Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The moral issue of now

Ran Prieur has a post which encapsulates the issue we in the industrial world face: the irrationality of our desires. He says…
My favorite election commentary is by Sharon Astyk: The election is over - Now what do we do with all the fear? I agree: the voters are not really idiots -- they are cowards, and using their human brainpower to convince themselves of fantasies that defy both reason and observation: that the government can dispense benefits without collecting taxes; that an economy based on exponential growth can continue on a planet of fixed size; that we can have utopia merely by filling the slots in the present system with different people. What they're afraid of is reality: that the government, the economy, the planet, cannot continue to give more than they get, that all the stuff we've been getting, we're going to stop getting.
If we expect Santa Claus (ie the great god of industrial civilisation) to bring us goodies endlessly while we have no appreciation of the costs, we will react with infantile rage when our desires are frustrated. And who will we blame? Refugees? Indians? Moslems? Jews?
After they lose their toys, the people will be hungry for leaders who call for the sacrifice of others, and I mean sacrifice in the literal sense: the ritual mass-murder of scapegoats. When there are piles of bodies in the streets, only then, from the sane fringes, will new and better systems grow to fill the dead spots.
And what will trigger this rage in Australia? My guess is a big collapse in real estate prices, brought on by a downturn in China which will slow our export bonanza. I hope it doesn't get as bad as Ran posits, but you never know.

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