The Thursday Blog: Balance of Power Edition

Humanity has always (until fairly recently) been structured around a tribal culture. This organizational paradigm has helped us compete for resources, and furthered the strength of our evolution, as stronger tribes prevailed over less adaptable or less well organized groups. In the modern age these instinctual survival skills manifest as racism, sexism, classism, political parties, sports fans, international war, religious strife, terrorism, and pretty much any other form of conflict humans experience with one another, violent or not. It’s all Us’ns vs. Them’ns.

The dominant groups often tend to look at things from a more naturalistic perspective. Survival of the Fittest… Might Makes Right. The subordinate groups often see the world through an ethical lens, a construct of civilization that allows them to confront the naturalistic view head-on and undermine its power. (Fortunately for us all.)

In America it is currently the white male group that holds the reins to power, and who abuse those subordinate to them. However, because America was created by subordinate groups itself, it had the benefit of laws that at the very least forced “tribal competition” into the non-violent expressions, once the issues of who actually represented human beings was finally settled.

In other countries it is other groups, and depending on the culture of the land, these expressions can not only be violent, but genocidal. This is almost always viewed as “evil” by those using an ethical view, but the fact is that it is simply instinctual human behavior. (Not being evil does not make this kind of behavior any more tolerable or in any fashion a contribution to the greater good. It is only useful for understanding the reasons behind it.) The net result of this being that a dominant group will always abuse subordinate groups, until replaced by by an “ethical” subordinate group, who will quickly become an abusive dominant group themselves. And so on.

I would contend that a large part of the problem here is that people do not see the situation for what it is. It is much easier to look at the problem as “Whites vs. Blacks”, or “Catholics vs. Protestants”, or “Palestinians vs. Israelites” than it is to see it as a natural ebb and flow of human behavior. I believe however, that if this point of view could be changed to pull back the tribal-cultual identities of the participants in these conflicts and instead show the problem for what it is, humans obeying instinctual competitive drives to violence, conflict could be reduced, resolved, or avoided altogether.

Seen another way, fighting is simply the symptom of our problem. Even if you create a solution to the fighting, the problem persists. If a solution could be created to address the problem itself, say by applying an ethical construct to the base competitive tribal drive, then the actual reason for fighting could theoretically be removed.

Of course this is all entirely unrealistic, as nice as it may sound. People are more willing to kill one another than they are to peek under the covers of their tribal identities. This is another survival mechanism. The feeling of place we get from belonging to a group is what keeps dominant genetic lines strong, and protects against genetic weaknesses. It is also the very survival trait that most greatly threatens us all.

P.S. “Klaatu verata nuh…necktie…nectar…nickel…It’s an ‘N’ word, definitely an ‘N’ word.”

64 Responses to The Thursday Blog: Balance of Power Edition

  1. Considering that the person with the most power in the US is black, and his de-facto second in command is a woman (That imbecille Biden doesn’t count, the VP doesn’t have any real power), I would contest your contention that it’s the “white males” pulling all the strings.

    • I think you’ve got a real hard sell if you want to try and make the case that either blacks or women run the power in the USA. Still, Obama’s election was a step in the right direction.

    • Although Obama, as president, is a force unto himself (being president and all), he quickly learned that he needs a majority of House and Senate members to agree with him in order to get anything done. Big money lobbyists control those members, and thier campaigns, to a large degree- so I’d argue that it’s the behind-the-scenes money that holds the true power in this country. Hidden benefactors with deep pockets are hard to fight. Just about everyone in all those groups- corporations, House, and Senate- is white. Probably 90% or more. Obama’s staff and cabinet may look like the bridge of the Enterprise, but that doesn’t mean much in the long run other than the appearance of diversity.

  2. Careful there, you’re making an assumption that it would be a good thing to end all these conflicts without examining what would take their place. I’m not gonna give a bullshit excuse here by saying something fatuous like, “Nature abhors a vacuum,” (which is plainly untrue since most of the known universe seems to be made of it). I will ask what happens next if people actually did give up on military organizations, nuclear weapons and other tools of stratified organization and repression? The structures which maintain repression drive nearly all of our economy and culture, and I hope I’m not the only person who understands that sometimes a little repression against the desires of the individual is required just to keep a kid from killing themself when they dearly want to run into traffic.
    Go to history for the lesson in why you shouldn’t try for a system you don’t understand and have no working model of: The Russian revolution of 1917 was all about getting away from peasant serfdom and the oppression of the aristocracy and the Russian bureaucracy. Because their plan for doing that was hazy this gave an opportunity for scum to rise to the top, sabotage the socialist agenda and turn what was supposed to be the freest government to date into a terribly oppressive regime before it eventually collapsed from internal political agitation and sustained economic, political and military pressure from many overarmed and belligerent outside competitors.

