Way back in December 2000, I posted, in this very section, a list of Things I Believed, which came off, I think, as a desperate attempt to create aphorisms. (Sample: "I believe that most designs for Utopia give mankind credit for way too much intelligence.") Most of them were short and at least somewhat pithy, two irreducible attributes of aphorisms, and as regular readers know, I have a high, perhaps even excessive, regard for pith. None of the statements I made back then strike me today, as particularly controversial, either, which suggests a subject for right this minute: longer-form statements of comparable pith and perhaps more relevance, or maybe just less irrelevance.

  • There is legitimate disagreement whether we've reached the point commonly described as Peak Oil, where worldwide oil production has reached a point from which it can only descend. I am not persuaded that we have, but suppose I'm wrong — not that uncommon an occurrence — and from this moment on, oil production will eventually ebb away to almost nothing? In that case, I suggest, we should abandon our domestic drilling and our conservation efforts and concentrate on using up everybody else's oil as quickly as possible. If nothing else, it will ensure that eventually otherwise-worthless governmental entities like Saudi Arabia and Chavist Venezuela will be reduced to non-players on the world stage, and what we have left can be put to use at our discretion, assuming we haven't forgotten what "discretion" means in the interim.

  • If some future Supreme Court should reexamine the campaign-finance "reform" measure known as McCain-Feingold and find it as unConstitutional as it appears to the rest of us, there ought to be some way to inflict some form of moderately-excruciating punishment on both John McCain and Russ Feingold, co-conspirators whose regard for the First Amendment is manifestly next to nil, and on George W. Bush, who whined about the bill but signed it anyway. For the moment, I am forced to content myself with supporting Feingold's and McCain's opponents, should they ever run for office again; there isn't much that can be done about Bush, since he'll be gone shortly and presumably has no further governmental aspirations. (And if he does, he's as crazy as those flakes at Democratic Underground have been saying all along.)

  • Speaking of Democratic flakes, who in the bloody hell came up with the pathetic notion that showing identification before voting is somehow demeaning, an "insurmountable burden" on the voter? (First person who mentions "the legacy of slavery" has to name someone currently eligible to vote who was born before 1863.)

  • Finally, can we disabuse ourselves of the term "reality TV"? "Reality" and "television" go together slightly less well than "jumbo" and "shrimp," and the genre has contributed to the unfortunate notion that there is no higher goal in life than celebrity. (I've spent about an hour on television in my life, and it's an hour that generally I'd like to have back.) There's a term more appropriate for this kind of programming, but the Federal Communications Commission will fine broadcasters for using it.

More when the opportunity presents itself, or when next I'm stuck for a single topic, whichever comes first.

The Vent

#502
  24 September 2006

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