After Armageddon

Someone at the grocery checkout mentioned I was on TV last night, in the History Channel’s After Armageddon.  Apparently I’m on camera several times; I think this quote is from me:

Another expert said it best: “We like to think that moral progress has made us nice people. We’ve heard that our distant ancestors were mean and cruel and ruthless, and we can’t imagine that we would be such people – but we’re nice mainly because we’re rich and comfortable. And when we’re no longer rich and comfortable, we won’t be as nice.”

It will be reshown Saturday and Sunday, so I’ll get to see it then.  (I recorded this in August, at their excess expense.  If you thought such shows would tell interviewees when the show airs, well you’d be wrong.)

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  • http://www.takeonit.com Ben Albahari

    There’s a youtube video from a survivor of Hurricane Katrina who experienced the reality of the principle: “when we’re no longer rich and comfortable, we won’t be as nice”.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Cqr54nxh1I

    Here’s a partial transcript:

    “…the family that I come from and the parents that I have were far too dignified to fight to get on the bus so we were going to wait – we weren’t going to punch and claw our way through. But eventually as the sun began to set we realized that we had no choice. People began to get more desperate and scared as the night went on and we were afraid of what people began doing. People were frustrated because people that had been waiting for hours were being skipped ahead by more aggressive people who had just gotten there and eventually we decided to ally ourselves with another family that was from the same neighborhood as us and we had to fight to get on a bus. I had to punch and elbow my way through crowds and my mother was grabbed by an angry mob and I had to elbow someone in the face.”

    “I hate the fact that I was forced into that situation. I hate that these white military officials watched as it happened and didn’t offer any help. That I was entertainment for them and that they they forced me to go into some kind of animalistic state and turn on people that were once part of my community. …it’s hard to understand if you’ve never been through something like this but like I said things that would normally seem crazy start to seem a lot more practical if you’re pushed to certain limits.”

    • Bob

      Your F’ing kidding me right? This nimrod gets on here and talks about “these white military officials” and nobody even calls him on it?

      Everything is ‘whitey’s’ fault to some people isn’t it – And it’s the white folks who are racists. Unbelievable.

      • Tyrrell McAllister

        If you believe that Ben Albahari made a false claim, which claim was it and what is your evidence against it? Ben did not say “Everything is ‘whitey’s’ fault”, so that can’t be it.

      • SARAH

        WHITES hate to hear the truth. wow. they hate to hear about any slivers of evidence of corruption, greed, or inhumanity on their part. they hate to hear about slavery in the Americas, the UN terrorizing (yes, terrorizing) Haiti, their hand in the Rwanda genocides, apartheid in South Africa, or even the downsides of affirmative action. But when they wield racism all over youtube, the rest of the net, the work place, schools (yes, schools), the park (i live in ann arbor), the grocery store, or anywhere else, it is LARGELY ignored. the only time i ever hear a white speak against racism is on the internet, and it will be only one or two very very small voices (“dont say that. it’s racist” but that’s it.) out of every forty or so big racist and extremely hateful voices. you guys complain about statements that HINT at the injustice of it all, but you say nothing to blatant and hateful stereotype, assumptions, etc against the non-white. ugh. ugh! UGH!

      • George Wallace

        Sarah whines like a nigger

  • cournot

    Ben’s comment reveals how important the promotion of order is to our genteel civilization. Promoting voluntary respectful behavior requires a background of force and the willingness to use it against defectors and deviators. The Victorians were able to stress manners and politeness because they were willing to crush those who would threaten their way of life in the most ruthless way imaginable and to force newcomers to assimilate — often in ways that showed no respect for different beliefs or cultures.

    In contrast modern American liberalism overvalues a universal sort of unilateral moral disarmament even when that allows the worst to prosper (think of public schools in bad areas) if it allows us to sneer at authority. It also presupposes a dominant protective US military umbrella.

    I suspect that a world in which China or some non-genteel power becomes truly dominant (even as a co-equal) will not be kind to our post-modern illusions.

    • TranshumanReflector

      “…I suspect that a world in which China or some non-genteel power becomes truly dominant (even as a co-equal) will not be kind to our post-modern illusions…”

      If we are still in a relative position of power in 30 years, I’ll bet that even we will sneer at these self-serving beliefs.

  • John

    Is there a “niceness” tipping point? I have been reading lately about crime statistics decreasing during the recession – contrary to predictions. I assume there has been an increase in the number and/or percentage of poor people (at least relatively speaking) but no commensurate rise in criminal activity. Is this because, in this country at least, even the poor are relatively rich and if so is there a threshhold of wealth where this is not the case. I am of course using crime as a proxy for “mean, cruel and ruthless”.

  • TranshumanReflector

    “…when we’re no longer rich and comfortable, we won’t be as nice…”

    Wow. It’s insights like these, simple and obvious but rarely stated, that give me hope that we’re going to make it through this century.

