The Borg Are Coming For You Part 2

(WARNING: Spoiler Alert. Also note that there are no images in this post because the new paywall architecture of the internet seems to have eliminated public domain images entirely. Welcome to the Borg’s New Order. “You will own nothing, but you’ll be very happy.” And pay rent for everything.) 

In the Star Trek: The Next Generation film Insurrection, Picard, Data and crew find themselves exposing a plot to destroy the paradise planet of the Ba’ku. The Ba’ku are a pacifist society living close to the land in a non-materialistic, self-reliant agricultural mode. Yet they aren’t backward, they simply choose to live without advanced technologies. Like the society depicted in Samuel Butler’s Erewhon (1872), they had achieved these “advancements” in the past and decided collectively it was better to do without them, recognizing that technology often comes with a price too high.[1]As Anij, one of the perennially beautiful matriarchs on the Ba’ku planet says, when Captain Picard is shocked to learn her people are capable of warp drive: “Capability, yes. But where can warp drive take us except away from here?”[2]It’s an incredibly imaginative act to say: We draw the line here. We will use tools, but only such as help us live lightly on the land. And only those tools that will not enslave us. Creativity and imagination are required in order to figure out how to strike a holistic balance in the use of our tools. 

The Ba’ku planet, aside from providing an environment conducive to sustaining life, has the unusual benefit of extending the lives and youthful appearances of its people indefinitely. Anij looks a vigorous 30 yet she’s really 300. (Ray Kurzweil must be salivating at the prospect.) Naturally, another race, the Son’a, are scheming to extract the secret of immortality from the rings that surround the planet. Unfortunately, the resulting detonation will also destroy the entire Ba’ku system and all life in it. The Son’a are the living opposites of the wholesome, attractive Ba’ku. The Son’a have chosen to completely immerse themselves in technology, both their culture and their bodies. Consequently, their bodies are filled with toxins that must be extracted daily. Their facial skin must be stretched and stitched electromagnetically back to their skulls. The effect is far from pretty, in fact quite deformed. Their leader Ru’afo has become twisted by hate and bitterness for reasons we only learn late in the story. The great irony of the story (spoiler!) is that the Son’a and the Ba’ku have identical DNA. They are the same people. But the ideological split in Ba’ku society deep in the past caused Ru’afo and his companions to reject the peaceful, low-tech lifestyle and attempt a violent coup. It fails, and they are cast out, until they return for their revenge. Ru’afo, like Khan, is a figure of seething rage driven by decades of turning over old resentments like meat on a spit.

At least with such Shakespearean characters, you can understand their psychology. You can see the root at the base of the badly deformed tree. It’s the cold as dry ice sociopaths you have to watch out for. You know, the type who can say “this may be the largest psychological experiment ever performed on humanity,”[3] cold-heartedly observing global lockdowns “…as if stooped over an ant colony,” as I wrote in Diary of a Pandemic Year.[4] Oblivious and utterly uncaring of lockdown’s collateral damage, the silent toll of thousands of “deaths of despair.” A report released by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms in December 2020 revealed that deaths from cancelled surgeries, suicides and opioid overdoses were already beginning to outpace those from Covid. “In BC and Alberta for example, more people died of opioid poisoning during the first six months of 2020, than the number of people who died with Covid-19.”[5] Another report from the Well Being Trust & The Robert Graham Center in the US observed: “Alongside the thousands of deaths from Covid-19, the growing epidemic of ‘deaths of despair’ is increasing due to the pandemic—as many as 75,000 more people will die from drug or alcohol misuse and suicide…”[6] Scientists, technocrats and bureaucrats who can view such tragic consequences dispassionately have already subsumed themselves to machine consciousness, even without cyborg implants.

When it comes to “transhumanism,” we need to remember the instinctive revulsion most people feel toward anything invasive to their bodies. This is why classic sci-fi like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, or the terrible scene in Wrath of Khan with the Seti Alpha 5 earworms gives viewers such an icy shudder. We are not meant to be our machines nor are we meant to serve them. They are tools to serve us, and need to be treated and managed as such, not integrated into living beings. Tools need to serve their maker, not the other way round. Otherwise, the tool shapes the shaper. For one thing, we are tampering with biology we still do not grasp the full implications of. We have no idea of the X factor, the unforeseen consequences of domination by AI, robotics and transhumanism. No idea the harm that could be done. If I had sufficient confidence in human nature, I might compromise and say a humanoid robot would be acceptable if it were hard-wired with Isaac Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics:

  1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.
  2. A robot must obey the orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
  3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

