Premiered 9/9/9 (9 September 2009)
The continuation of The Myth and Legend of D'PTah, an original novel by Dan Sewell Ward.
Down to the Sea in Ships
A lesson learned countless times throughout history is that rising waters, even abruptly rising waters in the form of tsunamis or tidal waves, are best dealt with by riding the waves and staying far out at sea. With sufficient warning and reasonable mobility of the ships at sea, any vessel can turn its bow into the coming massive waves and survive. As long as there are no breakers, i.e., as long as the ship is sufficiently far from land, shallow water, rocks and the like (and there are no gargantuan winds), the giant waves simply lift the vessels to the top of the wave and then allow it to continue merrily along. No breakers, no problems.
The ocean going dangers of tsunamis and tidal waves are more often associated with the water and land interface than with the hazards at sea. The only true hazards at sea are those due to hurricanes, pirates, and armed enemy naval vessels. Hurricanes and massive storms will readily send ships to the bottom, particularly if the ships lose power and can not maneuver into the coming waves – which even at sea can generate breakers because of the winds. The curious part is that in naval battles, pirates or “legitimate forces”, many such conflicts have been won by virtue of the surrounding land.
The key in weathering almost all hazards at sea is communications – knowledge beforehand – and the mobility to respond and if at all possible get out of harm's way.
One of the great advantages of the sea – and one of the reasons sea power tends to be far more important than land power in terms of global strategies – is that the sea offers the best opportunity to move one's forces without the impediments posed by land, mud, mountains, forests, and so forth. The seas are also massively expansive, and with sufficient mobility, one can go anywhere, hide with a degree of impunity, and barring the need for resupply pretty much stay out of the way of marauding land armies. It is for this reason that pirates have survived in many locales even into modern times, whereas on land pirate bands are relatively easily dispatched.
Meanwhile, the armies of land mass powers are ultimately doomed because of their limited ability to engage in world trade, and thus are constrained in their ability to fund their armies. It's a matter of economics, and in the modern world any army that cannot be supplied is doomed eventually to fail.
To rule the world, one must first rule the seas. This concept was advocated by the legendary Mahan, and later by Friedman. The extension of sea power in the times of D'PTah to the ability of surviving forces being able to aid injured forces, even land bound forces, was clearly part of the thinking of the Regency. There is no doubt that an understanding of sea power was always essential to ruling forces, that Victory at Sea  was far more than a musical composition.
There are also the legends of the Knights of Solomon escaping the wrath of others by escaping with their wealth in their ocean-going ships. These tales were just additional historical verifications of sea power being the most effective means to control a contentious world. The ability to put to sea, to remain there out of the reach of enemies, to control shipping (and thus world economics), and to direct offensive and other actions at any selected point on the globe is a fundamentally important aspect of world history.
When these same ships were powered by wind, such essential mobility was then limited only to the ability to carry fresh water and sufficient food for long voyages. In the time of the Regency, however, in a time of hydrocarbons (oil, coal) as a power source, sailing ships were no longer extant in sufficient numbers to make a difference. At the same time, fresh water could be taken from the sea via energy intensive distillation practices. Furthermore, and this is where it may be difficult for the modern reader to appreciate, the massively large fleets of the world were metal ships! Not just metal trim for critical machines, but iron and predominantly metal ships.
There is a natural skepticism that such precious metals of any and all kinds could have been used so extensively in these ancient times. Nevertheless, independent research strongly suggests that the ancients had great access to the raw materials of a huge diversity of metals, including such modern day rarities as iron, copper, aluminum, and tin. Because there had been so much mining in these ancient times, with all of the relatively easy-access-ores mined out, the availability of such metals in our own time can be more readily understood. Our ancestors, in short, used up most of our heritage. As was once noted, only partly in jest, when an older man was attempting to buy the affections of his granddaughter by giving her a box of chocolates, and at the same time explaining to her how he had spent most of the youngster's inheritance, she had simply replied, “Gee, grandpa. You shouldn't have.” We might be forgiven for saying the same thing to our excessive metal consuming ancestors.
