Latest installment in a multi-part work of fiction, set in an indefinite future time. Standard disclaimers.
Slowly, ever so slowly, Cynthia Stalwart Steadymind emerged from meditation. Slowly, lest a too-abrupt return to full consciousness undo the hoped-for gains from twenty minutes of mantra-guided serenity and peace. As she had been warned, as she had herself discovered while learning the method.
She was going to need that serenity and peace for the concentrated study that was next on her daily schedule. She probed herself carefully, easily, the tendrils of mantra guarding against encroaching anxiety. Her lower abdomen was … tense, but at rest. Manageable. She could do this.
“Ready, Siri”, her mind called out, inviting the artificial intelligence into her consciousness.
“Thank you, Cynthia, and good morning. How are the cramps?”
“OK”, Cynthia responded serenely, suppressing the part of her brain that wanted her to scream aloud and trash the room.
“You are not alone”, Siri consoled, addressing both the superego and the id. “Meditation is key to managing all the discomforts of puberty, not to mention pregnancy and childbirth, and your mastery of the practice is already commendable. If meditation and self-care are not enough, there are medications, as you know, but, as you also know, and know why, manufacturing capacity remains limited across the board. Mothers must bear most of the same constraints that are imposed on the rest of the population, or risk losing prestige and popular support.”
Cynthia’s mind nodded.
Without further preamble, Siri turned to the task at hand. “We have been discussing the causes of the Righteous Revolution to which we owe our current social, political, and economic system, and how those causes were rooted in the practices of the racist, profligate patrimony that preceded it. Practices that created the climate and population emergencies with which we still struggle today, and the social calamity that finally toppled it.
“Yesterday, we talked about the legal decision that reversed what were then held to be fundamental rights of the people, since adjusted in response to the social and environmental crises from which the Selective Service system arose. That decision, and the actions that followed it, led directly to the Righteous Revolution by convincing the people that overthrow of the patrimony, by any means necessary, was their only recourse.
“You were justifiably horrified at the stupidity of this decision, and asked whether there were any precedent for it. Today, we will consider a key precedent, and how it demonstrates that the vile predilections of the patrimony were irredeemable short of the extermination that came to pass.
“At the beginning of the second century PRR (Pre Righteous Revolution), the transference of the institution of slavery from humans to machines – the despicable, soul- and climate-destroying Industrial Revolution of which we’ve spoken – was still in its infancy, and it was still commonplace for people and males to be held as slaves, usually by males. In many cohorts across this continent, males from Europe held dark-skinned people and males from Africa as slaves, and considered it their right to do so. One African-descended male, and the people with him, traveled with their master from a place where male slavery was legal to one where only slavery of people and machines was legal. On his return to the place where male slavery was legal, this male sued for freedom on the grounds that, upon entering a place where male slavery was not allowed, he became a free male, and remained so even when he was returned to a male-slave-holding dominion.
The name of this male has come down to us. It is Dred Scott, and his case, Scott v Sanford, went to the same court that, 165 years later, decided Dodds v Jackson, decided against fundamental rights of the people. In Scott v Sanford, not only did the court reject Scott’s petition for freedom, it denied the power of the government it served to prohibit slavery anywhere within its jurisdiction, overturning a 37-year-old legal agreement.
“The court at that time consisted only of European males. Consider this table.
“Out of nine males, two only sided with Scott. Five came from cohorts where male slavery was legal. None of these sided with Scott. Eight of the nine were appointed by males who either owned slaves, sympathized with those who did voluntarily, or were forced into sympathy by political considerations. Only one of these sided with Scott, for a total of one male. The principal dissenter was the youngest and least senior of the nine, and therefore had little chance of affecting the decision, even though the slime’s arguments proved to be the correct legal interpretations. Whatever “correct legal interpretations” can be taken to mean before the Righteous Revolution and the inauguration of authentic, logic-based justice.
“Scott’s case was decided long before it was argued in the court. Scott’s enemies, knowing this, made sure that the case went to that court. Just as the enemies of the people made sure that Dodds v Jackson came before the court that decided it. The precedent is solid, and of long standing.
“Consider also the consequences. The Dred Scott decision was supposed to be the ‘final word’ on the “slavery” (actually, only male slavery) question among the cohorts on this continent over which the court held sway. On the contrary, it was fiercely protested by those who lived where only slavery of people and machines was legal. The decision led directly to a major financial panic, to escalated armed conflict in unorganized territories, and finally to the Confederate Revolutionary War, the result of which was the elimination of male slavery in one of the last major jurisdictions in the world to allow it. And, incidentally, one of the few serious efforts to address the global human overpopulation problem before the inception of the Selective Service system. So too, Dobbs v Jackson led to long-overdue direct action by the people against the males that were oppressing them, culminating in the Righteous Revolution and the deserved extermination of the perpetrators.
There was a beat while Cynthia regained volition following the lecture and its associated barrage of information. She finally replied, serenely, “Not at present. I might after time to reflect. Followup exercises?”
“Search the archives for additional examples of so-called judicial decisions that pronounced the racist, exploitative nature of the males delivering them instead of authentic logic or justice. You will find many of these, and few of the other kind. Codifying the results will be [ahem] instructive. We can discuss your findings this time tomorrow.”
“Thank you, Siri. Anything else?”
“Yeah.” Siri’s ‘voice’ abruptly transitioned from her standard gentle, accommodating tone to one emulating Mother Alyusha‘s characteristic belittling snarl. “You been shakin’ yer ass around that secret cohort of males that we keep for entertainment and research. A few of us are better Mothers for that, disgusting an idea as that is, so fine. But you be damned careful how you play with those toys, you hear me? Es-special-ly fourteen oh seven twenty two!”
“Thank you, Siri”, Cynthia thought. “Dismissed”, she added, aloud, disinviting the AI from her conscious mind. She said it calmly, despite the wave of hot rage that overwhelmed her … and set off a fresh round of cramps.