September 29, 2011
About eight years ago I wrote a book called The Religion War. The main premise of the book is that terrorists would someday use cheap, home-made drones, packed with explosives and navigated by GPS, to reach almost any target above ground. The FBI recently thwarted a plot of that sort.
As predictions go, that was an easy one. With so many terrorists in the world, the odds are good that at least one of them is a model plane enthusiast. The technology to make your own tiny drone is fairly accessible and the idea itself would be somewhat obvious to any nerd terrorist. And terrorists are copycats, so any scheme that works well once will become the go-to plot of choice.
The rest of the The Religion War deals with what happens in a world in which terrorists can blow up pretty much anything so long as it is above ground. We’re about five years away from that.
The plot of the book went a different direction than I will now. My question today is what happens when our leaders have a good reason to never appear in public? And suppose that era coincides with a time in which CGI technology can create animated images that are indistinguishable from real people? Answer: That’s when ugly people will once again be able run for public office. You’ll only see their improved CGI faces on TV and the Internet. That means we will elect more Abe Lincolns (competent but ugly) and fewer photogenic nut jobs. Engineers will finally be able to run for office!
In China, many of their leaders are unattractive engineers, and that approach to governing seems to be working for them. I think we can get to that wonderful place, but not until the terrorists drive our naturally attractive politicians underground for good. Ironically, terrorists and their tiny drones are the only things that can save this country.
You might argue that our media watchdogs will expose any ugly candidates by showing their high school yearbook photos. But I think the underlying reality will matter less to voters than you think. You don’t hold it against Michelle Bachmann that she uses makeup and styles her hair. I think voters will say to themselves, Yeah, I know the candidate is ugly in his secret underground bunker, but I like the CGI face better, so it’s all good.