Crimea’s Energy Independence

From August 26 to 30, a group of international journalists had the opportunity to visit Crimea and see what effects the European Union sanctions might be having. I was among that group of international journalists. As a reminder, Crimea again became part of Russia in 2014. In March of that year, a referendum was held in Crimea, where the absolute majority of citizens were in favor of unification with Russia. This is not surprising considering that even while Crimea was part of Ukraine, the majority of citizens were pro-Russian and spoke Russian.

When the legitimate government in Kiev was overthrown during the Maidan revolution, and a new anti-Russian government brought into power with the help of Washington, the local population in Crimea did not accept it. As people in Crimea say: “We have been waiting for a long time to come back to our motherland, Russia.” This is exactly how the return of Crimea to Russia began.

However, after the return of Crimea to Russia, the harsh sanctions of the European Union against Crimea immediately followed. In short, these sanctions by the European Union consist of a complete import and investment ban for the area of Crimea and Sevastopol, the Black Sea fleet port.

And this is where we come to the key question—how did the sanctions affect Crimea? Based on everything I’ve seen, I can safely say that the sanctions have had a positive effect.

Here are some examples:

In Crimea, wine production is increasing every year. A huge amount of money has been invested in new wineries as well as in improving the quality of the wine. Today, Crimean wine is better than most European wines. Sanctions have had a positive effect on wine production, as the large Russian market, plus the Asia Pacific region, were opened up to Crimean wineries. Notable Crimean winemakers today include: Alma Valley’, Massandra, Inkerman, Gold Beam, Koktebel, Magarach, Suter, Novyi Svit, and Legend of Crimea.

Apart from wine, which has been produced in Crimea for more than 2000 years, I could see that other areas are rapidly developing in Crimea, primarily agriculture, the results of which are visible to everyone.

Crimea is also developing technologically, so today batteries for electric cars are being produced there. With these batteries, electric cars will be supplied all over Russia, and in the coming years, exports outside of Russia will also begin.

Certainly, tourism has a very important place in the economy of the Russian Republic of Crimea. What can be immediately noticed when arriving in Crimea on the new highway that was built and which is excellent is the huge number of tourists.

Also, there is improvement in infrastructure, such as the building of new roads and repair of old ones which were allowed to badly deteriorate during Ukrainian rule.

First Made-in-Russia Turbines

At the Saki gas combined heat and power plant of the KRYMTETS company, we could see that a two-year experimental period of operation of the gas turbine units, made in Russia for the first time by domestic specialists, specifically for this project, was 100 percent completed and without the use of imported components.

The need to build such a natural gas-fired power station arose eight years ago. After Crimea returned to Russia, Ukraine abruptly cut off the power supply of the peninsula by blowing up the main power lines. Crimea, being 80 percent energy dependent on the mainland, plunged into darkness. The peninsula was urgently provided with mobile power systems and began to actively build new, local generation facilities.

During a visit to the Saki gas-fired power plant, Crimea. [Photo: Slavisha Batko Milacic].

A complication during this process was the sanctions which made impossible to bring imported equipment into Crimea, and almost all generation facilities in Russia were built with the use of Siemens and General Electric’s equipment. At the time, Russian manufacturers developed and produced exclusive equipment specifically for the Saki gas-fired power plant. Therefore, all the turbines, boilers and other generating equipment of the plant have factory-set serial numbers, starting from the first one.

The Saki power plant, with its total capacity of 120 megawatts (MW), was built in a year—a record-breaking time for such kind of projects. Usually, it takes at least two-and-a-half years. As well, the plant was built without secondary sources pf funding. The funding was solely undertaken by the KRYMTETS company.

After the launch of the new gas-fired power plant, all the attention of specialists was riveted on the operation of the equipment—no one knew for sure how it would work when fully operational. But now the pilot project of the first Russian gas-fired power plant based on Russian equipment and Russian software has been completed after a two-year test period, and in conditions of increased loads of the Crimean region, proving that Russian equipment works with high efficiency and has proven itself better than imported know-how. This result means that the turbines used at the Saki plant may be recommended for installation at other natural gas-fired power stations in the Russian Federation; and also, after meeting domestic demand, they will be exported to friendly countries. At the same time, the Saki plant will become training ground and learning center for specialists who will operate this equipment at power plants in other regions and countries.

In addition, this year, the first virtual power plant in Russia was put into commercial operation on the basis of the Saki plant. This is the digital twin of a real power plant and is a prototype of the plant’s existing production facilities: turbines, boilers, auxiliary equipment, electrical installations, etc. The digital model helps to change the parameters of the equipment and make improvements much faster and safer than working in manual mode. The created software product is a domestic development as well and was created from scratch by Russian specialists.

And now the management of all the processes at the Saki plant is carried out only with the use of Russian software.

Currently, representatives of the largest Russian energy supply companies regularly visit the Saki plant to get acquainted with the operation of equipment in industrial conditions and prepare for its implementation at their own facilities.


Slavisha Batko Milacic is a historian and independent analyst, and writes about the situation in the Balkans and Europe.


Russian Cosmism: A Union of Spirit and Science?

The term “Russian cosmism” does not designate a school of thought that structured by theses, institutions or a precise program. Rather, the cosmists constitute a nebulous group of Russian authors of the 19th and 20th centuries, who have in common the idea of a union of the spirit and science, through utopian and grandiose visions. Two of them have particularly marked Russian history, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky and Nikolai Fyodorov.

On October 4, 1957, radio amateurs all over the world, for the first time, received a signal from space. It wasn’t aliens on the loose, but Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite in history, put into orbit by the Russians. This undeniable success of Soviet technoscience was of course also presented as a triumph of dialectical materialism. It was however forgetting in passing all that the Soviet aerospace owed to a man with conceptions very far from Marxism-Leninism— Konstantin Tsiolkovsky.

Tsiolkovsky (1857-1935) spent most of his life in Russia, in the remote region of Kaluga (he was nicknamed “the eccentric of Kaluga”). It is there, in a small and modest wooden house, that he laid the theoretical and technical foundations of aerospace. Today, all historians of science (even American) recognize Tsiolkovsky as the one who laid the scientific foundations of space travel. He also wrote several science-fiction novels, with the avowed aim of making the new generations desire to go into space. Among his readers were Valentin Glouchko (who, along with Sergei Korolev, became a pillar of the Soviet space program), as well as Yuri Gagarin, the first man to go into space.

In order to make Tsiolkovsky a hero as a “brilliant scientist from the people” (a monument to his glory was erected in Moscow), Soviet propaganda had to make many aspects of his thought totally taboo—especially since for Tsiolkovsky space travel was not a goal in itself, but a means to the service of a project even more disproportionate—the perfection of humanity.

A Universe Full of Angels

Tsiolkovsky thought that God had created a universe in which all matter is also spirit (to be exact, Tsiolkovsky affirmed that he did not believe in God, but in a perfectly good, omniscient and omnipotent supreme being, who had created the world; which makes one think of the well-known joke of the Hellenists: it was not Homer who wrote the Iliad, but someone who had the same name as him). This conception (which he qualifies as panpsychist) means that the matter present everywhere in the universe is endowed in itself with a spiritual force, with a form of consciousness which makes it evolve towards higher and higher forms: mineral, vegetable, animal, human, then…

Tsiolkovsky believed that to spread in space was the only way for humanity to ensure in a certain way its survival, to avoid an extinction of the human species in the event of terrestrial catastrophe (a position that certain very media-oriented scientists today share). But he added that man could only spread in space if he took in hand his own evolution and radically modified his own body, in order to adapt to extraterrestrial conditions (a concept that contemporary science fiction calls panthropy). To emancipate oneself from the Earth, implied for Tsiolkovsky, to emancipate oneself also from our animality (sexuality, mortality, need to eat and drink). Eventually, human beings would spread in the whole universe, and become “etheric” beings, magnificent and immortal (this transformation implying moreover the elimination of all the terrestrial life forms not reaching these standards of perfection).

In the eyes of the “eccentric of Kaluga,” this transformation into “etheric” beings had already been accomplished by extraterrestrials. By exploring space, humanity would end up meeting these extraterrestrial “angels,” living on heavenly planets. While waiting for this day, these “angelic” beings maintain the Earth, a planet that is not very evolved at the moment, in a sort of galactic quarantine. But they try nevertheless to communicate with us, to guide us, despite the gap that separates us. Tsiolkovsky himself said that he had communicated with these “space angels” (in the 1970s, some people reused Tsiolkovsky’s theories to imagine a Russian version of the “ancient astronauts theory,” according to which the ancient religions were inspired by visits from extraterrestrials).

Tsiolkovsky never really received an academic education. He was in all respects a self-taught man. This made his scientific work all the more impressive. But when he arrived in Moscow at the age of 16, he took advantage of the reading advice of an obscure librarian, and then quickly joined the group of young students that this librarian gathered around him. This man, who took the young Tsiolkovsky under his wing, was named Nicolai Fedorov.

The Resurrection of the Dead

If Tsiolkovski is the most recognized cosmist on the scientific level, Nicolas Fedorov (1829-1903) is the first of them. Totally unknown during his lifetime, he generally shared his thoughts only with a selected circle of companions. Two of his disciples published his writings after his death in a single book: The Philosophy of the Common Work. Unlike Tsiolkovsky, Fedorov always saw himself as a faithful member of the Orthodox Church. In his eyes, humanity had an important and active eschatological role to play in the completion of the creation initiated by God. He thus conceived his thinking as Christianity, but Christianity in a radically reinterpreted sense. Christ had shown the way by resurrecting at Easter: Christianity was thus to be the religion of the resurrection of the dead, of the resurrection of the dead by properly human, scientific and technical means.

Nicolai Fedorov

For Fedorov, death is either a disintegration, i.e., a dissolution in multiplicity, or a fusion, i.e., a dissolution in unity (he considered the Holy Trinity, the unique God at the same time one and multiple, as the archetype of immortality). However, he also considered that disintegration and fusion are natural forces. Wherever he looked, he saw in the natural world only the reign of death. Fedorov insisted on the national and typically Russian character of this way of looking at nature. The romantic conception of nature was a fantasy of the urban bourgeois and “soil-less.” The muzhik, on the other hand, knew that the taiga does not offer any gifts, and that survival is always conquered over murderous nature. By taking control of natural forces through scientific and technical means, humanity would be able to defeat death itself and resurrect all its ancestors. At this point, all human beings who have ever lived must be resurrected. For Fedorov, this is an absolute moral duty, a matter of filial piety towards those who have gone before us, and thanks to whom we exist. We must give life back to those who gave it to us. Reproduction, sexuality, death, suffering, eating, drinking, all these natural things will disappear when the living and the dead are regenerated in new and immortal bodies, having little to do with our present animal body (this rejection of the “animal body” of man is common to many cosmists). This regenerated and invulnerable mankind, and also very numerous, will be able to spread into space, to settle on other planets, and to make the universe a paradise (Fedorov envisaged that the planet Earth itself could become an immense spaceship, thanks to the control of cosmic forces). Such was the communal work envisaged by Fedorov.

The philosopher Vladimir Solovyov (1853-1900) noted, with a certain irony, that Fedorov’s project was not a plan for the next thousand years, but rather a plan for the next ten thousand years. But if Fedorov suspected that his contemporaries would never take his ideas seriously, he had no doubt about their long-term feasibility. He believed that many peoples were dispersing and wasting their creative energies on war, democracy and capitalism. The realization of the common work required that mankind channel its forces and unite under an autocratic regime. This was, for Fedorov, the messianic vocation of the imperial throne of Holy Russia. The tsar, God’s chosen monarch, was to unite all countries and peoples under his rule for the eschatological fulfillment of the common work.

The Desert will Become a Garden Again

A few years before his death, Fedorov was invited by one of his disciples to visit the Pamir Mountains. This extremely desolate region made a strong impression on him. He saw in the Pamir a symbol of both Mount Meru (the sacred center of the world in Hinduism) and the Garden of Eden (for Fedorov, all religions derived from the same sophia perennis—the cult of the ancestors), a land of origin of the Indo-Europeans, transformed into a desert by the ignorance and barbarism of men. The first task of the common work was therefore to turn the Pamir into a garden, to make life blossom again where death reigned, just as, by dispersing into space, regenerated humanity would fill a universe, hitherto filled with death, with life. This revived Pamir, the triumph of life and science over death and ignorance, was to become the center of a united world dedicated to the realization of the common work under the leadership of the tsar.

