Friday: Why This One Is Especially Dark
By Carolyn Baker
21 November, 2007
A few moments ago I posted on
my site the MSNBC version of "The
Coming Consumer Crunch" which forecasts severe and
painful belt-tightening for American families in 2008. Then when I checked
my inbox, a Truthout bulletin listing Kelpie Wilson's latest article
Thanks For Oil" appeared. One paragraph leapt out
Why should we give thanks
that the future holds no cheap oil? There are several reasons, but the
first is that cheap oil has fueled a 50-year-long party in the industrialized
West that has left us with an unsustainable economy that is wrecking
the planet. The recent awareness of global warming is beginning to put
a damper on our out-of-control binge, but not fast enough to slow the
heating of the planet. Rising oil prices will force a cutback in consumption.
Rising oil prices will also chill the fantasy of endless growth and
force us to confront the reality of planetary limits.
I have no crystal ball, nor
do I claim to have well-developed psychic powers, but I'd be willing
to bet almost anything that next Thanksgiving season will be dramatically
different from this one. A dark curtain of despair has descended, along
with $100 oil, on Wall Street, and the amount of debt that the American
working and middle classes are trying to juggle is, as Stan Goff so
eloquently stated in his article on my site, "Middle
Class Angst", nothing less than "pre-volcanic."
Cheap oil will allow us to
travel "over the river and through the woods" to grandmother's
or someone else's house, or we may prepare our food orgy at home using
gas or electric ranges, savoring the turkey and trimmings made possible
by low-cost hydrocarbon energy. While the feast will be more expensive
than it was last year, its cost may pale by comparison with the price
of next year's gastronomical adventure-if indeed we can afford one.
The after-dinner experience is likely to consist of television or movie
viewing at home or another car trek to the local cine-plex for a new
Thanksgiving Day release or two. A walk or bike ride requiring no use
of hydrocarbon energy would be ideal, but it will take much more energy
depletion than we are now experiencing to make that option viable for
On Friday, millions of shoppers
will descend on malls and box stores where the bells and whistles of
credit card transactions will reverberate every few seconds, non-stop
for perhaps seventy-two hours. Those bills will come due for those shoppers
in a post-holiday hangover of dollar plummeting hysteria, monumental
levels of debt, foreclosure, bankruptcy, unemployment, energy depletion,
skyrocketing gas and food prices, illnesses treated without health insurance
coverage-or just not treated, unprecedented levels of homelessness,
and by all indications, within a few months into 2008, America will
be well on the road to a re-run of 1929-or something inconceivably worse.
None of this, of course,
includes the likelihood of an attack on or invasion by the U.S. of yet
another country in one of its serial oil-addiction binges, nor does
it include another terrorist attack orchestrated by the U.S. government,
nor does it include a natural disaster or two where Blackwater troops
storm into the homes of innocent American citizens followed by another
fraudulent election engineered by the Democratic Party or the cancellation
of an election entirely.
As I continue to write and
talk about collapse, the "tell-me-what-to-do" supplications
escalate, and when I speak my truth in reply, my words are met with
responses only slightly less hostile than eye-rolling. Americans not
only refuse to accept the limits the earth is pounding them with, but
demand that their response to those limits be effortless, cheery, hopeful,
and above all not require them to change anything about their lives.
Any suggestion that introspection, dramatically altering one's lifestyle,
and pondering one's values, priorities, and life's work are as important,
if not more important, than voting for Green Party candidates, consuming
less energy, or purchasing environmentally-friendly products is met
with blank stares or my favorite response, the accusation of "fear-mongering."
Two hundred species or more
of life forms died today on planet earth, and two hundred will die tomorrow,
but I'm not supposed to remind you because that wouldn't be "hopeful"?
Today, Gerald Celente, Director
of Trends Research Institute stated that "We are going to see economic
times the likes of which no living person has seen", as he forecasted
a "Panic of 2008." Celente continued to say very non-hopeful
"I would not be surprised
if giants tumble to their deaths" and "The ‘Panic of
2008' will lead to a lower U.S. standard of living."
"A result will be a
drop in holiday spending a year from now, followed by a permanent end
of the ‘retail holiday frenzy' that has driven the U.S. economy
since the 1940s," says Celente.
On this Thanksgiving Day
I will shudder as I do every day for those clueless individuals and
families who in a few years or even months may be daily visiting food
banks which are already experiencing shortages. I will feel deep grief
as I contemplate the teeming masses of innocent humans who will die
because of Peak Oil, climate change, global pandemics, and species die-off
and who because they didn't want to have their bubble of hope burst,
called people like me a fear-monger while continuing their suicidal
courses of action. I will be painfully aware that the food I eat for
Thanksgiving dinner is on my plate because of cheap oil, and as I settle
into a comfortable seat at the movie theater, I will be acutely aware
that my two-and-a-half hour escape from reality is only possible because
of the natural gas that powers the digital video and sound systems that
dazzle me with what is unquestionably my favorite art form of all. What
will I do in a post-collapse world when I don't have it? Make my own
Yet another part of me-a
different part of my physiology experiences a bit of relief-perhaps
a release and expansion in my cells as I realize that empire is reaching
the end of the line, that the slogan my friend Matt Savinar has at the
top of his website is not only true, but unfolding faster than I or
anyone else could have imagined:
Deal with reality, or reality
will deal with you.
So on this Thanksgiving week
as stomachs are stuffed and the cacophony of credit card transactions
deafens and defies the reality of global economic meltdown, I will celebrate
that we are now closer to the total collapse of civilization than we
have ever been, and that for all the rampant suffering it will evoke
around the world, the soul-murdering, mind-numbing, body obliterating
culture of empire is terminally ill and on life-support. I know not
how many, if any of us, will survive its collapse, but I do know that
until it has fallen fatally silent, no life form on earth will ever
experience freedom or fullness of life.
These are the "good
ole days" to be remembered when we have almost nothing that we
now take for granted or feel entitled to. And at the same time, these
are dark new days that begin and end amid the sea change occurring all
around us. That darkness signals and end to holidays as we have known
them. This year, like all those other years, we will lament that despite
our best intentions, we ate too much. In what year will we remember
Thanksgivings of the past and weep and salivate as we search for whatever
morsels of food we can find? I am convinced that absolutely nothing
will awaken Americans except starvation, but by the time they have arrived
at that horrifying circumstance, it will be far too late.
In these dark new days when
readers email me with questions or arguments about aliens or engage
in nit-picking philosophical posturing, I refuse to respond with anything
other than the following questions: What will you do when you have no
food to eat and no water to drink? How will you obtain healthcare when
it no longer exists? What have you done to liberate yourself from debt?
Where are you living and how sustainable is it? If you need to relocate,
why haven't you done so? I then refer them to the Survival Acres banner
ad at the top of my site and the Preparedness Store at Matt Savinar's
site. In other words, does it really matter what I or anyone else thinks
about aliens or what method of intellectual masturbation we prefer when
we have no food or water?
These are the good ole days,
my friend, and these are also the dark new days. Happy Thanksgiving;
savor every bite.
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