|Strange Love: Never Miss Hitor Missile gives good Warhead.|
Various writers on the interwebs have speculated that there is now no escape from mankind's rush to extinction because Climate Change has not only been allowed to go too far, but been prodded poked stoked and nudged into going too far by callous Capitalists and dick-headed dictators, the mentality of both being exactly the same. The only difference is that Capitalists exist in countries where the government has some power to control them, whereas a dictatorship doesn't, but they both have the same personality drive to dominate those who get in their way (The difference between Henry Ford and Mussolini better reflected their external circumstances than their internal drives), neither one being too circumspect over the means of doing so.
But the hawkers of Climate Despair have been rebuked by those who insist there is still hope for a remedy to our onrushing catastrophe if we can only act in time, such pronouncements being then in turn spurned by accusations delivered as a screed for rejecting the Creed of Imminent Extinction, since, it being the future we're talking about, no one can be right until such time as it won't matter. So as we accelerate our streak toward a collective NDE (Near Death Experience) referred to as NTE (Near-Term Extinction), perhaps there are some things we can point at that, had we considered them or reacted to them differently, we may have changed what now looks like an inevitable outcome.
1) From Greed to Götterdämmerung. The catalyst that catapults the Gods to their Twilight in Wagner's Lord of the Ring Cycle is the same as that which impels humanity towards its own ... such was Wagner's genius. Like the theft of stolen goods Wotan uses to pay the ransom he has himself necessitated by promising the builders of Valhalla Freja, trading away love, beauty and fertility for vast empty halls of grandeur. Casting aside that which makes them truly great for the trappings of power to stoke envy: Style for Substance, Hollywood for Holy Writ, Wall St for Main St. The only person who can keep the gods from growing old is sold as payment for empty Vanity. The parallel to Capitalism's promises of everything for nothing couldn't be starker. But like Wotan, when it cannot deliver it substitutes for it empty promises of a future it can't afford, unless it ransacks the accumulated savings of the innocents: The Rhine Maiden's gold. Capitalism uses promises of future benefits: Pensions, healthcare, education, which it also has neither the intention nor wherewithal to deliver, unless it can contrive to steal the means from someone else. Banking on the fact that by the time it need to fulfill its obligation, those to whom its made those promises will either be too old and weak to fight for what they were promised but robbed of, or, thanks to governments being more beholden to the Corporations that bribe its officials than to the pubic that voted for it, reneges and leaves us in the situation where a failed Presidential Candidate can write a book calling for a Revolution, mining discontent and inciting violence, not because it will improve the lives of his constituents (Revolution in Syria, Libya, and Egypt have delivered nothing but failed states, military dictatorship, and entire cities turned into piles of rubble with no hope of there being anything left in the future with which to rebuild, causing floods of refugees to pour over national boundaries and spread destabilization and mayhem in their desperation and consequent thirst for revenge) but because it gives a doddering old fool coin with which to buy his own brand of populism (and boost his own form of Grift You book sales) he is hailed as a sort of folk hero.
