Dissenters have failed to come to terms with the enormity of the totalitarian revolution underway in the U.S. Radicals, leftists, progressives, liberals have all chosen, for the most part, different forms of denial and escapism. But now the time is at hand to decide once and for all how our individual lives must change in response to the beast that has arisen in this country. None of us can wait anymore, to see what will happen next, nor can any of us remain fence-straddlers, quiet objectionists. There should be no more reason to be surprised at events that are scheduled to happen, if there ever was any justification for being caught unawares.
The disbelief among all those who love this country is understandable, but it is time to move beyond it. We can only escape into our private selves for so long; this regime is so brutal that sooner or later there will be a knock on everyone’s door (literally and figuratively). Not one out of the 300 million people in this country will be left alone. Nobody will escape this vise, this continent-wide dragnet. If you’ve ever thought or spoken or written or done anything that the Dear, Great Leader of ours might not find acceptable, be very afraid. Make plans now, to protect yourself. All the love and good feelings in the world won’t be any good if you’re chosen to be the target of the Dear, Great Leader’s affection.
The government has been conducting an unprecedented campaign of psychological warfare against Americans. One understandable response to this barrage of terror is to become numb, hide within our shells. But this is a luxury that will not be afforded to us for long. Make the decision for yourself, pre-empt their plans for you, before it happens to you and it’s too late.
It is American as apple pie that when democracy in this country lost even its formal, procedural trappings, and when the empty husk that used to cover up the worst inequalities in the developed world was taken over by a gang of criminals the likes of which the world has not seen since Hitler, the revolution would go unnoticed by intellectuals. It is quite in tune with American delusion that the current issue of The Progressive is mostly devoted to Iraq. The Nation (which I shall henceforth call the world’s worst propaganda sheet) devotes its January 13/20 issue to yet another affirmation of its hip-hop credentials, its old fogey (or young fogey?) writers hyping the subversiveness of popular music (fogeys of whatever age at the world’s worst propaganda sheet chatting up hip-hop is not an advance over endless memorializing of Dylan and Springsteen). We’re witnessing the sequential watering down of Orwell through Raymond Williams through cultural studies through the world’s worst propaganda sheet, tapping into resistance where it doesn’t really exist. Meanwhile, the music in our lives falls silent.
The more we lose our formal, procedural freedoms at home, the more obsessively the dissenting media latch on to Palestine and Iraq. The world’s worst propaganda sheet’s former other stylist, in a prolonged fit of fanciful insanity, wants to bring democracy to Iraq, while being completely blind to the totalitarian transformation occurring right here under his contrarian nose. The world’s worst propaganda sheet joins Naomi Klein, the Canadian student of protest currently at the London School of Economics, in asking for more funds for bioterror preparedness (leaving out a discussion of how those with weakened immune systems might be affected by mass vaccinations).
These are signs of massive psychological dissonance. In the last two years, the world’s most advanced democracy, at least in terms of its formal acclamation of human rights, has become potentially the most dangerously totalitarian regime in recent history (the liberal journals always tell us, we’re not there yet). The Progressive, The Nation, In These Times, Mother Jones, The Village Voice and all the rest have failed to note this transformation, or collapse, in these stark terms. They talk about “secrecy” in government, to echo the New York Times. This is like talking about the difficulty of journalists obtaining court records on the deportation of Jews during the Nazi reign of terror (the same routinization of evil, making it banal by bureaucratization, is in operation in America today: for instance, the mass deportation of Arab and Muslim men under the guise of following immigration technicalities that have never been enforced). Hopes have been affixed to a revival of progressivism within the Democratic party, when it was the Democrats themselves who proposed the Homeland Security Department, endorsed the Patriot Bill for the most part, and earlier failed to stand up to a stolen election that was predictably going to usher in the dictatorial actions that we’ve seen this regime engage in.
The other side to the blindness of liberals is indiscriminate condemnation by so-called radicals, who don’t see any real distinction in the state of freedom in America before and after Bush. For these critics, America was just as much a hell before Bush as it is now: a Gore presidency for them would have made no difference. Some even take delight in watching the chaos unfold: for these prophets, it is all in the service of the final collapse of capitalism, which shall surely usher in the era of Marxist hunting, fishing, and–is it reading? And then there are the populists–like Ralph Nader–who also don’t claim to see a significant distinction between America before and after. I don’t see Nader, or the Canadian student of protest who is currently at LSE, showing up at the INS office in Los Angeles to protest the mass arrest of hundreds of Iranians who voluntarily showed up to comply with a new law to have themselves registered, finger-printed, and interrogated.
