2011 March 28

by Wesley M. Brown

Our chief cat-herder posted a great comment by a friend of the Moose which
described a license plate on a Humvee titled “NOWIND”, presumably a
statement in opposition to wind power.

Presumably, as the owner of the Humvee drives his gas-guzzling penis
equalizer around town, he’s showing his support for the conspicuous
consumption economic model, and his disdain for the left-wing terrorist
money that has taken over Obama’s administration to force us to adopt
alternative energy and do other unspeakable things. By this simple statement
of opposition to wind power, he’s told the world that he is 100% Amurican,
love it or leave it.

This perspective is nothing new. Over the last 9 years, we have heard
countless claims that our government found it necessary to invade
Afghanistan, Iraq, and now Libya, in the name of “freedom”. If pressed,
supporters will add that our military is preserving our freedom.
Occasionally, they’ll go one step further and insist that we are also there
in force to give the inhabitants of those countries their freedom too.

George Orwell energized the concept of holding two contradictory beliefs as
“doublethink” in his novel 1984. The dystopian world of 1984 included
adherence to doublethink slogans such as “Ignorance is Strength”, “War is
Peace”, and “Freedom is Slavery”.

While Orwell did not explain the premise behind “Freedom is Slavery”, I
believe that many Americans, including the guy with the Humvee, have fallen
victim to a kind of doublethink that is no less dangerous.

We are given to confusing political or constitutional freedom with an
economic system. Thus, freedom of speech is not nearly as important as
freedom to purchase Pepsi, or freedom to watch Charlie Sheen’s descent into
televised madness. Detractors of the economic system, and those who question
the premise behind wars started for solely economic reasons, (like Iraq) are
branded as un-American.

Amurican “freedom” these days is intrinsically tied to the conspicuous
consumption model, particularly petroleum-based. We so desperately need oil
for nearly everything we do that we were ready, able, and willing to invade
two countries (possibly 3 if we count Libya) to prevent the likely
Islamo-Marxist destabilization that would logically follow a civil war and
prevent oil from flowing.

Since these wars have not been accompanied by any mass movements to reduce
or eliminate oil consumption (ethanol is a tepid approach at best), our
continuing need for crude will ensure that we will continue to supply the
military to any conflict, so long as the spoils are uninterrupted oil flow.

This constant militarization, oddly reminiscent of Oceania’s “War is Peace”
paradox, is itself the economic slavery to which Americans are now chained.
Although we do not suffer from the privations of WWII as to primary products
(yet), we have not only seen wild swings in oil prices, with its concomitant
effect on other prices, but, more importantly, a giant, gaping hole in state
budgets. This funding hole, which is directly the consequence of spending
upwards of $12 billion monthly on the two current wars, has produced grave
trouble for state and local governments. The money is simply going overseas
to fight wars over resources, nothing more.

Our naïveté has prevented us from truly understanding the hatred flowing out
of the Middle East. Its inhabitants have been fighting amongst themselves
for at least 1400 years, and arguably longer. The presence of oil was and is
a constant destabilizer in the region, and is in fact the main reason for
the constant struggle between Middle Eastern haves and have-nots,
particularly if we throw religious differences into the mix.

If that is the case, it then means that our perverse petrofreedom will
ensure that we will have a continuing presence in the Middle East, one war
after another, to ensure the flow of the one resource that keeps us enslaved
to the region.

Thus, our oily lifestyle, confused as freedom, leads us directly to economic
slavery for potentially generations to come. We will continue to have to
endure the privations of the very lifestyle that continues of enslave us.

Orwell would have been proud.

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