The Consequence Was...
If your inner Chihuahua was a fighter pilot, what altitude would it fly at?
(A mash up and nod to "And as she ran, day by day, she planned her next steps.")
Act and you get a reaction
Should be obvious but...
Sometimes when you’re a million miles off
You trudge millions more
Before you have a clue
And others you know on day one (Elise)
But trudge anyway
With a stone in your shoe
Oh Chihuahua, Oh Chihuahua
So hear my old story of peristalsis
I speak of things that metabolise
For most of us suckers, anyways
Not so much a face palm or an oh fuck
As some quiet twinge or a squeak
On an old hinge
Actions ripple in slow motion
Through the years and decades
Oh hear their cry
Ruff ruff, grrr, ruff ruff, grrrrrr
Echoes in ethereal memories
Random cameos in dreams
A wedding's aftertaste
How the choices we made
Shine far away like cold fires
Traces of some mythical journey
Left behind like caked dirt
On old shoes
Oh Chihuahua, Oh Chihuahua
But still we can see them in the dark
How they are compressed
Like we got them off our chest
And in the museum of self-identity (woe-o-yeah)
There were old bones in glass cases
Proudly on display
The sexiest moments
Some allowed, some taboo
Were treasures we clung onto
Oh Chihuahua, Oh Chihuahua
And always the persuasive ego fool
He say if you want the truth
Ignore the graffiti on the wall (no no no)
But sometimes the mind struggles
Even to censor the inner mouth
Something swallowed repeats itself
We cannot always make light of dark times
Re-play the hand
For there is only one
Oh Chihuahua Oh Chihuahua
Welcome to the game of consequences
Is your tail between your legs?
Dare you check the score?
Oh Chihuahua hear my prayer
May your bark be worse than your bite
Shred only junk mail, don’t get sat on
And don’t fly too close to the sun
Oh Chihuahua Oh Chihuahua
Don’t you think that it’s so?
My little warrior, dare you fly?
Oh Chihuahua, Oh Chihuahua (Repeat and fade)
My name is Lao Tse and I have been invited by my masters in the Democratic Republic of China to write the “Topical Essay” for 2050. I have chosen the title: The Exceptional One
Tolstoy asserted that the times produce the person, and that Napoleon’s appearance was therefore inevitable. When Napoleon was born, European powers were competing for a dominant position and democracy was threatening monarchy. There was tension in Europe. Tolstoy seemed to have a point.
But suppose Napoleon’s mother had not succumbed to Marbeuf’s adulterous advances and her boy had not got to the military college. The chance that someone else as talented as Napoleon in politics, as intuitive in war techniques, as ambitious and intelligent, would have been available is probably small. Napoleon’s replacement in history would have been a lesser general, the conflicts would have followed a different course, and perhaps petered out long before three or four million people were killed. The situation in Europe a hundred years later was similar and led to all out war, but produced no Napoleon The world is seldom tranquil, so if Tolstoy’s assertion is correct we would expect Napoleons to be produced constantly. Fortunately they are not, but we would expect them to appear sometimes, and one did, albeit in a modern version in 2033.
The world had been in an unprecedented state of instability for more than twenty years. The hitherto unimaginable global communication made possible by the so called “Internet” almost abolished security in any field. It allowed any individual or group to spread ideas, information and misinformation around the world without delay, and skilful manipulators to intercept and change private communications. Dependence on the Internet for the control of most of the operations of a community and its defence, provided opportunities to create both social and military chaos in a way not conceivable before.
In politics, democracy in the “Western World” was becoming only a facade because of the globalization of commerce. Any laws made by the elected governments had to suit the “multinational” companies. Refusal to comply with their demands would result in withdrawal of credit and investment, two things believed to be critical to a country’s survival, or at least to the survival of the party in government.
Nationalism had been effectively tabooed by associating it with racism, which in turn had been tabooed by associating it with Naziism. The proclaimed attitude of the Western World at the time prevented people from admitting to the natural (and from the lessons of history, reasonable) human suspicion of other races or nationalities. They accepted instead a dogma of equality and tolerance which forgot the basic principal of survival, and developed a “human rights” philosophy which it took so far that it was unable to eliminate organized crime or terrorism. So people from poor countries were able to invade wealthy nations without firing a shot, simply by calling themselves refugees and invoking equality, tolerance and human rights
World population continued to increase uncontrollably. The consequent overcrowding in the wealthy nations increased social tension and anxiety and created a new poor class. A fundamentalist Muslim movement openly proclaimed its intention to rule the world and kill the “infidels”. They declared an “Islamic State” and took over a large section of Iraq. Millions of supporters migrated to it from neighbouring countries, but a logical response to this from the infidels was never formulated, and the rest of the Muslim community made no official comment.
