Monday, March 31, 2008

Will Democracy Destroy the Earth?

Having taken a short break to pursue other forums to rant and rave in, here I am back after only one year. From the number of comments I get, I am probably ranting almost exclusively to myself but hey, beats banging your head against the wall (although the music isn't as good).

It is my contention that the world is now up against a set of problems which democratically elected governments don't have a snowball's chance in hell of solving; the Earth and humanity are doomed and we are all gonna die, taking a goodly portion of Life on Earth with us. Sound crazy, over the top, demented? I think so too but unfortunately I can't see any real hope of avoidance. This set of problems, which I will call the Kapoofoo Syndrome is dominated in the public conscience by "Global Warming" or "Climate Change" but it goes far beyond that. To clarify the name, it is from the mythical Kapoofoo Bird which, having one wing shorter that the other, flies around in a decreasing spiral until it goes "KAPOOFOO", up its own butt. This gives the bird a non-existent vision of the future, or anything else.

Problems which comprise the syndrome are, in no particular order:

- population growth
- personal and corporate greed for both money and power
- lack of stewardship
- lack of leadership
- the end of cheap energy
- denial
- inequality of opportunity
- loss of civility

Why is democracy so ill-equipped to cope? Because almost all of the solutions which might have a meaningful effect in turning around the runaway degradation of our one-and-only home would require pain and suffering of the rich on a par with that currently endured by the poor. No personal transportation, no accumulation of wealth, greatly reduced variety and quality of food, greatly reduced use of water, land and all other natural resources and almost complete loss of individual rights and freedoms. If that's not enough, how about forced sterilization of half of all male infants and all other males after the siring of one child. This might be avoided if enough pandemics arose to reduce the world population by at least one half. If you do the math you will find the discrepancies I have built in to allow for, at best, 50% compliance with even the most totalitarian and heavy-handed governance.

So what politician is going to run on that platform? If one did, what chance would he/she have of being elected? If one was elected on false promises and then attempted to introduce the necessary measures, would he/she even manage to survive? We still have people bitching about laws to reduce exposure to second hand smoke, one pub owner was quoted in today's paper as saying her business will be destroyed because her customers will buy booze and drink it at home. So could allowing them to gather in one place, expose themselves and each other to smoke while getting pissed enough to drive home be part of the solution to over-population? Probably no more acceptable than sterilizing them at birth.

Of course the irony is that left unchecked, humanity will bring down even worse calamities on itself through drought, flooding, storms, pandemics, eradication of food sources and other un-natural disasters. Many populations are already dependent on non-sustainable resources for existence. Typically, a newly found fisheries resource is reduced to worthless in less than 10 years. Subsistence farming destroys rainforest and causes desertification of previously productive land in many parts of the world. In the so-called developed world, water tables are being lowered, aquifers are being polluted by agricultural waste and arable land is still being built over and now used to produce fuel instead of food. Water is being pumped down oil wells and used to extract oil from the Canadian tarsands.

I have decided to take a break (not another year, just a day or two) and continue with The Kapoofoo Syndrome, Part 2 ........

PS: The short break did turn into a year after all but maybe I'll get back to the Kapoofoo Syndrome yet. In the meantime , I have a few other things I want to persue.

Some backup material

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