Sunday, July 17, 2005

CantWonts and CanWills

I had a friend that decided to go into business for himself installing residential cable. This was around 1980. He didn't have a lot of money but he was industrious and not afraid of hard work. He managed to finance a vehicle, hand tools, specialty tools, ladders and a machine to lay the cable from the pole to the house without damaging the lawn. This machine was like a plow that lifted the turf and split it. Then it placed the cable under the two halves and laid them down over it leaving a small scar. Pretty cool and must have been exspensive. So he's up to his eyeballs in business debt, with wife and baby as well. Let's call this friend Bob.

I had another friend that was less industrious and like water sought the means of least resistence. He never had any money because he couldn't keep a job. In all fairness the guy is the exact opposite today but back then that's how he was. Let's call this friend Carl.

Bob got busy; remember this was the era of the initial wire-up of cable to homes. The 'Video Killed The Radio Star' days. Soon he had more installs than he could do by himself. As luck would have it, Carl was again in one of his 'in between jobs' phases and Bob hired him as an assistant.

Carl's job was to run the cable laying machine while Bob did the pole and interior work. They worked together this way for about six months then came the grumblings. Carl was becoming disgruntled because he felt that he was having to do the hard work and he ought to get half of what they made instead of his wage. Of course, he never felt he should equally sharing the debt.

The point of this is an observation of human nature with macro-scale examples of the same kind of thinking among institutions as Carl.

I have noticed that people come in two attitudinal modes: the 'Can't and Won't' group and the 'Can and Will' group. I will call them the CantWonts and the CanWills for brevity's sake.

It is typical to find the CantWonts upset with the CanWills for not sharing the bounty of their endeavors. The CanWills usually respond by telling the CantWonts that they too can be CanWills if only they would change their attitude.

John Kerry, Teddy 'Jo' Kennedy, Hollywood, Europe are CantWonts -
"you can't execute this war we won't be sucessful, we won't be liked;it will be like Vietnam where we couldn't win"

George Bush, Tony Blair, John Howard, Jose Aznar and allies are CanWills -
"We can and we will be successful".

Still the CantWonts continue to scream because the CanWills will not share their electoral and Constitutional power with them. Then they invoke the Fairness Doctrine. "You're not being fair"; "You're not playing fairly". I keep getting images of little children fighting.. I digress.

Today's example of this phenomena in the human herd involves the governance of the internet. The UN wants control of it. China wants it controlled. The US ain't having any of it.

Essentially the internet came about as a US information and communication redundancy defense strategy against some of those very same members of that august world body. It began here as a defense against them. We developed it. Then we shared it. Then we commercialised it. Now they think it is theirs. This brings to mind another of my observations of the herd "if you start treating people like they're special then they will start thinking they are truly special".

The quotes in the article that set me off on this neural slip-n-slip was this comment from Markus Kummer, executive director of the U.N. Working Group on Internet Governance:

"The United States historically has played that role because it funded much of the Internet's early development."

"'The group as a whole recognizes that it is clear the U.S. has played a beneficial role,' Kummer said."

Beneficial role !? Carl ?????? Is that you ?????

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