View 749 Monday, November 05, 2012
Guy Fawkes Day
It is the eve of the election. I’ve been hesitant to comment because I can’t think of much I can say that would have much effect on anyone likely to read it.
Most of the experts are predicting a very close race. I don’t believe that. I have not seen much to change the mood of the country over the past two years since the 2010 election, and I have seen a very great deal to change it since the 2008 election.
Four years ago Mr. Obama was seen as a possible savior, someone who could bring the nation together, who would bring hope and change. He was the symbol of national healing, of a new day in American politics, and many very sincerely believed that. That sentiment is much attenuated in 2012, and that will affect the election turnout.
My apologies for being slow at getting back to work. It has not been a good week. Sable, our ten year old red Siberian Husky, was diagnosed as having bone cancer in her right forepaw, and the only possible treatment is amputation. Amputation of a foreleg on a large and active dog is not likely to have much success, and doesn’t add much to her probable length of life. She isn’t unhappy now, and still enjoys taking walks with us. She tires easily and limps, but she’s still a happy dog. We don’t expect that to last.
We will know tomorrow what happens with the election, and I should be able to get back to commenting. I also am working on a revival of Chaos Manor Reviews, with new machines, a look at Windows 8, some stories, new technologies, and observations about the continuing computer revolution.
I will note that Tunisia, where the Arab Spring began, remains reasonably stable. That cannot be said of Egypt or Libya, and is not a reasonable prediction for Syria. We do not know the final outcome of the Libya affair, but it does not reflect well on US policy there. Meanwhile events continue in Syria.
Iran will by now have tens of kilograms of fuel grade Uranium. Fuel grade is 10% to 20% U235. Creating it is about 80% of the work required to create weapons grade Uranium, which is about 90% U235. Building a Hiroshima weapon from 90% U235 metallic Uranium is a fairly simple process: the Manhattan Project didn’t even bother to test a Uranium weapon. The Trinity test was a Plutonium bomb. Refining Uranium from Fuel Grade to Weapons Grade is an order of magnitude less difficult (and time consuming) than refining natural Uranium to Fuel Grade. The point is that Iran has done 80 to 90% of the work required to create a Hiroshima nuke, and this is known to everyone who takes the trouble to look at the situation. It is possible that Vice President Biden did not know this during the Vice-Presidential Debate, but he certainly knows it now. There is no difficulty at all in building a Hiroshima bomb from Weapons Grade Uranium. The resulting weapon can be carried in a Six By truck, a small power boat, or most aircraft. There is no need for a missile.
All this is widely known.
Remember, remember, the Fifth of November,
Gunpowder Treason and plot,
I see no reason why Gunpowder Treason
Ever should be forgot.
RE your optimism about the mood of the country, I hope you’re right.
I don’t question that mood among those of us still dedicated to freedom under the Constitution’s original intent. It’s intense.
I do worry very much whether there are enough of us left. The basic operating premise of the Obamistas is that there aren’t, that their people are the new majority and after winning tomorrow they may rule as they will. You probably don’t run into those people much day to day.
They’re out there, in numbers. Half the country is below average, and near half the country now feeds off taxpayers. And of those well above average, far too many are amoral, lack the common sense not to play with fire in a powder magazine, or both.
Tomorrow will tell. I very, very much hope you’re right…
And just in case you’re wrong
Below average isn’t stupid or venal. In the United States the average has been fairly high for a long time. On the other hand, there never was a democracy that didn’t commit suicide. Nothing last forever.
There is always an ecology. There is always a government. The many are always ruled by the few. What varies is the scope of government power, and the consent of the governed. A system that continually tests that consent, and continually has a very large number of those not ruled by their consent will generally be unstable.
Limiting the scope – not the power – of government, and leaving much to the lowest levels necessarily produces a system that maximizes consent, but do note that this was true of the United States before the Civil War. Webster hated slavery but he understood the problem and the need for compromise. The Abolitionists had a different view. They could not tolerate a compromise that allowed slave states.
From the end of Reconstruction to Johnson’s Great Society we had a different set of compromises that worked quite well, but with the best of intentions we threw those out as well. We have yet to find a new compromise, and alas, our universities no longer discuss such matters in that kind of term.
Tomorrow will be a critical day.
© 2012, jerrypournelle. All rights reserved.