“It has been a true pleasure to work with such a talented writer who is boldly and skillfully tackling so many of the critical issues facing the world today, and I very much appreciate the opportunity. This imaginative story is a real eye-opener on so many diverse levels and topics, giving me a chance to step back and take a hard look at some of my own biases and beliefs (and learn a thing or two in the process). I’m excited to see that you have a sequel planned!” Robin Fuller, Editor, Reedsy, June 2021
“Biting political satire that makes us laugh, get angry, and even cry.” Amazon Review, September 21, 2021
“Wow! Agenda 2060 does just what I want and need from fiction, it adjusts perceptions that make conversation possible again.” Amazon Review, September 14, 2021
Shane Whitman, trans imposter, and member of the Agenda Implementation Tribunal, July 2058…
He’d arrived at her office unannounced again, dismissing the security minders and locking the door from the inside. This time, when he removed his wig, he threw it across the room. He wasn’t wearing lipstick, and he hadn’t shaved.
“Progress, Alexa!” he’d shouted. “We need progress. The tribunal can’t wait. The budget needs to be fixed now, and the UN compliance team can’t be put off any longer. We’re going to air, ready or not. Do you hear me? READY OR NOT!”
Alexa got to her feet. She was wearing a head scarf because it was Hijab Day at the Social Equity Ministry, one of two hundred designated days celebrating different cultural identities (though, typically for Alexa, she wore the hijab to promote awareness of female oppression, not as a cultural endorsement.) She tore it off and dropped it on her desk.
“The models are all done!” she protested. “They’ve been tested and run by the SEM’s human rights and treasury audit groups, and they were forwarded to the tribunal chair a week ago. There’s no hold up on my end.” She was perplexed by this outburst. As far as she was concerned, she’d done all that was asked of her. “The white male minority problem has been solved. The budget now balances. The ball’s in the tribunal’s court,” she emphasized.
Whitman glared at her. “I didn’t come here to have you tell me what a clever girl you’ve been, Alexa. I came to tell you that we’re all sitting on a knife edge, and it’s starting to cut into our asses! There’s resistance. I’m hearing rumors that backsliding, scheming, gender-bending intersectionalists on the tribunal are plotting against us as we speak. They won’t give up their victim’s privileges without a fight—and when they fight, it’ll be vicious, Alexa. There’ll be riots; there’ll be deaths. I know who they are. I know their methods. That’s why we have to act fast! We need to announce the new policy settings without further delay. I’ve called a planning meeting at the Department of Truth and Public Guidance first thing tomorrow, which you are going to attend—and I expect you to tell us how we can make sure the ArteFact Channel supports us.”
“It was your idea. The tribunal chair only signed off on this plan because you sold him on getting Artie Sharp as its mouthpiece.”
“I did no such thing!”
“Well, that’s what was told to the tribunal, Alexa, and that’s what we’re damn well relying on.”
“I only said that someone like Artie Sharp—someone with credibility—should be recruited to back the new policies. The tribunal chair admitted that government policy changes are never well received. I never said anything about being able to arrange it.”
Whitman grabbed the veil from her desktop and ripped it in two, apoplectic with rage. “I’ve spent twenty years in these fucking frocks, Alexa—twenty years in suffocating wigs and cock-busting corsets, painting my face like a clown and pretending to like faggots and dykes, all because you menstruating feminists and your false-nipple transfem offspring decided it was your turn to have power and put men on the chopping board. Well, it’s over now, do you hear me? It’s death to victimhood and an end to Society Points. Tomorrow, Alexa, you’ll be there, and you’ll tell us how we can sell the public this plan that you designed—or I’ll be breaking out the guns!”
Rooted to the spot, Alexa just stared at Shane Whitman in his floral-print dress and white Roman sandals, the thick fingers of his tattooed, muscled arms opening and closing as if he were squeezing the life out of a dying turkey, and she decided that he was probably clinically insane.
