Outside the Asylum

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Today I’m going to take a stab at a topic I’ve been avoiding. It’s a topic that provides (I hope) the context within which my political choices make sense.

Let’s talk about climate change.

It’s been a while since I looked at the predictions of what kind of world unchecked global warming would produce. The last time I looked, I saw the following assertions:

A world in which the global temperature has risen 4 degrees Celsius or more is a world that can support ½ billion human beings.

A world in which the global temperature has risen 4 degrees Celsius or more is a world that can expect an 80% extinction rate (I’m assuming this statement means an 80% extinction rate of non-human species.)

Human civilization will fall around 2050.

(If anybody can disprove that these are rational, probable hypotheses, you would be doing me and my ability to sleep an inestimable favor--especially if you can contradict them in essence, rather than just in detail).

Add to these assertions the following facts:

There are currently 7.5 billion human beings living in the world.

Everybody has known that unchecked global warming could have genocidal, civilization-destroying consequences since at least the late 80s.

There have been two occasions since the late 80s when the Democratic party has had both a Democrat in the White House and control of both houses of Congress for two years. On the second occasion, the Democrats also had a supermajority in the Senate for four and a half total (though not consecutive) months.

In neither legislation nor diplomacy has the American government responded to this crisis.

The government’s lack of reaction to an oncoming climate catastrophe contrasts sharply with the government’s responses to other supposedly existential threats throughout American history, whether they be real, as with Adolf Hitler, or dubious, as with Saddam Hussein.

In 2012, Nancy Pelosi told a climate group I was part of that climate change was “a dead issue.”


I am 51 years old.

Now let’s put these puzzle pieces together. Add the hypothesized predictions to the established facts.

First, the simplest part. Billions of people will die as a result of the transformation of the planet occasioned by a 4 degree Celsius temperature increase. Humankind has never seen so much death. Even if it happens over a period of years, which it will, it will still be more human death in a shorter amount of time than we’ve ever seen in recorded history.

Human civilization cannot withstand the shock of that much death that fast. Nor can it adjust swiftly and smoothly enough to the extinction rate which will decimate the plant and animal species humans depend on to live (which is one reason only ½ billion people will be able to live here under the conditions of a 4 degree C increase—there won’t be enough to eat.) That is why the scientists have guessed that civilization will fall in 2050. Whether they’ve got the year right or not, it seems overwhelmingly likely that human civilization will fall in the face of catastrophic climate change.

As a 51-year-old woman, it’s possible I and my family will be alive to see civilization collapse. We might, with a great deal of luck, be safely dead before 2050—I would be 82 in 2050, and my partners would each be 76—but even if we were so lucky, it’s obvious that the fall of human civilization won’t happen like flipping off a light switch. Things won’t go from “everything’s OK” or “it’s not OK, but we can get by” to “we’re dead” overnight. Things will likely be very bad for some years before civilization can be said to have well and truly collapsed. In addition, so far the only way in which the scientists’ predictions about global warming have been wrong is that events have transpired more quickly, and in more extreme fashion, than the scientists predicted. So there is a better than average chance that my family and I will be alive to experience the collapse of human civilization due to the destruction of most life on the planet.

This is my scientific context for political decisions. A global catastrophe is slowly killing me and everything I know and love. Unlike nuclear Armageddon, which I feared throughout my youth as the Cold War teetered precariously toward its end, this catastrophe is not just a possibility, but a reality slowly developing and accelerating around me. (Not that I’m minimizing the importance of nuclear Armageddon, which is also hovering over our heads like the sword of Damocles.)

Now for the political context.

Since global warming became a public issue, there have been some good-faith businessmen attempting to rein capitalism in enough that global warming will be slowed or diminished, enabling humanity to survive. I know there are differences of opinion among people of good faith as to whether or not one can “green” capitalism. For my purposes here, though, those arguments are irrelevant because these good-faith businessmen have never been able to make headway against the most powerful corporate elites, concentrated in the areas of Big Energy, Big Money, and Big Guns, elites who appear to desire, at all costs, that we preserve the current system. Because no one has ever managed to overcome this unholy troika, nobody is ever going to know whether or not green capitalism is a possibility.

There have been some good-faith politicians at all levels of government who have attempted, sometimes valiantly, to head off the danger of climate catastrophe through changes in policy--or at least to create a plan for adapting to global warming as best we can. None of those politicians, in either party, has ever been able to make headway against their own party leaders, who are beholden to the same unholy troika that, along with public-sector military intelligence, controls the ship of state. This has been true since politicians have been debating the issue, which means that for more than thirty years, none of the policy changes which might have averted climate catastrophe has been instituted through domestic law or international treaty.

When Nancy Pelosi said in 2012 that “Climate change [was] a dead issue,” what I heard was “The government doesn’t care if you all die.” People tend to defend Pelosi when I bring this up, using arguments about political pragmatism, how it isn’t Pelosi’s fault if that’s what the politics actually are, etc. I’d like to remind all those people that we’re talking about the death of most of the humans on the planet, the fall of human civilization, and the possible extinction of the human species. One would think that, if the current political system can do nothing to avert such dire outcomes, that fact would warrant more than the political equivalent of a shrug. One would think that, if the current political system can do nothing to avert global mass death, the end of civilization, and the potential end of the human species, and instead hurtles us, through its terrible policy choices, toward that catastrophic future, that maybe it’s the system that needs to go.

But Pelosi’s shrug is in line with American political history. Multiple Congresses and presidential administrations have done nothing on this matter; most have instituted policies that advance us toward climate catastrophe, rather than away from it. Some, like the first Reagan administration and the first Obama administration, have even shut down efforts—sometimes within their own parties--to stop us hurtling toward this nightmare future.

In 2019, it should be impossible to even speak of this issue within a partisan framework. No party has clean hands. In fact, both parties are protecting the policies which are killing us. Both parties are also protecting the psychopathic elites who have chosen these policies, and insist upon keeping to them. The Republicans make few bones about this, taking refuge either in the notion that global warming is a hoax, or in a general, all-purpose contempt for liberals (forgetting that there used to be environmentalist conservatives aplenty.) Democrats have turned climate change into a religion, proclaiming that they “believe the science” the way I used to proclaim the Nicene Creed in church. They appear to expect some sort of tribal partisan kudos for being rationalists—not like those faith-based ignoramuses on the right. The trouble is that “believing the science” means “believing that we’re heading toward apocalypse and most of us will die.” If you can “believe the science” without doing everything in your power to change the course of history, then you are worse than an ignoramus. You are a monster.