There was also the matter of the energy source to power these massive metal ships. Oil was the primary means, and as one might quickly conjecture, such oil was enormously more plentiful in these ancient times. In addition to a massive use of the available resources, much of the easily accessible oil was also wasted in the conflagrations occurring worldwide just prior to the Great Cleansing. This lack of oil, however, has had less impact on the quality of modern lives. This is because D'PTah had something of immense importance “up his sleeve”. We can only conjecture the exact nature of D'PTah's alternative power source, but a few of the remaining fragments translated to date give us several tantalizing clues – clues which point to what we now accept as common technology and science, known to all of us, and with which we use to great advantage. But in these early times, it appears to have been a great mystery, subject to massive secrecy and political wrangling.
D'PTah's own words are instructive in this regard.
With every available ship loaded to capacity and ready to put to sea, it was time to embark the people. Not unexpectedly this was not an entirely simply process.
Because of absolute secrecy surrounding the ATSAS project, we may never fully appreciate the intricacies of how the Regency went about selecting a population, gathering them and transporting them to the already outfitted ships, and then heading to sea. The fact this was accomplished with what is assumed to be a substantial success, is all the more astounding.
For this was a time of massive uncertainty, and uncertainty is the friend of few.
A case in point is the extended fragment dealing with what might be described as a fall from grace. It is presented here as a continuation of the narrative of the ongoing critical events.
The Regent was not in the room when I entered to find Lil, Pete, and Admiral Sudra involved in what my immediate appraisal decided was an intense and important conversation. But then, just as I entered, each of them, after a quick glance in my direction, suddenly took on that look of 'I've been gossiping about you; sorry about that.' Only I didn't quite buy such a simple explanation. For me, their previous conversation having abruptly ceased seemed far more ominous, making me immediately suspicious... and of course leading to a distinctly uncomfortable silence. I could see that Pete sensed as much, and took the distracting initiative of welcoming me, “Ah, the great historian has arrived. What a delight.”
Now I was really worried. At the same time, Lil looked at me, as if making her own appraisal of Pete's perhaps dubious words. Then she smiled slightly – a smile calculated to put me at ease, and one which made me want to know what in the world she was really thinking. The woman was wretchedly inscrutable and in some ways out of my depth. And not having seen her in a very long time, she was even more... well... scary. We managed to exchange a few pleasantries, but then everyone simply sat as I took my own seat. The ensuing silence, amidst the warm smiles, sounded to me more like the beating of war drums. I must admit that the woman really puts me off. But should I perhaps be sharpening my claws?
Admiral Sudra, meanwhile, was... well... Sudra: a disciplined believer, even a resolute disciple of the adage that intelligence is power... or that loose lips sink ships... or something of that genre. He just looked at me, allowing only the hint of a smile in my direction... albeit one with a hint of sadness. The thought suddenly hit me that if The Admiral was genuinely concerned for my welfare, then the world had already ended and I had simply failed to see the memo.
Fortunately, before I could further analyze... and beat to death... the situation -- ending up with a headache in the process -- we were all spared any further vain attempt at conversation by the Regent's abrupt entrance into the room. Without the slightest preamble, he asked, “What about Emily?”
Pete, half way up, but then following the Regent's lead as he took his accustomed chair, “She has the word, has everything packed up, and should be boarding with the others by noon tomorrow.”
“None. In fact you'll be happy to know that the redoubtable Emily Clair Rush has been working very hard to make sure her floating Tender has the best ocean going machine shop on the planet. She should be able to build anything including monumental bronzes of every imaginable configuration and aesthetic value. I suspect she's thinking that she's in hog heaven.”
When I looked quizzical, silently mouthing the word, Pete added, “A Tender is a ship which can repair most any problem with other ships. They tend to other ships. Traditionally Tender personnel can fix anything... except, as Navy tradition dictates, broken hearts.”
“No doubt,” I replied, “Mechanics fixed with tender loving care.” Pete merely smiled.
“It's going to be very useful,” was the only response. Then the Regent looked at Lil.
Lil in her typical fashion launched into the subject without the slightest fanfare. “It's pretty much as we had begun to suspect. Ms. Melissa Court's information on Senator Layde has turned out to be accurate; he is definitely a mole for others. His aide... perhaps I should say, his former aide... has given us a great amount of detail on how things have been working. She managed also to fill in a lot of our intelligence gaps on a whole covey of individuals ostensibly known as The Warlords. We had known about them, but Ms. Court's information connects all the dots extremely well and fills in a lot of gaps.”
