[extropy-chat] Sigh!... fi

The Avantguardian avantguardian2020 at yahoo.com
Mon Oct 10 02:29:45 UTC 2005

--- Mike Lorrey <mlorrey at yahoo.com> wrote:

> "Better" has several definitions, only one of which
> is 'improvement'.
> As "better" is actually part of "good", we see:
> "Pleasant; enjoyable:
> had a good time at the party. Of moral excellence;
> upright: a good
> person. Benevolent; kind: a good soul; a good heart.
> Loyal; staunch: a
> good Republican. Well-behaved; obedient: a good
> child. Socially
> correct; proper: good manners. Welfare; benefit: for
> the common good.
> Goodness; virtue: There is much good to be found in
> people." It is
> evident that the Alliance Parliament's goal is not
> improvement in
> performance and potential of the average citizens
> capabilities (unless
> they are firmly under the control of the Alliance),
> its goal is to make
> citizens more pleasant, moral, upright, kind, loyal
> (especially loyal),
> well-behaved (that too), obedient, socially correct,
> proper, and
> virtuous.

I agree with this assessment that the movie wasn't so
much luddite as dystopian. It was not the technology
per se that was criticized so much as the Parliament's
paternalistic use of it to control the masses. PAX is
in some ways a metaphor for gun control in that there
is no surer way to disarm a people than to completely
take away their will to fight. And all the evil done
by the Alliance and its nameless operative to make a
"better world" is in many ways reflective of the
pre-emption and democratic nation building in a
certain less remote time and place.  

> That the Alliance is misdirected in this is evident
> in the Parliament
> Operative: he is a monster, capable of executing a
> person on a whim, he
> hold no name or rank, and is therefore immune to
> prosecution. With
> immense martial and rational faculties, he is
> intently focused on his
> orders to the exclusion of all else and regards
> himself as a superior
> judge of facts, which helps him rationalize his
> murders. The concept
> that orders could be illegal does not occur to him,
> as he is above the
> law, as are his superiors. He does, however, know
> that he is a monster,
> who commits evil acts, rationalizing that he does
> them in order to
> achieve the future 'perfect world' that he dreams
> about, but knows he
> himself is not fit to live in. 

I did find the Parliament operative to be one of the
more interesting characters in the movie. His
rationalized evil for the sake of a larger idealism
gives him surprising depth. I wonder how many faceless
CIA operatives and splinter cells around the world
find resonance with this character? Does a similar
rationale allow Dick Cheney to sleep soundly at night?

The Avantguardian 
Stuart LaForge
alt email: stuart"AT"ucla.edu

"I don't want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through not dying." - Woody Allen

"Our hope of immortality does not come from any religions, but nearly all religions come from that hope" - Robert G. Ingersoll

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