Do Not Just Survive – Overcome

To overcome an enemy or to overcome a force, which would be easier to tackle? When considering the zombie conflict, one could either draw the line between humans and zombies or between humanity and an epidemic. But to fight against an enemy is easier to comprehend and plan for than trying to prevent against an intangible infection. One suggests a two-sided fight, while the other suggests a one-sided attempt at survival. As a head of state, I would vote to go on the offensive during the Honolulu Conference in order to label this conflict as a war against zombies rather than a survival against disease to maintain the ethical considerations that defines humanity as well as to actuate my people effectively.

 

The Redeker plan is compared to “inhumane” events of history, such as Nazism because of its social elitist elements of saving some, while sacrificing the rest. On the other hand, if the WWII comparison is extended, the plan discussed at the Honolulu Conference is reminiscent of the celebrated D-Day. This comparison is drawn from the motivation to fight for the “human spirit” incorporated in this plan. This “human spirit” is one the few factors in differentiating humans from zombies, helping humans view this fight as a battle against enemies rather than against previous loved ones and victims. With this plan, humans attempt to save those they had previously abandoned, which is a demonstration of elements of the humanity, such as cooperation and care – ideas that zombies, who just act for survival, lack. Giving the population this reconnection with the “human spirit,” would allow them to more easily trust me, which is another important characteristic of humanity.

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Cooperation is part of the “human spirit”

To implement the plan just for ethical reasons is a foolish decision for a leader. But one of the biggest benefits of going on the offensive and seeing this conflict as a war, is providing a conceivable end goal for the population. Having a tangible goal gives greater motivation. Going back to the WWII comparison, leaders who were able to tap into the morale of their population were able to more effectively motivate the population. Comparing purely the strength and economy of Germany to the US, one would say that the US was vastly superior during the time. However, the fervor of Germany’s population compared to the apathy of America’s population led to Germany making a huge impact in World War II, largely as a result of Germany mobilizing and cooperating as a whole country, illustrating the importance of morale. Although sending a limited number of soldiers against “[t]wo hundred million zombies” seems like “a very gloomy prospect for victory,” (Brooks, 271), it is still surmountable obstacle that can be overcome by chipping away the number. In comparison, an untouchable virus that could only be prevented against and not won against is demoralizing. Thus, to be able to inspire the population to act would perhaps yield better results than just having them wait until the “enemy simply rot[s] away,” (Brooks, 265).

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Morale can impact the war

One could say that humans are most powerful when they are motivated by ideas that transcends simple survival and movements that transcends themselves. Only by transcending our own numbers could we even hope to overcome all odds to win this war.

Total War, Total Epidemic

A nation’s leader usually makes decisions from a utilitarian viewpoint, or a perspective that would bring about the most salient effects for the largest number of people. This utilitarian view can be seen in the Redeker Plan, which chose to salvage as many as possible by sacrificing the others. Using this same line of thinking, I would have voted to go on the offensive in the Honolulu Conference, as it would be saving the lives of as many civilians as possible and sacrificing those who fought. Going on the offensive would also build morale, which had been severely devastated, in several nations. As one fighter says “the voices woke me up; everyone jawing, laughing, telling stories.”  (282). One of the most crucial survival instincts is the belief that one can survive, but with the severe devastation of morale, the thought of survival had not crossed the minds of many, and was purely categorized into “fight or flight,” as one survivor put it.

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Even with going on the offensive, however, “every second of life cannot be devoted to victory.” (272). Total war had never been an idea before the zombie apocalypse because no country could devote all its time and resources to fighting. However, this idea of “two sides trying to push the other past its limit of endurance” which normally defines human warfare, was particularly apt for the zombie war, which could be defined as a total war because there were “no limits.” (273). The sides were constantly changing and never fixed, with one side being able to morph into the other. Because there was no way of negotiating or coming to the terms with zombies, the war was unbounded and consumed all resources and capabilities. The fact that the war was of such great capacity reinforces why it would have been best to go on the offensive in the Honolulu Conference. A war establishes that there are two sides, and that one is clearly against the other. However, by using an epidemic as a metaphor for total war, we see that the one side is completely ravaging the other. We saw this SARS and Ebola in The Hot Zone. The goal when fighting an epidemic is survival, which is the case here. The goal when fighting a war, is to win, which does not always constitute survival. Therefore, an epidemic could serve as a metaphor for the zombie war, but only if it is categorized as a total war and not just a war in which two sides are opposed to each other.