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Twisting the blessings of civilization

Historically, it has always been easier to destroy than create. It has taken many centuries of hard work and progress for civilization to reach the point we are at today, and many, many clever people with clever ideas to get here.

One of the oldest inventions, and one of the most essential in the rise of civilization, was the nail. The idea of permanently fastening two pieces of wood together led to improved shelter, transportation, and a whole slew of other innovations that greatly improved peopleís quality of life.

Disease has been another great threat to peopleís health and prosperity. It took centuries to discover the link between vermin and pestilence. The Black Plague was spread by mites on rats. But it wasnít until the 19th century that modern pest control and extermination began to develop in earnest. Today, rats and their related diseases are a nuisance, and only rarely cause the outbreaks of disease and death they brought in centuries past.

Alfred Nobel was a Swedish chemist of the mid-19th century. He was obsessed with developing a chemical that would make mining easier, safer, and quicker. He began working with formulas and blends of nitroglycerine, until he found one that was a stable paste, easily worked with and much more stable than the liquid form. His invention, dynamite, led to tremendous leaps in mining, excavating, road-clearing, and countless other advances.

And that brings us to today. Today, when the Palestinians are presented with these three great inventions, these three great building blocks of modern civilization, three of the many things without which we could not live as we do, they take them and combine them and wreak death and destruction and mayhem. The explosives used to cut roads and dig mines and clear land is packed in a vest. The nails that hold together the beams of homes and schools and hospitals are hurled into the bodies of innocents, killing and maiming. And the rat poison, that keeps disease and pestilence at bay, poisons those wounded by the nails and the dynamite and keeps their bodies from stopping the bleeding.

Yes, it always has been easier to destroy than create. But itís a very special brand of evil that takes the great tools of building, of making, of protecting, and turning them into hellishly horrifying weapons of evil, intended not to strike at oneís enemies, but those who simply happen to present themselves as the most convenient targets.


Comments (4)

Well written piece JT, very... (Below threshold)

Well written piece JT, very well said.

Sounds like something Ayn R... (Below threshold)

Sounds like something Ayn Rand would talk about. Very well done.

Could not the same be said ... (Below threshold)

Could not the same be said about the U.S. and the atomic bomb?

Innovations, though perhaps altruistic in their original intent, have always been contorted to humankind's destructive desire.

No, Michael, I don't think ... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

No, Michael, I don't think it can be said. The first reactor that produced usable electricity was in 1951, six years after the first atomic bomb. That's a case of just the opposite; a device of war being used for peaceful purposes.

For the record: the first controlled chain reaction was in 1942, the first bomb in 1945, the first experimental reactor produced it's first electricity in 1951, the first reactor to provide electricity was built in 1953 (for the submarine U.S.S. Nautilus), and the first commercial reactor went online in 1957.

Source: Google, then here.
Good try, though. Points for effort.







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