What the Adults Have Figured Out
Please also see my earlier essay, “What the Children Have Figured Out.”
There are two groups of adults: the handful of super-wealthy billionaires who have spent decades buying politicians and making policy, and the vast majority who are in charge of nothing.
Both groups largely understand what’s going on and both studiously try to ignore it.
What do they know? Well, most the details remain obscure. But they know this:
- Politicians and policy are largely controlled by the super-wealthy who bribe politicians (in polite company we call these bribes “contributions”) and fund “think tanks” and various propaganda machines.
- Democracy is a sham that gives a thin illusory veneer of “representative government” which is why many policies that the vast majority of Americans favor never come to pass. It’s why tax cuts for the wealthy happen again and again and every proposal to spend a dime on the ordinary American is debated, and reduced or killed.
- Since at least 1980, the ruling elite have known they are destroying the climate and thus the future of humanity and yet continued to do so.
- In recent years, the elite have pretended to begin acting to blunt climate catastrophe while actually trying to maximize profits from every last barrel of oil. This continues to this day.
- Without a sharp and immediate reduction in C02 emissions, all of our grandchildren (and maybe even our children and ourselves) are doomed.
In addition, most “know” certain things that aren’t true:
- They “know” that the wealthy will keep control and their children will do fine even on a damaged Earth due to their great wealth. Of course, nobody will live comfortably or securely on a hostile planet. And the existing political and economic systems will collapse, revealed as a complete failure just as the old Soviet Union collapsed.
- They “know” that the wealthy are brilliant and will find some way to largely preserve things or have some sort of positive outcome for themselves. In fact, the wealthy are clever morons, not brilliant at all. Because they spent decades believing that their vast wealth wasn’t enough and fought to get ALL of the wealth — dooming themselves, their offspring and the Earth itself.
Somehow, we overestimate the wealthy. We mistake cleverness for brilliance. We believe that they are rich because they are smart. How wrong we are!
The ability to manipulate people and the ability to take advantage of systems they control is very, very different from dealing with Nature Itself, which cannot be manipulated or fooled.
Chemistry, physics and the climate operate independently of any propaganda or bribes. And what is stupider than spending decades taking actions that inevitably will destroy your own offspring? Is that really brilliance?
Pretty soon the complete failure of this group will be even more obvious to all. Few will be able to believe in the omnipotence and brilliance of these colossal failures. Few will be fooled by the pretend actions to (way too slowly) fight climate catastrophe.
Why? Because Nature will continue to operate as it always has. And today’s killer storms, deadly heatwaves, and brutal wildfires will be seen as the good old days, a Garden of Eden compared to what comes next.
And THEN, perhaps the old failures will be swept away and the competent experts — engineers and climate scientists — will be put in charge to try, at a very late date, to set things straight. By then, it may be too late.