14 November 2008

Doom and Gloom

The world will always have plenty of petty despots, scattered about according to P.J. O'Rourke's definition of "Nationalism - A political ideology which suggests that every little group of human twerps with its own slang, haircut, and pet name for God should have its own country as well." But, while they may be fewer and arise less frequently, the world has not seen its last terrible dictator. 

The world has not seen its last famine or its worst tectonic plate shift. As we creep toward the mid-point between mini ice ages, we can acknowledge that the world has not seen its hottest weather (in human history). And there's no reversing "global warming" by switching to compact fluorescent lights. Human who believe we are making the atmosphere warmer are anticipated by Aesop: "The fly sat upon the axel tree of the chariot wheel and said: 'What a dust I do raise!'" 

11,000 to 13,000 years ago the northern hemisphere was half covered with ice, and likely will be again in another 13,000 years. But from today until then, it may get much warmer before it turns cold again, and all of this has been happening over and over without the self-flattering influence of Man. 

The world has not seen its last dustbowl, mighty flood, or continental fires. It has not seen its last plague or last universal economic collapse. And it has not seen its last atomic bombing in an act of war. 

The world may have seen its last free representative republic, and the sinking of that republic will drive rational science underground. For with economic ruin will come a rise in charlatanism and superstition where once reigned reason, free will, and responsible citizenship. Under universal poverty, especially close behind an era of plenty, people will regard science and reason as irrelevant, even maliciously responsible for the plight of the land. 

The world has not seen its last era of real money. Since 1932, when the USA ceased circulating gold coin, and more certainly since 1972, when the USA went off the gold standard, the only currency within and between countries has been fiat money - promises to pay, credit, and most recently, digital money represented by the flow of electrons in tiny computer circuits. 

People denied control of those electronic circuits will find a way to return to currency of intrinsic value, governments be damned. 

The world is not especially optimistic, although optimism is a feature of human nature. But even those who let a little pessimism creep in are not prepared for the turmoil that any of these calamities, or worse, a succession of these calamities, will bring. 

Individuals can prepare themselves a little, but those who smugly believe that they are fully prepared are fully to be shocked at the reach of the succession of global crises to come. Those who live in densely-populated urban areas and who blithely expect their urban and national governments to prevent such crises or to coddle everyone if the worst should happen are to be pitied.

05 November 2008

I'm Trying

The election of 2008 is over. I'm still in mourning. The hardest thing for me? Giving up being an independent, responsible citizen and becoming a mollycoddled victim awaiting government rescue. I can’t even figure out what I’m a victim of, except earlier government attempts to rescue me. 

Rescue me from what? My own wrong-headed thinking, I guess. Certainly that includes my inability to choose appropriate charities for my philanthropy. Probably also my selfishness in thinking I deserve to prosper from my own efforts and my masochism in thinking I deserve to accept the consequences if I fail in my attempts to prosper. (For if I fail, certainly my efforts were undermined by someone else’s greed, and I need to be taught to petition the government to punish that greed.) 

Up to now, I have succeeded in fighting off such attempts. 

Most importantly, I need to re-program myself to keep my mouth shut when I can see plainly that the emperor has no clothes. There will be retribution for anyone who says so. 

I don’t expect that I will ever become accustomed to being one of the sheeple, but I will soon enroll in groupthink therapy and learn worshipful mantras and take the pictures of Lincoln and Reagan off my walls to make room for a portrait of a benevolent BHO. I hope that I have to put up only a head shot, because I don’t want to expose my kids to the emperor’s full-body image. 

God knows, I’m trying to get it right!