Translator’s preface: rephrasing the following into early 21st century English is, to understate things slightly, a challenge. To even explain why it’s a challenge would, likewise be a challenge. How does one explain the polyseme in vocabulary terms that existed in the 21st century? One might as well attempt to translate the 21st century word “internet” into Old English in a way that would be accessible to denizens of a mead hall. Any attempt, including this one, is necessarily flawed.
1357 U.E. (i.e. 3328 C.E., i.e. 3328 AD), Oort Cloud Commensal
After a long shift at the atelier I returned home and turned on the polyseme to catch up on the emerge re the refugee crisis.
“…then we as members of the Commensal have a duty, a moral duty, to help. We’ve all experienced the wholesales of the refugee family crawling from their burned lander near the shores of the Achelous Sea, the father cradling his dead son as he steps out onto Ganymede. The time to debate is over, and the time to act -”
“-the time to act is now. We must -”
The emergent raised his voice. “Madame Secretary! I must object. Before we talk about importing potentially a hundred million refugees, we have to have a serious conversation about whether they can possibly integrate into our culture.”
The secretary didn’t bother to keep the annoyance from her face. [ translator’s note: all references to physical gestures are, at best, illustrative, and – at worst – ficitive ] “You’re going to say ‘a flood of refugees’, aren’t you? I, for one find that phrasing offensive. May I remind you that exact sort of language was used just three hundred years ago when the Martian Diaspora brought so many people to us here in the OCC. Are you going to tell the many proud citizens who trace their ancestry to the M.D. that you don’t like their kind?”
The emergent shook his virtual head. “It’s inane to compare the citizens of the Martian Diaspora to the current refugee crisis. On the Barnes scale the people of the M.D. were almost all type 1 and type 2 ideologues: Nationalists, Trade Unionists, Libertarians, Atheists, Catholics. Non-totalizers, all. The Hitlerite diaspora that threatens to swamp us now -”
“Sir, I find that offensive. This is not a Hitlerite issue. This is an inner system issue. These people aren’t coming here to attack us, they’re coming here because they’re fleeing war.”
“Madame secretary I agree, they’re fleeing war – a war that the Hitlerites themselves have caused”.
The Secretary took a long breath. “I utterly reject that sort of bigotry. To call this a Hitlerite issue is to blame the victims. The problem is not Hitlerism – it’s a small evil group of people who are twisting the words – the beautiful words of an ancient faith – to their own destructive ends.”
The emergent seemed to cough. “A small group? Twisting the words? Madame secretary, have you absorbed the Hitlerites texts? Have you read Mein Kampf? Have you listened My Idaho Struggle? Have you played through even one of level of A Pure Moon and A Pure Sky: My Manifesto?”
“Yes, sir, I have. Have you? To quote one of my favorite sayings of the prophet ‘We want this people to be peace-loving but also courageous, and you must therefore be peace-loving and at the same time courageous.’ These are beautiful words, and when we look at our brothers and sisters from the inner system, we need to see that these are the words in their hearts, the words
“Madam Secretary, those quotes are nonsense. I -”
“I can assure you, sir, that they are entirely real! Hitler said those very words. The references are inline and you -”
“I don’t mean that they’re false. I mean that they have absolutely no bearing on the true core of Hitlerism.”
“Sir Emergent, I find that frankly offensive. The core of Hitlerism is the same as the core of any of our ideologies. Respect for one’s neighbor, personal growth, family -”
“The core of Hitlerism is none of those things; it’s mass-murder, pure and simple. Let me quote from Mein Kampf. ‘We shall regain our health only be eliminating the Jew.’ This is the core of Hitlerism: the suspicion of contamination, the hatred of the Other. First it was Jews and Gypsies and the disabled. Later it was Hispanics and Blacks. By the time of the Near Earth Wars it was AIs and the Uplifted. Mark my words, if we let Hitlerites into the OCC, next it will be us!”
“Sir Emergent, you are out of line! All serious scholars of Hitlerism agree that the Hitlerite concept of a holy war against Jews is an allegory, an inner struggle against the ‘Jew’ of our own worst natures. A struggle against hate, against selfishness, against, dare I say it, suspicion of others. And, given your readiness to slander an entire people, it’s perhaps a struggle that you yourself should consider engaging in. This slander against their belief system -”
“It’s not slander, Madam Secretary, it’s historical truth, amply documented by the Hitlerites themselves. Read their holy texts. Look at the historical record. The first war of Hitlerite Expansion in minus 32 U.E. killed 60 million people. The second war of Hitlerite Expansion in 60 U.E. killed 115 million. The third war -”
“It is historically irresponsible to ascribe all of the deaths in those wars to the Hitlerites. The causes of the wars were complicated. Let me remind you that in World War Two – and let us use the proper names for these wars, not some minority’s invented jingoistic terms – it was the anti-Hitlerite bigots who used nuclear weapons. And then in the Unification War it was the anti-Hitlerites who unleashed the Sleep Plague. And, of course, in the First Near Earth War it was the anti-Hitlerites who initiated comet strikes. So if you want to talk war crimes, sir -”
“I do want to talk about war crimes, and I-”
“Let me finish. If you want to talk war crimes, then you have to acknowledge that no side is blameless. The World Wars, the Near Earth Wars, the Martian Conflict – those happened long ago, in a different time, and our own ancestors were as much to blame – perhaps even more to blame – for the death toll.”