“Can we trust her?”
Lil hesitated for just a moment. “My gut reaction is no. Unfortunately, there is no evidence against her that might be acceptable in a court of law... even one of our own making. She may in fact be the loyal aide who has suddenly discovered the worst about her boss, and is trying desperately to do the right thing. There is also the possibility she was quite happily on the wrong side, finally wised up, and switched allegiances. It's hard to tell what her mind is thinking. But she may yet be useful to us. One never knows which cogs may be ultimately important in the successful completion of the grand program.”
Pete gently interjected, “She's trying to absolve herself?”
“Possibly,” Lil suggested. “I would not recommend her for a commendation or suggest she should be trusted with any great authority – other than perhaps what we've already discussed. As a minor player, she may very well be enormously helpful to us... at least for the immediate future.”
“We will be abiding by our agreements,” the Regent said with considerable force. “And we will allow Ms. Melissa Court just as much rope as she might ever require. I would like to see precisely what she does with it. If she pulls off her end of the bargain, we will consider her slate clean. Just no promotions... other than the berth already promised."
In the brief hesitation that followed, I felt myself singularly uncomfortable. Something had sounded... suspicious. I had to believe that there was more to what Lil and the Regent were saying other than some nebulous... agreements... and that...
That's when it hit me! Agreements! Plural! The agreements included mine, as well as the Regent's. Clearly, what was not being said aloud -- obviously for my benefit -- was that Melissa had already been forgiven for all crimes... personal and otherwise... and more importantly, she had been officially forgiven by me in my guise as temporary Queen and consort of the Regency! Melissa had been given a bloody royal pardon for everything to date... and heaven help the Judas who attempts to renege on such things. Any pardon, even one given by me in the midst of chaos, had to be fully honored.
"Besides," the Regent suddenly smiled as if knowing a delicious secret (and to break the silence), "She will be closely monitored; of that I am certain... and by a very reliable agent who has my ear.”
“Her monitoring of which we understand she is pleasantly oblivious,” Lil added with just the slightest touch of cattiness – not enough perhaps to be noticed by the Regent or Pete, but which for any other woman was enough to cause the abrupt appearance of deadly claws on both hands.
The Regent took in this last item, as if all in a day's work. For a moment his head leaned forward and turned slightly toward me. I had been writing a note, but then I felt four sets of eyes suddenly looking at me. When I looked up, other than the Regent, no one acted as if they had taken any notice of me at all.
“The other matter?”
Lil uncharacteristically turned to me, and perhaps for the first time in our mutual experience, she actually seemed to be concerned with my well being. Despite the fact Lil was always... well... Lil... Still... when she looked at me today, it was almost caring. It was quite frankly, spooky! Then she let me have it with both barrels. “I'm very sorry, Sally, but I'm afraid I must tell you that your husband, David, has apparently been unfaithful to his marriage vows.”
For a long moment, I simply looked at her. I was not shocked, nor for the matter, even hurt or offended. I just couldn't guess why this was relevant at our meeting. After a moment, I said, “I know. I suppose I've known it for some time. I'm just not sure why you're telling me this... at this particular juncture.”
“Because there's more involved than mere marital... infidelity,” Lil answered. “We still don't know all of the details, and with everything becoming increasingly complex, we may never know. The only thing we do know is that apparently Senator Layde had obtained information on ATSAS, and possibly Petus, from David. Your David. The intermediary was very likely a woman... at least that is our conclusion based upon a very poor quality audio tape... but we have not yet positively identified her.”
Pete glanced at me, but said nothing. I returned his gaze. Obviously, Pete knew exactly who David's lover had been (or at least Pete thought he did). It was Pete, after all, who knew that Melissa had been pardoned, forgiven, excused, and acquitted by the Queen of the Ball... and for unspecified charges. Considering my alleged authority over such matters -- bestowed on me prior to the ball (albeit, seemingly in jest)... my exculpation of Melissa for any and all crimes against... whoever... obviously carried some weight in our inner circle. I had serious doubts about the legal consequences of my perhaps hasty action, but for my own purposes, I was done with it. As I looked at the others, I could only ask, “Does it make a difference if it's Melissa?”
