"The code is broken." - That's not the big problem!

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I'll let those of other countries analyze their situations.

I suggest that here in the U.S., there are three problems which are greater than the "broken code" itself:

1) Many people throughout the country think nothing of rioting.

2) 50% of U.S. families receive (and depend upon) government checks.

3) Never before in U.S. history has the senior government leadership had so little credibility.

I suggest that the doomers fear a savage response to a crisis more than whatever problems the computer failures themselves will bring.

-- GA Russell (garussell@russellga.com), April 08, 1999


Russell, I think you have something here. I'm sure historians of Y2K won't have to scratch too far beneath the surface of much Y2K discourse to find many of the classic old bogeyman fears displaced and projected onto Y2K, e.g. fear of the mob, the underclass, the disaffected, racial and ethnic fears, technophobia, disease, mortality itself. This is more exagerrated in some people, some societies than others, but generally most social scientists find a correlation between social prosperity and a heightened sense of vulnerability (the "condo" factor). I don't think that many academic disciplines are paying a great deal of attention to Y2K as a symptom of deeper social and psychological fears, so if anybody finds serious material in this area then do let me know. The paper by Aaron Lynch, "The Millenium Contagion" (www.mcs.net/~aaron/tmc.htm) is a good attempt at showing how real problems such as Y2k can become the basis for other more wide- reaching memes that may be religious or secular. Read the paper as it is quite fascinating to see how much of it chimes with the modes of discourse and thinking on this forum. Y2K is a real problem, but it's important to get it into proportion and try to separate it out from other sources of anxiety - real or imagined.

-- Tickle (Tickle_yer_fancy@hotmail.com), April 08, 1999.

I agree with GA Russell's view of the US. I am much more worried about how the people (and even more, the Government) will react to the Y2K problem than the problem itself.

Seeing how "the people" have reacted to Clinton's numerous crimes (most obvious are lying under oath, and rape) and how people are now supporting the attack on the former USSR, it is difficult for me to be optimistic about the future.

-- Anonymous99 (Anonymous99@Anonymous99.xxx), April 08, 1999.

This has been my take on Y2k all along. I sincerely believe that many of the Y2K-induced problems will be minor, but there will be enough of them in certain critical industries that outages and shortages will almost certainly result. While these difficulties by themselves wouldn't terribly endanger our country, given courage and fortitude on the part of the populace,, I believe the public reaction will resemble the worst tantrum you've ever seen a child throw. A large percentage of Americans are pampered, spoon-fed, non-preparing, pleasure-seeking junior-high-school-level-of-maturity adult children, many of whom are basically welfare cases of one stripe or another. Take away their soft lives for just a few weeks, and the results will be all too predictable.

It's not that I don't believe in the American people's ability to come through most hard situations, because I do... burt there is now a sizeable percentage of the population that has become extremely Socialized over the years. Their reaction to Y2K may present in insurmountable obstacle to those among us who will be trying to set things back on track.

-- sparks (wireless@home.here), April 08, 1999.

Yes. fear of the underclass wogs by the middle and upper classes is a major factor. This has always been the case. However, in olden times (all centuries before the twentieth), everyone was ARMED. So a merchant or nobleman was capable of defending himself at least against random attacks by the riffraff.

Now, because of our modern "enlightened" mores, enforced by government, the riffraff is likely to be armed, and the middle/upper classes defenseless (other than by the police -- who really can do no more than draw chalk outlines).

Many, if not most of you on this forum think it's a big deal if you have one shotgun or pistol and you're all in a lather as to whether it's legal, registered, and all that crap. Compare that to your local gangbangers who likely have a stash of full automatics and could care less whether they're registered or not.

America has become pussified and it's going down the tubes, Y2K or not.

-- A (A@AisA.com), April 08, 1999.

Interesting point, GA, but I'm not sure. You see, Gary North, to take one example, is usually classified as a "doomer" and he certainly has continually emphasized that the main problem is the 'broken code' more than any social reaction thereunto. ???

-- Blue Himalayan (bh@k2.y), April 08, 1999.

This is WHY we're preparing to the levels we are.

This is WHY there is debate over firearms and home defense.

This is WHY there is worry over Y2K.

WHY DWGI's refuse to look at the modern nature of the human condition baffles me when we've had plenty of examples of rioting and looting while TIMES ARE GOOD. We've even seen riots over ballgames! What are these people going to do when they're cold, thirsty and hungry?

How long has it been since ANY OF US knew REAL HARDSHIP and TRIAL? Hmmmmm? How do you think the majority of us spoiled little brats are going to react when the ATMs, cable and power go bye-bye? How about when fuel and food are rationed? How about when it's as cold inside as it is outside?

If we had the character as a nation as we had during the '30's, Y2K fears would be minor, as we would make contingencies and seek support from our neighbors and community. Ask ANYONE that lived through WWII here in the states what life was like. Stamps for basic clothing, lines for meat, gardens to subsist on, TOTAl dedication to the war effort. Can you see these people doing that now? Neighbors used to help neighbors. Today, most don't even KNOW their neighbors.

