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The “Longage of the Critters” Problem

April 10, 2007

When blackouts sweep the country (probably in 5 to 10 years) the political environment WILL change radically, but not in the way most people hope it will. One day we will wake up and suddenly the scientific truth WILL serve the political agenda of the ruling elites. Let’s call that looming revolutionary day the “Pythagorean Revolution” in honor of the man who discovered that the Earth was spherical, and thus finite, approximately 2,500 years ago.

By Jay Hanson — www.dieoff.com

(When I use “politics” or “political” in this post, I simply mean “one coercing another” in the broadest sense. To “coerce” is to compel one to act in a certain way — either by reward or punishment.)

In 1972, the Club of Rome (COR) rocked the world with a study called LIMITS TO GROWTH. The COR called the multitude of environmental problems facing future inhabitants of planet Earth the “global problematique”.

In the years since 1972, science has made great progress in understanding the natural world. Obviously, the problematique ensemble is a hierarchy of problems. The fundamental problem in the problematique ensemble is “H.Sapiens” (or the “critter”).

The critter is an especially important player in this drama because not only has its activity caused the problematique, the critter is also called upon to solve the problematique. Therefore, understanding the nature of the critter is THE prerequisite to solving the problematique.

In recent years, evolutionary psychologists and microbiologists has made tremendous progress in understanding the scientific nature of the critter. Nevertheless, activists still have made little (if any) progress solving the problematique [1]. This is partially due to the fact that activists do not want to hear the scientific truth about themselves, and partially because they can do little — if anything — about it anyway.

When confronted with the truth about themselves and about their unimportance in the political hierarchy, [2] activists will either become constructivists (take the science lightly, change it, or abandon it entirely when it becomes necessary) or fundamentalists (deal with troublesome science through psychological denial and/or political repression).

So now we have a nested problem: the “problematique of the problematique”. In other words, the “truth” concerning the problematique can be provided by science and political realism, but it is not the “truth” that activists are looking for. What kind of “truth” are activists looking for? Science can answer that question too.

Over millions of years of evolution, the critter has emerged as the apex “political predator” — NOT the engineer, NOT the problem solver, but THE political predator. When confronted with a social problem the critter first resorts to “politics” to insure and enhance its “inclusive fitness”. In fact, “politics” is the reason why we have such large brains:

“The social intelligence hypothesis posits that the large brains distinctive cognitive abilities of primates (in particular, anthropoid primates) evolved via a spiraling arms race in which social competitors developed increasing ‘Machiavellian’ strategies.” [3]

In short, our innate goal is genetic reproduction and our most important tool is “politics”. This is easily seen in other social animals. The dominant male eats first and has his pick of the females.

In our society, “money” is interchangeable for political power. And as Kissinger noted, “power” is the most powerful aphrodisiac. This because women who were attracted to powerful men were more likely to see their children live to reproduce their genes.

So the “real reason” (i.e., the “genetic reason” instead of the “rationalization”) why activists on this list will not accept the truth from science and political realism is not because it’s wrong, it’s because it doesn’t lead to more personal political power. In other words, the scientific truth about the critter does not increase the “inclusive fitness” of the activists themselves.

So activists keep searching for the “other truth” — the Santa Claus or the Good Tooth Fairy “truth” that will get them laid. Unfortunately, Santa Claus and Good Tooth Fairy don’t exist — what you see is what you get. However, I am going to put on my Nostradamus hat and make a prediction.

When blackouts sweep the country (probably < 5 years, certainly < 10) the political environment WILL change radically, but not in the way most people hope it will. One day we will wake up and suddenly the scientific truth WILL serve the political agenda of the ruling elites. [4] Let’s call that looming revolutionary day the “Pythagorean Revolution” in honor of the man who discovered that the Earth was spherical, and thus finite, approximately 2,500 years ago. [5]

After the Pythagorean Revolution occurs, instead of selling “negawatts”, environmental groups will be selling “negapeople”. “Gosh! Why didn’t we see it before? It’s either tigers or people, what choice do we have? Kill ’em all and let God sort them out!” Instead of “importing” people for labor, we will be “deporting” people to labor camps — if not “illegals” to their own countries, then “overbreeders” and undesirables to internal concentration camps for the next “Final Solution”:

“Only from this distance does one have a full view of the inferno on the teeming ramp. I see a pair of human beings who have fallen to the ground locked in a last desperate embrace. The man has dug his fingers into the woman’s flesh and has caught her clothing with his teeth. She screams hysterically, swears, cries, until at last a large boot comes down over her throat and she is silent. They are pulled apart and dragged like cattle to the truck. I see four Canada men lugging a corpse: a huge, swollen female corpse. Cursing, dripping wet from the strain, they kick out of their way some stray children who have been running all over the ramp, howling like dogs. The men pick them up by the collars, heads, arms, and toss them inside the trucks, on top of the heaps. The four men have trouble lifting the fat corpse on to the car, they call others for help, and all together they hoist up the mound of meat. Big, swollen, puffed-up corpses are being collected from all over the ramp, on top of them are piled the invalids the smothered, the sick, the unconscious. The heap seethes, howls, groans. The driver starts the motor, the truck begins rolling.” [6]

To restate the Pythagorean Revolution as succinctly as possible. At some point (< 10 years) the ruling elites will discover that, given the nature of the critter, the “shortage of energy” problem can not be solved. At that point, the elites will recast the “shortage of energy” problem as the “longage of critters” problem, and then proceed to solve it.

After the Pythagorean Revolution occurs, it will be “us against them” — tribe against tribe. It will be a new “Age of Confrontation” on a global scale:

“Interests can always be compromised and accommodated without undermining our very being by sacrificing values. Under the impact of electronic media, however, this psychological distance has broken down and now we discover that these people with whom we could formerly compromise on interests are not, after all, really motivated by interests but by values. Their behavior in our very living room betrays a set of values, moreover, that are incompatible with our own, and consequently the compromises that we make are not those of contract but of culture. While the former are acceptable, any form of compromise on the latter is not a form of rational behavior but is rather a clear case of either apostasy or heresy. Thus we have arrived not at an age of accommodation but one of confrontation.” [7]

Pythagoras would have known this day was coming. After all, on a spherical planet, it’s just a matter of time…

[1] a. One hundred and twenty years ago, the social implications of the Laws of Thermodynamics were understood and scientists attempted to point out to economists that energy — not money — was the source of the capitalist’s wealth. Social impacts: none that mattered. In other words, no self-imposed limits to growth.

b. For seventy years, the Technocracy group has been complaining constantly about money and energy. Social impacts: no limits to growth.

c. In 1970, oil “peaked” in the lower-48 and M. King Hubbert’s prediction came true. Social impacts: no limits to growth.

d. In 1972, LIMITS TO GROWTH was published. It was translated into 29 languages and sold over nine million of copies. It was correct then, and it is correct now. Social impacts: no limits to growth.

e. In 1973, the first OPEC oil shock struck, as oil prices quadrupled and the general inflation indexes shot up to 11 percent. For six months in late 1974 and early 1975 the GNP fell at the fastest rate ever recorded. Even the rates of decline in the Great Depression had been less precipitous — although of course longer and deeper. Social impacts: no limits to growth.

f. In 1983, President Jimmy Carter printed GLOBAL 2000 — it sold 25 million copies. Social impacts: no limits to growth.

g. In 1992, both the US National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society of London warned in a joint statement that science and technology may NOT be able to save us:

“If current predictions of population growth prove accurate and patterns of human activity on the planet remain unchanged, science and technology may not be able to prevent either irreversible degradation of the environment or continued poverty for much of the world.”

“The future of our planet is in the balance. Sustainable development can be achieved, but only if irreversible degradation of the environment can be halted in time. The next 30 years may be crucial.”

Never before in history had the two most prestigious groups of scientists in the world issued a joint statement! Social impacts: no limits to growth.

h. Again in 1992, over 1,500 members of national, regional, and international science academies signed the Union of Concerned Scientist’s WARNING TO HUMANITY. Sixty-nine nations from all parts of Earth were represented, including each of the twelve most populous nations and the nineteen largest economic powers. The full list includes a majority of the Nobel laureates in the sciences. Social impacts: no limits to growth.

i. In 1995, 2,500 climate scientists serving on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a new statement on the prospect of forthcoming catastrophe. Never before had the IPCC (called into existence in 1988) come to so unambiguous a conclusion. Always in years past there had been people saying that we didn’t yet know enough, or that the evidence was problematical, or our system of computer simulation was subject to too many uncertainties. Not this year. The panel flatly announced that the earth had entered a period of climatic instability likely to cause “widespread economic, social and environmental dislocation over the next century.” The continuing emission of greenhouse gases would create protracted, crop-destroying droughts in continental interiors, a host of new and recurring diseases, hurricanes of extraordinary malevolence, and rising sea levels that could inundate island nations and low-lying coastal rims on the continents. Social impacts: no limits to growth.

j. Various other distinguished authors have brought this matter to the public. Social impacts: no limits to growth.

