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"We need guns. Lots of guns."

by brittb on February 29th, 2008

It’s been a pleasure witnessing Andrew Sullivan‘s progression from hardline Iraq war booster to an appalled moderate like most American patriots with a triple-digit IQ.

Who knows? Maybe he’s even embraced the doctrine that the Syracusans taught Alcibiades and George Washington taught the British: You cannot occupy a country that doesn’t want you to.

Yesterday, in From WFB to BHO, he quotes a wise reader who fondly remembers Bill Buckley from the early ’60s:

Buckley spoke like lightning to my fatigue with all the stereotyped political arguments of the era. He had the spirit of dissidence against establishment thinking, with a dash of dry sherry and topped up with cackling good humor.

So I worked for Goldwater in ’64, and then went through the intellectual crises of the ’60s with my Baby Boom friends. One thing I couldn’t do, however, was fall in line with the gung-ho, pro-Vietnam War enthusiasm of many of my fellow conservatives. I was appalled at their cavalier disregard for the costs of that war, as I am today about the Iraq misadventure.

And concludes:

I have no difficulty seeing in Barack Obama the fusion of dissident impulse and unreconstructed American civic spirit which has always fired me. Obama has Bill Buckley’s class, Barry Goldwater’s flinty individualism – and a passion for changing the way we govern ourselves in this country. Conservatives lost that passion at approximately the moment when Newt Gingrich gaveled the House to order on the first day he was speaker.

But now, with luck, and with the help of this tall skinny lawyer from Illinois with only a single congressional term to his name – a nice historical parallel — we may be on the brink of a once-in-a-century sea-change in the way we produce and distribute political power in this country.

I’m a big Obama booster, but I don’t think any President can lead a “sea-change in the way we produce and distribute political power in this country”, because of the Mutually Assured Destruction built into the system. But he might inspire US to build US 2.0 as Dave Winer and Doc Searls have been urging, an upgrade to USOS, the United States Operating System.

Governance sites. Lots of sites.

Indeed, we’re like Neo in the Matrix, needin’ lots of guns. But guns won’t help us. We need lots of by-the-people hyperlocal governance sites. We need them everywhere to aggregate and impose the locals’ interests on their representatives and senators. No one’s gonna build them for us, and there’s no f/x department to surround us with racks and racks of political firepower. So it’s up to US.

“Neo, no one’s ever done anything like this”

“That’s why it’s going to work.”

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