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December 6th, 2016

Max’s View

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Peak Oil: The point in human history when the maximum rate of extraction of oil is reached. Once we’ve reached this peak it is all downhill from there. After the peak, the world oil supply will drop and drop until there’s nothing left.

The captivating and ridiculous documentary “Collapse” begins by presenting this reasonable macro-economic concept. And then it takes us down a wormhole of hysterical doomsday paranoia.

The film is simply a long interview in 2009 with Michael Ruppert. He is one deranged dude.

Ruppert fully believes in the theory of Peak Oil. And he is certain that the Peak Oil tipping point happened July 2008, when the price of oil reached $145 per barrel.

Ruppert goes into fascinating detail about how every aspect of our civilization’s food-production process is dependent on oil.

We manufacture the seeds in oil-dependent Monsanto factories. We unnaturally enrich the soil with oil-based fertilizer. We keep the fields pest-free with oil-based pesticides dropped from above by oil-fueled airplanes. We gather the crops using oil-driven harvesting machines. We transport the finished food product to you via oil-fueled trucks. The trucks, by the way, are made from oil-based plastic and roll along on tires that are made from oil.

Since oil=food, no oil=catastrophic famine. In Ruppert’s mind, the equation is as simple as that and the future of humanity is sealed.

“Collapse” is a terrific movie. But certainly not because Ruppert’s theory is correct.

While I totally agree that we’d be better off if we ate more locally grown food, everything else about Ruppert’s story is ridiculously wrong.

When oil runs out, humanity will inevitably turn to another fuel source. And oil isn’t running out any time soon. Ruppert’s Peak Oil date of July 2008 has been proven wrong. Due to fracking, we now have more oil than we know what to do with. The price of a barrel of oil has plummeted to $40 per barrel.

But, really, there is no point in arguing against a doomsday fanatic using logic and facts.

I have one thing to say to Mr. Ruppert and men (it’s always men) like him: “what makes you so special? What makes you think that the world is going to end in your lifetime? What makes you so smart that you can see the truth while everyone else is blind?”

Today, there’s a preacher in Oklahoma who is yelling from the pulpit that Jesus is coming again soon to smite the unbelievers. Today, the Islamic State is butchering people in order to bring about the prophesized final battle between Muslims and infidels in a Syrian field. Today, Al Gore is scaring a group of college kids into thinking that they will be killed by superstorms caused by climate change.

I’m not saying Al Gore is as bad as ISIS. But they are both equally wrong. And they are both suffering from the same delusions that the end is near and that they are the holy prophets who are preaching the truth.

The actual truth, of course, is that we are just puny, unimportant bags of flesh. Civilization worked fine for thousands of years before us and it will quickly forget us and move on for another thousand years.

A wholesome lesson that most of us learn in early childhood is that we aren’t special and that the world doesn’t revolve around us.

Doomsday prophets like Michael Ruppert are fascinating to listen to. But, in the end, they are just arrogant children who never grew up.

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