[2] Our overall social structure is something like this (this is not a “model”, it’s a “heuristic”):

[ The following table can not be viewed properly in text format. See http://dieoff.com/page193.htm for the formatted table ]

The rich minority determine the “logic of profit”: America’s laws and trade agreements regulate the overall workings of society at a highly aggregate level. (The rich rule the poor by virtue of the First and Fifth Amendments.)

Large corporations: Large corporations are autonomous technical structures (machines) that follow the “logic of profit” inherent in their design. Those that don’t, are cancelled by bankruptcy.

Media: Corporations hire media to program the “consumers”.

Consumers: Consumers do as they have been programmed: consume their own life-support system and elect the “traitors”.

Elected traitors: Traitors do what they were elected to do: sell the commons to corporations for personal gain. Those who don’t, are cancelled by campaign advertising.

[3] p. 240, MACHIAVELLIAN INTELLIGENCE II, Andrew Whiten & Richard W. Byrne Eds.; Cambridge, 1997; http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0521559499

[4] Snip from http://dieoff.com/page185.htm or http://dieoff.org/page185.htm

If the anarchy scenario were to reach its natural conclusion, the global elites would be eliminated by the angry masses. Those who managed to escape would die more miserably than the poor since they are unsuited for day-to-day survival because they lived their lives like queen bees.

But when the above scenario seems inevitable, the elites will simply depopulate most of the planet with a bioweapon. When the time comes, it will be the only logical solution to their problem. It’s a first-strike tactic that leaves the built-infrastructure and other species in place and allows the elites to perpetuate their own genes into the foreseeable future: “War is a male reproductive strategy. All that is needed for the strategy to evolve, is that aggressors fight and win more often than they lose”.

The global genocide will be rationalized as a second chance for humanity — a new Garden of Eden — a new Genesis. The temptation will prove irresistible:

“Strangelove said, ‘Offhand, I should say that in addition to the factors of youth, health, sexual fertility, intelligence, and a cross section of necessary skills, it would be absolutely vital that our top government and military men be included, to foster and impart the required principles of leadership and tradition.’

“The arrow had not missed its mark, and around the table there was an outbreak of sober, nodding heads. Attention was concentrated more than ever on Doctor Strangelove.

“Strangelove went on. ‘Naturally they would breed prodigiously, eh? There would be much time and little to do. With the proper breeding techniques, and starting with a ratio of, say, ten women to each man, I should estimate the progeny of the original group of two hundred thousand would emerge a hundred years later as well over a hundred million.'”

How could it be otherwise?

[5] Pythagoras discovered the Earth was spherical about 2500 years ago — but economists STILL don’t know.

[6] THIS WAY FOR THE GAS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, by Tadeusz Borowski, # 119198; http://dieoff.com/page226.htm or http://dieoff.org/page226.htm

[7] THE TRAGEDY OF THE COMMON REVISITED, by Beryl Crowe (1969); reprinted in MANAGING THE COMMONS, by Garrett Hardin and John Baden W.H. Freeman, 1977; ISBN 0-7167-0476-5

“There has developed in the contemporary natural sciences a recognition that there is a subset of problems, such as population, atomic war, and environmental corruption, for which there are no technical solutions.

“There is also an increasing recognition among contemporary social scientists that there is a subset of problems, such as population, atomic war, environmental corruption, and the recovery of a livable urban environment, for which there are no current political solutions. The thesis of this article is that the common area shared by these two subsets contains most of the critical problems that threaten the very existence of contemporary man.” [p. 53]

ASSUMPTIONS NECESSARY TO AVOID THE TRAGEDY

“In passing the technically insoluble problems over to the political and social realm for solution, Hardin made three critical assumptions:

a. that there exists, or can be developed, a ‘criterion of judgment and system of weighting . . .’ that will ‘render the incommensurables . . . commensurable . . . ‘ in real life;

b. that, possessing this criterion of judgment, ‘coercion can be mutually agreed upon,’ and that the application of coercion to effect a solution to problems will be effective in modern society; and

c. that the administrative system, supported by the criterion of judgment and access to coercion, can and will protect the commons from further desecration.” [p. 55]

