Thursday, June 26, 2008

Could This Be the Beginning of the End?

Above: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Even a secular observer has to admit, when we look at the world population curve, with 6 billion people already on earth, and another billion due to come "on line" before 2012, that we are going to face some major problems in the coming years. This year, for example, the demand for oil has surpassed the world’s output of oil, and the price has spiked, not due to some worldwide conspiracy, as some say, but due to the simple old-fashioned laws of supply and demand.

Trouble’s a-comin’. The price of fuel is affecting the price of goods that have to be shipped, which is virtually everything that we consume. The attempt to cut fuel costs by producing ethanol from corn (backed by our own government) has doubled the price of a basic staple, not to mention the cost of animal fodder needed to produce all kinds of meat. Most Americans commute for miles from home to work in our individual vehicles. A huge percentage of fuel is wasted in traffic tie-ups on a daily basis. Prices are going up, and they are going to go higher: some say six bucks for a gallon of gas by Labor Day.

On the plus side for us, the USA is still a pluralistic, resourceful nation. We’re diverse enough so that if one sector fails, another sector can rise up to bail us out. We still value and reward innovation. We’re free to move from place to place. And we still have the ability to change our governments, however slowly, by free and honest elections (despite the inevitable conspiracy theories one hears). So for those of us who live in the United States, there is hope.

As bad as things seem, the past has taught us that if enough decent people keep working on our problems, little by little, we might just all wake up in a better world.

Unfortunately, however, there are places where the forces of Reason and Good are stymied.
More of this anon.

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