The most sweeping set of changes in American history has occurred in two short years, all our cherished freedoms annihilated beyond recognition, and the happy-faced dissenters and self-proclaimed contrarians have for the most part failed to raise the alarm. They should be dismissed out of hand, not taken seriously, no one should heed them, for they only dispense brain candy, telling us day after day, week after week, month after month, that things are still within control, that it’s simply a matter of bringing things back within balance soon (maybe next election time?). These dissenters tell us that unlike Nazi Germany, there are (so far) no trains to camps, no camps themselves, no mass arrests, no mass deportations. But in fact the lives of tens of millions of people–not whites, for the most part, so far–have been radically disrupted. All noncitizens, legally or illegally in this country, have been terrorized that they have no legal rights (that’s about a tenth of the population, or thirty million people, right there). How many people have changed plans, shelved ambitions, or lost jobs and suffered deprivation because of the loss of formal legal rights? In fact, there are mass arrests and mass deportations, with the potential for rapid escalation.
The most profoundly revolutionary thing the dissenting journals could do would be to shut up and shut down for a while, stop jabbering about the plight of the Iraqis and Palestinians, let us think about the revolution that is going on right here. Let us gather our wits, stop and think about what we have to deal with. Some time ago, street revolution might actually have stopped the process underway at headlong speed. But now it’s too late even for that. Events have lost all connection with facts. The worst economic crisis in either two decades, three decades, or seven decades, depending on the angle of concern, failed not only to result in loss of congressional representation for the ruling party, but led instead to historic, unprecedented gains at all levels of government. The Voter News Service, which was never at fault in the 2000 election and had correctly called the election for Gore, relying on the trustworthy exit polls we’d so grown to love and hate, is on the verge of final dissolution. Will there be exit polls to verify the results of election 2004 (as if we don’t already know the foregone conclusion)? The leading progressive member of the U.S. Senate conveniently died in a plane crash as yet unexplained (call it the Carnahan syndrome). This changed the shape of Senate races across the country, and led to unbelievable victories for Republicans in Minnesota and elsewhere. Profoundly incomprehensible election results occurred in Georgia.
David Corn and Eric Alterman are not going to be on a train to a gas chamber anytime soon, that’s true. But the Iranians and Middle Easterners who dutifully showed up to register with the INS in Los Angeles have had their lives radically disrupted. Extend this scenario to 300 million people, in some form or other. The aim of this regime is to cleanse the entire country of undesirables, eventually including whites, the elite, the intellectuals, the rich, the privileged, everyone. In the next stage of the crackdown, borders will be shut down, people will not be allowed to leave, and emergency powers will let them coerce us into feeling completely naked and exposed. Tens of millions of people in this country have suffered dramatic declines in peace of mind and standard of living, having lost the sheer ordinariness of life proceeding lazily and predictably along its normal course. And this is just the beginning. We are only on the cusp of a total transformation that has barely begun to be implemented yet. At the end of it, the newer generation will have grown up without memory of what it meant to have the right to privacy, the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, the right to counsel and access to courts, the ability to read and write and speak of free will. When that memory is gone, then the revolution will be complete.
Is all this alarmist? Is this crying wolf before there’s any need to? Can things still be brought under control? Is it drugs or paranoia or conspiracy theory on my part? Is our political system really so susceptible to takeover by a gang of fascists? Will the New York Times and the CFR and the Brookings Institution and the Americans for Democratic Action and the ACLU not be able to step in to help us, in the nick of time? Can such a great nation be brought down so low so fast? Will there not be a full reckoning at the next elections?
There are two answers to this. One, the study of history–our own, and that of other empires that have succumbed quickly to calamity–lets us quickly discern the invariant, unmistakable marks of the collapse of civilized order. Second, the study of the present, with signs so obvious and visible that everything one needs to know about the future components of this continuing transformation is already on the pages of the New York Times every day, and has been so for some time now. There is no need anymore to consult the pages of the dissenting journals: everything is out completely in the open. Nothing is occult, nothing obscure. That alone tells us how far down the road to annihilation we have progressed.
