A Good Man

“Vinav Amanyr-ith-Amaranyr is a good man.”

“You are surprised to hear me say that?  You shouldn’t be.  Many of our Renegades are – the ones who become Renegades because they’ve seen the Galaxy’s problems and can’t stand not doing anything about them.”

“So what do you do about poverty and oppression?  You can try and persuade people that things have to change, and you can ask Valeä Andreth’s people how slowly that works, and at what cost.  Or you can join the belligerati and try advocating Imperial takeovers, but everyone knows how well they work, or rather don’t.  But in any case, you’re pushing a mountain uphill because the root of all these bad things is nothing but bad ideas, and ideas that run in parallel with one’s species-nature are hard to kill, however insane or counterproductive they might be.”

Or you can take the short road, and reason that the solution to bad ideas is better people, and that you can save a lot of life and time if you can create better people here and now.”

“And so, you can reengineer a grab-bag of autoevolutionary improvements from the alpha baseline into a contagious self-replicating neurovirus – say, the cognitive bias eliminations, the empathy enhancement, the motivation restraint, the self-deception resistance, and the neophobia and xenophobia removal.  Then you spray it generously into the planetary atmosphere, and let the bad ideas kill themselves off.”

“It’s a good plan, simple and elegant.  Worse, it’s a plan that could take only a matter of days to execute.  It probably would work, if we let it, and – and I’m fairly certain this is the rationale he’s using – former citizen-shareholder Amanyr-ith-Amaranyr will get the retroactive consent he’s hoping for, because it almost certainly would improve the lives of everyone on his target world.”

“So, yes, Vinav Amanyr-ith-Amaranyr is a good man, and because he’s a good man who cares deeply for the well-being of his fellow sophonts, he’s about to violate the first ethical principle by performing non-consensual modifications on the minds of millions.”

“And that’s why we have to kill him.”

– induction briefing, Operation <blank>, ISS Internal Security & Surveillance Directorate