Letter At Length

Commentary sheds light on oil problem

Once again, Chris Honoré offers us all a calm, informed and rational analysis, this time concerning a looming but still basically ignored existential challenge: "Peak Oil."

We know that denial is the most useful of all defense mechanisms but, as Honoré makes clear, let's face it folks, it never works and in the present case is only ensuring our collective doom. Our materialistic "civilization" (using the term loosely) is based critically and pervasively on the burning and chemical manipulation (plastics!) of oil.

We know we are running out of the stuff and, even before that happens, even after the already-planned-for wars to control the supply — Iraq, anybody, or Iran, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Venezuela? — it will be too expensive to use for much. But allegedly sane public figures go around spouting, "Drill, baby, drill" and nobody hauls them off to the booby hatch. Our so-called leaders blithely allow their paymasters to manically continue to do as they have always done and, when it blows up in our collective faces, they really don't know what to do — except more of the same. We, the people, have been reduced to bystanders, totally (apparently) without power to change our nation's policies to avoid ultimate destruction. The "Big Boys," the "Ruling Class," like it on top and will survive to the bitter end.

There are rational political steps that could be taken but they are never broached in public, mainly because they run counter to the needs and power of those corporate entities that really call the shots. If we had a truly democratic system and if we enabled political parties to emerge that truly represented the needs of the immense majority, we might still have time to create a society that would preserve humanity and all of creation. Not a good bet.

One quibble: Honoré writes: The exponential rise in oil consumption was "spurred by population growth." Not so; it was driven by capitalism's insane drive for profits based on exponential economic growth. If were are ever able to survive the consequences of "Peak Oil," the first thing we have to do is reduce our consumption of the planet's resources by several orders of magnitude. Don't panic: We don't need all that shtuff.

Gerald Cavanaugh


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