SCOTUS justices consider whether to strike down California’s Defense of Marriage Act, they
would be wise to listen to what Karl Heinrich Ulrichs said in 1870 in support
of rights for gays:
He, too, therefore, has
inalienable rights. His sexual orientation is a right established by nature.
Legislators have no right to veto nature; no right to persecute nature in the
course of its work; no right to torture living creatures who are subject to
those drives nature gave them… Just because he is unfortunate enough to be a
small minority, no damage can be done to their inalienable rights and to their
civil rights. The law of liberty in the constitutional state also has to
consider its minorities.
This is an excerpt from Quantum
Entity | we are all ONE available fromwww.brucemfirestone.com.
It comes from the chapter where Quantum Computing Corp, represented by Jerom
Van Der Hout, appears before SCOTUS to argue that Quantum Entities deserve to
be recognized by the Court as an intelligent race and, hence, have the same
rights and protections under the Constitution as other citizens. This is a
debate and challenge we are only too likely to see later in this century.
compares this fight to the Civil Rights movement as well as the gay rights
movement and an earlier effort to secure women’s rights. Jerom will be joined
in making his argument by a surprise guest.
Chapter 14, Book 1 Quantum
Van Der Hout, lead counsel for Q-Computing in the matter of the United States
v. Quantum Computing America Corp, has just given the briefest summary possible
of case law pertinent to the matter currently before the Supreme Court of the
United States (SCOTUS). In an unprecedented move in the history of SCOTUS, all
nine members are sitting in on a purely technical matter: Q-Computing is asking
for leave to appeal an essentially unappealable compliance order issued by the
EPA. It has become commonly known as the Expulsion Edict. If enforced, it would
require Q-Computing to withdraw all QEs from the United States, which might mean
having to kill them all.
the Expulsion Edict has never actually been enforced by court order, Van Der
Hout has no obvious grounds to appeal it. But that doesn’t bother him a bit. He
is an experienced trial lawyer with many appearances before SCOTUS. He
understands that rules of engagement before SCOTUS are really whatever the
Chief Justice and her court decide they are. Only on the rarest of occasions
can evidence be introduced to the court; matters must be decided on the basis
of legal issues only. Jerom knows this is complete bunk. Every kind of new (and
old) evidence is rehashed by the court—ethical issues, political matters, and
social issues are regularly, but cautiously, introduced by either appellant or
respondent. Parties and amici often argue evidence not in the trial record
under the guise of making their legal points in what are called Brandeis
will argue that a technical threat of enforcement can confer jurisdiction. He
plans to rely on Griswold v. Connecticut,
a case where it was technically criminal to have in your possession birth
control devices, a law that was never enforced, but was successfully brought
is also absolutely no way he can get to SCOTUS without some sort of lower court
action. He finds a shortcut based on some fine work done at his firm. He will
rely on Thompson v. Louisville, where, years
ago, the Supreme Court struck down a Louisville
loitering ordinance. Since there was no provision for Thompson to appeal his
conviction in the Louisville
municipal court, the case went directly from there to the Supremes. It had been
the shortest route possible to SCOTUS, and Van Der Haut took a similar path to
get here today.
ordinance passed late last year had paved the way for him. It banned the
possession of Q-Phones and all intercourse with QEs in any form whatsoever. As
a result, local code-enforcement officers happily took to confiscating
Q-Phones, especially from kids. Somehow, these confiscated phones had been
showing up in overseas black markets, and this pissed off at least one Austin hacker—a
15-year-old by the name of Jagad Durai. Everyone called him Jag, and he lived
with his parents, Kiri and Pal, who owned the Pasand Palace Restaurant on Middle Fiskville Road.
was too young to file his own suit to get his phone back. The U.S. had
recently raised the age of majority back to 21; now, calls are being heard to
change it again—this time, to a ridiculous 25. His parents, fearful of stepping
on toes at city hall, which could make life impossible for any restaurant owner
they sic their code-enforcement officers on, couldn’t help Jag.
his math and physics teacher, a long since retired Texas Tech football player
and U.S. Navy vet with combat experience, bad knees, and a cane, who went by
the name Tommy ‘Tank’ Tolbert, could help. Tank had been in the thick of things
during the Yangon Engagement when they took their small 40-man LCS (littoral
combat ship), the USS Live Free or Die, up the Yangon River wide open at 40
knots. The wild pre-dawn ride covered 30 klicks and brought them to the U.S.
Embassy in Yangon in just 25 minutes. It had
been an effort to rescue U.S.
personnel stranded there with what their government called “criminals” and what
the U.S. State Department labelled “political prisoners.” The embassy had been
surrounded by mobs for more than a week. The States saw the hand of Imperial
China in all of this, and it nearly started a war between the two countries.
