As a general rule, it is safe to say that matters of importance are not
prominent in the media and that things that are prominent in the media are not
Of course, that is a searing indictment of the media and, by
implication, of the entire democratic system in which the media are meant to
play a key role.
However, once you reach the conclusion that Orwell’s
1984 dystopia has largely been realized and that the general public is today
merely a gigantic herd of sheep, lulled into somnolent stupidity by the endless
barrage of bilge directed at it via ever more ubiquitous electronic gadgets, the
derivative conclusion regarding the degradation of participatory democracy
The antics of Israeli politicians, which have reached
new heights – or plumbed new depths – in recent days, merely confirm that
politics is primarily a variant entertainment form. That is why its better
exponents, such as Bibi, insist on presenting their acts during “prime
But anyone inclined to the view, very prevalent among the
chattering classes in Israel, that we are much worse than what they ludicrously
refer to as “civilized” countries, obviously had no exposure to the recent
election circus in the US. This contest pitted two lousy candidates: an
incumbent who was eminently defeatable and a challenger who, together with his
weirdo party, made every possible effort to ensure he could not win. Their rival
campaigns totally ignored the critical issues facing the US at home and abroad,
relying instead on endless repetition of vacuous slogans the content of which
was either negative or nonexistent.
Nevertheless, most sheeple – and
especially “educated” sheeple – profess to believe that the POTUS (president of
the United States) is “the most powerful man in the world.”
other political leaders are seen as having power and influence in accordance
with the apparent clout of the countries they supposedly lead. This approach is
encapsulated in the compiling of lists of persons variously defined as “the most
powerful,” “the most influential,” and so on.
An example – one among very
many, but it appeared a couple of days ago, so it’s fresh – is the list of the
most influential people in the world, as put together by Forbes
Almost needless to say, Barack Obama is number one – not
because he has done anything significant, but just because if he is POTUS, he
must be the most etc.
Meanwhile, far from the media’s beloved “news
cycle,” the world is undergoing a staggering, far-reaching upheaval, of which
the epicenter is the United States. Obama has nothing to do with it. Nor does
Romney, or any other politician.
Over the last few years, oil production
in the US has increased by leaps and bounds – and this is onshore production,
not offshore wells in the Gulf of Mexico or the Arctic.
still, huge amounts of natural gas are being extracted from newly identified
geological formations across the US, driving a massive shift in the production
and use of energy: less coal and nuclear power, much more gas and more
All this has happened within a relatively short period, against a
background of growing consensus among educated and knowledgeable people that the
world had reached “peak oil”; i.e., the amount of oil left to be extracted from
the planet was known and what was left was increasingly hard to extract, so that
oil prices would rise – basically for ever. Five years ago, this was the
received wisdom, and anyone doubting that this was so and that any alternative
future awaited mankind was considered ignorant and potentially
However, as 2013 beckons – and despite the severity of the
financial and economic crisis in which the developed world is mired – the
prospect is for oil prices to fall, perhaps far and probably for a long time.
The impact of oil and natural gas from shale formations, and the shift to using
natural gas for electricity generation, are still in their early stages. But
achieving the goal of “energy independence,” at least in the sense of having
domestic energy sources sufficient to cover domestic needs, for the US (and
certainly for Israel) is a realistic proposition.
Over and above the
economic impact, the geopolitical implications of this development are truly
Iran, the Arab Gulf States and Russia are facing what is for
them a disastrous scenario, as the world’s energy sources are redistributed with
All this stems from a few technical, technological and
engineering inventions, made by a few people. Those people – whom perhaps one in
a million Israelis or Americans could name – have influenced the world far more
than all the top 50 “leaders” and “statesmen” combined who appear on the Forbes
list. But never mind; the sheeple, including the “senior executives” and
“high-powered” people who read glossy business magazines, need to think that
they and their ilk run the world.
Stay on top of the news - get the Jerusalem Post headlines direct to your inbox!