As the debate in DC about raising the debt ceiling continues, I see the necessity of a Jubilee year more clearly. In case you’re reading this blog for the first time allow me to re-explain what a Jubilee year would mean. The concept comes from the old testament book of Leviticus so it has agrarian roots which seems poetic since we’ll be a thoroughly agrarian society again after the oil runs out (unless we make a sharp u-turn concerning our addiction to oil). Anyway, every 49 years the Israelites in the ancient near east would declare a “Jubilee Year.” All debts and obligations would be canceled and forgiven in the Jubilee year as well as allowing the fields to lay fallow in order for the earth to replenish her nutrients.
As it stands currently, our American top soil in the mid-west has become thoroughly polluted with pesticides and herbicides. It has been over farmed and it has been subjected to huge mono-cultures of corn and soybeans. A thriving eco-system needs diversity and our planet is becoming increasingly overrun by we the people.
If we were to take the premise of a Jubilee year seriously then we would be forced to confront our terrible eating habits as a country. It seems to be in the national interest to look after our own health before continuing our obsession with finding the next place to drill and/or frack for fossil fuels. Instead, we should look at the amount of junk in our diet and resolve to eat better. The best way for us to do this is for every person to tackle in earnest the prospect of gardening. Every window sill and rooftop should be growing food. Every spot of unused land in our cities should be producing. We can easily transform our landscaping prowess from strictly a visual aesthetic to include a regular harvest. Imagine what it would be like if we were all planting fruit and nut bearing trees and berry bushes in our lawns – the ideal would then be the regular sharing of food with our neighbors.
As un-likely as this may seem to happen, it should be considered a viable solution to pre-empt the harm that the oil crash will do. A Jubilee year can hopefully provide us with a little bit of grace during our fall. It can at least frame the debate with some romance.
And so I say that America should not increase its debt ceiling and that we should default as a nation. I believe that we are already a morally bankrupt country and so we might as well face the music and declare financial bankruptcy.
It’s time for the fat lady to do some singing.
Of course, we could drag out the whole messy farce out as long as we can and end it all in another civil war where a bunch of “true-believers” can kill each other over their beliefs again. Or we can learn from our history – I say the violence has got to stop and we have to grow the fuck up.