Yeah...we tried this already, 41 years ago.
Journal of a Futurist - 1 April 2004
What lies ahead?
To celebrate April Fools Day we are putting online the near complete issue of an ancient Sydney mag that put two of its editors behind bars. The other editor eluded this fate by basking on a beach in the South Pacific, for which he remains unforgiven. The historic images should be HERE by the end of the end of the day. Meanwhile, welcome to the Journal of a Futurist:
It is hard to admit youve been wrong, though I try to make it a habit. On the grounds it infringed freedom of choice, I opposed the law which made the wearing of seat belts compulsory. How dumb is that? While I have never endorsed the used of hard drugs, despite the baying of critics, my enthusiasm for pot was a bit reckless, given that it tips ten percent its users into chronic depression. I once maintained that traditional families were toxic, rather than safe havens. For far too long I regarded rock n roll as revolutionary, a spur to peace, orgasms and social justice. I could go on, but why spoil my day? All of us learn on the job, prone to error and self delusion.
The good news is that Im not running the world, or even a chook raffle. The bad news is that those who are running the world will not change their minds. A mistake that is not admitted, will eventually transform itself into a monstrous lie. The PM of Australia is a monstrous lie that walks and talks. A bold lie can do more than damage the reputation of the person who utters it. It can end a marriage, sink a ship, start a war. Some lies are so big that that they blind humanity, like the ones I picked up at school in the last millennium: dark races are dumb, women cant do maths, God is on our side. Today there are new lies, nasty and potent, which are putting at risk the future of Earth. The most obvious is the grand environment lie, a web weaved from a thousand falsehoods: the science is phoney, Kyoto is a fraud, we can fix it in the lab
White House Cooks the Books to Disguise Global Warming
Happily, this web-o-lies is finally being blown away. Less happily, the intimations of catastrophe are harder to quell. Abrupt climate change may well occur in the not-too-distant future, notes a report prepared for the Pentagon and sat on for months. Wild weather is likely to create a massive upheaval for millions, disrupting the geopolitical balance and outclassing terrorism as the major threat to national security . As Rob Gueterbock of Greenpeace remarked, 'You've got a President who says global warming is a hoax, and across the Potomac river you've got a Pentagon preparing for climate wars. '
Before mentioning another Big Lie, lets hear it for Immanuel Kant. The opening sentence of one of his works is still a knockout 200 years later. Nothing can possibly be conceived in the world, or even out of it, which can be called good, without qualification, except a good will. For instance, a millionaire who lacks this single feature, will never give pleasure to an impartial rational spectator. What is a good will? Bone up on Kant if youve got a spare month, but it boils down to a sense of duty, which means acting for the betterment of humankind without any expectation of gain. If this dutiful action conflicts with your own best interests, so much the better.
I Kant Get You Out of My Mind
To extricate myself from a pickle, Kant asked himself, is it okay to make a lying promise? No, because honouring duty also means obeying the moral law, which is independent of desire and circumstance. Duty is duty, come rain, hail or torture chamber. In case youre in doubt, he offers this test, the famous, the frightening, the uncompromising
Categorical Imperative. Even back in 1785, Kant urged people to think globally. If its okay for me to make a false promise, it follows that its okay for everyone. But if everyone made false promises, then no promise would carry any meaning. Chaos would reign. The social contract collapses. According to a friends lecture notes, the Categorical Imperative broke new ground by promoting the idea of fairness and equality among people and it implied that what is good for one should be good for all. The reason Im banging on about Kant, is that this test exposes the moral cesspit of international relations.
If its okay for the US to possess WMD, then its okay for everyone. This would be immoral and dangerous. Thus any nation which possesses WMD becomes a juggernaut of bad will. As does any nation which practices a policy of political assassination. (Sheikh Ahmed Yassin could have easily have been arrested and put on trial.)
A Cataclysm May Not Wait Until We're History
Notice how nation states justify their vilest deeds with the phrase, in the national interest. Citizens nod wisely and feel very grown up. But if those same citizens only ever acted in their own self interest, would they be held in high esteem? Of course not. What the national interest usually means is in the interest of the party currently in office. Even if this party believes it is acting in the long term interests of its citizens, it is specifically acting to the detriment of the worlds other inhabitants. When families arrive at our shores seeking asylum, they are imprisoned on the grounds of national interest. By treating the refugees as lesser beings, and re-drawing maps to deny them entry, we reveal ourselves as unsavoury world citizens, the busy purveyors of a bad will
Now that the systems of earth have become so inter-dependent, the claim of acting in the national interest betrays the mentality of a bandit. Not only has Australian and US diplomacy failed to keep up with Kant, it has failed to honour Kyoto, it has bungled Iraq, it has poured oil over the Gaza Strip. All the screams of defending freedom cannot quell the stench of bad will. A stench that shames us all.
Heres another grand lie that threatens the future.
Guns in the Sky Will Bring Peace on Earth
The consequence of this lie is the increasing militarisation of space.
The official estimate of the US military budget is $US400 billion. When the costs of other defence related activities are added, such as Homeland Security, the nuclear weapons program of the Department of Energy, the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, etc, then the 2004 fiscal year figure reaches the tragic total of $754 billion, twice the GDP of Russia. (http://www.independent.org/tii/news/031222Higgs.html). If this amount was poured into poverty programs, al Qaeda would be short of recruits. (According to the UN, around 6% of this budget - a mere $40 billion - would ensure the essentials of life to everyone in the world).
Even so, this elaborate machinery of death fails to provide enough security for Uncle Sam to feel secure. The US already girds the world with tanks, missiles, cluster bombs and concentration camps, deploying over a quarter a million soldiers in 153 countries. How can it be claimed that America is not an empire when, it maintains 725 bases on foreign soil?
Full Spectrum Dominance
Wait, theres more. "We cannot rely on our current forces to carry us through the future", notes General Lance W Lord of Air Force Space Command, based in Peterson, Colorado, "we must become a full spectrum space combat command". This unit has released its Strategic Master Plan, a chilling handbook of how to turn space into the pre-eminent battlefield of the 21st century.
Staffed by 40,000 soldiers and civilians, Space Command is developing nuclear warheads and versatile spacecraft to allow the US to hit any target on earth within seconds. Its 25 year vision is summed up as follows: space war fighting forces providing continuous deterrence and prompt global engagement for America ... through the control and exploitation of space.
No other nation will be allowed to play a significant role in this scenario, though unflinching allies will be offered cameo roles. In Australia, where foreign policy is based on the principle of doing the bidding of the school bully so we get to lick his lollypops, the future looks fine, but ever so brief. The land that gave us Hiroshima is all too capable of turning the heavens into a hell.