Monday, April 14, 2008

McKibben's Fantasies

Bill McKibben thinks that we're supposed to go back to a time when we all raised our own hamburgers.

This is a common fantasy, and I myself have had it many times. But it is seriously wrong.

We are not going to solve the problems of this world by reverting back to Civil War standards of living. Yes, we need more community. Yes, we need to expend less greenhouse gases. But pretending all live in grand little Amish community where we all spin our own wool is not the answer. And if it were, people like McKibben -- intellectual writers about abstract topics -- would be the first to starve.

But people did not lead such great lives in such a scenario. The average American death age for males in 1900 was about 45-50 years old. McKibben would be dead already. So would I. Few men would live to see their grandchildren. They would instead die miserable deaths from infections and similar diseases we cured 50 years ago.

There's a reason why people don't take environmentalists very seriously, and this is it. Short-sitednees. Fantastical thinking. Pretending that the past was the best time of our lives. It's dumb thinking, frankly, and McKibben has devolved into it more and more.....

1 comment:

Dano said...

McKibben is merely pointing us to people who are not completely, totally, absolutely dependent upon oil to live and produce their own food, who are decreasing their food miles, and who are trying to do something rather than complain.

I don't think he's advocating living like dropping everything and embracing Civil War times tomorrow, he's pointing out we'll have to do something when the oil runs out, so he's pointing to the people who can do it now, so maybe someone will remember in 50 years.