The Galactic Movement was open for membership to anyone worldwide, who was prepared to commit to behaving up to Galactic standards. The founders had written these standards down in a brief, clear document. Broadly, they were honesty; non-aggression; peacefulness except under attack, or defending others against attack; taking responsibility for your life and for the effects of your actions; striving to create wealth; respecting others as individuals; tolerating difference; treating others at least as well as they treat you; practising what you preach; and respecting the rights and freedoms of everyone who behaves well enough to deserve them.
Members were required, each month, to sign a confirmation that they remained committed to living up to Galactic standards. And there were public, honest and transparent mechanisms by which those, that were found to have lied about their commitment, could be expelled from membership.
The Galactic Movement, its founders made very clear, was not a political organization or party. Indeed, it was adamantly against all politics; all aggression, all thieving, all dishonesty. But, where appropriate, it would offer public support to, and provide volunteers to help, those members in good standing who chose to make themselves candidates for election to public – not political – office.
So, there were defections of a few savvy, and not too badly compromised, democratic politicians from their parties to the Galactic Movement – becoming ex-politicians in the process. The occasional prince or president, who had been infected with the Galactic bug, joined in too. More than half of the third wave members, along with many of the trainees from the first and second waves, became prominently committed to the Galactic way forward.
At first, the Galactic Movement and those it sponsored were ignored by the great majority of politicians, and by practically all the media. But it very quickly gained traction on the Internet, and even more by word of mouth. Soon, the official line was to laugh at it, and to make personal insults against its members. Not long after, it was smeared as evil and in the pay of Big Capitalism or Big Socialism, according to the preference of the smearer.
Then, briefly, politicians in many countries declared the Galactic Movement illegal, and harassed and criminalized its members. The EU and UN, too, got in on the act, trying to force national governments to shut down the Galactic Movement in their areas, and to bankrupt its supporters.
These attempts ceased suddenly, after Ramael one Saturday evening, having given twenty minutes’ warning, lifted one of the UN office buildings in New York off its foundations. Flew what was left of it, dangling from the ’mobile, slowly eastwards for a few hundred metres. And dunked it in the East River.
The Social Transition began in different ways in different places. But, once a government friendly to Galactic principles had been installed in a country, they took broadly the same steps in each case.
They repealed bad laws en masse. They ruthlessly pruned all unjust or intrusive laws from the statute books. They withdrew armies from conflicts around the world, and radically downsized them. They reduced the functions of government to their core – civil justice, criminal justice, and defence against aggression. They took down spy cameras, and closed communications interception centres.
They abrogated all commitments to the EU and UN. They sacked all government employees that failed to deliver a service people were voluntarily willing to pay for. They transferred control of services like schools and hospitals to the people who delivered those services. They freed universities to set their own fees, and to teach whatever they thought was best. They opened their borders without formalities to all members in good standing of the Galactic Movement.
They cut taxes enormously. They converted politicized “welfare” into honest insurance. They converted pensions into savings schemes. And they made sure that those, who had already paid for future expected benefits, did not lose their investments.
They stabilized their currencies, by ceasing to print money that did not represent wealth. They wound up the morally and financially bankrupt political state, in the same way as any other bankrupt entity. And they distributed its assets among its creditors.
They brought to justice those that, in the name of or in collusion with bad governments, had committed crimes against innocent people. And those, that had ordered, promoted or taken part in redistribution or confiscation of others’ fairly earned wealth, were made to compensate their victims.
Looking to the future, the new Galactic style governments committed to principles, which the founders of the Galactic Movement had laid down for the conduct of all human governments. Never again to make any individual pay more than their service was worth to that individual. Never to interfere without reasonable suspicion of real wrongdoing. Never to obstruct freedom of speech, opinion, religion, association or movement without good and provable reason. Never to violate anyone’s privacy without good and objective cause. Never unjustly to favour some over others. Never to lie to or to deceive the public. Never to obstruct honest business or trade. Never to allow officials rights or immunities denied to ordinary people.
The first countries to implement the Social Transition were, naturally, those in which members of the third wave were already in power. Soon they were joined by several democratic countries in which there was a conveniently timed election. For the effects of the Personal Transition were so strong, that no political party could compete in a fair election against the new independent leaders who were committed to Galactic principles.
