VFTB Live: Paul Collins and Phillip Collins — The Virtual Panopticon

18th CENTURY philosopher and architect Jeremy Bentham invented a new type of prison in which inmates could be watched by jailers at any time, or all the time, without the knowledge of the prisoners. The panopticon has disturbing implications for the total surveillance society in which we find ourselves today.

Paul Collins and Phillip Collins, authors of The Ascendancy of the Scientific Dictatorship, discuss the legacy of Bentham and his panopticon.

Here’s the promised link to the online e-book version of The Last Circle by Cheri Seymour, a chilling look at the lengths to which some will go to gain the power to bend others to their will.

And here’s the link to the free e-book edition of Accelerando by Charles Stross, a sci-fi novel that depicts what the Singularity might look like — from a pro-Singularity perspective.

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  1. Downloading now and seriously looking forward to listening to this show. I love your interviews with the Collins Brothers. Thanks to you all!

  2. No prob, Derek. It’s very easy to overlook every detail, especially when your plate is already full. Just ask the readers of the local paper I write for. They’re always quick to point out when details are overlooked. But, when you write both sports and community features, something’s bound to fall through the cracks. Besides that, I’m one fry short of a Happy Meal.

    BTW, loved the ad spot! Next time, you could add something like, “Act now and you’ll also receive Phillip Collins’ 1996 Ford Taurus!”

    Good grief, I hate my car.

  3. Hello!

    Very nice hearing the Collins brothers again! Reminding me that I definitvely need to read their book (my excuse is that I’m not a native english speaker, a great cover story for my laziness and lack of focus…), which I will offer to myself this Christmas, no excuse. I see this material as “non-magical thinking” conspiracy theory, if you wish, which is a pretty sound change from the more unhinged/paranoid/instrumentalized (?) stuff… not that the “extreme” cannot co-exist with what you offer as a worldview, but it rather complements it (as a “supernatural” layer of some sort).

    Not 100% eyes-to-eyes with you, but I’d say your take on this may be the most “grounded”.

    Also, and this is for one or both of them, do you think you’ll be able to get out more “steal this podcastt/blessed resistance radio” podcasts? The last one was from august.
    Note that I’m fully aware that you have real-life obligations, I’m just curious, as I found the archived material very interesting, I never had take the care before of retrieving and listening to them all, great complements to the articles.

    Kevin the hapless french guy

  4. Kevin,

    “Also, and this is for one or both of them, do you think you’ll be able to get out more “steal this podcastt/blessed resistance radio” podcasts? The last one was from august.”

    Here’s the prob:

    The producer of our show burnt his gear up. How, I have no idea. One minute, we were there, recording our first interview show with Jay Dyer. The next minute, there’s a weird noise and everything was gone.

    So, we’re focusing one two things: new articles and the new book.

    Sounds great, but there’s a problem even with that.

    As I write this, I sit in the office of the Xenia Daily Gazette where I work as a staff writer. Every day, I have to turn copy. I’m so busy it’s unbelievable. Last week was election week and, no fooling, I was in the office until 1 a.m.

    Needless to say, the job is a demanding mistress. It’s even taken me away from my first calling: theater. The last time I did a play was in 2008.

    So things may move considerably slower now.

    All I can ask for is patience. As a Frenchman, I’m sure you know that the Eiffel Tower wasn’t built in one day.

    If the show ever comes back, it will certainly not be called “The Collins Bros Unleashed” again. The comic book title was dreamed up by our producer. It was really immature and betrayed the seriousness of the material being presented. We wanted to play it straight; he wanted a rock n’ roll party show in my opinion. At 36, I’m burnt out on the childmen who view themselves as hip, rock start dissenters facing off against the squares of the Establishment.

    How are things there, by the way? Whenever I look at the Eurozone on the BBC, I cringe. So many problems you seem to be having on the continent (many of which were brought on by socialist utopians and globalist).

