The Legendary Dave Howell interviews Tate Ulsaker
August 2005 – by Tate Ulsaker
Recently, I was honored to meet a giant of the Peak Oil truth movement in Moscow. David Howell co-authored the classic “Energy for Survival: The Alternative to Extinction” way back in 1974, during the early days of our now rapidly escalating energy crisis.
The reader may recall that I answered just 2 of Dave’s 17 questions in the first part of this article. I had to stop writing due to the lingering effects of a particularly lucid dream involving a drinking bout with President Putin in which sensible readers were forced to suffer through my rather vain efforts to save Russia from a fate of resource wars, misallocation economic power, abuse of political power, and other 21st Century issues. Read here on this website for details: http://www.oilcrash.com/articles/ulsak_01.htm
I am feeling fine now, thanks for wondering. The hangover is gone, so let’s get on with Dave’s last question.
|Dave Howell:||Question 3: What do you think is the future for ex-pat Americans here?|
Dave, the future for ex-pats in Russia will be increased Xenophobia. We are seeing it already in the pulse of daily life. Just yesterday they made another law, which adds an additional layer of bureaucracy on top of an already burdensome process for foreigners legally re-entering Russia on multi-entry visas. Now we should go to the police station not just once, but every time we return back to Russia from a trip abroad. Let’s cut to the stone center of this chocolate cake, shall we? Because this will not benefit Russia. Nobody with good contacts and a 50 dollar bribe will go to the police after returning from a trip abroad. Like always, the privileged classes just take their business to any one of the hundreds of “travel agencies” that gladly front for the police and manage all the leg work for whomever, criminal and otherwise. New levels of bureaucracy hurt the unconnected and poor, as always, and don’t bother anybody else. But politicians get to say that they are “doing something to fight the evils of… (fill in the blank).
More examples (skip this section if you don’t care)
Another example regards the work visas for foreigners, which are virtually impossible to obtain legally even for the big multinationals. In fact, I have a good friend that works for one of the big energy multinationals and he says that he doesn’t have a legal work permit and nobody in his whole company does. I won’t name the company because this is just the way things are and it wouldn’t be fair of me to pick on that huge monster petroleum company just because they routinely lie about reserve capacities so that their market will remain as stable as possible for as long as possible until things just fall apart. But the point is, when everyone is “criminalized” through impossible laws, then the government can just exploit that weak position whenever and the accused has no basis to argue.
Here is another one… Do you remember about 3 months ago when Duma deputy Nikolai Kuryanovich of the LDPR drafted a bill to strip Russian nationals of citizenship and deport them if they marry a foreigner? He said: “Our women, the most beautiful and best in the world, are going abroad. By doing this, they are wasting the most valuable thing we have — the gene pool of our nation.” While I couldn’t agree with Nikolai more, I would suggest that Mr. Kuryanovich look at the system of Russia first. Pretty women don’t like it here and so what is the problem? How about if we fix the country and keep the pretty women here by their own voluntary desire to stay in a good place? Not a bad motivation to get two benefits with one goal.
But no. Never. Not in ten thousand years have we learned our lesson from history. Always 100% of the time, consolidation of power is the problem because we humans become predatory on each other whenever we get a little power. And always, 100% of the time, we humans want someone to rule over us with unlimited power, because we like security. Ha! Oh my!
Government is the problem. Big government is the biggest problem.
A government solution to a problem is not a solution at all, but an exacerbation of that same problem. I think our readers will understand what I am talking about, Dave.
Problem, Solution, Result, Lesson (PSRL) Here is how it happens:
Let’s try a more global problem, just to check this theory.
Yup, PSRL seems to work to achieve perfectly opposite results every time so far. If government tries to fix anything, then watch out! The exact opposite is almost a guaranteed outcome.
By the way, Dave, maybe I will ask our studied and worldly readers a question about current events. Hey you, reader! What is biggest problem that big government is trying to fix right now? I mean besides Peak Oil. You know, we all have heard it 100 times. The infamous “War on Terror”, right? Scary stuff my friends. Big government is going to have a war on terror and I think we can predict the results. Dave, I think that our readers know where this is going.
