Stanford biologist and longtime sustainability advocate Dr. Paul Ehrlich is in Australia on a research project. He has given me permission to share his thoughts about the recent U.S. election, sent via email late last night, after the presidential election had been called. At GrowthBusters we try to remain apolitical, but of course we admonish political fools when they exhibit growthmania, and we congratulate political leaders when they demonstrate good sense. So, these are Paul Ehrlich’s words. Paul doesn’t hide his disdain for the current GOP, but I think it’s safe to say he’s not thrilled with President Obama’s environmental track record thus far.
- GrowthBusters Director Dave Gardner
VICTORY — TIME TO CELEBRATE?
We’ve had a nail-biting time in Oz watching the returns, but it looks like the ultimate political disaster has been avoided. But this is a limited source of joy following an election where two plutocratic-theocratic ignoramuses damn near won, with more than 40 million Americans voting for them. It all underlined the utter failure of the American education system and the bankruptcy of its corporate-controlled mainstream media. It was, because of those malign influences, an election where NO significant issue was discussed. Remember the debt crisis is a crock — for every $1 of debt someone has a $1 of credit. The whole so-called ”crisis” could be solved with renegotiation — pen and paper stuff — which would amount to a redistribution of wealth (a Republican speciality). It would cause much unhappiness, but not necessarily any deaths. In contrast, we can’t renegotiate with nature — blowing thru 2 degrees C, as we appear to be doing could result in billions of deaths.
The basic question now is whether Obama can bring himself to become the most important President — perhaps the most important national leader — in human history. Can he bring himself to use his bully pulpit to actually push for what’s desperately needed, such as:
1. Immediate rapid transition away from the use of fossil fuels as the main may of mobilizing energy. Making the U.S. more independent in fossil fuels would be like, if we were starving, trying to make our nation independent in cyanide. This would require disarming the fossil-fuel swine and their army of intellectual prostitutes who are determined to be allowed to burn all they have and can economically obtain. That in turn means making ANY financial contributions to elections a felony — all elections obviously should be paid for by the government. It also means restructuring the supreme court and somehow disempowering the plutocratic tools who care only for the rich. All that is politically both nearly impossible but absolutely essential — we are in a national and international crisis of unprecedented proportions. We need to go on a full war setting, and Obama must make that clear, despite the Republican control of the House and the Court. The U.S desperately needs to reexamine and revise its constitution, and how to do it focusing on governance (as opposed to “hot-button” issues) needs to become part of a national dialogue.
2. Facing in international relations that the U.S. empire does not own the world, and that a foreign policy based on control of oil supplies is insane. He needs to consider how Americans would feel if Pakistani drones were perpetually overhead, occasionally blowing up wedding parties and later apologizing. The U.S. should be leading the way in focusing world attention on helping the poor nations and the poor in nations. Revising the international system is a major challenge; facing that means power sharing among peoples (and figuring out how to do it) is a task that must involve all leaders, and Obama could help show the way.
3. Persuading people that perpetual growth among the rich is the disease, not the cure for human problems. He should push for much more control over the parasites of Wall Street and the crooked big banks, who are mostly involved in further enriching themselves and stealing from the poor and middle class. If they actually became honest and tried to do their putative duty, all they would accomplish is to stimulate economic growth — a lethal continuation of business-as-usual. Prosecution and heavy jail penalties for crimes already committed might be part of the cure. Obama should move to solve the jobs problem by mobilizing the nation to revise the nation’s energy-mobilizing and water-handling infrastructure and, above all, pushing to reduce the work week (which would create many jobs).
4. Establish a population policy based primarily on a hard push to further empower women at home, make modern contraception and backup abortion available to all sexually active people, and use all his international prestige to accomplish this everywhere despite the opposition of the sexually confused old men of the Vatican and their henchmen in other proponents of the endarkenment. Somehow the trend toward a faith-based, rather than evidence-based society must be reversed.
Is any of this possible in a world where idiot growthmania prevails, the media is in control of rich dopes like Rupert Murdoch, an environmentally ignorant population almost everywhere, and universities uninterested in focusing education on the human predicament and taking leadership in a civilization facing the prospect of the first global collapse? Maybe the MAHB (mahb.stanford.edu) can help, maybe Sandy will serve as a wake-up call, maybe miracles do happen. But as I listen to the post-election boobs talking on CNN, the big issue still seems to be the “fiscal cliff.” I’ll stick with my previous guess — we have perhaps a 10% chance of avoiding a collapse, but I still think for the benefit of my grandchildren and great grandchildren I’ll keep struggling to make it 11%.
So be of good cheer, and keep fighting………P
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