The incorporation into Data’s robotic matrix of an “ethical subroutine” suggests that Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics are foundational to his nature. Roddenberry was, after all, a perennial optimist about human nature. Other sci-fi writers—not so much. For example, the writers of the film The Terminator,[7] the story of a robot race run amok in their quest to eliminate humans, which the robotic terminators perceive as too flawed, since “humans inevitably die.”[8]Even if that seems an unlikely scenario, the problem may lie not in robotic sentience leading to disobedience, but obedience to a corrupt plutocracy. As Professor Michael Rectenwald observes: “The real danger posed by AI… is that it will behave like the obedient armies of totalitarianism, and thus, following the orders of an elite, effectively eradicate democracy from the social body.”[9]

In the case of “transhumanist” cyborgs, however, it seems likely it would take endless generations of experimentation to overcome the innate biological problem of the rejection of foreign matter by the body’s immune system. An increase in cancer has already been seen in animals fitted with computer chips. And what is the goal? To defy death? But at what cost? Sacrificing our millennia-old heritage as an Earth creature, an integral part of Her organism. As the character Marcus Wright says in Terminator: Salvation: “What is it that makes us human? It’s not something you can program. You can’t put it into a chip. It’s the strength of the human heart. The difference between us and machines.”[10] We are a biological creature like any other on this planet. We are part of Her rhythms, creatures of the Sun, the great god Sol, the source of all life in this solar system. Again, you can call He/She God, Goddess, Jesus, Allah, Jehovah, Shiva—any of a thousand names, each one with power for the ones who pray in those names. And if Gaia Theory is true, then let’s pray Gaia’s will includes us in her future.

The operative principle here is that no weapon—or potential weapon—ever invented has not been used. The gain-of-function research used to weaponize viruses being a case in point. Despite media-wide denial for almost a year, by 2021 substantial evidence had emerged that Covid-19 had been developed with American funding in partnership with the Wuhan lab in China. This was done surreptitiously by National Institutes of Health (NIH) executive officer Dr. Anthony Fauci to avoid conflict with a bioweapons ban on gain-of-function research signed by US President Obama in 2014.[11] The ban was hailed by Harvard epidemiologist Mark Lipsitch, “who has long called for more oversight for gain-of-function research,” as “excellent news.”[12] The good Dr. Lipsitch clearly didn’t count on Dr. Fauci’s duplicity. “Dr. Fauci, the NIAID, and the NIH ignored a ban on gain-of-function research instituted by the Obama administration in 2014 and continued to fund it until the Trump administration revoked funding in April 2020, and knowingly continued to fund research undertaken at the Wuhan Institute of Virology,” reported Scott Hounsell.[13] Although Senator Rand Paul was able to get a bill passed through Congress in May 2021 permanently banning American funding of gain-of-function research in China,[14] it’s a tragic case of the barn door being closed after the horse has long since escaped.

Canada’s political and scientific establishment is almost as deeply implicated in Covid chicanery as Dr. Fauci. “The Liberals refuse to release their purchasing agreements with Pfizer and Moderna,” writes Joseph Roberts, publisher of Common Ground magazine.[15] A report in The Epoch Times by reporter Andrew Chen broke the news that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau may have called an early election to cover the fact that his government colluded with Chinese military officials in the production of Covid-19 vaccines in Canada. “The House of Commons ordered the Trudeau government to produce the Winnipeg lab documents. That order dissolved with the dissolution of Parliament,” when Trudeau called an early election in September 2021. According to Conservative MP Michael Chong, “…a Canadian government scientist was conducting joint research with Major-General Chen Wei of the People’s Liberation Army, who was recently lauded by President Xi Jinping for developing a Chinese Covid-19 vaccine.”[16]

In February 2021 the Liberal government announced its investment in pharmaceutical firm Novovax to produce Covid-19 “vaccines” in a new National Research Council facility being built with federal funds in Montreal. “Canada has a deal to buy 52 million doses from Novavax after it is approved by Health Canada,” reported 680 News.[17] Note the assumptions here: that the “vaccine” would be approved, and therefore that it would be safe. That’s a lot of assumptions to throw millions of taxpayer dollars at for what could prove to be a bad gamble. Adding together the federal government’s total investments in Novavax, Vancouver biotech firm Precision NanoSystems, Ontario pharmaceutical company Edesa and the University of Saskatchewan’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization, the Liberals are spending $85 million on this spin of the roulette wheel. No wonder they want a jab in every arm.

