Thursday, July 30, 2015

Was Reagan Crazy?

Was Reagan Crazy?

Yes. This is clear. He advocated for an economic policy that, objectively, cannot work. Trickle-down economics states that granting tax cuts to the wealthiest corporate magnates will eventually lead to greater wealth for the workers employed by said corporations, and indeed all workers. This is provably false, as when you give the rich more money, it will invariably go towards lining their own pockets. Further, economist Steven Zydar conducted a study that showed that tax cuts for the wealthy do not create jobs. So, Reagan was quite clearly politically insane. He didn't care about facts, and neither do his disciples in the modern Republican party.

But that's not what I wanted to talk about today. Ronald Reagan, who ran our country for four years, was goddamned obsessed with the concept of an alien invasion. In an infamous speech to the UN, he hypothesized that an extraterrestrial threat would help to unify the world. He claimed that the invasion would force us to put aside our differences as we worked to save the entirety of the human race.

The speech can be found, in video form, here.

For the purposes of this examination, we're going to ignore the implausibility of there ever being intelligent life outside of Earth, let alone life that represents a significant threat to the human race. Let's assume that aliens are a known quantity. The invasion is inevitable.

So, the question remains. Is this an accurate statement? Does Reagan's idea about the invasion make any sense?

I think it does. Sure, in the beginning, mass panic would cause people to revert back to their primal, animalistic states. It would most likely be every man for himself for some amount of time. Society would, in all likelihood, devolve into loosely-connected bands of roving looters, struggling to survive and doing so by any means necessary.

But, eventually, we would all realize that a lawless, purely individual societies are doomed to fail, In fact, they aren't societies at all. In the wake of the invasion, amid the death and destruction, humanity would have to come together on a larger scale, and rebuild civilization itself from the ground up. In that scenario, there's no place for bigotry of any kind. Everyone must pitch in, so exclusion of any group spells death. Humanity will need all the help it can get, and the unity that arises will be unparalleled.

That's assuming that things like race, gender, and sexual orientation are even on people's minds after the fall of civilization. Nobody gives a shit about your politics when there are giant green men coming to eat everyone. When survival is not a guarantee, there simply isn't enough room left in your brain to think about such trivial things.

All of this is a long-winded way of saying that, no, Reagan was not talking out of his ass in that video. That's surprising, I know, but there's a first time for everything, I suppose.

Then again, maybe I'm an idiot. Perhaps my idealistic optimism is clouding my judgement about human nature. Perhaps, in the aftermath of the invasion, our dividing factors would be more important than ever. Maybe, without the glue of compulsory participation in society holding us together, each group would split into their own separate nation-states. Societies then would only be made up of like-minded people who banded together out of choice, rather than necessity. Then all the groups would wage perpetual war with one another over the planet's scant natural resources. Maybe I'm giving the human race too much credit.

Just something to think about.

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