Fifth Wednesday Post

Rice and Beans in the Outer Darkness

Psychotherapists figured out a long time ago that a roundabout approach is necessary if you want to tease out the origins of any serious psychological problem. You won’t get there by any direct approach, since the defensive maneuvers the patient uses to keep from thinking about the real source of his problems will keep you from getting there either. That’s why dreams, slips of the tongue, and the like played so large a role in psychotherapy, back before the medical profession stopped helping people understand their problems and settled for the more lucrative option of drugging them into numbness instead. That strategy is also a viable option when the craziness we need to understand belongs to a society—ours, for example—rather than an individual.

With that in mind, let’s start with an odd habit of conversation that came up with obsessive frequency a few years back, whenever well-to-do Americans got talking online about what they thought poor people ought to eat.

That used to be a surprisingly common habit among the socially conscious chattering classes, though it seems to have died out of late. Central to many of those discussions was the very modest amount of money paid by the main US food aid program for the poor, which used to be called food stamps and is now called SNAP.  As with most forms of welfare in the US, the amount varies from state to state and is subject to regulations of more than Byzantine complexity, but the average until recently worked out to around $4.15 per person per day.

Now it so happens that you can keep yourself well fed on $4.15 a day—I’ve done the equivalent for extended periods, for reasons I’ll get to in a bit—but you can’t do this if you eat the kind of diet that people in the privileged classes think that everyone ought to eat.  That, in turn, was the only kind of diet that people in these conversations were willing to talk about. They wanted to talk about salads and fresh fruit and the sort of low-calorie diets that only count as adequate nutrition if the most strenuous thing you do all day at work is walk to the water cooler to gossip with your fellow cubicle inmates.  Since you can’t afford that kind of diet on $4.15 per person per day, they did a lot of emoting about the plight of the poor.

If you wanted to see the flipside of that attitude, all you had to do was mention rice and beans. Poor people of nearly every ethnic group in this country enthusiastically eat some variant of that dish, and for good reason:  it’s tasty, it’s filling, it’s nourishing, it provides an ample supply of calories and protein for people whose work days involve robust muscular effort, and best of all, it’s very, very cheap.  Until the latest round of food price increases, you could feed yourself a hearty daily serving of rice and beans for rather less than $4.15 a week, and have something north of $24.90 left in your weekly per-person budget to provide yourself with other foods, including the less expensive varieties of vegetables and fruit. You’d think that this would be an obvious thing to discuss, right?

Not a chance. If you even mentioned rice and beans in these conversations, you could count on getting shouted down.  You’d be accused of racism and cultural appropriation, you’d be accused of being condescending to the poor, you’d be haughtily informed that poor people don’t have the time and energy and kitchen facilities to cook beans, and so on.  You’d be denounced up one side of the internet and down the other for daring to suggest that poor people might like to eat what, after all, a very large number of poor people like to eat.

I spent quite a few years as one of those poor people, by the way. You know all those stereotypes about writers living in garrets and scraping by on next to nothing?  They reflect a straightforward reality. If you write full time as a freelance author, unless you’re insanely lucky, you’re going to be very poor for the first decade or so of your career, because it’s not until you have a substantial backlist bringing in royalties that your income will amount to much. A little over 25 years ago, once I’d sold my first book manuscript, my wife and I sat down, discussed the matter, and agreed that we would get by on her very modest income while I pursued a writing career. It worked out, and my writing now supports us both with ample room to spare, but we spent quite a few years there living very frugally—and yes, we ate a lot of rice and beans.  They still appear tolerably often on our dinner table, because they’re tasty, nourishing, and cheap. (Just because we have more money these days doesn’t mean we throw it around wastefully.)

And the claim that poor people don’t have time to cook beans? Wander down to the dollar store here in down-at-the-heels East Providence and you’ll find bags of dry beans for sale, along with a lot of other ingredients for home cooking. You’ll also find inexpensive crock pots, which sell steadily—everyone poor knows that you can load up a crock pot with dry beans and water, plug it in, and go to work or to bed, and when you get home or wake up you’ll have a pot full of cooked beans; get a pot of rice on, fix anything else you have in mind, and thirty minutes later the meal’s ready. Beans and crock pots can be found in dollar stores in every other down-at-the-heels working class neighborhood I’ve lived in, for that matter, and I’ve lived in quite a few.

So the shrill response to rice and beans you could get so reliably when well-to-do people talked about what poor people ought to eat had nothing to do with the realities of what poor people actually eat, or can afford to eat, or might want to eat.  It served a different purpose. What that purpose was—well, we’ll get to that in a bit.

Not long ago I found myself recalling all that spluttering about rice and beans after reading some equally shrill diatribes about an ostensibly different subject. Those of my readers who follow the vagaries of the waning Neopagan movement may know that the latest tempest in that pentagram-spangled teapot is the insistence by social-justice types that it’s cultural appropriation to use tarot cards. The claim is that tarot cards were invented by the Romani people, and anyone who’s not Rom and uses them is a (insert your favorite string of fashionable wokester insults here).

As it happens, that claim isn’t even remotely true. The first version of the tarot was invented between 1415 and 1425 in Milan by Marziano da Tortona, secretary to the Duke of Milan—this was documented years ago—and it began a process of evolution that gradually led to the tarot as we now have it. It was originally a card game, and it got put to use in divination about the same time as other playing cards, sometime before 1750; Bologna and Paris were the two urban centers from which tarot divination spread. None of the documented early tarot diviners were Rom, though the Romani took up tarot and adapted it to their own needs with their usual deftness a little later on. Don’t try telling any of this to social-justice types, though.  Among the woke these days, pointing out that someone is mistaken or lying—especially when they are—makes you a (insert your favorite string of fashionable wokester insults here). That attitude makes things very easy for scoundrels and con artists, sure, but as far as I can tell, that’s a feature, not a bug.

To some extent, the denunciation of tarot cards is simply a function of the culture of competitive offendedness that plays so large a role in the culture of the well-to-do these days.  One of the best ways to outflank your fellow members of the comfortable classes, whether the rivalry is merely everyday one-upsmanship or aims at higher stakes, is to show that you’re more easily offended by invisible injustices than anyone else. That’s become especially important these days, as layoffs accelerate at universities and corporate media outlets, and the number of jobs available for would-be flunkeys of the Establishment drops further with each passing week. Yet there are other factors at work, and one of them is the pervasive presence of atheist entryism in the Neopagan community.

Entryism?  That’s the strategy of joining a group that exists for some purpose unrelated to yours, getting established there, inviting in your friends, and then using every sleazy trick in the book to take over the group so you can use it to promote your own agenda. That’s long been a typical gimmick of certain fringe groups in American society, notably Marxists and the Ku Klux Klan.  Those of my readers who were around in the 1970s may recall, as I do, the way that so many organizations that might have accomplished something were taken over by Marxist cadres associated with the New Left and promptly run into the ground. More recently, the Occupy movement was wrecked in exactly the same way, by exactly the same means.

But not all entryists are Marxists, or for that matter Klansmen.  It was about fifteen years ago, as I recall, that people started elbowing their way into Neopagan groups, insisting on the one hand that they were Neopagans and on the other that they didn’t believe in gods or magic. In fact, they were offended by talk about gods and magic, and they insisted that Neopagan groups had to be inclusive and make them welcome, by discarding all this talk about gods and magic so the newcomers would be comfortable.  I’m sorry to say that a large number of Neopagan groups were clueless enough to fall for this line of cant and let them in.  Once the entryists got ensconced, they doubled down, and the Neopagan movement is now imploding in the usual manner. It wouldn’t surprise me if the destruction of Neopaganism was the goal all along; this is exactly the kind of scheme I can imagine James Randi dreaming up in his inglorious last years, for example.

To judge by other examples of entryist tactics, the campaign against tarot cards is in part one more attempt to force recalcitrant Neopagans to surrender the last shreds of their beliefs and conform to the dogmatic atheism that is, after all, the officially approved conventional wisdom in the industrial world these days. Readers who don’t happen to belong to a Neopagan faith might want to treat all this as an object lesson. In particular, any of my Christian readers who wonder why their churches have stopped talking about God and started talking about social justice instead might want to consider whether a similar process has been under way a good deal closer to home.

But I think there’s a good deal more involved here than entryism, and more even than the increasingly savage competition for status that drives so much of today’s social justice scene—“Look at me, I’m more easily offended than you are!”  The reason I think there’s more to it is that it’s part of a much broader push.  Consider the corporate-media outlets that are trying to define spirituality as thoughtcrime in the full Orwellian sense of the word. Here’s one screed which sets out to tar the entire New Age movement with the brush of Trumpism; here’s another, which paints in the same medium with an even broader brush. The label being deployed in these efforts is “conspirituality”—a newly coined portmanteau word that equates spirituality with conspiracy theory, and is also being equated with mysticism, occultism, alternative medicine, and other things that our self-defined lords and masters find objectionable just now.

You can see the same dynamic at work even in contexts that, until recently, were among the bastions of middle-class privilege in the United States. I’m thinking here of a recent article in that bland corporate mouthpiece The Atlantic which took aim at private schools. Those of my readers who have children, and want something better for them than the bleak parody of education offered by public schools these days, can expect soon enough to be labeled a (insert your favorite string of fashionable wokester insults here). I doubt it will stop there, either.

What makes this fascinating is that not all that long ago, mysticism, occultism, alternative medicine, and certtain other well-domesticated modes of mild dissidence were distinctly fashionable among the managerial classes in our society, and indeed were supported and fostered by the Establishment. Fortune 500 corporations were paying good money to teach their employees mindfulness meditation and put on “positive thinking” seminars, and a significant share of the well-to-do practiced hatha yoga, dabbled in Buddhism, and went on the occasional shamanic retreat. Alternative health care was fashionable, too, so long as it was expensive enough to serve as conspicuous consumption, and so were a variety of fad diets, since those make a fine opportunity for the well-to-do to parade their wealth in front of their friends, and for aspirants to the managerial class to parade their loyalty to the status quo. Thus it’s not accidental that so many people who take up a vegan diet, the most popular of the lot, eat plenty of exotic and expensive foods. (It doesn’t have to be done this way—you can thrive on a vegan diet involving plenty of rice and beans, and other cheap foods—but if you want to see a fine display of class snobbery, try mentioning this in the upscale vegan venue of your choice.)

What we’re witnessing is thus the opening round of a sharp redefinition of what counts as acceptable behavior for the privileged classes in American society. If this keeps up in the years immediately ahead, and I expect it to do so, the whole range of popular spirituality and alternative culture that played so large role in the lives of the well-to-do from the late 1960s to the late 2010s will be condemned, and those who participate in any of those things will get to choose between their commitment to Buddhism or yoga or what have you, on the one hand, and their social status and high-end employment on the other.  I’m sure I don’t have to tell my readers which way I expect most of those frogs to hop.

Those of my readers who belong to the comfortable classes and are involved in pop spirituality and alternative culture may have some hard choices ahead, in other words, and those who make any significant part of their living by marketing any of these things to the well-off may want to start looking for new income sources. To my mind, though, what this says about the current state of elite culture is far more important.

Social elites that are secure in their power make a point of providing their members with a range of venues for ineffective dissidence.  It’s a way to let them blow off steam and feel better about their status as cogs in the machinery of power.  Sex and spirituality are common themes of this sort of ritualized faux-rebellion—not the only such themes, to be sure, but they’re among the most popular, as they tap into basic human drives that aren’t usually well served by the payoffs of participation in the middle ranges of political and economic hierarchy.

When Queen Victoria’s England was a global hyperpower and nations around the globe trembled before British fleets, accordingly, British gentlemen were tacitly permitted to violate the strict sexual norms of the day—London at that time apparently had more sex workers per capita than any other city in the world—and to reject privately the Protestant Christian faith that was mandatory in public. In exactly the same way, during the years when the global hegemony of the United States was at its zenith, sexual shenanigans and alternative spiritualities were among the safety valves that allowed the flunkeys of the Establishment to feel rebellious while still doing exactly as they were told in every way that counted.

When social elites feel their grip on the levers of power slipping, by contrast, they very often clamp down on the mildly dissident habits they encouraged during more comfortable times. That happened only in limited ways in Victorian England—most of the British elite class didn’t notice the waning of their empire until it was already out of their hands—but the shock that spread through England’s gay community when Oscar Wilde was sent to prison is legendary, and shows the way that boundaries shifted and long-neglected rules got enforced once the long afternoon of England’s power began to tip visibly toward evening.

A great many people with six- and seven-figure salaries who dabble in spirituality may be facing a comparable shock in the months and years ahead. Spirituality is taking on the status long since accorded to rice and beans:  flags marking territory that has been defined by elite culture as outside the pale.  Back when the well-to-do were emoting about the diet of the poor, to suggest eating rice and beans was to define yourself as insufficiently loyal to the status signals of privilege; in the near future, using tarot cards, practicing meditation or yoga, and failing to agree enthusiastically enough with the latest denunciations of spirituality by allegedly serious thinkers will land you in similar trouble.

Mind you, this needn’t be any significant inconvenience to the spiritual traditions in question. One of the most charmingly clueless notions held by the well-to-do in America these days is that they are the only people who matter, and what they reject can’t possibly be embraced by anything but a crazed minority on the fringes.  Au contraire, the preferences of the 20% or so of Americans who belong, or aspire to belong, to our society’s comfortable classes carry no clout at all outside the increasingly airtight bubble in which they live.  As often as not these days, the more loudly the talking heads of the Establishment reject something, the more enthusiastically people outside the bubble take it up.  This isn’t a small phenomenon, either; last year, when Democrats called for a boycott of Goya brand products, sales of that brand spiked to ten times their normal level. (The president of the firm accordingly gave Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who launched the failed boycott, an award for Goya salesperson of the month.)

There are already traditions of esoteric spirituality that have found welcoming homes outside the bubble. The Ascended Masters teachings, which branched off from the Theosophical movement in the early twentieth century under the colorful guidance of Guy and Edna Ballard and has become one of this country’s most interesting and least discussed spiritual movements, is one of them.  Another is Heathenry, the lively movement that has revived Norse and Germanic polytheism.  To judge by the intelligent and interested questions I field regularly from a range of populists and conservatives, including quite a number of devout Christians, there’s plenty of room outside the bubble for more systems of thought and practice that take the spiritual side of human experience seriously, and do useful things with them.

What remains to be seen at this point is which traditions of esoteric spirituality will find their way outside the bubble, and which ones will waste their last chance at survival trying to cling to an association with privilege as the privileged turn their backs and walk away.  That process of sorting bids fair to have a very large impact on the future of spirituality in North America and elsewhere in the centuries ahead. The charmingly clueless notion referenced earlier in this essay is even more mistaken when applied to spirituality than elsewhere; over the long run, it’s not the spiritual hobbies of the well-to-do that matter, it’s the teachings that have something to say to ordinary people in difficult times. Those spiritual traditions that get flung into the outer darkness by the Establishment of our time thus have nothing to fear—and they’ll find a hearty meal of rice and beans waiting for them when they get there.

All metaphor aside, any of my readers who haven’t yet learned the simple process of fixing rice and beans might want to do so. As already noted, it’s filling, nourishing, and tasty; it causes snobs to go into convulsions of loathing firmly rooted in class prejudice, and that’s always entertaining to watch; and it’s very, very cheap—and that latter may be of more than usual importance in the not too distant future.  A number of indications suggest, to be precise, that something else that was flung into the outer darkness a few years ago may not stay there much longer.

Peak oil is back. We’ll talk about that next week.


  1. While I was at BYU in the early 1980s, the Home Economics Department held a luncheon on world hunger and served filet mignon to some of the attendees. This was lambasted and, naturally, the Department responded in the university rag. A small percentage of attendees were fed steak, some were fed nourishing dishes involving vegetarian fare with some meat, while the great majority were fed rice and beans. It was an object lesson in world hunger much misunderstood by naysayers outside the department who quickly backed down and didn’t take on the BYU Home Ec Department again.

  2. Competitive offendedness!! With any luck, some people will be deeply offended by this concept!
    And your reference to ‘slips of the tongue’ reminded me of the definition of a Freudian slip: That’s where you say one thing and mean your mother.

  3. John–

    Excluding private schools from the acceptable is a bit odd. Where will the upper crust educate their scions? In “public schools” centered around exclusive public school districts where home prices keep out the unworthy? In exclusive programs housed within ostensibly public universities?

    More broadly, I’ll be curious to see what the “new acceptable” will look like, even if I’m not a part of it. We can laugh at the antics of our so-called betters, if nothing else.

  4. JMG,

    Black market astrology, underground tarot, and back alley runes. Pentagrams and alters in the McMansion cellar. Radionics devices disguised as art. Market rate for occult services from the more discreet practitioners could go sky high.


  5. I wanted to ask you this during last week’s open post, but I was ashamed to do so. But given today’s post, I’m emboldened enough now to ask, if you don’t mind sharing: What are some of your go-to condiments, sauces, seasonings, herbs, spices, etc. when you eat rice and beans?

    You’ve mentioned subsisting on rice and beans in previous responses to comments, and the idea has been percolating in my mind in recent months. So I consider today’s post a lot culinary reminder to collapse now and get used to L.E.S.S. (less energy, less stuff, less stimulation).

    And thank you for your websites and books being safe havens/harbors for sanity.


  6. I’ve seen this happening to British Druidry for the last ten years or so: The Druid Network, once host to a extremely various and active forum, started been visited by an increasing numbers of Druids who, at best, talked of the gods in an abstract, vapid way and, at worst, declare themselves as Dawkinites Druids… The result was a big exodus with many Druids changing their names to Polytheists and founding new virtual meeting places, albeit of brief existence.


  7. Have you read The Man Who Cried I Am? The main character goes into detail about the ‘writer’s diet’. 🙂

  8. Conspirituality is a wonderful word, so much better than deplorables. I don’t think it’ll be long before people earnestly describe themselves as conspiritual. I love how it conveyes a willingness to acknowledge the lies while still being able to have faith.

  9. “”in the near future, using tarot cards ***** will land you in similar trouble”

    I hope that doesn’t extend to reading your blog JMG 😉

    thx for the great essay!

  10. As I remember it, the point about rice and beans was that, as a matter of empirical fact, some poor people did *not* (and would not) eat them, which made a certain subset of the well-to-do go on rants against the irresponsible poor, which in turn led other people (both well off and otherwise) to try to explain why some poor people wouldn’t eat such things. Reasons included (as you mentioned) inadequate knowledge and/or cooking facilities, as well as simple force of habit. (If you were raised on McDonald’s, then that’s your comfort food, and you prefer it to rice and beans. Probably. Of course there are exceptions. As it happens, the diet I ate as a child and the diet I eat today have very little overlap.) I believe Sharon Astyk made an argument to that effect back in the day.

    So, suppose someone tells you: “Poor people should just eat rice and beans, with some carrots and apples on the side. If they don’t, they have no-one but themselves to blame for being diabetic or worse.” Is fair to say that you basically agree?

  11. We had brown rice and black bean burritos last night. A household favorite! Thank you for your good work!

  12. Dear J.M.G.,

    I find it quite humorous that people feel the need to claim that Tarot cards use is appropriation. Somewhat similar to the “Dreadlocks are Appropriation!” argument, I guess.

    Ignorance, masquerading as enlightenment. Somehow we’ve elevated the ability to find fault to a height that an inquisitor would find a bit excessive. (Inquisitors usually were usually content to just kill you once you’d confessed your sins after physical torture. The modern incarnations prefer economic and social torture after confessions.)

    Meditations on the imagery and symbology in the tarot are quite interesting. While certain mythic symbols and imagery are present, it ties in very well with Jungian archetypes, especially considering the dignified/undignified status of cards, etc… Far more to unpack than I can go into in a single post, and there are those far more qualified than I am to extrapolate and explain further.

    Of course, what do we use for children when trying to teach them the basics of mathematics? Flash Cards. A method for associating facts rapidly. See the card. 1+1=2. Remember, what is the missing picture in this image now… 1+1= ? Two! That’s right, see, you’re learning…

    As a result I see the Tarot as a collection of stories, imparted through imagery. Here’s the sword, that indicates what? That’s RIGHT! Now move it along with this character and various other symbols… Course, I do see it through my own lens, and my own biases, which means that any insight given has to be adjusted for the situation. As a result, the Rider Waite has never felt totally correct to me, and nothing against several of the other decks, but many of them just seem to replicate the same stuff. If anything, I think that several of the interpretations and stories are just flat WRONG… but that’s again, my opinion, which smells just as bad as everyone else’s.

    Course, you have a case of GIGO (Garbage in, Garbage Out) with the tarot, especially with the newer interpretation guides that happily strip out every “Negative” reading. You’ll get the soft, easy pablum that you want… but it will be tasteless, and leads to a feeling that “Well that could be ANYTHING” which is the claim that most debunkers rest their victory speeches on. A tarot that takes out all of the possible conflicts (Swords in particular are often subject to this spiritual Bowdlerization) and merely involves in affirmations and happy thoughts is eliminating much of the human experience.

    For folks who want to work with the Tarot, but don’t want to fork over the inflated prices, it’s quite simple to make your own, provided you don’t mind writing on the cards. 2 playing card decks with the same back is all you need, and a willingness to accept makeshift tools. Write down what the cards represent in a notebook if you don’t want to buy one, and you want to get away from the computer to do a reading. (ALWAYS a good idea, I find. But then screens tend to mess with everything I do anyway…)

    And Rice and Beans has never been a personal favorite to change to the other subject. Always messes with my stomach. For poor people food, I work mostly with chicken and biscuits. Baking is another hobby that the rich forget about. (“I could NEVER make bread without my bread machine!”) Once you learn how to make a loaf of bread a lot of things open up to you. Pretzels, rolls, cakes, cinnamon rolls, buns… It requires only strong arms and willingness to get your hands dirty. Keep in mind I did learn to cook in the Army, so as a result my tastes tend towards meals that are for a bit heavier exertion than the water cooler crowd. I just prefer less pepper and more Oregano in my meals.

    Thanks for listening, thanks for writing, and may Fortune Favor You.

  13. What a wonderful coincidence. I had just put my crockpot full of honey-garlic navy beans on to simmer when I sat down to read this post!

    The branch of Christianity I grew up in produced this cookbook round about the time of the first peak oil scare. The idea was to teach well-off North Americans how to eat more like poor people in other countries, with the dual goal of eating thriftily and sharing the world’s food resources more equitably. Nearly fifty years later, it’s still a treasured cultural icon in our small but thriving ethnic community.

    On another note, your comment about entryism in Christian churches is, alas, spot-on. To hear it confirmed by someone well outside the faith helps bring this into sharper focus for me. While I don’t want to go around playing ‘restorer of the faith’, I have to say I sure appreciate folks who put their first principles up front and out in the open, whatever metaphysical persuasion they belong to. In my view, a little bit more of that would do the Church a lot more help than harm at this point.

  14. I have a pet peeve with the idea that cultural appropriation is bad. I mean those people complaining about cultural appropriation are so ignorant about cultural evolution. I love to point out to these people that the vast majority of what they think of as their own, was culturally appropriated from others in the past.

    Ralf Linton wrote a hilarious essay in 1937 called “100% American”
    Here is a link to the full essay

    here is the last paragraph (but go read the whole thing if you haven’t)

    “Breakfast over, he places upon his head a molded piece of felt, invented by the nomads of
    Eastern Asia, and, if it looks like rain, puts on outer shoes of rubber, discovered by the ancient Mexicans, and takes an umbrella, invented in India. He then sprints for his train–the train, not sprinting, being in English invention. At the station he pauses for a moment to buy a newspaper, paying for it with coins invented in ancient Lydia. Once on board he settles back to inhale the fumes of a cigarette invented in Mexico, or a cigar invented in Brazil. Meanwhile, he reads the news of the day, imprinted in characters invented by the ancient Semites by a process invented in Germany upon a material invented in China. As he scans the latest editorial pointing out the dire results to our institutions of accepting foreign ideas, he will not fail to thank a Hebrew God in an Indo-European language that he is a one hundred percent (decimal system invented by the Greeks) American (from Americus Vespucci, Italian geographer).”

  15. I guess it’s time to…

    “Put another log on the fire.
    Cook me up some bacon and some beans….”

    My aunts all used to sing that song when I was a little kid, sometimes tapping it out with two spoons for percussion! Coming from a family with Appalachian roots it was always more beans and taters than beans and rice, but the principle is the same.

    One of our favorite cheap dishes in my household is potatoes and green beans cooked into a thick stew with a side of cornbread. Simple, good, cheap & filling.

    There was interesting article hear on dollar stores:

    “it is almost as if a large chunk of the country has backslidden into the turn of the last century and is experiencing the retail evolutions of the 1900s all over again. Dollar stores might not turn out to be a phenomenon of post-industrial decline and rural despair, but rather a reincarnation of the first dime stores and variety stores, out of which the discount department store and supercenter eventually evolved.”

  16. 1) I stopped listening to cultural appropriation arguments years ago when I was informed that seasonal rituals were cultural appropriation: Native Americans did them, so for white people to do them was horribly offensive. Never mind that the ritual I had was a Druid ritual written centuries ago based on an old Roman ritual from around 2000 years ago.

    I managed to trigger further spluttering denunciations and get the person to leave me alone afterwards by pointing this out and then declaring I would agree to drop the ritual just as soon as he showed me evidence for the Romans having had trans-Atlantic trade.

    2) “It was about fifteen years ago, as I recall, that people started elbowing their way into Neopagan groups, insisting on the one hand that they were Neopagans and on the other that they didn’t believe in gods or magic. In fact, they were offended by talk about gods and magic, and they insisted that Neopagan groups had to be inclusive and make them welcome, by discarding all this talk about gods and magic so the newcomers would be comfortable.”

    I never got how this was possible: surely the appropriate response to that argument is “We believe in the gods. If that makes you uncomfortable, don’t join an organization devoted to worshipping them.” To my mind, any group that worships the gods and is willing to drop it to make atheists comfortable deserves what it gets.

  17. Just glad to read that beans and rice are part of the “outer darkness” from viewpoints of people who I really don’t respect. I’d hate to think what life would be like if beans and rice were considered some evil “inner darkness”. Raised on a steady diet of fish sticks, chicken pot pie, and cold cereal as a lower middle class kid back in the 60s, a big plate of beans and rice is actually pretty tasty – and appears destined to be the meal of choice now.

    Met a young lady and vegan last week while having a few beers after work – will have to remember to get some details on what a vegan diet consists of and at what price….

  18. Yes, seeing entryism in low brow (I am proudly Low Brow) pop culture in lots of places now. Looks a bit Marxist to me…

    Rice is awesome. And as a white dude, I enjoy my culturally appropriated Rice with culturally appropriated chop sticks.

    Speaking of Tarot, I’ll be doing my reader’s nose into Game of Saturn very soon… I love appropriating from long dead Renaissance Italians…

  19. Hi JMG,

    Rice and beans is great and happy to say we eat it all the time over here. I like it cooked together in the same pot, cooked separately and eaten together and also where you make a stew of sorts and then throw in your rice to cook in that last. There are no end of variations. Also great about it is that in its dry state it lasts for ages, so even if we run out of food we likely still have those two ingredients. I didn’t actually know it was considered “poor food” although I know that people I know through work who aren’t also immigrants seem less into staples, or they don’t really get them outside maybe pasta and bread (assuming they allow themselves those!).

    I’m from Trinidad so find the cultural appropriation stuff pretty funny I don’t know why people think cultures and races are separate from each other or even could be separated from each other. I also think it’s hilarious that we are supposed to treat gender as fluid but culture and ethnicity as fixed. Sometimes I make jokes asking why “gender appropriation” isn’t an issue, not because I care about that either, but because when you use those words it becomes impossible for anyone to argue with the obvious foolishness of these positions.


  20. What you are suggesting about the privileged class, I would add that it is likely that corporations are grooming BIPOC employees to lead the corporation. In that way, to criticize the corporation in any way will make you a “racist”. In that sense, corporations are likely to double and triple down on autocratic oppression within the corporation, excising any and all criticism – and the corporation will be able to plunder “brown and black” nations under the banner of social justice. That may be the ultimate death knell of global corporations as one can live a lie only so long?

    We can see it already in Biden’s plans for preventing illegal immigration, and giving the task to his VP, by way of the “economic development” of building up militaries and police in Central and South American nations to protect foreign corporate and private equity investment, “reform” celebrated by many a woke type – which is then guaranteed to make life miserable for children in those countries, thereby increasing illegal immigration, giving woke folk another thing to shame the rest of us about, protecting the children at the border – an unlimited source of cheap exploitable labor for the privileged classes in America.

  21. How the h*** did you know that I was going to cook up a batch of beans (lentils too) with some rice today that will last for several evening meals?!!!
    I would nit pick with you about the history of “social justice” in early Hebrew and early Christian spirituality, since there was no divide of spiritual from any other avenue of “life”, which of course is exactly what has happened throughout Western christendom over the past 1700+ years as accomodation to TPTB was and is the raison d’etre du jour as well. Since this is my heritage, I have nothing to say about other spiritual endeavours but to wish them well.

  22. delete or edit this: if the white, cis-het male and his associated demons of karens and chads all complied with every single mandate of the SJW what would they have for traditions and culture? it seems that all they would have permission to do is flagellate themselves for their original (false) sin of slavery and sexism (and all the other ‘isms) and “unlearn” their wicked ways until death. it seems the SJW wants to turn that demographic of people into generic human beings who aren’t allowed to have any tradition or particular thoughts, spirituality, or opinions. this isn’t an apology for the real ills and injustices that exist, but what would be the real end game of the SJW for this demographic?!

  23. I’m amused by the wide variety of cooking gadgets available (all chock-full of circuitry) intended to make cooking legumes more convenient. It’s the BIGGER, FASTER, MORE outlook applied to the humble bean. Perhaps the time saved can be devoted to increasing shareholder value.

    I do note that neither myself nor my forbearers had any great difficulty feeding ourselves before such inventions.

  24. Hi JMG,

    I forgot to mention, I recently learned about the “Juicero” – did happen to you follow that product maybe 5 years ago? It seemed like your kind of elite comedy, anyway. It was a $400 juicer that was wi-fi connected and required all sorts of weird online authentication before you could make your juice (something to do with determining the freshness of the juice no doubt). It didn’t use fresh fruit, instead it squeezed packages of juice that you bought from the company which, as it turns out, you could just squeeze out of the package by hand. Videos of people doing just that brought the whole thing down but apparently prior to it it was a hugely hyped product that was certain of mass success.


  25. @JMG

    Interesting to see the food culture wars in the US. In India, OTOH, the average devout Hindu more or less is vegetarian (with a large section having never consumed meat and/or eggs in their lives, and the rest eating one or two non-vegetarian meals a week), whereas the ‘woke’ boast about being ‘beef-eating, ex-Hindu atheists’. I guess the clueless elites of any country favour their own lifestyle preferences over those of others, and regard with special contempt the lifestyle choices of the working classes. Different people have different physiques and different dietary needs depending on both their lifestyle choices as well as their personal bodily needs. I really don’t see why there needs to be a ‘debate’ on this. As for the ‘salads and fresh fruit’ people, I’d like to see how many of them would resist the urge to eat a typical meat-and-potato diet, let alone a ‘rice and beans’ diet, if they were asked to live the life of a factory worker for a week.

    As for rice and beans, I’d like to recommend a delicious Indian recipe for those interested: it’s called ‘rajma chawal’, meaning ‘rajma and rice’. The rice can be either steamed white rice, or jeera rice, or, if you want to make some special efforts, Kashmiri pulao.

  26. As a salary class occultist, you’ve given me lots of food for thought. I’m going to obfuscate some of the official terms my company uses in the below as to not be identified. But, I have the fortune of working for a company that has certain stated values. One of those values is that people can think and act anyway they want and express this at work. Now obviously, there are hard limits to this, and for the sake of brevity I won’t go into my interpretation of that aspect. But spirituality seems like something this ideal would protect. Now the trickiness is that my company has to balance these values against the Zeitgeist, and give into the Zeitgeist in certain ways to appease some workers. So the question is if my company would cave to demands to censor spirituality or stand up for its stated values. This gives me the confidence, that if push came to shove, I could make a stand for spirituality and be in the right in leadership’s eyes. Now in a certain sense, this is all hypothetical since I don’t talk about spirituality at work, and don’t talk about most of my beliefs at all for that matter 🙂 Can’t be fired for what you don’t say! Also, still want to escape the salary class and am dedicating free time to do so.

  27. This is off-topic, but may be pertinent to a number of us….

    Sometime in the past two weeks, the coding that is generating the comment numbers (which are very useful) is no longer creating text that can be “found” when one tries to jump to a specific comment by number (e.g., #300) using a browsers “find in page” (Ctrl-F) functionality. The comment numbers display fine, so visually once can still scroll through to find a specific message, but there is no longer a way to jump to that specific comment.

    I’ve checked the latest versions of Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, and Mozilla Firefox, and none of them can search for specific comment numbers unless a commenter happens to have typed one into their comment.. I discovered it first at home on my older Android tablet, but now my work desktop (Windows 10) is showing this problem for all three browser.

    I’ve even looked at the page source that is being sent to my browser to verify – no comment numbers appear. So whatever means is being used to insert these comment numbers is doing so not as actual text.

    Can this be fixed or changed? (I guess I am asking the person who first developed the code that was added to JMG’s style sheets, whose name I am blanking on, but I believe is may be the same person who is also developing the lower-tech news server.)

    Kevin Anderson

  28. Hi JMG –

    This might be OT – I can wait for the next open post if you like. I was reading through the end of the comments for last week’s open post and would like to respond to Jason, who asked about a book on fate and destiny. I’d like to recommend “Fate and Destiny – The Two Agreements Of The Soul” by Michael Meade.

  29. I suppose this means the PMC’s fling with recreational drugs will also be ending soon.

    And, really, sex has been getting pushed to the fringes for a while now: as merely one example, consider the way that so many of the Good People seem to be able say “Prostitution is not sex work,” as if that sentence actually makes sense. (And then there’s the way sex-substitutes like pornography have gotten trapped in a bizarre “mandatory but also prohibited” double-bind in which a young man who resorts to them thereby proves that he only values women for sex, but a young man who doesn’t resort to them thereby proves that he wants to control women’s sexuality by… *checks notes*… controlling his own.)

    As for the flight from alternative spirituality, I’ve had a sense for a while now that something like this was coming down the pipes. The social-justice left are already imitating the Religious Right on pretty much every point; now that many mainstream religious denominations are starting to embrace their ideology, it only makes sense to take the next step.

    P.S. In addition to rice and beans, I can heartily recommend Senate bean soup, which is tasty, really easy to make, and pretty cheap.

  30. Do you think that, by any chance, it may be possible that our elites will distance themselves from “modern art”? I mean that modern painting and sculpture so ugly and pretentious, wich it’s only value comes from the experts commentary, and the prices rich people are ready to pay.
    Even better, can we expect a devaluation of all this market?
    At the end of the day, i believe one day it will happen, and all that trush will be thrown to the garbage bin.
    Is that day close?

  31. Oh dear gods. There’s another factor as well, one which now that I notice it, looks to have powerfully distorted our elite politics for a long time and left us saddled with an unusually dysfunctional elite class. I have a degree in religious studies, and one of the things I studied was religious policy in Quebec. From the 1960s through to around 2000 the policies were the systematic suppression of all religions; starting around 2000, this was relaxed, but debates over Islam’s compatibility with Quebec society raged; and in the past few years alternative spirituality has apparently started coming into vogue with the Quebec powers that be. At the very least, when a pagan ceremony was held in Montreal a few years ago which included civil service members, the government stated that a ceremony involving civil service people on their own time was none of their concern.

    This matches surprisingly well trends in our comfortable classes: from 1960s-2000 or so any religion was acceptable for dissent; starting out around 2000, there was an obsession with discussing and addressing Islamophobia in particular; and now that Quebec is starting to embrace the idea that alternative spirituality has a place, the English elites are dropping it like a rock.

    The thing is, there’s a plausible mechanism here: Canada has two elite classes; an English and a French. Given the pervasive habit of binary thinking, it makes sense that our two elites would define themselves in opposition to each other: our English elite is for anything our French elite is against, and against anything our French elite are for. This then gets picked up by the American elite in their strange desire to be Canadian, and then broadcast from there around the world.

    The thing is, this explains why our elites have been pursuing such absurdly destructive policies: the French elite in Quebec is a political elite, not an economic one: the obscenely wealthy by and large tend to be English speakers. This means that since it started to establish itself in the 1960s, the French elite in Quebec has always sought to limit market forces (the market being owned by their opponents); support the working classes (who are predominantly French, and provide a massive voting block allowing them to hold power even when the wealthy try to fight them), and support civil society. (as a way to provide a counterbalance for private industry)

    So, what has our elite done since the 1960s? Systematically increased the scope of the market and destabilized our society in the process, destroyed the working classes, and shredded civil society. I always assumed these were either ways to become richer or consequences of attempting to pursue other goals; but I now think it’s a very weird consequence of trying to be the Anti-Quebec. This is bad enough when they have bad ideas, but when they have good ideas…

  32. Hi JMG,

    I’m not even done with your essay yet, and already I’m blown away:

    “[D]ogmatic atheism… is, after all, the officially approved conventional wisdom in the industrial world these days. Readers who don’t happen to belong to a Neopagan faith might want to treat all this as an object lesson. In particular, any of my Christian readers who wonder why their churches have stopped talking about God and started talking about social justice instead might want to consider whether a similar process has been under way a good deal closer to home.”

    I was talking about this very thing earlier this morning with my old man, about how the social justice crusade is what you get when you take Christianity and remove any and all thought of God (or forgiveness, mercy, hope, redemption…).

    Your blog, and the commentariat here, are like a cold shower and a cup of bulletproof coffee for the mind and spirit. Thanks, as always!

  33. SJW’s are the modern version of the cultural revolution. I think in its dying gasps, corporations want to be worshiped as gods. They must destroy everything else to implement the new “society”

  34. On the topic of competitive offendedness, I’m reminded of something one of my friends did a few years ago. I don’t remember what the topic was for sure, but it was on something “offensive”. She got up, interrupted the presentation and loudly declared she was offended anyone could find the stuff the speaker was talking about offensive, turned dramatically, and walked away. The speaker was a white male, while my friend was an obviously Native American woman, and so the cognitive dissonance induced was spectacular. I think it took a good five minutes before the poor presenter was able to stop blubbering and start talking again……

  35. In honour of this post I’ve dug out two recipe books from the early 80s: The High-Fibre Cookbook by Pamela Westland and The Bean Book by Rose Elliot.

    It’s interesting to think how these are a window into a certain time and culture. And how they could become rare and sought-after like old physical culture or occult books.

    Are cookbooks another thing where you think things were better in the past and the modern world has lost something?

  36. @Eugene,
    The best beans and rice recipe I have ever tasted comes out of Cuba — cook a cup or two of black beans with a green pepper, an onion, a couple of cloves of garlic, and salt to taste. Make sure the black beans are just covered with water as they cook. Serve over cooked rice. If you want to dress it up when serving, add a little olive oil and/or grated cheddar cheese. Delicious! If you have a can of corn or some corn in the freezer, you can add that too… or you can make corn bread to go with it… but totally optional. No meat or anything else needed — in fact, in my opinion, adding meat spoils the flavor of the rich, satisfying black beans. Hope this helps and you enjoy it as much as I do.

  37. If the privileged have a fit about rice and beans, I wonder what they would say about the simple goulash recipe my mother used to cook for the family when I was small? We were middle class with just my father working then so economizing was important. Just take Prince spaghetti, cook, then fry up crumbled hamburg (no oil or butter), add tomato paste and a dollup of ketchup, mix all together (add a few tablespoons of water if needed) and there you are. I can’t vouch for how nourishing it was but it was and still is comfort food for me. It reheats well and provides a meal three days out of the week. A big help now that I’m retired and on a fixed income.

    My mother’s old crockpot which she hardly ever used now does service as a brewer of soup broth made from leftover bones of chickens, turkeys or what have you. I haven’t bought a can of chicken soup in years. I just toss in the bones (and skin!), simmer for hours and there you are. What could be easier? I don’t bother to eat a trendy salad with all this as I have never been a big eater of salads. They just don’t appeal to me that much.

    The absurdity of turning food into a battleground is matched only by the looniness of the fuss over tarot cards. I have an old deck I pull out once in while and play around with but because I’m French-Canadian/English/Scottish/maybe German I am engaging in ‘cultural appropriation’ if I so much as pick them up and look at them? Poo on that!

    Watching the social elites going bonkers while trying to avoid their own collapse does have a certain entertainment value but it does get tiresome after a while. I think I’ll just go make some soup and see what my tarot cards (the Waite deck) say about it all!

  38. Thank you for this!

    I wanted to note that the terrible behavior of elite parents parallels nearly exactly the behavior of restaurant patrons, which has deteriorated significantly in the past few decades.

    I don’t think the bad behavior is restricted to elites alone. It emerges any time one group has perceived power over another. I wonder if it is a failure in child rearing? Or a side effect of a dociety so concerned with money that civility and self control got tossed out the window a long time ago?

    For people interested in rice and beans, I recommend red beans and rice, a staple of Cajun food, that goes great with andouille sausage and corn bread. There are recipes all over the internet, of course.

    For people struggling to feed themselves on a limited budget, I also recommend bread and eggs (at least in the US… I know agricultural subsidies and prices vary a lot over the world).


    Jessi Thompson

  39. Rice and Beans are awesome!

    I specially enjoy eating beans because they increase the amount of GHG I release, and so I’m helping with UMAN MADE CLIMATE CHANGE…

  40. Anyone have a great simple crock pot Mexican bean recipe? How about spice sets?

    Thank you!

  41. A thought occurred to me: if alt-spiritualities are on their way out, do you think the Good People will finally get bored of SF and Fantasy (or maybe write them off as hopelessly problematic) and leave us alone any time soon?

    I realize the two things — alt-spirituality and SF/F fandom — aren’t logically related, but they’ve been correlated in practice since the two genres began. So I’m hoping.

  42. Just a cautionary note for type 1 diabetics, monitor your blood sugar carefully when first starting rice and beans, they’re both pretty carb-y. Type 2’s, at least some of them, can eat anything as long as they eat very little of it. My father dieted his way off insulin at age 85 and was still able to eat canned baked beans, but not very much at a time!

    Second request for Druidical seasoning tips!

  43. Good lord, there’s nothing social justice warriors can’t ruin, is there?

    Speaking of forbidden things, I’ve spent the last couple of days reading what I can about the Russian philosopher Alexander Dugin, after seeing a reference to him in a random article online. I had heard about him a few years ago, mentioned off-handedly as some weird Russian Putinist, and so never bothered to look into his work. If you google his name, the first thing you find out is that he is a “fascist,” and it doesn’t take long to find out that he is a “white supremacist” and “anti-Semite.”

    So I listened to an interview with Dugin, and was utterly shocked to hear him referencing Proclus, Plotinus and Plato’s dialog Parmenides. Moreover, all it takes is about five minutes of listening to one of his Youtube talks to find out that he specifically rejects Fascism, as he defines his own political philosophy as the “Fourth Way,” and Fascism is one of the other three “ways.” You don’t have to agree with him, of course– but he specifically is not a Fascist.

    So now I’m trying to track down his works in English, which isn’t super easy. In addition to being censored by Amazon and YouTube and denounced by Google, he’s even sanctioned by the US government. It is easy, though, to find hit-pieces like this ludicrous bit of shillery from the Washington Post, written by (who else?) an “assistant professor”: . It reads more like a series of verbal tics than an article: Fascist! White Supremacist! Anti-Semite! But it get its point across to its readership, which is that you must absolutely NOT read Alexander Dugin.

    I’ve spent the last year immersed in Plato and Neoplatonic thinking, and I count my first serious readings of Proclus and of Plato last year as a life-changing moment. So Dugin is one of a very few philosophers who is talking about the sort of thing I care about– and, according to our Elite, he is very, very dangerous and I must be absolutely forbidden from learning what he has to say. (Fascist! White Supremacist! Anti-Semite!)

    This is, honestly, a very strange new situation to be in. How long before Proclus is banned, because Steve Bannon likes Dugin and Dugin likes Proclus? And shouldn’t we add Plato to the mix too, because his work is being “weaponized against people of color” by “far-right white supremacists and anti-semites”? This began to get personal when they banned my favorite Dr. Seuss book; when it comes to Plato, we’re past “This is personal” and well into “cold dead hands” territory.

    I’m losing track of what I came here to say, though. I think it is just that the level of thought-control to which we are currently being subjected is just so far beyond anything I imagined I’d see in my lifetime.

