Saturday, September 16, 2006
Thankfully, War is Becoming More Democratic
Warfare is becoming more Democratic. Cities are now targets in "legal" war.
A revolution in gun metal technology in the 1800's created trench warfare. A later revolution in mechanization got soldiers out of the trenches and onto the roads. It became understood that speed and combined operations were paramount in avoiding an intolerable loss of soldiers inherent in trench war. Air power introduced a new vector into this functioning. Soon factories in cities became targets. In another quick-step of logic, the city itself becomes a legitimate target. Now a myriad of destructive agents, and delivery vectors are available - the bulk of which target cities.
As the technology of warfare achieved a thoroughness that is known as total war, the experience of it is being shared by more and more people. Since photographs of war were first displayed(Washington,1861), the experience of war has become ubiquitous.
Before these technological innovations, wars were fought between armies on battle fields. Sometimes armies sieged cities or did battle in cities, but the city itself was not the primary target, the army with-in it was. Since WW II, the city itself has become an important target.
Cities account for 90% of populations in 'First-world' economies, 10% are 'on the land'. Chinese plans forecast that during the current modernization, a population shift of 300 million people will take place. The majority of humans will soon be resident of cities, targets in 'legal' war.
The economist Karl Polanyi talked of how technology 'disembeds' itself from the society that created it. In other words, advances in the technology constantly challenge the previous cultural construct negotiated in the previous cultural/technological paradigm.
The technological advances in warfare have brought us to a fundamental contradiction with in a Polanyian' model. The technology of warfare like all technology is disembeding, but unlike other technological eras, the ultimate effect of this disembeding could be the total destruction of the civilization that created it.
On the other hand, with this level of technology comes the World Wide Web, the infrastructure of direct democracy. "The Rights of Man", liberty, property, security, and the opportunity to resist oppression(the pursuit of happiness), are intricately linked to the functioning of a modern economy. The inter-connectivity of the modern post-industrial society paves the way for advances towards direct democracy.
So different elements of the current technological Diaspora are disembeding at different rates. The innovative manipulation of communications technology in a truly mass scale is creating a hooking function, where-in two objects with different vectors pass each other, one hooks on altering the vectors of both. Or as in this example, slowing the disembeding of technology and speeding the cultural adaptation to it.
This is expressed in our time by a qualitatively New Left.
The explosion of the Seattle Movement that 'came out of nowhere' was the first truly mass virtual Movement. It did not come 'out of nowhere' though, it came from the www; e-mail organizing, web paging and faxing, and connected by mobile phone technology.
Next, the World Wide Peace Movement showed up, marked by world wide demonstrations in 2003 around the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq. The movement choose the best slogans in an internet 'fashion show' of ideas in art, a design process that took place in communities from around the world. There was no edict issued from any where, people just choose what art-work best expressed what they felt. Advertising in reverse I guess you could say.
The speed at which the 9/11 Truth Movement has reached 'critical mass' is astonishing. Fueled by lap top movie making and distribution, they have collectively/independently created a sub-culture of dissent, a 'buzz' that marketers salivate for is mushrooming out of the American diaspora.
A revolution in the Democratic Party is an on going development. Go to 'Daily Kos.com' to take a warm bath in it.
So, war is becoming more democratic; and so is the civilization that created it. The question is: Will the culture be able to 'catch' the quickly disembeding military industrial complex? Can the information revolution change the repeating algorithm before it destroys its creator?
It sounds like the outline for a Godzilla movie.
" Mothra! Please help. "
The Changing Face of War: Into the Fourth Generation
Posted by Michael Holloway at 9/16/2006 07:00:00 PM