Joules and the Knowledge Economy
The One AnOther
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Chapter Five - Land of the Other- The One AnOther.
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by Dave McArthur 6 October 2008
Well the votes
have been cast in New Zealand and the USA and people are about to
experience what they voted for. Many other innocent folk around the
world will suffer with us.
Sure people in
our nations still have to go through the motions of voting at the ballot
box in November but that can make little difference to the impact of our
crucial votes. We have got what we voted for -Sarah Palin in the USA and
John Key in New Zealand and all that goes with them. The
non-conservatives have triumphed.
When Sarah was
chosen to run as the Republican vice presidential candidate George
Lakoff, the prominent cognitive linguist, wrote a reflective article:
the importance of framing issues effectively and argued that the
Democrat doesn’t fully appreciate the power of symbolism.
George went on to frame his whole discussion in nonsense (or
non-science, if you like). He described Sarah as a “conservative”
and all the views she reflects as “conservative” also.
Now this might be
OK if the central issue is about simple tradition and belief structures,
particularly political constructs. However the central issue is actually
I guess it is
very easy for George to adopt this narrow framing of the meaning of
“conservative”. Check out the Princeton definition of the symbol.
Almost all the definitions are variations on:
(a person who is reluctant to accept changes and new ideas)”.
FreeOnlineDictionary offers similar framing of the meaning of the
“conservative” symbol. However it is revealing that it states
more or less as a footnote.
Many of the
definitions provided are implicitly derogatory of conservatives and
these folk are associated with being stick in the mud, stuffy coated,
clinging to obsolete ideas, reactionary, backward, redneck, square toes,
moss back, diehard, buttoned-down, dull grey, unimaginably conventional,
authoritarian, fuddy duddies. You would have to be a bit perverse to
wish to have yourself described thus.
framing of the “conservative” symbol is tragic and it reveals how
cynical and amoral our society has become. The fact our use of the
symbol no longer retains the idea that conserving is about being aware
of and caring for the flows and balances of the universe that sustain us
does not ode well. This loss of meaning puts each of us at risk of
becoming archaic too.
And those who use
the symbol in this derogatory way of others only make fools of
themselves. A quick Internet search indicates that young children in the
USA join Conservation Clubs in their schools just as New Zealand school
children do. There they learn how to care for plants, recycle and reuse
materials and in general be good stewards of our planet. And in New
Zealand the Government Department charged with caring for our publicly
owned parks, forest reserves, lakes, foreshores and ocean reserves is
called the Department of
Conservation. It is integral to the promotion of New Zealand’s
Clean Green Image and
is associated with some of our most iconic and pristine images of our
land and ocean scapes.
In this framework
it is an extremely perverse act to call non-conservatives such as Sarah
Palin and John Key “conservatives” and thus subliminally associate
them with images of exquisitely beautiful plants, animals and
landscapes. The act simply feeds the delusions of a psychotic society
and bestows on these non-conservatives a mantle of stewardship that is
most undeserving. Such perversity enables non-conservatives to flourish.
Check out the
wiki on Conservatism and you will see how if you frame the
meaning of the conservative symbol as simply a political argument
you can argue its meaning till the cows don’t come home or till the
wells run dry – which could well be in the near future.
You will notice
the Wiki article is prefaced with the statement, “The neutrality of
this article is disputed.”
To me this is
healthy sign. I believe the conservative symbol is a truly great
symbol and if it is used with wisdom and humility it can sustain us on
scale. The symbol can never be neutral. We should never stop arguing
about its meaning and the day we do then we die with the symbol.
Readers of my
postings over the years will know the great store I set in the
Conservation Principle of Energy. I believe it as the closest we have to
a natural law. Despite the persistent and sometimes ferocious attempts
of humans over millennia to find a flaw in the principle no one has ever
succeeded. It encapsulates a brilliant vision of existence in which
energy is as bounteous as the universe(s) and in which energy is
constantly transformed. We may deny as much as we like its central
messages that we are mortal and that we need to conserve sustaining
energy forms but the principle remains immutable – such attempts are
folly and simply generate misery.
We have an
enormous capacity for denial of this reality and can create very
sophisticated rationales to obscure it. The universe(s) is constantly
being transformed and so the rationales we can create are as endless as
our imagination. That is why we should never stop exploring and arguing
how we can conserve balances and be in harmony with the flows of energy.
In this light a
conservative is a person who accepts the Conservation Principle of
Energy. They enjoy great compassion for all sentient beings and when
they die they bequeath on our children a full inheritance that they were
born into themselves. They conserve our children’s options.
In this light
John Key and Sarah Palin are both profound non-conservatives.
John lives in a huge mansion, jets around the world without thought and
happily profits off the destruction of energy efficient rail systems. If
everyone adopted his lifestyle then humanity would have collapsed
I don’t know
much about Sarah Palin’s lifestyle. I do know she has propagated a
large number of children and that she models extreme levels of waste of
precious resources such as mineral oil and gas. Her language reveals a
vast denial of the Conservation Principle as, for instance, her constant
use of the equation “Energy = mineral oil”.
The adoption of
this equation is about one of the most fatal flaws any parent can teach
their children or any leader can teach their people. This lethal
equation confuses energy with one of the very finite forms it can take
and it omits the atmosphere from the combustion equation: “Mineral oil
plus air = useful energy form”.
Since my last
blog a month ago, a raft of major banks have collapsed and as I write
the news is another major bank is collapsing, this time in Germany. All
our learned “market” commentators and media gurus of the last
decades suddenly look decidedly unlearned. What they have failed to
understand is that any economy built on the equation “Energy = mineral
oil” is doomed. People are deluded into using the resource as if it is
as bounteous as energy.
leads them to assume it is sane and normal to value mineral oil at 0.04
cents per man-hour of labour (assuming each 42 gallon barrel of oil
contains the equivalent energy of 25000 man-hours of labour.) Now if
mineral oil really is as bounteous as energy then it is perfectly sane
to expand our credit systems as we have this last generation. The
resultant dwelling and transport systems would be quite sustainable.
However we have been deluded. We have denied the Conservation Principle
of Energy and now we about to learn its truth the hard way with credit
failure, escalating inflation and the general collapse of civics. We
should have been valuing mineral oil at thousands of dollars a barrel.
Note how often in
the US Vice Presidential debate Sarah constantly evokes this fatally
flawed equation. Note how she continually hits the “energy’ button.
In doing so she reflects and resonates with the primal responses of all
non-conservatives, regardless of their political party, and so the
presidency is shaped.
Here is the
comment I posted a month ago in response to George’s article
immediately after Sarah’s selection hit our billboards and screens.
Our walk does the voting
Hi George and all
You wrote “ But the Palin nomination is… about the symbolic mechanisms of the political mind -- the worldviews, frames, metaphors, cultural narratives, and stereotypes.” Correct but your article fails to provide insight. It is our walk, not our talk that matters. The US destroys about 68 barrels of mineral oil a day/1000 people. (My country, New Zealand destroys 38 barrels; most nations destroy 3-4 barrels per 1000 people or less.) Like New Zealand, the US culture and credit system is shaped by our addictive uses of this precious and very finite resource. We fail to conserve it. In this context we are non-conservatives and we live in fear that the object of our addiction will be taken from us. This fear dominates our responses, in the USA case, Democrat, Republican, Green, Libertarian and Constitutional non-conservative alike. So as mineral oil prices rose and credit systems collapsed this year people responded with unease and Barack Obama’s call for change (any change) resonated. Now mineral oil prices are dropping, credit systems have been temporarily propped up and the addictive behaviour again feels sustainable. All non-conservatives of mineral oil are relieved to have the status quo and we see this in the swings towards John McCain – and Sarah Palin, for she symbolises the “great untapped mineral oil resource of Alaska” in the minds of non-conservatives. She reflects the reality of even those that profess to oppose mining Alaska for she reflects the reality of their addictive use of mineral oil. In this context the McCain-Palin ticket cannot fail because it shapes the reality of whoever becomes president. The majority voted for it at the “gas pump”.
Since posting that a month ago the predictions have been realised: the non-conservatives have triumphed and they have shaped the next presidency. I did not make these predictions using blind guesses. They emerged from the Sustainability Principle of Energy.
candidates have since supported further subsidies on top of the already
massive subsidies to car manufacturers. They tried to gloss it with
“energy efficiency” caveats but the fact remains that the car
combustion engine was, is and will always be a vastly wasteful use of
this incredible resource that some of us call mineral oil and others
like Sarah call energy. The New York Times reported
I commented at
the time on the NZ Sustainable Energy Forum:
that this, when combined with the massive aid packages to the armaments
industry, indicates the presidency is being shaped to “enable” a
major war as the US credit system implodes.”