After having reviewed the thought of the two most important cosmists in history, a question naturally arises—what to make of this improbable muddle of ideas that are at least astonishing, if not frankly bizarre, and sometimes even a little unhealthy? Tsiolkovsky and Fedorov were certainly “sweet dreamers,” but they were certainly not “lunatics.” As an aerospace pioneer, Tsiolkovsky is undoubtedly one of the most important scientists of the 20th century. Fedorov, on the other hand, impressed some of the greatest minds of the Russian Silver Age: Tsiolkovsky, of course, but also Dostoyevsky, Soloviev, Tolstoy, Florensky, Vernadsky, Bulgakov, Berdiaev. However, among all these eminent scientists, philosophers and novelists, none of them really took up the strange philosophy of Fedorov’s common work.

As we have already said, “cosmism” is not a school of thought, and there is no such thing as “Fedorovism.” What these brilliant minds admired in Fedorov was not a system of thought or specific theses, but rather this will to rethink human progress in general, and scientific progress in particular, in a spiritual framework. Fedorov believed that science without spirituality and spirituality without science would both lead humanity to catastrophe. His philosophy of the common work, once brought back to its fundamental intuition, can thus be understood as a utopian vision aiming at avoiding the announced catastrophe. This is what, in Fedorov (as well as in the other cosmists), struck his contemporaries, and continues to be striking today—this vision of a union of spirit and science, in a creative and utopian act of synthesis, giving its legitimacy and its place to human activity, genius and progress, in the eschatological realization of the divine transfiguration of the cosmos. The cosmists were certainly very strange thinkers, but they have undoubtedly more to say to us than the transhumanists and the fundamentalists who swarm us today.


Grégoire Quevreux currently teaches philosophy at the Institut Protestant de Théologie de Paris, and is completing a doctoral thesis on process theology under the direction of Professor Cyrille Michon. This article appears through the kind courtesy of PHILITT.


Featured: “Captured asteroid,” by Andrey Sokolov; postcard, 1965.

Hybrid Warfare in the Gray Zones

“He who knows how to wage war conquers another’s army without fighting; takes another’s fortresses without laying siege; crushes another’s state without keeping his army out long,” says the famous ancient Chinese treatise The Art of War, whose authorship is traditionally attributed to the military commander and strategist Sun Tzu (6th-5th centuries B.C.).

Surprisingly, this statement is still very relevant. Moreover, Sun Tzu can be called one of the first theorists in the field of hybrid warfare, which seems to be a modern phenomenon. The treatise of the ancient Chinese philosopher still serves as the basis for theoretical approaches in the activities of the intelligence services of many countries, including the United States.

Speaking of the role of the United States in the formation of the concept of hybrid warfare, it is worth noting that this country was the first to develop and apply the term. Over time, the American (and generally Western) concept of hybrid warfare has been constantly changing, causing a lot of controversy among many researchers and analysts studying hybrid warfare. One such analyst is Leonid V. Savin, who in his book Hybrid War and the Gray Zone examines in detail the genesis of the concept of hybrid warfare, the scholarly developments of Western authors and the further transformation of the term. From the title of the book, it is easy to understand that in addition to hybrid warfare, the work examines another no less remarkable phenomenon, namely, the “gray zone. Thus, in his book Savin examines in detail the evolution of the Western concept of hybrid warfare and the gray zone, and analyzes the changes that have occurred in the approaches to the study of these phenomena in the context of the changing geopolitical picture of the world.

Before turning to the content of the book, I would like to say a few words about the author. Savin is a political scientist, the author of many books on geopolitics and contemporary conflicts, including such works as Towards Geopolitics, Network-centric and Network Warfare: An Introduction to the Concept, Ethnopsychology: Peoples and Geopolitical Thinking, New Ways of Warfare: How America Builds its Empire, and many others. He is the editor-in-chief of the information and analytical portal Geopolitika.ru, following the Eurasian approach. In this regard, even before reading the book, one might assume that Savin in his work will speak in the spirit of Eurasianism, criticizing the unipolar globalist model of the world, promoted by the United States. As it turns out, these assumptions are not mistaken.

Hybrid War and the Gray Zone consists of three parts, which, in turn, are divided into smaller sections. However, before proceeding directly to the consideration of the concepts of “hybrid warfare” and “gray zone,” L.V. Savin highlights some of the changes that have occurred in modern conflicts in recent years. In addition, the author discusses new trends in international relations, in the context of the current geopolitical reality. According to the political scientist, in our complex and contradictory world, the problems of new forms of conflicts should be approached as objectively and cautiously as possible, because a common understanding of any modern problem is not so easy to find.

The first part of the book is devoted to the evolution of the term “hybrid warfare,” from its first mention in 1998 to the present day. Savin examines various interpretations of the concept developed by the Western military-scientific community. Thus, the author studies and analyzes the works of R. Walker, J. Pinder, B. Nemeth, J. Mattis and F. Hoffman, C. Gray, M. Booth, J. McQueen, N. Freyer R.W. Glenn, B. Fleming, as well as US doctrinal documents on hybrid warfare, including the US understanding of Hybrid Warfare (2010), Guide to Organizing a Force Structure to Counter Hybrid Threats (2015), the Military Strategy Analysis of the US (2015), TRADOC G-2, Joint Operating Environment 2035, and the Joint Force in a Contested and Disordered World (2016). In addition, Savin examines the approaches of NATO and the EU, which have developed their own concept of hybrid warfare.

It is worth noting that a separate place in all theoretical developments of Western countries on the problems of hybrid warfare is given to Russia. The author of the book devotes a separate chapter to this phenomenon. In particular, Savin describes in detail the approach of U.S. Army Major Amos Fox, who assesses Russia’s actions in the context of hybrid warfare.

After reading this chapter, it is clear why the term “hybrid warfare” is so difficult to understand. The answer is simple: there is no single definition of “hybrid warfare” because, first, each researcher interprets the concept differently, and second, it is constantly changing and evolving depending on the geopolitical context.

In addition, the term is very ambiguous and is interpreted by all sides in their own interests. As for Western interpretations of the concept of hybrid warfare, most of them state that hybrid warfare is waged primarily by Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran. Obviously, labeling these countries as “hybrid actors” is largely meaningless, since there are hardly any countries (much less major powers) that are not currently engaged in hybrid warfare. Hybrid warfare is the new reality (is it new?) in which modern society exists. Moreover, the label of “hybrid actor” is itself part of the hybrid warfare waged by Western countries, among others.

The second part of the book, as one might guess, is devoted to the study of another concept—the “gray zone.” This part again begins with how Russia is labeled. This time Savin cites the example of a statement by Brian Clark of the Hudson Institute, who noted that “Russia is waging an aggressive war in the gray zone against Japan.” Thus, the author begins the topic for a new discussion—about the interpretations of the concept of the “gray zone.”

The second part also examines the evolution of the concept, giving interpretations by the U.S. State Department and Congress, as well as by major think-tanks such as RAND and CSIS. It is worth noting that many approaches are accompanied by illustrations in the form of diagrams, which makes it much easier to understand one or another interpretation of the “gray zone” concept. Savin considers two interpretations of the “gray zone”—as a disputed geographical area, and as an instrument of political struggle. The author presents the cases of China, which has disputed territories in the South China Sea, and Israel with its long-standing activity in the gray zone.

The concept of the “gray zone” is no less ambiguous than the previously considered concept. As in the case of hybrid war, Savin also believes that the “gray zone” in the coming years will serve as a special label for any actions of certain states, primarily Russia, China, Iran and North Korea. After reading this section, one can draw a conclusion similar to the one given earlier on hybrid warfare; and this is no accident: the concepts of “hybrid war” and “gray zone” are indeed very similar and interchangeable in many ways; it is not immediately clear what their difference is, and whether there is one at all. This is what the author devotes the third part of the book to.

Thus, in the third part, the political scientist combines the two concepts under study by analyzing various documents and studies in which “gray zone” and “hybrid warfare” act as synonyms. This part of the book definitively answers the question of whether a war can still be fought without direct combat operations. In addition, the last case study examined by the author, the Russian special operation in Ukraine, once again proves that the actors of hybrid warfare and actions in the “gray zones” are not only Russia, China, Iran and North Korea, but also the “collective” West. New instruments and methods of confrontation are indeed regularly introduced and tested in hot spots by different countries, including both Russia and NATO member states and other international actors.

As for the differences between the two terms, they are indeed difficult to define, and the third part of the book confirms this. As many of the studies examined by Savin show, mixing the concept of “gray zone” and “hybrid warfare” is indeed possible. This phenomenon is most clearly explained by Arsalan Bilal, a member of the Arctic University research group: “The hybrid war itself can take place in the gray zone, and the gray zone, respectively, creates conditions for the hybrid war.”

In summarizing, Savin repeats the thesis that the West will continue to label Russia a “hybrid actor” and accuse it of malicious actions in the gray zone, using political rhetoric and fabricated data to do so. In addition, Savin explains why it is important and necessary to study Western approaches and experience in hybrid warfare.

Speaking about the overall impression of the book, we can say without a doubt that it greatly adds to the body of knowledge on the topic of hybrid warfare, which is currently more relevant than ever. The book will be especially useful for those readers who study new forms of conflicts—information confrontation, cyber warfare, economic wars, etc.

It is also worth noting some nuances. First, despite the small size of the book, one cannot say that it is easy to read. It contains a lot of complex terminology, which is not suitable for the unprepared reader. But we should not forget that this work is intended for a specialist audience—researchers and theorists in the field of conflictology, international relations and military strategy; people who make political decisions and are engaged in the development of information content. In effect, to read this monograph, one must have a certain knowledge base, at least in the field of international relations.

Second, for the most part, the work describes Western research on the topic at hand. Although the author’s point of view and sentiment can be felt “between the lines” while reading the book, I would have liked to see more commentary and explicit discussion by Savin in the work. This would have helped to delve even deeper into the topic of hybrid wars and “gray zones,” as well as to better understand what Western experts are trying to convey to the readers of their works. An expert’s comments are never superfluous.

After reading this book, two important conclusions can be drawn. First, hybrid wars are a reality in which we will always have to exist. We ourselves are part of hybrid warfare; and, in many ways, we are its object. In the age of information society and technology, there is no other way—we have become part of this geopolitical reality whenever we access social networks, read the news, turn on the television, etc. We are all objects of pervasive influence, objects of an endless flow of information that serves the interests of one side or another of the hybrid warfare. The second conclusion, which follows from the first, is the need to be able to perceive critically any information. Even if the source is authoritative (and the sources given in the monograph are very authoritative), all of them also serve someone’s interests and are always biased, as Savin’s book readily proves.


Anastasia Tolokonina is a graduate student, Department of Journalism Theory and History, at the Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia. [This review comes to us at the kind courtesy of Geopolitika.]


Featured: “Die Schachpartie” (The Chess Game), by Lucas van Leyden; painted ca. 1508.

Cybernetics: Golem of the Modern World

Cybernetics. The term is obsolete; its meaning almost entirely lost. And yet it retains an aura of hypermodernity, to which the futuristic imagination it conjures up is doubtless akin. It is possible that sometimes the imagination is more clairvoyant than word-usage, and that this word does not belong to the past but to the present of humanity and to its future.

This may be the case for this forgotten discipline whose root is to be found in cyberspace, at the cutting edge of technology. It could even be that what was in its time an attempt at a scientific revolution of a magnitude inversely proportional to its astonishing disappearance from collective memories, also theoretically structures technical modernity as no other discipline could dream of doing. Such is the thesis of Baptiste Rappin, professor of management philosophy at the University of Lorraine, a thesis supported by several of his articles, now gathered in a single volume, entitled, Les origines cybernétiques du management [The cybernetic origins of management].

Rappin has indeed undertaken a genealogical investigation which has led him to resituate the origins of modern theories of organization and management within cybernetics, an interdisciplinary intellectual and scientific movement of the 1940s and 1950s, which has since been forgotten—an oblivion maintained by modern theorists of organization and management, readily seduced by the amnesia of this genesis from which were born all the concepts they use; surely because, as the Nietzscheans know, genealogy weakens ideology, especially when ideology reaches the stage of hegemony so that one can hardly challenge the sciences of management and economics. On the contrary, as the introduction to this anthology reminds us, Rappin’s constant work of unveiling the theology of the “pan-organizational” trend places him at odds with the majority of management scientists, who conceive of their discipline only through the prism of utility.

