"You're nuts," I interjected, although I knew he was right on every point. We had explored the very subject during the conference at Suchumi. Still, I repeated, "You're nuts!"
Antonio shook his head and smiled. "I expected this kind of reaction. This means that we can trust you. This means that we won't kill you right here. Some day you will understand why. I can even say this with certainty, that you will understand very soon why we offer you the only option you really have. I can say this also, because of what you have already been quiet about, what you didn't scream about. You didn't scream at us out of disgust over the million people that would have been killed had our attack on Baltimore succeeded. Why didn't you even mention the million victims? I think you didn't, because you think in higher terms, don't you?"
I had to delay my answer. I noticed a gondolier gliding towards us, singing in the dark to his customer, a $50 per hour entertainment extravaganza. The people in the gondola were probably all too busy with each other to take any notice of us. Still, their passing in front of us gave me time to formulate a 'safe' answer that the fondi might accept.
"Why should I protest?" I said to Antonio after the gondola was out of the range of our voices. "I know how you people think," I said to him. "I am aware of what your objectives are. Had I brought the subject up, you would have said to me that a million lives don't matter a hoot since you presume that the Earth is overpopulated by two to four billion people, which you aim to get rid off. You would have probably told me that once this stage in perception is reached, what does it matter then if an operation incurs the death of a million people, or ten million people, or even fifty million people. Against the already widely accepted 'need' for depopulation the actual mass killing of human beings becomes irrelevant, even at the level of the largest large-scale genocide that one can imagine. The numbers become irrelevant once the axioms are accepted. Since I know all this already, and you know that I do, what point is there in making a fuss over it? If I had seen the slightest chance that I would be able to change your mind and keep you from playing those games, I would have argued like hell. But there is no chance for that to happen, is there?"
"You are right," said Antonio. "The goal is the only thing that's relevant. Love is irrelevant. Love stands in the way of the goal. People's lives are irrelevant. If you look at the world in the high minded fashion that you should really cultivate some more, which you are capable of cultivating, you wouldn't allow yourself the luxury of becoming encumbered with love. It's irrelevant. Once you realize this, you will become amazingly effective, even ruthless."
Palmerston intervened at this point. He spoke calmly and softly. "If I were you," he said, "I would forget about all the patriotic stuff that you had mentioned a few moments ago, like wanting to protect your country. Patriotism has become an invalid concept along with a whole lot of other invalid concepts. Besides, you can't help your country anyway. Your people are so deeply under our control that they don't want to be deterred from their self-destruction. If you try to stop them, by stopping the nuclear fusion dream, they will slander you and fight you. Your wonderful republic called the USA, which you want to protect, doesn't really exist anymore. That's what I meant when I said that the tectonic plates are shifting. The USA has been overlaid with the plate of the empire just as Britain had been overlaid earlier with the plate of the Venetian Empire. In the process the British Empire was born. The empire still rules the world. This is the empire that we serve, and which you will also serve."
He bent down and touched the ground. "It all started right here," he said solemnly. "It started many centuries ago. The plates were shifting even then."
"Are you the British Empire, then?" I asked, cautiously.
"The British Empire!" he repeated and laughed. "The British Empire doesn't exist anymore either. That term hasn't been valid for some time. Just like corporations disappear in mergers and their names fade into oblivion, the British Empire has vanished. The Venetian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the Holy Roman Empire, the Russian Empire, the Austro Hungarian Empire, they've all been overlaid, though in real terms they're still alive in a fashion. The plates are shifting all the time, names change, alliances change. The real empire, our empire, has no name. We've given up on that. It's less confusing that way. You can call us anything you want, and you'll be probably correct. Call us The Empire on Which the Sun Never Sets, and you'll be right about that too. Perhaps you should call us, the Empire without a Name, then nobody can challenge you with preconceptions. However, let me assure you that I don't mean this physically or geographically. I am speaking mostly metaphorically when I say that on our empire the sun never sets."
"Empire is a concept, not a thing," interjected Antonio. "It is a concept of intention where all the right things are brought together that produce the beneficial effects that we need to assure that wealth has an enduring quality. Of course, since wealth is financial, the empire is primarily financial in nature. In other words, we own all the key banks that society brings its money to, and that it gets is credit from. The term 'credit' is a lie of course, because it really means, 'debt.' We take society's money and sell it debt in return. That's how we disable society. Under our rule the world has become a debtors prison. This means that your choice should reflect on which side of the prison wall you want to live. You either find yourself in prison, or free in the world of empire - free to steal, rape, rule, loot, and imprison others. This is what empire is; and it really does rule the world that way in every respect. It rules science that way. Empire claims from science what serves its objective, and imprisons the rest. Our famous writer H. G. illustrated in his novel, The Time Machine, why this is done. In the novel a time traveler meets a future civilization of delicate beautiful people living in a virtual paradise. Those, as the novel tells us later, are the future elite who are kept in 'pasture' by the Morlochs, the machine society people, who eat them for breakfast. His message to the Lord's of Empire was, to keep them suppressed as much as possible, because a scientifically advancing society will eat the pathetic lords of the elite, for breakfast. This rule still defines the face of empire. Not only is the truth about anything suppressed, but science is suppressed as well, which is mankind's gateway to the truth. And this is indeed what we do to science. We suppress it. We no longer do this the old way, of course, by burning books. We make the suppression of science, society's own mission. We give it a type of mission that assures that nothing good comes out of it. That's where the Big Bang theory of the Universe comes into play. We made this a mission for the forefront of science. We gave the universities fancy, super-expensive toys, like the giant accelerators. They will tie themselves into knots for decades upon decades with trying to prove something that isn't real, like black holes in space that no one can see, or the fusion-powered Sun for which only contrary evidence exists. Modern science, under our control, is comparable to Mao's red book. When Mao ruled in China, there was only one thought spoken aloud in China, and that was Mao's thought. In modern science, the Big Bang fraud fulfills the same purpose. It keeps society spellbound. If you join us, you will be on the controlling side. Maybe you might even help us to guide society's dreams."
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