Wednesday, June 9, 2010


And now for something completely different (if this doesn't stir up a comment or two, I don't know what will).


Any other kind of schizm.
Not a one of those will bring us down.
(unfinished song lyrics)

No, it's a different kind of ism altogether that will cause our way of life to give way to whatever is scheduled to come next:


Did you know that Americans consume about a quarter of the world's resources while producing less than a tenth? (The actual numbers are even more lopsided, but I don't mind understating a little when describing an elephant. It's still big, no matter how you look at it.) Obviously the current situation can't sustain itself indefinitely. It's mathmatically impossible to continue to consume more than you produce forever. Eventually there is nothing left to consume.

However, it is highly unlikely that we will ever actually get to that particular point. For one thing, the consumption rate in the rest of the world is growing faster than it is here. That's probably because a lot of the good jobs are moving overseas and being replaced with lower paying service industry jobs, and it's hard to be able to buy as much stuff as you used to when you don't get paid as much as you used to. Not to mention the fact that the people who got your old job now have the money to buy the stuff you can no longer afford.

For another thing, there are people in this world who view the whole US consumption-to-production ratio as somehow unfair. Some of these people are angry about it. Some of them, in fact, are angry enough to kill somebody over it, even if they risk or even sacrifice their own lives in the process. Guess who their target is.

As far as I'm concerned there is no moral justification to go out and kill a thousand people with a suicide bomb. But it happens, and will continue to happen, right or wrong. Anti-terrorism measures (all of which bring to mind cliches involving insects, large weaponry, needles and haystacks) won't stop it. In fact, most anti-terrorism measures do little more than scare the public they are supposed to be protecting. And isn't "scared" a synonym for "terrorized?" Talk about self-defeating!

So what's to be done? Probably nothing. We, the American people, are way too addicted to our current lifestyle to even consider alternatives. We will continue to expect what the rest of the world sees as more than our share of the pie. We will continue to be genuinely shocked when we get violently reminded of just how much the rest of the world resents us for it. We will continue to believe our politicians when they tell us that it is freedom and democracy that's under attack, even as they place more and more restrictions on freedom and democracy in an effort to make us feel safer.

And we will continue to assume that we have a future.

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