“Nothing is so unworthy of a civilised nation as allowing itself to be governed without opposition by an irresponsible clique that has yielded to base instinct.” – The White Rose, Hitler Resistance Pamphlet
“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—for ever.” – George Orwell, 1984
“The world is converging on trans-national state terror as the biosphere collapses.” – Dr. Glen Barry
Earth Meanders – Deep Ecology Essays
By Dr. Glen Barry
As a child I remember the awe and pride of learning the history of human advancement. From the realization of the rights of man, and the ending of the slave trade, to the sharing of wealth with workers, onward to constant — albeit incremental — progress on greater racial and gender equality, as we stepped back from the brink of nuclear war, embraced international law and human rights, and began addressing global environmental issues; the human condition was always improving.
What a wonderful time to be alive, I thought as a young man working for rainforests, indigenous rights, and climate. Surely my generation would complete the journey to a just, equitable, peaceful, and sustainable world. The human family was inevitably evolving to a higher level of consciousness and thus shared well-being.
Now in my middle age, I realize how fragile and impermanent are all advances in the human condition in the face of sloth, ignorance, and envy. Full blown global authoritarian fascism is descending upon the Earth as China, Russia and America reject human rights and environmentalism. In a series of largely bloodless coups, charlatan demagogues have seized power, rolled back democratic progress, stonewalled necessary measures to pursue global ecological sustainability, and are thus committing treason against Earth and her peoples. A small yet concentrated global oligarchy controls over half of Earth’s wealth, and are harnessing big data technologies to forcefully maintain their advantage, blocking all efforts to achieve global justice, equity, and sustainability.
Centuries of human progress are being jettisoned to placate the masses with ever more shiny trinkets, as the rich ensconce themselves in unimaginable opulent splendor far removed from failing ecosystems. Summary arrests, show trials, abrupt climate change, routine spying, degraded environments, centralized authority, minority scapegoating, growing inequity, drone murder, and perma-war are pervasive. In general the rejection of global human rights and environmental protections have become the new international norm.
The world is converging on trans-national state terror as the biosphere collapses.
The American, Chinese and Russian political systems are increasingly characterized by authoritarian tyranny under the guise of various nationalistic window-dressings. In each surging inequitable consumption destroys the ecosystems and atmosphere that are our shared habitat. Fascist surveillance states fueled by faux-populism are all the rage, as freedom and Earth let out their last gasping breath, before together we fall into nothingness.
We are being led in chains to our miserable deaths. The end of being is at hand.
THE NOT SO GREAT POWERS
China is a foul ecocidal failed state whose repulsive political system is rife with corruption, tyranny, state thievery, voracious growth, and an unsustainable appetite for resources that consumes global ecosystems. Past glories of ancient ancestors do little to soften the brutal savagery of a hyper surveillance state bent upon absolute control through dehumanization. The hunger of over a billion potential consumers, believing in little else but having more, alone threatens to collapse and pull down the biosphere with it at any time. With Xi, yet another tyrannical tin-pot dictator has arisen, a next cult of personality and mass murder are sure to follow.
Russia is a constantly under-achieving and envious failed state which seeks to get ahead through nefarious means and cults of personality rather than substantively creating anything of value for its citizens or the global system. Whatever contributions have been made to human history in the past, Russia has become a perpetual basket-case of poverty, mediocrity, and state violence. Putin would nuke the world because of hurt pride. There are no notions of human rights, environmentalism, or progress in this Potemkin nation. When the oil is gone Russia will once again collapse into serfdom, but not before the current state of impotent insecurity unleashes war upon the West in support of murderous nationalism.
In America a treasonous regime has seized power, usurping the rule of law, and threatening global ruin at any moment – perhaps over a slight on Twitter. A once proud nation has become a belligerent, insolent failed state that keeps itself drugged and amused to avoid addressing the harm their over-consumption and militarism wage upon the environment and global well-being. What was once Earth’s last great hope is now shooting up on heroin and guns as fortunes fade as the easy resources are gone and the environment and social cohesion collapse. A series of stolen elections have installed a decadent self-serving oligarchy, placing in the tiny hands of UnPresident Trump (a narcissistic authoritarian madman) the button to impulsively destroy the world many times over. The Trumpkin cult is bereft of personality.
