...And I'll tell it and speak it and think it and breathe it... -- Bob Dylan

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

War is the Problem, Not the Answer

I couldn't help but cheer as I began reading Robert Scheer's new post on truthdig today.  Yes, President Obama's attempt to label our response to the oil leak in the Gulf as "war" is pure poppycock at the very least, part of the same problem that led to the leak at worst.  Hearing Obama's insane analogy reminded me that we, this nation, has little to depend on other than our self-perceived military prowess.  In the end, it is the only thing we can count on.  So we talk about a war on poverty, a war on drugs, a war on terror, and now, silliest of all, a war on oil leaking out from it's natural place of being through a hole drilled in the ocean floor in our attempt to seize it for ourselves.  Scheer is correct in implying that it was war that created this leak, and war and the mentality it evokes will not end it and will virtually guarantee that it will happen again.

My only wish is that Mr. Scheer's thinking on the subject had not devolved into his own little war-like mentality as he takes sides in a political dichotomy that is supporting more war and more war-like thinking.  The problem, Mr. Scheer, is not simply "deregulation" or "unfettered pursuit of corporate profits."  The problem is an open-ended, growth-oriented  economy, supported by both major political parties, that seeks to exploit and provide material comfort for more and more people at a level beyond that which is natural or sustainable.  This is why even so-called "liberal" politicians like Obama will approve new offshore drilling, new nuclear power plants, and new military bases and weapons with only some vague reassurances that such enterprises are "safe."  But they are not, they never will be.  It is like trying to find a way to wage war that is safe.

The alternative?  Let us renounce violence and instead work to find ways to live and support ourselves that work in harmony with nature, not against it.  Both Capitalism and Socialism, when operated as a means to support the industrial, war-like lifestyle, fail in this regard.  

Likewise, his clarion call for development of "renewable energy sources" is, as yet another call for an all-out, war-like affront, certain for failure and far worse.  We are not going to solve these problems with the same thinking and processes that created them.  Yes, we need to develop and encourage renewable energy, but it is never going to come anywhere near filling our current demand.  Before we go down that road we need to take seriously the conservation challenge: first, we need to cut our per capita energy use in half; then we need to cut it in half again.  Then we can start making a dent in what remains with clean, non-exploitive renewable energy.

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