Friday, April 1, 2011

Toxic Folly

Somebody asked me other day if I thought the world was coming to an end. “No,” I answered, “The earth is doing what is always has done. We just happen to be in the way.”

Of course, we might be coming to an end, but that’s an entirely different issue. It does seem that the earth might be trying to shake us off as a dog would fleas, but I don’t think we’ll be exterminated by natural disasters. No, when we go down it will be as a result of our own ineradicable character flaws. As in a Greek tragedy, our innate defects are carrying us inevitably towards our demise. You know, like Napoleon’s ambition and Hamlet’s indecisiveness. Or are those examples too dramatic? Perhaps we’re more comparable to a stupid kid who jams a fork into a toaster or huffs too much model glue from a paper bag. When I look at our response to the nuclear disaster in Japan, I know which example I find more fitting.

As radioactivity blankets the globe, the leaders of this, the bestest, most splendoriforous country that God ever devised, tell us it’s all a-okay. You get more radiation on a plane, they assure us. There’s no need to go wobbly on nuclear power. We’re just going to learn how to do it better as a result of Japan’s mistakes. I swear, if John Boehner’s grand kids are born with flippers he’ll still insist that we keep pursuing nuclear energy. Ditto, I’m afraid, for Obama, although his flaw isn’t stupidity. It’s weakness. And I’m sure you’ll be surprised to learn that John McCain and Joe Lieberman also insist that nuclear is safe. Maybe they’re hoping that a little strontium-90 mixed in with their Ensure might be just the thing for erectile dysfunction. (Normally I wouldn’t poke fun at the elderly or the impotent, but in the case of those two I’ll happily make an exception.)

No amount of military failure deters us from war, and no amount of oil floating in the ocean deters us from off-shore drilling. Why would a little contaminated baby formula deter us from using nuclear power?

It might have taken a meteor to knock off the dinosaurs, but such drastic measures won’t be necessary for us.

No comments: