"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Undoing the Military-Corporate Complex

Even as the malicious pretenders of climate change denial are installed by the Trumpists throughout Washington to keep the lid on any effort to halt the coming environmental catastrophe imposed by lethal energy extraction and use, the power brokers who have chosen certain death for their and our descendants, as a residual cost of doing business as usual, are not going down without a well-funded fight to maintain control to the bitter and certain end. 

The Pentagon, which cannot afford the homicidal luxuries that the Koch Brothers and Exxon-Mobil's deadly pretenses provide to the economically privileged and morally blind citizenry, is moving forward with plans to protect American economic and military assets as long as possible.  After all, that is the job of the military.

Along with the billionaire opportunists of Silicon Valley, who are looking for ways to maintain their empires even if life as we know it cannot be sustained, the U. S. Armed Forces are working overtime to engineer and evolve human systems, organizational systems, education systems, and military systems that can rise above the increasingly lethal challenges that accompany the inevitable social, economic, cultural, and biological degradations and breakdowns in the making around the globe.  

If the Pentagon has its way, the U. S. will be able to kick anybody's ass to the very end of human time:
HRED's [Human Research and Engineering's] scientific research in Soldier performance is directed toward the development of human engineering as well as cognitive and sensory neuroscience technologies and design principles that protect and extend the Soldier's physical, perceptual, cognitive, and psychological performance under hostile and highly stressed conditions. Particular emphasis is on the simultaneous consideration of Soldier physical, cognitive, and social interactions. Results of this research serve to enable the individual Soldier, crew, and battle staff to comprehend and manage vast quantities of information expected to flow across the networked military environment employed in full-spectrum operations. Basic and applied research supports effective integration of the Soldier operator, maintainer, and trainer in evolving Soldier-worn, communication, weapon, and vehicle equipment; and crew station, human and human-system teams, and unit and organizational designs.
Substitute the word "Soldier" with "Student" or "Worker" and you begin to get the picture.

As corporations are charged with increasing wealth for stockholders, the armed forces are charged with protecting stockholders' asses, assets, and interests.  Both parties, then, are engaged in an entirely amoral and unacknowledged suicide pact that leaves either, alone, blameless, even as the ship of state lists dangerously and the band plays on as it slides across the groaning deck.  

The moral responsibility, then, has been placed on the rest of us, to keep this Titantic from sinking.  But how?  What is to be done?

Most certainly, we must get rid of the ship owners, their captain, and his officers who deny that anything is wrong and have issued orders that everyone should pretend that the ship did not run aground and cause a huge gash in its hull, where water is now pouring in filling up the ship. All these death worshippers must be relieved of their duties and put in the brig if they don't go voluntarily. 

The crew must be redirected to determining the full extent of the damage and committing all resources to sealing off the damaged compartments and getting the pumps running.  All passengers--not just those in 1st Class, must be fully educated as to the extent of the problem, and they must be called upon, each and every one, to help in righting the ship. 

Those engineers and other crew members who continue to commit resources in a hopeless effort to make life on a temporary raft comfortable for a few privileged passengers must be fired immediately and put in restraints if they refuse to commit to saving the ship.

Do we know if this planetary ship can be saved?  No, we do not but, then, we can only choose to act as if it can be saved.  For if it is found that after trying, it cannot, then we and most of the planet's life forms will surely be as dead as if we had done nothing, but we will not have died without the moral and intellectual certainty that we humans did what we could for ourselves and all our fellow passengers, human and otherwise.  Choosing that legacy would be our dying species' most noble act thus far.

Scott Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon, was later asked what he would have done if he had a half-hour's worth of breathable air remaining and the engine on the lunar lander would not start to return him to the orbiting command module. He responded matter-of-factly that he would have used that half hour of air to get the engine started.  

Boys and girls around the world, it is time to start our engines. Only our unshakable commitment and courageous acts can make this coming year a happy one.


1 comment:

  1. For those who want to learn more about human cognitive engineering in a military context, I highly recommended Jonathan Moreno's book "Mind Wars: Brain Science and the Military in the 21st Century." http://www.jonathandmoreno.com/about/mind-wars/