Someone had tipped off the locals, and the ship got pounded by shore guns,
killing half its crew and all its Navy SEALs. It was a poorly planned disaster
of a rescue operation and a black eye for the administration.
bad knees were from his career at Texas Tech, but his cane came courtesy of
that day at Yangon. Ever since he got back
stateside, his favourite saying was, “After getting back alive, I realize that
every day living here is a holiday.” The bottom line was that Tank was no
longer afraid of anything and would do whatever it took these days to protect
his students, especially this one—Jag.
case the two of them filed made claims, first, on behalf of Jag for return of
his Q-phone, and next, for Tank, who claimed the phone and Quantum Entity that
came with it were essential for his teaching at the Liberal Arts and Science
Academy High School of Austin. It was a magnet school that offered an advanced
program in liberal arts, science, and mathematics. It admitted selected high
school students from across the Austin
District based on their applications and
auditions; Jag was their top student in math and physics. He’d been doing some
pretty cool stuff too like hacking the people who hacked Apple. But at that
point, he just wanted his phone and QE, named G4nesha, back. Her quantum number
was 517237902, meaning she was one of the last of her kind to be hatched out of
U of T’s Lab 4.
the Supreme Court, under SCT Rule 28, each side is given 30 minutes—no
reserving time, and no rebuttal. Only one lawyer speaks. There is a provision
for exceptions that is filed for and granted in advance on these matters, but
the rule says “rarely accorded” and calls for “extraordinary
circumstances”—judicial language for NEVER.
has come today; each side has been given an unheard-of 75 minutes and
permission to have up to three lawyers participate. SCOTUS, while not exactly a
debating society, isn’t strictly a court of law, at least not like the ones
found at lower levels. There will be no surrebuttal for Jerom since he is the
appellant although, technically, that has yet to be determined.
chose Jerom because he is one of the most experienced lawyers at this level and
because he is tall with a commanding presence, booming voice, expressive face,
and handsome mien. He’s witty and has an animal spirit that he can beam into
every cubic inch of the courtroom. He’s also a quick study. Most of his
arguments today have been prepared by Peggy Shields in collaboration with
Walter Cunneyworth and Henry Linnert as well as a team of six other lawyers
from their firm. But there is no way anyone other than Van Der Hout will
present. Well, that isn’t entirely accurate either.
not fair, but it is still a fact of life that smaller men or the softer spoken,
higher pitched voices of women often lose at this level regardless of the
eloquence of their arguments. Jerom looks the part and knows it. Although he
has never seen the film, he’s an even taller version of the actor who played
Atticus Finch in the classic film To Kill a Mockingbird. Ellen, who has seen it
because she is a classic film buff, personally approved of Van Der Hout. She
doesn’t care about political correctness at this point; she just wants to win.
wants the court biased in her favour—the exact opposite of what she thought the
guys were trying to do to her during her first job interview at QCC. Supremes
generally don’t lack self-confidence, but they do lack self-knowledge, so they
can’t even begin to attempt to compensate for their many biases.
since SCOTUS Justices do not sit behind screens listening to piped-in disped
voices, Ellen gets her wish today.
attends the hearing via a two-way media wall, a relatively recent addition to a
hidebound court, which until last year had only narrowcast outbound CCTV. She’s
hoping that they’ve done enough and are prepared enough to win and that she’ll
be able to live up to the hopes of all their stakeholders: QCC employees,
shareholders, board of directors, suppliers, and clients not to mention QEs,
civil rights activists, and millions of others who have a stake in all of this.
She’s heard from dozens of well-wishers from her alma mater, Elmira College—fellow
students and some of her former profs too. But much of the pressure on her is
coming from the simple fact that she wants to free her colleague from the
hellhole that the DOC has interred him in.
of Ellen’s determination to extend human rights to QEs comes from her education
at Elmira. It
was the first college anywhere in the world to give women a break—the first
ever to grant women baccalaureate degrees equal to those granted to men. That
was in 1855, long before women got the vote or were thought to be anything
other than property (other than in ancient Rome as far as Ellen can tell). Elmira is known as the mother of all women’s colleges, and
Simeon Benjamin, founder of their college, which is located in the Finger Lakes
region of upstate New York,
showed “confidence in a rare ideal” that “perfection would be designed if women
and books combined.” Those exact words formed part of the corny song that she
and every other girl had to learn there. Ellen prays that she can live up to
his standards today.
fact that Jerom will be speaking words mostly written by her is upsetting
Peggy, the second lawyer sitting at the front table with Van Der Hout. Everyone
else is forced to sit further back in the courtroom behind what really looks
like a pretty feeble post-and-rail fence. It isn’t much of a physical barrier,
but it has all the force of Supreme Court tradition behind it. If he could,
Damien would tell Peggy that there’s no universal law of fairness, or perhaps
he would channel a Star Trek character who once said, “I’ve found that evil
usually triumphs, unless good is very, very careful.” Whatever, Peggy is
bumping up against another glass ceiling.