Wotan also creates a Hero. Which brings us to the Side "B" of greed:
2) Militarization. Greed needs armed forces to protect the hoards it amasses from the hordes whose labor created its wealth. The level of manufacture, dissemination and deployment of Weapons of mass destruction, all of which are Chemical Weapons of Mass Destruction, by Nations now unable to deliver even a modicum of the promised benefits of Cowboy Capitalism to its citizens, is now the main source of international exchange. Because manufacturing the goods that said population need for their everyday existence has been off-shored to places where the destruction of the very air they breathe and the consequent debilitation and death that that necessarily entails, is the least of that government's concerns, leaves the Arms industry with its astounding profits greased by bribing corrupt officials to spend their country's treasure on prestigious arms instead of the education of their citizens. Arms sales have become the main preoccupation and source of coin and corruption in the rich countries even more than in those it exploits. Like Black Gold, the Devil's Excrement, becoming Merchants of Death taints everyone it touches, leaving a slimy film of despondency and despair in its wake. This unites the world in its desire to uplift itself by spreading promises of immortality that lies in another, better world ... Look!, there, right over the horizon, lies your afterlife. And thus we slither into the realm of the Children of the Con:
3) Religion. Jews, Christians, and Moslems are the main purveyors of violent murderous rampages in the name of a deity, but even the so-called peaceful Buddhists and Hindus are not innocent from the crime of provoking religious-stoked murder. It is the easiest kind to incite, because its perpetrators always cloak themselves in the garb of avatars, they're merely agents delivering their own god's Wrath; washing the blood of their victims off in the Holy Waters of Faith. A faith that always endorses:
4) Family Values. A sentiment everyone finds difficulty in finding fault with, even as we have a known rascist history in Europe, especially, but in every other continent as well, of royal families murdering their own children, brethren or parents for the sake of power, money or prestige. And these are not the peasant classes they so disdainfully look down their long aquiline aristocratic noses at, these are the Royals, the Divine Right of Kings' bloodline, claiming therewith as the one and only reason for their right to rule. Supposed god-appointed monsters who see their subjects, who their position puts them in moral obligation to protect, as cannon fodder to secure, not the nation, but the royal family's privileges and prerogatives. This corruption then seeps into even Presidential politics as crony-Capitalism gives protection to those who could care less about their country, and put the protection and illegal enrichment of their own form of courtiers above that of the nation they have sworn to serve and protect. All of theses are supported and made even more intractable by:
5) Mechanization. Every year since the beginning of the millennium the US has sold close to 17 million vehicles per annum, more than a quarter of a billion ICE machines, with the worldwide total more than double that amount. Resulting in more than a billion cars plying the roads of the world, dwarfing in their collective CO2 output, the pollution the industry that produces them creates, yet allowing those that push their pedal to the metal a feeling of complete irresponsibility for their part in poisoning the world and turning it into a hothouse. The mechanization of all human activity has resulted in the outcome we have arrived at now, where the lives of more people are dedicated to the maintenance, manufacture and preservation of machines than to people. There is nary a howl as loud as the current one against Obamacare while it underwrites contracts to produce billions and billions for industry, yet would prefer to render nary a nickel for healthcare, and housing is only for the rich (condo fees alone are more onerous, as a percentage of net earnings, than a mortgage for a home was a mere generation ago ... and they only go up, whereas a mortgage is eventually paid off), while education is to be gained only by hocking the future.
6) Democratization. A form of tyranny that promises its adherents freedoms it never quite defines, but seems to have become the single most polluting engine fomenting climate change. The more Democracies in any part of the world, the more pollution and the larger demands from its citizens for more benefits that promise even more pollution. Living in a democracy is great. And you can see why by looking at the Korean peninsula from the space station. The more democratic So. Korea is lit up like every other democratic country in the world while No. Korea looks as though it's in a blackout. The former Soviet Union, Cuba, most African States, eschew democracy and all contributed to the carbon pollution that is our death knell to a far less degree than any democracy. The end of the Soviet Union was the beginning of the ramp up in the amount of carbon being spewed into the atmosphere: it was like the firing of a pistol at the start of a race, because, in actuality, that's what it was. Since then there has been, and continues to be, a pell-mell scramble to dig up and burn up every last fossil fuel on the planet. Asia has been populated by civilizations of humans as far back as prehistory, and it still groans under a wealth of natural resources. The United States, in existence for a mere two and a half centuries, has burnt through an entire continent of riches and now stalks the globe like a marauding Hun, devising new Visions of Empires of Evil as excuses for its rampages when in fact it is only a tarp to disguise that is is really simply using Military ascendancy and domination to abet its search for the necessary resources to keeps its economic engine from sputtering out. In which effort it is abetted by:
