What if instead of having hundreds of problems, we had just a few?
For example, we have a giant raft of social programs. As a paleoconservative, I think these have a common origin: people without a sense of social responsibility. No advanced theory necessary.
We also struggle under a giant raft of environmental problems. What if they, too, distilled to a single problem, such as that we’re using too much land?
Perhaps even all of our economic problems distill to a recurring failure, one that exists because our minds are inherently prone to its fallacy. What if all economics problems distilled to false value caused by a shift in confidence in what backs that value?
With our big brains, which usually defeat us, we make complicated webs out of what are generally simple problems. We often do this to render diagnosis to mysticism, which makes it safe for us to perform reckless, stupid or delusional actions, safe in the knowledge that we have destroyed the ability of others to notice.
It’s a favorite human tactic: take a simple task, and load it with conditions and problems such that it will never get accomplished. It’s a form of sabotage.
The sabotage that gets to me most is the environment.
How much do we spend on “green” products, activism, protest marches, films about the last of the striped naked mole rats, toxic fake light bulbs, books about the environment, and weepy infomercials by fat politicians?
We never reach a solution.
Why: the solution is to stop using land, and to use less.
That will never be popular, because it means crushing dreams. No, you can’t open your own McDonald’s. No, land is no longer cheap, and you cannot afford a home in one of the new subdivisions. Cheap credit goes away when land is actually scarce.
Yet when we leave a lot of land untouched to nature, we have no species die-offs. What kills species, since we no longer overhunt, is lack of habitat. All those nice new suburban homes, or the ever-expanding city and its shopping malls which hire all those people living in city apartments, push those animals right out.
With more land available to nature, we have a natural absorption zone that can take in CO2 and make it into life-giving oxygen, while filtering out pollutants and conveying them to a point where they can decompose harmlessly. Those vast forest soak it up and destroy it or convert it something useful.
With more land (and sea) available to nature, we are forced to stop expanding and instead to make hard choices. Do we keep talking about the rights of pedophiles, criminals and parasites, or do we exile them and say, “Thanks, we don’t need any more people here. What we need are better people.”
Mankind causes significant changes to Earth’s biodiversity. Our CO2 emissions lead to such phenomena as global warming and ocean acidification. The list of human impacts on the Earth system is very long. Some of these changes are well under way. Others, such as the sea level rise that is likely to result from ongoing global warming, have only just started, and will develop over centuries and millennia to come. Based on our current understanding, a case to proclaim a new epoch called the Anthropocene can certainly be made. Our changes involve the refashioning of sedimentary pathways that build up new layers of soil. That includes the construction of those man-made strata that we call towns and cities. – Der Spiegel
What a nice media event! Let’s call it the anthropocene, which is a fancy way of saying that we have taken over from natural ecosystems because we are using so much land and sea. Consequently, we’re altering everything — we haven’t given nature enough space to counteract us.
Food prices could double in the next 20 years and demand in 2050 will be 70 percent higher than now, U.K. charity Oxfam said on Tuesday, warning of worsening hunger as the global food economy stumbles close to breakdown.
“Now we have entered an age of growing crisis, of shock piled upon shock: vertiginous food price spikes and oil price hikes, devastating weather events, financial meltdowns and global contagion,” Oxfam said in a report.
The report assigns part of the blame to commodities traders, saying three companies control 90 percent of the trade in grain. – MSN
What a cop-out.
Agriculture “worked” because we had cheap energy, unlimited land, and unlimited water supplies. Those unlimited water supplies existed because we had all this natural land which trapped and cleaned water, then restored it to us.
But when you cover the world in concrete? Suddenly it doesn’t work so well.
And we’re out of the cheap land, and probably out of the cheap oil.
What did humanity do to plan for this catastrophe?
We tripled our population, specifically among those at the greatest risk of going hungry.
Drought from Paris, France to Paris, Texas has farmers and grain dealers looking upwards. The farmers are looking to the skies for rain and the dealers are wondering where rising grain prices are going to stop.
U.S. wheat prices are on their way to their biggest weekly gain and European benchmark wheat futures have jumped just under 30 percent in the past nine weeks as wheat belts on both sides of the Atlantic show signs of irreversible drought damage.
“We need Mother Nature’s help to save a crop, which whatever happens will be mediocre,” said a senior European trader, referring to France, the EU’s biggest wheat producer. – MSN
Morons like to distill this to global warming, but most likely the culprit behind global warming is land overuse.
