Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Ronald Reagan, Speed Freak

My profile of Bill McKibben (with solutions for climate change) will be in Duluths's Zenith City (semi-) Weekly around the beginning of February.

Don't live in Duluth? You can find archived past profiles -- including Buckminster Fuller, Dorothy Day, and hero of the confederacy John C. Calhoun --  at


Look for
Faces of Wisdom in the archived issues.

It's the year after the end of the Mayan Calendar.

Twelve years after 2001, and we still haven't sent a talking computer to Jupiter..

Thirteen years after Y2K.

We were going to "party like it's 1999."

Buckminster Fuller thought we'd have solved our problems or blown the planet to smithereens by 1985.

It all seems so quaint.

E. F. Schumacher published Small Is Beautiful forty years ago.

The Limits to Growth came out in 1972.

If four decades have passed, and Americans still haven't starved or choked on our own waste, those guys must have been wrong. Right?

President James Earl Carter was curious and worried about those two books. He entertained Schumacher at the White House, and installed solar panels on its roof.

Then we decided that it was "morning in America," took down the panels and suppressed Carter-commissioned plans for getting off the petroleum tit.

Here's Bill McKibben's on how we  got away with ignoring the environmental Jeremiahs from  Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet:

"The problem was not that Reagan's sunny disposition masked a fascist soul; the problem was Reagan's sunny disposition."

How did the Reagan administration get away with ignoring growth's limits?

"...there was still enough slack in the system that it wouldn't come crashing in on them. Deregulation -- the relentless notion that government was the problem and that freed from its strictures the economy would grow -- was in the short term remarkably effective. We would flog the economy back to life, give it a dose of economic amphetamine that would last for fifteen years, the years when our slide (would) gain irresistible momentum."

1 comment:

Dick Fischbeck said...

The solar panels are here in Unity, Maine, just down the road a piece. A Swiss film maker did a documentary about them.