"If not to you," the Regent replied, as if under his own honorable constraints, "then certainly not to us."
Such is the power of forgiveness!
The problem with delegating authority is that you often have to abide by the new authority's decisions. Sovereignty would mean nothing if there was the right to arbitrarily overrule. Such thinking might not be the metaphysics of an Admiral's thinking... and in fact might appear to be an undue hesitation... at least to a man trained (and who trained others) to be decisive, pivot on a moment's notice, and be ready to over rule a subordinate's decision, when the circumstances required it. But then again the Regency was not an Admiral... and vice versa. But then again, maybe they weren't all that far apart.
Pete then leaned back slightly and turned to Lil. “How certain are we that David was the source?” I glanced at Pete, silently thanking him for the gesture.
“Pretty certain, even if only just slightly beyond a reasonable doubt,” Lil answered. Her expression was one lacking any emotional content, as if she were truly an objective judge, as if such men she had encountered so often as to be more likely to smile condescendingly than get angry. Then she frowned, ever so slightly. "However... there's the matter of his track record... and that of the other... situation.”
'Oh, shit,' I thought! 'Now what has that poor fool done?'
Lil turned back to me. “Our intelligence has been able to obtain from the interrogation of the three clowns who showed up at Johnny Ceal's penthouse apartment, that they had been doing the bidding of Jerry Friendly. Friendly, in turn claimed that David had been the source of where Johnny had been located; but that the preacher had assumed that the information which came direct from David was accordingly okay to tell others. Friendly of course denied that he had said anything to the three stooges to suggest they should go after Ceal, and that instead Jerry had been praying for Johnny. In fact, just before Johnny's death, Friendly had been on television urging restraint and prayer for Ceal.”
“Covering his tracks quite efficiently, I'd say,” said Pete. “All he had to do was to con some dummies into doing his dirty work, and then go on record advocating restraint, but do it at a time when his henchmen were not likely to hear his words of restraint.”
“It gets more complicated,” Lil said. “Technically, the men landing on the penthouse terrace did nothing that demonstrated conclusively they were there to harm Ceal. In fact, their lawyer is saying that they were there to protect Johnny.” As everyone groaned, she continued, “It sounds ludicrous, I know, but it's the kind of thinking that Friendly is noted for – making omelets out of cracked eggs, trying to change horses in mid stream as necessary, and now suddenly becoming an enthusiastic supporter of the Regency.”
“You have to give him credit for creativity,” Pete added.
“Let's ensure that Friendly is in the same boat as Layde,” the Regent ordered.
Sudra shrugged. “It will take a little last minute juggling and some clever manipulations, but I think it can be done.”
“Don't think about doing it. Just do it.”
For a moment everything was quiet. Then I looked up, taking all of their gazes in. Finally, I was able to ask, “But that's not what it's all really about, is it?”
“No, it's not,” the Regent answered.
“It's about what to do with David,” I said. When the others looked at me, I continued. “I think you all have to know that I was the one who told David about ATSAS.”
“And so did Pete; and which, at the time, was appropriate,” the Regent added. “And clearly, once we authorized Admiral Sudra here to initiate the Round Up, that was the next apparent step. Accordingly, we will not be holding you responsible for any suggestion of wrong doing in that regard. This is particularly true when we ourselves assigned David the prime responsibility for putting Johnny Ceal under protective custody. Clearly, the latter was my error. One of which I likely should have known better. You will not be punished for my misjudgment.”
The flush I felt in apparently being absolved of complicity was, I must admit, very much of a relief. Now, perhaps, it was time to plead David's case. “Can we trust Friendly's testimony against David?”
“To some degree, yes,” Lil answered. “Friendly had too many of the details known only to David. Also,” and again she hesitated, “David gave the go-ahead to Captain MacElvain to allow Carlson into the penthouse. It might not have been intentional, well thought out, or just sloppiness on David's part. But it does not lend itself to allowing David to have any future part in our... efforts. At the same time, it is a clear violation of all security procedures, and the punishment for that is pretty well established.”
When I didn't immediately answer, the Regent then looked at me. “Sally, David is no longer a part of our group. That is still my decision, and I will not skirt it. But at the same time, it's pretty clear that he is guilty of handing out top secret information. He cannot simply walk away from this.”