When you leave land as forest, desert and prairie, it is covered in vegetation that absorbs sunlight and converts it into energy for biological processes. We replaced these biological processes with oil.
This land also recycles water and oxygen, ensuring that pollutants are diluted.
But we’ve used it all. That which is not farm is divided by roads, made into suburb or city, or shredded by our brilliant “entertainment” like driving 4-wheelers over desert habitats.
As a result, our crops are failing. The free air and water are gone; the free balanced ecosystem is gone. Hope those extra billion humans living lonely lives of masturbation and video games in their city apartments are worth it, H. Sapiens.
The Gulf dead zone occurs when agricultural and waste runoff from the Mississippi River spark blooms of algae and microbes. These organisms gobble up oxygen, starving other marine life and creating huge swaths of “dead” ocean.
Between 2006 and 2007, nearly a quarter of female Atlantic croaker fish caught in the northern Gulf’s dead zone had developed deformed, testes-like organs instead of ovaries. – NatlGeo
Don’t mind us while we pollute your ocean. We’re also dredging it, tearing up the life on the seafloor. We’re also overfishing it, which causes various plants and plankton to overpopulate in the absence of predators, and then experience die-offs themselves.
We’re wrecking the ocean a dozen ways by not leaving huge swathes of it alone. And we’ve managed to fill most of it with plastic trash, barrels of toxic waste, abandoned shipping containers, and rotting wrecks. However it is clearly someone else’s fault that these fish are going mutant.
In order to ensure that all the proles really were equal, we switched from a system based on competence to a system based on earning potential. Whether you make it farming, selling worthless stock, acting in porno films or selling weapons to peasants, if you make money, you’re our leader! And of course you wouldn’t abuse that position for profit. But this way we don’t have kings, and everyone is equal.
True, we work all the time because other equal people want our positions in life. And the industrial revolution that was supposed to cut our work day from six hours to three instead expanded it to ten, and most people seem to live lonely disconnected lives, and we sit for hours in traffic, but don’t let that bother you. We’re marching to victory!
Another sabotage is how we destroy ourselves socially. We alienate men from women, introduce class war, force diversity on people who do not want it, allow the masses to purchase whatever silly junk they want and thus command the market to produce useless or destructive goods, and then we sit around bemoaning how things went wrong.
Liberals are unclear on how their paradise utopia turned into venal consumerism; conservatives are amazed at how quickly their orderly society fell apart into self-hating drama.
But even the most aggressive measures to reform federal spending won’t address the underlying cause of our public debt.
That’s because the deficit that matters most is not denominated in dollars at all. Its currency is of the heart and mind. It’s a manifestation of the values with which we circumscribe our actions, our purposes, and our values. I speak of a deficit of character, which arguably is the root of all of our major economic and social troubles today.
Your character is not defined by what you say you believe. It’s defined by the choices you make. History painfully records that when a people allow their personal character to dissipate, they become putty in the hands of tyrants and demagogues. Such tyranny often takes the form of actual rulers, but it can also involve the serfdom of our nobler nature to a lord of lustful impulse. Decadence can destroy democracy as surely as dictatorship.
Among the traits that define strong character are honesty, humility, responsibility, self-discipline, courage, self-reliance, and long-term thinking. A free society is not possible without these traits in widespread practice. – CSM
As said above, maybe all our social problems boil down to people without a sense of responsibility. Maybe it’s not the institutions, grants, welfare, etc. but a lack of character that undermines all of our best intentions.
When we declared everyone equal, that decision had secondary effects. First, people thought that if we are all equal, that means our decisions must be equal too; second, we realized that if all decisions were equal, you don’t actually have to use logic or reasoning to make decisions. Just do whatever, because it’s all good.
The result is a society of permissiveness where consequences are ignored and it is assumed that society itself will take care of any problems that arise. The narrative of equality tells us that we are all born equal, but people want to take our equality from us. This programs us to look for someone to blame for having taken our equality, which can then conveniently explain our failures.
As a consequence, our society is inhabited by people who wander aimlessly pursuing shallow pleasures and denying the consequences, which society says is OK so long as they keep showing up to work. And they do, and they buy stuff, and then they go do it all again. With no consciousness beyond immediate gratification, they develop no character and strive for nothing.
Soulless? But it’s ultimate freedom. We’re all equal finally. How can that be bad?