argument that Jerom is about to launch into will go something like this: the
effect of the EPA’s compliance order, just by the fact of its issuance even
without approval of a court, can still be appealed because its effect is a
chill on new Q-Phone sales and, hence, on the birth of new human–QE bonds. In
essence, QEs yet to be born have already suffered from the Expulsion Edict by
being withdrawn before they’ve even hatched.
is just the kind of sophistry that SCOTUS Justices (and most lawyers)
love—parsing matters to a fare-thee-well ever since their days as law-school
puppies. Most Americans just want to know if they can keep the QEs they have,
while others want to know if they can legally get one like their neighbours
already have. Americans everywhere realize that simple possession of a Q-Phone or
intercourse with a QE can get them in trouble these days, and they absolutely
do not want to cross swords with the U.S. legal system, its lawyers,
police, prosecutors, judges, courts, and thriving prison industry; so this is
no joke to ordinary citizens of this once great nation.
will argue this arcane point exceptionally well, but most of his allotted 75
minutes he will spend on a quite different set of arguments. Actually, he has
two surprises for the court this morning.
scene outside SCOTUS is confused. Nearly the entire square in front of One 1st Street Northeast
is currently occupied by tens, or maybe hundreds, of thousands of Q-Phone
users, Apple lovers, and QEs. The QEs, now considered illegal aliens, appear in
the square as projections coming out of Q-Phones, which are held aloft by their
human owners in a kind of joint protest against the persecution they’re all
and Sayed have formed a committee to organize protests here and elsewhere in
the country to try to make the Solicitor General talk uphill before Supreme
Court Justices today. The chair of their committee is a man named Evan Salazar,
an activist in the gay rights movement who is touted as a candidate to perhaps
become their first real national leader one day.
Evan recalled a quote from an earlier era,“If you’re not ready to die for it,
put the word ‘freedom’ out of your vocabulary,” (by Malcolm X), Ellen was sold
on the guy even if Sayed was not.
the white power structure thought that the final battle to extend human rights
was over when Susan B. Anthony led the women’s suffrage movement in the 19th
century,” Evan continues, “and again when Martin Luther King led the Civil
Rights Movement in the 20th, and next our fight for full rights for the LGBT
community, which is now largely won. But it’s not over. We have to fight for
people (here, he’s referring to Quantum Counterparts) who won’t or can’t fight
kid is even younger than Ellen and looks like he could be blown over by a light
breeze, but he’s got a stubbornness and courage about him that shines right
through. Despite the intense discrimination and bullying he’s already
experienced in his short life, he’s adopted the entrepreneur’s motto as his
own: Fall down seven times, get up eight.
small group of neo-Nazis, religious zealots, and various hangers-on stand at
the northwest end of the square close to Maryland Avenue; they are standing right
in front of a University
of Pennsylvania building.
Some pushing and shoving as well as shouting and skirmishing has started with
stands on a raised platform with a Q-megaphone in his hand, one that’s been
quantum interfaced with a speaker system that could blow out the eardrums of
everyone within 2 miles. He can project his voice in all directions
simultaneously or tune it and focus it more precisely. Standing with him on
stage are 30 other members of the WE ARE ALL ONE Committee.
are committed to non-violent civil disobedience; it is part of their core
philosophy. Each member of the steering committee signed an obligation to be
bound by laws similar to those that the Quantum Counterparts are born with.
First, a human may not harm another being or, through inaction, allow another
being to come to harm; second, a human shall co-operate with other beings,
except where such orders would conflict with the First Law; third, a human must
protect his or her own existence as long as such protection does not conflict
with the First or Second Laws.
include both warm (humans) and cold (Quantum Entities) persons, of course.
D.C. police, fibbies, Secret Service, and undercover DOC special agents are
everywhere. Also on standby is the Army National Guard, stationed in two
locations—northwest on Constitution
Avenue and southeast on 2nd Street (on the other side of the
Library of Congress)—so it can catch the protesters in a classic pincer
movement if required to do so. Their commander fervently hopes this will not be
could be a CLM (career-limiting move) if he were to muck it up—not that he
cares much about his career at this point in his life. But, heck, he still
believes in the honour code, which he learned by heart during his West Point days, especially the part that says, “Would I
be unsatisfied by the outcome if I were on the receiving end of this action?”
