Wednesday, 1 June 2016

NUCLEAR PROSPERITY or Wind-and-Water Economy?

The following is the unedited version of an exposé currently featured in the 18th revised edition of The Moonshine Memorandum (see below): 

            “You are  all under their spell,” O’Brien said flatly – and those words would come back to haunt me - “blindly obedient, and with no will of your own.” Which was a direct reference not to the failed Prometheus, I realised, whom they would chain to a mountain of agony, but to that most misguided of enterprises:  “renewable forms of energy”. Probably the most tragic waste of resources in all the species’ technological history, in that the issues to be addressed were strictly temporary expedients rather than the more simple basic cause - the  study of the small-scale structure and evolution of the atom. Here retrogressive ecologists could follow their passion for the ideals and thought systems of medieval Europe, their need for renewable energies and psychological sedatives, to say nothing of their intellectual and moral cowardice. Indeed, the first thing to be noted was that the great industrial nations of the West were actually willing to exchange the prospect of nuclear prosperity for the subsistence of a wind-and-water economy. Or, indeed, that  wind-and-water power
had been the major energy sources of a post-medieval industry. That they represented the least efficient form of energy production, a form of power in its declension, no less; demonstrating  a highly improvident depreciation of the skill and ingenuity offered to it by a technological civilization. I did not at that moment consider my feelings or my opinion of any significance. Though I can do little now but acquiesce that never before has there been such a clear expression of the disillusionment of the scentific elite and, by extension, the entire ecological movement. A movement full of gloom; defeatist pure and simple; the embodiment of an exhausted history. Indeed, the pessimism conveyed in the demoralization of of an age whose judgments no longer embrace transcending  or even confident standards, is not merely ecological. It is evidence of deep changes in the orientation of the collective psyche. It is fundamental to a world looking back nostalgically to the  remote and golden summer-of-love from which its life once drew significance. Without regret and without ambition. Even though it can accomplish nothing except the petrifaction of all that which lies at the basis of a healthy and progressive civilization. And the triviality of much of it, rather than the propensity for windmills and hydro-electric power, explains why the Great Green Manifesto, which seems to have become a kind of highly charge panacea for the correction of all social ills, is nothing, at bottom, but an instrument of death and decline.

            I lacked the self-confidence to draw active conclusions from O’Brien’s speech. But hyperbole notwithstanding, it was an impressive feat. At that moment I could see no future for man. To say nothing of that collective, cultural unease which appears in populations at the end of an era, that omen of cultural disaster which tends to separate one historical epoch from another and whose symptoms, today, include moral resignation, widespread cultural despondency, collective self-flagellation and feelings of racial guilt.  Here we had an advanced technological species failing under the weight of idiotic affirmative action, bogus equal opportunity, endemic kleptocracy and escalating demographic congestion,  while trying  to save the world with windmills and hydro-electric power  plants.  It sounds brutal, an invention from the middle
ages, as if administered by men in leather aprons. The supreme syndrome of an  ideological prejudice that taints everything it touches, and which seems likely to vindicate only those who have prophesied doom. Nuclear power, in other words, was being send down by a jury of  machine-shop workers. Or as the great Richard Feynman once said,  the energy in a single cubic meter of space is enough to boil all the oceans of the world – and  now ‘the world’ is stuck here, experimenting with  water & windmills, as if the clocks of nuclear history had been frozen in time. No wonder, O’Brien showed no reverence for what, clearly, he assumed to be the superannuated  and elusive fragment of a declining terrestrial race. Truth to tell, I myself have few virtues, my  incurable passion for free speech and civil liberties apart,  but I do know that the search into the nucleus, not a future built on wind and gas, is our only  shot at survival.

 Malleus Maleficus is an advocate of English liberal democracy, and the  anonymous author of an historical apology of the British Empire.

No comments: