In times of old we had leper colonies, plague ships and the marked house. In truth quarantine is a valid medical tactic. Sadly it is also a great way to ensure only those selected for elimination actually die. If you think such things as these cannot exist today, read up on the Ebola outbreak.
Today’s leaders have to sell a “thinning of the global population” a bit differently. Most populations have neither the backbone nor the stomach for all out war. Just read up on the fight against terrorism since 9/11. The first war to hunt down the people behind that act was globally supported. The war in Iraq was a bill of goods sold to the global population. Fraud from the word go. It squandered every bit of respect America had in the world and every tiny shred of trust the American people had for their government. In truth it made American government a global laughing stock whose credibility nobody can restore.
Now if the 1% wish to stage a “thinning of the herd” they have to be more creative about it. Put your mind to it and you can already see the test runs. Commit too few funds and resources to stamping out an Ebola outbreak opting for quarantine to be the primary “solution.” When West Nile and Zika come on the wings of mosquitoes put up only pennies on the requested dollar to wipe out the mosquitoes while working on vaccines/cures for the diseases.
Such actions can arguably be called “testing of the spin” to steer the conversation away from the real objective. Oh, the spin comes with great sound bites you’ve all heard before.
- “Not fiscally responsible.”
- “Lack the resources to fully commit.”
- “Need to find a more cost effective solution.”
Most of you reading this are writers or wish to be so you can add to this list as you see fit.
One may wish to believe the content of the previous paragraphs is too far fetched even for a work of fiction but in truth it doesn’t reach very far. Nearly every individual who finds themselves in “the pool of the chosen” comes to the conclusion too late. NPR recently aired a piece interviewing South American women who had given birth to Zika babies. After all of the promises of support and services by the government the women and their children have been forgotten. It is the way of the news cycle; great outrage, laudable speeches and promises of great things. Next week, when the cameras are somewhere else groveling for ratings, the token few coins which were thrown at the problem are all the problem ever gets.
I really get upset with Time.com. They had a very detailed article about CRISPR which I’ve referenced before, but now a search of the site shows a bunch of tiny snippets instead of the full article so I cannot give you the link I wanted. Basically there was a discussion with NSA/Homeland security types about CRISPR being a national security threat. You see, since the 1970s we have had stories about bioweapons escaping from labs. Heck, we’ve had stories of actual things escaping from CDC and other labs.
The party line to reassure populations with respect to bioweapons and terrorists was that they were difficult to create requiring advanced education and sophisticated equipment. Of course that was pre-CRISPR. Now you just need a rudimentary lab with good temperature control, a kind of expensive microscope, incubation equipment, a decent Internet connection, access to a virus, any virus, even the flu and a truck load of CRISPR units. Heck, the lead scientist in the UK working with human embryos was working in what was generously described as a closet.
With a tool like CRISPR and a little bit of reading about how to use it with the high end microscope, you don’t need to understand the fundamentals of gene splicing or have any idea of what genes do what. You only need that if you are attempting to do something specific AND wish to have some hope of controlling it. If your only goal is to make something which wipes out millions of people you just randomly move things around, let the virus grow and release it. We are talking about the spaghetti making process. Fling it against the wall to see if it sticks. While getting access to antibiotic resistant Super Bugs may be difficult, cold and flu comes around every year in some parts. We are also used to hearing about nasty new strains. Someone intent on doing great evil while staying under the radar wouldn’t choose a difficult path which could easily be noticed. Mankind has suffered mass influenza deaths before. It would be 6 months to a year before anyone “caught on.” Even if they do catch on, without lab controls and records of what was done, finding the lab really won’t matter because it really won’t help find a cure. We might feel better prosecuting/executing those involved, but it won’t change the situation on the ground.
So, how do you think the upper 1% will choose to weed out the “excess population?” Will it be a souped up Super Bug which only they get the vaccine for? Will someone nudge China into declaring war on one more more countries with treaties that drag other countries into another World War. If any of you think such a thing is far fetched you need to read up on World War I and Archduke Franz Ferdinand.
What has this journey been? It has been the “cannon fodder” every writer needs to do when they need to choose a time and place for their characters because the characters themselves chose not to provide it. Take this article series as the inspiration for a story and write it. Everyone reading this will be struck by a different aspect of this tale so every one of you should come up with a completely different story. Hopefully you will find readers and your story will find a following because, most assuredly, one of you will be correct.
True “1984” didn’t stop massive government surveillance from happening, but it should have. Here’s hoping your story fares better.