Welcome to Hell
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Right on schedule, the Second Coming Rapture occurred in the Spring of 2000. No one noticed because, frankly, there were very few perfect people available to be swept away, and even they were mixed in with a spate of run-of-the-mill sinners.
Of course, a lot of "Christians" think it didn't happen, because they are still here. Sorry folks. It did, and you didn't make the cut. You are stuck here with us non-denominational sinners, right here in Hell.
Yep, this is Hell. A solitary ball of magma coated in a thin crust of rock and sea, and an even thinner skin of Biosphere. It isn't much, but it is all we have. That Biosphere is the only thing keeping us out of the deepest firepits of Hell. And it isn't what it used to be. Every single clearcut, driftnet, toxic spill, or stripmine just cuts it down a bit more.
You see, that is a part of our eternal punishment. We screwed up the Garden of Eden, but were given another shot at a whole planet. Well, we screwed up that too, and so here we sweat out our days. We can either bicker among ourselves over who gets to squat on the last few shreds as they wither away, or we can swallow our pride and work together to regrow that Biosphere.
Of course it doesn't help that 6,000,000,000 is way too many people. And with some of us deliberately trying to out-propagate the folks next door, it is a matter of when, not if, the Biosphere collapses and we all slip into the firepit.
As you'd expect, Hell has a ruler. I won't name names, but let's just say he is currently using the form of the political advisor to the President of the most powerful nation ever to bestride dear old Earth.
From that vantage point, he and his minions run the whole show -- executive, legislative, judicial, military, press, churches, commerce, civic life. The real kicker is that a lot of these people think they are on the side of Right and Justice. A few realize it is a scam, but think they are in on the action. If only they knew...
The rest of us sinners here in Hell are just scrambling to keep from being the next one into the firepit. Sometimes we panic and throw in one of our neighbors, hoping to stall the inevitable. You know, like hoping AIDS will do in Africans and gays, or cheering a tsunami for zapping so many brown-skinned folk, or refusing to share with the down-and-out so we can hoard a bit more for ourselves.
Mostly, we see things pretty realistically. We realize it isn't about 401k's, or "death taxes", or "property rights". It is about one thing, and one thing only:
If the Biosphere dies, we all die.
Some of us old-time sinners have been wondering if there is a way out. If the Biosphere is the only thing saving us from the firepit, what if we actually started rebuilding the Biosphere? What if, instead of just slowing the disaster, we reversed it? Could it be done?
Well, it would be really grim for a while, but by our calculations, it is do-able. The grim part is why we call it Purgatory. It might take generations, but at least our kids or grandkids could sleep nights without thinking about the firepit.
The big problem is population. There are just too many of us. 6,000,000,000 is at least 4,000,000,000 too many. Who volunteers to not have children, or to die young? Hmmm, didn't think so. Not enough of you anyway. Ok, what are some options? You remember the Four Horsemen... that's how you got here.
Even with Cobra gunships and indiscriminant 500 lb bombs and paving the world with landmines, you just don't kill enough. WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, etc. Humans just bounce back in a generation or two. Worse, yet, war really takes a bite out of the Biosphere.
War is not the answer.
There wasn't that much carrying capacity to begin with. So all we have to do is destroy fisheries by overfishing, deforest entire continents (nicely done by charcoal burners for iron smelting), and pollute the remaining soil with toxic dumps or irrigation salts. Monocropping with sensitive varieties so that an infestation destroys all is another good choice.
Hmmm. All these ways to create famine are just ways to destroy the Biosphere. Not a good approach.
Ok, how about this: Put the world's food producers on a cash economy, preferably shipping their goods all over the world, and importing what they need to eat. That way a little glitch in shipping (let's say a pesky Peak Oil problem) can devastate the food producers, and in turn wipe out those who rely on them.
Again, the problem is that cash crops tend to destroy the Biosphere. Yet bio-friendly approaches (subsistence food production, locally-adapted varieties, and "local food") are just too stubbornly resistance to support full-blown global famine. So "globalization", while effective in creating a famine, isn't the way to save the Biosphere.
Finally, even if we come up with a trick to create famine without having to wipe out the Biosphere in the process, there is the problem of tenacity: Hungry people will eat anything . The ol' Biosphere takes a real beating whenever there is a famine.
Famine is not the answer.
That's old-timie talk for "epidemic".
Ok, who thinks AIDS, a dash of smallpox, and a dose of malaria will do the trick? Hah! I bet you weren't here for the Black Plague. That was a humdinger of a depopulation. Rinderpest in Africa was another good one. Didn't take long to rebuild from either one. Humans are like rabbits that way.
However, you are on the right track. Disease is the most effective way to cut population and keep it cut. (I didn't say it was a pleasant way).
You know what? The Unnamed One has a nice twist on the old theme:
Roundup is a general purpose plant poison. You might like to spray it on your crops and have everything die except the specific plants you wanted to save. That can be done if the to-save plants are Genetically Modified (GM) to be "Roundup-Ready". Given that, the plan works like a dream. (Of course, it also takes out massive chunks of the Biosphere -- which was the problem in the first place.)