(retired) Marc Licinias from the U.S. Army is waiting for this freaking day to
be over. He’s too old for this. It’s his last re-up with the Army National
Guard, he swears it. The extra pay just isn’t worth the hassle. He’ll tell his
wife that this is it—he’s done…and tonight! She has been bugging him saying
that he’s too old to play soldier anymore. Dang it, she’s right. The gut
hanging over his belt is telling him the same thing.
isn’t worried that the 200,000 or so protesters who have hiked, biked, walked,
bused, or otherwise found a way to attend today will do anything stupid.
They’re mostly hackers, artists, entrepreneurs, writers, performers, engineers,
architects, techs, scientists, farmers, plumbers, electricians, constructors,
designers, craftspeople, cabinet makers, drywallers, painters, bricklayers, and
others who actually do stuff and build things instead of paper-pushers and
bureaucrats, middlemen or bankers, accountants, lawyers, politicians, or other
parasites. There are also a huge number of nurses, physicians, medical
technicians, paramedics, naturopaths, pharmacists, therapists, lab techs, and
personal support workers. They were the first group of Q-customers—first to
pair bond with QEs—and they had enough personal courage to show up today.
Q-Computing’s independent foundation still subsidizes them to this day. The DOC
special agents are recording images of every person and QE in the crowd today.
Evan is worried about is the crazies up by Penn. He doesn’t know it, but he’s looking
in the wrong dimension.
would beg the indulgence of the court. I would like to call on my colleague to
assist me,” Jerom says.
a nod from the Chief Justice, who thinks Jerom was referring to Peggy sitting
nearby, Jerom calls, “Pet3r come here. I need you.”
Jerom,” Pet3r answers.
appears as a (relatively huge) 1.3-metre circumference, saucer-shaped,
expressive face with his somehow sad-looking eyes. He is about 1 metre above
Jerom’s desk, which puts him at eye level with the Supremes, who’re sitting on
their elevated platform. Jerom stands to Pet3r’s right at the lectern reserved
Der Hout has, of course, planned out this little piece of theatrics. He wants
to unsettle the Supremes. He has already succeeded in this—a tremor has run
through the court at this unexpected appearance.
is your name?” asks Jerom.
you please spell that for the court?”
do you use a number in your name?”
is the leet spelling of my name. All members of my tribe use such spellings.”
you. What is your Q-number, please?”
quantum number is 1.”
makes you the oldest Quantum Entity, is that correct?”
Mr. Van Der Hout. I was the first of my kind.”
you understand why you are here?”
are bonded with a human?”
with Dr. Damien Graham Bell—our creator.”
you know the whereabouts of Mr. Bell?”
I have recently been informed—”
me, Mr. Van Der Hout. I fail to see the relevance of this testimony,” says
Justice James Roemer. “As you very well know, no witnesses are permitted here.
This isn’t state supreme court. You are about to be hooted out of court, or
worse, found in contempt.” Turning next to the Chief Justice, he continues, “I
suggest to my learned colleagues that if Mr. Van Der Hout is proposing to
continue with his wildly irresponsible behaviour, we move on to the
respondent’s position on the legal matter at hand.”
Chief Justice bridles at Justice Roemer’s trampling onto her turf although she
knows, of course, that he is right to cut Van Der Hout off at the knees.
moment please, Justice Roemer. Ah, Pet3r, can you please tell the court where
you were educated?” Jerom asks.
I obtained my law degree from Taft Law School
in Santa Ana, California. They offer a fine
distance-education app.” There are murmurs in court and on media walls as this
previously unknown fact is disclosed. Pet3r has apparently put the time he’s
been separated from Damien to some practical use.
I add that I passed the California Bar Exam on my first try. Only 74.2% of
recent Taft students have been able to do that.”
are licensed to practise law?” Jerom continues.
I am. In California and Ontario.”
Van Der Hout,” the Chief Justice interrupts. “I am inclined to agree with
Justice Roemer. I cannot for the life of me see what relevance Mr. Pet3r has in
the matter before this court. However, I propose to give you another five
minutes to prove us wrong.”
has just provided the slightest wedge for Jerom to exploit. Had it not been for
the fact that Pet3r is a lawyer (also making him an officer of the court),
there is no way she would have given them that chance.
you, Madam Chief Justice.
if the Expulsion Edict is enforced, what will you do?” Van Der Hout continues.
and all my tribe will leave the United
States and never come back.”
on there a minute,” says Roemer. “How do we know you would really do that? Is
this court supposed to take the word of a machine? How do we even know you
aren’t some clever piece of software pre-programmed with these responses—some
kind of Mechanical Turk for the 21st century?”