The root of economic sabotage is false value.
False value occurs when you offer up a stock, paper instrument, or even national currency and what backs up its value is worth less than what “everyone agrees” is the case.
The United States has been cruising on the value of its currency for decades. Since WWII, it has been the stable currency in the world, and the best place to transfer wealth for durability.
Maybe not so much anymore.
Among the serious consequences of offshoring are the dismantling of the ladders of upward mobility that made the US an “opportunity society,” an extraordinary worsening of the income distribution, and large trade and federal budget deficits that cannot be closed by normal means. These deficits now threaten the US dollarâ€™s role as world reserve currency.
I was not alone in making these warnings. Dr. Herman Daly, a former World Bank economist and professor at the University of Maryland, Dr. Charles McMillion, a Washington, DC, economic consultant, and Dr. Ralph Gomory, a distinguished mathematician and the worldâ€™s best trade theorist, understand that it is strictly impossible for an economy to be moved offshore and for the country with the offshored economy to remain prosperous.
Even before this handful of economists capable of independent thought saw the ruinous implications of offshoring, two billionaires first recognized the danger and issued warnings, to no avail. One of the billionaires was Roger Milliken, the late South Carolina textile magnate, who spent his time on Capital Hill, not on yachts with Playboy centerfolds, trying to make our representatives aware that we were losing our economy. The other billionaire was the late Sir James Goldsmith, who made his fortune by correcting the mistakes of Americaâ€™s incompetent corporate CEOs by taking over their companies and putting them to better use. Sir James spent his last years warning of the perils both of globalism and of merging the sovereignties of European countries and the UK into the EU. – VDARE
The idea behind “globalism” is liberal colonialism. Instead of invading countries with armies, we invade them with dollars, which helps us feel good for helping these equal people at the same time we get cheap jeans.
The illusion is that the US dollar will keep its value even when most of the value-production is moved offshore. The reality is that the value gets transferred to these other places instead.
One of the areas we are hosing our economy is in destroying its ability to generate value. Where we were once a nation of producers, we’re now a nation of consumers — we make stuff and sell it to each other.
That means that as long as we assume the USA is a great source of value, everyone profits. But if someone finds any reason to doubt that value, suddenly our consumer economy is worthless.
If our dollars are worth less than we think, manufacturers will sell products elsewhere — and those products will start to cost so many of our dollars we won’t be able to afford them. The ripple effect means that in turn our salaries will be less.
We can export value but in doing so, we remove that value from the value of our own currency.
And then what position are we in?
What’s called a “debt crisis” is increasingly a political and social crisis. Looming over the financial complexities is the broader question of the ability — or willingness — of weak debtor nations to endure growing hardship to service their massive government debts. Already, unemployment is 14.1 percent in Greece, 14.7 percent in Ireland, 11.1 percent in Portugal and 20.7 percent in Spain. What are the limits of austerity? Steep spending cuts and tax increases do curb budget deficits; but they also create deep recessions, lowering tax revenues and offsetting some of the deficit improvement. – RealClearPolitics
The PIGS — Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain — are not only Southern Europe, but they’re the precarious economies of Europe. Happily socialist, they perpetually spend more than their economies are worth, and thus devalue their currencies. This is why people in Northern Europe pay for coffee in single digits, but it’s double or triple digits with Southern European currencies (or at least was last time I was there).
The United States is following the same path. Not only do we export actual value, but we’ve become a society where half of the people are receiving government aid. This devalues our currency and means that in order to escape the rat race, you need to have even more. This encourages a winner-steal-all economy that reminds us of corrupt third world nations.
As we spend ourselves into oblivion, we devalue our currency and destabilize our nation. But it’s unpopular to tell people that their “benefits” are not carved in stone, and in fact, we cannot afford them. As a result, we keep borrowing and putting off for tomorrow what we should deal with today.
When there is a great shakeup, the wheat separates from the chaff in a process of violence called winnowing.
In our political outlook now, we’re separating the false issues from the real ones. We are also separating ourselves, with one side demanding the permissive-entitlement society, and another wanting the responsibility-conservation society.
The old political lines — which were drawn between two liberal parties, one calling itself liberal and the other calling itself conservative — are fragmenting. What is replacing them is a choice between what type of civilization we would like to have.
After years of chaotic deception, it is gratifying to finally see the real issues emerge. Now all that is left for us is to admit them, and decide them.