One of my favorite readers (not an American) made a comment that contained the following paragraph:
No-one owns the land. We may have pieces of paper that give us the man-made legal right to live on it, we may pass that paper down to our children but, in the end, we do not own the land. The land belongs to the planet and the planet belongs to everyone.
There is a vast gulf between that viewpoint and the one I was raised with. I was raised to take responsibility for my actions and to look after the rights of others.
If the planet belongs to everyone, then no one owns anything. The Soviet Union and every other effort at diminishing personal ownership and responsibility has show the results of collectivism to be uniformly unfortunate for all concerned.
If you want current examples of this, look at the abysmal record of Federal housing. Nobody cares if they have no stake in the results.
The big difference between failing economies and successful economies is individual ownership and the pride that comes with that.
Four years ago, I posted this "political map" entitled "The World According to the United States of America."
I think it's time I posted it again.
If you are an American, this map may serve as an interesting test of how secure you are in your beliefs and in your self-esteem. If you are a citizen of another country, this map may show something else entirely.
Please click on the image and read the enlarged version of the map. What are your emotional responses to the captions it contains?
I've discovered that readers have a wide range of reactions to this map. I have been thinking that this map shows points of interest, rather than mere space. In a quirky way, it is analogous to the Internet where content is more important than the source.
When you combine Victorian aesthetic principles with modern sensibilities and technologies, you get something called Steampunk.
It may have sprung out of a subgenre of fantasy and speculative fiction which came into prominence in the 1980s and early 1990s, but it is now spreading into the creation of items which evoke curious emotional responses on the part of viewers.
When I look at this working computer with its classic typewriter keys and its brass framed monitor on a marble stand, it conjures up images of an alternate universe where steam still rules in happy juxtaposition with the descendants of Charles Babbage's Difference Engine.
The intricate detail and the polished brass make a striking and somehow very natural example of a product of an alternate historical era. This is the creation of Hieronymus Isambard "Jake" von Slatt who is the proprieter of the Steampunk Workshop.
On the other hand, Weta Workshop in New Zealand is delving into their collective unconscious and is producing rayguns.
Dr. Grordbort's Infallible Aether Oscillators, is a line of antique-styled sci-fi hand weapons, conceived by Greg Broadmore and meticulously built by Master Model Maker David Tremont.
One look at these age-encrusted, Phlogiston-powered beauties and I am transported to the days of Flash Gordon and the early days of Astounding Science Fiction when I was first exposed to the mind-expanding possibilities of speculative science fiction.
I have often felt that our travel through time is the result of a series of cumulative decisions. What we experience now might have been very different if certain decisions had not been made or made differently.
When you consider the idea that we might undo past decisions through ignorance or by choice, it might be a good idea to really study history carefully...
For example, the government of the United States is the result of a
revolution in thought. It was founded on the principle that all persons
have equal rights, and that government is responsible to, and derives
its powers from, a free people.
When we lose sight of the power that is generated by society of free
men and women and get reasonable with those who would subjugate others
in the name of religion, we could easily find ourselves in an alternate
reality of slavery for women and subjugation of those who believe
When we get reasonable with those who corrupt the system and who
attempt to make the government control the people rather than the other
way around, we invite a slide into a dark and unfriendly future reality
from which there may be no returning.
Exploring alternate realities is an interesting exercise of the
imagination and does no harm as long as we do not lose sight of real
world crises and real world responsibilities.
For more information on the lighter side of Steampunk, visit Brass Goggles, a site devoted to all things steampunk, including steam-powered robots!