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Why am I up so late?

I really, really need to NOT read the news before trying to sleep at night.

Specifically I need to NOT read about Dick Cheney.


Unless, perchance, I am so fortunate to read that he, Addington, Rove, and the Bush family have all been stricken simultaneously by a horrible infestation of ferocious, quick-growing flesh devouring worms.

Yes, a biblical, judgment from God kind of thing.

I am reminded inescapably of a movie, a moody, pacifistic, really rather dramatic piece that I saw in the early 1970s, which may or may not have been current. It was science fiction, of a sort: apparently some number of people, scattered over the world, had been given these little plastic compacts which contained three buttons; the agency which provided them was never clearly explained but the people were all told, clearly, that they had the choice of pressing the buttons or not. If they did, then every person within a thousand mile radius (?) who was willing to murder other people, directly or indirectly, to attain or hold on to power, wealth, etc. Would die. Instantly, painlessly, and irrevocably.

What would this do, I wonder, to our country, to the other countries of the world.

How much of our government would be populated?


Comments screened; not interested in flame wars.

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
tagryn
Mar. 25th, 2008 12:09 pm (UTC)
"So why don't you just kill me?" Sheridan asks.
"It doesn't work," Justin says. "Somebody'd just come around and replace you."
-B5, "Z'ha'Dum
foomf
Mar. 25th, 2008 06:18 pm (UTC)
Yeah, this is why divine retribution would be better ... but for now, I am just watching closely to see if our existing slow method just installs the plug-compatible tool, or if we get someone else who gets to try something different.

And thinking of B5 leads me to wonder whether Cheney is wearing an eyeball, or if there's a spider living inside him.
anita_margarita
Mar. 25th, 2008 01:43 pm (UTC)
Let me get this straight: if a person pushed the button, every evil person within 1000 miles would die. Is that right?

Would that not then include the button-pusher?
foomf
Mar. 25th, 2008 06:22 pm (UTC)
I think that was part of the quandary - would someone be willing to die, in order to save the world from imminent destruction. (This was a cold-war fable.)

And would completely destroying the "dark side" of humanity then leave us open for destruction at the hands of alien invaders? (It wasn't clear WHO the little compacts of death came from. Aliens? Angels? Atlantis?) That was a very lightly mentioned subtext.
bryce
Mar. 25th, 2008 02:30 pm (UTC)
Ack, yes, even if you could get to sleep, Cheney is the stuff of nightmares.

Would I press those buttons? I would be tempted and I would deliberate long and hard. I don't believe that having the power would give me the right, but the Greater Good argument might just sway me.

I bet some people would try to use them strategically, travelling to enemy countries before detonating. But then they'd be guaranteeing that it kills them too. I wonder how thorough the compact-wielder screening process is.
foomf
Mar. 25th, 2008 06:25 pm (UTC)
It was apparently random: a young mother in China, a politician in one of the western countries, etc. I didn't get to see it very thoroughly (my stepdad found it annoying, probably for good reasons, and made me turn it off partway through to eat dinner. So I only got the beginning and end.)
supermatt41
Mar. 25th, 2008 07:40 pm (UTC)
YouTube might have a clip of this movie. I'd be very interested to see it. Occasionally, people post similar questions on metafilter.com and I'm amazed at how often the hive mind is able to come up with obscure information.
foomf
Mar. 25th, 2008 11:19 pm (UTC)
I've looked for it, and not found it in my usual searches. I may try metafilter.
kwsapphire
Mar. 25th, 2008 08:28 pm (UTC)
Wow. Those compacts sure would solve a lot of problems. O_o of course, so would some kind of qualifying exam before one was allowed to run for public office. Or something.
foomf
Mar. 25th, 2008 11:26 pm (UTC)
True. But who would set the exam?

In the days of the founding of this country, one had to be (1) male, (2) a landowner, (3) white, (4) of a particular age. In fact, they put all that into the articles of confederation and into the constitution.
In that smaller population and at that technological level, only someone who was reasonably educated, somewhat wealthy, and of the "right" social group could get anywhere, and that was a self-qualifying thing.

There were attempts to prevent the unqualified from participating in elections by creating literacy tests, but those were quickly turned into tools of racial and social oppression.

I still think we should do what they proposed in one of the old Legion of Super-Heroes comics: One of the characters, Tenzil Kim (Matter-Eater Lad), ends up having to leave because he has been DRAFTED to serve in public office.

In their system, you would be drafted, categorized, and forced to serve, and once you were done, you were out. Apparently they had some hefty disincentives to attempting to profiteer from government positions, too.
kwsapphire
Mar. 26th, 2008 05:59 am (UTC)
Well, it's true that any test can be ... what's the word I'm looking for? Faked, I guess, they could give an IQ test and astonishingly only white men would have IQs over 100. I think it would be great if we had some kind of "selfishness" test. But I like what you described from LoSH sounds pretty cool..
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )