Tag Archives: politics

The Value of Values, Part IV

Continued from Part III.

“Yes, cancer,” the Magistrate repeated. “Something twists in the mind of someone not properly engaged with society. They begin thinking along the wrong tangents, having misguided ideas, which then spread throughout society, like tumours, affecting healthy function. The Liberites imagine they know a better way, but how could they know? They don’t have all the information. They don’t know everything we know. How can you make a successful prognosis if something has been missed out?” He jumped to his feet suddenly, and began striding around the room, emphasising with his heels. “You want to denounce, Mrs. Hobson? Go ahead! Do you have all the facts? Do you know all the circumstances? Pick some poor figure and lay waste to their efforts, their work, their reputation. Tear them to shreds. But explain to me how that benefits society. How that keeps the elements under control, how that benefits the body as a whole. Explain. In the words of your father, how does that heal us all?”

Red was rising into her cheeks, the cool demeanour ebbing away to be replaced with anger and indignation. She sat up straighter, eyes glaring.

“My father never healed himself,” she shouted. “For all his platitudes and grandstanding he got still sick, terribly so, and died painfully. He had the best care money could buy, they scanned and tested and plied him with drugs. He still died, after a long, miserable year. That’s medicine. Cures can be as bad as the disease,” she hissed. “Medicine can prolong life but also prolong suffering. Knowledge isn’t enough. You, Magistrate, are not enough. We need humanity. We need compassion. We need wisdom.”

Silence fell. The Magistrate stood, unmoving, reeling from the impact of her ferocity. She looked scared now, for the first time. Not scared of him, he realised. Scared of herself, perhaps. She had discovered something in the heat of the moment.

“Is that enough?” he called through the door. “Are you satisfied?”

The door opened and Arthur Hobson walked through. He embraced his wife, who trembled at the unexpected sight. The actor playing the Magistrate backed away, undoing the jacket of his fake uniform, eager to escape its unwelcome symbolism.

“I’m sorry to have put you through that,” said Arthur to his wife. “I had to be sure about you. Welcome to the Liberites.”

The End


The Value of Values, Part III

Continued from Part II.

Despite her forthright statements, Mrs. Hobson was clearly out of sorts. No longer the calm composure – she fidgeted and avoided his gaze. He had gotten under her skin, but he had to find out what was at the centre of it all.

“Explain to me please,” he said, “the source of Prognosticant philosophy.”

“Am I a schoolchild?” she retorted. “You would have me recite?”

“You want a debate?” he said. “State your position.”

Her eyes narrowed, she shook her head slightly… and yet she began.

“It was a society in turmoil,” she said, speaking with the rapid, relaxed incantation of a well-memorised passage. “Financial crises, environmental destruction, mass unemployment, civil unrest, terrorism. One man, Dr. Haber, drew a parallel to sickness. Society is an organism, he said. We are all cells in one body. Specialised functions that operate in unison. That body was sick. Politics had failed. The answer was not reform, nor revolution, but medicine. The first step to effective medicine is prognosis.”

She was rising to the message now, the familiar themes bringing up memories of childhood. The Magistrate imagined her as a fourteen year old girl standing proudly next to her father as peace was imposed on a diseased country.

“Prognosis,” she continued. “Foresight. The prediction of outcomes based on data. The determination of appropriate action which must be based on total awareness of all information. So the Prognosticants came to be, controlled all knowledge and healed the sick society.”

The Magistrate applauded, slowly, loudly. “Society is an organism. That makes me the antibody. Do you know what that makes you? Your husband? Do you know what the Liberites are?” He leant forward, chin jutting, teeth bared. “The Liberites are cancer.”

To be continued…

The Value of Values, Part II

Continued from Part I.

“It’s all there in his personal files,” said the Magistrate. “You can see for yourself if you like. Read all of the incriminating emails.”

He pushed a tablet towards Mrs. Hobson. She picked her way through the evidence, slowly, while an odd cloud seem to pass behind her eyes. So fascinating to watch, he thought. In her head, a carefully constructed world is falling apart, revealed to be nothing more than a comforting illusion.

“I have been a loyal Prognosticant all my life,” she said. “My father was a founding member of the movement. I have spoken publicly on many occasions.”

“Then I’ll need a recorded statement from you denouncing your husband,” he said. “You will be placed into holding until he is arrested. Then you can go free, provided our subsequent investigation into your life reveals nothing… inappropriate. I’ll prepare the statement for you.”

“No,” she said quietly.

“Excuse me?” he said sharply.

“I said no,” she repeated, this time loudly and firmly. Her eyes were darting back and forth, she was thinking hard. Her world had shattered, he could see that, but maybe not in the way he had expected. “I will give no such statement.”

“You are aware of the consequences?” he said.

“Acutely,” she said. “I had always believed that men like you were an unfortunate necessity. But I also believed that there was a line over which we would never step. Yet I am sitting here, and you are sitting there, and I was wrong. If I were to start denouncing, I don’t know where I would stop.”

Unexpected, he thought. But a pointless gesture.

To be continued…

The Value of Values, Part I

“What am I doing here?” said Mrs. Hobson. “Is this treatment really appropriate?”

The Magistrate marvelled at her composure. By this time most in her position were reduced to a pliable fistful of putty, ready to say anything, do anything and betray their closest loved ones for a chance of release. All this without having to do much but threaten, the mere prospect of their possible future was too grim for many to suffer their present realities. But this woman was something else.

He couldn’t quite work out what it was. Breeding, perhaps, that naïve optimism of a once-powerful class? Or perhaps she had been witness to some series of horrors not mentioned in her file, and had grown a tough hide. Perhaps she was simply genetically resistant to this type of situation, some were. Or perhaps everything he had suspected was true, and she was hiding some connection to the enemy.

“I warn you, I have a lot of powerful friends, and my husband has even more,” she said. “He is not a man to be taken lightly, Magistrate.”

“Oh I don’t take him lightly at all,” replied the Magistrate. “He’s the highest rank Liberite sympathiser I know about.”

That took her by surprise, he could see from her expression. How strange. Maybe she really didn’t know, or she had practiced responding to this moment.

Witness the power of absolute control, he thought. Just watch. His trap had caught the prey, the rest was inevitable.

To be continued…

Those Who Can’t, May Yet

The class cleared out from the lecture hall as usual. She stayed a moment to answer the confused, waving them, as usual, toward the textbooks and the library. As the stragglers filed out she put her tablet in her briefcase, turned, and only then realised that five students remained seated. Two of the well-read girls, that boy who spoke well but too loudly, the boy dressed like a racing driver and the girl who sang at that concert.

They talked. Mild preamble, as if they were nervous to get to the point. Then they plunged – blurted it out, like they had practised a few times: the request.

“We want you to stand for election.”

They didn’t mean for the board. They were her students, and they took what she lectured very seriously. They wanted her to stand for government.


Yet their arguments… the appalling state of the country; with her husband gone what else to consume her; the strategy; the funding. They were very thorough. Read all of her papers and books. They had heard about her father, and the riots. They knew about her travels down South. So naïve… so silly. But their energy, their intelligence pushing their passion forward, their optimism. Their breathtaking optimism.

Hands clasped together. Eyelids narrowed. The five saw, for the first time of many, the great mind shifting and turning.

“I’ll give it some thought,” she said. “A lot of thought.” She looked up at them, new coruscations in her eyes. “Tonight.”