(Quick aside –
yes I know, there is no such thing as sustainable energy. Energy by its
very nature is sustained as per the Conservation Principle.)
And now both
presidential candidates have used their influence to push a further $NZ
trillion dollar subsidy to sustain the activities of the Money Traders.
These are the select small group of people who have taken trillions of
dollars, leveraged off them and channeled them into unsustainable
activities such as property speculation, drug manufacture and trade,
wasteful uses of minerals and armaments. A handful of these people have
awarded themselves billions of dollars in bonuses for their endeavours.
candidates have endorsed this latest trillion-dollar investment, further
“enabling” war and misery. There is no way these funds are going to
be used now to sustain education and health systems, intelligent
broadband, solar, water and rail systems and all the activities that
would tend to reduce the risk of a catastrophic global collapse.
There is no way
that most Americans are ever going to experience the wealth potential of
this latest trillion-dollar subsidy to the Money Traders. Where will it
go? It will be dissipated into the atmosphere, the streams and oceans of
our planet via the exhausts of the jets, military craft, super yachts,
ships, cars, furnaces required to provide the air-conditioning for their
mansions and all the other machines required to maintain the Money
Traders’ current lifestyles. Most of us will only experience the
trillion-dollar investment as pollution, as we ingest it in the form of
poisoned airs and waters and as we watch the life in our acidified
oceans die and as we experience greater hurricanes, floods and droughts.
Here in New
Zealand the people have voted too and the non-conservatives have won a
resounding endorsement fro the people. The Government’s new privatised
superannuation scheme, Kiwi Saver, is now channeling billions of dollars
of subsidies to the Money Traders here. This Government bailout of the
NZ stock exchange has prevented it from collapsing and the institution
remains in place as a mechanism for transferring the wealth in our
remaining community-owned assets into the pockets of a few merchant
bankers after our November “elections”.
This week it was
also announced that both the Government Superannuation Fund and the NZ
Superannuation Fund took huge
hits from their exposure to the activities of the Money Traders.
The principle supporters of the schemes rushed to tell us this loss is
to be expected as part of normal economic cycles. What they fail to tell
us this loss is part of a more epic economic cycle – one that occurs
when a species forgets and denies the Conservation Principle. In such
cycles the non-conservatives dominate. They destroy the balances and
resources that sustain the species and the population implodes. Most New
Zealanders will never get a cent back from the Superannuation schemes
and again the wealth will be dissipated as pollution.
Indeed it looks as though New Zealanders have voted for possibly the most sophisticated Enronian state in the world, what with the recent adoption by our Parliament of the amoral Emissions Trading Strategy (see my most recent blogs); the further embedding of the fascist NZ Electricity Industry Reform legislation into our social fabric and technological investment framework; the takeover this week of the effective ownership of our national electrical grid by CitiGroup Inc from Wachovia Bank in the Enron shuffle on Wall Street dance floor; and the new privatised Superannuation schemes like KiwiSaver.
It is no mistake
our population, especially our media, is fawning over John Key, a man
who was one of the leading lights in Currency Trading and Merrill Lynch
for many years. At that time Merrill Lynch was deeply involved in Enron
at the height of its corruption.
We have become
the dream Enron land where everything, including its citizens, is just a
tradeable commodity. Perhaps the time as come to call New Zealand
Aotearoa by another name. If
the USA is becoming Enron then our name is OnEnergy.
Zealand’s largest Bulk-gen electricity and mineral gas retailer,
collapsed within weeks of Enron in 2001 also. There were close links.)
The cartoon strip
that accompanies this was created about five years ago now. It is
complete coincidence that it is associated with this particular blog.
In the previous
I had explored an Enronian education resource created by one of New
Zealand’s Enronian Bulk-generated electricity companies, Genesis
Energy. The education resource provides an illustration of a perpetual
motion machine and forms possibly the perfect example of the psychotic
nature of modern economics that you could imagine. Its creators were
dead serious! And the NZ Royal Society, the supposed epitome of science,
approved it!! Ken (Kenny Boy) Lay, were he still alive, would love the
vision evoked in the education resource of a hydro-electrical plant with
an everlasting, undiminishing supply of water. It is not impossible he
originally commissioned the concept.
In this panel I reflect on the bonusjoules-junkjoules concept
of energy efficiency. I guess you could say Bonus Joules is the cartoon
embodiment of a conservative and Junk Jules the embodiment of a