I therefore offer the following modest proposal: Nuclear Blatancy Day. It’ll work like this:
Every Presidential election year, college and high school students across the country submit their bomb designs. The winning entries are cast into metal and chips (but no explosives and fissile materials, of course) and sent to the Nevada Test Range. There the bombs are loaded with plutonium from the armory, and lowered deep underground.
The contestants arrive, and their families, and technicians, and generals, and reporters, and Presidential candidates, and foreign dignitaries. Also on hand are marching bands (pro-bomb) and satirical giant-puppet troupes (anti-bomb). Both groups are welcomed as essential components of the inherently mixed message being sent that day. The Presidential candidates speak blandly of the People’s Bomb; the grandmother from Hiroshima pleads passionately for peace.
The countdown starts. Five, four, three, two, one, zero! Suddenly new craters collapse in the Nevada desert. The marching bands cheer, the puppeteers boo, and the foreign dignitaries look at each other nervously. Technicians announce yields; the winning contestants get scholarships and job offers; and the dignitary from Japan quietly tells the other dignitaries that these Americans are indeed as crazy as they look, so don’t mess with them!
I trust you understand, Dr. Pournelle, that the preceding three paragraphs are satire; but they are a satire that would work. It’s absurd, but slightly less absurd than what already exists. I offer it to you as my fulsome praise, and also my excoriating critique, of America and civilization and the entire human race.