Nov 24, 2006

The King of the Internet

History always repeats itself and so we should expect new kings to arise in the future. A long time ago, I heard that when society begins to topple from its sins, a man on a white horse will appear. The new king will be an incarnation of Mao, Mohammed, or Charlemagne--take your choice.

How will the king take power and who will be the king? The first question is dependent on a third question--will the web survive the toppling of society? My guess is the web won't be destroyed because it is crucial to the success of all parties to the battles. Both devils and Saints want to touch others to condemn or save souls. Rather, I believe a peacetime web may be controlled rather than destroyed, with general consortiums of web villages achieving supremacy to control most of the other web villages.

Web villages bind people together because of similar religions, backgrounds, and political and social views. A village can cross bedrooms and oceans to provide homes for people of like mind. Village citizens are characterized by:
  1. Little or no reading of local newspapers or watching of live TV
  2. Frequent connection with other villagers through the web, email, and cell phone
  3. Exposure to immense amounts of information that support the views of a particular web village
  4. Sharing common experiences so that personal allegiance to the village matures
  5. Activation of militants on projects designed to reach specific goals.
R.J. Stove writes in the Remnant News, "Should We Blog." Frankly, even though the world of the Internet has many temptations to sin, it is the framework that must be used if new Charlemagnes can come to the forefront of history. "Should We Work?" may be an alternative title for Stove's article, and if we are not yet dead, the answer has to be positive.

In the past, a one-to-many news system has meant the distribution of information from a few central locations to many people through the TV, magazines, and newspapers. In contrast, the internet is a many-to-many world, where everyone can be considered his own program director or editor. Moreover, new voices both listen and talk with their peers to form alliances and even generate more information, usually on an ad hoc basis to pursue a common goal.

The Internet democracy now consists of:
  • Almost 60 million blogs
  • Almost 130 million MySpace pages
  • Over 70 million YouTube videos watched each day.
Yet most information is acknowledged to be wrong or worthless, and some even poses considerable danger. For example, the web can show you how to kill people (both en masse and secretly) and also how to commit suicide. Additionally, the web is full of important facts mixed with biased commentary--making all information not equal.

Special Internet tools are needed to allow people to use the web to rebuild Christian civilization. Internet filters are of much greater importance to the building of a Christian presence on the internet than is commonly discussed. Directories of Christian information and Catholic blogs are also very important. The establishment and growth of Christian web villages (e.g., blogrolls, leagues) are most critical, because the web shows a polluted people that must be converted using some of the same techniques that were used to proselytize them for evil.

Some of the techniques will involve "Hive" software (think bees that make honey and swarm to protect the hive) to enable the rapid working together of many people in a village. I suspect that even an iPod may be a necessary 'gun' of militant Catholics in the future, mounted on a belt, worn as a watch, or held in a pocket to promote and defend their faith whenever necessary. [If the current pace of computer storage capacity continues, by 2015, an iPod is estimated to hold everything ever printed or broadcast in the history of the world, in any language or medium. ] "Hive" software will be needed to use this information effectively and efficiently, as required by specific militant Christians who have volunteered to serve in special team roles.

Even more, I believe "Hive" software is needed to use the democracy of the Internet to tap the intelligence of the crowd. No, I'm not talking about deciding on religious doctrine, but how best to employ group intelligence that has been demonstrated by many experiments to better judge questions of fact than individual persons. As individuals contribute to such a process, they also buy into subsequent actions. "Hive" programs will allow contributions of proposed procedures/tasks to accomplish a specific goal, then to achieve agreement on the goal, and then to manage subsequent activities that must be performed. A superhive web environment will be needed to deal with many like-minded villages in different environments.

An illustration of where this tool could have been used is the recent Missouri Stem Cell Initiative. Opposition to the cloning amendment was not well developed on the web, partly because relatively few Christian bloggers or MySpacers were identified in Missouri and most worked not at all or were alone rather than in concert with each other. With the right tools, 200 active bloggers could have motivated more interest and activities on a daily basis. Moreover, 200 people would have contributed their own ideas on what efforts would achieve the most success. Many more than two hundred Christian blogs in Missouri is reasonable within the near future because of very high growth rates in web connectivity, knowledge, and blogging.

Is this really possible? Yes, it is happening in Estonia which seems to have a lot of internet-savvy citizens. The government of Estonia has set up a website called 'Today I Decide'. Some of the policies and actions suggested by citizens have now been implemented by the government. Others are generating a lot of heat in political discussions.

