Look, the article and book by Zoltan Istan is just a great story. I recommend buying the book. The basic premise of the book is quite sound – “religious and reactionary US extremists take over the nanny state apparatus of a United States wracked by failure and inadequacy, and crack down in a paroxysm of luddite psychosis against those progressives people are doing all the hyper-ambitious research that’ll change our lives for the better.” Yes this idea is sound. The US as a society is clearly a failure of long term ambition (progress) management, whereas the EU was a failure in that regard well in to the 20th century. Yes no society on our planet is doing pretty much OK right now. My personal theory is that big state isn’t a cause, it’s a symptom. The cause of all human woes, IMHO, is that we as a species (a) are not intelligent enough for certain levels of complex society, (b) we overbred because we could, yanno antibiotics, industrialized agriculture, fertilizers, cheap energy and (c) now we are running out of this cheap energy we don’t have anywhere the required societal management systems to cut down on the near infernal overconsumption we are facing in society. Nanny state isn’t the problem, it’s just how human leaders are – grandparent types who feel all bliss if they can give presents and play Santaclaus (The New Deal, Welfare, Pensions), but who are all curmudgeons once no one listens to them.
The disease we face as western society isn’t an asshat Dubya in charge, it’s the fact that the guy is bitter because he can’t party and rev the engines like His dad could, back in the old days when oil still cost 10$ a barrel. So when Zoltan writes about the State suddenly going McCarthy on Transhumanists, he does have a valid point.
However. I can give you a dozen other forces of persistent moronicism on this planet that gravitate towards the same pathology. Basicly Luddites who misconstrue progress with danger. And as far as bad goes, the State has actually become pretty irrelevant. Politicians all agree that right now the state is a substantially lesser force of constraint and repression than the corporate. So my stab at Zoltan’s monologue isn’t about me disagreeing – it is about me pointing to a whole ecology of other management cultures (other than conservative retarded political dumbasses with too much power) that are far more aggressive to “speculative experimental progress and practical futurism” than the state. I am a lot more worried about the confluence of status quo bankers than a bunch of reactionary xians.
[In Khannea SunTzu remarkable new novel she’ll never write – The NeoProgressive’s New Deal – the leader character, Cassandra Assange (Daughter of Julian Assange, born in 2003), is the target of literal micro drone assassination attempts, a vicious media campaign and endless incapacitating litigation. She became a political activist like her father in the mid 2020s, and now exemplifies the new counter-cultural ideal. Militantly lesbian and technoprogressive she gave birth of a clone of her wife, and her wife gave birth to a clone of Cassandra in the late 2020s. Shortly afterwards a microdrone (suspected of NAUS origine) crawled in to their apartment in Australia and her wife died. In part as a defensive response to this omnipresent threat Cassandra fled to Berlin with her barely surviving daughters and pursued a political career as part of the Pirate Party. As a highly visible and widely emulated media icon Cassandra rekindles the ANON movement in to “New Individualism” or NYM ideology).
Cassandra is a tall girl, standing at just over six feet. She is muscled from years of diving and long distance running in Australia and is in her late 20s. She has long braided hair woven with bright glowing strands and she is heavily tattooed with a dragon running down her shoulders. She is ferociously hated in the (former) United States, in part because of the political activities of her father (whom she barely met in life) and who was himself assassinated with Polonium isotope in 2016. Cassandra exemplifies anti-corporate culture and militant anti-capitalism. It isn’t even that she is any particular active or has any particularly strong convictions, but the symbolic value of her name and statements made the US ‘war on terror machine’ (now thirty years alive and as visibly a miserable failure as the earlier US wars) kick in to overdrive. Half the world renditions “terrorists” to the US by the thousands every year and Cassandra is high on the list to be “Guantanamoed”.
In the last few years Cassandra wrote a few books, and ran for the Pirates in Australia, Sweden and Germany when she was still in her early twenties. The moment she appears on the political radar she became effectively unable to travel outside Europe. As the US transforms in to the NAUS (now including former England, sans Scotland) and the European Union transforms in the European Alliance (now including Russia) at the end of the teens, Cassandra survives on running on a political ticket of staunch anti-Americanism. This includes the rainbow selection of very popular talking points, including banning human gene patents, governmental research in to life extension, renegotiating general intellectual properties completely, legalizing private of ownership of 3D printers and reorganizing the world financial sector.
Her 2028 decission to give birth to a GMO (genefixed) clone of her lover Melancholy ended her inheriting the label of “transhumanist”, a derogatory term in the continental US. In the late 2020s Transhumanism in the US was increasingly associated with “democracy”, another historical artifact that is not well appreciated in some circles, like “socialism” half a century earlier. So Cassandra finds her somewhat against her will to become the figurehead and symbol of a international anti-corporatism. And with result – one can get arrested in the CONUS wearing a ‘che’ T shirt with her face on it.
