Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Facing The Final Choice

The editor of my first book suggested I call it The Final Choice.  I thought the title was  overdramatic and a bit grandiose.  I did in part write the book in response to what seemed like the growing threat of nuclear war.   Recently (2017), White Crow Books graciously offered to reprint the book.  I reduced the size of it and changed the subtitle to Death or Transcendence?  The book then is a question.  Either we get beyond ourselves, renounce our fanatical lust for land, power, and privilege, or we go on killing and laying waste to each other, until we get sucked into a terminal nuclear war.


Why not? America is in the midst of refurbishing its nuclear weapons arsenal. According to the Congressional Budget Office, costing $756 billion dollars. Money, in my opinion, stolen from the American people. We don’t need to beef up our killing power.  We who invented the diabolical A-bomb and alone have used it twice are already capable of blasting the entire planet to radioactive rubble.  But the upgrade will make the war-machine industries richer, enable us to sell our homocidal products to certain favored parties, and as well scare the shit out of the world, by advertising the might of the American Empire with its 800 military bases plastered around the planet.  What we really need is to refurbish, not our nuclear arsenals, but our people—the appalling poverty, homelessness, and lack of medical and education resources for vast numbers of Americans. We could use that $765 billion. to improve rather than destroy life.    


Here in 2024, the old title of my book no longer seems overdramatic. It seems that now we really are facing a final choice. As a species there are two major ways we’re facing finality.  First, the risk of nuclear war is at a new high today.  The Union of Concerned Scientists has moved the Doomsday Clock to 90 seconds before midnight. The closest yet to midnight on record. Midnight means we’re all toast.


As for the second, we’re facing finality from manmade climate chaos, which is already wreaking havoc on planetary life.  A million species are threatened with extinction, including humans. This may be the first challenge to the human race as a whole; for without universal cooperation toward controlling the output of various gases we produce that are heating up the planet, world civilization is pretty much doomed.  We, the entire planet, need to reduce our carbon footprint, to use another metaphor.  Not easy, though, because we have to change the way we live.  A big challenge, for sure.


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