Sunday, September 21, 2008

It's still a closed system.

An article worth reading by one of the editors at which contrasts the myth of American Cultural superiority with the reality of finite natural resources. It's a rather long looking article, but there are several large graphics which actually take up quite a bit of space. The text is broken up into short easy to follow sections, so reading this won't take nearly as long as it appears at first glance. I recommend you read it all. I will, however, excerpt a few main points.

America’s self-inflicted societal collapse
Published Sep 17 2008 by Energy Bulletin
by Chris Clugston

...Our Predicament
Perceptions of our current situation…

[The] American Mainstream Perspective

Mainstream America believes that we have experienced transitory economic, social, and political problems throughout our country’s history; and that since we have always successfully resolved our problems in the past and have continuously improved our level of material wellbeing in the process, we have nothing to fear today.

[vs. the] Concerned Citizen Perspective

Concerned citizens believe that our orgy of excess caused a litany of ecological and economic problems, which are placing ever-increasing stress on our overtaxed ecosystems and economy. As a result, we are rapidly approaching various “tipping points” that could cause serious lifestyle disruptions if we fail to “act soon” by stopping the orgy and addressing its consequent problems.

[vs. the ugly] Reality

Because they perceive “cyclicality” to be the “natural order of things”, mainstream America trivializes or totally denies our current predicament. They hold a faith-based belief that our problems will always resolve themselves favorably, because they always have in the past.

Concerned citizens correctly perceive that our orgy of excess and its consequent ecological and economic problems pose serious threats to our American way of life, but they erroneously conclude that the orgy itself and its derivative problems are our primary concern.

American Overextension - Divergence from SustainabilityAmerican Overextension - Divergence from Sustainability

The reality is that our American way of life—300+ million people enjoying historically unprecedented material living standards—is not sustainable; it is not even close to being sustainable[12].

Overexploited sources of the critical ecological resources and economic resources upon which our existing lifestyle paradigm depends will prove to be woefully inadequate to support our ever-increasing population level and material living standards in the not-too-distant future.

Overly-depleted natural resource reserves, overly-degraded natural habitats, and overly-stressed sources of pseudo purchasing power will be unable to meet our rising domestic requirements, let alone ever-increasing global demand. We are grossly overextended—living far beyond our means—both ecologically and economically.

Our transition to a sustainable lifestyle paradigm is inevitable; our choice involves the process by which we effect our transition. We can transition voluntarily, thereby mitigating the associated lifestyle disruptions—population level reductions and material living standard degradation—or, we can refrain from taking meaningful action and allow Nature to orchestrate our transition, the results of which will be horrific....

...The Solution
Perceptions of the resolution to our predicament…

[The] American Mainstream Perspective

Mainstream America believes that any conceivable problem can and will be resolved through some combination of American ingenuity, technical innovation, market forces, and hard work. “They”, presumably a different “they” than the “they” who cause all of our problems, have always developed timely solutions to our problems in the past—and they always will.

Most mainstream Americans are willing to “do their part” in contributing toward the resolution of societal level problems by becoming more “environmentally involved” and “fiscally responsible”—so long as such efforts cause no inconvenient disruptions to their existing lifestyles.

[vs. the] Concerned Citizen Perspective

Concerned citizens believe that we must fix “it”—our broken political-economic system—and replace “them”—our self-serving, out-of-touch leaders—as a prerequisite to permanently stopping our orgy of excess and resolving its consequent ecological and economic problems. Unfortunately, while both ecologically concerned citizens and economically concerned citizens agree that the solution starts with a “responsible and responsive political-economic system” and “responsible and responsive leadership”, their views vary diametrically regarding solution specifics.

Ecologically concerned citizens would significantly increase government intervention and control in order to implement national, state, and local programs to reduce natural resource depletion and natural habitat degradation. Economically concerned citizens would significantly decrease government intervention and control in order to promote fiscal responsibility at all levels and reduce costly government waste and inefficiency.

[vs. the ugly] Reality

Because mainstream America is essentially clueless regarding our real predicament, its fundamental cause, or its catastrophic implications, it is not surprising that their implicitly endorsed solution to our societal level problems is the stuff from which fairy tales are made. We will simply “live happily ever after” through American ingenuity, technical innovation, and the unfettered free market.

Paradoxically, it is precisely the ingenuity, technical innovation, and free market to which mainstream Americans look for salvation that are driving us toward societal collapse, by increasing our rates of natural resource depletion, natural habitat degradation, and fiscal imprudence.

Because most concerned citizens perceive our fundamental problem to be systemic, and are therefore targeting “it”, “them”, and the specific ecological and economic problems spawned by our 200 year orgy of excess, it is not surprising that their diverse and sometimes contradictory solutions to the litany of discrete problems that confront us fail to address our fundamental predicament and its underlying cause.

Interestingly, solutions supported by both mainstream America and concerned citizens share a common element; they erroneously presume that our American way of life can be perpetuated—the American mainstream “as is”, concerned citizens “with improvements”. Neither group understands that “sustainability” is inevitable; nor do they appreciate the catastrophic consequences that await us if we fail to transition voluntarily to a sustainable lifestyle paradigm.

The reality is that our American way of life cannot be perpetuated through “American know-how”; nor can it be perpetuated through “systemic fixes”—it cannot be perpetuated, period. Our American way of life is not sustainable—it must and will come to an end in the not-too-distant future.

Our predicament—grossly overexploited sources of the increasingly scarce ecological and economic resources that enable our very existence—cannot be resolved within the context of our existing lifestyle paradigm, which is responsible for our predicament in the first place. No amount of “know-how” or “system modifications” can create unlimited natural resources and habitats or perpetual economic growth and prosperity on a finite planet.

We must refrain from further futile attempts to make ecological and economic reality conform to our distorted cornucopian worldview and dysfunctional detritovoric resource utilization behavior, and adopt a worldview and resource utilization behavior that conform to ecological and economic reality[15]...

This writer goes on to describe something he calls the American Cultural Revolution, which sounds suspiciously like relocalization, self-sufficiency, and a return to the household economy, but then ends with the lament that this simply will not be done.

And it won't be, not by the vast majority of American people.

But our communities can be different - only if we choose to make them so. Only if we choose to change our priorities and switch to relocalization, energy conservation, self-sufficiency and switch as many of our everyday activities as possible to a system of co-ops and social societies that don't rely on the cash economy to provide for our needs. We used to know how to do these things - there's no reason we can't do them again.

However, as long as we are infected by same worldviews that have caused the Decline of the West, our communities will fall with them.

...The Real “Inconvenient Truth”

Unfortunately, the probability that we will choose to modify our distorted worldview and our dysfunctional resource utilization behavior is essentially zero. We will not implement an American[-Jewish] Cultural Revolution; and we will not opt to transition voluntarily to a sustainable lifestyle paradigm. As human beings, and especially as self-entitled Americans, we have demonstrated little capacity for self-limiting behavior—especially if it involves drastic reductions to some combination of our population level and material living standards.

We simply lack the collective will to reduce voluntarily our ecological/economic “footprint” to a sustainable size, and to live forever within the constraints imposed by that reduced footprint.

Instead, we will use the remaining ecological and economic resources available to us in futile attempts to perpetuate our American way of life at all costs, even as we encounter increasingly severe resource supply shortages and disruptions. Nature will inevitably intervene through disasters, disease, pestilence, and famine to force our transition to sustainability through societal collapse—unless we annihilate ourselves in the meantime through domestic and international resource wars...

By the way, the Chereidi aren't exempt from the draft here in America, in case you didn't notice.

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