“I understand,” I said, swallowing hard. “What do you intend to do with him?”
“Just as we have delegated other authority to you, we intend to leave David's judgment with you as well.”
For a moment, I stared at the Regent. I could hardly believe it. I was to make the decision? In many respects, I resented the hell out his putting everything on me. I must have been looking at him with challenge written all over my face, for he added, “The situation may require more compassion that we have available right now. Furthermore, this is not a test of your abilities. You know David better than anyone, and therefore can probably decide what is best for all, including amazingly enough, what is best for David. When you've made your decision, it will be carried out."
I was still stunned, when Pete intervened -- in the best of traditions of defending his client... in this case, me. "You don't think this might constitute punishment for Sally... in addition to David?"
The Regent hesitated, seriously considering Pete's question -- while I literally held my breath. "Sally has been given, in many respects, far more onerous duties. And her response has been exemplary... even when occasionally surprising everyone." There was a couple of smiles, but I was still waiting for the 'but'. Then it arrived... right on schedule. "But... such is the nature of sharing power... you just can't second guess some one else's decisions." There was a hesitation before he added, almost philosophically, "There are some things that only a parent... or a spouse... can do, and this is because in large part they are the only ones in a position to do so with the proper amount of understanding and correct intentions."
For a moment, the Regent looked straight at me, as if reading my thoughts. 'Yes, David is probably as much a child as a spouse to me... at least in terms of taking responsibility. Worse yet, it is the latter that tells me I can't simply go along with following the current. It's time to strike out... and make some waves.
Then he looked at me, providing one more assurance. "Sally, we are not challenging your rightful place among us. We will not question your right to forgive... or not to forgive. You have total and absolute authority in this matter. Is that understood?”
I acknowledged that it was.
And for several hours afterwards, I was still thinking about it. David had already been arrested and was being held at a secure facility. By the time I got there and had a chance to view him on a video camera, it was clear to me that he already knew just how badly he had screwed up. As I watched him, without his being aware of me, my thoughts finally crystallized. Traitors and betrayers, I seemed to recall, had always been consigned to the lowest rung of Dante's Inferno.
(And yes, of course: “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.” But for the moment, can we just leave it with the “Dante's Inferno” scenario? It sounds a lot better... even if I suspect that there are a lot of women out there who have some very interesting and thoughtful suggestions on what I should do.)
The Regency and the world had clearly reached a precipitous time: one of life-changing choices, choosing sides, taking responsibilities, and ultimately... survival, where the requirements for survival were defined as... well... that's not entirely clear. What is clear is the paramount importance of choosing who would be given the best opportunities for survival and who would not -- both in terms of natural calamities and as the direct result of a multitude of individual decisions... a plethora of wide ranging "interventions by an intelligence"... so to speak.
The choices of life and death, whether in the context of the classic “Sophia's Choice”, or those encapsulated in the ancient story, “No Country for Old Men” , are the most singularly humanizing aspect of our species. Such choices are soul-searching to say the least. But they are far less common than the relatively simplistic aspect of what has been termed for many ages, “The Survival of the Fittest”. Such “Fitness” of human individuals may determine their status, their wealth and power, their ability to reproduce, to have access to the essentials of life, and to enjoy life to the fullest. However, it is at base level the matter of physical survival that originally was fundamental in all such arguments. It is hard to imagine that people literally died or succumbed to disease and lack of necessities in ancient times, but the modern view that survival is assumed or expected, gets in the way of our appreciating the precariousness of life in those ancient, barbaric times.
An extended fragment was included in the recently discovered segments, one that does not include an author or other source information, and yet is written as a dialogue between two opposing adversaries, one entitled “Pro” -- implying a proponent of the belief in the Survival of the Fittest theory – while the opposing argument is by someone entitled “Con” -- i.e. Contrary to the same theory. Regardless of the “pros” and “cons”, the fragment does shed light on the thinking of the ancients on what was to them of such enormous importance. Their discussion could also be described as one by Gemini twins: opposite views up close and very personal.
May the Truth in All of its Glory Continue to be Pursued
Gilbert Deuruk Meshga
Mikhail Arthanius Duenki
SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST
Cue Music: I Will Survive (reprise) 
Pro: Let's say that survival of the fittest is a law of nature... and by extension a creator god.
