My dream of what could be.
In 2016, after realizing that humanity had been at war for some 6,000 years with seldom a break of even a single year – and very often in a dozen places at once – a simple thought appeared in at least a hundred young minds scattered across our planet:
It’s not the evil old men who keep all the wars going; it’s us, the 18-year-olds.
The problem, they saw, was that they kept obeying the bitter and rapacious old men. Swept along by authority and the fear of standing alone, they had been – for millennia – marching off to kill other young people exactly like themselves.
The 18-year-olds on the opposite sides of all the battle lines had been doing precisely the same thing: obeying the orders of their own bitter and rapacious old men.
And then a very simple thought struck them: If the 18-year-olds in every country agreed to not fight, who would?
After all, the old men never fought for themselves.
And so, being a generation gifted with worldwide communication, they began to find each other and to talk among themselves.
Some of them dug into military literature to see if they were missing something. Others read studies in the psychology of killing. A few researched guerrilla warfare. And then, one by one, they began to study economics, cooperation and consent.
Within months, they had no more doubt; war was almost wholly dependent upon them.
Old men with bloodlust would never stop the killing; once they passed 50 or 60 years old, they were never going to change. But that wasn’t really much of a problem, because a sufficient number of 18-year-olds could stop war anytime they wanted.
And so, in a matter of days, they wrote an agreement to be published in every country. They agreed they would carry it to their schools and to the streets of all their cities… they would eventually confront every young person in the world and encourage them to take their vow and add their names to the list of 18-year-olds who refused to march off to war.
Their agreement read as follows:
We, young men and women of all nationalities, hereby vow not to kill each other at the behest of old men and women.
We don’t want to fight. We do not want to die. We do not want to see our friends dismembered, nor do we want to dismember others… or even to assist in it.
We want to live and love. Most of us want families. All of us want rewarding lives. And we do not want to live with the nightmares of war.
If the old people want war so badly, let them go fight it. They’ve already had their families and careers.
Bitter old men and women will send us off to war forever if we let them. They’ve been doing just that, continuously, for 6,000 years; they’re not going to change.
The jungle warlord and the militant senator are precisely the same in this; they need war. For 6,000 years they’ve issued orders to us, and we – confused and obedient – have marched off, in thousands and even millions, to kill each other.
But no more. We, the 18-year-olds of the world, hereby affirm that we will not go to war. We will protect our home towns if necessary, but we will not march off, based upon the fears and intimidations of old men and women, to fight other 18-year-olds like ourselves.
We are confirmed in this resolve by the wise words of Albert Einstein: “Nothing will end war unless the people themselves refuse to go to war.”
We therefore jointly refuse. Let the old men kill each other if they care so much.
This, their agreement, was presented to young people in almost every school in the world, in thousands of town squares, and in countless homes. The names of more than 10 million signers were posted to Internet pages before they were certified as “domestic terror sites” and hijacked. After that, they moved to the DarkNet. At that point, the old men and women panicked, banned the evil, unpatriotic document, and threw thousands of the young people into jail cells.
But there were too many, and soon there weren’t enough obedient enforcers to attack the young petitioners and not enough government cages to hold them.
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If you’ve enjoyed Free-Man’s Perspective or A Lodging of Wayfaring Men, you’re going to love Paul Rosenberg’s new novel, The Breaking Dawn.
It begins with an attack that crashes the investment markets, brings down economic systems, and divides the world. One part is dominated by mass surveillance and massive data systems: clean cities and empty minds… where everything is assured and everything is ordered. The other part is abandoned, without services, with limited communications, and shoved 50 years behind the times… but where human minds are left to find their own bearings.
You may never look at life the same way again.
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