Column by Bob Wallace.
Exclusive to STR
I’ve been a little miffed since I was 12 years old because I didn’t have a flying car, and most especially, a disintegrator ray gun. They existed in the movies, books, and on TV, but as for real life, forget it.
I can’t remember the first time I encountered both of them. I do remember a TV program about puppets, called “Fireball 500,” which was off the air before I was born, so I saw the reruns. And everyone in it had flying cars. There were no disintegrator ray guns, unfortunately. I think they had rockets, though.
I think the first time I saw a disintegrator pistol was in a pretty bad movie called “Teenagers from Outer Space,” which was also made before I was born. There was a scene in it where one of our juvenile delinquent teenager aliens disintegrated some guy. Next thing I see is a skeleton clattering to the ground. Evaporated the flesh right off of him. I was amazed. I was probably about six.
Then of course there was the original “Star Trek,” which made the word “phaser” into a cliché. And I do remember reading Edgar Rice Burroughs when I was about 11, and running across flying cars you could park in the sky while you slept, and not only were there disintegrator pistols--called “radium” pistols, a word almost as dumb as “phaser”--but also swords. Swords, flying cars, and disintegrator pistols. What more could you ask for? Well, there were the scantily-clad Martian princess babes!
I really believe I would have a flying car, a disintegrator pistol, and also cures for all diseases, if the State hadn’t been meddling in the human race since before recorded history. It’s been meddling since the beginning of recorded history, so why not before? Its nature hasn’t changed.
The Romans were clearly on the verge of the Industrial Revolution, and the Greeks before them had shown some signs. Both the Greeks and the Romans collapsed, courtesy of their respective States. All empires collapse, just as the United States, an empire, is going to collapse.
If the Greeks had succeeded, we’d be 2,000 years ahead of where we are now. It wouldn’t be 2011; it’d be 4011. I’d have my flying car and disintegrator pistol!
I’ve read estimates that perhaps up to 200 million people were killed in the 20th Century, in State-created wars. (Contrary to the mythology, the Communists were ten times as bad as the Nazis. The Communists and the West won, so, as always, the winners write the history.)
That’s a lot of people dead before their time. How much advancement would we have had if they hadn’t been killed? How many Edisons and Teslas died? Aristotles? Isaac Newtons? Who survives and gains political power? The Bushes, the Gores…the Obamas. Ugh.
Imagine if we didn’t have the State crushing everything and everyone. Life would be so much easier – and happier.
Wages stopped going up in 1973, again courtesy of the State. Two main things caused it to happen at that time – Nixon going off of the gold standard in ’71, allowing the Federal Reserve Bank (which is not federal, has no reserves, and if it’s a bank I’m a banana) to destroy the dollar through inflation, and the second thing was the oil crisis, in which we sent trillions of dollars to our enemies in the Middle East, instead of becoming energy self-sufficient and keeping that money in the U.S.
At the minimum, imagine how it would be if we had no Federal Reserve Bank destroying the value of the dollar through inflation. Imagine no national debt. Imagine the Fed not buying up the debt – “monetizing the debt.” The dollar would still be worth a dollar, not a penny when compared to 100 years ago.
I have estimated the average salary now would be $70,000 a year, but Tyler Cowan, an economist at George Mason University, estimates it would be over $90,000 a year. If what he writes is true, imagine how cheap a flying car and a disintegrator pistol would be! How much? Three months salary?
I consider the State to be the Blob. It’s a close to perfect metaphor. The State expands, with increasing inflation and national debt, growing taxes, more laws and regulations – the Blob. The Blob grows and civilization recedes. Only there’s no Steve McQueen to save us.
When I was about 12 years old, I read a story by Robert Heinlein called “Waldo.” One of the characters gets in his flying car and goes to the moon. I remember that night when I was outside, I looked at the moon and thought, “Darn.”
Imagine flying to the moon in your private car, maybe hitting a few golf balls around in your private spacesuit, and then flying home. Or imagine if some criminals try to break in your house. Bzzzt. No evidence. Why even call the police?
It drove me crazy then and it still drives me crazy now. It just isn’t fair. Someone deserves to be disintegrated for this.