David P. Barash and Ward Wilson at History News Network:
“You can’t put the genie back in the bottle.” Those of us eager to get rid of nuclear weapons hear this a lot and at first glance it seems true; common sense suggests that neither genies nor nuclear weapons are readily rebottled. But this “common sense” is uncommonly wrong. Technologies have appeared throughout human history and just as the great majority of plant and animal species have eventually gone extinct, ditto for the great majority of technological genies. Only rarely have they been forcibly restrained or erased; nearly always they have simply been abandoned once people recognized they were inefficient, unsafe, outmoded, or sometimes just plain silly.
Don’t be bamboozled, therefore, by the oft-repeated claim by “defense intellectuals” that we can’t put the nuclear genie back in its bottle. We don’t have to. Plenty of lousy technologies have simply been forsaken.