False, competing claims of exceptionalism by America, Russia, and China share one thing in common – they each consider it their birthright to destroy the world if they are not perceived as worthy of great nation status (deservedly or not) and if they can’t have more of everything regardless of the fate of others. Bots, learned machines, and drones keep the riffraff under constant surveillance and control lest they realize they are adrift upon a dying planet whose imminent collapse under the weight of inequitable over-population makes them expendable.
No person is worthy of such power
In triplicate, self-absorbed political charlatans hold the power to push a button and launch nuclear weapons that will destroy the world. These ethically dubious individuals can do so at any time based upon fits of rage, hurt feelings, or other human inadequacies multiplied by their false sense of importance. Such power in the hands of authoritarian megalomaniacs in service to their oligarchies is unacceptable and must be revoked now through global denuclearization, demilitarization, and a democratic decentralization of power.
Ever wonder what you would have done as Hitler rose in Germany (or for that matter Stalin or Mao)? Now you can answer as Trump, Putin, and Xi follow similar paths toward absolute power and certain yet unknown atrocities to come. Each of these governments are horrific in terms of lack of commitment, indeed a shared disdain, for human rights and the environment. At least in America there is a prospect, at least for now, of a democratic change in government. Each nation’s peoples continue to largely lead normal and worthy lives, though they do share culpability for allowing authoritarianism to emerge unchallenged, and for embracing unsustainable lifestyles that destroy ecosystems. As has been noted throughout history, trading liberty for security provides neither.
What meaning is there besides various nationalistic myths and more stuff in post-Modern America, China, and Russia? What is there to believe in that is noble, equitable, and just? What higher vision for sublime truth and goodness are to be found among the cheap throw away consumer goods and blood? How will livelihoods of the masses be sustained across landscapes whose ecosystems have been decimated to build mammonist temples as playhouses for the uber-rich?
Only revolutionary social change away from trans-national charlatan oligarchic demagoguery can save the human family from final enslavement and mass death before an apocalyptic collapse.
We need a return to a shared sense of basic decency, including a respect for global human rights, international law, and nature; in order that we can address existential threats to our continued shared being.
We must seek to return to and remain in our natural condition of absolute freedom and deep greenness.
WHAT HAS BECOME OF AMERICA
The United States of America has become decadent and depraved. Where once many Americans stood together for human advancement and rights, we have descended into hateful politics between deceitful extremes. It is difficult to know which is worse: smug, corrupt, elitist Progressives or fascist, treasonous, hypocritical Conservatives. The political center has collapsed, spiraling crises such as climate change and perma-war are going unaddressed, and the nation is on the verge of breaking apart.
Fellow Americans it’s time to take a good hard look at our country. How have we become a grotesque caricature far removed from reality? Amnesty International now places the US in the second tier of democratic states. We speak of freedom as we enslave others, of liberty as we wage drone-based perma-war (often murdering innocents), and of exceptionalism as we regress on virtually every measure of human well-being.
True lovers of liberty can’t sit by and watch the once greatest Democracy in the world becoming self-destructive with substance abuse, homelessness, and guns. Our rapacious appetites have left behind a filthy environment and a slew of broken people. Deaths attributed to alcohol, drugs, and suicide increase at a record pace. With human trafficking we are descending back into slavery.
The opioid crisis, school shootings, a state of perma-war, and Trumpian fascism are all symptoms of the disease that threaten to destroy the America we all claim to love. We have no shared meaning, no overarching commitment to anything other than ourselves and our immediate gratification.
Depression brought on by a sense of meaninglessness pervades the American psyche.
