Friday, January 1, 2016

My Hex on Exxon

by Tom Phillips

Sometime in the year 2000, I remember saying to my younger brother, “the world has improved.”  It was a spontaneous remark and it surprised me, considering that we'd been brought up in successive eras of doomsaying – World War Two, then the Cold War and the threat of nuclear annihilation.  If that didn’t get us, there was always the “population bomb” that was going to make the planet uninhabitable. 

For a few years in the Reagan and Clinton eras, it seemed as though we had righted the ship. The Cold War was over, nuclear weapons were being mothballed and the threat of war was reduced to brush fires on the fringes of a New World Order.  Peace was paying dividends, and the national debt that was going to overwhelm us was actually shrinking.  For news, we had to make do with shark attacks and the president’s dallying with an intern. 

It was a window onto a future that looked brighter than we ever expected, but the window slammed down on September 11, 2001.  Since then we have been blundering our way through a Clash of Civilizations that is actually a mismatch, just as the Cold War was, and which will probably end, as the Cold War did, with a whimper and a default win for modern civilization. To some of us, the world seems to be on the verge of improving again.