Sunday, August 5, 2012

Demo triumph of 2008 seen as the “tipping point”

Col. North, on Texas swing, pulled for “O”

The multi-billion dollar Secure Border Initiative - an electronic fence battle tested in Afghanistan and Iraq – was scrapped on the drawing boards.

An innovation of the Azbell Electronics Co. of Waco, the system consists of high definition video cameras and high resolution radar units mounted on portable towers, pressure-sensitive fields, and other gizmos that will give airmobile enforcers time to pinpoint and chopper in to apprehend illegal immigrants, narcotics smugglers, or guerilla fighters bearing shoulder-fired rockets.

One day the project was going great guns at the prime contractor's field offices in Killeen, the next, it was gone, but not forgotten.

According to a confidential source, Col. Oliver North of Iranscam fame visited the project and inveighed in favor of war-based technology, the kind of innovations necessitated by conflict that ultimately bring huge strides in the behavior of nations and their people.

In passing, he tossed off the remark that anything but a Democratic victory in the general elections of 2008 would not provide the “tipping point” it would take to jump start a new American Revolution.

Democratic victory?

Oliver North?


New American Revolution through a Democratic victory.

That's what the Colonel said.

Only the obtuse actions of a radical Democratic President would create the kind of critical mass that would propel the American people to go viral with the notion that something's got to give, the government is too big, the controls on society and its commercial establishment too great, and the results - stifling.

Critical mass? It means the kind of viral saturation point necessary to cause the spread of an organism faster than ever, its trend irreversible - and all consuming – until the virus rejects the host moves on to its next victim, mutating and adapting as needed.

Tipping point?

Malcolm Gladwell is an Englishman who emigrated to Canada because his grades weren't anywhere good enough to get into grad school. He began writing for one of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's publications, traded up to “The Washington Post” to write about the impact of new technology on America's population, politics and commerce, then left that outfit to cover similar trends at The Magazine, “The New Yorker.”

“Tipping Point” was a very popular article written in the first year of his tenure there. When it was published in 2000 by Little, Brown and Co., it sold and sold - and sold people - on “How little things can make a big difference,” which is its subtitle.

To be sure, there are conditions precedent, and there are reams upon reams of criticism directed at Mr. Gladwell's ideas by social scientists and other academics with an axe to grind.

They chiefly object to Mr. Gladwell's use of anecdotal evidence to back his theses.

But, hey, if anyone ever tells you Malcolm Gladwell is involved in a conspiracy with the editors and publishers of “The New Yorker” to sell magazines, be sure and write that in your notebook. It will be on the test.

Here is the lineup:

The "law of the few" dictates just how an idea becomes a social epidemic. It spreads on the rule of 80/20, in which 20 percent of the people are gifted with the particularly rare set of social skills it takes to put the idea across.

There are “connectors” who maintain that all-important 6 degrees of separation described by Dr. Stanley Milgram, the social psychologist, between an innovator and his market.

“Mavens” are educators who possess huge amounts of knowledge about the matter at hand, exactly what its uses and limitations may be, and where to get more information.

“Salesmen” are endowed with the charismatic ability to negotiate with people and persuade them to be reasonable and do things the new way by using the information, idea, or device that's offered as a solution to the sticking points.

When it comes to border security, for instance, think, “The Democrats are standing at the border handing out voter registration cards.”

Not really true, but, hey, it gets the job done.

In the proper context, we see dictatorships crumble, multi-term power brokers in Congress fold their tents, and corporate fiefdoms fade away to obscurity before videographers bearing cell phones and tweeters thumbing their buzzing, beeping little black boxes.

Do you recognize anyone you know playing these roles in the office, the company, the church, the shop, the school, the neighborhood association?

Check it out. Amazon has it on Kindle and it's a quick, brisk and entertaining read about the future past, if you can dig it.

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