Tuesday, July 10, 2007
Gigantism and the U.S. government
"Evolution has produced some pretty large animals, and it seems offhand that very large organisms would have evolutionary advantages: they are intimidating and hard to kill because their organs are a long way from their skins. But there are upper limits to the size of animals on earth, and it's hard not to notice that the very biggest animals—mammoths, elephants whales, rhinoceri—are extinct or likely endangered. And obviously, very large organisms are at all times vastly more rare than very small ones.
A 2000 academic paper from a Swiss zoologist summarizes the reasons that this should be so: with increasing size come "viability costs...due to predation, parasitism, or starvation because of reduced agility, increased detectability, higher energy requirements, heat stress, and/or intrinsic costs of reproduction." For precisely these reasons, a state with trillion-dollar budgets and massive military might is in a precarious condition, and a good candidate for extinction.
Consider the military posture of the United States government......
A brontosaurus no doubt means well, but its tiny confused brain is radically inadequate to govern its astonishing body. It tramples everything until it finally runs out of vegetation or collapses under its own weight. Here's hoping the United States government returns to the decentralized principles of its founding, lest it go the way of the dinosaur."