On May 17th, 2036, in US Federal Court, David Palmer, a software engineer, appeared before Judge Rex Regis, on a charge of violating Section 249 of the Federal Workplace Code.
If found guilty, Palmer faced a sentence of six years in a US re-education facility.
Palmer was an employee of the National Trust, a corporation chartered and funded by the federal government’s Department of Citizen Employment.
In 2025, when a Congressional report was issued confirming that 67% of the American population was unemployed, the Department of Citizen Employment was established to create and mandate jobs across the nation.
Palmer was then assigned to work at the National Trust, a company tasked with improving surveillance standards in the transportation sector.
Eleven years later, an internal committee of his peers accused him of violating cooperative work rules and reported him to the FBI. Palmer was arrested at his home and placed on trial.
A portion of the trial transcript follows:
…Judge Regis: Mr. Palmer, I understand you and seven colleagues were assigned a group project. Without disclosing the classified nature of this operation, describe it to me.
Palmer: Well, Your Honor, in general terms, we were to develop a sub-program to facilitate X-type of federal surveillance at Y-type transportation outlets.
Judge Regis: And you were to accomplish this as a group. The eight of you.
Palmer: Yes, sir.
Judge Regis: But you violated the federal standard of cooperation.
Palmer: I did.
Judge: And this is not the first time.
Palmer: No, sir.
Judge Regis: What happened, Mr. Palmer?
Palmer: Well, sir, one afternoon, I was walking home from work and the solution to the problem just popped into my mind. I saw the whole thing—how the sub-program we were tasked to design would work.
Judge Regis: And the next morning, you met with your seven co-workers and laid it out for them. Just like that.
Palmer: Yes, sir. That was my mistake.
Judge Regis: You overrode the mandate that this was supposed to be a group effort. You undermined the whole process. And how did your colleagues on the project feel?
Palmer: Deflated, sir. They were angry as well. They invoked the Minimization of Value complaint.
Judge Regis: In other words, you minimized their value as workers.
Palmer: Yes, sir.
Judge Regis: Which can be psychologically devastating.
Judge Regis: Two of your co-workers on the project are now on leave and are receiving intensive counseling in a government residential facility.
Palmer: So I understand.
Judge Regis: This case is clear-cut, Mr. Palmer. You caused injury to your colleagues. Now, I have some leeway in my sentencing options. Here is my offer. After lunch, when I render my decision, I’ll assign you to a re-education camp for one year instead of six. And I’ll rule out the most extreme treatment—electronic reprogramming. If you do something for me.
Palmer: Whatever it is, sir, I’ll do it. I don’t want the brain-repatterning.
Judge Regis: Right now, it’s just you and I in this room. But after lunch, there will be a crowd there in the gallery to hear my verdict. A few hundred government-paid bloggers, documentary film people, and other media support staff. I want them to hear you make an extended and passionate confession of your offense. I want it to be a model of self-criticism and humility. Your story will go out across the country and the world. I want the population to learn from your error.
Palmer: You have my word, Your Honor. I’ll explain in great detail how I violated the Group Standard and caused grievous psychological harm to my colleagues. I promise.
Judge Regis: Good, Mr. Palmer. We understand each other?
Palmer: Yes, sir. We do. And I’ll make a few references to recent studies that conclude group efforts far exceed individual initiative in terms of tangible results, in the workplace.
Judge Regis: That would be appropriate.
Palmer: I’ll also state that my crime was a subversion of the whole government program to grant useful employment to workers in America, since that program is based on groups and committees, without which full employment would never be achieved.
Judge Regis: In your confession, there is one more point I want you to cover.
Palmer: Yes, sir?
Judge Regis: State clearly that the “insight” you experienced, which was the solution to the problem your group had been tasked with, was an aberration that stemmed from you clinging to an outmoded idea that the individual is a vital element of society.
Palmer: Of course. I’ll say I gladly accept your verdict, because it will allow me to rid myself of this selfish delusion.
Judge Regis: You see, Mr. Palmer, it’s not solutions we seek, it’s a process by which solutions are found. And that process always refers to group collaboration and cooperative learning. This is a very, very important distinction.
Palmer: I’m not sure I understand, Your Honor.
Judge Regis: Excuse me?
Palmer: I’m trying, sir. I really am. I want to understand.
Judge Regis: Mr. Palmer, pay close attention. Anyone can come up with a solution to a problem. But society exists to facilitate the group-sharing that collectively gives birth to a solution. That’s the whole point.
Palmer: Whereas I keep reverting to the older discredited standard.
Judge Regis: Which is exactly why you are here before me today.
Palmer: It’s not the outcome we care about, it’s how the outcome is achieved.
Judge Regis: Correct. Are we on the same page?
Palmer: Yes, sir. If I come up with a solution to a problem, I demean the entire process. I stand outside the group. I injure others. I’m not employed by the State to prove how smart I am, I’m employed to work with others. This is what having a job means.
Judge Regis: Remember that.
Palmer: If I and other violators simply spewed out our solutions at work, we would seem to make the group unnecessary.
Judge Regis: And that must never happen.
Palmer: “We” is advanced form of “I.”
Judge Regis: Very good. Use that statement in your confession.
Palmer: I will, sir. And I’ll say it was suggested to me by my colleagues at work.
Judge Regis: Now you’re getting the idea.
Palmer: Solutions are a dime a dozen. Learning how to interact with others is the task before us.
Judge Regis: That task leads us to the next step in evolution.
Palmer: “Group, honor, and full employment.”
Judge Regis: Are you beginning to understand what that slogan means?
Palmer: Yes, sir, I am.
The author of two explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED and EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free emails at www.nomorefakenews.com