From Zak Newman's June 28, 2028 log in the time travel novel Saving JFK.
“Dr. Currant spent the first hour explaining the some of the basics of life in the early 1960s. He has purchased quite a few rare gold and silver coins as well as about ten pounds of common gold coins dating back to the beginning of the 20th century. Since he is a registered numismatist, he is allowed to make such a transaction without causing a fuss with MOM. These, he will exchange for dollars once we arrive. We’re familiar with the idea of dollars. They’re similar in concept to the exos that we use today, except they are paper, not electronic. But understanding the smaller coins is a challenge. The pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, and half-dollars are what Dr. Currant calls “pocket change.” For my money, carrying these coins around will only create holes in my pocket. I actually like our decimal system of today, although very few transactions involve transferring a part of an exo. A single exo doesn’t buy much and part of an exo buys even less. But A.C. assures us that these nickels and dimes will, in themselves, have some pretty hefty purchasing power in 1963. He’s also bringing some cut diamonds. These, of course, are synthetic. Today, diamonds are just another commodity, like wheat or oil, because of the low cost of creating them. According to Dr. Currant, experts today can’t tell the difference between the real and the synthetic. The synthetic stones are cheap now, but in 1963 diamonds were very valuable and only available in their natural state. They’re small, easy-to-carry, concentrated wealth and they’ll be no problem to sell to the right buyer, says Dr. Currant.”
In March 1934 Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker, race car driver, future president of Eastern Airlines, World War I flying ace and Medal of Honor recipient, wrote an article for Foreign Service magazine entitled “War or Peace”. The image above is from that article. The caption reads: “vultures of destruction…controlled by robots…operated by radio and television.” The cartoon predicts and depicts today’s military drone operations. Rickenbacker’s pre-World War II anti-war article, written by a man who had experienced modern war first-hand, is deadly accurate.
“The next war…will be a world war. But it will be unlike any other war that we know of. There will be no noncombatants. The battle front, roughly, will be the face of the earth. The roof of one’s own house, one’s own back yard, each will be part of the battle front. The combatants will be all living things.”
In some detail, he describes the horrors of the coming war. “These vultures of destruction, many—probably most of them—controlled by robots, will fly far behind the lines of advancing men, there to drop bombs weighing tons, the explosion of which will shake the average city as would an earthquake, causing buildings far from the scene of the explosion to tremble, crack, then crumble to the ground, crushing human souls to death, burying thousands there alive.”
But, after accurately predicting all the horrors of the next war, especially today’s euphemistically called “collateral damage”, he goes on to say that he does not believe there will be another war stating that “in the future if there is a war, no one can win but death.”
Capt. Rickenbacker was a great prognosticator of the future of military technology but a poor judge of the sensibility of humanity and the strange affection our political leaders have for creating unending war.
Much of the American Dream floats on the concept of becoming the King of a Hill. It’s an elusive, but worthy concept. Maybe it’s not limited to citizens of the USA. It may be a universal human desire to conquer something, to raise a flag and shout “I’m the best!”. No one can be faulted for blowing their own horn. We live in a competitive world, sometimes one which is belittling. We live in a Facebook world filled with people seeking the praise and approval of others. We live in a judgmental world with some disparaging the honest efforts of others which they deem unimportant. Understandably, some people don’t even try to climb the King’s hill. Others pushed into the dirt a few times by those with more strength or leverage, and they give up. Few make it to the top of the most sought after hills. But there are many hills. There’s a hill for every person. Choose your hill wisely. But make a choice. Be the King or Queen of something. Climb your hill. It’s part of life to climb to the top and experience the view. Forget the title. Everyone is a Princess or Price at birth. Climb the hill of your choice. Some are worthy of your effort and time. Others will disappoint. Some are for the blessed, and some are for the birds.