Monthly Post

The Great Leap Backward

If you happen to read the edgier end of the internet these days, you’ve probably seen talk about something called the Great Reset.  I’ve been asked several times already what I think of it, and since the shape of the industrial world’s future is a longtime interest of mine, I was quite willing to discuss the matter.  If you haven’t encountered it yet, this bit of fiction by Danish politician Ida Auken is the best starting point. The original title (it’s now been changed due to the public backlash) sums up the intended theme quite well:  “Welcome to 2030. I own nothing, I have no privacy, and life has never been better.”

Ida Auken

With a title like that, it’s pretty clear that Auken thinks of her imagined future as a wonderful place. Mind you, she insists that this isn’t so, that she’s just trying to spark debate, but if I may be frank, I don’t believe her.  The stickily enthusiastic gosh-it’s-grand tone of the piece belies her claim, to say nothing of the fact that her essay is being splashed all over the internet as a template for the future by no less important an organ of the corporate status quo than the World Economic Forum, and greeted with approving noises by the establishment’s current collection of tame intellectuals. Make no mistake, this is the future that the movers and shakers of our contemporary corporate aristocracy are dreaming of just now.

In Auken’s imaginary 2030, she owns nothing, because any time she wants something, she just has to order it online and a drone delivers it to her promptly. She doesn’t even own her own underwear.  What’s more, it’s all free; she doesn’t even have to pay rent for her home, because when she’s not there, someone else uses it for business meetings.  She’s subject to 24/7 electronic surveillance that records her every word and action, and despite a pro forma hope that nobody ever abuses the data, she’s fine with that. She worries about the people who didn’t sign on to her lifestyle, and who have been relegated to lives of grinding poverty scraping out a living in rural communes or squatting in abandoned homes in the countryside, but she can’t understand why they don’t just hand over their lives to Big Brother and share her doubleplusgood future.

How it looks in theory.

What’s left out of Auken’s future is even more telling than what goes into it. Of course the numbers don’t work—even with the most expansive assumptions, there would only be enough business meetings each week to take up a small fraction of the available homes during business hours—and it’s been demonstrated over and over again that if people can get the things they need and want for free, it’s all but impossible to motivate them to put in a hard day’s work in a factory or farm, though of course sitting in the Danish parliament is doubtless a good deal less strenuous. Yet the most serious gaps in Auken’s fauxtopia are political.

It’s no exaggeration to say that her imagined future is a totalitarian wet dream, since where there is no property and no privacy, there is no freedom.  Put actual human beings with actual human motives into the mix, and it’s easy enough to trace the progression to its inevitable end:  “We’re sorry, Ms. Auken, but that book has been flagged as inappropriate and is no longer available.”  “We’re sorry, Ms. Auken, but you’ve tried to request too many inappropriate books and your access to further books has been suspended.” “We’re sorry, Ms. Auken, but your trip abroad has been cancelled because you’ve spoken to people on our watch list.” “We’re sorry, Ms. Auken, but unless you stop criticizing the government at the dinner table your food quota will be cut.” “We’re sorry, Ms. Auken, but your home has been reassigned to another family, and we’re here to take you to a labor camp…”

How it will look in practice.

It’s a very familiar landscape of ideas to anyone who knows modern history.  Abolition of private property?  Check.  Constant intrusive surveillance?  Check.  Everyone’s personal lives dependent on the actions of cadres of apparatchiks?  Check.  Fawning propaganda about how wonderful life is in the worker’s paradise?  Check. That is to say, when the World Economic Forum set out to imagine a new, exciting, cutting-edge future as a goal for humanity, the very best that they and their pet Danish politician could do is reinvent the Soviet Union.

That colossal failure of imagination, in turn, marks a historical inflection point of immense importance.

Over the decade and a half since I first started posting essays on the internet, one subject I’ve discussed repeatedly is the civil religion of progress:  the belief system, as passionately held as any more obviously theological faith, that newer always means better and change is always good, that the ideas of the past have been disproved and the practices of the past rendered obsolete by the mere passage of time, and that history follows an inevitable trajectory from the ignorant squalor of the past to a shining gizmocentric future somewhere out there among the stars. That belief is the established religion of our society.  Those who have the indepence of mind to reject it can count on facing the same sort of baffled rage you’ll reliably get by asking true believers hard questions about any other variety of blind faith.

