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This Time We’re Taking the Whole Planet With Us

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Posted on Mar 7, 2011
AP / Mahesh Kumar A.

People collect scraps from a garbage dump in Hyderabad, India.

By Chris Hedges

I have walked through the barren remains of Babylon in Iraq and the ancient Roman city of Antioch, the capital of Roman Syria, which now lies buried in silt deposits. I have visited the marble ruins of Leptis Magna, once one of the most important agricultural centers in the Roman Empire, now isolated in the desolate drifts of sand southeast of Tripoli. I have climbed at dawn up the ancient temples in Tikal, while flocks of brightly colored toucans leapt through the jungle foliage below. I have stood amid the remains of the ancient Egyptian city of Luxor along the Nile, looking at the statue of the great Egyptian pharaoh Ramesses II lying broken on the ground, with Percy Shelley’s poem “Ozymandias” running through my head:

“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Civilizations rise, decay and die. Time, as the ancient Greeks argued, for individuals and for states is cyclical. As societies become more complex they become inevitably more precarious. They become increasingly vulnerable. And as they begin to break down there is a strange retreat by a terrified and confused population from reality, an inability to acknowledge the self-evident fragility and impending collapse. The elites at the end speak in phrases and jargon that do not correlate to reality. They retreat into isolated compounds, whether at the court at Versailles, the Forbidden City or modern palatial estates. The elites indulge in unchecked hedonism, the accumulation of vaster wealth and extravagant consumption. They are deaf to the suffering of the masses who are repressed with greater and greater ferocity. Resources are more ruthlessly depleted until they are exhausted. And then the hollowed-out edifice collapses. The Roman and Sumerian empires fell this way. The Mayan elites, after clearing their forests and polluting their streams with silt and acids, retreated backward into primitivism.

As food and water shortages expand across the globe, as mounting poverty and misery trigger street protests in the Middle East, Africa and Europe, the elites do what all elites do. They launch more wars, build grander monuments to themselves, plunge their nations deeper into debt, and as it all unravels they take it out on the backs of workers and the poor. The collapse of the global economy, which wiped out a staggering $40 trillion in wealth, was caused when our elites, after destroying our manufacturing base, sold massive quantities of fraudulent mortgage-backed securities to pension funds, small investors, banks, universities, state and foreign governments and shareholders. The elites, to cover the losses, then looted the public treasury to begin the speculation over again. They also, in the name of austerity, began dismantling basic social services, set out to break the last vestiges of unions, slashed jobs, froze wages, threw millions of people out of their homes, and stood by idly as we created a permanent underclass of unemployed and underemployed.

The Mayan elite became, at the end, as the anthropologist Ronald Wright notes in “A Short History of Progress,” “… extremists, or ultra-conservatives, squeezing the last drops of profit from nature and humanity.” This is how all civilizations, including our own, ossify and die. The signs of imminent death may be undeniable. Common sense may cry out for a radical new response. But the race toward self-immolation only accelerates because of intellectual and moral paralysis. As Sigmund Freud grasped in “Beyond the Pleasure Principle” and “Civilization and Its Discontents,” human societies are as intoxicated and blinded by their own headlong rush toward death and destruction as they are by the search for erotic fulfillment.

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The unrest in the Middle East, the implosion of national economies such as those of Ireland and Greece, the increasing anger of a beleaguered working class at home and abroad, the growing desperate human migrations and the refusal to halt our relentless destruction of the ecosystem on which life depends are the harbingers of our own collapse and the consequences of the idiocy of our elite and the folly of globalization. Protests that are not built around a complete reconfiguration of American society, including a rapid dismantling of empire and the corporate state, can only forestall the inevitable. We will be saved only with the birth of a new and militant radicalism which seeks to dethrone our corrupt elite from power, not negotiate for better terms.

The global economy is built on the erroneous belief that the marketplace—read human greed—should dictate human behavior and that economies can expand eternally. Globalism works under the assumption that the ecosystem can continue to be battered by massive carbon emissions without major consequences. And the engine of global economic expansion is based on the assurance that there will always be plentiful and cheap oil. The inability to confront simple truths about human nature and the natural world leaves the elites unable to articulate new social, economic and political paradigms. They look only for ways to perpetuate a dying system. Thomas Friedman and the array of other propagandists for globalization make as much sense as Charlie Sheen.

Click here to check out Chris Hedges’ new book,
“The World As It Is, Dispatches On the Myth of Human Progress.”

Keep up with Chris Hedges’ latest columns, interviews, tour dates and more at www.truthdig.com/chris_hedges.

 


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RayLan's avatar

By RayLan, March 10, 2011 at 9:13 am Link to this comment

This canard that ‘believing’ in (acting on) scientific evidence is absolutist and religious - because science isn’t certain is just ignorant of both the nature of decision making and how science works. It should not even be dignified by a counter-argument.
Even the most empirically based scientific theories like gravity do not enjoy dogmatic certainty, yet they have been reliable for centuries to an unprecedented degree of precision and accuracy, compared to the religiously based cosmologies.

It is the flat denial of AGW that is like these cosmologies - not its qualified acceptance.

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By Caute, March 10, 2011 at 8:04 am Link to this comment

On the surface of this rock, hurtling through icy-
cold space and molten at the core, a thin mould has
appeared. In this mould we find knowing, thinking
organisms which have been given given the name
‘humans.’ The complexity of this brute dictates that
as opposed to merely dividing, as did its ancestors,
it must first separate into two parts. Each part then
brings a set of DNA, the idea being that genetic
defects in one will be cancelled out by the other
(most of the time).

The separate units have been given the name ‘male’
and ‘female.’ Stimulated by a cocktail of ‘feel good’
hormones these organisms then seek each other out for
genetic replication, or the creation of new DNA
storage units. We exist to service the DNA. The
euphoric feeling from these hormones, these natural
intoxicants, has been given the name ‘love.’

From birth then each organism is at war for the
resources of countless others, and each one dies with
sword in hand.

Now from this we can see it is a huge mistake to
start off any analysis of the world by asking why
there is so much violence, lying and hypocrisy, for
the answer is glaring—‘this world is the
battleground of tormented, agonized beings who devour
each other for survival,’ said the Sage.

The real question is, why is there any goodness at
all? What powers a Schweitzer, a Spinoza or a Gandhi?

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, March 10, 2011 at 7:28 am Link to this comment

Science is not about being 100 percent certain,........ that’s why I rather live my life, with the full comfort and knowledge of having the pureness and the unmitigated,  certainty Republicans always offer,........ because I know without a doubt,  Republicans will never fail to get me in the rear!

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Psychobabbler's avatar

By Psychobabbler, March 10, 2011 at 2:51 am Link to this comment

Religion discourages objective thinking.

It demands trust in leadership.

I try to respect peoples traditions always, but this is all very dangerous to innocence now.

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katsteevns's avatar

By katsteevns, March 10, 2011 at 2:08 am Link to this comment

ANARCISSE,I am not denying that organized religion promotes doing nothing, at least on a grand scale. In fact, the “faithful” have a history of supporting “business as usual”.

But the least that everyone can do is boycott problem entities and take corrupt officials out of office. Not even THAT is getting done by either the religious or all the way down the line to Atheists. “Boycott” is a bad word in our language probably because it is so effective and no one flinched when Pelosi brought the phrase “off the table” into widespread use in response to our desire to hold Bush accountable.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, March 10, 2011 at 1:35 am Link to this comment

katsteevns—maybe having a religious debate is a way to avoid actually doing anything substantial, which might involve work.

For example, the New York City government has painted bicycle lanes all over the city, which the politicians and bureaucrats hope will entice other people to use bicycles, so that they can get about in their official cars unimpeded and save a little gas.  On the other hand, the city government allowed huge glitzy condos to be built on the East River flood plain; it is almost guaranteed that we will get a storm surge in a decade or two that will flood these areas, because, probably due to global warming, the weather is becoming more intense.  (Hence the four feet of snow dumped on us a few months ago—very unusual.)  Bicycle lane paint is cheap, foregoing profits and taxes on big glitzy condos is expensive.  The city government can’t even put flood doors on the more exposed subway entrances to prevent the surge from flooding the subways, which will take them out of service for weeks or months—salt water being conductive and corrosive.

But, you know, the Apocalypse and the End of Days are coming, so who cares?  Especially when we can get on blogs and denounce the evil of others.

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Psychobabbler's avatar

By Psychobabbler, March 10, 2011 at 12:50 am Link to this comment

C.Curtis.Dillon: You are are a good man and I trust that you will never kick a man when he is down.

Gulam: I like it when ladies bring home some bacon.

I AM THE ONE WHO CONTROLS THE SUN AND GLOBAL WARMING IS REAL.

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By plainsman, March 10, 2011 at 12:13 am Link to this comment

“It is,” as you say TAO Walker, “a good day.” Thank you.

I doubt you need to read this book but the rest of us do: Tending the Wild: Native American Knowledge and the Management of California’s Natural Resources by M. Kat Anderson. Most of it is available on Google Books.

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By radson, March 9, 2011 at 11:47 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller you will believe it when your loved ones have only a fools hope

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By davidtalks, March 9, 2011 at 11:29 pm Link to this comment

Gaia will rid itself of us. Suicide is not in nature’s DNA. The planet will survive anything we throw at it.

We won’t.

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katsteevns's avatar

By katsteevns, March 9, 2011 at 11:26 pm Link to this comment

Well ANARCISSIE, you may be right. Hedges has ranked the climate change debate lower on the list of priorities of “problems to be solved” than say, stopping the rape of our limited and unarguably dwindling natural resources or of the genocidal policies of hegemonic super powers. (The blood of those 100,000 dead Iraqis screams up from the ground whether we hear it or not and will continue to do so despite the arrival of any scientistic utopia.)
  It is painfully evident that the debaters have not taken in the message of the article but simply are pecking at its flaws as vultures gathered around a corpse. It is a “safe” debate. No one there has to question their role in the destructive system of capitalism that sustains their wants at the expense of the many nor must they be forced to stray from the ranks of their “patriotic” anticommunistic ideals. They want the “system” to solve the problem. They believe in that system because it has been good for THEM. They DON’T CARE about those on whose backs the system rests and flourishes.

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Leefeller's avatar

By Leefeller, March 9, 2011 at 11:09 pm Link to this comment

Call attention to an issue or topic the corporations do not feel in their best interests and see how far you get!

Make an issue, by grabbing it out of some Republicans arse….... always good for getting those natives fired up and restless,  divert their attention, get those eyes off the ball, ....no they never lie,(they have their fingers crossed so it don’t count!) they just divert!

Make a nice side coarse of fear, bring up good old abortion, gay rights and sprinkle some Zionists and Muslims on top for flavor and keep those natives busy for a Trolls age!

Whats going on folks? What war? What bail out? Its about money,no its not;..... get rid of those unions. 

Find out who is supporting what, is always a nice way to find out how you want to look at something. Forget about facts, for they are missing like brans from a Republican!


I have un-living proof global warming may exist, I just cant prove it beyond an unreasonable doubt!  On the other hand I have absolutist proof with from those Republican air port foot tappers, supported by the oil companies, the coal companies and Karl Rove,  global warming doesn’t exist! ............ Well! Who you gonna believe?

