Re: Brainpicking: constitutional effects of loyalty mods
Sun, 19 Sep 1999 09:11:02 EDT

In a message dated 99-09-15 14:25:57 EDT, (Anders Sandberg) wrote:

> Now, the problem: the president and her cabinet may or may not have

> been infiltrated, congress may be more or less infiltrated, as well as
> the supreme court and most of the armed forces (one half of the space
> navy is provably non-infected). Of course, everybody claims to have
> avoided infection. How would the different sides handle this according
> to the constitutuion? The closest precedent or legal approximation for
> the infection would be insanity, or possibly being an enemy spy. Is
> there a way of handling the possibility that practically all of the
> higher leadership of the US/NA could be insane/spies? Would the
> non-infected armed forces be allowed to take temporary leadership?
> What could the infected politicians (whoever they are) do to
> interfere?

This seems like a true stumper to me, because the US consititution (as are all legal structures) is premised on a fundamental notion of individual autonomy of the various actors. I happen to be reading "Quarantine" right now, so I've been thinking about this question as I read the book. It seems like your scenario would result in a fairly speedy collapse of the political order into multiple declarations of emergency by the various branches and levels of government and other, non-political institutions. Each would be claiming to uphold the "true" constitutional order. Pretty bad: I see a fairly complete breakdown of what Francis Fukuyama has correctly (IMO) identified as the REAL basis of a functional civil society; TRUST. I suppose this is a technological problem that can really only yield toa technological solution: A quick and reliable test for the "loyalty mod". This is a really good metaphor for the "Red Scare" of the 1950s in US civil society, BTW.

     Greg Burch     <>----<>
     Attorney  :::  Vice President, Extropy Institute  :::  Wilderness Guide   -or-
                         "Civilization is protest against nature; 
                  progress requires us to take control of evolution."
                                           Thomas Huxley