Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

This blog will be written from an orthodox Christian point of view. There may be some topic that is out of bounds, but at present I don't know what it will be. Politics is a part of life. Theology and philosophy are disciplines that we all participate in even if we don't think so. The Bible has a lot to say about economics. How about self defense? Is war ethical? Think of all the things that someone tells you we should not touch and let's give it a try. Everything that is a part of life should be an expression of worship.

Keep it courteous and be kind to those less blessed than you, but by all means don't worry about agreeing. We learn more when we get backed into a corner.

Saturday, December 3, 2022

 Opus 2022-321: Book Review: The End of the World...

I first came across Peter Zeihen on suggestions generated by You Tube.  I listened to at least one of his long presentations and tried some of his shorts which were just the big ones cut up to generate exposure.  I began checking out the libraries for books he had written and found his new one, The End of the World Is Just the Beginning on the New Books shelf.

I found him very readable and entertaining.  He presented broad sweeping vistas that seem totally believable.  Every once in awhile his feet of clay are exposed.  He also threw in footnotes that allowed his sense of humor to come through.  

He has a theme that permeates everything he says in what I have processed.  First, we have lived in a time of unparalleled peace and prosperity from the end of World War II to around 2015.  This was guaranteed by the United States Navy insuring the safety of the oceans for trade and travel and the opening of the American economy to the rest of the world.  Second, He believes that America is no longer willing to carry that load and is withdrawing from its overseas involvements.  Third, he thinks that there are big changes coming.  He repeatedly focuses on China and its demographic decline as well as its implosion as a world power.  He fears that the next stage will bring world wide famine and in many areas the end of civilization.  Fourth, at the same time he paints us as being in a good situation and American power will at least keep the Western hemisphere doing well.

I had a few areas of conflict.  A big one is his opinion that America is just a glorious accident of geography.  He has a point about all the benefits of North America but he totally ignores that the wealth and benefit to the whole world was not just the product of soil, rivers and coastland but was possible because you had a people driven by providence and the concepts found in the Declaration of Independence.  He totally ignores the American Creed and how it has molded the way in which we have used the natural resources.  

I was interested in the way he presented wheat as the wonder food.  He has it growing everywhere and being available to anyone who could farm.  I think he puts it in the class of a weed.  That goes against everything I have ever heard about the development of agriculture.  In fact I was just watching a presentation on how the peasants of medieval times ate.  There main food was bread but not wheat bread.  It was made of barley.  Poor people actually ate the ones he sweeps under the rug such as barley and rye.

He also made no mention of potatoes.  Adam Smith knew about potatoes.  He did an analysis and had potatoes presenting the highest food value per acre of all the crops.  It may not have been the first grown in Egypt but it eventually took a big place.  He does not even mention the humble potato.

He gives a rundown of coffee which is accurate generally accurate but I think he is sharing what he heard at Starbucks that morning.  

At the end he tells us where he is coming from.  No surprises there.  He is a greenie, an internationalist and a libertarian.  He works to overcome his prejudices.

All in all I would say it is a good read.  Just keep you thinking cap on and realize that most people who predict what is coming are 150% wrong.

Zeihan, Peter.  The End of the World Is Just the Beginning.  New York:  Harper Business, 1922.

homo unius libri

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Comments are welcome. Feel free to agree or disagree but keep it clean, courteous and short. I heard some shorthand on a podcast: TLDR, Too long, didn't read.