How History seems to repeat itself, could it happen as stated heregreenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread
Bonnie Camp, frequent contributor to the discussions on the open forum at Rick Cowle's Electrical Utilities and Y2K website, recently wrote the following in reply to the standard skeptical accusations and platitudes:
"My husband, after recently learning first hand of another schedule slippage (putting the time table for implementation into spring 2000) rather sadly said, 'I'm a Pollyanna wanna-be. I keep looking and looking for good reasons to offset the impacts of what I see happening, but I'm not finding them.'
"We have both been particularly sensitive to the 'can do,' 'don't be negative,' 'American ingenuity will triumph' cheerleading that we run across, perhaps because the study of history has always been a serious hobby for us. While we recognize that it is very important to try to maintain a positive outlook in almost all areas of life, we also know that historically the great triumphs of the human spirit (American or otherwise) have occurred during severe difficulties and disasters, not before them. There have been many 'potential' problems and catastrophes which should have been, but were not, affected beforehand by any triumph of spirit. The historical pattern for humanity is to deny danger until it's too late to preempt it and then be forced to rely on spirit and a can-do attitude to make up for blatant shortsightedness.
"Hitler could have been stopped before he engulfed Europe. The big bankers/industrialists could have tempered the super charged stock market spree of the late twenties. School additions could have been planned before the number of students increased to a level where there was no room for them. Social security issues could have been dealt with years ago; the same for the government debt load. And the Year 2000 computer problem could have been taken care of with comparatively little expense years ago if the collective human spirit had had any foresight at all.
"These are a but a tiny smattering of the huge legacy of 'could haves' and opportunities missed that humanity has perennially left in its wake. Instead, we tend, with hindsight, to congratulate ourselves on our triumph of spirit after we've pulled ourselves out of whatever messes we got ourselves into in the first place. Many millions of people died in World War II -- but we 'triumphed.' Many people lost everything they had during the depression and others starved to death -- but we 'triumphed.' The spiritual can-do victories we most herald were victories, but the cost was staggering.
"I cannot help but shudder when there is any mention of Y2K which includes a victory of the spirit or of ingenuity, American or otherwise. The only true victory is to preempt a potential crisis long before it ever gets to the 'problem' stage. When shortsighted stupidity is what engenders an eventual triumph, we may be able to declare ourselves victorious at some point, but it seems to me a pretty hollow thing for us to then pat ourselves on the back about. Even a small level of attendant suffering is too high a price to pay when there could have been no price to pay at all, or a vastly reduced price. All the 'little' Y2K disruptions even our government admits will happen are going to be flashing Stupid in big neon letters if we've got the eyes to see it.
"In my life's experience, humans are absolutely lousy at accomplishing preemptive victories. The Year 2000 problem is just one more example. I take no pleasure whatsoever in the idea of any conceptual triumph of human spirit or good ol' American ingenuity because in my mind that usually means we've already failed. No matter how much fighting spirit the world shows, it's already lost the real victory it could have had. We just hate to acknowledge that.
"When it comes to Y2K, Americans can already class themselves as damn fools. We don't have to wait to see which group -- preparers or non preparers -- gets a duplicate label. If I had to make a prepare/not-to-prepare decision, though, without any facts to go on except humanity's record thus far, I would surely come down on the side of foresighted preparation for potential problems. The lack of that is one of humankind's greatest weaknesses."
-- thomas saul (email@example.com), August 04, 1999
-- FM (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 04, 1999.
To clarify where I read the above, I got it from (go to) http://www.y2ktimebomb.com/Computech/Issues/lcore9931.htm
-- thomas saul (email@example.com), August 04, 1999.
Bonnie Camp: one of the best reasons to get the password for the Electrical Utilities and Y2K forum.
-- Lane Core Jr. (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 04, 1999.
Somehow, the more I read of this, the more I keep getting a deja vu feeling - perhaps I should sit down and re-read ATLAS SHRUGGED by Ayn Rand. Seems like if I re-read it about every 5 years or so, it gets more prophetic every time. The "great masses" seem to look down on those who care, or who CAN do anything, but the "great masses" cast the most votes. This means we get politicans who can "look good on TV" but who are not about to actually DO anything to alienate their voters - who after all, are now beginning to take pride in NOT KNOWING anything! Homer Simpson is not a parody - he seems to be a role model!
Yes, things shoulda/coulda/woulda been done about WW II, the depression, the smog, the atomic race, Senator McCarthy, Vietnam, and Y2K, but so long as we are not in a "meritocracy" we won't - we will "follow the wisdom of the common man" (Yes, to be politically corect that should say "the common person", but....)
Just finished reading a novel by Nevil Shute in which there is a layered voting system in a mythical country. everyone over the age of 21 gets a vote. Those who have completed high school get one more vote. A degree gets you an additional vote. A post grad degree gets you another. Being a land owner gets one more. being married gets an additional vote, etc. Wonder what we would have in office under THAT system?
So now we reach the point where the government is the enemy, and if the gov't says X then the truth must ALWAYS be "not X".
How do we know if Y2K will be catastrophic? Well Gov't says it won't be, therefore it will be.
If you agree with the view that that all will be well, then don't prepare.
If you are at all a thinker, you would be prepared anyway, for severe winter storm, for earthquake, for prolonged power outages, for impacts of hurricane/tornado/typhoon/fires etc, and GUESS WHAT? Y2K is just more "could happen" item - and the preparatioins are mostly the same for all of them! Shelter, warmth, water, food. Assure yourself of all of these, and you will survive.
But why are we waiting until now to prepare? Why weren't we all prepared for disaster already?
Anyone want to bet on how many generators will be sale, virtually unused, and going VERY CHEAP, next summer "after the emergency is over?" Like there never will be a hurricane/typhoon etc.
It is NOT just Y2K that one has to prepare for Food 4 thot....... DH
-- Dave Hooper (DLHooper@hotmail.com), August 04, 1999.
Dave, fascinating question, and the answer is we'd have Pat Buchanan and 50,000 of his clones running the govt for the rest of time.
Not that that'd be all bad........
-- lisa (email@example.com), August 04, 1999.
From "The Notebooks of Lazarus Long":
-- Democracy is based on the assumption that a million men are wiser than one man. How's that again? I missed something.
-- Autocracy is based on the assumption that one man is wiser than a million men. Let's play that over again, too. Who decides?
-- Mac (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 04, 1999.