    I’d like to encourage everyone to never, ever engage with Social Justice Warriors on the level of argument. Their ideology is racialized socialism backed by censorship, surveillance, and indoctrination. We don’t have to talk about whether or not that’s a good idea. We ran this little experiment on it called “the twentieth century” and discovered that it does not. So the proper response to “I think tarot cards are cultural appropriation and you should stop using them” isn’t “I don’t agree that they are cultural appropriation.” The proper response– if you cannot get away from the situation and so absolutely have to have a response– is “Shut the f— up.”

  44. I eagerly await the day when Competitive Offendedness becomes a league sport!

  45. Whippet, I rememeber when events like that were fashionable. I’d have asked for the rice and beans!

    Mike, funny. Trust me, I intend the concept of “competitive offendedness” to offend people, and I look forward to watching them compete over justs how offended it makes them.

    David BTL, oh, I expect it’ll go back to economic segregation by neighborhood and community, which used to be at least as common as segregation by race: all the kids from the wealthy neighborhoods go to one set of schools, all the kids from the poor neighborhoods go to a different set that receives much less funding. Meanwhile the teachers unions, who are the major beneficiaries of articles like that one, will be able to head off a threat from schools that actually teach something.

    Eric, true enough! Equally, those who provide occult goods and services to the deplorable masses may not charge high prices but they’ll do a booming business.

    Eugene, I always cook beans with onions — it makes them more digestible, as well as improving the flavo. Other than that, sometimes I gussy them up with garlic and cumin, and sometimes I leave them relatively plain, especially if they’ll be served with something more strongly flavored. Since my heat tolerance is higher than my wife’s, I usually add a splash of hot sauce at the table.

    Hwhistle, that doesn’t surprise me at all. Thanks for the data point!

    Yorkshire, no, I haven’t — I’ll put it on the look-at list.

    Misty, excellent! Embracing the term is always a good strategy.

    Jerry, the only reason reading this blog is not yet enough to get you cancelled is that my readership isn’t big enougH for the woke inquisition to take notice.

    Irena, you know, it’s a sleazy rhetorical trick to twist someone’s words around to mean something that they clearly don’t mean. That’s not something you usually do. Did this post offend you?

    Ryan, yum! You’re most welcome.

    Brevdravis, thank you for this. Yes, exactly; tarot is a rich source of archetypal images well suited to be used in that form of storytelling we call “divination” — and don’t get me started on the teachers and practitioners of what I like to call Entitlement-Centered Tarot, who either insist that every card has a positive meaning or simply say, “What do you want it to mean?”

    Dylan, yum. Thanks for the reference — I’ll check out the cookbook. As for entryism, I’d like to see more people aware that that’s a known tactic, and be on the lookout for it. There are relatively simple ways to squelch it — a lot of fraternal orders put the pledge of allegiance into their opening rituals with that in mind, because Marxist entryists would bristle over that and could thus be identified and rendered harmless.

    Lunchbox, by all means enjoy it. Me, I loathe peanut butter, but there’s ample room in the world for those who don’t.

    Skyrider, funny. I like to point out that shampoo and pajamas were both culturally appropriated from the Hindus — if I understand correctly, both words are misspelled Hindi — and watch people squirm.

    Justin, that’s a hilarious song; one of my funniest memories around it is the time I watched a feminist get irate because she didn’t realize that it was making fun of the male attitude it parodies! That potato and green bean dish sounds scrumptious. As for dollar stores, thank you for this — the same thing is happening in poor urban neighborhoods. The dollar store one long block away from my current apartment is steadily morphing into a close equivalent of the little grocery stores of my childhood.

    Mollari, that’s a great example. Everyone everywhere in the world does, or did, seasonal rituals; the label of “cultural appropriation” is clearly being used here to mean “this doesn’t conform to the officially approved model of reality.” As for the atheist entryists, of course, but the rhetoric of inclusiveness can be used very efficiently by people without honor.

    Drhooves, if you can get by on vegetable protein — not everyone can — rice and beans makes a great foundation for a vegan diet.

    Casey, excellent. Lowbrow pride is a useful habit to cultivate just now.

    Johnny, I don’t know a thing about Trinidadian cooking but it sounds delicious. As for “gender appropriation,” that’s brilliant; I wonder if the same gimmick can be turned the other direction. “I’m not culturally appropriating, I’m culturally nonbinary!”

    William, it’s absolutely standard for colonial powers to recruit people from the colonized nations to fill managerial posts and the like, and yes, that’s basically what’s going on in this situation as well. The goal is to open up a gap between the people you’ve recruited, who receive privileges the others don’t, and the disempowered masses; since your managerial class depends on the colonial power for its privilege and survival, it can be expected to remain loyal to the empire and to crack down on dissent and unrest from the masses.

    Bruce, I’m not sure exactly what it is that you’re picking nits about, as I don’t recall discussing the roots of the social justice movement in Christian heresy — though of course, like Marxism in general, it has such roots. Can you point me to the comments of mine you’re challenging?

    RC, don’t assume that they have an end game in mind. The social-justice mindset is a misapplied and distorted religious worldview; your use of the word “demons” is spot on. It’s so deeply mired in mythic thinking that practicalities of the sort you’ve raised never enter into the picture.

  46. @Irena,
    I didn’t take JMG’s comments to say poor people “should” eat anything. But there is a great question that you bring up in your comment: what have people been taught to eat — not just poor people, but everyone? Fast food is engineered to be addictive. So is highly processed food from the grocery store. If all you ever got was fast food or something out of a box, then you really do have to learn how to cook and eat food cooked straight from the field. And, as you say in your comment, we all have a lot of emotional attachments to food; it has meaning. Nobody should be telling anybody what they “should” eat, but a lot of really powerful work needs to be done to introduce people to different foods and ensure the food is associated with positive emotions. Maybe we could all make a vow to share a tasty recipe or a pointer to something that is cheap and delicious with people we know. I shared my recipe for black beans and rice, but here is another recipe that includes meat, so it is not as cheap, but it is easy and delicious — in a crock pot.

  47. Thanks for this JMG. I’m in Australia and I must admit I’m puzzled by your American class system. I recently read a book by a charming American woman about the terror of losing her corporate job in her fifties, the reality of being poor for the rest of her life, having nothing in retirement etc. She was basically counselling people to accept their poverty and move into adult dorms and so on. But isn’t the real problem that wages for non-corporate jobs in America are just too low. People lose their corporate careers in Australia too, at all ages, and they just go do something else. You can make really good money in disability care, youth work, teaching, nursing, etc. And it’s not my field but lots of those guys working on construction sites obviously make pretty good money. I think the difference here is there’s a pretty cheap and accessible system to let people train for other jobs and a strong legal framework around what those jobs have to pay.

  48. As someone that works in a tech based industry, I’d say that a lot of the cultural changes among the elite are partially stemming from the increased and growing influence of the tech sector of what constitutes upper-class and elite thinking.

    Silicon Valley but by extension the majority of large, influential tech sub-industries are run almost entirely by atheist left-libertarian types that have long looked down on anything even related to spirituality, having long turned “The Science” into its own deity, reading its will through ever more complicated forms of data collection, analysis and interpretation, and trying to build human existence into a perfectly predictable, readable, and manipulable data genome. The manipulable part is the part that scares me, because a lot of these people really do believe that they can brainwash you into doing what they want if they just apply the right stimuli – and unfortunately, they are sometimes more successful than I am comfortable with.

    As these people continue to gain more power and prominence, and are continually turned to solve problems, their unique brand of anti-spiritual, individualist materialism, human as data ideology bleeds into everything, but especially our politics, as the revolving door between the highest branches of government service and tech has sped up.

    Interestingly, when I entered tech I considered myself to be an atheist, but as I grow older and have seen the limitations of the philosophy that drives many in this industry, the sheer immorality of its greatest preachers, the excesses of materialism, the quackery of data analysis, and just how much faith is required to believe “The Science”. Along with some of your influence from reading your blogs (thanks btw), I eventually re-engaged with spiritual means of development about 5 years ago, living as a practicing Christian with some heretical practices straddling druidry and astrology. If I dare to even talk about any of my non-materialist beliefs to many of my peers, no matter how restrained I am, I am treated like I have just grown a phallus from my forehead and come to work without pants on – and it seems to have gotten worse over time.

    On the flip side, I’ve always been a bit of a subversive, and so as one of those kids that turned away from Jesus in my childhood to rebel against my parents and their excesses, there’s some fascinating symmetry that late in my life I turned back to Jesus and embraced a spiritual path to rebel against the modern overreaching authority that wants to monitor and control my every move. I guess I wouldn’t have it any other way.

  49. @JMG: “Irena, you know, it’s a sleazy rhetorical trick to twist someone’s words around to mean something that they clearly don’t mean. That’s not something you usually do. Did this post offend you?”

    No, it didn’t offend me all. I’m just trying to figure out where you’re coming from. This topic (roughly: cheap food & rice/beans) is something I’m familiar with from Sharon Astyk’s blog, and pretty much from nowhere else… So, I’ve never actually seen anyone make claims against rice and beans, or against poor people eating them. I have seen people (such as Sharon Astyk) try to explain why some people, despite being poor, choose a different (and much less healthy) diet. So, I’m not sure where to place you in that context. Unless I’m misreading you, you don’t seem to be with Sharon Astyk on this one. So… Am I to assume that you’re with people she was responding to…? And if not, then maybe you can help me overcome the binary. 🙂

  50. Lothar, no argument there. A few gadgets are useful — your standard cheap crock pot and electric rice cooker will make cooking easier, and use less energy into the bargain — but most of the dreck being pushed by corporate marketers is purely there to make you spend more money.

    Johnny, yes, I recall the Juicero! That was a hilarious example of excess complexity combined with giddy marketing.

    Viduraawakened, yes, exactly. The privileged always make a fuss about their diet, because it’s one of the ways they can flaunt their status. Rajma chawal sounds really good — I’ll check it out.

    Youngelephant, one of the reasons I posted this is to give salary class occultists a heads up that will allow them to choose their strategy wisely.

    Kevin, interesting. This is all way over my head, so I’ll leave it to the software-literare among the commentariat to discuss.

    Dave, thanks for this.

    Slithy Toves, yes, I suspect you’re correct about drugs. As for the double-bind, the basic rule here is one that men have been discussing for a good long time; the idea that to some women, whatever a man does is always wrong, is hardly new. It’s just that this perspective now affects the workplace as well as the home…

    Nati, I hope so!

    Anonymous, fascinating. Thanks for the data points!

    Rage Monster, yep. That’s true of most secularized Christian heresies — they keep the self-righteousness and discard the notions of forgiveness and redemption.

    Mr. House, that seems like an accurate characterization to me.

    Mollari, funny! Thanks for this.

    Yorkshire, I don’t know. I haven’t read any recent cookbooks.

  51. Hi John,

    I couldn’t help noticing this website went down for a while shortly after you posted this essay. Given the subject matter, it makes me wonder if there was a DDoS attack or some other form of “interdiction” going on. I have a feeling that in addition to outright censorship and deplatforming by Big Tech, we are also going to see a lot more sites experiencing “mysterious” problems that make them difficult if not impossible to access.

    I know that a number of bloggers and reference sites, including Vineyard of the Saker, have moved to servers based in countries like Iceland that have strong free-speech and anti-censorship laws. I wonder if you had considered that as a possibility.

  52. The virtue signaling classes won’t appreciate your tacit disdain for the correct way to eat- ‘farm to table’. While we’re at it, I’d like to see some entryism into the Covid mask masquerade. I don’t want to wear a mask forever in public, something I’m afraid is going to happen.

  53. Data points from central Europe: I see some opposite trends to what you describe in the USA. Agnosticism is still de rigueur in the leading strata of society – those who are heard in public. Leaders behind the scenes are often Catholic. Different kinds of Buddhism (Tibetan, Zen, Thich Nath Hanh) are trending among the comfortable classes, Yoga has a lower status. There is some Heathenry, Druidry and Wicca in the lower authochtone population, scoffed on by the Buddhists. Children of immigrants from the Balkans leave their parents’ religion for Agnosticism as they rise in society. The hottest thing to scare your parents of any class is, of course, converting to Islam – though I think it has peaked. Identitarian movements are now quite hot – from our homegrown brand in sexy Kibbo Kift style attire to followers of the Anastasia movement, frantically trying to learn Russian so that they can join one of their syncretistic kibbutzes in Siberia.

    Rice and beans is exotic and chic here, our version is potatoes – an excellent foodstock of American origin, popular in all classes. The local way of making cheap, nourishing food has always been to thicken it with wheat flour, or to bread-crumb and deep-fry it (meat, vegetables, eggs, pudding, you name it). I guess rice and beans is better for your health, as are potatoes.

  54. Funny how class snobbery varies. In Brazil, an intensely class-conscious country, there is no stigma at all attached to eating rice and beans; “arroz e feijão” has approximately the meaning of “bread-and-butter”. In fact, feijoada, a dish of beans sometimes called the national dish, is served at high-end restaurants, though they often replace the pigs’ ears and feet of the original recipe with more acceptable meat. However, cooking it (or cooking anything at all), and especially washing the dishes, do have lower-class connotations.

    Nutritionists tell me this is an ideal combination because it contains all twenty essential amino acids.

    As for flavor: we cook a large amount of the beans with laurel leaves in a pressure cooker (or a crock pot), then freeze part of them; add fried garlic and salt to the rest and cook until you get the desired consistency. At the table, add olive oil (which you can buy in 4 L canisters) and hot sauce as you wish. Rice can be pure or with onions and garlic. No need for anything else, but oranges are a great dessert.

  55. It’s funny how rice and beans never comes up in the climate crisis conversation. There’s a lot of talk of how we all have to eat insects and stop eating meat, but no talk of poor people’s food.

    I see someone has already asked about the end game, and your essay addressed the fuel that keeps it going, but what about leadership? Is there anyone leading this? I can’t tell if its a hydra or headless.

    How far do you think they’ll take the punishment? The plumber is here today and we discussed vaccine passports and social credit system coming. It just seems that the powers that be are enraged and only interested in retribution.

  56. The latest news out of DC: the turfing out of Rep Matt Gaetz for allegedly providing a 17 year old girl with plane tickets so she could fly to a state where she is of age to consent to sex. No one expects the “norms” to apply to the ruling class, until they do.

  57. Here is my hypothesis for what has been going on the past 12 years for the archdruid readership:

    2008 was the end of the Western empire. Those in charge had two choices, let the market and economy correct and lose their positions of power and prestige in the process while also leveling the playing field, or print money and keep the corpse on the operating table as long as they can. They decided to go with door 2. Since then things have been slowly deteriorating in the West. Like anything else some people try to figure out why on their own and end up places like this and others know something isn’t quite right but for whatever reason do not try to figure it out and listen to whatever the TV tells them. From 2008 until 2018 the system did have spasms as rigamortis set in and each one was met with more money printing. Also during this process, to stop people from considering why their life wasn’t going the way they were told it should TPTB (corporate, dem, republican and so on) took minor grievances and inflated them. This was the beginning of the SJW movement. Most of us ignored this because it didn’t matter in our day to day lives. Then in late 2018 after raising rates and shrinking the FEDS balance sheet by a minuscule amount to restore confidence in the system, everything started to blow up again. 2019 begins and the fed stops raising rates, starts lowering rates and stops shrinking its balance sheet. This bought them time, but nothing else, just like every action they’ve taken since 2008. In the Fall of 2019 the REPO market begins to explode again and bill gates and klaus schwab have their event 201. The system was not recovering and the amount needed via printing would have to be explained in some manner people wouldn’t question and wouldn’t destroy the remaining faith they had in the system. Then 2020 happens.

    Does this seem plausible to people? I think my “narrative” explains events much better then anything you’ll hear or read in the MSM.

  58. The push you see in all culture you see to divide people and get them fighting amongst themselves is all just so that people in power can stay in power and dictate what the new “system” will to the rest of us. All the hate is being fed by those at the top on purpose.

  59. Hi JMG,

    Ha! That hadn’t occurred to me. My problem with a lot of this stuff is it just makes people crazy, they try to be “whiter” at the same time they are labelling white as the worst thing in the world. And all of it makes people more self conscious about something that can be on shaky ground to begin with.

    For Trinidadian food I think you would find palau of interest. From talking to people from other places it seems somewhat universal, in some combination of ingredients, with the same idea before it (I was calling it a stew above) but properly would be beans and meat and then you cook your rice in the liquid. Palau is a version with pigeon peas and stewed chicken. I can’t vouch for this recipe, but my mom likes this guy and everything I’ve watched from him looks good (I watch him on youtube some times). Lots of ads and pictures, but the directions are in text here.

    You might also be interested that it is often made and eaten later. A “lime” that he refers to is friends hanging out just doing nothing. This is the food for a later in the day hangout.


  60. RE Kevin & comments numbers: can definitely be fixed, the comment numbers most likely just need to be added to the DOM I would guess based on your inspection of the web page. It’s probably up to the word press theme developer, although I’m not completely sure. JMG might know if there was an update to the theme or not. I’m not a wordpress guy, but am like 80% confident in that assessment.

  61. @Jean

    Where these arguments get thorny is when people raise questions about what sort of stuff food stamps should pay for, and what sort of stuff should get taxed. “Who are you to tell poor people they can’t drink soda!!!” That general sort of thing. I’ve literally never, ever seen anyone (other than paleo people, I suppose) make the claim that rice and beans are not appropriate food for poor (or non-poor, for that matter) people. I *have* seen people make arguments that it was inappropriate to demand that poor people eat this way. So, I’m baffled by this blog post.

    Personally, I’d be subsisting on rice and beans myself, if it weren’t for one thing: if I eat beans more than very occasionally, they make me ill. (Bad bloating, foggy head, general feeling of having been poisoned.) It’s frustrating because (a) I actually quite like the taste, and (b) it’s cheap. Oh, well. I must have some sort of food sensitivity. 🙁 Interestingly, tofu doesn’t bother me in that way. It must have to do with the way it’s processed.

  62. This essay had me chuckling the whole time… thank you!!

    JMG and others… Which way do you think the yoga people will go?

    I have a video on how to make proper fried rice! I’m actually making this today, though I will be adding pineapple to the recipe because that’s one of my personal favorite variations. Recipe below the link for those who do not do video.


    2 cups cooked leftover rice *** IMPORTANT, SEE NOTE ***
    1 tablespoon vegetable oil, any kind except olive or flax seed
    1.5 cups chopped broccoli
    1/2 cup chopped onion
    1.5 cups chopped cabbage
    1/2 cup chopped tomato
    1 tablespoon soy sauce

    *** NOTE *** Use rice that has either been left on the counter overnight or refrigerated for a few hours — do not use freshly cooked rice, it will become gummy. When cooled, cooked rice sits, it undergoes a molecular change that makes it harder, which makes it unappealing to eat in that state but also PERFECT for fried rice. I used cooked sushi rice in this video, but you can use basmati, long grain, jasmine, brown, whatever.


    Smash up the rice with a fork so there aren’t giant clumps, set aside. Chop vegetables, set aside.

    Heat oil in a frying pan. I used my cast iron pan. Use the highest heat possible for your pan. When I used to live in a place without a gas stove, I used to use a portable electric wok to fry rice. Heat the oil until it smokes a little — this won’t take very long, so keep watch. Add vegetables in order of how soft you like them. I like broccoli to be softer than onion, tomato, or cabbage, so I put it in first. Add a new vegetable about every 30 seconds or so and stir. Lastly, add rice and let it cook for about a minute. Stir in soy sauce until the rice is a relatively uniform brown color.

    *** SECOND NOTE *** On doubling the recipe — if you want twice the amount of fried rice, you either have to have a pan/wok twice the size of what is shown here or cook it in two separate batches. I cooked this batch in two separate batches because my pan was too small for the large amount of rice I had.

    *** THIRD NOTE *** I hope it is self-evident that you can use the vegetables of your choice in this recipe! I’ll often use mixed frozen peas, carrots, and corn in it, thawed for two minutes in the microwave and drained. Veggie meat works quite well, especially vegan chick’n.

  63. JMG,

    I don’t go for USA culture war, because it was getting less and less coherent and comprehensible my whole life. Rice and beans, really? (I didn’t heard of that story) I did see shrill

    But thank you for heads up about changes in attitudes of corporate class. I am working on exit from corporate life/academia/constant grind of never enough useless credential/training certificated grind and taking up astrology as a craft does have certain appeal; so does tarot cards. It seems that in the long (10-15 years perspective) it might be far safer than “safe” and “respectable” jobs.

    Speaking of which, a story: I had the same bright idea to check if playing the “castle-in-the-air” game of stock with divination would be useful like more and more of commentariat on dreamwidth. I got mixed reading with lot of “creative but disappointing/losses”. The last daily reading showed when I asked about that was: Reverse Page of Cups, Reverse Devil and Kings of Pentacles. I didn’t move any money into stock, thinking it will be bad news and disasters in prosperity and lo and behold few days later we had the biggest “hedge fund” failure and problem with shipping due to Suez Canal.


    It seems we are in the market endgame where the double rush of small money and accumulated fraud and risky bets will crush the bull market. The question is when, not if.


  64. This doesn’t touch on spirituality or diet, but it does touch on circumscribing behavior, so I’ll run with that. My apologies beforehand.

    **begin rant***

    So, apparently the WI state Supreme Court decided that the good governor had, in fact, exceeded his authority by issuing multiple executive orders for the same event, thus voiding the mask mandate. However, we have been informed that our workplace will continue to abide by the state and CDC guidelines, requiring (sort of) masks in the office. (We’ve been allowed, unofficially, to demask while at our desks or in rooms alone, but when we’re up and moving about we’re supposed to have them on.) Discussing this issue with one of the department managers I discovered that the decision has been made, in part, due to a subset of workers who “don’t feel comfortable” unless we’re masked.

    I have no issue with someone wearing a mask if it makes them more comfortable in the workplace. I *do* have an issue with being compelled to wear a mask simply due to some else’s discomfort. I haven’t had an opportunity to employ our general manager’s open-door policy on this issue, but will likely do so tomorrow. This is fundamentally no different than refusing to promote a female worker to a supervisory position because some people on the team “don’t feel comfortable” working for a woman. It is completely @$$backwards, philosophically speaking. I understand that the management may be in something of a bind here, caught between a rock and a hard place, but I feel compelled to present the opposing viewpoint with as much vehemence as I suspect the other side was presented.

    As a civil libertarian, this is crap.

    ***end rant***

  65. Hi JMG,

    I’m sure it’s more complicated than this, but I think the food there is a blend of Indian and African food, with another layer of Chinese and English food in the mix. I guess people appropriated each other’s cultures, and that, crossed with what food was available is what it’s made of. Some dishes seem based in a traditional dish that is bent hard by the general culture in a direction of their liking, some seem like total blends. It’s quite a bit more involved than what is available at restaurants up here, which give it a reputation of being all curried rotis. Not that I think Trinidadians would be upset by that, but is missing a lot of the variety that is there.


  66. A few years ago, you said that there was a fifty-year (?) American cycle alternating between politics and religion, and that we’ve been in the religion phase. Could what you describe the the cycle reversing? It does feel like we’re going to have a long cycle of political struggles ahead.

  67. I was reading, today, your post on the other blog, about the Kilner filters, and today, on 4chan, a discussion on Ether and the Michelson-Morley experiment:


    Your post made me wonder if, like religion, science was “entried” in the same way to remove the traces of the occult for it. I commented before this should be studied as a crime, not historically–because it was hidden; the purpose would be control. Your post at least provides a sort of way of testing this: some crisis, happening when the elite was having power slipping away from their hands.

  68. The More With Less cookbook has a sequel, Extending The Table, with recipes of the same sort as the first but with an international flair, as they were collected from missionaries. Cultural appropriation of the highest caliber! My edition is spiral bound, I can’t vouch for what edits might have been made to later reprints.

  69. The notion of cultural appropriation is a huge pet peeve of mine. It is so gobsmackingly stupid I hardly know where to begin. How about, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery?
    Where did the idea that copying is offensive come from? It is beyond absurd. It’s what people do, in every sphere of life, since the beginning of time.

  70. How about dried lentils and rice? I don’t have a crockpot, but dried red lentils cook as fast as the rice and they’re pretty cheap. Maybe I should try the crockpot, though… hard to find somewhere to put it, though, I really have no spare space in my kitchen. It would be good to have one and know how to use it if times got harder, even if I generally kept it at the back of my bedroom closet because there’s nowhere in the kitchen it can live without being constantly in the way.

    I’ll admit I don’t like rice and beans much. I’m probably doing it wrong. Minestrone soup or rice and lentils, or lentils and noodle stirfry with veggies though… those I like more and eat a lot of. Money isn’t tight right now, so if I buy tinned chickpeas or kidney beans instead of dry, it doesn’t cause me problems even if it is a bit more taxing on the world’s resources.

    One thing I’ve noticed is that the changes to recommended eating habits in Canada and the UK suddenly doubled the amount of vegetables they say we’re supposed to eat. In Canada, they’re now saying half your plate should be fruit and veg, 1/4 should be carbs/grains, 1/4 some sort of protein(ideally plant-based). Fruit and veg prices went up quite a bit around that time and after.

  71. Not a fan of beans but I love the equally cheap fried rice. There are so many variations that a person could eat it everyday without getting bored.

  72. I used to volunteer at a small, local food bank. On one occasion I asked the manager why we didn’t stock and provide for our clients the makings of meals rather than packaged meals (think generic rice and beans versus Kraft macaroni and cheese in a box, for example). She said that they had tried that in the past, had even offered cooking classes to help clients use a wider variety of foods so that they could learn to stretch their dollars further, but there was no interest. The people who came for food wanted the instant stuff.

    I don’t know why this was, I don’t think the manager knew either. It could have been that the people had neither the time nor interest in cooking or maybe it was that the pre-packaged foods made them feel less poor; they could eat the same things they imagined their more middle-class neighbors ate. Food choices are complicated. Culture plays a part, so does social class – both actual and aspirational – so some people will choose a brand name food even though the store brand is indistinguishable in flavor.

    As for me, I love parboiled-style rice and I love lentils. My husband isn’t especially fond of that kind of rice, although he does like the sticky Chinese restaurant kind, which I do not like at all. (Chinese fried rice, on the other hand, I could eat by the quart.) Unfortunately, he’s never been able to eat beans without debilitating stomach distress so they only occasionally grace our table. Instead, we eat a ton of vegetables that we grow ourselves, lots of homemade bread, soups, and small servings of pastured meat. We raise layers so eggs are always in good supply as well. Works for us.

  73. @Onething et al. on cultural appropriation

    The idea of cultural appropriation seems to have started from a reasonable concern — e.g. white people casually wearing war bonnets or bindis, thereby disrespecting another culture’s sacred customs — and then blossomed by false analogies into a particularly-blinkered Offendedness Olympics.

    My guideline is that unless it’s the general opinion of the actual people of the culture that something is disrespectful, it’s probably not disrespectful. And if it is the general opinion of the actual people that something is offensive (like, say, using the word “latinx”), it’s probably disrespectful.

  74. There appears to be an example of entryism playing out now with the Free Software Foundation. Famous autist Richard Stallman, having preciously stepped down, was IIRC reinstated to the Board, and now there is a call for the entire Board to resign.

    In terms of competitive taking of offense and the overproduction of elites: I have wondered if there is a rhetorical place for the phrase “temporarily embarrassed elites” — in parallel to the phrase “temporarily embarrassed millionaires” as applied to supposed false-consciousness in Republicans.

  75. Back when I was studying at university, I used to get a small amount of money from the government which I supplemented by working a part time job three shifts a week. I remember reading an article in a newspaper at the time which was about the ‘poverty line’ and realising that, based on my income, I was 1/3 below it. That was news to me. I was as fit as I’ve ever been training martial arts three times a week, played in a band and lived in a house with a swimming pool in the backyard. I didn’t skimp on food either. Pasta was the staple of my diet and still is to this day for the simple reason that I got really good at cooking it. I even managed to save a little money each week.

    What even the Greek Cynics knew a couple of thousand years ago is that there’s more freedom and authenticity at the bottom of the social hierarchy than at the top.

  76. Re: rice and beans–my current favorite beans are pink beans (a.k.a. habichuelas rosadas). Delicious! And I would just like to add that in addition to being easy to cook and easy to store long term, beans are also easy to grow. Some even have beautiful flowers. Now if that isn’t bang for your buck, I don’t know what is!

    Fun fact, an acquaintance in southern California informed me that there was actually a good deal of intermarriage between Mexicans and Sikh immigrants in that area in the early 20th century, in large part because they recognized common ground in their culinary traditions. In short, both cultures recognized rice, spicy beans, and flatbread as good food. Yum.

    Re: cultural appropriation and naughty spirituality–Besides the competitive offendedness, I think accusations of appropriation in spirituality/magic generally betray a *lack* of belief in the ostensible sacredness the accusers claim to be protecting. Practices like smudging, say, become cultural property over which to declare ownership, rather than recognizing that many cultures worldwide use the smoke of local aromatic plants to purify and consecrate ritual spaces. Whereas, if we acknowledge the existence of spirits, magic, etc., it becomes easy to see why so many cultures would arrive at similar methods–i.e., because they work. But if you ultimately don’t believe in them, it’s easy to mistake it all for empty copycat-ism.

    (That said, I do think accusations of appropriation are one of the West’s imperial chickens come home to roost, and I don’t dismiss them all a priori–but there is a lot of false accusation going around, and in what passes for polite society these days there is simply no way to broach it. All someone has to do is claim some kind of oppressed identity status that is “harmed,” and boom–thoughtstopper.)

    I’m sure I’m also not the only one to notice that the supposed solution to appropriation, “stick to your own ethnic roots,” sounds an awful lot like separate-but-equal. (As if gods and spirits could be compelled to obey such injunctions!) But hey, what could go wrong, right?

  77. As I understand it one of the popular spiritualities has been advaida vedanta and other paths to ‘non-duality’ (a term I came to abhor after reading it in so many New Age books). 🙂 When someone achieves this state, from the Western occultism viewpoint, what have they done? Is there an equivalent, or is it something Western systems try to avoid? I could have saved this for Magic Monday but today I’ve been talking to a woman who’s had the experience commonly known as enlightenment (the fast version, not following decades of preparation). I wanted your take on it when continuing the conversation.

  78. About condiments, peanut butter + butter (or vegan oil of your choice) + soy sauce is delicious and easy. Lots of vegetarian cookbooks have good ideas about condiments.

    I gave up on trying to decipher “woke” rhetoric when they went all in for Hillary Clinton, and then swallowed the Russia stole the election (2016) nonsense.

    Can anyone make an educated guess, what are the chances these fools are going to get us Americans blown up along with the rest of North America, or invaded by foreigners tired of their incompetence and pretensions. Is there any way to defeat them without having to buy in to conservative cultural conformism?

  79. As a Brazilian I can say that could, and I do, eat rice and beans everyday for the rest of my days. In fact I keep up to nine different types of bean and make many recipes with them.

  80. Thanks JMG. In Ireland this sort of thing is pretty much the bread and butter of our politics now. My dad often jokes that as a kid he’d have nothing to eat in the morning but watery porridge. Now it’s sold for breakfast at the upper class lounges… It’s kinda sad seeing it, and I often wonder if there is a need to go dark online, or in public. But it does seem that we’ve to live through this, rather than fighting against it.

    Anyway, thanks once again, agus raibh maith agat. Adrian

  81. A couple rice and beans recipes in regular rotation at our house:

    Rice pudding is always great for dessert in my opinion; unfortunately no one else in my house agrees (though more for me, I guess!).

    I second the recommendation above for the “More Is Less” cookbook from the Mennonite community. There are entire rice and beans sections and everything I’ve attempted has been really good. Check out used copies of the older, 25th anniversary edition for a handy, spiral bound version.

  82. Mr. Greer,

    It’s interesting you mention this.

    I have noticed recently that one of the public enemies of today’s would-be social McCarthyites is the meat industry. In fact, I have heard serious proclamations that meat should be outlawed or exorbitantly taxed. Recently, also, in the grocery stores, I have seen imposter meat shelved next to the real stuff. For a frankly moronic take on the situation see . 3D printing steaks? Get real.

    Now, in fairness, if someone wants to posit that industrial farming is bad for the earth– and not a long term strategy given what we know about the limits to growth– they will get no argument from me. But that’s just as true of soybeans , air conditioning, and commercial air travel. I don’t buy the pseudo-magnanimous ecological propaganda here.

    So, it seems, the real proposition here is “I [insert bureaucratic title] get to decide what you eat.” That is as offensive as it is impossible.

    That latter point is the striking thing for two reasons.

    First, tenuous as their grasp on reality always was, the elite now seem to have become completely unmoored. Meanwhile, we get to be the guinea pigs in their real-time modern monetary theory experiment.

    Second, it does not seem to have occurred to the social police that even if you did, say, ban meat products from grocery stores that receive SNAP benefits, people like me who live in fly-over country *gasp* actually know, and are friendly with, both cattle farmers and butchers. Heck, it’s cheaper and better quality meat than what’s on offer at the grocery store anyway; my wife and I have bought directly from farmers for years. It’s like trying to ban bread baking. Good luck with that.

    (This is especially funny whenever I hear some casual acquaintance go on about gun/ammo control. That horse left the barn, took a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, returned, and died surrounded by his grandchildren long ago.)

    With that said, I think there is one reason to be cautiously optimistic at least where I live. During the last election, it seemed to have dawned on some red states that they are sovereign after all. Indeed, one notorious state (I recently learned) has quietly set up a precious metal repository. The wisdom and practicality of that move is debatable. But the merit and vicissitudes of such actions are irrelevant to my point, What matters is that some states have, perhaps unconsciously, recognized that (especially with regard to money) there may well be a time in the near future where they, or a coalition of like-minded ones, will be on their own. I emphatically do not mean secession (though I guess it’s a possibility). What I mean is that Washington will have so thoroughly overdrafted the checking account it will amount to the federal government abandoning the States.

    Luckily, in theory at any rate, the United States is organized as a series of Republican entities cascading from the three branches of the federal government down to the municipalities. That kind of system can collapse, in the good sense of the word, pretty easily if *locally* the right people are in charge.

    So, I humbly suggest that, in addition to assembling a hefty larder, now might be the time for some of us to consider running for alderman or for the school board.

    -Anonymous Millennial.

  83. @Kevin #28

    It still works for me! I’m still using an older version of Firefox: 84.0.1.

    @Irena #61

    That reminds me of when I was on Medicaid. Med A takes a while to kick in but works better long term, Med B kicks in immediately but works less well long term. So the Medicaid people’s belief was that therefore everyone would want Med B–so they didn’t cover it, in order to force everyone with the condition to take “Med A, which is what’s best for them.” But I had a bad reaction to Med A…so I just went without meds for that condition. (That said, I got Lyme disease while on Medicaid and could’ve died or got permanent brain damage without Medicaid–initial infection was “just a fever,” I think I would’ve ignored it–so I’m very glad I had Medicaid despite its flaws.)

    I’m like you, I can handle tofu but not beans. Especially when I was using a cookbook which used the “modern” “shortcut” of “bring them to a boil, then turn off the heat and let them soak for 1-2 hours” as a substitute for the traditional “soak them overnight,” and IIRC it also had you go on to cook them in the water instead of changing it as is traditional…and it didn’t mention that these even were changes! Once I learned the traditional overnight soak and water change existed, I did find that helps me. Not enough for beans to be my only protein source, but some.

    I often find traditional methods help me–another example is cabbage. I can’t handle cole slaw or other forms of raw cabbage, and I also can’t handle modern canned sauerkraut which has been given the sour flavor with vinegar. But I can digest traditionally-made sauerkraut that has been fermented–I imagine the fermentation must take care of whatever it is that bothers me in the raw cabbage.

    I’m familiar with the attitude you mention. Almost all “poverty finance” or “cheap eating” advice I’ve ever seen includes “just eat rice and beans,” which makes me sad since it really isn’t doable for me. The message often seems to be, “We *normal* and *good* people, we *virtuous* poor, *we* eat beans–so what’s wrong with *you*?” I’m grateful to the one menu creator I’ve seen put out a blanket offer to create other menus for people with unusual dietary needs (

  84. Isn’t “cultural appropriation” the final aim of globalisation? It seems that it has been very successful.

  85. Re: beans & rice & $$ leftover for vegetables. From Jean Lamb in Klamath Falls, who’s been there: ” If the only bodega has $5 lettuce, people aren’t going to buy it very often. I’ve seen what the selection of fruits and vegetables are in the ‘little store’ on Summers Lane, and someone without a bus pass or a car is going to have a really hard time finding any that they can afford even with beans and rice. The people who live downtown did not have any store in walking distance because of reasons too long to summarize here for a couple of years. Milk is horribly expensive in bodegas and small stores, and very heavy to cart on a bus, but people will buy it instead of fruits or veggies when they have kids.

    It’s not as simple as money—it’s availability, too.”

    We’re old friends and have discuss culinary matters for along, long time. When I was on beans and rice, I still had a car, and could drive to a grocery store some distance away from my one-room e cheapo back in 1990; it’s been defunct for a decade at least. But, being unemployed and without children, I had time to cut up carrots and onions etc and make vegetable soup – a lot.

    But do dollar stores sell fold-up grocery carts? I know Walmart does. But I’ve seem a medium sized one (holds 66#) got $50. What are the economics of that?

  86. Mr Greer,

    Sometime when it fits with your weekly theme, I’d love for you to share more about what is and isn’t ‘New Age.’ It’s a term I’ve heard all my life (I’m a few years younger than you, I think) but I don’t really know what it means–other than mockery or censure.

  87. Anyone else love plantains aka plantanos? They are a savory banana that isn’t very sweet. They’re best fried. I peel them, roll them in flour (they’re especially good rolled in chickpea flour) and then pan fry them. The best condiment for them is a mixture of mayo and sriacha, or mayo and ketchup if you can’t take the heat. They are a perfect accompaniment for beans and rice.

  88. @ Galen comment #51

    I also had an issue earlier today with getting onto Ecosophia. I use Microsoft Edge and have John’s site pinned to my favorites. Clicking on the link produced no results whatsoever although all my other links worked fine. Thinking that there’s more than one way to skin a cat, I went to DuckduckGo and typed in Ecosophia. When the link came up there, I clicked on it and bingo I was in. So I don’t think it was a DOS precisely but it was very odd. And when I clicked again on the link pinned to my favorites, it also worked just fine. Not sure what to make of that unless there is an issue with Microsoft Edge itself. Perhaps the more internet savvy can shed some light.

  89. If given a choice between rice and beans, on the one hand, and the World Economic Forum’s gourmet grubs on the other, I think most poor people will gladly choose the former. I’ve also been stocking up on oatmeal lately; another cheap, hearty, and versatile food with rich history (notably among Scots).

  90. Interesting. Neopaganism is definitely struggling right now as Wokesters continue hijack it. I will give you an example from a Neopagan FB group I am in. Someone started a thread on your CGD book. Needless to say a Moderator jumped on the post very quickly and closed it down with this – “Many Druidic groups and orgs, as well as orgs like Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn have been critiqued on many different things (particularly on appropriation of Kabbalistic practices) – so just to be aware of those things…”

    You pointed out that the Kabbala goes back to the Neoplatonists so if we are going to throw the term “appropriative” about, then Jews in 12th Century France are guilty of cultural appropriation (or CA as it’s known, given its thrown about so much, by SJWs.) Also, the trans wars claim victims too on the Neopagan scene. A BNP was deplatformed from a Goddess conference because she didn’t believe “Trans women are women” even though her talk had nothing to do with the topic. Apparently there is an anonymous “Inclusion team” who now get to decide who they will exclude from such events. Heathenry is not immune either. A book on it called “The Way of Fire and Ice: The Living Tradition of Norse Paganism” was explicit in its support of Antifa. So Neopaganism is eating itself but that might clear the way for something better to emerge, I hope.

  91. Hi, JMG:

    Follow up to last week’s question about the Strange Days Dawning & the Dancers at the End of Time posts:
    You mentioned at the time that a probable outcome of the Obama years was a revitalization movement from the working class; and you pointed out that the outcome of the election of 2016 was that “the working classes didn’t get a revitalization movement, but their opponents proceeded to create a pretty fair facsimile of a revitalization movement themselves.”

    A strange corollary I have noticed is that back in 2012, on the old blog, you very presciently predicted (I think the post was Twilight of Protest) that you “expected to see Marxism make a large-scale comeback on the American left in the next few years.” Seeing as so much of the ideological underpinnings of the varying aspects of the wokester movement look like Marxism that has been transposed from the key of economic class to the key of race/gender/etc; it very much resembles the revitalization movement facsimile. It’s as if the comfortable classes have preemptively created (or are simply imitating) facsimiles of movements that would otherwise be aimed at themselves, in some sort of weird Jungian projecting-the-collective-shadow way. Does this seem plausible, and are there instructive historical precedents for this sort of pattern playing out?

  92. An exasperated waiter at a Southwestern restaurant in Ohio asked me, “Why do white men always order Chile Colorado?”. He had his nose out of joint because his idea of the top of the heap were eating like campesinos – tres déclassé. A peculiar inflection on “white men” caused me to ask what kind of white men. “You know, like you. The big ones that wear checkered shirts and fix things.” “You mean the guys who started in construction out west?” Un-hunh. Seems ideas of food and social status cut both ways… and following one’s real tastes leads to good ends.

  93. Jeanne, your mom’s simple goulash sounds perfectly tasty, and I make broth the same way, though I usually make it stovetop rather than in the crock pot. Yes, it’s entertaining to watch the fuming.

    Jessi, human beings behave badly whenever they think they can do so without negative consequences. As for bread and eggs, by all means.

    voz0bel, when I was a kid, and the energy crisis of the 1970s was on, a popular tee shirt read EAT BEANS — AMERICA NEEDS THE GAS…

    Slithy Toves, oh, I hope so! It would be such a delight to see science fiction and fantasy ditch the pretentious posturing and get back to good old-fashioned sensawunder stuff.

    Your Kittenship, I think we’re most of the way there already!

    Leonie, it’s perfectly possible to land on your feet and make good money in the US, too. It’s not about income — it’s about status, though a lot of people use words like “poor” to mean “low status,” since it’s taboo to talk about class barriers in the US. Here the class divide between the upper 20% and the rest is gargantuan, and the greatest fear of many people in the former class is that they’ll fall into the latter.

    Brother Victor, thanks for this. That makes a great deal of sense. I’m glad you found a religious path that works for you!

    Irena, I’ve never seen a debate of the sort that you’ve described, and no, I’m not with either side of that debate. I literally couldn’t care less what people eat, and I’m very skeptical of the claims that this or that diet is good or bad for your health — I remember very clearly the days when all cholesterol was bad for you and polyunsaturated fats were good for you, and I’m quite sure that the current set of food recommendations will be thrown out in due time. My point has to do with people online insisting that poor people ought to eat a fashionable middle class diet rather than, say, rice and beans. If poor people don’t want to eat rice and beans, here again, let ’em eat something they like better — it’s no concern of mine.

    Galen, yes, I also noticed that. It was only down for around twenty minutes, and I’ve had outages like that unrelated to blog content from time to time; if it becomes an issue, I’ll talk to my tech guy and explore alternatives.

    Dave T, the virtue signaling classes can dine on potato greens for all I care!

    Admin, thank you for the data points! Fascinating.

    Matthias, also fascinating. I’ll remember to order feijoada if I ever have the chance.

    Denis, I think it’s pretty headless, and I think they’ll take it as far as they can before the bottom drops out completely — which may not be too far off.

    Great Khan of Potlucks, that’s a great example of what I think probably should be called the Oscar Wilde effect.

    Mr. House, a case could be made that you’re right. The question then is what happens next? Even under current conditions, the wheels are falling off…

    Johnny, thanks for this! I’ll give it a try.

    Kimberly, my guess is that it depends on class standing. The higher people are in the class hierarchy, the faster they’ll abandon yoga for some exercise system that isn’t as closely associated with spirituality; lower down — and these days, yoga reaches well down the ladder — the more likely people are to stick with it and express their feelings with the mystic Bird Mudra. 😉 One thing about fried rice — in my experience, a huge amount depends on the type of rice. Some kinds of long grain rice are unsticky enough that you can fry them hot and get a good texture!

    Changeling, astrology has long been one of the classic ways that occultists pay their bills during hard times — a lot of American occultists got through the Great Depression by casting horoscopes — and other forms of divination are also options. As for stock divinations, yep — I’m expecting a world-class bubble before the bust, but we’ll see.

    David BTL, I get that. I have plenty of reasons to be grateful for my job as a full-time freelance author, but these days, not having to put up with the bizarrerie of out-of-control control freaks in administration ranks high on that list.

    Johnny, fascinating. That’s normally how folk cuisines are born, so I suspect you’re right.

