February 03, 2011

Laughing at the Apocalypse

Dmitry Orlov has a new video up which is worth watching in its 1/2 hour entirety. I was intrigued to hear him echo something I wrote about a while back in these very pages, the idea that what the United States is involved in now, toying and tinkering while it verges on collapse, is not in any sense necessary or inevitable (a million electric cars by 2015! Now I see what Obama meant by Change! That's nearly 1/2 of one percent of all cars on the American road!). As a uniquely positioned nation, in terms of latitude, resources and relative remoteness, the USA has always had it within its potential to order its economy and political arrangements so that all basic human needs are met. Orlov, in fact, sounds a great deal like Thoreau when he talks in these terms, especially when he describes the "ambitious" human activities that not only are not necessary but actually detract from a worthwhile and enjoyable life. It is all these "ambitious" and grandiose pursuits, such as a world empire and the globalization of the economy, which have led to the precarious position the USA now finds itself in. The video is on Orlov's cluborlov.blogspot.com website, or here in YouTube format:

I'm always amused by Dmitry's deadpan, phlegmatic delivery, which makes Noam Chomsky seem like an ADD sufferer by comparison. The contrast of style with Orlov's subject matter could not be more stark. Who else could calmly discuss a die-off of 5/6ths of the world's population and a reversion of human civilization to hunter-gatherer status without ever betraying any angst? Only Dmitry, I think.

He has obviously thought very deeply about the subjects of global warming and peak oil, and the basic problems he outlines are impossible to rationally dismiss. The calm denial of the human race in the face of what's coming is not so surprising, of course, since it is that attitude which has allowed the problems to go past the point of no return. I agree with Orlov that we're now in the adaptive rather than ameliorative mode. When you get right down to it, that's just how mankind rolls.

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