Upon Melancholy’s death Cassandra living in Europe has become inescapable. EA becomes her prison.. Cassandra flees Australia in the diplomatic mail, and settles in Berlin where she has a massive following. This increases political attacks on her, this time executed mainly by means litigation. Cassandra has a legal team that has to wade through hundreds of lawsuits between the years 2029 to 2031.
This is including completely irrational (but high profile) lawsuits that her appearance and styling are in large part based on the FoxNey CGI “eviscerator” game, franchise and movie characters of Cassie Deveraux
Cassandra now survives on political donations by means of BitCoin, which has embedded her firmly on the NAUS terror watch lists, as BitCoin violates the 2018 Amero union banking laws.
Her wife dead, one child partially paralyzed and one child emotionally traumatized by this barrage of state hatred, Cassie has fought depression for months and is now perfecting her survival strategy by running for the New Individualists block as a EA senator, spearheading a Pirate ticket. That decission diminishes the drone assassination attempts, but it made the legal and media attacks become a constant toxic background hiss.
Oddly, in 2031 the NAUS turns eager to talk to her.
The overtures starts subtly from Microsoft “intermediaries” and take weeks, like a baroque online dance. Everyone knows that MS AI’s are heavily intertwined with EA and NAUS state governance and that in effect MS executives are by and large NAUS State Department executives. The last attempt to browbeat her in to Parlay comes as subtle as would such attempts from Baron Harkonnen to discuss the art of Kanly with Duke Atreides have been.
But all this back and forth kinda makes sense, since Denver would be burning through a lot of state department money every month to go after her. Cassandra isn’t dismissive of meeting yet another suit, but she doesn’t see the Microsoft angle. Why would the US state seek to settle its case by entangling Microsoft in to the mix?
Cassandra, discusses this with her oddball cyberpunk media team, shrugs and agrees to a meeting in town. Getting there by limousine is acceptably unsafe but the risk was manageable. Lunch at Berlichingen, 12:30 PM with one PR executive Crowles.
If Cassie has any residual optimism regarding the get-together she abandons it completely when she looks at Crowles. He is Mister Dead Eyes, eerily similar to Udo Kier. The man seems to have been genetically bred to radiate contempt and to project intimidation. This isn’t anything like an olive branch. This man has come to her to break her spirit.
Crowles has elected to receive her seated in a private fumatorium room with table. He housed a Havana just before she enters. As she strides in he nods and he takes a long sip of his night black quadruple espresso. Cassandra catches the reflection of dead fish eyes in the coffee.
A sustainable minimum of pleasantries drifts back and forth. The ambiance is analogue to that of a Alcor Dewar. Crowles gets to business and his contempt as thinly disguised as a bloody uruk hai axe wrapped Furoshiki style.
“I am here to offer you a billion Amero, Miss Cassandra”, Crowles pipes as amicably as Dominican Nun in Inquisition Drag. “We will negotiate with third parties to abandon all attempts to harass you if you follow a certain list of steps precisely. ” Crowles gestures towards a coffee coloured DDR-style plastic binder. “It is quite simple. You retire from public office. ”
Cassandra blinks once. Crowles continued, after pausing for another lubricating sip of dark ooze of Tsathoggua.
“For you taking steps to disband your initiatives to become an Alliance senator. You might be wondering why we would invest a Billion, but rest assured, the current budget of these aforementioned third parties is bigger than this billion. We would desire nothing less than full administrative retirement and we will give you guarantees…”
(…A clear hint at where these drones were coming from…)
“..and you can live what’s left of your life in peace. The amount has been made available for you to deposit on BitCoin, as an amount linked to Amero. Swiss bank account. If you honor the terms of the agreement, you’ll get an ante of this reimbursement in the next months and once your decision becomes verifiably irreversible the remainder in a year. You may retire in the Alliance, we don’t care where, as long as you completely step away from public life. We suggest Greece. I hear Greece is the perfect ambiance for the likes of you. ”
Cassandra shirks being stunned for a moment, then regains her composure. All this is quite direct and downright rude. For the US state department a Billion Amero BC is not all that big an investment. These people use BC to bribe warlords and assets worldwide on a daily basis, since nobody outside the US is dumb enough accepts Amero. Bitcoin is very hard to percolate back to the US since it is next to impossible to exchange there, with these DHS banking laws in effect.
Outside the US a billion’s worth of BitCoin will allow her to buy several houses and live in obscene luxury for the rest of her life.
These deals are common all throughout the 2020s. Lots of people fell for these corporate offers, and even at that the BC equivalent of a Billion Amero was a very high offer to betray all she stands for.
Cassandra is actually tempted for a split second, but curiosity prevails.
