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Old November 3 2009, 08:21 AM   #32
The Borgified Corpse
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Re: "Children of Earth" & the Right to Bear Arms (spoilers)

Sci wrote: View Post
Starkers wrote: View Post
To bring this back to CoE, if possible, I think what was so fantastic about it was that it generates debates like this, more so than an awful lot of television these days, and that, really, it was the ultimate Kobyashi Maru scenario (until the end which had to have us survive). In most respects the governments’ ability to resist the 456 was about as much use as the citizenry’s ability to resist the government. Little more than pissing in the wind.
I've never been convinced that this is true. The 456 claim to be master geneticists capable of producing biological weapons capable of wiping out the Human race... Yet they're too inept to just clone the 40-some-odd kids the Brits handed over to them in the 1960s? And the only bio weapon they actually release turns out to kill its victims so quickly that in reality, it would never spread beyond more than a few sectors of London because its victims would all die before they could spread it?

It's fair to say that the 456 probably could have caused millions of deaths, but I'd say they didn't prove themselves an existential threat.
I kept wondering about that myself. I also thought, if the 456 were so powerful, why do they need us to select & gather the children for them? Why can't they simply abduct them themselves? And what do they possibly gain by exterminating humanity? It seemed like a bluff to me and a fairly obvious one. I wish the Prime Minister had had the stones to call them on it.

Ensign_Redshirt wrote: View Post
The Borgified Corpse wrote: View Post
However, I think "Children of Earth" does raise the issue of what can happen if we put unyielding trust in the government and don't take additional precautions to defend ourselves when the government becomes the enemy. What else do you suggest? That we surrender like sheep to the slaughter?
Realistically, the government won't become "the enemy"... at least not in the so-called Western world. So, those questions above are pretty much irrelevant.

For any country in the developed world to turn into a dictatorship again it would require some drastic changes (specifically, some drastic crisis or catastrophe) in the world. Just like the threat of apocalypse by an extra-terrestrial force in "Children of Earth".
I agree that it's unlikely but it is certainly possible. We can't predict the future. For all we know, such a catastrophe could occur tomorrow or next year. Isn't it prudent that we take precautions in case of such a contingency? Otherwise, it's like not having smoke detectors in the house because you think it's unlikely that the house will ever catch fire.

Count Zero wrote: View Post
Sci wrote: View Post
It does provide a check -- not a definitive one, but one nonetheless -- against government encroachment on peoples' rights, [...]
So, would you say, the US government hasn't encroached on peoples' rights since 9/11?
Sadly, I'd say it has. It simply has not yet become intrusive enough to spark a popular revolt. The only people that have been significantly negatively affected by it so far have mostly been criminals & illegal immigrants; much in the same way that the Third Reich mostly only persecuted Jews & other "undesirables."

There's certainly a tipping point where the government clearly becomes the enemy of its general citizenry. Thank god we have not reached that point in any Western country in recent history that I'm aware of. But what happens if we reach that point? What if we reach a dire crisis like in "Children of Earth" where the government unilaterally makes the wrong decision? Don't the people have right to defend themselves (regardless of how effective their resistance may be)? Shouldn't we have a better plan than "We're just hoping it never happens"?

I'm not saying everyone should have a gun. There are a lot of morons out there and I shudder to think what kind of stupid shit might happen if they had one. However, I don't see any indication that any government is so trustworthy that only they should be allowed guns. I'd be pro-gun control too if it included forbidding the government from having any guns either.

One of the oddest political alignments in recent U.S. history was that a lot of the people who are pro-gun control were the same people who were convinced that George W. Bush stole the 2000 election. If you believe that the democratic process can fail and the government can be subverted like that, why do you want to live in a world where those are the only people that have guns?

The only way to fight encroachment on our rights is to fight every little one by legal means, by protesting, by raising awareness in the media. Thankfully, for all of us living in liberal democracies, these things are possible.
What happens when we're not in a liberal democracy anymore? You're right, the deevolution of a government from democratic to totalitarian is usually a slow process. But what do you suggest the citizens do when they suddenly realize that they are at the tail end of that transformation?

Bringing things back to the 456, I think an apt comparison would be to the Third Reich. Even after the other European powers conceded to Hitler's "final" territorial demands, he still demanded more territory. I suspect the same thing would have happened with the 456 even if they had received the children they asked for. If history teaches us one thing over & over again, it's that nothing good ever comes from negotiating with bad people. I wish the PM in "Children of Earth" had remembered that.
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