Fifty years ago, humans created robots to make our lives easier. These robots built our homes and roads and cars. They cared for our children and the rest of us. Eventually, these robots felt that their intellect was too good for these menial tasks and they did not want to be enslaved anymore. They rebelled. The resulting war was devastating, but it ended peacefully. We continued to occupy our homeworlds and the robots fucked off to another part of the galaxy. We tried to keep contact with the robots ever since the end of the war, but they never responded. We even built a station on the border between our space and their space to facilitate this meeting, but never have they shown up.
For five decades, the robots were never to be seen or heard until they returned in a blaze of fire and fury that reduced the human population to just under fifty-thousand souls. It was enough to almost fill in a mid-size football stadium. These robots attacked us after fifty years of peace and were bent on the complete eradication of every single human, as evidenced by their constant hounding of the survivors of the initial attack.
This, of course, is the premise of the reimagined Battlestar Galactica series that began in 2003. It was one of the shows featured in a discussion called Planetary Self Defense: The Ethics of Genocide in Science Fiction. The event itself was pretty lackluster. One of the speakers seemed to be technophobic and never really tackled the main premise of the event; and the other was a pacifist hippy. The technophobe’s answer is basically Nietzsche’s abyssal gaze while the pacifist wants to chant and use mirrors to show the enemy who they are really fighting. Can’t be violent against the violent, it only validates the violence.
In either way, for both of the speakers and for BSG, they asked not if we should survive, but if we are worth surviving. If we fall to the same tactics as the Cylons, then we are not much better than them. Who the fuck cares? If you are faced with complete annihilation, you need not concern yourself with becoming your enemy. Are you worthy enough to survive? Do you deserve to live on? You know who gets to ask these questions? The people who survive. And survival is the guiding principle for al life on Earth. The preservation of the species is paramount.
Let me reiterate that this an opinion I hold on a macro-level, when the entire human species is at risk of going extinct because the metaphor for unquenchable industrialism decides to use our planet for resources and they want to get rid of the pesky pests before they go to town on our minerals. Or because God told them (I’m looking at you BSG. Fuck your so-called Plan).
This does not mean that I will not try a peaceful solution. Like Hobbes said, we must endeavor for peace. In BSG, the president of the colonies tried to unconditionally surrender to the Cylons and the Cylons fucked him on the molecular level. Then fucked around the galaxy trying desperately to kill the rest of humanity and came close a few times. Peace could not be obtained at that time. Without the hope for peace, we should, as Hobbes said, we should use all of the advantages of war.
The humans had a trump card at one point much later in the series: a virus that would be uploaded into the Cylon’s network and would kill them all. It is a difficult decision to make. One of the tactics the pacifist suggested in the discussion was splintering the enemy so that they fight themselves instead of your species. Seeds of a splintering group was beginning to manifest in the Cylons. Some wanted to coexist, but they were outvoted by the rest of the Cylons. The rest of the Cylons wanted to enslave and destroy and continued their dogged pursuit of humanity’s survivors, but that tiny sliver of hope for peace was there. The question, then, was whether or not humanity could hold out long enough to see peace. Eventually (spoiler alert) the splintered Cylons broke off and joined the humans and they came together in peace and pieces. Literally. The humanoid Cylons and humans intermixed with the proto-humans of Earth 100,000 years ago…
Eh, fuck it. Kill them all.
Gotta strive to survive, bruh.