  5. Hello, Mr. Collins!

    Yeah, that’s about what I figured, regarding real life obligations; don’t worry, I’m not selfish enough to believe you have any sort of duty to provide me and others with podcasts and the like! “Feed me…”
    In any case, what you already have produced – and there’s a lot of material, written and audio! – is more than enough for anybody to ponder about!
    I didn’t think the “Collins Brothers unleashed” was really corny, but then again, you probably are right in that it maybe clashed against what you try to do, and how you try to do it.

    Anyway, I’m far from being able to criticize anyone for being immature, given that I’m some kind of manchild myself (though I’ve never, ever thought of myself as a “rebel”, especially given that the “rebels” are “the Man”), so, I’ll just take your word about your producer.
    To be frank, the only thing that bothered me about your show was the low audio quality of the first eps, but this was inconsequential to the content anyway. The sponsoring bits were funny, too, but, what the heck, again, that’s irrelevant to what you have to say, and it really shouldn’t bother anyone listening to you, nothing to be ashamed of.
    I’m looking forward geeting your book this december, and I think I’ll offer a couple to two US contacts/friends as Christmas gift.

    Best regards,
    Kevin the hapless french guy

  6. Also, re the current EU situation, I have nothing to say about it, really. I’m a random blue collar guy, school drop-out, from a rather preserved rural/tourist, cozy area, so I’m looking at all this from a rather distant viewpoint… add to this my total indifference to the french political process, and you probably are as good an observer as I am. As far as I’m concerned, France could be just a foreign country I only hear about from time to time.

    My only two comments on this would be :

    1)an “european” perspective on the “US” perspective on Europe; since 2001 to now, my worldview has shifted, first gradually; then brutally, from an “US-centric” worldview (IE what you’d find on any conservative or conservative-leaning blog, forum,…) back to an “Europe-centric” worldview.
    I’m not sure to be able to put this coherently, but, it’s basically “clean up your own act, before criticizing others!”…
    The USA really are in no position as a country, a Nation and a culture, to be judgemental on the (very real) woes and lackings of Europe, since there’s the same things going on there, with varying degrees, some more severe, some lesser… and, in many case, the modern, post-WWII origins of those woes are anglo-saxon, if not purely american (at least geographically), so…
    I simply cannot stand those double-standards anymore, those blindspots, favored “meme”, of the US “conservatives”.
    Europe as a whole is f9cked up, sure. But, so are you, look in a mirror, cut back the Hubris.
    End of rant.


    2) I don’t know how this will end up, really.

    The material situation of most of Western Europe, bar Germany, is pretty simple, it’s an orgy of State debt and spending… not sustainable, and what cannot last won’t last, period.
    What will come out of it, I have no idea.

    The moral situation is pretty gloomy too, I don’t know… there is nothing left at the core, that’s my feel, I’m probably wrong, but… You are right when you talk about utopia, the utopian project has eaten away the “soul” of the people. I’m painting Europe with a hugely broadbrush here, that probably is to be nuanced a lot, but France is a really sad example of this… a technocratic superstructure since post-WWII that has smothered the Nation (the jacobin, positivist ideological ground of post-Revolution France proved itself very fertile), and since the late 60’s/70’s, the “new left”/freudomarxists have taken a total hold of the ideological field (again, the post-WWII baby-boomers were a very fertile ground for this)… France has became an “anti-Nation” which exists solely in its own negation, with a bloated and impotent State and “Diversity” as its only surviving glue.

    Frankly, I see no going back (but, see above, I’m not sure there is much going back for the USA or the vaunted “anglosphere” as well…).
    Qui vivra verra, that’s all.

    Anyway, France has been at war with itself since 1789, with, what, 16 constitutions since then? A never-ending war against itself that I think had its twilight withthe last gap of WWII, when “red France” won once for all?

    Ok, sorry for the overly long comment (my bad about the bandwith, Mr. Gilbert!), and the rambling.

  7. “The sponsoring bits were funny, too…”

    Yup, I still crack up at them. Billy Mays I ain’t.


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