'The Ascent of Man' (short story)

Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture
Submitted by Kyrel Zantonavitch on Sat, 2018-08-11 02:55

Once there was a great philosopher who suddenly somehow someway acquired superpowers. X didn't have the slightest idea who or what had changed him, nor why, nor how long the changes would last. But making the intellectually wisest and morally best decision he could, X right away oportunistically used his astonishing strength and speed to try to politically liberate the planet.

Not willing to risk messing up America, and working with a simpler people and culture, he started with China. X astonished them by showing up unannounced on the doorsteps of the main Peking government building. He was dressed entirely in dark purple leather with a full facial mask. X zipped past all security and told the Prime Minister and Communist Central Committee to immediately pass, and massively publicize, a super-law banning the initiation of force against people and property. They adamantly refused.

X instantly killed them all and approached the giant legislature. He richly but rapidly explained what he just did and why. X made the exact same request of the Chinese legislators, and when they refused he immediately killed those he judged to be the top ten most powerful and influential. X sloppily stacked their corpses next to the speaker's podium. "This is a visual representation of what the Welfare State does," he proclaimed flatly. "You must replace it with a free state. You and your laws won't be allowed to attack the people any more."

The would-be liberator then restated his demand, and when the legislature refused again, he offed the top twenty. Then forty. This was getting tiresome, he thought!

Finally, they complied. The Universal Non-Aggression Law was passed by over 90% of the survivors. Those that still voted "no" were killed.

The t'v' and radio stations, as well as newspapers and magazines, were reluctantly informed of the new political reality. Soon word went out all across the country from a stunned and disbelieving media.

The next day X also made them ban the Communist Party, and publically burn all available books on communism and socialism, and delete the same from their computers, and censor them from all public and private promotion "for twenty years -- or until the brainwashing is fully cured." Most of the police were fired, and the military was disarmed, disbanded, and criminalized. All weapons of mass destruction were destroyed.

Then the social hero forced over 95% of everyone over twelve years old to read ten books on political, economic, social, and personal freedom within three months. This was called the Political Education Mandate. These books and ideas were also taught relentlessly on t'v', radio, internet videos, and internet texts. The schools focused most of their lessons on them for those three months. Much was also taught at work places and retirement homes. Relatively difficult tests were given on the subject matter every week, and everyone who failed, including the parents of substandard kids, were punished with year-long prison terms and immense wealth confiscation.

Local police, legislators, judges, and influential private citizens who resisted were systematically killed at the rate of about a hundred per day -- mostly by the new libertarian police. Those who hid well were hunted down by X. The attempted-liberator focused hard on the intellectual and political elite. He left the powerless masses and braindead soulless sheeple alone.

By Day Ten there was no more resistance of note.

Nevertheless a large section of the Chinese people initially complained furiously that X was "violating their rights" to freely choose their own form of government. The Hero proclaimed: "There's no such thing as a right to violate rights. So long as any sovereign, independent, adult individual anywhere, in any respect, doesn't want his person or property attacked or compromised, then you are forbidden to do so. So long as any baby or child anywhere, in any respect, potentially may wish to not have his person or property attacked or compromised, then you are forbidden to assault him thus. People's lives are not yours to destroy." Their laments on this issue systematically faded -- aided by immense propaganda.

Then the Chinese people complained bitterly that the Liberator was not respecting democracy and autonomy. He instantly replied: "Majority-rule and self-rule are political values which are grossly inferior to liberty and justice. Individual rights take complete precedence over them. Freedom and the rights of man are absolute and unalienable. They're infinite in size and importance. Democracy and autonomy count for little or nothing next to them. You'll get back your majority-rule and self-rule in the next generation. Partially. Maybe."

Within two months, led by those in their teens and twenties, a constituency for liberty was tentatively, but powerfully, established thruout the land. The Hero no longer had to much impose his will.

The economy boomed. The society flourished. The individual triumphed and was thunderously happy.

Voluntary self-help and social-help groups of all types were soon found in every place. They practically took over, and ruled, the nation.

Social harmony, cooperation, and friendship rose radically. The culture was stunningly enriched. Individual self-expression and self-realization exploded. By six months, the constituency for liberty was irresistibly and immovably grounded. It seemed impossible to uproot -- or even minutely shake.

The politics of freedom swiftly generated an ethics of extreme individualism and an epistemology of overwhelming rationality. Many new books had to be rapidly written because the world had never seen anything like it. There was a new and radical best-seller every week. The fresh versions of the ethics of individualism and the epistemology of rationality massively reinforced the new political system of liberty. These three seemed to form an interlocking system of ideas which was unbreakable.

China became the most powerful and influential country on earth within a year. Within two years, every country on earth copied the Chinese political system.

The Superhero inexplicably lost his superpowers and retired. He then revealed his secret identity, quietly told his story, and was wildly celebrated.

Individual and collective happiness could not have been higher. Existence was bliss. Life having been mastered and conquered, humans turned their immense and soaring scientific powers to mastering and conquering death.

Thumbs Up?

Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

I'd be curious to hear what everybody else thought of my brief, radical short story above! Was it good, bad, interesting, boring, fun, not worth reading, inspiring, predictable, innovative, foolish, etc.? Puzzled Michael Newberry's opinion was shocking to me. But I wonder if anyone else agrees with it?

A Pure and Morally-Perfect Liberator and Hero

Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

Newberry -- The hero is a liberator -- not a dictator. He defensively kills evil-doers and dictators -- not mere intellectual opponents or anyone innocent. He liberates the world.

He defensively wears a mask for self-protection -- in case his superpowers unexpectedly fade. He isn't a potential martyr for mankind.

Education in politics is necessary to prevent people from unavoidably attacking other people via crime or tyranny. It's necessary for the brain-washed and intellectually infantilized, which is essentially everybody today and in the story. It's like teaching kids -- not a form of indoctrination or true coercion. It's also an act of liberation, physically and mentally.

Might doesn't make right, nor do the ends justify the means, in the story, or ever in life. The liberator uses might for right -- for liberty and justice for all. The means are justified and acts of moral goodness. All the dedicated would-be enslavers are executed. They deserve this.

It's worth noting that virtually all the truly evil, criminal, and tyrannical people in the short story go unpunished -- at least in the described part of the tale. This is because essentially everyone is guilty. So their only real penalty is three months of forced reading and study. And it's of knowledge and truth they truly need and hugely benefit from.

There is no infantile or simplistic rage on display. It's all mature, sophisticated, righteous fury, based on a noble love of justice and freedom, and a properly ferocious rejection of universal enslavement.

No good person is properly burdened with the hard and aesthetic work of persuasion. Certainly not a magnificent hero. No good person of high political knowledge is obligated to win over or educate his fellows. Extreme evil-doers need to halt their extreme criminality and tyranny. Or they can rightly be punished and killed.


Newberry's picture

Your hero is a dictator, dresses in purple leather, wears a mask, kills any opposition, and imposes forced education. In this universe might makes right and the ends justify the means. Galt turned down that job. It reminds me of the infantile and simplistic rage wing of objectivism, that would rather drop nuclear bombs on millions of people (Peikoff), or be aesthetic dictators (Perigo) rather than do the harder and aesthetic work of persuasion (Aeschylus, the Oresteian Trilogy).


Kyrel Zantonavitch's picture

Newberry -- How so?


Newberry's picture


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