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By radson, March 9, 2011 at 11:08 pm Link to this comment

A little humanity in this discussion of doom and gloom,sorry it’s in french but music knows no boundries

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KcIApVb6eHk

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By TAO Walker, March 9, 2011 at 10:31 pm Link to this comment

The Tiyoshpaye Way (again in-response to a query from “plainsman”) is a term Dakotah/Lakotah/Nakotah Peoples use to refer to the Living Ethos of the basic Organic Form of Humanity.  It means an ORGANized Community of Natural Persons having all the response-abilities required to fulfill our given Organic Function in a sustainable and reproducible manner.  Language and other cultural attributes may link a number Tiyoshpayes into a Nation.

The Tiyoshpaye engages a part of our Living Arrangement, in all its various climactic and geophysical expressions, as an Integrated Organism.  Its “size” varies according to the needs of its particular ‘range’ for the precious attention whole healthy Human Communities give to the Living Arrangement.  In helping to maintain and sustain the Natural Harmony and Balance of any given “eco-system,” the Tiyoshpaye will naturally also be nourished, clothed, and otherwise provided with the organic support necessary to our health and wholeness.

Tiyoshpayes naturally come together, as they attend to the needs of their Native Country, to share knowledge of its condition, and to keep both their genetic and their cultural heritage fresh and vital.  Depending on where they are, seasonal changes may prompt much the rhythmic flow of Tiyoshpaye Life.

Sometimes, if that is compatible with its ‘place,’ a Tiyoshpaye might maintain a more-or-less centralized residential site, from which members will circulate over the Country they’re seeing after.  Again, it is in the very process of engaging their range conscientiously that The People will have their own needs met, naturally and constantly, without upsetting the Harmony and Balance they’re helping to sustain. 

At least a couple of Persons participating here have noted the presence, even in the midst of this terminal phase of the “civilization” disease onslaught, of surviving Natural Human Communities.  These Free Wild Peoples engage their ‘place’ not as random collections of the run-amok domesticated “individual,” but as wholly Integrated Organisms functioning to the mutual benefit of ALL-concerned….Human and ‘other’-wise.

Whatever Human ‘presence’ remains in our Mother Earth’s Living Arrangement, when Her even-now-in-process Purification Ceremony is complete, will consist only and entirely of those of our Kind Living consciously and conscientiously in The Tiyoshpaye Way….whatever it might be called in their Language.  Entities of whatever Kind too “self”-obsessed to “settle” for being a vital component in Her immune system, who insist (for example) that they have to be the-brains-of-the-outfit, can put-on whatever ‘birthday-suit’ (Elephant’s, maybe?....or Whale’s?) that goes here with that Function….or they can find someplace else to fuck-around, if they think they can.

This Old Savage has looked around a little, though, and the odds of that appear to be CONsiderably “less-than-zero.”

HokaHey!

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By radson, March 9, 2011 at 10:14 pm Link to this comment

To all you CO2 ,AGW ,carbon footprint and useless euphemisms folks.The THEORY is very SIMPLE :take all the fossil fuel burning Contraptions and Calculate mathematically for all you scientists the total BTU’s being generated on a 24 7 basis 365 days a year .Then just for the hell of it calculate how Massive this Furnace actually is and whether PERHAPS it could be causing a problem.

cheers

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By Ted Swart, March 9, 2011 at 9:06 pm Link to this comment

To MarkP, March 10 at 1:13 am

You write as follows:

“For thousands of years, humans haven’t changed their greedy, and violent ways. Humans are doomed because we are exactly what we are, and will not change. We can’t change…it seems to be our nature not to learn from our past, and plan for a more sensible future.
Even if the world’s peoples suddenly realized how wrong they’ve been by living the way they have, then vowed to change TODAY, it would take a global effort by every nation on Earth to even begin to solve the social and ecosystem problems/damage that has already occurred.

My question to you all, is…do humans really deserve to be the dominant species of planet Earth?
I say, no way! We’ve done enough damage to our precious planet, and to all of the other species we exploit for our own greed. We can’t even begin to control the global population, which our planet cannot sustain forever. We can’t even stop the destruction of our rain forests, and the pollution or our water and air. We can’t even control our own greed well enough to stop killing animals and plants until they are either extinct, or on an endangered species list. We are killing our own food chain! Humans aren’t smart. We have proven how stupid and greedy we are, over and over again.”

And you have said it all so well that most of the participants in this forum must surely agree totally with what you say.  I certainly do. We don’t deserve to be custodians of our beautiful Earth. 

“And I can’t believe you scientists are still debating the global warming issue. . . . . . .
What difference does it make if if one side or the other is right about global warming?”

Unfortunately it does make a difference which side is right and which side is wrong. The protracted nature of the debate arises form the fact that AGW supporters refuse to face the fact that their hypothesis may well be and almost certainly is flawed. None of the AGW skeptics of any substance says that there has bee no warming. What they do question is the claim that extra CO2 is the cause.
Resolving the difference is very important since—as you rightly suggest—we need a concerted effort to rectify the damage we have done and continue to do to the environment. And this concerted effort can ill afford to to waste money, time and energy on battling a non-existent problem with impotent weapons. Tinkering with the atmosphere’s CO2 content will do hardly anything to affect the Earth’s climate.   

“What needs to be discussed, is how we as a species are going to deal with the changes that ARE occurring in our environment. Whether those changes were caused by mankind, or as a result of a natural change doesn’t really matter at this point, does it?
If you ask me, humans have backed ourselves into a corner we won’t get out of, because it’s our nature NOT to change. We won’t change even when presented with the lethal negativeness of our welfare and future if we don’t change. Too late, people. Game over.”

Sombre and perfectly sensible words.  We have indeed backed ourselves into a corner.

“Prove me wrong…PLEASE!”

I wish I could MarkP but I am afraid that the prospects of a truly concerted effort to rectify the situation are slim indeed.  And,in this respect—despite the flaws in his article, Chris Hedges cannot be accused of sounding a false alarm.

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By MarkP, March 9, 2011 at 8:13 pm Link to this comment

Whether science is getting the global warming issue right or wrong really isn’t the point. For thousands of years, humans haven’t changed their greedy, and violent ways. Humans are doomed because we are exactly what we are, and will not change. We can’t change…it seems to be our nature not to learn from our past, and plan for a more sensible future.
Even if the world’s peoples suddenly realized how wrong they’ve been by living the way they have, then vowed to change TODAY, it would take a global effort by every nation on Earth to even begin to solve the social and ecosystem problems/damage that have already occurred.

My question to you all, is…do humans really deserve to be the dominant species of planet Earth?
I say, no way! We’ve done enough damage to our precious planet, and to all of the other species we exploit for our own greed. We can’t even begin to control the global population, which our planet cannot sustain forever. We can’t even stop the destruction of our rain forests, and the pollution or our water and air. We can’t even control our own greed well enough to stop killing animals and plants until they are either extinct, or on an endangered species list. We are killing our own food chain! Humans aren’t smart. We have proven how stupid and greedy we are, over and over again.

...And I can’t believe you “scientist” are still debating the global warming issue when chunks of Antarctica’s ice sheet the size of Rhode Island are breaking off into the ocean. I was in Alaska a few years back, on a cruise ship that traveled up into a waterway once inhabited by one of the largest glaciers in Alaska. The captain of the ship announced it was the furthest up this waterway his ship had ever been able to come. The waterway had once been solid glacier. When we arrived at the foot of the glacier, the passengers went on deck and watched massive amounts of ice breaking off into the ocean. It was a continuous process of calving, not just once every ten minutes or more.
We don’t need a debate over scientific data regarding warming of the planet. Whether or not our planet is changing is a mute point. It’s obvious to the least educated of us when we see it firsthand.
What difference does it make if if one side or the other is right about global warming?
What needs to be discussed, is how we as a species are going to deal with the changes that ARE occurring in our environment. Whether those changes were caused by mankind, or as a result of a natural change doesn’t really matter at this point, does it?

If you ask me, humans have backed ourselves into a corner we won’t get out of, because it’s our nature NOT to change. We won’t change even when presented with the lethal negativeness of our welfare and future if we don’t change. Too late, people. Game over.
Prove me wrong…PLEASE!

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By golady, March 9, 2011 at 7:27 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I believe Chris Hedges is right about pending doom.  I am no scientist as some who have posted are, but how bright or educated does one need to be to understand that the earth cannot provide for all that is being demanded and consumed?  Everytime I travel anywhere these days, I am shocked at the number of people and cars on the roads.  I am worried when I see suburbs with house after house after house. Just think of the toliet paper used, if nothing else. Humanity is in trouble. The earth is over populated with people living beyound their means. Like Chris, I wonder if we will survive.

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, March 9, 2011 at 6:50 pm Link to this comment

katsteevns, March 9 at 9:07 pm:

This statement by Hedges makes all climate change debate a moot subject. ....

The apocalyptic, absolutistic tenor of Hedges’s article and its many antecedents pretty much ensure that nothing will be done, so the debate is indeed moot.

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By redslider, March 9, 2011 at 6:15 pm Link to this comment

Re: C.Curtis.Dillon March 9, 10:32

C. Thank you for doing the thing that science must do if it is to have any meaning for our species other than a ‘sound in the forest’ that no one is around to hear.  I suspect this isn’t the only place or time you’ve made the effort to translate the complexities of science in terms as faithful to the science and clear to the non-scientist in their importance and consequence as they can be. The debate over whether this somehow ‘taints’ science is a separate ( and I think false) issue.

In any case, your analog of “impulse response” testing gives a fairly good idea of what we are up to in our toy-making cultures - that we are kicking things of which we have no real assurance about what the response will be, let alone the means to contain such responses.  That makes it clear to me, a non-scientist that, even if science has gotten it entirely “wrong” in some respects, the consequences of having gotten some of it “right” ought to warn us to stay well away from testing the matter any further. I think one can even be in deep denial and manage to see the sense of that.  My only additions would be:

1.  Cutting our contributions of pollutants and change-making impulses (even stopping them altogether) will not plunge us into some dark age of deprivation. The Egyptians and Romans were well on their way to steam-engines, printing presses, indoor plumbing and luxury bath-houses without hardly any fossil fuel consumption at all. They might even have skipped that phase altogether and gone right to harnessing alternative energies had it not been for a few serious natural and political calamities.

2. I think even the deniers that have posted here cannot argue that we are talking about planetary effects. Even if the science should happen to get it wrong (or worshipers are paid a surprise visit and their gods turn out to be very sympathetic), the consequences of being right are enormous - extinction events that are irreversible and inescapable. Our RNA can, and probably will backtrack sufficiently to try again. But I dare say it won’t be homo erectus that gets handed the job. Maybe some ostrichean dinosaurs with prehensile forelimbs will get another chance, or perhaps some bacteria at the precambrian bottleneck.  That’s a big price to pay for saying “gee, CO2 might be a good thing, and here’s why…”.  I think it is really up to the deniers to prove it ain’t so - to a certainty - rather than for the rest of us to gamble the planet on a bet that we’re just being over-cautious.

3. Hedges article isn’t really about any particular instance of assault on this planet. We are assaulting it in a myriad of ways. Each of them being its own ‘impulse response’ test, and each of them carrying catastrophic consequences if science just happens to be right.  Do we want to bet that all of them turn out to be just some number-cruching mistake?  Do those who deny wish to put their money on that?  Then I know a casino in Las Vegas I can send them to, where I’m assured, “the gambler always wins.”.