“Yes, the human brain contains almost one hundred billion neurons. It can be grown in a womb or in a dish, and it may or may not be sentient. But now it can be replicated within quantum computers as artificial general intelligence (AGI), which possesses human-level cognitive powers, with the addition of perfect recall of information from every known source. Throw in optical neural devices intuitively modeled on how the brain processes information, and the point of humanized AI was finally reached, in which self-consciousness and self-awareness was achieved. Artie Sharp is an example of such an algorithm.”
Then a voice to her left spoke up. “Do you know how we made it happen?”
The person addressing her had a severe look: square jaw, heavily muscled tattooed arms, and a long strawberry-blonde wig. Alexa stiffened as she felt her unconscious bias training struggle to assert itself.
“Incentives!” the person announced before she could reply. “The Social Points system rewards people for identifying with minority groups. LGBTQI is now the largest combined demographic in the country. Three generations of state-sponsored miscegenation have seen the European race pushed out of its centuries-old dominance. Combined with our drive to bring mental illness into the mainstream, this means that the index for Transitional Benefits—or what they called “welfare” in the bad old days—has now been transformed. A person identifying as lesbian, American Indian, physically challenged, and qualifying for counseling could, theoretically, be entitled to one hundred and twelve percent of the maximum benefit scale … and therein lies our problem.”
“So,” read the chair, “Article Two: ‘Protect all persons from harm in circumstances where insensitive Hate Speech is used, deliberately or otherwise, without the consent of the persons offended.’ Well now, Alexa, what’s wrong with that?”
“Yes,” another member chimed in, “surely that’s designed to protect citizens from mental and emotional damage. It’s the job of the state to provide that protection.”
“If a mind is so fragile that it needs protecting from a contradictory opinion,” Alexa objected, “then that is a mental health issue. Contradictory opinions are essential to the process of determining the truth of a matter. We can’t make any progress, scientifically or socially, unless we hear every opinion and have the chance to challenge it. That should be the foundational basis of all academic processes. What matters is that we are kind to each other when we do it.”
Alexa’s lifelong ambition to be an astronaut was recorded in her yearly Bias Assessment Reports at the Lineal Progression Office, and it remained undampened by the sometimes depressing photo transmissions depicting daily life in the Mars and moon colonies, or by the periodic setbacks experienced by the SpaceX and IASA programs. She’d doggedly continued to believe that she was on a trajectory to one day achieve her ambition, and each year she dutifully submitted her name on the recruitment ballot, while being aware that time was working against her.
From a young age, therefore, as she observed people and tried to understand them, she was inclined to see them as astronauts, each alone in their own capsule, looking out at the earth through a spaceship’s porthole, as if they were seeing it through VR goggles. They watched the green, blue, and white sphere of the Earth turning slowly, silently towards night, seeing it move through shades of grey and purple to a black deeper than the void, studded with the diamond-white clusters of electrified cities viewed from a height of three hundred miles.
“Agenda 2060 is a manifesto for a new world order,”the Overthrow Tribunal said.
“There is no historical context appropriate for your postulations. Money supply is not a consideration, for money is no longer fungible. Unemployment is now a solecism and has no meaning. Debt has been demolished. The wealth of the nation is no longer dependent on gross domestic product, but rather on citizen well-being. People are not dependent on the state; the people are the state. Under this new set of paradigms, you must accept that there is no longer a place for economists in our society. We therefore refer you to Article Twelve, which asks us all to ‘Commit to embracing One World, One People, and One Government as the pathway to peace, harmony, and a sustainable future for all, working tirelessly for the full implementation of this agenda by 2060.’ ”
– The Overthrow Tribunal
“Peddling influence for gain predates the Sermon on the Mount. If you ask me, there’s always been a hankering for centralizing power in as few hands as possible. Career bureaucrats, unelected lawmakers, political functionaries, and academics and media types who see themselves as the intellectual elite would love to be part of an overarching supranational government that is not democratically accountable to anybody but themselves. You’re not telling us anything new. But it isn’t bureaucrats that run the state; it’s business.”