“Long ago? The Martian Diaspoa was only 300 years ago. Many of our AI citizens remember it! But I digress: no one is arguing that there weren’t casualties caused by both sides. The argument that those of us against Hitlerite immigration are making is that Hitlerism is inherently a violent expansionist ideology, that all of the wars of Hitlerite Expansion were innitiated by the Hitlerites, and that letting Hitlerites into the Oort will be a terrible mistake.”
“Sir Emergent, it is disrespectful and disgusting to slander an entire people – an entire faith community – by labeling them as violent and expansionist. The vast vast majority of Hitlerites have never engaged in violent, and polls consistently show that the majority reject violence. They-”
“Fifty seven percent reject violence – which is another way of saying forty three percent endorse it!”
“If you interrupt me again, this debate is at an end.”
The emergent shrugged and the secretary continued. “As I was saying, the majority of Hitlerite believers reject violence. And, in fact, the people that we are discussing today are themselves refugees from the extremist violence of their homelands. We are discussing victims, not agressors here.”
Neither party spoke for a moment.
“Sir emergent, would you like to reply?”
“Ah, you’re done? Very well. I believe that we both agree that forty three percent of Hitlerites endorse initiating violence, do we not?”
The secretary pursed her lips. “A minority do, regrettably, yes. I’d be curious to see what percent of O.O.C. citizens also do. I bet it’s at least as high. Your [ translator’s note: the following word is imprecise ] faction, for example, is on record as saying that we should burn the refugee ships before they cross into Jovian space -”
Sir Emergent [ translator’s note: the following is terribly imprecise, but no better phrase is available ] drummed his fingers on the podium.
” – and – if I may quote ‘destroy them all, so that no more invasion ships will launch’. Between these two choices, genocide or tolerance, the only moral choice is tolerance.”
Sir Emergent [ translator’s note: as per above ] leaned forward. “First, I object to the assertion that ‘my faction’ has argued that. There are multiple overlapping phyles in this quor-alliance, as there are in your own. To tar my entire mindshare by saying that it endorses genocide, just because a few of the more excitable four sigmas have said they want to burn the ships is to engage in the non-central fallacy. Second, to say that there are only two choices, burning the ships of the Hitlerite refugees or admitting arbitrary numbers of them to the O.C.C., is to engage in the fallacy of the excluded middle. There are more than two options. We have repeatedly backed porposals in the Unicam to fund refugee colonies on Ceres. Additionally, there are vast numbers of unused and underutilized O’Neil colonies in the trailing Jovian Trojan point, which could be purchased quite cheaply from the controlling AI syndics. More than enough to house all of the Hitlerite refugees.”
“House them in permanent refugee camps? To treat them as second class citizens is offensive to post-human dignity – both theirs and ours.”
“Madame Secretary, I agree that the Hitlerite refugees shouldn’t be treated as second class citizens – they should be treated as non-citizens. Which is what they are!”
“I find your attitude condescending and pre-post-human.”
Sir Emergent [ translators note: I give up. ] shrugged. “You are free to have whatever emotional response you prefer. The facts remain stubbornly on my side, though, and they are these:
One: The Hitlerite ideology was created by a madman, a murderer, and a genocidal dictator. It was birthed in war, and has only ever grown by war.
Two: The Hitlerite regime has done nothing but grow for 1,500 years. It has occasional setbacks, yes, but first it conquered the Teutonic regions, then all of Old Europa, then the Northern Hemisphere, then Earth, then the Lunar -”
“Please spare us from the tedious -”
“Madam Secretary, you chastised me earlier for interruption. Please let me finish.”
Madame secretary harrumphed.
The Emergent continued “Then the Lunar Republic, then in rapid succession Mercury and Venus. And we’ve already covered the Martian Diaspora. This list only includes Hitlerite aggression in meat-space. I note that where there was once a flourishing civilization of AIs inside the Belt, there are now precisely zero.
“Three: you can argue all you want that the Hitlerite ideology is fundamentally similar to our own OCC family of ideologies, but it’s not; Hitlerism is based on the premise that outsiders must be eliminated. You can argue all you want that Hitlerism has moderated from its early days, but it hasn’t; you yourself admit that almost fifty percent of the refugees believe in initiating violence. Their attitudes towards the uplifted and cyborg citizens are even worse. Polls back me up on this. And finally, you can argue that refugees will assimilate into Oort culture and become more moderate in time, but there is little or no evidence to support that. Witness the Jovian Collectives experience with their Hitlerites: the permanent resentful underclass, the recent Hitlerite-led pogroms against uplifted dolphins and racoons on New Europa and Ganymede, the proposed laws against large arrays of personalities.
“Madam Secretary, in short, to admit Hitlerites to the OCC is to invite the destruction of our own society.
“We must be insane, literally insane, to permit this inflow. If we do it, we will be building our own funeral pyre.”
“Sir Emergent, that’s quite enough. I ask the Moderators General for unanimous consent of the delegates to dissolve this quorum and instantiate another more conducive to proper discourse. A vote please? Very well. We’ll now continue with a new construct. Welcome Sir Emergent Novus.”
Sir Emergent Novus bowed from the waist. “Thank you for having me here, ma’am.”
I turned the polyseme off and checked the replicator. This debate was boring, would never affect me, and – besides – I was hungry.
Truly brilliant. More like this please.
So we win in the end but are nazis…oh well…