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Keeping Peak Oil Reality In Mind # 17: Reality

General Ideas

An observation worth noting … and pondering, from Leonard Pitts, Jr.

The point here — this cannot be overemphasized — is not ideology. Rather, it is about the fact that we cannot effectively debate ideology if we do not have a body of facts in common.
Under such circumstances, political discourse must devolve into incoherence. We cannot discuss what color to paint the room if we cannot agree on what constitutes red or green — or the room. We literally have no shared language with which to even have the discussion.
This is the legacy of the War on Reality. Some of us live under a new ethos, fueled and abetted by Fox, the Internet and talk radio, which holds that facts are optional and reality, multiple choice — and that anyone who questions this is part of the conspiracy against you. The results have not been pretty. When, in the history of American political discourse, have conservatives — some, not all — seemed more paranoid, put-upon and ready to believe themselves the victims of outlandish plots?

Is there (will there ever be?) a point in time when those who continue to deny and/or delude themselves—and others dependent on their public platforms for information—come to a painful realization that these “strategies” have at some not-too-distant moment created almost insurmountable challenges for all of us?

It’s a free country, and we’re all entitled to our opinions and ideologies. But (paraphrasing Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan), we are not entitled to rely on our own selected, convenient facts as we contend with problems and issues affecting our communities and our nation. If a thirty-year track record proving that tax cuts for the wealthy is not the answer is nonetheless one’s choice, then understand the consequences. Every choice and decision and belief leads to an outcome. Pretending otherwise may work today, but tomorrow is still going to arrive. What then?

This puzzling approach to reality is not limited to the liberal vs. conservative battleground of American politics.

We may want desperately to believe that a bit more ingenuity and technological savvy are all that we need to ensure ourselves a future of unlimited energy abundance and never-ending growth and technological progress. Who wouldn’t want that option?

But facts, evidence, and reality all make it quite obvious that the supply of crude oil which powered us all to an era of awe-inspiring prosperity and advancement is now on the decline. That same combination of truths also tells us that the substitutes (tar sands, tight oil) are simply not up to the task of just stepping in as adequate replacements in such a way that life/business goes on as usual. Every day we heed the voices of those whose self-interest trumps the public good is a day lost to meeting the challenges with a bit less pain and sacrifice.

Shouldn’t we demonstrate our highly-touted and well-deserved “exceptionalism” by dealing with unpleasant and inconvenient truths today so that we give ourselves and our children the best chance for better tomorrows?

Peak Oil Matters

3 Comments on "Keeping Peak Oil Reality In Mind # 17: Reality"

  1. CJ on Mon, 29th Oct 2012 11:43 am 

    They’re to busy with abortion, God, and monopoly paper to talk about trivial things like oil.

  2. BillT on Mon, 29th Oct 2012 11:52 am 

    If you bothered to waste your time listening to the ‘debates’ you would quickly realize that they were avoiding any real issues and reading a script that keeps them from land mines like: 25% unemployment, declining incomes for the middle class, peak energy, too-big-to-fail banks, a trillion dollar plus military that has not won a war in 60 plus years, a Homeland Security Department that costs more than the entire US military, or decrepit electrical systems running on worn out equipment and depleting fuels.

    You are not supposed to think, just vote for your favorite package: Package Obama or Package Romney. Red or Blue, there is no purple.

  3. Arthur on Mon, 29th Oct 2012 12:26 pm 

    It is amazing that no third party ever managed to break into this reps/dems oligarchy duopoly, which serves the illusion that in the US there is left and right and thus democracy. In reality presidential candidates are selected behind the scenes to make sure they will not oppose the imperial agenda and usualy the real power elite, occupying bodies like CFR, FED, JWC and mouth pieces in the MSM and NOT the White House or Congress, have some material available to get rid of a president in case he gets obstinate. In case of Obama this is this birth certificate issue. A little searching on the internet reveals that Obama was born in Kenia, but a few days later registered in Hawaii. Not that it really matters, but facts like these can come in handy to get rid of somebody.

    It is unlikely that when oil really runs out at the pump, the last thing the power elite will do is confess that they made errors in judgment regarding oil reserves, but instead will look for the guilty abroad and use their military machine to settle things and use the ‘necessary war’ as an excuse for deteriorating conditions at home. But as Bill more or less suggests, the only war the US won in a long time on it’s own was against Grenada (10,000 inhabitants). The US is very good at bombing places from safe altitude, evaporating complete cities even, but once the famous ‘boots are on the ground’ you can bet your last dollar that retreat is immanent. But invasions are a thing of the past. Invasion armies become sitting ducks. Invasion armies are fun, as they offer themselves to become targets. Partisans have gained in effectiveness in carrying out lethal actions against the invader.

    “Shouldn’t we demonstrate our highly-touted and well-deserved “exceptionalism” by dealing with unpleasant and inconvenient truths today so that we give ourselves and our children the best chance for better tomorrows?”

    Of course it is. Divert all these ‘defense’ dollars on a new energy base. Use the troops abroad to guard your own borders for a change. Sit around the table with Europeans, Russians and Chinese and work out a non-imperial defense budget. Everybody will cooperate as Europeans, Russians and Chinese are way beyond imperialism. Been there, done that (except China).

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