quote of the day – h. beam piper

For words written in 1963, they surely do resonate poignantly today:

You were there; you saw what’s happening. The barbarians are rising; they have a leader, and they’re uniting. Every society rests on a barbarian base. The people who don’t understand civilization, and wouldn’t like it if they did. The hitchhikers. The people who create nothing, and who don’t appreciate what others have created for them, and who think civilization is something that just exists and that all they need to do is enjoy what they can understand of it—luxuries, a high living standard, and easy work for high pay. Responsibilities? Phooey! What do they have a government for?

Tell me the situation Mr. Piper describes above is not happening around us right now. Oh, sure, the hitchhikers – or looters, to use another terminology – do not have one, single, individual leader, aside from Our Glorious President himself, but the rest of it… tell me that is not what you see going on around the edges right now? Crap on a crutch; there is a distressingly non-zero percentage of people in "modern" society who do not understand, at all, how the water in their sink came to be there, and all of the necessary steps, technology, and technicians necessary for it to arrive… but you can bet your bottom dollar that if it were to ever stop arriving, they would be up in arms, demanding that Someone Fix It. Those people may not be barbarians in the wearing-fur-skins-and-beating-down-the-gates, traditional sense of the word, but how long do you think it would take them to reach that level if the lights really were to go out?

I need to stop reading old-school science fiction. The prognostication abilities of these writers is a bit too uncanny for the engineer in me to accept.