Read: “Activism v. Restraint”
26 May 2010
If you talk about the possibility of a collapse of industrial civilization and—along with it—life as we know it, people seem to think you’re a bit nuts. And this is even after the economy went haywire, oil reached its highest-ever price (with little look, it seems, into why that was), and the U.S. continued waging a never-ending war.
So I’m looking back to a time when people took the possibility of collapse more seriously: not the current Great Recession, but during the Great Depression.
“As late as 1937, the Depression still presented a risk of social and industrial collapse, ‘the very conditions that in other nations had hastened the slide into tyranny,'” writes Jeffrey Toobin in his New Yorker article, “Activism v. Restraint” (May 24, 2010).
He points out how FDR’s New Deal was challenged by the Supreme Court, and how he had to change the composition of the court to secure the changes he wanted to make. “Court-mandated inaction, Roosevelt believed, was therefore not an option.”
Obama may face the same challenge today, Toobin writes. I’m less hopeful about a resolution along the lines of the New Deal. We’ll see. I still think we’re facing possible collapse.