Big Problem – How to Change?

Posted: May 24th, 2010 by: h2

Sadly, both you and I know perfectly well that the US / Euro citizen is addicted to their lifestyle, considers it natural and normal, and won’t change it until they are forced to. And the corporations have taken on so much power that it’s terrifying to watch how scared politicians are of upsetting them. Since both the population as a whole, and the corporations that profit from consumption and growth behaviors, will resist change at every significant level, there’s just not much room to see real change happening, though I’m sure we’ll hear new candidates pop up, as Obama did, spouting the words, while of course failing totally to engage in the required deeds.

But as the article Barack Hoover Obama – By Ken Silverstein (Harper’s Magazine) put it so well, there’s no real option, since there is no real power promoting the change that we actually need.

And when individuals refuse to modify their own behaviors, and insist on driving, maintaining a car-centric life (and I admit, it’s not easy living without a car in much of the United States), it’s hard to see just where changes will come from. Especially given the massive power and entrenched corporate interests of the growth based economic system we are forced to see as our only option for the future.

It will be a while longer before you read a speech like Roosevelt gave about the banksters before he was elected:

For out of this modern civilization economic royalists carved new dynasties. New kingdoms were built upon concentration of control over material things. Through new uses of corporations, banks and securities, new machinery of industry and agriculture, of labor and capital – all undreamed of by the Fathers – the whole structure of modern life was impressed into this royal service.

There was no place among this royalty for our many thousands of small-businessmen and merchants who sought to make a worthy use of the American system of initiative and profit. They were no more free than the worker or the farmer. Even honest and progressive-minded men of wealth, aware of their obligation to their generation, could never know just where they fitted into this dynastic scheme of things.

It was natural and perhaps human that the privileged princes of these new economic dynasties, thirsting for power, reached out for control over government itself. They created a new despotism and wrapped it in the robes of legal sanction. In its service new mercenaries sought to regiment the people, their labor, and their property. And as a result the average man once more confronts the problem that faced the Minute Man.

Or like the one he gave two years after his election:

“Unhappy events abroad have re-taught us two simple truths about the liberty of a democratic people. The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic State itself. That, in its essence, is fascism –ownership of government by an individual, by a group or by any other controlling private power.

The second truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if its business system does not provide employment and produce and distribute goods in such a way as to sustain an acceptable standard of living.”

I’ve wasted a few bytes of typing trying to point out this simple reality to a few bloggers around the web, but I gave up. Either you understand what Roosevelt was saying here or you don’t, I guess. It’s the power of private interests over government that is the essence of fascism, not the superficial signs of authoritarianism, which aren’t required in many advanced industrial societies becuase… well because people voluntarily subject themselves to television viewing, and happily absorb the consumerist message without much resistance.

But there’s a huge trap, a trick almost, or a form of blackmail, rapidly evolving globally, and it’s about some very raw crude realities, beyond the realities of exploding oil drilling platforms.

Without industrial corporate agribusiness, and their petro-chemical based pesticides and fertilyzers, it’s very unlikely the population of the planet can survive at its present bloated levels more than a year or two at most after the first major disruption to it occurs. I don’t say that to promote industrial corporate agriculture, but rather to point out the obvious, unsustainable agriculture is not a solution to over-population and over-consumption. And if over-population depends on non-sustainable agriculture, over-population will not be sustained.

Same goes for global food distribution, and the infamous 5000 mile salad, which is a metaphor for our current non-localized, non-in season food production system in the United States. In other words, the ingredients for your salad could well have travelled 5000 miles, or more, before they reached your local store.

Since non-sustainable meeans can’t be sustained, look for very fast population declines in the coming years, food water oil are going to crack very soon, at least in the more at-risk sectors of the global system. I’ve never seen an elegant or clean decline done unwillingly, have you?

What we’re seeing today, with these technical problems in oil production in deep seas, is merely a symptom of the larger problem, the inability to change direction no matter how much evidence exists about why we should do just that. Now you know why the captain of the Titanic wouldn’t change course or heed the iceberg warnings he recieved. Events like this Deepwater Horizon blowout are just very large canaries singing out the warnings to the coal miners, only they are too busy listening to their iPods and talking on their cell phones to hear the danger call.

So what we’re looking at is a rapidly expanding cache-22, and it might just be time to step out of it, if we still can.

And that’s it for today’s overview of where we are headed, both as a people/culture, and in regards to this latest little bump in the downhill road to curtailed then failed growth.

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