Friday, June 18, 2010

Answered Prayers


Black holes swallow everything. Cross the event horizon and you’re dust or worse. What better metaphor for the BP oil spill, the greatest environmental disaster in U.S. history? Here, all the ambition and avarice, all the masses of Enrons and junk bond dealers, the credit-default swapsters and collateralized default loansters, the Marc Richs, the Boeskys, the Long Term Capitalsters and Michael Milkensters, have finally been trumped. Here, nature rebels and turns the desire for riches into a plague that drowns birds or sends them into death spirals, that poisons fish, that destroys beaches, that turns the sea into a toxic swamp. The carnage is worsened by the smell of rotting flesh. The oil spill is the crossroads of ambition and lax standards (like the ones that were supposed to encourage the growth of the economy during Alan Greenspan’s tenure at the Federal Reserve). Nature unhinged is the poison. This is not some synthetic product of man’s imagination, but the bowels of the earth disgorging the very lifeblood of the modern economy. What would the Mideast be without oil? We needed more oil to free ourselves from the stranglehold of the sheiks, and God answered our prayers. St. Teresa of Avila’s famous dictum, “Answered prayers cause more tears than those that go unanswered,” perfectly illustrates the conundrum of the West, strangling on its own nourishment. 

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