Truth or Fairy Tale?, Interesting Reading Either Way

I haven't yet read this in its entirety, but it appears that there must be controversy in there somewhere.

The Oil We Eat
Following the food chain back to Iraq
Posted on Friday, July 23, 2004. Originally from Harper's Magazine, February 2004. By Richard Manning.

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no this article is great, I

no this article is great, I think. The author's from Montana, and is a friend os a lot of my friends. Nobody really likes him: the right hates him because he makes the common sense argument that the Iraq war was about Oil resources, and the left hates him because he says that Hunting is more ethical than eating processed vegetarian food. He's a throwback leftist I think, and probably the kind of guy who represents a "left" movement which could retake alot of the red states.

Oh boy. I've read this.

Oh boy. I've read this. It's hideous. Awful. I still have my notes somewhere...
Almost had a discussion group about it last summer with some co-workers but it was cancelled due to bad weather.

It's a pretty interesting

It's a pretty interesting read. The guy's basic idea is a sort of neo-Marxist analysis of the "superstructure" that sits on the basic "mode of production of concentrated energy" that is first wheat, then oil. These containers for energy are spoken of as a sort of demonic force that determines history, causing untold havoc (with a little help from the pesky humans). As long as you read the piece with the realization that it is individual humans that act, it's pretty interesting.

Here's an example of the author getting silly: "It is not a coincidence that the American pandemic of obesity tracks rather nicely with the fivefold increase in corn-syrup production since Archer Daniels Midland developed a high-fructose version of the stuff in the early seventies. Nor is it a coincidence that the plague selects the poor, who eat the most processed food."

The plague of food-energy in evil sugar selects the poor! Bad food-energy! Pity those fat poor are just helpless victims, what with food-energy stuffing itself into their helpless gullets! People are without volition; energy acts. Ignore that, though, and it is interesting that obesity tracks production of corn syrup (if that is true). Which is the cause, and which the effect?

Clearly the guy is a leftist against most of modern society. It's depressing to him - the standard Litany in a more energy-centric form. He doesn't grapple with the economic arguments of Julian Simon so it's fairly clear he's not aware of them.

Fine Grain Analysis Don

Fine Grain Analysis
Don Lloyd points to this old Richard Manning article in Harper's without much comment: "there must be controversy in there somewhere." There's some, but it is yet another statement of themes Manning has voiced for a long time, most thoroughly in h...