With the Singularity fast approaching, it will soon be difficult to define what it is to be human. In Vonda N. McIntyre’s wicked satire piece, The Supreme Court Defines Personhood, we can see some of the difficulties already. Although this piece was written to protest the Supreme Court’s allowing Corporations protection under the Constitution, I think it’s a good item for Singularity Watch because you can see how confusing the world of the posthumanist is going to be. This bit of political absurdism is right on time, funny as hell, and reminiscent of the best of Mad Magazine. I hope she can maintain her sense of humor when all this comes upon us.
This short story is available as an ebook from Book View Cafe, but let me give you some of the finer points.
“Organic beings are redefined as unpersons.” That would be us.
“The Perfect Union must now be administered as a profit-making organization (Amendment 28 to the Constitution of the United States of America, “National Profitability”). Corporations are the only entities with sufficient financial resources to function as persons and citizens.” Yup. The business of America is finally legally business. And it turns out that because biological entities cannot contribute to the profitability of the US, they “are now relieved of citizenship.” Thank god we are now relieved of that burden.
Programs benefitting organic entities are required to demonstrate profitability. Most such programs are just a “drain on the resources” so they’re basically just deep-sixed. However programs to defend ova, sperm, and embryos are protected under Amendment 29 of the Constitution.” You know that one. That’s the one called “Personhood of Gametes.”
Governance for all the new shit is with “The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Guns, Explosives and Pregnancy.”
The Corporation of Incarceration (handles prison construction, maintenance, etc.) is now the richest person in the country. And profits will continue as more and more unpersons are incarcerated because they are no longer part of the system.
And to make sure the kingdom stayes intact, Corporations “sponsor” justices of the supreme court. Oh, and by the way, Shexmoil retains sole sponsorship of the Chief Justice. As is fitting for a person of such stature.
Read the whole thing and weep. Or die laughing.
Sue Lange is a member of Book View Cafe