The Corner

Rumors of War

Derbyshire’s Law of Public Anxiety, one of the cornerstones of modern social psychology, states that the awful thing everyone believes will happen any day now will not, in fact, happen any day now. It will happen a decade or few from now, when everyone is worrying about something else.

Back in my salad days the thing everyone feared was nuclear war. It didn’t happen, so we all got bored worrying about that and found new causes for anxiety: Global Warming, Peak Oil, Demographic Collapse, etc.

I always had a sneaking feeling we got it right the first time, and that I will most likely die in a nuclear holocaust, or in the social breakdown that follows. Half the world is mad at any given time: we’ve just been lucky that the non-mad half of the world in our age held most of the nukes.

Here comes a new age.

What, you thought Homo sap. has been getting less warlike? On the contrary.

Give a species of savannah chimps some understanding of fundamental physical forces, what the heck do you think will happen?


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