“Show me your terms” she inquires maintaining detachment. Crowles smiles cautiously and breaks the seal on the binder. The artifact was 3D printed solely for her benefit, seal and all. The insides are all plastic cards that shimmers in holographics and thus are difficult to photograph unless from precisely the right angle and distance. Even then, Cassandra has attended the meeting without recording devices, as per agreement, and glances over at the terms of the offer.
Parts on Basic Income makes immediate sense. NAUS hates the popular basic income in the Alliance. The idea of basic income has been spreading – China, Japan, Australia, India, Brazil all offer their citizens a lean basic income and media agitators in the mainland US call it “populist democratism”.
There are some points on her abandoning her political struggles on Intellectual Property and patent laws and that was also to be expected.
An article on population growth quota. Fertility quota is a sensitive point for Americans, who still let in a few million highly educated ‘guest workers’ every year. Yanno, “pay taxes, wear a guest worker uniform, maybe become a citizen”, that sort of thing. The EA on ten other had has closed its borders and has applied population growth quota on all member states. In fact, that’s why Cassandra had originally agreed to ‘marry’ Mel – she didn’t want to constantly be slandered a racist. It is so easy to confuse birth quota with racist immigration policies.
Her father had pioneered these points in the mid teens as an Australian parliamentarian, nothing surprising there.
However… contract point 15. Distance herself publicly from transhumanism. Denounce ‘neo-eugenics’. Denounce the life-extension articles she was currently running on in Alliance parliament. She looks up at Crowles her face betraying her confusion.
“Oh I see you noticed a few key points” Crowles smiles like a shark
“..that’s why we offer a Billion. You may understand we have our own motives. Let’s not belabor these points, you may appreciate we have our motives in the US. Let’s keep it simple – we just don’t like people in the EA to make claims they are “progressive”. It is a tautology as far as I am concerned, and quite silly. I mean, seriously. The EA is a demographic mausoleum.
” Transhumanism … it is .. distasteful. Old modernist ideology, not that dissimilar from Communist utopianism. You are the most visible spokesperson of this outdated ideology world wide. We simply don’t like it. You have been hammering this Transhuman filth over here in the EA. You are associating New Individualism with Transhumanism. This whole notion has been a nuisance for us for decades as you may appreciate.
” Let’s be simple about it. Transhumanists are in essence hackers” (he states with a deeply menacing undertone) “and that means terrorists. Very simple. Transhumanists are hackers. They upset the established status quo. That means they are terrorists. Plain and simple. We dealt with hackers quite nicely – most of them are resident of the 52th state now.. ”
That was a reference to Cuba. Guantanamo.
” However you also have credibility in this distasteful field. Transhumanism is actually spreading in Russian EA. There are actual ‘Transhuman’ political parties there. If your european initiatives popularize these memes, it will signify a considerable annoyance for us. ”
Crowles looks closer, for full force of intimidation.
“Do realize the alternatives, Cassandra. Not take this deal and you’d live in your Berlin Bunker for the rest of your life as a Teleworking Senator riding a telepresence drone working 16 hours a day for a pitiful wage.
” Take this deal and you’d be living along the Greece Riviera in considerable luxury. Understand closely – the state department, and we at Microsoft and Monsanto we had enough of this nonsense of “birth quota” in the EU. We don’t want further research in to “life extension”. This expensive nonsense is hurting our medical patents.
” Seriously, what is this “life extension” doing? Just a few statistical years since the beginning of this century? – it is pitiful and it costs Alliance taxpayers billions. But those few extra years are breaking states world wide under the accumulating costs for pensions. And the measly extra 20 months gained by life extension are costing medical conglomerates billions, as people need ordinary medical treatments later.
” That is why a billion is a spare change for us, Cassandra. We get rid of you, we have you discredit and step away from this Transhumanism Science Fiction modernist nonsense, are all better off.
” We want things to remain as they are Miss Cassandra. The corporations of this planet need technological and scientific stability. People who fall in line. Predictable, not constantly disrupted by these chaotic new technologies or politicized utopian science.
” Young people should remain consumers, playing their little MS Dreamscape games all day. Keep them in food aid and labour reserve and please don’t start this nonsense of trying to give these dead end idiots a “basic income” for doing absolutely nothing and being available for forced labour or the military.
” What kind of democratist drivel is that? Who is going to pay for this democratist nonsense? Certainly not the corporate sector! And that’s our core point of this contract, Miss Cassandra. We want to nip this whole growing Basic Income nonsense in the bud. Giving useless bums a few hundred euro is already an affront to Capitalism and free markets. The advances you already made are inspiring similar initiatives in Britain – NAUS territory. England is NAUS now, despite of it still having ..” (whince) “…a parliament. We do not want this basic income and life extension nonsense to catch on in London.”
“Are you kidding me, Crowles?” Cassandra finally blurts out.
“Do I look like I’m kidding, Miss Assange?” Crowles eyes are especially icy.