Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Crisis of Civilization

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New World Notes News
Vol. 5, No. 38-39 -- September 23, 2012

This fortnight in New World Notes, radio programs #238-239, September 25 & October 2, 2012

The Crisis of Civilization
(in two parts)

In brief

U.K. political analyst Nafeez Mossadeq Ahmed has written and narrates an engaging documentary film, The Crisis of Civilization. In it, he surveys (by my count) seven serious global crises that are now besetting Western Civilization as we know it.

Ahmed argues that the seven are very much interrelated. So none can be fixed (or even much improved) without addressing the other six.

Looking at the big picture, we can see that Western Civilization cannot continue on its present path. It is unsustainable. We cannot keep pumping oil, warming the planet, acidifying the oceans, depleting the soil, destroying civil liberties, acquiring resources by military force, engaging in endless wars, taking land from subsistance farmers, and basing the world economy on financial speculation.

We can make intelligent plans to change to a more sustainable way of doing things. Or we can maintain the status quo until the catastrophe comes. I predict the latter, but Ahmed is encouraging the former.

The seven interconnected crises are
  • climate change
  • peak energy
  • food production and distribution
  • economic instability
  • international terrorism
  • militarization
  • destruction of civil liberties
Clips from old films enliven Ahmed's discussion, which is pretty interesting in itself.

We'll hear selections from the documentary.

In Part One (NWN #238) Ahmed looks at economic instability and terrorism.

In Part Two (NWN #239), he examines militarization and destruction of civil liberties. And we'll read a good essay by Bruce Dixon, of Black Aganda Report, on how Obama and Romney agree on almost every issue.

Another thing they've agreed on: not to mention six of the crises we're identifying--and not to say anything sensible about the seventh, terrorism.

Above: Nafeez Mossadeq Ahmed. Below: Obama as Patton.

Notes, credits, & links

The Crisis of Civilization was produced and directed by Dean Puckett.

The film is available, without charge, online: .

The complete text of Bruce Dixon's essay, "Closer Than You Think: Top 15 Things Romney and Obama Agree On," is here.

New World Notes is produced under the auspices (Latin for "radar") of WWUH-FM, a community service of that beacon of light in darkest Connecticut, the University of Hartford.

You can listen to any installment of New World Notes online or else download it (as an mp3 audio file) for later listening. The show is archived at both and (from #90 onwards) The Internet Archive. Either link should get you a reverse-chrono listing of available installments. Or browse the show's Web site: Each installment has a page, and each page has links to the recorded audio. See the gray sidebar on the right ("CONTENTS [Links]") for a table of contents.

Series overview:
Political and social commentary in a variety of genres. Exploring the gap between what we want ... and what they're trying to make us settle for.

Above: VP candidate, Rep. Paul Ryan.
Below: The 2012 drought in the U.S. Midwest--the "corn belt"--
is likely a result of global climate change.

Coming soon (Tuesday air debut date shown)
  • October 9 -- Dave Zirin on American Football
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