    Tomriverwriter, it’s a 72-year cycle — meaning in practice anything from sixty-something to eighty-something years — of which half has religious innovation and political stasis, and the other half has religious conservatism and political struggle. The 36 years from 1976 to 2012 were the first half of the current cycle, with politics spinning its wheels in familiar ruts while religious strangeness abounds. Now we’re in the other half, politics is getting strange, and religion is settling down to a phase of consolidation and return to roots. Yes, that’s doubtless one of the things going on just now.

    Anonymous, I don’t think entryism was necessary to drag the sciences into a rigid dogmatism — all that was necessary was a change in the way it was practiced, so that research is now done in a bureaucratic setting rather than by independent researchers on their own. You’re quite correct, though, that there was a lot of purging of dissidents.

    Buzzy, thanks for this!

    Onething, I ain’t arguing. Anyone who gets angry about cultural appropriation needs to stop using the alphabet, unless they’re Lebanese or Palestinian — the alphabet was invented by the ancient Phoenicians, after all, and culturally appropriated by other cultures from there.

    Pygmycory, lentils and rice are great too. The sudden change in recommended eating habits — yes, I saw that too. That will only provide adequate nourishment if you have a completely sedentary lifestyle.

    Lincoln, another good cheap food. We’ll be eating homemade chicken fried rice tonight, fwiw.

    Beekeeper, a lot of people in the working poor won’t use food banks, and if my experience is anything to go by, it’s especially the working poor that likes crock pots and dried beans.

    Fft137, there’s a lot of entryism going on these days.

    Simon, I did much the same thing in my poor period. Sara and I lived well below the poverty line, and we lived quite well.

    Alexandra, rosadas are great — the best refrieds I’ve ever had are made from them. As for naughty spirituality, exactly. Outside of the specific case of closed traditions — and it’s up to the keepers of the tradition to decide how open or closed it is — accusations of spiritual cultural appropriation tacitly assume that the gods don’t exist, since if gods do exist, they can decide who to work with all by themselves…

    Yorkshire, I’ve come to the conclusion that the term “enlightenment” is used to describe many different states of nonordinary consciousness, and I’m not familiar enough with Vedanta to have a clear sense of which of those states they’re talking about.

    Mary, one of the things I’m trying to do with this blog and certain other ventures is to create a space in which it’s possible to evolve an alternative to the conformisms of left and right. There’s this thing called “individual liberty” — I know, I know, a taboo concept these days, but I think it deserves a hearing…

    Rafael, you’re the second Brazilian reader who’s talked about tasty bean dishes in your national cuisine. I’m definitely going to look into it!

    Adrian, one of the things that came up in detail in the discussion of Dion Fortune’s book The Cosmic Doctrine on this blog is how you deal with opposition. The short form? You don’t fight against it unless you want to lock it into place, in permanent conflict with you. You evade it and give it a little push as it whizzes on by, to help it land hard…

    Ip, thanks for these!

    Anonymous, yes, that’s one of the things that makes me roll my eyes too. The decentralized meat market is already a reality, and the more bureaucrats try to limit access to meat, the more profitable it will be for small producers to supply the demand. As for local government, well, yes — my novel Retrotopia was basically about that…

    JillN, an excellent point!

    Patricia M, I got my current grocery cart at the local dollar store, and it’s been carrying hefty loads home for a couple of years now. It carries up to 100# and cost me a little over $30, so the economics are pretty good!

    Joeljones, I’ll consider a post on that. The name didn’t start out as mockery — the founders of the movement were convinced that a New Age was about to dawn, and set out to live as though it was already here, along the lines of Gandhi’s advice to live the change you want to see. The movement that came out of that was a free mix of New Thought, secondhand Theosophy, and an assortment of alternative healing therapies for mind and body; in the usual way, it had a lot of good stuff, some really dreadful stuff, and a vast amount of harmless tripe. Unfortunately it became fashionable among the rich and entitled after Shirley Maclaine got into it, and it’s been twisted out of shape by the usual dynamics of privilege; with any luck, once it drops out of fashion, it can be repaired and put back to work.

    Conan, I ain’t arguing.

    Bridge, that’s a great example — thank you. It’s a source of great amusement to me that inclusion teams are assigned the job of excluding people — the Ministry of Truth would be pleased.

    Raab, the thing to keep in mind is that Marxism is not and has never been a movement of the working classes. It’s a movement of intellectuals who want to seize power, using the working classes as their cat’s-paw. So it’s perfectly understandable that Marxism should have been dusted off again and put to work in a desperate attempt by the comfortable classes to maintain power.

    Rhydlyd, funny!

  94. Does oatmeal fall into the category of rice and beans? I’m picky about beans, rice don’t care either way….. but I love oatmeal.

  95. @JMG: “My point has to do with people online insisting that poor people ought to eat a fashionable middle class diet rather than, say, rice and beans.”

    Interesting. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen that sort of thing. Perhaps we lurk on different corners of the Internet.


    Okay, maybe I’ll try soaking beans and seeing if that helps. Thanks!

    Cary, yeah, it does feel awkward when budget food just doesn’t work for me. It’s not a question of taste. It’s what happens with my body an hour or so after I finish the meal…

  96. Eugene and others- a good cookbook on eating simply from the 70s is the “More with Less” cookbook by the Mennonites. Author Doris Jantzen Longacre. Lots of tasty beans and rice ( and other) cheap and cheerful recipes.

  97. What happens next? War drums are being beat with regards to certain groups, both foreign and domestic because the wheels are falling off.

  98. At some of the times in my life when I had least money, I ended up eating more processed food, not less, because I ran into multiple barriers to cooking from scratch. It wouldn’t have been so bad if it was one barrier at a time, but when the barriers started being 3 at a time I ran into real trouble eating properly from scratch. Here’s a list of barriers I’ve personally experienced:

    -physical problems making food prep, especially cutting veggies, opening cans, or mixing things painful to near impossible. Kneading bread? Forget it.
    -insufficient food storage space (sharing small storage area with multiple roommates, landlord has filled your freezer with their food)
    -rodents spoiling my food and pooping on food prep areas and landlord refuses to deal with rodents or allow me to
    -no working oven
    -feel nauseated/no appetite due to illness or medication side effects
    -depression makes doing anything seem like climbing a mountain eating seems like too much trouble until I’m really spacy and low blood sugar from not eating, at which point I’m not fit to cook
    -using more than 1 cooking method at once trips the circuit breaker
    -shared kitchen space with roommates I need to work around
    -inadequate food prep space
    -only have a bar fridge, no useable freezer
    -no space to store cooking equipment I want because my landlord stores some of their cooking equipment in my space
    -roommate stealing my food

    These resulted in situations like tendonitis-damaged hands refusing to clean a pot that my roommate had burned stuff onto, it hurt a lot, didn’t work, I tried for weeks, cried, and I wound up getting rid of the pot in the end. Or struggling to keep my food prep area and food clean from rats with wrecked hands, or combinations of roommates stealing my stuff, inadequate food storage, bad hands, depression, no oven, inadequate prep area at the same time. Or… you get the idea.

    So yes, I should have been eating more from scratch when I was poorest, but that often didn’t happen despite not having suddenly forgotten how to cook or no longer wanting to. The problem with my hands was probably the single worst one, but it combined horribly with other issues.

  99. Dear Mr Greer,

    I have a small book at home, here in France, called “Survivre en ville quand tout s’arrête” (Surviving in the city when everything stops) which says that rice and beans, eaten the same day, provide you with most of the nutrients you need to survive. It’s the same with potatoes and onions (or garlic). Eastern Europeans used to live for two centuries on a diet of potatoes and onions. The onions provide the nutrients which potatoes don’t.

    Also, you can grow your own potatoes and onions if you have a garden. Growing your own rice is more complicated, unless you don’t care working with water up to your shins.

    You wrote about “the insistence by social-justice types that it’s cultural appropriation to use tarot cards.” Cultural appropriation is an American concept, which amazes the European that I am. I don’t think that the concept exists anywhere else in the world.

    After French king Louis XIV built his Versailles palace, the European kings promptly built imitations of it (France was the most powerful nation of Europe at the time). The king of Prussia built Sans-Souci, near Berlin (yes, he pushed cultural appropriation that far, giving a French name to his German castle). The French saw it as a homage to the superiority of French culture. Incidentally, Friedrich II’s admiration for all things French didn’t prevent him from waging war against France.

    Cultural appropriation means that cultural traits (such as tarot cards, music, clothing, food) are properties. First, they never were, and second, who owns cultural traits or music styles? Certainly not individuals who didn’t invent them personally.

    You wrote that “a significant share of the well-to-do practiced hatha yoga, dabbled in Buddhism, and went on the occasional shamanic retreat.”

    It looks like peaceful activities like yoga, Buddhism, etc, are less and less fashionable in Western societies. Maybe it’s a harbinger of violent times. You mentioned Carl Jung last week, who had observed the rise of collective insanity prior to both world wars. Collective insanity is frequent, as any person interested in history knows. One quarter of all the skeletons of prehistoric men show signs of violent death (smashed skulls, etc). War as a solution to otherwise insoluble problems is in our DNA (all human cultures know war, without exception) and humanity is presently facing the insoluble problem of feeding eight billion bipeds forever in a finite world with diminishing resources…

  100. My partner’s Jamaican, and rice and peas are amazing. The trick is to cook a Scotch Bonnet pepper in the pot with the beans, rice, and coconut milk WITHOUT breaking the skin on the pepper. Gives a nice, low heat.

    Reading through the comments is a whirlwind. So a couple of points.

    1) McDonald’s exploits workers and the ecosystem but if you need to eat premade food in a hurry and have only a few coins a $1 chunk of fat, protein, and carbs is a heck of lot better than going hungry.

    2) Most of the people here would probably consider me a ‘wokester’, but I did laugh when the upper-crust vegan protesters in my city, who had a whole range of ecocidal, rainforest clearing, factory farming corporations to choose from, turned their wrath on the small restaurant that sourced from hunters and local farmers. *face palm*

  101. Your comments about Druidry groups breaking down as atheists try to infiltrate them and change what it means to be a Druid into something unrecognizable remind me of my recent struggles. For the past ten years I have been working towards a philosophy of religion PhD. For economic reasons I had to take time off and the whole thing has dragged on. Now I am nearing completion and it appears that the religious vocabulary of the era has shifted (again) and what started out as a perfectly acceptable thesis will now land me in a lot of hot water if I try to publish it. I attempted to map out what a worldview is and explain how you can understand another person’s religious/philosophical perspectives without surrendering your own. In essence, it was an explanation of what is tolerance and how to practice it. At first I thought no one could possibly take issue with this kind of project. But now the word tolerance is falling out of fashion. It is not enough these days to tolerate another person’s beliefs, now you have to totally embrace them even if they don’t make sense to you, and you have to do this without appropriating them. These days it feels like half the battle in scholarship is just keeping up with the ever changing vocabulary. I’m pretty sure the academic presses would reject the scope of my thesis based largely on where the current political climate is. From what I have heard from other grad students over the years this is not unique. A lot of what decides whether you get a teaching job comes down to whether your dissertation is the hot topic when you graduate, which is devolving into a word game.

  102. You have made this up, haven’t you??? There are people out there who claim using Tarot cards is cultural appropriation because the Romani invented them? Please say you have made this up.

    I found this essay weirdly entertaining. I mean come on – the things you are writing about are so incredibly stupid in one way that I sometimes wonder if this all is just a kind of misconception because “we” live in a bubble ourselves. But then of course there are reality checks and of course I see people, lots of them acting in said ways, even in some say not so crazy as the US but still very crazy and differently crazy Germany. And you are writing about something here, that is a definite reality check and more than that I’d say a road to sanity, too: food.

    At least personally, I can say cooking and eating and also producing food is a very important path that can do a lot of good to you in more than a material way. And I found, too, that especially the very simple, very cheap dishes offer a lot of grounding, a lot of comfort and a lot of physical energy. A very interesting task is to trace certain dishes along a path of simplification back to a probable earlier form. Figuring out how to simplify the preparation, how things would have worked in a time when the endowment of an average kitchen was much simpler than today, which ingredients would have been available a hundred or two hundred years ago, such things. The result of this process is usually a dish that is very easy to make, very tasty and very nourishing and therefore ideal after a day of hard work. If the current situation would allow it, I’d had started a small cooking project at my school since I daydream a lot about teaching this stuff to people. Well, we’ll see.

    Cheers & enjoy your rice and beans,

  103. Seeing these tactics actually cheers me in a way because it feels like their days may be ending sooner that way, as more and more people join the opposition when they realize they’re not welcome anymore in the establishment. I’ve seen this over the last ten years in the holistic health community, which used to include a lot of mainstream liberal Democrats but has turned more and more to the fringes as the elite establishment shows that it wants everyone to be forced into big pharma’s pockets.

    There’s another strange thing I’ve noticed in all this, it’s the downfall of Dawkins and the “Angry Atheists” despite the fact that the current elite are basically pushing the same agenda. Ten years ago, much of the anti-religious sentiment revolved around Dawkins, Hitchens, Sam Harris and company, and now their names are rarely mentioned. I’m thinking it’s because they realize on some level that expecting everyone in their circle to outright convert to Atheism is too much, that would never happen. Instead, they are trying the entryism tactic so they can convert people more subtly, maybe let them hold onto a few vestiges of their traditions that don’t interfere with corporate wokeism. The rise of Pope Francis may have been pivotal for this change in mindset.

    Another reason for the Angry Athiests’ downfall may be that some of them do actually encourage critical thinking, and the elite don’t want to propagate a message that gets people to actually think about their situation rather than just do what they’re told.

  104. Now, here I was thinking about Thomas Sowell’s Black Rednecks, White Liberals as I filled my sudden urge to listen to ‘Lake party mix’ from my misspent youth (Friends in Low places by Garth Brooks, Fishing in the Dark by Nitty Gritty Dirt band, etc…) – while I cooked dinner last night. I was cooking a ‘Dutch potato bake’* from the inimitable Jean Pare’s series of cookbooks, only basically the only thing still the same was potatoes and mayonnaise – her recipes are lower middle class cooking scaled up for catering, so one casserole lasts a few days.

    The thing about poor cooking is it’s infinitely flexible using a basic ingredient list. And pretty soon it does get hard to tell apart distinct cultures, with only one or two substitutions that change the dish. My recipe below went from eastern Europe to southern US, and could readily go to Indian, with a veggie swap and a different spice, different cheese variety. Nothing like a good old recipe swap to make new friends. Or other swaps…

    This SNL skit was almost too dangerous for TV, but then they deked hard at the end to make sure it stayed safe:
    (It’s “Black Jeopardy”, where a MAGA hatter played by Tom Hanks sweeps the board with his complete oneness with “black culture”. It is everything.)

    *potatoes, sauerkraut (fresh cabbage in season), mayonnaise, mustard, onion. Thrown in beans, bacon, pork shoulder or hock, ground beef (if you’re some kind of Rockefeller), and /or cheese – whatever you got. I usually sub bbq sauce for mustard. Absolutely any other vegetable leftovers can pretty much be thrown in too.

  105. Jeanne,
    I had trouble getting onto ecosophia today too, despite using duckduckgo on mozilla firefox. It can’t only be Microsoft edge.

  106. This past weekend, I bought some incense at a local, New-Agey shop. There was a section in the store for Hoodoo, which was pretty neat. The store was filled with mostly upper, middle-class people, based on the cars in the parking lot. If PMC types start getting shamed for buying occult/spiritual goods, will we see these businesses go under? That would be a shame.

    Ironically, this could send people back to their religion of birth. Many of the “nones” are people who left their parents’ religion because they had become uncomfortable with it. Now that they are becoming uncomfortable with alternative spirituality, will they give up everything? Maybe not?

  107. JMG, how about a Thrifty Thursday, or whatever day you pick, where we swap tips on living the cheaper, old-fashioned way?

  108. I got the impression that Boston Baked Beans were a New England staple back in colonial times?

    one of my cooking inspirations is my grans’ copy of Fannie Merrit Farmers Boston Cooking School Cookbook,
    I think it was a wedding present circa 1940 but you can find copies that go all the way back to 1896,

    this link should drop you on page 238 of a 1905 edition showing a recipie for Boston Baked Beans.

    I keep tweaking my Boston Bean recipe trying to make it a spicy bbq version,

    I slice up strips of streaky bacon, fry it in the large pan, add diced onions, a diced stick of celery and some diced carrots, let it all blanche and go soft, add spices such as garlic, salt, black pepper, curry powder, cayenne, chilli’s, paprika, mixed herbs, stir it in and let it fry for a minute then deglaze with a splosh of cider vinegar or a glass of cheap red wine, then add a carton of tomato passata, a jug of vegetable stock with some muscavado sugar and molasses disolved in it, a splash of Worcestershire sauce and then add pre soaked haricot, navy, kidney or black beans,
    simmer on the lowest heat possible for as long as you can resist starting to eat it,

    I then do a big pan of Basmati rice to go alongside it, it usually lasts me a couple of days!

    I did try doing it with dried beans but it took a couple of days to get them properly soft, this is where I need to get a slow cooker so I can do it in the classic manner,

    I think in colonial times the crockpot went in the brick bread oven and slow cooked all day and preferably the next day as the bread oven cooled down,
    dried beans and salted pork were standard pantry items in those days.

  109. Your post reminded me of George Orwell’s comments on the earnest advice that middle class socialists of his time would address to the poor. Here is his remark on the subject from _The Road to Wigan Pier_

    “The basis of [a common Englishman’s] diet, therefore, is white bread and margarine, corned beef, sugared tea, and potatoes–an appalling diet. Would it not be better if they spent more money on wholesome things like oranges and wholemeal bread or if they even, like the writer of the letter to the New Statesman, saved on fuel and ate their carrots raw? Yes, it would, but the point is that no ordinary human being is ever going to do such a thing. The ordinary human being would sooner starve than live on brown bread and raw carrots. And the peculiar evil is this, that the less money you have, the less inclined you feel to spend it on wholesome food. A millionaire may enjoy breakfasting off orange juice and Ryvita biscuits; an unemployed man doesn’t. Here the tendency of which I spoke at the end of the last chapter comes into play. When you are unemployed, which is to say when you are underfed, harassed, bored, and miserable, you don’t want to eat dull wholesome food. You want something a little bit ‘tasty’. There is always some cheaply pleasant thing to tempt you. Let’s have three pennorth of chips! Run out and buy us a twopenny ice-cream! Put the kettle on and we’ll all have a nice cup of tea! That is how your mind works when you are at the P.A.C. level. White bread-and-marg and sugared tea don’t nourish you to any extent, but they are nicer (at least most people think so) than brown bread-and-dripping and cold water. ”

    translation–wholemeal=wholewheat, Ryvita is a brand name for a crispbread made of whole grain rye flour and water with a bit of salt.

    The millionaire of today would not, of course, dream of anything so common as orange juice and Ryvita; acai berry smoothie with the latest Keto biscuits are the order of the day. Beer and tobacco are the other expensive habits the British poor were urged by their betters to abandon. Excise taxes had already been carefully crafted to make distilled spirits virtually inaccessible to the poor and the convoluted rules governing open hours for public houses made even beer drinking inconvenient.


  110. There is so much here to your essay today, John! I’m having trouble organizing everything I want to say, so I’ll jump in with bits and pieces.
    First of all, I have not only appropriated a Japanese husband and not only one but two Japanese religions, I seem to have appropriated the entire nation of Japan! Yes, it is April 1 here, but I really feel at one with these people. (I’m such a shameless hussy!)
    Now off to begin careful measurements of radiofrequency radiation in two nearby urban centers as part of an international initiative which I should have described last week. I’ll tell you how it’s going in April.

  111. @ Irena

    I think the discussion and confusion comes from some of the arguments that erupted around food stamps, particularly “the food stamp challenge” – where wealthy people were supposed to try to live on the food budget that you would have if you only had access to food stamps for one week.

    I worked at Food Shelf for 7 years. It was obvious to anyone who attempted that challenge that you could not eat a US “middle class” diet on that budget. I remember the executive director doing the challenge and stopping by my desk and mentioning that she was getting really tired of rice and beans. The place where things went weird was in discussing that limitation. Then people started talking about the poor being more obese and the high carb diet that plays a part in that, so poor people eating carbs (rice and beans) became the enemy.

    One of the things that I loved about my job was that the food shelf would get a lot of donations of fresh produce, so we could help people have options on a low income food budget.

    The problem that we can often encounter in discussions of food support is you have two very strong groups with wildly different views about helping. Some people only want “the poor” to be able to get the bare minimum and others want to allow for more variety, but that can get taken up by food “nazis” and then they want to only allow fresh produce, no sweets, no potato chips. When people discuss policy they forget that the poor are no more monolithic than the rich.

    I think JMGs article was focusing on the diatribes of some of the food “nazis” that get onto the topic. I think Sharon A. Is coming from “let’s let people have some variety school”, I don’t think any one here is advocating that people be restricted to only beans and rice and some sort of impoverished diet.

    Hope this helps.

    @ All. Mayonnaise (not M!r@cle Whip) is very good mixed in with beans and rice and adds a little satisfying fat to help fill you up.

    If you want a thicker soup remember you can use canned pumpkin, we would get a LOT donated to the food shelf. It’s a good stretching food trick: Adds fiber, thickness but doesn’t mess up the flavor.

  112. There are plenty of tactics to survive intact when still being a member of said classes, some examples were already presented here. I am partial to a very obvious and old one: using a pseudonym when saying something of relevance.

    More to the point, it’s a way of being constructive and contribute in the public sphere with some protection.

  113. Archdruid,

    Considering how over represented the Hindu community is in the managerial classes, we’re about to take the brunt of the assault aren’t we?



  114. As a mexican tarotist, yoga practitioner and student of the occult I don’t know what to make of this… Perhaps the Way of the Lonely Ones is going to get a little bit more lonely as heads start to melt. This would explain why when I tried a couple of times to find a community that is occult friendly it was a fiasco. Specially for people my age. I encountered an Atlantean Ascended Master and a witch that was very freaky about people looking at her cards. Good that Linda and Greg from the Quest Bookshop Library are friendly enough to let me inside their library even now, where there is a good deal of silence and a great vibe.

    I do not mean any disrespect to anyone here but being honest, I am sometimes psychologically scared in the US as much or more as I feel physically threatened in a sketchy, poor-lit street at night back home.

    Popcorn? Check. Rice? Check. Beans? Check. Mexican Cookbook? Check. Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds? Check. I think I am covered for a bit.

  115. The problem with vegan and vegetarian diets if applied to all people is that it could lead to great starvation. Farm animals eat the kind of vegetation humans cannot digest – think great clumps of old dry grass which cows can eat and digest having more than one stomach. Cattle tend to eat all day. Vegetables grow primarily in good soils of which the world is rather short. They also need regular rain which we certainly don’t get here in Australia even in areas of good soil. All the good land is being planted with houses and economists like this because people use less water than vegetable crops unless they eat the crops.
    I am also fascinated to know whether anyone ever asked the vegetables and other flora if they like to be eaten.

  116. Beans and rice: the delicious Peruvian way to put paid to leftover beans and rice for breakfast is called tacu-tacu. It is hard to get aji amarillo in the US, but just within the last couple years, you can buy seeds to grow them (I have done so! The plants are prolific, and the peppers are indescribably delicious if you like spicy things… well worth the small effort, if you have a garden or a bucket to grow them in.)

    Eugene: seasonings for beans: the green chutney one can find in Indian/Pakistani groceries (cilantro and mint) makes a fantastic addition to beans. I like to add it to vegetarian chili. If you have access to an Indian grocery, there’s a fantastic Ethiopian version of spiced lentils that involves berbere, onion seeds (nigella?), cardamom, and fenugreek.

  117. I seem to be a minority here, posting this among a sea of bean & rice lovers, but there can be a downside to that combo for some folks. Beans can be hard to digest for some. I, for instance, get sharp, cramping stomach pains if I eat more than a tiny bit, so generally I don’t eat them at all. And second, they are both very high in carbs, so consuming that combination frequently or long term could add to obesity. But if it works for you…..adding a few greens into the pot might be a good idea too.

  118. My dear old mom, Gaia bless her, cooked mostly from scratch (yes, she occasionally fudged – I have, um, ‘fond’ memories of those ersatz frozen tomales, complete with mystery meat, that she would boil (ugh!) for dinner when she was too tired after a hard day’s slog managing/cooking meals for junior high and high school kids(MY high school no less!) She utilized that very same USDA Gov. Surplus food stuffs … unheard of in this day and age .. which was converted into wholesome and pretty darn good tasting cafeteria meals. I know of which I speak – I’m alive to tell the tail. ‘;] Nowadays, every pub. school is fed through the Corpserate version of school district dietary hell. Hospital food is better than that, if one can believe it …

    I’m the main chef in our household, and yes, we eat tons of beans n rice -polecat style- but menu variety IS the spice of life within our humble domicile … enhanced in part, through recipe ingenuity, with whatever seems reasonably worth buying at the grocery/market, and with whatever seasonal additives (eggs, honey, potatoes, carrots, other veggies, herbs etc .. and vine, or tree ripened fruit we pluck from the garden.

    As for spirituality? … I’m a bees keeper! I bow down in humble worship before their many tarsi, and pray for their continued endeavors, giving them a place(s) to call home, and am in utter awe at their constant industry and co-operation within the hive. Out of 4 colonies, one survived thee winter to start anew. If that’s not a religious experiance, then I don’t know what is ..

    Happy Spring you’all.

  119. One of the things I have always loved about Hawaii, where my wife is from, is the way the different cultural and racial groups freely appropriate food, language, music, and traditions from each other, including intermarriage. But at the same time they have small barriers between cultures that a maintain a certain degree of historical integrity but would be considered politically incorrect by the current wokester junta. I hope Hawaii can maintain this “un woke” ad-hock melting pot long enough for the woke apparatchiks to fade in to history.

  120. @Casey – Can you say a bit more about your lowbrow pride? I suspect we might be kindred spirits, haha. Just curious what that means to you.

  121. I must run in similar circles to Irena, because like her, I too have never, ever seen anyone (other than the afore-mentioned paleo people) make the claim that rice and beans are not appropriate food for poor people.

    All of the criticisms I’ve ever encountered about how poor people eat have fallen into one of two politicized categories: One, conservatives claiming that poor people cheat the system and use their ill-gotten subsidies to buy expensive food (I literally just last week had to listen to a right-winger complaining about people on welfare eating, quote, “steak and lobster”, and it wasn’t even worth arguing) and/or wasting money on fast food; and two, liberals claiming that poor people can’t cook because they lack the time, knowledge, and facilities to do so, and that criticizing the diets of poor people is therefore unfair and possibly racist.

    Although I suppose those two types of politicized criticism might be broadened a bit to include conservatives complaining about how bad immigrant cooking smells, and liberals mocking what they perceive to be the diet of poor whites (jokes about Wonder Bread, Velveeta, etc.) – both of which in fairness I have also heard. In my experience, rich people also tend to be very snobby about working class (“white people”) dishes such as casseroles, but more accepting of working-class “ethnic” dishes like rice and beans.

    So this whole thing about rich people criticizing rice and beans is new to me – like Irena, I’ve never encountered it, and in fact have encountered very different criticisms. Maybe I need to get out more…

    All of that said, the larger point about cultural appropriation fits with what I have been seeing; it’s getting harder and harder for liberals to do much of anything without getting accused of it.

    Something similar I have encountered among woke upper-middle class associates is a growing orientation towards what I can best term as a kind of lifestyle puritanism. Members of the PMC class seem, over the last decade or so, to have gotten much more persnickety and judgemental about alcohol consumption, smoking, drug use, consumption of unhealthy foods like sugar and soda, not wearing sunscreen, etc. Specifically, they haven’t just stopped doing those things themselves, but seem to have gotten much more judgey and moral-busybody-ish about people who do. And almost all the liberals I know who used to be sort of “live and let live, agree to disagree” on political matters have turned into anti-free-speech, pro-censorship wokesters. It all seems to tie right into their current fetishization of masking, social distancing, and vaccines, and the desire for vaccine passports. I would say that maybe it’s just my generation getting older, but their kids (who are incredibly sheltered and naive) are all the same way too. When I was growing up it was the cultural conservatives who seemed to want o police people’s personal lives – but now the script seems to have flipped.

  122. I dropped out of college in 1980, and “Diet For a Small Planet” was one of the books I took with me. As I went further and further astray, life became a wonderful adventure. My suburban high school receded from memory, the Universe provided alot of instruction, I learned how to listen to it, how to read it, where to find food, books, a mentor here and there. Here in Vermont, we have winter salad, made with beets, cabbage, carrots and radishes, onion and celery, dressed with apple cider vinegar, salt, and oil. Tonight I had Squash soup, made with Butternut and Buttercup squash. We cure 4 bushel at least, in the fall so that they keep all winter. Rice and beans you say? Yes indeed. I keep the Kombu used to make Miso soup, and put it in the pot with dried beans, Pinto, Kidney, Adzuki, Navy, mixed according to whim, and water. Mostly to make the kombu edible and I don’t like throwing it in the compost. OK fine it has minerals. Brown rice with millet, barley, quinwa wheat or oats, mixed according to whim. Also Dal and Basmati rice with spiced cooked fruit, and yoghurt. Also split pea and bulgar and thyme soup. or with ham. Or Black Beans with corn masa tortillas squash and cheese. fried in oil.

    Baked beans I make with my mothers recipe which requires Heinz 57 ketchup. Substituting molasses for the brown sugar she used. Most of what I know about cooking came from her though.

    Thanks for all your writing, and too, thanks for all the comments guys! However, U S Grant is now at Vicksburg, and I gotta keep reading – can’t wait to see how it turns out!

  123. Hi Polecat,

    Our local hospital hired a gourmet chef. You know those surveys you are sent about your hospital experience? Those are compiled into what’s called a Press-Ganey score. The higher the P-G score, the more money the CEO commands. So they spend a lot of money on surface things like decor and food. Our hospital had great food. Adequate number of nurses, janitors, and orderlies, not so much.

  124. Should do a running tally, how many people had rice and beans today. I know I did and they tasted all the better after i read this essay. I wanted to share this on the open post but never got around to it.

    As a dystopian fiction lover, I found it to be a good read but what makes it more appropriate for this post is the really scary monster, peak oil. As scary as that story above could be, I can’t help but to think as entropy bites down hard, Leviathan and all it’s devices is no match for mother nature… your thoughts.

  125. Hi Augusto,

    In your opinion, which parts of Mexico would be the best for 2 gabachos to live in? I’m 61 and he’s 41 and autistic. Ajijic seems full of expats, so they must like it, but also seems very expensive.

  126. Picker, it belongs to the same family of cheap nourishing eats.

    Irena, seemingly so. But that’s what I was talking about, you know.

    Mr. House, the question is whether we get more than drumbeats…

    Pygmycory, understood! The point of talking about rice and beans isn’t to lay down some kind of rigid menu that everyone has to follow. It’s to make sure that a cheap, nourishing option suitable for most (though not all) people is included in the discussion.

    Horzabky, I hope somebody translates that book into English! As for cultural appropriation, of course — nobody but an American would buy into so transparently idiotic a concept. (And I say this as a proud American. Our culture has many virtues but intellectual subtlety ain’t one of them.)

    Andrew001, of course they targeted the small restaurant. The woke movement is a sock puppet for big corporate interests, and always has been.

    Stephen, may I make a suggestion? Rewrite your thesis for the literate general reader, place it with a non-academic publisher, and don’t look for a university job. People I know in the academic industry tell me that there’s good reason to think that the total number of jobs in that scene will be reduced by half over the next decade or so.

    Nachtgurke, nope, I didn’t make it up. I have a vivid imagination, but I’m not imaginative enough to make up something that radiantly stupid.

    Kashtan, I suspect you’re right, and a lot of people who would otherwise be vaguely mainstream-left will be driven out here to the fringes as the mainstream slams its doors on them. As for the collapse of angry atheism, I think they just had their fifteen minutes of fame and everyone else got bored with them.

    Pixelated, true enough!

    Jon, that’s exactly the issue. Most of the New Age and Wiccan shops that thrived a decade ago have already closed their doors, and I suspect most of the others will follow. When I got into occultism in the late 1970s, the main occult bookstore in Seattle shared space with a stamp-collecting supply shop, and most people got their occult books by mail from places in the Midwest with cheap mimeographed catalogs. We may be heading back to the equivalent.

    Your Kittenship, hmm! I’ll consider that.

    Matt, yep. Baked beans and brown bread made a classic cheap New England dinner back in the day.

    Patricia, I’m sure you find your husband quite appropriate! I’ll look forward to hearing about the project.

    Ahriman, nothing on the internet is private. I’m pretty sure that anybody with the right software can figure out instantly who you are and where you posted from.

    Patricia M, it is indeed!

    Varun, that’s a real possibility. Since so many people in the Desi community openly supported Trump in the last two elections, that may be one of the points of the exercise. Brace yourself!

    Augusto, I get that. This is a weird country and it’s getting steadily weirder as it moves into crisis.

    JillN, I ain’t arguing.

    Millie, yum.

    Lydia, in that case, eat whatever works for you. The point of talking about rice and beans isn’t to hand down some diet everyone must follow — in nutrition as in everything else, there ain’t no such thing as one and only one true path. It’s to point up a certain common class prejudice, and remind people who like (or might like) rice and beans that it’s okay to eat something that sends the privileged into convulsions of class-based loathing.

    Polecat, yum. Hurrah for the bees!

    Clay, Hawai’i is genuinely multicultural, unlike the mainland bubble-communities, which are faux-multicultural.

    El, it’s actually quite common for scripts to be flipped that way. How many people remember that before 1970 or so, environmental conservation was a Republican issue?

    Mark, which history are you reading?

    JeffBKLYN, we had fried rice instead, but there are blackeyed peas in our future. As for the dystopia, police states are inherently expensive and brittle, and peak oil is only one of the boots descending on the eggshell of a failing industrial society…

  127. Lady Cute Kittencat of Locat

    Yes. It’s ALLLLLL about the Bling, isn’t it. Efficacy be Damned!

  128. A past acquaintance told me that if they ever hit rock-bottom they’d buy a jar of peanut butter and a loaf of bread. Since I’m allergic to nuts that wouldn’t work for me. I think at my lowest financial moments I was eating a lot of mac & cheese & wienies interspersed with ramen noodles. I still love both but not nearly as often. 😉

    Yes, SNAP recipients definitely need some latitude regarding what they purchase but in the “beggars can’t be choosers” realm there should be healthy limits, and originally there were. However, like any other large government program where there’s cash to be had, various corporate interests lobbied for a piece of the pie and now SNAP can be used to buy all the unhealthy, more expensive prepared foods that’ll fit in the allowance. Consequently taxpayers pay once for the food and again for treating the inevitable health consequences.

    [There was a documentary years back how in the poorest parts of middle America SNAP recipients would immediately go spend their enitre allotment on sugary canned sodas, then immediately fire-sale the sodas for pennies on the dollar for hard cash to purchase oxycontin.]

    But of course that’s always the plan, isn’t it — grow the government trough and thus the power of those dispensing the goodies?

    A financial newsletter recently detailed how the GINI coefficient bottomed and then started climbing immediately after Nixon took us off the gold standard, freeing the government to run up ever greater deficits. However, since GINI excludes government transfer payments, an “adjusted” GINI charts out more or less flat for the same period. Apparently we’ve been slowly implementing MMT & UBI for 50 years, continuously moving an ever larger number of Americans into government dependency.

  129. I did a degree in food systems, and have spent too much wasted time in food security policy groups… I know the arguments of which Irena speaks.

    When it comes to food charity, there is a vocal upper class camp that rails against poor people being given access to prepackaged or ‘junk’ food, as in, why would you give people garbage you wouldn’t eat yourself? Which is valid – except of course it has tilted over into people insisting that no kraft dinner or packaged cereal should end up at the food bank, because it’s “not healthy”. They should eat only whole unprocessed food because that’s healthy; and since all meat is now murder, that means, yeah, it’s all the way over to they should only get rice and beans and kale like a good upper class white Canadian (says they) eats. Here, the salary class is all over rice and beans, that’s a very “ethnic” thing to eat, like a legitimate blameless poor.

    There’s a lot of hot air here in left liberal Portlandia north, about “culturally appropriate foods” now, and the focus is all on the first generation, maybe second, immigrant who has an intact food culture from a developing nation. It’s all about increasing the import of new foods and make sure we buy enough taro or whatever so it will be familiar food. Which is okay, except the relentless top line mantra in leftist food policy had been to get eeeeeveryone to shift to local food for the climate and food security reasons, so telling everyone else to eat local food and no meat because GHGs, but insisting we increase imports (and how fair is that trade with African farmers, anyway?) to feed new immigrants on government dollars is rather tone deaf, at this time.

    I also had to point out, that a lot of the people getting food aid are people who have lived in Canada for generations, and eat the way they were trained to since the fifties – chips, boxed food, instant stuff. That is the second core of food policy – that everyone else is an unhealthy fatty fat fat and needs to shift their diet. So again, government falling all over to make sure we get model immigrants familiar comfort food, while demonizing the dare I say… Natives… is problematic . Does “culturally appropriate” extend to making sure whitey here gets hamburger helper they know how to make, and ripple chips for their bbq? Cheerios for their kids?

    And it’s inconveniently not just the white people being gross poors. At Christmas, I was helping put together food hampers, and found we were missing the boxed macaroni. I pointed this out to the team leader, and she grimaced and said that was only an extra anyway, so it didn’t matter – it was too expensive to get enough for each hamper. Now, if you are white trash like me, you’d know that that is an insane statement; except that of course it had to be Annie’s organic, because we wouldn’t poison the hamper recipients, would we (pro tip, if it came in a box, the organic part is marketing gimmick). I pointed out these were hampers for the reserve, and that on reserve, there was a good chance that was a key part of Christmas dinner – it might not be as critical here in the south, but up north, where freight costs make a litre of milk cost $10, kraft dinner is now a cultural staple because it weighs nothing and cooks up to have high calories and fats for the weight. You wouldn’t leave out the KD any more than you’d leave out the stuffing. If the band asked for it in their hampers, there’s a reason. Everyone shrugged, they got extra beets, it’s fine. I said my kids won’t eat beets, what if they have s****y kids like mine who only eat processed food and that’s why they asked for it? I got this kid, what if they did too?

    So, the upshot is… I’m not invited to the food policy meetings anymore.

  130. Mr. Greer,

    Well yes .. ‘yum’ is essentially the operative word, where I’m concerned, as it purtains to the clueless passions of persins .. mostly the upper 20%ers – enablers, wokerati, glitterati, politierati, corporate conjurers, what have you – but also to some extent, supposed regular folk. I see more sense in a humble insect, then I see in what is deemed of imporance in what constitutes society today.

    To paraphrase words of Ripley, 2nd Officer of the mining tug Nostomo, responding with regards to the shenanigans of the conniving Company goomba .. ‘you don’t see the bees fraking each other over a percentage!’ ..

    I rest my case.

  131. Hi JMG,

    Thank you, as always, for giving us a healthy diet of food for thought! Although I’m definitely on the left end of the spectrum of folks who read your blogs, I always appreciate your perspective on things social and political and find myself agreeing with you more than I disagree.

    The tarot thing… *sighs* I’m a part of a private facebook group made up mostly of folks who grew up in strict, conservative Christian churches and who found our way to alternative spiritual paths. One of our members brought in some of the articles where folks were claiming that non-Rom folks using tarot is cultural appropriation. One of them went so far as to quote a Rom person who claimed that even *asking for evidence for the claim that the Romani originated the practice of using tarot for divination* was evidence of racism. Yikes. It caused a bit of a brouhaha. Our moderators did a fantastic job of handling it, though, both flatly contradicting the claims being made and encouraging all to continue to use tarot if that was their preferred method of divination… something they turned up in their research is that this claim doesn’t actually seem to have originated with wokesters. It seems to come from a handful of Romani who also have a rather nasty anti-semitic streak and that specifically would like Jewish folks to be excluded from the practice of tarot. Lots of Rom folks have now come out on the record and said things to the effect of “please don’t mind them, they’re nuts, please continue to use tarot but also please stop using the G word.”

    I do want to push back a bit on your take on the Atlantic article on private schools (or, The Article, as it’s been affectionately referred to by some among my friends and acquaintances). Having spent about ten years teaching and administrating in the sort of elite independent school documented by The Article, I think it’s the most accurate portrayal of that world I’ve ever read. And if you’re concerned about the effect that public schools are having on the minds of America’s youth, boy howdy, you’d be downright disturbed to spend a few weeks wandering those hallways… if I were to sit down to try to create a perfect plan for how to train children to *not* think, I don’t know that I could do any better. These are the institutions that breed the sort of liberal elites that you rightfully decry for things like their attitudes about rice and beans…

    And speaking of rice and beans, so many of the other readers beat me to it, but of course one of the beautiful things about that meal is the near-infinite variety of ways that it can be made to be interesting in addition to filling and nutritious. Some garlic, an onion, some peppers, some herbs and spices… the choice is yours! Why, rice and beans is a veritable blank canvas for culinary artistry!

    All the best,
    Ryan M.

  132. Mr. Greer,

    Yes, the real-world manifestation of the novel was what I was alluding to but I didn’t want to lay it on too thick; I didn’t want to come off sycophantic.

    -Anonymous Millenial

  133. Nachtgurke #103. This is far from the weirdest stuff I’ve read of late. Oh, let’s check several examples here… In January, US Representative AOC proposed sending “white supremacists” to reeducation camps to have them “deprogrammed”, see-

    This week, some Oxford professor alleged that musical notation (as in music sheets) are “colonialist”, see- behind a paywall,

    just before I read JMG’s posting today, I read a news item from CNN claiming that “it’s not possible to assign gender at birth”. Since then, CNN has revised the original news item, apparently conceding that “sex” is assigned (or determined, or whatever) at birth, and that gender is sooooo complicated and nuanced. See-

    Some US high schools are canceling Shakespeare (racist White man). Oxford Univ has at least broached the topic of cancelling Darwin (another racist White man), and there are moves afoot to nominate BLM for the Nobel Peace prize.

    Not only can you not make this stuff up, it makes reading the news worse than a bad acid trip. So I had no difficulty with today’s posting; it was quite tame. You need to get out more Nacthgurke.

    —Lunar Apprentice

  134. #28 and #84
    I tried in four different browsers and got the same result as Kevin Anderson: The comment numbers are displayed but are not searchable.

  135. This is a representative example of the kind of fast enlightenment I’m talking about:

    There had been plenty of middle class attention paid to the working class in Britain too. Correlli Barnet’s The Audit of War quotes social reformers from the late Victorian era to the 1930s. They criticise the industrial proletariat for living on things like white bread and jam, despite being able to afford a better diet, but spending the money on booze and cigs. Also things like how they kept their houses and cared for their children. The compassionate explanation was that the move from rural to urban life had so disrupted family traditions, a lot of them had just never learned how to live properly. Much of the time they were far less forgiving. Once they moved people from a slum into a new council estate and things apparently deteriorated rapidly. Imagine this said in the most condescending posh British accent: “The houses were new but the people weren’t”.

    The question of carbohydrate is a complicated one. Me and my mum have had a lot of success on low carb diets (Precision Nutrition endomorph programme). But if you stay on it after you reach a healthy weight it can set off a chain reaction that raises your cholesterol. They also did a study of athletes on low carb diets. They found endurance athletes did fine, as did strength athletes like weightlifters who make a massive exertion but it’s over very quickly. But basketball players and the like who make intense, sustained, and repeated effort, have to have carbohydrate to fuel it.

    If you do heavy manual work, diet is more forgiving. When qustions are asked whether rations for combat soldiers should be predominantly protein, carbohydrate, or fat, the answer is ‘yes’. 🙂 Bodies that have been exerted and depleted to that degree can metabolise any food you put in them, and ideally they need lots of everything.

  136. JMG said “The woke movement is a sock puppet for big corporate interests, and always has been.”

    I work in one of the big corporates, and have done for over a decade. During that time I have seen the woke philosophy take over. Generally this is NOT in the interest of the corporate entity, it has encouraged activism, division and bad PR (classic circular firing squad).

    Entryism is not a bad description of it, since the woke philosophy is explicitly trying to use the brand and influence of the corporate to extend it’s own influence on the world. Not everyone is happy with this, but it would be difficult to articulate any dissent, since this would likely now be career terminating.

  137. Hi John,
    So are bugs now the emerging status symbol for The Bubble? “Bugs, not beans!” The trouble with The Bubble is that too much of their wealth is spent on peer approval rather than enjoyment. For every hundred that can afford to buy X, there’s only one who can afford not to buy X.

  138. @JMG,

    Thank you for sharing this. Being rather poor right now, I’ve eaten a lot of rice over the last year or so – I cook it with salt, carrots, and butter. Why I never thought to cook it with beans (while I instead got my protein from cheese, which is quite a bit pricier, and the free sandwiches that came with my part-time restaurant jobs) is beyond me. I certainly will try it that way now.

