As the world population continues to grow, the number of clues seems to remain a constant. Certainly the number of people who don't have a clue is growing at an alarming rate. And occasionally, I feel the urge to single out some of them for verbal abuse.

1. Hawks in the War on Drugs.
One good definition of insanity is doing exactly the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. On this basis, the drug warriors are past pathological and heading for a land of 90-inch sleeves. One expects this sort of thing from Democrats, who are desperate to seize the pseudo-moral high ground these days. Curiously, though, the Republicans who worship at the altar of free enterprise have managed to delude themselves that this particular enterprise is somehow exempt from the laws of supply and demand. But hypocrisy aside, the War on Drugs is by any measure a failure; were we a rational people, we would cut our losses and move on to more immediate — at least, more soluble — problems. Fat chance of that.

2. The Southern Baptist Convention.
Individual Southern Baptists, at least the ones I know, tend to be smart, kindly, forgiving, altogether nice folks. For some reason, however, they invariably seem to allow themselves to be governed by nogoodniks nostalgic for the Inquisition. In recent years, there have been power struggles in the denomination, and the winners have gleefully rushed to embrace notions that other Christians feel compelled to denounce — even other Southern Baptists. It's enough to make you run out and buy 100 shares of Disney.

3. Latter-day computer vandals.
The term hacker was once a term of honor; the brilliance of one's hack was enough to ensure a measure of renown. And there are still a few old-style hackers out there, which may be why the run-of-the-mill pests who get all the press these days look that much more odious by comparison. The hackish spirit is never malicious, never self-serving. Mostly, what we have these days are poseurs. They may be as efficient as the hackers of yore, but they'll never be worthy of the name.

The Vent

#65
17 August 1997

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