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“Ten Women To One Man”

From The Washington Post, March 1, 2002

“President Bush has dispatched a shadow government of about 100 senior civilian managers to live and work secretly outside Washington, activating for the first time long-standing plans to ensure survival of federal rule after catastrophic attack on the nation’s capital. […]

“Officials who are activated for what some of them call “bunker duty” live and work underground 24 hours a day, away from their families.[…]

“The two sites of the shadow government make use of local geological features to render them highly secure. They are well stocked with food, water, medicine and other consumable supplies, and are capable of generating their own power.”

From 1964’s “Dr. Strangelove, or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb,” by Stanley Kubrick, script by Terry Southern.

DR. STRANGELOVE Mr. President, I would not rule out the chance to preserve a nucleus of human specimens. It would be quite easy… heh heh… At the bottom of ah… some of our deeper mineshafts. The radioactivity would never penetrate a mine some thousands of feet deep. And in a matter of weeks, sufficient improvements in dwelling space could easily be provided.

PRESIDENT MUFFLEY How long would you have to stay down there?

DR. STRANGELOVE Well let’s see now ah… cobalt thorium G… Radioactive halflife of uh, … hmm.. I would think that uh… possibly uh… one hundred years.

PRESIDENT MUFFLEY You mean, people could actually stay down there for a hundred years?

DR. STRANGELOVE It would not be difficult mein Fuhrer! Nuclear reactors could, heh… I’m sorry. Mr. President. Nuclear reactors could provide power almost indefinitely. Greenhouses could maintain plantlife. Animals could be bred and slaughtered. A quick survey would have to be made of all the available mine sites in the country. But I would guess… that ah, dwelling space for several hundred thousands of our people could easily be provided.

PRESIDENT MUFFLEY Well I… I would hate to have to decide.. who stays up and.. who goes down.

DR. STRANGELOVE Well, that would not be necessary Mr. President. It could easily be accomplished with a computer. And a computer could be set and programmed to accept factors from youth, health, sexual fertility, intelligence, and a cross section of necessary skills. Of course it would be absolutely vital that our top government and military men be included to foster and impart the required principles of leadership and tradition. (Slams down left fist. Right arm rises in stiff Nazi salute.) Arrrrr! (restrains right arm with left) Naturally, they would breed prodigiously, eh? There would be much time, and little to do. But ah with the proper breeding techniques and a ratio of say, ten females to each male, I would guess that they could then work their way back to the present gross national product within say, twenty years.

PRESIDENT MUFFLEY But look here doctor, wouldn’t this nucleus of survivors be so grief stricken and anguished that they’d, well, envy the dead and not want to go on living?

DR. STRANGELOVE No sir… (His right arm rolls his wheelchair backwards.) Excuse me.(He struggles with wayward right arm, ultimately subduing it with a beating from his left.) Also when… when they go down into the mine everyone would still be alive. There would be no shocking memories, and the prevailing emotion will be one of nostalgia for those left behind, combined with a spirit of bold curiosity for the adventure ahead! Ahhhh! (Right arm reflexes into Nazi salute. He pulls it back into his lap and beats it again. Gloved hand attempts to strangle him.)

GENERAL TURGIDSON Doctor, you mentioned the ration of ten women to each man. Now, wouldn’t that necessitate the abandonment of the so called monogamous sexual relationship, I mean, as far as men were concerned?

DR. STRANGELOVE Regrettably, yes. But it is, you know, a sacrifice required for the future of the human race. I hasten to add that since each man will be required to do prodigious… service along these lines, the women will have to be selected for their sexual characteristics which will have to be of a highly stimulating nature.

COMRADE DESADESKI I must confess, you have an astonishingly good idea there, Doctor.

Jeffrey St. Clair is editor of CounterPunch. His new book is The Big Heat: Earth on the Brink co-written with Joshua Frank. He can be reached at: sitka@comcast.net. Alexander Cockburn’s Guillotined! and A Colossal Wreck are available from CounterPunch.

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