Introduction: A Word Album by Barrett Brown

Brian Knappenberger, We Are Legion
Written by Rebel News Admin

Barrett Brown is a friend of Rebel News and currently imprisoned Internet activist, journalist, and troublemaker. The following is an excerpt from his book Keep Rootin’ for Putin: Establishment Pundits and the Twilight of American Competence, which we personally think is fantastic and you should go get yourself a copy. Barrett hopes to write some original pieces for us as his situation allows, but being in prison makes his schedule a little complicated. Check out the Action Box after the text for information about how to help the people helping Barrett and other imprisoned activists.


“A firm rule must be imposed upon our nation before it destroys itself. The United States needs some theology and geometry, some taste and decency. I suspect that we are teetering on the edge of the abyss.” – John Kennedy Toole, A Confederacy of Dunces. 

In 2002, the Pulitzer Prize in the category of commentary was awarded to New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. In 2004, Friedman was made a member of the Pulitzer’s Board of Directors. Our nation is killing itself from within.

Every nation kills itself from within. Each nation’s golden age occurred some 50 years prior, and every such golden age could have gone on forever had it not been brought to an end by some misguided contingent of its own countrymen. A nation’s political enemies are always in control of the state, if only covertly or indirectly; in the modern age, they’ve branched out into the media for good measure.

Crime, you’ll recall, spiraled out of control in the ’70s, increasing exponentially until the federal government ceased to function altogether. Wealthy citizens moved into self-contained enclaves defended by private mercenary armies, while the poor organized themselves into communal military tribes, some seizing territory within the ruined cities, some taking to the highways in order that they might launch raids on the fortified hamlets into which rural Americans had organized themselves out of desperation.

On another occasion, the proliferation of nuclear power plants throughout the United States resulted in the accidental destruction of several major cities. Likewise, the proliferation of evolutionary theory and the decline of Biblical literalism resulted in the inevitable rise of a global government, itself led by a New Age tyrant who demands to be worshiped alongside some unspecified mother goddess.

The sexual revolution led to an epidemic of lesbianism and infanticide. Welfare reform led just as inevitably to mass starvation in the inner cities. The New Deal continued to snowball until 90 percent of the U.S. workforce was digging trenches and putting on Eugene O’Neill plays under the Works Progress Administration. Mega-corporations replaced most remaining national governments in the late ’90s. Everyone is now a crack addict.

Eight hundred thousand years from now, the human race will be divided into two species — one shall live on the surface, and the other beneath the ground.

To the extent that we look back and examine the predictions of our predecessors, we find ourselves confronted with a great deal of nonsense. This is a fine thing, as nonsense is wholly important. In studying nonsense, we find certain common characteristics that we may use to identify further nonsense of the contemporary sort, the nonsense that plagues us just now. We may determine, for instance, that many of the foolish predictions made in the past are quite clearly the result of ideology. If one opposes nuclear power, nuclear power will lead to disaster. If one opposes the theory of evolution, the theory of evolution will lead to immorality. If one opposes the sexual revolution, let us ignore him.

If we were to divide the causes of poor predictions into two categories, we would probably make ideology one of them. The other category would be that of extrapolation, the act of making determinations about the future based on the trends that have reached us here in the present by way of the past and which, one tends to assume, will continue their growth into the future.

When I was a kid, I came across an old copy of National Geographic from 1949 or thereabouts. An article, which had been entitled “Your Future World of Tomorrow” or some such stupid fucking thing in accordance with the low-concept style employed by our ancestors, detailed several technological innovations that would soon come to revolutionize our lives. One of these would be the practice of filling rockets with express mail and then shooting them across the Atlantic, to be retrieved by either Europeans or Americans as the case may be. Note that at the time of this prediction, the transatlantic cable had already been in existence for nearly 100 years. On the other hand, a lot of rockets had been fired lately. So perhaps even more would soon be fired, except with mail inside of them.

The problem with extrapolation is that it is entirely necessary. When we drive a car  —  I guess it has two steering wheels  —  we drive a certain speed in a certain direction. A tree is straight ahead. We extrapolate that, if we are to continue on our present course, we will hit that tree and then the cops will come and they’ll probably find what we’ve got stashed in the glove compartment. But having extrapolated this tree-hitting scenario from our present course, we will probably just turn the car a bit so that we are no longer headed for this problematic tree. Perhaps we will get back on the highway, where there are considerably fewer trees to hit, but at any rate we have used the art of extrapolation to avoid hitting the tree and are more likely to make it to our destination, which is Enrique’s dealer’s crib.

If some pedestrian is observing the car as it is headed towards the tree, he might very well make an extrapolation of his own  —  that, because the vehicle has been heading in a particular direction, this trend will continue until the car hits the tree. This is not the best bet to make, as the car’s driver almost invariably turns before hitting that object. In this case, the pedestrian forgot to allow for another extrapolation  —  that just because cars rarely hit things, this car is not likely to hit anything either.

Let us not conclude from the failures of past predictions that we ought not to make any of our own; we must simply learn from the errors of the past and properly apply the data of the present. Cars do sometimes hit things, after all, and this need happen only once for everyone inside to be killed. The purpose of this book is to convince the American reader that our republic is in the midst of an extraordinary structural crisis that threatens to cripple the nation and end its reign as the world’s foremost superpower.

* * *

This is a multi-part article

Also in Barrett Brown Excerpts

  1. Introduction: A Word Album by Barrett Brown
  2. Excerpt: Thomas Friedman by Barrett Brown

View the entire series


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Rebel News Admin

This is the admin account for the site. When we republish articles on behalf of writers without user accounts or publish official Rebel News updates from the team, this is the account that does that.

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Introduction: A Word Album by Barrett Brown

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