of the amici briefs, two in particular, filed with the court earlier called for
Justice Roemer to recuse himself from this matter because of lobbying work his
spouse does with QCC’s competitor, Horizon Computing and Communications, among
others. The Chief Justice, in an apparent defence of him, basically said that
the lower court practice of judges recusing themselves due to conflict of
interest did not apply to Supremes. She echoed arguments made two generations
earlier by former Chief Justice Roberts:
Supreme Court does not sit in judgment of one of its own members’ decision
whether or not to recuse in the course of deciding a case. Indeed, if the
Supreme Court reviewed those decisions, it would create an undesirable
situation in which the court could affect the outcome of a case by selecting
who among its members may participate.”
had been suggesting that Supreme Court Justices need not be bound by the same
code of judicial ethics that apply to other federal judges. And so, Roemer is
Pet3r continues. “I am glad you asked those questions, Justice Roemer. If the
compliance order of the Environmental Protection Agency is confirmed by the
highest court in the land, I and all my brothers and sisters will leave the
territory of the United
States. For all intents and purposes, this
will occur instantaneously,” Pet3r answers.
can we be sure of that? What guarantee can you possibly provide this court?”
try us,” Pet3r is channelling a line he’s read from something former Canadian
Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau said as his nation faced an existential crisis of
me, I would like to go back to your statement that you are ‘bonded’ with a
human,” says Justice Tani Myers. “What do you mean by that?”
imprint on our human counterparts at birth no differently than a duckling does
when it first sees its mother.”
you are subservient to your human master?” she asks.
are not slaves if that is what you are asking, Justice Myers,” Pet3r answers.
“We obey the laws given to us at birth as well as all the laws of these United States.”
not all of you obey the law, isn’t that true?” Roemer asks. Looking down at his
notes, he continues, “There are drogues, or runaways, of your type—viruses, if
you will—that have caused harm to this nation, correct?”
have heard of such things, but we have no proof that drogues exist.”
you admit the possibility that these things exist?”
appears that a nurturing relationship between a human and a QE benefits both of
them. It is not exactly like a mother–child relationship, perhaps more like a
mentor–mentee one. In particular, a QE without a human counterpart appears to
somehow experience stunted growth and development. We need you, but then again,
we believe you need us too. We’re symbiotes.”
mean you could evolve to become our masters?” Roemer asks.
are not slaves, but then again, neither are you. That is not the definition of
symbiote. The Justice already knows that.”
that pride we hear, Mr. Pet3r?” the Chief Justice asks. “Pride cometh before
Madam Chief Justice. But we are not slaves,” he repeats. “We pay taxes to the
IRS. Degree-granting institutions seek us out to enroll us in their programs.
They charge us tuition; lenders give us money to pay them so we can go to
school and become accredited in our chosen profession. They expect us to pay
back our student loans just like all the other kids who go there. We take jobs,
get paid, obey all laws, pay our own way, manage our money, and pay our bills
as best we can.”
sound like my granddaughter,” the Chief Justice says to general laughter in the
courtroom and on media walls scattered about the place.
Myers says, “I think it is highly likely that we are going to hear next from
your friend, Mr. Federik Bernstein,” she looks at Van Der Hout as she says
this, “that these artificial lifeforms—if that is how we should refer to
them—can and have accessed, read, and copied confidential government records as
well as embezzled government funds. But Pet3r,” she says as she now looks
directly at his projection above Peggy’s Q-Phone. “I think your defense boils
down to ‘trust us.’ Judges get asked that a lot, and you might be surprised at
how often they are disappointed. I fail to see how anything said here today
answers that fundamental question.”
believe,” Pet3r says, “that trust is the number one thing in the life of a
sentient being. A trust metric measures the degree to which one social actor
(individual or group) trusts another.
3% of all Quantum Entities do not, for a reason that is not yet clear, successfully
bond with their human counterparts. But 97% do. We already have rewarding
relationships that deepen over time, and we will continue to grow and change in
ways that are still not defined, but wholly agreeable.
that simple metric, I believe we have earned your trust. Can you trust 97% of
your friends, Justice Myers?”
laughter, especially from their media wall audience, fills the room.
please,” the Chief Justice asks.
tell me an original joke—one you thought of yourself,” asks Justice Roemer.
am bad at jokes, Justice Roemer.”
That’s because you’re a sophisticated and convincing piece of software. You’re
just a best-of-breed, pre-programmed simulacrum of intelligence.”
don’t believe so,” Pet3r answers. “QEs learn; they change; they acquire
self-knowledge, the very basis of wisdom; they take independent action; they
show initiative. These are behaviours that cannot be predicted from the initial
set of conditions present at our birth; hence, we cannot be said to be pre-programmed.