More importantly, this genealogical research also leads Rappin to differentiate himself from the critical studies movement, which fails to grasp the specificity of pan-organizational ideology, despite its critical ambition. This specificity resides essentially in the biological—then cybernetic—concept of information. Being unable to detect this central role of information and its manifestations, critical studies have made themselves blind to the “new spirit of capitalism” (title of the book by Boltanski and Chiapello), which characterizes the modern society of information, and thus they are doomed to missing their target.

Information and Organization: The Roots of Cybernetics

To understand this new spirit is to understand its origin, which Rappin identifies in cybernetics. Cybernetics is an intellectual movement that took off thanks to the Macy conferences of the 1940s, bringing together several scientific specialists whose ambition was nothing less than to found a new conceptual matrix that would serve as a unifying basis for all the sciences, both “hard” and “human.” This interdisciplinary refoundation drew largely from biology, in particular the concept of organization.

The other central concept that the cybernetics movement borrowed from the physical sciences was that of information, whose connection with the first constituted the founding principle of cybernetics. Norbet Wiener gives the following definition: “Information is the name for the content of what is exchanged with the external world as we adapt to it and apply the results of our adaptation to it. The process of receiving and using information is the process we follow in adapting to the contingencies of the surrounding environment.”

It was thermodynamics, now surpassed, which allowed cybernetics to articulate these two concepts. Indeed, information is only the substratum of thermodynamic exchanges; it is the “content” which cannot be reduced to the container (energy) and cannot be measured. It is also thermodynamics and the reinterpretation of its second principle that allows Wiener to define it negatively as the inverse of entropy: “Just as the quantity of information in a system is the measure of its degree of organization, the entropy of a system is the measure of its degree of disorganization; one is simply the negative of the other.” As Rappin points out, in-formation must here be understood as shaping, opposing entropy, that is, undifferentiatedness.

Information and its accumulation, organization, constitute respectively the arche and the telos of cybernetics. Nevertheless, not all information is information, since even it does not escape entropy. The content of a message can indeed get lost in the “noise,” a concept of the communication sciences that has been effortlessly transferred to the classical economics, thanks to cybernetics. This is where the last cornerstone concept of cybernetics comes in: the feedback loop, which allows the highest possible degree of organization by controlling the information in order to avoid its loss. However, any model of control implies the establishment of finalities without which no measurement is possible. This teleological problem has the merit of forcing cybernetic theories to clarify their foundations and, by placing them in the history of ideas, to see their limits and to formulate a critique.

Two main philosophical tendencies emerge from the reading of Rappin’s work. The first, which could be described as pragmatist-consequentialist, clearly positions itself in relation to the history of philosophy, by means of a binary rereading of the latter, and whose overcoming leads to a non-dogmatic positivist approach. The second one differs from it by a systematic aim, in the literal sense, at the end of which its philosophy is colored by religion.

A Modern Positivism

The first of these currents finds its epistemological expression in knowledge management, which regards the concept of knowledge in relation to that of data and information. Data corresponds to the most “raw” element of any physical phenomenon. Information corresponds to the relationship between data and agents. And knowledge corresponds to the information that the agents judge to be of priority through their interaction with the world. Knowledge is here synonymous with cogniscience; that is to say with (cognitive) activity—nm it is the interaction of an agent with limited resources with the raw and unlimited data of the world. This discrepancy between limited resources and unlimited matter leads to a relativism that is both epistemological and teleological: knowledge being an action, its veracity can only be measured by its consequences.

It is this pragmatism, taken from the Americans Dewey and James, that allows the theorists of knowledge management to offer a reconciliation to the history of philosophy, which they consider to be entangled in a sterile dualism between rationalism and empiricism. “The true is everything that turns out to be good in the realm of belief” (William James)—becomes “knowledge is a justified true belief” (Nonaka and Van Krogh).

However, this conception, whose proponents include the illustrious Wang Yangming, is only problematic when the “justification” of a belief is established only in terms of its practical consequences. Rappin shows us that the main theoretical difficulty of knowledge management is also practical, and lies entirely in the question of the evaluation of the evaluation. The evaluation of a belief by its consequences only pushes back the epistemological problem to the evaluation of the consequences. The problem is very concrete in all modern organizations in which this evaluation of the consequences is nothing other than the dedicated feedback process, which it is up to the managers to analyze in order to decide on the new goals of their organization.

Relativist pragmatism is therefore forced to introduce a subjective element, which the theological current dismisses by building a system of religious inspiration. It is thus through a detour via theology, in particular the Jewish thought of the Renaissance, that cybernetics reaches the stage of theoretical unity.

Cybernetics and God

The whole of organized Information, assuming all the attributes of divine perfection, takes the name of “collective Intelligence;” or the name given to it by the theologian Pierre Teilhard de Chardin—noosphere. Also, for the latter, it is the force that opposes the chaos of entropy: “the descending flood of Entropy, doubled and balanced by the rising tide of a Noogenesis!” This negative definition explicitly given by Wiener precisely allows for avoiding the subjectivist pitfall of knowledge management by abstracting information, and Intelligence, from human representation. Intelligence (Collective) is thus entirely in the act, “everywhere distributed, constantly valued, coordinated in real time” (Pierre Lévy). In terms of Aristotelian entelechy, Collective Intelligence is to itself its efficient, formal and final cause: God or “that which moves without being moved” and opposing the entropic non-movement.

Another major theorist of cybernetics, Norbert Wiener, founded it even more explicitly in theology by relying on the writings of Rabbi Loew, better known as the Maharal of Prague. However, Loeb’s theo-cosmological conception has the particularity of inscribing division and duality at the beginning of the universe—the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet, bet, thus appears before the first in the Torah and is present in the first word of “beginning” (bereshit). The Exile, before being the historical one of the people of Israel, is metaphysical and designates the imperfection and incompleteness of all things following the Rupture. The eschatological horizon of redemption then becomes that of the search for the lost Unity, the “victory of the one over the rupture” (Neker). Wiener transposes this rupture scientifically to the notion of entropy, the force that splits the unity of the universe. From the entropic chaos, only a few enclaves of organization emerge, the understanding and multiplication of which by human scientific activity should make it possible to restore the lost unity.

However, a fundamental difference separates the scholastic theologians from their cybernetic emulators. Scientists by training, the latter are hardly inclined to metaphysical speculation and seek to secularize the premises of the former. They wish, in other words, “that what was theological become technological (or anthropological),” starting from immanence rather than from transcendence, starting from Creation rather than from God. Contrary to appearances, this enterprise has nothing to do with a semantic eccentricity and everything to do with a reversal of the tradition of Western thought of the One and the Many, consecrated by the Greeks.

Cybernetics, or Sophistic Modernity

In the traditional Greek thought, crystallized in the Neoplatonism of Plotinus, supremacy is normally granted to the One over the Many. From the first Principle emanates an infinity of manifestations (the Many), which constitute the many traces of the first Principle. The Greek philosophical discipline consisted thus for a good part in identifying what Plato names the chorismos, the “breaking up,” and the link between the visible manifestation and the principle which makes it come to Being.

Cybernetic thought refuses to see this disseverance—by giving, via the scientific method, priority only to the phenomena, it takes the Many as its cause—and this, despite maintaining the horizon of a divine principle of Unity. Or, more precisely, because it is a horizon and not a link. Instead of seeing in the organized phenomena the Trace of a first divine principle, cybernetics intends to reconstitute and reassemble this principle by collecting the multiple phenomena like so many pieces of a vase to be put back together. Unity seems to underlie this operation; and yet it is perpetually absent, indefinitely postponed. Cybernetics is in fact an ideology of postponement, of “differentiation” (in the Derridean sense). The phenomena do not emanate from the Unity, they constitute an infinity of signs, in which the sense flows without ever being fixed.

The reference to Unity and to God hides in reality a bias for the Many. This is the conclusion and the reproach that Rappin addresses to cybernetics. For this heir of Plato, the gigantomachia peri tès ousia remains a burning actuality—and the supporters of the Many, formerly better known under the name of sophists, have never been so numerous. The triumph of the cybernetic organization is none other than that of Hippias.

With the Many triumphs movement. In the cybernetic age, it takes the very concrete form of circulating information, of Collective Intelligence whose material effectiveness is realized within information systems, according to the founding intuition of cybernetics assimilating the human brain to a computer. Its hegemony, already comfortably assured, threatens to make disappear a whole part of the being-in-the-world which had irrigated human civilizations—reflection (or representation).

Reflection, which characterized intelligence for the Ancients to the point of its usage being designated, could thus properly disappear within the generalized fluidification induced by cybernetics. For the cybernetic Collective Intelligence, always already in action, reaction and pro-action, reflexivity is an obstacle to connectivity—that is to say, to interaction (with the environment). The re-presentation violates the only cybernetic horizon of the Good (the accumulation of organized Information) and is in this way the opposite principle—entropy.

The disappearance of reflexivity also leads to the disappearance of consciousness and of the subject. The thinker Pierre Legendre had already identified this risk of modern “de-subjectivization,” in the abolition of this “imaginary gap” between the (re)acting bodies and the abstract representations. For this anthropologist, dear to Rappin, it is the gap between his own body and the projected images, which he begins to produce through language, which constitutes the small human being in subject. Now, the cybernetic project aims precisely at the abolition of all these brakes to interaction that are distance, the gap, delimitation and even definition. The absence of definition, characteristic of the Sophist for Plato (this being “undulating with a hundred faces”), haunts cybernetics ever since its original concept of information, which is nowhere defined, except negatively.

The man of the cybernetic future is sketched out in the background; and Rappin finds the best current approximation in the figure of the homo sacer of the philosopher Giorgio Agamben. In ancient Rome, this term designated an individual exiled by society, which deprived him of his rights and excluded him from its law. Now, any law requires distance—that of representation—a limit between facts and their judgment. Cybernetic fluidification abolishes precisely any limit of this kind in favor of a permanent state of emergency. In the end, its utopia is that of a society without laws, an immense de facto way against which no right can be opposed.


Théophile Blondy is at Sciences Po, Lyon (France). This article is made available through the kind courtesy of PHILITT. [Translated from the French by N. Dass].


Featured: “Humani victus instrumenta: ars coquinaria” [Human food tools: the art of cooking”], anonymous engraving, dated 1569.

Strategic Inconsistencies

Remembering what the Italian historian and philosopher Giambattista Vico (1668–1744) said that history repeats itself, there is again a repetition in relations over the strategic use of old assets and new materials.

The international debate is about the strategic weakness of the West (and especially Europe) facing the threat of LNG (Liquified Natural Gas) being cut off from Russia over the row between Moscow, Washington and Bruxelles (NATO and EU capitals) concerning the Ukraine. This issue shows the long-standing foolishness and lack of vision of the Euro-Atlantic community leaders. But the problem is not only limited to that, for other challenges also are putting an immense strain on our individual and collective future.

In prehistoric times, the discovery of the metallurgy (copper, bronze and iron) brought great changes to humanity, with the emergence of new powers and the end of pre-existing structures and powers.

During the Bronze Age, the shortage of bronze (1800 and 1700 BC) led to various conflicts in the Mediterranean region, focused on the control of this meta; with which weapons were made. Subsequently, using what is now known as “replacement technology,” it was possible to produce superior quality weapons from a much more abundant metal, but through a more complicated metallurgical process. The metal was iron. Its use spread, and the Iron Age began.

Rare earths today are the cornerstone of our technological evolution. Rare earth metals are needed to produce most high-tech products. Without them, many of the sectors in more developed countries, such as energy, telecommunications, medicine, and defense, would collapse the world over. On the other hand, the quantitative scarcity of rare earths, and the difficulties of various kinds and in their access, are nothing new. Shortages have already been predicted by 2025, by the European Commission, limiting the technological growth of Europe and the US and favoring that of China, with a strong impact on the struggle for global hegemony and international security.

Rare earths were first discovered by a Swedish army officer in 1787, but they did not generate the current frantic search, and their use was initially limited. Up to 1947, only 17 rare metals were found, and their importance increased with research in atomic physics, quantum physics and chemistry.

Today, it would be impossible to imagine everyday life without rare earths, as they are used in medical technology as contrast agents, as well as in radar devices, plasma screens, LEDs, special paints or lasers, to name a few. Their use in electric motors especially, such as in magnets or in batteries or fuel cells make them a key resource for the energy transition, which has become a global necessity. The properties of some rare earth elements make it possible to reduce the size of electric motors, increase the strength of the magnets and allow the use of lighter but more resistant alloys. The application of rare earths in most technological processes has triggered its demand, which is (thus far) endless.

