If you tell enough stories, perhaps the moral will show up.


War Against the Aliens

In Arthur C. Clarke's Rendevous With Rama, the world of the 23rd century prepares for a visit by potentially hostile aliens. A minor character, a general, justifies military preparations by claiming that even though humans have complete dominion over a wasps nest, we still leave it alone if we possibly can. So even though the aliens may be vastly more powerful than we are, they would still care enough about nuclear missiles to leave us alone.

I suppose that's comforting. But it's not very comforting. The wasps nest I destroyed on Sunday afternoon had little idea who I was, and no idea why I was attacking. Alas! they didn't know I was afraid of their stings and I would have left them alone if only they weren't so dangerous. Even worse, the means chosen by the superior alien -- me -- was an organophosphorus agent: nerve gas. We might be better off without our stings.

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