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56


L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 56, September 30, 1999

Y2K: Soup, Raincoats, and the USMC

by Victor Milán
vicmilan@ix.netcom.com

Exclusive to TLE

           In a recent "N+N Alert" from his Nexialist News Service, TLE family member Rick Rabbit reports an alarming "Open Letter" Congress on Y2K to from something called the IEEE. In Rick's words: "For the benefit of those readers who don't know IEEE from Clinton's last fling: IEEE (The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) represents THE folks who design, install, and maintain computer hardware and systems."
           IEEE's message is that Y2K will be Bad, Very Bad, and that Congress should therefore leap to limit liability for damages attributed to the problem.
           Hmm.
           I'm a cynical bastard, and it strikes me that the IEEE's statements are approximately 100% self-serving. They fall into two main categories:
           1. Don't sue us!
           An under-appreciated, and actually real, Y2K problem is likely to be that every fuckup and screwjob by any organization, or possibly individual, who has a computer is going to be blamed on Y2K. Did the teller at your bank pocket your last deposit and credit nothing to your account? Y2K! Did a mistaken address cause ATF to reduce your home to smoldering rubble under the apprehension you were an unpopular church? Y2K!
           In our current legal environment, not only does nothing die without a lawsuit, nothing stubs its toe or gets hung over without one. Also, the foundation of any hierarchical structure, such as our government and big corporations, is that no one with any actual power can actually be held accountable. Scapegoats must be found, and sued. So when computer problems, real or imagined - or having anything to do with Y2K - strike, an obvious expedient to deflect blame is to sue the anoraks - especially if you can produce receipts for many hours' "Y2K compliance" work at $250 per.
           In other words, Y2K hysteria is raining soup for computer consultants and unprincipled doom propheteers, and IEEE is out with its bowl - but if what is falling from the heavens turns to piss, IEEE wants the government to guarantee none falls on it.
           2. The problem will never go away, therefore pay us forever!
           With at least two major "Y2K" related doomsdays having passed without much actual doom - one in April, the other the dread 9/9/99 - the doomsellers, forewarned, have already entered a prevent-mode defense. These hucksters are not going to want to face the wrath of those to whom they peddled $2000 generators and $5000 of Meals Refused by Ethiopians if the World As We Know It doesn't end on schedule. So they've concocted a clever fallback position: well, OK, see, we weren't wrong. Y2K's effects might be subtle, gradual, rather than whack-you-inna-face immediate. Therefore, don't lynch us if the lights don't go out at midnight on New Year's Eve: civilization really is collapsing. Only too slowly for you to see. Trust us. ...
           In fact, hey: better buy more MREs while you still can before the distribution system goes!
           So it appears IEEE has likewise hit upon this ploy. They don't want to get blamed - sued - if anything actually goes wrong; but if not much does, they don't want the great Y2K Wonk Windfall to dry up, either. It's like the ancient physician's description of the perfect disease: the patient doesn't die and doesn't get better.
           I don't claim to know exactly what'll happen on 1/1/00. I do doubt the doomsday scenarios. I'm not convinced anybody's lights will even flicker - unless they're made to.
           I'm no computer expert. I do have a lot of friends, acquaintances, and advisors who are - and very few seem much impressed with Y2K. In my observation an "expert's" assessment of the dangers of Y2K varies in direct proportion to how much that expert stands to make from peddling Y2K fixes.
           My own major concerns for Y2K are two:
           1) That the economic bubble, our modern Tulipomania (which Rick's Nexialist reports have done much to document) is due to burst here pretty directly anyway. Since the bubble depends so much on perception and expectation, Y2K might prove as handy a pin as any, even if its direct effects are relatively minor.
           2) A megalomaniac regime impatient to bump up the schedule of government's endgame against human freedom might seize upon the impending "disaster" to impose martial law. The feds might, say, freeze food distribution and send Marines to actually throw the switches at various powerplants - the first in the name of "assuring" supplies, the second in the name of protecting the grid from Y2K-related danger - in effect, deliberately or inadvertently, causing the dire consequences prophesied for Y2K. The government could then respond to the anguished pleas of our hundreds of millions and simply take control of everything. Nothing like a few January nights spent freezing in the dark to make the American people appreciate their government - and willing to dispense with luxuries like liberty (and, of course, all those nasty firearms) in exchange for the lights and heater coming back on, and food returning to the shelves at Smith's.
           Some people, including Jeff Cooper, have claimed for several years that the American military's number 1 mission for the 21st century is subjection, specifically by disarmament, of the American people. That's likely correct - indeed, in every US military intervention from at least Panama on, one can readily see elements of dress rehearsal for that Main Event if one cares to look. And then, of course, there's all that "black helo" training in American towns and cities, ostensibly to practice MOUT or "counter-terrorism." I have one source in the military who claims there's a lot of sentiment at command levels - military and civilian - to use Y2K as a pretext to impose martial law.
           So to all the doom peddlers, from Gary North to the IEEE: thanks a pantload. You're facilitating dictatorship. Whether or not it really comes - it wouldn't be the first opportunity for grand mischief the government has muffed - it seems a far more likely outcome than TEOTWAWKI.


Victor Milán
vicmilan@ix.netcom.com


First Thing We Do ...

"Tort lawyers are now touting plans to utilize the tobacco-litigation/extortion model against the producers of lead paint, pharmaceuticals, beer, wine and liquor, chemical additives, fatty foods, sports utility vehicles, and myriad other products. These industries will be demonized, more and more severe regulatory restrictions and excise taxes will be imposed on them, and their stocks will tumble. No industry is safe from the greedy hand of regulatory extortion." - Regulatory Sneak Attack; by Tom DiLorenzo; presentation prepared for the Mises Institute's conference, "Austrian Economics and the Financial Markets," Toronto, Canada, September 16-17, 1999

Source: http://www.mises.org/fullstory.asp?FS=Regulatory+Sneak+Attack


I'm Thinking BATF, FBI, SWAT ...

"I would hope that people would look, not just at what handguns have done to America this year, not in the context of this case, but what handguns have done to America over the last many years, and that this nation would listen to its people who again and again cry out ... asking government to make sure that we take reasonable steps to ensure that guns are not placed in the hands of people who are not lawfully entitled to have them ..." [emphasis added]

- "Jackboot" Janet Reno


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