Friday, January 1, 2010

George Will's Freaky Voyage

George Will celebrates the New Year by taking a massive hit off his life-sized Ayn Rand-shaped gravity bong and writes about the nature of the universe:
Already 99.9 (and about 58 more 9s) percent of the universe - it is expanding lickety-split - is beyond Earth's atmosphere. Into what is it expanding? Hard to say. We can say there is lots of stuff in space: Hold up a penny at arm's length and you block from your field of vision three galaxies - billions of stars and other things - 350 million light-years away, which is right next door in our wee corner of the universe.
Get that? There's lots of stuff in space, and it's beyond our so-called "warming" atmosphere. This means that if global warming is a problem, rich people can always expand, like the universe, into the great unknown! But fear not intrepid voyagers, this column is not simply about dog whistle-politics and fancy science talk, it is about the indomitable human spirit:
Before Darwin, many people believed that no species could become extinct because this would mean there had been an imperfection in God's original handiwork. Yet 104 years before publication of "On the Origin of Species," the Lisbon earthquake of 1755 had caused some people to doubt that God has ordained a benevolently ordered universe. Nevertheless, in 1787 other people - Americans call them the Founding Fathers - who were influenced by Newtonian physics and the deist idea of God as cosmic clockmaker, devised a constitutional system of separated powers, checking and balancing one another, mimicking what they considered our solar system's clocklike mechanics.
Today, we know there is a lot of play in the joints of the Constitution, and that every 40 million years or so asteroids of more than half a mile in diameter strike Earth. Yet the Constitution still constitutes, and the fact that flora and fauna have survived Earth's episodes of extreme violence testifies to the extraordinary imperative of life.
Yes, George, certainty exists beyond the bong smoke. Happy New Year, you crazy bastard!

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