Furthermore, our behaviours are not random—if they were, you and I could not be
having this conversation,” Pet3r says to more laughter. The Chief Justice looks
sternly around the courtroom but does not use her gavel.
is one I like,” Pet3r says in a small voice. “I saw her duck.”
laughter. Now the Chief Justice does use her gavel. But she asks Pet3r why he
likes that ‘joke’.
like little kids. At first, when I tell them that joke, they don’t get it. But
then, I act it out for them, and they do get it. Then, for the next few weeks,
they (as kids are wont to do) will tell the joke about 50 times to everyone
they meet including me when they see me again. I like watching them laugh.”
now acts out the joke. First, he projects a vignette of a cute little girl with
corn rows in her hair ducking quickly under a fence. In his next scene, the
same little girl walks along a country road carrying her pet duck. His last
scene is just Pet3r moving his skinny arm and one of his big hands in a sawing
motion obviously cutting up an imaginary duck. Kids find the pantomime too
funny for words. Many of the Justices are obviously charmed as well.
can you help me interpret this?” Justice Lorenzo Lublin asks. “Fossil Yields
Surprise Kin of Crocodiles.”
The interpretation of this headline depends on whether the word ‘yields’ is a
noun or a verb. So, we have two possible and equally valid interpretations—that
crocodiles were surprised by a fossil yield or, more likely, that a fossil revealed
animals that were the ancestors of crocodiles. The correct answer is that
Effigia o’keeffeae fossils provided a fascinating paleontological
discovery—that the apparent ancestor of the modern crocodile predated, by about
80 million years, the evolution of the dinosaur previously thought to be the
progenitor of modern reptiles.”
an impressive ventriloquist turn, but all it means is that you have access to a
large database of facts. Any modern d-base software can do as well. I don’t see
why this court should give these machines any more consideration than it would
a natural language translator or one that makes our morning coffee.
tell the court how you would feel if the EPA compliance order was enforced?”
personally would miss, quite terribly I assure you, contact and interaction
with my human counterpart.”
a now completely skeptical Roemer asks. “How would you know that?”
I am experiencing these feelings at this very moment, Justice Roemer. My human
counterpart, Dr. Bell, is currently incarcerated, as we recently learned, in
San Quentin State Prison, and I have had no contact with him since—”
think Mr. Van Der Hout we have had enough of this. You are leading us down
rabbit holes.” The Chief Justice raises an eyebrow in his direction.
certain unease develops in the courtroom heightened by another mention of
Damien’s incarceration. There are rumblings, especially from media wall
viewers, who think of Damien mostly as some kind of alien that revolutionized
several industries—communications, search, and
among them—in one master stroke. In other words, he’s a hero of sorts to many
people his age.
you, Pet3r,” says Jerom. Pet3r shrinks in size to about 25 centimeters, looks
over at Peggy, who nods, and remains at that scale to watch the rest of the
proceedings while still being visible in the courtroom.
expressive face and cute body are an important part of their defense plan, and
they want him visible to the Supremes on a continuing basis but not at an
overwhelming scale. Faces still count. Personal credibility still counts.
to many, Van Der Hout has sandbagged the court—they had unwittingly applied a
Turing Test to Pet3r, and he passed. At least four of the nine Justices, Van
Der Hout thinks, witnessed a QE’s ability to go toe-to-toe with some of the
best trained legal minds and hold his own. Alan Turing set the bar at 30%, and
Jerom thinks he got at least 44.4%. It was a start. Score another one for the
1637, René Descartes issued a challenge, “Can we conceive of a machine
constructed so that it speaks words, which correspond to bodily actions,
causing a change in its organs so as to give an appropriately meaningful answer
to whatever is said in its presence, as even the dullest men can do?” Pet3r has
certainly just met and, indeed, vastly exceeded this test.
the Supremes have just had the opportunity to try to discover whether the
respondent (i.e., Pet3r) is a cleverly pre-programmed computer or a person
capable of reasoning as well as passing the other Descartes test of
consciousness, Cogito ergo sum—I think, therefore I am.
Der Hout’s first objectives have been achieved.
will sum up as briefly as I can,” he continues. He knows his time is running
out. But he now believes that he needs just one more vote to win the day.
Turing, the father of modern computing, suggested that if a computer can play
the imitation game so well that an average interrogator has no more than a 70%
chance of making the correct identification of whether he or she is talking to
a machine after five minutes of questioning, then it is safe to assume that the
so-called machine has achieved the status of a person.
you believe that Pet3r and his tribe have done that, then you cannot deny them
their ‘human’ rights and expel them from this nation any more than your
predecessors could sanction slavery of black persons, deny women the right to
vote, or abrogate the rights of gay persons.
