10 July 2008

Crisis of civilization

The summer for me is usually fun filled with roadtrips galore. But regrettably, high petrol prices have pushed the cost of travel out of reach for me this year, and will continue to do so until petrol prices fall, which means no more roadtrips, ever again. The window of opportunity has closed and I have likely embarked on my last roadtrip.

Sad, indeed, but my ability to freely bip around the state is but a minor casualty in the unfolding catastrophe which spells the end of our civilization and our very physical existence. With each dollar rise in the price of petroleum, we grow one step closer to our primeval state of feral dogs on the open prairie. I am certain, after observing economic factors, that there is essentially no ceiling to the price of oil. As war drums again beat in the Persian Gulf and our arrogant imperial policymakers plunge into the sheer madness of a strike on Iran, a price of $500, $700, even $1000 a barrel is a near certainty within the next year. (Soon oil truly will be worth its weight in gold.)

Iran may not have extensive military capabilities (ignoring the recent missile tests, of which the State propaganda-fed media made much breathless hay), but it can and will produce much economic pain (as its leaders have openly promised) if attacked by the United States or one of its vassal client states (namely Israel). Consider that Iran abuts the Strait of Hormuz - for you geography challenged Amerikans, this is the entrance to the Persian Gulf, through which 60% of the world's oil supply passes. Iran can pretty much seal off, mine, or make impassible this critical waterway at its whim. Then guess what happens to petrol prices? $4 a gallon might soon look rather painless.

Think of the implications for the economy. Besides the obvious fact that it will just be too damn expensive to travel any distances longer than a comfortable walk, prices for everything else will rise beyond belief. At first perhaps people will start driving less, move closer to their workplace, or work four days a week, and then they will feel that they have made the right decision, at least until energy costs decrease back to a reasonable level. But this is only passing fantasy. The cost of production for virtually anything - from a plane trip to an automobile, from bread to apples, from computers to furniture - has to factor in energy costs. When those costs explode, expect prices to soar beyond anyone's ability to pay. This means that all productive industries will go under, taking the rest of the economy along with it, and we will have to resort to the most primitive autarky if we are to survive and supply ourselves with even the most basic goods. Things you take for granted, like electronic appliances, air conditioning, and all of life's little comforts, will be consigned only to memory. Not to mention the hundreds of millions of automobiles which will rapidly become rusting, worthless scraps of junk, too expensive to drive or operate. (Hope your car note is paid off.)

Not to mention that the Fed, goaded on by the power brokers in office, will likely attempt to "place more money in people's pockets" which means inflating the currency, and thus hyperinflation. (This is a near certainty with an Obama presidency, but I wouldn't put it past Juan either.) Expect the dollar to be as worthless as Zimbabwean currency within three to five years.

I suppose toward the end the USA will become like Brazil, replacing its worthless devalued currency with a new currency unit every ten years or so, to repeat the process again as inflation destroys the new currency thoroughly. That is, until there is no longer any more surplus wealth for government to loot, and the State finally disappears in an Atlas Shrugged-like final implosion. Good riddance - but what a human toll, measured in millions of bloating corpses and rank stupidity, had to be paid for the State's final extinguishment.

Cities will evaporate like dust blowing into the wind, because they will be too large, dangerous, and expensive to function effectively, not to mention that their economic reason for being will vanish. Hundreds of millions will die. The survivors will be forced into small rural settlements where they will attempt to eke out a bare sustenance on the land which has been poisoned and leached by fertilizer for so long. Of course, since virtually no one knows how to grow crops anymore (this society long having passed the agricultural stage) it is not assured that even this low level of civilization, which pretty much sums up what the medieval Dark Ages were like, will persist for long.

(By this time perhaps oil will be affordable; likely not, since the means to extract it from the ground will have been destroyed. Even if this is not the case, it will be too late to save us.)

In the absence of agricultural skills, Western civilization will likely revert to a primitive, Stone Age state of being, albeit with the use of some of the cruder implements of modern life (those not requiring electric power, of course) that the survivors manage to scavenge from the ruins. All learning and knowledge will be lost, to perhaps be rediscovered in fits and starts over the next ten thousand years - or not. In many respects, the Third World (if anyone is left alive in those countries) will have an advantage over the West, since those societies have many more subsistence farmers and other people not far removed from agriculture, and they will be able to support something resembling an intact civilization.

Cannibalism and eventual species extinction, the ultimate failure, cannot be ruled out in this highly likely future scenario.

This is our assured future, unless a miracle happens:
  • unless our troops are withdrawn from Iraq, Afghanistan and hundreds of other countries
  • unless we completely retract ourselves from the world militarily and focus on protecting our own shores
  • unless we decide to engage in fair and free trade with all nations, and eliminate any entangling alliances
  • unless we conduct major political reforms and abolish the centralized imperial State
Only then will our road to the future not lead into a dead end at the cemetery.

Am I the only person alive today who fucking sees this? Am I the only person screaming at the top of his lungs, crying out how the bodies will drop and bloat and rot, millions upon millions of corpses - your children, your husbands and wives, your friends and colleages?

(Of course there is the illustrious Arthur Silber, a personal hero of mine, who is far more curt with his words than I could ever be. I just wish I had the time and initiative to tell it like he does.)

It is not about Republican or Democrat, left or right, right or wrong. It is all about survival now.

But for the dickheads in their charmed lives, the concept of want is completely foreign to them. Why, there will always be plenty of food, and television, and luxury cars! They just are! How these implements come into existence is never questioned; it is assumed by all that they just will themselves into existence somehow.

No wonder people don't know shit about economics.

I guess no one truly gives a damn, then. Such a waste, humanity is. Proof that there is no God. For if we were made in his image, then God must be a rather nasty character indeed.

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