Funny. I wrote this post last night and held onto it to post it later today — and then John went and scooped me, saying many of the very things I had to say. Oh well. Consider this an addendum to his post.
Ibon at peakoil.net voices his worst fear:
I have lost much of this initial hope that the transformative powers of peak oil, global warming or other environmental stresses are very likely to act on or threaten the status quo for a long time to come.
Instead of chaos and transformation I see the global elite preserving the status quo at all costs to prevent revolution. The real geological consequences of peak oil and related resource depletion and environmental stresses will only result in an increase of a two tiered class culture where the elites and wealthy will preserve their status and wealth and a growing underclass will be socialized to accept their decline and serve the interest of the elites. This will all occur in a backdrop of increasing environmental degradation as consumption levels will stay at the maximum level the available resources will allow.
I don’t see revolution anywhere near the horizon.
I definitely feel where this is coming from. I won’t pretend I haven’t had the same thoughts.
But notice all Ibon’s talk of “rupture” and “stresses,” his desire to “force sustainability and conservation on a world hell bent on exponential growth and energy consumption.” Notice what brain centers are being stimulated by this rhetoric.
Imagine how this feels to your average Joe and Jane. Ibon wants to capitalize on a phenomenon that will shatter their way of life, in order to force them to live the way he thinks they should. He wants them to feel fear, and for fear to drive them to him.
I hear this too frequently from the peak-oil community. Half the time I read peak-oil sites I feel like I have my arm twisted behind me with someone shouting in my ear, “share … my … concerns!”
Nobody wants to be bullied. Nobody wants to consider the words, or act on the advice, of someone who considers them foolish. Nobody wants to have the crap scared out of them. Having the crap scared out of you does not inspire you to face and overcome obstacles. It inspires you to take comfort in political demagogues and anesthetizing infotainment.
If peak oil et al. are to "transform" people, it must be as an opportunity: a call to a better, more fulfilling, more thoughtful, more compassionate life. Fear is not our friend. We must be happy warriors.
(via Oil Drum)