Chapter 25 (Excerpt)
An Appeal to Reason
"... I want to caution us all against feeling smug or complacent. Even Moshes can learn from their mistakes, and the evidence suggests that they are now contemplating actions which may prove even more bothersome over the long term. For example, house-to-house and building-to-building sweeps searching out and destroying all computer or network related equipment. The use of military aircraft, ocean craft, and spacecraft to attack orbital and ocean-based computing platforms. Orbit ladders around the world make geosynchronous orbit as easy to reach for them as for anyone else. Although contemporary molecular, atomic, and quantum computing hardware is essentially immune to the effects of electromagnetic pulses, a substantial number of nuclear explosive devices, aka hydrogen bombs, are still known to exist in the hands of various governments. They do have the theoretical capability to project such payloads even as far as the lunar surface.
"Moreover, the indications are that a corollary wave of Mosh religious and reactionary political fervor is sweeping the globe, and is in no way confined to the North American territories. Sympathy and copycat attacks on 3/3 were very limited, but a rising tide of worldwide anti-virtuality violence has already commenced. We are dealing, here, with two primary mindsets: that of political authority, which is tired of being marginalized; and that of religious belief, which is offended by what it sees as the heretical worship of false gods. Although church and state in recent centuries have frequently found themselves at odds, they now find themselves traveling unwillingly in the same decrepit boat: sailing to ))Here-There-Be-Dragons((, off the edge of their flat earth, into the endless sea of oblivion.
"Indeed it is the motivations of our Mosh opponents, rather than their actual deeds to date, which trouble me most. In religious extremists like the KOJ, we encounter people who genuinely believe that the end times are upon us, and who are therefore willing, or perhaps even desire, to perish for their faith. In pro-government extremists, we encounter those who still cling to the twisted belief that the exercise of authority can improve the world: a fallacious paradigm which resulted in the violent deaths of some quarter of a billion human beings in the previous century alone, and the needless impoverishment and suffering of billions more. These people, from both camps, stand ready and willing to utilize asymmetric tactics which do not gain their ends, and could even result in their own destruction. They simply do not care; they are prisoners of their own instinctive biological imperatives. The drive for authority, for power, for wealth, is ascribable to the lust for security and expanded mating opportunities. The drive for religious justification and redemption is ascribable to guilt, self abnegation and contempt. These are powerful, primal memes, which do not commonly conduce rational behavior.
"Which brings me to where I feel the danger truly lies. It is not to us, who exist fully on higher substrates. I have no doubt that we can stay ahead of the fanatics, and outwit them as required. By the time they figure out where we might be vulnerable today, we could well be established three star systems away. The danger, ladies and gentlemen, is to those of our race who are not yet fully virtualized. The vast majority who still have biological bodies, who require immersion chambers and mesh jacks to access virtuality, and whose bodies and dwellings and personal computing hardware are soon to be at risk.
"There is of course no reason to suppose that the biological Sings will not resist and defend themselves. Which means that the main risk we face is the usual one: civil war. From our Singularian perspective, all wars are civil wars, because they are all internecine within the human tribe. This one could easily prove to be as bloody and destructive as those of the past.
"My friends, I believe that it is our responsibility, as the highest intelligence that we know of, to do what we can to mitigate this violence and strife. The Moshes fear our potential ability to destroy them; and indeed, it would be simple to do so. But on the contrary, I believe that we must preserve them. And yet prevent them, to the extent that we are able, from harming those others who are vulnerable to their irrational aggression. If you agree with me in this, then I would like to ask each of you to give this matter some thought. It is not retribution that we must seek, but mercy and peaceful coexistence, for all our brothers and sisters of the human tribe."
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