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03/13/2014

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Money > facts

Dave - as always, great post. One caveat to the point about policymakers. As someone still currently working in the environmental community, I know first-hand the errors that this field makes when dealing with policymakers. While I agree that facts alone are not enough to persuade, there is more at work here (which you are already likely aware).

The real problem with the lack of climate change, energy policy, etc. is that those policy decisions - and in fact, any policy decision where there is a significant vested economic interest - are generally based on: (1) towing the party line, which often is a direct result of who contributes the most money; (2) who are the in-district economic elite (usually not renewable energy companies); and (3) the elected official's personal preference.

Numbers 1 and 2 generally supersede #3, because although not completely rational (like all humans), elected officials generally like their jobs, want to get re-elected, and aren't particularly worried about anything other than that next election.

Fun fact from the Sunlight Foundation: .001 percent of this country (about 31k people) contributed 28 percent of the total campaign donations in 2012. There is zero hope for reform of any industry in the public interest, or maintaining anything other than benefits for that uber-elite unless there is a fairly radical alteration of the current political incentives.

Happy birthday, and hope you keep writing.

Oliver

While it's a rare treat to read about a sprinkling of people who really 'get it', there's nothing much to be said about finding a useful thing you can do as you hunker down.

I have reached a final conclusion about my life sentence on Earth that echoes Kingsnorth's but is not so conditional as his. This is how I would put it [showing the deletions in brackets]:

Hunker down [really] and get on with doing what [useful] work you can do [at your local level] without imagining that you can change the way that society is going, because I don’t think [at the moment] that you can.

If we could have changed society, Dave Cohen would be a member of the Global Chamber of Sages that benignly oversees the fair distribution of conserved resources.

Alas, Homo sapiens wiped out that possibility long ago.

Roy Ramage

Happy birthday Dave. Right on with Leonard..things are going to slide in all directions. Please keep writing.
The best.
Roy

Robert Arrington

Take whatever comfort you can from providing an oasis of reality in a desert of delusion for those of us for whom merely finding others who have suffered the chaotically destructive results of human self-worship and been excoriated for hinting that humanity's grandiose opinion of itself may be a bit overdone is a relief.

,I have by the way, being a newcomer to your fine blog, been digging through the archives finding gem after gem. If I may pay you a compliment, your tastes in music are, in my opinion, excellent.


I haven't giggled this much since I purchased a copy of Ambrose Bierce's, incomparable Devil's Dictionary in college. For one like myself who loves excellent satire, sarcasm and downright snark your posts are like icing on the cake of human idiocy. Thank you.

Jim

Dave, happy birthday to you. And thanks again for what you do. I see snippets of sanity here and there, too, but it's great to see a condensed version here.

I was thinking today about what has probably had the most impact on me of your writing the past few months, and I think it might be:
http://www.declineoftheempire.com/2013/10/is-there-intelligent-life-in-the-universe.html

Your stuff has been great lately, but that one was something I had never seriously considered before, and the more I think about it the more I think you might be right. It's inconceivable to me that life doesn't exist elsewhere, and I think it's highly unlikely there isn't sentience somewhere else, even if it's in some far distant galaxy, but I guess someone raised on Star Trek has that fixed mindset.

I've found your human condition studies fascinating, too. On economics, I don't really have much to add. It is what it is, and I don't see it changing anytime soon. If you're correct about it being inevitable, and I think inequality is inevitable in all but very small societies (100 people or less), as there aren't any examples of it not taking place, it's certainly just to be angry about it, but I can't really generate real rage inside myself for it. There are people born to it, which isn't really their fault, and there are people willing to jab a spork in their grandmother's eye to get it, and they generally get wealth, but not much else. The rest of us live the best we can, and that'll have to do.

Mike Roberts

Thanks Dave. I'd say "happy birthday" but I'm not sure that you place much importance on being 365 days older than you were 365 days ago. I know I don't (and I'll be 61 this year, too). I get the lonely bit. Though I do have family, the loneliness is that almost no-one (and maybe actually no-one) really gets the human condition (though I'm not claiming I understand it perfectly) and most conversation is about inane stuff that is insignificant (particularly "celebrity"). I know that nothing is happening and nothing will happen and some days I can barely stand it but, for now, life goes on.

Thanks for continuing the essays. It's good to read people that understand the situation but it's nothing like talking to people about it (at least I imagine it's nothing like it!).

Alexander Ač

Dave, wish you all the best to your 61. Birthday! My father will have 60 years in a few days.

Maybe I can add one more little island of sanity in the insane world:

"There is virtually zero evidence that human behavior is changing, or even will change. Replacing an incandescent light bulb with a fluorescent one, or buying a 50 mpg car changes nothing. Build a new sea wall, or repair a hurricane devastated city – this is not a change in human behavior at all. It is in effect, the same behavior. And the very behavior that actually caused the problem."

http://survivalacres.com/blog/exploding-myth-can-change/

Alex

david s

Happy birthday, Dave.

opit

Environmentalism is something I can relate to when you are talking water supply and pollution. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqxENMKaeCU&feature=player_embedded is an inspiring work.

But humans 'knowing something' might mean they know different things than you do. After all, just because something seems wild doesn't mean it isn't so.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=KmotCQCxQEI

https://www.youtube.com/user/TheTruthAlwaysAddsUp

http://iceagenow.info/2013/08/global-warming-greatest-deception-history-science-climatologist/

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