What a glorious future we got!

What makes that baffled rage so pervasive these days is that progress hasn’t exactly lived up to its billing in recent decades. It’s not just that life in the year 2020 doesn’t feature the domed cities and space colonies it was supposed to, or in particular that it lacks the limitless material abundance that was promised so freely not so many years ago. It’s that life in the year 2020 is looking decidedly shabby even by comparison with life in the recent past.  The grand march of progress from the caves to the stars wasn’t supposed to result in a future of grubby, violent, and dysfunctional cities, entrenched rural poverty, crumbling infrastructure, failing public health, and the pervasive crapification of everyday life—and yet that’s where we are.

Surely it’ll work this time.

Human nature being what it is, the first reaction to the failure of the prophecies of the civil religion of progress was to double down on them, and brandish around even more colorful predictions of the wonderful future that would surely be ours someday soon, once the great god Progress got around to ushering in the promised utopia.  That was what generated the gaudy fantasies of the Transhumanists and the serene cluelessness of a generation of activists who convinced themselves that if they just held enough protest marches, everyone in the world would surely become environmentally conscious vegan pacifists by and by. That sort of going to extremes is the normal response to the cognitive dissonance that arrives when reality fails to conform to a passionately held belief system.

The habit of doubling down doesn’t necessarily keep well, though, because it commits the true believer to even more extravagant and improbable prophecies than the ones that have already failed.  When those fail, too, the standard move is to fall back to a defensible position:  a set of predictions that are so deeply entrenched in the collective imagination that it’s inconceivable to most people that they won’t eventually come true. Given the importance of the corporate mass media in today’s industrial societies, it was probably inevitable that the predictions in question would end up being anchored by some bit of media that became embalmed in pop culture. Yes, this is where we talk about contemporary culture’s weird obsession with Star Trek.

Boldly going where people have been going for 54 years now.

I noticed quite a few years ago, when most of my online writing was focused on the depletion of energy resources and the long-term impact of that process on the future of industrial civilization, that Star Trek had decidedly creepy effects on many people’s ability to think about the future. It was as though the starship Enterprise had set its phasers on “lobotomize” and used them with reckless abandon on Earth’s 21st-century population.  Any time serious questions about the long-term viability of the industrial project came up, an embarrassing number of people fled at once into a fantasy future stocked with replicators and powered by dilithium crystals. It wasn’t just the people I was debating with, either.  All through the crawlspaces of contemporary society where you find people who have rejected the civil religion of progress, you’ll hear sour jokes about Star Trek. It’s become the defensible position I mentioned above, the fallback to which true believers in progress scurry for shelter when the world fails to conform to their belief system.

Here’s your shiny new future: Hollywood, 1966.

What I didn’t really think about until recently is just how geriatric the Star Trek future is.  Keep in mind that Star Trek originally premiered in 1966. Do you remember 1966, dear reader?  I do, barely; I celebrated my fourth birthday that year.  Lyndon B. Johnson was president, cars had tailfins, LSD was still legal, and most observers of the rock-and-roll scene thought that the Beatles were already past their prime and would be elbowed out of the way by some newer group any day now.  The night that Star Trek premiered, even though it was past my bedtime, I got to stay up in my bright yellow footie pajamas and watch it on my family’s black and white teevee.  A child who was born that night will be able to get a senior discount next year.

That an imaginary future churned out by the corporate mass media more than half a century ago is still the cynosure of our collective imagination is good evidence that the civil religion of progress is sprawled flat on its back, struggling for air, as the medics shake their heads.  Yet it’s worth noting in that context that the equally dubious imaginary future being marketed by the World Economic Forum just now isn’t a Star Trek future, or anything like it. No, it’s the new, exciting, cutting-edge future of 1920.  That’s what the Soviet Union was in its early days, after all, when a galaxy of intellectuals in western Europe and North America insisted at the top of their lungs that the newly founded Bolshevik regime in Russia was the best hope for the future of humanity, and anyone who mentioned that regime’s already noticeable penchant for prison camps and mass graves could still be shouted down without too much difficulty.