The concentration in which these elements are found in minerals is very low, hence the name “rare.” They are not rare in the world, but their low proportion gives them the name. Rare earth deposits are abundant all over the world. However, the economic profitability of their exploitation depends on the concentration in which they are found in these locations. China owns a third of the world’s reserves, followed by Brazil, Vietnam, and Russia. Further, the extraction and separation of rare earths represents a technological and logistical challenge, associated with severe environmental pollution problems.

The industrial significance of rare earths is not yet equivalent to other raw materials, such as oil or gas. But many industrial sectors that would be affected by an interruption in the supply of rare earths are directly or indirectly linked to human safety and/or national security. The main reason is the link between rare earths and technology. Today, technology dominates the industrial processes, and its development is inconceivable without the use of rare earths.

For example, in the defense sector, rare earths enable the development of more effective, smart, and intelligent military capabilities and combat systems. Rare earths are now essential for night vision devices, precision guided weapons systems, communications equipment, navigation systems, batteries, stealth technology, drones, target design lasers and satellites for communications. They are also used in high performance protections and in both armored vehicles and projectiles to give them durability. Any disruption in the rare earth supply-chain would have a serious impact on the defense capabilities of any country with technologically advanced armed forces.

The importance of rare earths becomes strategic and particularly relevant when it is observed that, while the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) controls 41% of oil production, it is spread, even if unequally among, 13 states, China controls about 75% of rare earth production alone.

This fact has a direct bearing on the strategic choices of many nations. For example, during 2020, there was a direct threat from the Chinese government against two major US weapon system manufacturers, though it ultimately did not materialize. However, this also suggests that any nation that could, even indirectly, pose a threat to China’s security could be sanctioned with limitations or interruptions in the supply of rare earths. And seeing China’s growing determination on the international stage, this is not just an academic hypothesis. Therefore, it becomes a strategic priority to have a secure supply-chain for these critical minerals.

The only country in the world with a complete, independent, and autonomous supply-chain is China. The difference of interests between the value-chain (economic interest) and the supply-chain (strategic interest) means that each economic and socio-political model has a different perspective on the supply of rare earths and the associated value-chain. The more liberalist perspective, like that of the US, is based on the “efficient market,” leaving self-regulation in the hands of private corporations, to generate an adequate value-chain that should (ideally) have an associated supply-chain—in this case of rare earths. From the point of view of Beijing, the State/Communist Party intervenes directly in its companies and the private ones are kept under very strict control, and even more so those that operate in sectors considered strategic. Beijing primarily pursues national security goals, protecting the supply-chain, and subsequently, seeks to maximize value-chain profits.

Even with 40% of rare earth reserves currently in China, Beijing is also the world’s largest importer. Thanks to these imports and the use of its own resources, the final production of rare earths in China amounts to about 140,000 tons, about 75% of world production. This figure readily shows China’s dominance in the rare earth chain, followed by Australia (11%) and the US (8%).

The Belt Road Initiative (BRI), a pillar of China’s government policy, also serves as supply, trade and transport routes for rare earths and their associated products, both for import and export, and thus supporting China’s quasi-monopoly around the world.

Today there are only two companies outside of China that can be considered global producers of rare earths: one from Australia (Lynas Corporation) and one from US (MP Materials).

However, MP Materials ships its rare earth concentrates to China for processing and the Chinese government has a 10% stake in the company itself. China, in turn, sells manufactured and finished products at a large profit margin. The buyer countries thus maintain a relationship of dependence on China. Making political decisions without considering the entire supply-chain, or without knowing the relationship between each of its processes, can lead to financing and increasing the Chinese monopoly of rare earths.

The trade war between US and China is not limited to the economic sphere and is associated with the pursuit and maintenance of technological superiority and the control of supply routes. Technology not only represents a growing value for the economy, but also has a direct impact on the daily life of citizens. And, historically, technology has played a decisive role in the quest for international power, while control of the supply-routes enables the security of supply chains, which have expanded and diversified with the advance of globalization.

Without an adequate supply of rare earths, it would not be possible today to maintain not only technological advantage, but also the normal functioning of the various sectors of the economy.

Some of the technologies currently under development may be disruptive; for example: artificial intelligence (AI), quantum computing, robotics, biotechnology, and nanotechnology. These technologies will not only change daily life but may also alter current international hierarchy. China has already made public its plan to achieve independence in 10 key technologies by 2025. Currently, as regards the supply of materials that are the physical basis of these technologies, independence is already ensured. China is constantly moving towards strategic autonomy. On the contrary, since Beijing has a near-monopoly on rare earths, the maintenance of US technological hegemony depends precisely on China.

The Biden Administration is fully aware of the problem and has ordered a supply-chain review in key areas of medicine, commodities, and agriculture. The resulting review sternly states that “decades of underinvestment, together with public policy choices that favor short-term solutions, have left the system fragile.” The Departments of Defense, Agriculture, Energy, Interior, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are trying to address the supply-chain problem for rare earths and other critical materials. So far, the major effects of these policies have been reflected in the attempt to bring the supply-chain back to US soil, with the reopening of mines, activation of processing centers, agreements with commercial companies and securing of supply-lines—all by 2025.

Despite the trade war between China and the US, with the exchange of sanctions and other punitive measures, Washington has always kept rare earths out of it, no doubt because of the risk that China could still use them as a deterrent weapon.

But China primarily has no interest in imposing export quotas, as this would damage Beijing economically, triggering a new escalation in the mutual imposition of economic or tariff sanctions.

In general terms, however, China’s economic dependence on the US has been steadily declining in recent years and Beijing continues to build architectures that work to its advantage. It should be noted that, at the end of 2020, the largest free trade agreement in the world was signed, the RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership), promoted by China, and in which all ASEAN nations participate (without Timor-Leste), including Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand. The RCEP, operational since the beginning of 2022, representing 30% of world trade, has also seen the UK apply to join this treaty.

As mentioned above, the EU and the US have already officially predicted the shortage of rare earths by 2025. But this shortage, in addition, to being an instrument of pressure from Beijing to condition the international community, is also a problem for China because of the strong increase in domestic demand for the consumption of rare earths. Chinese development in recent decades has led to the emergence and growth of a huge middle-class (equivalent to the entire population of Europe) which, despite some slowdowns, continues to grow in number and economic capacity. This enormous middle-class now has access to previously unavailable technologies and goods, but their limitation could have a negative impact on internal governance, with risks related to domestic stability.

As an example, the Chinese demand for rare earths in the last five years has exceeded its own production, and the priority of Beijing will probably be to guarantee domestic market supply in the first place, but also continue to give regularity to their supply for strategic sectors, such as defense, medicine, and energy.

The outcome of this struggle for world hegemony can be determined by the pace, that is, by the speed of reaction by the US and its allies, or by China, which will take advantage of this clear geostrategic dominance for as long as it can maintain it.

Beyond the security impact of the Western world from the scarcity of rare earths, this situation would also allow China to gain an advantageous negotiating position on international security, which the United States may not be willing to accept.

China’s rare earth monopoly serves on the one hand, to strengthen its technological transformation and continue its economic progress associated with its struggle for hegemony. At the same time, for the US, China’s dependence on the supply of rare earths poses a serious threat to its strategic autonomy, a potential threat to its security and apply a possible brake on its economy and technological development. With this monopoly, China has a weapon, not only economic and diplomatic, but also militarily, because by interrupting the supply of rare earths it could block the production of the defense capabilities of its competitors.

The US strategy dedicated to rare earths moves to promote replacement technology, the exploitation of new fields and the development of new metallurgical centers, reducing dependence on China. In the short term, increasing reserves of rare earth metals, increasing efficient recycling methods, and expanding secure supply-chains would be the best way to react to rare earth shortages.


Enrico Magnani, PhD is a UN officer who specializes in military history, politico-military affairs, peacekeeping and stability operations. (The opinions expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect those of the United Nations).

Wokism – Or Capitalism?

Some speak of Black Lives Matter and of LGBT,
of Cancel Culture, Wokism and such great games as these.
But of all the world’s great challenges, none can compare
With banks, stocks, and production – the Real Capitalism.

All the Western World is engaged in great changes under the guise of “Wokism,” whose most extreme aspects occur in English-speaking countries and are exported and then mirrored in various non-English-speaking countries. But what is being “woke?” I do not pretend to have the answer, and yet there are some possible interpretations that inform us as to what lies before us.

As I see it, the real problem is not Wokism, BLM, or the LGBT et similia movements, but what is behind them, and what silently exploits such movements, the honesty of whose members I do not object to at all. I regard them attack columns – but they are not the headquarters. And if we just focus on the “foot-soldiers” and disregard the HQ and its objectives, we will be misled because we will not have the panoramic view, which alone can give us the much-needed insights.

So, what is the HQ? In the USA, many people are certain that they know for sure: Communists, or former Communists; Soviet Zombies who have come back to life to destroy the USA. To be fair, there are certain aspects of Cancel Culture which suggest a link with what took place in the past. In Stalin’s day, books were modified, in order to cancel those parts related to the “enemies of the people;” or entire books were canceled. Paintings too were modified. In Stalin’s time, the famous painting showing Lenin’s 1917 speech at the Smolny changed very many times – each time cancelling (deleting) a recently liquidated prominent Bolshevik who had fallen out of favor – so that at the end, in its definitive version, only Lenin and Stalin appeared to have been there.

Whilst Mussolini never played this game, Hitler indulged in the same Stalinist tricks, along with book-burning. And the sport of destroying statues is as old as the statues themselves, being an integral part of any given riot or revolution, since the ancient Egypt – think of Akhenaton.

We could suppose that the root of this phenomenon lies in Hegel’s philosophy, and the evolution of left and right Hegelianism (hence, Nazism and Communism). But I do not think so. Not at all.

Rather, capitalism is the answer. I know that such an answer will sound quite misleading, odd, amazing, especially in capitalistic countries – what has capitalism to do with Wokism and the various movements derive from it?

An explanation is very much needed; but it will involve a broader and greater context. So, bear with me, even if what I am going to say may seem off-topic. But it will all make sense once we reach a conclusion.

Let us go back a couple of centuries. In the early days of the 19t century, when Britannia ruled the waves, when Wellington had just defeated Napoleon, and the London stock exchange ruled the world of finance. The incipient Industrial Revolution was triggering a deep change of British, and then European and American, society – for the new entrepreneurs had to resolve a remarkable problem: How to balance supply and demand?
Anyone who has studied at least some economics knows what a problem this is. But for those who are not aware of this problem, let me provide an explanation.

Let us take the example of a hypothetical early 19th century tissue producer, Mr Tissue, whose factory works well, is powered by coal, and its production is shipped by horse-towed wagons.

Let us say that this Mr. Tissue created a new cotton tissue, which becomes a fashion hit; and is so successful that suddenly everybody wants it, and ready to pay – let’s say – $1.00 per piece. Mr. Tissue’s factory is flooded with orders. What does Mr. Tissue do? Seeing the success, he decides to exploit the situation and to at once fulfill all the orders. He immediately improves production. His factory now operates longer hours and Mr. Tissue buys all the cotton that he can find.

Then, he encounters his first problem. The cotton producer he normally relies on, just does not have as much cotton Mr. Tissue needs, who now has to look for additional cotton producers he has never dealt with. The new cotton producers that he contacts say, “OK, we have cotton, but you must pay it 10 cents per pound, instead of 9 cents as you previously did.” Well, Mr. Tissue knows that he will sell a lot of his products, so, if he pays 10 cents of 9 cents, he will earn a bit less than he hoped, but his loss is not so great either. So, Mr. Tissue accepts. But shortly after, even these new producers are not enough, and Mr. Tissue has to find additional producers, and he now accepts paying 11 cents per pound for the cotton that he greatly needs.

At the same time, Mr. Tissue realizes that he does not have as many specialized workers as needed to increase production. So, he looks for additional specialized workers. But, unfortunately, there are none available, as all are already working in other factories and all are paid the same wages as his own workers – $1.00 a day. What does he do? He offers to pay $1.10 per day to new specialized workers. But gets his old specialized workers upset. And so, to keep production moving along, Mr. Tissue has to pay his old specialized workers $1.10 per day as well.

Of course, given such a remarkable 10 percent wage increase, he gets all the workers he needs – but he now has all his fellow entrepreneurs very upset, who must also increase the wages of their specialized workers’ wage – to keep them from all moving to Tissue’s factory.

Then Mr. Tissue realizes that he needs much more coal than in the past, because his factory is working twice as much as before. This means that he also needs more wagons (and horses and fodder) as well as more carriages to bring in the additional cotton and to ship out the finished goods (the tissues). And in all these cases too, given what is available on the market, he can’t get the needed additional coal, horses, wagons and fodder unless he pays more than the price he usually paid in the past. Costs rise; but Mr. Tissue doesn’t care, because he has plenty of orders still coming in.