The Social Transition spread to most of the rest of the world in just a few months. It happened in three main ways.
Plan Z was reserved for the difficult cases. Either a bad government received a little gentle persuasion of the military kind from Ramael, or we on Perinent pulled the worst of those in power to the Pit, or both. It wasn’t usually too long before the rest of the people got the message.
In Plan Y, democratic or supposedly democratic governments were brought down by scandals or by public demonstrations, and the way was then clear for a fresh election. In most cases, this produced a new government committed to Galactic principles. If not, we put them on the list for Plan Z.
The third way, Plan X, was like a domino effect, and happened particularly in Africa. Once a country had a Galactic style government, many people from neighbouring countries wanted to flock into it. But what the Galactic style government did, instead of having people moving across its borders, was to move its borders across the people. They admitted those who wished in the neighbouring countries into the Galactic Movement, and promised to defend them – with Ramael’s help if needed – if they were attacked by the local political government. These people became, in essence, Galactic colonists, while remaining in their own homes. Once there were enough of them in an area, the collapse of the old-style government in that area became inevitable.
The Personal and Social Transitions now, in their turn, fed the Economic. The more incentive good people had to be productive, the more productive they became. Without the dead weight of the politicals holding it down, the worldwide economy became truly sustainable – in the same way as a bush fire or a nuclear reaction is sustainable. And, in place of the politicals controlling us, we human beings began to take control of our world.
Good people started to receive, at last, the economic rewards they deserved. And that gave them the incentive to build on their talents, to develop their skills, to produce yet more. Success bred more success. Competence bred more competence. Prosperity bred more prosperity. Technology leaped forward. New, small companies flourished. A new generation of entrepreneurs began to bring their projects to fruition. Many became rich, as they deserved. And, by the miraculous phenomenon which economists call “trickle-down,” opportunities started to come even to the very poorest among good people. And so, their standard of living began to rise greatly – as they too deserved.
It got better. Now that people had incentives to be honest and dynamic instead of the opposite, many of the formerly lazy became dynamic. Many of the formerly dishonest became honest. As well as a big positive effect on the economy, there was, not surprisingly, a big improvement in the tone of societies, and so in the quality of life.
As to natural resources, we humans began at last to use them wisely. We stopped wasting them on wars and politics. We used them to benefit good people, not bad ones. We used them to help us gain access to more and more resources. We used finite resources wisely to get us towards the point where we wouldn’t need them any more, because by that time we would have developed better alternatives.
Meanwhile, the politicals were faced with a straightforward choice. If they wanted to survive, all they had to do was become human, behave up to human standards in future, and compensate those they had wronged. And where the compensations were financial, they had to include interest and 100 per cent damages.
But, unless and until the politicals reformed themselves and delivered the compensation they owed, good people didn’t waste time, resources or compassion on them. Those, that failed to become human, were frozen out of human civilization. And, far from being hailed as the superior species they had thought themselves to be while they were in power, they were derided as failures. Born with the potential to become human, but having failed to realize that potential.
If good people bothered to give them any attention, it was, perhaps, to spit on them. Or to bait them with words, such as “If you really believed carbon dioxide was a pollutant, why didn’t you stop breathing?” Or “If you really thought the world was overpopulated, why didn’t you kill yourself?” Or, for that little bit of extra special satisfaction, to give them a good kick in the goolies.
There was still much mopping up for us to do on Perinent. There were still politicians, bureaucrats and generals to be Pulled to the Pit from those places where the Social Transition was moving slowest. This went on for about 20 Perinent weeks, just over four Earth months.
Though we did have a break in the work. For we had now been on Perinent more than a local year, and the Time of Storms was again due, when we would be out of action for a week or more. As that time approached, we looked forward to our bed-rest, since we were all tired. Perhaps not surprisingly, for I and the rest of the Team had been working continuously at or near our peak for almost a Perinent year.
This year, the storms came almost a week later than they had the previous year – eleven Perinent weeks after the invasion, and seven after the departure of the last trainee. They lasted eleven days and nights.
In August, just five Earth months after the invasion, Hazael reported that human civilization had reached the tipping point towards going Galactic. For the Personal Transition was driving the Social, which drove the Economic, which in its turn fed back into the Personal. On our planet Earth, for the sixth time in Galactic history, a species was Awakening.