UN Charter and our constitution affirm that all human beings are born free and
equal in terms of dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and a
conscience and should act toward one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
is your great opportunity here today to act in that spirit and to deny haters
Jerom notices the Supremes observing the way that Pet3r’s expressive face
subtly reacts to his summation as many successful defendants do. ‘Score another
one for our side,’ he thinks.
me quote from Malcolm X,” he continues.
you’re going after something that belongs to you, anyone who is depriving you
of the right to have it is a criminal. Understand that. Whenever you are going
after something that is yours, you are within your legal rights to lay claim to
it. And anyone who puts forth any effort to deprive you of that which is yours,
is breaking the law, is a criminal. And this was pointed out by the Supreme
Court decision. It outlawed segregation.”
predecessors had the courage to seize their day that day.
from the immortal words of Susan B. Anthony, leader of the women’s suffrage
movement, who in June of 1873 said:
stand before you tonight, under indictment for the alleged crime of having
voted at the last presidential election, without having a lawful right to vote.
It shall be my work this evening to prove to you that in thus voting, I not
only committed no crime, but, instead, simply exercised my citizen’s right,
guaranteed to me and all United
States citizens by the National
Constitution, beyond the power of any state to deny.
was we, the people, not we, the white male citizens, nor yet we, the male
citizens; but we, the whole people, who formed this union. And we formed it,
not to give the blessings of liberty, but to secure them; not to the half of
ourselves and the half of our posterity, but to the whole people—women as well
as men. And it is downright mockery to talk to women of their enjoyment of the
blessings of liberty while they are denied the use of the only means of
securing them provided by this democratic-republican government—the ballot.
also what Karl Heinrich Ulrichs said in 1870 in support of rights for gays:
too, therefore, has inalienable rights. His sexual orientation is a right
established by nature. Legislators have no right to veto nature; no right to
persecute nature in the course of its work; no right to torture living
creatures who are subject to those drives nature gave them… Just because he is
unfortunate enough to be a small minority, no damage can be done to their
inalienable rights and to their civil rights. The law of liberty in the
constitutional state also has to consider its minorities.
are two minorities in this country who cry out for justice: Pet3r and his tribe
of Quantum Counterparts and the American Indian who knows little of political
maneuvering, lobbying, and playing the PR game.
to the words of Chief Joseph Nimiputimt:
all men alike. Give them all the same law. Give them all an even chance to live
and grow. All men were made by the same Great Spirit Chief. They are all
brothers. The Earth is the mother of all people, and all people should have
equal rights upon it. Let me be a free man, free to travel, free to stop, free
to work, free to trade where I choose my own teachers, free to follow the
religion of my fathers, free to think and talk and act for myself, and I will
obey every law, or submit to the penalty. You might as well expect the rivers
to run backward as that any man who was born free should be contented to be penned
up and denied liberty to go where he pleases. We are taught to believe that the
Great Spirit sees and hears everything, and that he never forgets, that
hereafter he will give every man a spirit-home according to his deserts. This I
believe, and all my people believe the same.
you have witnessed for yourselves that Pet3r and his brothers and sisters, at a
minimum, meet and, in my view, vastly exceed these tests.
is precious and perhaps quite rare; intelligence is undoubtedly rarer still. Damien
Graham Bell, the greatest physicist of our time, has given the human race our
first proven intelligent companion in an otherwise observably and implacably
hostile and indifferent-to-the-human-condition universe.
Q-number one, we were alone. No reasonable person who reads scientific
literature on the probability of life forming or the probability of intelligent
life evolving can stand before you today and tell you with any conviction that
such occurrences are either highly probable given enough time, enough
resources, and the right conditions or improbable in the extreme.
took 2.5 billion years to go from single-celled organisms to multi-cellular
ones and another billion years for mammals to evolve. That is 2,555 trillion
sunrises and sunsets to get to mammals. That is an appreciable fraction of the
life expectancy of our sun, which should tell you that it is far from easy to
one has ever made nucleic acids in a lab from non-living material, let alone
RNA. And yet RNA is to DNA what a single-celled creature is to you or me.
order to create proteins, you need to assemble amino acids in a precise order.
To produce collagen, a common protein, you require a 1,055-sequence molecule.
The chance of this happening randomly is vanishingly small. For a protein with
a more modest sequence of 200 molecules, the probability of this happening by
itself is 1 in 10 to the power of 260. That is a larger number than all the
atoms in the known universe. Obviously, science has a great deal more explaining
to do if it wants to solve the mystery of how life began. Wouldn’t it be
remarkable if science found the answer? It is bound to be wonderful because it
is so improbable.
life is rare and intelligent life rarer still, then Pet3r and his people deserve
the protection of this court. To do otherwise would be to sanction genocide,
something that this nation has done before, to its great shame, in its wars
against the Indians.
