Saturday, February 07, 2009

Fruit of the Reagan Revolution

"Kiss it, plebs!"

Virtually every day, the headlines announce massive lay-offs. The corporate giants that have been held up as paragons for the capitalist world are shedding jobs, dissolving like phantasmal oases leaving us standing in a barren economic desert. This condition has been at least 30 years in the making. Ever since Ronald Reagan tottered up to the world podium with his unapologetic defense of greed, laced with all his home-spun, folksy mockery, it has become unfashionable, if not downright treasonable, to suggest that maybe there should be some oversight or regulation of corporate engines, that perhaps there should be some restraint on unbridled greed.

President Carter was ridiculed for sounding the alarm about the energy crisis that many people saw coming after the oil embargoes of the '70s brought the US economy to its knees. Rather than face that uncomfortable reality, the American electorate opted for a feel-good demagogue who talked tough while structuring the apparatus that morally-bankrupt capitalists would use to fleece them for the next 30 years.

Save for a small group of obstinate reactionaries, people everywhere not only acknowledge the concept of global warming, but seem to recognize that it is probably too late to do anything to avoid the devastating consequences that it is sure to bring about. Even if we were to immediately curb emissions today, the CO2 that is already introduced into the atmosphere is melting away polar ice at a rate never before seen in Earth's geologic history.

Soon enough, of course, our CO2 emissions will abate, for the simple reason that the lifeblood of modern civilization, petroleum, can no longer be extracted at a rate to satisfy demand.

Conservatives still hold Ronald Reagan up as their patron saint, claiming his presidency ushered in "Morning in America." Well, maybe so, maybe so. But here we are, in the cold light of day.

Now what?

No comments: