Monday, December 05, 2005

The Cargo Cult Returns

Strangely enough it was the tsunami last year that made me start noodling this idea around. There was one section of beach at Phuket where nobody died -- because a vacationing British 10-year-old girl had paid attention in class. She recognized the signs and warned everyone within earshot.

Please note. One little girl, no technology. So what did the pundits and chatterati go on about? How all these devastated countries didn't have the fancy warning system like the U.S. did and we should all pony up and get them one so people wouldn't die. Left as an exercise for the reader, it seems, was the initial problem of how to communicate the warning from the fancy, technologically complex, and EXPENSIVE buoys to the tiny fishing villages with no communication equipment. Now, I think for the price of one of those signal buoys you could hire a bunch of (local) people to go out and visit these tiny villages with a set of colorful illustrations and *teach* everybody what that 10 year old girl knew, and then they wouldn't NEED the expensive technology. Fishermen are accustomed to watching the sea. All they needed was to know the signs that meant "head for the hills".

But .... it wouldn't be fancy Western tech. It would save more lives, more cheaply, but somehow that doesn't matter. It has to be the same stuff the Westerners use, because that's what gives them their power! And influence! and ... but you get the picture. Cargo cult. If only they had those buoys *they* would be invited to take a seat on the Security Council!

I think the recent attempted Internet-snatch was the same thing. Westerners say the Internet is wonderful, and produces money, and everybody wants to use it. So the UN and its eminences grise' want to steal it for themselves, meanwhile making certain "necessary changes" -- like censorship and taxation -- that would destroy what makes it work. Sure there are African countries that have little Internet presence. Could it possibly be that they are more concerned with NOT STARVING or NOT GETTING SHOT? That a truly concerned international organization would first make sure nobody is getting whacked with machetes before trying to give them their own internet domain? Priorities, folks! Dead people don't log in!


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