4. Finally, this matter is not at all about the potential outcomes of our riskier behaviors. It is about who gets to make those decisions about the future of this planet. It’s about the tester, not the subject of the test.  Do we wish to leave the design of such impulse tests to those who think personal gain and ambition are sufficient reason to risk all on the odd-chance the dog won’t bite back? To those who have utterly no impulse control?  Is that what deniers would suggest? Do they wish to ante up this planet on the odd chance it will keep their SUVs running a little longer?  I should think even the most ardent denier would want to think twice about kicking God in the groin just to see if they could squeeze a few more goodies out of it. If they don’t wish to heed the warnings of science, perhaps they’d do well to listen to their gods? I believe all of them have said, “Dust to dust.”

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By Ted Swart, March 9, 2011 at 5:43 pm Link to this comment

By Arraya, March 9 at 9:41 pm Link to this comment

What you now write sounds much more sensible.  And, as I have indicated before, you do write many sensible things.
You say:
‘Part of my “sweeping dismissal” is because I’ve been down this road already and I find AGW debate pointless(going against my own personal promise not to engage in it)for several reasons and like I said a symptom of a bigger problem.’

YES. Climate change is part of a bigger picture. Of course there are many aspects of our despoiling of the environment in urgent need of attention. And recklessly burning fossil fuels at a mad rate is utterly indefensible. But cutting back on doing this for the wrong reasons is likely to come back and bite us in the tail. What if the AGW hypothesis is indeed erroneous and it falls into disrepute because of another 12 years without any warming? This will,in many people’s eyes, give science a bad name. 
And what if there IS further warming which entrenches the AGW viewpoint BUT the warming has nothing to do with the CO2 content of the atmosphere? This would mean a hugely expensive and disruptive attempt to cut back on our CO2 emissions without having any effect on our climate. Too much of what Chris Hedges says is true for us to waste our energy on such wild goose chase.   

“Yes, I know some of the literature against, which anything worthy is in a sea of propaganda.  The right wing think tank machine has flooded the environment with a cloud of nonsense.”

I think there is much more “worthy” critique than you seem prepared to admit. 

“Public skepticism is a far cry from scientific.  My
personal connection to it is relationships with researchers at NOAA and Scripps. Not hardly the money-hungry, puppets of the global conspirators they are made out to be.”

YES once again true. But your connections are rather one-sided. I understand why you have taken an oath of sorts not to talk about AGW—which is hard to avoid! But it is deserving of being talked about and there has been too much shady behaviour by the AGW insiders to let the matter drop.
I happen to have set up the first radiocarbon dating laboratory in Africa and we radiocarbon fundies knew all about the extra CO2 in the atmosphere long before most scientists. But although the extra CO2 from fossil fuel burning reduces the radiocarbon content of the atmosphere the notion that the extra CO2 causes runaway global warming has always struck me as far fetched. Past CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere don’t support this notion at all.
Friends?

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By everyhuman, March 9, 2011 at 5:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I ride with Tao Walker -

His words “...we were told they were being sent here to us because they were
sick (with the “civilization” disease), and had lost The Way of Human Beings
within The Hoop of Life” ring true.

We can change though. It is possible.

There is a song written about losing one’s way on this planet:

You think I’m an ignorant savage
And you’ve been so many places
I guess it must be so
But still I cannot see
If the savage one is me
How can there be so much that you don’t know?
You don’t know ...

You think you own whatever land you land on
The Earth is just a dead thing you can claim
But I know every rock and tree and creature
Has a life, has a spirit, has a name

You think the only people who are people
Are the people who look and think like you
But if you walk the footsteps of a stranger
You’ll learn things you never knew you never knew

Have you ever heard the wolf cry to the blue corn moon
Or asked the grinning bobcat why he grinned?
Can you sing with all the voices of the mountains?
Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?
Can you paint with all the colors of the wind?

Come run the hidden pine trails of the forest
Come taste the sunsweet berries of the Earth
Come roll in all the riches all around you
And for once, never wonder what they’re worth

The rainstorm and the river are my brothers
The heron and the otter are my friends
And we are all connected to each other
In a circle, in a hoop that never ends

How high will the sycamore grow?
If you cut it down, then you’ll never know
And you’ll never hear the wolf cry to the blue corn moon

For whether we are white or copper skinned
We need to sing with all the voices of the mountains
We need to paint with all the colors of the wind

You can own the Earth and still
All you’ll own is Earth until
You can paint with all the colors of the wind

_ _ _


That deal, that piece of paper, that material thing you possess. That house you
owe so much on - or not. This computer I’m writing on now. All must be let go
of.

There has to be another way. We must start again. We must unlearn these
practices of owning things, it is causing hearts to turn to darkness.

It is possible to find our way again - all of us - living in America.

Peace to all of us, and calmness with wisdom for happiness.

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By Arraya, March 9, 2011 at 4:58 pm Link to this comment

The point is that this has been made into a political test because
it goes against what the business-as-usual ones want. You see they want no
change and to keep it as is. If things go bad they don’t care they have money to
buy what they need to survive and to lord over the rest of us too poor to
purchase the clean water and protective structures that will be needed as the
weather gets harsh and more dangerous than today.

You got that right! 

This is our final test as a species. If we can’t get together and
pool our resources and minds and forgo financial profit for the profit of a better
world then we fail the test of any civilization at this crossroads of
development.

Civilization is a sum total of our decision making systems(economic and
political) - they are on the verge of monumentally failing.  It’s time for an
overhaul and new logic

Best plan I’ve seen

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Z9WVZddH9w

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By Cidus, March 9, 2011 at 4:45 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Very good article, really well written. I like how
you cite the fall from previous civilizations. It is
scarily similar to what we’re going today.

But I start to don’t like it so much towards the end.
I have 2 problems.

First, basically you’re saying this is it, we’re
dead. You’ve lost faith, as opposed to clinging to
it as most do, correct? That’s because you did not
replace your faith with something else.

That leads me to my second issue. I don’t
particularly like this quote from the article: “The
faith that science and technology, which are morally
neutral and serve human ambitions, will make the
world whole again is no less delusional. “

As if science is something you have to have faith in.
You have to have faith in things you cannot see,
measure, experiment. There is a big difference.

As you state, falling civilizations have increasing
faith in magic to solve their problems, not science.
The cycle can be broken when we stop having faith and
start having knowledge of what the heck we’re doing
wrong. We have to replace faith with knowledge.

If, in Easter Island, there was a group of scientists
instead of religious nutjobs, the result would be
very different, I assure you.

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By Arraya, March 9, 2011 at 4:41 pm Link to this comment

Ted,

Part of my “sweeping dismissal” is because I’ve been down this road already and
I find AGW debate pointless(going against my own personal promise not to
engage in it)  for several reasons and like I said a symptom of a bigger problem. 
Yes, I know some of the literature against, which anything worthy is in a sea of
propaganda.  The right wing think tank machine has flooded the environment
with a cloud of nonsense.  Public skepticism is a far cry from scientific.  My
personal connection to it is relationships with researchers at NOAA and Scripps. 
Not hardly the money-hungry, puppets of the global conspirators the are made
out to be.

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By Night-Gaunt, March 9, 2011 at 4:37 pm Link to this comment

The problem with reality is that it always intrudes to mess up our fantasy Ted Stewart. Mr. Hedges is being optimistic here not pessimistic. For you see the numbers are far worse with a rise of as high as 10 degrees C are predicted should we go merrily along as we have been for the past 150 years into the dim future and much sooner it seems too. That would in effect make life very harsh on dry land. Not unlike in the Ordivician Era (490-443 mya) and the drying of the Permian (298-249 mya). However the anology of the “green house” is just in the way heat is trapped, not how it is operated.

Since all the data is used for the global climate review for an entire year is used so the warming is in effect by those standards. Many other examples too from the widening of the torrid belt around the earth to a change in animal migrations and plants blooming. The Alaskan’s see plenty of changes.

The point is that this has been made into a political test because it goes against what the business-as-usual ones want. You see they want no change and to keep it as is. If things go bad they don’t care they have money to buy what they need to survive and to lord over the rest of us too poor to purchase the clean water and protective structures that will be needed as the weather gets harsh and more dangerous than today.

This is our final test as a species. If we can’t get together and pool our resources and minds and forgo financial profit for the profit of a better world then we fail the test of any civilization at this crossroads of development.

We might be able to claw our way back up again. Who knows we may have done it in the dim past? However, we could lose it all and become extinct and wreck the planet for awhile. It usually takes 10 million years for the earth to recover from previous mass extinctions. Intelligence isn’t an important asset to survival, just flexibility to adapt.

The earth goes in an eccentric orbit so there is some generally cooling and heating. We just left the cooling phase (where we had steady warming) and now into a warming trend on top of the artificial warming we have been doing. If we should cross that threshold and the feed back loops become self sustaining then we really have a hard job. [Just imagine all that pent up methane would be released from the oceans and formally frozen bogs.] Get it back to something like in the 1900’s to about 1970 worked really well for us all globally.

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By Ted Swart, March 9, 2011 at 4:13 pm Link to this comment

To: Arraya, March 9 at 7:40 pm

You Say:
“Ted, just because you don’t understand it does not really stop the mechanism at play.  It does not require your “belief” or vote to keep chugging along.  IPCC report
represents maybe 10,000 man years of study and thousands of peer review articles from institutions around the world.  Your understanding of the matter is
what is primitive.  It is physics, pure a simple.”

With that kind of sweeping dismissal it is hard to know how to respond.  You clearly know nothing about my level of understanding of the climate change issue or my competence with respect to physics—which I have taught at university level. Since you seem to accept the IPCC reports without any demurral we must be living on a different planet.
I might just ask:  Have you,in fact, read any of the evidence against the AGW hypothesis?

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By katsteevns, March 9, 2011 at 4:07 pm Link to this comment

This statement by Hedges makes all climate change debate a moot subject. Or are you all just keen on honing your debating skills??????

From page 2:
“The march toward self-annihilation has already obliterated 90 percent of the large fish in the oceans and wiped out half of the mature tropical forests, the lungs of the planet. At this rate by 2030 only 10 percent of the Earth’s tropical forests will remain. Contaminated water kills 25,000 people every day around the globe, and each year some 20 million children are impaired by malnourishment.

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By Anarcissie, March 9, 2011 at 3:05 pm Link to this comment

Arraya, March 9 at 3:10 pm:

Anarcissie,
‘The global economy is essentially a (unnecessary) waste and death machine on so many levels.  It is completely unsustainable and structurally unsound(from a physical standpoint and this bizarre human abstraction known as finance with zero connection to the natural world).  It’s going down, regardless. ...’

No doubt.  And so it will change, probably with very little input from me, although I do engage in various anarchistic actions from time to time just to spite the smirking monkeys in charge.  The changes will probably be rather difficult—the four horsemen of the Apocalypse will be working hard indeed.  So, what are your plans?  The sadistic pleasure I get in posting things in public places and watching people ridicule themselves in response is wearing thin.  Just the tone of these conversations explains everything we lament.

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By Arraya, March 9, 2011 at 2:59 pm Link to this comment

gerald- considering the whole world operates on money-I guess we could
apply that logic to all sciences.  We’ll the scientist was getting paid ergo the
conclusion is wrong.  And I do agree, to an extent - money perverts most
things.  Profit motive seem to be the gun stuck to humanities head.

Denialism is a much more profitable industry.  Just like Tobacco science was.  I
know many research scientists - they are not doing this for money - nor are
they trying to trick anybody.  “Cap an Trade” was scheme to get finance and big
oil on board.  Once that was in place the power-elite did not care but the
denial industry is kept alive with right wing think tanks and a general distrust
that is a sickness in our scam-everybody and sell-your-mother-to-make-a-
profit society coupled with an irrational religious belief the market interactions
can do no wrong. 