    • Vaccum, by definiton, is the abscensce of matter. Thus it is logically impossible for anything to be made up of vaccum. That said, I know what you meant and I’m just nitpicking. =P

      • To pick the nits somewhat deeper, what AC describes isn’t really a vacuum.It is, however, a lot closer to being a vacuum than anything we have been able to create.

        • Well, situationally a vacuum also means a region with sufficiently low pressure in it for ambient pressure/matter to be able to perform a net movement into it. I’m not talking total absence of matter at all yet I’m still using a valid and useful definition aren’t I?

          • Okay, I munged my wording because I’ve been talking to too many liberal arts people today: A vacuum is also a relative thing, as in a region of significantly lower pressure. Lower than what may be a useful question but we aren’t asking useful questions here anyway since this is a physics terminology ramble following a use of a physics term in a popular semi-figurative manner.

    • Not that it’s really relevant, since it the chances of it happening are about the same as me waking up as a magical turnip that grants wishes to anyone who rubs my turnipy belly, but if you moved a populace, philosophically and economically away from war, you would pretty much have to replace that with something else first. What that would be is beyond the scope of what I wanted to write about… but maybe you could come up with something. It’s an interesting problem; how would you fix it?

      • Hmm. I think a potentially effective method is to eliminate all the tribes except one and make creating or adopting any tribal affiliation except the permitted one is mandatory punished with death with no appeals.
        Try a sealed tribe in a bottle with a large enough population that it is beyond normal tribal instincts to hold it together like one. Give it comparable instructions first and check on it often enough to see if everything just gets worse without tribal hatreds to occupy people’s attention.

  3. Things have not changed from the tribal structure, the tribes are just bigger. Tribe America’s resources are theirs alone, tribe China’s resources are theirs, while tribe Namibia has very few resources and has to beg for help. Until the day when all resources are shared equally by everyone in the world, which is never going to happen with or without some sort of centralised universal government, there will always be those with more and those with less, and mutual resentment between them. In practice it is a lot more complicated, there are way more tribes than tribal territories, and resources include ideas and spiritual support, but essentially this is what it boils down to.

    And as always, the best adapted will survive and thrive.

    • There are big tribes and there are tiny ones. One feature of our modern world and communicative capacity is that we may identify with many tribes simultaneously, and have divided loyalties as a result.

  4. Force everyone in the world to become educated in moral philosophy.

    Completely impossible (and self-contradicting), but if someone somehow pulled this off, and individuals were not allowed to, I don’t know, own ANYTHING (as an example) until they showed a sufficient understanding of a number of serious ethical theories and problems, I imagine that the world would quickly become a much better place. Not that this would destroy the need for law enforcement – scumbags who know but don’t care will always exist.

    The problems with this idea are so so plentiful that you don’t need to point them out, though. Enacting this would be like trying to drink from a thimble.

    • It’s just a thought experiment, but I thought that it was interesting, and could maybe lead to something practical. Kind of like haute couture leads to tube tops in Wal*Mart.

      • I’d state as a position that this sort of thing is roughly how interpretations of Athenian Democracy and Roman Republicanism led to American Oligarchic Cronyism; I think I have to disagree with you on that.

  5. Something of a tangent, but related-
    I’ve been musing lately on the social and economic repercussions of, basically, Star Trek’s replicator technology. Synthesizing basically anything non-living from any raw material. What would society look like if “stuff” essentially had no value (other than occasionally sentimental)? Someone with a knack for designing cool things could “sell” their designs, but the only currency of value would be people services (a good masseuse would be rather in demand), maybe livestock/animals, or real estate. And even the latter would be less limited than it is now, as people start building private islands and undersea habitats and space stations…

    Could we deal, especially if the tech appeared suddenly (a garage inventor’s Eureka moment) and went viral (not hard, if it can synthesize copies of the replicator)? Would we be able to wrap our brains around the concept that the stuff we’ve had to struggle and work really hard for the entirety of humanity’s existence (food, water, shelter) was suddenly, immediately, and ubiquitously available? Could we ditch the concept of resource conflict? What would that do to our tribe-forming instincts, “othering”, etc?

