Prophets of Doom is a year old History Channel program (I know, I’m late to the party once again) which is on youtube here. It’s caption reads:
“Today’s world has troubles unique to its time in history, from the global financial crisis to technological meltdowns to full-scale, computerized global war. HISTORY profiles three men “modern prophets” from different disciplines and with different theories who all believe America is on the decline, and will ultimately meet its end.”
Well, I’m no optimist, but I’m also very wary of “prophets” especially prophets of doom and gloom. Anyway, I was just told about this program today and gave it a shot. I got 30 minutes into it before I couldn’t take anymore, here’s why:
Michael Ruppert is quoted as saying that he is relocated to Sonoma County, CA because it would be a safer location in the event of a societal collapse (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Ruppert). Ha! You know this guy has to be nuts. . Prediction 1: “By this time next year, I’m certain we won’t recognize the United States of America.” Original Air Date of the show: Jan 5th, 2011.So much for that. In fact, with the stagnant economy, America looks just about exactly like it did in Jan of 2011.
I love how he goes back to the Roman Empire but just kind of ignores how the British Empire “collapsed” …which is far closer in similarity and structure to the US now. The thing so many fail to grasp about the fall of the Roman Empire is that it’s complex and that complexity is situated within the context of ~400 AD, he likens terrorist attacks and drug cartels to invading horde armies! The Visigoths were estimated to have bolstered their army for the sacking Rome in 410 AD with around 30,000 escaped slaves from Italy itself. 30,000, mostly captured “barbarians” in addition to the Visigoth army. Where in the US are there 30,000 captured and enslaved enemy combatants? But for 40 or so years prior to this, Rome lost battles to the Persians and the Goths. In addition, one argument is that by accepting Christianity Rome became more passive, less violent, so how did they bolster their armies…by using “barbarian” mercenaries. And they were not treated well. Not even 10 minutes in to the program and it’s already driving me nuts with its simplistic world view. Then he confuses evolution and natural law with the fall of nations. Did the Romans just disappear after 473 AD? Nope. Did the Roman government completely go away…nope, it just concentrated itself in the east around Constantinople. When the British Empire “fell” did the Britons just disappear? Nope, they’re still there and making some fine television shows…and their Empire, while smaller and not as reigned in under one central rule still exists under the Commonwealth (Australia, Canada, etc.). So to liken the dinosaurs dying out to the fall of a nation is a bit over the top and fallacious. His whole Titanic analogy is just bollucks. Otherwise, he’s making the claim that in order to sustain ourselves, let alone grow, we need to find alternate sources of fuel/energy. Duh.
I couldn’t find anything negative on him in a quick search, though he was a Vice President at the investment firms Salomon Brothers and Lehman Brothers (http://www.postcarbon.org/person/36233-nate-hagens) but I couldn’t find out when that was. So the key question for him is did he wait until the financial collapse in 2008 to happen and then go around saying how terrible everything is or did he quit before the collapse and warn against it happening?
But his first major comment, “Capitalism as going to have to be retooled or it can go completely by the way side. What we have now has been a failure.” Really, a failure? It’s not perfect, no, but it can adapt and has adapted. Capitalism has brought about the most benefits to humanity than any other economic model. Otherwise, he’s making the claim that in order to sustain ourselves, let alone grow, we need to find alternate sources of fuel/energy. Duh. And his overall economic-debt issue comments…well, yeah. It’s not a good situation we’re in, which means in order to fix it military spending has to be reduced and taxes have to be raised…at least as a start.
Addressing climate change is paramount because, even if global warming was not man made (which all current evidence points to as being the case: that it is man made), a ) finding new energy sources (including investing in “old” ones such as nuclear) will help to mitigate the depletion of fossil fuels, b ) investing in new technologies will help the economy.
Again, seems to be a legitimate investigator and water is going, or rather is, a huge global issue for humanity. But his comments about the Sumerians…pulling it out of his ass. Sorry. The Sumerians took over the region from the Ubaidians sometime around 4000 BC and then the Akkadians, seeing how awesome the region was, conquered the Sumerians around 2270 BC, then after 180 (that’s like the length of time of the United States of America from its founding to post WWII !) the Sumerians regained some control, and then the freakin’ barbarian “hill people,” the Gutians overran the place and figured civilization was just bunk where they just released all the livestock to roam the land and ignored the irrigation systems and agriculture.
I’m done. I made it about 30 minutes into it. I hate the History Channel and everything it produces. It’s ratings grabbing bullshit even if they wrap that bullshit around nuggets of truth or facts, the History Channel is not worth watching unless you’re in the mood to be scared or get angry.
America’s top concerns (no particular order), as I understand them:
Economic reform. Capitalism is the best method, but completely free capitalism doesn’t work well. There needs to be regulation to guard against the greed and corruption, or even just the accepting to be ignorant of the ramifications of their actions, that humans are naturally going to gravitate towards.
Climate change. The Earth’s biosphere is warming up and humanity is largely to blame, working on bringing humanity to a neutral impact level will address other issues as well such as fossil fuel dependance and water shortage. Even if humanity was not to blame, working on bringing humanity to a neutral impact level develops so many other boons for our species and the biosphere.
Religious fundamentalism. Regardless of the religion, it’s the fundamentalism that kills; whether it’s Islam wanting to kill all the unbelievers or Christianity dumbing down science to raise up their sheep herder myths or new age bullshit rallying behind discredited research that vaccines cause autism or the protection of child rapists from the secular justice they deserve.
Political reform. Polarizing rhetoric, “Cash is free speech,” Super Pacs, Back room lobbying, all of it breaks the system and fosters an environment where the other issues can continue to breed.
Education reform. Science is what dictates a prosperous people. From the invention of agriculture to the invention of longitude and latitude and accurate clocks to the microchip…the countries that have access to the best technology have prospered the most. Science is what gives us the tools to accurately confront the issues before us and science must be key in education. Art, literature, history, these are the subjects that teach us what it has meant and means to be human, in all it’s terror and beauty, but science is what allows us to survive to pass the rest on to future generations.
Human equality. Ensuring the equal protection and rights under the law to every human citizen, regardless of race, creed, gender, origin, sexuality, religion, is paramount to an ethical and moral nation.
These are real, immediate and long term goals that if honestly and rationally approached will help ensure the survival of the United States of America for another 236 years and more. And the History Channel, with its bullshit title name, isn’t helping.
But shit happens, things decay. The Yellowstone super volcano could erupt any year now, an asteroid impact could make for a lousy decade long winter or two, bird flu could make the airborne human-to-human jump and wipe out over half of everyone on the planet, Kermit the frog could be assassinated by the Black Hand initiating a global nuclear war.