Sunday, October 9, 2011

Spanner 21.3: The Descent from On High

...from previous

Chaos Angel Spanner — Chapter 21: High School Banned
Part 3: The Descent from On High

27 october 2014.
Rob Shelley and Bob Brinkman wear kilts and berets in the school colors along with blue jackets from the standard school uniform. Flanked by snare and bass drummers from the marching band, they play Scottish military marches on their bagpipes.

A crowd gathers around them to watch them play. They applaud enthusiastically after the conclusion of every march. The martial Celtic music is deliciously exotic to them. Some of them skip classes so they can watch. Some of them even forgo lunch.

principal’s office. In the back office where the principals hold their meetings, Pete Ross holds a meeting behind closed doors. Even the principals are forbidden to interrupt. Ross has ordered Party official Spiekerman to go home. He stares down three yellow-clad Student Union leaders. These are not the normal organizers who cannot stand up to the implacable economic logic of Ross. They are not Karen Kubota, Nicolette Rosewater, Courtney Richter-Thomas, or Connor Blair.

Across the table to his left, Jennifer Blair lowers her rimless round glasses to dissect him with her eyes. The daughter of Populist leader Willa Richter-Thomas looks a lot like her mother. She married her to stymie the Eugenics Institute. In revenge, Institute chief scientist Dr Siegfried Heiler hired fifty professional killers to trap her on Blake Island in order to kill her and cut out her ovaries. She lured them to their deaths and became a legend. Ross’ spies told him that Jennifer is said to possess the ability to see a person’s aura whenever she removes her glasses. She is also said to be a Patternist, someone with an intuition so powerful that they can quickly draw unusually precise conclusions from incomplete evidence. Normally, apophenia is the mark of the paranoid conspiracy theorist. Ross had the company psychologists test her. They found an almost fanatical reality orientation and no trace whatsoever of paranoia. She had disciplined her pattern-sensing ability. Powerful intuition disciplined by ruthless logic can be an extremely dangerous combination. Ross cannot avoid the feeling that with one glance she can know him better than his psychologists know her.

Next to her, in the center, Shira Thomas smiles at him ironically. She is the daughter of his archenemy, Teachers Guild chief representative Hope Maureen Reston, and the younger sister of a notorious terrorist, Talia Espinoza de Gabriel of the Socialist Revolutionary Organization. She projects an aura of revolutionary violence. She projects the sexual menace of a Rebel Styles. Like her blond cousin, she is a certified chess grandmaster. She is unbeaten against that most ruthless of chess masters, Dr Henry Becket. She is calm. She thinks many moves ahead. He looks into her beautiful almond-shaped emerald eyes. The message he reads in them: Your move.

The young woman to the right is not the one he expected. Shira and Jennifer insisted that Nicolette Rosewater not join them. The one they brought with them instead is Leila Renata Shelley, the former fashion model with a scandalous past. Her sexual relationship with Shira is an open secret with which they taunt her grandfather, Governor Brinkman, and undermine the entire morality-based American world system. He wonders why they have not yet been jailed for multiple sex crimes, genetic crimes against her dying race, or both. He is surprised to sense the ruthless intelligence behind the doll-like beauty of her face. She has the suspicious look of a Corporate aristocrat. A true Corporate always expects the inevitable stab in the back, and always prepares to do the stabbing. Her dagger is well hidden, but she will not let him forget it is there. Shira Thomas’ gambit: replace the earnest organizer Nicolette Rosewater with the far more ruthless Leila Shelley in order to put him at an immediate disadvantage.

Behind the pretty faces and glamourous façade of these good-looking young women, high intelligence and ruthless logic. The Student Union has fielded its best and most dangerous players.

The Japanese have a term amakudari, meaning “descent from heaven.” In the context of the Japanese system, this means the policy of technocrats retiring from government early so they can take higher-paying management positions in industry. In the terminology of the Conservative Revolutionary Party, “descent from On High” signifies a Party member, whether a Corporate or Confederate-American Dominionist, lowering himself to meet with mere civilians. The three young women look across the table of the meeting room at the fat man in the expensive pinstripe suit. Everything about him, his suit, his ruthless expression, even his bulk, are calculated to intimidate. They refuse to be intimidated. If they were ever to be initiated into the Corporate hierarchy, they would be utterly without mercy.

The meeting room door is shut. The door to the hallway leading from the main office to the meeting room is shut. The office door is shut. Together the three doors block out the loud sound of the bagpipes in the cafeteria. The players need silence. Nothing must be allowed to distract them from their contest. For several minutes, the two sides stare each other down and say nothing.

Contemptuously, Ross says, “I can see before me what this diversity thing will be coming to.”

Jennifer puts her glasses back on. “What the diversity technocrats never allowed into their technocratic minds is that diversity is an emergent property dependent on the openness of a system. However, Mr Ross, I find that your Corporatist ideology denies both evolution and entropy.”

“Miss Blair, you do not have to deal directly with the forces of decline like I must, constantly.”

