As I prepare for my post-carbon future, I’ve been thinking about the benefits of empire. My entire life — all 47 years, so far — has been marked by economic growth and rapidly increasing national prosperity. My folks were the first in their families to attend college, and I spent my childhood in a small, redneck town filled with hard-working manual laborers — it was a logging town, complete with a lumber mill and filled with white, lower middle class folks. The only real dangers were barroom fights and bad driving. I was too young to drink in public, and very lucky to avoid dying in a car crash.
It’s been quite a ride, but the party’s about over. We rush headlong off the world oil-supply cliff next year, and the subsequent series of recessions and runaway inflation will spell the end of the Empire. Not to mention safety, security, and civilization.
I’m going to miss green corn tamales. They are so very sweet, and so very difficult to make from scratch. I’ll miss visiting family and friends, too. And traveling the country, and the world, with great convenience. I’ll miss health care. And eyeglasses, since I’m nearly blind without them. It’ll be a little embarrassing, and hugely undignified and quite possibly damned painful, to die from something as easily treated as a burst appendix or an infected scratch.
But I won’t miss people cutting me off in traffic. Or flipping me off, for that matter. According to a report I read a couple weeks ago, 58% of men have flipped somebody off in traffic, which makes me wonder: “Do 42% of men lack middle fingers?”
In fact, my mantra is inspired by traffic: That problem’s gonna take care of itself. Soon enough the traffic jam will be a thing of the past. I’ll miss some of the bumper stickers, but not the cars they’re on, or the drivers.
I won’t miss neoconservatism, either. And since it’s the only rendition of politics currently on display in this country, that’s a great reason to be happy about the fall of Empire.
And then there are the few things I’ll actually enjoy. The collapse of civilization is the last chance for myriad species and cultures. If I live to tell about it, I’ll enjoy seeing it all come down. We’ve obliterated so much, and it’s obvious we’ll not stop until we’re forced. Looks like that day’s coming, and soon.
Similarly, I’ll enjoy seeing self-indulgent people loaded with dollars but little sense as they wonder “WTF?” I only wish I had a few of their bucks to get ready for my off-the-grid mud hut.
It’s not much of a list. Apparently I’m simple-minded or simply not particularly creative. Probably both. Got something to add?