Friday, February 3, 2017

The Greens are Batting Clean-up

If the political pendulum does loft the Green Party to prominence by 2024, it will not be all that glorious. We will have a big mess to clean up.

The ascent of the Green Party, though beautiful to lovers of nature and humanity, will mark a reversal from the myth of perpetual progress that took hold as the industrial and information ages rolled on. Not that the Green Party is terribly Luddite (their platform lauds high speed computing, advanced telecommunications, and the space program, but circumscribes nanotechnology due to several unknown risks). Yet, the Greens' ideology is nowhere near as sanguine over homo sapiens' capacity to evolve as, say, the Singularitarians'.

What the Green's are keen on is sustainability, which will be precious after we finish ravaging the land, sea, and sky in our final turning of this secular cycle. Our current trajectory will put us in poor stead for the start of the next one. As we wrap up the fourth turning, we are likely to undergo disintegration rather than reorganization, fragmentation rather than evolution, ending up with a less rather than a more complex society. Greens favor a more agrarian society, rather than the heavily industrial agriculture that now dominates. Foreseeing the inevitable collapse ahead, they see some disintegration as desirable, though it ultimately diffuses their power structure. The way it is going, however, we will have a lot of pieces to pick up once we take over.

Photo by Michele Bighignoli
The tipping point for this crash landing is likely to come from one or more of the five causes of collapse identified by Jared Diamond. The trumpists are driving each one of these (more or less) in the wrong direction:

  • Environmental Damage - ignoring scientists, gutting agencies, and revoking regulations will accelerate damage to ecosystems which are already under duress.
  • Climate Change - denial and cancelling our part of the Paris agreement will put the world well over the 2 degree temperature increase. With the ice caps melting, the positive feedback from permafrost methane releases could already be enough to make our own contribution negligible.
  • Hostile Neighbors - Mexico is not happy with us, will be charged somehow for the border wall, and will lose some or all of NAFTA provisions.
  • The End of Help and Support from Friendly Neighbors - Canada is not aligned with tRump's rejection of Muslims. Were he to pay Canada a visit, as is customary on a President's first foreign trip, he would be besieged with protesters. The way tRump has been abusing other allies, he will likely piss off Trudeau in short order.
  • The Failure of Leaders to Find Constructive Responses to Problems and to Give Meaning to a New Reality - Make America Great Again is a regressive theme, not compatible with the new reality of limited resources and growth. 

The point is, if anything is important at this stage in our history, it is that we smooth our descent and transition to a sustainable path in as many ways possible, all the while resolving the ongoing crisis. TRump is wholly focused on a resolution of the crisis at the expense of sustainability, while aggravating all of the major factors leading to our society's near-term collapse. He will be remembered as a scourge on our civilization.

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