Politics / social history

This is a brief summary of some of the important things that happened between 2000 and 2187. All these events are familiar to the latter era's inhabitants.

2000-2008 - Warnings
A period marked by increase in incidences of earthquakes and volcanoes, together with global warming, ozone hole disappearance, hurricanes, El Nino etc. Generally thought to have been a warning to humanity that its reckless endangerment of the biosphere could not persist - a warning largely ignored. Includes a devastating quake in 2006 which causes the Southern Californian coast to slip into the sea.

2009 - Meteorite strike
A large meteorite on Earth impact trajectory is detected: NATO forces attempt to divert it by bombardment with nuclear missiles, with the effect of breaking it up into a stream of radioactive fragments. These shower across Europe, from Great Britain down towards Turkey, spraying lethal debris - as well as radioactivity, the meteorite has a high mercuric content - over the continent, with the single large fragment falling near Karachi. Tremendous devastation wrought upon India, Pakistan and Middle East. Meteorite strike followed by tsunamis which devastate shores of Africa and Australia, and overwhelm Arabia and Indonesia / Malaysia: crustal disruption causes Somalian plate to tip down, creating a huge salt-water lake on the Horn of Africa. Continued waves of earthquakes along the boundaries of the three major plates by the impact site. The warm-water wave also breaks up large portions of the Antarctic ice shelves.

2012 - the second and third horsemen
Earthquake activity in Iraq breaches secret bioweapons facilities, releasing two engineered plagues. The first is a swift-acting virus which causes deadly blood clots: it spreads on the air and by contagion. Within days it has spread around the world and caused widespread death. The second plague is a longer-incubating one which causes degeneration of internal organs and spreads within cities at near-100%infection rate. Within two years it has rendered every major city in the world a charnel-house.

2012-2032 - survival
Management of refugee problems is humanity's first concern. Humans have been reduced to less than 2 billion individuals. In the next generation, long-term fertility effects of the Third Horseman cause population to fall still further, to less than a billion. Governmental structures fall apart, with the only capable authorities being those who are able to move people about and to administer the huge refugee camps - the great multinational businesses, and the major aid organizations.
In 2032 the Japanese archipelago is rendered uninhabitable, with the eruption of a chain of volcanoes along its length. A new major island is born in the East China Sea. No-one has the time to give it a name.
It is only by now that workable vaccines exist for the two Horsemen, as these plagues have come to be known, following as hard as they did on the heels of the meteorite. No-one wants to wait for the fourth.

2032-2070 - safeguarding
Humanity slowly manages to recover to the point where it can scrape a living from the desperately contaminated land. Large parts of the globe are simply abandoned. The aid agencies, controlling the large labour reserves of the refugee collection points, and the corporations, controlling what farming land is capable of providing food, ally to safeguard the future of humanity. Governments, which by now have no democratic or other popular credibility, have lost power and meaning, and one by one disappear.

2070-2100 - rebuilding
The conglomerates gradually clean and reclaim the land around the collection points, and render humanity self-sufficient once more. At last slightly wider concerns can be considered, and attention is given to 'encapsulating' the many ancient, rotten, factories, nuclear plants, chemical works and so on that still gush their poisons into watercourses and soil. Labour is set to tasks like desalinating seawater and pumping it through polluted water systems, to bring them back to useful cleanliness. Even so, only those closest to current population can really be dealt with as yet. Scientists work on restoring human population to more easily sustainable levels, by tackling problems of infertility and teratogeny.

2100-2187 - rebirth
The first years of the 22nd century see the foundation of seven of the cities, and the inculcation of a new way of life. From now on humans will live within their ecological means, not beyond them. No decision to exploit a natural resource will be taken without full consideration of its effects. Even individuals will be brought to think of the impacts of their slightest actions. Humanity has barely survived, and it must not be endangered again.


Social and Political History Teaching
History is not one of the most important subjects in which children are educated: more of an emphasis is placed on practical learning. However it is thought important to be able to draw the right lessons from the troubled history of human societal endeavour. The general background facts of human history are taught in ways that would bre recognized by those of two centuries previously, with the main exceptions being political theory.
Although socialist revolutions are covered by the syllabus, the 'purist Marxist' aims of achieving human equality by engaging all individuals at the worker level in a struggle to eradicate the existence, in practical terms, of all other classes, and thence to institute rule by the proletariat remaining, are obscured by dwelling on this system's practical failings where implemented in such nations as the USSR, China, and North Korea, and the suffering of the masses ruled by an unelected, sometimes hereditary, party, as well as their limited access to both travel and other communication with the rest of the world. Any focus on the original revolutions highlights the massive loss of life by both sides, and the resultant installation of a small class of new, briefly popular, egotistic oppressors. Even those who start out with good intentions and a belief that they really know what is best for the people are shown to be merely imposing their choices on others, usually to long-term ill effect. The later popular revolts against Communist regimes are dwelt on, as well as the communist (effective) dictators themselves. The benefits in terms of food, clothing and employment are pointed out, but so is the lack of availability, choice and cultural / intellectual suppression. The tracts and experiments are not expunged from history. It is merely made very clear that this form of social organization was tried, and failed every time. The works of Marx himself are not available for study and it is generally thought that none have survived.
Similarly, most socialist and liberal texts by subsequent authors have been edited and republished, with most references to deliberate manipulation of the masses by a hierarchy excised. Evidence of various forms of social control remains - the obvious forms of indoctrination, repression and censorship especially. Cults of personality (such as Hitler's, including the Hitler Youth), extreme militarization of the young, repetition of the American anthem every morning in schools, and so on - these are portrayed as a dreadful imposition on the right of self-determination, now thankfully past. People are taught how advertising industries were capable of using subliminal images to attempt to influence consumers, before these industries' collapse in 2012; along with the emasculation of this as a covert control method by the widespread availability of video recording and players with frame-stopping and still-advance facilities.
Democratic governments are also derided. The idea that a small segment of the populace can intuit or otherwise divine both the wishes and needs of the rest, and the best method for achieving these, is laughable. Are these people believed to possess God-like perspicacity? It is acknowledged that the 20th century was one in which it was believed that the world was best run according to the visions of a few gifted individuals: the remnants of a faith in prophets or kings.

Social mores
Self-determination is a dominant meme. The idea is that your life is governed by your true self: your genes, your potential and finally your own choices. You can only be trapped by what you are. Control of the genome is fairly tight - it is believed near-impossible to give birth naturally to a defective child, given the thorough screening of gametes and zygotes, as well as the highly effective control of the environment within the maternal womb. (Occasional miscarriages are still, sadly, impossible to avert, a result of the viral bombardments. Those aware of the pregnancy are usually (voluntarily) memorywiped, to spare unnecessary and unproductive grief.) However, in areas where there was additional damage from the meteorite residues and subsequent radiation leaks, the populace was often removed too late to prevent impact on their genetic heritage. Such gametes are discovered at screening and a different process or reproduction commences. Given the limited genepool it is totally out of the question to discard the genetic information still available, even if it has been slightly damaged. (The human genome has been fully understood for some decades now.) It is possible to look at the newly formed genetic code pieces (or the re-activated 'dead' code, some argue) and predict fairly well how they will affect the child's physiological capabilities.

 

Pessimists…
… Word is we know what we face on our planet now, but we were caught out by that last time. If we know we can't control it, then it's really worrying.


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