Arms Races in the Age of Technology

We need to talk about nuclear weapons. Not just once or twice; not occasionally as an inconsequential topic. We need to talk about them often, seriously, and for a purpose. That purpose is getting rid of them.

A small fraction of our nation’s nuclear arsenal would be enough to kill every human on the planet and most other life as well. Russia has a similarly sized stockpile. We have enough nuclear weapons to turn every square meter of land on this planet lethally radioactive…many times over.

I sincerely believe that any person who knows this and still advocates for making more, or against significantly reducing our current arsenal, is dangerously insane. The absolute minimum acceptable response to this situation would be reducing the total number of nuclear weapons in the world to less than the number required to end the human species.

People do stupid and damaging things all the time. We cannot trust humanity to exercise restraint with the power to end most life on the planet, something made clear by how many people still deny climate change, even as temperatures continue to rise, the Arctic melts in winter, Gulf states lose land to the ocean, and parts of the Middle East reach temperatures nearly too hot for humans to survive. The last three years have each been the hottest year on record, and millions of people, if not billions, are personally experiencing the early effects of what we have done to the atmosphere.

Of course, all of this was known long ago. We figured out how carbon dioxide traps heat and relates to global temperature before we figured out light bulbs or cars. We knew our emissions from vehicles would cause warming almost as soon as we started mass producing them. The current negative effects we are experiencing were predicted decades ago.

And still, people refuse to care about the climate stability that made our existence as a technologically advanced species possible in the first place. They have lost touch with the very environment that sustains them, thanks to the convenient technology that has greatly improved their quality of life over their ancestors’. I deeply resent the European settlement of America; not necessarily the concept, but particularly the way it happened. Native Americans had a much healthier way of living in their environment. They were connected to it, and understood it.

My European ancestors were superstitious disease-ridden warriors whose primary objective was to use all available resources to gain wealth. Their long history of violent patriarchal rule by religious authority made them view the world and everything in it as their rightful property, as “heirs of god”. Their superstitions exalted suffering and perpetuated disease by misunderstanding the world, causing their descendants to gain resistance to many diseases and ultimately become lethal carriers of them, spreading death to every corner of the globe. It wasn’t Europeans that paved the way for the America, it was the diseases they carried that wiped out tens of millions of natives.

This same irresponsible and greedy worldview is what dominates our nation today, and has at its disposal an enormous arsenal of nuclear weapons. It would be tragically stupid to assume that the same ideology that killed billions in the past will somehow refrain from doing so in the future. Our best chance for surviving as a species is to develop a global sense of community and destroy all nuclear weapons. Our best chance for going extinct is to continue on the path of nationalism and violence we are now following.

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