    As for the upper-class hysteria over rice and beans, I am firmly in the same boat with Irena and El – I had never heard of it before. Though it is worth noting that the segment of the comfortable classes I move in is quite a bit different from the one you seem most familiar with.

    In terms of both income and lifestyle, most Mormons are solidly in the comfortable classes. At the same time, they have a favorable opinion of poor people eating traditional poor-people-foods, as part of the “frugality-is-the-answer-to-poverty” ethos in which most of them firmly believe. And while they will certainly look askance at you if you use Tarot cards, cultural appropriation will be the last thing on their minds!

    So basically, the point I am trying to make is that the comfortable class is big. Yes, it includes fanatical wokesters; it also includes people who wish that Ibram X. Kendi & Co would die the death. It includes entitled Clinton supports who fervently believe nobody but a racist could have opposed their candidate back in 2016; it also includes middle-class religious conservatives who were indifferent or even hostile toward Trump’s economic policies, but voted for him anyway because they were horrified at the thought of a Democrat appointing Antonin Scalia’s successor.

    You can argue that these people’s cause was less relevant, or less just, than that of the “real” Deplorables – i.e. the working poor who finally woke up to the fact that the Democrats don’t care about them. But the fact of the matter is that without the Scalia people voting for him too, Trump would have gotten nowhere.

    So in conclusion: I certainly believe you’re telling the truth when you relate the craziness you’ve seen in whatever end of the PMC you happen to come in contact with most often. At the same time, I am skeptical of your premise that what those people are doing represents a society-wide change of the winds.

  139. @Darkest Yorkshire
    For what it’s worth, what I think I have witnessed is that a lot of fast enlightenment through Advaita Vedanta is very thin, shallow. It doesn’t have much oomph. When I have met people who had a deeper enlightenment, there was a certain solidity to them.
    The Tibetan Buddhists I trained with had two terms: liberation and enlightenment. In liberation, one is freed from their self. The self is laid aside and the point one lives from, the “me”, shifts to something deeper. But when that “me” that has shifted deeper interacts with the mundane world, it has to do so through the self. Since that self was only laid aside, it is not much changed. So you might be liberated from your self, but no one else is.
    In this way of looking at it, enlightenment means that not only have you been liberated from your self but you have come back and transformed that self. Now you and everyone else is freed from that self (as it used to be).
    [What distinguishes the self as it used to be and the self as it is when transformed by the deeper is fluidity. The transformed self adapts fluidly to whatever is present. The untransformed self gets stuck in various patterns that have been formed through past experience. The Sanskrit word for suffering, dukha, originally meant a wagon wheel that is stuck and not turning on its axis.]
    Different Buddhist teachings differently map out this two step process of shifting the center point of “me” away from the self and of transforming that self from the new deeper place. Often the second step is not mentioned, perhaps on the assumption that few will complete the second step.
    Those Advaita teachers I have heard did not mention this distinction. It is precisely relating to the self as purely illusory that makes very rapid enlightenment possible. At the same time, this is what makes it thin.
    BTW, if one takes the first step and considers oneself to have finished the path, all manner of unpleasantry can ensue (and at least in the West too often has).

  140. Vintage JMGreer this week, John! Equal measures of insights, good advice and belly laffs! Many thanks for your unwavering candle in the darkness.

  141. @Varun

    Have you considered investing and/or buying property in India (if only as a backup in case things go bad in the US)? I’m not sure how true is this, but I’ve heard that the Modi government is reaching out to PIOs and other diaspora people, and giving them incentives to buy property/invest/set up businesses in India.

    I agree with JMG, the Hindu American community might face some tough times in the near future, particularly because a large number of them supported Trump. If I’m not mistaken, there are quite a few SJW types in the Hindu American community as well…

  142. I was just sitting down to read the post last night with a plate of rice and chilli beans, which my son had cooked for us. A synchronicity that cannot surprise any more in the context of this blog.

    This: “those who provide [alternative medicine] goods and services to the deplorable masses may not charge high prices but they’ll do a booming business” was interesting.

    This confirms to me that it may be the price reductions I’ve made (prompted very much by the “lodge practice” post) that are doing the heavy lifting here in making my clinic “boom” lately.

    This makes it unlikely there will be a downside, for me, if alternative medicine loses its middle class cachet over the next few years, so long as I can stay below the radar.

    Although it is a little bit funny that a few of my few more middle class customers have expressed their discomfort with my new lower prices with indignation at me not “valuing” myself sufficiently. 😉

    They are, of course, free to pay me more if they wish, up to whatever sum they consider the value of the treatment to be to THEM, but on the whole I am happier not to be in a position of having to tentatively offer discounts off a higher price to those for whom it might be less affordable, but who may then feel distressed by what appears to be “charity”.

    Instead, all can afford the new price, and if anyone feels like paying more, they are free to, and the feeling of generosity they derive will be all theirs. Win/win all around!

  143. JMG, you write

    “”A great many people with six- and seven-figure salaries who dabble in spirituality may be facing a comparable shock in the months and years ahead. Spirituality is taking on the status long since accorded to rice and beans””

    actually, my impression is that *everything* that is of value to *anyone* is taking on the status of rice and beans. I know this sounds crazy, but here is a pattern that I have observed and that is raging up and down social media, id est our collective consciousness:

    Person A achieves “holiness points” (for lack of a better word) by sacrificing thing X (of value to someone) allegedly in favor of abstract good Y.

    Every X of value to someone is up for grabs. Everything.

    And boy are we in for a mass competition for holiness points. Just browse twitter for a few minutes, and you will see that pattern time and time again. We live in a civilization that is being destroyed because of a mass frenzy where everything is dismantled and thrown under the bus by people (especially people in positions of responsibility) striving to be holy on twitter.

    Please convince me I’m wrong. This dantesque image is ruining my sleep.

    (cf points made by Osho on holiness).

  144. I guess that for the people whose main occupation is projecting their own prejudices, “beans and rice” will remind them much too much about the reality.

    That said, however, I’m happy that I live in a Nordic nation, where even with the dole money I can afford eat healthily, and avoid corn (maize), peanuts and soy for good (no wonder why so many in the US are so ill!). Instead, I eat potatoes, tomatoes, basil, rye bread, and cook my slow food morning porridge from rye flour. I guess that if I tried to buy the latter two in USA, they were available only in the hipster food shops with exorbitant prices. Also, I can afford to eat fish, especially if I catch it by myself.

    As what comes to these culture wars in general, I think it’s the symptom of the waning creativity of both the society as whole, and of its citizens, that such topics are so trendy. And this regardless of on which side of the fence you sit in the battle.
    So, there’s not much interest for me in the wokesters’ latest affronts, but instead, I like to ponder: What will come after them?

    Terry Riley talked about these cycles of zeitgeist in this interview:

  145. How exactly do you do crock pot beans without keeping the gut busting oligosaccharides? When I’ve tried cooking beans from dry it seemed a very long involved process with lots of soaking.

  146. Can you explain what you mean by social elite? Are they different from the financial elite (the real power)?

    Like Irena, I haven’t been witness to the sort of conversations about what poor people should eat (or about poor people, period – maybe because I’m poor myself and my rich friends know it). Then again, I’m in Europe. Talking about food being ‘poor people’s food’ is snobbish, and at least where I live, you don’t really want to be considered a snob, even if you are.

    I find the US’ obsession with food generally quite neurotic. Europe has produced plenty of silly diets, too, granted, but god, you guys take it to another level. As for national diet guidelines, hardly anyone pays them any attention. I don’t know a single person, rich or poor, who eats or cares about the recommended diet and wonder if the dieticians who devise the guidelines even follow them. In all seriousness, I do wonder if it would even be possible to feed the entire world that diet every day from here on out. Probably not.

    Also, I’m curious to see when cultural appropriation will finally arrive here. We usually lag a behind the US by a couple decades. If or when it does, it should be very funny to watch people squirm as they try to explain what they mean. After all, you can’t go very far here without stumbling into the next culture. Good luck untying that Gordian knot!

    The way you describe entryism gives me the impression of a planned campaign. Yet you’ve said about conspiracies like Qanon that it’s more a reflection of people wanting someone to be in control of events rather than us just careening toward disaster because of stupidity. So who is behind this entryism? Is it a planned campaign complete with goals and preogress reports? Or is it more an organic development, with status-driven sociopaths seeking the easiest way to wriggle upward? The cult I grew up in was very fond of claiming we were under attack by the anti-religious movement, but never really defined who was supposedly behind it.

  147. Hello JMG,

    As a French, there are two things I don’t really grasp there in the depiction you’ve made of these people arguing about food. First of all, the matter about inquiring what poors eat or should eat. I can’t remember any knowledge of me being aware of such a subject of debate in France. We have of debate about industrial junk food but it’s pretty class-transitive. For what I know, the affluent eat what they think they should and as usual food is part of their conspicuous way of life. For the rest of us, well, we eat mostly staple food and cheap industrial products if one’s culinary skillset hasn’t been that honed. Personally, having a salary and not realling willing to mimic the affluent classe’s way of life and, most of all, being a hobbyist cook, I enjoy having a restaurant at home from times to times but the fact is usually all our meals are home-made.

    Talking of staple food, ours at home is pasta along with roasted/fried vegetables and usually seafood, fish ou chicken, home-made libanese specialties out of lentils, bulghur and chick peas or potatoes and green beans.

    And about rice and beans in Europe, well, rice has been a common crop in some places since the Middle-Age and beans are everywhere.

    The second matter I don’t get (as Horzabky put it) is the concept of “cultural appropriation” especially related to food. Here in France, nobody would raise an eyebrow if a pale blonde Northerner as I happen to look like cooks a moroccan tajine with hallal meat and served with couscous. Which I do quite often to be honest 🙂 Bonus points for inviting people from Northern Africa to share it ! As far as I can tell, they enjoyed it a lot.

    So, if you or any other kind soul here would take some time to explain to a clueless guy what’s going wrong about this “debate” there over the Atlantic, I’d be honored.

  148. Synchronicity with this post – just had a colleague email me and thank me for some work I did on food traditions. She said she has been feeling guilt over her ancestors stealing native lands for years and now she has a way to connect with her heritage that feels safe.

    Can I just say that these woke marxists or whatever they are have really messed with people’s minds? Yes, the Europeans who came here took native lands. But isn’t that the whole of human history? Taking land from other people, often violently? The idea that the people who were here didn’t fight back is laughable. The fighting went on for about 200 years mid 1600’s depending on the location to late 1800’s. People think Europeans landed, and wiped out Native Americans in a couple months.

    Now back to coming up with more ways to chip away at woke thinking without confronting it head on…..

  149. Darkest Yorkshire
    I am still cooking regularly out of Rose Elliot’s ‘Cheap and Easy’ and have bought second hand copies for both of my children (now in their early 30s). I learnt a lot from this book. I have been gifted with many cookbooks, most of which I never use – mostly I make soups, stir fries and beans and rice.
    I have been fascinated by the expansion in ‘plant-based’ food in the supermarkets, the vast majority being high tech factory produced, very little different from any other processed food (but, of course, virtuous for some meanings of the word virtuous).
    I think back to my Nanna’s meat and potato pie which must have been 10% of the most delicious pastry ever, 85% potato and 5% meat (at most). No modern ‘cuisine’ comes close to the comfort provided. Oh yes, and Staffordshire oatcakes rolled up and dunked into fried egg. Yum.

  150. I like this recipe:

    A batch of it costs a couple dollars, mostly because of the canned tomatoes and because I prefer to buy rice and beans in smaller quantities due to a lack of space. You could probably make a batch under $2 Canadian if you buy rice and beans in bulk and get a good deal on the tomatoes while skipping or growing your own cilantro.

    It does require a pressure cooker, but all-in-one crockpot/pressure cookers are not too much more costly than an equivalent size crock pot. There is a circuit board with a microprocessor and some semiconductor switches as well a silicone seals in these countertop pressure cookers, so they may not have the nearly unlimited lifetime of a plain crock pot, but still should last decades with a seal replacement or two, and even if you can’t get seals, they would still work as a crock pot.

  151. @Jeff BKLYN,
    If fried rice followed by natto (nasty fermented soybeans) counts, that’s what I had for lunch today and just about every day. I just replanted the mung beans outside the greenhouse today where the black corn will go in when it gets really warm, with adzuki and green beans to follow.

  152. @JMG,
    This is one of the first posts of yours that leaves me scratching my head. Not because I normally enjoy my beans with a solid loaf of brown bread instead of rice, but the *ahem* meat of the issue does not match what I am seeing here… and Canada usually isn’t nearly as out-of-step with the center of Empire.

    What I’m seeing is that the old “I F–ing Love Science” triumphal atheism is losing steam as official ideology, rather than picking it up. Instead, it is being replaced with the cult of the noble savage.

    In Canada, nothing happens without government money, especially now, and right now you can’t drum up funding or interest for anything (except maybe “coding”) without the word “indigenous” appended in front of it. Teach kids ecology? No way, they might have to go outside! Teach kids ‘indigenous ecology’? Way! We’ll find some 40-year-old so-called ‘elder’ to justify why he can hunt out of season and you can’t.
    The local astronomy club is trying to raise funds to do a solar system walk in one of our parks– and the only way that’s happening is to say it will be an ‘indigenous astronomy walk’ (I guess they’ll use native names for the planets)? Public art? Not unless it is Indigenous Art!

    Of course the only people allowed to talk about indigenous ecology, or indigenous astronomy, or make indigenous art must be indigenous persons. Otherwise that’s the dreaded Cultural Appropriation. (How it seems to work is the usual salary-class twits will do their thing with a handful of ‘consultants’ who can claim the correct ancestry watching over them. So the government’s largess by no way spreads evenly to the 5% of population who are “eligible” but only to the already-wealthy elite of them who live off-reserve in the cities.)

    I suppose in some ways this will be no different than down south, just more schitzoid. Spirituality is bad– for you, whitey! Science knows all! But that person with coppery skin has immense spiritual wisdom and you must respect their Different Forms of Knowledge(tm) whether they want you to or not!

  153. I can’t believe the timing! I was looking for another recipe 2 days ago and came across the beans and rice one I used to do all the time. Grains don’t sit as well with me these days, so I haven’t made it in years, but I put it in my to-do stack because it sounded so good. Now I’m doubly hungry for it! And I can’t wait for next week: I never thought peak oil went away, so I’ve been waiting for it to pop up again.

  154. A note on Rep Matt Gaetz – his conduct may not be just a question of personal morality, akin to using an escort service. Pity I’m in Cat Cammack’s district and not his, or I’d vote him out simply for hitting on an adolescent. A politician using an escort service? Yawn, turn away, none of my business.

    A note on the Woke craziness – the loss of power or precarious hold on it is one factor in driving the PMC to this extreme. Another is that many of the PMC women are newcomers to power, and came from an era – not completely ended! – when they would not be listened to not their concerns taken seriously at all. Euripides, in Trojan Women, laid out the way people newly come to power misuse it brutally, because they’re insecure in their authority. (Old aristocrats, when they do it, do so because they’re so inclined anyway, I presume.) My ex-father-in-law was one such, and a relentless verbal bully to those who could not talk back. Does this make sense?

  155. P.S. Whatever Cat Cammack’s other sins may be, I have no doubt she won’t ever be caught in the sort of conduct Gaetz is under fire for. Too much to lose by it. But I’m watching her behavior in other areas. And – “woke” she’ll never be.

  156. @ Andrew001 – same reason PETA attacked women wearing furs and not bikers wearing leather. Courage not being one of their virtues.

  157. @ Onething – re “cultural appropriation” I absolutely understand where you are coming from.

    However, I would like to highlight the fact that there is a kind of cultural intervention that can actually hurt, perhaps (to make a proper distinction) this could be called cultural EXpropriation. This is not about others using or imitating your cultural forms, but about you being FORBIDDEN to use them, or strongly discouraged from using them, or denied the opportunity to even learn them, in order to break you down along with any resistance you (in the context of your culture) might pose to the changes being enacted by the culture that is attacking you.

    Examples of this kind of thing abound – for example interupting cultural transmission from one generation to the next through schooling and education – sometimes to the point of policies of kidnapping “deprived” or “savage” children and educating/fostering/”improving” them in the dominant culture which has happened to indigenous cultures all over the world. In Ireland and Scotland, there was a period of generational cultural transmission interruption, not of actual kidnap and schooling, but certainly of punishments aimed at discouraging children from using their parents’ language in schools, where children of the Gaelic speakers and practicers of “old ways” were supposed to be made to forget them and learn and assimiate “new” English ways and customs.

    This kind of cultural interruption is particularly brutal, and has deep long-term consequences, including the fact that it deliberately turns locals, generation by generation, into refugees right there in their own countries, no longer knowing nor recognising the special features of place that are/were handed down via language and culture.

    Having said that, I grant the way in which “cultural appropriation” is generally used is absurd. I do not think anyone could possibly object to being copied. I think the damage, and hurt, result from the cultural destruction episodes I describe above, of being alienated from your culture, language and local knowledge, in violent and abusive ways. (Which almost nobody cares to even remember, nor to see the ways in which, even today, it happens and is happening).

    There is, here, a real harm, and there is a fake “club to beat other folk up” fashioned from its image that prevents people understanding and fighting against the real harm. That, to me, is tragic.

  158. John (and others),

    Meanwhile, the wheels of progress keep on turning.

    After last year’s Black Lives Matter protests, the UK government set up a commission to check just how racist the country really is, and yesterday the commission published a report on their findings. The report found that overall, inequality in the UK is now driven mostly by things other than race:

    You’ll not be surprised to learn that activist groups which have race inequalities as their focus are… not amused by the findings. But I was struck by words of Tyrek, the first of the persons profiled in the article:

    “We live in a racist country, you can’t take that away from us (…)”

    Well fine. He is clearly a man with a cause that now threatens to be fulfilled. The picture shows him as very obviously belonging to a racial minority, and as such he might have witnessed, or himself be subjected to, discrimination driven by race even if the countrywide trend really is different. And of course governments like giving themselves a pat on the back. So yes, he has good reasons to be skeptical about the report’s findings. But still… I dunno. Phrased this way, his words sound like he was retreating into himself, all but admitting defeat in the material world.

    I have an impression that the government of Boris Johnson may be about to drop at least some aspects of the culture war. On balance, this may even be a positive development.

    Migrant Worker

  159. “Excluding private schools from the acceptable is a bit odd.” Not really. Like any sociopath, the purpose is to instill strong guilt into them then blackmail them with it. They don’t care WHAT the blackmail is, but if you can get someone to accept fake guilt, that’s all that matters. This is working wonders and 99.99% of privilege are controlled eWOKs right now. Just like sex guilt, the wealthy will just vacation and private school anyway and be good little minions. And miserable sots.

    Sots so desperately miserable, so useless, with so little to do, that they spend their copious time telling other people what to eat.

    That’s also why cultural appropriation, forcing cultures or races to obey their stereotypes or else: it’s all guilt, and with the guilt is POWER!!! So forget any words coming out of their mouth. It’s only power. They have said this that modern Marxist theory has dispensed with race and even if you’re black, you’re “white” if you don’t do as you’re told. …Which admits their whole theory, their politics, their LIFE is about power and getting more of it. The rest is just mercantilism. I don’t really wish to be around people of this stripe as they are so mentally ill they feel the need to infiltrate and overtake your bowling club. It’s just straitjacket-worthy.

    “corporations are grooming BIPOC employees to lead” Because it gives power.

    “turned their wrath on the small restaurant that sourced from local farmers” because it’s about power, not reason. Because it’s not about reason, normal scholarship and graduate papers (science) are now widely suppressed.

    “All they would have permission to do is flagellate themselves” and obey. Bingo. That’s why it instantly appears when the overlords feel emotionally insecure and the need for more power. And the illogical creation of serial double-binds. Classic narcissistic behavior. Everything is a battleground, so control can be expanded to all things. When you’re insecure, psychologically or actually, there is no rest.

    Isn’t it better to be humble and far away from all that?

  160. JMG:

    I didn’t mean to imply that the poor are a monolith. They are not, certainly not any more than the rich are, although the case could be made that there is more uniformity of opinion and lifestyle among the wealthy these days than any other class in the US. Maybe the packaged-food poor that come to the food banks are formerly lower-middle-class folk who have fallen on hard times and do not want to eat food associated with the very poor. Only a guess.

    On another, perhaps related, note, I have noticed that in the US (I cannot speak to other ‘developed’ countries) there seems to be increasingly a learned helplessness. The prevailing attitude appears to me to be more and more that we individuals are incapable of handling even the most basic of life’s speed bumps so someone kinder, wiser, and preferably ‘official’ must do it for us.

    This came up in the comments section of another site in which the new Georgia voting law was discussed. I’ve been having a lively back-and-forth with an individual who, based on his/her history of comments, seems to be an American of fairly typical left-wing views. This person was particularly outraged that the new Georgia law makes it illegal for private individuals to provide food or drink to people on line to vote. The purpose, of course, is to prevent folks in ‘Bernie’ tee shirts or MAGA hats from influencing votes; most states have some variation of this prohibition. It is a good idea. The new law does permit poll workers to leave bottles of water out for voters to help themselves, which seems quite fair especially in warm weather, and it also clearly allows any individual to bring his or her own provisions along, maybe even enough to share.

    My expressed position was that thwarting opportunities for vote influencing/buying/coercion is essential to a trustworthy election and states have an obligation to do so to the best of their ability. What this individual and I were left arguing is whether or not government on any level has a duty to provide for citizens’ everyday, ordinary needs and wants. This person believes so. I argue that individuals, with some obvious exceptions, are generally capable of anticipating their own needs and planning accordingly, that coddling adults as if they are eternal children is not only unnecessary, but insulting. S/he vehemently disagreed and stated that this no-drinks-from-the-government policy is obviously directed against blacks and is therefore racist. I believe that calling something ‘racist’ these days is intended to stop any further discussion.

    It occurred to me later on that his (her?) position is increasingly the default in America. Too many people don’t bother to plan ahead, even for events that are practically guaranteed to happen. So, in the days before a hurricane, way too many people are crammed in stores, buying batteries, canned food staples, bottled water – all sorts of things that ought to be in a closet of their homes as a matter of course. It’s as if hurricane/flooding/winter all come as a great surprise every year. This helplessness must have been learned; our forebears did not behave this way and went to great lengths to prepare for inevitable hardship. They did not expect the government to bring them bottled water and Spam so they wouldn’t starve. We are becoming an ever more infantilized people and it’s really a sorry state of affairs.

    Rant ended.

  161. Thanks! I never knew if New Age had a particular astrological starting point.

    As to the replacement for yoga among the upper crust, it has already been pioneered by Peloton exercise bikes and is rapidly being copied by other companies. They hook exercise equipment up to zoom links. The trophy wife or harried executive works out on a machine connected to a live personal coach through a zoom or zoom-like feed. The coach gives encouragement from across cyberspace while keeping track of the client’s pulse, alignment, and effort. It’s like a home gym plus one’s own personal Richard Simmons or Jane Fonda. Naturally the personal coaches (which I’m sure are called something trendier than ‘personal coaches’) are young, beautiful, and ‘diverse.’ What could do more for racial equity than a brown-skin woman shouting, “Just six more! You can do it, Karen!”

  162. Bridge wrote:
    Heathenry is not immune either. A book on it called “The Way of Fire and Ice: The Living Tradition of Norse Paganism” was explicit in its support of Antifa. So Neopaganism is eating itself but that might clear the way for something better to emerge, I hope.

    I knew the man who wrote that book -Ryan Smith, and ended up being purged by him. I saw him move from his Heathens United Against Racism to full-blown anti-fa. He was big in San Fran. in the local Kindred. He was enraged by the “folkish” Heathens and sought to expose and purge him. As he became more radicalized he started attacking people who help hetrodox views. What happened is that he decided he wanted to be a Big Name Pagan, and decided with Rhyd Wuthermuth to make a splash against Galina Krasskova and her anti-Moslem views. They went after her husband Sannion as well for his use of the Black Sun in his devotional work. And in the process, since both men knew I was friends with Krasskova and Sannion, they went after me in an underground campaign.

    The upshot is that we are still here with our hetrodox ideas about religion, and they have plunged into capitalism big-time trying to make money off of their egos.

    Neither man was a PMC nor a part of it. I do believe that they proudly used their outside status as a means to gain power and control, so they could be rich. It is a mirror image of the PMC. I was involved since I did have anarchist relatives and Smith reached out to me since he did hear about my uncle who rampaged CA blowing things up.

    My conclusion is that PMC-turned inside out is still PMC.

  163. About atheists… my father was a militant atheist who liked joining churches. He taught Sunday School, no joke and was a major volunteer. He did it for the social aspects of the church. He was finally thrown out when he was arguing with a minister about Christ. Minister said put up or leave. My father the militant atheist was shocked that someone would stand up to him.

    I noticed the same dynamic in Neo-Paganism. I was there for Mark Green and John Halstead. Both relentlessly attacked devotional Polytheists for believing in imaginary friends. Both relentlessly assailed Neo-pagans in general for ignoring ecological and social issues. It went on for years, and with Green is still going on. The usual gang of Polytheists that they attacked – me, Krasskova, Sannion, Tess Dawson, stood up to them and were banished from the big tent of Paganism. We left voluntarily since we found our piety being assailed.

    Halstead repeated battled John Beckett, who battled him. What I noticed about Beckett was after Halstead knocked it off, and Trump became ascendant, that his “polytheistic” writings became more and more humanistic and political.

    It wasn’t until this blog posting that I realized what was going on. Neo-Pagans in general are theologically squishy, since many seem to have hazy religious beliefs. When a strong voice comes in – either atheist or antifa (Ryan Smith), they fold and reconstruct themselves to conform. The ones who have a religious structure and belief system have either left or maintain a distance from the general movement. So a part of this social justice thing depends on conformity and people getting along to go along.

    The other thing I saw happened in a local Pagan group. The couple who founded it were more than willing to be tolerant. Another couple tried to take over the group and use it as a stepping stone to being a big name locally and to earn more money. They used the mantra of social justice, etc to force the issue and did things behind the first couple’s back. What they didn’t factor in was that the first couple has spines of steel and veins of iron and fought back to keep the group’s integrity. The upshot is that there are two groups now, with the first couple’s group flourishing and the second couple’s group down to five people.

    Power is the name of the game, as far as I am concerned.

  164. A perfect example of the forces of woksterdom being pressed in to the service of the corporate power structure is in transportation advocacy. Two tools the sensible advocates of transportation change have advocated for over the past few decades are increased gas taxes and tolling to reduce the need to enlarge or build more highways. But right on que in the last couple of months the strident woke voices have decried both these things as racist and oppressive. Like eating rice and beans they think it is demeaning for poor people to walk, ride bikes or take the bus. But it is obvious who is behind such a change, and it is not genuine advocates for the poor as they know attempting to own and maintain a car is one of the surest routes to poverty.

  165. RE: on Mickey D’s. There is a great photo book with essays by Chris Arnade called “Dignity: seeking respect in back row America”. He had a quote about McDonald’s in there, and a lot of the photos are of poor struggling people at McDonalds.

    ““Often the only places open, welcoming, and busy in back row neighborhoods were churches or McDonald’s. Often the people using the McDonald’s were the same people using the churches, people who sat for hours reading or studying the Bible at a table or booth.”

    Anyway, the book paints a vivid portrait of the way things are for a lot of people. Here is a good interview with him I found about the book along with some of the pics:

    I read this and looked through it at the library. It’s definitely worth “checking out”. The McDonald’s are used as much of a gathering place for people with nowhere else to go as it is a food source. I guess it’s changed this past year of further locking people out and down.

  166. A very interesting article, I was curious how you were going to tie together beans and tarot. The idea of the gentry shuffling their tastes provokes some interesting economic considerations.

    I am hanging out today with some lovely market farmer friends, who aren’t getting their shots, and are on account of that getting an experience in what its like to be reclassified as a deplorable. This farm is a museum of things that were effective charms to a past era of gentry. Tibetan prayer flags and emblems to eastern spiritual traditions, tarot and native art. But to the new tastes of the gentry I guess that would all be appropriation. Both are the better grade of hippie you find too rarely, who’ve stuck to a goal of living their own life and worked hard enough to become skilled workers over the years.

    Discussing with them the changing tastes of the gentry we got to thinking about local organic food, and how at present the gentry is a major source of patronage for market veggie farmers. On of my friends pointed out some B. Gates owned app that ran industrial food factories and drone drop freshly manufactured plants to put in your mouth. Very professionally green washed.

    Mind you I am bearish about local small farms generally speaking, and our CSA’s are filling up as fast as ever, but I am pondering a shifting market as the gentry’s cahnging taste I think might pull toward the more progressive and technologically advanced things to insert in mouth for caloric updates.

    A data point to this effect is a law being proposed for the next ballot in Colorado, the PAUSE act, it would classify most of the interventions standard in breeding ranch animals as bestiality, not just AI. It would also, this is the kicker, prohibit the killing of an animal until it has lived at least 1/4 of it’s natural life span. The law defines that as 5 years for cattle, well more than twice the preferred butchering age, about three years of extra feed for no weight gain. Of course ranchers can still ship cattle out of state to be slaughtered after so many hours in a trailer on the highway out of state. Consider that Colorado has quite many butchering operations, it is a large industry here. In my out of the way county no one will blink an eye if a steer gets knifed behind the garage and it might be an improvement for the processing of local meat, but for serious ranchers it would be effectively the end of a business model. It would end most of the agriculture in my county. In truth I think the State, in trying to enforce such a silly thing would be endangering itself, the supporters are in a tactically insufficient position from which to be threatening the livings of their entire hinterland.

    To the best of my knowledge the veggie focused farming my friends and I partake in I think would be subject to such extreme legal threats, for a while at lease, but it be, and in light of this post, I feel that local natural food providers may need to be making precautions for a changing of patrons.

    I should re prioritize my crop plan based on how well it serves with rice an beans.

  167. For the last few years my gardening buddy and I have been making experiments in growing enough beans to make a useful crop of dried beans for cooking purposes through out the following year. Some of our more successful cultivars are, Kentucky Wonder (a pretty amazingly productive dual purpose bean), Cave, Turkey Craw, Lina Cisco and Good Mother Stallard. In my climate, we don’t grow rice, but corn is the traditional desert west accompaniment to beans and of course, squash. The three sisters of Native American tradition. Beans on top of polenta is also pretty tasty.

    Thought I could chime in on the bean conversation with a couple of book titles.

    The Resilient Gardener, by Carol Deppe. She is a plant breeder with celiac disease and decided to grow what she could eat as if times were really hard. Her book is a great exploration of her process and how to gardening in tough times as well as a description of the seeds she developed for corn, beans and squash. She also adds potatoes and duck eggs to her self-reliance formula.

    Heirloom Beans, by Steve Sando and Vanessa Barrington. This book is mostly a recipe book but there is a section that lists and discusses many heirloom beans. You can also order heirloom beans from Steve.

    Good and Cheap, Eat Well on $4 a Day by Leanne Brown. An earlier version of this cookbook was the authors project for her master’s degree in food studies at NYU. That alone should probably tell you she pushes that $4 a day pretty hard and that the recipes are rather upscale. However, some of her recipes are in the pennies per serving and are mostly veggies with some less expensive meat added. She has some good ideas for making things go farther and taste good as well, but I am guessing that some living on SNAP benefits would dispute her choice of food items.

  168. Interesting that you teased us with a mention of the Ascended Masters teachings without elaborating. I’ve been reading the series and wondered how it fit in with the rest of the occult community. I guess it’s an offshoot of the Theosophical movement. I wonder what made you bring it up? I’ve never heard any one mention it before. One thing that is repeatedly mentioned in the series is the value of silence so maybe that is why.

    I’m a member of the comfortable class and my coworkers often are put off my the modesty of our belongings (10 year old car etc). I have found in my social circles that the bean-eaters (metaphorically and literally speaking) are much more financially secure than the people who eat beans which have been squished into free-range vegan tofu and veggie burgers :-p

  169. Re masks and mandates

    Just to provide a quick follow-up on my prior (rather ranty, for which I apologize) comment.

    I did have an opportunity to talk with our general manager. (And for the record, he’s a good guy, with an “open door” policy and a willingness to listen. There are far worse places one might work, certainly.)

    There were a few other factors at play in the immediate decision to maintain the mask policy at the workplace, not all of which I had been aware: 1) we will be re-opening to the public on the 12th and there are still liability issues to be concerned about (so, fiduciary responsibility); 2) the city common council has put a mask mandate in place for city government buildings until the end of the month. While we are not technically part of the city government (we’re governed by an independent board), we *are* owned by the city and there is a political element to “going along with” certain city policies under circumstances like this. For what it was worth, he generally agreed with my assessment of the situation on a personal level; likewise, I could understand the predicament he was in on a professional level. It was a cordial exchange and I left feeling better. With luck, once we get on the far side of the next few weeks, things will change.

  170. @Spock’s Mechanical:
    Oatmeal definitely falls into that category. The pre-industrial Scots crofters (poor farmers) ate oats, seaweed and fish as their regular diet, along with good hearty meats from deer and sheep when they could get it, bones, meat, blood and all. One of the healthiest groups on the planet (then, now not so much). Interestingly, not all the oatmeals were alike, as different variants of oats grew in different areas of the country, depending on soils and weather, thus the oatmeal would taste different depending on where you lived.. I would love to have tasted some of those types, as I am very fond of oatmeal too.

  171. I must express my surprise and disappointment at JMG ‘s decision to become the official Amazon spokesDruid, effective today, 1 April 2021.


  172. My grandparents came from a poor area of Poland so they subsisted for the most part on the northern European version of beans and rice which was potatoes and milk. I understand that those provide most of the amino acids and nutrients that you would need to survive. The other major part of their diet was sauerkraut to provide the vitamins that potatoes and milk don’t have. My grandfather would make a 50 gallon crock of sauerkraut every fall and they would have that with almost every meal, also. There are many recipes using these three ingredients and seasoned with salt, pepper, and the fresh herbs that my grandmother grew in pots on the windowsill.

  173. Greetings All:

    Thought I would chime in on the conversation. I used to feel bad for other people such as African Americans and Native Americans until I got a good solid education in what happened to the Celtic cultures over the last two thousand years.
    When I read about the decimation/ last stand of native Welsh on Anglesey in about 70 AD, my attitude changed a lot.
    I realized, to my horror, that my ancestors belonged to a group that someone, the Romans, wanted to rub out. I’m sure that some of my forebears were dragged off somewhere in chains… I come from people whose language, culture, music and religion were purposefully suppressed if not outright destroyed. And I am white.
    Understanding the history made me far less inclined to feel sorry for anyone else. Theoretically, if that history had not happened, I would be in be Cornwall, speaking Kernwekes and be a croney old druidess. Maybe.
    The point I’m trying to make is that all of us at one time or another have been the slaves or victims of someone else. Nobody is special in this. And the concept that anyone has the right to be more offended that anyone is just dumb and horribly misinformed.
    After I learned my forebear’s history, I mourned for a long long time. Sometimes I still do for a culture I never got to grow up in, the language that I never got to learn from cradle.
    But, have to believe that there are reasons for why things turned out the way they did. I do what I can now with what we have to work with. And anyone who thinks they’re due reparations can go pound sand…
    Maybe this is a bit off-topic but I guess I just needed to get it off my chest.

  174. Very interesting. When any group is feeling threatened, it always becomes more dangerous to deviate from the expected in-group signaling. The odd thing in this case is that the group in question (the upper-middle class white left) has a strange and incoherent self-identity that celebrates a shallow version of diversity and inclusion. So you end up with deep levels of self-deception necessary to deploy the defensive measures typically used to preserve past privilege as they come under threat. Your earlier essay on the rescue game comes to mind as the kind of dysfunctional group dynamics that often result. The fact that the black community that has been the focus of recent social justice efforts is often a deeply religious community is going to create some strange acting out in the next couple of years as the sloganeering during the pandemic turns into actual policy that either strengthens black church based community development or strengthens white left-wing anti-religious agendas.

    It feels to me like an essential first step to moving away from our current polarization and dysfunction is public exposure of the hypocrisy involved in seeking privileges not extended to everyone by claiming to be morally outraged over some injustice. A bright light needs to shine on people trying to preserve positions of power by excluding and punishing others who don’t virtue signal in the appropriate ways.

  175. I think that the disappearance of the Four Horsemen of Atheism (and outright cancellation of Sam Harris) is because they stepped on the 3rd rail of evangelistic atheism: Islam. The God in whom they do not believe and whose believers they ridicule as simps also happens to spell His name “ٱللَّٰه‎” in Arabic. Disrespecting Judaism or Christianity in 2021 typically won’t get you stabbed or decapitated, but me just typing that could get me cancelled as an “Islamophobe.” Ah, the fuster cluck that is the 21st century.

  176. Stephen – to follow-up on what JMG said above, I would say his estimate of there being half the jobs available for PhD holders in ten years is actually wildly optimistic. The numbers are already grim. Presently, something like 80% of PhDs from the prestigious institutions don’t get tenure-track gigs, and the entire higher educational infrastructure is changing/collapsing in response to demographic changes, COVID lockdown, and the recognition on the part of higher ed itself that it is no longer a “social elevator” and so needs to come up with a new raison d’etre tout de suite. Those rec facility climbing walls aren’t going to pay for themselves after all.

  177. “I am also fascinated to know whether anyone ever asked the vegetables and other flora if they like to be eaten.”

    I once got a proselytizing vegetarian to go away by pointing out that at least the animals I eat are dead, unlike the baby plants (sprouts) she was eating. And telling her about the horrors I inflicted on the radishes I yanked out of the garden, decapitated, then salted their wounds and only then ate them.

    I was inspired by a story by Larry Niven, where a human visualized slowly eating a carrot to annoy a carnivorous telepathic alien.

    If you are not photosynthetic or a sulfur-eating archaea bacteria, life depends on the death (or parasitism) of something else.

  178. I second oatmeal as a breakfast food. I like plain quick oats with an apple sliced in and cinnamon, allspice and ginger. Stick in the microwave for 2-2.5 minutes, no sugar needed. You can use dried fruit if you don’t have a fresh apple. Raisins are nice. Or nuts, milk and spices. It’s cheaper, healthier, and nicer than the silly packaged oat mixes, and it is really fast and easy to do.

  179. Like a few other commentators so far, I just so happened to have beans and rice for dinner last night (huge caveat: this tends to be true 3-4 nights per week as my diet is primarily Indian vegetarian). For those who are into beans, there is an enormous variety (in our house we easily have more than a dozen different types of beans/peas/pulses). Another great simple technology for cooking beans is the pressure cooker.

    Good that you are giving the salary class occultists the heads-up, JMG. The wind is certainly changing direction and what’s coming seems to be a particularly ‘ill wind’ for salary class occultists… though opportune for those occultists who are willing to live, work, and do business with the masses. Lucky for me, as a child I had a front-row seat watching the upper middle class banish my family from our idyllic town, effectively revealing the savagery, intolerance and two-faced hypocrisy of the social elite and allowing my family to return to our default working-class roots out in the hinterland. That early life lesson has served me very well; may others learn the same lesson less traumatically.

  180. @Irena

    Regarding whether or not the comfortable classes admonishing the poor about their dietary choices happens, I can assure you that it does. I grew up quite poor, as in no running water and an outhouse poor, and as a result I’ve always been VERY attuned to class based scolding and condescension. I have over the years heard quite a bit of dietary shaming directed at both my family and others.

    My absolute favorite recent example was on NPR (of course) last year. It was a standard OMG poor people should make better choices piece, in which they were interviewing some nutritionist lady. She was arguing that despite the temptation of cheap calories and general deliciousness, the poor shouldn’t EVER eat pizza, unless it was, and I swear I heard this exact string of words:

    “Made with a sourdough crust of fresh ground whole grains, topped with lots of fresh organic produce and a small amount of locally sourced lower fat cheese.”

    I almost drove off the road yelling at the radio about what a stupendously clueless and idiotic thing this lady had just said, and waited for some kind of reality check from the interviewer. Needless to say, the interview rolled on as if this lady’s thoughts on what poor people should be eating were reasonable or achievable.

    Setting aside the fact that this pizza probably only exists in about five locations in the entire USA, it doesn’t sound very appealing, and certainly isn’t any kind of a cost effective answer to a hungry family. I have heard variations on this countless times throughout the years.

  181. I’ve been rediscovering the joys of casseroles in the past year, too. I like to make a sort of not-actually lasagna. Cook pasta in a saucepan till partly done, cook tomato sauce, (tofu, tuna, fake meat, or real meat) and vegetable of your choice(onion and/or kale is especially good) in a frying pan until partly done. Stick everything in a casserole dish and put in the oven for 40 minutes or so. Tasty, filling, inexpensive and I can get 4 or 5 servings from a single if somewhat involved cooking episode. Pairs well with squash, and you can stick one in the oven at the same time.

    Has anyone else found that squash brushed with curry powder and oil is really tasty? Or rounds of curry powdered sweet potato baked on a tray? The latter is super easy to do as a side dish when you’re using the oven for something else.

    When I have a lot of greens coming in from the garden, I tend to eat a lot of toasted peanut butter sandwiches with salad greens. I really ate a few too many of those last year.

  182. Speaking of rice and beans, at the height of the shutdown last year I noticed that toilet paper wasn’t the only thing being hoarded. The grocery store shelves where you’d normally find those cheap packages of dried grains and legumes were completely bare, at least in the small town where I live. I’ve been a rice and beans eater for a long time, and I have to say it was quite scary to find them unavailable in any store at any price.

    I agree that rice and beans are tasty, nourishing and cheap, but I suppose it doesn’t really matter how cheap they typically are if they’re not available at all. And as I think about it, I suspect it wasn’t just the poor who were buying them last year. The well-to-do probably realized that their expensive fruits and veg can’t be hoarded like dried foods. So as we continue down the long descent and face supply-chain problems and decreased availability of foods (due to pandemics or otherwise), the elite will probably hoard rice and beans along with everyone else and then loudly proclaim that they’ve been eating them all along. That will leave us poorer folk with even fewer options for finding nourishing, calorie-dense food.

  183. Ah competitive offendedness. It reminds me of my college days when trolling the libs and triggering the con-servitors was a fun hobby and the media figures of my generation were lauded for how much controversy they could whip up. Teenage rebellion meant being offensive and knowing the best race jokes and coming up with the most deplorable slurs you could imagine. Offensive memes were the gangsta rap music of my youth. Remember dead baby jokes? That was our N.W.A. with the Parental Advisory sticker proudly displayed on the front. Now I’m 33, and watching people offend others for the sake of offending them just makes me feel… tired. I don’t know what that says about me or why I find it so soul draining. I have no pearls left to clutch.
    And believe me, I used to live for the shocked looks and the covered gasps and the “how dare you!” of it all. I used to feed on that energy. It sustained me in good times and bad. But now it makes me feel empty and hollow.
    I understand the importance of shock in a teaching capacity. I’m reminded of the story of the zen master who masturbated in front of his students to show them how paper thin their respect of him as a person really was. Or something. I think it was tied to a larger lesson about the ephemerality of the feelings we place on the physical world? But I didn’t want to google it on my work computer to know for sure. The point being, shock has its place and the greatest teachers of all time have used it to great effect in one way or another. But to see so many folks throw themselves into this pursuit of the endless trigger… I can’t anymore. Which is weird because I can laugh at Karen videos all day, I mean talk about triggered, but an “I Drink Liberal Tears” bumper sticker makes me feel a thousand years old. And I’m not even a liberal so what do I care? Does anyone else feel this way? Is it PTSD from the trenches of the meme wars? (I never memed, myself, but I was there for it, man. I was THERE.)

    Anyways, a Merry All Fool’s Day to one and all. I hope this year finds you all doing well. Or at least better than before.

  184. Lady CK, I hadn’t heard of that place before but it looks very nice. It depends on the expats I would assume but Ajijic doesn’t look too expensive for what I see online and if you don’t speak Spanish it seems like a good option. If you do speak it, then the possibilities open up quite a bit. Weather varies across the country substantially so that is also something to consider. You can go from temperate cities to jungle cities.

    Places in the center of the country like Puebla, Morelos, Querétaro are good options that are close to one another and the capital and more or less the same climate depending on altitude. Go southern than that and it changes to jungle, northern than that and it is desert.

  185. Interesting post, and I think the trajectory you’ve indicated is on point. Should the monetary system go full Zimbabwe or some other Peak Oil-related phenomenon occur, more people might find themselves outside “the bubble” of the comfortable classes sooner rather than later.

    An aside, in terms of the historical windings of American spirituality: I’m sure countless others have noted this, but was reflecting on the large number of bonkers cults that seem to have emerged during the ’60s and ’70s, many of them seemingly from California. Tying this back to some of your observations on the other blog…what dark wings were stirring out there during that time? Just fascinating phenomena.