Here is a similar plan for humans: First you practice allocating vaccines (e.g., in an anthrax or flu scare), to assure you can get vaccines to just your own cronies. Then, all you need to wipe out those excess humans is to Roundup them.
How to do it? Mosquitos. Develop a technology whereby mosquitos are deliberately loaded with a killer disease for which we (and we alone) have the vaccine. Let them loose, call in our cronies for their shots, and hide someplace (let's say Montana, in compound protected by Secret Service personnel) until the bodies drop and the maggots have done their job.
Of course, to avoid scaring the non-vaccines, we need a cover story. Let's tell them the mosquito plan is to deliver good things, like malaria resistance. When the time comes, the secret passphrase will be "Are you Roundup-Ready?".
Minor problem. Mosquitos are not programmable and are not recallable. If anything goes wrong, this could mess up the Biosphere big time. So much for our Purgatorial escape plan.
There may be ways to use epidemics to wipe out humans without damaging the Biosphere, but it is a good bet they will not work as well as their planners expect. Pestilence is tricky.
Pestilence is not the answer.
Good ol' Death, the Grim Reaper. Of course all the others are ways to get here, but Death per se works with or without the others. Old age, accidents, suicides, etc. These days we live long enough (and badly enough) to make heart attacks and cancer standard mechanisms.
The thing about Death is that it is simply the end of Life. The trick is to balance births with deaths, so that we push toward a level the Biosphere can support. Given how out of whack we are right now, that requires some juggling at both ends.
At the birth end, choose to have no more than 2 children. Ostracize anyone who deliberately has more. Help prevent early pregnancy through education (general purpose and sex-specific) for females the world over, plus readily available condoms, morning after pills and abortions.
Oh sure, you get that flap about the sanctity of life and it starts at conception. Bull. Life started several billions years ago, and it is all a continuum since then. That one single life is the Biosphere. If a few condoms and abortions protect the Biosphere, great, sign me up.
Next, take care of the resulting babies and children so that everyone knows it is safe to stop with just one or two. The Chinese and Europeans have the hang of this. The USA has people trying to protect their own children at the expense of other people's children. Let's make this clear: The Biosphere does not care whose children they are. We are all in this together.
At the death end... well, we all do it. The question is whether or not it will be decent. Do you writhe in agony for weeks on end until you are a pitiful wreck? Or do you ask an honored friend to help finish the job, as would a samurai?
I've noticed the new-comers are greatly excited that people must die in agony. They are pretty excited by pain in general, it seems to me. They get a kick out of forcing girls to go through unwanted pregnancies. Their favorite movie for kids is something called The Passion, which apparently is about beating Jesus nearly to death. First, it didn't happen that way, and second, Jesus stopped by for a wine tasting and mentioned he thought the movie was a crappy thing to show to adults, much less children.
Anyway, that's why I send the new-comers (the ones who call themselves "Evangelicals") over to M. de Sade. The Unnamed One has special arrangements for these people.
Ignoring the really nasty ways people can die, we come down to the basic "died peacefully in bed". On the outside that (as Aristotle knew) required a life well lived and a bit of luck. We here in Hell can help by living simply-yet-well, skipping heroic life support, and granting each other the decency of a final morphine nightcap.
Of course, 4,000,000,000 doses of morphine is a big order. Fortunately, the CIA is busy ramping up production worldwide. Until they get up to speed, please do not use opiates recreationally. Save the stuff for people in real pain.
A worldwide concerted effort to cut population growth through birth control. Meanwhile, regrow Biosphere locally, and stave off further destruction wherever we can.
Not as profitable for defense contractors or Carlyle Group or BigPharm as some of the other approaches, but a lot better for the Biosphere.
You can expect the Unnamed One to fight this tooth-and-claw-and-trident. How can he destroy the Biosphere and thus create misery and suffering if we whittle down the population ourselves by careful planning and consistent effort? Our plan will be labeled demonic (how ironic). Our local efforts to regrow Biosphere will be labeled do-gooderisms.
We old-timers can see through the posing, but the new-comers will buy it. Mostly, we just ignore them and go about our Purgatorial escape plan. And let's have a grand old time of it too. The sight of millions of people all over the world working together while ignoring the Unnamed One's Presidency will confuse, then anger, then intrigue, and then convince those poor souls who were so sure they were on the Rapture Express.
Which brings me to tonight's agenda. The Unnamed One assumes office January 20 2005. This is a time of feasting and joy for those of us here in Hell, because now everyone can be told the truth:
It's the Biosphere, stupid.
No longer are we responsible for the care and feeding of Hell. It is up to the Unnamed One, his direct minions, and all those new-comers (who were secretly surprised they weren't rapturized back in the Spring of 2000).
For the rest of us: Purgatory starts Jan 20, 2005. Worldwide, we start rebuilding the Biosphere Jan 21, 2005. There is topsoil to be grown and there are trees to be planted. It's party time.
I want to see signs and banners out there in the streets saying
"Welcome to Hell".
I want to sit with friends and eat home-cooked meals and drink simple wines. And I want to pass the time planning how to rebuild the Biosphere.
Creator: Harry George