What’s in store for the next couple of years? Surely, no Democrat will dare to call for suspension of the Patriot Act or any part of Homeland Security. Optimists are mistaken to have any hope for 2004; this regime can change the whole subject of discourse to terror should the need arise. If the economy starts doing better, there may not be as much need to declare an emergency, to give unprecedented search and arrest powers to the military. But they may do that anyway, just to make the point, just to show us that they can do that if they want. Bioterror seems to be the most efficient way to terrorize the largest number of people in this country, to cast the widest possible net, without respect to class and color and region, and so some form of trumped-up bioterror attack should be the way to finally and fully crack down on all remaining non-conformists. Even if hundreds or thousands of people were to die because of smallpox vaccinations, the country would simply accept it. This regime is too good at psychological warfare against its own people to let protest of any nature derail its plans. We may expect the Northern Command to be given some excuse to make its presence felt, so that each of us lives constantly in terror of the bayonet breaking down the door and making us disappear into the unknown. The distinctions between law enforcement, intelligence, and military action will be completely erased, and that will be the most lasting and unalterable part of the transformation; no future government, Democrat or otherwise, will be able to challenge this merger. War against Iraq should prove to be costless to America, and this will boost the president’s ratings to stratospheric levels. But should the need arise, there are many other dangerous enemies in waiting: Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt. The corollary of each brutal conquest abroad is radical erosion of liberties at home. By the end of it all, we’ll be left with nothing. It seems that a direct crackdown on intellectual dissent–which so far has been delayed as a secondary step–is now about to occur. They won’t need to make examples of many people to bring out the full flavor of cowardice among our so-called intellectuals; the academics with cushy positions at universities have already bailed out and won’t be heard from again under any circumstances. They will join the German university professors of the thirties in the highest ranks of modern cowards (yes, this means you, professor and former dissenter Cornel West, and all like you).
We are now living in potentially the most totalitarian regime the world has seen since the catastrophes of the middle of the last century. And yet life seems to go on as usual. But is that really the case? Aren’t there already numbers of people afraid, disoriented, desperate as to what they can expect in the future? Look at the news any day of the week, and you’ll be numbed by information such as the following random snippets:
Ashcroft’s “guidelines on general crimes, racketeering enterprise and terrorism enterprise investigations” extend the scope of investigation to normal political activity. The FBI can now spy on political groups without warrants, without the primary purpose being intelligence gathering.
The Lackawanna Six, Seattle activist James Ujaama, Rabih Haddad (founder of Global Relief Foundation), and individuals linked with the Holy Land Foundation, have been arrested on charges of links to terrorism without any evidence whatsoever. A Quincy, Massachusetts software firm named Ptech, with a Middle Eastern co-founder and employees, has been brought low after negative publicity associated with a raid conducted on suspicion of terrorist ties. The Justice Department has caught not a single individual since September 11 having anything to do with terrorism. All the individuals “caught” have been out in the open, in some cases volunteering to help with investigations, and fully cooperative. Individuals arrested in connection with anything having to do with terrorism have only been caught in other countries, in Europe and Asia, since September 11. So this is not about catching terrorists, but terrorizing the rest of us.
The FBI on New Year’s Eve put out pictures of five men it said were of Middle Eastern descent (although the men had South Asian names and faces). It then admitted that both the pictures and names may not have anything to do with actual people it was looking for. This meant in effect that every single person of Middle Eastern and South Asian descent was suspect because there was no certainty about actual identity (on New Year’s Eve, cable news kept interrupting broadcasts of celebrations with the update that the FBI was conducting raids across the country, particularly in New York). Actually, this gave them scope to suspect all 300 million of us, and all 6 billion people in the world, since nothing could be said about the physical appearance or names of the persons being searched. Now the FBI has admitted that the whole story was made up by a Canadian tipster under American scrutiny. A Canadian Mountie told the Toronto Globe and Mail, “It was a slow week at the White House. They needed something to stir the pot because nothing was happening in Iraq.”