    FWIW, we here in the Garden of the Hesperides still enjoy a plate of rice and beans, sometimes even multiple times per week.


  186. Jessica #141, I had similar thoughts but she quickly put me straight that embodying the change was important, and that it was a wasn’t a one-and-done thing, and there was still things to do. She didn’t come from a particular school but intense self-directed study and self-questioning. But it does seem a significant risk of rapid awakening is kundalini-type symptoms.

    Yvonne Rouse #150, another one I think of as a classic is Sarah Brown’s Healthy Living Cookbook. Apparently others agree – a secondhand copy is £48.

    Joeljones #162, I’m pretty sure whoever invented Peleton watched the scene in 1984 where the woman appears on the telescreen and makes Winston exercise – – and thought “We can monetise this…”

  187. Varun, re your 114

    My sense, no polling data, which I rarely trust anyway, is that your specific community is fairly well thought of, as hard working people who respect and abide by American laws, don’t disrespect American culture and customs and refrain from demanding special favors. For example, I have not heard that your community is lobbying to make Hindu holy days American national holidays, nor do you agitate to legalize customs such as polygamy which most of us find repugnant.

    There are individual members of your community, as there of every other group, mine, working class WASP, very much included, who are perhaps not quite shining examples of integrity and high level talent. One Neera Tanden has no business being given any govt. position and whoever told Dinesh d’Souza he is some kind of Important Big Thinker? But, hey, tolerance of a certain amount of mediocrity is part of the price we pay for having a republic. As for the VP, on the whole, it could have been a lot worse, and she is far and away a welcome relief from the parade of vapid, underdressed and over made up modelling school dropouts whom the GOP has been promoting and who remind me of those 60s variety shows in which every fourth rate washed up “star” was invariably introduced as “the lovely and great”.

    I was saddened by what you related about the demise of Tulsi Gabbard’s career and not at all surprised to learn that Congresswoman Omar was involved. Someone in the GOP who wants to make themselves useful might want to look into the true story of how she and family arrived here, because the official one makes no sense. But the GOP thinks our alphabet agencies can do no wrong, even when their pets and proteges bite the hand that feeds them.

    There is a crying need right now for capable and honest managers at all levels; your community could perhaps decide to be such managers, not buy into “woke” idiocy, and earn the gratitude of the rest of us.

    I doubt it is what you want to hear, but I do think that successful minority groups have a choice to make. You can continue to be useful, or you can go all in for third world immigrant solidarity, and on your head be it if that is your choice.

    On a personal level, I would like to put in a plea for authoritative translations. The academic lady who was discussed last week gets away with her lies and distortions, and I have little doubt that is what they are, in part because most of the reading public has no access to the histories and other documents she claims to interpret.

  188. Dear JMG, I do have my rainy day stockpile of rice and beans. However may I suggest an even cheaper protein based option for you and your readers? I live along the coast (the Swedish skærgården) and have taken up fish, seashells, shrimps, lobsters, crabs etc. Most of these you can harvest for free if you live close to the sea. It doesn’t take a lot of time, investment, effort or work. If you are lucky and know your area well a couple of hours work can land you a week worth of food. Plus all the well to do Yuppies love it if you bring them fresh of the boat/ coastline catch. Plus fishing, crabbing, picking mussels etc is a wonderful way to spend some relaxing and soothing time in nature.

    Kind regards from skærgården.

  189. “salads and fresh fruit and the sort of low-calorie diets that only count as adequate nutrition if the most strenuous thing you do all day at work is walk to the water cooler to gossip with your fellow cubicle inmates.”

    Well most of the post is excellent, I must take issue with this. Even if you don’t do anything, that kind of diet is not sufficient: most of them top it up with copious amounts of either fast food or desserts. They will viciously deny doing any such thing, and do it behind the anonymity of the drive thru or hidden in their homes, but fast food and/or desserts plays a major role in the diets of most people who insist on being seen to only eat “healthy” fresh salads, fruits, vegetables, and other highly restricted fare.

    The reason for this is that they have this notion that a low calorie diet is healthy, but their bodies beg to differ. Judging from my experience, most people need a lot more caloric intake than is fashionable among the well off, even those who’s most strenuous daily activity is walking to their car, and they get around this by eating fast food or desserts in copious amounts and then feeling shame and guilty about it, doubling down on their dysfunctional diet, and lashing out at those who publicly eat differently from their socially acceptable diet.

    (This seems to be a peculiarly American thing; I’ve had to explain to Europeans, Japanese, Chinese, and Arabs [which is every group of immigrants I’ve interacted with] that yes, people here are genuinely this worked up over what people eat, and yes they genuinely think everyone ought to eat like that. No, they don’t eat like that, and you can’t reason with them, so it’s best to try to avoid the topic whenever possible)

  190. TJ, it’s a source of wry amusement to me to see conservatives, who are by and large opposed to having government controlling people’s lives, insisting that it’s okay for governments to micromanage the diets of the poor. Over and above the absurd incongruity of that stance, I’d point out that what counts as a healthy diet according to the medical profession is about as stable as a well-oiled weathervane, and twenty years from now the approved notion of what will and won’t make you sick will have very little in common with what it is today, so all that talk about “inevitable health consequences” properly belongs in the Journal of Irreproducible Results. That being the case, why not let poor people who receive government assistance buy the food they want? It supports the economy either way.

    Pixelated, interesting. Since I haven’t had the experience of attending meetings of food security policy groups, I haven’t seen that.

    Polecat, I ain’t arguing.

    Ryan, thanks for this. One of the things I appreciate about my commentariat is that it includes thoughtful and polite people from just about every part of the political spectrum. Can you link me to one of those comments by Romani people saying “please ignore the crazies”? I can use that. As for private schools, it seems to me that the article is conflating the kind of high-end private schools that cater to the very rich with all private schools across the board, which is massively unfair. I live a few blocks away in one direction from a Montessori school, for example, and a few blocks away in another direction from a Catholic school; both are private schools in every sense of the word, but the fees are modest and the clientele includes the prosperous end of the working class. The school portrayed in “the article” has nothing in common with these schools — but you know as well as I do that if “the article” becomes, as it’s clearly intended to become, the rallying cry for an attempt to eliminate private schools, it’s not the schools for the children of the rich that will bear the brunt of it, it’ll be schools like the two I’ve just named, which provide a considerably better education than the public schools — which is of course the crime for which they will be punished.

    Millennial, so noted!

    Yorkshire, one of the pervasive problems with attempts to “help” the poor is that they almost always turn into attempts to force the poor to behave like the middle class, even if they don’t start that way. The descent of modern liberalism from evangelical Christianity is very visible there.

    Drone, interesting. Since I have as little contact with the inside of the corporate world as I possibly can, this isn’t something I’ve seen, so thank you for the data point.

    Greg, no doubt! One of the great advantages of getting out of the bubble is that your effective wealth goes up even if your income goes down, because you don’t have to waste so much money on status display.

    Wesley, well, we’ll just have to see how things unfold, won’t we?

    Rhisiart, diolch yn fawr!

    Scotlyn, “not valuing yourself sufficiently”! Oh my. Thank you for this; I’ll keep my eye out for that and similar ways of saying “But you’re not providing me with snob value!”

    Mario, hmm! Yes, I can see that. I don’t think you’re wrong, but all that this means is that the future of civilization rests on those of us who aren’t on Twitter — which seems plausible on other grounds.

    A., you’re doubtless right about the role of waning creativity; a society that has stopped progressing in any real sense, but is obsessed with fantasies of perpetual progress, is liable to go flailing around for ways in which it can progress notionally — and the current brouhaha over social justice is just such a notional means of pretending to progress.

    Synthase, you soak the beans for 24 hours before you begin cooking them, and then you cook them with some chopped onion. It’s really quite simple, and if you use a crock pot, the entire cooking process takes about ten minutes of actual work.

    Piglet, the social elite are that subset of high-end flacks and flunkies who have the job of promoting approved opinions. As for America being neurotic about food, yes, indeed — that’s been a widely discussed part of our national character since about a minute after the Pilgrims landed. I hope Europe can avoid that, and the “cultural appropriation” idiocy as well.

    Sebastien, if you want me to explain how America’s crazy relationship to food and the current fracas about “cultural appropriation” make sense, I can’t, because they don’t.

    Denis, human history is a pageant made up of invasions, conquests, dispossessions, and mass death. Of course the comfortable classes don’t want to think of that, because it implies that they may be next…

    Justin, fair enough! I don’t use a pressure cooker but I know people who do.

    Dusk Shine, one of the things that indicates to me that the power of the United States is waning fast is that Canadian elites are no longer following US cultural fashions in absolute lockstep.

    Julie, just one of the services I offer. 😉

    Patricia M, that makes perfect sense. One of the things I’ve noted about women of the privileged classes is that they behave with stereotypical nouveau-riche boorishness — abusing waitstaff and counter clerks, displaying absurd snobbishness, and so on. It would make sense that this is because their effective status has risen drastically in recent decades, and they haven’t yet developed the grace that a mature elite has.

    Migrant Worker, I heard about that. Of course the guy’s insisting “you can’t take that away from us” — it’s the basis for his identity and, very likely, his meal ticket as well.

    Beekeeper, I’ve also noticed the habit of learned helplessness. It’s very convenient for the managerial classes to insist that everyone needs to be managed.

    Joeljones, that makes perfect sense. Since the Peloton gimmick uses lots of technology and also gives the user the feeling of being catered to by a lackey (“personal coach”), yoga doesn’t stand a chance in that market. 😉

    Neptunesdolphins, thanks for both of these tales — and I think you’re quite right that it’s all about the craving for power on the part of would-be leaders.

    Clay, that figures!

    Justin, many thanks for this. I’ll check it out.

    Ray, your friends are wise to be watching the changing winds. As for the ballot proposition, I bet ranchers in the neighboring states are rubbing their hands together with delight over this, since it’ll give them a sharp increase in market share…

    Kay, many thanks for this! I had very good results with Kentucky Wonder, for whatever that’s worth.

    Jamie, I’ll be talking about the Ascended Masters teachings at some length later on in the series of posts on American magic. Of course you haven’t heard it discussed; it’s socially conservative and doesn’t appeal to the privileged classes, so its existence has been roundly ignored.

    Admin, I’ve never seen a good astrological explanation of it, but it does seem to work.

    Your Kittenship, harrumph indeed.

    Honyocker, that’s a good cheap diet as well!

    Elizabeth, my ancestors on the paternal side were Scots Highlanders. Look into the Highland Clearances sometime if you want to see a harrowing chronicle of dispossession and cultural destruction. That’s one of the reasons I don’t take wokesterism seriously; the woke love to insist that such things never happened to white people, and of course they’re quite simply lying.

    Ganv, exactly. That’s one of the reasons I talk about such things here.

    Monster, that makes sense!

    Ron M, as with most such shifts, the abandonment of alternative spirituality by the privileged will be a major problem for some and a major opportunity for others. Those like you who’ve already seen what lies a millimeter under the alleged tolerance and enlightenment of the well-to-do are well positioned to move with the changes.

    Pygmycory, thanks for all of this!

    RavenWillow, that’s an excellent point. One useful evasive maneuver I’ve used is to frequent dollar stores and lower-end groceries — here, at least, they had beans when the upper-end stores didn’t.

    StarNinja, I think it’s just age. Plenty of things that I found hilarious in my teens and twenties don’t have the same effect any more.

    Fra’ Lupo, the rise of California cults in the 1960s and 1970s — hmm. That’s an interesting question, and one I should research.

    Martin, here harvesting marine life is subject to fairly strict licenses and restrictions, because too many people did that too enthusiastically, and pollution has also been a serious issue. Where you can, though, that’s a good option.

    Will, fascinating. I wonder if there’s any way to document this.

  191. I just wanted to draw peoples’ attention to the risks of slow cookers and kidney beans according to this.

    I am absolutely loving all the recipes in this blog post. Thank you for everybody who has posted them. I grew up eating “curry n rice” once or twice a month in the UK – but for some reason never dried beans in the recipe. So, I would really like to get more into the habit of eating them. I am more a “potatoes with everything” kind of person (probably due again to my upbringing) and mostly ate my own homegrown potatoes last year as a staple with meals.

    However, the British version of Chicken Tikka Masala and various other rice dishes in the UK is definitely a borrowing from India adapted to British tastes. I cannot ever see what is now such a mainstay British dish, being abandoned because of “cultural appropriation” (although it definitely is), as it is now such a part of our own culture. It all seems so silly to me, if people are trying to stop people cooking and eating a recipe they enjoy.. I honestly just don’t get it.

  192. Synthase #147. I understand that those oligosaccharides are only on the surface of the beans, and can be readily removed by a thorough rinsing. You don’t even need to soak.

  193. I’m a day late, but cooked six cups of pintos overnight in the crockpot (a six qt crockpot) before reading this post.

    We’ll be eating them with corn, though, as nachos are on the menu, followed by enchillada casserole (all the ingrediants of enchilladas, but layered rather than rolled, freezes very well). If you have a mob to feed, legumes are a good way to accomplish it.

    I wonder if one part of the disdain for beans and grains is the requirement to plan ahead, the lack of ability to be spontaneous? And of course “Beans and rice, rice and beans” has long been Dave Ramsay’s advice as part of his get out of debt spiel, and anyone who follows his advice is definitely not borrowing for vacations, cars, toys, and barely for houses. Very un-fashionable, very un-comfortable class, very horrifyingly blatantly Christian, that guy (and has done pretty well for himself, financially).

    I always had the impression from the Beans, Rice, and Food Stamps debates that a good deal of the acrimony was about how much supervision is in order if one is living off of other folks’. The one side felt that if one simply cannot manage without taxpayer provided funds, one probably ought to be kept an eye on a bit more, make sure that one is buying food, not candy, milk, not soda, fruit, not fruit punch, etc. The other side felt that any sort of supervision of purchases was wrong and must be avoided at all costs. Some seemed to think it was prejudiced to supervise, others seemed to think it would harm children to not be fed corn syrup laced products other children their age ate, and if there was any unifying underlying matter, I suppose it might have been fear of judgement.

  194. I’ve concluded I’m not likely to pursue magical self -training this lifetime but I have several of JMG’s books in good condition I bought over the last few years and would like to sell or donate to another Ecosophian if possible.

    Please contact me at kgwatt at protonmail dot com if interested in trying to work out an exchange and/or shipping plan.

    JMG titles I have:

    Earth Divination, Earth Magic
    Learning Ritual Magic
    Mystery Teachings from the Living Earth
    The Druid Magic Handbook
    The Druidry Handbook
    The Celtic Golden Dawn


    Dion Fortune, Cosmic Doctrine
    Roberta Lee, Language of Tarot

    I also have an really nice Ogham divination set from the UK with each stave made of its corresponding wood, and a Rider-Waite Tarot deck published by U.S. Games Systems.

    Not sure if I’ve imparted any negative energy onto these items by reading and casting with them intermittently over the last few years, or whether, if so, there are cleansing rituals that could be done to restore them for healthy use by someone else.

  195. JMG,
    I just read through most of the comments and I have a couple of disagreements.

    You say that police states are expensive. I disagree – they are nowhere near as expensive as a middle class and we can see the indoctrination of the middle class is almost complete. They will follow whatever insane govt mandates are required and they will immediately report or even beat to death dissenters.
    I am not referring to the US only – most of the world has converted the middle class into authoritarian true believers. For now they still have the advantage but for how long?
    I would not be surprised if the Covid or Woke or whatever is the Chinese equivalent police states will outlast the peak oil, financial and even climate collapse – people tend to become more close-minded under duress.

    And second, and on a bit of a sensitive topic – you keep referring of this blog as the fringe. I actually think you are quite close to mainstream now. Just like the mainstream, you focus on tiny disagreements within the middle of the culture wars – republican/democrat, woke and trans issues.
    As far as I can tell, last year was a step down (in the sens of your catabolic collapse theory) so the real debate has shifted. Even climate change and peak oil are less relevant now because we know a global propaganda campaign can convince people to do almost anything. Just like in the 1930s in Europe, the old order is giving way to something “other”. Unlike Europe in the past the Allies are few and far between.

    I would like to see a post based on Dion Fortune to see how we can oppose this gargantuan changes without being crushed. I can understand your belief last year that the crisis will be short lived, but why ignore it now? Of course it will disturb some of the commentariat but you predicted this – shouldn’t we see a follow up?

  196. Lunar Apprentice #135 – Very enjoyable, thank you for a fresh breeze of progress. Gender or brains – if you don’t like the dye, please wash again. Don’t know how frequent male choral societies are where you live, but I’d say here in Germany they have some tradition and are mostly attended by – oh the horror, just imagine this: WHITE MALES, singing to SHEET MUSIC with actual NOTES!

    May the Männergesangsverein be with you!


  197. Happy April Fool’s Day, JMG—and everyone else! 🤪. JMG, you do well enough with jokes I thought I’d chance it. A lot of autistic people—Sonkitten, for example—would be totally baffled.

    Which leads me neatly into announcing that 1 April is World Autism Day!

  198. What about the resurgence of psychedelics/entheogens among the well-to-do (not just Trumpists)?Do you think that is only a temporary fad?

  199. My own cooking very much revolves around perpetual stew. Still, this post reminded me that a couple of days ago I saw Crock-Pots (branded version) on sale for 15 pounds in the local Lidl, so I went there today and picked one up. Looking forward to experimenting with it.

    @Naomi, a decade ago the UK sent a mission to Indiato spread the word about tikka masala and other British curries. It didn’t have the impact they were hoping for.

  200. Hi Eugene: My husband and I have eaten rice and beans for years and love it. I got a great recipe years ago from my favorite chef, Julie Jordan, who wrote a book called “Wings of Life” with wonderful recipes. There are a lot of spices in it and other than that, there’s onions and peppers. Let me know if you want the recipe, or go on line and find it. Also, the condiments we like best is Salsa (I get it cheap in the supermarket), and guacamole (also in Julie’s book. Enjoy. We sure do. Kathy

  201. @Jessica, (@Darkest Yorkshire and Cos. Doc. readers too)

    Yes, this is my understanding also. Master Nan Huai-Chin always said liberation and true enlightenment are different things. Genuine enlightenment is far beyond liberation.

    Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev says real liberation – maha samadhi/maha parinirvana – only 1 out of 100000 will still be able to stay in the body when real liberation happens because you have to spend lifetimes training in “all the tricks of Mother Nature” to achieve mukti and still be able to retain a body. For the other 99999 the moment of liberation and the moment of death will be exactly the same. The power of mukti-consciousness is so strong most people fuse out and don’t come back.

    I once transcribed a small portion of a 45 minute talk Sri Rohit Arya gave on this subject.

    Here’s what he said:

    Awakening is one thing. It is the start of the spiritual process, the start of an evolutionary spiritual process. That can happen – awakening – even by accident. You did enough good karma there can be a time in your life you get awakening.

    It can happen at any time. You read a book. met a guru, went outside, whatever. It is tamasic – anything can awaken you. It’s below consciousness. It’s a subconscious process. Attaining Self-Realization is a rajasic process. You’ve got to do Sadhana. You’ve got to toil, you’ve got to do many things.

    Liberation, unfortunately only happens through grace. Some circumstance – a guru, deva or something pushes you over the final boundary no matter what you do. That is grace. It’s unfair but that’s the way it is. That’s a satvic person. It has to be earned. For most people the moment of liberation is the moment of their death because the infusion of energy at the moment of liberation is so super-colossal that a normal body cannot contain it. So you just drop the body and go.

    I notice Sri Arya and Sadhguru are on exactly the same page about this. If you achieve liberation (maha parinirvana) unless you come from a lineage that has trained you how to stay in your body despite the super-colossal infusion of power – most people “fuse out” as Sadhguru put it and go. And from what I’ve also read (assuming I’ve understood it correctly) – true enlightenment is far, far beyond liberation.

  202. Financial advisor Dave Ramsey used to say “Rice and beans, beans and rice” when giving people ways to cut spending and pay down debt. He has an article on eating healthy on a budget.

    There are all sorts of info in books, websites, on Youtube etc for eating cheaply. And soon we will be eating this way not to pay off debt, but just to get by. Get ready, inflation is coming! Paper products are going to cost more this summer.

    Why Kimberly-Clark’s Price Hikes Are an Inflation Red Flag

    They also make disposable diapers, which is one of the major expenses of young families (not to mention a major contributor to landfills). Parents need to switch back to cloth diapers before they get caught up in the price hike. I know it’s more work, but think of the price savings. When I was in high school (late 1970’s) I babysat for my sister. She used cloth diapers, and I used to beg her to get disposables. She wouldn’t because of the cost, even though they were a middle class family. Now days it seems everyone, poor or rich, uses disposables. I think that’s going to fall to the wayside as we slide into turbulent times.

    Joy Marie

  203. Dudley Dawson says:
    March 31, 2021 at 10:17 pm
    @Casey – Can you say a bit more about your lowbrow pride? I suspect we might be kindred spirits, haha. Just curious what that means to you.

    @ D Dawson. Sorry I missed your comment till very late.

    I guess that while I really like certain painters like Picasso (skill incarnate) or Klee, I think it’s okay for painted images to actually look a lot like the things they are representing. Not every installation needs to offend. Not every film needs to ‘subvert my expectations’. Not every TV series needs to destroy my faith in humanity.
    Yet what we see all too frequently now are artworks that are social engineering propaganda screeds. (Yes, I am sure popular culture has a long long history of fulfilling that very function: Public Relations.) Yes, a female character can definitely absolutely be heroic… But it sells her abilities short if her heroism is only a terse wave of the scolding finger telling men how awful they are. Or that masculine virtues (yes, redundant) are somehow lesser or flawed.
    As a working-class slob, I sympathize with those consumers of comics and movies who don’t mind a simple yarn well told, a skillfully produced image that does not nauseate. One of the means we have for retelling myths is popular culture: comic books, film, television. These myths arise out of us, out of all of us and so they resonate with us, however simple such myths or we ourselves may be. But what’s coming down the pipe now serves to tell us how hideous we are, how we should be ashamed of whatever characteristic it is we have that no longer ‘fits’.
    So I like David Lynch, but I like me some George Lucas too. I like Luke Skywalker the hero who redeems his father, and pardon me if Rian Johnson’s take on said character sickens me.
    Are my tastes low? Yeah, sometimes. I can leaf through a copy of Heavy Metal and see value in the artwork and the twisted humor. It is what it is. I have simply learned and accepted that when it comes to popular culture, my needs are very unsophisticated. I will never be accepted into the groups that are more sophisticated than I… And I’m good with that.

  204. Hi JMG and Ecosophia readers,

    Regarding food, I find it extremely bizarre that despite the current state of lockdown, some people are eagerly paying $540 to go to the airport then get on parked planes just to have a first-class meal. The article said the demand is so strong that airline companies plan to expand the scheme.

    You might be able to help me understand the psychological impulse behind this behaviour. Are the confortable folks getting that much insane ?


  205. Scotlyn your distinction between cultural expropriation vs. appropriation make a lot of sense to me. I know people who’ve been been denied access to learning their own culture, and you’re right, it is very harmful.

    As to the appropriation end of things… if I couldn’t cook stir-fries, curry, pizza, pasta, etc., I’m not quite sure what I’d eat most of the time. I sure don’t cook traditionally english things very often, and I’m not 100% sure what counts as traditional Canadian food vs. food from elsewhere. When visiting family in England when I was 15, the vegetables seemed horribly overcooked, and I got really homesick for the food I was used to.

    It sounds like people are conflating appropriation and expropriation. Perhaps because some aspect of the culture of a culture that is being stamped on can suddenly become popular with the dominant culture, often with little to none of the original context coming with it? Sort of adds insult to injury.

    That could be where the fuss over cultural appropriation came from, before it got completely out of hand. It has got completely out of hand – like I said, what would I even eat, if I was forbidden any food that didn’t go with my ethnic origin?

  206. My family and I make a point to appropriate from every culture in the world for our beans and rice meals. Red beans and rice with plenty of spice, hummus and falafels, dhal, baked beans, bean burritos and chalupas, and more. Even a good ol’ bowl of southwest style chili, though that may have a bit of bison or rattlesnake meat in it. Don’t forget a side of cornbread, but you have to make in a cast iron pan! Friendly reminder that beans are easy to grow if you have a bit of space. If you have more you can grow corn, they have an affinity for one another, and the herbs and spices to go with them.

    I will have to remember to add my tarot readings as an after bean meal addition. Have to make sure I have all my bases covered.

  207. People living on beans and rice also causes issue with the managerial class because it can help create automony for the lower classes.

    The philosopher Diogenes was eating bread and lentils for supper. He was seen by the philosopher Aristippus, who lived comfortably by flattering the king. Said Aristippus, “If you would learn to be subservient to the king you would not have to live on lentils.”

    Said Diogenes, “Learn to live on lentils and you will not have to be subservient to the king.”

    Lentils, beans, rice, whole grains – anything you can buy dried in bulk 20kg (45 pound) bags is also a tool that can be used to slowly work ones way out of servitude.

    I will put Michael Franti’s little anthem to Red beans and rice here. Reminded of it at least once a month since I first heard it in the mid 90’s.

    Song :

    Lyrics : For those not so keen on the Google video mega machine

    To quote the article – “those who make any significant part of their living by marketing any of these things to the well-off may want to start looking for new income sources”.

    Eckhart Tolle would be a great example of this. Wrote two books, most notable “The power of now” and he has been living off this income stream and subsequent talks/workshops for the past 25 year now. It would be right (insane) that eventually they would turn on him for suggesting “work on yourself to help others”. Every time I see folks turn on people like him, I am astounding by the mental gymnastics needed to get to that point.

    A side note about the Marxists – I like the Marxist for one reason only. They can tell you in exact detail the multitude of failings that private businesses can deceive and fail society – they just get the solution to these issues completely wrong. The same can be said of the libertarians and the failings of government. Great analysis – terrible solutions. I have found that in general when ever you hear the word capitalism there is a 98% chance that what you are about to hear is nothing but ideological garbage.

    A similar word for entryism, is parasite. Latch on, suck the life out of it, move on to the next target.

  208. Justin, I have to say that I have seen the same in my area. The dollar store just a few blocks from my home just did a remodel. It involved adding more shelving and a great deal more refrigerators, while shrinking the decor section.

  209. To Will J. I can add from personal experience, if a person exerts tremendous willpower and actually sticks to such a low calorie scheme with only “healthy” foods, she (99.9 or so% of the time) will ruin her health. She winds up with a belly that protrudes like a starving African child’s, and of course, that is weight gain. I gave up calorie counting entirely and also avoided the scales, and focused on stress reduction and detoxifying from common trouble-makers like glyphosate and mercury. For the former I mostly avoid sources, but edible clay is said to help, and for the latter, I grow and eat coriander and take a good dose of chlorella now and then.

  210. Simon S,

    Funny that you mention pizza and being poor. We’re in the upper poor/ low mid-class of society, if one were to go by U.S median annual income standards. It just so happens that this poor polecat made 2 scrumptious pizzas .. with my non-n•p•r homemade sourdough crust, home-canned pasta sauce (we use a lot, throughout the year.. with as much cheese and toppings as we have available within the kitchen larder, for less than what it would cost to buy readymade!
    I say it’s good to be poor – poor as in shunning the extravagance of credit-induced travel, poor as in having low debts where at all possible, poor as in taking the initiative to learn independent skills that will be useful during both good times and bad ..
    Much of what we equate with the want of affluence and wealth is really financially induced quicksand for all but the craftiest of social/psycho pathians .. Best to avoid one’s peril in stepping in it.

  211. To add to my previous comment which I know it was quite vague – even some mainstream people realize that we are in a different world now:

    “Second, as the dystopia worsens (even as the virus news improves — how about that), I am increasingly convinced that we need to start thinking seriously about building parallel institutions. That means not just social media platforms but also communities of like-minded people who patronize each other’s businesses and help each other out in a society that despises us.

    It further means that for the sake of our financial security, we should be thinking about what to do if it ever came to a situation in which in good conscience we could not continue working for our current employer, or in which ongoing COVID restrictions made our work impossible.”

    How is that for fringe?

  212. @admin, 72 is an interesting number. I encountered it in the liturgy of the Fuji Faith amid a bunch of other numbers: “The darkness in ten directions and ten sides is illuminated by the moon at 3,000 leagues; the moon at 3,000 leagues is lost in the 72 heavens.” This introduces a clause in which people have turned away from spirituality for three generations, but subsequently returned by making a threefold effort. Come to think of it, 72 years is roughly three generations.
    I also encountered the number 72 in an account of Chinese history, where one ruler (I didn’t catch the name or time period) had 72 mausoleums built for himself, only one of which would hold his remains, and those who hoped to desecrate his grave would have quite a hard time of it.

  213. JMG, there is one concern I have with the beans & rice (or any whole grain) diet as described in your posting: It is deficient in fats. I’m not promoting any particular food or diet, but there are essential fats.

  214. “why not let poor people who receive government assistance buy the food they want? It supports the economy either way. ”

    Because, O Esteemed Archdruid (Emeritus), it is a foundational principle of non-Burkean American Conservatism, right up there with God and The Flag, that Business Can Do No Wrong. With a few teensy exceptions, if it is making someone a quick buck, it has to be good.

    And that opens the whole can of worms of food, so-called, which is engineered to be addictive. For a whole host of reasons, people in desperate circumstances tend to have mild to serious to life threatening health problems, which chemical food additives only exacerbate. Jane Diet Coke in the suburbs can slurp her chemical beverage without immediate health problems because most of the rest of her life, including diet, is relatively healthy. If you disallow Our Tax Dollars being spent on fun food–never mind that the entire SNAP program is a huge subsidy for the farm states–, well poverty is a sin and must be penalized. Can’t have underclass coke slurpers turning up in emergency rooms or some smart MD might put two and two together and those good folks who make and market the chemical sodas might be in a bit of trouble. Bad publicity, you know, tends to make stock prices decline.

    And then, see the eloquent and moving testimony from pygmycory above, there is the other can of worms which our All American conservative brothers and sisters Do Not want opened which is inadequate ( and criminally overpriced) rental housing where space and appliances for food prep and storage are simply not provided.

  215. Entryism: I’m not quite sure about this. What I have seen when I have attempted to join local pagan groups was the “leadership” getting nasty and defensive if you had a different opinion about… well anything. It wasn’t about truth or dogma or different styles, but more about gaining and keeping power over the newbies, and don’t you dare infringe on their monopoly. No one was allowed to think for themselves, much less suggest it could be done. I had some so called pagan leaders try to run me out of town and told me that I was not a leader so I couldn’t do the things that I was doing.

  216. @JMG

    I work on the periphery of the tech elite bubble. In this circle, any person who is sincerely religious would be considered a complete and total rube not to be trusted. Perhaps pagan or buddhist is better but yeah there’s the cultural appropriation angle to think about and besides, you don’t believe in Santa do you? That’s the attitude. I used to think like that.

    Speaking of which, I wonder if you have advice about neopagan traditions to look into for those interested but who have never done anything formally. I looked in Heathenry but living in a Mediterranean climate it just didn’t feel right but then again neither does “secular paganism.”

  217. John,

    I’m curious if you have any thoughts on whether this increase in intolerance of alternative spirituality by the comfortable and elite classes would have any effect on a group like the UU’s. I suspect it might have some, but how much is not something I’m certain about. Since the practitioners of this faith (if you want to call it that) tend to be largely PMC, and any real bridges they may of had to the lower classes largely got burnt in the last four years, I suspect they (we, since I technically belong to a UU church) will find little to eat in the outer darkness.

  218. I always wondered what a UU excommunication would sound like. “John Greer! You have turned your back on our caste, and its received wisdom. The gates of blessed Facebook and revered Twitter are forever barred to you. I cast you into the Deplorable outer darkness, where there is no arugula nor paella , but only rice and beans FOR ETERNITY!”

  219. Naomi, that’s a valid point. Slow cookers cook at varying temperatures; you need one that hits a good steady boil in order to cook kidney beans safely. On the other hand, there are many other kinds of beans and other legumes that don’t have that problem.

    BoysMom, hmm! Those may well also be involved.

    NomadicBeer, obviously I disagree with your view of the future — and I’m bemused by your suggestion that this blog is somehow in the mainstream. Still, whatever floats your boat.

    Your Kittenship, last I checked, World Autism Day is April 2…

    Michael, now there’s a blast from the past!

    Darren, thanks for this.

    Iuval, not at all. I think a lot of people in the privileged classes are trying to drug themselves into a stupor to try to avoid noticing the way the world’s shifting around them.

    Robert, funny! And recycled, too, which is appropriate on this blog. 😉 Here’s the version from 1982:

    Foxhands, yes, I think they’re that insane. I certainly can’t find any other way to make sense of it.

    Aubrey, sounds like a good idea. Be sure to wash your hands with soap, too — that was invented by the ancient Celts, and so any one else who uses it is engaged in cultural appropriation…

    Michael, huzzah for Diogenes! It occurs to me that he might well be an appropriate patron for us legume eaters. You’ve already provided us with our anthem.

    NomadicBeer, I’ve been talking about parallel institutions for more than a decade. If that’s what you want to consider mainstream, by all means…

    Apprentice, okay, now please show me where I said that people should only eat rice and beans, without other foods that include fats.

    Mary, an interesting mix of caricature and hyperbole.

    Aubrey, well, there’s that, too!

    Brian, have you looked into Hellenismos, the revived worship of the Greek gods and goddesses? It’s quite a lively scene these days, and of course it has the advantage of a very rich literature.

    John, that’s a helluva good question, and one for which I don’t have an answer. I don’t know the UU scene well enough, and I don’t know how elite culture relates to the UU scene; the answer, if there is one, would have to draw heavily on both those things.

    Your Kittenship, good heavens, no. I’ve never heard a UU minister, or whatever they call them these days, who could handle that kind of ringing tone. Based on the examples I’ve seen, it would be something like this: “Er, Mr. Greer,” (scuffing of feet) “um, please understand that it’s entirely for your own good” (more scuffing of feet) “that we’d all like to ask you, ahem, to fling yourself into the outer darkness” (still more scuffing of feet) “where, uh, we know you’ll be much more comfortable surrounded by wailing and gnashing of teeth.”

    (Sara, who just shoulder surfed your version, wants me to say that she’s now going to go find a UU congregation to be thrown out of, so she never has to have to put up with arugula again. She says it tastes the way dirty sweatsocks smell.)

    (She loathes raw oysters, btw, and says that she would gladly eat sixteen raw oysters if that meant she would never have to be around arugula again.)

  220. The TV news said the big day was today. That’s what I get for listening to them!

  221. JMG,

    Certainly, delighted to provide some links re: Romani telling people tarot isn’t closed. Here are three of the ones I’ve seen that have been shared a bit:




    In response to your points re: private schools… I wholeheartedly agree that a difference exists between the two private schools you highlight and the ones discussed in “The Article.” I think one thing that “The Article” did rightly was focus on “independent schools”… although it’s a phrase that technically means any school not controlled by an outside entity (such as a Catholic diocese, say), it’s the preferred euphemism for absurdly wealthy prep schools like Choate and Harvard-Westlake that are described at length.

    However, I will say that, having also taught at a Catholic school elsewhere in New England, I wouldn’t be as confident that the education the children there are receiving is all that different from the surrounding public schools. Parents are glad to have their children in a more structured environment, where uniforms are worn and class sizes are a bit smaller, but the curriculum is indistinguishable in most cases–most of the dioceses in New England adopted the Common Core quite some time ago, for instance. Tuition is indeed substantially less at these schools–often a fifth of the independent schools, or even less–and so you see greater access to an extent, but it’s not as straightforward as that. For instance, without busses, you have to have a parent or other adult free to drive the child to and from school, which is difficult for many working class homes nowadays with two parents employed outside the home… and so, a majority of the students still tend to come from families of means.

    Now, the Montessori school may well be substantively different… would that there were more schools that followed Maria’s principles in our country. Unfortunately, they seem to have limited appeal to parents, working class or otherwise, and so they’ve always remained a small fraction of the private schools in our nation.

    Thanks for the kind words and thoughtful conversation!

    Ryan M.

  222. @Anonymous #67–I did not look at JMG’s latest entry or your comment until this evening, This morning, I spent some time thinking about the Michelson-Morley experiment. I wrote a high school term paper on it nearly sixty years ago. One of the things I got out of reading about the experiment for the paper was how precise the measurements had to be in order for the result to prove anything. I concluded that although I like reading about physics, I wasn’t cut out to be a physicist because I’m too slapdash on material matters.

    This lengthy comment is not related to what you linked to on the chans, because that’s a neighborhood I don’t want to visit, although I’m willing to hear reports. It’s about my own thoughts on the experiment.

    Reading your comment startled me. Why ever would two commenters on this blog be thinking about the Michelson-Morley experiment within 48 hours of each other? Was it some occult communication through the aether?

    So I retraced my train of thought. I had been reading and thinking about comments JMG made about dishonest experimental protocols that take a shortcut to disproof by departing in some significant way from the materials or methods of the original experiment. By association, I remembered remarks JMG made awhile ago about a general crisis in replication of published research, something that is necessary for being able to rely on findings. i had not read the articles about the problem that JMG linked to, and I wondered whether the problem was particularly acute in some branches of science more than others, or if the scientific method was breaking down all over.

    From there I got to Michelson-Morley, one of the last great experiments of classical physics, not that I’m an expert on the history of science. It had seemed to me that besides their experimental design being ingenious, their method and measurements had to be pretty bulletproof and replicable for their results to be accepted. Because the conclusion that the ether does not exist would be hard for a classical physicist to accept–sound waves don’t travel in a hard vaccuum. How could light and other forms of electromagnetic waves travel through interstellar space (actually through intergalactic space too, but they didn’t know about other galaxies at the time) without some medium to carry the waves?

    i have not read any contemporary accounts of how the experimental results were received by physicists at the time, so this is pure speculation. I would guess that once it sunk in that an entire area of research into the behavior of the ether had vanished because the hypothetical ether did not exist, scientists might get to thinking that mental models of the physics of outer space that were closely tied to our human experiences on this planet might be too limited. And that might have prepared the way for physicists to take the special theory of relativity seriously when in was published in 1905, even though that theory had not been experimentally tested.

  223. A couple decades ago, I observed an incipient takeover of the shrine where I was serving as priestess. I managed to thwart that, and there are one or two people who will never forgive me, but I would not have been able to spot the dynamics on my own. It was my husband who did, with his deep knowledge of Confucian ethics, learned from the working men who stayed at his mother’s inn. The lessons are couched in stodgy moralistic terms, which no one without a lot of experience in observing group dynamics would fully understand the importance of, but this is why Confucianism also puts such a strong emphasis on respecting elders.
    The obvious rogues, such as one priest in our case who openly advocated taking advantage of religion for economic gain, are not as much a problem as the ones that no one can openly fault, in this case, an insecure sensitive idealistic busybody with grand dreams, who once approached me and apparently others individually in secrecy about creating a new religion to save the world.
    The entryism you describe sounds like what Lobaczewski in Political Ponerology termed as creating a “secondary ponerological union,” which is to say, taking a popular benevolent organization and diverting it for political power or other private benefit. This can occur on its own fairly often. It seems to take a certain combination of people with different personality issues, but some of the key players seem to have a sixth sense for these opportunities and can detect vulnerable individuals. Still I wonder if certain people are taking advantage of the knowledge Lobaczewski uncovered.
    He was terribly naïve about the west, thinking we were free from the spell the Soviet Union had been under. He sent his second manuscript off to the Vatican (the first having gone into the furnace when the police came), and gave the third to Zbigniew Brzezhinsky. It came as a terrible shock for him to find out just how corrupt we already were back in the 90s.
    The first lesson of Ponerology 101 should be that today’s ponerology will be used tomorrow, taken out of context, to persecute the innocent for political gain. An example I saw the other day was someone calling vaccine refusers “psychopaths.” You are wise to avoid using that term, because much of the time it is used to manipulate by creating an emotional response. While describing psychopathy in detail, Lobaczewski was correct to counsel against blaming them, because they can’t help it and they only play the most visible role in the drama, directing us to do all the dirty work.
    Thus I still think his work has value, but so does Confucianism with its kill-joy moralizing surviving the millennia and finding favor throughout Asia.

  224. Hi again Nachtgurke. Männergesangsverein with me? Not in my neck of the woods, sad to say. You can’t even find a barber-shop quartet around here, so I just sing cowboy songs to my cat. But I found Männergesangsverein on Spotify. I’m impressed and happily typing to Abendfrieden. I didn’t know about German male choirs; everybody knows about the Welsh ones of course. I’ve discovered the Russian acappella tradition, and have a favorite CD of the Soviet Red Army Choir (recorded 1965). Now Männergesangsverein. My day is made!

    May I offer my favorite Russian acappella performance (not male only); Пелагея – Аж дух захватывает? (I know of nothing comparable in the US, though I’m sure it exists!)

    Thank you for your magnanimous reply to my savage lashing with a wet-noodle! (We’d better stop now; this tangent has strayed off topic, and I’ve already annoyed our host once…)
    —Lunar Apprentice

  225. @casey Well said! I agree completely. I’m also a fan of OG Luke! Thanks for the thoughtful response.

    Your comment reminded me of a writing workshop I attended (back before I figured out how bad writing workshops could be). One of the other writers there informed me, almost apologetically, that my story had failed because my chapters ended in places that left him wondering what would happen next. Cliffhangers, he said, were genre gimmicks that had no place in litter-a-chewer.

    I guess it’s like Yoda said: “Adventure, heh. Excitement, heh. A workshopper craves not these things.”

    Anyway, the feedback made me feel pretty good about my writing, so…I take my wins where I can get ’em.

  226. Slightly OT for topic, but very on-blog themed essay (contains a video link, but the video is only an illustration for a thoughtful, written essay, which contains nothing necessary to understanding the essay). It poses the question of whether we will soon be discussing questions of “inclusion” and “rights” and “abuse” of robots, against the question of whether robots are one more instance of the machine, which itself is an abuse of nature? and is “selective animism” or “artificial animism” a thing.

  227. By their rice and beans, ye shall know them. (JMG readers.) 🙂 . I just pulled a bowl of rice, black beans (a can of), garlic, half a can of diced tomatoes, sunflower seeds, diced celery, turmeric, and fresh parsley out of the garden -out of the nuker. I sprinkle nutritional yeast, on the top. Until recently, splashed with Mexican hot souce. (Had to cut the salt, a bit.) I keep a big bowl of long grain brown rice, in the fridge. I toss it in a lot of things.

    Sometimes I mix three eggs, rice and chopped veg, and fry it up, as patties. Smother it in half a can of diced tomatoes.

    I make three days worth of oatmeal, at a time. Half a bowl of chopped apples, half trail mix topped with frozen blueberries (picked last summer) in the other half. Cover with oatmeal, add the water and nuke. I’ll scoop 1/3 out of the bowl, nuke for 2 minutes, cover with sliced banana and splash on the almond milk.

    We seem to have forgotten that old saying, ‘Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery…” Oscar Wilde, no less. But it does go on “that mediocrity can pay to greatness.’ Lew

  228. >despite the current state of lockdown, some people are eagerly paying $540 to go to the airport then get on parked planes just to have a first-class meal

    In a lot of places, dining out has been regulated into quite the miserable experience. It says something when dining on airline food is more pleasant than the alternatives. Something goofy. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s goofy to pay that much to eat airline food on a parked plane but who is goofier? The person who just wants to sit down to a meal, given all the artificial constraints? All the people who have made safety the first priority of their life, to the point of absurdity? The government bureaucrats taking advantage of it all to further their own agendas?


    Lol. I get the sense they’re really struggling to understand something, like you said, the world is changing under their feet and they are not handling it well. Following the historical precedent, it seems that the locus of power seems to follow the – what did you call them last post? The cranks? I wonder where the cranks will migrate to next?

  229. >if the white, cis-het male and his associated demons of karens and chads all complied with every single mandate of the SJW

    They’re a death cult, dude. They want to die and take you with them. Respond to them as you think best.

  230. >The goal is to open up a gap between the people you’ve recruited, who receive privileges the others don’t, and the disempowered masses

    Oh boy. That’s a common theme in many african nations over the 19th and the 20th. If you are one of those “recruits” I’d urge you to discover what happens to you after the imperial power departs. Sigh.

  231. Wanted to share a bit of family history about the evolution of poor people’s food. My grandmother was born in 1920, fourth of five children, and her father died in 1923. Growing up in the depression with one parent, they ate a lot of chicken and eggs because they could raise that in their tiny home. As an adult my grandmother refused to eat chicken insisting it was poor people’s food. Until Chick-fil-a came along and then she’d go for sandwich (lol).

    My grandfather, her husband, would go out with his brothers and shoot rabbits and squirrels for dinner with the .22 rifle from age 12-15. Then he got a job and never finished high school. He didn’t have the same hang ups about chicken, obviously. Both of them love beef and treated it like a special treat. Pork and sauerkraut were considered a once a week meal.

