Hurrah for $4 a gallon gas! No, really...

Time Magazine published an article, here, that I found really interesting today - in the grand tradition of people finding things interesting, it's because it's what I thought anyway: $4 gas is not necessarily a bad thing.
Yeah, sure, I know, my budget is hurting too. I'm with you on that one. It's not a FUN change. But, it's a good change, a change that, in the long run, is very healthy for our country, I believe, despite the politics saying otherwise. I won't go on to just repeat what was in the article I cited - it's a fun little read, even if it's a bit light on actual data. I suppose what touches me on a more philosophical level is just that... well, America is much prettier when it struggles. I was thinking of this earlier today, because I've been thinking about Emma Goldman, an old favorite idea of a person for me. When Emma was alive, I don't know that I AGREED with her, at all, but I really feel like I believe SHE agreed with herself, anyway. Anarchists, Socialists, Unionists, all of the movements for social change really, today, feel very shallow, very raise-the-fist-and-look-cool-in-college. Very Bourgeois ;). In Emma's days, this was not so, because there was a NEED for change, there was a hunger in the American people for a change of the class system then.
Well, I don't believe that oil prices will bring about the rise of the proles, or anything (although the idea is interesting...), but I do believe that for America to be heroic, now, in the struggles we fight (returning to a basic respect for the earth, for instance, or facing up to the responsibilities that come with power) it must feel some pain, it must have some gentle prod. And really, I know, it's hard, it is, but $4 gas is a pretty gentle prod. Put it in perspective, we are all still eating, movie theaters and beer companies are not going out of business, it's not like we're eating dirt cakes. We're just having some visibile evidence that this gas thing ain't gonna hold out forever, you know? And it's that whisper in our ear that can make us heroic, that can spur us to do great things, like the generation of World War II, or the Apollo project, or even the Revolutionary War. After all - folks didn't just sign the Declaration because they liked the idea of it - they were economically inclined to do it.


Amanda said...

when I was younger, I used to think that $4/gallon gas would change something. That we would wake up and work for better energy solutions in our country. I haven't read the article in question, but now that I've seen $4/gallon in the US, I sincerely doubt it will do anything. When we were at $1/gallon, France was at $4/gallon, and they had a great public transportation system and were much better about energy usage than us. Now, we've gone up 400%, and they've doubled, to $8/gallon. They are going up, too. Even with good energy policies and whatnot. Not as much as us, but still going up. I have a feeling gas prices will change our society, but not in a good way. Not in a BAD way, either, but just in an indifferent way. We'll learn to live around them. They aren't bad enough to cause real change. If they shot up to $15/gallon or something, sure, then we'd change, and FAST.