7) Computerization. Like many of the items in this list, computerization started out as a phenomenon of startling innovation that was hailed as an enhancement to human creativity, but was rapidly monetized into a nightmare of hardware-software battle for ascendancy that put the concept of planned obsolescence into overdrive. That is why you never hear the term anymore, but it sits at the heart of the computer industry, and has since its inception as embodied in Intel's Grove's maxim that processing speed would double every 18 months, turning it into a mantra , and enabling the inevitability of your purchasing power's decline. The most obvious way of doing this was by the Clinton administration's inclusion of the concept of heuristics in its calculation of the CPI. What this particularly nasty bit of legerdemain does is count that doubling of processing power as a reason for a new computer's increase in price, so that the increase couldn't be attributed to inflation, because the increase was not for purchasing the same product, but for a new, improved product. However, as you may have noticed, that faster processor speed is quickly eclipsed by larger software programs no longer so efficiently designed, and now in hostage to the security programs that eat up more cycles of your CPU than any of the Apps you actually purchased the equipment to run. Soon enough the new improved processor is so bogged down with overhead, it is running slower than the one you replaced it with , so you have to buy the next generation and the cycle starts anew. Militarily this has enabled:
8) Mobilization. Never have so many troops been in so many countries for so long a time as they have since the Neo-con imposition of the Pax Americanus as they usurped the power of the executive office to unroll their project of Full Spectrum Domination of the rest of the world to fulfill the puerile fantasies of a rabid group of modern conquistadors in their Project for the New American Century (PNAC). In little more than a year they managed to change the world perception of the United States from one of a modern progressive State to one that's a pariah to its neighbors and allies, trusted by none, and respected only through fear of the unpredictable use it might next deploy its vast insatiable War Machine for. Sucking down more oil reserves than the entire country of Sweden, it also manages to spew out more polluting gases than most countries and leave in its wake a trail of radioactive depleted uranium like an invisible mine field that, instead of exploding people to pieces like the millions of mines left in Laos, spews atomic-sized particles that rip through innocent civilians' tissue and internal organs. Unlike Corporate offices, the civilian sector's version of mobilization, military deployment, as Chalmers Johnson's Empire series illustrates, is far less subject to the host country's rules. Using SOFA's (Status of Forces "Agreements" (Yeah right, like Okinawa had a choice)), the US can override host country's laws and trample any environmental concerns with the usual attitude such men have for anything as sissified as caring about any other living creature. The military is like an ATV, it may not be its intention to mow down any thing that gets in its way, but it is equipped to do so and won't hesitate to, and in most cases does so without even a second thought: it's immaterial, not even something worth taking into consideration. And because might makes right, it partners with:
9) Monopolization. Of all the reasons for the intensification of the concentration of power in the hands of fewer and fewer people, the role of Computerization is all but ignored, but it is in fact the chief enabler. Whole floors of office building were emptied out of middle management, factory floors cleared of laborers blamed on robotics lie empty because of the role that computerization and the miniaturization of it components enabled. Robotics and computerization, in other words, are inextricably linked. And both are the servants of monopolists in their drive to concentrate power in their owns hands and drive competition out by dominating their markets, not for the betterment of their customers but the destruction of other enterprises that might put a restraint on their ability to raise prices and dictate terms. As the declining quality of products on Walmart's shelves and the increasingly fraudulent use of Goldman Sach's customers' account money demonstrates, the sole purpose of monopolization is to accrue more and more power to abuse your customers while leaving them with no ability to redress the wrongs you heap onto their head. They have no choice, as the competition has been destroyed.
