You and I know that all men are created equal, and that we all have individual rights. Our Bill of Rights says so. As we celebrate our Independence, here is a ‘Think Piece’ about what might happen if too many Americans took their rights for granted. . .
ADVANCED CITIZENSHIP 10101
Greetings, students and future Citizens of Earth. This is your introduction to the New Age of Man, and the rise of the Republic of Earth. This is your only introduction to Advanced Citizenship 10101. Attend!
At the dawn of the third millennium on Earth, (2000AD) the brave new world of Man had only just begun. Many of the inhabitants of that early world may not have even been aware of what was to come, or knowledgeable, perhaps, of their participation in those monumental events that would forever shape our world today. We call this simple period of time, the DM, for the Dawn of the Age of Man.
It was a time of chaos, of fear, and many in that world still lived centuries behind even the simplest advances of that early age of Enlightenment. Most of the world was poor, underfed, without shelter, and unspoken for. Many of the world’s remaining resources were squandered and polluted by megalithic corporations, intent only on profit and world domination.
At the beginning, there was one country, America, who could have stood, as best prepared to face the Great Unknown, and to lead the world forward, to that which was soon to come.
How odd. America! Such a noble country, with such valiant struggles. The immortal words of its memorable Bill of Rights and its Constitution were known by all the world. Yet it was actually an under populated and under-realized country. It was a place of squanderous wealth and decadence, but also with untold generosity and sacrifice! It was a fairly new country, which was still trying to establish its precepts as a sworn Republic, only just having finally given human rights to the greatest number of its citizens. Rights that were denied to the gender, class and race of many of its inhabitants for most of its early existence.
Besides this, America was prosperous. They were technically advanced. They were invincible. Everyone envied America, or wanted to become one of their citizens. There were a desperate and rabid few who hated what she stood for, and the light of freedom she represented. These, her foes, never prevailed against her.
Yet most of her own citizens did not seem to know much about what America was. Not nearly as well as those who wanted to be like her. For the most part, the average individual Citizen of the United States of America did not care, having untold luxury, and want of nothing, they concentrated on gaining wealth and status, loving capitalism more than the Liberty of their nation. But a few of her Citizens were aware! They knew, and they gave published words of encouragement and warning to the rest.
Therefore, slumbering or uncaring, it was this young and largely untested Republic that led the world into the New Era of Man.
This trembling new period was also launched upon Man’s greatest upward thrust. Information. Technology. Science. Reason. Critical thought: All these things had advanced tremendously in the dark world of the DM, prior to their Millennium Day.
The single most important thrust of that advance was the emergence of widespread, electronic sharing of information. Telegraph. Telephone, Radio, Television, Internet: We all know their meaning, their convergence, and their importance, don’t we?
We know today that every Citizen is completely and eternally interconnected to every other member of Man. We are also linked to the Compendium, which is all the vast body of knowledge and information that Earth and its near reaches contain.
Now about this course.
1. The first thing I want you to gain from this course is this understanding: That which we prize the most is not what our American (and other) ancestors prized above all else. We prize our Privacy, which is the first right of every Citizen. They thoughtlessly gave away many of their rights for comforts, or for conveniences, or wealth, if you can imagine that!
2. The second thing I want you to learn from this course is how the citizens of the DM, in their pursuit of other, less important things, withheld the Rise of the Republic of Earth for several centuries, nearly bringing annihilation to the planet. Not only did their lack of Citizenship, and their greed for substance wreck their own world, it kept those in power who would have brought the State into existence, from succeeding any sooner!
3. The third and final thing I want you each to learn, and experience in the most private way, is this: We are no different from our Ancestors. Nor is our Republic of Earth any different from the one that stood at the DM.
You must also learn that Advanced Citizenship is not just about obeying the Laws, and being polite to everyone. It is about choosing each day a role for yourself. Today, will you live for yourself, or will you live to serve others? This is the Prime Question every Citizen must answer. It was true then, back in the DM, back in the good ol’ U.S. of A., –and it is still true today.
Now lets speak about Privacy, and its complex dichotomy with Freedom
I know Citizens value their Privacy. A Citizen should always zealously guard it from intrusion. Every channel you have to reach out to others, for information, is also a channel to be used to invade your private life, your private thoughts and dreams. Our greatest punishment is reserved only for those who are convicted of such forceful Invasion, seeking to view, control, molest, or manipulate another Citizen for any reason. This is as it should be.
But now leave your abode and take a walk in the open-air park. You greet others there. They greet you. You even may have friends and confidants there, do you not? What? No one raises a cry of “Invasion” there? Now you are in a free place, a polite and sedate place. The rule of Privacy does not apply there, does it? Of course not.
Now move a long way out, toward the Rim for just a tiny visit. You understand! It is just as wild and wooly and the lawless Old West, isn’t it? It is just as amoral and ruddy as the old Internet, right? Better be well armed and watchful in such places, if you have the courage to go there at all.
What does this have to do with citizenship? People live out there, don’t they? It is still the Republic, isn’t it? Yes to both questions. Now go back to the Prime Question, and answer it from the perspective of one of the Citizens living there, out on the Edge.
You are beginning to see it now, aren’t you? Advanced Citizenship for a Citizen of Earth, and a productive member of the Republic of Earth, is not about zealously watching over your rights, and closely guarding your own personal freedoms. It is about the giving up of those Rights and Freedoms, if the need be present, to preserve them for others. If you learn this, and if we can see you meaningfully apply it to your life, you will pass this course.
If you do not, your application for Citizenship will be denied for another year, and you will have to apply again.
Remember, you must, once again, save precisely one-half of your general workman’s wages account for that year, to be paid to the Republic at the beginning of your entrance exams.
Good luck to you all.
Sr. R. Bornus, Cyber Instructor, and 3rd Prelate to the Imperium.