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Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Aborting Baby Hitler?

by JASmius

It all started with a New York Times Magazine poll of readers asking if they would go back in time to kill baby Hitler if given the chance.

Then Ben Carson's presidential rival Jeb Bush showed himself to be game for the question earlier this week when he told the Huffington Post, "Hell yeah, I would!"  And today Gentle Ben was asked the same question, and he replied in the negative:

GOP presidential front-runner Ben Carson is the latest to be asked whether he'd go back in time and kill baby Hitler.

He would not, Carson said....

"I'm not in favor of aborting anybody," Carson replied before turning away to speak to members of the press asking him serious questions.

This is the crassest of Obamedia "gotcha!" queries, the classic "Have you stopped beating your wife?" question, and one that should not even be acknowledged but rather contemptuously ignored.

If, however, any other GOP candidates want to take it up, I have some suggestions for them:

1) Time's Arrow: This is a basic concept in temporal physics.  It basically says that time only flows -, or, rather, only appears to flow - in one direction, from past to future, in the same direction as entropy, from a state of less chaos to one of greater chaos, in accordance with the Second Law of Thermodynamics.  Backwards movements in time are theoretically possible, but as a practical matter the runaway Hawking radiation at the Cauchy horizon of any wormhole with a temporal dimension to it would vaporize any spacecraft attempting to move through it and, therefore, back in time.

In short, for us, time travel is impossible, so the issue of whether or not to go back to Braunau am Inn, Austria, in the fall of 1888 or winter or spring of 1889 and chop up the future Nazi dictator in utero is not a relevant question to the American presidency, in addition to overseas abortions not being within a POTUS's purview and domestic abortions being a State, not federal, issue.

2) Why kill Hitler in the womb?: There are any number of other times and opportunities to kill Hitler after he was born and still accomplish the presumed purpose of averting his eventual rise to dictator of Nazi Germany and plunger of the world into the to-date largest, deadliest war in human history.  How about grabbing him as an infant and drowning him in the bathtub?  Seizing him on the way to school and caving in his skull with a rock?  And he was an infantryman during World War I; I can't imagine it would have been all that difficult to arrange a "fatal accident" for the young, failed artist in the middle of a lethal combat zone.  This fixation on a single mode of Hitler's premature offing as though saving several million of Hitler's victims by means that have been used to massacre eight or nine times that many American babies none of whom were Adolph Hitler lends the latter any kind of moral authority is simply macabrely absurd.

3) The dangers of time travel: Remember what I said about time flowing only from past to future in the same direction as entropy increases?  So what happens when you go back in time?  You're increasing entropy by going from a point of greater entropy to one of less entropy.  You're increasing chaos, or in practical terms, the chances of bad consequences from such a trip are far greater than good results.  There's simply no way to know all the ramifications, the variables involved and affected and created, by making a change in the past of that magnitude.

Kill Hitler, by whatever means, before he can become Fuhrer, and you may wind up changing very little.  It's not like there weren't a lot of Germans who thought like Hitler did in the 1920s and 1930s; the German people themselves had been marinating in anti-Semitism for centuries; the economic privations inflicted by war reparations stipulated by the Versailles Treaty and the Great Depression made them not just receptive to the Nazi message but eager to accept it and the notion of, um, "Making Germany great again".  The Nazis would almost certainly have taken over Germany, Hitler or no Hitler, and did many of the things they did in our timeline.

And consider that while Hitler was a genius at politics, propaganda, and oratory, he was an awful military strategist.  If he'd listened to his professional military and political advisers, Nazi Germany would have won the Second World War, or at least not lost it so catastrophically.  Killing him in the womb, infancy, childhood, adolescence, or young adulthood might mean Hitler's strategic and tactical errors aren't made, and therefore turn out to be a disastrous mistake.  Or suppose somebody even worse than Hitler would have arisen in his place?

Time travel for that purpose is tantamount to playing God without His omniscience.  It would be a very, very bad idea, and the epitome of the old adage about the road to hell being paved with good intentions.

Or the other thirteen GOP candidates and one Jackass in Pachyderm clothing can just roll their eyes at PFT Commenter and ask for any serious questions.  Going once, going twice, buh-bye.

That's what I would recommend.  Unless you don't mind a visit from the Federation Temporal Agency, or the Temporal Integrity Commission, or the Aegis, anyway.

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