The Northern Command, established on October 1, has recently been making statements that it’s all geared up and ready to move into swift law-enforcement action should the need arise in case of a bioterror or other emergency. General Ralph E. Eberhart counts “medical scenarios: smallpox, you name the disease that we might be involved in terms of quarantine” among threats the military must be able to confront. Talking to the New York Times, he gloats, “You name the infrastructure. It could be a bridge, it could be an oil refinery, the list goes on and on.” Chomping at the bit, he adds, “I guess you could conjure up a situation where it was so bad that no one else had the capability to be in charge. We could be in charge at that point.” Gen. Eberhart is fond of repeating that the military is prepared to defend us from “two or three [attacks] at the same timedifferent in nature.” Is he giving away too much?
According to the New York Times of January 8, a commission chaired by Paul A. Volcker has suggested that congress should give the president the authority to conduct a sweeping reorganization of the federal government into a small number of “tightly focused departments” and “greater management flexibility.” The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would be the model to do away with the General Schedule classification and pay system, as well as reducing ethical and financial disclosure requirements for federal employees.
Bookstores and libraries have been complicit for some time now in giving the FBI information about customers’ and clients’ reading habits. Bookstore employees and librarians may not divulge to patrons that they are being surveilled; this would subject employees or librarians to criminal prosecution.
When noncitizens from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, and Lybia voluntarily showed up to register with the INS last month, hundreds across the country, particularly in Los Angeles, were detained. The same fate awaits noncitizens from other countries scheduled to register in the coming weeks. The INS’s “Call-In Special Registration” program (under the N-SEERS, or National Security Entry-Exit Registration System) is a classic Catch-22: if immigrants show up they are interrogated, and sometimes detained or put into deportation proceedings even if they have a valid adjustment of status application in process. The Association of Immigration Lawyers of America (AILA) reports on its website harassment of immigrants at offices across the country during special registration: immigrants are asked to empty their wallets, turn in their credit card and bank account information, and even video rental cards. They are asked intrusive questions about political affiliation and beliefs. All this information is being entered into a permanent data base, and we can anticipate the INS (soon to fold into DHS), in conjunction with law enforcement and intelligence agencies, following up on the activities of these immigrants on a more intrusive basis in coming years (everyone reporting for registration is assigned a lifetime Fingerprint Identification Number, or FIN). The Boston Globe reports on January 4 that hundreds of Middle Easterners and South Asians are lining up at the Canadian border to seek refugee or political asylum status, afraid to continue living in the U.S., even though many have been here for years and are professionals. The media continue to calmly describe the registration plan as applying to “visitors,” when in fact many of those affected may have been here for as long as twenty years, with families and established careers.
The visa granting process has become part of the infinitely elastic terrorism investigation, so that individuals are tainted as potential criminals before they’re even allowed entry into the country. Foreigners are being fingerprinted at ports of entry, to become part of a permanent database. Foreign students are now systematically being tracked under the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) for their activities, so that any move that raises suspicions (a change in major to physics?) can land them in trouble.
Internet service providers, as part of “The National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace” prepared by the president’s Critical Infrastructure Board, are to take part in universal surveillance of internet use. According to the New York Times, an official with a “major data services company says that “part of monitoring the Internet and doing real-time analysis is to be able to track incidents while they are occurring.” The official calls it ten times worse than Carnivore, because “Carnivore was working on much smaller feeds and could not scale,” while “this is looking at the whole Internet.”
The Denver police recently revealed that they have gathered information on thousands of political activists going back to the 1950s. This type of local police involvement in surveillance of political groups will be the new standard. The foreign intelligence agencies are back in the business of domestic spying, and more ominously, the focus has shifted to military intelligence agencies linking up with local police to infiltrate and disrupt political groups. The New York Times reports about the new tools: “Using filters from the Navy’s space warfare project, Spawar, the agents are now dumping all that data into one big computer so that with one mouse click they can find everything from traffic fines to immigration law violations.” This program is being tested in San Diego, Baltimore, Seattle, St. Louis, Portland, and Norfolk.
