Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Perspective...

I was sent a propaganda piece, without attribution but my quess is that it originated in one of the free-market "think tanks" where thinking is anything but de riqueur, by an ecologist/artist friend, who probably received it from a conservative relative who thinks a growth economy is the only thing keeping us from reverting to barbarism.

As seems to be my lot in life, I felt compelled to reply. Also, it never ceases to amaze me how other articles that have come across my desk in the past few days provided important concepts to weave into this.

Anyway, the original piece is included in its entirety with my comments interspersed.

> Think about it...

Yes, think about it indeed. This nationalistic, jingoistic nonsense could only have originated with a libertarian free-marketer.

However, probably unbeknownst to even him (definitely unintentional), he makes a couple of points that people do need to start examining deeply.

> The OPEC minister may look you in the eye and say:
> "We are at war with you infidels and have been since the embargo in the
> 1970s. You are so arrogant you haven't even recognized it. You have more
> missiles, bombs, and technology; so we are fighting with the best weapon
> we have and extracting on a net basis about $700 billion/year out of your
> economy. We will destroy you! Death to the infidels!" "While I am here I

Quite true that our arrogance isn't widely recognized. Our defense budget is being totally wasted on protecting a way of life that is unsustainable and about to push us over the cliff of extinction. The Earth, of course, will survive. It rebirthed life after the Cambrian extinction, it just took 100 million years to do so. So, don't think your Halliburton stock price windfall from gouging and defrauding the American taxpayer is going be worth much by then.

> would like to thank you for the following: Not developing your 250-300 year
> supply of oil shale and tar sands. We know if you did this, it would create
> thousands of jobs for U.S. citizens, expand your engineering capabilities,
> and keep the wealth in the U.S. instead of sending it to us to finance our
> war against you infidels."

Not only is this reserve estimate off by at least an order of magnitude, it totally ignores the fact that it requires more energy to extract those types of reserves than what they can provide, nor can what they hold ever be totally extracted. Then you can throw in the complete environmental devastation that comes with extracting these types of sources. The only reason to even think about tar sands or oil shale is that it continues an industrial paradigm of profligate waste for no other reason than to increase the holdings of central banks. However, we are distracted from this reality by the story that it is necessary to protect the transportation industry and supply the lifeblood for suburbia -- which has been accurately described as the greatest misallocation of resources in human history.

> "Thanks for limiting defense department purchases
> of oil sands from your neighbors to the north.
> We love it when you confuse your allies."

This is an excellent point, but not for the reason this guy thinks so. (And even if it happened to be a woman who wrote this, it is a totally male dominating mindset that wouldn't naturally arise in anyone whose compassion and nurturing instincts were intact.) What it points to is the total disconnect from reality of US foreign policy.

> "Thanks for over regulating every
> segment of your economy and thus delaying, by decades, the development of
> alternate fuel technologies."

Almost a good point. The reality is that the regulatory environment doesn't regulate industry, it regulates people while it hands out licenses for destruction. Regulations serve to simply rein in the worst excesses and appease people's innate sense of equity, in order to keep total runaway greed and power lust from completely subjugating life.

But it isn't regulation that is keeping us from alternative energy technologies. It is massive government subsidies (for which free-marketeers always look the other way) to big energy, and to protect the fundamental concept of centralization in as many aspects of our lifes as they possibly can.

> "Thanks for limiting drilling off your coasts, in
> Alaska, and anywhere there is an insect, bird, fish, or plant that might be
> inconvenienced. Better that your people suffer. Glad to see our lobbying
> efforts have been so effective."

Another complete disconnect from reality. All those other species that are being "inconvenienced" just happen to create and sustain the web of life that human lives and economies are totally dependent upon.

Let's take a quick look at what the system this extremely shallow puff piece is trying to support has given us:

Anthropogenic global warming is not just cause to worry about greenhouse gases that come from burning fossil fuels -- the industrial growth paradigm is giving us deforestation, desertification, soil salination and topsoil loss, acidic oceans, shrinking aquifers, and New Orleans and parts of Alaska are slowly sliding into the sea. Hypoxia -- loss of oxygen -- is affecting large stretches of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans which means these areas are losing the marine life that not only feed millions but which make up the very foundation of the global food chain.

No food chain, no food. You can't get any simpler, or more basic, than that.

> "Corn based Ethanol. Praise Allah for this sham
> program! Perhaps you will destroy yourself from the inside with theses types
> of policies. This is a gift from Allah, praise his name! We never would have
> thought of this one! This is better than when you pay your farmers NOT TO
> GROW FOOD. Have them use more energy to create less energy, and simultaneously
> drive up food prices. Thank you, U.S. Congress!"

This is one of those statements that get thrown into propaganda efforts like this to make people think the rest of the statements also make sense.

> "And finally, we appreciate you
> letting us fleece you without end. You will be glad to know we have been
> accumulating shares in your banks, real estate, and publicly held companies.
> We also finance a good portion of your debt and now manipulate your markets,
> currency, and economies for our benefit." "THANK YOU AMERICA!"

Actually, China and Japan have the most of this, although a few Middle East countries are starting to catch up. The Middle East, however, is much less of a threat in the long run as they have no production capabilities -- all they have are fistfulls of cash which are quickly losing value, and rapidly shrinking supplies of petroleum which we must stop using anyway in order to save at least some aspect of life as we know it. That they are trying to buy into a system where we have all been sold a bill of goods is simply an indication that they have absolutely no idea of what to do either.

One of the things that amazes me about the type of people who write stuff like this is that they also tend to be the people who rant about the UN and the concept of a one-world government that is going to take away everything valuable about democratic principles like life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

What they fail to realize, or to even acknowledge as the mounting evidence slowly crushes them under its weight, is that we already have a one-world government. This has slowly crept up and overtaken us as multinational corporations became transnational corporations and are now supranational corporations -- those who are above the nations and controlled by an elite managerial group who manipulate global financial networks. They owe no allegiance to any government; they exist everywhere and are specific to nowhere except the industrial world. The institutions they have created like the WTO work to ensure that quant concepts like national sovereignty become a thing of the past, especially if they impose any barriers to maximizing profit. Corporatism has arrived and is on its way to becoming fully entrenched.

Now, we could become the first species to use our intelligence to reverse our direction upon discovering we're going down the wrong path. Instead, we're living out the definition of fanaticism -- doubling our speed after learning we're going the wrong way. This explains the troop surge in Iraq, the push to open up drilling in ANWR, and passing legislation to turn all our productive cropland into agrofuel production.

And, to keep from examining these inconvenient truths, we're wasting our time blaming our problems on the people we're actually forcing to supply our addictions.

Beam me up, Scotty. There's no intelligent life on this planet.

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