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Sovereign Sky - Excerpt 10 - Truth or Consequences

stanlarimerPosted for Everyone to comment on, 4 years ago15 min read

"Do not try and bend the spoon. That's impossible.
Instead, only realize the truth... THERE IS NO SPOON.
Then you will see that it not the spoon that bends, it is yourself."
-- "Spoon Boy", The Matrix

DISCLAIMER - This draft short story excerpt is a work of science fiction designed to communicate insights about the actual "Real World" in which we live. Any similarities to the places, people, and events of that world are either a coincidence or a deliberate attempt to ridicule specific elements of that world that ought to be ashamed of themselves.

TL;DR - There is a ton of meat included below.
Don't byte off more than you can chew if you can't handle the intellectual calories.

Sovereign Sky - Excerpt 10 - Truth or Consequences

Doc: We're getting a real backlog of Frequently Asked Questions from around the fictional multiverse, Marty. We've got to figure a way to push some answers out there about how BEOS will be different from EOS, like your were asking in our last conversation. I told you there were a bunch of things I'd like to see done a bit differently.

Marty: What did you have in mind Doc?

Doc: Well, we still can't go making statements in any real world that we may be planning to jump into because the corrupt prosecutors in that universe will always find a way to twist it into a Felonious False Statement (FFS) that they can use to send dangerous innovators like us to prison for life. It's their way to protect the Status Quo and raise barriers to entry for the big institutions that control them. So we've got to put all assertions we make into the proper context where it will be clear to any jury that it cannot possibly be a False Statement by the time it has bubbled up through all our disclaimers and fictional universes to the world they perceive as real.

So, I've invented another game show that's pretty much a cross between Truth or Consequences, Family Feud, and Lie, Cheat, and Steal. The contestant has to evaluate a proposition explicitly labeled as a Potential False Statement by an archetypal nefarious prosecutor. It is then presented in a survey of 100 random people scattered across the fictional universes who were asked whether they agree it was a False Statement, The player has to state whether, in their opinion, a significant percentage of those surveyed would in fact so agree. You get to be the first contestant!

Marty: So, I have to opine whether 100 people surveyed will agree with an unethical prosecutor that a statement clearly labeled as Potentially False is in fact a False Statement worthy of sending someone to prison for life? I get it right if I correctly predict that a significant percentage of those surveyed will be deceived by the unethical prosecutor?

Doc: Correct. Here, you'll need to wear this headset designed to simulate the stressful conditions you might encounter in an actual courtroom facing such a prosecutor.

Marty: Your killing me, Doc...

Doc: Ok, here we go...lets start with an easy one.


The sky is blue.

Marty: I'm gonna go with FALSE. That's a FALSE false statement. I can think of four ways it could be twisted into being a False Statement by an unethical prosecutor. (1) They could claim that it was cloudy when the statement was made. (2) they could claim that it was night time. (3) They could say that air is colorless and it is only light filtered by the atmosphere that looks blue. (4) It could be said that "the sky is the limit" which means that the statement that it is blue is incomplete and therefore misleading. Nevertheless, I think most juries would agree that "the sky is blue" is true in general and would laugh at a treacherous prosecutor for suggesting that it should be punished because they willfully tried to misunderstand it. I'm pretty sure that a large percentage of those surveyed would agree with the statement.

Doc: Very good Marty! You're analytical skills are really starting to <BRIZZZZAP!>...


Doc: Sorry Marty. As I was saying, I've reconfigured this old mind reading device to simulate a courtroom environment. This show is being broadcast to a selected group of mudslingers, muckrakers, and trolls out on the internet who have the ability to vote on whether you should be punished for your answers. Their votes are combined with votes from a group of prosecutors hand picked for their lack of ethics. Since that particular combination produces a vote to zap you 99.9% of the time, I run it through a low-pass filter to cut the rate down to a random 10%. Unfortunate that it fired on your first try...

Marty: Sheesh, Doc. Lets get this over with.

Doc: Ok, here goes...


I just bought a bank. I put 10% down and was waiting for the application to be processed when the feds told me the guy who sold it confessed that it was fake. Must have been a government entrapment setup because they never did anything to him. Instead they charged me with making a False Statement.

Marty: Hmmm. That's a little more tricky to predict what a random group would say. I'm going to go with it's NOT a false statement if he really did put money down on it. That's what you do when you buy a house. You sign a deal and put money down and then go celebrate with your friends. You tell everybody you just bought a house even though it still has to be inspected and the deal could fall through. Backing out of buying the house for good cause later doesn't make the statement that you bought a house false in the normal way people use that phrase. Surely some of the people surveyed would feel the same way and I'm pretty sure that could be explained to a jury.