The scientific community gets grants - that is how they do research. 

But, like I said before, political action is futile - because they are masters to
capital.  Society needs to be rethought from the ground up. Our political system
is a failure.  Maybe after this coming collapse - I’d say in less than 5 years we
will be worried about much more immediate things - like keeping society from
completely devolved to a bunch of monkeys throwing feces at each other from
our economic system imploding.

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By Arraya, March 9, 2011 at 2:40 pm Link to this comment

Ted, just because you don’t understand it does not really stop the mechanism at
play.  It does not require your “belief” or vote to keep chugging along.  IPCC report
represents maybe 10,000 man years of study and thousands of peer review
articles from institutions around the world.  Your understanding of the matter is
what is primitive.  It is physics, pure a simple.

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By gerard, March 9, 2011 at 1:57 pm Link to this comment

As with almost everything else these days, follow   the money.  If energy companies are putting large sums of money into AGW science, it’s because they think they can gain influence the results in their favor.  If they are putting next to no money into AGW, you can bet they are afraid results will cause them to lose money by forcing conservation and fuel efficiencies. 
  If government puts money into AGW, it will be because tens of thousands of citizens demand it, or because everything is dying off rapidly and panic is taking over, whichever comes first.

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By truedigger3, March 9, 2011 at 1:49 pm Link to this comment

Re: By Caute, March 9 at 2:54 pm Link to this comment

Caute wrote:
“Now what if Man did a sudden turnaround and peace
reigned supreme, every Jack found his Jill, sharing
became the order of the day, and turkeys flew round
ready-roasted? What would be the result of everyone
being happy? Absolute boredom. An endless Sunday
afternoon. Surely men would be driven mad and resume
their outrages merely to make things interesting once
again.”
—————————————————

Caute,

Most people will be very happy and contented in a peaceful world full of harmony and abundance. I assume this will be caused by a shift of the human consciousness to a higher more refined level.
Of course there will be some who are restless or selfdestructive for psychological or physical impairment(very active glands), but they will be very very few and their actions contained.

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By Ted Swart, March 9, 2011 at 1:04 pm Link to this comment

To Curtis.Dillon, March 9 at 1:05 pm

Almost everything you say is correct Curtis Dillon—and very well written.  Just a shame that you put too much faith in the AGW climate scientists and the extent to which they have been doing defensible science. Work on climate science is important and needs to carried in vigorously but it needs to be done in a much more open manner than heretofore—without closing out dissentient voices. .

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By Ted Swart, March 9, 2011 at 12:50 pm Link to this comment

Toy Arraya,

Amazing how one person can get some things bang on and other things completely wrong. You say that

“The global economy is essentially an (unnecessary)waste and death machine on so many levels.  It is completely unsustainable and structurally unsound(from a physical standpoint and this bizarre human abstraction known as finance with zero connection to the natural world).  It’s going down, regardless.”

Of course you are correct and every country on earth should be as self sustaining as possible. The huge cost (in money and energy) of shipping vast amounts of food around the globe is simply absurd.

But then you go on to say:

“As far as AGW, it’s been pretty well understood to be a potential problem since the late sixties by the late 80s it was pretty much set and understood quite well.”

And this is completely off base.  Our understanding of climate change is extremely primitive and it is only now coming to be better understood—not because of the AGW acolytes but because of the skeptics who have been doing normative science. 

You end this section by saying: 
” Science, it is not”
And oddly enough this applies to the AGW climate scientists who have come unstuck precisely because they have not been doing normative science. Little wonder that their house of cards is coming crumbling down in front of their eyes. 

And you close by saying:
“Organizing politically for AGW misses the point because it is just a symptom of a larger problem.  Which is our interface with the planet and it’s resources.”
And with this I can agree.
What a shame that you spoil some of the excellent things you say by continuing to believe in the AGW myth.
Would you not consider actually checking up on the facts—for example the Chris Smith’s write-up in this forum?

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By Arraya, March 9, 2011 at 10:10 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie,

The global economy is essentially a (unnecessary)waste and death machine on
so many levels.  It is completely unsustainable and structurally unsound(from a
physical standpoint and this bizarre human abstraction known as finance with
zero connection to the natural world).  It’s going down, regardless. 

As far as AGW, it’s been pretty well understood to be a potential problem since
the late sixties by the late 80s it was pretty much set and understood quite
well.  They have been doing peer review since the late 50s.  It is not doctrine it
is the most probable explanation for what they are seeing and measuring. 
Science is a process of getting to the truth.  The fact that all these skeptics
popped up in the last decade that have come out with “gotcha ya” causal
mechanisms is a joke.  It’s not something the scientific community did not hash
out decades earlier.  Scientists like to disprove each other.  It’s just the nature of
the beast.  Unlike economics which is a from of solipsistic sophistry.  Science, it
is not.

Organizing politically for AGW misses the point because it is just a symptom of
a larger problem.  Which is our interface with the planet and it’s resources.

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By Litl Bludot, March 9, 2011 at 9:56 am Link to this comment

Hedges sees clearly what is happening.  This time, it’s not just the collapse of a isolated, doomed civilization but the end of the biosphere, the end of life.

He does NOT see that there are exceptions to the examples of pathological, toxic cultures that he lists.  These exceptions are the cultures that live within the web of life.  The Americas were populated by such people prior to being invaded by carriers of deadly ideological diseases. Their language, customs, beliefs did not and do not allow deviance from living as part of nature.  The indigenous Australians, living for fifty thousand years in symbiosis with the biosphere. There are those in the Amazon, desperately hiding from creatures that they see as embodying the antithesis of life;  those from the western, anti nature, war god in the sky disaster capitalist culture.

So, there are examples for us to follow.  Simple critics will respond as though I’m suggesting becoming “primitive” again.  In fact, there are ways to live that are healthy, comfortable, intellectually satisfying and honest, yet symbiotic with our fellow creatures and the biosphere.  Technology, in general, should only be used for the benefit of all life, no other consideration should be involved.  Symbiotic cultures intrinsically understood this and could not create anti life technology.  Their thought processes did not allow it- literally, they would not think of doing it.

Here we come to what Hedges has so far missed.  The characteristics called greed, power, etc. are NOT causes, they are symptoms, infective mechanisms of a PARASITIC IDEOLOGY.  Like biological parasites (bacteria, viruses, malaria, etc.) ideological parasites infect humans (the only species susceptible to them)  and have the ability to change our biology and behavior in ways beneficial to their replication, and transmission of their lifeless entities.  Hedges gave examples of cultures doomed by virulent ideological parasitic infections. Just as ours is now.

A parasitoid is particularly violent form of parasitic infection, in that it rapidly kills its host. 

Disaster Capitalism is a parasitoid ideology.  It is killing by altering infected individuals behavior to give priority to the rapid spread of infection (a mechanism called “the market”) over the preservation of life.  It is a malignant, mutated form of the more benign, but still destructive regulated capitalism of the New Deal.

People are infected with the parasitic ideology of capitalism to varying degrees.  Those less sick understand most if not all of what Hedges is saying, even perhaps what I am saying.  Those who are virulent vectors of disaster capitalism will try to destroy any information (or people) still capable of saving the planet.  They destroy any reality inimical to disaster capitalism, the ideological parasite which controls their behavior. Unaware of the depraved depths to which they are sinking, without qualms, they participate in torture, starvation, rape and pillage, ecocide and sociocide.

Those infected should be diagnosed, isolated and treated. This is the only way to stop the infection before it culminates in a “global death trap”, as Hedges correctly sums up.  Let’s start with the CEO’s of financial firms, oil company’s, war profiteers, war criminals, etc. and of course, politicians who work for them but pretend otherwise. 

The most virulent carrier at present is the one protecting the most lethal carrier disaster capitalists:  it is our president.  He is a superbly designed and camouflaged parasitoid vector, carrying a particularly lethal mutation of the disaster capitalist parasitoid ideology.

The most damaging vectors with the most virulent infections should be removed-  democratically, peacefully and nonviolently, of course-  from positions of authority.  Our lives depend on it, as does what is left of the incredible beauty of this planet.

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By Caute, March 9, 2011 at 9:54 am Link to this comment

Now what if Man did a sudden turnaround and peace
reigned supreme, every Jack found his Jill, sharing
became the order of the day, and turkeys flew round
ready-roasted? What would be the result of everyone
being happy? Absolute boredom. An endless Sunday
afternoon. Surely men would be driven mad and resume
their outrages merely to make things interesting once
again. Man then is a tormented brute, constantly
striving, warring and clawing away only to find that
once he attains what he wants it fails to satisfy,
and he is delivered into the arms of the most
unbearable state of all—tedium. Life is most
certainly a tragedy but viewed from
afar it takes on the aspect of a comedy. As the Greek sage said,
‘never to be borne is best.’  Each being
struggles in the end for something that has no value.
‘Death is the only cure for life,’ said the Poet, and
we can agree with the German maestro, ‘if a God had
made this world, I should not like to be that God,
the misery in the world would break my heart.’

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By Trojan Horus, March 9, 2011 at 9:35 am Link to this comment

Don’t keep beating about the bush Chris… tell us how bad it’s going to get wink

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By RayLan, March 9, 2011 at 9:05 am Link to this comment

@Anarcissie
Your attempt at politicizing ecological and climate science is blatantly obvious and futile - spare us the indignity.

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By Anarcissie, March 9, 2011 at 8:45 am Link to this comment

Actually, there are more than two prongs:

1.  Whether global climate is changing, and if so, in what direction and to what degree;

2.  Whether human activity caused this change;

3.  Whether anything can be done about it now, and if so, what;

4.  Whether the things that can be done are worth the costs of the things that can be done;

5.  Whether organizing (4) is politically possible, and if so, how.

There are a lot of ancillary questions as well, but these are the ones I can think of that seem outstanding in the areas of science and engineering.  Obviously (4) and (5) are also going to depend on people’s values, which are subjective.  Clearly, the absolutist-hysterical mode is unlikely to deal with any of them effectively except in that it feeds the desire of many for a centralized, authoritarian political order.

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By C.Curtis.Dillon, March 9, 2011 at 8:05 am Link to this comment

One more thing: science is not about certainty. There is no science that I know of that is 100% certain about anything. We experience gravity but no one can yet explain what it is or how it works. But it does work and we base our entire civilization on it always working. We don’t actually know how an atom works but we have some pretty good theories. The whole process of scientific inquiry is about observation (based on experiments) and then creating a ‘theory’ that defines what is happening. It is hoped that the theory is robust enough to withstand scrutiny and to help predict other events beyond those for which it was created. With complex systems, science advances in fits and starts, following the accumulated evidence and growing stronger with each ‘failure’. The Wright brothers flew without knowing aerodynamics (they studied bird’s wing shapes and mimicked them). Now we have a pretty good theory of why a wing works and can predict lift and stability with good confidence. Science is about explaining phenomena we observe and, hopefully, provides us with tools for predicting future events based on our observations. IT IS NEVER PERFECT!

The science of global weather is still in its infancy. We are studying the most complex system we’ve ever attempted to understand. It involves a huge number of variables and interconnected systems. There isn’t a simple theory yet let alone something comprehensive. But science is trying to create models and theories of what’s going on so we can predict the future. That is the holy grail right now but much more observation is needed.

