History, literature, and the daily headlines are filled with examples of noble people being corrupted by power. Julius Caesar, Napoleon, Moe Howard – the list is long and depressing. Recently, many voices have expressed concern over a perceived tipping of the scales of power, over one entity acting unilaterally to achieve controversial objectives, over a dangerous concentration of authority where it was never meant to be. I am referring, of course, to the International Astronomical Union (IAU).
Several years ago, the IAU reclassified the once proud planet of Pluto as a dwarf planet. Every citizen of planet Earth should be concerned. If they can demote Pluto out of its planethood, what else can they do? Deciding the fate of astronomical bodies smacks of tyranny and megalomania. Do these despots reside on Mt. Olympus? Do they hang out with IRS commissioners?
Prior to the IAU’s action in 2006, the only known way of removing a planet from the universe was by using the Death Star. The IAU is, therefore, the only known superpower to have Death Star capability, surpassing the destructive capability of the U.S., Russia, China, and Godzilla combined, and with no radioactivity.