Do The Freakin Math

Liberals and conservatives alike frequently rely on limited evidence, personal experience, religious beliefs or gut emotions to determine solutions for complex problems. From immigration to global warming - taxes to terrorism - or health care to free trade - analytical study is rare. Science based policy making isn’t the way of Washington. And the consequences are catastrophic. Change is urgently needed. Just do the freakin’ math.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Al Qaeda liked 2008

Dear Editor,
Harlan Ullman correctly summarizes 2008 as a “watershed year for Al Qaeda” (Washington Times 1-7-09). His list of the events and conditions that made it so however was incomplete. If we want Al Qaeda to have a bad year in 2009 and beyond we must recognize at least four factors that profoundly contribute favorably to Al Qaeda’s future.
The most powerful and troubling is the exponential growth of powerful and affordability dual use technologies (cyber, bio, nuclear and eventually nano and robotics). Al Qaeda will increasingly adapt these to its intention of mass destruction and disruption. And as Ullman observes “society’s unlimited fragilities and vulnerabilities”…”can never be fully protected or made fully secure against a few…committed jihadist”. Limiting global access to these technologies will only limit our own economic growth that is essential to maintaining our freedom and the wealth needed for maintaining other means of our own security.
The second factor is our brains limited capacity for understanding the significant of ‘exponential’ growth. Albert Einstein called it the most powerful force in the universe. When we combine this with the third factor, the limit of our existing ‘independent’ government to deal with the irreversible interdependence of increasingly hyper globalized and lawless world – the future is painfully clear. Chaos will rule.
The solution lies in overcoming our mental limitations and grasp the significance of exponential growth of powerful technologies and then clearly understanding the increasingly vital need for enforceable global standards, effective global intelligence gathering and a capable global response system that improves the lives of all people -- including Muslims -- instead of improving Al Qaeda’s recruiting propaganda. Such an effective ‘global’ capacity would require that we overcome another key factor aiding Al Qaeda. Our fear of world government. Government should be feared. Over the last 100 years governments have been responsible for wars that have killed over 100 million people -- and dozens of genocides that killed over 160 million of their own citizens. The only thing more destructive is global lawlessness that allow other powerful forces to run free – like pandemics. In the last 100 years smallpox alone killed over 300 million people. That disease was globally eradicated because every world government participated. If just one had not, smallpox would still be around today. Weaponized smallpox or other equally destructive WMD will be created if conditions in any nation fosters the hatred created by global injustice today. Al Qaeda like smallpox favors world chaos. A federated world government is the only effective antidote.

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