Then, orders start to decrease, because almost everybody has the new cotton tissue, and suddenly, in a month, Tissue’s production must be reduced by one-third. What does he do? To limit his losses, he reduces the price of his tissue to 90 cents, lays off many workers, stops purchasing cotton and sells some horses and wagons, perhaps at a loss.

Finally, Mr. Tissue also is stuck with a lot of cotton, coal and fodder. He could use it in production, but the problem nobody needs Mr. Tissue’s products as much, since most people have bought lots. So, it is possible that Mr. Tissue will have to further reduce production, or stop it altogether. Hence, many more workers will lose their jobs, and their wages.

This brings about a small financial crisis will start, because without a wage the laid-off workers won’t buy as much as they used to. This leads to a domino effect, affecting other producers whose products will also not be sold in the same quantities as before. On the other hand, it is also possible that, when looking at his budget, Mr. Tissue’s business proves less convenient than he thought – he may have spent much more than he anticipated in wages, and in the purchase of horses, wagons, cotton, and coal. Tissue may end up losing everything; or, he might lose a percentage when business got bad. How does Mr. Tissue avoid these problems in the future? What does he do next time?

The early 19th century economists faced this problem. It was a new one, because never in the past did so a massive production occurred, which also meant that a massive amount of money could be lost or earned in a matter of weeks, or even days.

The main problem affecting economy was clearly the economical crisis. You can have a crisis because of overproduction – Mr. Tissue’s case at the end of the story – and underproduction – Mr. Tissue’s case at the beginning of the story.

Bear in mind that the final price is made up of the cost of the raw material, the cost of manpower, the cost of power, the cost of logistics, the cost of the infrastructure maintenance, the savings to invest in new machinery, and, last, by the entrepreneur’s profit.

In case the market suddenly asks you for more items than you are producing, or can produce, you must find the raw materials and do the handiwork as fast as you can, practically on the spot, no matter how expensive that can all be. And this means that you can earn less than usual – because if you sell your products always at the same price – and you must do that, otherwise you lose market shares – the expenditure rate composed of the prices of raw materials, wages and all the other items, will be higher than usual. Thus, your net income will be lower.

On the other hand, when the market suddenly stops purchasing your products, you may find yourself with a lot of unsold products. And, no matter if you hang onto unsold inventory or sell it at a lower price – you lose money.

Boring? Very boring? How does all this useless economics stuff pertain to the topic at hand? Wait a bit more and you’ll start matching the dots.

How to avoid this crisis in the first place was the question. The answer provided by some economists in the first half of 19th century was – “planning.” But planning what?
The crisis occurred depending on how many goods were sold, or not sold – thus, it depended on the buyer. Hence the analysis of economist focused on the consumer, and they soon realized how unpredictable the single consumer really is. Therefore, would it not be better if, somehow, one could predict which kind of goods and assets the consumer could want over a lifetime?

But soon economists also realized another cause of this crises – the unpredictable number of consumers. If a single consumer was a “mad variable,” whose needs more or less could be somehow predicted, thus allowing for production synchronized to consumer demand – what if the number of global consumers changed suddenly? A consumer plus another consumer meant a family; and in nine months one could expect the consumers to become three. But what if the consumers – especially in Catholic countries – did not stop and kept increasing like rabbits? The family could hardly enhance its income as much as needed to keep their initial life standard, and this would cause a reduced in purchasing power, and thus a reduction in the goods they bought, which on a general level would be mirrored by a reduction of industrial production. So what?

The smart answer was “social planning,” because a planned society was supposed to have planned behaviors and thus planned and predictable needs, to be fulfilled through predictable and planned consumption – and hence by a long-term planned economy.

Are you connecting dots? What renders consumption unpredictable? Families. Why? Because families have children, and often they do not care how many they have. So, what does it all mean?

Such behavior has two bad consequences: Families can’t spend so much on other expensive goods, because they must eat, and dress, first. Plus, the unpredictable number of children renders consumption by families, and thus family behavior and expenditure, absolutely unpredictable. And this is bad for a planned economy – and economy in general.

In other words, traditional, unplanned families cause an economic crisis. Additionally, an economic crisis is the nightmare, the doom of capitalism. It must be avoided at any cost. Consequently, traditional, unplanned families are the enemies of capitalism because they are the origin of the economic crisis.

On the other hand, as it has more or less been explicitly said over the 60 years ago, whoever has fewer or no children, has much more money to spend. Thus, whoever has no children is welcomed; well, not completely welcomed, otherwise in a generation the market would be over, due to the death of all the consumers – and then who would capitalism sell to? Think what a bad business proposal that would it be. Now what? Well, the best thing is to have planned families – two parents and two children. Don’t forget the UN supported Family planning campaigns, mostly in the 1960’s, in places as different as India and the USA. If at that time it was said everywhere that India was overcrowded in comparison to her food production, and this such a campaign could be understood as reasonable – what about the USA? Were they short of food? Not at all. Let’s keep this in mind and let’s go move forward.

If a family plans to have two children, there is an additional unpredictable factor – how many males and females? One and one? Two and zero? Zero and two? This is troublesome, for how can you have a long-termed plan for shaving blades, or for make-up production in the next twenty years? It’s annoying. What to do? Well, for instance one could introduce a planned system but… but that would mean planning in advance what you want to have – not how many children, but how many children of which sex? It is scientifically doable, but how do you introduce the concept?

If you destroy the standard traditional family – as the Nazis did, and as the Soviets before Stalin did too – and if you introduce a “new” family, relying on birth-assistance, that is to say, on birth-planning, you can do it.

Are the dots connecting yet? The “new” family can be exploited as a tool to let the capitalistic enterprises gain much more through a planned economy based on planned life. Thus, if the capitalist system supports such a family, it is in its own monetary interests – not in the interests of families and the people.

One step more. And it will be a nasty one, but we’ve already taken quite a few nasty steps that one more is not such a tragedy.

There is another group of “bad consumers” – the old and ill. What do they live for? Only to be a burden on the public health system, if any, or on their families. Thus, aside from the expenditures welcomed only by some of the Big Pharma, what do they live for?

Moreover, they don’t have that many needs (except for medicines and assistance), and most of them can’t pay for it, either. So, what to do? How can they live without assistance, if they can’t pay for it? It would be a life without dignity… so, let’s kill them off, because no life deprived of dignity is worth living, is it? And this is what is currently done – officially in half a dozen countries of the world, and unofficially probably in many more. In fact, these people are killed simply because they are a financial burden and no longer an active portion of the consumer-world.

And, and what about those affected by mental illness? They too can’t have a life with dignity (and are unable to spend their money, if they have any). So, what do they live for?
OK, there would be small problem, that is to say – who defines this “standard of dignity?” And who determines whether these “standards” are being “enjoyed” or not the people to be killed? But this is a small and negligible problem. It’s not worth discussing, as every is on agrees that life without “dignity” is not worth living.

Next point – how do you achieve all these goals? By destroying mankind as it is now and by modeling, by shaping a new one.

If you want to build something, the first thing you must do is to clear the ground. Now, this is exactly what Liberals, Wokists, Cancel Culture and so on are doing. They are cleaning the ground to “build back better” – which means a new society, a new society they claim that will be more equal, more democratic, and so on. But this new society in fact will be shaped as I described above.

As things are, they are sweeping away whatever that is linked to identity – identity in general. They are sweeping out existing culture, removing statues, modifying books, and they are sweeping away personal identity – because what kind of family can here ever be, if gender is a choice and does not depend on how the body is, and identity is no longer something determined by nature and self-existing but is something determined by…? What? Whom?
By the rulers. And the rulers will determine it using an indirect approach – there will not be a law telling the people how to be. There will be a system of laws allowing this or that and causing a pre-emptive self-censorship – as already happens – and an instinctive conforming to the general behavior.

Once personal identity and identity in general is cancelled, people will simply be a mass of units, whose behavior will be directed from outside in an indirect and effective way by, and according to, indirect pressures. The more time will pass, the more rigid and apparent the pressures and conditioning will be.

Additional point. How to prevent insurgency? Simply by depriving the people of its own money. How? By paying low wages to all who are not embedded, or enrolled into the system. And how can you keep wages low? By the same system used at the eve of the Industrial Revolution – by relying on a wide offer of manpower, because there will always be the poor – who are poorer than the workers working for you – and who will therefore accept that same job for a lot less wage. Thus, you can blackmail your worker; and, if that worker does not accept your terms, you can say “goodbye.”

Really? Yes, really. Otherwise, what are we importing illegal immigrants for? For the sake of human solidarity? If that were true, we would be investing and developing instead in their countries (with lesser and longer-termed profit). What a terrible idea! No, no! We need them to keep the price of tomatoes low in the supermarket! Were the tomatoes to be picked by regular workers, they would cost four times their current price! Would you like that? And what about the onions? Would you really like to spend that much for your salad?

And what can we do with all this manpower? Well, the not-specialized manpower can die when exploited, just like a squeezed lemon. Specialized manpower will get something more, because, by the way, they are also the consumers. But they will get a low wage, big enough to purchase what the planned economy allows them to get, but not a cent more.
Think of how expensive and time-consuming it is simply to buy a new car, not to say a home. But in the happy planned future, the vast majority will have long-termed rented cars (as it is usual and cheaper in the USA and not at all in Europe) and will live in rented homes, because only the happy very few will be able to purchase a home, because of their wages, and because of the high prices.

If the majority of the people have to depend on a small wage, just allowing them to have all they think they need for their daily life (and “daily-life” will be precisely planned), the big corporations will earn a lot more money, a lot longer, given the combined effect of planned production to fulfill planned consumption, all feeding the planned life of each human being. And when the human being can no longer afford to pay for what he/she needs, how can he/she still live with dignity? Thus, euthanasia, and requiescat in pace, and let’s make use of the body for transplants, for beauty farms and, last but not least, ash for the ground (never waste anything – don’t forget – that is an economic moral duty).

Is it all clear now?

So, as you see, Wokism, LGBTQ, Black Lives Matter, Cancel Culture they all appear as tools used and exploited by something different. And they are effective because they do not know how, and which way, they are being exploited, and to which aims. They are genuinely certain that they are fighting for rights and liberty, for a better new society. But in fact they can be compared to a smoke screen – and behind that screen you have the worst and most greedy capitalism.


Ciro Paoletti, a prominent Italian historian of military history, is the Secretary General of the Italian Commission of Military History. He is the author of 25 books, and more than 400 other smaller works\, published in Italy and abroad, and mostly dealing with modern and contemporary Italian military history and policy.


The featured image shows, “The Tower of Babel,” by Lucas van Valckenborch; painted in 1594.

Igor Sikorsky: A Winged Legacy

It has been said that Igor Ivanovich Sikorsky achieved distinction in three separate careers, all in the field of aviation. He created the world’s first multi-engine airplane in Russia in 1913; he launched a second career in the United States and became famous for his Flying Clippers; lastly, he conceived and developed the world’s first practical helicopter. He is best known, perhaps, for this third career.

He was born in Kyiv, Imperial Russia (now Ukraine), on May 25, 1889. As a boy, influenced by his mother, a medical school graduate, and his father, a doctor and a psychology professor, he showed an interest in science, particularly aviation. He built and flew model aircraft; he became acquainted at an early age with Leonardo da Vinci’s theory of the flying screw. He was 14 when Wilbur and Orville Wright made their historic flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, and that event, more than any other, decided his career. He spent three years at the Naval College in

St. Petersburg, and was still a student at the Mechanical Engineering College of the Polytechnic Institute in Kyiv when he determined to build his first helicopter.

He traveled to Paris, then the aeronautical center of Europe, where he met some of the early names in aviation, men like Louis Bleriot, first to fly the English Channel, before returning home with a 25 horsepower Anzani engine. He built his first helicopter in 1909, his second in 1910. The second accomplished what the first did not — it proved able to lift itself -but it was unable to sustain the weight of a pilot.

HistoryMr. Sikorsky turned to fixed-wing planes and, in 1910 made his first solo in an aircraft of his own design and construction. His approach was practical; he made-sketches of the plane he wanted to build, built it, then trained himself to handle it, correcting his errors as a pilot as he corrected errors in design.

