Don Brash – a believer or a disingenuous tout?

Heard Don Brash being interviewed on Checkpoint last night. If I hadn’t had an eye on the cost, I’d have been replacing both speakers this morning. There are two parts to my frustration – the Brash story, and the standard of the interview.

Brash – so help us – represents the thinking that has driven us since 1984. Even then, folk like me could have (and did) predict we’d be hereabouts about now. I’m on record, somewhere in the Hocken, as a Silverpeaks County Councillor back in 86 or 87, stating that we should be looking at a ‘bus on rails’ approach to satellite commuting, to be ready for peak oil. I had a copy of the Club of Rome graph, and although I’d never done economics, I’ve done enough now to know that they were right. 

Brash – if he’s got an IQ over 100 – can work it out too. He’s only got to look at the National initiatives, to see that they’re all (Aquaculture, mining, de-restricting land) about physical resources. On a finite landscape. You’d think that, as a banker, he’d understand exponential growth. So you assume he could work out that it all stops, and sooner rather than later, due to doubling-times. Perhaps he might not ‘get’ the fact that we’re in trouble at ‘peak flow’, not being a physics type. Perhaps he thinks in terms of ‘not being in trouble until we run out’.

But I doubt it.

One thing is for sure, he was playing to his gallery, and that gallery is 1-2% of the populace. (Which begs the question of Radio New Zealand – they had available to them a balancing antidote, but chose  to run only Brash). Tapping into more, he is – correctly – assuming a dumbness combined with an arrogance, at the Right hand end of National. The frustration they will be feeling (which is all about exponential growth being grounded on the need for fiat money to grow or die, and the usury atop it to go and do likewise, having overridden it’s underwrite) can probably be redirected at some bashing-target.

I did that once – sniping at the County Council in the local Letters to the Ed. It was easy, and they couldn’t fight back, but – if I’d been mature enough to find out the facts first – I’d have realised that much (most) of my stone-throwing was misdirected. I put my money where my mouth was, found I was wrong in many assumptions, apologised where applicable, and got on with it proactively. In short. I grew up. Matured.

Brash, then, is appealing to an immature echelon. Ones who think they can get back on the unlimited-growth gravy train, as soon as they’ve sacked the ticket-collector. He’s told them that he doesn’t believe they’ll have trouble breathing the smoke in the tunnel –  after all, there have been successful smokers for years – and he simply won’t accept the concept that the coal tender is of measurable size, and therefore contains a finite quantity. Publicly, at least.

This begs the question, and it’s one I have of all the ‘growth forever, money trumps everything, forget the environment’ brigade:

Do they really believe their own twaddle? Do they genuinely think like Julian Simon – that there’s a copper atom every several centimetres through the earth’s crust, therefore we’ll never run out; that we’ve got richer as population increases, therefore increasing population will make us even richer – are they really that stupid?

Because that one is disprovable on a first-principle basis, and in any court of law, in about five seconds flat.

Or are they spinning the story to a pathetically eager echelon of ‘wannabe’s. Those who aren’t super-rich, but who won’t accept the fact, so vote as if they someday will. In other words, vote all the assets to the rich, thinking that they will one day be part of the elite circle.

I suspect there are both, in the Brash circles. Those who know exactly what they’re doing and who they’re disenfranchising, and do it for whatever reason (psychologists tell us that it’s a mangled mate-finding high-status breeding thing – I guess it depends on what you perceive as being useful future skills, tottering unwobblingly on high heels versus gardening talent, for example. Those folk know the ship is going down, and think the answer is to own all the lifeboats.

The others presumably believe the nonsense. We could adopt a ‘forgive them, for they know not what they do’  approach to those folk, but for the inconvenient little reality that they’re trashing the planet we hold in trust, for our kids.

Including theirs – no matter how rich you are, you die without food, water, oxygen. Which rather proves my point –  they’re pushing a subservient ‘driver’ – money was always a proxy, they’ve made the fatal mistake of regarding it as a driver, indeed, as the predominant one.

So that leaves the media – our ears and eyes – to disseminate the horseshit from the wheat. Checkpoint didn’t do that. Nor did it present the opposing view. Hence, my speakers being in danger of ending up coneless via barbarian.

When I attend lectures – Catton, Heinberg, Sims, Hansen – they inevitably have pictures of their grandchildren in their power-points. They’re genuinely worried, know it’s custard-bound, and those photos are an indicator of why.

One wonders about the Brash grandchildren, and those of his cohort. Do they not care about them? Do they really believe – and it IS a belief, it’s not based on fact – that they’ll be ‘better off’ if they’re ‘richer’?

Right at the bottom of the ideological schism, is a simple, simple truth: Money is a proxy for energy. If they run out of energy – even if it flattens off – their money is of questionable ‘worth’.  I guess they could shove it in their tanks, see how far they get. I could suggest another receptacle.

One Response

  1. I think the people who are really in charge — the Dick Cheneys of the world — absolutely do get it. But I don’t think any NZ politician is in that league. Brash and all the other talking heads in this country are drinking their own Kool-Aid.

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