  • Samuel

    I just saw the show last night, and Your points were right on! I am a first responder in NYC, and I know first hand how people tend to regress to their most aggressive animalistic instincts, even when it is not an emergency. I’ve seen people become savages simply because a member of their community is put in handcuffs and being taken to the precinct, in regards to your comments history has proven time and time again that people will do cruel and vicious things to others in the pursuit of their own needs, or wants. I firmly believe that society as we know it will break down in a relatively short time, and those left alive will have to become aggressive and cruel in order to survive. The scary part of the show is that most of the experts agree it will only take about 3-4 days before a civil breakdown occurs. It’s something that makes me wonder how frail our society really is, and just how close are we to a complete meltdown in the event of a catastrophic pandemic.

    • Gary

      A pleasure reading your intelligent and civil comment accurately sizing up this film with realistic thinking and based on sound logic. I respect and appreciate your admirable First Responder dedicated service. A good day to you…. Respectfully

  • Bryan

    The tipping point? As pointed out in the movie, historically it’s 9 meals. (i.e. 3 days without food.)

  • David

    Our society calls it “our Human Nature” The Living God calls it “a Sin Nature” we are a selfish, greedy and self centered nation and WORLD. What else would you expect? It wouldn’t matter if you were a rich society or a very poor society, you will react the SAME WAY! YOU have the same SIN NATURE! But think about it, what a way to diquise the Rapture. Millions of people dead, chaos, no authority left, nothing but confusion, who would notice the millions raptured? Also how many people of the world would FREELY, WILLINGLY and with GUSTO quickly follow someone who would turn the gas pumps back on, start refilling the grocery stores, get the wheels of the trucks moving again, and bring some sense of order again? They would follow in the millions. God calls that person, the anti-christ. Whether you beleive in God or not,you can’t deny the story line fits perfectly, Hum, just as God predicted.

    • Alex

      Sorry David, but when you presuppose that people are inherently greedy and selfish, then they act that way. There is Human Condition, and our society, and unfortunately, religion has conditioned us to believe humans were made evil(Human Nature), instead of simply choosing this self-destructive path, we need to shuck these beliefs and realize that we can change the world whenever we want, we’re just too self serving to see it.

  • Becky

    Missed this show before. Just saw it today. It was frightening and enlightening. I will modify the way I live and study survival methods. I will buy guns and learn to use them. I will plan ahead………and pray to God that I never need any of it.

  • david

    nonsense propaganda.alot like the early 70’s british produced scare movie titled “no blade of grass”a scenario in where an experimental micro organism escapes a CHINESE research lab an destroys all forms of grasses around the globe corn rice wheat etc. causing mass starvation,anarchy, chaos,death,and destruction of human civilization.the plot involves a small group of people trying to survive and make it to a safe haven,small place that is not affected by the germ.of course like “after armageddon”the group has to deal with savage armed mauraders etc.while trying to reach safe haven.frightening?yes but it was just a movie that’s all! the same goes for history’s “after armageddon”,nothing but a scary “stir the pot”get some hysteria going type of movie where a super virus from CHINA (go figure)wipes out most of the earths’s population.some funny bloopers,notice the family leader has no beard growth after days without shaving while trying to reach saftey.
    another scare inducer was “earth 2100”,a documentary scenario about the death of the earth.chronicled by a ficticous woman,from her childhood to old age.i’m really scared.no….i’m sick and tired of all the leftist propaganda spewing out of the history channel,science channel,discovery,and A &E.i’ll go watch cartoons instead!

  • http://perham@aol.com doug

    loved it! well done! reminds me of why i keep an ak 47 and 400 rounds of ammo,plus all the survival gear and freeze dried food that iv’been stockpiling this last number of years.in these days and times who knows what might happen,it could be anything such as nuclear war(the us and russia still have enough icbm’s to cause fantasic damage to civilization and this planet in an all out war)total social decay and breakdown,disease etc.people have become such lazy idiots these days with the attitude like eat, drink and be merry for tomrrow we die.kind of like the ancient babylonians,when they were destroyed by the persians and the meads.i’m ready.

  • Phil

    About the third time I’ve watched this and there are a few errors, first bodys have disease, but latter when he looks for keys the bodies don’t have disease? So which is it, or do they even know?
    I wouldn’t want to touch one or be around any rotting or not.

    Thank God I am single and have no one to care for but myself!

  • Aaron

    cheese? dookey?

  • http://deperoe@aol.com don d

    i saw it,felt like history channel tore my skull open and shit in it.

    • Gary

      Well – you sure got an improvement replacement skull filler over the worthless sewage you used for thinking before you watched this program.

  • Gary

    An accurate and brutally honest message that we are forced to digest if a person wants the truth.? : “We like to think that moral progress has made us nice people. We’ve heard that our distant ancestors were mean and cruel and ruthless, and we can’t imagine that we would be such people – but we’re nice mainly because we’re rich and comfortable. And when we are no longer rich and comfortable, we won’t be as nice.” – See more at: http://www.overcomingbias.com/2010/01/after-armageddon.html#sthash.UKaSQUEE.dpuf

  • My Name

    The movie with some technical criticisms not withstanding is excellent and some technical items are not important. This movie points out many very important concepts that are currently lost in our society. Some of those concepts are survival vs entitlement and the entitlement portion of our society will be dying in the street looking for someone else to save them from themselves. Most people these days would starve in a room full of “PULL TOP ” cans.