Notes on Political Venality, Pomposity and Associated Stupidity.

Monday, February 21, 2005

"Mean People Don't Suck"

It's seems the worst sin that you can be accused of today is being "mean" or "mean-spirited," which is, I suppose more or less the same thing, though the "spirited" part indicates that it's not just a random event, but something deep in your soul.

A young co-worker of mine recently responded vociferiously when her boss called her on the carpet for something she failed to do. She never denied the error, or expressed any "Boy, I really screwed that up" remorse. She was, instead, annoyed that she had been "yelled at." I've known her boss for years and I know he never yells. Never. In the decade I've known him he's only gotten peeved with me a few times, and he has never raised his voice. I say this because I believe that what little "Britney" (a nom de plume, but fitting) saw as "yelling" was nothing of of the sort. It was simply a boss doing what they are often forced to do, which is get people in line with some stern words.

But young people today, in far too many cases, have been coddled from day one. They are delivered directly to the bus stop by Mom and Dad. They get every toy they want, every electronic gizmo. Every thing. And no one could ever tell them NO. In school they were dealt with by teachers who had to keep on their kid gloves the entire time, lest they risk a lawsuit. Britney could be a snit or a full-out witch, but Teacher could never really get her under control. Mommy-Daddy saw to that. A recent article in Time dealt with the generational issue of kids who (if you'll excuse an reference to "Galaxy Quest") Never Grow Up, Never Mature!" And while this can seem, on the surface, like a minor problem, it really isn't. If young people are unable or unwilling to step up and become adults, to take the reigns and assume responsibility - what is left for us? I am reminded of H. G Wells "Time Machine," where the Eloi mindlessly accepted their fate. Are we prepared for an entire race of people mimicking the cluelesss Yvette Mimieux of this movie? Is that our future? Maybe so. Just strap yourself into the Barcolounger and watch the mannequin across the street turn from sassy to sonambulant.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

"Social Security Just Won't Matter"

If the prognosticaters who concentrate on the peak oil issue have it right, the status of the US Social Security Trust Fund won't be "top of mind" in forty years. Instead of fingering our worry beads over the precise benefits and funding options of this well-intentioned government plan, they insist that we should be more concerned about how the hell we're going to put food on our tables and maintain a coherent society which will be under a massive stressor it has not seen since the advent of the industrial age. That is, the lack of oil to keep our totally oil-dependent system rolling along.

And I tend to agree with them.

However, this is the elephant in the parlor that no one wants to talk about. No one. None of the Presidential candidates mentioned it and you certainly aren't going to hear about it from your local Congressperson or Senator. Way too edgy for them.

But just because no one is talking about it, does that mean that no one is thinking about it? I'm not sure. From time to time over the past year or so, I have tried to connect the dots between the Iraq invasion and peak oil. What if, I wondered, this scenario was playing out behind the scenes;

- Researchers in the government know full-well that we have reached the peak oil tipping point and that it's all down hill from here, unless some miraculous new discovery occurs in the next few years.

- With that information in hand, others have developed projections of what would happen to the U. S. and the world economy when the spigot runs dry. It isn't pretty, pointing as it does to essentially a global breakdown of society.

- So, armed with that information, the U. S. decides they need to have a base of operations in the Middle East. They choose the country which is the most obviously "evil" and which will be the easiest to conquer.

-Based on this theory, everything else to do with the Iraq war is just window-dressing.