As of this writing, we’re diving ever deeper in to one of our seemingly endless Presidential campaigns here in the United States. Thousands of journalists are following the campaigns around the country every day as each journalist tries to ask “The Big Question” that will put their career in the spotlight, thus boosting their network’s audience and ad revenue profits. It’s a madcap frenzied round the clock coverage 500 channel blab fest, with no utterance from the candidates too small to breathlessly report.
And yet, to my knowledge, no journalist has yet asked any candidate for the Presidency a question like this…
“Dear candidate, if you are elected to the Presidency you may be called upon to incinerate hundreds of millions of people based on limited information and almost no warning. Are you prepared to do that?“
Here in the world’s oldest democracy we are engaged in an electoral process which will select a single human being who will be given the power to, on their sole authority, destroy modern civilization in just a few minutes.
You know, a single human being, with sole authority to end the world. Maybe somebody like this for example.
And yet, we can’t be bothered to discuss this most awesome power of the Presidency, not even in a Presidential campaign. Huh? What? Seriously?
Yup, sorry, seriously. The candidates rarely if ever bring the subject of nuclear weapons up. The professional journalists don’t either. Academics and scientists are typically hopelessly distracted by a million smaller subjects. And we the American voting public consider this mysterious silence of our cultural elites, even in the middle of a heated Presidential campaign, to be completely normal. If we think about it at all. Which, um, we so rarely do.
If you’re not an American, and you find the marriage of our determined blindness and Biblical scale power to be terrifying, well, thank God there’s somebody sane out there!
What we can learn from observing this Presidential campaign is that our cultural elites, whether they be politicians, journalists, academics, scientists or others, are not capable of successfully managing nuclear weapons forever. As a group, they can’t even focus on the subject, not even in a Presidential campaign.
An even less convenient lesson is that we the average man-in-the-street citizens of the United States are also largely silent on the most awesome power of the U.S. Presidency. We will probably proudly vote for one of the candidates, even if our favorite candidate never addresses the subject of nuclear weapons even once.
What a clear eyed observation of this Presidential campaign can teach us is that human beings in general, all of us, no matter how intelligent, well educated or accomplished we may be, are simply not mature and rational enough to be in possession of civilization ending weapons.