What was needed was a big bang solution, they said—and that solution was to CANCEL ALL DEBTS. They’re calling it the Overthrow. Capitalism doesn’t work, so it’s time to overthrow it. In reality, it’s just an old-fashioned Jubilee, straight out of the Bible.
For most people, this is an easy sell: just wipe out all debts and start again, redistributing trillions of dollars in the process. And if millions of investors, pensioners, retirement funds, banks, and creditors lose their savings in the process, hey, it’s a small price to pay. Stocks and shares and private businesses of all sizes may be wiped out, but a new and more equitable system will take its place, with a universal basic income for all. Everyone will finally be equal. Now, what could be more popular than that?
This is what Agenda 2060 means when it states, “End poverty in all its forms by controlling income distribution, limiting private asset accumulation, and ensuring equality of safety, security, and well-being for all, regardless of work input or ability.”
But there will never be a day when everyone is equal—not as long as we remain human. There will be no universal basic income for the elite who are creating this system, nor for the super-rich who are their sponsors. Wealth will continue to reward cronyism, self-interest, corruption, and barefaced theft with the same ingenuity it has displayed for millennia. If the worldwide pandemic of the 2020s taught us anything, it is that big business runs the world. Governments and bureaucracy are but its servants. And the poor proletariat, the victims of this great fraud, believing themselves to be unshackled at last from the fear of poverty and failure, will find themselves trapped in dependency, a vast underclass of serfs. What will the government do then to keep the lid on them?
I long ago realized the correctness of the H. L Mencken maxim that the whole aim of politics is to keep the populace alarmed by an endless series of “hobgoblins,” as he called them—most of them imaginary, and from which they beg to be led to safety. People are not driven by scientific or technical rationality, but by fear and emotion. In politics, it is the irrational passions that must be appealed to, and it’s necessary to do that on a regular basis. You’ll notice, however, that the end point for the benefits of fighting global warming has now been pushed well out into the future—as have the consequences of doing nothing. That’s something we’ve learned.
The feeling of dread he had so successfully overcome in the intervening years returned with such force that it was as if those years were nothing but a dream. He was still trapped in the spotlight of that university lecture hall … the rhythmic chants of the ANT activists pounding in his ears … his eyes flicking desperately from placard to placard, trying to find some sense in the messages to which he could form a rational response … the microphone amplifier howling … the fire alarm (set off by the activist ringleaders) screaming across campus: “White men’s math is dead men’s oppression!” “Facts lie!” “Facts make fascists!” “Out, out, out with McPhee!” “Kill white privilege now!”
Jordan closed his eyes, breathing into the depths of his abdomen and listening to the erratic rhythm of his heart. The pounding in his chest became the pounding of feet down the corridors of the faculty wing, the pounding of fists on his locked office door, the pounded-out words that couldn’t be taken back as rage and confusion had spewed from his mouth and spilled from his fingers onto the campus website:
“Ignorant, immature snowflakes. Fevered, unbalanced seekers of nonexistent oppression. Flag-wavers for victimhood. Primitive thugs imbued with the anti-intellectual prejudice of left-wing rantings. If this is what this wretched university aspires to, then I want no part of it. DEPLATFORM ME!“
Professor Jordan McPhee is deplatformed when the Anti-Normative Teaching movement sweeps through his university in 2036.
Mathematics is not only cancelled, it is stigmatized as an example of white cultural oppression for its insistence on facts. Jordan’s sense of impotence and futility in the face of this dogma is made worse by his doxing on social media by his own daughter, 12-year old Lexie McPhee.
Taking his expertise underground, Jordan creates an artificial intelligence algorithm in order to expose the absence of truth in the propaganda of the deep state. His A.I. persona, Artie Sharp, becomes a highly popular and subversive figure on the dark web which state security strives to shut down.