    Beans were only done in the baked new england style with molasses and brown sugar. Rice was never eaten in their house and they thought it weird. Rice-a-roni (the San Francisco treat – did I make a jingle go off in your head?) had to do quite a bit a marketing to get my parents to introduce it into our home even in the 1980’s.

    Janet Van Amber Paske’s “Stories and Recipes of the Great Depression of the 1930’s” might be valuable to people wanting cheap and accessible local food recipes. I think it’s 8 volumes, I just have #1 and its a thick book in two parts – the stories from the depression, then how to adapt your kitchen today. The Van Amber women who collected the information in the 1980’s (mostly in Wisconsin) performed a great service because this info is so hard to come by. The shame of what people ate then is still with us.

  232. Regarding cultural appropriation: it’s a bit of tricky topic. Without any doubt, it’s been taken too far, but there is an important element of truth.

    When it comes to recipes, of course people borrow and share across cultures; likewise, I have items of Mongolian clothing that Mongol people were happy to sell to me to wear, I’ve studied Chinese medicine and martial arts, and I use them as I was taught – making my own adjustments to fit my own nature, as everyone must. To call out this sort of thing as appropriation is ridiculous.

    On the other hand, there is – for example – a feeling amongst many in contemporary Druidry that they can use and adapt Welsh words and myth in any way they like, and that’s not OK. Our host has always dealt with the Welsh aspects of Druidry respectfully: adding new insights and meanings, but honouring the origins. By contrast I’ve seen people airily claim that the Mabinogion doesn’t really belong to the Welsh people but to everyone. Welsh words have been redefined, and given meanings that they don’t actually have in the living language – and this is a very sensitive topic, because our neighbours in England have been trying to eradicate the Welsh language for the best part of a millennium. I agree with Kristoffer Hughes when he says that the Welsh myths are our cultural inheritance and we’re happy to share them – but I would add that that doesn’t mean it’s OK to just take them and redefine them willy-nilly.

    Anyway, I don’t mean to rant. I’ve written about it here and here.

  233. Hi John Michael,

    I eat a vegetarian diet when I’m on the farm because basically it is far easier for me to grow plants for my own consumption and that of the chickens and bees. And as to the chickens, I had a bit of a start last year because due to the health subject which dares not be named, my access to the heritage chicken breeders was cut off. And the flock of heritage chickens declined due to natural attrition. For your interest, I asked around the local area and discovered that few if any people had roosters. That was a real worry, but hopefully it was a temporary problem (maybe). Ook! Might have to get into chicken breeding sooner or later.

    When I’m off the farm, I eat whatever, as I don’t wish to make a fuss, or have people play food games with me. I haven’t scaled up to producing meat on the farm (although I’m good friends with people who do), but the production at this level is stacked against the moms and pops producers, so it is also a game I don’t wish to play. You can pick and choose your battles.

    Anyway, folks are strange. Most of the farm and infrastructure is put into place with hard labour which candidly we enjoy doing. The weird thing about that though, is that people look down their noses at us for acting so. I’ve never really quite gelled with that point of view, mostly because they’re wrong to think that. Dunno.

    I’m looking forward to your essay on Peak Oil, and note that earlier today I observed that fuel was $1.60/litre (3.8 litres to the gallon, so that’s $6.08/gallon). Exploration! Nuff said.

    I always write about Peak Oil, although I use the skill set you mentioned in the essay and instead talk about the concept via way of Peak Rocks. And whilst I’m joking around, I’m also not joking because Peak Rocks is real! All of the easy rocks have been retrieved, and now when I need rocks for projects around the farm I have to split the larger remaining granite rocks into more easily sized rocks for relocation. It is akin to fracking. Anyway, that job takes hours of hard physical work. Peak Rocks, like Peak Oil, never really went away. 🙂



  234. Grits, polenta, cornmeal mush, etc. are another cheap and filling staple beloved by healthy peasant stock from Italy to South Carolina to Michigan, and points in between. Can be plain and simple or spiced up in various ways depending on what you have around. Accompanied from everything from collard greens with lots of pot liquor, to brocollini and sundried tomatoes if you want to get fancy. Or just stuff you happen to have growing in your garden ~ basil and all that good stuff. Add a protein and oila!

    Re: oatmeal. My dad eats oatmeal and three eggs every morning. Lately he’s taken to having black beans and oatmeal. An interesting variation.

    The point is lots of cheap nutritious food is around. Grits are about the easiest thing to make (if you don’t have to harvest and then grind the corn yourself that is).

    I ate red beans & rice with cornbread last night!

    Also I think it is well to remember the humble and equally gaseous cabbage. Whether its German krauts and slaws, Italian winter minestrones, or southern soul food style sauteed in various drippings, a food also beloved by healthy peasant stock everywhere. Bubble and squeak, colcannon. Endless variations for those who want to delve into the ars combinatoria of cheap cookery.

  235. On the economic left, the entryism we worry about is what happens when Labour movements get taken over by middle class putzes and silver-spoon socialists who’ve never been poor and don’t understand solidarity or not trading away bottom line issues (and I’ve been poor most of my adult life, though not all of it.)

    Well, OK, not a fan of middle class ID politics, either. They’ve shattered solidarity. I say that as someone who supports gay marriage, abortion, etc… But an alliance means “no separate peace” and people who only need a movement for one thing are always willing to betray to get their one thing.

    As for poverty food: pasta, potatoes, etc… but rice and beans are King because they give you the protein you need without expensive meat. When I was poor and working heavy labour jobs I often ate 5K calories a day or so and sneered at low cal foods, these days I’m poor and sit in front of a desk, so those old habits slapped some weight on my bones. Used to do a lot of stir fries, too. Just a little bit of cheap meat, bulk it up with rice or fried noodles, throw in cheap vegetables from Chinatown (you can get a lot of bok choy or cabbage for almost nothing.)

    That type of food is totally inappropriate for sedentary people, even ones who go to the gym. You either have to work all day or be a very serious athlete, not a weekend warrior.

  236. John–

    Re poverty, apparent poverty, and lifestyle choices

    I didn’t grow up exactly poor, though as enlisted military my dad didn’t make a lot. Once he finished his degree and got commissioned and mom began teaching again (as my brother and I got older), we were fairly solid middle class. To be fair, I did not have a good sense of money until my later teens.

    My wife on the other hand grew up poor, including working herself off welfare as a single mother of two. As result, she has developed financial views which, as exchequer of our household, serve said household well. We are comfortable, but live very, very modestly, with many a home-cooked meal. I don’t know that we “look poor”, but one wouldn’t guess our finances by viewing our lifestyle. The idea of consumption for status display is something that I find stranger with each passing year. Our marriage has certainly opened my eyes to things I hadn’t been aware of before.

  237. Sonkitten and I have blood tests Wednesday, and he has a hearing test, would appreciate prayers that it all comes out well! Even if the prayers are said in the outer, oyster-less darkness.

    (Hi Sara, I’ve never liked arugula either. Or oysters.)

  238. Another riff on the theme is bean salad. (I use canned, but it’s certainly adaptable). Three cans various beans, rinsed and drained; one can corn, drained; mixed with one of the following: sauerkraut with some juice, salsa, or chow chow (cabbage or green tomato relish). Keeps well in the fridge and plays well with other vegetables.

  239. We buy a lot of dried goods, including rice and beans, and I keep track of the prices. As we don’t eat only rice and beans, I looked up the cost and nutrition.

    Not everyone has access to bulk dried goods stores, but our overpriced supermarket does dry rice for AUD1.40/kg, and has tinned beans for AUD0.80 for a 420g can, of which 240g is beans (the rest being salted sugared water), which comes to AUD3.33/kg.

    267g of the dry rice would be 770g cooked and provide some 1,000kCal.
    3 tins of the beans (720g cooked, drained) would provide some 890kCal.
    and together some 76g protein and 40g fibre, too.

    This would be about AUD2.78 a day, which is currently USD2.11. Again, that’s the supermarket which usually has the worst prices, if you’ve access to a good bulk store or open air market it’ll be cheaper.

    The hardworking person would need more than 2,000kCal, but they would of course supplement the rice and beans with other things, both for flavour and nutrition.

    As an aside, my children’s favourite meal is “mame” – which is Japanese for “beans”. It’s kidney beans with tomatoes, carrots, celery, onions, capsicum and zucchini. And because I am lazy I use a bulk spice. Then rice or tortilla. Usually that’s Monday’s dinner for all of us, then Tuesday and Wednesday’s lunch for the children.

    I don’t get the snobbery.

  240. The African version of rice and beans is samp and beans. (Samp is dry corn kernels broken up but not ground fine.) I’ve not had it myself but I’m told it tastes like pasta.

    I do cook mielie meal (corn meal) from time to time. Not many whites eat it since it’s seen as African food, but it’s pretty cheap and I quite like it.

  241. @ Nachtgurke: I am a proud member of the Apollo Maennerchor of Sharon, Pennsylvania. It has evolved from it’s original roots to become a social club, with a bar that serves excellent beers, in a town which I visit once a year.
    @ John of Red Hook, Lady Cutekitten and Sara Greer: As a lifelong Unitarian, and a member of a congregation which has just celebrated our 300th anniversary, I believe I can speak with some knowledge. Our congregation is also near 100% PMC, and we have the mandatory Black Lives Matter banner hanging where it cannot be burnt. I’m sure we will not be turfed out of respectability, because we will evolve our spirituality to conform to elite consensus. We will continue to pride ourselves on our social justice work, while actually spending most of the budget on PMC salaries. We will wring our hands on how few minorities are members, while not noticing that we have almost no working class members.
    If Sara would care to join us, she would be effusively welcomed, but the only way she could get ejected is by being caught plagiarizing some work. We fired a minister when he read another’s sermon as his own one Sunday. People will just stop talking to her at coffee hour. Loving arugula is not a pre-requisite, although I’m sure many members have it in their gardens. The closest I came to excommunication was when I said I thought Trump would be re-elected, which ended up costing me a $100 wager. Most people thought I meant that Trump SHOULD be re-elected.
    PS: I will be glad to eat Sara’s (as well as my wife Chiara’s) share of the oysters.

  242. I didn’t grow up eating rice, except very very rarely as a luxury desert with cream and sugar; but beans have always been one of my all-time favorite foods. And other grains than rice will also supply all the essential amino acids that beans are lacking–so beans and good sourdough bread with butter, for example, serve just as well as beans and rice. My parents were solidly middle-class, but each of them had grown up very poor in a single-parent family, and my mother’s cooking reflected that background pretty well.

    When I started working as a professor for my Ivy-league university, back in the later 1960s, my basic salary (after taxes) was about $500 a month, which had to cover everything–food, clothes, rent, etc. So we ate meat rarely, and usually the cheaper sorts. Fortunately, each of us had learned in childhood how to live very frugally, so we did fine. Eventually, we found Frances Moore Lappe’s Diet for a Small Planet (1971), which taught us a lot about good nutrition. I think it’s still in print.

    One of my early occult mentors (also from a low-income single-parent family) lived on meals of pilot crackers and peanut butter for about six years as a very poor university student in the field of physical chemistry. He did just fine on that for all those years. When I knew him, he was teaching physics in Berkeley High School, and had a slightly higher standard of living, probably in the lowest ranks of the middle class.

    Strolling down memory lane a bit further, one of the real jolts I felt was when Campbell’s discontinued its Black Bean Soup. It was one of my all-time favorite meals. Does anyone else remember that soup?

    I am rambling … apologies!

  243. On cultural appropriation:

    To the best of my memory, here in the US the idea that cultural appropriation is bad began with Indigenous Americans’ righteous anger at Whites’ co-opting parts of Indigenous religious or spiritual practices. “You stole everything else from us, and now you want to take that, too. No way!!! Enough is enough!”

    Only in the 1990s (IIRC) did it begin to be applied regularly to borrowings/appropriations from other cultures by Whites.

  244. Mr House,

    With reference to your quote: Those in charge had two choices, let the market and economy correct and lose their positions of power and prestige in the process while also leveling the playing field, or print money and keep the corpse on the operating table as long as they can.

    Your thoughts make a lot of sense, to me at least. I enjoy going to for some of the best macroeconomic news and I’ve seen many in the commentariat make the same arguments. I would say that the US would have actually changed its prestige for the better if the market had collapsed. Getting rid of the failed banks and zombie corporations would have made a great difference for the better. The central banking/corporation cartel is holding down innovation. They do this in a number of ways. As JMG has pointed out, there is ample room for advances in medicine; it’s just that monopolists are strict about maintaining power.

    I also would argue that innovation would flourish around the world if the central banking/corporate cartels would just go away.

    Maybe the lawsuit cartel, too. A woodworker once told me to never make anything for children, I could become destitute by a single lawsuit.

  245. JMG, I would like to agree with you about the privileged classes (which includes me, though I’m trying to live simply and help others do the same) drugging themselves into a stupor. But what if they are truly healing themselves by using these indigenous methods? I tried Ayahuasca once and it had almost no effect on me, it made me into a better musician during the ceremony. But when I look at movies like Time of the 6th Sun, I wonder. It seems like they are earnestly seeking solutions and recognizing some of the problems we collectively face. Perhaps there is some New Agey misguidedness about limits and such, and I have some issue with the spirituality, which I’ve tried to summarize here: Some of what makes me uncomfortable is the overfocus on self expression (which you’ve talked about with art) while at the same time basically saying “all you need is God/Spirit/Source/Presence/Essence (insert favorite name) and denying that people can really help each other, not just materially but to be happy.

  246. Thinking about this post…pretty much the only “dissident” ideology you can still express in polite company, and which does not carry a risk of getting you in trouble with your HR department if you aren’t careful, is…Bernie Sanders style Socialism. Its main base tends to be among a group one might call the Managerial Classes’ also rans-people who got (often hugely expensive) degrees in business or liberal arts, and who are now completely shut out of the Managerial Class (working in stores, warehouses, or other menial jobs) or confined to its very lowest rungs (schoolteachers, clercs, faculty adjuncts at universities, etc). There’s a very large-and increasing-number of such people nowadays, and most of them are quite angry and bitter about their situation. Thus, as long as such people believe in it, Bernie-ism serves a very important function for the elite-it takes the anger and frustration of all the people the Managerial Class have kicked out, and directs it towards marching in BLM protests, creating British style healthcare (which will probably never happen, and would be a bonanza for the Managerial Class if it did) and various other causes that either do nothing meaningful or further the Mangerial Class. (And I don’t think its an accident that, among Bernie-ites, rigid, dogmatic adherence to wokeism, and desponding sighs about all the “ignorant” people who won’t accept it, are almost mandatory, and are typically clung to in the same way that the destitute Polish nobles of old clung to their fur coats.)

    Considering the trend you’ve noted, of the elite cracking down on previously tolerated forms of dissent, I frankly wonder how long Bernie-ism will last. On the other hand, though, its acting as a safety valve for a whole of lot pent up frustration and rage, and de-platforming it would, IMO, have about the same effect as shutting the steam valve on a pressure cooker-a brief period of quiet, followed by an extremely messy and destructive explosion. I wonder if this will indeed be how the Managerial Class’s reign ends…

  247. Your Kittenship, maybe it was their idea of an April Fool’s joke… :-S

    Ryan, many thanks for the links! As for the issue involving private schools, I’m concerned that this will become yet another weapons that the public-school teachers unions and the mainstream Left will try to use to shut down competition from alternative schools. The last thing we need is even more of a mental monoculture than we have already…

    Patricia O, thanks for this. It’s an old story; I’m glad you were able to stop it. As for Confucian ethics, they may be stuffy and formal, but they do seem to work.

    Scotlyn, oh dear gods. No doubt sometime quite soon we’ll see the Kitchen Appliance Liberation Front beginning to hold protest marches.

    Owen, nah, I think they’re struggling to not understand something!

    Denis, thanks for this.

    Bogatyr, granted, it’s a complex issue, and especially so when there’s been a history of cultural expropriation, such as the efforts to eradicate minority languages and cultures you bring up. In the American Druid scene, we see a lot of what Irish musicians sourly call “plastic Paddies” — people who appropriate an Irish cultural identity they don’t have, and go around parading their faux Celtic-ness as part of their marketing; it’s much the same sort of thing that Romani object to, and rightly, when people who aren’t Romani dress up in stereotypical Romani clothing as “fortune tellers.” Pretending to be what you’re not, in order to impress people and make money, is tacky at best, and of course actively harmful when it’s used to exploit an ethnic tradition that’s been on the receiving end of the usual sort of abusive crap.

    My approach to the Mabinogion, the Coelbren y Beirdd, and other Welsh contributions to the Druid Revival tradition, for what it’s worth, starts from the recognition that I only speak for myself. If I ever do a detailed commentary on the Four Branches, it’s going to be presented solely as personal reflections on a deep and subtle mythic narrative from someone whose background in Welsh language, legend, and culture comes entirely out of books. Of course it’s also true that I don’t pretend to be Welsh or parade about a heritage I don’t have! (Some of my genetic ancestry is Welsh — my mother’s mother’s people came from the Cardiff area — but since they dropped their culture like a hot rock once they got here, that counts for very, very little.) I know there are people who insist that I shouldn’t speak about the Mabinogion et al. even on those terms, but you can’t please everybody, and I long ago gave up trying.

    Chris, peak rocks makes a good metaphor! As for people looking down their noses at those who do physical labor, yes, class snobbery we have with us always…

    Justin, and polenta is also good if you have shoggoths to feed. 😉

    Bliss, thank you.

    Your Kittenship, positive energy en route. I’ll pass on the comment!

    Hackenschmidt, yum!

    Martin, interesting. The groceries here in East Providence sell samp, which I’d never encountered elsewhere; we have a lot of immigrants here from the Azores and the Cape Verde islands, so that may explain it.

    Great Khan of Potlucks, thanks for the clarification. 😉 Sara notes that if she won’t be thrown out instantly, she can’t join, as she doesn’t agree with UU beliefs.

    Robert, that certainly matches my memories. When I was at college in the very early 1980s, there was a fracas over attempts to push the elders of the local Lummi tribe to teach their religious traditions to white people, which of course they refused to do. I thought then, and think now, that they were well within their rights to do so — but of course nobody was insisting that white people shouldn’t eat smoked salmon!

    Iuval, the notion that drugging yourself into a stupor will somehow liberate you has been a trope in elite culture for well over two centuries now; there were people making those same claims for opium and chloroform (!) in the very early nineteenth century. Which drug is supposed to replace the hard work of personal spiritual development varies with cultural fashions, of course, and it also varies because it never works. I’ve watched half a dozen such fads cycle through, from LSD in my childhood to ayahuasca now; the rhetoric is always the same, and the results never amount to anything. You’re right, it seems to me, to be uncomfortable about the fixation of self-expression and the rejection of compassion and charity — what those amount to, of course, is yet another set of excuses for the privileged to coddle their overdeveloped sense of entitlement and ignore the consequences of their actions on the rest of the world, and here again, we’ve seen that before so many times…

  248. I think South African comic Trevor Noah made the ultimate comment on poverty food in his autobiography _Born a Crime_. During one period his family was so poor his mother was serving them a native dish of greens and a particular species of caterpillar. From his description it was pretty nasty. His summation: “there is poor, and there is ‘I’m eating worms’ poor” (may not be exact, book not in front of me). I do recommend the book for its view of a very different culture and racism that took a different form than in the US. Noah’s description of how a life of hustling (his was making pirate mix tapes and selling them) can keep a person busy and feeling as if they are working hard without really accomplishing much is interesting as well.


    an earlier comment I made quoting George Orwell on the diet of the poor seems to have disappeared–it was written evening of 3/31

  249. @John Goddard

    Yes i’ve tried to make this point on Wolfstreet many times, but Wolf doesn’t like my line of thinking and deletes my comments. I take hope in seeing that Naked Capitalism has begun to talk about Invectorman on their website. Yves has even admitted that the reason treatments for it which shall not be named are censored is due to these “vaccines” only being able to be perscribed under an Emergency Authorization Use. Thats progress, a year ago if you insinuated the medical industry is just as corrupt as all the others it would get you blocked. In my mind its the only thing that explains all that is currently going on. Every current fad of SJW is just a way to keep people from pointing fingers at those who rightly deserve it in my opinion. The thing about financial sites like Wolf’s, that i’ve noticed is that they’ll point out certain things in outrage, but they never go all the way to the end of their logical thinking. They all make their money in the market, so why would they tell you its all a fraud?

  250. Re chloroform as an aid to spirituality:

    Anna Bonus Kinmgsford, now almost entirely forgotton, was a formidible rival to Madame Blavatsky in the later 1800s. Much of her occult teaching came through from her “spirits” (whatever they may really have been) while she was knocked out by chloroform. I remember reading–most likely in her biography by her cousin Edward Maitland–that her spirits would beg: “More chloroform, more! Keep Anna under so that we may continue to speak.” Anna herself was apparently more than willing to be kept under …

  251. Heard from a handful of residents gathered on the deck of my apartment building: “They need to get rid of all these chefs and get in one good cook.” Heartily seconded and thirded by the others. A recent resident satisfaction survey showed people least satisfied with the food.

    However: the bosslady is young, possibly younger than my daughter, and the chef’s food is what people of her class and cohort actually consider traditional food! And she is trying to attract a younger demographic (i.e. Boomers, though this stuff is really Xer food) and it goes without saying, upper class retirees. Logical, since my contemporaries and older die off at a higher rate of speed and fewer come in.

    Anyway, for (currently under strength) 600 residents, we have a Director of DIning Services (a suit), and Executive Chef, an Independent Living DIning Manager (Jesus Niera, old hand here,will be here when exec chefs come and go) and an Assisted Living Dining Manager (a logical division.) And then the people who actually prepare the food.)

    Shakes head. Every time they upgrade something, we lose some real benefits.

  252. @ LAdy Cutekitten re: comment #203 – I put up a handwritten sign on my door yesterday reading “I AM NOT SENILE. I’VE ALWAYS BEEN THIS WAY.” And underneath, “Happy All Fool’s Day.” Little line drawing of woman in a jester’s cap and bells.

  253. Lady CuteKitten (#108)

    You can join us at . We’re not nearly as active as this group but our focus is on how to live.

    Thrifty Thursdays would fit right in.

    We talk about all kinds of things in the forums ranging from repairing guitars (recent) to the window dance to guerilla road repair.

    Everyone is welcome! Share your ideas!

  254. In re: Mabinogion

    What is your opinion of the 4 volume Mabinogion written by Evangeline Walton and published as part of Lin Carter’s Ballantine Adult Fantasy Series?

    Antoinetta III

  255. Interesting examples of problematic cultural appropriation here:

    The city of Vernon had claimed ownership of the word ogopogo, which refers to a local seamonster out of Syilx mythology the Syilx pronounced n-ha-ha-it-koo, since 1956. Recently the city of Vernon gave permission for a local author to use the word ogopogo, which caused questions about why exactly Vernon had the copyright in the first place, and the decision to give the copyright to the Syilx. Vernon never directly made money from the copyright.

    You can see the link to cultural expropriation in one culture slapping a copyright on a creature from someone else’s mythology – though to be fair the word has changed from the Syilx original, and you’ll see references to Ogopogo all over the region.

    Or the US company Rice-Tec putting a patent on the word basmati for a variety of rice they’d developed by hybridizing rice of basmati origin with other rice and were growing in the USA, and preventing anyone else for using the word for basmati-descended rice grown outside India. India objected.

    The basmati rice situation isn’t as bad as I’d remembered, I’d misheard the situation as putting a patent on basmati rice, and then trying to stop indian smallfarmers from growing it! That really would be stupid.

  256. Foxhands, Owen, JMG & the commentariat re: eating airline food on a parked airplane: I just remembered that back in the ‘90s, when I lived for a while in the Emirates, I read a newspaper article (with photos, no less) of a new restaurant in Dubai which was a decommissioned airplane. Of course, everyone was served their “scrumptious” airline food in their airplane seats. The line-up for this restaurant was huge! Of course, “Dubai” and “daft” are pretty much synonymous…

  257. Bogatyr and JMG re: cultural appropriation: I hear that the Amish in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, have had a long-standing problem of “English” coming by and selling faux-Amish merchandise. A sleaze-bag marketer’s dream come true! After all, what can the mamby-pamby peacenik Amish do about it? Well… according to my sources, some non-baptized Amish and Mennonites (who are not bound to the rule of non-violence) have taken to protecting Amish businesses by any means necessary… apparently any such faux-Amish marketers promptly disappear from the county, never to be seen again. I am not sure if the Great Khan (or any others who live in Pennsylvania) can comment on this; I hear these things from one of my sisters who works in a hospital that gets a lot of Mennonite patients.

  258. We eat a lot of different stuff and beans and rice sometimes comes into play.

    If you’re looking for recipes, look for older books that don’t use fancy ingredients. That is, they don’t focus on what would be festival food, made only for high holy days and significant occasions. The problem with most cooking magazines and cooking shows these days (as far as I can tell) is that they cook fancy stuff. Scrambled eggs and toast and sliced tomatoes for dinner? The horror.

    As for time involved, every culture has quick food. Here’s a French cookbook (originally written in 1930!): French Cooking in Ten Minutes by Edouard de Pomiane. No specialty equipment or processed food here.

  259. Some quick thoughts:

    Mix instant mashed potatoes (cheap and they keep forever if you repackage them in a canning jar) into soup or stew. It thickens the soup up beautifully.

    Serve oatmeal over a spoonful of peanut butter. It’s delicious and adds protein and fat.

    If you donate to a food bank, give them feminine hygiene products (but not tampons). They’ll thank you for it.

  260. That being the case, why not let poor people who receive government assistance buy the food they want?


    As more of a libertarian I definitely want the least possible government interference in everyone’s lives as possible — rich, poor or otherwise — but when you go to the government (or anyone else) with your hand out then you shouldn’t get to dictate the nature of that handout. The current 42.4% obesity rate in America almost certainly contributed to our shameful C19 death tally.

    That said, I say why put restrictions on SNAP at all? I believe everything should be legal (e.g., drugs & alcohol) and whatever people want to do to themselves is fine as long as it doesn’t hurt others.

    Thinking about it… UBI sounds like a no-restrictions SNAP, doesn’t it? One thing that most don’t realize is Andrew Yang expected UBI to replace all current forms of assistance, not supplement them.

    inadequate ( and criminally overpriced) rental housing

    @Mary Bennett

    Funny how others get blamed for issues liberals caused through rent control, restrictive zoning, high property taxes and huge developer costs. The poster children for ridiculous rents are all liberal-controlled cities, and the most rampant NIMBYism is found in the ritziest limousine liberal enclaves populated by high-profile virtue signalers.

    In a free market the price of a product finds the sweet spot of maximum demand. It’s only where government interferes — housing, education, healthcare, etc. — that criminal overpricing flourishes.

  261. Peter,

    Yes, that sounds very much like my fellowship, except we have a BLM sign out by the road, with an infinite supply of backups for when it gets stolen. 😉

    I’ll also add that our fellowship was your Rev. Liz’s first ministry.

  262. FWIW it looks like the comments are presented as an ordered list, list-style=decimal, so the numbering is beng generated from th css and cannot be referenced when searching the page. However,the datestamp next to it can be searched and it is also a link to the comment e.g. Comment #28 has the datestamp March 31, 2021 at 1:15 pm and the underlying link looks like this March 31, 2021 at 1:15 pm, so it should be possible to search by datestamp and link using the html anchor.
    Not so simple, but that’s the wonder of complex CSS for you :-/

  263. Hi John Michael,

    It is funny to me how the concept of peak rocks can be illustrated over and over again, yet peak oil is kind of out of mind and sight. It is possible that people confuse a difference in scale as a difference in kind (which you pointed out long ago). Dunno. The pervasive lack of understanding baffles me. Oh well.

    As to the Mabinogion, I read Evangaline Walton’s version many years ago and rather enjoyed it. As a long and lanky fair haired bloke, I doubt I have any Welsh heritage! 🙂 If culture is made to be too exclusive, then it dies out. How could it not? The foolish folks seeking to cancel you, probably are too naive to understand that in acting so, they risk losing the very thing they seek to protect.

    Monopolisation of an idea or narrative rarely produces greatness.



  264. @ Polecat

    Couldn’t agree more. I’d also add that it’s better to grow up poor as it ensures the child doesn’t get spoilt.

    If I remember correctly, the French aristocracy at the time of Montaigne would send their children to live with the peasants for a number of years when growing up so that they could learn what life was like for the poor. Sounds like a great idea to me but could you imagine our modern elites even contemplating the idea?

    Might make a funny reality TV show. Get Kim Kardashian to send her children to live with a poor family in flyover country.

  265. Follow up on Diogenes. It was when I first read about his philosophy many moons ago that it all really clicked. It was something I knew but was said so simply. Reduce your dependence on the system, gain freedoms. Now he went to the absolute extremes but the concepts were spot on.

    As for my Marxist comments (good analysis – terrible solutions), I have to point out that I used to run a local group related to ‘Software freedom’. They tried to push their way in and start demanding changes but we quickly found out that putting the responsibility on them to make changes scared them away very quickly. All talk, no action.

    @JMG “Peak oil is back. We’ll talk about that next week.” – Did it ever really go away? 😉

    @Chris “I’m looking forward to your essay on Peak Oil, and note that earlier today I observed that fuel was $1.60/litre (3.8 litres to the gallon, so that’s $6.08/gallon). Exploration! Nuff said.”

    I know you live in the Macedon, Victoria area (very jealous! I so rarely get up that way), but $1.60/Litre is slightly lower then in Metro Melbourne. Highest I’ve seen is $1.70/Litre. Being a metro dweller, it is times like this that I am glad I have never driven/owned a car. Everyone else is panicking because they built their life around the car – I do wonder how they are going to handle the next decade, especially with the monstrous urban sprawl this city has.

  266. I’ve been fishing this week, so my comment concerns both ‘po folks food and cultural appropriation.

    SWMBO loves pho, the Vietnamese soup staple. One of my oldest working friends left on the last flight out of Vietnam about the same time my best friends brother returned in a body bag. Being young, these are impressioned events for some of us.

    My friend, Duc, took me to a new BBQ joint that was putting out some seriously good bhan mi sammiches. While we were there, I asked him about some good recipes for pho – which he usually brought for lunch 2-3 times a week – because SWMBO loves pho.

    The next thing I know, he is calling me after work and his wife is trying her best English to talk with mine about the best way to make pho!

    Similarly, we have a Brazilian churrascaria in walking distance. We eat there every few months, mainly celebratory of something or other, because the prices are fairly steep (even I can only swallow so much meat at a sitting as well). Anyway, she got to talking with our waitress about Brazilian black beans, and the next thing I know she is in the restaurant kitchen and the chefs are all talking to her about their black bean recipes….

    In short, cultural appropriations seems to me to be something that is simply made up by various groups of people searching for a reason to bitch. From where I sit, having traveled all over this planet, when you ‘borrow’ from another culture, it is high praise. There are no doubt some spiritual exceptions, but in the face of the masses of Christians proselytes, even those ring questionable.

    If someone is interested in your culture enough to borrow or mimic it, that act in itself should be interpreted in the only real way it can – someone thought your ‘stuff’ was cool enough or good enough to want to bring it into their own life.

    Cultural appropriation ought to simply be kicked to the curb as something self-evidently stupid, especially in this age of aircraft and internet…

  267. Scotlyn,

    I agree completely. I did not know it had happened to Gaelic children! Over here, it was Native Americans and even more so in Canada. But it is not the same thing – more like the opposite. What’s common is, in both cases it’s a matter of bullying others.

  268. @ Jessi and JMG in regards to people behaving badly.

    It was Oscar Wilde who said “Give a man a mask and he’ll tell you the truth” – the same goes for actions. Once accountability goes out the window, people show their real selves.

  269. @Lady Cutekitten,
    I just put in a word for you and Sonkitten in my morning prayers to protect and bless you and keep you healthy in body and untroubled in mind.

  270. On Confucius: T.R. Reid, _Confucius Lives Next Door_ While it may be slightly out of date (published in 2000) this book examines the role of Confucian thought in shaping modern Asian societies. The author is American and was Asian Bureau chief for a major paper stationed in Tokyo. He put his children in Japanese schools and rented a modest apartment in a local neighborhood, so he was positioned to learn more about how the culture actually works than a short term visitor. Much more emphasis on community, many more exhortations toward acceptable behavior. A concrete example from my experience, is that I had a Japanese pen pal whose father was in long term health care facility. My pen pal and his wife went every evening to help put his father to bed, not because there were insufficient nurses for proper care, but because it was expected that they participate. My pen pal was retired from a major tech firm and apparently well off–he and his wife were able to take cruises in Europe.


  271. Archdruid,

    Hinduism, whether we like it or not, is directly linked with a competing power hierarchy in India. If that hierarchy refuses to be subordinate, then it is viewed as a competitive threat to the western dominated narrative. India clearly demonstrated that pluralism, democracy, and the political unity of a civilization is possible outside the first principles of western enlightenment. If Russia demonstrated that it was possible to be a great power outside the western narrative, and China demonstrated that industrialization is possible using native models, India is demonstrating that democratic pluralism is possible outside the western narrative structure. I have no idea what that means in the future, but it doesn’t bode well for the Hindus in the US.

    There has been an interesting development in the Oxford scandal. It turns out that the primary instigator of the harassment against Rashmi Samant is an associate professor by the name of Abhijit Sarkar. Several of of Mr. Sarkar’s papers are making the rounds among Indian parliamentarians, and it turns out that the man was playing apologist for Churchill’s role in the Bengal Famines. His paper essentially blames the Hindu Mahasabha for making the famine worse in order to strengthen anti-colonial sentiment throughout India. Turns out the paper in question has no hard evidence to back up the claim.

    Oxford’s response?
    Oxford’s Vice Chancellor apparently called on PM Modi and posed for some PR photos a few years ago, then went on to do some fund raising in India where he raised several million pounds. His response to this whole affair is politically tone deaf to say the least, and his inaction has infuriated the BJP to the point where they are openly talking about pulling Oxford’s access to the Indian government. Please understand that Oxford university has had nearly unfettered access to India’s elite and governmental institutions since the days of the Raj, if they lose access it’s a HUGE bloody deal.


    I already have property back home, though it’s technically held in trust by my dad. However, I don’t intend to head back to India. I knew what I was getting into when I took my oath of citizenship, and the Deva who’s name I wear doesn’t take too kindly to oath breaking. I’m not too worried about the problems that are currently emerging among the management class though, I stepped out of that particular circus years ago and currently earn my keep in a blue-collar trade.

    I still intend to contribute to India’s rise, but a large part of my attention is to trying to hold the USA together. The American experiment with democracy is entering a new phase, and the question before us is “can a per-civilizational state survive an era of narrative heterogeneity?”

    Mary Bennett,

    My communities biggest threat is from colonized Indians within our own community. In each of the cases I’ve discussed here, the worst actions were taken or instigated by other Indians. I’ll be explaining that on my blog in the coming months, but the short form is that there is a massive shift in the power balance in India that was triggered by the Hindu revival.

    Without coherent leadership our community is as much at the mercy of our cultural tides as all others. Tulsi Gabbard has brilliant leadership potential, but dear gods that woman does not have a sense of strategic restraint or long-term institution building capacity. If she intends to challange the establishment, she’s going to need to stop engaging in the culture wars. The right-wing in the US is trapped in the same death spiral as the left, they simply aren’t able to leave alone the hate bait that floats around in the cess-pools of our culture. Gabbard keeps grabbing at that bait too, and it gets her clicks and views but that’s about all.



  272. JMG, what the poor want to eat- in my experience – is meat. But since they’re poor and meat is expensive they can’t have it. And since they live hard lives and want a wee bit of pleasure, the other thing they’d like is something tasty.

    Have to make do. So, it’s like Orwell said of the British poor in his book Road to Wigan Pier (if I remember right), they want affordable things, but things especially to stimulate the taste buds to make their miserable lives a little less so, things like tinned beef, chips, sugary tea, white bread and marg.

    Now these “tasty” items would make the Brit upper classes cringe or sneer and ask if the poor wouldn’t be better off eating more wholesome stuff.

    I’ve seen the same thing, it’s like you say, most wealthy people have no idea why the poor eat the way they do or do what they do in general. A few years back Gwyneth Paltrow tried and failed most heinously to live on 29 bucks a week of SNAP benefits.

    And it’s like you said about beans and rice. It fits the bill, tasty and filling. And people add their own local ingredients to spice things up. You have to satisfy the senses. My wife is from overseas where the staple is rice. My own folk overseas had their own highly caloric grub.

    We’re back where things were a hundred years ago roundabout when Orwell wrote, with the wealthier classes just as blissfully clueless. We see where such cluelessness took us back then, overturning of existing orders and murderous revolts and epic struggles between fascism and communism and east and west. Nobody ever learned from history and nobody ever will.

  273. Thanks for the prayers, fellow horders!

    Teresa, I’ll be over, probably Monday (in Christendom this is a holiday weekend). Thank you! Also, I once called the newspaper to ask why the Food section was so heavy on recipes using expensive, faddish ingredients. She said that was 90% of what was submitted. Maybe this is the same phenomenon that causes the chain grocery store Asian section to be filled with things I have to look up, but I have to go to the mom-and-pop to get a plain old box of instant dashi.

    Simon, I’ve said for years that no one should be allowed to assume elected office without first spending 3 months working at McDonald’s. Those physically unable to do so would spend the 3 months working some equally crappy job that can be done by the disabled electee presumptive.

  274. I always wondered what a UU excommunication would sound like. “John Greer! You have turned your back on our caste, and its received wisdom. The gates of blessed Facebook and revered Twitter are forever barred to you. I cast you into the Deplorable outer darkness, where there is no arugula nor paella , but only rice and beans FOR ETERNITY!”

    The problem is, this is far too imaginative and dynamic for any UU congregation. Their style is more Power Point presentations on LED bulbs and electric cars, and roundtables about the woke politics of 1970s sitcoms. (I have literally seen both of these things in my old UU church in Phoenix.)

    Looking at my time among them, I feel like UUism is mostly atheists doing a weird Protestant church LARP. I don’t see it surviving the 21st Century.

  275. Hmm! Some perfectly unexceptionable posts landed in the trash bin for some reason, and I’ve put them through. (On the other hand, I’ve had more than the usual number of attempted rants to delete. Interesting that rice and beans should generate such heated passions…)

    Tolkienguy, socialism in the industrial world has usually been an ideology of educated failures who crave power; the role of the working class is to fight and die so that cadres drawn from the intelligentsia can seize power in their name. The current situation as you describe it differs solely in that nowadays the Establishment encourages socialism among its educated failures, knowing from experience how easy it is to keep them from harming the system.

    Rita, thanks for the heads up — it was because of your comment that I found the posts in the trash. (Yours is #111; many thanks for the Orwell quote!) Thanks also for the recommendation; Noah’s book sounds worth reading.

    Robert, I’d forgotten that Kingsford used chloroform! Many thanks for this.

    JustMe, very much so. Thank you.

    Patricia M, I wonder if it would be possible for you and the other older residents to write up something explaining this to the suits? It might just sink in…

    Antoinetta, it’s a fine work of classic fantasy, but it’s not to be mistaken for the actual Mabinogion. (The same is true of the equally good Mabinogion-based fantasies written by Kenneth Morris.)

    Pygmycory, thanks for this — those are good examples.

    Ron, thanks for both of these. The Amish business wouldn’t surprise me at all; there are Amish drug dealers these days.

    Dashui, I’m delighted to say that the LA Times won’t let me read without turning off my ad blocker, so they’ll have to get by without me. 😉

    TJ, a good strong libertarian case could be made for that, but then I’m not a libertarian.

    Chris, yeah, I’ve seen the same thing about peak oil. People simply won’t think it through. Well, I’ll be trying again next week…

    Michael, Diogenes’ viewpoint was also discussed a good long time ago by Chuang Tsu, which is where I learned about it. As for peak oil, of course it never went away, but our society slapped a bandaid over the cancer and pretended that they’d cured it.

    Oilman2, excellent! Pho is very, very good stuff. I think a case can be made for drawing boundaries in certain cases — the sort of thing Bogatyr and I discussed earlier, where cultural traditions are being hijacked in the context of an attempt to stamp out the culture that created them — but so much of the cultural appropriation business these days is a matter of aspirants to managerial-class status trying to monetize their ethnic heritage by being professionally offended. As far as I know, for that matter, nobody in Wales objects to the rest of us learning how to make a proper leek soup…

    Michael, the internet is a great proof of that.

    Rita, hmm — thanks for this. I’ll put it on the to-read list.

    Varun, fascinating. We’ll see what happens — but my guess is that once the current managerial elite loses its grip on the levers of power, a process that is already well under way, the populist movement that will replace it will very likely have a very different and more productive relationship to India. As I’ve noted already, I see India as a major rising power, and the US in its post-imperial era could do a lot worse than seek an alliance with India as the foundation of its global political stance. Since India is already building close relationships with Australia and Japan, the foundation for a stable alliance of democracies is already well in place.

    Roger, clearly I need to read Orwell’s book! He’s right, of course. Ellyn Satter’s hierarchy of food needs is also very relevant. The first requirement is enough food — enough calories to keep going through a physically demanding daily round. The second is acceptable food — food that fits whatever set of habits you were raised with, or adopted thereafter. The third is reliable food — food that you can stockpile so you know you always have enough. The fourth is tasty food — food you enjoy — and the fifth is novel food, so you don’t have to eat the same thing every single day, world without end, amen. Then, and only then, do you have the liberty to choose what Satter calls “instrumental food,” that is, food that fits some arbitrary set of rules for what counts as “healthy.” The poor never get to that level; many of them can’t always count on the very first level of enough food.

  276. Just began reading the comments — speaking about what poor people should eat — recently various pro-welfare rancher organizations got together and deemed that wild horses could be fed to poor people. These orgs are very anxious to get any non-paying-their-way life off the range, beginning with wild horses. The usual argument is that there are “too many horses and they keep breeding.” In pictures I’ve seen, the horses look healthy and not every mare has a foal. It’s that no-profit-for-me/no-existence-for-you mindset. Currently, rounded up horses languish in welfare corrals or get shipped to die in Canada or Mexico.

  277. “Dusk Shine, one of the things that indicates to me that the power of the United States is waning fast is that Canadian elites are no longer following US cultural fashions in absolute lockstep.”

    I think there’s a more complicated issue here: our English elite essentially bought off Quebec in the wake of the 1995 independence referendum. Quebec has the ability to destabilize the entire country at a moment’s notice: all they have to do is call another independence referendum. They won’t as long as their needs are met, and one consequence of this is that a massive gap has opened between costs of living in Quebec and English Canada. This can only last as long as people don’t notice it: if a large number of English Canadians started moving to Quebec, the relative costs of living would equalize, and since a huge part of how Quebec has been bribed into not calling another referendum relies on this differential, our elites will not allow that to happen.

    The need to prevent English Canadians from noticing their lives can improve dramatically by moving to Quebec imposes a massive distortion on our culture, one being that a huge amount of propaganda is needed to ensure most English Canadians view Quebec as horrible, so horrible that they never think to even consider moving there. The target is not the working classes; most of them cannot afford a cross country move, nor would they be able to afford the various costs associated with moving to what is after all another culture.

    Rather, the targets of this are the middle classes, who need to come up with ways to feel superior to their French speaking Quebecois neighbours. Even many poorer Quebecois can afford to live in houses in downtown Montreal or Quebec City, which cost them a lot less than the cramped apartment that many of the Canadian middle class find themselves living in as the housing bubbles in major cities make anything else unaffordable to all but the extremely wealthy.

    I’m quite confident that one of the unspoken reasons behind the rise of the “indigenous everything” is the reliable way it triggers spasms of eye-rolling from most Quebecois: and so it can be used as proof they are horrible racists; and what self respecting member of the middle class would ever consider living among racists?

  278. Hmmm… Mathematically, You, I and all the other Gentle Readers (and non-readers) are actually direct descendants of ANYONE who lived 800 or more years ago. So tell all your SJW friends (or nemeses..) that nothing you do, including reading Tarot cards, can possibly be cultural appropriation. Of course, this means that we are all the descendants of oppressed persons of many types, and therefore owe each other nearly infinite amounts of reparations money. Personally, I am waiting for a payout of the Reparations owed to me by the devastations wrought upon my Toltec Ancestors by the Incas. It’s OK by me if they pay me in Spanish Gold… Oh drat! I am also a direct descendant of the Incas AND the Spanish. Guess I’ll just forget about it. Yeesh…

  279. Thanks for this post JMG!

    Our relationship with the world is easily overlooked, and our relationship with food is only more overlooked by our relationship with air and water. It’s something most of us do without much thought, but that relationship tells a big story.