Health officials complain that the smallpox vaccination effort will divert resources from such essential heath services as cancer and tuberculosis screening, and children’s dental examinations. First half a million health care and emergency workers, and then ten million more health care workers, police officers, and emergency medical responders will be vaccinated. People with certain skin conditions and weakened immune systems cannot be vaccinated. Those who have been newly vaccinated can infect those who have not been vaccinated, with vaccinia, a related virus used to make the smallpox vaccination. The New York Times says: “The virus is shed from the vaccination site for two or three weeks, and people who come in contact with it can become very ill if they have certain skin disorders or a weakened immune system. Doctors have been especially worried that vaccinia would be brought into hospitals by vaccinated workers and then spread among vulnerable patients.” Dr. Kent A. Sepkowitz, director of infection control at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan, reassures us that there won’t be vaccinia epidemics in hospitals as long as medical workers follow instructions to keep the vaccination site covered (aren’t you relieved?). Smallpox is the deadliest of all vaccines. It’s as if the government were reviving a plague that had been extinguished from the world, intentionally reintroducing it to terrorize Americans. (The last known case of smallpox in the U.S. was in 1949, and worldwide in 1977.)
Two major hospitals, one in Atlanta and one in Virginia, have refused to take part in vaccinations, but the bulk of doctors have been quoted as saying that we need to make sacrifices (thousands of dead people?) to make the plan work.
The New York Times reports that police are conducting random and extensive DNA dragnets in different jurisdictions, violating all norms against “compelled self-incrimination and unreasonable search and seizure.” After all, if you haven’t done anything wrong, what have you got to hide?
MIT has rejected federal funds to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars rather than let the government have a say in approving foreign nationals involved in scientific projects. But what other schools have succumbed to this pressure and started meeting the government’s demands? On January 10, the New York Times writes about a broad government assault on independence in scientific research. Lewis Branscom of Harvard speaks of “an elaborate web of controls that look and smell and taste like classification.” He adds that excluding from scientific research certain types of people, like noncitizens, marijuana users, or those with a history of mental illness reminds him “very much of the McCarthy days.”
Before leaving or re-entering the country, Americans will have to give the government detailed personal information to become part of a permanent database. The New York Times says that the “added information would be collected while the aircraft or vessel[is] en route to the United States and electronically transmitted to immigration officials on the ground at the port of entry.” This is all part of the border security bill overwhelmingly approved by Congress last spring.
New airline baggage screening rules went into effect on the first of the year, resulting in the checking of all bags for explosives. The New York Times reports that “officials acknowledgethat the screening machines can generate false positive readings up to 30 percent of the time. In such cases, transportation security officials inspect the bags by hand.” To help the snoops, passengers are asked to leave “their bags unlocked,” because “security agents will break into a locked bag or locate its owner if it raises suspicions.”
The government continues to deny legal protections under international treaties to detainees at Guantanomo Bay, and to Yasser Esam Hamdi and Jose Padilla, two American citizens held as enemy combatants. Since August, the government has won a series of victories in the courts in detaining people without legal representation, or without even bringing charges against them, indefinitely and incommunicado. If any cases work their way to the Supreme Court, the result there is foregone too. Military tribunals have been formalized, and await use should that be necessary. On January 8, a federal appeals court overturned a lower court ruling, declaring that the government can hold U.S. citizens as enemy combatants without constitutional protections: “Any effort to ascertain the facts concerning the petitioner’s [Hamdi’s] conduct while amongst the nation’s enemies would entail an unacceptable risk of obstructing war efforts authorized by Congress and undertaken by the executive branch.” The panel also found that “the constitutional allocation of war powers affords the president extraordinarily broad authority as commander in chief and compels the courts to assume a deferential posture in reviewing exercises of this authority.” The Defense Department has only filed a two-page statement, lacking details, to justify Hamdi’s indefinite detention as an enemy combatant. As for Padilla, the hapless Chicago gangbanger, the New York Times reports on January 10 that the government says in a new court filing that allowing a lawyer to see Padilla “would threaten permanently to undermine the military’s efforts to develop a relationship of trust and dependency that is essential to effective interrogation.” As part of a new brief, the government brags in a nine-page declaration by Vice Admiral Lowell E. Jacoby, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, that it is “engaged in a robust program” to interrogate detainees.
Total Information Awareness (TIA), part of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (Darpa) of the Pentagon, led by Iran-contra felon John Poindexter, “could link for the first time such different electronic sources as video feeds from airport surveillance cameras, credit card transactions, airline reservations, and telephone calling records.” The idea again is to “pre-empt” patterns of activity that fit certain standards. All parts of one’s life–what one eats, what movies one rents, what one reads–will be linked in real-time as part of the most sophisticated data-mining technology ever conceived. This passes under the benign rubric of information-sharing among agencies and databases, accepted by both political parties as a necessity.
