The more faster disaster
One of America’s main goals is to produce and consume more and more stuff — at a faster and faster rate. Many of us believe this gargantuan expansion can be made ecologically sound by shaping it into “sustainable development” or “quality growth.” But that’s like trying to teach Godzilla table manners. Our economy will effortlessly swallow these environmental restraints and spit them out on eight-lane interstates, factories that cover counties, and dumps that dwarf Rhode Island. To believe otherwise is to be mesmerized by sustainable delusions and quality confusion.
For, you see, we’ve been growing like industrial-strength kudzu ever since Columbus sailed the unpolluted ocean blue. The Dow Jones average predicts that our economy will grow nine times the size it was in 1970. Nine times! For the Dow has grown about 1,000 to 9,000 since then. We are trying to develop the entire planet and are being stupendously successful at it.
In addition, hardly anybody wants growth to slow. We love the amazing miracles and jobs that growth grows. And we’re terrified that if growth slows, that may lead to recession and depression. Unfortunately, trying to force infinite growth on a finite planet will lead to depression, ecological ruin and war over what’s left of the Earth.
The logic of the equation is lockjaw tight: Infinite Growth + Finite Planet = Disaster. The date of the arrival of this “more faster disaster” grows closer with each new development — unless we can learn to live in ecological harmony
To do this, growth should be stopped, at least for a while. It will be an arduous task and will require changing some of the basic ideals of our economy. Once we’ve proved we can prosper in economic and ecological equilibrium, then — perhaps — we can allow some cautious, Earth-friendly growth. We could even let Wall Street bulls amble through our amber waves — this time being certain they’ll behave.
You’d think Asheville would become a leader in fighting the growth Godzilla, because we live in the most beautiful place on Earth. We can most clearly see the environmental decay accelerating around us. But noooo …
We want more of I-26, faster, and every fourth road four-laned. We hope to mall every square foot between Asheville and Hendersonville. With low taxes and free infrastructure, we beg huge corporations to plop their growth fantasies on top of us. Yet we calmly claim: “This can be sustained.”
— Bill Branyon
There is something inconsistent in a Congress that opens its sessions with prayer affirming the separation of church and state.
— Norman C. Smith
I am shocked and outraged at the utter foolishness and basic insanity and stupidity that Mountain Xpress [demonstrated by] putting out an article talking about the benefits of the drug LSD [Notepad, “Charlotte nonprofit publishes LSD book,” June 24]. Are you people crazy?
Look at what it did to millions of people who became permanentantly brain-damaged because of LSD. Look at what it did to [comedian] Art Linkletter’s daughter: She jumped out of a window and died while she was on a bad trip.
If you’re going to give out this attitude of “Who cares? Do what you want,” then you and your foolish ways will be leading people to a road of destruction.
— Bruce McCanless
Privatize all education
Free education does not mean our schools should be administered by the state. In fact, all education should be moved into the private sector. By doing so, budgets could be reduced by up to 80 percent.
We would be better off to outright give all of our public-school facilities to the teachers employed therein, to run as independent businesses charging tuition on a sliding scale, according to families’ ability to pay. The rest of the local budgetary needs could be supplemented with traditional scholarships, the new educational tax credits and IRAs, and tuition vouchers sufficient to make even poor-district schools viable.
Thereafter, hopefully, the market forces trusted in every other area of American life would operate to produce the best schools at the best price, through the traditional competition meant to meet the needs of all consumers.
— J. Geer