    • I think some dillhole would sieze control of all the replicators and figure out a way to charge people to use them.

      • Quite apart from this everything we know about nuclear physics and subatomic physics suggests that if this sort of thing were possible at all it would suck down impressive amounts of energy. Like, start by estimating more electricity than the human race has generated to date to make a cup of tea.

    • Well if it was just like Star Trek…

      There were plenty of things that replicators couldn’t do. They couldn’t create the more finicky parts of a replicator, make dilithium crystals, or make food that tasted as good as the real thing. (Though apparently you could get used to it.) Still, they were transformative enough that Earth no longer had currency as such, and whenever you did see anyone getting paid, it was always in an off-world, non-replicable tender, such as latinum.

      But let’s say that it’s something you can build out of $10 worth of stuff you can pick up at Target. A population that can create anything they want from thin air is likely to destabilize very quickly. why would anyone show up for work? What would the government tax? Most warring nations could just be provided with replicators, and their reasons for fighting would dissolve. Even land disputes would become much less important when every family can make all the food they want.

      I see it as a complete game-changer, most everything you know about people would be gone within a decade. But what would come next? Would we find new reasons to fight, or would creativity become the new currency? I just don’t know.

      • I fear that being given freely anything you needed or even anything you wanted (mostly atleast) would lead to a fairly significant portion of humanity just sitting down on their increasingly large asses…..

      • The food wasn’t a fault of the technology, it was a “feature”.

        In one episode of TNG they talked about how the replicators made healthy chocolate. It didn’t taste as good because it wasn’t the same substance as real chocolate, (but was much better for you.) This is an example of “some dillhole would sieze control of all the replicators” as Jesse mentioned.

        However you are still missing an important part of the equation. Replicators don’t make stuff from nothing. They make mater from energy, (and can turn waste mater into energy.) While this does allow for much better recycling there is still a unit of currency that needs to be counted; energy. It takes an incredible amount of energy to create matter; way more than our current power generators can even dream of making. So it would probably be kept in material form and deconstructed just in time to be replicated. I’m guessing the universal unit of currency would become the gram, (except in America where it would be the ounce and everyone would still hate having to convert between units.)

        This would change the economic landscape drastically, but once the dust settles won’t change the underlying factors much, it would still be a scarcity-based system, just with WAY less scarcity, (but still enough for the system to function until we develop faster than light travel and can start mining the entire universe for mass to be converted.)

        • Plenty does not erase the tribal hatreds by itself and it gives lots of free time to people who were previously too busy to put on their white robe and go cross-burning more than once in a while. If a replicator can make anything I predict a whole lot of unstable and stupid people making assault weapons and taking out the people that annoy them (or just the voices in their head).
          Face it, if everybody in the ghetto got as many assault weapons, bling-wagons and bombs as they wanted America would burn.

        • It’s been quite a while since I’ve read my TNG technical manual- but the kind of replicators I’m thinking about are the great-great-grandchildren of today’s 3D printers. Mass in=mass out. Except these could molecularly/atomically rearrange dirt into titanium. Copyright would be a really interesting snafu- and piracy would likely be rampant (particularly of the replicators themselves)- even if some dillhole did try to control them, there would be gobs of people working to jailbreak them, and once you got one cracked, there would rapidly be millions of its descendants. Lots of people would (at least at first) quit doing much of anything other than expanding their guts. Most people would get bored, though, and figure out something engaging and useful to do, even if it wasn’t work in a conventional sense.

          But I was thinking about the resource conflicts we have today- the huge and nearly unique rare earth deposits in China, the water conflicts between the farmers and the city folk in California, and oil, of course… If “nations” are no longer useful for preserving control of resources, what happens to governmental structures? Taxation goes right out the window when people don’t *have* to buy anything. Defense starts getting more than a little frightening when you realize that some nutjob is going to post the designs for a nuke- and some other nuttierjob might just get the idea that he needs to build one- or a dozen. But, if you can take a couple handfuls of fallen leaves and use them to print a solar cell- there’s your green energy right there. No more lengthy development period for exciting new technology trying to get it cost-effective. Without the ancient physical needs to drive people to band together to better gather and protect resources, what would be the impetus for group formation?

