Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Attack of the Drones

At least two of the recent Two Worlds movies, Total Recall and Elysium, have involved the idea of evil regimes conveniently using robots to subdue humanity.  If all the people are oppressed, why trouble yourself indoctrinating soldiers when you can manufacture an army that is troubled by conflicts of loyalty and remorse?   The idea is a natural fusion of the idea of the Imperial Stormtrooper with the Terminator.  (Curiously, the robot in the old sci-fi movie Metropolis is not used as an instrument of war, but of corruption.)  Speaking of Star Wars, let's not forget Phantom Menace, which some have claimed was given anti-Bush and/or anti-conservative undertones.

Hmmm, robots used by collectivist totalitarian regimes to keep the masses in check.

There's something very messy about war, and while it's horrible, it's appropriate that human beings are on the field seeing it and knowing it.  Michael Medved, in his autobiographical Right Turns, writes about his front row seat in the pacifism movement of the 1960s/70s and how the student activism against the Vietnam War subsided when the rules of the draft changed to not terrify them so much.  Their idealism about making the world a better place went out the window when they didn't feel personally endangered, revealing much of the altruistic sanctimony as mere self-interest.

Now that more soldiers have come home from the Middle East (the end of the Wars goes on and on) the Wars have become more and more automated.  George Bush became the devil over the Wars in the Middle East, and the sainted Obama continued prosecuting the war with drones, the collateral damage to women and children due to increased drone use was largely ignored by the news and media.  The Bush was administration reviled for making rules for playing rough in the War on Terror and for not treating foreign terrorist with the rights of American citizens, while the Obama administration largely given a pass for secret kill lists, secret kill list criteria, secret interpretations of the Patriot Act, and "legal regimes" for indefinite detainment.  (Then again, do you really care what he's doing as long as he keeps dishing out "free" stuff for your out of his secret stash?) Claiming to be transparent but changing the rules to give itself discretion over how much sunlight is used to disinfect, waging a war against whistleblowers, this administration is almost scary, but, well gosh, look how intelligent Mr. President sounds and look at that nice paternal smile he gives us...

Hey, soldiers are coming home.  So forget about what's happening overseas.  Show's over, folks.  Nothing to see here.  Move along.

At least two recent movies feature some kind of superman taking out a drone:  The Bourne Legacy and the iconic Man of Steel.  I think we're supposed to relate to these triumphs of an individual spirit over an inhuman, mechanistic government.  But this is just the Hollywood story machine acknowledging our deep-seated fears.

Boston Dynamics' ATLAS
Meanwhile the present American regime keeps pushing the envelope in automating the surveillance and policing of our own people, even as the media and Tinseltown keep selling this very trend as a uniquely conservative policy.   How progressives intend to regulate our lives without being able to police our lives seems to be ignored for the most part.

The armed forces continues to become more and more automated.  After all, as the movie White House Down tries to convince us, armies made up of actual humans are a threat to Pres. Obama.  I mean, if most soldiers were liberal Democrats,  Al Gore might have tried to get their votes counted in 2000.  Time to replace these people with machines.  Soon we'll be able to sit down and watch tv and forget that war has been automated.  We can go on watching our favorite tv shows until we one day find that our human militias and our native soldiers all together are no match for the automated machines of war.  A government that doesn't want its people dictating the rules any more, will have a new option at its disposal.  The terrorist threat has already been redefined as people that are opposed to Big Government.  Stooges in the media immediately tried to sell the Boston bombing as a probable conservative attack.  Now liberal news outlets are trying to redefine Tamerlan Tsarnaev as a conservative.

Sleep well tonight.

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