The Fayette Citizen-Opinion Page

Wednesday, January 3, 2001

Resolutions for the new millennium


Here it is: 2001.

And Stanley Kubrick has turned out to be way off base.

Not only have we not found anything interesting on the moon; we haven't even been to the moon in over two decades.

And we're a long, long way from thinking about a mission to Jupiter. We don't have an artificial intelligence capable of throwing a temper tantrum, either.

What we do have is a brand spanking new century and new millennium.

And since we humans seem to be in the habit of making individual resolutions at the beginning of each new year, it seems only fitting that we think about some resolutions for the entire human race as we embark on a fresh thousand.

I can't speak for the whole human race, of course, but I can make suggestions. Here are a few.

1. Get over that whole race thing.

I know we've only been on the planet for a blink of an eye in cosmic terms, but we've been around long enough to start growing up a little bit. Our first goal for 2001 should be an end to the notion that we should be friends or enemies based solely on skin color, or any other purely superficial attribute.

I'm not so naive as to think that we can somehow make people stop hating and looking down on those of other racial and ethnic backgrounds, but we can start by simply ignoring and shunning racists.

If you want to write a book that promotes racist ideas, that's your business. But why should the media and the NAACP help you sell it by calling attention to it?

We who are in the majority and I truly believe that racists are now in the minority should turn our backs on racism and move on, so that a thousand years from now historians will reflect that references to racism began to disappear from the record at the turn of this century.

2. Get moving on the space thing.

That's where the future is.

Sure, "There are plenty of problems here on earth," the oft-repeated mantra of the fearful. But solving problems on earth and moving into space are not mutually exclusive.

And we've learned in recent history that sooner or later the human race is going to face extinction it's not an "if," it's a "when" because of the cloud of debris that swarms around in our little corner of the universe. If we don't get busy, there's a very good chance we won't be able to do a thing about it when some observatory announces there's a city-sized rock on the way.

If you believe in the biblical prophesies that one day the earth will come to an end, you may be thinking that we shouldn't try to thwart God's will. But if God is truly planning to put an end to the earth, I'm not worried that we'll be able to stop Him. I just think it's our responsibility to do everything we can to survive, as individuals and as a species, and let God take care of God's will.

Also, one of the problems we face "here on earth" is overpopulation. Every day, the world is adding enough people to populate the United States. And there is a limit to how many people the planet will support.

We're going to have to spread outward. And yes, it is possible to colonize other parts of the Solar System, and it's essential. We need to get cracking.

3. Solve the crime thing.

While we're researching diseases, digging archaeological sites, going into space and advancing on all the other scientific fronts, we need to put some real effort into the science of criminology, directed toward actually isolating and attacking the causes of crime.

Yes, to some extent that means attacking poverty, something conservatives are supposed to be against. But that's just the view of conservatives that liberals want you to believe.

Conservatives, for the most part, are not opposed to fighting poverty. They're just opposed to pouring billions of dollars into poverty-fighting programs that don't work, and they're opposed to the idea that the solution to poverty involves taking money by force from those who earned it and giving it to those who didn't. That just spreads the poverty around.

But most of us are not opposed to studying and working to find solutions that do work, as long as we don't break the bank in the process. In other words, there's a limit to how much of our common resources, i.e. taxes, we can devote to it.

Crime and poverty fit into the chicken-and-egg category anyway. Making progress on one will bring progress on the other.

And with the reasonable approach of setting a budget that we can live with, trying programs and ending the ones that don't work, progress can be made on the local, national and global levels.

4. Put an end to the corporate thing.

By "corporate" I mean the notion that people are defined by the groups they are associated with, rather than as individuals.

It's part of the racism problem, but it's also in its own category. We'll always have wars and racism until we learn to view each person as an individual. That may sound overly simple, but in this country we've just finished an administration that had the stated goal of subverting individualism in favor of the "common good."

Without individualism, there will be no "common good." There will only be subgroups fighting for dominance.

I hope you all, individually and corporately, will have a great millennium.

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