Americans have turned into sullen, self-absorbed, and self-entitled people. However much we have, we only care about having more. I know because I am one of these Americans. I too feel a constant nagging desire to consume more no matter how much I have already. And a sense of hypocritical outrage over foreign election meddling and military occupation by others, yet realize these are things our country has done surreptitiously overseas for years.
The USA has never really lived up to the rhetoric on human rights, but until recently it has been committed to continued self-improvement, and its turbulent democracy has nonetheless been the worst form of government except for all the alternatives. Fascism is on the rise globally. Putin to Duerte to Xi to Trump. Will America remain the last beacon of liberal democracy? Or have we become something else, Amerika perhaps? It is looking precarious as Trump is bent upon destroying democratic institutions and norms required to maintain liberty.
America’s commitment to freedom, however imperfect, is waning. America: what have we become? Who shall stand for global freedom?
True lovers of American liberty must return to the political center, and cultivate basic human decency in order that we can address existential threats to our very being. I am first to admit at times I have been a vicious troll on the Internet in service to what I believed to be good causes. However others on the other side thought so as well.
We must take a good hard look at ourselves and our country. And step back from the precipice, tone down the rhetoric (but not the shared pursuit of truth), and listen to each other. Good governance requires making sensible compromises. And tirelessly working together to find common ground.
It is time to embrace ambitious societal goals. Let’s end abject poverty. Stop and reverse destruction of nature. Demobilize our militaries and redirect expenditures to health, education, and jobs. And embrace arts, sport, literature, wildlife, music, and all the other beautiful aspects of human existence. A shared spirituality that acknowledges the holiness of natural creation is long-overdue.
We could be so much better. We are not caring for our children. Or our habitat. Or each other.
We must turn back from becoming sullen, bitter, angry, self-destructive people. We must care about more than having more. I know because I am one of these Amerikans.
HUMAN RIGHTS AND NATURE ARE ABSOLUTE, NON-NEGOTIABLE
The natural state of humanity is absolute freedom. Humans have evolved from the same primordial soup, and share ecological habitat, with all Earth’s kindred life. Each person, like all organisms, holds an inherent right to complete autonomy and control over their minds, bodies, and actions; as long as they do no harm to others and the environment, and while realizing the consequences of misdeeds.
By nature of your existence you possess absolute radical green freedom.
True liberty can only be achieved and maintained through continual free thinking and sustained natural ecosystems.
For millennia as early humans settled and population densities increased, there has been a constant diminution of free will, and growth of centralized control. From storers of grain determining who ate, to the rise of royalty, to being indoctrinated with myths that the reward for suffering injustice was eternal life in paradise, to our present misguided faith that big government will care for us and keep us safe; we have continually moved away from our true nature.
The past centuries’ advancements in living conditions, political freedoms, and free thought for some worked to reverse this trend. But only briefly as a resource constrained world needs complex hierarchical relations to control the means to allocate what remains.
Advances in machine learning and artificial intelligence threaten to complete the creation of an Orwellian authoritarian nightmare of constant state surveillance and murder. The benefits that flow from free thinking in a liberal democracy must not be traded away for a false sense of security from the nanny state.
Big brother is not your friend.
The necessary policies for sustainability may more easily be achieved under authoritarian command driven government. But the price of slavery is not worth it.
Better the human spirit remain untethered than in chains, at any cost.
A call goes out to all global lovers of liberty to resist the rise of fascism and other forms of despotic control wherever they may be found. There is no higher calling than free thinking, absolute liberty, and serving nature. Continued improvement in the human condition requires defending human progress that has been achieved thus far, as together we work for further human advancement by demobilizing the war industry, achieving greater equity, establishing universal human rights, and committing to global ecological sustainability.
We sprang forth from wild natural ecosystems where we fended for ourselves and our kin with no higher authority than the forest canopy and stars above. Our better nature which has brought us so much progress must be rekindled as we return to the garden.
All that really matters in these troubled times is sustaining green liberty before it is too late.