Look around. On the very same day that astronomers rejoiced at the discovery of the two Earth-size planets, the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity urged two leading scientific journals not to publish details of lab experiments that just created a lethal and highly transmittable form of bird flu virus, lest that fateful knowledge fall into the wrong hands.
This is not just the age of holy terror, but also the threshold of an age of hyper-proliferation. Nuclear weapons in the hands of half-mad tyrants (North Korea) and radical apocalypticists (Iran) are just the beginning.
Lethal biologic agents may soon find their way into the hands of those for whom genocidal pandemics loosed upon infidels are the royal road to redemption.
And forget the psychopaths: Why, just 17 years after Homo sapiens discovered atomic power, those most stable and sober states, the United States and the Soviet Union, came within inches of mutual annihilation.
Rather than despair, however, let's put the most hopeful face on the cosmic silence and on humanity's own short, already baleful history with its new Promethean powers: Intelligence is a capacity so godlike, so protean that it must be contained and disciplined.
This is the work of politics — understood as the ordering of society and the regulation of power to permit human flourishing while simultaneously restraining the most Hobbesian human instincts.
There could be no greater irony: For all the sublimity of art, physics, music, mathematics and other manifestations of human genius, everything depends on the mundane, frustrating, often debased vocation known as politics (and its most exacting subspecialty — statecraft).
Because if we don't get politics right, everything else risks extinction.
We grow justly weary of our politics. But we must remember this:
Politics — in all its grubby, grasping, corrupt, contemptible manifestations — is sovereign in human affairs. Everything ultimately rests upon it.
Fairly or not, politics is the driver of history. It will determine whether we will live long enough to be heard one day.
Out there. By them, the few — the only — who got it right.
Krauthammer may be reached by email at lett...@