10) Monetization. Theft, really. It entails the extraction of everything of value and turning it into a marketable commodity. That vein of coal running through the hillside has to be exploited to make it profitable and to create the jobs necessary to enhance the financial position of the region from which it's taken. But, especially in the current environment of Cowboy Capitalism, monetization always entails rapacious disregard for the environment and enshrines in the position of power the very people who should be barred from it. And once monetization is started, like a bribe to a politician, the power dynamic quickly changes such that the political entity has ceded its sovereignty to the marauding exploitation of the developers. It always extracts the value before the first shovelful of soil is excavated, though, and to do this they use:
11) Amortization. Amortization is the paying off of debt with a fixed repayment schedule in regular installments over a period of time, for example with a mortgage or a car loan. It also refers to the spreading out of capital expenses for intangible assets over a specific duration (usually over the asset's useful life) for accounting and tax purposes. It allows banks to fund the purchase of a house at terrifyingly low interest rates while sloughing off the risk to the taxpayer via the current scheme of selling them to the GSE's. They can take the money and run, but tshould things go south, it leaves many of their victims in financial straits and generally increases the rate of:
12) Incarceration. There are more inmates in America's prisons than there are citizens in several of the countries to which we give large amounts of dollars, amounts that are the subject of protest from various groups, yet which amounts are completely dwarfed by the level of expenditure needed to feed, clothe, guard, and care for its burgeoning population of miscreants . While hardworking citizens have problems getting heatlhcare, prisons, such as California's San Quentin, boast of their own State-of-the-Art hospitals. Hospitals that are built with money taken from those same hard-working citizens who can't afford it for their own children or parents, yet must pay for it for the murderers and hardened criminals languishing behind bars. The level of this vast growing sea of wasted humanity is rising faster than that of the oceans we obsess so much about, and it is a contributor to that rise because of the enormous allocation of resources needed to sustain it. The economy needs to generate billions and billions of dollars to make their upkeep possible. And because the militarization of civilian life means that arguing for the education or job-training or any other ameliorative attitude toward prisoners gets ridiculed as being soft on crime, few prisoners are capable of contributing to society even once released. So, unlike the way an investment in a hospital patient or college student can be argued to make such investment worthwhile, prisons are just economic rat holes into which billions are poured down, with the most likely outcome being a bite in the ass. And all these reasons are exacerbated by the huge and growing problem of:
13) Overpopulation. Which is intimately, although you'd never know it, entwined with sexuality. Billions of people are forced into a heterosexual existence that they have no choice of entertaining any alternative to, and encouraged into creating billions more human beings to push out and destroy all other vestiges of life. You might hate homos, disdain same-sex relationships, prefer murder to sodomy, as all the religions of the world teach you to do, but if the result of drug-addled wild sex brings an early death to those who engage in it, that is a far more desirable outcome than forcing them in to a life in a world whose human population threatens to overwhelm and push into extinction the very biodiversity on which its own survival depends. With the Moral Majority's claim from the eighties that homosexuality is "Unnatural" completely discredited for the nonsense it is, the counter argument that people are born that way has also become completely counter productive, and should be shelved as well. Any perusal of the more erotic of the on-line sex and porn sites and tumblr listings demonstrates the fluidity of sexual activity and that the ability of the human species to make long, caring, committed relationships with members of the same sex (or even short, casual, intense ones) and the more than obvious preference that even heterosexuals exhibit for members of their own sex in most realms other than sexual congress, should inform us that insisting on maintaining the prevailing attitude of heterosexual reproduction and attraction and the child-producing couple as the only acceptable form of adult relationship, we not only put a lie to the Freedom the very people who deny people that choice have emblazoned on their sweatshirts and baseball caps, we produce a bounty of unwanted births, force an unmerited parenthood onto people who would never qualify for the job if it were a position in the most lax of companies, and contribute to the above item, #12, incarceration. Instead, in most of the world, they incarcerate and torture them, as in Chechnya, bully and beat them up, as in Russia and re-educate them to live the "right" way, in places like China, and continue to exile them and force them into hiding in most of the rest of Asia, as well as Africa, where American missionaries feel free to travel to and show them how write laws that put them to death. All while overpopulation gets more and more intractable, and all for the sole reason that it is found to be morally repugnant, whereas nation after nation and religion after religion revels in murder and destroying lives while standing on that moral high ground they've stationed themselves on from which they can more easily kick the rest of humanity in the face. Even as they despoil the planet their enforced heterosexuality is peopling with their children they claim to love. What kind of morality is that?
So that is my list. It could be longer, I'm sure it should be shorter, but as it will change nothing, I will change nothing on it. (Well, at least not until tomorrow).