He defied the experts of that early period by building the first four-engine airplane in 1913. The plane, called The Grand, included such luxuries as an enclosed cabin, a washroom, upholstered chairs, and an exterior balcony for passengers. The Grand was followed by a larger aircraft, called the Ilia Mourometz, after a legendary Russian hero of the 10th Century, which, in a military version, proved highly successful as a bomber in World War I. More than 70 of these bombers were built.

The Revolution ended Mr. Sikorsky’s career in Russian aviation. He traveled to the United States in 1919, after short stays in England and France. Lectures to Russian immigrant groups gave him money for room and food, while he dreamed of new conquests of the air. America had been a beacon to him. “As a youth, I was impressed by the skyscrapers that were taller than anywhere else,” he recalled in 1967, “by the railroad system that included more miles of rails than the total of the rest of the world. I was inspired by the achievements of such men as Edison, Ford, and others, and in my case particularly, the Wright Brothers.”

In 1923, he organized the Sikorsky Aero Engineering Corporation on a farm near Roosevelt Field on Long Island. The first aircraft built was the S-29-A, the A for America, a successful twin-engine, all-metal transport. A number of other aircraft followed, including the S-38 amphibian which Pan American Airways used to blaze new air trails to Central and South America. Mr. Sikorsky’s company became a division of United Aircraft Corporation in 1929, and the combination gave aviation a series of historic flying boats. The first 40-passenger Flying Clippers were built in 1931, followed by the first transoceanic flying boat, the S-42, which pioneered commercial air transportation across the Pacific and Atlantic.

By 1938, the pioneering of oceans was over, and Sikorsky returned seriously to the field of vertical lift. Through the years, he had kept notes on ideas for helicopter designs. His first helicopter, the VS-300, was begun in early 1939 at the Vought-Sikorsky plant in Stratford, Connecticut by fall, it was completed, a strange-looking tubular skeleton which rose a few feet from the ground on September 14, 1939.

The VS-300, in point of time, actually dates back to 1929 when Mr. Sikorsky concluded that a successful helicopter soon would be possible. In 1931 he applied for a helicopter patent that incorporated most of the features of the VS-300. There was one main lifting screw and a small auxiliary rotor at the rear of the fuselage to counteract torque. The VS-300 was powered by a four-cylinder, 75-horsepower, air-cooled engine; it had a three-bladed main rotor, 28 feet in diameter, and a welded steel frame, a power transmission combination of v-belts and bevel gears, a two-wheeled landing gear, and a completely open pilot’s seat. The VS-300, now part of the Ford Museum at Dearborn, Michigan, established a world endurance record by staying aloft an hour and 32 minutes on May 6, 1941. Thus, the helicopter fundamentals were established.

There was a period of evolution in the VS-300. Mr. Sikorsky tried 19 different configurations before he was satisfied with the final design. Military contracts followed, and in 1943 large-scale manufacture of the R-4 made it the world’s first production helicopter. Public acceptance of this strange new vehicle, however, was far from immediate. The helicopter had to prove itself. It did just that in the Korean War, serving as a troop transport and rescue aircraft; men injured in combat were flown directly to field hospitals, their chances of recovery greatly enhanced.

Mr. Sikorsky saw the helicopter as a vehicle that freed aviation from dependence on airports. The helicopter’s ability to take off and land vertically was a breakthrough long dreamed by engineers, but never fully realized until Mr. Sikorsky launched his third career. The helicopter gradually established its versatility in peace and war, but Mr. Sikorsky himself found the greatest satisfaction in the knowledge that helicopters were responsible for saving tens of thousands of lives as rescue aircraft. Pilots of rescue helicopters have contributed “one of the most glorious pages in the history of human flight,” he said in 1967. “It is to these gallant airmen that I address my thankfulness, respect, and admiration,”he said

A deeply religious man, Mr. Sikorsky wrote two books called “The Message of the Lord’s Prayer” and “The Invisible Encounter.” In summation of his beliefs, in the latter he wrote: “Our concerns sink into insignificance when compared with the eternal value of human personality — a potential child of God which is destined to triumph over lie, pain, and death. No one can take this sublime meaning of life away from us, and this is the one thing that matters.” He also wrote an autobiographical account of his life in aviation called “The Story of the Winged S.”

His contributions to aviation brought him many honors and awards. In 1952, Thomas K. Finletter, then Secretary of the Air Force, presented Mr. Sikorsky with the National Defense Transportation Award and said: “He is a milestone in the history of aviation, an equal giant and pioneer. Look upon him well and remember him.” In 1966, Mr. Sikorsky was named Man of the Year by the Air Force Association. Congratulating him on the award, President Lyndon B. Johnson said: “Your skill and perseverance have broadened the horizons of man’s progress.”

In 1967, accepting the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy of the National Aeronautical Association, Mr. Sikorsky expressed his belief in the importance of the individual, a belief that carried him stubbornly past frustrations and failures to success in his three careers. “Creative work is still with us,” he said, “still here to stay, and still remains a tremendously vital factor in the progress of mankind. The work of the individual still remains the spark which moves mankind ahead.”

Igor I. Sikorsky, the legendary aviation pioneer, will long be remembered as the man who gave the world its first practical helicopter.

This achievement alone was significant enough to ensure the gentle Russian immigrant’s place in the history books, but it was only one facet of an extraordinary man’s remarkable career … a career that paralleled the history of powered flight.

Often described as a humble genius, Mr. Sikorsky had already achieved worldwide recognition in two other fields of aviation before he built and successfully flew his VS-300 helicopter in 1939.

Born in Kiev, Imperial Russia,(now Ukrain) on May 25, 1889, Mr. Sikorsky developed an early interest in aviation, thanks largely to the influence of his mother, who was a doctor, and his father, a psychology professor.

A youthful tour of Germany in the company of his father, during which he first heard of the Wright brothers and came in detailed contact with the work of Count Zeppelin, more or less settled the question of what career the youthful Sikorsky was to follow.

He graduated from the Petrograd Naval College, studied engineering in Paris, returned to Kiev and entered the Mechanical Engineering College of the Polytechnical Institute in 1907. But in 1909, his young mind full of aviation, Mr. Sikorsky went back to Paris, then the aeronautical center of Europe, to learn what he could of the embryo science.

While in Paris, he became known to many of the men who later were to make great names in aviation – Bleriot, Ferber, and others. Despite advice to the contrary from these and other experienced men, Mr. Sikorsky announced plans to build a helicopter. Having learned all he could of aviation as it was then known in Europe, he bought a 25 h.p. Anzani engine and went home to Kiev to begin building a rotary-wing aircraft.

The helicopter failed, as did its successor due to a lack of power and understanding of the rotary-wing art. Undiscouraged, Mr. Sikorsky then turned his attention to fixed-wing aircraft.

First success came with the S-2, the second fixedwing plane of his design and construction. His fifth airplane, the
S-5, won him national recognition as well as F.A.I. license Number 64. His S-6-A received the highest award at the 1912 Moscow Aviation Exhibition. and in the fall of that year the aircraft won for its young designer, builder and pilot first prize in the military competition at Petrograd.History

Mr. Sikorsky’s success in 1912 led to a position as head of the aviation subsidiary of the Russian Baltic Railroad Car Works. In this position, as a result of a mosquito-clogged carburetor and subsequent engine failure, he conceived the idea of an aircraft having more than one engine -a most radical idea for the times. With the blessings of his parent company, he embarked on an engineering project which gave the world its first multi-engine airplane, the four-engined “The Grand.” The revolutionary aircraft featured such things as an enclosed cabin. a lavatory, upholstered chairs and an exterior catwalk atop the fuselage where passengers could take a turn about in the air.

His success with “The Grand” led him to design an even bigger aircraft, called the Ilia Mourometz, after a legendary 10th Century Russian hero. More than 70 military versions of the Ilia Mourometz were built for use as bombers during World War 1.

The Revolution put an end to Mr. Sikorsky’s career in Russian aviation. Sacrificing a considerable personal fortune, he emigrated to France where he Historywas commissioned to build a bomber for Allied service. The aircraft was still on the drawing board when the Armistice was signed and Mr. Sikorsky, after casting about in vain for a position in French aviation, traveled to the United States in 1919.

After another fruitless search for some position in aviation, Mr. Sikorsky resorted to teaching. He lectured in New York, mostly to fellow emigres. Finally, in 1923, a group of students and friends who knew of his reputation in prewar Russia pooled their meager resources and launched him on his first American aviation venture, The Sikorsky Aero Engineering Corp.

The first aircraft built by the young and financially insecure concern was the S-29-A (for America), a twin-engine, all-metal transport which proved a forerunner of the modern airliner. A number of aircraft followed but the company achieved its most significant success with the twin-engine S-38 amphibian, which Pan American Airways used to open new air routes to Central and South America. Later, as a subsidiary of United Aircraft Corporation (now United Technologies) Sikorsky’s company produced the famous Flying Clippers that pioneered commercial air transportation across both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The last Sikorsky flying boat, the S-44, held the Blue Ribbon for the fastest trans-Atlantic passage for years. All Sikorsky aircraft of the time were known for ease of handling and luxurious comfort.

With two careers behind him and the oceans conquered, Mr. Sikorsky turned once again to the helicopter. Through the years he had jotted down ideas for possible designs, some of which were patented.

Finally, on September 14, 1939, Mr. Sikorsky took his VS-300 a few feet off the ground to give the western hemisphere its first practical helicopter. His dogged determination and faith in his own ability to build what many considered to be an impossible vehicle established the bedrock upon which today’s helicopter industry rests.

Military contracts followed the success of the VS-300, and in 1943, large-scale manufacture of the R-4 made it the world’s first production helicopter.

The R-4 was followed by a succession of bigger and better machines and since then, the helicopter has clearly established its ability to perform a myriad of difficult missions, including the saving of thousands of lives, in both peace and war. Mr. Sikorsky was especially proud of the helicopter’s life saving ability and of organizations such as the Aerospace Rescue and Recovery Service which had put helicopters to what he believed was their finest use. During his career, he rarely passed up an opportunity to stress this role or praise the men whose skill and courage made the rescues possible. The pilots of rescue helicopters have contributed “one of the most glorious pages in the history of human flight,” he once remarked.

The awards and honors accorded to Mr. Sikorsky fill nine typewritten pages and include the National Medal of Science, the Wright Brothers Memorial Trophy, the U.S. Air Force Academy’s Thomas D. White National Defense Award, and the Royal Aeronautical Society of England’s Silver Medal. He is enshrined at both the International Aerospace and the Aviation Halls of Fame.

Although recognized primarily as a practical inventor of material things, Mr. Sikorsky was also a deeply religious visionary and philosopher with an intense interest in man, the world and the universe. Remembered by those who knew him as a kind and considerate person with a sincere concern for his fellow man, Mr. Sikorsky’s two sides are perhaps best described in the following quote from his friend Anne Morrow Lindbergh:

“The thing that’s remarkable about Igor is the great precision in his thought and speech, combined with an extraordinary soaring beyond facts. He can soar out with the mystics and come right back to the practical, to daily life and people. He never excludes people. Sometimes the religious minded exclude people or force their beliefs on others. Igor never does.”

Although he never attempted to force anyone to accept his beliefs, Mr. Sikorsky wrote two books, “The Message of the Lord’s Prayer,” and “The Invisible Encounter,” as well as numerous pamphlets, to express them.

In the first book, Mr. Sikorsky expressed his belief in a final destiny for man and a higher order of existence, while in the second, he pleaded that modern civilization has a greater need for spiritual rather than material power.

It was Mr. Sikorsky’s abiding faith in God and his strong belief in the importance of the individual that helped him overcome the frustrations and failures that marked his career.

Mr. Sikorsky liked to say that “the work of the individual still remains the spark which moves mankind ahead,” and he proved it throughout his life.

Even after his retirement in 1957 at the age of 68 Mr. Sikorsky continued to work as an engineering consultant for Sikorsky and he was at his desk the day before he died, on October 26, 1972, at the age of 83.


Dan Libertino is the President of the Sikorsky Archives, whose kind courtesy has made this article possible.


The featured image shows a protrait of Igor Sikorsky, by Boris Artzybashef.

How To Survive Deplatforming

Free speech and freedom of expression are often assumed to be inherent qualities of being a modern human being. However, modern life is also very much aligned with technology, where freedom has very limited currency, because it gets in the way of the larger project of the entire Internet which is the establishment of vast communities that, hive-like, depend upon like-mindedness. Such conformity is termed, “community standards,” which are policed by various rules and regulations. Transgression of these “laws” brings punishment. either mild or severe.

