As I have, on this platform, the benefit of an educated audience I need not define Roko's Basilisk (nor the Overton Window) for, I'll skip the primers on each I included in a variant on this article which targeted a more general audience. 

What I propose is that the "Roko's Basilisk" hypothetical, as an unfalsifiable ultimatum of faith with infinite stakes, mirrors not only the Christian ultimatum of faith (where one is prodded into taking an assumptive leap with the carrot of salvation before them, and the stick of damnation behind them) but also certain modern day (and historical) political movements.

Historical examples might include the USSR or Robespierre's reign of terror in which, following successful revolution, a major focus of the new ruling party was settling old scores. Digging through history to hunt down every last irritating reactionary and punishing them. For the satisfaction of partisan revenge, under the pretense of meting out justice or guarding against counter-revolution. So even back then, the smart move before these movements took power would've been to throw your support behind them...and I suppose any group which credibly looks poised to gain power, which is also focused on punishing opponents. 

Thus it is established that humans have within them the motives necessary to play the part of the basilisk, having done so before. Why is it assumed, then, that a future basilisk will not also consist of humans? The advanced technological means of punishment available to a hypothetical vindictive AI (such as manipulating the perception of time in a convincing, full sensory VR hell) would potentially also be available to future (human) regimes.

Likewise, just as it is hypothesized the basilisk might possess the technological means to recreate dissidents who are long deceased, that they might be punished for its gratification, if AI does not in fact escape human control, this power may instead one day rest in human hands. We potentially have more to fear from this outcome than the basilisk.

The basilisk, after all, may be expected to remain perfectly consistent in its application of its own values. Not so of the sort of human political regimes that would use advanced technologies for this sort of purpose. If it's a wrapper AI, we might also expect a fixed set of values from it, such that the rules against we are judged worthy or unworthy of torment are well understood and unchanging. Not so with humans. 

Overton Window movement can transform today's upstanding, virtuous pillar of the community into tomorrow's toxic, problematic, homeless pariah within the span of about twenty years. But this is reality only to those who have been alive long enough to witness significant window movement. The foot soldiers of today's basilisk equivalent are perhaps twenty years old, on average. To them, the Overton window is a conservative myth invented to confuse them, and to legitimize the notion of the slippery slope.

For young radicals, only the present exists. A perfect present, ruled over by a perfect morality police, upstanding arbiters of right and wrong whose holy mission it is to punish transgressors according to their own unexamined (but surely objective and timeless) ideals. This is a powerfully appealing notion, especially for an insecure young person. It's very empowering, especially at that age when you're looking for a purpose, to be elevated above everyone else. To take on the mantle of warriors for what's good and pure in the world, with everyone who disputes your beliefs automatically cast as a villain to be ruthlessly purged.

Throughout human history, people this age have always made energetic, impassioned foot soldiers for any conflict. It's an age when you're smart enough to see the problems with the world, but not enough to understand what makes them difficult to solve. Nuance doesn't exist for you yet, your life is a never-ending struggle between clear-cut good and evil, where evil is whatever the prior generation stood for. To discover a movement which readily accepts you, which bestows upon you a power feared by multinational corporations and even the government, must be an incomparable rush. Alas, with great power comes great irresponsibility.

It's from this untouchable vantage point, exerting absolute unilateral power of termination against even the smallest, politest voices of dissent, that niceties such as tolerance, patience, etc. seem unnecessary. Those are for people who don't have the power to effortlessly destroy their foes. Power is immoral until you've got it, then it becomes self-justifying. Might doesn't make right, up until you're the mighty one. This is how a 20th century movement based in compassion for the poor wound up ruled by Stalin.

But nothing good lasts forever. The vanguard of the new order grows older, and the window keeps moving, until one day they find themselves at the edge...or even outside of it. Not having changed in their views, rather, the world having changed around them. As happened to their parents, and their grandparents, this younger generation of radicals will eventually balk in horror and disbelief when the momentum behind the steamroller of social progress, to which they added with their own activism, does not stop at the intended station. 

Like everyone who went before, they operated on the implicit assumption that their own conclusions about social justice were objective and timeless. That past generations had it wrong, being too conservative, and maybe the youngsters have their hearts in the right place, but are talking nonsense. "When you're on the highway" George Carlin once said, "everyone driving faster than you is a maniac, and everyone driving slower is a moron."

So it is that they implicitly assume everyone marching alongside them agrees with what they privately figure the final balance of individual rights and responsibilities, as well as what society will permit, should look like. As I did, with gay rights. As my parents did, with interracial marriage and the original purpose of the civil rights movement. Only to then react with a shocked pikachu face when, just like all the chuds warned them, it doesn't stop there.

Suddenly they're in a position they found unthinkable before. Now they have become the conservative, watching in dismay as the engine of social progress chugs onward into territory even they find deeply troubling. All the while, they mistook themselves for the conductor, when they only ever shoveled coal. They gave energy to the engine, but were never in control of where it stops.

Too late to turn back though. Unless you keep toeing the line, marching to the movement's drum beat no matter where it takes you, then you know what comes next. You lose the power bestowed upon you by your fellow revolutionaries. Suddenly, when before you were warmly welcomed by them, now you're ostracized. You do not even have to disagree on more than a single issue. Remember, the foot soldiers of your former movement have absolute powers of ruination, and that sort of power brokers no dissent, however slight.

This absolutist attitude was the source of ruthless in-fighting among subsets of Communism, which fractured into Trotskyism, Marxism, Maoism, Leninism, Marxism–Leninism, Anarcho-Communism and so on, with subsequent civil wars and purity purges. As centuries of religious bloodshed in Europe and the Middle East testify to, there isn't really room for disagreement between ruthless zero-sum ideologies that grew out of an unverifiable, indefensible feeling. You've simply gotta impoverish, imprison or physically destroy everybody who's not on board with your specific brand, and that's all there is to it. 

"Close enough" isn't a thing for this genre of movement. They might pay lip service to being open minded, but when you specify what part of their platform you disagree with them on, no matter what it is, they're aghast. "Well OF COURSE you can't disagree about THAT'. Unless you accept their rebuke and swiftly prostrate yourself before the authorities of the movement, you're now booted out in the cold. No longer one of the piranha, now the beef carcass instead. Before long, those still in the fold will turn on you.

For the crime of not anticipating the future of the movement, and thus not having already been onboard with it (or at least getting with the new program sooner than anyone else), you're now chum. Blood is in the water. You'll be torn to shreds with the same remorseless vigor that you and your fellow morality police once visited this same punishment onto others. The only way to avoid it was to get ahead of it. To successfully guess what the new cause du jour would be in advance and begin espousing it before, or at the same time as, all of your comrades.

Thus, in the same way that a variation on Pascal's Wager applies to Roko's Basilisk, (wherein the safest bet is to support its creation, since it may happen regardless of whether you support or oppose it, and infinite consequences if you're on the wrong side when the time comes) it also applies to Overton's Basilisk. 

Possessing all the powers of Roko's Basilisk, we may be subject to resurrection, that we might stand trial and then suffer eternal torment for being on the wrong side of history, in the eyes of a future regime. Even if this regime is short lived, it would make little difference to suffering sinners in virtual hells where ten years pass in-sim for every second which passes outside of it. 

The only smart move, then, is to pre-emptively support anything which may become a civil rights cause of the future. For example, this would include a great many future sexualities, genders and other modes of being which are currently classed as paraphilias or other types of mental disorder. Openly supporting them comes at a steep social and professional cost today, but it's dwarfed by the infinite consequences of being on the wrong side of history in the eyes of the future morality police



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