Monday, May 12, 2008

A Short Science Fiction Story

The GOP's falling out with Big Pharma came in 2027 with the application of Pfizer for approval of Smartenal, its amazing intelligence enhancing drug. In trials, the drug had caused an average increase in intelligence in all users of just under 30 IQ points and a minimum increase in intelligence of 23 points. Separate studies of the experimental subjects suggested that users also experienced a marked decrease in religiosity and a decrease in self identification with the GOP. Freshman Congressman Herbert Starnes (R-OK), with the support of leaders of the religious right, characterized these additional results as "dangerous side effects". He sponsored a bill to ban Smartenal and similar drugs in order to do an end run around the approval process.

Smartenal and similar perfomance enhancing drugs were high on Big Pharma's agenda and were expected to generate unprecedented revenues. Moreover, it was expected that tens of thousands of collegians who might otherwise have become lawyers would become scientists instead with even more benefits to the industry. The industry was united in its resistance to the so called "Save Religion in America Act of 2027".

This was seen as the death knell of the GOP and the religious right, and enough fuss was made that hearings were held on the "dangers" of Smartenal. During the course of the Congressional investigation, it was decided that the Congresspeople in charge of it would try a single dose of Smartenal under controlled conditions. At that point, Congresman Starnes struck his forehead with his palm and shouted, "What was I thinking?" The Committee voted unanimously to suspend the investigation and to kill the SRAA of 2027.

In the last decade, just about everyone has gone on Smartenal. Some municipalities have started putting it in the water supply. One unexpected outcome of the widespread use of Smartenal has been the rise of the Libertarian Party to dominance.

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