Saturday, September 26, 2009

Nuclear Disarmament: A Modern Fairy Tale

by J. R. Nyquist (article link)

We have supposedly done away with ignorance and superstition, and because of this conceit some middle-aged children today imagine that they are smarter than their parents; smarter than the generation that built the bomb, that built many bombs. Without realizing it, however, we have created new superstitions like democracy and monetarism. We no longer believe in witches. We believe in economists and arms reduction treaties. Our fairy tales have grown into adult narratives, as children become adults without entirely growing up. For us, the disturbing edge of the traditional fairy tale has been dulled. We no longer want hard truth and tough talk. Instead, we cling to childishness.

Middle-aged children imagine that nuclear weapons are the problem. In reality, nuclear weapons are an unavoidable consequence of human nature. Can we eliminate crime, bad manners or lying? Can we establish permanent peace? The child sees no obstacle because the child does not know himself, and does not know human nature. A mature mind, however, knows that peace is precarious and temporary. It is not a question of eliminating nuclear weapons. Peace is only possible if we can  mitigate the wickedness of human beings (e.g., like you and I).

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