Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Is It Just Me?

Is it just me, or could there be something better that we could be doing with our time? Take a look at missile submarine. On the one hand, here is a technological marvel. It can stay submerged for essentially as long as it wants to – the limiting factor is the crew – speed along a pretty fast clip, launch missiles from half way around the world, etc. This vehicle represents decades of development on the parts of thousands of people. On the other hand, a sub like this is insanity incarnate: this is a weapon that if used will kill millions of people and cause the target country to descend into a state of anarchy. These vehicles are hideously expensive. The costs for crew, fuel, support systems, etc. should easily be over a billion dollars a year. Now consider that there are entire fleets of subs like this that a country like the USA maintains. We live in a world where the time, effort and resources could be better spent. Instead of creating weapons to destroy somebody, we could eliminate poverty in this country or at least take a damn good chunk out of it. Research into energy technologies could result in cleaner fuels, or perhaps waste free production. Work in medical technologies could produce cures for diseases that continue to plague the world. There are many, many things that could be done with the time and effort put into supporting a bunch of weapons. The state of the world being what it is, things like missile subs are necessary. There are some pretty crazy people who've been running countries in the past 100 years. People like Kim Jong-ill, Pol Pot and Joseph Stalin. These are people so crazy that it takes a threat of total annihilation to restrain them. But that's just the point: why is it that we have nut-cases like that running countries in the first place? People always have a choice – the generals, soldiers and people do not have to follow orders. People have free will; they can decide not do crazy stuff. So why do we do it? Tags: , , , . Sources: I got the image of the sub from but, for some reason, it wont let me create a link.


Shay said...

You know what's incredible? I was thinking the same kind of thing last night - the US' money could be better spent somewhere else besides weapon development and space travel. *sigh*

Whatever said...

Great minds think alike :-)

While the US is the poster child for what I was talking about, the disease isn't quite that limited. For example, Kim Jong-ill has made nuclear weapons development a priority for North Korea. Now mind you, this is a country where people are literally starving to death, don't have power, etc.

I don't feel quite as strongly about the space program being a bad idea. To me the space program is more of a symbol of hope. Here's stuff like rockets and missiles that have been turned to a peaceful use. I don't know how useful the International Space Station is in terms of basic science, but at least it is a symbol of cooperation.

Canuckistani said...

OMG, where does a person begin on this topic? I could go on and on. But the short of it is yes, we could be doing a lot of better things, like funding medication for AIDS in Africa. People don't often do the right thing or the better thing for humanity because it doesn't provide them with money or power.

stev said...

i suddenly recall the following quote which i found slightly amusing

death solves all problems
no man... no problems

truth is that man... being men... are attracted to wars, fighting & 'protecting' our property.

so how do we educate everyone? hmm hmm...

Nancyrowina said...

In Britain they spend a ridiculous amount on "defence" if you compare it to how much they spend on health care and education. The money certainly doesn't go on soldiers wages and equipment if the things my friends in the forces say are true, it all goes on fancy big bombs capable of blowing up a whole country at once then poisoning it for the next however many thousand years and their maintenance.
Money could definitely be better spent on something else, like poverty and homelessness, but our government would rather spend it all on weapons, which incidentally they have huge shares in and make a mint from.
And to answer your question, yes we celebrate Yule on the winter solstice, have a safe and happy one :)