Based upon the above formula, we will be seeing big government get involved in exacerbating the terror problem and making it bigger with their policies, which inexorably fan the flames of terror (PSRL).
|Dave Howell:||Question 4: Dmitry Orlov, in an article called “Post-Soviet Lessons for a Post-American Century”, published by From The Wilderness, compared America to Wile E. Coyote “after he’s run out a few paces past the edge of the cliff — he’ll take a few more steps in midair before he looks down. Then, when he sees that there’s nothing under him, he’ll fall. Many Americans suspect that they’re running on thin air, but they haven’t looked down yet. When they do…” Do you agree with that assessment?|
I read Dmitry’s analysis and I liked it very much. America is truly like Wile E. Coyote right now, hovering in mid-air, just about to look down to the rocks far below and realize, with legs spinning, that a horrible fate awaits at the end of a long drop down. “Gulp!”
Wile E. Coyote is a copyrighted of Warner Brothers
The outcome for America is predictable, unstoppable, visible and ignored.
The greedy coyote is already over the cliff. From this point forward he will either drop in a free fall until he hits bottom in a cloud of dust, or he will bounce from ledge to ledge and get sandwiched between two falling rocks. Either way, the days of exploiting poor countries with natural resources are almost over for America. Sadly, it is because there are not enough resources to keep the beast alive anymore. Too bad we couldn’t have changed our policies from within the political process. No, we had to wait until there was nothing left to take. The laws of PRSL at work again. Amazing.
Will we humans ever learn to keep power decentralized?
History shows us that we don’t learn the lessons of power for long. The left cries against crony capitalism. The right cries against the phony socialism, but the big booted lords over us in big government structures don’t care whether they use their left boot or their right boot to stomp on the faces of “unwashed masses”.
Big government has 2 boots.
And they will always be happy to give us whichever one we want.
Big media is always there to frame the false “left-right” arguments so that non-thinking serfs cry to put the left boot into power whenever the right boot comes down on his face too hard, and vice versa.
The genius of Orwell’s 1984, a prophetic vision of our rapidly enveloping global police state, is that he avoided the temptation to criticize communism or fascism. (The book was written in 1948 during the battle of the “isms”.) But Orwell saw through the left-right mentality. He went to the soul of the elite lord ruler. His character, Winson, while being tortured is told: “If you want a picture of the future imagine a boot stomping on a human face-forever.”
Who killed 200 million people during the 20th Century? It wasn’t the mafia or the terrorists or the Unabomber. Big government did it. What will the numbers be for the 21st Century?
The “left-right” argument is a tactic to divide and conquer the uninformed public and to get us animated in fake arguments against each other but the financiers of every major 20th century war, ON BOTH SIDES, are the same elite clans of people. The same elite clans that lorded over Europe are in power today, sitting behind the printing presses of our fiat currency central banks. They made money on both sides of every major 20th century war and it looks like that trend is set to continue.
If that isn’t a clue for Detective Sherlock Holmes, then motive, means and opportunity are meaningless points of discussion. We may as well watch TV and unplug our brains, which is another problem we humans have when it comes to our propensity to self-enslavement.
The real fight is not left-right, it is lord-slave. While we are fighting each other with our left-right paradigm, our lords are ruling over us with their lord-slave paradigm. We are in the wrong battles with all these terror wars. The lords engineered the wars. 911 was an inside job.
Even TV programming is a clue, just bear witness to the controlled arguments that a controlled consolidated media wants you to hear. There is no money in debating whether two presidential candidates, like George Bush and John Kerry, who are blood related cousins from two elite clans that belong to the same elite secret society should be running against each other. These are all facts, but who knows about them? And who cares? I or anyone can easily prove these facts out.
There is no money in debating whether it might be pointless to vote if both left and right want resource wars and open borders and fiat currency and globalism. No, the debates and the money is on the false left-right paradigm arguments, like whether we will raise taxes by 3% or lower them by 3%.
