Thirteen is a science fiction novel by Richard Morgan, published perhaps two or three years ago, and set about a century in the future. The United States has splintered into three entities -- the high-tech Pacific Rim, the North Atlantic Union (the northern and northwestern states + Canada), and the Republic (aka "Jesusland"). Thirteens are genetically engineered alpha males developed in the last decades of the 21st century, genetically programmed for combat. Certain qualities -- e.g., paranoia, reflexes, combat readiness -- that have been genetically bred out of modern humans by the Neolithic revolution are to be found in these males. The story involves one Thirteen methodically hunting down another such and takes us through all three of the US splinters. A review of the book better than I could possibly write can be found here:
I wanted to focus on something else Morgan brings up explicitly in the course of his story. Just as the poodle is descended from the wild wolf, the pig from the wild boar, the sheep from the mountain goat, so, too, are modern humans descended from much more formidable ancestors. Just as the wolf, the boar, and the goat have been domesticated by deliberately selecting for certain qualities generation after generation, so also have modern humans been deliberately selected for docility, herd behavior, compliance with rules, and so on. Modern humans are the equivalent of factory-farm animals, and serve a roughly similar function. That's what being civilised means. In modern societies the true dissidents and revolutionaries have mostly been bred out, ostracised, denied a living, killed outright. I can't arrive at any other tenable hypothesis as to why humans remain so docile (leaving aside some ineffectual bleating) at transparent and brutal exploitation. The exploitation isn't even surreptitious -- it's out in the open. But nothing changes. The silence and docility of the lambs.
And nope, I didn't buy my copy of Thirteen from Mayday: not the kind of book the store stocks.