"Taking himself seriously, so you don't have to."

A Confession: Electrical Infrastructure, Indebted Servitude, the Power of People, and Personal Culpability

First off, neither Dodge, nor Jeep, nor Chrysler, nor any of their affiliate or subordinate companies produce any vehicles that even partially run on electricity. I will reiterate, in order for us as a country and as a planet, to want to continue living in anything but a hellish wasteland, we must upgrade our infrastructure to fully electric functionality. This includes personal transportation. Simple mathematics prove this out. Our continued usage of fossil fuels as “fuel” is causing great tragedy worldwide. People are dying all over the globe, particularly in the Middle East, in wars fought for control of this resource. Our planetary ecosystem is being poisoned with every spill, every ounce of fuel burned, and every cut of earth, especially in the headwaters of major rivers and seeping through the ground to aquifers that provide our drinking water. Increased usage and subsequent extraction; increased extraction and subsequent usage, will only end in the cessation of the society that continues to do so.

We need answers, we need support, we need change at all levels and all mechanisms of this perpetual feedback loop/dance of death. With that in mind, most recently, I (along with my partners) leased a petroleum-fueled vehicle. The reasons I have done so are thus, and I am choosing to communicate them, this essay, because though I cannot absolve myself of any guilt in this matter, nor can I avoid the designation of hypocrite, I may be able to clear some air in my personal life, provide some explanation for this choice, help explain to those outside of our society why this is happening, provide some rationale for others who have found themselves in a similar position, and provide a slight bit of hope for the future.

~ In Lawrence, Kansas, U.S.A. ~

I work as a land surveyor. Such a job means that I hike through the fields, forests, and cities of Northeast Kansas with a science-fiction staff, do math, and draw maps. To be more precise, I measure property lines, find and set monuments, and document the process, privately and publicly, at the request of the client, which may be a private owner, business enterprise, or government entity. Much of the practice involves, and is almost defined by, accuracy and objectivity. I take great pride in my work and aim for it to be of the highest quality. Land surveys, both the creation and retracements, are to last indefinitely, and have effect for all perpetuity. The profession was practiced by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Henry David Thoreau, and many other prominent historical figures. it is quite precisely the living, breathing, practical embodiment of the ideals of philosopher John Locke’s “property rights”, the only person said to have more greatly influenced the Constitution of the United States than the very writers themselves.

This may all sound very impressive, and though it may be so, the act of performing this work in a timely manner, to compete with others for limited work, requires that I have personal transportation with the following characteristics.

1. Sufficient cargo space to house 4-foot wooden stakes, shovels, magnetic detectors, tripods, steel rebar, machete, hammers, spikes and nails, measuring tapes, and other miscellaneous items.

2. Off-road capability, including 4-wheel drive, high ground clearance, and wide, gripping tires.

3. The ability to drive a distance up to and including 150 miles in a day, as the work often takes place far from home.

4. Be of a price affordable for a small business such as ours.

We have leased just such a vehicle. There is no requirement that it use petroleum, but this vehicle happens to do so. If I were to, say, “demand” an electric vehicle, not only would I be denied outright by the dealerships, but I would put such strain upon our business, that would likely cause our liquidation, and a cessation of all funds that support my life and those of my family. To put it simply, here, “practicality has outweighed ideology”.

Is such a confession enough to assuage guilt? Is this “practicality”, this requirement for monetary compensation, though so short term, sufficient justification for continued deaths overseas, the perpetual pollution of our water, and the poisoning of our land? Ultimately, and in full conscious, clear-headed mind, it would appear, at this point in history, the answer is “no”. The right thing to do, as I am not directly or indirectly employed to provide food, water, or shelter to anyone in any pragmatic sense, and my continued employment and familial responsibilities do not outweigh the right to life and liberty among those on the other side of the world, nor the protesting peoples of pipelines in the North, nor the poisoning of water supplies in Michigan or Oklahoma or anywhere else. We are watching the descent, and I just grabbed another ticket for the plunge.

The only recourse I have, and to apply this to the greater issue, the only recourse we have to justify this crazed dance, is to utilize the resources we do have to create a better world with the great boon extracted through blood, sweat, and tears, to create a tomorrow where violence is no longer necessary. It may be different for others, but my personal charge is related to efforts to create and distribute technology that may alleviate petroleum’s necessity as fuel.

I could, and have often pondered, the effect, social and economic, of personally “quitting” this game entirely; making a big damn deal out of it, roaming the streets, day and night, proselytizing to any and all within reach, the true madness of our modern condition, and rather than suggesting legislative answers, or providing a “reasonable example”, to recreate something better, something more akin to our true capabilities as a people, which have been subverted, twisted, and caged into a frame that works for the base desires of a steadily-shrinking minority of special interests, who though pleaded upon and redressed repeatedly over these very issues, seems to care little for this global plight. The logical consequence appears to follow that any and all support for them, as a “bottom-up” solution is either quite improbable or would require such a length of time, that our cause for a good future would be lost before it may be gained, that all support for our current form of law, order, governance, and economy, the very systems that allow and abet this plight, be discontinued. In practical terms, such would mean refusing to pay debts to those involved, which would include state and federal governments and corporations and businesses all the way up. The moral imperative, here is nigh catastrophic, if expanded to all who may act so.