    • Well, we have (somewhat) an inkling of this with 3D printing.

      What would happen? Corporations would put patents on blueprints for specific goods, and try to charge people for it.
      People in power don’t like to use that power.

      Also, in a way, it’d be worse, as the world could become more like france: Here, the vast majority of rich people are inheritors, with the majority of their wealth being comprised of land, houses, and such. These would keep that, which would keep its value, since you can’t create space. But this would become one of the few things with value, thus increasing their power.

  6. Kevin, I agree with everything you say, but hasten to add this:

    Collaboration, cooperation, morality, protection of the weak, and justice in general also arise from our animal instincts. We are a social species who depend on cooperation to survive. Because of this, we often make peace with former enemies, sacrifice our own resources for others, etc. Altruistic behavior has been observed in mammals and avians.

    Moral behavior is key to cooperation and a product of evolution. Groups that are larger and more cohesive tend to beat smaller more fractious ones. Nations that behave in a reasonably responsible way to other nations tend to make less enemies which is also helpful for survival. That is why nations have gotten bigger and bigger over time, and now the world is resolving into super-blocks of collaborating nations, like the European Union.

    The other thing at work is economics. The more advanced and complex economy is, the more expensive war victims. That is why war in Western or Central Europe is unthinkable, even after millennia of slaughtering each other. Can you imagine China and the United States going to war? For one thing, we won’t pay them back if they start shooting at us!

    I think that the idea that our animal nature is inherently bad or amoral is a hangover from Western intellectualism which fears the animal self or the natural self. The very fact that we are having this conversation is part of human social evolution where we are doing our tiny bit to advance human social evolution.

    • To put it another way, alleles in genes which promote altruistic behaviour in a species resulting in the propogation of those alleles at the expense of others, tend to be preserved and flourish in the species when the environmental conditions are favourable.

      If and when the environment changes in such a way that individualistic behaviour generates more success for the relevant set of genes promoting it at the expense of the “altruistic genes”, all bets are off.

      It’s lucky we live in such a stable, unchanging world, isn’t it! Wake me up for the next “end of history.”

    • I didn’t mean to imply that it was “bad,” in fact, I believe that it was absolutely necessary. However, it doesn’t mesh well with our culturally perceived selves, who are always bright and generous and kind. The dichotomy sets us up for many of the failures of communication we see around us every day, many resulting in violence.

    • Hmmm, a interwowen world economy (imho) would surely act as something which prevents war to a large degree, but if a “true” (Here meaning an economy which directly influences every or a very large number of countries) world economy somehow collapses due to f.i a shortage of oil, i believe a resource race is unavoidable and it might very well lead to war as your entire existence would depend on getting the resources in question.

      • Resource shortages drive wars now and have for thousands of years; world trade so far has been a greater positive to the rich people who exploited it to enter previously protected markets and exploit ever more abused labour in pursuit of private profit. You’re describing the world as it is, not as Kevin is hoping, and it has lots of war both overt and covert.

  7. We’re not all that far from such a situation, if we can increase energy density one more level, most likely by way of sustainable fusion. Replicator technology isn’t necessary for that, just relatively cheap and sustainable high energy sources.

    I think that James P. Hogan’s Voyage from Yesteryear is still one of the more interesting looks at a human society evolved beyond the tribalism that is the subject of today’s post.

      • Considering that the Enviro-whackos won’t even let anyone BUILD the Windmills and solar energy farms they’re clamoring for, the chances of any sort of “Green” energy becomeing a significant factor anytime soon are nil. Nuclear power is cheap, but despite the advances in reactor design and safety since the movie “The China Syndrome” came out, the lefties don’t want THOSE, either.

        And god forbid we should ever, ever dam up another river to make a hydroelectric plant, you might hurt a few marsh dwelling slime snakes or something…so what are we left with for electricity? Pretty much just coal, and our Village Idiot in Chief is trying to eliminate that by regulating it out of existance.

        Face it, the Lefties with any power at all are a bunch of luddites who want us to all go back to an unsustainable pre-electricity lifestyle.

        • Fusion power would be nice, but I wouldn’t bet the farm on some magical breakthrough…we need to use what we already have to sustain us until the technology for fusion is there, and that means Nuclear, or taking the handcuffs off the oil industry to develop domestic sources.

