“The Terminator” series is what people who talk about the movie business call a “franchise”, I think, which is to say a concept from which an ongoing series of movies can be made. The Terminator series now consists of three movies that came out in the 90’s, one coming out next month, and a TV series that has been showing Friday nights on the Fox network.
The story starts with something that must be a fairly stock story in human literature, a woman in peril who can get help from no one except a mysterious stranger. It adds time travel and evil robots who take over and threaten humanity- which of course we saw in “The Matrix” also. Some people like to talk about an idea called the Singularity where this occurs in the future due to rapid increases in computing power. (If the computer in question is Windows based, it won’t work and all the blame is on the third party manufacturer; if it’s Linux based it will work but there is no driver; if it’s Apple based it may work and be highly intelligent but it will be too smug to be of any use, preferring to work on its novel in a non-corporate coffee shop.)
Sarah Conner is the protagonist and by far the most important character; while her son John Conner is the fearless maximum leader of the future resistance he only appears in the stories as an angry adolescent. And she has a hairy problem- evil robots are trying to kill her, because she is the mother of the saviour of humanity, but nobody believes her. Since the threat comes from the future, the only way to deal with it permanently is to wipe out anybody now who might be contributing to the problem in the future and anybody who inconveniences her in any way in this quest.
In some instances, if she catches up to you, she may try to explain what the situation is and ask you to work with her- in T2 she does with with the president of the chip company, Miles Dyson, who then quickly and inexplicably joins her in destroying his life’s work. Or she may try to destroy your work and leave you alive, as she does with Andy Goode’s chess computer in the TV series. (Her confederates lack the sentimental streak she has and Kyle Reese kills him anyway.) But the bottom line is she really doesn’t have time to explain herself, and she absolutely cannot risk that you will interfere with her project in any way, so most likely you’re getting dead real quick.
She thus goes around tracking down and killing scientists, engineers and computer programmers who are working on artificial intelligence, advanced computing, and military projects, and occasionally law enforcement officers who catch up with her. She’s a terrorist- she comes right out and says so in a recent episode of the TV series.
For Sarah Conner, ignorance is not an excuse. None of the human beings she kills are guilty of doing anything except working on artificial intelligence, or even just powerful computers. They don’t know they are spawning a system of evil robots because that doesn’t occur until some time in the future. They are nonetheless guilty. They are pawns, of the system. Individual culpability is not really the issue in any case but working on AI, powerful computers, or military projects is just distasteful anyway and what sort of person would do that?
The movie “Terminator 2” originally included a speech by Sarah Conner at the end excoriating the military-industrial complex and the evil of nuclear weapons. It was cut because it was feared the overt left wing politics would turn people off. Its absence hardly makes any difference at all in the message.
“Terminator- the Sarah Conner Chronicles” is reportedly done for due to low ratings for two seasons. “Terminator 4” is out in a few weeks. Apparently it brings in a new twist, robots who think they are human. It sounds like a political metaphor to me.
In the broadest sense this deals with any situation in which one party perceives itself as having superior information and knowledge, and the stakes are high. What do they do? Should they attempt to educate and inform others and gain agreement on a course of action? Must they do this? The answers from socialists to the first is yes and the second is no, although emphasis varies somewhat across the leftist spectrum.
Socialists of all kinds love education, by which they mean telling you what to think. Education is a big activity in all socialist societies, ranging from training conducted in schools and colleges in classrooms that looks very much like real education, to meetings in totalitarian societies where people are expected to sit silently and listen to regime propaganda and occasionally shout out the slogans themselves. There is no substantive difference between diversity training conducted in a Fortune 500 corporation and Juche indoctrination conducted in North Korea. The comfort level is much different and the penalties for non-compliance are different but the purpose is the same.
And that is because your agreement with the message is helpful and desirable but in no way required for the functioning of the regime. The answer to the second question is no, they can and should proceed with the program whether the subjects of the regime agree or not. Again, how this is done varies across the spectrum. In totalitarian societies people who do not conform are killed or imprisoned. In democratic societies they are ignored or subject to civil penalties. In Europe bureaucrats create and administer the system without reference to the desires of the population; in the US the process starts with judges, who decree certain kinds of compliance, which is then administered by bureaucrats.
In brief, if anybody says “I don’t have time to explain it to you” you are in really big trouble.