This is just a random selection of news from recent days; one can cull stunning new items like this everyday. Freedom of Information has been eviscerated: the new standard is to avoid disclosure if at all possible (the Clinton administration told agencies early on to release records whenever possible, even if the law provided a reason not to, while Ashcroft announced a new policy on Freedom of Information in late 2001 directing agencies to reject requests for documents if there was any legal basis to do so, and promising to defend the agencies in court). Secret courts, secret evidence, and secret prosecutions have been legitimated for the most part by the courts. The documents of previous administrations are being withheld from scholars. Immigration hearings are being conducted in secrecy in their entirety, on the ridiculous justification that holding them openly would provide terrorists with a “road map” of the investigations. All that needs to happen now is some other fabricated emergency to put the final stages of the plan into action.
We who love this country have always done so because–although we don’t have good health care and have to pay for education and basic social services–at least this country has let us be free (in the restricted, private sense of the term). But for twenty years now, these freedoms have been progressively eroded. The Reagan era drug war was a huge affront to civil liberties, but the puritan-progressives were constrained by their own ideological leanings to really try to push the country back into a more libertarian stance. Ruby Ridge, Waco, Oklahoma City, welfare “reform,” and impeachment were the next preliminaries leading up to the full-fledged assault that began with the stolen election.
An entirely new model of post-liberal governance seems to be emerging; political scientists, as usual, are behind the curve in anticipating and describing its contours. Even the venerable postal service, long operating according to the principles of universal access and uniform rates, is in danger of being privatized. A business model that differentiates between customers according to rank and privilege should replace the standard of equal treatment of citizens even at the reliable old post office. As usual, whenever capitalism escalates into its next brutal phase (as it did in the 1930s), those who most fervently believe in the pieties of liberal democracy are the first and most tragic targets of oppression. Jews in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s considered themselves more German than most Germans, and so felt untouchable; South Asians and Middle Easterners in America today see themselves similarly with respect to Americanness, being at the forefront of the struggle for liberal values. But it is precisely the most na?ve and zealous believers in enlightenment ideals that must be subject to radical silencing at each new stage of capitalist brutalization. The new strategies of suppression then become part of the permanent shared legacy of civilization (the German and Soviet totalitarian innovations haven’t disappeared: they are latent, always available to the next innovative capitalist regime to appropriate according to its particular needs). The components of the new American model of human degradation should also be always available to other nations.
At no point in our degeneration did liberals in the established media come out to protest the gravity of the situation. They have always underestimated the powers they were up against. Where has the smallpox threat come from? What information does the government have that leads it to believe that this is a real threat? Why is nobody asking this question? Will the military be involved in quarantining large segments of the population if mass vaccinations are ordered? Will door to door searches be permitted? Is the INS special registration a mere prelude to registration (next of Middle Easterners, South Asians, and Muslims, even if citizens), detention, and deportation on a colossal scale? How many other Americans will fall under the ambit of “enemy combatant?”
Do Americans seek refuge in Canada? Do we go to Britain, France, Italy? Do we figure out how to protect ourselves from smallpox vaccinations, although the trap is so elegantly laid that there seems no escape from it? Do we destroy the papers and documents in our homes, so that the wrong hands don’t get a hold of them? Do we cease “dangerous” email and phone conversations? Do we continue to risk flying, despite the fact that any of us might at any time end up on a no-fly list, and face harassment, arrest, even torture, depending on what other disagreeable parts of our lives the government databases can get hold of? Do we drive and walk around and travel like cowards, afraid of the cop pulling us over, interrogating us about anything he wants to, making us feel naked and exposed and weak? Do we disconnect our association with organizations and interests that we feel may taint us by guilt with association? Do we cease all activity, all thought, all dissent, all individuality, because anything different we do stands out, noticed by the snoops and spies? Do we cease to exist as human beings? Is there any way to stop this dehumanization before we lose memory of how things used to be?
ANIS SHIVANI studied economics at Harvard, and is the author of two novels, The Age of Critics and Memoirs of a Terrorist. He welcomes comments at: Anis_Shivani_ab92@post.harvard.edu