          The lefties love to claim there are lots of leases that the oil companies aren’t using…but those are EXPLORATION leases…and the land has been explored already and found to have no oil, or if it DOES have oil on it, the lefties block any production leases. I mean, Yahoo Wahoo FORBID we should produce oil here so we could thumb our noses ot OPEC.

          And guess who makes the “profits” off of gasoline? The government takes nearly $2.00 a gallon in taxes, while the oil companies’ profit on that same gallon is less than $0.15 – Gee, think there’s some incentive for the government to keep gas prices high?

        • Uhm, i live in a country where the lefties has been in power pretty much non-stop since WW2.

          We have a fair bit of hydroelectric power. It produces 99% of all the electricity in this country.
          Despite our ludicrous amount of cheap to produce electric power, the prices on power to the users in Norway are in the high end when compared to our neighboring countries. Mainly because the powercompanys sell an insane amount of very cheap power to our neighbors in the summer when norwegian tradisionally uses very little in the way of power and the powerreserves are high due to heavy rain and melting of snow in the spring.
          So, in the winter we then usually end up buying back our own cheaply produced electric power at very high prices. This has been happening as a constant cycle ever since the powercompanies discovered they could sell their elecricity abroad…

          I have no problem with (most) of the leftist in power in Norway.
          I want better capitalists in the boardrooms of our powercompanies!

          • It’s likely that they are better capitalists; they’re probably charging you a negotiation and delivery fee on that expensive electricity that they couldn’t on domestic production.

          • Um…there is currently no way to store such large amounts of electricity…currently (If you’ll pardon the pun) large scale power generation is “use it or lose it” – thus the power comanies are (quite responsibly and capitolistically) selling exess power during times when the energy generation exceeds demand.

            During the winter, of course, Hydroelectric power generation in the Fjords would be much lower, so supply is way down and demand is way up.

            This is very basic economic theory: High supply+Low Demand = low prices. Low supply + High Demand = High prices.

            The main problem with the Lefties in the US is, they come up with the most ludicrous excuses to block the construction of any power plant (even their own “green” power plans…they block the construction of transmission lines and solar farms to save the “grey assed vomiting vulture” or some other ‘endangered species’ that they bribe some politician to put on the Endangered Species list.

          • But… They probably ARE good capitalists, or else, they would probably have had problems..

            The summer electricity, they produce cheaply. They sell it to neighborhood countries, at a cheap price, but probably making a huge benefit in the process. Like producing for 1$, selling for 4
            Likewise, in winter, they probably manage thus cleverly, like buying for 6, selling for 8.

            • Hmm, maybe i wanted worse capitalists in the boardrooms….

              Also, stored electric power in Norway is in the form of magazined water reserves which is then converted into electricity upon demand.

              Trust me when i say that is totally doable to save up production capabilities until the demand is there.

              (Would be a bit of a bother to our neighbors though)

      • Energy that’s too cheap to meter has been an intermittent promise of the propagandists and futurists for years and we could have had it already in North America if someone were willing to tap the Nevada and Arizona badlands with enough solar panels since some time in the 70s. Nobody who is rich enough to be able to manage that mess of property claims and that size of an industrial project can think of a way they would profit from it enough to bother. It doesn’t even matter that the sun doesn’t shine at night, that’s so much electricity it could maintain itself and make up generating losses from burning hydrogen made with surplus energy doing electrolysis on seawater.
        Don’t get me wrong, no lawyer in their right mind wants to take on the USAF and everybody else who is a major land-holder in that area, but energy too cheap to meter could’ve happened already.

        • Yeah, Nuclear (Fission) power by now would be so cheap that you could just charge an annual connection fee of around $20.00 for individuals, and around $100.00 a year for large users (A department store, for example)

          The problem? The Envirowhackos hate technology, think Humanity is a disease that must be wiped out, and thus want to eliminate life-saving technology from the planet. Eliminate electric power or make it ruinously expensive and they won’t have to instigate death panels (The honest name for Obama’s plan to use the “Complete Lives System” to decide who gets care and who doesn’t) – You don’t have to have a government bureaucrat unplug grandma, the elimination of affordable electricity will do it FOR you.

          • No, the insurance is too risky for private companies to provide it. This means it’s a lemon.

