Readers responding to a question asking how Iran’s neighbors should respond to a nuclear Iran made two worthy points: Nukes are a form of suicide and there are other. less total measures equally threatening to potential attackers. E.g. biological or chemical weapons “of mass destruction.” That is true.
Avoidance of nuclear weapons with their poisonous and persistent fallout and long term destruction of wide areas seems only common sense.
We wondered, watching Russia’s Vladimir Putin waving his nukes at NATO over “Crimea, Ukraine and the Baltic States,” how many of our world leaders have any of that common sense. People who seek and arrive at such lofty prominence seem to us often paranoid, narcissistic psychopaths for whom “common sense” is uncommon at the best. We note on point: Syria’s President Assad, a dictator who lost credibility under the Syrian version of the erstwhile “Arab Spring.”
At this mass uprising, Assad could have gracefully bailed out, living the rest of his life upon the stolen billions he accumulated while in office. Instead, he has watched family members die in the ensuing civil war, while using chemical weapons and airstrikes against unarmed civilians who inhabit areas that Assad feels do not support him. His intransigence has not yet assured his future in power but it has assured the multi-generational destruction of the Syrian economy along with huge piles of dead Syrians. Seems to us that in these matters at least, “common sense” is something of an oxymoron.
Lest anyone ascribe this attitude to only a few dictators, we point to the frequently used description of a winning sports coach as “one who is glad to give your life for his team.” The attitude seems common in our species, though often unacknowledged.
Yes, there have been saints, too. In number though, too few to be considered typical whereas most of us show dictatorial tendencies when circumstances make them applicable. Parse that and you’ll likely find explanation of the behavior in the privacy of a voting booth that regularly installs these types into office.
Our Founders, in an excess of optimism, seem to have hoped for a triumph of hope over experience in installing their iconic Constitution. Readers of their writings know that not all of them were optimistic. Ben Franklin for one, was much too wise in the ways of his world to expect what was promised and hoped for; that was why he added: “… if you can keep it” to his mention of the new Republic.
It has seemed to us for a while that no one seeking political power should, if the common weal is to be served (a little humor here) ever be allowed in power. Such positions should be allocated only to those honestly reluctant to accept them. (If such can be identified.) With that in place, there would be a –small– chance at decent government. Maybe. But to put that into place will require a radical revision in human DNA.
Some wag said that Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it rather is still wanting to be tried. And that saying has persisted because it is true. And it seems likely to continue persisting as a result of our design.
We wonder whether we will find means for our venture into the rest of the universe before we blow up our own planet. That may mark a sort of graduation test for our species; it is increasingly evident that our planet is unlikely to persist indefinitely even if we don’t blow it up ourselves. Doctor Steven Hawking makes this point regularly. And his Nobel prize was for physics, not “peace.” He might even know whereof he speaks!
So we will cover bets on human nature on occasion but one bet we will not cover under any conditions is one that depends upon a mass of us using “common sense” when it matters. (Color us cynical?) Betting is not about hope; it is about probability, right?