I just had a vision.
Nothing mystical, no sense of a tap on the shoulder by Divine Providence, and it is the antithesis of a personal sense of destiny. History has not been kind to such people. And these ideas are much, much bigger than I am.
But something woke me up, literally as well as figuratively.
No, this in fact is an idea — a set of ideas — so simple and humbling that I am again, as I have so often been in the course of this little cyber-experiment, filled with awe and humility and more than anything a sense of gratitude that I might be allowed to have a small, small voice in this critical time in history.
I want to remember — and more importantly, commit myself to the notion that at this exact moment, all of the ideas and threads and comments and history that circles in and out of my head, all of my many work experiences in science, aviation and entertainment have finally coalesced into a vision of why Eject! Eject! Eject! is here and what we are going to try to do.
I count 93 entries since we began Eject! Eject! Eject! on December 12th, 2002. Some have been reasonably deeply thought out, some have been fun, and some have been just plain silly. Good or bad, they’ve all been for you, you kind and brilliant strangers. This post…well, this one is for me. It is a note to myself that I cannot weasel out of. Please forgive me this pretension, but this is a message to my future self.
We have seen about 120,000 unique visits in the last week; that’s about 10% of my total traffic in two years, with all of those peaks and valleys during 23 months. It’s been a great pleasure to hear from many new readers. During the next few weeks, I hope you will enjoy the Silent America essays on the right sidebar. Newest essays on the top; old faithfuls at the bottom.
I will be spending this weekend getting the essays into PDF format. My publisher says I will need about 20 days from the delivery of those files before we can start shipping Silent America. I have seen samples of both their hardcover and softcover work, and it is absolutely gorgeous. Their fullfillment system seems simple, inexpensive and reliable. The book will also be available through Amazon and you will be able to order them through large retailers, as well as through this site. Much more on this in the next few weeks.
A final note on this odd and uplifting morning: DETERRENCE will probably be the last serious post before the election, because once it is over — regardless of the outcome — I plan to begin a second volume of essays that are cover topics far more timeless and universal, which I have been aching to do. SILENT AMERICA: ESSAYS FROM A DEMOCRACY AT WAR has been a collection of thoughts on the War on Terror as it unfolded. It’s conclusion — VT Day — may never be known. But the Presidential election of 2004 is as good an end point as any, and for those of you disappointed by the slow progress of publication (and none of you are more disappointed than I am, because I not only know who to blame, I can can jab him about it any time I want to) let me say this: the book was not ready to print last year because STRENGTH and DETERRENCE hadn’t been written yet.
So, like you, I am holding my breath until November 3rd. But win or lose, that day will mark a new beginning, and if you think the War and the Election have been stressfull and tumultuous, well, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
I worry about terrorism. I worry about Transnational Progressivism. I worry about the utter moral decline of large parts of Europe. I worry about China. I worry about all these things.
But the only thing I genuinely fear is the cyclical nature of civilization. I fear the consequences of abandoning personal responsibility. I fear the self-hatred and nihilism that grows among the pampered, the narcissistic and the uninformed. These are things to be feared greatly. They have brought down entire civilizations and led to dark ages that have cost this species very dearly. I think we stand at such a point today, and this election — win or lose — will not determine the outcome…although it might give us some indication of how sick or healthy we are at this pivotal moment in history.
So prepare yourselves. There is a big fight ahead of us, regardless of who is crowing loud in a few weeks time. Other civilizations have fallen; this one may yet. But none have been armed as we are, and our wonder weapon is not the Carrier Battle Group, the Smart Bomb, or the M1 Abrams. This Civilization is armed with information, with real-time communication, with self-organizing expert systems. And for the first time in history, it has in its quiver the chance to hear from great minds otherwise buried in obscurity, to harness the power of billions of opinions and ideas and little, well-made boxes of competence and expertise; brilliant and commanding voices thrown away with the chaff in preceeding generations. This is a force multiplier to cheer even the most pessimistic.
And civilization will rise or fall on the ability to use these weapons under the shield of our shared values of freedom, opportunity, and just plain courage.
Watch this space.