Posted on | December 10, 2012 | 30 Comments
“God creates dinosaurs. God destroys dinosaurs. God creates man. Man destroys God. Man creates dinosaurs . . .”
— Dr. Ian Malcolm, Jurassic Park
Lots of bloggers are science-fiction buffs, but I prefer reality, regarding fiction generally as a puerile waste of time. If you wish to improve your mind, it is much more productive to read history than any work of fiction. (I’ve recently been re-reading Alan Moorehead’s Gallipoli, which I borrowed from Joe Fein in 2010 and feel guilty for not having returned.)
However, it must be admitted that great science fiction makes us think, and Jurassic Park is a fine lesson in unintended consequences, a sort of Hayekian insight into the failure of planning and “expertise.” Genetically engineering the re-creation of extinct monsters might seem like a great idea for a theme park, but to quote another witty line by Jeff Goldblum’s intellectual character from the movie, “if The Pirates of the Caribbean breaks down, the pirates don’t eat the tourists.”
Yes, and I’m sure it must have seemed like a great idea during the “Arab Spring” to arm Islamic extremists in Libya:
In spite of the threat of American weapons ending up in the hands of terrorist groups, President Barack Obama secretly approved an arms transfer to Libyan rebels through Qatar at the height of the rebellion against Moamar Khadhafi, a knowledgeable source noted on Friday.
However, American counterterrorists are discovering that some of those U.S. weapons ended up in the hands of radical Islamists including associates of al-Qaeda, according to a law enforcement source who trained police in the Middle East.
Some Americans who are retired from the military, as well as intelligence and law enforcement agencies, believe there should be an investigation into possible connections between the weapons provided by the Qataris back then and the attack that killed an American ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012.
One of the lessons of Gallipoli is how seemingly minor mistakes can have enormous consequences. The Allied effort to force a passage through the Dardenelles, capture Constantinople and thus knock Turkey out of the war was meant to relieve pressure on Russia and open a second front against the Central Powers.
Before the campaign began, it was suggested that the Greeks be brought in to aid the effort against the Turks, but the Czar objected to the idea that the Greeks might gain a colonial foothold in Turkey. It is speculation to wonder what might have happened in the historical alternative, but as it was, the campaign against Constantinople failed, the war lasted until 1918, and the Czar was executed by the Bolsheviks.
Exit question: Is comparing Obama’s policies to dinosaurs racist?