Monday, February 18, 2013

In Saturday's post I claimed that leaders are almost certainly right that Americans wouldn't go along with a plan that sacrificed present-day prosperity in order to avoid future calamity.  But almost certain does not mean certain.

After all, humans collectively are capable of unpredictable craziness.  If we can leap to out-of-the-blue stupidities like ancient Egypt's Great Pyramids, or Mao's homicidal Great Leap Forward, or American Suburbia, well there's no reason humans couldn't make a sudden sharp turn, even chuck suicidal consumerism in favor of sudden wisdom - or at least rediscover a kind of cultural clear-headedness.  It's not like our present society is great at creating bucketfuls of happiness for people.

So it is good that friends are down in Washington DC marching against the tar sands pipeline.  It's good that my work is to try and make our public discourse smarter and more constructive.  It's good that the climate scientists are getting the science done.  Who knows what might trigger an unexpected change.

Humans are profoundly conservative creatures of habit.  We like our novelty within strict limits. But the world is also full of immigrants.  Whether or not we have moved across borders, we can migrate from one culture to another - when we have to - or when we see an opportunity to achieve some dream of a better future for our children.

So, as they say . . . we'll see.  Nothing is certain.


Orlov says our only hope is to pray for an asteroid, Gin and Tacos says we've broken the planet, and Nocera in the New York Times says we just gotta keep digging (or something).