Carbon and our Souls

I’ve been challenged by Patrick Deneen’s writing on peak oil and the belief, contra Julian Simon et. al., that we will NOT find new technologies to replace petroleum in our economy. What I understand to be Deneen’s goal for raising such terrifying though possible futures is to re-orient thinking about progress toward virutes, not material success. Later I might write more about how these play off each other in Tocquevillian thinking and how Deneen, director of a forum named for that Frenchman, employs too much Christopher Lasch and not enough restless St. Augustine.

On the same topic, a few days ago Peter Leithart published this poem from Hillaire Belloc from a 1927 debate with George Bernard Shaw:

Our civilization

Is built upon coal,

Let us chant in rotation

Our civilization

That lump of damnation

Without any soul

Our civilization

Is built upon coal.

In a very few years

It will float upon oil.

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