It’s the next Star Trek assignment issued to Captain Kirk by The Federation: correct situation on a Federation Planet whose population density is the proximate cause of its demise.
Plot twist: This time it’s not the planet Gideon. Kirk is shocked when he learns it’s his own home planet – Earth!
Pockets of Hate
It’s not an issue of “how many people can Earth support?” Whatever the number may be, the existential threat stems from local density; too many humans jammed together in megalopolises.
Worse, these urban areas have become peppered with unassimilated peoples from many different cultures and nationalities which do not easily mix. Many are non-citizens of the nations to which they have migrated. Many literally hate the native culture and citizens into which they are now embedded. They constitute growing pockets of hate which national leaders are loathe to deal with, or even to publicly criticize because of political correctness (a fact not lost on ghettoists, who are clever enough to use politicians’ squeamishness to great advantage). And so, the density is allowed to grow like a cancer which threatens the very existence of any nation in which it grows.
On the other hand, the world’s large nations contain vast regions of geography which are very sparsely populated or virtually unoccupied. As Commander Spock quickly analyzes, it is not total world population which causes the problem, but density – human friction, the clashing of cultures. He tells Kirk that like rats in a cage, when local population density reaches critical mass, like a nuclear chain reaction, the rats begin to turn on each other. They begin to go... well... squirrely. In case you’ve missed it; it was in yesterday’s news. It’s in today’s news. It’s in every day’s news.
Density. Critical mass.
What a Mess
The crew of the Enterprise can see how the humanity mass has polluted air, ground and sea. Mountains of refuse, the detritus of life, has piled up like the magma spewed from giant volcanoes. Human density produces huge profits for corporations less and less connected to the people they produce for. The need to survive drives those less fortunate to more and extreme measures.
Doctor McCoy shows Kirk a chart where 10% of Earth’s population turns to criminal activity in order to survive, or simply because the friction of human activity produces subcultures of criminals. Spock shows how, in Earth’s ancient history, world population might have been 2,000,000, and that would mean 200,000 rats would be causing trouble in the then-known geography. Bad enough. But, spread across the known world of the time, it was dealt with. Harshly to be sure.
Jump ahead to now. Current world population is approaching thirty-five thousand times as many as in ancient times... the total number of humans currently living was estimated to have reached 7,620,000,000 as of May 2018. Over seven billion humans! – at that 10%, it ups the number of deviants to 700,000,000.
“700 million criminals!” Kirk shows his shock, “Attracted to densely populated urban areas?”
Spock points out that, “Whereas the ‘known world’ was expanding in ancient times, Earth’s ‘known world’ is now all there is for Earthlings unable to escape the planet.”
So, despite notoriously under-estimated crime statistics, the crime problem is actually far greater than in the past. And it can only get worse as population density doesn’t just continue to grow but actually accelerates.
Add to all this the growing number of misfits, and we might have as many as 3,000,000,000 problem people on the planet.
“Think of it,” Uhura whispers, “A planet in this galaxy with a population of seven billion...”
“Yeh,” says Chekov, “Three billion of whom can’t be trusted or who can’t take care of themselves. It’s like Leningrad.”
Seeing the population of his home planet so deteriorated, Captain Kirk, not unfamiliar with The Old Testament, realizes the solution involves draconian measures. Such a large population cannot be moved. Population reduction along the lines of The Great Flood is The Federation’s solution. But Kirk, who is often accused of “playing God,” refuses to do what has to be done. He turns to Spock and mumbles sadly, “Let’s get the hell out of here.
“Chekov, plot a course for the Aldeberan System... Sulu, go to warp ten as soon as the course is laid in.
“It feels a little too crowded in these parts...”
“Agreed,” says Spock.
Cue Star Trek closing theme; fade to black.
Posted by andyboy at 6/24/2018 11:56:00 PM