Comic Book dot com: Infinity War, Slide 9/11 (ominously)

Topics: Civil Rights, Commentary, Existentialism, History, Human Rights, Science Fiction

If you haven't read the comic, or seen Avengers: Infinity War, disengage now...

Thanos

Thanos is a fictional villain in the Marvel Universe. He's a Titan, he apparently has an Infinity Gauntlet to harness the power of magic stones that thankfully don't exist, and from his making Hulk hide in his Bruce Banner persona (as in, not coming out after the EPIC beat down), he's one bad dude, especially with the whole snapping 50% of all life everywhere out of existence (you were warned).

Have no fear: some kismet gumbo-jumbo will bring most of the heroes back (especially the ones without expiring contracts and pending movies on the docks).

He's also apparently an intergalactic economist, as his beef is there are too many people in the universe (HOW he would come to know this is a mystery), and too few resources. It reminded me of a chap in our own terrestrial history.

Malthus

Thomas Robert Malthus was an English cleric and scholar, influential in the fields of political economy and demography. In his 1798 book An Essay on the Principle of Population, Malthus observed that an increase in a nation's food production improved the well-being of the populace, but the improvement was temporary because it led to population growth, which in turn restored the original per capita production level. In other words, mankind had a propensity to utilize abundance for population growth rather than for maintaining a high standard of living, a view that has become known as the "Malthusian trap" or the "Malthusian spectre". Populations had a tendency to grow until the lower class suffered hardship and want and greater susceptibility to famine and disease, a view that is sometimes referred to as a Malthusian catastrophe. Malthus wrote in opposition to the popular view in 18th-century Europe that saw society as improving and in principle as perfectible. He saw population growth as being inevitable whenever conditions improved, thereby precluding real progress towards a Utopian society: "The power of population is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to produce subsistence for man". As an Anglican cleric, Malthus saw this situation as divinely imposed to teach virtuous behaviour. From Wikipedia

Now note National Security Study Memorandum 200, often cited by anti-abortion rights activists as evidence of a global cabal to sacrifice children on Moloch's altar:

National Security Study Memorandum 200: Implications of Worldwide Population Growth for U.S. Security and Overseas Interests (NSSM200) was completed on December 10, 1974 by the United States National Security Council under the direction of Henry Kissinger.

It was adopted as official US policy by US President Gerald Ford in November 1975. It was classified for a while but was obtained by researchers in the early 1990s.

The basic thesis of the memorandum was that population growth in the least developed countries (LDCs) is a concern to US national security, because it would tend to risk civil unrest and political instability in countries that had a high potential for economic development. The policy gives "paramount importance" to population control measures and the promotion of contraception among 13 populous countries to control rapid population growth which the US deems inimical to the socio-political and economic growth of these countries and to the national interests of the United States since the "U.S. economy will require large and increasing amounts of minerals from abroad" and the countries can produce destabilizing opposition forces against the US.

It recommends for US leadership to "influence national leaders" and that "improved world-wide support for population-related efforts should be sought through increased emphasis on mass media and other population education and motivation programs by the UN, USIA, and USAID."

Thirteen countries are named in the report as particularly problematic with respect to US security interests: India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Turkey, Nigeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Mexico, Colombia, and Brazil. The countries are projected to create 47 percent of all world population growth. Wikipedia

We have winnowed down from: too many people in the universe, to too many of lower classes - a "Malthusian catastrophe" - to finally, too many of a "certain type" of people (blessed with an abundance of Melanin). And when you've created a canopy economical system, you have to somehow differentiate yourselves from the riffraff on the forest floors of the world, especially when your group has all the diamonds, rubies, gold and land. Physical characteristics are a no-brainer: that gets the bewildered herds acting tribal, and not thinking about how the "system is [actually] rigged"...against them. Infighting, bickering; shouting slogans are all to the benefit of the uber-class that purchase politicians like we do laundry detergent pods, and comfortably get insanely richer than any caricature we've ever had of Scrooge McDuck.

"Occam’s razor, also spelled Ockham’s razor, also called law of economy or law of parsimony, principle stated by the Scholastic philosopher William of Ockham (1285–1347/49) that pluralitas non est ponenda sine necessitate, “plurality should not be posited without necessity.” The principle gives precedence to simplicity: of two competing theories, the simpler explanation of an entity is to be preferred. The principle is also expressed as “Entities are not to be multiplied beyond necessity.”" Britannica online/Occam's razor

It may be why sensible gun control in the US is so elusive, and gun violence in Chicago is thrown in our faces, while gun violence at Parkland et al though tragic, only solicits "thoughts and prayers." It may be why the US invests in for-profit prisons; or now sees opioid dependence as crisis, and crack cocaine as criminal. It may be as simple as faux societal demarcations generated by a psychotic Politburo to manipulate a powerless Proletariat. It may be as simple as a crass, Malthusian distribution of resources upwards, not caring about the rest of the species, and no clear plan "B" when the ecosystem the selfish ones are also a part of, comes apart and reduces their wealth from the Law of Entropy, to meaningless rubble...

** ..."Snap"... **

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Comment by Stephen Alexander on May 18, 2018 at 8:05am

I saw a bit of this argument in the cyberpunk novels Takeshi Kovacs (now on Netflix). Basically the uber-rich can afford to transfer their minds into new bodies, thus allowing themselves to cheat death and effectively become a new race called Methuselahs or Meths. 

When your lifespan runs into the centuries, your resources as vast as the stars, the lives of norms become as mayflies.

Some of the Sillycon tech bros want to make the tech a reality. They in general have a more altruistic goal (dodging painfully crappy deaths) but we know how these good intentions usually turn out.

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