Basement Nukes and Covid-19

Posted by $ MikeMarotta 1 year ago to Culture
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Basement Nukes: Social Consequences of Cheap Weapons of Mass Destruction by Erwin S. Strauss (Loompanics, 1980, 1984) begins with the premise that your government cannot protect you. In earlier times, they could, at least in theory.

Your government's military kept other (presumably worse) governments from taking away your rights, liberties, and freedoms -- or least changing your traditions.I point out that there's a lot of people on both sides of the Rhein alternately named and renamed Dupont and Brueckner.

Back in 1980 Strauss considered a 21st century in which armies (air forces, navies) would be largely ineffective against aggression. The social consequences included social distancing -- a lot of social distancing... Telecommunication, working even via "waldo" tele-operators. would become the norm. Back in 1980, he posited that the technology of the time was on a horizon that would allow communication and production at a distance.

That distancing would be the only effective deterrent to terrorism and war. Cities as we knew them might cease to exist entirely. Certainly, they would wall themselves up, becoming distrustful of strangers. This would be most effective for smaller communities, spread far apart.

Strauss theorized that a city of 100,000 would be large enough to support an steel mills and automobile manufacturing. That suggestion just outlined the kinds of heavy production we think of, or thought of in 1980. Most of his positive proposals foresaw our informatic society today.

Strauss did not consider how all of the other infrastructures would change. Electricity, gas, etc., as we knew them in the 20th century would be replaced by in-home solar housing, and other alternatives, perhaps even in-home nuclear power. Strauss did not examine food production, either.

Overall, however, the book was prescient in considering the social consequences of living in a world where your government cannot protect you from a massive threat to the population.

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