And that’s why I’m so angry about the denial issue. Not only do you trash the scientists who are trying to figure all this out but you stupidly insist that their funding be removed so they can’t study the system further. Have any of you asked yourself why you want this? Could it be your corporate masters know exactly what’s happening and want to stop the science before it gets good enough that there are no longer any arguments? If you want to be a skeptic, please do. Ask the hard questions and demand valid answers. But don’t kill the science or the work. Hold the scientists accountable for getting the science right but let them keep going. This is too important to let the greedy drive them away. We need to understand this and figure out what is real vs. what is not. That’s only possible with more work and more questioning.

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By RayLan, March 9, 2011 at 7:26 am Link to this comment

What has been lost in this fake controversy about the science of AGW (arthrogenic (human-created) global warming) is that it is a two-pronged theory -

a. so called ‘greenhouse gases’ adversely affect climate
b. humans are responsible for the spike in the concentration of these gases in last couple of hundred years (since the industrial revolution).

The fuss is not about ‘a’ but ‘b’. Why? Because Big Corp is financially impacted because it’s Big Corp along with the Oil industries that contribute significantly. Therein lies the ‘scientific’ controversy.

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By racetoinfinity, March 9, 2011 at 7:15 am Link to this comment

The power elite now operates below the rational and humanistic-liberal minded level, they operate down in the mythical and the lone competitive indidivdualist ego area.  They’ve regressed even from their rationality of 50 years ago.  We need planetarians, not globalists, who understand Spaceship Earth, levels of consciousness and society, sustainablity, ecology, and interdependence (and of course humanities underlying unity.)  Only revolts by the higher-conscious against the reactionary consciousness that holds the world resources in its ignorant hands and endangers the planet will work now.

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By RayLan, March 9, 2011 at 7:14 am Link to this comment

@Anarcissie
“One of the essential features of science is the readiness and ability to question and requestion one’s assumptions and beliefs and even one’s evidence.  There is no science here. “

And your unflinching bias against the majority scientific opionion would classify you as a fanatic.
The is last time I make this point—
The openness (not absolute) of a scientific theory , and that would include the theory of gravity, doesn’t make it false.
It is a weak argument to dispute any theory by claiming it isn’t 100% certain. ON a matter like Climate Change there is enough evidence to warrant action regardless of the absence of dogmatic certainty which would be a religious requirement.
It is more likely that some fanatical right wing Christian with corporate affiliation would not believe in climate change.
Science isn’t a question of blind belief OR blind dis-belief - that would be religion.

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By truedigger3, March 9, 2011 at 6:37 am Link to this comment

Re: By C.Curtis.Dillon, March 9 at 10:32 am

This is an excellent post. Thank you Dr. Dillon.

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By Tito235, March 9, 2011 at 6:00 am Link to this comment

Very scary but an excellent read, I would say to Mr. Hedges, I believe there is still hope.

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By C.Curtis.Dillon, March 9, 2011 at 5:32 am Link to this comment

I’m going to step into this big argument about global warming (cooling) and don’t expect to change anyone’s conclusions but what the hell. It’s a cold, slow day here in Ukraine and I’ve got some time to waste.

First, some background. I’ve got a PhD from Stanford. In engineering. I’ve worked on some heavy duty projects including uranium separation at Los Alamos. I’m a reasonably smart guy but have no illusions that I’m a genius or have all the answers. So ...

There’s a testing process called ‘impulse response’ that is often used to characterize a system. What is impulse response? An example for those who don’t know this term. I see a body laying on the sidewalk. I have no way of knowing if it’s dead or drunk or what. To test it’s current state, I walk over and violently kick him in the groin. I’ve just applied an impulse to the prostrate form. Now I stand back and watch it’s response. Does it move? Does it throw up? Does it stand up and beat the crap out of me? I have no way of knowing how the body will respond but I’m about to find out.

Let’s say the response is benign. He’s dead. Can I then apply my new technique to other species? How about I kick a sleeping lion? I have a reasonable expectation he’ll eat me. Maybe a large, great white shark? Same reaction as he won’t understand or appreciate that I’m just conducting a scientific experiment. Something smaller, like a dog? A small dog would be OK but a Doberman? Problematic? The point I’m making is I have some reasonable understanding of how these creatures will respond and that moderates my testing approach. I don’t blindly apply my new technique if I have any expectation of living very much longer.

In science, we often use impulse response to test a physical system. How does a building deal with a violent earthquake? How does an electrical system handle a sudden surge of electricity (say from lightning)? We can learn a great deal about the overall system by using this technique. But we apply the technique carefully ... especially if we don’t know the outcome.

All of this is preparation for my main point: we humans are applying an impulse to the atmosphere and we have no knowledge of how it will actually react. We have anecdotal evidence that says high CO2 levels cause bad things but there is no book we can turn to that tells us what will happen. Not an impulse you say. In atmospheric terms and certainly geological process terms 200 years is nothing. In this period, we have significantly increased the CO2 burden and none of us has any clue what the potential impact is. We are performing an impulse response test on our environment (and on ourselves) without knowing how it will come out. A truly foolish idea if you think about it for more than a few seconds.

The spurious arguments about CO2 being good are stupid. The hot house analogy is truly stupid. The hot house environment is completely controlled. Temperature, nutrients, water ... everything is under control and adjusted to compensate for the higher CO2 concentrations. Unfortunately, we don’t have that same control over the atmosphere. Using that argument tells me you have no idea what you’re talking about. You can’t isolate one part of the process and argue that it makes everything OK. CO2 in the atmosphere has many effects and we can only look at all of them in the aggregate to understand what is happening.

This is our future guys. Are you really so stupid as to poison the only well we have? Are you willing to test our future by seeing just how much you can screw up the very environment that sustains us? We’re poisoning our well and have no way of knowing how this comes out. If we are wrong, there’s no way to dial this back. If we destroy the well, the consequences could be disaster. Are you really ready to take that chance? I’m not.

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By Gulam, March 9, 2011 at 2:40 am Link to this comment

It always seems odd to read here that so many Americans consider science to
be an alternative to religion and radically different from religion, because if you
know enough about them both you know that in the West both derive from the
same source and are, to a degree, one. How many Greek scientists can you
name and how many famous Jewish ones? The ancient Hebrews refused to talk
about gods at all by name. What they worshipped and took seriously was simply
referred to as “that which is,” and this divine will could only be known by
looking at events in the real world and recording history with new accuracy.
Nothing in the ancient Egyptian, Babylonian, or Egyptian literature is a detailed
eye witness account comparable to the Court History of David. There is a
straight logical progression from Hebrew prophets to those who today study
what really happened when atomic particles hit photo sensors. It is all about a
reverence for what really happened, as opposed to what we expect to happen,
or what those in power want you to think happened.

Paganism is when history and the news are but a projection of the will of the
state. In Ancient Israel, Christian tradition, and Muslim history there is always a
righteous man to speak truth to power. At the most fundamental level recent
American history is all about what the party in power says happened. There is
zero public belief in the importance of knowing what really happened, what
God (all that really is) is really saying through events. From the death of the
Kennedys (including John Jr.) through 11 September and beyond, Americans
accept what power says happened, while most thinking people abroad shake
their heads in disappointment. The Americans are a people lost in their own
fantasy world and their own projected gods. They no longer revere what really
happened or what really is, so their future is fairly predictable.

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By Arraya, March 9, 2011 at 2:30 am Link to this comment

I’m very dismayed to see a huge amount of anti-scientific BS being pushed
here. (No I am not a climate scientist, though I am close with some who are).
Please, see http://www.realclimate.org for what actual climate scientists think.

Despite the fact that 20 scientists wrote the IPCC report summary (though many
more participated), the titanic majority (more like 98%-99%) of climate
scientists agree with the essence of its conclusions. The primary arguments
against it from some inside the climate community is that it is excessively
conservative in that recent science shows the potential for biological/ecological
‘feedforwards’ which may suddenly increase warming or emission of
greenhouse gases as temperature rises. If it were otherwise, you’d see huge
sessions at the American Geophysical Union with hundreds of participants
arguing why it’s all BS. You don’t. You only see it in the political media.

Now why is that?

The zeroth order bottom line is this:
1) increase in CO2 and greehouse gases has been measured, and is clearly due
to human activities thanks to measurements.
2) increase in greenhouse effect in upper atmosphere is measured and is
exactly as predicted.

This is not theory, these are observed facts.

It is hence physically impossible by the laws of physics for the climate not to
change.

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By redteddy, March 9, 2011 at 2:02 am Link to this comment

@Gerard

Concerning your comments regarding the Egyptian ‘peaceful’ revolution I just
read this in the news:

Thousands of Christians and Muslims clashed Tuesday, with one Christian man
killed and scores wounded as anger rose over the burning of a church in a
Cairo suburb…It was the second burst of sectarian fighting in as many days and
the latest in a string of violent protests over a variety of topics as simmering
unrest continues nearly a month after mass protests led to the ouster of
President Hosni Mubarak…Elsewhere in Cairo, a protest by hundreds of
Egyptian women demanding equal rights and an end to sexual harassment
turned violent Tuesday.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110308/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_egypt

The initial phase of pacifist action was awesome, its just a shame they have
saved their violence for each other.

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By katsteevns, March 9, 2011 at 1:53 am Link to this comment

Profit Pathology and Disposable Planet
by Michael Parenti
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/02/27-2

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By plainsman, March 9, 2011 at 1:18 am Link to this comment

Thanks again, TAO Walker.

Perhaps you could share a little on “The Tiyoshpaye Way”?

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By Ted Swart, March 9, 2011 at 12:45 am Link to this comment

To Aethera:

Good to see your very appropriate words. It would seem that madness is on the loose in out world. And even if Chris Hedges is wrong on matters of detail he is correct when he suggests that we may not be able to avoid across the board disaster for the whole of the human race.

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By Anarcissie, March 9, 2011 at 12:32 am Link to this comment

I thank you all for confirming my take on the AGW/CC issues, but it was really unnecessary.

As long as the matter remains a religious controversy, I am pretty sure, as with previous religious controversies, either nothing will be done, or if something is done, it will be done in the most destructive way possible.  And I see no way of prying the question loose from the True Believers.

One of the essential features of science is the readiness and ability to question and requestion one’s assumptions and beliefs and even one’s evidence.  There is no science here.

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By Aethera, March 9, 2011 at 12:19 am Link to this comment

I’m just really curious - have you been to the suburbs at all?  Have you seen what overpopulation is doing?  Have you seen the droves of soccer moms in their monstrosity vehicles gleefully killing the planet?  Perhaps we have inverted views of it all: I see that all the evil corporate stuff is just what inevitably will occur when the needs/demands of the decadently consuming masses get catered to, whereas it seems the inverted view is that somehow all the horrific things happening at individual and collective scales is enabled by the corporate powers.  But I don’t see the latter as being the real case. 
I believe that the fire was lit a long time ago when human civilization started figuring out what it could do by burning fossil fuels and basically there’s not much that can be done until that fire burns out.
I believe there are more enlightened governments and societies in the world, but are any of them perfect?  Don’t they all seem to have some flaw(s) or other?  Is it not inevitable that the human species carries on in such ignominy, scarcely different than amoeba in a petri dish or weeds in a field, consuming and competing for resources until there are none left?
Have you been to the suburbs?  Have you seen the *absolute* insanity of a giant strip mall parking lot on a nice, warm sunny day, filled with hundreds of cars and there’s not a bicycle nor a pedestrian in sight?
Who decided upon the catastrophically poor urban planning which creating these life-asphyxiating, totally unsustainable environments?
There will always be maybe 5-15% who do reasonably well enough to sustain the insanity.  Their husband is the cop, their brother is the politician, their uncle is the banker, but its all connected.  They live a life of destruction and gross over-consumption with impunity and there will always be a system that caters to them because they are the engine which drives so much of economy and policy.

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By sallysense, March 9, 2011 at 12:01 am Link to this comment

hiya tao walker… just recently saw your comment referring to me in the “manning might face death penalty” ear-to-the-ground article of march 2nd…

this country is home to many different people… which humans are you referring to?... which humans are you not referring to?...

this country is home to many different ways of living… which modes of being are you referring to?... which modes of being are you not referring to?...

and which portrayals in your post don’t apply to you?... and which portrayals in your post do apply to you?...

how quickly an earth full of people can forget that we’re all each just a human being…
a planet sustains us while every brain on it loses some of their own human common bond…
becoming living renditions of ideas caught between walls of space created by thought…
where basic states of awareness get lost in man-made homelands of contradiction!...

(although the human mind knows so little it still thinks it knows a lot… just go watch intelligence ask knowledge where wisdom is hiding)...

best wishes’n’ways for today to dawn upon!... smile

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By Gabriel, March 8, 2011 at 11:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ok boys and girls, I guess we are going to go through this again till Truth sinks in. Poor Chris Hedges references clearly show they are from Main Scream Media. But I gotta give him credit for trying, unless he’s promoting blatant deceptions.

Let’s look at some FACTS:
ALL monolithic structures of old are 30,000 yrs old or older. New evidence from Bosnian pyramids, Chinese pyramids and others prove this beyond shadow of doubt. Roman, Greek, many Egyptian and more recent structures don’t count as they were built on top of older structures.

Old monolithic structures indicate a cyclic catastrophe every 12,500 yrs or so with minor ones at 1/2 of this time as part of Precession cycle. Many archeologists and historians have showed this to be true by dating many ancient cities as far back as 240,000 yrs ago [average of 28,000 to 35,000 yrs], yet they were/are kicked to the curb by main scream media if they didn’t tow the Elite party line.

Easter island stones / statues were built over 30,000 yrs ago as part of global network of pyramids and monolithic structures. More recent societies only adopted them to their beliefs.

Encoded in these structures is a whole global society and everything they held dear for next generations to learn: passive technology, math, sciences, astronomy, calendars, healing and including space travel. Elites have tried their best to hide these facts since day one so they don’t loose control and they are only ones to survive the upcoming catastrophe.

Some of what’s been hidden fro public: http://rabbithole2.com/presentation/research.htm
Don’t take my word for it; study the ORIGINAL information for yourselves.

Questions to ask yourself:
Why the industrial revolution only 120 yrs before predictions of catastrophe?
After 500 yrs of Vatican having their library open to public, with all it’s extensive ancient knowledge, why would they shut it now?
What information did Crusaders and Templars gain to piss off the church and why did they have to be killed off?
Why such a massive buildup of underground bunkers and triple hull ships world wide for elites?
Why so much secrecy and oppression by elites?
Why are elites making preparations such as World Seed Repository, hoarding of gold silver and other resources, databases of technology and genetic material from every known organism?
Why all the deception, lies and fraud at every turn?

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By TAO Walker, March 8, 2011 at 11:42 pm Link to this comment

Just before the Greasy Grass fight, the Lakotah Holy Man Tatanka Yotanka (“Sitting Bull”) performed a Uwipi Ceremony.  He was given a Vision that showed many blue-coats and their horses falling upside down into the Camp of The People, and a Voice said to him, “Because these ones have no ears, we are giving them to you.”  Custer got his “iron-ass” kicked clear out of our Living Arrangement shortly after that.   

His comment below suggests strongly that “radson” at-least sees nothing much to indicate things have changed at-all, among the head-strong (but heart-diseased) allamericanpeople….since that fateful Day-Place.  It does indeed appear that all the ‘slack’ The Great Spirit has so generously ‘cut’ these foolish people is going to end-up being just about enough for ‘em to hang their collective “self.”

Among the Native Peoples of Turtle Island, the coming of the whites had been known long before the actual ‘event.’  In-fact, we were told they were being sent here to us because they were sick (with the “civilization” disease), and had lost The Way of Human Beings within The Hoop of Life.  We were asked to do what we could to help them remember their essential Humanity, and its given place in the Living Arrangement of our Mother Earth.  We were told to expect much difficulty from them….that they had, in effect, “no ears,” and that they were, also, blind to both the Beauty Way and the devastating effects on it of their own insane behavior.  We were cautioned that even all our efforts, and the great cost to all of us here, might in THE END prove to not be enough to wake-up the heavily drugged sleepers, each in-thrall to their very own intoxicating “self”.... and who are, though, unfortunately only deaf and blind but not mute (mumbling and hollering, as they do incessantly in the throes of the now near-fatal fever-dream).

We were also told that should the Day come when the “progress” of their sickness threatened to do irreparable harm to us surviving Free Wild Peoples and our Mother and All Our Relations, they will be removed from here….and all of their Kind from the Earth.  It’s hard not to wonder whether Chris Hedges and others here (not to mention what the lawyers call “an overwhelming preponderance of the evidence”) aren’t all “testifying” perhaps unintentionally to the dismal Natural Fact of the imminent arrival of that Day.

Maybe there’s a GhostDancers’ chance though, Children, if you could just be still for a change, and LISTEN, finally….

For The Tiyoshpaye Way.

HokaHey!

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By radson, March 8, 2011 at 11:38 pm Link to this comment

fact that imperial stupidity is wreaking the PLANET and arsholes like you argueing about Global warming in your fuckin office are making the problem worse.Wake the F up .

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By radson, March 8, 2011 at 11:33 pm Link to this comment

Ted Fart and Ray gun what hell are you idiots babbling about anyway .Are you not cognizant to the fac

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By RayLan, March 8, 2011 at 10:37 pm Link to this comment

@Ted Swart

correction regarding your last distortion.

It doesn’t even deserve to be dignified by scientific retort. Have you even studied ecology?

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By Ted Swart, March 8, 2011 at 10:32 pm Link to this comment

To Anarcissie,

Thanks for joining in Anarcissie.  Here is what you posted with my comments starred:

  Ted Swart, March 9 at 1:20 am:

  To: RayLan

  “Ted Swart

  Why should I do the work to prove your case?”

  ‘Come on RayLan. This is getting silly.  What Chris Smith says proves my case….’

His remarks seemed pretty naive to me.  Shorter, more intense winters are one of the predictions of global warming theory.  Whether there has been warming or not in the last 12 years depends on which data one carefully selects.

* * * YES.  It does depend on which data is “carefully”—as you put it—selected. But even most of the AGW acolytes themselves admit that there has been no further warming. And you need to be aware that the forecast of more intense winters was largely a post factum attempt at an explanation rather than a genuine forecast.
* * * 

Regardless, there is no use discussing the issue because it has become religious, and the majority of those who discuss it have no interest in finding the truth, but only in making sure their side wins.

* * * Not always the case Anarcissie.  There are a large number of people who ARE interested in the truth and in the upcoming debate in the UK hosted by The Spectator in mid March the announcement of the debate says that the number of people who no longer accept the AGW orthodoxy has doubled in the last few months. This is a good sign since it is always better if most people believe what is true rather than what is false.
* * *

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By RayLan, March 8, 2011 at 10:31 pm Link to this comment

@Anarcissie
You raise your unflinchly biased voice again. There is nothing neither religious nor naive about belief in climate change as a result of human activity.

The scientific consensus is clearly expressed in the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Created in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environmental Programme, IPCC’s purpose is to evaluate the state of climate science as a basis for informed policy action, primarily on the basis of peer-reviewed and published scientific literature (3). In its most recent assessment, IPCC states unequivocally that the consensus of scientific opinion is that Earth’s climate is being affected by human activities: “Human activities … are modifying the concentration of atmospheric constituents … that absorb or scatter radiant energy. … [M]ost of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations
http://www.sciencemag.org/content/306/5702/1686.full

Unless you think science is a religion.

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By RayLan, March 8, 2011 at 10:18 pm Link to this comment

@TedSwart
It’s silly to claim you made a case simply by saying you read something without citing anything.
It’s silly to try and politicize this issue when the concensus goes beyond US scientisst and cuts across all national boundaries.
You need to make your own case which you haven’t even begun to do except to call all the scientists who disagree liars.
That does even deserve to be dignified by scientific retort.

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By redteddy, March 8, 2011 at 9:33 pm Link to this comment

@Gerard

“So Chris, for example the recent case of Egypt, whose people, particularly young people, probably (hopefully) brought about a great change in the power structure
of their country:Did they do it using “militant radicalism”?  Apparently not.”

I wouldn’t speak so soon of the progress in Egypt just yet.  They have ousted Mubarak but there is no proof as yet that they have created change in the power
structure.  They may very well end up with a rose of a different name. Evidence of their success will be measured by what replaces Mubarak not the fact that they temporarily were able to overthrow a longstanding leader.  Their luck was that Mubarak did not have the support of his military and so could not turn it against his own people.

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By Anarcissie, March 8, 2011 at 9:18 pm Link to this comment

Ted Swart, March 9 at 1:20 am:

To: RayLan

“Ted Swart

Why should I do the work to prove your case?”

‘Come on RayLan. This is getting silly.  What Chris Smith says proves my case….’

His remarks seemed pretty naive to me.  Shorter, more intense winters are one of the predictions of global warming theory.  Whether there has been warming or not in the last 12 years depends on which data one carefully selects.

Regardless, there is no use discussing the issue because it has become religious, and the majority of those who discuss it have no interest in finding the truth, but only in making sure their side wins.

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By redteddy, March 8, 2011 at 9:13 pm Link to this comment

@Ira Weisberg

Interesting.  I hate to admit it because I love Hedges but I see what you mean.  At
this point his pieces, no matter how brilliant, are so pessimistic offering no shred
of hope, it makes me feel like why bother.  This article made me shrug my
shoulders and say ‘Oh well, if civilization or the whole earth goes belly-up & its all
lost there’s certainly no reason for the hand-wringing, pass the Miller and a box
of chocolates’.  I mean I distrust the perceptions of those who are hopelessly
optimistic as well as those who are hopelessly hopeless.

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By gerard, March 8, 2011 at 9:03 pm Link to this comment

Since language is at best a crude tool, if you throw words out that are easily misunderstood and you don’t make as clear as possible what you really mean to say, you are avoiding responsibility. In touchy times like these, that can be misleading, even somewhat dangerous, especially if you are expecting people to take you seriously and/or follow your example. 
  So Chris, for example the recent case of Egypt, whose people, particularly young people, probably (hopefully) brought about a great change in the power structure of their country:
  Did they do it using “militant radicalism”?  Apparently not.  More like rapid exchange of information plus long-standing widespread desire for more justice and freedom, less autocracy, plus desire for, and some knowledge of nonviolent resistance, plus cooperation and good will, plus self-confidence and hope for a better future.

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By Ted Swart, March 8, 2011 at 8:20 pm Link to this comment

To: RayLan

“Ted Swart

Why should I do the work to prove your case?”

Come on RayLan. This is getting silly.  What Chris Smith says proves my case and there is no need for me to write it all over again. So, if you are not prepared to read it, our interaction has become pointless.
It takes two to tango.

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By prosefights, March 8, 2011 at 8:20 pm Link to this comment

‘Okay, a lot of trash talk out there about BTUs ...’

Not good we think.

