September 2, 2012
The future is now.
In 2008 the Washington Post published an article titled “Washington’s Future, a History.” The article used the insight of two panels of experts who looked into the future 17 years from 2008. The Post’s article is a “fictional” account of a future Washington D.C. in which “small scale” terror attacks and angry rioters plague the streets and implantable ID chips allow government workers to pass through checkpoints.
Many of the scenarios depicted were foreseen by the alternative media and other well informed researchers well before the Washington Post. It didn’t take a crystal ball or otherworldly powers to discern what was coming. Government white papers and open statements foreshadowed plans for the construction of a surveillance society, a rising police state, and the implementation of martial law as globalization and economic collapse destroyed America.
The events that have transpired since the Post’s publishing of this article have brought visions of a far off future into cold, hard reality. As Homeland Security and other government entities are arming to the teeth, cities are being locked down in response to rising violence, government produced computer viruses are threatening to “blowback” and martial law could be just around the corner.
A 2008 report from the Army War College titled Known Unknowns: Unconventional Strategic Shocks in Defense Strategy Development stated that “Widespread civil violence inside the United States would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic order and human security…” This response would come after “… unforeseen economic collapse, loss of functioning political and legal order…”
Recently Congressman Roscoe Bartlett warned American citizens “… to develop an individual emergency plan to prepare for the absence of government assistance for extended periods…”
The following are some excerpts from the Washington Post article, which follows fictional characters lives as they travel through the future city.
“After years of nationwide economic decline, energy crises and sporadic small-scale terrorist hits…” the “Ververs” move back to the city centers to find safety.
“The drive from Washington to Konterra took long enough; now, the checkpoints at the gateways that controlled movement in and out of the inner District could stretch any workday by two or three hours, especially for people like Paula who still had no security clearance implants and little prospect of being able to afford any.”
“In this era of e-attacks and cyber meltdowns, energy rationing and angry protests, the path to social and economic mobility was clear: It was all about physical proximity. If you could somehow arrange to live near where you work, get your kids into nearby schools and subscribe to food and other suppliers close to home, you could make it.”
“…Paula was desperate to find a way to keep Paxten far from the gang battles that too often crossed the river from Virginia, where Salvadoran and Mexican gangs had set up what seemed like a permanent insurrection against state and federal immigration agents.”
“It had been nine years since a small nuclear device had exploded in a truck parked alongside a Manhattan synagogue just before the 2016 presidential election, instantly killing twice as many people as had died in the September 11, 2001, attacks. The Ververs, then still living in a wooded cul-de-sac in Stafford, spent some months glued to the Web site featuring 24-hour radiation maps…”
“Victor was assigned to monitor and massage bloggers and citizen journalists who wrote about and took shots at the feds.”
Also explored in the Post’s article is the effect of a rising technological society and its impact on the populace. As the outside world crumbles, real community is lost while pre-packaged experiences inside “Google LifeService” facilities replace it.
“Victor’s concerns about his new home were outweighed by a chance to create a new life, to find a way to live more as his grandparents’ generation had – surrounded by family, friends and people who knew one another’s lives and cares, people who found ways to carve out time to just be… the Ververs sympathized with the paper nostalgia movement, those Luddites and fuddy-duddies who put out neighborhood newspapers and insisted on writing letters long after the government had sold off the Postal Service to UPS. There was something about those old ways of connecting with other people that reminded Vivian of the quieter, slower life she read about in her “20th-Century Novel” course in college.”
“On weekends, the affluent stole away to the lifestyle centers that had been built in most urban nodes, places that charged admission and provided the privileged with a demographically calibrated blend of outdoor sports, experiential retailing, medical care, and school and work coaching.” “Even if he could afford them, Victor couldn’t stomach those places. The prepackaged experience felt false, even cartoonish. He preferred the social connections he and Vivian created on their own — clumsy and overly purposeful, yes, but nonetheless the beginnings of real community. “
In 2006, the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defense published the DCDC Strategic Trends 2007-2036 report, outlining possible scenarios for technology, society and world politics. Among other issues, the 2006 report accurately envisioned a “revolutionary middle class” that would revolt against economic hardship and burdens of debt, and described a future population implanted with brain chips.
Much of the Washington Post’s article is not based in science fiction fantasy but in very real trends. Government reports from the United States and United Kingdom have outlined similar scenarios, many of which have already materialized.