Friday, July 17, 2009

The story of stuff

Sustainability here is quite noticeably viewed through a liberal, neo-Democrat, environmental a la the Sierra Club lens, and of course there are oversimplifications, generalizations and selective interpretations intended for shock value. Still, the principle message is clear, unambiguous and most importantly, TRUE. Linear systems cannot run indefinitely, and current rates are incontrovertibly unsustainable.

If you read the comments on the original video on youtube though, you'll get a lot of comments from people (Americans mostly) dismissing the message. What always bothers me about the average American is that they are too quick to dismiss something once they've labeled it, correctly or not, as Democrat, Republican, conservative, liberal, name it. It applies as equally to liberals as it does to conservatives, or any two groups of Americans that are diametrically opposed. As long as it doesn't jibe with their existing values or worldview, out it goes. No serious mental effort is expended in discerning the value of the entire content on its own terms. Instead, more often, a single thing from the video, article, column or opinion is extracted out of context, set up as a straw man, and used as a reason to dismiss the whole.

Frankly, I'm frequently annoyed that the "greatest" and most powerful nation of people on earth see things in pure black and white terms. Despite the great visionaries and thinkers that have emerged from the USA, Americans as a group really are like cows. Dumb cows. Then again, maybe mass crowds everywhere are cows too.

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