Liberal arts educated approach to energy production, we believe, should give way to engineer approach?

http://www.energybiz.com/magazine/article/168697/backing-coal

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By Mr. Baabuur, March 8, 2011 at 8:07 pm Link to this comment

By Ted Swart, March 8 at 2:18 am Link to this comment

“To tell you the truth I am not particularly interested in the funding side of the AGW issue”

- a real critical thinker, this guy…

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By RayLan, March 8, 2011 at 8:00 pm Link to this comment

Ted Swart
“How can I prove it if you are not prepared to do you homework? “
Why should I do the work to prove your case?

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By SteveK9, March 8, 2011 at 7:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Way too pessimistic.  Yes, there are some serious social
problems right now, especially in the US.  As Chris points out
most of our ‘leaders’ or elites as he refers to them, care only
for themselves and nothing for the country or anyone else. 
But around the rest of the world things are looking up for
most of humanity—- China and India.

There are technical solutions to most of our environmental
problems.  Most importantly: 1) Birth rates are falling in
virtually every country on Earth, as populations become more
prosperous and take advantage of birth control and 2) Nuclear
fission with breeder technology can offer the world clean,
dependable, and unlimited energy for millenia. 

Technology in terms of automation and artificial intelligence
will continue to increase productivity and reduce
environmental impact, so that increasing numbers of people
will have higher standards of living.

The political/social system in the US right now is revolting. 
Chris’s call to fight back with protest is absolutely correct. 
But, we don’t have to extrapolate our own woes, to the
imminent collapse of the world.

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By Ted Swart, March 8, 2011 at 7:40 pm Link to this comment

To Gary MontBy Gary Mont,
(Unregistered commenter)

You say:

“Scienticians….

I’d trust scientists a whole lot more if they were not working for government - making military toys - or for corporations - making cosmetics or bad medical compounds.

I’d prefer to think of such minions as scienticians, when I’m feeling generous.

What possible chance has any real science got when it might cause the employer to lose profits? How often has a cure for cancer or the common cold been shelved because the discovered remedy was cheaply available to the public and the company could make no money from the discovery?

My primary concern about Climate Scientists - on either side of the debate - is who pays their wages.

I would like to make-believe that scientists are somehow special people whose personal integrity prevents them from falling victim to the foibles of lesser beings, but the truth is, they depend on their jobs to feed, house and cloth their kids and the threat of unemployment is a grand incentive to do bad science to please and protect the company that pays them.”

YES Gary Mont.  What you say is correct and your word scienticians is cleverly chosen.  But there are such things as scientific norms which are supposed to be followed. and there are such things as honest scientists and honest science.
We scientists/mathematicians are flawed like all human beings.  But there are pretty good norms which underlay genuine science honestly pursued and it is to a significant extent self-correcting. My guess is that the global warming scare will be gone in ten years time just like the previous scare about a looming ice age.  Ten years of no further warming should do the trick.
One of the good things to come out of the climate science saga is a healthy debate about the whole process of reviewing scientific papers—which may well result in the insistence on making raw data and computer code available for all to see.
Incidentally the climate scientists do get a substantial chunk of their funding from governments.

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By RobertH, March 8, 2011 at 7:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ted, calling 97% of academically-trained climatologists in this country “self-styled climate scientists” is a bit over the top.

You say we have had no increase in warming over the last 12 years, which means that you have conveniently landed on 1998, which was up to that time the warmest year on record; I’m sure that it is coincidental and that you are not cherry picking your data to support your thesis. However, both 2005 and 2010 were equally hot. It would be more informative to look at decadal temperatures at which time you will find each of the last five decades was significantly warmer than the previous decade (the 60s warmer than the 50s, the 70s warmer than the 60s etc). I would be very happy to have AGW proved false but I don’t believe that’s going to happen. You suggest another 12 years without additional warming ought to do the trick but the evidence doesn’t support your thesis for the previous 12 years. Be that as it may, do you have any other proposed tests by which the demon of AGW might be slain, such as a return to 1970s levels of Arctic ice?

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By radson, March 8, 2011 at 6:50 pm Link to this comment

Tao Walker: does anyone out there actually heed your wisdom ,I would think not ,perhaps due to your language.Having said that I believe that what you are predicting will come to pass and the folly of our present arrangement will be laid bare for all to see ,including the ‘blind’ which see more than visionaries.The attempt to change the Status Quo is virtually an exercise in futility that only harsh reality will undo ,but at what price to the ‘living arrangement’ since the fools in chief have a Hitlarian tendency of destroying all that encompasses them ;an example would be April 1945.The Rabbi that you mention is a philosopher that unknowingly split the Roman Empire and created an animosity that reigned for two thousand years and counting and in essence created the paradigm that is western civilization.The Tiyoshpaye way is the closest
definition of Democracy that has been construed up till now and the Mitakuye Oyashin is a humanitarian benchmark that is dearly in demand at the moment ,but unfortunately the big eared are deaf.In my estimation
there is not much ‘hope’ with the present caste ,for their minds are polluted with unyielding propaganda and Robots they have become ,but there is hope and it is with the ‘clean slate’ it is with the Children ,but is there enough Time.

CZESC BRAT

hoka

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By Gary Mont, March 8, 2011 at 6:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Scienticians….

I’d trust scientists a whole lot more if they were not working for government - making military toys - or for corporations - making cosmetics or bad medical compounds.

I’d prefer to think of such minions as scienticians, when I’m feeling generous.

What possible chance has any real science got when it might cause the employer to lose profits? How often has a cure for cancer or the common cold been shelved because the discovered remedy was cheaply available to the public and the company could make no money from the discovery?

My primary concern about Climate Scientists - on either side of the debate - is who pays their wages.

I would like to make-believe that scientists are somehow special people whose personal integrity prevents them from falling victim to the foibles of lesser beings, but the truth is, they depend on their jobs to feed, house and cloth their kids and the threat of unemployment is a grand incentive to do bad science to please and protect the company that pays them.

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By Ted Swart, March 8, 2011 at 6:17 pm Link to this comment

To RayLan,
You say:
“have to point out that the behaviour of the climate scientists has been less than admirable and they have deliberately done everything they can to denigrate and quash to con voices.”

Prove it.

* * * * *

But . . . . .
How can I prove it if you are not prepared to do you homework?
Have you read Chris Smith’s contribution or Warsong’s contribution for that matter as I suggested?
When you can confirm that you have done so we can talk some more.

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By katsteevns, March 8, 2011 at 5:58 pm Link to this comment

Exactly my point, PUNDAINT. What is “Christian” Chris Hedges doing advocating “militant radicalism” when the doctrine of his “mythology” clearly states that the Kingdom of his God is not of this world, for one, and that trying and eradicate/contain the “evil” beyond what one can achieve within their own being in conjunction with the Holy Spirit is fruitless?

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By LocalHero, March 8, 2011 at 5:49 pm Link to this comment

To colin—

The reason we have all these social evils is that the people, not just the so called elites, are themselves evil.

Some people, however, don’t think of their faith as “magical thinking.”


This is some of the most ludicrous nonsense ever posted here - and that’s saying something. And, speaking of lunacy…

“Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith, I consider a capacity for it terrifying and absolutely vile.” - Kurt Vonnegut

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By Night-Gaunt, March 8, 2011 at 5:21 pm Link to this comment

When the earth’s climate changes to a more radical way that the days of now are considered “the best” humanity will probably survive but as a civilization.? That is problematical. And it won’t be a free one either. Harsh environments tend to produce harsh dictatorships. I think our would be masters want that because they expect to have all the luxuries and all the power. Would you want a world run the way Wal-Mart is or Gldman Sachs?

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By Ted Swart, March 8, 2011 at 5:13 pm Link to this comment

To JDmysticDJ

You write very interestingly but I think you are under a misapprehension regarding the nature of the scientific quest.
Karl Popper—who is regarded as a very significant figure in the Philosophy of Science arena—was of the opinion that scientists never “prove” their hypotheses and all that they can really do is to “disprove ” them.  In this manner good hypotheses survive and poor ones do not. Not everyone agrees with Popper in every respect but his influence is sufficiently great that most scientists do not regard a hypothesis as “scientific” unless it can be disproved.
As far as the AGW hypothesis concerned the self-styled climate scientists have tended to brush Popper aside and focus all there energy on attempting to prove their pet hypothesis—and do their best to shove inconvenient contrary evidence aside.
It is little wonder that their edifice is in the process of crumbling down. We have already had 12 years without any additional warming and another 12 years without warming will probably put paid to their hubris in claiming that they can meaningfully forecast the Earth’s climate hundreds of years into the future.

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By pundaint, March 8, 2011 at 5:12 pm Link to this comment

kaatstevens - Were there any actions specified alongside having faith in your mythology?  Acting recklessly while proclaiming the deity and expecting success seems a little more like childish superstition than faith.

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By SoTexGuy, March 8, 2011 at 5:08 pm Link to this comment

The belief that by saying some words and asking for some concession from an ultimate being
somehow protects you from whatever may come from humanities’  follies, both individual and
en masse.. is more a cult of self than and expression of Christian faith..

Saved and born again people mostly embrace that they are special, or favourites of God.. and
that they will be preserved no matter what befalls. They do not expect or respect the
beneficence of almighty God to apply to earth or mankind.. but only to those who say the
magic words..

It’s a kind of hall-pass to do as you please, especially as that regards the environment and
‘non-believers’ and still cash in when it’s over..

In the past I often found myself saying things like.. ‘in all respect to your faith’ or ’ no
disrespect to your religion’ .. lately I’m more of the opinion that if you believe in the cult of
the self, disregard Jesus’ admonishments to the money-changers and do not accept your
responsibilities to your brothers on this earth.. Plus more.. Then your religion is not the
Christianity I was raised in.

Adios!

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By katsteevns, March 8, 2011 at 4:44 pm Link to this comment

Good point, GERARD. Trouble is, I think he doesn’t have the answer himself and just threw that out there to see if anyone would bite.

GERARD says:
  “As to Hedges’ “militant radicalism”.  The word “militant” can imply “watchfulness” or it can imply “military.”  He doesn’t specify, as I wish he had.  Likewise, “radicalism” can mean “deep-rooted” or it can imply “far-out,” “off the wall” “hysterical” etc. - a bunch of negative connotations stressed by the right wing.  Again, he doesn’t specify, though I assume from previous statements that he means “deep-rooted.”
  He had better be specific, however, in case of misunderstandings.”

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By katsteevns, March 8, 2011 at 4:34 pm Link to this comment

BINGO colin2626262 !!!!!!!!


“Hedges makes a living now by writing provactive, doomsday scenario books and articles.  So I don’t expect him to let up.  The next column will be just as bleak.  Some people, however, don’t think of their faith as “magical thinking.” They feel, and they know, that it helps them survive.  They also are aware that this life is only temporary and everything in the world is as transitory and fleeting as our own flesh.

If you really want to change the world, change your soul, start becoming a person of faith and remain that way.  Don’t become a cynic.  Don’t lose sight of what you’re truly doing on earth.  Remember God.  You will be judged not on the basis of your righteous indignation at “the elites” but on how you live, whether you’re a good person yourself or not.

If you have love for God and for other people, you will be saved, even if the world ends.  If you deny God and have only “rational thought”, you will die.  This is my warning to anyone who reads this.  God bless.”
          ————————

It seems clear that Hedges is taking us for a ride. Wasting other people’s time ought to be a capital offense.