So there you have it. The political and economic systems of my country—and, for the most part, the legal system too—are being run by people who are fine with all of us dying. Anyone who defends the current political and economic systems of this country, anyone who wants to make nice with the people who own and control those systems, is also, necessarily, fine with all of us dying. I don’t mean personally; perhaps these people cry into their pillows at night or drink heavily while taking anxiety medication because they can’t stand the pain of their poor, tormented, jailed consciences. I mean functionally.

For example, I’m fairly certain that Barack Obama is too intelligent and logical not to understand that destroying the world is idiotic, even for imperialistic sociopaths. A technocrat like him would also know that using humanity’s ability to invent new technologies to help stave off the destruction might be something worth attempting. But, as brutal as it sounds, it doesn’t matter what goes on inside Barack Obama’s mind. What matters is what he did as President, and what he does now as, essentially, a celebrity. As someone once said, “Don’t tell me what you believe. Tell me what you do, and I’ll tell you what you believe.”

By now, it should be obvious that the frames we habitually put around this discussion are seriously flawed. It’s not a question of Republicans vs Democrats, because the leadership of both parties is in favor of our current historical trajectory. The political conflict, when there is any, exists between a few people in each party who want to change course, and the leadership of each party whose job it is to prevent change. It’s not a question of faith vs science, because those who “believe” the science are, for the most part, no more inclined to make changes than those who think climate change is a hoax. (Like I said before, I don’t care what political leaders believe in private, only what they do as officials.) Putting rationalists in charge doesn’t help, as we found out both in 1993 and in 2009. What good is “believ[ing] the science” when you don’t use your supermajority and near-total control of two of the three branches of government to change the policies which “the science” keeps telling you are leading humanity to its destruction? And it’s not about incrementalism vs radicalism. The people who keep pushing for incremental change are the same people who have been incrementally moving us into reactionary extremism for three decades, with the result that we are now contemplating the possible fall of human civilization in our lifetimes. They believe in incremental change all right—to the right. That’s the only kind of incremental change we’ve seen from either party for forty years.

So why won’t I support Elizabeth Warren? Why don’t I think she is a progressive? Why don’t I care whether Warren, Biden, or Trump wins the election in 2020?

I don’t think Warren is a progressive because progressives oppose corruption in government, in particular the kind of corruption where the rich control the government through bribes. That has been the definition of progressive since the Progressive Party rose in the early twentieth century. You can’t be a progressive and defend taking "lots of dark money."

I won’t support Warren for the same reason that I don’t care whether Warren, Biden, or Trump wins the election in 2020. The elites who own the system, and the politicians who express their will, made it clear during the two Obama administrations that they would allow no serious changes. They wouldn’t even allow the United States to have a publicly-funded, publicly-run insurance plan as an option for citizens who don’t want private insurance; they certainly would not tolerate, and apparently never will tolerate, changing the relationship of energy, money, and war which has concentrated power in their hands. Their excess of power comes from the same thing that is destroying the life of the world, and they’ve decided that maintaining that concentration of power is more important than having a human civilization—or a living planet. Taking large sums of money from these people means the same thing that endorsing Hillary Clinton means:

You aren’t going to help me.

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Creosote.'s picture

The darkness we are experiencing dims all daylight now.
Even the loss of a bird's bright eye is an unspeakable agony.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Creosote. @Creosote.

I want to live my life in a way that appreciates life. It's harder to do that when you know what I know--what we both know. But I haven't given up. I still think I might be able to rise to that challenge.

It's like appreciating time with somebody who has a mortal illness--but one which will take a long time to kill them. The right thing to do is to appreciate what you can for all the time you have left. But it's hard.

Thank you, Creosote, for stopping by.

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

Anja Geitz's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

For me it helps to focus on creating value within my community, my family, my workplace. How we do that is an individual choice. It doesn't necessarily mean we need to become activists, and it can be as basic as simply being a kind human being who takes the time to appreciate the people in their lives, and listens with an open heart recognizing our shared humanity. But whatever we choose to do, it's important to be cognizant of how valuable the time is we have here on earth. So, how do we want to spend it?

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Anja Geitz

“Frodo: I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.
Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

Anja Geitz's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

Having grown up without the benefit of a wise parent guiding me through my most turbulent years, I always yearned for a "Gandalf" or a "Dumbledore" in my life. Consequently, I gravitated towards boyfriends who were either older, or very educated, or smart, or all three. Unfortunately, looking to others for that kind of reassurance, and essentially handing over my power, inevitably relegated the relationship into a paternal/infantilism dynamic that stunted me and deterioration my already flagging self confidence.

Ironically, when I broke away from that pattern, and began feeding my own soul, I realized that just as Dorothy had in the Wizard of Oz, I was already wearing those ruby slippers, and I was in fact my own Gandalf. Funny how life works that way, eh?

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

Creosote.'s picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

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orlbucfan's picture

Excellent essay. I've been aware of climate change since my teenage years back in the Sixties. My parents were with NASA, my father from the agency's start. I heard about the CFCs threatening the Ozone Layer over the dinner table. I also was privy to the bitching about the stupid, arrogant and incompetent MICC. Glad my folks have passed on. The degraded state of this nation would make both of them angry and nauseous. Needless to say, I have been hardcore ecology/environment my whole life. Don't get me started about the maritime ecological destruction of my state due to greed and over-development. GRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!! Hope all is well in north central FL. We are getting set for termite tenting down here in east central. Hey, this ole cracker house is 70+ years old. First time it's been done. They definitely knew how to build them back then. Cuidate, Mi Amiga! Smile
(Rec'd!!)

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Inner and Outer Space: the Final Frontiers.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@orlbucfan

though going through tenting is mega-annoying. Hope it's the least inconvenience possible.

As for our state, I've always felt that any Floridian who isn't an environmentalist must be in massive denial, or a fool--or both.

In a state where you're not really resting on granite, but on the geological equivalent of a big floating sponge, where land gets pulled out from under your feet by the sea and relocated on a regular basis--if it doesn't simply collapse out from under you, where something you pour on the ground could be in the water table a few hours later, it's idiotic to be anything but careful and concerned about the fragile place you live.

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

Lookout's picture

Change doesn't impart the severity of the situation from my perspective.

I suspect the collapse is now buffered into the system...most of the global heating has been absorbed by the oceans. None the less I'm glad to see the global marches and rebellions in a effort to stop the continued degradation.

As you accurately write the dims are as guilty as the rethugs. I would remind folks that Obummer was fracker and chief here at home and around the world. He approved more drilling in the Gulf as oil was pouring out of the BP well. He approved arctic drilling and many pipelines including the XL keystone.