In other words, one boot says “relax the chains on our slaves by 3%”. And the other says “no, we need to tighten the chains on our slaves by 3% because they deserve additional security”. And we slaves are voting on which boot has a better idea. False left-right. Real lord-slave. Big government vs real freedom. To me, no other paragraph in the world makes more sense than this one.
While you and I argue about marginal tax increases or decreases, they win. While you and I argue about abortion, they win. We argue, they win because they are expanding their reach and control into our lives with RFID chips, biometric cameras everywhere, psychological profiling based upon the channels we watch, this whole credit game is debt-slavery, our tax rates are paramount to slavery today. Even the most brutal kings of yesteryear wouldn’t have dreamed of an effective 60+ percent tax rate. God almighty asks only for 10%, so there is our benchmark for government.
If we keep government small, we keep our God-given freedom of choice.
While we argue over false arguments, we are distracted from real issues such as: Why do the same elite clan sit behind our central bank printing press, generation after generation, and we fail to audit our Federal Reserve System, and it is untaxed, and they print our money from nothing and give it to their cronies which waters down the wealth that you and I created and hold in our US dollars? Why we allow an group of elite lords to print 5-10% of our money supply every year for free, stealing our wealth is because they are smart enough to use a good part of this money to set up the false debates. And we debate their false debates like a WWF wrestling match, with every bit of excitement deserving of good theater. If we took the power of the printing press away from the elite, and established a verifiable gold standard for our countries, then we would have a chance to be free and these clans would probably have to go and get real jobs instead of using their money to buy favor and instigate us to war for profits on BOTH SIDES OF EVERY WAR.
You see, dear reader, what a mess we are in?
Sadly, we don’t even have time to debate fiat currency because we are way behind on discussing an even bigger and more urgent threat.
The elite will remonetize the dollar after it’s certain collapse and we serfs will probably accept whatever currency they give us collectively, as we always do. But the urgency today is elsewhere, so let’s address it.
As you and I know, Dave, there is no alternative energy commensurate to the versatile and compact power of petrochemicals. Our whole civilization has grown in size right alongside the growth of petrochemical output. As Matt Savinar said, our body requires a certain amount of water in it to survive. Likewise, industrial civilization will not wait to suddenly collapse when the last barrel of oil is pumped from the earth. A ten percent reduction in output will send shockwaves through every product and every piece of food in the entire world.
It is too late now to bring any would-be alternative energy online in time even if one did exist, which it doesn’t. But if it did, we would require decades to switch our economy into it, assuming that it works, which is a big leap of faith against any shred of proof. And the hour is late and we are at peak and still the economists and politicians still placate us with “they will think of something” and “market forces will drive technological solutions”. But what if oil and gas are the last game in town? EROEI just doesn’t get measured by our wishful economists. What did Lenin say, “Economics is the opiate of society”? Of course I misquoted Lenin a bit just to make a point.
Things could have been different, Dave. And you are a clear exception to the rest of our dumbed-down culture. If Americans would have considered the eventual consequences of petroleum addiction back in 1974, when you wrote that book with the eerily prophetic title: “Energy for Survival: The Alternative to Extinction”, maybe America could have led the world into a new era of sustainability beyond growth. Maybe Russia will learn from the US collapse and make the necessary changes that many Americans wish they had made.
|Dave Howell:||Question 5: I don’t have the sense that Russia is “running on thin air” and will experience a traumatic national shock when it “finally looks down.” What are your feelings about this?|
Right. We both sense that Russians are “clued in” much more than most foreigners give credit. And Americans will be clued in“ too — after their empire falls. Give Americans 5-10 years after a major crash and watch them start wising up.
America will develop a culture of resilience and survival to replace the current culture of infotainment and selfishness. I like Americans. Americans have given the world a lot of great stuff. But there is nothing wrong in telling the other side of the coin. Truth is truth. We are moving fast now away from our golden age of peace and plenty towards the post-crash depression, deficit and war. Americans are largely blind to the sins of their country, even when obvious proof bites them in the ass.