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By RayLan, March 8, 2011 at 4:27 pm Link to this comment

@Ted Swart
“have to point out that the behaviour of the climate scientists has been less than admirable and they have deliberately done everything they can to denigrate and quash to con voices.”

Prove it.

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By keepyourheaddown, March 8, 2011 at 4:01 pm Link to this comment

He is so right, it’s already over…
Why people can’t see it is beyond me,

The only solution to this madness is nuclear war…

that way it won’t be a painfully slow decline…

unfuckingbelievable!

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By plainsman, March 8, 2011 at 3:53 pm Link to this comment

JDmysticDJ

Eloquent and well-reasoned though your statement is you have misused two words. You have them reversed. When you use the word “affect” you mean “effect”, when you use the word “effect” you mean “affect”.

As someone who has done some research on both sides of the global warming, now climate change, debate, I can only conclude that we (humans) do not have sufficient information to make a valid claim one way or the other. As well, when I hear the word “consensus” with respects to scientific opinion I am inclined to discount the “opinion”. That the yay-sayers apparently fudged data doesn’t persuade me to heed their “opinion” or to cede to you that they are probably correct anyway.

More importantly AGW plays very well to human conceit. And, in so doing, it serves as a great distraction. It is used to distract attention away from other things humans are doing to the biosphere which are equally destructive and, in many cases, more damaging than climate change. The cancer that is civilization, driven by the top down, central authority/distribution model, is rendering the surface of this planet uninhabitable. All the poison we spew into the air and water, all the destruction and fragmentation of myriad ecosystems around the globe, all the depletion of soils and nutrients in soil has to stop.

I think Chris Hedges is right; it is necessary “to dethrone our corrupt elite from power, not negotiate for better terms.” How that is accomplished is to be determined. Perhaps as US Presidents are want to say: “All options are on the table.”

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By pundaint, March 8, 2011 at 3:30 pm Link to this comment

Let’s play a mind game.  Imagine UFO’s are the craft of an Alien species that monitors our progress as their experiment on Earth.

With the current risks to destruction of the species - which country could you take out to delay the process most?

OK there are no Space Alien Overlords.

Why would we want to continue to be that country anyway?

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By gerard, March 8, 2011 at 3:19 pm Link to this comment

“militant radicalism”
First, for truedigger3 on population controls:
  One reason poor people have so many kids is that they need to have more kids because: More kids die before reaching maturity. Poor parents need at least two to survive in order to provide for them when they themseles get old.
  2. The more who live, the more who can beg in the streets, which is the only source of survival.
  It’s the economics of destitution. Raising living standards decreases population because poor people don’t have to depend on begging to survive, and that vicious circle tends to break “naturally” - without “coercion.”
  It is entirely possible right now to distribute basic food needs to all.  Why don’t we? The market,  and the profit motive, plus lack of worldwide cooperation.
  As to Hedges’ “militant radicalism”.  The word “militant” can imply “watchfulness” or it can imply “military.”  He doesn’t specify, as I wish he had.  Likewise, “radicalism” can mean “deep-rooted” or it can imply “far-out,” “off the wall” “hysterical” etc. - a bunch of negative connotations stressed by the right wing.  Again, he doesn’t specify, though I assume from previous statements that he means “deep-rooted.” 
  He had better be specific, however, in case of misunderstandings.

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By brianrouth, March 8, 2011 at 2:45 pm Link to this comment

I think you might find this movie interesting http://vimeo.com/20715539

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By felicity, March 8, 2011 at 2:37 pm Link to this comment

It is odd. Everyone recognizes the need for rules,
regulations, laws in a society for that society to
function at all.  But when it comes to the ‘market’ -
in reality an entity run by people - there need not be
any rules, regulations, laws (governing the people who
run it.)  What?  They think the market is run by
droids?

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By brian Routh, March 8, 2011 at 2:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Brilliant, scary and true!

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By JDmysticDJ, March 8, 2011 at 1:47 pm Link to this comment

It’s during discussions such as this that I am confronted by my ignorance, but I don’t believe myself to be totally ignorant. My expertise, if I have any expertise, is within the realm of man’s inhumanity to man, and the historical, and continuing folly of mankind.

Much to the dismay of the aficionados of science, and the “Experts,” I have little “Faith” in the Authority of Science. Based on my personal uninfluenced observations derived from the study of astronomy, I believe: much of empirical science is not empirical at all, much of the “Gospel” of science is theoretical rather than empirical, and that what was offered as “Gospel” yesterday by the scientific community, is now considered to be errant by the scientific community. For example, spectrographic analysis is used by scientists to determine the chemical makeup of the celestial bodies in the near infinite cosmos, but spectrographic analysis failed to accurately indentify the chemical makeup of the rings of Saturn. The unchallenged “Gospel” of the existence of Black Holes comes from the observations of astronomers that celestial bodies do not move in concordance with the Newtonian Laws that govern our solar system. This theory of the existence of Black Holes must incorporate physical realities that are unfathomable to likes of me, but like I said I’m ignorant, which may heavily influence my skepticism. In the final analysis, it is my opinion that such scientific endeavors are interesting but irrelevant, and that such scientific endeavors lack any constructive significance to the very real tangible problems that confront mankind.

I am especially skeptical about the science of archeology. What is known, most empirically, about Easter Island, and for the most part, free from theoretical archeology is the following:

“Geologically one of the youngest inhabited territories on Earth, Easter Island was, for most of its history, the most isolated. Its inhabitants, the Rapanui, have endured famines, epidemics of disease and cannibalism, civil war, slave raids, various colonial contacts, and have seen their population crash on more than one occasion. The ensuing cultural legacy has brought the island notoriety out of proportion to the number of its inhabitants.”

“A series of devastating events killed almost the entire population of Easter Island in the 1860s.
In December 1862, Peruvian slave raiders struck Easter Island. Violent abductions continued for several months, eventually capturing or killing around 1500 men and women, about half of the island’s population. International protests erupted, escalated by Bishop Florentin-Etienne Jaussen of Tahiti. The slaves were finally freed in autumn, 1863, but by then most of them had already died of tuberculosis, smallpox and dysentery. Finally, a dozen islanders managed to return from the horrors of Peru, but brought with them smallpox and started an epidemic, which reduced the island’s population to the point where some of the dead were not even buried.
Contributing to the chaos were violent clan wars with the remaining people fighting over the newly available lands of the deceased, bringing further famine and death among the dwindling population.”

(More)

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By JDmysticDJ, March 8, 2011 at 1:44 pm Link to this comment

#2

As commented upon earlier, the Maya still exist, and the circumstances of the fall of Mayan Classical Civilization are far from being solely attributable to Mayan destruction of their environment as Hedges writes.

“Maya civilization continued until 1697 when the Spanish conquered Tayasal, the last independent city-state. In fact, after the “collapse,” the Maya of the northern Yucatán prospered, and the Chichen Itza state built an empire that briefly united much of the Maya region. Because parts of Maya civilization unambiguously continued, a number of scholars strongly dislike the term “collapse.”[2] Regarding the proposed collapse, E. W. Andrews IV went as far as to say, “in my belief no such thing happened.”[3]
“Some 88 different theories or variations of theories attempting to explain the Classic Maya Collapse have been identified.[4] From climate change to deforestation to lack of action by Mayan kings, there is no universally accepted collapse theory, although drought is gaining momentum as the leading explanation.”[5]

The primary cause of the ultimate fall of Mayan Civilization seems to be attributable to tautological human folly and man’s inhumanity to man, the same human folly and non-humanity that has, apparently, led to the fall of civilizations throughout the course of history. I believe that it is this human folly that has been the prime destroyer of civilizations, and that environmental affects, to the extent that they contributed to the destruction of civilizations, if not caused by nature, were caused by man’s folly. The crux of Hedges dialectic seems to be that human folly has destroyed, or is destroying, mankind’s sustaining ecological environment, “This Time We’re Taking the Whole Planet With Us” and because of this dialectic Hedges urges “militant radicalism.” The following sentence by Hedges stood out prominently, on my first reading of Hedges dialectic. 

“We will be saved only with the birth of a new and militant radicalism which seeks to dethrone our corrupt elite from power, not negotiate for better terms.”

This sentence seems to be a reinforcement of Hedges’ previous contentions that reform of our current political institutions is not possible, and that an entirely new paradigm is necessary; a call for revolution, rather than an evolution. To negotiate is not a viable option to Hedges, but is “militant radicalism” a viable option, or will militant radicalism be a continuation of human folly? Dethroning our corrupt elite from power, in my personal opinion, is a goal that must be accomplished for the good of mankind, but what is the best method of dethroning our corrupt elite from power without continuing the human folly, is the question that concerns me.

Hedges does not define “militant radicalism”; militant is associated with the word military, and advocating “militant radicalism” is subject to interpretation, and I’ll suggest that it is the interpretation that is dangerous, and that interpretations could lead to additional human folly.

Even the often used term “Civil Disobedience” is subject to interpretation. Some interpret civil disobedience as being a disobeying of Civil Law, while others believe that civil disobedience refers to non-violent action that violates civil law.

(More)

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By Anarcissie, March 8, 2011 at 1:42 pm Link to this comment

Vicky-in-Greece—In this case I was thinking of the people arguing that our present environmental crises were due to women entering the industrial workforce, or rich women driving their husbands to earn and consume.  I haven’t seen stuff like that in years and years.  I suppose it’s always around.

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By JDmysticDJ, March 8, 2011 at 1:41 pm Link to this comment

#3

It’s well known that fear is a prime motivator of human behavior; fear motivates everything from the sale of consumer products, to political action, even murder and mayhem. Fear is a powerful propaganda tool. Hedges seems to be appealing to fear; whether that appealing to fear is warranted, paranoid, or opportunistic, is subject to the interpretation of the individual.

I have stated my lack of “Faith” in the authority of science, never the less, when empirical observations verify the realities of global warming and climate change, and can be quantifiably measured, and when these realities are validated by the most credible scientific authority, and only challenged by skeptics whose scientific analysis seems to be influenced more by personal financial endeavors and experience and contrary to the body of evidence available, I must come down on the side of empirical science, and not on the side of self interested ideologues. When the affects of green house gasses can be replicated, and the amounts of green house gasses can be measured, the affects of green house gasses must be recognized, and the potential threat from green house gasses must also be calculated, and dealt with, in order to avoid potentially catastrophic consequences, but is “militant radicalism” the only way, or even a promising way of dealing with the threat?

I’ll suggest that further study of the affects of green house gasses will only validate current scientific conclusions regarding the threat of green house gasses, and that action should be taken immediately. Will “militant radicalism” hinder, that immediate action, or facilitate it? I’ll suggest that strictly non-violent civil disobedience would be more conducive to immediate action, while “militant radicalism” will hinder implementation of the immediate action necessary. Perhaps the immediate dethroning of our corrupt elites could lead to more immediate action, but is that immediate dethroning, or immediate action, as a result of “Militant radicalism” at all a rational expectation? I think not.

I’ll suggest that in the future a scramble for survival will be the reality, and that as the affects of green house gasses become more evident, the corrupt elites will become open to negotiation, will become discredited, and will have effectively dethroned themselves in the eyes of “We the people” who hold the real power. I believe a new paradigm will come tortuously slow, but that it will come, and that “militant radicalism” will not lead to a new paradigm at all, and will only be a continuation of the old paradigm of human folly.

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By Marion Young, March 8, 2011 at 1:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you very much, sir! Excellent assessment. I hear the nervous laughter from the deniers. I know this article was written for folks like me who live in the real world. Those who get it are grateful to you.

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