Empires come and empires go. Species come and species go. Enjoy the ride while you can. Move uphill if you live on the coast...sell while you can. This is just the start of ever more wild weather.

Thanks for your thoughtful OT.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Wally's picture

@Lookout

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Lookout's picture

@Wally

...but I wish he would better address our militarism and quit calling Maduro, a duly elected president, a dictator. Seems like he would approve of the chavistas socialist progress which has reduced poverty by 50% and severe poverty by 70%. And none of them are critical (enough) of Israel's apartheid state.

I much prefer Bernie's guaranteed job program over Yang's UBI. Tulsi seems to be waffling on M4A which I hope she corrects. And WARren is trying to steal much of Bernie's platform. Her foreign policy advisor is warmongering Albright.

I would be thrilled to be able to vote for Bernie in the general. However I don't trust the DNC to be fair, and fear they will not allow Bernie (nor Tulsi) to be the nominee. We vote on super Tuesday in the primary and though I'm still leaning toward Tulsi, but I might go for Bernie..it's still a ways off and I want to see how things unfold...

Good luck to you and Bernie.

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

Wally's picture

@Lookout

We'll see how it all pans out.

I'm really hoping Tulsi pulls the same number on Elizabeth Dolezal that she did with Harris.

And I hope Tulsi blasts Warren for both her militari$m and how she wrongly appropriated minority status to disenfranchize real minority people for her own academc and professional gain.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Lookout

Madeleine Albright?

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

Creosote.'s picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

And out here just a couple of years ago a museum show of her jewelry at a place I thought was reputable brought in thousands of excited viewers.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Creosote.

I wonder if she will talk about how women who don't support Warren will go to hell. This time.

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Lookout

I try to remember not to use the term "climate change" at all; it was invented by a right-wing political consultant whose name escapes me, because the term "global warming" was too scary.

You're my role model for dealing with this, Lookout. I aspire to your level of open-eyed acceptance, and your ability to continue to enjoy life despite it.

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

Lookout's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

I aspire to your level of open-eyed acceptance, and your ability to continue to enjoy life despite it.

The way I think about it...I accept I will die and I can do so with calm. I've just extended this view to our entire species. We will go extinct at some point no matter what.

Sadly we have foolishly created our extinction event by shitting our own nest. We are like crack addicts but it is oil and war we are addicted to.

Find joy in your family and friends and nature. All the best!

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“Until justice rolls down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.”

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

invented by right-wing political consultant

... but that's less than half the story. Per this (which I strongly recommend reading), "climate change" was in scientific use at least as early as 1956, and was standard in the scientific community in the mid-70s, long before the issue had become a left-versus-right political problem.

Starting in the mid-70s, beginning with the title of one paper, scientists began to adopt "global warming" as a more specific phrase, especially for communicating with the public. When, in the face of endless trolling by the minions of evil, they reasserted the more accurate "climate change," -- not least because that was always a preferred term in the scientific literature (along with the rather clumsy, "inadvertent climate modification"), and the scientific literature was more and more becoming the direct source of media coverage -- the evil trolls quickly accused climate scientists of "backing off" from their hysterical predictions of global warming by inventing a new, wishy-washy phrase.

However -- and here's the nugget of truth behind your understanding of the origin -- Frank Luntz, the infamous right-wing communications consultant who will, eventually, be remembered in histories as one of the most harmful humans who has ever humanned, did say this in 2003:

It’s time for us to start talking about “climate change” instead of global warming and “conservation” instead of preservation…“Climate change” is less frightening than “global warming”…While global warming has catastrophic connotations attached to it, climate change suggests a more controllable and less emotional challenge

So at that point, the minions of evil were beating up the scientists coming and going: they worked to change the popular phrase from "global warming" to "climate change", with the intent to which you averred; while simultaneously accusing the scientists themselves of making the change, so as to downplay the scientists' own uncertainty about the effect.

The funny thing, from my perspective, is that for me, "climate change" is a much more frightening phrase. "Global warming" sounds like something that wouldn't be too hard to reverse. The climate, on the other hand: Well, that's a massive system, and changing it one way or the other is obviously going to require an enormous "input" of something. Which of course, is exactly what has happened, and is exactly why undoing what has happened will be so hard. We can't just stop producing CO2 and wait for everything to settle back to where it was: We need to find a way to force it back to where it was. Even if we start aggressively stripping CO2 back out of the atmosphere, it would take centuries for all of the CO2 that is waiting to bubble back out of the oceans to finish bubbling back out of the oceans.

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The earth is a multibillion-year-old sphere.
The Nazis killed millions of Jews.
On 9/11/01 a Boeing 757 (AA77) flew into the Pentagon.
AGCC is happening.
If you cannot accept these facts, I cannot fake an interest in any of your opinions.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@UntimelyRippd

it's important to me to get these things right. Frank Luntz is, indeed, the man I was thinking of. But the complete historical context is better than my partial knowledge.

Thanks again.

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

Lily O Lady's picture

“Soylent Green” lately. Years ago it was a dystopian future, but now it seems to be almost “ripped from the headlines” as Hollywood is so fond of saying. The scene where the old man surrenders to euthanasia when he learns the secret that Soylent Green is made from people makes me weep. As he dies, he is shown film of the Earth as it was, teeming with life and beauty. In his world all that is gone. All that is left is misery and despair.

With fires in the Amazon and devastation in the Bahamas and elsewhere world-wide I feel his sense of loss. I also feel his misery as I contemplate what is in store for us far too soon.

It had occurred to me recently that the reason so many schools are pushing STEM is a belief, like a religion, that technology will save us. Or perhaps I should say the belief that it will save those with sufficient wealth and power. I think this ties in with your idea of “believing in science.” Anyone who truly believes in science should be terrified. We are being shoved and herded toward our own doom by those who are either mad or cynical, perhaps both.

It seems that the asylum is enormous CStMS, and there is very little room outside it. Thanks for letting me visit this morning.

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"The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

@Lily O Lady
in the old man's eyes as he's viewing the film of what once was; it's the Charlton Heston character's astonishment and horror, as he observes that he had no idea how beautiful the earth had been, not so long before his own coming into it.

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The earth is a multibillion-year-old sphere.
The Nazis killed millions of Jews.
On 9/11/01 a Boeing 757 (AA77) flew into the Pentagon.
AGCC is happening.
If you cannot accept these facts, I cannot fake an interest in any of your opinions.

Lily O Lady's picture

@UntimelyRippd

it was?” We see that for many, their only view of what once was would be as they are dying.

I see life and the biosphere that supports us dying and it breaks my heart. TPTB must not have hearts.

