On March 1, I received from Sam Clam an e-mail whose subject line said, "The world media do not listen to Lev but the world military do."
Attached to the e-mail was an article by professor Gregor Wolbring, published in Raiders News Network.com under the title: "Dread at Unavoidable Start of Nano Arms Race."
It is true that NewsMax.com has been, throughout the 2000s, the only outlet for the general public that posted articles (such as my columns) about Eric Drexler and his nanotechnology. Yes, having developed "nano arms," China may annihilate the United States without the attacked country's retaliation.
Such retaliation has been possible in a nuclear attack, since nuclear weapons cannot find and destroy the attacked country's hidden means of retaliation, while nano weapons can.
Hence, for many decades, the major nuclear powers (the United States, Russia, and China) have maintained peace among themselves based on Mutual Assured Destruction, but nano weapons remove that shield.
Needless to say, that is why I became a member of the Foresight Institute, which Drexler co-founded in 1986, simultaneously with the publication of his book "Engines of Creation: The Coming Era of Nanotechnology." Chapter 11 of the book was entitled "Engines of Destruction," yes, far more destructive than nuclear weapons. I attended the conferences of the Institute, said at them that Drexler was the Einstein of nanotechnology (the word that he coined), who was to save the West, and I wrote as much in my weekly NewsMax.com columns. But why don't the media outside NewsMax.com as much as mention him even when touching on the "China threat" today?
At the time Einstein sent, on Aug. 2, 1939, a letter to Roosevelt about the need for the United States to develop nuclear weapons, which had begun, according to Einstein, to be developed in Nazi Germany, the general American attitude to the German dictatorship was horror. If late in 1939 Roosevelt had behaved toward the dictatorship of Germany as the U.S. presidents have behaved toward the dictatorship of China for the past quarter of a century, he probably would have been impeached. So Einstein knew what he was doing when he sent that letter to Roosevelt. Besides, in 1941, Hitler formally declared war on the United States.
It was not easy to accept Einstein's theory of relativity, according to which the time in one room of your apartment differs from that in another room, for every point in space has its own time — there is no time, but only time-space, or space-time. When Hitler came to power, Einstein and his family were vacationing outside Germany, and German "Stürmers" pillaged his home. No wonder German scientists explained that only a Jew could be as nightmarishly insane as Einstein was.
Similarly, verbal attacks began on Drexler. In his "Final Response" to their argument, which began in "Scientific American" in September 2001, Richard Smalley wrote that when he told the schoolchildren he gave a lecture to, about Drexler's "self-replicating nanobots," "there is no question that many of these youngsters have been told a bedtime story that is deeply troubling."
Let us imagine children (and not only children) at the time of Galileo. Before his discoveries, there had been a tender sun, which rose in the morning to shed its light and set in the evening to enable all living beings to sleep better. But what was revealed by Galileo or Giordano Bruno? An infinite abyss, in which the earth is just one speck along with millions of specks or stars, some of them bigger than the sun, to say nothing of the earth. Galileo was just made to recant his nightmarishly insane view of the world, while Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake. Should Drexel have been made to recant his wild inventions, frightening children, or be burned at the stake? At any rate, today Drexler, full of physical and mental vigor at 51, "has nothing to do" with the Foresight (Nanotech) Institute, which he co-founded and of which he was the chairman for many years.
The hatred of Nazis for Einstein is understandable: a Jew, yet (how annoying!) globally recognized as a man of genius. But why such hostility for Drexler?
Mark Grissom sent me this explanation: "Lev, Please read this article and then consider why your warnings on China are ignored — pigs too busy at the trough to notice the wolf headed our way. r/Mark"
The attached article, written by Robert Samuelson of The Washington Post Writers Group, describes the obsession of many Americans with money. To them, China at peace means money, owing to the cheap labor in China. It was reported a while ago that 400 million Chinese live on $2 a day per family. And what they produce annually can be sold in the West for trillions of dollars. But if we believe Drexler, the Cold War will begin, and this money will be lost.
Yes, the annihilation of the United States in "x" days, weeks, months, or years is awful, but the immediate loss of money is even more so.
I personally have observed a particular case of greed above survival. Every year the U.S. Congress distributes billions of dollars on nanotechnology. But in the 2000s, there developed the production of commercial (nonmilitary!) nano items. Representatives of this commercial nanotechnology kept assuring the U.S. Congress that Drexler is good only for scaring children. Just as Galileo or Einstein?
Hence Drexler's Foresight Institute did not receive a cent out of the congressional nanotechnological allocations. Imagine the Manhattan Project without a cent to begin the development of nuclear weapons while the dictatorship of Germany was preparing a nuclear attack on the United States.
As early as June 15, 1996, the Chinese magazine National Defense printed an article by Maj. Gen. Sun Bailin of the Academy of Military Science under the title "Nano Weapons in Future Warfare." The last sentence of the article (written in 1996!) reads: "Nanotechnology will certainly become a crucial military technology of the 21st century." Well, photographs of Drexler were displayed at centers of science, and all his books and articles became available electronically online in English with interpolations in Chinese.
The leading scientists of the Manhattan Project were not military officers or government officials, but scientists of genius, many of them Jewish émigrés from Europe and especially Germany like Einstein himself.
The U.S. Congress has refused to give a cent to Drexler's Foresight Institute even after he had given up his chairmanship and become just a member of it who had abandoned his "Engines of Destruction" (nano weapons), Chapter 11 of his book of 1986, since the U.S. Congress obviously saw the nano Manhattan Project not as a nano Manhattan Project or as a financed Foresight Institute, but as a military-government bureaucracy like the one that had attempted to "establish a new democratic Iraq" and has shown itself as the most inept strategic institution in recorded military history.
Yes, Drexler has been ousted from his Foresight Institute. But he has not surrendered. Recently, my computer received from WOWIO 649 pages — his new book of 2007, based on his book of 1986, which he "updated and expanded." No payment of any kind — a free gift by future-oriented electronic mail, replacing the printing press of old.
I was an admirer of Drexler's book of 1986. But I have to say that the book of 2007 is a remarkable advance. While keeping the old contentions (including the title of the chapter "Engines of Destruction"), the 2007 book presents them in a more vivid, plastic, imaginative style, covers a wider intellectual space, and is more interesting to read. I wish Einstein would have written such a book about his theory of relativity 20 years after his first publication on the subject appeared in 1905 (and was barely noticed).
In 2006, Drexler married Rosa L. Wang, a researcher who had shared his "unorthodox view," and the marriage, it can well be hoped, will strengthen his intellectual independence.
You can e-mail me at email@example.com.
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