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Three problems that fix themselves

SOME PEOPLE HAVE a negative attitude towards suicide bombers, considering them to be unproductive members of society. It’s a fair point, and I must admit, I’d be reluctant to invite one to dinner, unless I was REALLY desperate.

I once had a former boss (a newspaper editor) to dinner, and had trouble finding other guests grotesquely evil enough to match him. A suicide bomber or mass murderer would have been perfect, but there is a curious shortage of them in my social circles. I really must get out more.

* But there’s one recent trend in suicide bombing circles that one HAS to applaud. There have been at least SIX recent cases where suicide bombers succeeded in blowing up only themselves. In one case in Iraq, the bomber did not even slightly wound anyone else or blow up any buildings. He simply blasted himself out of existence.

Bravo! How can we encourage this type of behavior? Can we not give him some sort of award which encourages others to follow suit?

At the bar last night, I asked people to identify other self-fixing problems. My mentor/bartender offered the example of the hunger strike on Death Row in the US jail system a few years ago. "That was a problem that would eventually have solved itself, and saved a pile of taxpayer’s money," he said.

A drinker of a highly conservative bent said that the existence of smokers and drug addicts would qualify if he was in charge.

"Why on earth do they put warnings on cigarette packets and try to help junkies?" he said. Instead, he said, society should remove all the warnings and make illegal drugs so strong that they would be instantly fatal. "Wham-bam, the tobacco and drug addicts would wipe themselves out," he spluttered.

His intolerance for substance abusers was rather undermined by the fact that he was on his seventh drink, so I reminded him that alcohol was classified as an illegal drug in many societies.

Undeterred, he went on to make an even more obnoxious suggestion. "Gay people are a problem which will solve itself. They can’t have babies so they will all die out. What will they do then?" he asked. I pointed out that crusty miserable old conservatives had been wrongly predicting the same thing since the days of the ancient Greeks, two and half millennia ago.

* The most intelligent comment came from a Perrier-drinker female at the bar. "The biggest problem that will solve itself is the presence of the most pestilent species on this planet: the human race," she said.

She turned out to be a supporter of the Voluntary Human Extinction Society. Run by a guy called Les U. Knight, this group aims to encourage humans to stop having babies because Earth would be a much nicer place without people.

As soon as humanity vanishes, all the horrors of modern existence, including wars, bombs, torture, crime, High School Musical, Hello Kitty and so on simply vanish.

It all sounds brilliant. Yet there’s got to be something wrong with this argument. I’m just not sure what it is.

* Incidentally, if any suicide bombers are reading this, we recommend you take your gear to a remote location for a test run. Bye!

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