Returning to Star Trek: Insurrection, it’s important to pick up the theme of insurrection that threads through this film. It begins in the opening scene, with a seemingly rogue Data using a phaser to de-cloak an observation post on Ba’ku. Unknown to the Ba’ku people, both the Son’a and the Federation have been spying on their idyllic society, ostensibly for scientific reasons. When Captain Picard tells Anij that the Federation’s Prime Directive is “a strict policy of non-interference in other cultures,” she responds by pointing out the irony: “Your directive apparently doesn’t include spying on other cultures.”[18] Later it emerges that Data’s behaviour was the result of damage sustained by weapons fire, but it proves serendipitous, alerting the Ba’ku to the surveillance. Captain Picard is confronted with an ethical conundrum when he learns that Federation Admiral Dougherty is conspiring with the Son’a. Will he obey the admiral’s orders and leave the Ba’ku system? Or risk court martial for disobeying and follow his conscience in an attempt to protect the Ba’ku? Naturally, he chooses the latter course—insurrection. Even then he keeps to the high road by planning to go off on his own, not involving any of his crewmates in mutiny. But of course, being his trusted friends and shipmates for so long, they too choose the conscientious option. Again, it’s the human heart—not the biological pump but the indefinable spiritual component of humans—that makes all the difference here.

Today we are no longer mere spectators of multi-million-dollar movie franchises but participants in a real-world existential war. Our lives have been turned upside-down since March 2020. What began as “two weeks to flatten the curve” gradually morphed over a mere 18 months into “mandatory” vaccinations and vaccine “passports,” segregating the population into vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. It’s not hard to see parallels with the Second World War fascist regimes, when targeted populations were first stigmatized and then rounded up for incarceration or extermination. It has worked the same way at any time in human history.

I sounded the alarm early when I published a story in May 2020 alerting readers to the sudden rush to curtail civil liberties in response to the Covid “pandemic.”[19] Even citizens in the nominally democratic West found themselves facing fines simply for hosting a free speech rally or walking their dog in a public park. “The Canadian Constitution protects the rights of people to assemble peacefully and to express their opinions at places such as the Legislature grounds,” said lawyer James Kitchen. “The Charter does not cease to protect these rights, even during a declared public health emergency. Covid-19 has not suspended the rule of law.”[20] Meanwhile, our governments in Britain, Canada and the US have acted increasingly outside the law, claiming impunity from liability under semi-permanent “states of emergency.” Denis Rancourt, a retired professor of physics at the University of Ottawa, who prepared a report for the Ontario Civil Liberties Association assessing the scientific literature used to justify lockdowns, warned of the potential for “permanent structural erosion of democracy itself, due to increased authoritarianism and heightened regulatory or penal consequences for violating government directives.”[21]

History does not remember despots and their collaborators fondly. From an ethical perspective it’s essential that our actions place us on the right side of history. At such times insurrection becomes imperative. Gandhi affirmed this principle when he said: “It is a duty to resist unjust laws.” French author and existentialist Albert Camus affirmed this principle when he wrote: “Every insubordinate person, when he rises up against oppression, reaffirms thereby the solidarity of all men.”[22] If we all stand together for truth and freedom no matter what the Borg (World Economic Forum/WHO cabal) say, resistance is NOT futile!

I leave the final word to UBC professor Dr. Chris Shaw: “Resist, fight back, and maybe, just maybe, preserve your world, or even better, make it the world you want it to be. If you choose the latter—accept the challenge of our age—you will act as you always dreamt you would if called forth to fight tyranny. You can become the stuff of legend that your descendants will remember with pride.”[23]

 

[1] See my essay, “Notes from Nowhere: Erewhon’s Prophetic Foresight” in this book.

[2] Star Trek: Insurrection, Wikiquotes: https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Star_Trek:_Insurrection

[3] Elke van Hoof, World Economic Forum, April 9, 2020.  

[4] Sean Arthur Joyce, Diary of a Pandemic Year, “Romancing the Switchblade,” Chameleon Fire Editions, 2021, p. 47.

[5] Flying Blind, Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms report, December 2020: https://www.jccf.ca/published_reports/flying-blind-governments-hasty-decisions-to-lock-down-canadians-while-damaging-public-health-and-the-economy/?fbclid=IwAR1pjOJTEOAi_BmWGS-JPpV3KVf54gtxXWeFR_-U792Tksb5jpbewihJudE

[6] Well Being Trust & The Robert Graham Center Analysis: “The COVID Pandemic Could Lead to 75,000 Additional Deaths from Alcohol and Drug Misuse and Suicide”: https://wellbeingtrust.org/areas-of-focus/policy-and-advocacy/reports/projected-deaths-of-despair-during-covid-19/  

[7] The writers of The Terminator screenplay are James Cameron, Gail Anne Hurd and William Wisher. Source: IMDb movie database: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088247/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

[8] “35 Terminator Quotes from the Iconic Franchise”: https://everydaypower.com/terminator-quotes/

[9] Michael Rectenwald, Google Archipelago: The Digital Gulag and the Simulation of Freedom, ibid., p. 143.