Is the catastrophe, the abolition of our sense of “payback”, that is accepting that our “sentence has been deemed unjust”, that the debts we have collectively accrued were made under false pretenses; would the disruption to our institutions that have so long presided over this state of affairs, were the action (or “inaction”) of non-payment extended categorically across the population of not only the United States, but the world; would the deliberate financial catastrophe forgo the eventual resource catastrophe were we to continue with the current state of affairs? I would argue “yes”. Here is why:

By definition, the deliberate choice is preferred in almost all circumstances, even if the outcome is negative, in that eventualities may be planned for and mitigated against. Were we to continue our present state of affairs and eventually have the choice made for us, that is, the chaotic and unplannable catastrophe will occur, at which point we will no longer have “options”. Our fate would be essentially sealed. The options we have at present allow, similarly, as a surgeon may choose to amputate a gangrenous leg, as a life without a leg may be mitigated against, and the outcome knowable. But to allow the infection to fester puts the entire organism in jeopardy.

To bring us back to reality, the infection that plagues us so, is that of indebted servitude forced upon the common people of the world, and utter lack of willingness to change for the better the technological conditions of modern life on the part of those making grand decisions with the tool of “money”. As I have previously defined the term, money, at its most basic, is a tool that “persuades people to do things”. With more of it, you have much more power to persuade, and this power is completely quantifiable by the “amount” one “owns”.

It thusly appears that those who wield such power have been using it in quite a horrendous manner. In the U.S.A., our public institutions of government have been corrupted to the point of cartoonish laughability, and contains so few, if any, opportunities for redress, that our options now lie outside the traditional realms of civil discourse (see “A Speculation on the Elite”).

So, as we witness and participate in a merry-go-round that soberly wastes precious natural energy reserves to exploit new energy reserves, that quarterly directly poisons the land, water, plants, and animals with pesticides and herbicides for crops that do not directly reproduce; that wages war with sovereign peoples half-a-world away; that monetizes the suffering of its own people; that has systemically instituted psychological manipulation in the form of advertising and marketing; and that asks us to blindly accepts these conditions as a requirement for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness: it would appear that the conditional contained within “if it ever becomes necessary for the people to disband this union, it is their right to abolish these systems and begin a new social contract,” has been reached.

What options do we now have? Armed insurrection has always been a possibility, but is entirely too destructive, and would likely cause more harm than good. Non-violent protests have been used effectively as well to influence lawmakers, but appears to be too slow for what now must be achieved. The best course of action would seem to be, indeed, nonpayment and non-cooperation in this system. With enough people dedicated to this cause, few would indeed be individually prosecutable by the courts. And were there extra-judicial measures to enforce compliance, taken by the “powers that be”, these measures would be dependent upon the monetary reserves that the people deliberately decline to replenish. We have seen how easily the American financial “house of cards” may fall apart, and mercenaries do not work for free. This tool can be used for our advantage. But we must first recognize our power to wield it.

I have often wondered why other highly-visible, progressive, concerned individuals have not advocated this plan, nor even mentioned it as a course of action for the American people. I fear that suggesting such things may result in the death of the person doing so, provided that they have a wide enough audience that their voice may carry. As such, I have a sneaking suspicion that the deaths of so many celebrities in 2016 and in recent years may be related to this, or to other ideas that can be so powerful in their communication to a large audience.

This action is especially effective in that it, paradoxically, requires no action to be taken on the part of the participants. It is quite capable of being quickly spread across the collective consciousness through social media, could alleviate many of our problems (though recreate old ones), and may act as proper and just recompense against the financial institutions that have done, and continue to, do so much harm to the American working people, especially these last eight years. I have argued in the past (see “A Speculation on the Elite”) that the great financial elite today, in accordance with efforts of the founders of our country when they reduced their own power to uplift others, might best effect this outcome by willfully forgiving the masses of debt, these “chains binding humanity”, whether to individuals, countries, municipalities, states and any and all organizations, and shortly thereafter step out of the powerful shadows, and be greeted by the people of the world not as subjugators, but as great liberators, in a grand show of reasoned compassion.

It has been three years now since I personally suggested as much. The elite have had their chance to use their powers to effect a better future, and they have chosen to continue this dance of death. Now, in a time of peace, is the moment to act, or more accurately, “refrain from action”. This is the civilized world’s stop-gap measure, in response to its own depredations. Such as it stands, the responsibility lies upon us. Our hand has been forced. This appears to be the best course of action, especially with the absurdity of a billionaire businessman being lauded as some sort of “populist outsider”, to soon gain the presidency. There is no longer even a pretense of working people having a hand in the policy and priorities of this country. We are being raised to be fleeced by a parasitic element consistently warping our consciousness to no good end.

The doctor recommends we cut.

I await your response.

 

Adios 2016,

 

~ Garret Out ~

 

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