The last century witnessed a scientific debate over whether the universe is expanding or contracting, or perhaps taking turns doing both. The current and bleakest view, of course, has been that the rest of the universe is moving away from us at ever-increasing speeds, thus eventually depriving future generations of what the philosopher Immanuel Kant called “the starry skies above and the moral law within.” [There is some contention among scholars concerning the meaning of this epigram: did Kant mean to treat the stars and the moral law separately, or as inextricably intertwined? We at MJTT prefer the latter interpretation, and have assigned two of our best and brightest thinkers to make it irrefutable.]
Twenty-first-century cosmologists have recently had to consider the case of the sinking of ever-increasing portions of the State of Louisiana into the Gulf of Mexico. What, they have been forced to ask, is the implication of this phenomenon for the movement of the entire universe? For example, does Einstein’s majestic theory account for this event, which, on first glance, appears to bear implications only for a few thousand shrimp boat captains? Or are we as think tank specialists obliged to rethink the whole of 20th century physics?
In the following columns, we will address this important issue. MJTT has already sent half a dozen interns down to the bayous to learn pidgin Cajun in order to discuss this phenomenon with the locals. In the meantime, those of us who remain at our headquarters will devote ourselves to the study of this intriguing development in the behavior of the physical universe and its implications for the future of mankind, womankind, childrenkind, and their pets. While our interns are conducting empirical research, we will be making use of our extensive library and expensive toys, not to speak of the afternoon glasses of sherry that are the source of our scientific inspirations.