            • It’s not the insurance, dude, it’s the red tape. The power companies would LOVE to be able to build nuclear power plants, since they can generate massive amounts of power very very cheaply, but the Government blocks the construction of power plants with enviromental regulations. Insurance is most definitely NOT an issue. Get your facts straight.

                The California Energy Commission is pretty darn sure that nuclear costs more than solar power, if your sources cite more reputable research than the recent MIT research on the subject I would be interested in knowing that. A key factor is that nuclear has unknown upper-extent operating risks and private insurance refuses to cover those risks at any price in the US, making government insurance the only possibility–with all the inefficiencies and corruption that entails.

  8. I read a book on what the world could look like after this kind of major change happened recently. It’s called Down and out in the magic kingdom

    I’m not sure how realistic it would be, but it seemed reasonable to me. The basic idea is everyone is immortal and can get the basic necessities of life for free without doing anything. Despite this society continues, although it’s massively changed. Currency still exists, but it’s in the form of reputation, so (in theory at least) there is a motivation to do things that benefit society.

    • Cory Doctorow is engaging in a bit of an exploration of how human nature might fuck things up even in the land of milk and honey in that book if I recall correctly. I’d have to go back to paying attention to him to investigate that properly and I, like most reasonable people, have generally tuned out the EFF and its allies and spokespeople years ago.

  9. I’d say you hit the nail on the head Kevin. It’s a natural human behavior and if you look at the genocides in Sudan and Somalia you see pretty clearly that it happens for no reason other than arbitrary tribal lines. The U.S. may say it’s above it but we put our own citizens into concentration camps just as quickly as everyone else. And FEMA’s been getting the camps ready again…

    • Stop with the trolling, CH…there haven’t been any such camps since WW II. And just FYI: FDR was a Democrat. Odd how Democrats ignore little things like the constitution when it suits them, you know, the whole “Due process” thing…

    • I’m not an expert on African warfare issues but I have read many sources which claim that conflicts are simplified into tribal conflicts for publication in the Western press. Apparently the actual conflicts are a mixture of class warfare, resource warfare and conflicts between unresponsive national governments and oppressed minority populations akin to what happened to East Timor in Indonesia.
      Also, calling the refugee arrangements for what happened in wake of the Katrina hurricane concentration camps is a little inaccurate. Yes, something like the Katrina disaster was predictable and had been predicted for years. Yes, it’s cause for policy alteration that the poor areas of New Orleans are primarily what flooded since the rich areas had far better flood protection. Yes, it’s interesting and worth addressing in federal policy how many people allege corruption, profiteering, forced relocation and relief program failure in regards to what happened. That said, I think it’s obvious there was more than a little incompetence involved. Earth to 2001/09/11 conspiracy-theorist: This was not the systematic rounding up of all people of given social or ethnic backgrounds for purposes of fully intentional persecution, population expulsion and genocide. Also, please remember to preferentially accept stupidity as an explanation ahead of malice unless it’s inconsistent with the observed facts.

  10. very timely.

    I have been away from site for a week or so, over weekend explaing to Wifey about how people seem to have about a 150 person “us” limit where anyone outside this group is a “them”, and sexism, racism and even fanboi-ism simply makes it easier to lop of large sections of the “Others” in the Venn diagram of tribal identity. Even Large orgs need to break into sub groups if they want a truely personal connection. How many of your friends on facebook do you really know and trust, for example? I mean like would let them water your plants in your house while you are out of town…If none, you might have trust issues, but if over 150, then you either live in the outdoors or you are an out-lier (Outside the norm, Lier, not Liar).

    Apple seems to get around this by filling only one “us” slot as “apple”, a single entity, which I find interesting, though I am no Apple fan or customer.

    I believe we can get around the whole ethnic cleansing thing only by setting up a representative govt. Otherwise once a minority is wiped out, they will stand around for a sec, and look around, and pick the next minority to go after.

    We really need to find a way to evolve this instict away from us, but currently, in many areas of the world, it seems the genocide gene is eagerly wiping out those without it, and those with it, but who are unable to exercise it due to being a minority.

    In USA you see it in Apple, Sport team fanboi-ism, Politics and what not. Too bad we can not get us all to “friend” Humanity as a single entity. No problem with being closer to some, but it’d be nice if people did not want destroy anyone who is not “us”. Fix that and maybe we can have peace.