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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Oil, Corn and the Elitism of the Middle Class

I read an interesting article the other day titled Oil and War, by Michael Doliner. I think that it's a great summation of our current imbroglio in the Middle East. It sums up well what we are doing over there, and why. Read the essay.

I think that with what is being played out right in front of the public meshes nicely with that summation, and might turn on the light bulb in a few of the docile moto-consumers' minds. On the other hand, how few are those who can climb out of denial even as the reaper approaches?

I would like to direct the reader to another essay that casts a critical eye on a vogueish energy alternative - biofuel - which is gathering attention, Ethanol Production Increases but is it a Valid Alternative to Oil?. There is a darkly hilarious (to me) quote embedded in that discussion which goes "The amount of grain that is required to fill a 25-gallon tank with ethanol, one time, could otherwise feed one person for a year".

OK - can anyone - anyone! - morally reconcile filling up a gas tank with feeding a person? Alas, we have all become elitists. The horror expressed in the story of "Soylent Green" is but a hollow mock horror. In willful ignorance, we would accept not only the demise of the "useless eaters," but indeed their appropriation to keep our shiny metal boxes snappy and at our service.

The "middle class" are caught up in a delusional self-image. The omni-media hammers the message that they are budding elitists in an ever-expansive club of gentile peerage, willfully blind to the enormous quantities of resources, geologic and human, which must be consumed in order to placate an ever-expanding population of delusional wannabes.

It is a common notion that when the elitists get too fat, grab to much for themselves at the expense of the underclass, that the peasants will grab their pitchforks and exact rough justice. I would submit that the underclass has little interest in such redistribution of wealth. Any such interest is weak, as the exigencies of survival, family, love and leisure are of a much higher order to these "lazy useless eaters." And, I would submit, such interests are have a higher moral signature than issues of wealth and power.

No. The architects of this middle-class illusion will, ironically, not have the underclass to contend with after all.

It is the middle class which will take up the pitchforks, ever in denial of their own role in the grand debacle. It is the middle class which the greedheads will find at the door. For this reason, as events unfold, we will find that attempts will be made, with more or less success, to beat back and persecute the panicking middle class.

When it becomes clear that there just are not enough slices of the glory pie to go around, when the gasoline and food no longer comes easily, these "good people" (I do not mean to be sarcastic - they are well intentioned) will howl over the injustice of it all. After all, they were doing the right thing, right? Just as they were taught, living the American Dream, dutifully putting in their time in their 9-to-5 pension-seeking servitude - they were straight, loyal, good citizens.

I have in mind a lovely person, good and strong of heart. She lost her ex-husband, father to their developmentally-challenged child (who, by the way, is rising to that challenge,) to cancer a some years ago. She is doing an admirable job raising the boy on her own, pushing all the right buttons, visiting the right museums, eating the right ice cream, involved in her boy's special schooling challenges, Cub Scouts, soap-box derby. Heavily dependent on the suburban infrastructure, I feel concern. Yet, if I mention anything to this otherwise extremely intelligent woman about the headlight-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel, I get a sharp rebuke along the lines of "You know I hate politics." Politics, indeed. So I must tread lightly.

It is hard for me to contemplate a judgement thrust upon such an ostensible angel. But the sword will fall where it will.

One could weep. But one feels the tears would be wasted.

1 comment:

  1. I am glad that you put your thoughts down. I sometimes don't know what the hell you are talking about or half the times I need a dictionary to understand you!( :


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