    It gets influenced a lot by the examples we have from our family no doubt, as the local culture plays a huge part of what we eat. Where I live in Northeastern Minnesota, meat and potatoes are considered a satisfying meal, and that was my immediate families idea of a fulfilling meal as well, and they came from Western Pennsylvania.

    I started cooking myself around 8 years old, influenced by the Boxcar Children and my mother who stuck a lot to her Pennsylvanian roots, but also a step-father who was always trying to pass himself off as upper class. Food to me became very much an experience. An opportunity to travel the world, and transcend class, via tastebuds. I never thought about it much until some experiences with my Russian in-laws. One experience, when I made a very rich alfredo sauce and cheese with pasta for them, which earned me a backhanded compliment of “tasting good but anything with that much cheese would” from my mother-in-law, along with her constant insistence that to save money we need to pay attention to our diet finally made me pay attention and consider how I was eating. I’ve since learned a lot of different ways to use the foods on hand to make satisfying meals and saving hundreds of dollars a month.

    The relationship we have with food says a lot about who we are, where we came from, and what our values are. Those who feel the need to say what is best for others in society to eat obviously value mostly their ego, but if the criticism is coming from personal experienc of family, one might be wise to pay attention to the advice.

  280. …but what about “when the religious left is occult”, or the “rise of progressive occultism”? That was back in 2019, less than 2 years ago! I think you wrote an essay on the whole matter, though I can’t find it now. So already the tide has completely reversed, or what…?

    My own read on it is that our self-appointed Masters simply don’t want magical techniques or religious faith to be available to their potential opponents, including to the poor peasants they intend to rule. What looks like a blanket ban on spiritualism is, as usual, choked with hypocrisy: really, the elites want the occult/spiritual dimension all to themselves.

    Are you familiar with Alexander Dugin? I see one other person here already mentioned him and don’t know very much about him. However he has a very recent interview in which he describes a concept he calls “object-oriented ontology”–essentially the extreme endpoint of materialism, where all consciousness and even humanity itself is banished as “fascist”, thus to be ground into machine-dust.

    “Object-oriented ontology” itself seems highly germane to this ostensive banning or shaming of all spirituality. It’s like some sort of weirdly anti-spiritual, death-oriented occultism, aiming towards reducing all life to the most monstrously dead aspect of matter. (He actually compares this to conjuring the Elder Gods of Lovecraft. Quite colorful.)

    Elsewhere, I’ve seen scuttlebut to the effect that all forms of spirituality will soon be “medicalized”–that is, if you believe in God or anything non-material you will be judged mentally ill by the State, or at least in need of “therapy”. Get your prescriptions while you can, you sad unwoke! “Covid passports” are nothing, it turns out: get ready to apply for “faith-passports”!

  281. Dear Mr. Greer – Books, books, books! As far as the rise of California cults in the 1960s and 70s, at least from a food point of view, “Hippie Food: How Back-to-the-Landers, Longhairs, and Revolutionaries Changed the Way We Eat” (Johnathon Kauffman, 2018) is an interesting and informative read.

    Also of interest is “Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America” (Gustavo Arellano, 2012). He has a lot to say about Anglo foodies, telling Mexican people what recipes in their culture are “authentic.”

    Really interesting, “A Square Meal: A Culinary History of the Great Depression, (Ziegelman & Coe, 2016). “They show the politics and the perfidy, the good intentions and the ignorance, the anger and the ingenuity…”

    All available at, or from, your library. Lew

  282. @JMG

    Must be why the Early Church got so concerned with Orthodoxy and heretics. It was early attempt to take out entryists who pose as those of the faith.

    Who insist on being known by what they are but are actually not.

    “But not all entryists are Marxists, or for that matter Klansmen. It was about fifteen years ago, as I recall, that people started elbowing their way into Neopagan groups, insisting on the one hand that they were Neopagans and on the other that they didn’t believe in gods or magic”

    I think at first at least the more competent entryist’s will mouth the necessary platitudes to give an impression that they believe in Gods or magic. But by their actions they show they don’t believe.

    Then once they have taken the heights of power start to shift the group in a less and less neopagan direction. Until it is unrecognizable to the founders.

    If they are successful they will instead marginalize the original neopagans as heretics. While they insist that neopaganism was always atheist. And that their Gods and magic are only symbols of the secular atheist reality of the universe. And of the races.

    And nothing to do with the supernatural in the first place and accuse the original neopagans of what they themselves are doing. Projection in other words.

    They insist on the skinsuit despite the rotting smell that is by then apparent.

  283. Hi Michael Gray,

    Thanks and yeah it’s a nice part of the state with a mostly moderate climate. The leaf change tourists are descending upon the area right now, and interestingly I was in the inner northern suburbs yesterday and by way of contrast, it was so quiet that I thought we’d arrived to witness the zombie apocalypse!

    Petrol prices are pretty crazy, and I applaud your decision to not own a car. They’ll get worse, you know.

    If you’re in Melbourne, you should drop by the Green Wizards of Melbourne some time, say hello and catch up at one of the meetings. A finer bunch of people you’d be hard pressed to find. And we have a no idiots policy, which fortunately I just scrape into. 🙂



  284. Roger comments, “We’re back where things were a hundred years ago roundabout when Orwell wrote, with the wealthier classes just as blissfully clueless. We see where such cluelessness took us back then.”

    My economist brother comments, “when the GINI coefficient gets much above 0.35, you either have to have huge social welfare programmes to rebalance, or you have to have armed guards around gated communities.

    USA is 41.4 according to the World Bank, and 47.0 according to the CIA world factbook.

    GINI = 0, everyone has the same; GINI = 1, one person owns everything.

  285. JMG: As far as I know, for that matter, nobody in Wales objects to the rest of us learning how to make a proper leek soup…

    Leek soup??? Certainly, we wouldn’t object… but leek soup sounds more like something the French would do. Anyone in Wales would tell you that the proper soup is leek and potato… which is more than on-topic for this week!

  286. @Varun, JMG

    Re the U of Oxford’s VC’s response to the Samant affair, the current VC is a woman, Louise Richardson, and she has only been in post since 2016, so it was possibly her predecessor who made the fund-raising call on Modi – Modi’s predecessor was a Cambridge man of course.

    I still take issue with the view that Sarkar was in any way central to Samant’s resignation – the latter appears to be almost entirely due to the contrast between certain indiscreet social media posts, and her uber-woke election manifesto, suggesting perhaps that she was a somewhat recent convert to the Woke cause. The Sarkar gentleman seems to have jumped in rather opportunistically, with his own domestic Indian agenda, and Samant’s complaints to the police and Uni appear to relate only to him, and not to the wider issue of her resignation. The problem is that the two have been conflated in India, and treated as part of the same racism/colonialism narrative.

    See for example, or in the Indian press,

    On the Bengal Famine, I’ve never heard of Sarkar’s theory – the accepted excuse for Churchill’s inaction is usually that he was too busy fighting a war, but is is admittedly regarded as a blot on his record (in addition to all the others); nevertheless, he is still primarily regarded as a hero even today by most people.

    Incidentally, Boris Johnson is visiting India later this month, with a shiny new trade deal at the top of his shopping list, not to mention vaccine doses, defence treaties, etc., so doubtless he will be speaking with the Indian foreign minister, and explaining the situation (or rather making a cringing apology…)

    On the subject of beans and rice, in the view of most Brits, beans come out of a tin, covered in tomato sauce, and are eaten on toast, or with a fry-up of some description. Or maybe a baked potato. The manufacturers also conveniently sell tins of beans with sausages or beefburgers (or at least used to, when I was a student), making for an even finer meal. Rice is eaten with Chinese food, curries, chicken tikka masala, etc.

  287. JMG

    Could Wokesterism be considered a revitalization movement for flagging believers in the religion of progress?

    Also do you keep a pantry of long lasting foods? Say 3 months worth?

  288. >Some perfectly unexceptionable posts landed in the trash bin for some reason

    Mark those posts that do so and maybe your commentariat can surmise the reason(s) for you. I’m suspecting an algorithm looking for words and phrases. Soft censorship, relying on the power of convenience…

  289. On the subject of Confucius, I recently discovered the name of his conformist utopia translates as ‘The Big Same’.

    I’ve read parts of The Road to Wigan Pier and think you’ll like it. He lambasts those who think the socialist future will be steel, chrome and glass, while most proletarians don’t want to give up the cosiness of the working class living room. I grew up in an extended family like that, so know exactly what he means.

    [This post landed in the trash folder, from which I extracted it. — JMG]

  290. @JMG,
    Canada has been content to follow the USA like a duckling for longer than I have been alive– if our elites really are charting their own course, that really is a big shift! I wonder if we’re not totally off course, though; just sailing a parallel path.

    Even if our officialdom embrace indigenous spirituality, I can very well see them throwing out any and all alternative ‘conspirituality’ — indeed, I expect it to go much further. Christianity is already much being cast out into the outer dark here in a way it is not in the USA. (Andrew Sheer, the last leader of our Loyal Opposition, was slandered during the last election as being a “religious extremist” and a member of a “radical sect” because his family happens to be… wait for it… Catholic.)

    Perhaps this is another razor applied to our salaried classes: can you swallow any pride you might have in your own culture and grovel before the symbols of the’ noble savage’ while not being allowed to take part in his rituals? If you can’t, well– there’s the door, the Outer Darkness is right outside, and enjoy your rice and beans.

    It’s a sharper razor for participation in the salaried elite, but then, Elite Overproduction is higher here, too. We have a higher university graduation rate than the USA and our immigration system is largely geared towards poaching doctors and other assorted professionals from the developing world.

    Indeed, too, there may be more going on: Jung predicted a renaissance of “Indian” and archetypes and stories, did he not? And Toynbee has something to say about submerged cultures. In that respect this new civil religion emerging in Canada around native symbols has something in common with California’s school boards invoking the Aztec gods. Luckily for us, the spirits revered here by our various First Nations were not nearly as blood-hungry. Hopefully the spirits attracted to this meta-revering of said First Nations aren’t, either.

    (When all the rituals of the civil religion are based around the idea of “95% of you don’t belong here” and “this country is illegitimate”… well, I can’t see that going well.)

  291. I personally have never heard the CA slur used on people going to restaurants, but this discussion made me think of it. How is it not appropriation to go to a Mexican, Chinese, Indian, Thai, etc restaurant? And yet of course they need the business!

  292. Oilman2,

    If I were to choose one specific ‘appropriated’ food source .. for positive argument mind you, it would be the genus Capsicum. I can’t think of another plant that has had more influence in global cuisine since its introduction to the old world by the Spanish and Portuguese. It has literally spread to virtually every country, and every culture on the planet!

    Should any obtuse SJWers try to take my chilies from my lively hot burning lips, they might well receive firey spitballs in return. ‘;]

  293. Growing up poor, government assistance, and charity.

    We ate a lot of baked beans – we had a bean pot, and brown bread. We would get gravy bread and spam sometimes. I still love spam.

    We did get government assistance – cheese, peanut butter, and powdered milk. Cheese was so bad, you used it as a door stop. Milk was so bad that even if you used an electric mixer, it never mixed. All I had was an egg beater…

    My father had a lot of stories about charity by one’s betters. It turned him into a military atheist. He was city-poor and his father had TB. So with no money coming in, his family was a major target for Christian do-gooders. He said they regarded his family as props in a play. They wanted to feel good about themselves, and his family was handy for that. They were presented with food in such a grand manner that Pop (his father) felt ashamed for having TB. The charity was monitored in that if Pop sold something the family didn’t need for money to buy something they did need, he got scolded. I believe that government dole and the elites are doing the exact same thing. Using the poor as props.

  294. Martin Luther and conspirituality.

    For some strange reason, I believe that we are having a Martin Luther moment. People are deciding that the dominant culture is in need of reforming. So blogs like this one and magazines such as “First Things” are the Lutherans in a sea of orthodox wokeness.

    Anyway, the major culture is bearing down on conspirituality big time. Or why New Agers should give up. The Washington Post has joined the chorus with their magazine featuring the topic. Hmmm, I wonder what’s up? Is this another stab at stifling budding Luthers from speaking out?

    What is with all of the conformity? Fear of what?

  295. @Varun

    That sounds fair enough. Stepping out of the managerial classes and earning your livelihood via a blue-collar trade seems to have been a very good move, as it gives you a source of income that’s relatively free from SJW politics and other forms of tamasha, which the elite classes frequently indulge in, as our host as pointed out. I have just one question – how has your family dealt with it? I mean, I have heard that Indian Americans, just like middle-class and upper-middle-class Indians tend to be somewhat status-conscious, and look down upon certain professions, particularly blue-collar trades, so given this, I guess some of the Indian Americans that you know have started looking down upon you, or is my guess wrong? I ask because my aunt (dad’s sister) lives in the US, looks down upon Trump supporters and blue-collar professions, and blames white working-class people in poverty for their situation using the argument that ‘they never went to college’.

  296. @ neptune’s dolphins

    Re the Martin Luther moment and fear

    It is fear of change, I’m fairly sure.

  297. @Anonymous #295,

    It goes back a lot longer than 1995. The entire Federal Government of this country has been a jobs program for francophone women since Trudeau the Elder declared this country bilingual. At least half the anglos in this country will tell you every major decision our federal government makes has been bungled in favor of ‘la Belle Province’ for at least that long. There are lists.

    I find your theory that this groundswelling of hunger for indigenous culture across the English Canada’s salary classes is a conspiracy to keep Quebec real estate values low somewhat spurious. It is more likely that Quebec simply has been able to hold together some sense of collective identity (using English Canada as a thrust block, and English Canada’s tax dollars as resource) and doesn’t feel any need to.

    Your average English Canadian– even those who claim to love all other cultures equally– will admit, privately, they never met someone from Quebec who was actually likeable. That and the language barrier probably has more to do with keeping us moving in next door. 🙂

  298. I look forward to reading about peak oil again here. Oil depletion never sleeps, and while there have been some movement in reducing oil use per person across North America, it is nowhere near what was needed.

    I have been seeing bicycles and electric bikes and kids on scooters everywhere the past year. So I’m thinking that some of the ones currently being used for fun and exercise during the pandemic are going to be repurposed as main transportation when the oil price spike hits. But the shortage of bikes and bike parts is likely to be a real spanner in the works if the oil price spike arrives in the next year or so. Lots of people wanting bikes and long wait lists to get them. Bet bike thefts go up, and prices.

    I’m also wondering how a friend of mine who gets climate change but thinks peak oil is irrelevant because we need to be off oil yesterday and solar and wind are now so cheap will react to another oil price spike. And how to talk to them about it when it happens. We’ve had a running debate for years, over that and progress/value of new tech, and I’ve taken to avoiding the subject because we end up going round in circles.

  299. Alexander Dugin is a very important and widely influential voice these days in Russia (and thus in Eastern Europe). He’s an “Old Believer” Orthodox Christian, but also a Traditionalist after the manner of René Guénon. He finds much of value in the Eurasian movement of the early 20th century (especially the work of Prince N. S. Trubetzkoy, which I also regard as extremely valuable).

    The wikipedia article on him is noxious in that its author seems to think that anyone who opposes the Neo-Liberal program (as Dugin does, very strongly) for the world’s future is an actual fascist. But it does give a list of his books.

    Westerners who want to get a grasp of what is going on in Russia could do worse than read his books. I haven’t read him myself, as I’m largely done with Slavic studies, and there are so many other books I want to read in the years I have left.

  300. TJ and the Bear: A certain, reasonable, one hopes, amount of regulation for the public good–NOT to support private profit–is the price we pay for civilization. I don’t want to live in chaos but neither do I find totalitarianism appealing. Rent seeking is not productive. Not only does it not produce a virtuous cycle, it interrupts such virtuous cycles as already exist. And, it penalizes sober, responsible, law abiding citizens while a blind eye is turned to all sorts of self seeking chicanery. I know of only two places in the USA where rent controls are imposed, Berkley and NYC. There may be a few more, but nothing of the sort existed anywhere I have lived. The reason property developers tend to support Democrats, not “liberals” as such, is that the D. party is a little better at building out the infrastructure, roads and sewers, than the Rs. Now, if developers had to pay for such amenities themselves…hm.

    Varun, do you have a link for your blog?

    Tarian, IDK whom, outside of certain anglophile circles, still thinks Churchill was a hero. I rather think that opening of KGB files after the end of the Cold War put paid to that particular fantasy. The Enemy in WWII is an existential threat to all of humanity, so what you (Churchill) as one of the allied leaders do is you don’t tell your most important ally that that same Enemy is about to launch a major invasion against said ally? Who does that?

  301. On the subject of California and “alternate spiritualities,” there is an early (and good) detailed book by David St. Clair, The Psychic World of California, (1972). Erik Davis has recently put out a lavishly illustrated book on much the same theme, The Visionary State: A Journey Through Calfornia’s Spiritual Landscape (2006).

    My maternal ancestors jumped with both feet into the state’s alternate spirituality scene when they came to California in the early 1880s; it was already in full bloom way back then. They stayed deep within that scene through all the following decades. So it’s a very very old tradition there. The ’70s and ’80s were just one of its later manifestations.

  302. Your Kittenship, and sustained attempts to pick fights over various petty issues. Yep.

    Gaelle, one of the pervasive features of political advocacy today is that all sides tie themselves into pretzels trying to camouflage their demands in moral terms. Feeding wild horses to the poor is right up there with the babies in cages who didn’t matter a bit during Obama’s tenure and no longer matter now that Biden’s responsible, but were the focus of so much emoting during Trump’s term.

    Anonymous, fascinating. Of course the downside to such a strategy is that if the costs of not being a horrible racist, as defined by the Establishment, rise high enough, that’s going to convince a lot of people to become horrible racists…

    Emmanuel, er, no. A lot of the people who lived 800 years ago — including most Mayans and Toltecs — have no descendants in our time, due to the mass dieoff caused by European diseases. I’m also quite sure that you are not descended from New Guineans, say, who lived 800 years ago. This is one of those places where statistics can be very misleading! What’s actually going on, of course, is that you’re descended from the same smaller number of people many times over — so that, for example, a French peasant woman named Marie who lived in Normandy in 1221 would appear in your family tree dozens or even hundreds of times, as different lines of descent from her interbred in the usual way.

    Prizm, sure, so long as the people in your family aren’t motivated by ego. Sometimes they are.

    Sevensec, which post of mine are you quoting? I wasn’t able to find it. As for Dugin, yes, I’m somewhat familiar with him, and I’m not surprised that he’s up in the boughs over object-oriented ontology, which I’m also familiar with. It’s not occult at all, it’s simply the latest fad among today’s academic philosophasters. There was a book published a few years ago claiming to discuss H.P. Lovecraft from the standpoint of object-oriented ontology; I read it and rolled my eyes, as it’s best described as a sustained exercise in intellectual onanism disguised as sloppy lit-crit.

    Lew, thanks for these; I’ll have a look at them.

    Info23, one of the interesting things about the atheist entryists is that they were astonishingly unsubtle. Those organizations that still had some common sense were easily able to checkmate them. I’m pretty sure that the ones who fell for their line of cant did so because they didn’t actually believe in much of anything in the first place.

    Bogatyr, so noted! I’ll put that on the menu in a scene I’ll be writing shortly, which involves dinner in a nonexistent town on Cardigan Bay.

    Tarian, thanks for this. No doubt Bojo will indeed make a cringing apology; a close relationship with India is crucial for Britain’s chances in the decades ahead.

    Bridge, yes and yes.

    Owen, that’s a good suggestion. I’ve started marking them — see immediately below.

    Yorkshire, I’ll definitely take a look at it.

    Dusk Shine, one of the weirdest things about the wokester religion is that it’s based on the belief that the power structure that supports it is illegitimate. That’s going to play out very strangely, I think, in the years ahead.

    Onething, no, I haven’t heard that accusation made of restaurants either, but it might be fun to mess with the heads of the left using their food choices…

    Neptunesdolphins, thanks for this. I think you’re quite correct, for what it’s worth, about the poor as props. As for what they’re afraid of, well, the cultural consensus is collapsing around them, and soaring numbers of people assume as a matter of course that when somebody in a suit or a lab coat says something, they’re lying. Blind faith in authority is the foundation of managerial class power, and as that comes unglued, the whole structure that supports them will follow — thus the frantic demands for blind faith and conformity.

    Pygmycory, I’m glad to hear that bikes and scooters are popular — they’re going to be necessary, as you’ve suggested. We’ve got a little while yet before the spike hits, but I suspect it’s going to be a wowser.

    Robert, I read St. Clair’s book many years ago — the Burien Public Library had a copy — and it was quite good. I’ll have to check out Davis’ book when I have the chance.

  303. There’s been a lot of discussion of cultural appropriation here. I’d like to add my opinions on what it is and isn’t. I’m going to try to boil this down, so it may be oversimplified.

    First, cultures that come into contact influence each other. When the influence is voluntary on both sides, it is not appropriation.

    Here’s the first definition of appropriation in the dictionary loaded into my computer’s OS:
    1. the action of taking something for one’s own use, typically without the owner’s permission: the appropriation of parish funds.
    • often derogatory the artistic practice or technique of reworking images from well-known paintings, photographs, etc., in one’s own work.

    Note the “typically without the owner’s permission”. This phrase has two crucial elements; ownership and permission.

    If no person, group, or culture owns it, there is no need to ask for permission. However, ideas and customs and art and technology often don’t come with a label of origin attached. If you hear as chant or a piece of music at a festival, you aren’t necessarily going to be told who wrote it, or whether the author is known, or where it originated, or its original meaning and cultural context. It’s very possible to unwittingly make use of something without giving credit to the source. Sometimes that matters. Sometimes it doesn’t.

    The “without permission” part implies that someone or some group has the authority to give permission. If a song or a recipe is copyrighted, the holder of the copyright has the authority to give permission for other people to record it or republish it. If a spiritual path is well organized enough in its home culture that certain people are recognized as teachers of the path, and it has agreed guidelines on how to do its practices, then those teachers individually or collectively (depending on how things are organized) usually have the authority to choose students and decide what to teach them. If you are such a student, as long as you are following your teacher’s directions, you have permission. Other people from the culture of origin who are not teachers of the path may have opinions about whether you have the right to practice it, but they do not have authority to give or withhold permission.

    If something is very widely propagated across different cultures, especially if it spread many centuries ago from a culture that no longer exists, the questions of ownership and permission may be moot. The descendants of the ancient Egyptians live in Egypt, but they no longer speak Egyptian or practice the ancient Egyptian religion, so modern day Khemetic reconstructionists are not engaging in cultural appropriation. They are attempting to revive a dead religion, and they don’t need permission from anyone except the Egyptian gods.

    Someone farther up the list said something I agree with, that the term “cultural appropriation” started in the US as an objection to a specifically American phenomenon. White people setting themselves up as teachers of some Native American religious and spiritual practices to other white people, without having received formal permission from a religious teacher of the tribe which originated the teachings and practices, and without giving the tribe any benefit in the form of service or material compensation. This is theft, sometimes fraud, and what adds insult to injury is that in many cases the indigenous people who developed the practices have been forcibly prevented from passing them on to their own people, or doing the practices themselves, as a living culture.

    When culture is freely shared, as between cooks swapping recipes or musicians of different ethnicities or styles of music playing together, it isn’t cultural appropriation. Appropriation can only take place when there is a power imbalance. It is often done out of ignorance, which can be remedied.

    The second worst kind of cultural appropriation is when you take something of value from another culture that they are no longer allowed to use or teach to their own people, but you have the ability to use it and teach it, and you fail to use your power to help restore it to the people from whom it came.

    The absolute worst is to distort the teachings out of ignorance or malice, and use your version of the teachings to denigrate the culture and people who originated the teachings.

    If that was done to your ancestors, it is all the more reason to avoid doing it to others.

    The Jewish people have from time to time suffered the worst form at the hands of Christians and Christianity, which made me aware that this is an old problem, even though the label for it is new.

  304. Re: “cultural appropriation”… I don’t have any personal experience with it, but what I’m taking away from this discussion is that it started with Whites assuming some aspects of Native American religion, and the Native Americans charging them with “cultural appropriation”. And more recently, “woke & White” people are “appropriating” THAT too, casually charging all sorts of multi-cultural expression as “cultural appropriation”. If I ever AM accused of CA, I’ll challenge my accuser as misappropriating cultural appropriation from the Native Americans. “You’re making a mockery of their tragedy!”

  305. @Ryan M where do you live? I totally did a ‘whaaa?’-take when you said Montessori isn’t popular among parents, because in my (gods help me) chosen milieu, you have to get your kids on the wait list before you conceive. Lacking a spot, you homeschool, so that your children will still not be contaminated by contact with Average Children (say the latter while gagging like a witch behind your glove in Roald Dahl’s The Witches because children smell like dog poo).

    I am positively hateful about the topic, for the predictable reasons. Ahem.

    Thus, generally, reflecting on how different basic dietary choices send utterly different class signals, even within small regional areas and people from ostensibly the same ethnic background, I’ve been trying to see if there is an underlying rule…

    I eat rice and beans now because that is what I learned at university the Good People who are Educated, Healthy and have Morals and Living Connections to Culture eat, and I learned to cook them to go with fresh green farmer market vegetables. My mother’s mother would not have recognized them as food, unless they were canned green beans, cooked to liquid and served with fried spam or spaghetti made with horse meat.

    I did not know white people ate beans and rice. My mom thought it was something they learned from the Mexicans, like burritos, when she went to visit biological family in the US South.

    Clearly, my family was not so poor they cooked what they did because it was cheapest to eat – though they thought so, and were deeply shamed by it. Grandma had full dentures by thirty-two. Clearly, she would have been healthier eating cheaper beans. What an interesting disconnect.

    An aunt on the other side gave me a Metis cookbook from when she was getting back to their roots and we all should too. Except for the game and local plants, the meals themselves were Irish and German (the dominant intermarriages after 1840) except of course, the Scottish yet now indigenous bannock. Turns out every side of my family going back to two seconds after the captain of the Speedwell< or Petit Corbeau could claim this food equally. It is also very very cheap, but equally likely to have been replaced by the boxed macaroni on reserve.

    When my dad was a kid, they would not have claimed this food for anti-indegenous shame.

    When my other grandma was a kid, for class shame.

    Today, I cannot claim it because I never bothered to get my card from the Manitoba Métis gatekeepers like my cousins did, and therefore cannot prove to non Metis I have the rights (Metis would know the recitation of names) to this Landed Culture food.

    Funnily, over the pandemic, I’ve seen a lot of SJWish people of old world descent posting on faceplant about their pride in their own national peasant foods grandma made. As long as you say you are German or British or Ukrainian on stolen lands or unneeded terrories (don’t say the C word) you will get the cookies.

    So it is not entirely poverty shame, or entirely class shame.

    We really are ashamed to be alive; in all of the senses of what that means.

  306. Dusk Shine, another Canadian here. I’ve been getting increasingly uncomfortable with some of the rhetoric surrounding First Nations the past couple of years. I live in BC, where there’s a lack of treaties for most of the province. The situation is genuinely really unjust, and I do want to see things improve, but exactly where does the rhetoric logically lead, taken to extremes?

    In terms of things actually happening now, can a First Nations person sell cannabis in an off-reserve store without a licence, citing UNDRIP?

  307. JMG: I’ll put that on the menu in a scene I’ll be writing shortly, which involves dinner in a nonexistent town on Cardigan Bay.

    if you would like some light reading to add to your “as time allows” list, can I suggest Malcolm Pryce’s Louie Knight series, beginning with Aberystwyth Mon Amour?

  308. re: religion and Christianity in Canada,
    Duskshine, I can’t help but notice that the BC government left restaurants open to indoor dining for four months while banning any and all religious services unless you applied for special waivers because your religion required in-person contact. I only know of 1 jewish sect that applied and got this. Several churches decided to defy orders and meet (I believe they still masked and did more than was being asked of restaurants) and they got slapped with major fines and an attempt at a court injuction to make them stop meeting, which failed. They got the government part-way off their backs by meeting outside and taking major precautions, but refused to apply for a waiver because they wanted to challenge the restrictions in court. Then a court challenge on grounds of freedom of religion, which they lost, and are now appealing.

    Religious groups are now allowed to meet outdoors, and restaurants are only allowed to offer outdoor dining, so things are less unfair than they were, but… I normally take complaints about being subjected to religious persecution by my fellow Christians in Canada with a grain of salt. There’s usually a fair bit of hyperbole. This time there isn’t, but it’s aimed at all organized religion.

  309. Dusk shine,
    there was a lovely couple at my church who are francophones from Quebec. I was really sad when they left because I considered them some of the best friends I had there, and I’m still in touch with them over a year and a half after they left, which isn’t normal for me. Guess I’m not a typical anglophone Canadian by your standard.

    I think you may be overgeneralizing.

  310. The post numbers seem to be quite searchable in Firefox (87.0). Would be nice if they also appeared in the feed but …

    Would sure like to have some beans and rice, beans and cornbread, or even Ramen with a hot dog and random frozen vegies. But all I can handle is a bit of a taste – just can’t swallow enough to live on. So it’s the Radiance’s ideal diet – 600ml of Jevity 1.5 twice a day – only things on the label that are not chemical names for something are water, canola and corn oil. I seem to tolerate it. But the memory of all the good and ‘appropriated’ foods lingers on.

    I always enjoyed the YouTube videos of Great Depression Cooking with Clara.

    John – Coop Janitor

  311. @Dusk Shine – such good points about Quebec. And if you subbed “Alberta” or either of the prairie provinces in there for Quebec, it works pretty well, too. It would have also worked right up until recently for the maritimes (see: lobster fishermen last year), but they’ve been courting BC residents hard lately and everyone has forgotten they are racist (though their greater francophone populations doesn’t seem to have been implicated in their original racist-ness). Does Ottawa seem to mind that the maritimes are now the hot bougie left real estate market? The CBC doesn’t seem to anymore, and that is an interesting thing to ponder.

  312. >Interesting that rice and beans should generate such heated passions

    Beats me too. They are easy to cook, store well, need no refrigeration. I’ve found that soaking overnight is a must, that quickie boil step has never worked for me. Nothing as unsatisfying as crunchy half-cooked beans. A slow cooker makes things somewhat easier, but you don’t really need one – any old hot plate sturdy enough to support a soup pot will do. Just set to a lazy simmer and then stir it once an hour.

    I’ve seen certain kinds of beans cooked in a pressure cooker with success but you have to be careful and you run the risk of splattering beans all over your ceiling if you fail.

    I think it says more about the person getting offended than the subject matter itself. Some of these wokians will support just about anything if it comes from the right person saying it, and will reject anything if the wrong person is saying it. It’s like a crazy game of Simon Says.

  313. sorry, re: Quebec that was Anonymous #295…

    but Dusk Shine “It is more likely that Quebec simply has been able to hold together some sense of collective identity (using English Canada as a thrust block, and English Canada’s tax dollars as resource) and doesn’t feel any need to.

    Your average English Canadian– even those who claim to love all other cultures equally– will admit, privately, they never met someone from Quebec who was actually likeable. That and the language barrier probably has more to do with keeping us moving in next door.” made me LOL. That is also true.

    Though my Quebecois TA in first year university french was quite nice, I was surprised and told her so and she sighed and said “I know”. The French professor was French language snobbery poured into human skin. Her summoning me to her office to yell at me (in french, so maybe she didn’t think I could understand) that her beautiful language was mud in my mouth, and it shamed her to have such as me attempt to learn it was a great thrust block to me getting 100% on the final exam. Never studied it again though, the aversive training was quite successful: pssst Quebec, if you welcomed people trying to learn your language, instead of raining scorn and derision on anyone who tries and isn’t a perfect native speaker instantly, rolling your eyes and saying “I prefer we speak in English, your accent is ‘orrible and you sound retarded”, you wouldn’t need to have language police to keep it alive.

  314. >earning your livelihood via a blue-collar trade seems to have been a very good move, as it gives you a source of income that’s relatively free from SJW politics

    My theory on that is anything that has a modicum of risk or danger will keep the wokians away, if for no other reason than reality will just kill them eventually. Perhaps the real cause of the wokies is that life is just too easy with all the sharp edges sanded off and nothing most people do have no fatal consequences. Perhaps they are just an artifact of a cycle that is peaking and turning back down.

    You’ll never see a power lineman yammering on about intersectionality or gender fantasy, for instance. 7kV will kill you in the blink of an eye if you don’t respect reality on its terms.

  315. Archdruid,

    The world could do much worse than a grand alliance of democracies to see us into the de-industrial future. I’m also fairly optimistic about the future relationship between the US and India, this commotion feels like a passing storm rather than a prelude to some greater bloodshed.


    Modi was already in power by 2016, so its entirely possible that the current VC of Oxford was the one who had a photo-op with him. Either way the whole issue is a political crisis now, and you are undoubtedly correct that Boris will offer a cringe-worthy apology to the Indian Parliament when he visits.

    I went back and read the comments that got Ms. Samant “cancelled,” and I found them fairly innocuous, but it’s pretty easy to fall afoul of the political language policing now-a-days. Did she intend offence or was she just careless with her language? Every interview I’ve seen with her seem to indicate the latter. The problem isn’t that she was harrassed by a random online mob, but that members of the universities student body and faculty participated in the harassment. Whether Mr. Sarkar institaged or simply opportunistically participated is besides the case, the fact that he is an associate professor and participated in the harassment of a student is why this warrants investigation. Indian right-wing activists dug through his tweets and found several occasions where he said some fairly vile things to students, and Samant’s lawyers presented that evidence to investigators.

    India’s press turned the issue into one of colonialism/racism because from our perspective that’s exactly motivating the attack. There are multiple lines of evidence suggesting that a patronizing attitude toward the old colonies still exists within British and western academia. If this was an isolated incident it wouldn’t be an issue, but the problem is that there is a history of disregarding native cultural perspectives among western scholars. Inside India there’s a large portion of Indian elite who propagate the western domination of the Indian narrative for their own profit. Mr. Sarkar, Professor Truschke in Rutgers, and several many others are increasingly viewed as late-stage colonists.

    As for Churchill, I have no doubt he is well respected in England, and rightfully so. He was an excellent wartime PM and lead the Empire through some very difficult times, but India’s experience with the war was much different than England’s experience. Churchill is reviled among educated India’s because the man was deeply antagonistic toward Indians.


    It hasn’t really affected my family at all. We’ve always been the “keep your head down and get your work done type.” Plus everyone is politically savvy enough to say the right things and keep our real opinions to ourselves. Honestly I’ve never been disrespected for my blue collar position, at least not to my face. I know classist people exist, but I’ve never really run into them outside India. Different circles, I guess?


    Here you go:

  316. @ JMG…

    Another one of my friends has a long time blog called Urban Survival, primarily discussing long wave economic cycles. As it is his blog, we often digress into other subjects – similar to here.

    What came to my mind reading your reply to my comment was Urban Survival blog common saying – “EVERYTHING is a business model”. At this point in time, where things approach instantaneous with the internet, I feel pretty safe in marking this decade as the height of monetization, as nearly every single thing is currently monetized in some form or other by a wildly disparate cadre of ‘gatekeepers’.

    What I am currently seeing is a buyout or assimilation of these ‘gatekeepers’ – mergers, acquisitions and the selling of news/info sites (such as Drudge, ex.) to larger concerns. I don’t believe this is some kind of conspiracy, but rather the usual combo of business owners cashing out after building their banners and audiences combined with the more staid old guard attempting to garner new eyes and retain slipping revenue.

    I also find it interesting watching the current furor over various “woke” sports outfits – enough that I thumbed across the sports channels at my brothers house last nite. It was so crazy – former athletes commenting on current athletes and teams about ‘woke’ issues rather than statistics or prognosticating some coming match. I came across a robot fighting channel as well, and even there you could see the maskers vs non-maskers in the robot teams….wow.

    After these last few forays into the current state of television entertainment, I gotta say I truly believe the current crop consists of 100% pablum, fortified with flouride and perhaps some other ingredients – there was nothing to take away from what I saw; I mean nothing edifying or even interesting. Everything was scripted, sordid, obviously constructed and staged to the point of idiocy. And as I tossed out above – pick a topic, any topic – everything is monetized in TV world.

    I did time one drug ad – it was 30 seconds of what it was for, and 45 seconds of potential side effects and warnings. And we are supposed to believe in Big Daddy medicine….LOLOL

    And here I am imagining back when I was a kid, watching the old B&W console tv, eating dinner while watching Carol Burnett show from a tv tray! What I skimmed through last might, well, I cannot imagine eating while watching any of it.

  317. @ polecat RE peppers…

    My youngest son would certainly be at your side in defense of peppers….LOL

    I just got done putting in ten different kinds up at our farm – none of which I can eat, as they afflict me with potentially lethal effluent…

  318. I’ll toss this out there for you JMG…food for thought at any rate. Finishing off the last of the 2020 beer crop with a couple of oilfield buddies, we were talking about the coming shortage based strictly on lack of exploration investment.

    The Oil Age really began around the turn of the last century, 1905-1910-ish. So if we take that as 100 years to get to Peak Oil, then we have about half of that time for the descent – because the resource is waning and people are trying their best to extend and pretend in the face of it. We also sort of “stuck a pin” into 1980 as the initial start of globalist arbitrage, the first real wave being Japanese imports hitting the shores here in spite of the efforts of Detroit. We agreed that globalism would be the big casualty of oil scarcity, and lengthy foreign wars the second. China has a valid reason for rail running to Europe and the sandbox….

    But the century prior was with oil production waxing, whereas waning oil volume will be something very different. While we understand how every single thing currently for sale in the world is built on oil, the vast majority of people do not, by choice. So we are thinking…”what might wake people up?”

    It could be a war in the sandbox, it could be many things. But we all feel like it just might be Saudi Arabia admitting that Ghawar, the worlds largest field, is toast. Soft enough so that it makes the news but does not involve human calamity, yet not something that cannot be ignored or wished away… We don’t know what the “event” will be, but there will be one – just as the Arab Oil Embargo rang the bell on US oil production….

  319. JMG:

    Re: samp

    The old mill in Weston, Vermont, built in the late 18th century, was a sawmill for most of its history. By the early 20th, it was largely in disuse, but in the 30s (or 40s?) it was purchased by the patriarch of the Orton family (whose son would later create the Vermont Country Store) and used to mill samp, which has a long history here in New England among peoples of European descent. It is cheap and easily sourced locally. It’s possible that people from the Azores or Cape Verde eat it too, but samp’s popularity in New England predates any major influx from those places. I, too, had never heard of it until I moved to New England.

  320. Eating on a budget reminds me of the time I ate dog food. I was camping in Geneva, Switzerland, very short of cash, and living on bread. I needed protein and decided that all I could afford was dog food.

    The pet food in the supermarket was arranged by country of origin. They had Spanish dog food, French dog food, English dog food, German dog food, etc. I figured French dog food was probably the best tasting and bought a can.

    Back in my tent I opened the can and dug out a spoonful and tasted it. It was dreadful. Truly horrendous. I couldn’t stomach it and threw the rest away.

    I knew the English were very fond of their pets, so I figured the English dog food was probably better quality. I went back to the supermarket and bought a can of English dog food.

    Back in my tent again I opened the can and dug out a spoonful and tasted it. It was horrible, but definitely better than the French dog food, so I continued eating.

    I was on my third spoonful when I felt a sharp pain. It was a splinter of bone I had driven into the roof of my mouth.

    I threw the rest away, went back to the supermarket, said hang the expense, and bought a can of sardines, and lived on bread and sardines the rest of my stay.

  321. For anyone interested in the Global EMF Monitoring project I mentioned briefly above, please see this article.
    It has links for anyone interested in more information or wanting to participate. I’ll describe how it is going in the free discussion week.

  322. Rent seeking is not productive.

    @Mary Bennett

    That doesn’t mean what you think it means, and what it does mean supports my position:

    Definition: “rent-seek·ing”

    the fact or practice of manipulating public policy or economic conditions as a strategy for increasing profits.
    “cronyism and rent-seeking have become an integral part of the way our biggest companies do business”
    engaging in or involving the manipulation of public policy or economic conditions as a strategy for increasing profits.
    “rent-seeking lobbyists”

    So I’m thinking that some of the ones currently being used for fun and exercise during the pandemic are going to be repurposed as main transportation when the oil price spike hits.


    The problem with that is the electrical grid can’t handle even a modest uptick in demand, especially due to the intermittency of so-called renewables. Therefore “peak oil” has as much of an impact on electricity costs as fuel costs. Did you see the electrical bills coming out of the Texas Freeze?

    There are 4.2 billion (with a “B”) vehicles operational worldwide, and only 7.2 million (with an “M”) of them are EVs. The electrical supply from solar & wind are similarly tiny. Both are already running into constraints that’ll manifest themselves in all manner of issues going forward.

  323. >The charity was monitored in that if Pop sold something the family didn’t need for money to buy something they did need, he got scolded.

    That’s why the U in UBI is a lie. There will always be C’s – Conditions – and they will muliply over time,

  324. @ Chris

    “If you’re in Melbourne, you should drop by the Green Wizards of Melbourne some time, say hello and catch up at one of the meetings. A finer bunch of people you’d be hard pressed to find. And we have a no idiots policy, which fortunately I just scrape into. ”

    … I did not know this group existed until now! I think I will join you for the April meeting! I’m sure you are not an idiot. 😀 But I do always love going into a room knowing that you are in the presence of people that are operating on a higher level – so much to learn from folk like that.

  325. A bit off topic, but I don’t think the Everything Must Be Indigenous phenomenon in Canada is part of an Anglo plot to mark the Quebecois as deplorables. Your average Canadian public servant, academic, corporate bootlicker, journalist etc. – to use the 1984 reference, members of the Outer Party – is afraid of being called a racist. Outer party jobs are scarce, especially if you’re white, and doubly so if you’re a man. They are also incredibly secure, reasonably well paid and have nice benefits. These positions have become much more valuable with COVID, as now a federal worker can collect an Ottawa salary but reside in East Upper Lower Moose Town, where real estate is still cheap. Ditto for provincial employees.

    In the new and improved Canadian English, Indigenous means “double plus good tree spirits who can do no wrong, and when they do, it’s white people’s fault”. There’s no functional language where one civil servant can say to another “It is good that the kids learn about the local Indigenous legends about the constellations and planets, but they should also learn about Kepler, Brahe, Cassini and Huygens and Hubble too”. The civil servant who says “We must indigenize the curriculum” will always win, because everyone is afraid of losing their seat at the table.

  326. @Dusk Shine, part of that is our incredibly partisan media – after all, Trudeau says he’s Catholic too.

    The whole “look and be humbled but don’t touch” way that ordinary Canadians are talked to by their “betters” about First Nations is insulting and dehumanizing. When I was growing up on the Left Coast of the USA, what we learned about the local Native Americans was presented in a much saner manner. We learned about their history, were encouraged to genocide a local tribe try painting in a local Native American style etc. It was rather nice. I especially enjoyed learning about the various technologies Native Americans employed to feed and otherwise provision themselves – after quite a few failed attempts to start a fire with a bow drill, make arrows that flew straight etc I had quite a lot of respect for those cultures built up.

  327. Deborah, thanks for this.

    Lathechuck, hah! Excellent.

    Bogatyr, I’ll see if the library system here has ’em. That title alone is worth the admission price.

    Varun, may it be so!

    Oilman2, as I see it, the current frenzy for monetizing everything is part of the endgame. As cracks open in the system’s foundations, trying to find some way to extract the last drop of wealth from the structure before it collapses is the name of the game. Still, we’ll see. As for the event, well, what would you identify as the event that set the 2008-2009 price spike in motion?

    Beekeeper, fair enough!

    Patricia, many thanks for this.

  328. If I remember correctly, wasn’t succotash a favorite for New Englanders? It’s a very cheap meal consisting of corn and lima beans, plus any other ingredients you want to add.

  329. @JMG
    “one of the interesting things about the atheist entryists is that they were astonishingly unsubtle. Those organizations that still had some common sense were easily able to checkmate them. I’m pretty sure that the ones who fell for their line of cant did so because they didn’t actually believe in much of anything in the first place.”

    The Neopagans at least were lucky they got more incompetent entryists. The more dangerous entryists are able to keep up the shibboleths but will make an atheist twist on the practices and beliefs of the neopagans.

    So they will use the same language but mean them in an atheist way as I have explained above.

    Instead of the supernatural they will turn them into mere symbols of physical materialist reality whilst duitably excluding anything supernatural.

    They will do it just like the Tyranny of George Orwell’s 1984 regime does it.

    I have observed this happen in the Christian churches from secondary sources.

    When Critical Race Theory suddenly managed to emerge and take over from key figures that managed to keep quiet for such a long time.

    And also that those same people managed to infiltrate the translation committees for the Bible and altered the translations in a more PC direction whilst forcing the older more accurate translations out of commission not unlike in the fashion that George Orwell’s 1984.

