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Thoughts of a Modern-Day (Energy) Slaveholder

Thoughts of a Modern-Day (Energy) Slaveholder thumbnail

For all intents and purposes, we are the beneficiaries of a slave economy. We may have exchanged human chattel for the energy slaves contained in a barrel of oil and the machines that consume it, but the economics work out the same and we can’t walk away without giving up status and wealth.

Thomas Jefferson well understood the conflict between the words “all men are created equal” and the reality of being part of a slaveholding economy. He called slavery a “moral depravity” and a “hideous blot” on our country. He asserted that all had the right to personal freedom. And yet, he did not free his slaves.

This life we all live, powered by fossil fuel slaves, is certainly not a system based on the indentured misery of human slavery. It does, however, produce the same relationship between we the slaveholders and our property, a destruction of life, a high moral cost, and dependency on an unsustainable system. In this system, our slaves labor tirelessly to provide us with a level of grand living that would not be attainable if we relied on our own two hands. These units of stored sunlight, the busy hands of eons past, they slave away, providing comforts, doing the hard work, making clothes, shipping wine to the table, toiling in the fields, building us roads to leave by and planes to fly —at a resource cost that dooms ours, as all such slave empires, to the dusty midden of history.

Some think that in this established order there is no need to change: We are the rightful masters. God declared our right to make all subordinate to our needs. There is no moral depravity in looting this world. Our modern slaves exist to make our lives ones of comfort and ease, of mint juleps taken on the veranda. This is the “natural” world, the natural order.

Others (and I am one of them) sip on juleps and read, discuss, and try to understand the horrifying consequences of using up a limited resource. We are the self-styled enlightened. The knowledge that our privileged place is built on the lashed back of a ruined planet does not escape the grip of our soft thinking and our softer hands. We know the machines can’t keep working for us without being fed. We see the warning signs that the land is being worn out, the animals disappearing in a great new extinction, the endless offspring of our own species displacing the native flora and fauna, the waterways and the oceans soiled and empty of life.

And so we act as the planters of old acted. We make deals with our moral depravity. We use our blood money to buy “green” machinery that we hope exempts us from exploitation of the slave economy. We pledge not to buy more slaves. We put the old slaves on the block to be sold for new ones that, we tell ourselves, don’t need to be fed: sustainable slavery. All the while we conveniently ignore the huge numbers of the old order that will always be needed to build and maintain the new.

We think that if we use the profits of this hideous trade wisely, it will be for the betterment of the planet. But blood money is always blood money, and the game comes to the same end: a ruined planet. Meanwhile, wed to our Faustian bargain, we defer abolition for another generation, for our comfort is our birthright on this poor enslaved planet.

Someday, perhaps in our lifetime, the starving slaves will disappear in the middle of the night — the planet in revolt. Weeping, we will step out on the veranda of our mighty homes, calling out in vain for another julep, a sumptuous plate of food. Weak and alone, we will stumble into the fields and take unfamiliar tools into our hands, only to find the land bled dry, exhausted by our profligacy, refusing and unable to extend a hand of help.

We will then walk out the gates and begin a life of wandering through a shattered landscape. We will gather around a fire at night and tell stories to skinny offspring of the grand days when we lived in the big house.

The South Roane Agrarian



14 Comments on "Thoughts of a Modern-Day (Energy) Slaveholder"

  1. Davy on Tue, 6th Mar 2018 6:38 am 

    “Loud, Loud, Loud – Aphrodite’s Child”
    https://tinyurl.com/ybfpah72

    “The day the walls of the cities will crumble away
    Uncovering our naked souls
    We’ll all start singing, shouting, screaming
    Loud, loud, loud, loud
    The day the circus horses will stop turning around
    Running fast through the green valleys
    We’ll sing and cry and shout
    Loud, loud, loud, loud
    The day the cars will lay in heaps
    Their wheels turning in vain
    We’ll run along the empty highways
    Shouting, screaming, singing
    Loud, loud, loud, loud
    The day young boys will stop becoming soldiers
    And soldiers will stop playing war games
    We’ll sing and cry and shout
    Loud, loud, loud, loud
    The day will come up that we all wake up
    Hearing the shouts of joy
    And shouting together with the freaks
    Loud, loud, loud, loud
    The day the world will turn upside down
    We’ll run together round and round
    Screaming, shouting, singing”

  2. DerHundistLos on Tue, 6th Mar 2018 7:06 am 

    The future with Trump as foretold in 1983: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tj9M34DzAKo

  3. Shortend on Tue, 6th Mar 2018 8:18 am 

    When these energy “slaves” end, the business model for weight watchers and other like weight loss businesses, exercise equipment manufacturers, gyms, diet pills, will go out of business. A stranded ASSet.
    LOL

  4. Ghung on Tue, 6th Mar 2018 8:34 am 

    Slave holders are themselves slaves,, to their slaves.

