A Choice of Catastrophes Radical Bleeding Heart image

Four Impending Disasters

Our civilization is careening madly but blithely toward a yawning chasm.

Perhaps you think that is hyperbole. Understanding why it is not requires going to the roots. Societies tend to be very short-sighted. We like to think that what has been happening the past few years will continue forever. It won't. It never has.

The disaster that awaits us is multifaceted. There are several but related disasters in our future.

CLIMATE. First there is the only one of which most people are aware: climate change. It exemplifies the defining characteristic of all: we are not behaving in a sustainable way.

DEMOCRACY. If climate change is the most glaring of the disasters that awaits us, the imminent destruction of our democracy is the one that should concern us first, since it is the primary obstacle to effectively confronting the others. What we call American democracy is in a coma, while true power is wielded by a particularly short-sighted, selfish, and greed-sick plutocracy.

The mechanism of democracy is still in place, but it has been hijacked by the greed-heads. How? The machinery of government is entirely in the hands of two political parties which exist, not to serve the people, nor to implement any particular political philosophy (despite common wisdom), but simply to win elections. The party hacks believe, not without reason, that winning elections does not mean doing what is good for the country or its citizens, but rather spending obscene amounts of money on negative television ads. They spend the great majority of their time raising money. Thus they become beholden to what is sometimes called the “donor class.” the greed-heads.

But the insatiably greedy elite does not merely own the politicians, it controls the national discourse. The rich determine what we are told about how the world works—in particular how the economy works. They shape the way the arguments are presented, not only on the right, but on the left as well.

ONE FINITE PLANET AND TWO POSSIBLE DISASTERS. Their blind greed thus blinds the rest of us. We are facing, without seeing, a dilemma, a choice between the material destruction of our planet's resources and a descent into medieval levels of poverty and inequality. What is standing in our way are unexamined assumptions that we blindly accept yet are absolutely untrue.

It is all preventable. The obstacles are ignorance and lack of will. So what is the nature of the problems, and what can we do about it?

Next: The Gory Details.

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