Waiting for the Hammer to Fall
By Mike Meyer
We are in a classic pause waiting for the million pound shit hammer to fall. There are many historical instances of this but the most relevant is probably August 1914. 2019 may seem to be a very different from August 1914 and the first month of World War I but there are similarities.
Very briefly, the events at the start of WWI were the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand of Austria and his wife Sophie in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914. This caused Austria-Hungary to declare war on Serbia as the assassination had been carried out by a Bosnian Serb nationalist who were seeking independence from Austria-Hungary.
The initial declaration of war between Austria-Hungary and Serbia in July set the stage for August 1914 when most everyone in Europe declared war on everyone else. This was a period of boasting and profiling with backstage manipulation and a general refusal to see the whole thing as anything other than a showcase for nationalist glory.
In reality it would lead to 26 million deaths in four years until it ground to a halt in 1918 and then start again in 1939 as WWII producing another 70 million or more deaths. No one expected this. In fact nothing like this could possibly happen and the biggest problem In August 2014 was failing to take advantage of the opportunities that nationalist glories would provide.
You may recognize some of the words in the above description. Serbia was part of a nasty nationalist fit of ethnic cleansing (a late 20th century term) in 1990s. Nationalism, that is again causing trouble, was being recreated in its modern form in the late 19th century leading to great death and suffering, see above.
The devastation to our planetary civilization was massive creating several generations of maiden aunts around the world because there were no men to marry. The devastation in Europe and Asia was not cleaned up until the 196os. But that is not the point here.
What are the similarities?
The greatest similarities are self absorption, stupidity, and allowing narrow minded and ignorant people to control nation states infected with growing nationalism. The flat refusal to see the potential for disaster and the implications of assuming that everything would continue on without a problem. The failure to recognize stupidity as the threat that it is.
There are some distinct differences that make our situation now much worse than August 1914. We have a majority of the planetary population that understands high level projections of global warming and the disasters that cannot be avoided.
We have low information segments of our population who think that nationalism is somehow good. As low information people they are open to being manipulated and fooled into profoundly stupid situations. They don’t know about the history of August 1914 and the death that inevitably results from antique nationalism.
Nationalism is a throwback to ancient tribalistic and feudal forms that arose in the midst of failure and disaster. The mentality of those attracted by nationalism is the result of greed, fear, and insecurity. Instead of building they will always seek to destroy. It is easier and you don’t need to admit you don’t know how to do anything else.
What we are facing through the rest of this century and the next, and the next, is potentially far worse than the 100 million deaths in the wars that started in August 1914. But these deaths will not be squeezed into ten years of military conflict. They will grow year by year around the planet through this century and into the next.
The conservative estimates currently are 250,000 deaths per year from climate change even with efforts to slow the rate of change. But there are higher estimates.
Remember August 1914. It was all under control and nothing too bad could happen. We are still in August 1914 and the real battles have not even started. There is growing concern that the rate of change is accelerating far above the conservative estimates. So there could perhaps be 1 million deaths per year increasing year by year.
Canada warming at twice the global rate has just been reported. This is a vast and complex process that has very different effects on different regions.
Due to food shortages related to climate change, the Earth may experience a net increase of 529,000 adult deaths by 2050, according to a new review article published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Journalist’s Resource
While the current attitudes are either complete willful ignorance or a cynical take that only a million deaths every two years is not that bad, there is much more to this.
Deaths from drought, starvation, and heat will be worsened the loss of significant portions of coastal cities? What about millions of refugees from both climate disaster and political collapse? These disasters are expected to wipe out economic growth by 2050 if not sooner.
The craziness apparent in the current insistence that nothing too bad will happen, as in August 2014, is the pretense that sea level rise and heat don’t need to be considered. Our most expensive real estate are coastal and sea front properties that will be under water between 2030 and 2050.
There is not just one million pound shit hammer in our situation. There are many and they are all connected. What happens when it dawns on people that most of the heavily leveraged waterfront in Miami Beach is worthless without scuba gear?
Much of the North American plains will become too hot for human habitation between 2050 and the end of the century. Drought will make the dust bowl of the 1930s seem a minor annoyance. Several states could become worthless with only a few people struggling to live in the heat and drought.
All of this has been identified as part of continuous research over the last twenty years. It is now considerable worse than first expected. It continues to be ignored. When will that change?
I’ve simply identified some immediate possible triggers to the ‘discovery’ of these million pound shit hammers by the rather dense people who think they are in charge. And those people tend to panic when they can no longer ignore reality.
That’s when the hammer falls.