Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Rumors of War

   Since part of the mission statement of the Leibowitz Society is to chronicle the collapse of the world into a new Dark Age, as well as preparing to save civilization's accumulated important knowledge, I check the news often to see what is happening with domestic and world affairs.  If I didn't think it wasn't important to at least record some historical milestones, I probably wouldn't bother.  After all, there's very little at this point we can do to make a difference in anything and instead we need to concentrate on our own "golden parachutes," so to speak.

   Usually the news is boring and repetitive, like another half point rise in unemployment claims.  It is very sad for the people who are affected (and there is a piece on this over at The Economic Collapse blog I highly, highly recommend:  http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/tent-cities-homelessness-and-soul-crushing-despair-the-legacy-of-decades-of-government-debt-and-mismanagement-of-the-economy), but not dramatic from a historical point of view.  This morning, however, I check the news and see that a new Korean War is on the verge of breaking out.  It's hard to say if this will be just another border incident, or if it will break out into open fighting.  Things can sometimes get out of hand with very little notice, like World War One, so who knows what the ultimate outcome will be.  The First Korean War itself isn't well known to most people, but the roots of the conflict, growing from centuries of Korea being ground between one power in the region and another, are interesting to study and I highly recommend David Halberstam's history of the war, The Coldest Winter.  While it is detailed, he was an excellent writer and the volume is very readable.

   Taking a step back, the possibility of war is often mentioned in both fiction and non-fiction dealing with the topic of collapse.  One point of note is that survivalist writings often include war as the cause or precursor to collapse, such as in Alas Babylon, while doomers often write of war in the expectation that it will come in due course as resources dwindle and people for survival.  I think a third view is relevant, that wars of opportunity may break out as nations scramble for position when they see weakness displayed by their neighbors or rivals.  This is critically important to people who are looking for a safe haven as conditions deteriorate.  After all, there is an anecdotal story about a man who was looking to escape the then-coming World War 2, who moved to Guadalcanal(!). 


   The other story which seems to have been in the news a lot lately is the backlash over extra TSA screening.  Flying is really not the most pleasant experience to begin with, and facing an overly "personal" experience like this isn't going to endear it to many more people.  In the end, while I think the policies will be changed, it may be too late by that point to rehabilitate the flying experience in the mind of the public.  Flying itself has really always been a luxury item for the majority of the population, a necessity for some (due to work), but it has also represented a major step in creating a global community of sorts -- after all, a person can get on a plane and be halfway around the world in a day or so, something that would take a week or two by ship (not an inconsiderable amount of time).  It contributed to making the world smaller, and when it once again becomes a luxury item available only to the wealthy (due to high fuel prices and the fact that the airline industry is something of a "bubble" industry to begin with), we will see the world begin to grow much larger again, something that is a hallmark of a Dark Age.

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