thoreau wrote:And, frankly, my view of human nature is that culture and a sense of duty matter.
Sure, but how much of, say, the culture and sense of duty felt by Egyptians in hieroglyphics days still remains today? Different language, different writing, different religion ... the only thing that's stayed the same is the name "Egypt." (And even that
is more continuity than most other pyramid-era civilizations besides China have.) And the time span between modern Egyptians and the pyramid-builders is only a small fraction of the half-life of some of that nasty shit nuclear waste contains.
One thing we do know from history, specifically when people are living surrounded by the remnants of an old culture that was obviously more advanced than theirs (post-pyramid pre-modern Egyptians, medieval Romans living by the grand stone or concrete structures built in Empire days, etc.) is that they go through a loooong phase where they do not think "Hey, we should preserve these magnificent monuments built by the Ancient Ones"; instead, they scavenge
the monuments and structures for material to build their current homes or structures. It's not difficult at all for me to imagine the behavior of people advanced enough to work with metal but not yet advanced enough to understand radioactivity, who find what appears to them to be a vault of pre-refined metals, much easier to work with than raw ores. (Indeed, "advanced enough to work with metal but not yet advanced enough to understand radioactivity" describes all but a hundred or so of the last several thousand years of human history and pre-history.)
"Myself, despite what they say about libertarians, I think we're actually allowed to pursue options beyond futility or sucking the dicks of the powerful." -- Eric the .5b