Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Common Enemy

Remember last year when Paul Krugman argued that it would be good to fake an alien threat to Earth to get everyone to work together and agree to high taxes?  This is hardly a new idea.  From Ernst Hass, "Common Opponent Sought... And Found?", Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, November 1968:
If the world were threatened with a military attack by men from Mars or other such creatures, I am certain that the quarreling nations of all five continents would very soon have at their disposal a common staff of generals, perhaps even a "world government," which would be responsive for all global problems.  Obviously nothing, but nothing at all, could foster an improvement in the relationship of the big powers as much as an aggressive, common opponent.
The rest of the article is a long discussion of the dangers of what was then the belief in many climatologists that a new ice age was coming:
Thus, the next ice age actually seems to be an ideal enemy for mankind.  Today's world powers, without exception, would be severely threatened by the outbreak of a new glacier period.  It might be possible to prevent the formation of the next ice age by the cooperation among huge intellectual and material strengths....
Pretty clearly, the same motivation is driving the warmists: world government, overcoming petty concerns.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Interesting that no matter the problem, the solution, world government by the enlightened, is always the same.

Life's tough (and so limiting) when YOU know that YOU know better than EVERYONE else how to run THEIR lives.

dmurray said...

Thanks, Clayton! My Louis Renault moment, "I am shocked, SHOCKED that politicians would lie to us about... OK, I am not shocked.

Thanks again.

Scott said...

Wasn't this the plot of WATCHMEN, as well as at least one episode of "The Outer Limits?"

Epsilon Given said...

In an addition to how convenient it is to suppose that United Government is the solution to the problem of the day, it's a bit optimistic, too. Carbon credits in Europe, as far as I can tell, have only off-shored coal and other carbon-intensive things, rather than reduce them--so, in addition to the products being used, they are also now shipped in rather than kept local. Even more carbon is now pumped into the atmosphere!

For that matter, I heard of one description from a Middle-Eastern person as to why the Middle Easterners lost against Israel in the 6-Day War: Everyone was divided against their common enemy, Israel, and the fact that everyone was stepping on each others' toes, along with Israel's military strength, led to their loss.

Individuals will be individuals, and they won't always cooperate with the Solution of the Day--especially if they can see right through the problem, and see that it's really a non-problem.

(Come to think of it, this notion is turned on its head in Alan Dean Foster's "A Call to Arms", where alien races have a difficult time conquering the Earth, because there is no one central target to attack--indeed, there wasn't a single fusion reactor to destroy, to plunge the Earth into darkness.)

Anonymous said...

I thought that Krugman WAS the alien treat to Earth.

Clayton said...

You mean "alien threat," right? We don't want a treat like that.