That was 1971. Before the first oil crisis. Before the Iran hostage crisis. Before globalization ruled our lives. Simpler times, for sure. Just about everybody in Weippe was an FDR Democrat, dedicated to strong workers’ rights and a decent social safety net.
One of the honors students was in Zimbabwe last summer as the Zimbabwean economy crashed. His description of the human horrors, which included starvation and mass murder, was quite a lesson for those who believe we’ll behave when the grocery stores are empty. And also quite a lesson for those who believe the mainstream media are providing relevant world news.
Cheap oil allowed the construction of suburbia. Cheap oil allowed us to use our houses as ATMs. Cheap oil allowed the banks to borrow money inexpensively and lend it slightly more expensively (but it was still cheap). Cheap oil allowed economic growth.
Those days are behind us.
WTF? We lower our security by using less oil?
Mysticism has proven an insufficient foundation for conserving nature. Ultimately, I suspect it will prove inadequate for saving humanity as well. Although we could blame the lying clowns who represent us, the politicians merely reflect the populace, and therefore contemporary zeitgeist. Like it or not, the politicians we elect are six flights below the lowest common denominator in large part because we cannot reason our way up the stairs.
Do I want to see it all come down? Personally, no. Like everybody else, I do not want to die young after suffering immensely. But I’m wise enough to see beyond myself, and empathetic enough to give a damn about other cultures and species, and even future generations of our own species.
For those of you not paying attention to the news last week, here’s a quick summary: The United States economy nearly collapsed, taking the world economy with it. Only a quick infusion of cash by the Treasury Department prevented full-scale collapse. The problem: peak oil. The solution, such as it is: print money, sensu Weimer Republic. Ben “Helicopter” Bernanke is living up to his nickname.