Con: Okay, there's evidence of it in nature. But keep in mind that humans are thinking beings.
Pro: True, However, thinking is just another attribute with which to exhibit fitness. If I can out-think you, then your physical prowess can be nullified. In this way humans are subject to the same laws of nature as are all animals – even animals with a greater or lesser degree of thinking ability. How else could we in general achieve dominance over animals, even the deadly predator types?
Con: But all humans are equal. At least in the sight of god.
Pro: That's ludicrous. It is patently obvious that humans arrive on this planet with a wide divergence of abilities for survival and competition. Just believing in equality is a sign of non-fitness.
Con: Are you kidding?
Pro: Consider: If you have two people vying with one another, the one most likely to win is the one who is not bound by any rules, who takes advantage of the other's belief in playing by the rules.
Con: Yes, but in the long run...?
Pro: In the long run, the best way to win is to convince the opposition that in the long run they will prevail. In the interim the one willing to violate any and all rules will likely win. Whether they do so in the long term may ultimately be irrelevant.
Con: Until... justice prevails.
Pro: Justice is a very limiting concept. It can be used to control the rabble to some extent. Two losers can go at it in court and the one with justice on his side may win. But if an elite/winner goes up against a loser, there will be no justice. The court will either be bought off, or technicalities will prevail. The one with the most power will prevail, and justice will be ignored.
Con: But when our time on this earth is done...?
Pro: Again a ludicrous, but very useful concept. If you think that ultimately justice will prevail, then I can use that against you, win the battle, and then laugh when it turns out that justice was never part of the game plan. True justice in the universe would likely make it a deadly boring place to be. Can you imagine a male lion trying to convince a meaner male lion that just because he's won this time, that in the end...? Obviously a flawed thinking. Plus which, if I can convince you that justice will prevail in the end [pardon the pun], then you are more likely to retire from the field, leaving the spoils for me. Furthermore, you are less likely to attempt to avenge yourself on me later when I'm in a weak moment.
Con: Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord.
Pro: You're telling me that an omnipotent, omniscience God would stoop to vengeance? Absurd! Any creator god worthy of the title would never bother.
Con: But consider how humans do get together to join teams, and within those teams play by the rules.
Pro: Wolves and dogs also form teams. But within the teams...? How many human teams do you know that don't have leaders? The alpha dog is inevitable, and any promises to the lesser dogs that they will do better to work as a team, rather than to attempt to operate alone, will work to the advantage of the alpha dog with his taking the bulk of the spoils – and being allowed to do so by the others. The argument is sound. It's just the choice of alpha dog that's debatable, and that inevitably is a function of which dog is the fittest.
Con: But humans consolidate in much larger teams, and in the process allow many humans to operate in total freedom.
Pro: Absurd. The alpha humans have you convinced you're better off, that you enjoy total freedom, by going along with a situation where the alphas can do bloody anything they want, while all the lesser humans are going to be constrained by the rules. And of course the rules keep multiplying, taking away more and more freedom – always intended to yield ever greater power for the alpha dogs.
Con: But the alpha dogs, in a democracy, are limited by the rules as well.
Pro: Of course not. Look at the family value advocates who are out screwing their underage aides. Look at the elite who do anything they want and get away with it. Shoot someone with a shotgun when you're drunk, and if you're important enough, you not only get away with it, but no one ever even suggests that perhaps you should be brought up on charges. Alpha dogs don't have to play by the rules and don't... even while they are loudly proclaiming that everyone should. Some dogs are simply more equal than others. They always have been.
Con: But look what Jesus taught.
Pro: A brilliant stroke of genius by the alpha dogs. Find some stooge who is preaching compassion and love and then have him martyred. Suddenly everyone is preaching compassion, love... and by extension, equality and freedom. It's a marvelous tool to direct the minds of the unthinking masses, such that they never question that love and justice and all of the other feel good stuff will prevail. But obviously in the only arena of which humans have any evidence of what really exists, there are no natural laws which limit what any human can do to prevail and/or survive. But to convince the masses that they need not take a stand against the excesses of the alphas, the elite, you contrive to give the masses a martyr and then motivate them to think that they can now rest on their laurels and do nothing. The alphas don't like revolutions, and the way to avoid it is to con the revolutionaries to lay down their arms and believe in some form of cosmic justice. There is no evidence at all, and considerable circumstantial evidence to negate the idea that there is anything remotely approaching cosmic justice. But as long as you believe it, you're ass is mine.
Con: Are you saying vigilante justice is the only way for the beta dogs to challenge the alphas?
Pro: Vigilante justice, and such things as the French Revolution, are the greatest threats to alphas that there ever was. Downtrodden people, and just people in fear for their own survival, will join up and in an horrific excess of zeal will bring down the aristocracies. And note very importantly that the means with which they succeed in the revolution is that they don't obey the rules. The injustice, the slaughter of innocents, and the collateral damage of any genuine revolution is said to be unfortunate, but it's the essential product of nature, for one group to overpower another. Revolutionaries who have any slight appreciation of the problem know that: obeying the rules – the rules established by the ruling elite – is playing directly into the hands of the power mongers. In order to overcome the elite, to survive at the expense of the elite, one must ignore the rules, morals, ethics, and so forth of the elite... and do whatever it takes. If that includes conning some poor dunce to be a suicide bomber... why not? That's how to win.
Con: There are nations of people which don't quite fall into your fitness at any cost syndrome.
Pro: At the risk of repeating myself... Absurd! Of course nations use such techniques against other nations. Consider nuclear weapons. There are what... eight nations with nuclear power? There are also nations attempting to join the nuclear club.  Let's say that any of the eight want to prevent their club from having nine members – either because of the dilution of power, or even for the less important reason: because the newcomers are infantile in their outlook on life. Forget the fact that such national stupidity – in one form or another – also exists in each and every one of the eight. It's just that the eight don't necessarily want yet another loose cannon in the club. It does not lend to stability – particularly when several members of the eight are already at the throats of the others.
Stratfor.com did an excellent article on the lame duck president of the U.S. Any president in his last term reaches a point in that term where he can do little to push forward his domestic agenda. The opposition begins to wait out the term, sensing that they can take the presidency next. However, in matters of foreign policy where the president is commander in chief of the armed forces, the president is NOT a lame duck. He can still start a war (on any of several pretexts) and charge ahead.
But assume for the moment, as Stratfor.com does, that a particular president has become a lame duck in foreign policy as well because of the fact that he's already engaged in two wars (which by the way were never declared as such by the alleged Congress). With exhausted troops, and minimal reserves, the president can no longer act with impunity. He simply does not have the fire power – at least for the moment. Which of course makes for the very best reason to end the wars and bring the troops home.
However, in Stratfor.com's analysis, they dismiss for the sake of argument that the president will not be flexing his nuclear muscles. And say that one or both of the two nations will aspirations toward joining the gang of eight, is giving our president a lot of trouble. When that president can no longer threaten with his weakened conventional military force, his only ace in the hole is the nuclear club. And if he is sufficiently demented (by virtue of his religion, his willful ignorance, his stupidity), then what is to prevent his dropping nuclear bombs on some perceived serious threats?
Con: Perhaps the military itself would balk?
Pro: Precisely! The chain of command can do just so much. Some cooler heads can break the rules! An analogy might be... if I asked you to do me a favor, would you? You would? Then would you kill that man over there? Suddenly you balk? But you said you'd do me a favor! What changed? The nature of the act. Most commanders would not think twice of following orders to charge the enemy, invade a country which might be a threat, or any number of other acts (which from a purely intellectual viewpoint might not be a good idea, but which were still orders from those who allegedly had better information, advice, and quality of thinking). But the idea of starting a nuclear war has a bit more inhibitory baggage with it. A lot of commanders might very well balk at the idea of going nuclear... UNLESS they had become convinced that the nuclear route was the only viable one.
The pilot who dropped the bomb on Hiroshima lived a long life after that, and went to his grave believing he had done the right thing. There are indeed a lot of good arguments that he was right. The key of course was the suicidal nature of invading a country who had no clue as to the reality of the world situation, and who would fight with potentially incredible vigor against an invasion of their sacred soil. Dropping the bomb could be justified as saving countless lives of the invasion force, even if a lesser number of the 'enemy' had to die in the most noteworthy example of collateral damage of innocents in history.