“From what I’ve learned, Social Darwinism assumes that human evolution must be forced. So does the so-called diversity ideology it replaced, naturally by force. You Social Darwinists and the technocratic champions of diversity accept the exact same premises, but draw opposite conclusions from it. What I am saying is, the premises are wrong.”

“You are the scientist, I remember. I should remind you that mere science cannot understand hard reality.”

“Science is nothing but understanding of hard reality. The forces of decline of which you speak? Nothing but entropy acting upon a closed system. In such a system, management only has the effect of increasing entropy within the system, thereby destabilizing it. That’s because social engineering is not a science.”

Ross stares at Jennifer. After a pause, he says, “I can see that I cannot reason with you.”

“You reason from premises based on faith. Me, I have no faith. Reality is perfectly sufficient.”

Shira says, “You didn’t get to your position by building up a business from scratch. You went to business school, got yourself an MBA, and rose up through the management ranks in a corporation that long ago left the free market behind.”

“The free market.”

“Freedom of the market is precisely what Corporatism is designed to defend against. Freedom is chaos. Market freedom is nature red in tooth and claw, destroying all possibility of job security for management drones. Under Corporatism, management drones control the government. You can’t afford to let in the slightest breeze of freedom. Your system is hermetically sealed. Too bad entropy can’t be left out, no matter how fervently you deny its existence.”

“And what is your business, Miss Thomas?”

“Beach fashion. It’s a consumer market, of course. Fashion is capricious; it changes on a dime. You can’t let yourself get comfortable, ever.”

Jennifer says, “What you don’t realize, Mr Ross, is that you’re actually in a consumer market. Your company is not subsidized. You are at the mercy of paying customers.”

“Which means, no matter how much you can screw over your workers, you can’t screw your customers unless you want them to demand their money back.”

Ross half stands up. “You forget, young ladies, that consumpion of our service is required by law.

“If you’re so intent on forcing everybody to buy into your service, commercial monopoly with government mandate is not the way to do it. Government mandate requires government control.”

“You’re caught in a contradiction,” says Jennifer. “That contradiction will destroy you.”

Ross sits back down, stunned. He thought he could defeat the cousins through the most ruthless instrumental logic. He would have prevailed over Karen Kubota or Nicolette Rosewater. The last thing he expected was for two teenage girls to use his own logic against him. He glares at Leila. “Do you have anything to add, Miss Shelley?”

Without smiling or blinking, Leila answers, “But of course. I’m sure you already have all the answers. All Corporates worthy of the name believe they do. But what if your answers are wrong? The result, of course, is that your share prices collapse and I lose money.”

“And what would you suggest that I do to stop our share prices from collapsing?”

Leila looks up and puts a finger to her cheek. “Let’s see... You could improve the quality of your services. But that would mean actually paying your employees, and not selling the curriculum to the highest bidder, which as we know allows rich cranks to distort the subjects they buy their way into, and not allowing advertisers to censor the course material, and I could go on forever...” She shoots a hard glare back at Ross. “I’d say you’re doomed.” She smiles contemptuously.

He stares at each of the girls in turn. “You think you can rationalize the existence of a subversive movement. You do not realize that any movement can be suppressed through the application of sufficient force.”

“Force.” Shira looks at Jennifer, then Leila. “He thinks he can stifle a movement with brute force. Obviously he has no understanding of human psychology. Typical technocrat, that.”

“We already have your leader in custody, Miss Thomas.”

“And we’ve already started selling your company short.”


Shira grins. “And thousands of greedy speculators have jumped on the bandwagon. They expect our Student Union to file the inevitable breach-of-contract suit against you any day now. We have force on our side, too. We can force you into bankruptcy by forcing you to refund our tuition forthwith. We hold the power of life and death over your company, and all its successors too. So we suggest you do what our lawyers tell you to do, or there will be no Seattle Public Education Corporation for you to be CEO of. Am I clear, Mr Ross?”

Leila nudges her with her elbow. “Shira darling, I’m afraid it’s no use. I don’t even think the company will survive long enough for our lawyers to tell them to do anything. Not the way their losses are enhancing our short position.” She turns to Ross. “Mr Ross, I’m certain the death of your will make us rich. But die it will, and soon. You will be surprised how soon it comes.” She stands up. “Let’s go. We have nothing more to say to him.” She leaves, making sure to slam the door.

Shira and Jennifer stand up together, still staring at Ross; then they follow Leila out, first Shira and then Jennifer. Jennifer slams the door.

school lobby. The music ceases when Ross rushes out the door with an unusually disturbed expression on his face. His bodyguards must hurry to keep up with him. Spiekerman and the principals run to catch up with him; but by the time they reach him, his stretch Hummer is speeding away.

Colette asks a smiling Shira, “What did you guys say to him?”

“Oh, we just put a mirror in front of his face and showed him what he’s up against.”

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Copyright © 2011 Dennis Jernberg. Some rights reserved.
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