Public opinion and Nuclear Abolition

Student’s Name



Nuclear weapons are a grave threat to the future of civilization. As we allow the weapons to exist, we risk with the catastrophe that one time they will be used either intentionally or accidentally. The main aim of abolishing these cruel weapons from the face of Earth has encountered a variety of challenges even when it is essential for a great transition to a future that is rooted in respect for life, global solidarity, and ecological resilience. Elaine Scarry in her book “Thermonuclear Monarchy” demonstrates the threat of democracy through the use of nuclear weapons based on a decision made by an individual in power (Scarry 2014). She clarifies what the second amendments were before it was trivialized to a guarantee of personal pistol-packing. Therefore, the paper will illustrate the reason for “Thermonuclear Monarchy title,” link to the second amendment of the constitution and my position in regards to Elaine’s thesis.

The monarchy in Elaine’s title “Thermonuclear Monarchy” represents a situation where weapons such as nuclear warheads perception of torture are inherently undemocratic. It is a norm in the authorization of nuclear weapons that the lives of billions of people are placed in the hands of few people who have access to launch the codes and the power of command. The title also tend to represent the current state of thermonuclear monarchy which we live and not democratic one as perceived. Besides, through the title people are able to understand the unconstitutional monarchy where the head of states has an absolute power of command on the use of nuclear weapons. In regards to this, Elaine quotes Richard Nixon boasting during his impeachment proceedings stating that “I can go into my office and pick up the telephone and in twenty-five minutes seventy million people will be dead.” (Scarry 2014). Therefore, this statement represents the authority of any US president during a nuclear age.

Moreover, the reason for the title “Thermonuclear Monarchy” is to explain the form of government which tends to replace the known democratic form. It is apparent that the Americans give little thought to the policy through which the president can take to command a first strike using nuclear weapons. That said, the title is also a description of presidents extra-constitutional control on weapons of mass destruction has erased our democracy and rendered us a monarchy. In light of this, the author used the topic to explain the monarchy form of government that has replaced the democratic one that is perceived to be in the public domain and constitution (Scarry 2014). Besides, the title also describes two sets of government in a single nation where in the world of nuclear weapons the monarchy form of government takes over while in other affairs democratic form of government tends to take over.

The US second amendment states that “A well-regulated militia, being appropriate to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed” is related to the anticipated role of Congress and people in the book “Thermonuclear monarchy.” To begin with, in the US, Elaine argues that popular control is a constitutional mandate given lawfully according to the constitution. In regards to the second amendments, Elaine affirms that it offers another chance for people to solve the undemocratic decisions when it comes to warfare. This is the reason as to why the right to bear arms for the state is placed in the hand of citizens (Halbrook 2013). Based on this, there is a collective decision making where the people are involved should be made in case of war. Therefore, the role of the people in participating is identified in each case.

Moreover, nuclear weapons delink the contract existing in the constitution and democracy by removing the mandate of the people as decision makers. Elaine clarifies what the second amendment was about before it was transformed to merely a guarantee of individual pistol packing. According to her, the amendment provided a second consent by the people after approval of all the houses of Congress to a president taking the nation to war (Scarry 2014). However, this has been challenged by the Congress who gave war-making power to the imperial presidency as a body to make decisions as far as war is concerned. Therefore, the book “Thermonuclear Monarchy” determines the tools for use to eliminate nuclear weapons and restore decision making power for war back to the Congress and people as stated in the constitution.

Therefore, the main link between the book “Thermonuclear Monarchy” and the second amendment is hooked in the role of the people in giving war consent. Elaine in the book explains using history where the role of the people as provided in the constitution were to be undermined by authorities. Based on the statements of US presidents that in just twenty minutes after making a call, seventy Billion people will be dead. According to Elaine, Nixon described not only his own state of power but also the ability of every US president during a nuclear age which undermines the democratic rights of the people (Scarry 2014). To support this, the second amendments states that the consent of the people should not be undermined in whatever reason. Thus, both the book and second amendments point towards the consent of the people in making a war decision.

I agree with Elaine Scarry thesis “we are living in a thermonuclear monarchy where a single person-US president can destroy the earth. First, it is true that nuclear doom is an accident which is at the corner of taking place and this is based on the current wars on nuclear dominance. It is apparent that most countries have a weak decision making a link when it comes to war which creates a danger that one person can decide to kill as many people as possible (Scarry 2014). To support this, President Nixon once said that he could make a call and it just twenty minutes Billions of people would be dead. Any US president in the nuclear age has the power to do this since they have the codes especially the power to declare war without further consultation from the people.

In addition, it is true that nuclear existence broke the inherent contract between constitution and democracy government and introduced a kind of monarchy system of governance. The president of any state is perceived to have the powers to command and make decisions of war neglecting people’s consent. It is apparent that the constitution requires the president to seek consent from the people (Nye Jr 2016). However, this is not always the case which confirms the undemocratic nation we live in where the law is set, but it is not adhered to. In part, it also confirms a monarchial system of governance especially in the use of nuclear weapon where the power only lies in the hands on the heads of states to make such decisions.


Nuclear weapons are deadly weapons that can lead to mass destruction of people hence a threat to human life. Due to their deadly threat to human existence, a campaign to stop its use has faced a lot of challenges. For instance, Elaine in her book “Thermonuclear monarchy” describes the problem of nuclear weapon abolition while at the same time presents a possible solution to the existing problem in the use of nuclear weapons by people in authority. She presents the power of the second amendment constitution which requires the leaders like a president to seek consent from the people before launching an attack. The implementation of the second amendment will reverse the power to the citizens in making decisions regarding any war declaration. Moreover, through the book, it is evident that a monarchy system of governance in the use of nuclear weapons tends to replace the existing democracy system in the US.


Halbrook, S. P. (2013). That every man is armed: The evolution of a constitutional right. UNM Press.

Nye Jr, J. S. (2016). Bound to lead: The changing nature of American power. Basic Books.

Scarry, E. (2014). Thermonuclear Monarchy: Choosing between democracy and doom. WW Norton & Company.