Magic is an interesting thing. It rests on the prinicipal of creating an illusion which is so strong as to obscure reality replacing that obscured reality with the reality the magician wishes you to believe. As an entertainer, I've often worked with other entertainers in other disciplines and magicians are truly cool. (So are jugglers -- unfortunately I didn't practice as much as I should have..........and juggling, btw, is also part illusion). The magicians who do the Big Tricks are the Rockers of the Profession, but it is the magician who does "table" or "close-up" magic who can really get you going. No matter how close you stand, or observant you think you are, the close-up magician has total control of the situation.
Total control is the name of the game. It has been said that "perception is reality". The only people who really get this are magicians -- and con artists. By controlling perception, you control reality and, therefore you control the situation. There are two ways to control perception and, hence, the situation. Either you are the creator of the illusion, or you are perceptive enough to see the illusion for what it is.
The belief that The Lab and Los Alamos are inseparable is an Illusion. The magician creating the Illusion is actually The Lab. Others may use the Illusion for their own purposes, but this originates with The Lab -- for its own purposes. The purpose isn't particularly nefarious, insidious, nor in any way was it meant to be harmful. In fact, it wasn't even meant to be aimed at the residents of Los Alamos. The Illusion was designed with Congress in mind.
It is 1944. A secret location must be found for a secret Project involving a Gadget. Security is an absolute. Ideally, the location should be as geographically isolated as possible, since geographic isolation provides a level of security that an entire cordon of officers couldn't hope to pull off.
It is 1947. The Project is done, but it is decided that the location should be made permanent for there is more work to be done as a result of the Secret Project which must be as secret and secure. Both The Lab and the Town of Los Alamos are born at the same time -- The Town is not the spin-off from The Lab for under the conditions of secrecy and security required a resident population must be available living behind Gates and Fences. No commuters allowed.
Reality Check: without the Town of Los Alamos, there could have been no Lab.
It is 1960. The enabling Legislation, an Act Of Congress has been passed setting the process by which full authority and independence is to be transferred from the AEC to The Town, and now, County of Los Alamos. The Gates are down, the County is open. The security needs still are there but The Lab has withdrawn into its own little shell.
It is 1989. The Cold War is over. Now, The Lab faces its real challenge. For the past 30 years there has always been the anti-nuke crowd, but there has also been The Soviets. Now there aren't any Soviets, but the anti-nuke crowd is still there and the balance of power has shifted.
The Lab has always depended, and still depends, on Congress for its very existance. And its money. As long as there were The Soviets, getting the money wasn't too difficult, except for that little hiccup in 1970, when the anti-war crowd, and the anti-Nixon crowd (helped enourmously by Nixon) joined forces with the anti-nuke crowd. But as of 1989 the math changed. "The Soviet Threat" was no longer leverage and The Lab needs leverage of some kind because of the 535 people who serve in The House and Senate, only 4 (now 5) represent New Mexico. Means there are 530 votes which gain nothing for themselves or their constituents by funding The Lab. That's a tough crowd.
But they are a fairly decent bunch (political shenanigans aside). Most of them really do want to do what is right, and most of them don't want to do anything that would be truly harmful to anyone else. And they all remember that little hiccup in 1970 when some very idealistic types thought that if you cut the Defense Budget the Pentagon wouldn't have any money to run its precious little war in some jungle/rice paddy paradise. The result of that hit not only Los Alamos, it hit every small town nationwide which had any contract with the Defense Department in any way shape fashion or form. A lot of people around the country lost their livelihoods -- and some took their own lives. No one in Congress ever ever ever wants to be responsible for that sort of thing again.
So The Lab comes up with Plan B. Tell Congress that if The Lab doesn't get The Money, the result will be 1970. Well, that's a little hard to believe, hence The Illusion -- That Los Alamos and The Lab are inseparable. Okay, well that'll only get so much traction as well, because what the heck its only the one little town. So make The Illusion more far-reaching. Ever since the Gates came down and there was a place called Rio Rancho, some small number of folks have been commuting to their jobs at The Lab. Kismet. Extend the influence range of The Lab to include all of Northern New Mexico. Congress may, reluctantly, let a small town go down the drain, but it won't let the economy of half of an entire State go down the drain. That would be enough of a version of 1970 as to essentially be 1970.
See how that works? Its Magic. But, and this is a big But, there is the threat of Heresy. Heresy is that Los Alamos and The Lab are separate. So at all costs, Los Alamos must be made to be totally dependent on the Lab and Los Alamos must never be allowed to institute its own Plan B -- fundamental productive economic diversification. The Los Alamos Plan B could undermine the effect of The Lab Plan B.
Right now The Lab is living on borrowed time -- bestowed by Osama bin Laden. Various nuclear weapons reduction treaties have reduced the prinicipal purpose for having a Lab in the middle of no where. The non-weapons, pure Science stuff, could be done anywhere. Do not think that congressional types have not thought about what a boost it would be to the economies of their constituents to snag one of those little plums. When the time comes, as it eventually must, that the weapons component of the Lab work is no longer required, then the only leverage The Lab will have is the ghost of 1970.
Control of perception is control of the situation. Either one is the maker of the Illusion, or one is perceptive enough to see through the Illusion.
Reality Check: The percieved/believed Los Alamos/Lab relationship is an Illusion wrapped in an Engima and enveloped in the Smoke from the Hookah Pipe that is puffing on the South Mesa. Know the Truth and the Truth shall set you Free -- but only if you want to be set free. Problem is, in times of percieved peril people would really rather hide in the little cages they have built in their own minds -- or have had built for them.