Shortly after the war of 1914-1918 the first fascist nations
emerged in Europe In those nations
the sun rose and set at the usual time shedding light
on homestead roofs and hills' green slopes Cattle
mooed gently in cowsheds Mothers kissed
their children's foreheads to wake them at dawn
Fathers returning from work
with cheerful weariness in their bones smelled
the smoke from their hearths and after dinner
fell asleep in armchairs or tinkered intrepidly or
practiced their music with a passion Children
played at stickball at hopscotch and hide-and-seek Little girls
sprouted breasts and overnight
little girls turned into big girls filled with whisper
and murmur like trees in the woods and sudden giggles
the sound of which
made boys' throats go dry On summer evenings
curtains lit from within showed shadows meeting
parting and meeting again tenderly Whereas in winter
lovers inhaled the steam of each other's breath in snowy gardens And
one might also mention cats arching their backs sparrows
soaring up above the pavement old women on their porches
flowers cut and potted nurses
taking patients' temperatures people sweeping streets
with brooms One might mention drying
wood wind in a thicket damp furrows in a field And one might also
call to mind many particulars bearing Witness that
For there were no signs on the sky mournful comets
burning bushes water turned to blood For
life went on as always Hence there truly were in those nations
many ordinary people and good people and people
who knew nothing and to whom
it never occurred and who
didn't consider themselves accessories and who
had nothing to do with it and who didn't
even read the papers or read them carelessly caught up
in thoughts of what they had to get done
fix the leaking roof get the shoes
repaired propose have
a beer mix the paint light a candle and who
really didn't see the fear in a neighbor's eyes didn't
hear the trembling in travelers' voices asking the way didn't
see the difference didn't hear
an inner voice or if
they had their doubts there was nothing they could do
and they took comfort
saying At least we
aren't doing anything wrong we live the way we always did
Which was true
And yet these were
– Wiktor Woroszylski, “Fascist nations”, 1969, translated by Stanisław Barańczak and Clare Cavanagh
Jan Krzysztof Ardanowski
Piotr Łukasz Babiarz
Mariusz Orion Jędrysek
vel Sęk Szymon Szynkowski
Grzegorz Adam Woźniak
The world will burn, though. Or enough of it, at least. If Trump gets in, there are gonna be a lot of screaming toddlers with scorched hands. Shouldn’t take him more than one term to bring that whole damn country down around his ears.
And once the pot has well and truly boiled over— when even the Guccis of the one-percenters are slick with the blood in the streets; when Flint-level infrastructure has spread to every corner of the fifty states; when those damned Mexicans finally build Trump’s wall for him, but along the original Mexican/US boundary— why, the Land of the Free will be just begging for someone like Elizabeth Warren to take the helm.
It might be the only way to return sanity to the US political process, in a world where the Overton Window has moved so far to the right that yesterday’s centrism is today’s radical loony tune. In order to reset the scale to the point where workable solutions are even visible, you might have to shatter that window entirely and start over. Or—if you prefer pendulum metaphors—pushing the bob all the way over to Trump might be the only way to build enough energy to reach Warren/Sanders territory on the return swing.
It sounds grim, but at heart this is a hopeful message. True democracy might yet play a constructive role, even if its voice is dominated by toddlers who thus far have refused to accept the danger posed by stove-tops. So let them prevail, I say. Let them burn. Let them learn the hard way, and the sooner the better.
There’s a nice fringe benefit for the rest of us, too. Once those burns have been sustained, perhaps the toddlers will be so busy trying to stamp out the fires within their own borders that they’ll be less inclined to keep starting them elsewhere in the world. Wouldn’t that be nice.
Maybe I’ll head down south after all, in a few more years. Hang out with some old friends I haven’t been able to visit in a while.
In the meantime I’ll keep playing Fallout 4. Just to get ready.
Why I Must Write GNU
I consider that the Golden Rule requires that if I like
a program I must share it with other people who like
it. Software sellers want to divide the users and
conquer them, making each user agree not to share with
others. I refuse to break solidarity with other users
in this way. I cannot in good conscience sign
a nondisclosure agreement or a software license
agreement. For years I worked within the Artificial
Intelligence Lab to resist such tendencies and other
inhospitalities, but eventually they had gone too far:
I could not remain in an institution where such things
are done for me against my will.
So that I can continue to use computers without
dishonor, I have decided to put together a sufficient
body of free software so that I will be able to get
along without any software that is not free. I have
resigned from the AI Lab to deny MIT any legal excuse
to prevent me from giving GNU away.
Why GNU Will Be Compatible with Unix
Unix is not my ideal system, but it is not too bad. The
essential features of Unix seem to be good ones, and
I think I can fill in what Unix lacks without spoiling
them. And a system compatible with Unix would be
convenient for many other people to adopt.
How GNU Will Be Available
GNU is not in the public domain. Everyone will be
permitted to modify and redistribute GNU, but no
distributor will be allowed to restrict its further
redistribution. That is to say, proprietary
modifications will not be allowed. I want to make sure
that all versions of GNU remain free.
Why Many Other Programmers Want to Help
I have found many other programmers who are excited
about GNU and want to help.
Many programmers are unhappy about the
commercialization of system software. It may enable
them to make more money, but it requires them to feel
in conflict with other programmers in general rather
than feel as comrades. The fundamental act of
friendship among programmers is the sharing of
programs; marketing arrangements now typically used
essentially forbid programmers to treat others as
friends. The purchaser of software must choose between
friendship and obeying the law. Naturally, many decide
that friendship is more important. But those who
believe in law often do not feel at ease with either
choice. They become cynical and think that programming
is just a way of making money.
By working on and using GNU rather than proprietary
programs, we can be hospitable to everyone and obey the
law. In addition, GNU serves as an example to inspire
and a banner to rally others to join us in sharing.
This can give us a feeling of harmony which is
impossible if we use software that is not free. For
about half the programmers I talk to, this is an
important happiness that money cannot replace.