|"Doing more of whatever made the crisis happen in the first place reliably makes things worse".|
The caption under the picture above is from John Michael Greer's latest Archdruid Report, entitled, "The era of Response". The quote is so remarkable in that it is only now, years after an essay I posted claiming the exact same thing, that it is being made, not on the MSM, of course, but on an obscure (unfortunately) internet blog, and carried by Resilience.com.
Although the meme's the same, my target for the remark was something more specific: Climate change, and the fact that since the signing, or non-signing, in the case of the USA and China, of the Kyoto protocols, the amount of energy used and therefore, CO2 released into the atmosphere has not only accelerated, it has done so at such an alarming rate that it looks as though someone shot the starting gun off for the beginning of the Rat Race to extinction.
However, Mr. Greer's more inclusive meaning is, if we look around the globe at the course that events have followed, much more accurate. However, some responses can be worse than a non-response.
Let's start with Reagan's response to the arrival of peak oil in the United States:
Closer ties with the Middle East, specifically Saudi Arabia, and the removal of the solar panels from the White House roof, symbolic of the determination of the USA to continue down a path of profligate energy usage and War everywhere, forever more, as evidenced by his concomitant buildup of the Military and the National debt by means of ever-escalating Federal budget deficits, all while promising to reduce the size of the Federal Government, but instead INcreasing its size substantially. When the response of the President of your country is an out-and-out blatant liar, and the response to that by the polity of said country is to enshrine said President as though he's some kind of saint, the adoption of a strategy of lying right to our faces while doing exactly the opposite, is one that we asked for, and have received in spades.
His response also ensured that his campaign contributors would get paid back in kind, not only via tax breaks, but with those tax breaks resulting in an enormous deficit, meaning they could buy up that debt via government bonds at escalated interest rates, as Milton Friedan was simultaneously advising Reagan to let said interest rates float so that the bonds issued to pay that ballooning federal debt would be at eye-popping interest rates and poured into the bank accounts of the very people who used Reagan's tax cuts to turn around and sop up those bonds at a discount from Goldman Sachs, etc. and other "investment" banks, after they'd skimmed off their take. This is how Reagan, "got the government off your back".
The response to the Soviet Union's attack on Kabul: Radicalization of Islam and fostering rabid hatred of infidels, a hatred that couldn't but redound back onto the USA, which we all know it in fact, did. We also, should know, although I have yet to hear a single person anywhere mention the fact, that given what we know after more than a decade in Afghanistan, had we allowed the Afghans to handle their problem themselves, the Soviets would have brought about their own demise without our having made the Middle East into a tinderbox of rebellious hotheaded religious zealots who would then conspire to hijack planes and fly them into iconic American buildings, killing thousands.
Response to communist threats (supposedly) in Central American countries: This response gave us the Arms For Hostages, Trading arms for drugs, selling of drugs in American Cities under government, specifically CIA, auspices, and rampant murderous regimes in Nicaragua and El Salvador. The result, children without parents showing up at our border. Our response? "SEND 'EM BACK". This resulted in Iran using our own weapons against us, as the US president authorized, then denied doing so, the endangerment of US soldiers to placate the hostages' relatives.
Which brings us to the Iran/Iraq War. Our response? Arm and advise, and supply intelligence to Saddam Hussein, and our becoming dependent on the free fuel Kuwait was supplying our Navy with. But Kuwait was already on the cusp of peak oil itself, so their response to that was to use the newly tested technology of horizontal drilling developed by Halliburton and brought to them by the VP's relative, Marvin Bush, to drill across its border with Iraq and siphon off their oil.
So Saddam's response was to amass troops on the Kuwaiti border. Our response? What it always is: WAR. Which we rapidly won. But left the dictator in power. To which we responded by stoking Iraq's tribes to rebel against him. Our response? Let Saddam massacre them, and THEN declare a no-fly zone.
From there we get Clinton's response to the Serbia/Croatian dispute, to Albania and Kosovo, and to the request by the banking industry to repeal Glass-Steagal.
The response of GW and his junta to the Terrorist attacks on the WTC and Pentagon, or Obama's to Mubarak in Egypt, Gaddafi in Libya, Maidan Sq. in Ukraine. The response to the financial Crisis, to Climate Change, to manipulation of the Libor, to the perversion of MERS, to the culpability of the Ratings agencies, the monoline insurers, Aig's rampant criminality, the Clinton /Bush involvement in all of the horrible responses made to all of the above, ie, our response being to run other members of those same criminal families to be the next President of the US .....
I just started to list a couple, but they kept going on and on, so I'll stop there, as I'm scaring myself. Because if the Age of Response is upon us, as Mr. Greer is suggesting, then a new age off Calamity is sure enough crossing the threshold. As all of our responses, similar to those we've made to the reality of Climate Change, will be made, not to address the source of the problem, but to make a "work-around" that will only make it worse. And the main reason, the one that's brought us to this state of entangled affairs, is something I've posited in several of my earlier posts. All this is because of one Mania, the Mania for speed and the Freedom of flying down the freeway at breakneck speed: the techno-magic sensation of effortless flight while seated on our spreading derrieres. And not just the soaring in the air variety of flight, but flight, as in from problems: family, crimes, our past, all aided and abetted by the Machine, this one machine in particular, all our problems flow from this one Love affair that will only end in our destruction: it is that strong. I've seen normal people turn into raving madmen at even the suggestion that cars are the slightest bit of a problem, never mind the source of our most insurmountable one.
It's not a popular meme, but the automobile, the internal combustion engine (ICE) in general, by producing poison gasses that shorten lives and afflict children with respiratory ailments, while it spews CO2 and other noxious gasses into the troposphere, is, in fact, a chemical weapon of mass destruction. Cars, together with the industries and factories that build and fuel them, and the smooth pavement it requires as it covers larger and larger swaths of earth's surface with tar, is, by turning the atmosphere into a chemical soup, changing the very climate of the entire planet. In our heart, We know this. Mankind begins to understand. These Machines will claim all life. You know this. You have foreseen it. In the gathering dark, the will of the Machine grows strong. It works hard now driven by the hands of men. Men, who are so easily seduced by its power. The ice sheet of Greenland has but to slide off its land, take the Arctic for its own and the world will fall. It is close now, so close one's blood runs cold. For Machines now have dominion over mankind, and by extension, all life on this Earth, even unto the ending of the world. Yet our response is to keep building more and more and more and more of them and have no intention of stopping. Ever.