Will Communication Between People Cause ”More And Bloodier Wars Than Anything Else In The History Of Creation”?
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Steve Sailer’s new Substack has a post about the legend of the Tower of Babel, the possible evolutionary advantages of people evolving with separate languages, and the fact there’s now a ”monoculture” of English among not just the Anglosphere, but all the countries of the world.

 In 1841, the population of the 32 counties of the island of Ireland was 8.18 million, up from 6.80 million in 1821. The typical Irish workingman ate ten to twenty pounds of potatoes per day: a monotonous diet, but one rich in calories. Then Ireland’s potato monoculture was hit by the blight. By 1851, despite a high birth rate, the population was, due to starvation and emigration, down to 6.55 million, a drop of 20%.

When Dyson wrote, English was becoming the world’s dominant language, but was far behind its current status as increasingly the second language of elites most everywhere. And now we have the Internet to spread English and artificial intelligence to translate.

Does the world have enough friction anymore to slow the spread of bad ideas?

The Monoculture of English Menace, June 27, 2024

This is not entirely a new idea. In 1979, Douglas Adams wrote The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (the novel, I mean; it’s in many formats) and included a science-fictional solution to the problem of his protagonist learning to speak alien languages.

Arthur Dent, in the belly of a Vogon spaceship, hears an announcement over the loudspeakers in Vogon, and being told to listen, says

“But I can’t speak Vogon!”

His companion, Ford Prefect, more experienced says:

“You don’t need to. Just put that fish in your ear.”

Ford, with a lightning movement, clapped his hand to Arthur’s ear, and he had the sudden sickening sensation of the fish slithering deep into his aural tract. Gasping with horror he scrabbled at his ear for a second or so, but then slowly turned goggle-eyed with wonder. He was experiencing the aural equivalent of looking at a picture of two black silhouetted faces and suddenly seeing it as a picture of a white candlestick. Or of looking at a lot of coloured dots on a piece of paper which suddenly resolve themselves into the figure six and mean that your optician is going to charge you a lot of money for a new pair of glasses.

He was still listening to the howling gargles, he knew that, only now it had taken on the semblance of perfectly straightforward English.

Later Arthur asks

“What’s this fish doing in my ear?”

Ford says:

“It’s translating for you. It’s a Babel fish. Look it up in the book if you like.”

Here’s what the book says:

“The Babel fish,” said The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, quietly, “is small, yellow and leech-like, and probably the oddest thing in the Universe. It feeds on brainwave energy not from its carrier but from those around it. It absorbs all unconscious mental frequencies from this brainwave energy to nourish itself with. It then excretes into the mind of its carrier a telepathic matrix formed by combining the conscious thought frequencies with nerve signals picked up from the speech centres of the brain which has supplied them. The practical upshot of all this is that if you stick a Babel fish in your ear you can instantly understand anything said to you in any form of language. The speech patterns you actually hear decode the brainwave matrix which has been fed into your mind by your Babel fish.

“Now it is such a bizarrely improbable coincidence that anything so mindboggingly useful could have evolved purely by chance that some thinkers have chosen to see it as the final and clinching proof of the non-existence of God.

“The argument goes something like this: ‘I refuse to prove that I exist,’ says God, ‘for proof denies faith, and without faith I am nothing.’

“‘But,’ says Man, ‘The Babel fish is a dead giveaway, isn’t it? It could not have evolved by chance. It proves you exist, and so therefore, by your own arguments, you don’t. QED.’

“‘Oh dear,’ says God, ‘I hadn’t thought of that,’ and promptly vanished in a puff of logic.

“‘Oh, that was easy,’ says Man, and for an encore goes on to prove that black is white and gets himself killed on the next zebra crossing.

“Most leading theologians claim that this argument is a load of dingo’s kidneys, but that didn’t stop Oolon Colluphid making a small fortune when he used it as the central theme of his best-selling book Well That About Wraps It Up For God.

“Meanwhile, the poor Babel fish, by effectively removing all barriers to communication between different races and cultures, has caused more and bloodier wars than anything else in the history of creation.”

I don’t mean to worry my readers, but my iPhone—and similar phones everywhere in the world—will translate languages, including audio, well enough to hold a conversation with someone who speaks almost any known language, and AI will soon allow translation of conversations in real time.

So it’s not just the English language—your cell phone is in a position to cause more and bloodier wars than anything else in the history of creation.

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