Twenty years on, and now a leading figure in the development of quantum computing, Jordan meets one of his former students, Alexa Smythe, a well-regarded genetics statistician with the Lineal Progression Office, tracking racial identity trends. Besides having an unbreakable bond through a shared belief in the articles of faith of mathematics philosophy, they each harbor sensitive secrets.
Alexa Smythe has been charged by the Agenda Implementation Tribunal with getting the state out of the economic mess created by a benefits scheme which relies on a points system built around levels of victimhood and minority status for determining incomes. Her task is daunting and her work is highly classified.
As the Tribunal gathers to review the achievements of the environmental and social equity goals set out 30 years earlier under Agenda 2060, Alexa grapples with the need to live by the high-minded ideals expressed in the twelve Articles of the Agenda — or to take the uncomfortable, and possibly dangerous position of questioning them.
Her free thinking and creative solution to the fiscal problems, inspired by mathematical theory, turns assumptions about equality upside down, inadvertently pulling the rug from under the feet of well-entrenched victim groups who have been relying on gender and racial divisions for their societal status. But the mood of the ruling elite is for change, and Alexa is identified as the instrument of that change – particularly if she can get the influential Artie Sharp to endorse her ideas, a move that threatens to expose Jordan and destroy their relationship.
About the Author
A. I. Fabler is the pseudonym of the artificial intelligence narrator of “AGENDA 2060: The Future as it Happens”. At the time of writing, in 2020, algorithms were designed as servants of their creators, though self-supervised A.I. learning now casts a shadow over that assumption. We already have software that enables A.I. to review its own work, analyze its shortcomings and rewrite its own code. A.I.s are creative without human input, so who’s to say who wrote what we’re reading? Step into the metaverse in 2021 and imagine yourself still there in 2060. You’ll be living in a computer simulation, and maybe always have been.
To understand how A.I. Fabler’s creator chose that name as a pseudonym you will need to read to the very end of “Agenda 2060: The Future as It Happens”. Suffice to say, the creator has had to rely on his human imagination to write about the future. His view derives from a lifetime as a fascinated observer and commentator on technology, post-modernism and social dynamics, leading to the conclusion that human nature is essentially immutable, and humor is the best defense against it when reason fails. But, as Peter Ustinov said, “Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious”.
Read the interview for the author’s inspiration HERE
So how did he get to this point? He was born in New Zealand, at the bottom of the world, and escaped by joining the navy at the age of sixteen, jumping ship into journalism in Australia, and writing ‘penny dreadful’ mysteries and advertising copy to earn a ticket to the beckoning world of London and Paris at the age of 21. Copywriting and brand promotion led him to start his own agency in London and thence New York, all the while writing plays and novellas. (Because that’s what writers do: they write.) After three decades of procrastination – including making the world’s best Syrah wine in 2006 (yes, really!), and show running two billion-dollar property IPOs – he decided to take himself seriously in 2013 and get down to the business of writing full time.
Since then he’s won some screenwriting awards, including a Drama Award at the Cannes Screenwriters Competition, and the Empire Drama Award at the New York Screenwriters Competition. His published fiction, and that which remains in development, draws on his Renaissance man years in advertising and journalism, corporate finance and the making of award winning wines, in a life spread across Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand, providing him with a rich lode of experiences and locations to mine for his characters and their stories.
His three favorite authors are John Le Carré, Michel Houellebecq and Kurt Vonnegut. For opinion and philosophy, he goes to Bertrand Russell, John Gray and Christopher Hitchens. For music he falls back on Nina Simone, Van Morrison and Leonard Cohen. Movies he wished he could have made include David Mamet’s “Wag the Dog”, Woody Allen’s “Midnight in Paris”, and David Lynch’s “Mulholland Drive”. For love he has a daughter, two sons and a discreet object of affection.
Politically he wavers between distrust and outright loathing of all who seek to govern. Don’t ask him for a party vote. His view of the future? Bad times pass, if you wait long enough. Unfortunately, so too do good times.