What that shows, in turn, is that the Star Trek future no longer commands the blind faith and kneejerk enthusiasm that it once did.  I suspect, though it’s just a guess at this point, that all those years of pretentious babble about Man’s Future in Space may finally be wearing thin, as more and more people realize the obvious problems with trying to colonize other worlds when space outside the Earth’s protective magnetosphere is saturated with hard radiation from the vast unshielded nuclear reactor we call the Sun, and the only worlds we can get to in less than geological time are frozen, airless deserts blasted by gamma rays, millions of miles from any reliable source of oxygen, water, food, or rescue. (That’s why the United States and the Soviet Union quietly shelved their plans for manned planetary missions in the 1970s, you know.)

Like Nevada, but with less air.

The reflexive retreat to an earlier set of clichés about the glorious future that the great god Progress is sure to bring us is a normal response to the collapse of the defensible position once it cracks under the strain of unfulfilled promises.  That second retreat, however, is unlikely to work as well as the first one did, for two reasons.  First, of course, the fact that believers in progress have already been forced out of two positions and are dropping back to try to hold out at a third is bad for morale, and it doesn’t exactly make their belief system more credible to the growing number of people who have begun to question it. Still, in this case it’s the second factor that’s likely to be the most important one.

The twilight years of the Soviet Union, after all, are still a matter of living memory. Plenty of people alive today know all too well what happens when an ideology claims to be able to provide a wonderful life for everyone by abolishing private property, instituting pervasive and intrusive surveillance, and putting all the activities of life under the management of cadres of experts whose decisions supposedly will be ever so much more efficient than letting individuals make their own choices about their own lives. Ida Auken’s little story is highly reminiscent of similar literary productions from the days before Marxian socialism had the chance to show what it would do once it seized power.  Readers who want to see for themselves might want to find a copy of William Morris’ fine socialist utopia News from Nowhere and give it a read. Follow that up with Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, as a reminder of how those glossy dreams worked out in practice.

How it was marketed.

With that parallel in mind, it’s not at all hard to see how the Great Reset would turn out if it ever gets far enough along to be enacted. We’ll suppose that the European Union embraces it, along with a few other countries in various corners of the world. Glowing reports from the new consumer’s paradise saturate the global media, and plenty of intellectuals prostitute themselves as publicists for the Great Reset the way that George Bernard Shaw among others did for Lenin’s regime in the 1920s. Meanwhile conservatives dig in their heels and push back hard—there were a flurry of Communist revolutions in eastern Europe after the First World War, remember, and all but the one in Russia ended in a counterrevolutionary bloodbath.  So the world is divided again, between those countries that embrace the latest notional wave of the future and those that prefer something called freedom instead.

Then, of course, troubling rumors begin trickling out of the glorious consumer’s paradise of the Union of European Resettist Republics about prison camps, mass graves, and ever-lengthening delays waiting for those drones to show up with the goodies (the up-to-date equivalent of bread lines).  Refugees have grim stories to tell, and though the intelligentsia insist angrily that they’re not true and anyone who believes them is a (insert snarl word here), the stories find audiences. About the time the walls go up and people who try to flee the consumer’s paradise start being shot dead by border guards, it becomes clear that this latest attempt at a managed collectivist economy has all the same problems with economic dysfunction and political tyranny as every previous attempt at the same thing.  Finally, late in the 21st century, the whole thing comes crashing down in a familiar fashion, and the people of the Former European Union finally get to rejoin the world.

How it worked out.

No, I don’t think this is actually going to happen. The Communist revolution of 1917 was brought about by masses of peasants and workers who had been driven to the thin edge of desperation by a hopelessly incompetent Russian government and a devastating war, and who turned to the one effective political force that offered them an alternative.  The Great Reset is being marketed by a gallimaufry of politicians, plutocrats, and tame intellectuals:  some of the most cosseted people on earth, sheltered in a cozy bubble of privilege that keeps them safe from any untoward encounter with the harsh realities of life.  Not for them the world the rest of us have to deal with—the bleak and violent urban neighborhoods, the grinding poverty of the countryside, the cracked and crumbling highways and bridges, the stealth inflation of shrinking product sizes and plummeting product quality!  Flitting from gated residential communities or high-end condos to office towers to exclusive vacation resorts, they aren’t the Lenins of today’s world—they’re the Brezhnevs, the Andropovs, and the Chernenkos.  They represent the end of an era, not its beginning.

