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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • A great LeGuin quote on capitalism, from The Dispossessed [wikipedia.org]. The speaker is visiting a capitalist planet called "Urras".

    ...there is nothing here but States and their weapons, the rich and their lies, and the poor and their misery. There is no way to act rightly, with a clear heart, on Urras. There is nothing you can do that profit does not enter in, and fear of loss, and the wish for power. You cannot say good morning without knowing which of you is 'superior' to the other, or trying to prove it. You cann

    • From a weblog I saw just days ago, via Justin Mason [taint.org]: John Rogers [blogspot.com] writes about hybrid cars [blogspot.com]:

      Kevin Drum [washingtonmonthly.com] recently quoted (and no, I’m way too stoned to track it down) a study which re-iterated that there’s no “real” advantage to buying a hybrid. It’s only just as convenient – so if you’re driving a hybrid, you’re doing it for some other reason than financial incentive.

      That made me think: what a perfect example of just how fucking useless as a society we’ve become. We can’t even bring ourselves to do the right thing when it’s only JUST as convenient as doing the wrong thing. And that’s not even considered odd. Even sadder.

      Of course, Le Guin’s quotation reaches further than this. And she speaks painful truth. I find consolation only in the fact that mankind is not nearly thoroughly corroded yet. The degree to which corrosion has progressed in Western society is alarming anyway, though.

      I haven’t read any of her books; maybe I should look into them.

      If you’re looking for a sci-fi author with socially critical stories and you haven’t checked him out, have a look at John Brunner. His stories are near-future fiction written decades ago, so reality has overtaken or avoided his extrapolations at point, but they’re far from obsolete. (Like Heinlein’s works, in a way.)