ERODING MYTH OF THE COMMON VALUE SYSTEM

“In America there existed, until very recently, a set of conditions which perhaps made the solution to Hardin’s subset possible; we lived with the myth that we were ‘one people, indivisible. . . .’ This myth postulated that we were the great ‘melting pot’ of the world wherein the diverse cultural ores of Europe were poured into the crucible of the frontier experience to produce a new alloy — an American civilization. This new civilization was presumably united by a common value system that was democratic, equalitarian, and existing under universally enforceable rules contained in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

“In the United States today, however, there is emerging a new set of behavior patterns which suggest that the myth is either dead or dying. Instead of believing and behaving in accordance with the myth, large sectors of the population are developing life-styles and value hierarchies that give contemporary Americans an appearance more closely analogous to the particularistic, primitive forms of ‘tribal’ organizations in geographic proximity than to that shining new alloy, the American civilization.” [p. 56]

“Looking at a more recent analysis of the sickness of the core city, Wallace F. Smith has argued that the productive model of the city is no longer viable for the purposes of economic analysis. Instead, he develops a model of the city as a site for leisure consumption, and then seems to suggest that the nature of this model is such is such that the city cannot regain its health because the leisure demands are value-based and, hence do not admit to compromise and accommodation; consequently there is no way of deciding among these value- oriented demands that are being made on the core city.

“In looking for the cause of the erosion of the myth of a common value system, it seems to me that so long as our perceptions and knowledge of other groups were formed largely through the written media of communication, the American myth that we were a giant melting pot of equalitarians could be sustained. In such a perceptual field it is tenable, if not obvious, that men are motivated by interests. Interests can always be compromised and accommodated without undermining our very being by sacrificing values. Under the impact of electronic media, however, this psychological distance has broken down and now we discover that these people with whom we could formerly compromise on interests are not, after all, really motivated by interests but by values. Their behavior in our very living room betrays a set of values, moreover, that are incompatible with our own, and consequently the compromises that we make are not those of contract but of culture. While the former are acceptable, any form of compromise on the latter is not a form of rational behavior but is rather a clear case of either apostasy or heresy. Thus we have arrived not at an age of accommodation but one of confrontation. In such an age ‘incommensurables’ remain ‘incommensurable’ in real life.” [p. 59]

EROSION OF THE MYTH OF THE MONOPOLY OF COERCIVE FORCE

“In the past, those who no longer subscribed to the values of the dominant culture were held in check by the myth that the state possessed a monopoly on coercive force. This myth has undergone continual erosion since the end of World War II owing to the success of the strategy of guerrilla warfare, as first revealed to the French in Indochina, and later conclusively demonstrated in Algeria. Suffering as we do from what Senator Fulbright has called ‘the arrogance of power,’ we have been extremely slow to learn the lesson in Vietnam, although we now realize that war is political and cannot be won by military means. It is apparent that the myth of the monopoly of coercive force as it was first qualified in the civil rights conflict in the South, then in our urban ghettos, next on the streets of Chicago, and now on our college campuses has lost its hold over the minds of Americans. The technology of guerrilla warfare has made it evident that, while the state can win battles, it cannot win wars of values. Coercive force which is centered in the modern state cannot be sustained in the face of the active resistance of some 10 percent of the population unless the state is willing to embark on a deliberate policy of genocide directed against the value dissident groups. The factor that sustained the myth of coercive force in the past was the acceptance of a common value system. Whether the latter exists is questionable in the modern nation-state.” [pp. 59-60]

EROSION OF THE MYTH OF ADMINISTRATORS OF THE COMMONS

“Indeed, the process has been so widely commented upon that one writer postulated a common life cycle for all of the attempts to develop regulatory policies. The life cycle is launched by an outcry so widespread and demanding that it generates enough political force to bring about establishment of a regulatory agency to insure the equitable, just, and rational distribution of the advantages among all holders of interest in the commons. This phase is followed by the symbolic reassurance of the offended as the agency goes into operation, developing a period of political quiescence among the great majority of those who hold a general but unorganized interest in the commons. Once this political quiescence has developed, the highly organized and specifically interested groups who wish to make incursions into the commons bring sufficient pressure to bear through other political processes to convert the agency to the protection and furthering of their interests. In the last phase even staffing of the regulating agency is accomplished by drawing the agency administrators from the ranks of the regulated.” [pp. 60-61].

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From → Demography, Habitat

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