In spite of all this, no exceptional person appeared to exploit the situation, until 2033 when charismatic Hieronymus Graham founded the “Righteous Economists” movement. Heironymus, affectionately known as Ronny, first came to attention as a “televangelist”, spreading his version of the Gospel around the USA via television and the Internet. Economic dealings he insisted were inseparable from religion, and in whatever form, were justified by it. The more complicated the economic dealings the nearer they were to God, and the various “derivatives” developed by share traders were a good example of this. Those who adjusted their thinking to his new concepts were destined to unlimited wealth by joining his church he claimed.
His influence grew rapidly and The Church of Righteous Economists became wealthy from Ronny’s brilliant money trading, and the tax benefits available to churches. Members were encouraged to lend money to the “church” and received huge dividends. Investors began moving money to the Church of the Righteous Economists from the Stock Exchange, and this gave Ronny manageable control over that already shaky institution. When there was sufficient money under his control he attracted the potentially corrupt and it was not long before he could rely on support from influential people and political organizations. A skilled computer hacker himself, he had connections to a network of talented hackers whom he employed when needed. His band of well paid loyal executives expanded, and his organization became large enough to enlist the help of organized criminal gangs when required. He had enough of his people on the boards of the IMF and the World Bank to influence their decisions.
By 2040 Ronny was ready to install his chosen President. His political and financial connections, and his ability to hack into information that moved around the Internet, ensured his man’s election.
In 2042 Muslim terrorists exploded a nuclear device in Manhattan.
The non-Muslim world went wild. Muslim apologists were murdered in the streets and there were calls for retaliation. Ronny instructed his President to begin by playing cool and suggesting the “Christian” response of turning the other cheek. This had the two desired effects. The bulk of the populace began calling for the removal of the President and only his retreat to a safe place saved him from assassination. This gave time for sufficient hydrogen bombs to be aligned to pattern bomb The Islamic State. The President then appeared on television saying that it was now clear a gentle response had not been effective, since Muslims around the world had openly cheered the hellish act. Retaliation was underway. Two days later the Islamic State ceased to exist.
The world is now experiencing the fallout from all this, and while it has not been as bad as expected, a long period of suffering will be experienced. The world population has been reduced to about two billion and many are expected to die over the following years. The world is unified in shock and everyone is working together towards a new start.
The family of the house went about their business, paying the old man no mind. Mother bustled in the kitchen, parcelling up the leftovers to freeze for another day. Father watched the sport on TV, cheering on his favourite team. The two children poked and teased one another, bored now the first rush of enthusiasm for their Christmas presents was past. Life was back to normal after the festive excess of the last few days. Soon, another year would begin, and it would be back to the real life of work and school.
Some hours later, when the children were snug in bed, Mother and Father drank a glass of champagne at the appointed time, while the old man slept on in the corner. Finally, Mother gestured at him with a significant glance.
"Don't you think it's time to make the exchange?" she said.
Father sighed. "I suppose so."
He levered himself up out of his chair and approached the old man, somewhat reluctantly.
"Come on, you old duffer," he said, loudly. "Time to go!"
The old man gave a snort and a snuffle as he woke. He looked up at Father, bleary-eyed.
"What's that? Go?" His voice was plaintive. "But I like it here. It's warm and comfortable, and I can do just as I like."
"Your time's over now," Father said, sternly. "We need to make plans for the future."
He grabbed the old man's arm and hauled him up onto his feet. While Mother looked on, half regretful, half eager, Father marched the old man out of the room and up to the front door.
"Don't you like having me here?" the old man protested. "I don't make any demands on you. In fact, I encourage you to enjoy yourselves - eat, drink and be merry. That's my motto."
"True," Father admitted, "but we need to stop indulging ourselves now and start forming better habits again."
He steeled himself and opened the front door, letting in a blast of cold air. On the path outside stood a smiling young woman. She had perfect hair and perfect teeth, and the body displayed by her leggings and leotard was fit and trim.
She beamed at Father, bouncing enthusiastically up the steps to the threshold.
"About time you came to let me in," she said. She threw a disgusted glance at the old man, then turned her attention back to Father. "Ready to get started?"
Father pushed the old man unceremoniously out into the cold night. "Good riddance to you, 2015," he said, then gestured for the young woman to come in. "Welcome to the family, 2016. We've got big plans for you!"