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"The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

Creosote.'s picture

@Lily O Lady

As a neighbor said to me, he had trouble with words that keep shifting meanings, but not with numbers, which stay the same.
It's a long way from numbers to here:
https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/TTwAAOSwPe1T15xb/s-l1600.jpg
[image source may not be permanent]

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Lily O Lady

It's always great to "see" you.

As for techno-worship, I appreciate the point of view of those who say that we can't invent our way out of this, that no matter what we invent, we will still have to give up our lifestyle and comforts. I believe that they are good-faith actors who want humanity and the world to survive.

But sort of like the greening of capitalism, I really have no idea whether we'd be able to use our technological inventiveness to save ourselves, or at least improve the situation. It looks to me like there's a place for renewable energy tech in any sensible plan for dealing with the situation. But I can't really know, can I? The political problem makes it impossible to know whether we could successfully "green" capitalism, and it makes it impossible to know how much our technology could help us. Because it ain't gonna be used to help us, will it? Capitalism won't be "greened," will it?

That's why I don't take part in a lot of these arguments within the environmental movement over what would or wouldn't work. Solve the political problem, or solve nothing.

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

Deja's picture

@Lily O Lady It's been showing here too.

I recorded it to show my kids. What they didn't factor in to the story, is the number of people we kill on a daily basis. War, political assassination, guns, forced starvation via sanctions and gmo propaganda/pesticide overuse and run off, toxic shit on our grocery store shelves in eye-popping boxes, in pharmacies, and drive thrus. I guess they thought we'd all be living healthy and robust til ripe old ages due to medical advances, except TBTB are keeping the population down without having to feed us to each other just yet.

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Jen's picture

I just found out a few days ago that my 21 year old daughter is going to make me a grandmother. I've cried and yelled. The subject talked about in this essay is what makes me unable to be happy about it.

I thought she understood. I've been ranting about climate change since she was in elementary school. I've told her many times (before she got pregnant) that I don't want a grandkid that will burn with the world. I thanked her every time I saw her for not having kids.

I told her that she made me feel like my mother (an unforgivable offense) because I didn't think she could take care of a kid. But then I added that the world has changed a lot since I had kids. Both of mine were born before 2001. My mother also didn't warn me that my kids would see the end of the world as I've been telling my daughter for years. Even if my mother had warned me, it would have probably ended with Jesus flying down on a cloud to save all the people that the devil didn't get for lying. My daughter's answer to that was that if she and her baby were happy when it ends then she doesn't see the issue. "We all die happy and together". My response was that it's hard to be happy with no food or clean water.

I feel guilty for not being able to be happy about it. I think insane thoughts like, "If my grandparents hadn't had 16 dang kids, I wouldn't even be here to be going through this shit." No one should have 16 kids, much less dirt poor people living in a house smaller than what I'm in now.

If the world was a saner place, I would probably be happy.

At least she has health insurance now.

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Is it great yet?

@Jen @Jen
(and I mean, well-educated) younger (meaning, mid-20s to mid-30s) scientifically adept folks in my workplace is about to become a parent, I shake my head. Even amongst the most scientifically literate people in our culture, the level of background denial is surprisingly high. I don't mean "denial" as in saying it's all a hoax, I mean denial in the classic psychological sense of just refusing to behave in accordance with what, at base, you know to be the true state of things: Acting as if you didn't know what you know, because that's just ... easier.

I have a co-worker (an immigrant PhD) whose family loves to vacation in the Florida keys. He told me he and his wife have discussed buying a vacation home there for their retirement. I don't know how to react when confronted by something like that. How can he not grasp that the Florida keys might well be uninhabitable in 2050? Hell, some of them might well be gone by 2050.

My own kids are all now in, or soon to enter, the zone of likely procreation. I can't imagine any of them would be mad enough to do so -- nevermind AGCC, their own dysfunctional upbringing should have been enough -- but I don't know how I'll respond if they do.

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The earth is a multibillion-year-old sphere.
The Nazis killed millions of Jews.
On 9/11/01 a Boeing 757 (AA77) flew into the Pentagon.
AGCC is happening.
If you cannot accept these facts, I cannot fake an interest in any of your opinions.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@UntimelyRippd

(Tampa) will be partly under water before I die. My grandma's old neighborhood is right on Tampa Bay.

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

Jen's picture

@UntimelyRippd I didn't know how I would react before it happened. My initial reaction was the biggest feeling of dread I had ever had. My blood pressure went so high that I felt like my face was sunburned for the rest of the day. My heart beat so fast and so hard that I could see it. Just an awful feeling.

I saw on some tv show recently, someone said something about retiring to Florida in 40 years. I just rolled my eyes. Maybe some people are taking cues from things like that. You know, if it's on tv, it must be true.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Jen

who I helped to raise from about the age of 12 on. A few years ago, she got pregnant and had a miscarriage. Once I found out she was OK, my emotion was profound relief. And that makes me so angry and upset. How can we have a politics that makes it sensible for me to be glad about a miscarriage?

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

Jen's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal When we feel dread at bringing another human into this world and feel relief when tragedy takes the promise of new life, it seems like proof that the world has gone insane.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Jen

OMG.

She can't have really thought about what that means.

If a person had children any time recently, then the only sensible thing is to live in hope and work one's ass off for change, whether it's likely or not. There is no imaginable future in which civilization and ecosystem collapse co-exist with a parent and little kids being happy.

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

Jen's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal I was speechless for a few minutes after she said that. I'm now thinking she was talking about a nuclear end of the world - where you're there one minute and the next minute you're not.

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edg's picture

@Jen

I'm 63. All my life I've heard various gloom and doom predictions about the end of the world. "They" always say "If only we would ...". My wife and I have no children. We bought into the overpopulation meme and did our part. Meanwhile, others did not. We worried about the evil Soviet Union nuking the world into oblivion, ignoring which country is the only one on Earth that has actually used nukes in war. We prepared for global cooling in the 1970s. We jumped on the green bandwagon by switching our light-bulbs, first to fluorescent and then to LED. We supported peak oil theories by forswearing gas-guzzling SUVs and trucks.

What did that achieve? Not a damn thing. We have no grandchildren to enjoy and teach and take pride in. We endured fluorescent bulbs that turned our skin green. We crammed ourselves into vehicles designed for australopithecine- sized drivers.

And now we hear that global warming is going to reverse-decimate humankind so we must emotionally if not physically punish our relatives, friends, and neighbors that are, unlike us, daring to reproduce.

I cannot in good conscience agree with that philosophy. When a person decides to have a child, that is their decision to make. I will not climate-shame expectant mothers. I will not superciliously sneer at misguided young dummies that pop out child after child. I will not suck the joy out of the life of those who make childbearing decisions I disagree with.

From now on, I will keep reminding myself that I only control one person: me.

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@edg
I believe that NO large-scale human problem is ever going to be solved by people making individual lifestyle choices. This is why government -- messy, proactive, bossy, aggressive government is necessary, regardless of how much it annoys everyone's inner toddler.

I think it is worth noting that complete nuclear annihilation was a real risk, and perhaps the angst that our generations suffered was necessary in order to build the social and political pressure that brought detente etc.

Why, as you wonder, bother to make the individual sacrifice when the rest of humanity declines to follow suit, rendering your sacrifice moot? One political problem is that one's opponents will always -- just as they do now, with global warming -- point to one's particular behavior and say, "How DARE you try to take away MY toys, when you're out there indulging yourself!" This is a fundamental conundrum.

Finally, I doubt it will deliver any solace, but bear in mind that whenever surveys have been attempted, going back decades, a large fraction of people have said that they wish they had never had children. Your forbearance on procreation may have provided the opportunity to enjoy a whole lot of experiences that would have otherwise been impossible, and spared you a whole lot of sorrow. And with respect to the matter at hand, the flipside of your wistful regret that had you chosen otherwise you might now be enjoying grandparentry, is that were you a grandparent you might be staring down the barrel of climate change with a sick dread that renders contemplation of the future unbearable.

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The earth is a multibillion-year-old sphere.
The Nazis killed millions of Jews.
On 9/11/01 a Boeing 757 (AA77) flew into the Pentagon.
AGCC is happening.
If you cannot accept these facts, I cannot fake an interest in any of your opinions.

thanatokephaloides's picture

@UntimelyRippd

Finally, I doubt it will deliver any solace, but bear in mind that whenever surveys have been attempted, going back decades, a large fraction of people have said that they wish they had never had children. Your forbearance on procreation may have provided the opportunity to enjoy a whole lot of experiences that would have otherwise been impossible, and spared you a whole lot of sorrow.

This.

The procreation decision was largely made for me. I was never able to achieve either the steady livelihood or the quality of relationship which would have brought procreation within ethical range. And yes, I am certain that I spared myself and any such children a great deal of sorrow!

Sad

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"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

edg's picture

@UntimelyRippd

Unfortunately, though, the fact that complete nuclear annihilation was a real risk was largely due to us, not the USSR. The United States is the country that proves time and again it's willing to push "democracy" at the point of a gun or blast of a bomb if regime changes and coups don't work.

As for children, I don't think those surveys measure actual regret about having children. Rather, they measure regret about the circumstances surrounding the children. If you poll 100 divorced women, 90+ percent will likely regret their diminished income, having to share custody with the father, and the lack of freedom that single parenthood brings. Very few are willing to give up their children, though, even when it would make their lives immeasurably better.

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thanatokephaloides's picture

@edg

Unfortunately, though, the fact that complete nuclear annihilation was a real risk was largely due to us, not the USSR. The United States is the country that proves time and again it's willing to push "democracy" at the point of a gun or blast of a bomb if regime changes and coups don't work.

Replace "democracy" with "socialism", and you've got a handy synopsis of the USSR's (and China's) behavior during the Cold War years. Seldom has the old saying been borne out more faithfully: "There is none good, no, not one." (Jewish Scriptures, Psalm 53:3)
Bible passages source

This is not to say that the USA has clean hands, by any means. Statecraft is a dirty business. And everyone who plays gets hir hands dirty -- really dirty. Natura bestis.

As for children, I don't think those surveys measure actual regret about having children. Rather, they measure regret about the circumstances surrounding the children. If you poll 100 divorced women, 90+ percent will likely regret their diminished income, having to share custody with the father, and the lack of freedom that single parenthood brings. Very few are willing to give up their children, though, even when it would make their lives immeasurably better.

But an increasing number of parents are regretful of having children for the children's own sake, as such efforts as parents might make become ever less likely to generate the kind of start any reasonable parents would want for their children. Working 3 jobs and remaining in poverty anyway will do that to you every time.

Bad

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"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

edg's picture

@thanatokephaloides

That the USSR and China equal the U.S. in manhandling other countries. They are/were amateurs compared to us.

There are only three countries in the world America hasn't invaded or have never seen a U.S. military presence: Andorra, Bhutan, and Liechtenstein.

American historian Christopher Kelly and British historian Stuart Laycock are the authors of "America Invades: How We've Invaded Or Been Militarily Involved With Almost Every Country on Earth." They define "invasion" as "an armed attack or intervention in a country by American forces."

These are the only 3 countries America hasn't invaded

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@edg Nobody gives a shit about them. They have no oil.

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edg's picture

@on the cusp

Even if you ignore the 2,800 American troops stationed in Jordan to help ISIS, er, "democratic forces" defeat Assad in Syria, and you ignore the direct military aid given to Jordan since 1951, and you ignore the covert joint operations the US has conducted with Israel in Jordan, and you ignore the Jordan Crisis of 1970, the US has a long history of operating in and around Jordan to 1. contain the Palestinian refugees, 2. assist in Israel's security, and 3. fulfill Nixon's Jordan policy.

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thanatokephaloides's picture

@edg

That the USSR and China equal the U.S. in manhandling other countries. They are/were amateurs compared to us.

"Manhandler of other countries" is binary, like "pregnant" or "dead". A nation either does it or it doesn't. All those who do it at all are as guilty as all others who do it at all.

That having been said, I challenge you to find me one modern-era sovereign nation-state whose hands are clean of such manhandling as we speak of here. Please keep in mind that manhandling of Aboriginal peoples counts.

I'll spare you some grief at this juncture. There are none; no, not one.

Do please keep in mind that I'm supportive of the basic ideas of this thread. My cynicism about anybody's sovereign nation-state is just coming out, that's all. No offense intended to you, edg.

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"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

edg's picture

@thanatokephaloides

an increasing number of parents are regretful of having children for the children's own sake

That may be true in the United States. How true is it for the other 7.25 billion humans on the planet? Why are Central Americans still having children when they face worse conditions than most US citizens? How about Africans and many Asians? Are you saying those parents don't care about their children's own sake?

We in the US have the luxury of deciding to have children or not. Billions of people around the world don't have that same privilege. Not having children for them means not being able to tend their farm or raise livestock or generate family income.

