The Gathered Storm

The image next to this blog is a digital fake that circulated after the late Asian Tsunami. It exemplifies what could happen, and what people are prepared to make money from. Its use is simply illustrative.

Peak oil is a theory with much more scientific credibility than that associated with carbon-dioxide led global warming, as far as I can tell. It is coming to pass that oil executives are actually now talking about it, and articles are beginning to appear daily that show its passage to the mainstream.

Is it too soon to write the bulk of the history of the age of oil, even if its demise leads to wars and displacements to rival those of the twentieth century that have yet to happen?

What would we write? That society had been commodified, seventeenth century liberalism plundered for an ideology of rights, that everything and anything was subjected to a religion of materialism and markets based on cheap energy? That effort and value and the human spirit were displaced once generations arose to power in the later twentieth century who had no experience of sacrifice?

Perhaps our historians will be harsh. I note that many of all political persuasions and none are beginning to see the elements of the fix we are in.

A wall of cheap money followed by a long-term depression of high interest rates is rolling in. It is accompanied by twin shocks in oil and wheat prices which were not only predictable but predicted and the trend of which will be sustained. A global house of cards built on $516 Trillion dollars of derivative vehicles and funny-money investments has been tied to a social settlement in which people have been convinced that their houses are their own when they are owned by banks.

In addition, but weirdly enough of lesser importance, a three trillion dollar war, sustaining a defence industry that from 1945 has spent the equivalent of thirty million dollars a day from the birth of christ till now, is raging. It is the product of a death cult of islamism and a demographic surge in the number of young men with no hope of marriage or fulfilment in what used to be called the third world that will continue for several decades.

As if this were not enough, species extinctions are picking up pace as a period of global climate change picks up steam. This is also associated with the collapse of ice shelves in the southern hemisphere, unstable weather of titanic proportions on the oceans, and the release of methane. Global concerns about water are dividing into a tridentine set of issues; drought and the loss of aquifers, floodwater, and acidifying seawater.

This combination of issues is the peculiar challenge of our future. It may be that a society arises from it that is characterised by more than feral values, or which respects human life. It may be that the passage to that society is something fierce and feral.

I do note the everyday consequences though. When Margaret Thatcher left office in 1990, amongst all her other 'achievements' (which included destroying my hometown) she could have ranked five.

She privatised British Airways and began the moves that led to the sell-off of the railways and airports.

She destroyed the Mineworkers in a calculated act of industrial vengeance, aided and abetted by the leadership of the Mineworker's Union, which looks less culpable but more stupid by the day.

She removed exchanged controls on currency and initiated the 'Big Bang' of the City of London in 1986. She more or less eliminated council housing projects. These previously housed vast numbers of the population. They were replaced by houses 'owned' as property that people were convinced were theirs, and that they could borrow against, but which the banks swiftly owned the inflated equity of.

She so corrupted the case for nuclear power and genetically modified food with the taint of big, irresponsible business arrogance that the more silly of the left turned opposition to these things into orthodoxy.

Which of these stories are not in the news today?

And the cumulative effect of these five? To lay the groundwork for the children and grandchildren of the successful to continue the destruction of cultural capital begun in the sixties, whilst shutting anyone else out of their increasingly chilly professional world. To provide a foundation for an ideology of rights leaning against an ideology of property that encouraged stupidity and selfishness. Global patterns of immigration and emigration that leave half the world alienated.

And no shelter from the oncoming storm.

This is a very personal blog. I urge people to hold those they love close, to accept humility in the face of all their flaws, to see that possession as a principle of life isn't love, isn't acceptable, and to pray if they pray, as a spiritual discipline as much as anything else. God knows I at least need that, given all my flaws.

We face decades where some days will be up, and some down, but what is breaking around us will test the strong and the strong are only strong through love and reason, which I believe comes from God, though you may not.

I'm off down to Fleet Street for a drink with friends. Have a good weekend, you're doomed.


xxancroft said…
Enjoyed your tirade. Had not come across the word Tridentine before and find that it has to do with the Council of Trent. I subscribe to google alerts on the subject of "peak oil" which is how I came across your blog.

Greetings from the Deep South Pacific.
Martin Meenagh said…
Hi XXancroft, many thanks. It was a bit of a tirade! I meant tridentine to mean 'three-pronged', and must have been thinking about it because of Neptune's trident. I'm glad you are reading the blog and am always interested to hear about the peak oil theory, because I've long thought it was reasonable and it seems to be more convincing by the day.
Very best, Martin

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