  5. fmr-paultard on Tue, 6th Mar 2018 8:50 am 

    throwing word slavery around without knowing islam is a sign of good dhimmitude. in islam it’s commanded to take slaves and it never ended as evident in the recent slave trade in syria

    Slavery is deeply embedded in Islamic law and tradition. Although a slave-owner is cautioned against treating slaves harshly, basic human rights are not obliged. The very fact that only non-Muslims may be taken as slaves is evidence of Islam’s supremacist doctrine.

    In 2003, a cleric in Saudi Arabia’s highest religious body declared, “Slavery is part of Islam. Slavery is part of jihad and jihad will remain as long as there is Islam. Those who argue that slavery has been abolished are ignorant, not scholars. They are merely writers. Whoever say such thing is an infidel.”

    https://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/quran/slavery.aspx

  6. fmr-paultard on Tue, 6th Mar 2018 8:54 am 

    Abu Dawud 38:4458
    I said: I went to her while her blood was flowing. He said: Leave her alone till her bleeding stops; then inflict the prescribed punishment on her.

    A slave girl is ordered by Muhammad to be beaten until she bleeds, and then beaten again after the bleeding stops.

  7. deadly on Tue, 6th Mar 2018 9:21 am 

    Tesla harnessed Niagara Falls and constructed a powerhouse generating 400,000 horsepower.

    Electricity like you’ve never seen before.

    People can solve problems and they have been doing it for hundreds of years.

    Rudolf Diesel built an engine that would run on peanut oil. Biofuels work.

    Rope pulley systems ran factories.

    Hydro-powered drives did the job.

    You don’t need electricity to send or receive power quickly. In the second half of the nineteenth century, we commonly used fast-moving ropes. These wire rope transmissions were more efficient than electricity for distances up to 5 kilometres. Even today, a nineteenth-century rope drive would be more efficient than electricity over relatively short distances. If we used modern materials for making ropes and pulleys, we could further improve this forgotten method.

    http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2013/03/the-mechanical-transmission-of-power-3-wire-ropes.html

    There is hope if everybody would just stop fretting and freaking out. Probably better to solve problems instead of creating them.

    People are still going to go nuts and will freak out. Can’t change human nature.

    However,something can be done about energy deficits and scarcer oil.

    Another hard day on the planet.

  8. rockman on Tue, 6th Mar 2018 9:53 am 

    “In this system, our slaves labor tirelessly to provide us with a level of grand living that would not be attainable if we relied on our own two hands.” Not completely invalid but a tad elitist IMO. Millions would starve every year were it not for fossil fuel powered agriculture. Especially that in the US. If the world had only its “two hands” to feed itself it would go a long way towards addressing our overpopulation problem.

  9. Outcast_Searcher on Tue, 6th Mar 2018 10:54 am 

    If we still lived like cavemen, there would be a lot less of us.

    Why single out the technology of fossil fuels? How about computers and automated machinery in general? How about the work we get from electricity?

    Technology isn’t the underlying problem. For example, green tech and the ongoing reduction in economic energy intensity of the global economy are good things.

    The underlying problem is BAU growth – especially of the global population.

    If that isn’t fixed, the numbers obliterate all solutions over time.

  10. GregT on Tue, 6th Mar 2018 11:04 am 

    “Why single out the technology of fossil fuels? How about computers and automated machinery in general? How about the work we get from electricity?”

    Fossil fuels are not a technology. They are a source of energy, without which there would be no computers, automated machinery, electric grids, or mass population overshoot.

  11. Cloggie on Tue, 6th Mar 2018 1:01 pm 

    Others (and I am one of them) sip on juleps and read, discuss, and try to understand the horrifying consequences of using up a limited resource. We are the self-styled enlightened. The knowledge that our privileged place is built on the lashed back of a ruined planet does not escape the grip of our soft thinking and our softer hands. We know the machines can’t keep working for us without being fed.

    Here the falsehood creeps in, supported by so many here on this board: they all can’t imagine a future without fossil fuel.

    “yabut, everything depends on fossil fuel”.

    No it doesn’t, not necessarily. By 2060-2070 nobody will talk about oil and gas like nobody today talks about peat.

  12. Davy on Tue, 6th Mar 2018 1:11 pm 

    “No it doesn’t, not necessarily. By 2060-2070 nobody will talk about oil and gas like nobody today talks about peat.”

    fantasy drivel

  13. Sissyfuss on Tue, 6th Mar 2018 5:25 pm 

    This authors work I find a little too melodramatic and vainglorious. If you wish to read outstanding prose deciphering our modern malaise try ” Pray for Calamity.” His work is exemplary and heart felt.

  14. Kat C on Wed, 7th Mar 2018 3:57 am 

    When we run out of Fossil Fuels the dimming stops. When the dimming stops climate change accelerates. http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2013/20130329_FaustianBargain.pdf When the wet bulb temperatures start going over 95 degrees we start dropping like flies. http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/research/2010/100504HuberLimits.html
    Peak oil doesn’t mean the end of warming, it means the beginning of excessive warming. The CO2 up there lasts “once in the atmosphere, carbon dioxide can continue to affect climate for thousands of years.” https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/jan/16/greenhouse-gases-remain-air
    We are done, there is no out anymore. Spend time with your loved ones.

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