Are there bad things that will likely happen? Yes, certain persons may become renegades to challenge the village raison d’être. Other maverick villagers may try to expand their own universe of beliefs or achieve a personal agenda. In both cases, identified troublemakers should be removed from the village through voting or by a village leader. Web tools such as "Hive" software should insure non-friendly input is restricted in making village decisions.

Christian villages on the web will motivate Catholics and Protestants to take the fight to the enemy and rebuild the Church. While Christian unity in the one, true Catholic Church remains a far-away dream, a subset of that unity is now possible on issues related to life, secularism, and Islam. Villages are not local churches and so should encourage membership to any friend of Christianity.

Can good Catholic Internet villages restore the Church and eventually the world? I'm betting it has already started and needs more prayer, intelligence, development, and action. Eventually, Jesus Christ must be placed in his proper place as King of the Internet.

Nov 23, 2006

The New Totalitarianism

I tried to google a book of about 30 years ago entitled "The New Totalitarianism." I remember it was a very powerful book that discussed the new sexual freedom. Guess what? There are more than one new tyrant staring back at me.

1. Islamism
2. Thought police for "hate" crimes
3. A "Brave New World" which is numbed by frequent, meaningless sex that keeps the populace seduced and willing to accept government tyranny

The book published in the 70's addressed No. 3, pointing out the price Scandanavian countries paid for sexual freedom--government control of most aspects of personal lives. Thirty years later, here are the results for liberal Sweden as reported by the American Family Association:

• There is more crime in Sweden than in New York City, though they are comparable in population.

• Drug abuse is rampant, with the number of deaths from overdoses having doubled in the past 10 years.

• Sweden has one of the highest incidences of rape in the world.

• Burglaries are so numerous that many citizens have stopped reporting them, because the police are overloaded and cannot undertake to investigate them all anyway.

• Attacks on money transports (like highway robbery) are so frequent that the transporters are threatening to quit, thereby effectively closing ATM’s all over the country.

• Violent outdoor muggings are becoming routine, having increased 15% last year alone.

• In Stockholm, the police recently admitted having lied when they claimed to have neutralized some 130 of the city’s most prominent gangsters; in reality, their sting operation was a bust.

• Swedish courts are plagued with perjurious police officers who routinely lie to support fellow cops in trouble.

Nov 22, 2006

Thanksgiving Day

When I was young, our family and our aunts, uncles, and cousins on Mother's side would get together for holiday dinners, usually three times a year. Just before my Father's death, he turned to me and said, "Don't ever forget how important family gatherings are." He repeated that statement perhaps twice to make sure I wouldn't forget it and I haven't.

Tomorrow on Thanksgiving we will gather at a son's and his family's house. The family hosting the dinner usually supplies a meat and perhaps two or three other items and drinks, and everyone else brings something to complete the dinner. One person will fix a dessert, another will make a fruit salad, a third will bring a vegetable dish, etc. My job is to bring smoked hams and fruit pies.

The cousins will have a wonderful time, as always. They will play together and talk together and totally ignore the adults. The older girls will likely discuss their storywriting ideas. The little boys will race up and down the stairs and then scout out hidden places in the house to share secrets. The little girls will talk and probably play with the babies. The older boys will likely go outside because Kansas City is forecast to have one of the warmest Thanksgiving days on record.

Some of the dads will quietly consider whether they should ask their wives if they can leave after dinner for a couple of hours to race over grassy knolls hitting little white balls. Mothers will talk about children, and will find out how the newest mother-to-be is feeling these days. Most importantly, before we sit down to eat, we will all pray and thank our Father in heaven for his many, many blessings to our family.

Nov 20, 2006

New Mega Catholic Church

Texas likes to be bigger than anyone else. Here's a news announcement of the dedication of a new 33,000 sq ft Catholic megachurch in Round Rock, TX. Interestingly, it's not like the structures of Protestant megachurches.

St. Williams has a traditional look, with a painted ceiling and beautiful altar. The stained glass windows are more than 100 years old.

"They were made in Germany and they were in an orphanage in Philadelphia. And the orphanage closed and basically, these windows were lost in storage. And somebody discovered them and we said we want them put our name on them," [Fr. Joel] McNeil said.

McNeil has headed the church since 1999. He said they expect to expand the building to accommodate 1,000 more people over the next 10 years.