[10] “35 Terminator Quotes from the Iconic Franchise”: https://everydaypower.com/terminator-quotes/

[11] “Fauci Lied to Congress — Will DOJ Hold Him Accountable?” Dr. Joseph Mercola, The Defender, Children’s Health Defense, September 9, 2021: https://childrenshealthdefense.org/defender/fauci-lied-congress-doj-hold-him-accountable/?utm_source=salsa&eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=cacc2aea-c217-47d5-9690-c74c60dd8146

[12] “US suspends risky disease research,” Sara Reardon, Nature, October 22, 2014: https://www.nature.com/articles/514411a

[13] “Fauci Ignored Obama’s Ban on Gain-of-Function Research, Ordered Coronavirus Studies to Continue,” Scott Hounsell, Red State news, September 14, 2021: https://redstate.com/scotthounsell/2021/09/14/revealed-fauci-ignored-obamas-ban-on-gain-of-function-research-ordered-coronavirus-studies-to-continue-n442198

[14] “Dr. Rand Paul Stops Gain-of-Function Research Funding in China,” Rand Paul official website, May 25, 2021: https://www.paul.senate.gov/news/dr-rand-paul-stops-gain-function-research-funding-china

[15] “Where Covid Came From and Who Funded Its Creation: Follow the Patents and the Money,” Dr. David Martin, Common Ground magazine, August/September 2021, p. 12.

[16] “Tories Accuse Trudeau of Calling Election to Cover Up Winnipeg Lab Collaboration With Chinese Military Scientist,” Andrew Chen, The Epoch Times, September 17, 2021: https://www.theepochtimes.com/tories-accuse-trudeau-of-calling-election-to-cover-up-winnipeg-lab-collaboration-with-chinese-military-scientist_4003261.html?utm_source=morningbriefnoe&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=mb-2021-08-20&mktids=6915e925258a10451cc2001be2c0d771&est=hHS7%2B9%2B0uMYGa2zhigu%2BhADhQxF2hzCFwrmHZ9RFpxxP2p6925fYw%2FTw%2BQadKqhaVeU%3D

[17] Michael Ranger, “Trudeau announces 2 companies are on track to produce COVID-19 vaccines in Canada,” 680 News, February 2, 2021, accessed October 9, 2021 (emphasis mine): https://www.680news.com/2021/02/02/canada-covid19-vaccine-novavax-approval-health-trudeau/

[18] Star Trek: Insurrection, Wikiquotes: https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Star_Trek:_Insurrection

[19] Sean Arthur Joyce, “Covid-19 lockdown policies spark civil rights concerns,” chameleonfire1 blog, May 2020: https://chameleonfire1.wordpress.com/2020/05/25/covid19-lockdown-policies-spark-civil-rights-concerns/

[20] “Alberta man challenges $1,200 COVID ticket over peaceful assembly and expression at legislature,” Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, May 8, 2020: https://www.jccf.ca/alberta-man-challenges-1200-covid-ticket-over-peaceful-assembly-and-expression-at-legislature/

[21] Denis Rancourt, OCLA Report 2020-1: “Criticism of Government Response to COVID-19 in Canada,” April 2020 (emphasis mine): https://www.researchgate.net/publication/340738912_OCLA_Report_2020-1_Criticism_of_Government_Response_to_COVID-19_in_Canada

[22] Albert Camus, “Resistance, Rebellion and Death,” quoted in Academy of Ideas video, “How the ‘Greater Good’ is Used as a Tool of Social Control” timestamp: 14:53.

[23] Dr. Chris Shaw, Dispatches from the Vaccine Wars, quoted in Common Ground magazine, August/September 2021.

About seanarthurjoyce

I am a poet, journalist and author with a strong commitment to the environment and social justice. If anything, I have too many interests and too little time in a day to pursue them all. Film, poetry, literature, music, mythology, and history probably top the list. My musical interests lie firmly in rock and blues with a smattering of folk and world music. I consider myself lucky to have lived during the great flowering of modern rock music during its Golden Age in the late 1960s/early '70s. In poetry my major inspirations are Dylan Thomas, Rilke, Neruda and the early 20th century British/American poets: Auden, Eliot, Cummings. My preferred cinema includes the great French auteurs, Kirosawa, Orson Welles, and Film Noir. My preferred social causes are too numerous to mention but include banning GMOs, eliminating poverty (ha-ha), and a sane approach to forest conservation and resource extraction. Wish me—wish us all—luck on that one!
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