For at least the last thousand years, western society has always had a hard core of doom-sayers who like to climb to the rooftops to shout that the end of the world is close at hand. I am not a good enough student of history to know if this is a predictably human trait, or if it is uniquely tied to western religions like Christianity. Certainly the Medieval millenarian streak was tied closely to the prophesies of Christianity.
Whether initially Christian or not, end-of-the-worldism is now the provenance of many fringe secular groups, not the least of which are the environmentalists. In fact, the current global warming panic fits right into a long history of end-of-the-worldism, though I also think it has strong elements of socialism and youth culture guilt and lacks the optimism of Christian millenarianism.
Today's humorous does of doom comes right here from Arizona, via professor Guy McPherson of the University of Arizona. Incredibly, our local media treats this interview straight up, without even the snark they would bring to, say, the article they wrote about me and other local climate skeptics.
First, let me explain Empire: We exploit humans and resources, often
with extreme violence, to provide Americans with indulgences beyond
belief to most people.
Had we started the project of powering down at least 30 years ago,
there might still be time. At this point, I cannot imagine any steps
that could allow us to avoid a meltdown of the economy or a relatively
rapid transition into the post-industrial Stone Age. We depend on
abundant, inexpensive oil for delivery of food, water, shelter, and
health care. The days of abundant, inexpensive oil are behind us. The
American Empire will soon run its course.
I am hopeful we can save a few tens of millions of Americans. But
we will need to make massive changes in our entire way of life,
starting immediately. We must abandon the project of globalization and
its attendant indulgences, for example, and focus on saving lives.
Yes, oil production will indeed peak at some point, and may even be peaking now (though I doubt it). But the rest of this is just ignorant.