Have you ever thought about how governments’ were originally made? What is the essence of the rule of law? And how people are conditioned to bow to authority? Well, I did, and quite often since being… uploaded.
I think this particular position gives me a unique perspective on that aspect of human society. After countless analyses, I figured out that it is all arbitrary.
It all leads back to prehistory when tribes roamed the plains and made war with one another. In essence, not much has changed since those days. We have become more sophisticated, our tribes are larger, and we have—to some degree—learned to control our basic impulses. Still, if you look at the broad picture while unfocusing your eyesight a bit, there are barely any differences at all.
Let me try to explain this crazy theory of mine (while emphasizing that it is only a theory), which may or may not be true.
A group of people gets together and creates a tribe or a country in this case. They decide who is going to lead them, or he decides himself by beating everyone else into submission, and subsequently reaches the top of the decision-making pyramid. He gathers around himself those who are willing to follow his commands, and place them in positions of power under him. Now, some laws are introduced, some customs and ways of punishment for those who are not dancing to the tune those on top are playing. It is ultimately the offender's fault; they were not ambitious or smart enough to be the decision-makers. It is brutal and unfair, which life usually is.
The man on top, and those capable enough to climb the power ladder (aka the politicians’), need money to… they just need money. Oh, they give some back by improving the living standards of the entire tribe; it wouldn’t be good if the plebes rebelled and decided to cut off their heads, but most of it is spent under their discretion. There are not many poor politicians in the world, and if they are—you can find idiots, I mean idealists everywhere. The forms governments’ take can be quite versatile, but if you take them to their bare bones, there is not much difference between them.
People of that nation (or all others, in fact), are taught from birth to follow the leaders and to obey the rule of law. It becomes a Pavlovian reflex after a while, something familiar and safe. Nobody wants to rock the boat and bring the attention of those above them on their heads. Well, not the majority of people, you need to include a new crop of politicians who want to climb to the top, be they of the normal variety, or the other—the revolutionaries. The second kind disagrees with how things are run and want their own view of the world imposed on others. I do not blame them; the original ruler had quite similar thoughts once upon a time.
That’s it, in the nutshell; extremely simplified and probably needs some work, but it does not make it any less true. In time, some other tribe attacks the country we imagined, and if it isn’t strong enough, it gets annihilated, annexed, or enslaved. The reasons why, are nothing more than excuses for that dominance-seeking beast, which still resides within the collective human soul. Maybe the other tribe didn’t like the way they dressed or had a beef with the god they were worshiping. Maybe they minded that our tribe was a bunch of cannibals’, or that their women were too scantily dressed. It doesn’t matter what the reason is or the justification—war is war.
In the end, only one thing carries any meaningful importance—power. The ability to keep what you have, and the strength to make others think twice before attacking you. That strength can be real or perceived, it too is arbitrary, unless there is an attack—then it matters a whole lot more. To have enough power to make others leave you alone—that is the key to peace. All the rhetoric in the world, the well-meaning words of pacifists, means about as much as a bucket in an empty well. Why do you think nations spend so much of their annual budget on armaments and weapons research? Why do they posture and have military parades that show off their might? Humanity in all its varieties has a strong tendency to make war… they only need a good enough incentive.
Why did I go off the tangent and started talking about the essence of government and all that jazz? Because we needed one—the government, I mean, and the ruler to be a representative of our nation. The individual who will tell other tribes to back off, or else…
We had already established some ground rules, but nothing official as there was no need—now there was.
Michael was in a very bad mood these days; he still likes to think he has that freedom of choice and independence he was used to while he was only one more ex-soldier climbing a corporate ladder. All that was in the past; he was now a leader of a nation, and going by Mr. Freeman was not enough anymore. The idea didn’t even come from me, or the inner circle—it came from the people themselves. They did not want him to speak with those Earth leaders and to take their crap only because he did not have any honorific to his name. The high and mighty Earthers definitely did that, looked at him as some upstart who dared to sit at the same table as them, which was already overcrowded by their overinflated egos.
After a long debate and his constant rejections of proposed titles, he finally agreed that he would be known as Leader Freeman, as in—Leader of the Solarian Union.
It is funny how many individuals on Earth still denied that the S.U. was a legal political entity. Let alone a country in its own right. It was not on Earth, where countries had, more or less, well-defined borders. For that reason, they initially claimed that if we were to be recognized, any idiot with a ship in international waters could claim the same, that he was starting his own sovereign state. (In all truth, if that idiot had a nuclear arsenal, he would have got away with it—power is power.)
That line of thinking had merit, but they forgot that many countries on the planet started the same. Even the United States of America was once nothing but an idea, which had in time grown into the strongest nation in the world. There was one argument that was more important than any others were; the others did not count when that card was out on the table. The one with the biggest gun gets to call his own shots. He is the king of the jungle, and all other creatures in the animal kingdom know—do not piss off the lion king.
Consequently, it caused a change in how our people perceived him; he was not simply one of the people anymore, now he was their leader in name too. Therefore, there was a subtle sense of respect they showed while dealing with him; not that he wasn’t respected before, but now it was far more noticeable. Luckily, Elizabeth was there, and the inner circle, which really didn’t care about the honorific. Especially Tyron when he was beating the crap out of him in training sessions.
The title was there for life, or until Michael is fed up with everything and decides to… abdicate?
There was a funny moment when one of the world leaders asked how long was Michael’s mandate as a Leader of the S.U., hoping to get rid of his stubborn presence once and for all. The gentleman in question almost had a heart attack when he was informed that the position was permanent, and Leader Freeman was not going away anytime soon.
That was one more thing that bugged the hell out of him—meetings. Especially the frequent videoconferences, as they had become the preferred way of political discussions between leaders. They scheduled the official one every month to resolve this issue or that, but there were almost daily ones, concerning matters of lesser importance. He was not a happy camper, despite the fact that he was the one who initiated the idea of videoconferences between the world leaders.
Official reasons or not, the powers that be wanted to get their hands on our tech, and Michael was becoming a virtuoso at changing topics and basically telling them that they would get most of what they want in time, right after we settle things in our new country. He was priming them for the main event when he placed his cards on the table and demanded a fair price… well, a price anyway.
I was aware of his plans and supported them wholeheartedly. It is the way the world works; if you want something you are going to pay for it. What’s more, if you really, really want it—you are going to overpay.