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@edg
surface of cultural relativism.

you aren't going to find a lot of nihilists in an impoverished village in Africa or Central America; for that matter, you aren't going to find a whole lot of existential angst. questions like, "What the fuck is the point of all this, anyway?" don't seem to arise until a people (or a person) reaches some fairly high level of material wellbeing. i don't think that makes the asking itself a matter of privilege. those of us who are here, cannot go back; we cannot undo; we cannot unsee; we cannot unknow. for myself, i would have no interest in scratching out a subsistence living, nor in producing a clutch of progeny to carry on the scratching after my annihilation. as i've mentioned before: when presented by apocalyptic survivalist scenarios, my easy response is, "Why would I want to survive in such a scenario?"

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The earth is a multibillion-year-old sphere.
The Nazis killed millions of Jews.
On 9/11/01 a Boeing 757 (AA77) flew into the Pentagon.
AGCC is happening.
If you cannot accept these facts, I cannot fake an interest in any of your opinions.

thanatokephaloides's picture

@UntimelyRippd

i don't think that makes the asking itself a matter of privilege. those of us who are here, cannot go back; we cannot undo; we cannot unsee; we cannot unknow. for myself, i would have no interest in scratching out a subsistence living, nor in producing a clutch of progeny to carry on the scratching after my annihilation.

Multo Grazie! Said far better than I could!

There is also the well-established fact that the better educated a woman is, the fewer children she has, and the later she starts having them. And this is true across the board, worldwide. (A good resource on this topic can be found here.)

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"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

edg's picture

@UntimelyRippd

You raised valid points: "those of us who are here, cannot go back; we cannot undo; we cannot unsee; we cannot unknow." Very true.

Where some aspects of the conversation reek of privilege to me is when it goes beyond "we" and extends to "they". Things like:

  • They shouldn't have kids
  • They don't need kids
  • They don't deserve kids
  • They're don't know what they're doing
  • They don't understand how having kids contributes to climate change
  • I get to decide who has kids and who doesn't
  • I had kids but they mustn't

If those types of thinking aren't privilege, I don't know what is.

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@edg

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The earth is a multibillion-year-old sphere.
The Nazis killed millions of Jews.
On 9/11/01 a Boeing 757 (AA77) flew into the Pentagon.
AGCC is happening.
If you cannot accept these facts, I cannot fake an interest in any of your opinions.

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@edg

"how having kids contributes to climate change"

I was thinking about what kind of life little kids are likely to have in 20 or 30 years.

My understanding is that that is what Jen was thinking about as well.

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

@edg Kids born to parents in Lithuania might be a mistake. Oopsie. In Guatemala, a necessity. (Guatemala and Honduras at least admit to lots of incest in their remotest areas.)

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@edg

their first democratically-elected president, said that she wished she hadn't had children--because of global warming.

Now, you can make the argument that she is privileged because she was the President's wife--at least until he got overthrown, jailed for 13 years under "the Anti-Terrorism Act of Maldives," and finally given refuge here, coincidentally a couple of years before he announced that he would not contest the Maldivean elections (quid pro quo with the CIA perhaps?) But she definitely isn't someone with white skin, nor someone who lived in a comfortable "developed" country, much less a global superpower.

I would not be surprised if plenty of people among the global poor did regret having children. I also would not be surprised if plenty emphatically did NOT regret having children. Either way, holding my position, and Jen's, is not a gesture of privilege.

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

Deja's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal
No one has mentioned:

The fact that in many countries around the world, women and little girls are not allowed to say, "No!" to their husbands about anything, including sex*, and getting on birth control (if birth control is not outlawed altogether). And yes, little girls are married off to grown men. Add in non-husband rape, and there are lots and lots of babies being born that likely wouldn't be otherwise.

*There was a court case in California, iirc, in either the late 20th or early 21st century where an American wife claimed her husband raped her. His defense was that as a Catholic woman, it was her duty to have sex with him, and as her Catholic husband, sex with her was his right. He lost, iirc, but that was not very long ago, and it happened here.

I also recall watching an interview, within the last year or so, of an African woman who was secretly going on birth control because her husband wanted more kids. They already had what I call a litter but don't recall the number. They were Muslim.

The conversation among everyone so far has centered around choice. There isn't always a choice. And please don't think I'm calling you out. I just didn't know exactly who to post this to. The conversation is good, just not considering the "no choice" and forced motherhood aspect -- especially among religious groups.

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edg's picture

@Deja

And a valid extension to what I wrote above: "We in the US have the luxury of deciding to have children or not. Billions of people around the world don't have that same privilege."

Forced childbearing exists in many places. Women outside of a few developed nation have little or no control over their bodies. But what can and should be done about it?

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@edg

situations where people have a choice. We were talking about people choosing to procreate in the face of what I think of as political horrors, especially global warming, and how we sometimes feel in response. Whether having a choice about whether or not to procreate makes us privileged or not is beside the point, since we were talking about Americans, most of whom have at least some access to contraception.

Second, I'm inclined to think being able to choose whether or not to procreate is a human right, not a privilege (which is why I also believe I don't have the right to tell people whether or not to bear children). If people are being denied that right, it is an injustice, not a lack of privilege. Neither does the injustice done to them turn the rights of others into privileges, just because they are not being subjected to the same injustice. Not suffering that injustice should be normal existence, not privilege.

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

Deja's picture

@edg
I don't know how to pull people out of their antiquated beliefs.

Don't even get me started on how many kids eventually "age out" of the foster care system, never being adopted out, while rich people have invitro fertilization, end up pregnant with 3, 5, 8, however many potential babies, only to pick and choose which one(s) are allowed to be born. Abortion is fine for some pro lifers as long as it's them getting one or multiple, because their playing god made some "mistakes" during the process. Assuming, of course, they consider themselves pro lifers. Invitro pisses me off.

Sorry, typed this up yesterday afternoon and was about to post it, when my brother arrived at my house. Just realized it was still sitting here, so posted it late.

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Jen's picture

@edg

Not having children for them means not being able to tend their farm or raise livestock or generate family income.

And that is why my irresponsible grandparents had 16 children - to work the fields. My mother's own words. Then the older ones watched the younger ones and my mother (being #15) was mostly raised by her sisters. No thought to the kind of lives their children or their children's children would have. No thought to anything but themselves, it seems. If someone has to have kids to work as slaves because they can't provide for themselves, they don't need kids.

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thanatokephaloides's picture

@Jen

And that is why my irresponsible grandparents had 16 children - to work the fields. My mother's own words. Then the older ones watched the younger ones and my mother (being #15) was mostly raised by her sisters. No thought to the kind of lives their children or their children's children would have. No thought to anything but themselves, it seems. If someone has to have kids to work as slaves because they can't provide for themselves, they don't need kids.

This!

