Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Richard W. Posner: SACRIFICE

Debts of the Past – Obligations to the Future
by Richard W. Posner blog link
September 11, 2008

To the victor go the spoils, right?

Why do we have to defeat someone in order to live a decent life? Why is competition required? Much more can be accomplished through cooperation and no one must be defeated to do it. Competition is a highly negative activity. It takes its ultimate form as war. No one needs to lose. All we need to do is grow up, stop acting like a bunch of spoiled children, learn to work together and share.

People have no sense of value. They live vicariously through their mostly useless material possessions and a bunch of “celebrities” who are idolized for doing absolutely nothing of value for the society that worships them.

I have learned to accept the fact that the human race is not deserving of survival in its present form. We will continue to consume with reckless abandon until Earth is barely suitable for human habitation. Hopefully a few survivors from the extinction event we have triggered, if indeed there are any, will finally evolve to a level capable of creating a true civilization. That’s something we haven’t managed yet.

Do you have children or grandchildren? Think about what we’re leaving to them. All the money and material possessions in the world won’t quench their thirst when there is no potable water available. Nor will it help them breath when the air is a toxic soup, or find food to eat when the soils are nothing but barren, poisoned wasteland.

Everyone wants their slice of the pie. You better get yours before it’s too rotten to eat.

The time has come for the women and men of the United States to step up. For far too long generations of Americans have passed the buck to those that followed. The sins of the parents are visited upon the children. If we don’t lay our lives on the line now and break this vicious cycle, there won’t be many more generations that survive.

I recall seeing a program some time ago; might have been National Geographic, History Channel, Discovery, I can’t remember which. In any case, it showed how the simple act of abandoning a nomadic lifestyle had caused the decline and eventual demise of certain groups of hunter-gatherers. Apparently just settling down for too long in one place can be a fatal error. There was a great deal of archaeological evidence from various settlement sites clearly showing how the exploitation of local resources had provided a very comfortable life at first. But after a fairly short period, as the populations grew and the settlements expanded, things began to fall apart. The structures built later and near the apparent collapse of the settlements showed a steady decline in quality and increasing evidence of failing resources. Some skeletal remains showed signs of poor nutrition and extreme hardship. Finally either the sites were abandoned or everyone starved. It wasn’t clear which.

Some would argue that sedentary agriculture was the first step on the slippery slope down which we are all now careening at breakneck speed. It can even be linked to the beginning of the current critical cycle of global climate change we are currently facing.

I’m not really sure when it started but for a long time now generations of Americans have been adopting increasingly wasteful lifestyles at an ever higher cost to their successors. I suppose the Industrial Revolution is the point where our ability to use technology finally caused us to abandon our common sense completely. We became so obsessed with what we could do that we neglected to consider what we should do. We opened the floodgates of rampant capitalism which actually took control as the result of an 1886 Supreme Court case called Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific. A statement by the judge, a mere two sentences, gave corporations the same rights as persons under the fourteenth amendment. It’s been all downhill from there.

From that day forward those corporate persons have been brainwashing Americans and much of the rest of the world, with an ever more sophisticated and obfuscatory program of indoctrination, that it was right and good to consume everything imaginable with reckless abandon. Bills were written and passed into law giving these immortal and immoral entities more and more power with less and less restraint. With rapacious greed and unbridled lust for power as their driving forces, these corporate behemoths have become instruments of conquest used by a relatively small number of psychopathic Free Market Capitalists / Libertarians. They have infiltrated and taken control of every aspect of our lives from public education to life and death decisions regarding our health care. They and the politicians that serve them have driven us to the very brink of utter disaster. Yet, as we stare over the precipice, into the yawning abyss of extinction, we can’t help but wonder if we have any balance left on that gold card. That new high definition plasma TV would be really sweet. The money worshippers now own nearly everything, including the souls of the American public.

So this is our dilemma. We can do as our fathers and mothers did to us, as theirs did to them, and pass this disaster on to our children. The problem is there will soon be no chance for salvation. If we don’t fix this now, our children won’t be able to. It will be too late. The proverbial tipping point to an extinction event will soon be passed. Our children, our grandchildren will be faced with the lives of slaves or refugees on a planet on its way to being uninhabitable. They will stand at the edge of oblivion and there will be no way back unless we stop the cycle.

First it is necessary to acknowledge and face the indisputable fact that the American way of life is the problem and not the solution. Every adult American; every man and woman, every grandparent, mother and father must break the hold of the corporate death machine. We can no longer follow the Pied Piper of consumerism. That path leads to annihilation. Business as usual means offering up your children as a sacrifice to the false god of capitalism.

Stop spending.

Stop buying things you don’t need!

Cut up your credit cards. Don’t drive unless it’s absolutely necessary. If you were insane enough to buy a gas guzzling SUV sell it. If you can’t sell it let it be repossessed. Withdraw your money and close all your bank accounts before the banks fail. Pay cash for everything you can. When you need clothes go to a thrift store. If you have to mail payments for bills send money orders. If you have any substantial savings use what you can to make your home energy independent. Get as far off the grid as possible. Go solar or wind or both. Localize in every way you possibly can.

Do whatever it takes!

If we stop feeding the monster it will starve or at least morph into something we might possibly live with.

Wake up!

The debts of the past have finally come due, with interest. We must meet our obligation to the future. Accept some pain and suffering now or condemn your children and grandchildren to agony and death.

Richard W. Posner
Searching For Signs Of Civilization blog home


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