Wednesday, February 20, 2013

On Beckley

Look, I realize a lot of you out there are kind of weirded out that Beckley is posting on the blog, and that he's no longer a part of the UAS. It trips your finely honed bullshit sensors and makes you want to know what he has done to earn my trust, etc. I get that, I really do. But the flood of worry and anger over the last day has made me realize something really important. Well, two things, actually. 

The first is that while your concern is truly appreciated and it does warm my heart, it's between Beckley and those of us who've spent time learning about him to know how he has earned our trust enough to allow him space here. It's that simple. In this situation, I get that I'm Dumbledore and he's Snape, and all of you out there are the Order of the Phoenix, questioning my judgment. That's okay, it really is. You have every right to do so, and I'm actually glad you wonder. Because that means if I do really screw up and trust some psycho that has me blind to his craziness, you'll speak up and maybe save me from myself. That's awesome. 

But the fact is that beyond the Harry Potter comparison, this is my business. Mine and Beckley's. I've got the backing of my own people on this, and if nothing else you can see it as an exercise in strategic optimism. He is former UAS, after all. That has to be helpful for us, right?

The second thing I realized, both before Beckley posted and much stronger after I read the comments on the blog questioning him, was that we've maybe gone too far over the 'untrusting curmudgeon' line. 

I want you to read this post and think about it today. I really do. Because this matters.

Look, we trust each other. Trust between strangers in small groups was how most people made it through The Fall to begin with. We put our lives in the hands of others, trusting that they would not make a fist. From there we formed communities--in the tens and hundreds and thousands--and we trusted each other to work for the group, to sweat and bleed and kill and die. 

Now we've formed a network of communities, based on trust, which is itself based on shared values. We demonize our enemies because they're violent, arrogant, hateful, thieving...because they don't share the values and haven't endured what we have. They are an enemy that needs to be fought, for sure, but by closing ourselves off to those of them who begin to see a better way, we risk becoming them. 

Beckley made the choice to leave. He stood up and saw the terrible things being done in the name of the UAS, and he couldn't have those actions on his conscience. He's a good man who was--was--part of a group that does terrible things. If the UAS keeps on, we'll do our best to stop them and if we have to we'll do as we did with the Hunters and eliminate them root and branch. It's harsh, but may be necessary.

Along the way there may be others who choose to give up that life. We cannot close ourselves to them no matter how suspicious of them we may be. What we did with the hunters was maybe too far. It was overkill, and in the press to make sure our own people suffered the smallest losses possible, we murdered many innocents. 

In our struggle to survive we've faced a lot of challenges and done a lot of bad things for good reasons. I'm not saying it wasn't the most pragmatic course or the safest for our own people. But I see what happened to the Hunters as being a part of the same problem some of you are having with Beckley. Where would we be now if we hadn't thrown out the lines of trust in the first place? Where might we be now if we'd have taken greater risks to allow those Hunters who wanted to defect do so, and save the lives of their noncombatants? I don't know. I can't know. 

That unknown haunts me. 

So, please, just think about it. We're the last human beings alive, a great civilization brought low. We'll always do what we must in order to live, but it should always bother us. We should always question our motives and wonder if there are people on the other side who secretly want to join us. In order to avoid becoming the villain, we must always take a critical look at our own actions. 

And in times when the choice is between moderate risk and trusting someone, we should stop and think about how important our principles are to us. Food for thought, I hope.


  1. I thought that Beckley was a woman...

  2. Nope, I'm all man. Always have been.

    Thanks Josh. Personally I think the world needs a little more trust in it. Otherwise we'll never be able to rebuild. But I also get that I have some proving to do. But that will take time. If people have been able to give others that chance, good men like Kincaid or Will Price, then they can choose to do the same for me. Or don't. Trust me or don't, that's your choice. I'm just going to build the best life I can and do what I can to help those around me.

  3. Josh,

    You do realize that if the UAS has sustainable air power that this war is all but over right?