Here Thar Be Monsters!
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Der Struwwelpeter Ins Zimmer
That'll buy a lot of death, that will.
Add to that the costs of burials, medical care, relocation, rebuilding, and lost productivity and pretty soon, you're talking real money here.
Suppose we took that money and gave it back to the folks it was stolen from. I know, I know, governments never give it back. More realistically, suppose we took all that stolen loot and...say, irrigated otherwise unproductive land for farming? Built houses and produced clothing at subsidized prices? Provided global health insurance? Mounted an international effort to colonize other planets?
Keep in mind that a fair chunk of the, let's say, US$2 trillion spent on destruction never gets used. It just sits in a barn as a deterrent to other folks from using their war money. For the sake of argument, let's assume constant dollars since 1960...that's about US$112 TRILLION that could have been put to much better use. The real number is anyone's guess, but I'm willing to believe this is a fair estimation in 2017 dollars, and we are not even counting the cultural losses of historical items and landmarks to future generations.
Multiply that money by all of recorded history and we are probably looking at being decades, if not centuries ahead of where we are now. The actual damage to humanity is incalculable. Hell, just the destruction of the Library at Alexandria due to war set our species back at least a hundred years.
Let's narrow the focus a bit. Let's take the US$112 trillion since the Dawn of the Space Age. We know the Apollo Moon Program cost about US$20 billion at that time. Whether the world got what it paid for is another discussion. Let's just take it at face value for the time being.
That US$112 trillion would have bought the Apollo program a little over 50x. That's a hell of a lot of space exploration. We;d be vacationing on the Moon and Mars about now. Braver souls would be spelunking on Ganymede, or hiking the ruins on Iapetus. With that kind of money, we might even be preparing the first interstellar trip to Proxima Centauri.
We would likely be harvesting food in the Gobi and Sahara deserts. Most people who wanted one could have a nice little house with a picket fence and a postage stamp-sized lawn. The only naked people would be those who like it. Most diseases would just be scary bedtime stories for children to warn them of the evils of military spending. The 110th birthday party would actually be a full section of the Hallmark greeting-card rack. Amputees would be regrowing limbs. Dogs and cats living together, for gods' sakes.
There are somewhere in the neighborhood of seven billion people on this Earth, with maybe two or three million actively involved in destroying humanity. Without doing any actual calculations, that's around 300-to-1 odds in a fist fight to stop those evil bastards. So why do we put up with this crap?
As Franklin Roosevelt reminded us in his first (of four) inaugural addresses, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." That is exactly what the evil bastards keep selling us...FEAR. As long as we are all quaking in our boots at imaginary Struwwelpeter, we will never stop this insipid madness and get on with real human achievement.
One reason I am so disgusted with so-called Social Justice Warriors is that they waste so much of our collective resources on tiny self-defined minorities and half-witted balderdash like pronouns, when there are so many bigger fish to fry.
We have the power not only to control the Masters of War, but to refocus our efforts on meaningful and beneficial issues. It's high time we take back what is ours from those who kill for greed and control with fear. It's time to re-task our species' efforts and dedicate our resources toward advancing humanity, rather than continually resetting it to factory defaults.
Just a little daily effort - two or three minutes - to harass the Powers That Be and let them know WE are in charge would have astounding benefits in a generation.
Which would you rather do? Pick up body parts and scrounge for family heirlooms in rubble heaps?
Or pack the family bags for that week-long excursion to the ruins on Mars?
The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.