Watching The World Burn on Our Phones, Part 2

An update on the state of the world.

Woman looking at phone.

A private Saudi Arabian company was growing alfalfa in the middle Arizona desert during a megadrought. The government only found out about it because they exceeded their water allowance, pumping 3,000 gallons of groundwater per minute.

There's a lesson here.

It doesn't matter how bad things get. These attitudes aren't going to stop or slow down. They're going to get worse. We didn't just wind up at the collapse of global civilization by accident. It was by attitude. It was the greed and corruption of the top 10 percent. It was their ability to play on the emotions and worst impulses of the public. It was on purpose.

Climate scientists have reminded us that our global emissions should be dropping 5 percent a year by now.

Instead, they keep rising.

The bright green optimists keep policing climate activists and blaming them for the problem. They keep telling us that emissions will peak soon, even though the world is falling back on coal, and we can't even produce enough diesel. They don't explain how we're going to keep building solar panels and wind turbines when more and more of our resources are being diverted to war, to the tune of trillions of dollars a year. All they do is tell us to calm down. Meanwhile, every indicator tells us that we already live in a 1.5C world.

You might've seen photos or read stories about high schools and universities throwing away dozens of air purifiers and hundreds of N95 masks. They're starting to pass policies banning these items. Millions of affluent liberals can't be bothered. They're too busy cheerleading for the latest war.

Back in college, I knew this guy who thought he'd met the actual antichrist. He also believed in the rapture. He thought he was going to heaven. It didn't really matter what happened on this planet.

He was "saved."

This idea afflicts a large number of Americans. Surveys have tried to put a number on it. Honestly, I think the answer depends on how they're feeling. It also depends on how comfortable they feel saying it out loud. You could probably count on at least a third of Americans thinking that somehow a divine savior is going to pull them up into paradise once things get bad. It could be as many as half.

It's no wonder they don't care about diseases or climate disasters. They already believe that they'll be fine no matter what happens to the planet. On top of that, they believe that if things ever do get that bad, it won't matter because a magic spotlight will whisk them away. Imagine telling someone they have a mental illness for protecting themselves from a disabling virus when half the people we know believe they're going to get pulled into heaven instead of having to deal with the consequences of their own bad decisions.

It's not just the evangelicals, either.

The idea of rapture has soaked deep into American culture. Even secular Americans think something will come to save them at the last minute. It doesn't have to be Jesus. Maybe it'll be a fusion reactor. They don't have to make any difficult decisions. Someone else will do the hard work and the heavy lifting. They just have to hope.

Americans have also embraced the idea of sacrifice.

Someone else has to pay for all of their sins. If it's not a dude nailed to a cross, it's teachers. It's nurses or social workers. It's the vulnerable. It's poor kids halfway around the world, gunned down and bombed into oblivion. They have to disappear or die so that everyone else can go on living in comfort and convenience. If your life or wellness becomes an obstacle, they'll get rid of you. They'll justify it by whatever means they can.

They call it normal.

In the end, these attitudes all converge on the same basic principle. It's about freedom from consequences. It's about erasing and forgetting anyone who gets hurt by their pursuit of pleasure. No inconvenience is too small to gripe about. One year, it's paper straws. The next, it's masks.

How did we get here?

Well, corporations have spent the last 100 years conditioning Americans to believe that it's okay to be selfish. It's okay to put yourself first. It's okay to take advantage of someone else. It's okay to ignore someone else's suffering. Jesus wasn't a socialist troublemaker who repudiated wealth.

He was an entrepreneur.

They know the value of repetition. They spend hundreds of millions on advertising. They say the quiet part out loud. They're never just selling a product. They're selling a lifestyle. They're selling a worldview, and that worldview is all about self-gratification and wish fulfillment.

Over the last few years, corporations and their billionaire owners have worked overtime to stomp out the last traces of the social contract.

They know, it all has to go.

In a world of dwindling resources, they don't want any of it going to help ordinary people survive a little bit longer. They don't want to pay for your house when it floods or burns down. They don't want to pay for your hospital bills when you get sick with one of many, many pandemic bugs on the horizon. They want every last dollar going to pad their bunkers.

The super rich themselves don't believe in any of this rapture nonsense. They don't believe in heaven, and they don't believe in hell. They're happy to trick your family and friends into it. The more of them who think they're going to get saved by a beam of light, the better. The rich have their own version of salvation, in the equally ridiculous notion of bunkers and ranches.

If there's one thing we know about the rich:

They strive to eliminate competition.

Meanwhile, the greed and violence that got us here only seems to be accelerating. People should be putting aside their differences and 20th century aspirations to work on the existential threat to humanity. Instead, they're doing the opposite. Our leaders talk about saving the planet, then they pour the vast majority of their energy and resources into is destruction.

They all think they'll be saved.

They won't.

Read Part I of the series here.

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