  330. I haven’t read through all the comments, but as a Canadian living less than 10 kilometres away from the province, I find it wryly amusing that a post on the shrillness of the managerial class would trigger a small Quebec-fest…..

  331. @ JMG RE: 2008/9 price spike

    Warning – High Altitude View

    The primary was Nigeria falling apart, taking 400,000 of light crude off the market nearly overnight. We cannot respond to overnight things, not with a 6 to 12 month lag to bring production levels up. The stage was set for something to happen on the supply side due to low-sulfur diesel regs as well – new refinery setup required – so EPA was most definitely a culprit with that insane requirement. Refining diesel is going to get ugly when demand tries to rise – because no Keystone…

    This was the first harbinger of how delicate and fragile the entire refining system actually is, and how those in government are completely clueless about the things they issue as edicts. I fully expect things to grow worse in this area in the near future.

    The two biggies for fuels WERE diesel and jet fuel – from heavy crude. Jet fuel has been slashed due to the Covid madness, but diesel is still what the world moves things with. Can’t fractionate diesel from light crude, so you have to look to Venezuela, KSA and a few other places for heavy crude. This is why the Keystone XL was important – heavy crude is something we lack in the USA, but Canada and Venezuela are awash in it.

    Ham handed government policies in markets they do not understand are going to either cause or exacerbate whatever swan is winging our way. The slowdown in overall travel is hiding a lot of future problems with supply. It’s not just about oil – it’s the types of oil and who has them. Of note is that gasoline is approaching or surpassing diesel in price these last few weeks – what might that portend?

  332. John: “Peak Oil is back, we’ll talk about that next week”

    Me: [visibly giddy with excitement]

    I believe it was Graeber that said something to the effect of: if you write intelligently and originally about a subject, the world will punish you by doing everything in its power to never write about anything else again.

    No small effort has been expended on my part to refrain from heckling John from the cheap seats to start writing PO pieces again.

  333. et all: “Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are” said Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, the famous French lawyer better known as an epicure and gastronome.” 1755-1826.

  334. Only tangentially-related to this post, but related to much of what JMG writes, this article is a good example of how things are flowing – that the guy felt the need to write an entire article defending a meaningless job title for a meaningless job shows that there’s being some pushback against the elites handing money and prestige to each-other. It’s a hopeful sign.

  335. All these tales of rice and beans have made we want to give it a go – but I’m currently enjoying a low carb diet in an attempt to lose a little weight, so I’m going to have to wait. In looking up some recipes On YouTube I did find a new {to me} way of cutting a sweet pepper. It turns out that I have been doing it wrong for nearly 40 years at this point. It’s a sad day when you can’t learn something.

    As for the attempts to control how others eat and the eternally rising tide of scolding wokists, I fear the time has come to wheel out the big guns. I occasionally spend a little time listening to Tarl Warwick, an American living in Holland (also youtube under the Styxhexenhammer666). He’s taken to calling them Wokels. I rather liked that. Perhaps a programme of regular and intense mockery would improve the attitude of some of them.

    I wonder if the wokel’s inevitable collision with reality is the karmic blowback for behaviour in this life, or that becoming woke is setting them up for something much bigger in a few years time?

    @Pixilated, Is just a french thing? David Sedaris describes a very similar kind of behaviour when trying to learn the language in Paris.

  336. Hi John Michael,

    I hear you. My ancestors arrived down under probably because of the Highland Land Clearances. How could they not? It would be hard to live near to the arctic circle when some land baron and his flunkies burn your roof down. The act is of no consequence to me and I feel no great emotion. Candidly, life is better down here. I merely keep that lesson at the back of my mind as a reminder as to possible outcomes. The past is usually indicative as to future possibilities.

    On the other hand I have a rule not to mention the potatoes. I’m serious. I have sat opposite at dinner with some extraordinarily wealthy folks (who owned several houses and were very well remunerated) and unfortunately mentioned the Irish potato famine. Now me being me, we were discussing plants and genetic diversity, and I made the unfortunate observation that ecologically a population could probably not survive long on a two varieties of starch crops. And then from the reaction, I wished that I’d kept my mouth shut.

    Here is the kicker though. When the Europeans arrived down under, disease took out almost 90% of the indigenous population. And yet that was where my lot turned up. History is brutal.



  337. I have always been mystified at the sectors of the Neopagan movement that want to allow in people who deny the possibility of the very thing Neopaganism is all about – the gods. An umbrella as broad as Neopaganism is naturally going to have a great diversity of pantheons and theologies, but surely the absolute minimum baseline should be “deity exists and is plural”.

  338. “Fortune 500 corporations were paying good money to teach their employees mindfulness meditation and put on “positive thinking” seminars, and a significant share of the well-to-do practiced hatha yoga, dabbled in Buddhism, and went on the occasional shamanic retreat.”

    The Mad Men show finale, “Person to Person” (airdate May 17, 2015), features Don and Stephanie staying at an Esalen-like coastline retreat in the year 1970.[124]

  339. Dear Mr. Greer,

    Thank you for your delightfully contrarian thinking and writing, which is increasingly tough to find these days. As coincidence would have it, last month I posted to our blog on how to make a simple pot of stovetop rice as well as crockpot congee, a sort of Asian equivalent of rice and beans. I was pleased by how popular both posts were. Today I’ve posted instructions for how to insulate one’s household water pipes, with an intro discussion about why this is arguably a better move to counteract climate change than buying a Prius or going vegan. I’ve included a link to your book Green Wizardry, which inspired me to wrap our pipes:

    Just wanted to share that and thank you again for shining a light in the dark corners of our society. Cheers!

  340. JMG, your link to Ellyn Satter’s hierarchy of food needs doesn’t work. It’s interesting that the third point about stockpiling food is now looked upon as not necessary by the ruling classes, who were confounded by the shortages that popped up last year when people stormed the grocery stores for beans and toilet paper. (Of course, they had never liked preppers to begin with…) Perhaps this is linked to industries “Just in Time” system, where warehousing anything for long periods of time is seen as costly, with goods and supplies to be moved in and out as quickly as possible. The populace is to be just like corporations, and just buy what they need, as they need it, and trust in the continuous flow of production and delivery services to provide. Yeah, right.

    For anyone wanting to read The Road To Wigan Pier:

    I haven’t read the complete work, but in searching about I found one interesting topic that Orwell touched upon and is relevant to our topic today. In Chapter 12 he speaks of machine worship among Socialists, which sounds a lot like the Tech worship going on now. In fact, I think I’ll read this chapter first, and substitute “technology” every time Orwell uses “machine”.

    Joy Marie

  341. Cliff, on UU’s (comment 291): “ Looking at my time among them, I feel like UUism is mostly atheists doing a weird Protestant church LARP. I don’t see it surviving the 21st Century.”

    They are in their death throes now. I’ve been away for a few years now and am no longer on the email list, but from what I’ve read they are arguing over woke politics, the spirituality/atheist/humanist issue, and still churning over why they are so white and upper class. Kind of like a civil war at a denominational rather than national level.

    UUism could also be aptly described as “The Church of Progress”, so unless they change, their demise is guaranteed.

    Joy Marie

  342. Really too many posts to list everything I’d like to comment on, but one thing I must share is it’s clear (and shows in some comments here this week) that the Socialist/Marxist Church of Progress is no different than the Fundamentalist Christian Church. I have a background in fundamentalist/evangelical Christianity, so it’s obvious to me.

    Fundamentalist/Evangelical church: “The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it!”

    Socialist/Marxist church: “Science says it, I believe it, that settles it!”

    Joy Marie

  343. Jon, a fine example of cheap food — and of a blend of grain and beans, the classic poor people’s way to get balanced protein.

    Info23, interesting. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the Neopagan movement got the B-team entryists.

    Oilman2, thanks for this. Yes, I’ve been watching the rising price of gasoline — that suggests a tightening of supplies in the light-crude market, which bears watching. As for clueless government policies, why, yes, that has occurred to me as well…

    Luke, duly noted! The thing is, while we were in the plateau period between the aftermath of one price spike and the first stirrings of the next, writing about peak oil is a waste of time, because nearly everybody’s doing the head-in-the-sand routine. Now that the price of oil has shaken off the pandemic and is creeping steadily upwards again, and serious supply constraints are looming in the future, it’s time to revisit the subject — and talk about a dimension of Jevons’ Paradox that nobody’s paying attention to just now.

    Hackenschmidt, oh my. That’s priceless.

    Sunnnv, thanks for the data point.

    Adwelly, and if you’re prosperous enough that a low-carb diet is an option, by all means! As for “wokels,” that’s brilliant — and I suspect your latter suspicions is correct, and they’re setting themselves up for world-class karmic blowback in the future.

    Chris, it’s a common thing. Most of history has been made by groups of people who suffered atrocities, and then commited atrocities in their turn.

    James, you’d think so, right? Unfortunately a lot of Neopaganism is much more about casual sex, pot, and pseudomedieval posturing than it is about the gods.

    Goedeck, I’m old enough that I remember when Esalen was one of the most fashionable places to go if you were in the alternative circuit. No, I’ve never been there.

    LB, many thanks for the encouragement! I’m delighted that so many other people are pitching in — there’s so much to be done.

    Joy Marie, thanks for this — I’ve fixed it. Yes, I’ve noticed the way the privileged downplay sensible preparation for shortages — if they’d ever had to go without a meal in their pampered lives, they wouldn’t be so idiotic about such things. As for Marxism as fundamentalism, of course — Marxism is a Christian heresy. The entire ideology is Protestant Christian theology in secular drag. That’s why so many Marxists hate Christianity so much!

  344. The energy topic seems to be resurfacing, Helen Thompson, from Cambridge University, writes quite sensibly about the geo-politics of energy.

    I heard her accused of ‘peak-oilism’ by a techno-utopian on a recent podcast. She just said that it was equivalent to expecting some new technology to transcend the lays of thermodynamics. The accuser continued the conversation as if that was a reasonable thing to expect.

    Her essay has some very interesting points and data in it.


  345. @adwelly I don’t know; I know I’d certainly heard from friends that the reason they’d switched to learning Spanish was because when they went to France they were discouraged from speaking, while in Mexico, people were really kind and encouraging. I don’t know enough about France to know why that is the thing, unless the entire class dynamic between Britain and France is similar to the dynamic within Canada. That seems plausible, given same friends said on the continent, everyone seemed to be a polyglot, while in Britain, native English were monoglots.

    Definitely in Canada, to qualify at all for the top administrative and political jobs, you must be completely bilingual, and the competition for limited French immersion spots for the upwardly hopeful in Angloworld is intense – unless your parents camp outside in line for days to get you a spot when you’re five, you cannot join later. Your fitness for prime minister hinges on your flawless accent during debates, even. Thus, the status signal of bilingualism is very high; the snobbery could be a managerial class gatekeeping function that metastasized.

    And as anonymous pointed out up thread, if access to the language controls access to the entire upper levers of power in the entire country, not just Québec, that gives them a hugely outsized advantage over the… Oh. Maybe I do know about Europe.

  346. On food stockpiling: LDS members are encouraged to maintain a year’s stockpile. Yet another reason they will not ever be a respectable religion for the Wokels.
    A final brief note on my Unitarian church. For many years, we have been blessed with a tremendous music director. I would tell people to come for the music, and stay for the sermon. Sadly, he has just informed us that he will be retiring at the end of this year, so the main reason Chiara and I went will be lost.

  347. @Darkest Yorkshire and Jessica,

    I am not really surprised that you haven’t had a satisfactory experience with Advaita Vedanta. I am a follower of Advaita Vedanta myself, through my family for many generations. I also faced much confusion when I was introduced to it in my teens. But as time wore on, I started getting the idea. I can’t say I have understood it completely, but I am inching towards it bit by bit. Advaita is not for the beginners, and it is not very exhaustive in spelling out how to deal with things in daily life. I would describe it as an overarching lens through which you can perceive and interpret all existence. It does not compel you to do or not do only specific things. For instance, in my family we follow an eclectic mix of Vedic rituals, Idol worship and other assorted religious elements that were synthesized over generations. We find no contradiction between them and Advaita. The endpoint that is described by Advaita is attained as you go through the vicissitudes of life and reflect about them. The ground you have covered matters as much as philosophical knowledge. It is quite possible that someone who has merely studied Advaita sounds less mature and enlightened than someone who has put a lot of work into another tradition. And the kind of enlightenment Advaita talks about is in no way “fast” (unless you have already gone most of the way in a previous birth. There are some rare people who do that). It can also seem full of contradictions (something for which it gets a lot of criticism, from other Hindu philosophical traditions), but it is talking about a state beyond ordinary human senses, where the contradictions either do not exist or cease to matter.

    So my suggestion is to keep doing whatever you are doing, and keep referring back to Advaita from time to time. You will find yourself “getting” it.

  348. @JMG I think a low carb diet has the potential to be very expensive indeed, but in my case it means eating a lot of eggs, green veg, and shunning potatoes and oats (wheat went by the board about 6 months ago). Nuts and good quality dark chocolate bars have replaced dessert. In any case it is supposed to be temporary; I get an occasional craving for ice cream. On the whole though, not unpleasant.

    It’s the Norwood diet if anyone is interesting in googling for it. I’m not diabetic, but on the other hand I certainly have diabetes as a possible future. I’m doing my best to change course.

  349. Continuing a thread from last week if permitted:

    I have now read a number of Samo Burja’s essays. His focus on implicit knowledge and how it is essential for the survival of institutions reminds me of Spengler’s “tact” – how Spengler suggests that the Roman aristocracy until at least the Third Punic War, and the English aristocracy from 1688 to at least 1914 were “in tact” and didn’t need written rules to build and maintain an empire.

  350. @ JMG RE: Peak Oil essay…

    You might want to hold this phrase in your basket – “The law of unintended consequences”

    When you begin to do your research about the industry I swim in, that phrase will be handy for most any policy issued from Washington DC, at least in my nearly half-century of experience working in ‘the biz’.

  351. MCB, thanks for this. The sense of déjà vu is thick enough to cut with a knife…

    Adwelly, oh, it’s not a matter of expense. People who have very little food security eat high-calorie meals by preference, and for good reason, because it keeps them from running short on fuel.

    Matthias, I noticed that. His broader thesis is among other things a very creative reworking of Toynbee.

    Oilman2, I’ve had that phrase in mind for a long time! What I’ll be discussing next week is the repetition of a familiar cyclical pattern; future essays will get deeper into the forces driving the cycle, and that law in question will get a lot of use.

  352. @Joy Marie:

    UUism could also be aptly described as “The Church of Progress”, so unless they change, their demise is guaranteed.

    I have had that precise thought, too!

  353. @JMG

    Indeed. It seems in the West Christianity is enemy no.1. If you see a local church have a rainbow flag. They have been taken over by entryists.

    Same with other organisations you come across.

  354. JMG,

    I did find that blog post of yours I was thinking of. It’s from June 19, 2019, “The Flight To The Fringes, And What Waits There”. This is the one that focuses on Dreher’s “When the Religious Left is Occult”.

    The gist of that post—from a quick refresher skim anyway—is that the embrace of occult and spiritualist approaches is often tied to the sociology of deviance: out-groups or soon-to-be-out groups “define themselves against the mainstream by embracing what the mainstream detests”.

    Both Left and Right, you note, are capable of this protective embrace of occultism. However, magical *malevolence* seems to particularly correlate with leftism:

    “…the further to the political left a magical tradition or movement places itself, the more likely it is that that tradition or movement used to reject malevolent magic and demonolatry, but has now embraced one or both of them”.

    You conclude that the Left was getting involved in malevolent forms of spiritualism in 2019 because “the radical left in America is [was] preparing itself for a future as a stigmatized fringe group”.

    I think this is an interesting angle that has proven itself in a kind of inverse way in light of the 2020 election (or selection) results. Now that Trump—the focus of so much leftist spleen lo these 4-5 years—is out, the Left thinks that it has indeed secured permanent control of the levers of power. Having ceased to be the deviant/out-group, the Left abandons the spiritual/occult redoubt it had previously been preparing in case of banishment to the wilderness of deviance—drops it like a hot potato, in fact. Then, as if on cue, spiritual beliefs suddenly become terribly déclassé—or at least, something to be kept hidden from the masses.

    Socialist governance is about nothing if not memory-holing and retconning, after all. “We are at war with spiritualism. We have *always* been at war with spiritualism…”

    As for Dugin, so far the only thing I can gather for certain is that he is extraordinarily polarizing. The other mentions of him in your comments refer to him as some sort of dynamic restorer of Orthodox tradition, a kind of philosophical Braveheart forging a new political path against the odds. On the other side, another writer I generally respect, John Upton, seems to view him as some kind of evil quisling who profoundly corrupts traditional ideas and could bring ruin to us all. I’d dare say your own response—implicitly comparing his work to high-velocity avian dung launched from a lofty social altitude—puts you more in the latter camp. “Philosophaster” he may be, but these are strong reactions indeed.

  355. Interesting comments re: French. I’ve never had any experience of language snobbery in my visits to France, be that Paris or small-town Normandy or Brittany.

    My thinking has always been, I’m going to their country, I try to speak their language as best I can. On the other hand, I’m Welsh, not English: famously, during the last Euros football competition, the English fans went to France, got drunk, and started brawls with everyone they encountered. The Welsh fans went to France, got drunk, and started singing in close harmony and being everyone’s best friend. I’m generalising, of course; nevertheless, there are definite differences between the ways different cultures experience the French.

    As for Canadians, specifically,… Generally, the Anglophone Canadians I’ve met have mostly been laid-back and nice. The Quebecois (sp?) have been quite different: definitely more rough-edged, but also generally a lot more interesting. But, all of them are Canadians who have gone to live abroad; whether this makes them a bit different to the stay-at-homes, in the same way that I gather Americans who travel are different to those who have never left the US, I don’t know.

    It’s interesting because here in Wales we have a similar situation. These days, as a consequence of migration and of aggressive government policies in the past that intended to eradicate the Welsh language, only a minority of the population speak Welsh. Nevertheless, it is the indigenous and historic language of Wales, and we are determined that it should be an official language on the same level as English; we also are determined that if we want to speak the language in social settings or, between ourselves, in the workplace, that should be normal. That sets up a similar dynamic to what I’m seeing in this discussion about Canada.

  356. A real example of cultural appropriation – from an Episcopal church service, I think the one in Albuquerque’s university area, but possibly the one my brother goes to in San Diego. The occasion was appropriate, but the hymn – and it’s in the current Episcopal hymnal – was “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” And here were all these comfortably-off white people singing about “our time on the cross.” WHEN? The reign of Mary Tudor and Phillip of Spain?

    I know they meant it to be a sign of solidarity. But my guts rebelled and my voice went silent.

  357. John–

    This is somewhat OT, but goes to the issue of class in the US and modern industrial society generally; more observation and ponderings than anything else.

    A few days ago I took my car in to a local garage. I’d been having some slow-leak issues with one of my tires, having to put air in every few weeks. In the shop, there were no masks worn, of course. (I’d worn one b/c a lot of places are asking for them still, but took it off as soon as it became apparent this was not one of those places.) There was some small Trump signage up on a pegboard (a “Trump 2020” dollar bill) and it was quite apparent where the owner’s politics lay.

    But what really got me thinking was the work on my tire. They took the wheel off, soaped it up, found no obvious leaks. Then they popped the tire off the rim, cleaned the rim, reapplied the sealant, and popped the tire back on. I was in and out in less than 20 minutes and $20. The shop, as most garages are, was a very tactile place.

    This contrasts greatly with what I do for a living. While I work in a tactile industry (public utilities), I personally swim in an ocean of abstractions. A lot of math, a lot of statistics. Spreadsheets and projections galore.

    While this is nothing new, the realization of the disparate value our society places on the abstract versus the concrete was driven home to me as I watched the garage mechanic work on my tire and appreciated his efficient (and concrete) labor. Why do we value these two categories in such a lopsided fashion when they are (at least) of equal value? More to the point, the abstract rests on a foundation of the concrete, so if anything, it is the concrete which is the more valuable of the two. Abstractions are useful (and necessary in many ways), but as usual, we’ve taken things too far.

  358. @ Bogatyr RE: Quebecois

    There is local identity, which is based on parents passing down their language and customs. Cajun Louisiana is a good example, where Mardi Gras got so big it became an unofficial holiday across big swathes of the south. Quebecois have it enshrined into law, giving them a bit of a wall around their culture, which the Cajuns could never make happen due to both federal and state governance.

    Yet just like in Louisiana, if the Quebecois do not pass on their language to their children, it will get swallowed up by the predominant one. As in Canada, the small french contingent in southern Louisiana are hard edged – they have to be to hold on to their culture. When I went offshore as a young man, most of the crew were Cajuns, and they refused to speak English. In a matter of a few hitches working with them, I had a small smattering of french from my immersion, along with their smiles at me trying to learn their language. Now it just takes a week or two and it all comes back to me when I deie into local places like Jeanerette or Morgan City.

    In my global travels,I have always tried to practice, “When in Rome,…..” and it has worked very well for me. There are limits – I don’t do the man/boy love thing like the Muslims practice in many places – not my cup o’ tea…LOL

  359. @Patricia Matthews, post #376

    While I can understand your reaction to “comfortably-off white people” singing a hymn so strongly associated with the struggle for black civil rights, isn’t the whole point of hymns their universality? That they can speak to and soothe the suffering inherent in all human life? Isn’t that the whole point of the Christian faith? How do you know what the members of that congregation have suffered?

    I grew up in Christian church, and I can’t imagine what Christianity would be like if a congregation could only sing the hymns written by people sufficiently close to their own skin tone/life experience/cultural background. How would that even work? Would all the denominations send their leaders to a big meeting where they’d all have a Chappelle show style racial draft and divvy up the songbooks along sectarian lines?

    In all seriousness though, it seems like following your sentiment to it’s logical conclusion would only impoverish the faith and divide Christian from Christian, rather than transcending human differences and uniting through faith.

  360. There are more Canadians here than I expected!
    It seems our great divide has hit a nerve. I suppose I should make my position clear: Canada is far too big to make any sense as a single nation.

    I endorse Justin’s analysis for what’s happening with Indigenous people. I love the analogy of inner and outer party, too! I think it’s spot on.

    I agree the media is very partisan here, but everyone knows that there are catholics and Catholics. Mr. Trudeau’s a catholic in the sense that maybe he was baptized to please his grandmere. There are rumours afoot that Mr. Sheer may have (gasp) attended Mass!

    Good point about your French accent controlling your electiblity here. Funny how the reverse didn’t hurt Jean Chrétien one little bit, eh?

  361. Rita Rippetoe,

    I would be skeptical of anything Trevor Noah says. Mopane worms are a delicacy in that part of Africa.

    I can tell from his accent alone that he is solidly upper middle. If he was really poor he would never have been able to leave.

  362. David, by the lake: Abstractions are useful (and necessary in many ways), but as usual, we’ve taken things too far.

    This resonated with a train of thought I’ve been mulling over recently. We’re being told that we should work on abstractions on the screen. We should have our social interactions online. Likewise our entertainment. We live and work with aircon in the summer and heating in the winter. The meat we eat should be grown in vats; the vegetables in hydroponic factories. If we go outside we should travel in self-driving, AI-mediated, cars with no driver and no other passengers to talk to as we move through towns and cities where we can’t see the stars, because even if the lo-glo doesn’t hide them, they’re drowned out by low-orbit satellites beaming down porn and shopping, and anyway we won’t see the real world because we’ll be wearing VR goggles. The products we buy will be stored in and retrieved from automated warehouses, and delivered to us by autonomous drones.

    If the machines from The Matrix wanted to get us to go into the pods of our own volition, without all the “scorch the sky” unpleasantness, they couldn’t find a better way to separate us from everything natural.

  363. @pygmycory,

    I’ve got a road/gravel bike myself — absolutely love it. Somewhere down the road I expect to have horses again.

  364. A final bean note: I just asked my local BBQ place if I could get their scrapings and trimmings for their brisket. They gave me a 2 lb bag of them gratis.

    These are going into the crock pot with pinto beans and other scrumptious ingredients….

    Wow – people find beans boring…hard to swallow, that…

  365. @Justin “The whole “look and be humbled but don’t touch” way that ordinary Canadians are talked to by their “betters” about First Nations is insulting and dehumanizing. When I was growing up on the Left Coast of the USA, what we learned about the local Native Americans was presented in a much saner manner.”

    I’m going to guess you’re older than me,? but growing up left coast Canada in the 80’s and 90’s, it was the same as that. And, working directly with indigenous Elders and community members one on one, it’s still the same.” We are cousins, we are family who must share the land, is the message. An indigenous (half) politician wrote a blog once about his experiences when the radical mostly – student indigenous rights faction seized BC parliament, and white “allies” and indigenous alike spat on him the same as anyone else – he has blue eyes after all – screaming that reconciliation is dead. He was gutted. His whole life work as a half breed (his words) was to bring this reconciliation of his two halves together. It’s dead? What is he even doing this for? What is any of this for? He took his guidance from the Elders, and stayed going in to work with his head up each day.

    Our betters are not invoking the equivalent of the Aztec gods, I don’t think they have Gods behind them. The old gods here didn’t ask for blood, and they aren’t dead, either, they speak for themselves.

    @Bogatyr, yes, the Quebec rationale for their language protection is largely the same. Or was.

    Naturally, many Québecois have been so busy looking back and figuring out the levers they have to get one back over on the English, they’ve made sure to step into their role against in the same way. It IS a sign of respect for visitors to try to speak the language when they travel. So why then do the French spit on English-speakers from the colonies who try to be respectful? One might wonder.

    The British made the same mistake first – they brag to me that they don’t vote in local or provincial elections, because, despite living here for decades, or even generations, it is still just a <Commonwealth issue. Can you believe I had no idea what order milk and tea go into a cup? We are treated like poorly brought up children who disappoint their mother. Yes, I believe they behave badly overseas, I do.

    So really the difference between the French and English to me is a matter only of which parent has been kicking me longer, or harder, they both kick. Unfortunately, if it is true that God punishes the children for the sin of the parents unto the third and fourth generation, the children of the present day Québecois will be badly brought up children too.

    You know, the big fight between the Métis (French/Scots/mixed indigenous group), and Anglo Canada was originally a Catholic – Protestant fight? That’s why my Orangemen ancestors moved out west, for the fight. Its funny, right?

    All my parents are insane, mercifully their gods aren’t!

  366. @pixilated

    It’s certainly true that people born in the UK are largely monolingual. Two factors at play I think. The first is that English is I think, structurally rather simpler than many other European languages. No real need for gendered nouns, complex word endings and so on. I’d guess this arises from its origin as a minimal language used between different linguistic groups. The actual physical island was regularly invaded and colonised until the Normans got a firm grip in 1066. It’s difficult to appreciate the need for these extras if you start with a language that doesn’t use them much.

    The second point is that the teaching of languages was not ideal until relatively recently, and this in turn was because there was not, and is still not much desire amongst people to learn other languages. I’m certainly an example of that. Despite many hours of lessons I came away from school with almost no French or Latin. I assumed I simply couldn’t learn other languages and I didn’t much care anyway. It was only later that I discovered that I could learn other languages – I just couldn’t be taught them.

    I had the pleasure of living in West Canada during the Brian Mulroney period and met many Quebecois as well as those from the ROC. They all seemed pretty protective of their version of french. Many of them were strongly pro independence too, although I did manage to change a few minds by pointing out that if they won, they would have to take Brian with them.

  367. @ JMG RE: next week…

    Here you go JMG….to add to the bean oil pot…

    I don’t know how diverse and educated your readers are, but a fun exercise I used in ‘ye olde days’ was to have anyone toss out a product or service, and then I would explain how oil impacted it, maintaining a strict Socratic methodology. After the first 3 or 4 examples, most of those present had their minds expanded a bit…

  368. “Marxism is a Christian heresy. The entire ideology is Protestant Christian theology in secular drag.”

    Did you ever address this in an essay? If not, could you please?

    I’m not sure that I understand it. Marx was Jewish not Protestant. Also aren’t Christians supposed to accept that this is a fallen world but the righteous will get their reward in heaven? Marxists are utopians who can’t wait for heaven and want it now.

  369. Regarding the main topic this week, years back when I became aware of collapse (with IMF-Argentina as the model) and also the special dietary needs of a diabetic family member, I began to ponder how one would go about meeting these needs under conditions of poverty. Having been in the military, I take a survivalist approach to these things. I can’ have gluten, and the typical response of the Japanese is exasperation followed by the pointed question, “Well, then, what can you eat?!” I point out all sorts of things: see that weed growing over there? There’s also grasshoppers, frogs…really a whole world full of things I can eat! In all seriousness, the real problem is I have to avoid soy sauce, and they add it to everything.
    This was about 20 years ago, and I actually considered going back to university studies, with a focus on how to obtain optimal nutrition under conditions of poverty. The continued failure to draw the public’s and officialdom’s attention to health effects from wireless equipment forced me to abandon that idea, but I retained a keen interest in it.
    One thing that quickly came to my attention was that first, you have to define “poverty.” Under conditions of enslavement, a person has no right to health. Under conditions of no money, but traditional lifestyle intact, if the traditional diet itself is not optimal for an individual, the village elders and medicine personnel will know what can be done. For those facing poverty for the first time in generations with no traditional community to fall back on, but some degree of freedom, this sort of information could be of help. For example, it appears to be the impoverished over much of the world, especially the US and Brazil, that are taking the brunt of the COVID epidemic, judging from news accounts. I can look out my window and see a weed that is one of the most concentrated sources of quercetin known. Quercetin has been mentioned as a possible substitute for hydroxychloroquine in prevention and early treatment of you-know-what, and I will abandon that topic here, given signs things may be headed toward vigilantism: (It looks like an attempt will be made to blame the “hesitant” for the predicted failure).
    Among the diseases we can expect to see an increase in due to exponential (not a misuse of this term–Docomo’s projected 5G maps look just like cancer) growth in wireless transmissions these days is mitochondrial dysfunction, the symptoms of which form a notable component of long-you-know-what. In addition to some knowledge of herbs, intermittent fasting can help, and could be of use even if you are having to turn to beans and rice to get enough calories and protein. Done right it can provide more energy than eating three squares (given the same caloric intake). Most people skip a meal a day, usually breakfast for this. Some people may need a ketogenic diet to cope, which is harder to accomplish, but, as I noted with the grasshoppers and frogs and stuff, usually not impossible.

  370. @Goedeck: for what it’s worth, the Mad Men example you cited wasn’t a case of the company sending an employee to Esalen. In fact, Draper was “on the scamper” from his job, having walked out of a meeting with no explanation. The Coke advert that the finale implied was a result of Draper’s Esalen enlightenment, was in the real world created by a black guy from Detroit. Now I guess THAT counts as cultural appropriation!

    I know that JMG doesn;t watch TV and I don’t blame him, but I did like Mad Men. I approached it like I would a long, complex novel by a great author.

  371. A few brief notes on Confucianism, as it seems to be of interest to some here. It constitutes a big cultural divide between east and west. For my first ten years in Japan I was utterly horrified by it. I could not for the life of me see how society managed to run with people so terribly constrained. But it runs quite well, and despite paying lip service to neoliberalism, and despite a 30-year economic downturn, Japan still has a large middle class. I had to actually get myself incorporated into a traditional Japanese community where there was a lot of patience for teaching the old ways, because even modern Japanese a forgetting them, that I could see first, how it worked out and the value of playing a strict set of roles in terms of minimizing conflicts, and second, how much freedom actually exists within it. Aside from the horror stories you read out of context of women restricted to either “whore” or “wife,” a war-time relic, Confucianism is itself not necessarily so discriminatory towards genders, races and so on. You settle into a role that suits you and has a place in society, and from time to time you try out other roles as the need arises. Those who attend grade school here learn to do this with agility similar to riding a bicycle. When you are dealing with constraints, you notice all the other ways you have leeway and freedom.
    That said, I also have criticisms. The expectations from others can be downright dangerous to those with different but not explicitly visible needs. For example, they expect my diabetic husband to eat and drink along with everyone else, so he has to avoid social functions like the plague. I’ve also seen heavy discrimination toward people who have clear mental deficiencies–and it makes me burn with rage. They tend to perceive it as a moral failure…

  372. I agree with Dylan about entryism in Christian churches. Or perhaps it’s just societal changes I’m complaining about. I’m Roman Catholic and I’ve noticed over the years that Mass is less and less about paying attention to God and more and more about the congregants paying attention to each other. I feel cheated. The solemnity and ritual of Mass used to make me feel that I was in the presence of God, at least a little. Now I feel like I’m attending a PTA meeting.

  373. Food snobs who look down their noses at rice and beans should get out more. There are some Michelin starred chefs who can do some very creative things with rice and beans.

  374. About spices for the beans–
    For lentils, black beans and red beans, I have had good results adding apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar to the beans just before serving. Sour cream is also delicious, sometimes with chives too.

  375. Patricia cited an article about authenticity being an act. It’s like I’ve always said—the most important thing in life is sincerity. If you can fake that, you’re in good shape! 😄

  376. >The first is that English is I think, structurally rather simpler than many other European languages.

    I’d say 6 of one, half-dozen of the other to use the old english idiom. English loves its – complicated – compound verbs. Most other languages get by with a much simpler set of verbs, happy to get lost in translation. I’d say there’s a tradeoff in what each language expresses. Simplifying one area allows another to get overly complex.

    I’d also say something about English being easy to pick up but hard to master or at least difficult to speak like a native, just because of all the time you need to spend learning it. How much training do primary schools give native speakers of english on their own language? You can even get a college degree in the language you’ve been speaking your entire life?

    I wonder, do French speakers ever major in French? Or Russians ever earn degrees in Russian?

  377. >Why do we value these two categories in such a lopsided fashion when they are (at least) of equal value?

    Price and value are two different things. Almost orthogonal, I would claim. And markets are not efficient. Nor are they very free either.

  378. Info, I’m not sure Christianity has a solid grip on #1 status, but it’s certainly a strong contender.

    Sevensec, that’s one possibility. The thing I notice is that the extreme Left is continuing to embrace more and more extreme ideologies and actions. The Democratic Party continues to cover for them, because the Dems rely on the bullying tactics of their paramilitary wing (that’s spelled “Antifa” and “BLM” in the mainstream media), but the moment the blowback from those tactics becomes a political liability, the Dems will drop the extreme Left like a hot rock, the way they’re currently dropping Neopaganism. As for Dugin, my reaction to him is closer to “meh.” Traditionalism doesn’t interest me, and his version of it interests me if possible even less.

    Patricia, hmm! A valid point.

    David BTL, also a valid point. It amuses me to think of what would happen if those who spend their time doing concrete labor ever decide to stop providing those necessary services to their soi-disant betters…

    Oilman2, yum! Many thanks for the link — I’ve got ample material at this point for a whole series of peak oil posts, so I’ll add that to the pantry.

    Bridge, I think I’ve discussed it, but it was a while ago. The heresy of Marxism is exactly the immanentization of the eschaton — insisting that theological realities would take place right here on earth in historic time. Take every detail of Marxist theory and you’ll find that it has an exact equivalent in Protestant theology: primitive communism = the garden of Eden, private property = original sin, the various stages of society = the various dispensations, Marx = Jesus, the First International = the apostles, the revolution that’s always about to happen = the Second Coming that’s always about to happen, socialism = the Millennium, the glorious Communist future that will come after socialism = the New Jerusalem that will arrive after the Millennium. Point for point, the equations are exact.

    Patricia M, funny!

    Patricia O, thanks for this. The irony is that gluten-free soy sauce is quite easy to get here — there are cheap brands that use corn instead of wheat, and pricier brands of “tamari” (yes, I know it’s not real tamari, but that’s the label in the US) that are really quite good.

    Rationality, I’ve heard the same thing from a lot of Catholics. I hope you can get your church back.

    Ethan, no doubt — and plain rice and beans are also very, very good.

    Emmanuel, yum!

  379. I’m not in to RPG but there is a Kickstarter that some might find interesting. Mythic Battles : Ragnarök – Has about 13 days to go.

    John – Coop Janitor

  380. @owen

    Well I suppose I’d have to accept your point about compound verbs, and no serious discussion about the difficult parts of our language can long avoid the question of spelling. Nevertheless, I think you expressed the point I was trying to get to which is that you can get to the point of ‘getting by’ fairly briskly if you have a mind to. Also to its advantage, I don’t think there’s as much snobbery about imperfect English as there might have been in the past. Even after Brexit the workforce is enormously diverse and allowing something as trivial as a poor choice of noun to be a problem when describing the latest crisis would simply get in the way of coping (yes – I admit to having had a trying day).

    Another plus for English is that it borrows words and concepts in a way that would put a kleptomaniac to shame and those words live or die by their usefulness. French is distinctly hindered in that regard by the control of the Academie Francais. In fact, making it up as we go along is perfectly acceptable provided the meaning is clear e.g. wokel. I’m told Shakespeare used to do that all the time. The Academie would probably have had him hunted down and quilled to death.

  381. Goya Foods CEO paying and accepted tribute to Trump, who kept on feasting on big macs, fried chicken, and diet soda and made no commitment to stock Goya in Air Force One or the White House. Rich in irony. Maybe Ivanka decided to stock up.

  382. Hi Rationality,

    I’ve been told that for almost 2,000 years the priest faced the Host during Mass, except for his sermon. Then Vatican II came along and turned him around to face the congregation, as if he were a game-show host.

    Vatican II seems to have junked everything that made the church work and gave it its power, while keeping everything that really did need reforms, e.g. constantly transferring Father Horny rather than unfrocking him. Gee, I wonder who might benefit by this situation?

    The first Catholic church I ever went to was a little country church that held maybe a few hundred people. It was built in the middle of the 19th century and had the high domed ceilings, covered with religious art, typical of the period. (The effect intended was to lead the eye and mind up to heaven and the glories therein.). When I began attending in the late ‘60’s, the influence of Vatican II had not yet seized the hinterlands. Even a kid could walk into that place and feel the power. God was there.

    About 20 years ago, I had occasion to revisit that church. The old art and statuary were still there, but mainly used as background for the primary-color posters and banners with funny-shaped lettering that became so popular during and after Vatican II. God, not unreasonably, had decamped for someplace with art that was easier on the eyes. The church now held all the spiritual power of a corporate retreat. As silly as it may sound, it was a shattering experience, especially since I could see how Satan had taken advantage of good impulses. Those orange banners with the yellow lettering (or vice versa), for example. Half of us, by definition, are below average intelligence. If all a person is mentally equipped to appreciate is a color-clashing banner that says JOY or PEACE, why not provide it? And if you have parishioners who are allergic to incense, why not cut back severely on it? You save a lot of money that way, too. And so on and so on, and before you know it, everyone’s trying to worship at Our Lady of Generic American-ness.

    It’s not all bad. I used to read Lord Of The Rings and wonder what Gandalf and the Fellowship would have done if the bad guys hadn’t been quite so easy to spot, thus leading to the problem I eventually had fun inflicting on the Reverend Fastleft and friends. It’s one thing, difficult enough, to fight obvious evil. How do you fight evil that may honestly think it’s good? Are you sure it is evil? Are you sure YOU aren’t wrong? Every step you take you’re in a foggy maze and the murk keeps growing thicker. In real life, John XXIII, a genuinely saintly man, got lost in that fog and took a whole church with him. Yikes.

  383. JMG,
    Back in the 60’s when I was an undergrad at UC Berkeley, I lived on $100/week including paying $40 rent. Hamburgers were one of the dishes I cooked for myself. I remember going to the local supermarket one evening and seeing a sale: 1lb of beef mince for $1. As I was loading up my trolley, 2 older women dresed to the 9’s in furs came by with their trolleys. One said “Oh look, cheap beef, I’ll get a bunch of it for my dog”. I slunk away with my dinner to be….

  384. @JMG

    “The heresy of Marxism is exactly the immanentization of the eschaton — insisting that theological realities would take place right here on earth in historic time.”

    Agreed. And I would have to say that Man attempting that in the absence of God and Christ is like having Planet Earth but having no sun. Or similar analogies like that. Such an ecosystem will die and would have no life.

    Even Paradise is a well ordered reality. With everything in its proper hierarchies and in the right balances.

    Whilst every earthly attempt is missing the whole picture and only focused on specific aspects of what is perceived to be good. Thereby inviting catastrophe. And of course the absence of said deity is guaranteed disaster.

    Its no mistaking that among the Ancient Israelites that Eden and God is so closely related. For example where the Glory of God would dwell among them in the Nomadic Tent that same Tent would be internally decorated with Edenic Motifs and the later Temple which would be full of Edenic Imagery in the Inside.

    Even the Garden of Eden is a Holy Temple of God on this Earth.

    And the New Jerusalem is Eden but made for the massive multitudes of Mankind. A Capital City but Mankind is able to access the rest of the Cosmos outside its walls.

    Where God is. There is Paradise/Heaven/Eden also which is the theme of Christianity as much as return to that as much as there is the aim of Theosis.

  385. Info23 – I attend a (Lutheran) church which, while it doesn’t have a “rainbow flag”, has a rainbow sticker on the glass by the doors, and I don’t feel that it’s been “taken over” by entryists with a non-Christian agenda. The congregation has had LGBT members for at least 30 years, but their sexual orientations have never been an issue to be recognized. What people like to call “traditional family values” are not well represented in the New Testament, are they? How many children did Jesus have? How many of the Apostles had wives? People who look for such things can find objections to homosexuality, just as they can find acceptance of slavery, and many people prefer to overlook the harsh words about divorce, fornication, and greed. Especially greed.

    LGBTQ people live among us. They are not going to change their orientation because we disapprove, any more than I would change my orientation upon their disapproval. We all need to offer and accept grace, and live with kindness and generosity.

  386. Cliff #291: I agree with your take on UU’s as atheists LARPING as protestants…I’ve been to UU services and found them to be utterly sterile and non-spiritual.

    Prizm #297: I loved the Boxcar Children books as a kid. The first one, where they were living on their own, was definitely the best.

    Tarian #304: Samant committed the ultimate sin against Wokism – not believing that trans-identified males are biological women.

    James Swanson #457: Atheists don’t belong in paganism. “Atheopaganism” is like jumbo shrimp or military intelligence.

    On entryism: I think of this term when I see what the trans lobby has done to the LGB movement. They hijacked it. Now homosexuality – being attracted to someone of the same sex – is considered transphobic, with gays and lesbians admonished to “unlearn their genital preferences.”

  387. @Lathechuck

    “I attend a (Lutheran) church which, while it doesn’t have a “rainbow flag”, has a rainbow sticker on the glass by the doors, and I don’t feel that it’s been “taken over” by entryists with a non-Christian agenda. The congregation has had LGBT members for at least 30 years, but their sexual orientations have never been an issue to be recognized. What people like to call “traditional family values” are not well represented in the New Testament, are they? How many children did Jesus have? How many of the Apostles had wives? People who look for such things can find objections to homosexuality, just as they can find acceptance of slavery, and many people prefer to overlook the harsh words about divorce, fornication, and greed. Especially greed.”

    I don’t think said Church needs subversion. No reason to target such a church. Its the more traditional Churches that are enemy no. 1.

    But as for the rest.

    Jesus had a mission. And having a family would have subjected them to persecution and ascending to heaven after his resurrection would have been unfeasible if he did decide to take a wife and had a family. How could he take Rule and Authority and move the Church to the next phase if he didn’t do that. Pentecost is impossible without the Ascension as Jesus himself said(John 16:7).

    Plus his wife is to be the Church. So that also helps make it unfeasible.

    As for “traditional family values”. There were some Apostles who had families but I don’t believe taking a wife is mandatory. Its for those who don’t have the self-control or low-sex drive and who burns with passion.

    Being a Lutheran I am sure you are familar to the passages I am referring to. Otherwise the Apostle Paul would also be condemned.

    As for objections to Homosexuality. Romans 1 makes it clear enough. I don’t see how its not condemned every time its mentioned.

  388. I recommend the book – The Gospel of Food: Why We Should Stop Worrying and Enjoy What We Eat – Barry Glassner. His book was the main reason class food issues have been curbed

  389. I never heard of Entryism. It sounds like another name for infiltration by agents of chaos. Like when ‘Hawaiians’ (California immigrants) voted to abolish the monarchy to become a US State. The pampered woke-elites today are in their own bubble, except that they believe they speak for the plebs outside. Funny that a majority of Mexicans absolutely love Speedy Gonzales, for example. It reminds me of a quote by C.S. Lewis: “To deal with the problem of pain seems quite simple—until, of course, you yourself are in pain. One can abandon volumes of faith over a toothache!”

  390. Pingback: Homepage
  391. I can’t help but see this post as very well timed! Just looking at the east coast situation, with the energy pipeline shut down causing shortages in both fuel and food, we can see the glimmer of the future catabolic collapse in slow motion. All your subscribers must be thankful they’ve prepped ahead with rice, beans and bicycles.

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