Let me start off this essay with a link to a law just passed by the Tennessee legislature. It bans buses of any type in the state of Tennessee. It is there because some people feel that a rapid transit system would’ve ran on a 7.1 mile route and served rapidly growing neighborhoods across [Nashville]. This from the same state that once tried to legislate Pi to be 3 and not 3.1415926 … We are so divided as a country and a planet/people. We cannot agree to do simple projects for the good because it goes against some embedded interests that for a religious or hidden reason work very hard to defeat it.
There is a terrific program on climate change being shown on Showtime over the next 8 weeks. The first episode was last Sunday. The series is entitled Years of Living Dangerously.
The show has 3 revolving stories – one about a drought in Plainview (and Lubbock) Tx, one about the burning of forests in Indonesia and the last about a drought in Syria. In each case, there are people who are confused and some that are clear. Of the people who are confused, they are all thoughtful but they have deeply embedded views of the world. These views come from the people, religions and educational systems that have been with them their entire lives. After the first hour it is clear that the people in west Texas and Syria are having a drought that will drive deep social and political unrest, change and heartbreak. And that the corruption of the political process in Indonesia is having an impact on all of the world’s people and there is literally nothing we can do about it.
I highly recommend this series.
I also have been reading a book – The Fourth Turning. The main thesis of this book is that in the course of human history there are major cycles that repeat themselves about every 80-100 years. That it takes 4 generations of people (a generation being 20-25 years) before we forget how we forged our last real political and social alignment and then – often in the furnace of large scale death and destruction – we forge a new alliance.
In the USA, these major events happened in 1776 (revolutionary war), 1860 (civil war), 1940 (WW2) and we are coming up to one very soon. In each case the future of our society hung completely in the balance and we agreed to change directions. But not without lots of heartbreak. This will be the first one we have to face with nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, cyber warfare, and such.
At the end of each 4 generation cycle, we find that there are groups who are totally at odds with one another. In the revolutionary war, there were colonists who were deeply loyal to Britain and the King, and there were those just as fervent for change. In the civil war, it was clearly about slavery and not just states rights and there were people on both sides so at odds that only large scale killing of brothers and families could pave the way forward.
Today clearly (as you see in the first episode of Years of Living Dangerously), we are in a time of deep devision and mistrust between groups in our society. Many believe that climate change is a lie or worse a hoax by the liberal establishment to be pushed onto others to enhance their own political future. The governor of Texas does not believe it is real. Most republicans do not believe it is real.
It is when we get to these seemingly unreconcilable differences that we are in the most horrific trouble. And now it appears we will have to experience it with weapons and a global interconnectedness that was never present in the past.
Are there opinions you are holding that are so important that you want to risk global chaos more massive than anything we have ever seen?
Think about it.