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Sunday, May 21, 2006


I had to pile on this entertaining post at Entropy Productions with my two yaps worth of comment. Go to EP and you see a taxonomic narrative that essentially describes this tree of peak oil personality types:

Cornucopians - stereotypical

Traditionalists - Plebeians

One-shot Johnnies
Technopeakers - Techno-optimists

Doomer powerdowns
Doomers - Doomer nihilists
I don't have any problems with the hierarchy apart from one vital missing link. As the "doombat" represents the politically active end of the depletion crowd (a combination of "doomer" and "moonbat"), I figured the much larger fraction at the other end of the spectrum needed representation. I appreciate the cleverity of the term doombat but ultimately think we should consider only two groups -- people that want to try to identify and figure a way out of this oil predicament and people oblivious to it all. The missing links in the depletionist hierarchy populate the latter group. Remember that with the high profile that oil prices and oil wars present us every day, every citizen becomes a depletionist to some extent.

So scattered among the apparently-oblivious masses, we have to add the category wingpawns.

Wingpawns - sinister
Wingpawns consist of denizens of the wingnuttia blogosphere who go overboard to avoid talking about any ills the country or the world may face. These people actually might know about the potential pitfalls that we may encounter, and you can sometimes infer it from their writings (see Powerline for evidence of this), but through careful framing of their arguments they can completely obfuscate the ideas that the traditionalists and doombats put forth. And the wingpawns don't necessarily fall under the "conucopian" category. Wingpawns talk relentlessly about such tangential energy issues as Saddam's "oil for food" program and opening up "Anwar" as some kind of final solution. But then they let slip out a telling reference to stripper wells, which indicates they know more than they let on.

Most of the wingpawns get their talking points from conservative think-tanks and who knows where (strange little colleges like Claremont and Hillsdale pop up all the time, harboring the only college president that demonstrates outright warmongering). In contrast, they would counter-claim that doombats get marching orders from George Soros. The question ultimately facing the wingpawns remains how much longer do they need to play this game. The price of playing the pawn may not prove worthwhile, as pawns usually become the most expendable pieces.

Although most wingpawns inhabit the sphere of pure right-wing punditry and bloviation, a few visible ones show signs of hedging their bets. You have people like neo-cons Frank Gaffney and James Woolsey doing sensible things without trying to hide it. These neo-pawns will most likely make the cleanest break at some point, because they have left their options open.

I make a special category for myself. I belong to the group that antagonizes the wingpawns with a borrowed motto which states: "Have I told you yet today how much I hate these people?"

General Michael Hayden appears to represent a different kind of wingpawn. The guy throws around science jargon like he knows what of what he speaks, yet appears nothing more than a big phony. He has a history degree.

During the hearings, Orrin Hatch asked him whether we could have prevented 9/11 had we had eavesdropping in place:
(from the Al Franken show) HAYDEN: I've said publicly -- and I can demonstrate in closed session, how the physics and the math would work, Senator -- that had this been in place prior to the attacks, the two hijackers who were in San Diego, Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi, almost certainly would have been identified as who they were, what they were and, most importantly, where they were.
How the physics and math would work? Say no more, BushCo has just found another useful pawn.


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