But the Internet is also a marketplace, where things are bought and sold, and where thousands, if not millions, of people have established flourishing careers. Here, the question of freedom seems entirely irrelevant, since all manner of things can be bought and sold – even the most heinous (like pornography of the worst sort and human trafficking). There is no internal policing here, and thus no limit to what can be bought and sold.

Access to the Internet, whether for information, communication or commerce, is controlled by platforms and their owners. And those who own and control these platforms also own and control communities and the “standards” which govern them. At the same time, these platforms provide the means for effective commerce. For example, most people use the platform known as, Facebook, for communication – while most other people use Facebook to sell things. This dual function makes Facebook both a communications company and a service-provider for commerce.

But notice what takes place in this dynamic – suddenly, Facebook is both a policing agency which cannot allow any sort of disruption of the harmony that it is trying to establish within its community of the like-minded – while also being an open marketplace, in which it also profitably participates by selling ads. Thus, where does Facebook’s allegiance lie? To the community, or to the marketplace? This question, in fact, burdens all other platform owners also, such as, Twitter, Youtube, Google, Instagram, and so forth.

What happens when the community feels disrupted and complains to the platform owner to do something about the disrupter who happens to be using the platform for commerce? As has been happening rather regularly, the platform heeds the community and exiles the disrupter who has no recourse for appeal and everything that he/she has built is immediately shut down.

This is known as a “deplatforming campaign,” where the outraged bombard service platforms with complaining emails and messages asking that the disrupter’s very presence be entirely removed. Does the platform owner do nothing and continue to profit from the disrupter’s commerce? Or, does the platform obey the will of the outraged community – and drive the disrupter from the platform forever?

Welcome to the Cancel Culture – where what you say may not just get you banned from using the largest services on the Internet, but may also get you banned from using essential services like banking and credit cards – just because someone did not like what you said online. This modern-day version of exile is known as, “deplatforming.”

It is a dire problem, affecting thousands of people, many of whom have lost all ability to earn a living. Suddenly, the question of freedom takes on a far grimmer aspect, in that it starkly shows that for some, being deprived of freedom means not only the inability to speak online – but even being deprived of money. In the great juggernaut of mega tech-companies that own the Internet, the deplatformed individual instantly becomes a non-entity, a non-person, who is also denied financial services, such as, banking and credit cards.

Given the fact that cancel culture is only growing, in which outrage is the new morality, it is indeed timely that Mark E. Jeftovic has written, Unassailable. Defend Yourself From Deplatform Attacks, Cancel Culture & Other Online Disasters. Jeftovic is certainly the right person to be writing this book, as he runs a technology company himself, in Toronto, Canada, and is a current Director of the Internet Society, Canada Chapter. So, the wisdom that he imparts is not theoretical, but solid and practical.

Therefore, this book is filled with valuable insights about the problem of deplatforming – but more importantly it also offers real and viable solutions to arm the ordinary individual with strategies to survive and thrive online. This is especially crucial for people who make a living online. Jeftovic lays out his plan clearly: “This book is for anybody who earns their living online. While primarily it is for content creators, many of the principles in this book can be used by any business that relies heavily on their internet presence, and as such must take measures to remain online at all times.”

For those who might imagine that this all some tempest in a teapot and far beyond their own interaction with the world online, Jeftovic has this to say: “Even if you are a content creator who assumes nothing you say is controversial enough to attract a deplatforming campaign, bear in mind that what seems reasonable today may be considered beyond the pale tomorrow.”

The book begins with a Foreward by Charles Hugh Smith, which is a chilling but spirited summary of what is truly at stake: “Societies around the world are experiencing unprecedented cultural purges of ideas and narratives that challenge the status quo. In some nations, this purge is managed by the central government, China being a leading example. In the developed Western nations, this purge is being conducted by private for-profit technology platforms that function as quasi-monopolies in Internet search, video and advertising (Google) and social media (Facebook and Twitter).”

These tech giants are now all-powerful kingdoms who control their realms and their borders very effectively; and their decisions are final and without any due recourse: “A content creator banned by a tech platform has no rights or recourse: the platform is not obligated to identify the “crime” that supposedly violated their User Agreement or present evidence in support of this accusation. The banned user has no means to contest the ‘conviction’ or the ‘sentence.’” Thought criminals are therefore made invisible instantly.

This silencing, or rather erasure, of people is now on-going and persistent practice because these “tech platforms wield extra-legal powers that are impervious to conventional government protections of civil liberties. (Those who attempt to sue these corporations face legal teams larger than those serving government agencies.) Users agree to open-ended Terms of Service that the corporations can interpret however they please, without any transparent process of appeal or redress.”

In effect, if people do not know how to protect themselves, they will always be victims online. It is this protection through knowledge that Jeftovic offers – and his book is the very blueprint for being empowered online in the years ahead.

The book itself is divided into two parts. The first is historical in nature and is therefore entitled, “The Battle for Narrative Control.” Here, Jeftovic provides context for the “culture war” currently being fought on all fronts by those who want to make sure that people only have access to a certain kind of “truth;” that the harmony of like-mindedness is rigorously maintained; and that freedom means absolute conformity. Such hive-mindedness can only result in a society that is “less intolerant and more inclusive with each successive generation.”

In fact, all of us are now used to the conditions of groupthink, because we respond in the prescribed manner whenever we encounter certain “trigger-words.” Jeftovic warns: “The real threats today have names like “the greater good”, “the science is settled”, “that’s a conspiracy theory” and any other variation on a theme that some people feel it’s within their purview to decide what ideas are acceptable for everybody else, and more perniciously, that any disagreement is illegitimate and not permissible.”

Part II is entitled, “What You Do About It,” and it is an honest and highly useful blueprint to entirely and fully own your own means of production (to use a convenient Marxist phrase). If you rely solely on the means of production provided by the platforms of the tech-giants, you will always be in danger of being silenced, unpersoned, and financially destroyed.

Jeftovic then proceeds a give step-by-step, and easy-to-follow methodology, through which you can “own the race-course,” as he puts it. He covers all the essentials that are necessary to ensure your financial and even ideological survival on the Internet. These include: owning and promoting your own brand; the best webhosting; how to do blogs the right way; how to engage with discussion forums; how to get the right kind of email service; how to podcast; how to buy and sell online; avoiding bad revenue models and using good revenue models; how to get on alternative platforms, and much else besides.

Since, Part II is really a how-to instruction manual, it would be unfair to summarize what Jeftovic teaches, for most of it is proprietorial information that will be available to those who purchase this book. To do otherwise would be stealing his commercial thunder, as it were. For those that truly want to use the Internet as a means to exchange ideas and to enter into profitable commerce, then Unassailable truly is an essential and necessary vademecum.

In one of his thought-pieces at the very end of the book, Jeftovic has this to say: “Do you really want to live in a world where people sever business and personal relationships because a literal flash mob demands it? Where mobs get to pick and choose who you are allowed to associate with?”

How will you answer these crucial questions in this society where outrage is a valuable commodity? Perhaps, the greatest way to thumb one’s nose at tech-tyranny is to survive and to prosper, no matter what the tech-giants throw our way. Jeftovic has likely written a revolutionary manifesto about winning freedom in this tech Dark Age.

The image shows, “The Gathering” by the Swedish illustrator Simon Stålenhag, painted in 2015.

Humans First!

How much of our humanity are we willing to lose? It would appear that this question is becoming most pertinent in our age. But another, more fundamental, question foregrounds this one – what is a human being? Are people bio-mass? If so, then only one idea is required to exist on this planet, namely, how best to manage populations.

If mankind is something other than bio-mass, then another idea is needed to live a happy and meaningful life, namely, how best to safeguard the value of the individual. Each answer also means that a particular type of government, or state, must come into existence – whether it be rule by an all-powerful polity before whose might, one person is worth nothing; or whether it be a limited government that does not stand in the way of the people.

As is obvious, the first question can only be answered properly within the context of either of these two ideas. The current “culture war” is, in fact, an expression of our inability to come to a definite answer for what a human being is. And in this confusion, the very notion of citizenship is fast disappearing. If a citizen is bio-mass, then his value to the state is determined purely by the state. If the citizen is not bio-mass, then his value exists beyond the reach of politics because he innately possesses individual sovereignty, or self-worth, which no court of law or government can take from him.

But the more powerful a state becomes, the less a human life is valued. Consequently, those who agree with the state are deemed “good citizens,” while those that deny the power of the state are held in contempt and labeled as, “dissidents.” Currently, in the West, both these ideas are in contention. Which idea will win out in the end, will decide what type of society comes to exist in the West.

Into this struggle intrudes technology, which has assumed the structure of the all-powerful state – because it is intrinsically about the micro-management and even control of individuals. But it is a “state” of a very peculiar type. We watch screens. The screens watch us. It really is a watcher’s world, in which the boundary between public and private life is much corroded, so that individuals must continually yield their sovereignty in order to access the various necessities now contained solely within technology.

Indeed, it is now impossible to deal with money, information and communication without the intermediacy of the screen. This means that whenever we need to enter into any sort of transactional relationship with the world around us, we need to go and interact with a screen. There really is no other choice. And this “screened” interaction means people must assume two roles – there are those who need what screens dispense; and there are those who mange this dispensation.

In other words, the watchers are watched. And those that watch, do so continually, ensuring that entire populations are under constant surveillance. In this way, technology has created an entirely new form of “politics” – one where constant surveillance both exploits and controls. It exploits by charting what we buy and then tagging us as specific types of consumers. And it controls by telling us what to think – so that screens determine our behavior. We agree to be watched so that we might reap the benefits provided by the screen.

But this is consent of a different kind, because there is no other choice. There is no alternative to the screen. This also means that there really is no consent at all, only compliance, if we want to participate in commerce, communication or banking. In this way, each of us becomes nothing more than a technological “process.”

Much has been written about the surveillance culture and the surveillance economy. But recently an interesting set of three books has been published by Cyrus Parsa, each of which explores the serious threat to humanity posed by technology. These three books were published quickly, from August to October 2019. And all three, offer troubling, if not shocking, insights as to what becomes possible when technology and the state become a seamless entity – a merging that is coming into being in the West, but which is fully entrenched in China.

The three books are meant to be read one-after-the-other, it would appear, since each develops and builds upon two themes – “bio-digital social programming” and the anti-human agenda embedded within technology. Since these books seem to be self-published, a good editor was certainly needed– but this drawback does not distract from the value of the insights and information provided by the author, for he brings to the discussion a point of view that is very little understood and therefore little discussed, namely, the vast anti-human possibilities of technology.

More importantly, Parsa also offers insights as to how we ought to answer the two questions that were raised at the very beginning: How much of our humanity will we agree to give up in order to use technology? And, how shall we define a human being, given the anti-human assumptions that are the modus operandi of high-tech?

In his first book, Raped Via Bio-Digital Social Programming, Parsa posits the idea that technology promotes a “rape-mind,” that is, a mind that is perpetually sexualized and therefore always looking to either rape or be raped. As an aside, Parsa is also creating a vocabulary to help in his analysis, because the topics that he is engaged in have been so little studied that they do not yet possess specific terminology. “Bio-digital social programming” is one such neologism, by which he means the connections made with the human body by all digital transmissions (machines, robotics, computers, smart phones, smart cities, IoT devices, facial recognition and Artificial Intelligence).

Parsa suggests that humanity now exists as a “bio-digital” entity, which learns and understands the purpose and meaning of life now only through technology. This interchange, or cross-over, means that the difference between humanity and robotics is starting to blur. If a human is merely a set of mechanical functions, then bio-digitality makes sense, where the desire of human existence to self-perpetuate is channeled off into technology.

This, then, calls into question the very purpose of sex itself – for freed from reproduction it can only become another form of self-gratification. And because of this separation of sex from procreation, the various hybrids being created become expressions of progress rather than monstrosity. This “logic” also informs the entire transgender movement, where a New Man can be created by chemical means.

Given technology’s assumption about the human body as a mechanical object that can be programmed, Parsa suggests that the most effective method of such programming is digi-sexuality, which is then managed through the various gadgets we all possess, such as, smart phones and IoT devices, and which together create a hyper-sexualized mind, or the “rape-mind.” Parsa then connects this mind with the great upsurge in human and child-trafficking, and a “pornified” youth culture, which seeks to not only imitate but outdo the sexual acts portrayed on the screens of their various devices.

Such “rape automation” offers a precise explanation of what human sexuality has been turned into by technology – wide-spread and freely-available pornography, epidemic levels of pedophilia, sex-robots as a growth industry, and the bizarre promotion by the state of transgenderism. In other words, what Parsa describes is a culture that no longer understands what it means to be human, because it has transformed sexuality into a mechanism for controlling populations, in that people become what they see on their screens.

In his second book, AI, Trump, China & the Weaponization of Robotics with 5G, Parsa delves into another neologism of his, namely, “micro-botic terrorism” (or, MBT), by which he means the weaponization of biometric data. Just as technology has weaponized sex, likewise the human body itself has been turned into an effective means to destroy the individual, so that if the metrics of the individual do not match the “ideal citizen” required by the state, then that individual becomes the enemy of the state, and is dealt with accordingly.

The state needs to know who its enemies are, and technology steps in to identify (or tag) such “undesirables,” by way data. This data is created in such a way that “enemies” can be easily recognized, marked off (tagged) and then dealt with. This data consists of facial recognition, fingerprinting, individual manner of walking and speaking, skeletal structure, eye-scans, and so on.

Our very bodies betray us to the state, in that “enemies” possess physical traits that are markedly different from those that support, comply and agree with the state. Thus, enemies of the state actually possess different faces, postures, speech, mannerisms, gait – which clearly marks them off from the “friendlies” of the state. In other words, in the process of mass surveillance of crowds, enemies can easily be identified.

Such is the grim message that Parsa meticulously lays out; and he identifies China as the foremost user of such anti-human technology. This is obvious, given the idea that China follows in its understanding of what a human being is – nothing more than bio-mass.

Aside from the well-known harvesting of organs from citizens that have been tagged as unfit to live in the “ideal China” (and the trade in such organs is brisk and highly profitable), China also has far grander ambitions. With the help of the big-tech corporations, it has gathered, or is in the process of gathering, bio-metric data of over 6 billion people on this planet.

This means that China now knows, for example, who belongs in the military, police, national security, academia, the government, as well as who belongs to which private sector. And it can also identify who are the friendlies within other nations, and which are enemies. Given the fact that humanity is bio-mass, if any mistakes get made and friendlies get killed by the state – it matters little, so long as the goals of the state continue to be achieved.

Using biometrics, Parsa also details how his own company analyzed one-thousand members of big-tech corporations and one-thousand high-profile media personalities, journalists and reporters. His conclusion was that they are all actively promoting the interests of China; they are friendlies.

If Parsa’s biometric data is correct (and if we assume that data does not lie), then his conclusions must come as a resopunding alarm bell, because those who manage how we receive information have entirely bought into the Chinese model of governance – and the Chinese understanding of humanity.

Next, Parsa details the weaponization of AI by China. This means that through the AI operating system, deep learning and machine learning, human-tracking technologies easily become human-targeting methodologies, where a mass-kill of humans can be done quickly and efficiently.

As a frightening example, Parsa details one current project of the Chinese – the tagging of “House Christians,” or those Christians who refuse to follow the party-approved “church” in which President Xi is given status equal to Christ.

These House Christians have had their biometrics recorded, and this data is then used to identity other House Christians in the general population. This means that the Chinese state recognizes as a fact that Christians look, walk, talk, and generally carry themselves differently from the larger, non-Christian population. The companies engaged in this surveillance are Huawei, Megvii Face++, Sensetime and several others, Parsa tells us.

The purpose of identifying Christians is not only to determine dissidents, but to tag them for organ harvesting – and they can be picked up anytime and rendered.

This is far more than execution. Given that in China humans are bio-mass, the state can remove, without any qualms, people deemed incompatible with, and not fit to live in, Chinese society. And those thus removed are made useful by way of their body parts. Thus, their kidneys, hearts, cornea, livers, lungs and other components are harvested and sold in the international market. Or, “medical tourists” come and receive whatever transplants that they need.

China has been doing such “harvests” for the past fifteen years, with anywhere from 60,000 to 100,000 organs harvested in each of those years. Tagged Christians are treated like livestock on the hoof, in that they are kept alive until their organs are needed.

Parsa’s research further shows that there are about 500 Chinese and 600 western AI and tech companies engaged in such collection and categorizing of biometric data, which is gathered by way of smart phones, IoT, automated vehicles, virtual reality, mixed reality, augmented reality, holograms, surveillance grids, and smart cities.

All this information has created a vast human-bio-digital network, wherein humans are connected to machines by way of the Internet and who can then be managed effectively. This means that people are tagged, classified, and their information stored for later use, as they walk about, unawares, on the street, or even as they carry on their private lives inside their own homes. Such AI reach is made possible by G5 and soon G6 technology, which China is rapidly expanding.

Again, given its understanding of humanity, it matters little if G5 and G6 pose a great health risk to people. Indeed, even now, China uses biometric data not only to gather and process individuals tagged for organ harvesting, but to construct vast concentration camps, where individuals are placed for eventual processing. Thus, China carries out the greatest amount of surveillance in its cities. And the same tagging process is being used to identify Hong Kong protesters.

China is also developing “micro-bots,” or “micro-drones,” also known as, Robo-Bees, or Slaughterbots, which are tiny, and insect-like, and which gather data by way of Lidar, facial recognition, and heat-body-motion detection.

These micro-bots have full spatial awareness and can be used for human targeting, in which case they can deliver lethal doses of poison with a quick jab. They can also be trained to swarm and carry out mass attacks on large crowds. Parsa suggests that China is actively using such technology against the United States, and that he has advised the current Trump-administration about this surveillance.

In his third book, Artificial Intelligence. Dangers to Humanity, Parsa fully engages with robotics, and issues an open challenge to the various high-tech firms that are intent on developing capabilities which will lead to profound anti-human outcomes. Taking the lead in this development is China’s robotic and cyborg program, whose sole purpose is the control of all humanity on this planet.

Parsa rightly points out that China has only been able to advance so much in technology because of outright theft (it has sophisticated methods of stealing the latest innovations), tech espionage, forced tech transfers, open-source sharing, and outright collaboration with western companies.

In Parsa’s estimation, China has roughly 1000 new tech startups each day. Some of the things these new companies are developing include robotics, cybernetics, wearable AI surveillance gear, deep fake apps that are easily weaponized, IoT, smart phones, drones, and AI weapons (in which the Chinese military is particularly active). The goal is to record the biometrics of every human being on this planet, a task that is not hard to do, as many might imagine, despite the vast numbers. In fact, AI is built for precisely such massive data.

It is this technology-theft and espionage that has led to the recent Huawei affair. Parsa states that the goal of China is to dominate and control AI and the entirety of the global digital system; and one of the programs that Huawei is implementing is a robot police force, which can effectively track down and quarantine a person who has been tagged for such treatment by the Chinese state.

Huawei is also a Chinese vanguard organization, well-established in over 170 countries, where it creates and manages digital infrastructure. This means that their technology is now being used by 3 billion people, which is a third of the planet’s population. Their network effectively tracks, spies on and controls financial networks and even entire populations. That is vast reach. In fact, Huawei is implementing China’s larger global goals – the domination of financial and political infrastructures of the entire planet, and then the transformation of these infrastructures into one seamless and massive AI digital mega-brain – all run from somewhere in China.

But it is humanoid robotics that holds a special interest for China, in which it is investing a lot of its energy. The end-game of this pursuit is the creation of autonomous weapons, a cyborg army, which can be programmed to kill certain types of humans who have been tagged for elimination. All this is for a very old dream – China wants to be the master of the world.

Then, there is China’s leading role in creating sexbots (which also gather data and transmit it to a centralized system). Such robots are becoming more and more lifelike, and their demand is increasing. Of course, this is also weaponized sexuality, for it is solitary self-gratification, which negates the very idea of love between two human beings, and rather quickly undermines human worth.

Perhaps the question that the rest of need to ask is a simple one – why has the West (which created all this technology in the first place) allow China to become so powerful? And why is a country, which is a clear threat to the West, being empowered still?

The answers to these two questions return us to the original ones asked earlier. The West is confused about how it should understand the human being. Some in power (high-tech companies, the media, Hollywood, politicians) want to follow the Chinese definition. Others are not so sure. And only a minority, it would appear, vehemently reject such classification. This is the real culture war.

And, as an active participant in this culture war, Parsa has taken another unusual step. He has commenced the largest lawsuit of this century by charging corporations, politicians, the media, and banks, under Article 3 of the Genocide Convention, for complicity in the mass murder of humanity. This is a bold step and it will be interesting to see where it leads – whether it is dismissed as frivolous by the courts, or whether it actually gains its sea-legs and proceeds further (as it rightly should).

Whatever the outcome of this lawsuit, Parsa has set a worthy example to us all. His three books are a wake-up call – and the time now has come that we take back our humanity – before we lose it to Chinese and tech tyranny.

But to do so, we must first demand that our politicians be pro-human. We must stop believing in all the anti-human ideologies that now hold sway (such as, environmentalism, transgenderism, abortion, euthanasia). Our strange love of such attitudes and outlooks can only lead to destruction.

We must reject the madness that is environmentalism, because it is simply Neo-Malthusian eugenics. We must demand that a “China Divestment Policy” be implemented, whereby each nation is freed from reliance on cheap Chinese labor (for the Chinese state has enslaved its own population). And most important of all, we must stop being so darned agreeable and compliant when it comes to our own future. The boldness shown by Parsa is much-needed. Let us get behind a cause that really matters – humanity first! A good place to start is the Lethal Autonomous Weapons Pledge.

The image shows a poster for the film, Metropolis, from 1927.

Konrad Zuse – Inventor Of The Personal Computer

Z3 — the first fully functional program-controlled electromechanical digital computer in the world — was completed by Konrad Zuse in 1941. The calculation is super-easy: computer is 78 this year!

Konrad Zuse was born on June 22, 1910, in Berlin. He went to the high school in Braunsberg and later studied at the Technische Hochschule in Berlin-Charlottenburg. Konrad Zuse was a very creative student, and his favorite occupations were painting and building cranes.

He never thought about computers till 1934. As his son, Horst Zuse, states, “This was prompted by the many calculations he had to perform as a civil engineer, Today it is clear to me that he really hated performing these calculations and he wanted to make things easier for engineers and scientists.”

In 1935, he got his civil engineering degree. At the age of 35, Konrad Zuse got married and later became the father of five children. From 1959 onwards, he received many honors and prizes from international associations and universities, as well as from the German government.

His computer company, “Zuse KG”, founded in 1940 as “Zuse Ingenieurbüro und Apparatebau, Berlin”, prospered after the war and many machines following Z1, Z2, Z3 were built. By 1962, the company started experiencing financial difficulties and was sold first to “Brown Boveri and Co.,” and later to “Siemens”. Production of the Zuse series of computers was eventually stopped. He died in Hühnfeld, Germany, in 1995.

So, what were the first computers like? Z1 was a large and complex-looking machine weighing about 500 kg and consisting completely of thin metal sheets, which Zuse and his friends produced using a jig-saw. The only electrical unit was the engine, which was used to provide a clock frequency of one Hertz.

Z1 was built in 1936, but, like Z2 and Z3, built within 1938-1941, it was destroyed during wartime bombing. Z3 is undoubtedly considered to be “the first reliable, freely programmable, working computer in the world based on a binary floating-point number and switching system.” Unlike Z1 and Z2, it was constructed from relays.

Because of their historic value, Z1 and Z3 were rebuilt by Konrad Zuse after the war. Z3 was reconstructed in 1961 and is now in Deutsches Museum in Munich, and Z1 – in 1986, and can be found in Museum für Verkehr und Technik in Berlin. Just a fact: the cost of rebuilding the Z1 was around 800 000 DM.

Z4 was supposed to be a prototype of the computer for engineering bureaus and technical institutes. This computer had to solve the stupid task of calculations done manually by engineers. Again, due to the daily bombings and terrible life conditions in Berlin in 1945, when Z4 was about to be completed, Zuse didn’t finish his work, and fled with the remains of Z4 to South Germany. Later, in 1950, Z4 was installed in Zurich and worked there till 1955.

At the same time as he was building Z4, Konrad Zuse started developing and formulated the remarkably sophisticated programming language Plankalkül. This language was to be used for programming his machines in a powerful – more than only arithmetic calculations – way. Plankalkül was finished in 1946, but published in 1972 only, due to the efforts that Zuse had to take to maintain his own computer-building company “Zuse KG.”

Konrad Zuse’s dream was to create a small computer for business and scientific applications. He worked single-mindedly during many years to achieve this objective. Moreover, he had to finance his work himself, as the Nazi government didn’t support his ideas.

Courtesy German Culture.

The photo shows, “Phatasie,” by Konrad Zuse, painted in 1987.