So we will have to wait for the next generation. The children of collapse will shoulder all the pain and a few of them will wise up and get strong.
Many of the children being born today all over the world will endure some of the worst events in written history, and survive. Some of them will be legendary figures in tomorrow’s history, as was every post post-collapse generation. Where are the heroes? They are coming. When necessity demands, they will rise. Slowly at first, and then they will be everywhere. Was it Plato that said: “Necessity is the mother of invention”.
Economic cycles of boom-bust bring rise to cycles of dumb-smart. And social cycles of dumb-smart bring the opposite. We have played in those circles forever. Boom gives us arrogance and we overshoot. Bust gives us depression and we wise up. Simple theory, and it works.
Predictable cycles have been repeating every 80-years or so, as documented by a wide strata of studies, including “The Fourth Turning” and the “Kondratieff Wave”. These two studies were born from different cultures, different eras, different sciences, and yet they identify the exact same cycles consisting of 4 well-defined “seasons”… like Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter, or birth, growth, maturity and death.
The Kondratieff Wave
Nikolai Kondratieff (1898-1938?) was a Russian economist and philosopher who determined that economic depression occurred at regular intervals between boom, bust, war and rebirth. The K-wave theory is perhaps the best economic theory in the world because it predicts our economic seasons like a calendar, enabling us to invest wisely and predict when misallocated overshoot will take us into a new transformational war and into the rebirth of a new era.
The Fourth Turning
In a book written by William Strauss and Neil Howe, “The Fourth Turning” shows us history from the point of view of the generational patterns that drive it. As generations cycle around each other in “seasons” they tend to repeat patterns of problem and reaction that hold us to a predictable circular fate.
Written in 1997, long before 911 or the second Iraq invasion, “The Fourth Turning” predicted our Global War on Terror with a level of accuracy that is beyond coincidental. Interestingly, it is always the generation furthest away from the last transformational war that starts the next one. As we might have guessed, the “chicken hawks” leading us to war today represent that generation.
Both of these studies pinpoint our days at the beginning of a great “winter” cycle, eventually to lead us into widespread “transformational” war, deaths of people and the death of an era, deficit of life-sustaining products and economic depression. All of this is being determined from a study on generational cycles, having nothing to do with economics or energy. This leads me to believe that any serious analysis will tend to compliment any other serious analysis, be it ecological, economic, social, political and even spiritual.
We who are already familiar with the threats of Peak Oil don’t need any more indicators to remind us that mankind is facing the greatest threat in written history. What scares me sober, even after a few Trappiste beers, is that we are witnessing so many convergences taking place right now. We have no historical references in the human experience to 6.5 billion people learning how to farm on land meant for 2 billion people. We know what they did on Easter Island in the 17th century but they didn’t even have guns let alone nuclear and biotech weapons. Besides, our momentum towards aggressive resource wars has been made clear. A chance for reversing this trend is simply not on the radar screen.
|Dave Howell:||Question 6: As we near collapse, words like these are coming from insiders in America: “There seems to be so little willingness or capacity to do anything about it” (quoted in The Economist, April 16, p.12). Volcker chooses words carefully: “dangerous and intractable,” “willingness or capacity.” He’s saying: The situation is probably beyond our powers to remedy. I don’t see any more willingness or capacity to deal with the situation in Russia, but it seems to me that Russians aren’t so spoiled and so dependent on energy and “toys” as Americans, and therefore won’t be so traumatized when they don’t have them any more. What do you think?|
|Tate Ulsaker:||(Just then my computer screen went blank and darkness swallowed me up as if to add prophetic emphasis to Dave’s last question. I made my way to the window and stared out at the darkness on the street. No streetlights or apartment lights, just headlights from cars were visible. My region was without electricity. Having no choice in the matter, I had to delay Dave’s remaining 11 questions for a time when grid access resumed.)|
|Dave Howell can be reached at email@example.com.|
Tate Ulsaker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.