal old primate males who owned so much. The eyes were not friendly. Sometimes, in far-off lands where these royal primates did not completely control the governments, some of their boodle was actually seized and redistributed to the people they had stolen it from. As Rising Expectations had mounted in the first half of the century, this regrettable pattern of expropriation also escalated.

The alpha males of these tough old predator families did not like this at all. They therefore invested a prudent sum in promoting the careers of everybody who preached Lowered Expectations, from Ralph Nader and the Club of Rome to Oriental gurus and the neo-Stoics of the post-Marxist Left. When Furbish Lousewart came along, they invested in him, too-enough to buy the election for him.

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