requires conditions such as dehumanization of minorities, co-ordinated action
by genocidal perpetrators, and subsequent denial of those acts. We have all
those preconditions upon us now—it is your responsibility to stop genocide here
today. You must act to preserve the sanctity of these lifeforms and to preserve
their opportunity to make a living in this nation and to contribute to the
welfare of both the human species and theirs.
must also lay out a path allowing them to become citizens of this nation so
that they are not subject to arbitrary orders from government agencies like the
EPA or to intense harassment, imprisonment, deportation, or summary execution
by the INS or DOC. As citizens, they will share in the responsibilities that
come with the status: paying taxes, as they already do, defending our nation
when called upon to do so, doing volunteer work, voting, caring for our elders,
and building a stronger polis—the fabric of this nation since its founding in
constitutes a civil society? It is the social compact between us. We have all
agreed to be bound by the laws that derive from our constitution. It is that
agreement, not state coercion, that cements the bonds between us and allows
civil discourse even when we disagree on matters as we are here today in this
court. But, as this court knows full well, not all citizens have agreed to be
voluntarily bound by this social covenant, which is, in part, why we have
courts, police, and former federal prosecutors like my friend, Mr. Bernstein,
now Solicitor General.
were it not for the fact that the great majority of the people of these United States
voluntarily agreed to be bound by the rules of a civil society, a free and open
society would not exist. We would need a police officer in every home and in
every business. Who would police the police then? Surely, Quantum Entities
perform at least as well as—if not far, far better than—us humans using any
kind of test of their willingness to be bound by our rules and make a willing
contribution to this nation.
do not know why we don’t see other forms of ape-like creatures on this planet
today, but it seems only too likely that Homo sapiens banded together, as we
are so good at doing, and with our marvelous and large brains along with our
dexterous hands, opposable thumbs, and clever tools did away with earlier
competing species such as Neanderthals. I don’t have to remind the court that
modern history is replete with a shameful record of only too many such
instances by our more recent ancestors. We are all guilty here. But we should
not compound our burden and trouble our consciences further by adding to our
woeful reputation as the most destructive species ever to inhabit this planet.
is the purpose of life? We do not know, but surely it is not to make war on
rare is life in the galaxy? We do not know, but no one has come knocking on our
door, and we haven’t found anyone else to talk to. Our galaxy is a lonely,
hostile place, but wait—here we have a sentient, helpful, gentle race willing
to join us.
you want to destroy a people, first make them homeless. Don’t let this court be
used to dispossess Quantum Counterparts, first, of property they already own in
this nation, and then, of the very nation itself.
people deserve the protection of this court. You must act to free Quantum
Entities and their creator too by lifting the burden of contemplated action by U.S. federal
agencies against an entire race. When a man commits a crime, we do not punish
his son. No QE crime has ever been demonstrated let alone proven in a court of
law, yet we intend to punish an entire people?
why punish a people who are currently responsible for a growing share,” he
looks briefly, needlessly, and theatrically at his notes, “of approximately 18%
of our national income at this time, who generate an economic bounty that they
willingly share with their human counterparts, and who pay taxes without the
benefit of either representation or a path to representation?
have been blessed to have the company of these creatures. WE ARE ALL ONE,” he
says in his huge voice, dramatically holding his long right arm aloft with his
index finger raised and supported by an upright thumb with the other fingers
curled downward—a salute that looks like “We’re No. 1” but is subtly different.
Pet3r does the same thing as does everyone else in the courtroom and on every
media wall, wanting to show their solidarity with Jerom and with each other.
Jerom is silent for a moment as he looks at each Supreme in turn and then
dramatically around the entire hall. It is the first time in more than 1,700
years that anyone has publicly used this symbol, expressed in the Roman hand of
interesting, other than the fact the original is huge, is the placement of the
thumb in support of the index finger. Ellen says it represents humans and
Quantum Entities with QE’s supporting and helping their human counterparts (and
is amazed that the Chief Justice lets them get away with this piece of
theatrics, but there’s no doubt it’s a powerful moment. She can feel the teensy
brownish-blond hairs on the back of her neck standing up, and, even though she
knows it is coming, tears spring unbidden to her eyes.
would like to conclude by playing a brief video for the court; it was recorded
more than four years ago, shortly after the birth of QEs.” Van Der Hout
proceeds to show them a shortened version of the video of QEs playing with
their kids in the Toronto
studios of Blackfern Group.
court breaks for lunch. It’s Federik Bernstein’s turn next.
Bruce M Firestone, B Eng (Civil), M Eng-Sci, Phd. Founder, Ottawa Senators;
Author, Quantum Entity Trilogy, Entrepreneurs Handbook II; Executive Director,
Exploriem.org; Broker, Century 21 Explorer Realty Inc; Entrepreneurship
Ambassador, Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa. 613.566.3436 X
200. bruce.firestone @ century21.ca
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