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Our current trajectory will not continue; but energy is not the problem.

Reader comment on item: James Howard Kunstler's Reactionary Futurology

Submitted by Michael S, Jan 13, 2017 at 13:29

Hello, Daniel

I think the energy picture is in for a radical re-alignment, especially after our upcoming nuclear war; but one thing Kunstler said amuzed me:

"The age of canned entertainment is coming to an end. It was fun for a while. We liked Citizen Kane and The Beatles. But we're going to have to make our own music and our own drama down the road. We're going to need playhouses and live performance halls. We're going to need violin and banjo players, playwrights and scenery makers, and singers. We'll need theater managers and stagehands. The Internet is not going to save canned entertainment. The Internet will not work so well if the electricity is on the fritz half the time."

Having lived in the Counterculture, I must say that this is not a "misanthropic" vision concerning entertainment. I hate loud, electronic music and other forms of offensive noise, and have fond memories of gathering around campfires in the wild with guitar playing and singing. I did watch Citizen Kane, and enjoyed it -- but not as much as I've enjoyed not having had a TV for some six months (we got rid of it), nor of not having seen a movie for some years. I prefer live entertainment; and especially like spending time with my wife, reading from the classics. None of the above means that I look forward to suddenly being without electricity; but it is not the end of the world.

You went on to say,

"I counter-predict that this scenario is completely wrong and that modern life will continue to evolve to the point and the current price of energy will be expensive by future standards; also, the current recession will be nearly forgotten within a decade, just a blip on the trajectory. (December 1, 2008)"

I completely disagree with you. We are not on any sort of never-ending trajectory. We are currently tens of trillions of dollars in debt, with debt exceeding our annual gross domestic product. This is unsustainable; and when interest rates rise, as they inevitably will, that debt will become even more unsustainable. Nuclear proliferation is also spinning out of control; and despite the fantasies of many thinkers, those devices were made to be USED. Human nature, meanwhile, has not been "evolving" into anything beautiful. Every day in the news, we are witnessing individual and collective acts of deeper and deeper depravity. This will all end, and it will end suddenly. If I am among those who come through it, splitting wood for the campfire and singing to someone's guitar playing, I will be fortunate.

I won't get into the debate about fossil fuels. I have an MS in Chemistry, and was taught this and that about the subject. The consensus of my professors, is that we must go nuclear to have sustainable energy. I will leave it at that.

Submitting....

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Daniel Pipes replies:

I think you contradict yourself, first saying we won't have cheap energy. then explaining how to achieve it.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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