Besides, MOST folks DWGI. When you have the disinformation campaign from our government leaders going at the level it is, and myriad attacks on those preparing as "kooks" and "hoarders", we are being set up for a societal catastrophe that will make the burning of Rome seem like a campfire.

THIS is the REAL fear many of us GI's use to prepare for self- reliancy. When the social fabric rips, it will rip big. We've already seen examples. We're not going to blindly believe that we will somehow "Pull together" when massive disruptions hit when we see so much evidence to the contrary. When you have a people that are devoid of taking personal responsibility FOR ANYTHING anymore...and are expert BLAMERS for their own problems...I hold out no hope we as a nation will make it through this if Y2K turns out to be a 6 or greater.

I do not trust my neighbors (whom are not preparing)

I do not trust this government.

Self-reliancy is the only practical solution towards allowing me to sleep at night.

This is reality.

Wake up and face it.

-- INVAR (gundark@sw.net), April 08, 1999.

INVAR, I admire your individualistic posts. However, your description of wartime American, and the many virtues of that concerted dedication, sound suspiciously like socialism to me. It was when America came closest to being a totalitarian society.

Ask ANYONE that lived through WWII here in the states what life was like. Stamps for basic clothing, lines for meat, gardens to subsist on, TOTAl dedication to the war effort.

-- Blue Himalayan (bh@k2.y), April 08, 1999.

Tickle, the paper you commend so highly has as its thesis that people who believe in Y2K are exactly the same as those who believe in some sort of religious apocalypse. This simple misconception renders the entire paper invalid. You see, Y2K believers base their behavior on a factual certainty--that there will be some problems with computers after the rollover. This is a factual statement. It is prudent AND SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE to prepare to one's own comfort level as far as one can, whether that be three days, three weeks, three months or three years. Religious apocalypse believers base their behavior on faith--a belief in something they can't prove factually.

As a sociology prof once told us, "If it's important to the client, it's important." Hence, I dismiss as destructive any sociological theory which scoffs at an individual's comfort level of preparedness. It is important to that individual, doesn't hurt others and doesn't trespass on anyone's rights. A secure individual is a happy individual.

You write: "Y2K is a real problem, but it's important to get it into proportion and try to separate it out from other sources of anxiety - real or imagined."

I won't argue the definition of "proportion" as you use the word, but I will address the rest of your remark. The riots of the sixties and seventies and those subsequent, such as the notorious LA riots and any looting after a natural disaster, were very real and not at all imagined. It takes very little to spark a riot--a wrong word, a "funny" look, a jerky movement, a reach into an inside pocket. The lack of ability to buy food and other items considered necessities would certainly provide justification for people to riot and loot. I saw it myself during the aftermath of Hurricane Fran--and we were only two days into the "deprivations."

Fearing the problems caused by other people is a rational fear. Terming it "the condo factor" is hilariously funny. I've worked in crime prevention for years and I can tell you unequivocally that it's the people in the low-income neighborhoods who're the most afraid of others' behavior! When I lived in a low-income part of New Orleans, I was much more afraid of people's behavior than I am now, living in a middle-class area. Perhaps it had something to do with the attacks on my son, the burglaries, the threats and the prowlers, none of which I suffer now. I hazard a guess that the "condo factor" comes into play because crime has now spread from low-income areas into all demographic sectors--even the condos of deluded sociologists.

Please bear in mind that a conservative is a liberal who's been mugged.

-- Old Git (anon@spamproblems.com), April 08, 1999.

Blue -

Agreed. We were quite close, especially with Rossevelt in office, however - - the contribution to the War Effort was VOLUNTARY by-in- large.

Meat could be bought on the black market anytime, as well as many other things that were rationed.

Most Americans RALLIED to the effort to defeat Japan and Nazi Germany.

BIG Difference in how this current administration operates. They MANDATE socialism through litigation, regulation and Executive Orders.

How the public responds to a hardship is what I was illustrating.

I believe in rugged-individualism and self-reliance.

It's what made us the nation we once were.

-- INVAR (gundark@sw.net), April 08, 1999.


You have missed one critical point in your little dissertation. Y2K is classless. We may have classes now, but when the brunt of y2k hits, it will be indiscriminate. Anyone from the upper/middle/lower "classes" from today will become the "riff raff" you are referring to if they are not ready with survival supplies. They are the ones who not only fail to prepare, but fail to THINK about what is going on. They are the ones who will not THINK of how to survive best in a bad scenario. Only those who have looked at the situation, analyzed to the best of their ability, and taken action to prepare will not be counted as the riff-raff who are on the prowel looking for a means of basic survival.

-- winna (??@??.com), April 08, 1999.

I agree with you INVAR. Back in the '30's people CARED about each other for the most part, and they knew their neibours well. today people don't care about each other and kill each other over their shoes, and riot at sporting events, even when their teams will!!! What gonna' happen when and if TSHTF???

-- Crono (Crono@timesend.com), April 08, 1999.

Right on again, as usual, INVAR.

This nation is in serious trouble exactly because of lack of individualism and self-reliance. Y2K computer problems are just the fuse burning down. Culture is the powder which will explode.

thus spake:

-- Greybear (greybear@home.com), April 08, 1999.

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