Obviously, the key therefore to initiating a NEW nuclear attack is convincing the guys who are about to physically push the button that releases the bomb from their aircraft, that the cause is right. Or just keep them in the dark about the real agenda... that might do it as well.
In any case, a president is still a lame duck if he is unable to convince (or deceive) the key military officers who will be able to effect his orders to drop a nuclear weapon on one or more cities (in say any pretenders to the nuclear club throne). But... there are always a certain number of key officers who will be easily persuaded (or already have been persuaded). One must recall that being a high ranking military officer is not necessarily a sign of sanity... or even intellectual curiosity. If the president can find the right stooge to do his bidding, the bomb gets dropped. Or even if the president finds a fearful, stooge nation to do their worse and drop all manner of bombs on their hated rivals.
Con: And what's the moral of all this?
Pro: You can do anything you want to do as long as you can get away with it. In many cases, do your damnest (pardon the pun) and then get out of the system before you have to pay the price.
Take a more mundane example. If a man is the executor of a will, and commits all manner of crimes in administering the estate [e.g. Theft, embezzlement, fraud, libel, slander, negligence, commingling of funds, perjury, lying under oath, contempt of court, squandering of assets, violations of fiduciary duty in a host of ways... well... you get the idea], and then is sued... he can escape the justice of the world by dying of natural causes. Just do everything imaginable to delay the case, and let nature take its course. He need never go before the judge and answer to his actions. He need never even admit that he has done wrong, and if he is sufficiently insane, he may never know it.
Come to think of it: Could virtually any imaginable crime not be chocked up to insanity, and thus every perpetrator to be declared innocent by reason of insanity?
For that matter will they discover the truth after dying? Unknown. There are obviously lots of theories about what happens after death, but they are still just theories. There may be evidence to support them, but the theories are still just educated guesses. But if one assumes such cosmic justice, then one might feel better – all warm and fuzzy inside – that the dead executor is now getting his comeuppance, but the truth is that probably not. Either there is no cosmic justice on the other side, or that any cosmic justice that exists is of the form that anything and everything done while incarnated is ultimately forgivable. In either case, there is no punishment for the wrongdoer. Any one obeying the natural law of survival of the fittest can do anything and still be ultimately forgiven! Only in the version of life after death involving punishment for the bad guys is there any comfort for the victims. And if you think about it, it's a really strange and pathetic form of "comfort".
But need there be punishment? If the death of the executor simply transfers the liability of his actions to his estate (which still has the ability to pay), AND the victim is not obsessed with the executor answering for his crimes, then the so-called victim can still recover his damages from those still living. Does that make the latter innocent victims? Wrong question. There are no victims; only losers of the various rounds in the survival of the fittest.
Con: Is compassion a survival tool?
Pro: Maybe. On the one hand, there is the example of an 18th century Indian tribe in Canada (northwest of Lake Superior) who were very war like and in constant struggle against neighboring tribes. They were converted to Christianity by French explorer/priests, began practicing love and compassion and were wiped out with a few years – exterminated.
Con: There are aspects of humans (and animals) which sound like love and compassion and actually manage to improve the human's survivability – or at least the quality of the survival. If we for example adhere to the law of Karma, correcting for our excesses, it may simply make us feel better. People who help others tend to live longer. Happiness is seldom about winning, but instead it's about having fun and that involves others. Those who treat others badly have a strong tendency to feel bad.
Pro: Again, if you believe it, you can create your own reality. The key will be to take advantage of others, but never, never, never think about the others, and always avoid seeing their plight, seeing the results of your greed, and keep those who slave to keep you in luxury far, far, far from your view. Out of sight, out of mind; and you'll live happily ever after.
Con: On that basis, therefore, I have to tell you something. I have my handgun aimed at you from under the table, and you've just convinced me that I can get kill you without any punishment or need to make amends later. Thanks for your assistance, and for your valuables.
But don't take it personally. I just needed some cash to take my sweetie to dinner tonight, and with the nicer restaurant your cash will allow for, I'll probably get laid... and perhaps reproduce as the fittest.
 United States, Russia, England, France, China, Israel, India, and Pakistan; later(?): Iran, North Korea.
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