The Only Way Out

Roland Stahl
September, 2022

     It isn’t easy trying to live a simple life in retirement, tending my fragrant roses and my walnut trees while the world all around me is hurtling to destruction at an accelerating pace.  Everyone is wringing their hands in despair, but no one seems to have any idea about how to solve this crisis.  I guess I really don’t have to repeat the litany of the collapse of everything we have taken for granted for the last 60,000 years ~ even if you don’t read any newspapers, print or digital, the collapse is all around us ~ global warming causing fire, flood, famine, war, and pestilence.  Just when you thought we were getting a handle on COVID-19, then we have monkeypox, and now polio is trying to make a come-back.  What’s next, the bubonic plague (the Black Death, Yersinia pestis) ?  If you are looking for something to read to your children at bedtime, try The Plague, by Albert Camus (this is what’s known as black humor).   “He knew what those jubilant crowds did not know but could have learned from books: that the plague bacillus never dies or disappears for good; that it can lie dormant for years and years in furniture and linen-chests; that it bides its time in bedrooms, cellars, trunks, and bookshelves; and that perhaps the day would come when, for the bane and the enlightening of men it would rouse up its rats again and send them forth to die in a happy city.”

     But readers of my rants know all of that ~ the question is, what do we do about it ?  Well, anyone who has noticed any of my writings over the past fifty years or so will know also that I have laid out a program of just how to deal with the problem.  Of course, plenty of people have indicated many ways in which individual problems might be addressed, but it is so discouraging trying to plant trees while evil criminals like Jair Bolsonaro are gleefully raping the dying Brazilin rainforest at the same time, or trying to ride your bicycle while the oil companies are extracting and fracking oil at a breakneck speed, plunging the earth into darkness as fast as they can fill their pockets with gold.  Paltry criminals like Adolf Hitler and Vladimir Putin pale into insignificance with their few millions of people killed, while the real enemies of the human race are making the entire planet uninhabitable for everyone.

     So it is not that no one knows how to deal with the several simultaneous and compounding crises facing us ~ the underlying problems are political, not technological.  Does anyone remember the heroic efforts of Rachel Corrie, who put her life on the line standing up to the Israeli bulldozer rolling over the Palestinian lands back in 2003 ?  The bulldozer just kept on rolling, leaving Rachel Corrie’s body in the dust.  Most individuals, no matter how outraged they are by the events in the world, are helpless in the face of the overwhelming inertia dragging down our world.  

     And so, once again, I come to an idea I have also expressed a number of times before ~ that it is up to the persons of wealth and power in this world to step forward and lead the way to a new world.  For some reason, many people seem to recoil from this idea ~ aren’t those the people who are most responsible for rushing this world to perdition ?  Well, in the first place, not everyone who has accumulated great wealth has done so by rape and pillage.  While it is true that the most common road to wealth is over the backs of suffering humanity, there have been a very few, here and there, who have actually produced something of sufficiently significant value as to have earned their place in the sun.  I won’t mention any names, but some of them have even established significant philanthropies with the design of returning a great part of their wealth back to the people of this sorry world.  

     But, in the second place, even if great criminals have accumulated wealth by rape and pillage, but then, on their deathbed, and fearful of the vengeance of an angry god (this would not be the God of the Christians, in spite of the many people who consider themselves Christian who believe that ~ perhaps they have been reading too much of the Old Testament), they decide to employ some part of their gains for the betterment of the world, I would not disdain to accept their blood money.  If Genghis Khan wants to set up hospitals to treat his wounded victims, he is welcome to put his name on the door.  

     As to how they might use their wealth and/or power to effect some positive change, I do not need to dictate the terms.  Of course, I have my own agenda, but if they have some other idea, let them pursue it.  For starters, I recommend, as I have before, convening a convocation of the wealthy and powerful, who might pool their resources to follow any reasonable plan.  

Rachel Corrie, 10 IV 1979 ~ 16 III 2003, in pace requiescat

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