Doc: You can put that probe back on your forehead, Marty. I'll turn it down to 1%. Go ahead and finish the rest of the questions and then I'll tell you how you did. I'm going to start mixing answers to some of your FAQs explicitly labeled as Potentially False Statements. It's hard to imagine that a fictional character like me can be accused of a felony if I clearly label my statements as straw-man Potentially False Statements to be evaluated in a fictitious game in which a fictitious character attempts to guess how a fictitious survey spanning an infinite number of fictitious universes might predict the response of a fictitious jury as part of a fictitious storyline inside a fictional sci-fi miniseries. But for ethically challenged prosecutors who have no honor I suppose anything is possible...


One of the key differences between BEOS and EOS main chain is the governance philosophy. EOS main chain is seeking to support a society that replaces the need for flesh and blood governments as much as possible. BEOS seeks to provide services to enterprises and institutions that must operate under the jurisdiction of existing fiat governments. So BEOS avoids the unpredictability of mob rule, erring on the side of conventional institutions where high reputation individuals perform maintenance, development, and legal functions. We believe this will be more acceptable to industrial and institutional users who are accustomed to that more traditional way of doing business.

Marty: Sheesh. What am I supposed to do with that? I guess it can't be false because its a statement of the personal goals and intentions of the developer of a generic reference class of BEOS which may have different instances in different universes. Who can prove that a statement of design goals is false? Still, complex statements of engineering objectives are the devil's playground. An unscrupulous prosecutor could claim anything and most jurors wouldn't be able to see the logical fallacies. This is where a legal Dream Team would come in handy, but a person's fate shouldn't hinge on being able to afford something like that. It would be nice if we had prosecutors interested in justice who would use a little discretion but I suppose that's too much to ask... I'm gonna reverse myself and go with this can be somehow twisted into a False Statement conviction by a suitably ruthless prosecutor most of the time.


Another key difference between BEOS and EOS is the BEOS insistence that "The code is the Law". EOS appears to be looking for a formal way to reverse mistakes and resolve disputes, which is fine but somewhat scary to businesses who are unaware of how a potentially unstable and unpredictable "mob" decision might turn out. We want to keep it simple with no constitution and bypass all the innovative governance issues EOS is still wrestling with. We also want to bypass the concept of an EOS Core Arbitration Forum (ECAF). We'll leave that for the deep pockets of the EOS developers to iron out. We aim to give folks the option of the simple Code-As-Law (CAL) chain Dan Larimer once proposed but didn't pursue. Your actual mileage may vary (YMMV).

Marty: Again, this is just a statement of design goals that places no constraints on what real people implement in the real world. It's hard to imaging how a nefarious prosecutor could twist this into a False Statement even if other people choose to ignore this statement and implement something completely different. That YMMV disclaimer is a nice touch. I'm going to go with the assumption that ordinary jurors could be convinced to laugh at any prosecutor who tried to turn this statement into a felony.


BEOS, in most real world implementations, should differ from the EOS main chain by moving all discretionary spending off chain. In the suggested reference solution, there will be no worker proposals and no corresponding WP inflation. Instead, an ordinary Trust company will be given 2/7 of the BEOS rainfall. It will be their responsibility to manage those resources and determine how any growth from them should be spent for further development, maintenance, and legal services. Custody of 2/7ths of the BEOS means that they will also have a significant but not decisive influence on the election of block signers. This should contribute to BP quality and reducing the likelihood of a hostile takeover by those who don't share the original philosophical goals of the founders. Stability and long-term consistency of management should build confidence for businesses considering building on the platform. Ownership rights and enforcement of Code As Law governments will continue to be handled by elected Block Producers like all known DPOS chains. Inflation is only paid to pay block signers and trustees.

Marty: How in the world do courts expect a jury of ordinary people to sort through stuff like this? No wonder prosecutors get away with murder. They simply say, "trust us we're the government and we say the accused made a false statement." People naturally assume the government must know what they are doing and give them the benefit of the doubt. Still, I don't see anything in there that could be deemed a false statement unless they want to turn future design change into a broken promise or something. Calling it a "suggested reference solution" is a good move in my opinion. I'm gonna go with "not a false statement" here.


