Technology leaps ahead while human nature is stuck in the stone age. A NY Times Op Ed [March 9, 2012] exhorts President Obama to place the Moon under U.S. “sovereignty.” Written by John C. Yoo, who gave legal cover to Bush/Cheney for Guantanamo, water boarding, and other atrocities, and John R. Bolton, Bush’s disastrous UN representative, they are mental fossils who want the territorial imperative, a holdover from the age of dinosaurs, extended into space.
We inherit the territorial imperative from ancestral killer apes, meat-eating primates who became the planet’s top predators—us. This imperative persisted after the ape developed languages, established religions, built cities and nations, and passed laws. It motivated tribal chiefs, kings, emperors, Josef Stalin, Adolf Hitler, and Saddam Hussein, and is also responsible for the spread of all omnivores, from rats, to wild pigs, to the Koch brothers, and shows no signs of abating even though deranged entities hope to set off a WMD [weapon of mass destruction] ending the dominion of humankind on Earth. Some would even welcome it, expecting to be whisked off to nirvana while everyone else is left behind to perish in a fiery hell.
One voice offers a different scenario, Joshua S. Goldstein, who believes that humano sapiens is less self-destructive than it used to be. In his book, Winning the War On War, he points out that since WW-II ended in 1945, sixty-seven years and counting, despite cruel murderous local wars, there has not been another global conflagration.
It’s a welcome glass-half-full view of history, but one dare not ignore the Yoo/Bolton street gang turf war instinct lodged in the amygdala, deep in the human brain. Now the brain seems to be at war with itself. Pitted against this savage inheritance is sweet reason, which flows from the cortex, at the top. For aeons, reason was simply a tool of the territorial savage. Joshua Goldstein believes that reason is now trying to prevail. One must pray that he is right, and that it can win the battle. At stake is the survival of humankind and life on Earth as we know it.