By Eddie Whitlock
The Georgia Guidestones had offered principles for those who survive a nuclear apocalypse.
I think that whoever had the stones placed there have an overly optimistic opinion of humans. I know this one group of humans who have a book with some great principles in it. They
carry the book around, but most of them seem oblivious to the ideals it promotes.
The Georgia Guidestones were located in Elbert County, not far from my home in
Winterville. I took Joan there last year. It was a weird tourist attraction. It wasn’t old. It
wasn’t conveniently located. There was no gift shop. There was not even a refreshment
stand. Capitalism dropped the ball.
Once you read the engraving, noted the various languages, and marveled over
the celestial set-up, there wasn’t much left to do. Most folks pose standing in front of the
thing. Joan and I did. There really should have been a t-shirt shop. This is America,
Then somebody blew it up.
I posted on Facebook (the only social media platform a person my age
understands) about the guidestones. That’s when I found out that they’re controversial.
This surprised me because – as I said – there are no t-shirts so who knew anyone had
an opinion about them?
I love post-apocalyptic fiction. I’m in a discussion group at the library that’s
dedicated to such books.
I was surprised. Mainly, I had not critically read the guidestones. I had given
them consideration from the point of view of an old fellow who loves post-apocalyptic
stories. For the record, here are the ten guiding principles from the stones:
1. Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.
2. Guide reproduction wisely – improving fitness and diversity.
3. Unite humanity with a living new language.
4. Rule passion – faith – tradition – and all things with tempered reason.
5. Protect people and nations with fair laws and just courts.
6. Let all nations rule internally resolving external disputes in a world court.
7. Avoid petty laws and useless officials.
8. Balance personal rights with social duties.
9. Prize truth – beauty – love – seeking harmony with the infinite.
10. Be not a cancer on the Earth – Leave room for nature – Leave room for
Attention-seeking ministers were on the scene when the stones were unveiled
and attacked them as being satanic. That was 1980, though, and I think we all know
Satan was busy that year getting Ronald Reagan elected President.
I’m going to skip the first two and come back to them later. Number three is a
great idea called “Esperanto.” You can look it up on Wikipedia and be amused by the
idea that William Shatner had to learn dialogue in a made-up language just so he could
be in a movie before he became Captain Kirk.
Numbers five and six are easy enough once you can get everyone to agree on
borders. By “easy enough,” I mean we’ll never get to that point. Good grief, Georgia and
Tennessee still argue over a border that was mismarked in 1802.
I’m going to skip over number seven for now. It works better as a conclusion, I
Guiding principles eight, nine, and ten make my little liberal heart giddy with good
feelings. The assuming of responsibility should entail an involvement in the governing
process. The esoteric truth, beauty, love, and harmony with the infinite are crucial.
Acknowledging them is the sort of forward thinking that leads states to decriminalize
Now to tackle the two difficult principles.
There were around 500 million people on the planet in the year 1650. A lot of
great stuff apparently happened in that era. Setting that number as the ideal population
makes a lot of sense. Currently there are nearly 8 billion people in the world. If the ones
I have met are any indication, we could certainly get by with 94 percent fewer.
It’s the second principle that got under the skin of a lot of folks. “Guide
reproduction wisely” certainly sounds like government intrusion into personal rights. And
to suggest “improving fitness,” is seen by many as eugenics. I didn’t see it that way
when I first read the thing, but I can certainly see it now.
The idea of “improving diversity” also seems like a liberal idea. It just ought not
be right there next to a phrase that suggests something hideous.
You’ll notice, I hope, that I haven’t considered who the author of these words
was. You can look up the likely author if you would like. I want to judge the words
without considering the source. I am not saying you shouldn’t consider the source, only
that I didn’t.
The Georgia Guidestones belonged to Elbert County. Now that they have been
destroyed, I don’t believe the county is under any obligation to rebuild them. That five
acres can be used for something else now, I suppose.
I suppose they could vote to spend taxpayer money to reconstruct the
monument. They won’t. If enough folks of a particular faith got involved, they might
replace the Georgia Guidestones with the Ten Commandments. They might.
If I were a betting man, I would say the property will be sold to developers.
Georgia no longer has its stones, and it’s time to recognize that fact.
A weird and controversial landmark has been destroyed. It exists now only in our
collective memory and in the thousands of awkward tourist photographs.
I want to point out one other thing: According to Wikipedia, Yoko Ono said the
inscription offered “a stirring call to rational thinking.” Clearly Yoko contributed to the
break-up. Sorry: I can’t resist low hanging fruit.
I will end this column by addressing principle seven: Avoid petty laws and
Oh, that we could! Oh, that we could!
Eddie Whitlock is a Georgia native, a graduate of UGA, and wannabe writer. He retired in 2021 from the Athens-Clarke County Library, where he worked as coordinator of volunteers, community service supervisor, and vending machine scapegoat.