At this naked moment in the American experiment, when many people perceive civilization on the verge of blowing up in some metaphorical sense, there is an elderly man in California hoping to seize your attention about another possibility.
It is that civilization is on the verge of blowing up in a non-metaphorical sense.
William J. Perry is 89 now, at the tail end of one of his generation’s most illustrious careers in national security. By all rights, the former U.S. secretary of Defense, a trained mathematician who served or advised nearly every administration since Eisenhower, should be filling out the remainder of his years in quiet reflection on his achievements. Instead, he has set out on an urgent pilgrimage.
Bill Perry has become, he says with a rueful smile, “a prophet of doom.”
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