Other EOS innovations that will be nixed to avoid traumatizing industrial and institutional clients is any talk of automatic wealth redistribution ("URI") or paying people to vote ("REX"). We don't want uninformed voters encouraged to guess on their ballots and it is a logical fallacy that people who don't care enough to vote in an informed way will suddenly start doing their homework before voting if you pay them. Industrial and institutional users are in business to create and preserve wealth, and we want such serious people to hold significant voting power. BEOS is a professional chain for professional users, not an experiment in decentralized governance.

"You have heard it said that a system should be as decentralized as possible, but I say unto you that it should only be as decentralized as necessary." -- Old Man Larimer

Marty: Now THAT is a pure statement of design philosophy. The only way that could be turned into a false statement is somehow showing that the author didn't really mean it and was saying these things to deceive others. There's not enough info here to know that, so I'll say not false as far as I can tell.

I guess they could try to claim that your reasoning was false and therefore any statement explaining that reasoning must also be false. I have a clip from one of the parallel universes around here somewhere, disagreeing with the statement of philosophical grounds:

The most important issue to really chew over is how critical the REX+URI relationship is to long term viability of a decentralized economy. REX rewards stakeholders for participating in the governance process, ie voting. REX resists apathy and consequently centralization of power/control - which is what we've seen happen rapidly in BitShares, Bitcoin, Ethereum, etc. The majority don't care, don't vote and don't participate. A small minority vote themselves and their buddies in and then entrench, becoming parasitic. REX is a carrot that rewards people for voting and keeping the governance mechanism healthy URI has nothing to do with providing a standard of living or some arbitrary income, ie. is not UBI. URI resists centralization of resources by continually moving resources from big piles (think Rockefeller, Rothschild) to small piles (Joe Sixpack) over a generation or so. This prevents the resource centralization and squatting (which leads to centralization of power, control etc.) that has been the downfall of every economic system to date . REX and URI are like antibodies that continually fight systemic corruption and decay. The combination of REX + URI create a tangible reward to motivate user engagement while simultaneously resisting centralization

Marty: So, I'm going to say that any competent lawyer should be able to prevail against a dirty prosecutor attempting to paint an opinion that differs from theirs as a False Statement.

Doc: Very good, Marty. That's enough to make my point.

Marty: Well, I hope I don't have to do THAT again!

Doc: You might, Marty, you just might. Here's why this is so useful. Government prosecutors are immune from accountability for the very behaviors they are charged with prosecuting. They may make a hundred grievously false statements about the accused with impunity while seeking to prove them guilty of a single statement that is only false if they twist the intended meaning to their own maliciously fabricated misunderstanding.

For an unethical prosecutor to charge us with a False Statement drawn from this writeup, they're going to have to allow the whole article, actually the whole Sovereign Sky miniseries, to be admissible as evidence. That would give our lawyers the opportunity to spend whatever time they need pointing out other parts of the text, called context, that would educate the jury on why they should not just take the government's word for anything any more. I'm wrapping all the statements we'd like to make about our vision inside the ultimate deterrent: a credible threat to expose how corrupt the legal system has become in all our fictional target universes! Without interweaving our statements about our project with statements about the dirty tricks used by prosecutors, a judge might simply rule our criticism of them as inadmissible. If she want's to suppress that criticism, she has to admit both, or submit the evidence as a very suspicious Swiss cheese of redacted statements!

Marty: Doc, is it really necessary to go to all this trouble just to exercise free speech throughout the multverse?

Doc: Apparently so, Marty, apparently so.

Posts in the Sovereign Sky Series

All My Free Speech is Fiction
Sovereign Sky Excerpt 1 - A Proliferation of Parallels
Sovereign Sky Excerpt 2 - Specialization is for Insects
Sovereign Sky Excerpt 3 - The Fall of Empire
Sovereign Sky Excerpt 4 - Doc's Darwin Awards
Sovereign Sky Excerpt 5 - Dystopian Universes
Sovereign Sky Excerpt 6 - Jailbait Jeopardy
Sovereign Sky Excerpt 7 - A New Hope
Sovereign Sky Excerpt 8 - Brown v Howey
Sovereign Sky Excerpt 9 - Temporal Engineering
Sovereign Sky Excerpt 10 - Truth or Consequences

Doc's Fictional Guide to the Brown EOS - BEOS

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Stan Larimer is sci-fi author, evangelist and iconoclast specializing on Christian, Jeffersonian and BitShares topics. Check out all his posts at:

Stan's Steemit Blog
Stan's Whaleshares Blog
Blue Rock Talk with Connie Willis on YouTube
BitShares for Nice People

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