Parasite: Six Tales of Speculative Terror


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As they sat in the car chatting, John noticed the Quran in the back seat, and immediately launched into describing his terrorist fantasy plans to this apparently like-minded Muslim. From stealing guns and storming a military base, to stealing a nuclear submarine, to shooting people with a modified paintball gun, John had big plans. It was clear the police had to do something. For months, the undercover officer would occasionally hang out, buy them lunch, and talk with them about their plans, while surveillance officers bugged their apartment and kept an eye on them to see what they did.

Nothing ever went anywhere. Eventually, the officer started pushing a bit harder, getting them to settle on a pressure cooker bomb inspired by the Boston bombing, and offering to acquire some C4 and set them up with fake passports to get out of the country after the deed. Facilitating nearly every aspect of the plot, the police subtly moved things along, leaving just enough work for John and Amanda that they would be unambiguously incriminated when all was done. The police provided fake C4, which was just plasticine, but also a small piece of real C4, so that the device would technically contain explosive materials, and the Crown could get them on yet another criminal charge.

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When the time came for the verdict, the instructions were clear: leaving aside such issues as entrapment, speaking technically, did they or did they not do the deed? After several months more argument about the fine points of the law, the judge acquitted them on the basis of entrapment, and released them.

I hope they are doing well and staying out of trouble. It was a farce. A fake crime, manufactured by the police, at enormous public expense. All totaled up, between the approximately police officers involved in a case that spanned at least a year, at least a year of court time, press attention, and time out of the lives of jurors and defendants, it amounted to a significant expenditure of scarce resources. I have no doubt the total bill was in the tens of millions of dollars.

What was it all for? Was it just waste? How did it happen? There are probably ways that the police could have handled it better, had their procedures or incentives been better. For example, after having made contact, John expressed doubt at a few points about whether terrorism was permissible under Islam. The undercover officer sidelined those concerns.

They could have instead connected John with a credible scholar to talk him through a deradicalization process. The undercover officer could have attempted such a process himself. But deradicalization is hard. You have to actually understand where your counterparty is coming from, which is something liberalism is notoriously bad at.

You have to build real trust, which is difficult and fragile when you are not actually sincere, but just playing the part of deradicalization counselor. You need to be able to offer a better way, which may be difficult if your counterparty has some legitimate grievance with the system. I sympathize with the police for this reason. They had a bunch of radicals running around talking about blowing things up.

They could have met up with some real terrorist cell and done something real. The police had to do something. How could this have been prevented? How did it happen in the first place?


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How did they fall out of the bottom of society and into a subculture of drug abuse and anti-social ideology? Radical Islam provided a ready-made terrorist ideology, but the receptivity to radicalization and terrorism clearly predated it.

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Islam might have even provided some positive social fabric and moral guidance in an otherwise nihilistic underworld environment. In any society, there is a vast network of interrelated institutions, organized into a rough pyramid. The nexus of power and politics, the state, sits at the top, and all the various functional components are organized beneath.

Government bureaucracies, established companies, startup companies, small businesses, nonprofits, university departments, strong families, religious parishes, and a vast interconnecting mycelium of informal social fabric. This forms the main structure of a functional society.

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But by default, it takes certain qualities, choices, and resources to stay on track into the institutions of proper society. You need to go to school, stay out of certain social groups and get into others, study and behave in particular ways to build social capital that can get you into the official institutions of society.

What happens to those of us who fail to do this? Those who fail to get in, are pushed out, or are never convinced in the first place, fall into the unregulated between-spaces.

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The underworld. Improper society. The human landfill of people who are discarded by the system. Judging by their interests and associations, John and Amanda were already off the main track by high school, and on the track to the underworld. They were on welfare, and I heard little of real jobs. Lacking participation in a functional social fabric, such people become easy to radicalize. A lot of people end up outside, and become not just discarded refuse, but active social liabilities.

Idle hands, as they say, are the tools of the devil. The local economic calculus has no reason to clean up these liabilities, only to find assets. We see this in statistics on underemployment, NEETs , marriage rates, people dropping out of social participation, etc.

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But many of these measures, employment in particular, will underestimate the problem; the economy is increasingly home to what is effectively underworld activity: scams, fake projects, ill-advised speculative investments driven by too much money with too few useful things to do. Their fathers and grandfathers were men of society, working in established companies, serving real customers, and commanding national infrastructure. Most of them went through college fine, but had little guidance from society, and were spat out into a weak job market dominated by companies without much in the way of legible higher purpose or functionality—fake institutions.

The psychological impact of these fake institutions is to cut one off from the main functionally organized social fabric.


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This alienation is often not total. People often have one foot in, and one foot out. Many people have jobs, but have no prospects at marriage. Some people have jobs and marriages, but no social life integrated with normal society. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again.

Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Parasite by Mira Grant. Parasite Parasitology 1 by Mira Grant. A decade in the future, humanity thrives in the absence of sickness and disease. We owe our good health to a humble parasite - a genetically engineered tapeworm developed by the pioneering SymboGen Corporation. When implanted, the tapeworm protects us from illness, boosts our immune system - even secretes designer drugs.

It's been successful beyond the scientist A decade in the future, humanity thrives in the absence of sickness and disease. It's been successful beyond the scientists' wildest dreams. Now, years on, almost every human being has a SymboGen tapeworm living within them. But these parasites are getting restless.

They want their own lives Get A Copy. Hardcover , pages. More Details Original Title.

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Parasite: Six Tales of Speculative Terror Parasite: Six Tales of Speculative Terror
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