One Red Heifer
Democracies provide for a changing of the guard every few years. When some more serious shift of power occurs, even the most carefully crafted democracy will be put to the test. At our bicentennial mark, we are the oldest democracy. Other democracies have come and gone.
Before democracy there was divine rule. Kings and emperors ruled at the pleasure of the Gods. The king's subjects would look for portents of divine displeasure and keep an eye on the palace politics.
The recent birth of a red heifer in Indiana may precipitate popular unrest among the Hasidim in Israel that could subvert the fragile peace of several regimes in the Middle East, with unknown global consequences.
The authority of the Gods is based on human perceptions of same. The modern authority of science as embodied in technocracy is no less based upon human perceptions, despite whatever claims to absolute truth the scientific establishment may wish to make. Secular democracy and scientific authority have become highly interdependent, and perhaps equally fragile.
Deeper in the human psyche, every authority and every reality is open to question. In times of stress, in the interregnums, in the Twilight of the Gods, one red heifer can deconstruct the most finely crafted global civilization.
Mr. D. is such a heifer, an authentic modern prodigy, born right in the King's own stables. What is the King to do? The King must ignore all prodigies. But even the Sagans and the Clintons are not superhuman, they are not above wondering about lights in the sky and rumors in the parlor. The rasputins can smell the blood of the Gods. The subjects keep a close eye on the palace scandals.