Monday, July 23, 2007

They are Angry! Very very Angry!

The Oil Drum is getting amusing lately. I opened up TOD and the techno-cornucopians are going nuts over anything that does not promote or espouse their agenda. The poster named Asebius, reveals himself to be a self-proclaimed "centrist" who wants to automatically tar and feather anyone associated with TOD as "terrorists", maybe so that his fedgov homeboys can come along and shut down that blog. In fact, Asebius is quite full of himself but he's not the only one. The esteemed (not) luisdias is in that group too as well as a few others. Now I just recently wrote about this in They Took The Blue Pill and in Techno Geek Optimism but this latest outburst looks positively silly.

After the Asebius incident, in which Professor Goose finally had to give him a public warning for being disruptive, we followed that up with more of the same the following day. Oilmanbob and others kept running off the end of the proverbial fishing pier rather than showing any reasonableness at all. Of course this was all one sided and aimed at anyone who possessed an opinion that things would turn out less than perfectly according to the particular poster's own utopian visions. Such venom was never aimed at anyone who suggested things might turn out better than the positivists expected. No, those espousing positive views had to be "debated" and respected. All quite absurd. Oilmanbob even tried the very typical ploy of playing psychoanalyst online and recommending that I take Prozac for my "depression". It was quite the laugh, especially when he revealed that he is the one that is clinically depressed and taking various drugs yet projecting his own problems on everyone else.

And further, Professor Goose at TOD also ran an article titled A Request to Our Readers about how TOD is being blacklisted by Reddit and Digg. Then he had another post, titled Peak Oil Media Redux (Or "The Course of Our Lives WILL Be Determined by the First Derivative of a Function, Redux), in which he praised certain basic materials useful for understanding peak oil, such as Dr. Albert Bartlett's presentation amongst others. Both of these articles generated much heat and little light. The techno geeks were there in full force actively shouting down any opposing viewpoint and making it very clear that for them there is no other future other than success. No planning for a rainy day from that crowd, let alone planning for a massive disruption.

Matt Savinar asked Professor Goose if he was ready yet to accept the notion that he cannot change the world, that neither he nor the rest of the TOD staff would receive positions of high importance in some new world energy order, and if they would instead decide to focus on some form of preparation for what he views as inevitable. There has been no reply yet from the good professor but I fully expect him to continue tilting at windmills because that is what he's chosen to do. In the case of Professor Goose, I suspect that it is a conscious decision and that he realizes the consequences of being wrong much as Alan Drake realizes it. But most of those at TOD who keep calling any position more negative than their own "extreme" don't realize that according to the rest of the world they are extremists too.

Most of these people don't realize that anyone who argues against the current planetary religion (infinite growth economics) is viewed as a heretic and even a bit insane. Any position that does not allow for sustained growth is viewed as unacceptable. Oh, if you challenge the average man in the street he says he realizes that growth cannot continue forever and he may even say something like "Besides, we're just going to continue growing throughout my life and my children's lives. Surely some brilliant human being will solve this problem for us before it becomes acute, right?"

It's never the responsibility of someone today to change that pattern of behavior. It's always assumed that someone tomorrow will provide a solution that stops growth yet avoids all the negative fallout from that.

And then there is population - the 800 pound pink gorilla in the room that everyone ignores. Even if we solve peak oil, we still have huge numbers of problems facing us, any single one of which could destroy our civilization. What is worse is that most people do not realize that these problems are all intertwined and they are not all arriving at close to the same time by chance but because they feed on each other.

The optimistic silliness is pretty deep at TOD lately. I am not talking about people discussing specific technical approaches to particular problems, even when I don't fully agree with them. The key posts by Professor Goose and all the other contributors and editors at TOD remain top notch and interesting to read. It's in the comments section that it has become looney toons time, with those who choose to shout down any idea they dislike as "doomer porn" demonstrating the deep seated fears in the dark corners of the human brain.

People will undoubtedly again accuse me of wanting civilization to fail. I've said before that I do not want this to happen. I just see it as a sad yet inevitable outcome due to our collective desire to ignore the problems until they become too large to address. Other people will accuse me of various other things without even knowing me personally. They will also accuse anyone else who sees collapse as strongly possible. This is exactly the sort of reaction that will stifle further debate, that will push consideration of the worst case scenarios off the table, and allow the business-as-usual crowd to urge no action on any of these issues at all. In fact, this is exactly what the business-as-usual crowd wants - to see any other perspective marginalized so that it does not threaten business-as-usual. It's when you realize that and then realize we are seeing this happen before our very eyes that you come to the conclusion that things may be worse than people think, precisely because of the human interactions (politics) and human state of mind (psychology).

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