And multo grazie yet again! Yes, yet again, a fellow c99er did better by my ideas than I could have!

Smile

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"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

edg's picture

@Jen

If someone has to have kids to work as slaves because they can't provide for themselves, they don't need kids.

What gives us the right to appoint ourselves as arbiters of who "needs" kids? Once we decide they don't deserve kids, do we force sterilize them? Do we euthanize them? Do we gather them into concentration camps and enforce abstinence? Your words border on pulling the ladder up after yourself (you were born, you had kids, but those "others" mustn't) combined with do-as-I-sayism.

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Jen's picture

@edg
Personally, my argument here is SIXTEEN kids! I believe China's one child law was along the right idea, although a bit extreme for most Americans. I'm thinking if you need more than one hand to count all your children, you probably have too many. It doesn't matter to me if they have the money to provide for more than that. It's got nothing to do with eugenics. I would have been one of the first ones rounded up. I have nothing against poor people having kids as long as they're not having them solely for the purpose of putting them to work.

Furthermore, if I had known then what I know now, I would not have wanted kids. That's not to say that I would give them up now. I would die for them. But after so many times I've heard that she wished she'd never been born and feeling the exact same way myself. If my mother knew I would be hard-of-hearing and then deaf, I would not have been born. If I had known my kids would be going to school with armed guards in the hallways; if I had known my kids would have harder lives than my own; if I had known that my kids can't even protest this crap without being beaten by militarized police; if I had known they would be forced into debt if they needed medical help; if I had known that nothing was ever going to be done about climate change; if I had known they might have a shorter lifespan than my own; if I had known so many other things...I would not have wanted kids.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@edg

we were talking about our personal grief and horror over the fact that childbearing now makes us, well, full of grief and horror. It's a double blow: you imagine what is likely to happen to the kids, which horrifies you. Then you are horrified by your reaction, because conditions that create the horror shouldn't exist.

I suppose it was inevitable that the conversation turn to blaming people for having children, which then turned into people being called privileged authoritarians trying to tell everybody else what to do, without even the grace to notice that some people don't have a choice.

I can't speak for Jen, but I haven't told anybody, not even my niece, what to do. I've never told anybody that they shouldn't bear a child (or that they should). I believe it's a matter of choice--or it should be. The fact that in some places it isn't doesn't pertain to this conversation, which is about people making a choice neither Jen nor I would make.

Since it's a human right to choose whether or not to procreate, I don't tell anybody whether or not to procreate. But I have a right to my opinion. It's not authoritarian to believe somebody is making a wrong choice. Nor is it authoritarian to express that belief.

I have more than one friend who has small children. I sincerely hope I am wrong about everything except my ideals, and that those children will live long, happy lives. I don't think I'm wrong, but let's all hope I am.

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

Jen's picture

@edg I don't think I shamed her. I mean, I get it. I was 21 and pregnant also. She's slightly older than I was when I had my first child.

If it was *just* climate change that worried me, I would most likely find a way to be happy. But it's so much more. The kid won't be born on third base, it won't even be in the ballpark. Neither my daughter nor her boyfriend have been able to keep a job for longer than a few months and the jobs they get don't pay enough. They can barely afford to pay their rent. My husband has been paying for her car payments and car insurance and if he hadn't, she wouldn't have a car. I wish climate change was the only thing that worried me.

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@Jen My niece has already told me kids are in their plan. There are days I KNOW I will cry like hell when she tells me she is pregnant. I have sort of hinted around at that fear of mine, but I cannot bring myself to go too far there. And I will try not to do it until she hangs up that phone but no guarantees there either.

It is OK to feel what you are feeling. And those feelings may very well change a bit once the new baby arrives, and that is OK too. While we all have a responsibility to do what we can via climate breakdown, it isn't only our fault we are here - we ARE owned by complete psychopaths and we know it, that in itself is painful enough to contemplate. You can't really help what you feel. As a friend has told me and I believe she is right, go ahead and feel that, take the time to really accept those feelings as they are valid, no matter what anyone else tells you to feel.

That said, I also agree heartily with edg below - no shaming of others' choices as we can't control that and shaming, to me, is actually counterproductive if one is trying to get others to see that choices have consequences. You don't win a convert by judging someone and winning converts on this issue should be the point.

Hang in there, it's really all any of us can do.

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Only a fool lets someone else tell him who his enemy is. Assata Shakur

Jen's picture

@lizzyh7

It is OK to feel what you are feeling. And those feelings may very well change a bit once the new baby arrives, and that is OK too.

I needed that.

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enhydra lutris's picture

two broad classes of politicians, regardless of what they call themselves and what the press calls them.

Reactionaries: those wishing and working to destroy the present situation and return to some glorious past of their imagining.

Conservatives: those preferring and working to preserve the status quo either as a genuine preference, or out of fear of the unknown, the fear of possible unforeseen consequences of change, the fear of failure, including triggering a successful reactionary movement, or all of the above.

NB: Incrementalists are conservatives both because incrementalism is and has been the status quo and because change deferred, delayed or postponed is, nonetheless, not change, but stagnation - the status quo.

Definition quibble: Many consider themselves "liberals", whatever that may mean, because they opposed Jim Crow laws in the south, or think that they would have, given the opportunity, or otherwise think that they support racial equality, or women's rights, or LGBTQ rights, or some similar "socially liberal" position. If that is to be the definition, well and good, but if it is meant as a substantive allegation of meritorious outlook and or platform, it is fatuous. It is akin to claiming to be liberal because one believes that water is wet, concrete is inedible, genocides are/were bad or any other truism. One does not become somehow forward thinking by simply not adhering to horrid, erroneous and or backward viewpoints or ideologies, or, worse yet, acting upon them.

Wonderful, column.

Have a good one (not snark)

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@enhydra lutris

but they both have the problem of what to do when the political views they proclaim intersect with the political system they inhabit--you know, the one they're trying to advance through in order to get power so they can put their policies in place.

Bernie, for instance, goes back and forth between being genuinely Outside the Asylum and being protective of the system (look at his position on Russiagate, for instance, or Venezuela). Tulsi's waffling on M4A is similar. I admire both of them, and if one of them wins the primary, I will likely vote for them in the general--assuming they don't suddenly change their positions after becoming the nominee--but neither of them seems to want to face the fact that the people who run the system simply will not allow any diversion from the horrible policy path they're marching us down. If you want to change central policies, you must change who controls the system. I haven't seen a good plan for doing that from any candidate. Worse, most candidates won't even admit that such change is necessary.

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

thanatokephaloides's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

Bernie, for instance, goes back and forth between being genuinely Outside the Asylum and being protective of the system (look at his position on Russiagate, for instance, or Venezuela).

I'm still not convinced Bernie's acting as a free moral agent there. His pronunziamentos on foreign policy stink to the highest heavens of surströmming coercion.

Bad

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"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@thanatokephaloides

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@enhydra lutris

if it is meant as a substantive allegation of meritorious outlook and or platform, it is fatuous. It is akin to claiming to be liberal because one believes that water is wet, concrete is inedible, genocides are/were bad or any other truism. One does not become somehow forward thinking by simply not adhering to horrid, erroneous and or backward viewpoints or ideologies, or, worse yet, acting upon them.

I couldn't have said it better myself. An essay about this would be great. Are you going to write one?

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

enhydra lutris's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal
clear some stuff out of my on-deck stash first.

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

enhydra lutris's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal
that's fine with me, I've got a ton on my plate as it is.

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

Anja Geitz's picture

One would think that if the current political system can do nothing to avert global mass death, the end of civilization, and the potential end of the human species, and instead hurtles us, through its terrible policy choices, toward that catastrophic future, that maybe it’s the system that needs to go.

Great essay.

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Anja Geitz

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

You are on fire! (pun intended)

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@on the cusp

But thanks nonetheless, OTC.

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal caught a George Carlin comedy special.
He talked about death. Everything dies. Every single living thing on the planet dies. I don't recall him saying "all at once", although he likely referenced nukes.
I think I am lucky that the only "planning ahead" I must do is for my own remaining life, which, according to charts, is possibly 25-30 years. No kids, no grandkids, no spouse. Just me. Oh, and an older brother that is fantastic and horrible all at once! lol!
I want to be generous, charitable, but also have to live for my own well being. I do not have kids to care for Mom.
It is in us all to stay alive, that instinct is what spurs our days.
But there will be that time when the last family with stored food will not share it. When the last water will not be shared. When the person in the yard will be turned away to die.
I hope I am long dead before that occurs.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

My family and I decided to do a Netflix binge of Stranger Things last night. Bowl of popcorn, some soda, and off we go. I got to bed Very Late.

How are you all today?

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem

magiamma's picture

for keeping the light shining on this.

reposting here a comment I just made in lo's thread.

I just watched the movie Blowout -
NOT the one reported in the Real News. It is also on fracking and is by a local filmmaker - Hope Forpeace. Stunninly gut wrenching.

It's a fucking emergency, already. They, the oil corps, are competing to get in the best infrastructure, worldwide, (while they are exposing communities to deadly chemicals) in order to sell this stuff. They are polluting METHANE. METHANE!!! for fucks sake. Methane is ~100 time more polluting than CO2 for the first 10 years.

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Stop Climate Change Silence - Start the Conversation

Hot Air Website, Twitter, Facebook

@magiamma by Gary Zuckerman? I bought it at some discount booth in my local grocery store. I got a couple of chapters into it, had to put it away for work and for a trip.
I am not sure if Zuckerman is critical, or impressed by the appearance of fracking billionaires.
Anyway, that video is horrifying.

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magiamma's picture

@on the cusp
here: https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevebanker/2014/07/28/book-review-the-frac...

So it's good for business

The decreasing dependence on foreign oil that is occurring in the US will be difficult to copy any time soon by other nations. It is not that these rock formations are unique to the US. Rather, the US has the benefit of having many of its shale fields in regions with small populations and in the US property owners own the mineral rights (as opposed to governments). This has helped to damp down protests by locals and sped up the process of going from discovery to production.

And it does not contaminate groundwater. (Not True)

The author does not believe fracking contaminates ground water. The shale formations are much deeper in the Earth than the underground water reservoirs.

First they drill down to the shale and then they drill horizontally and blast as they go along. The reason that the fracking industry says it does not contaminate ground water is because they only measure the methane released from the vertical pipe not the horizontal pipe. This horizontal pipe is below the water table. This is the place where the blasting occurs and the released methane bubbles up into the water table above and contaminates it. This is all explained by people in the film who have brown bubbly water coming out of their water faucets since the fracking began.

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Stop Climate Change Silence - Start the Conversation

Hot Air Website, Twitter, Facebook

@magiamma Seems like the first few chapters was about how those horizontal drillers were on to that best new thing, so it was not hard to put it away for some cheap mystery paperback novel.
And then it got into some details about raising money from investors for this best new thing.
Thank you so much.

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snoopydawg's picture

which is what the dufuses in the comments like to say. It went from 80 on Friday with sunshine to 40 today with rain and snow today. But seriously this is a big shock to my system. I will walk during most of the winter but I need to be acclimated to the colder temperatures. But it's going to be great for the fall colors.

I took this just after the rain stopped and the sun came partly out.

IMG_3786.JPG

Great essay topic! It has been apparent that our government doesn't give a rat's ass whether we die or not. This has been especially apparent during Trump's tenure with his deregulation of laws that protect us, but again, Obama spent 8 years not doing a damn thing about climate change whilst doing as much as he could to make it worse.

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"It is remarkable that a sitting president would express less than complete confidence in the American democracy’s electoral process."

Hillary: "I'd be president today if Comey, Bernie, Bros and Putin hadn't stolen it from me."

@snoopydawg Fall is just the best time of the year. Where I reside in Texas, fall is, oh, maybe a 3 week event.

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I'm probably in your mother's generation and think about this a lot. We knew the natural world was endangered back in the 70s and many of us tried as individuals to live responsibly, but the greedy capitalists (fossil fuel industry, etc.) who generate the lion's share of greenhouse gasses and nonbiodegradable waste seem to believe their money will protect them from the worst of what's coming and apparently don't care about habitat destruction and the suffering and loss of life. And that also goes for our supposedly democratic government.

Editing to delete a too-personal paragraph and to insert a Wendell Berry poem that captures some of the spirit of this thread.

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.

And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.

When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won't compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.

Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.

Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.

Listen to carrion — put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.

Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?

Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.

As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn't go.

Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

from The Country of Marriage, copyright © 1973 by Wendell Berry

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Lurking in the wings is Hillary, like some terrifying bat hanging by her feet in a cavern below the DNC. A bat with theropod instincts. -- Fred Reed https://tinyurl.com/vgvuhcl

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@laurel

I don't know how I missed this, but you just quoted one of my favorite-ever poems.

Found it in my mom's copy of The Last Whole Earth Catalog.

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Actually, the issue at stake is patriotism. You must return to your world and put an end to the Commies. All it takes are a few good men.
--Q

Exit polls not involving George W. Bush or Hillary Clinton tend to be quite accurate.
--Doug Hatlem