The broad public reaction to the Great Reset, in turn, is a good measure of just how tone-deaf today’s corporate aristocracy has become. Across the political spectrum from far right to center to far left, people are regarding the prospect of being dependent on the vagaries of a vast and unaccountable corporate technostructure for their next change of underwear and their next day’s meals with the anger and mockery that it so richly deserves.  I suppose in a way Ida Auken and her corporate masters have done those of us in the United States a favor.  After half a decade of extraordinarily divisive politics, they’ve given us something about which most people of good will can heartily agree.

The future can lead in more than one direction.

They may have done something else. As I noted earlier, the civil religion of progress has been struggling for quite some time now to deal with a world that, as it usually does, displays serene indifference to human notions of what it ought to do. The abandonment of the geriatric Star Trek future for the even more senile vision that brought the Soviet Union its fifteen minutes of historical fame may turn out to be the Waterloo of progress, the point at which most people stop believing that history is heading anywhere in particular, and start refusing to let it go where today’s pampered corporate aristocrats think it ought to go.

Once that has happened, it will become possible for more of us to remember that the future is a choice, not an inevitability.  If individuals, families, and communities decide they want less gizmocentric lives, less dependent on kleptocratic corporate and political systems and more responsive to their own wants and needs, they can have such lives—and the frantic attempts by the commisars and apparatchiks of the corporate world to bully them into accepting something less need not be an insuperable obstacle.

577 Comments

  1. News from Wally world, the T.P. shortage is back, and Crystal Farms Dairy brand has a “new look”, looks like they shrank the cheese package from 8 oz., to 7 oz…. And you should see the aisle of cleaning supplies, emptied. Everyone must be at home scrubbing their toilets. JMG, are you sure we didn’t turn into the old USSR while someone wasn’t paying attention?

  2. Number one, bless you for this essay.

    Number two, and I mean this in the most literal sense of the term:

    “Transportation dropped dramatically in price. It made no sense for us to own cars anymore, because we could call a driverless vehicle or a flying car for longer journeys within minutes. ”

    Ugh, what’s with these people and their flying car fetish?

  3. I also got to stay up late and watch Star Trek at age four. It was a big deal in our household. I think my dad particularly liked it. I have recently escaped the confines of a lefty newspaper. I am so grateful to no longer having to listen to the dumb*** pontifications of the reporters as one state after another is certified for Biden. We get the politics we deserve. God help us. Me and my little sailboat want to go north to Alaska…

  4. JMG, Saker’s blog posted an analysis of Great Reset that is consistent with this blog post –

    http://thesaker.is/the-great-reset-no-pasaran/

    Quotes –
    “Even a quick analysis of the WEF principles and modus operandi shows that the whole ethos is based on individuals and companies the practices of whom have led the world to the current state of loss and despair and entrapment that it is in. Certainly, the cause cannot be the cure; not in this instance.

    The paper is a blatant endorsement of the Neo-Left, its agendas and attempts to break down cultural values that glue society together, and turn the world into an obedient slave camp.

    Apart from the frightening Schwab’s definition of the fourth industrial revolution, the actual recommendations for the ‘Great Reset’ are quite alarming and unsettling to say the least.”

    “The words morality, honesty, care, compassion, kindness, happiness, courage, generosity, charity etc., are not mentioned even once in the document; not even a single one of them. Why, one may ask? What is it that drones can do to save humanity from an impending disaster that none of the above innate human values can?”

    “If we want to be cynics, which we are, we would conclude that those who design and run the WEF do not only sleep in the same bed as those who have destroyed the world, THEY ARE the ones who destroyed it, and yet have the audacity to say they are trying to save it. Unfortunately many follow them and take them at face value.

    The great reset humanity really needs is one that takes it back to its roots, its values that include freedom of choice and expression. It needs a reboot, not just a reset, and definitely not the reset that is pre-set by maniacal dictators who wish to create implantable microchips that can read one’s mind. “

  5. Hi JMG
    Not even star trek gets a free resource pass these days. The latest iteration was originally set before Kirks enterprise but then they jumped 950 years forward and found a post decline federation. They hit peak dilithium and were struggling with that when for unknown reasons every ship with it’s engine running exploded. Cue barbarians at the gates and inspirational speeches about bringing it back.

    I wonder what that says about the collective vision of the future.

  6. Thanks for this, I’d seen a few breathless descriptions of the ownership free future but I hadn’t made the connection to the similarities with the Soviet’s. Now that you come to mention it….

    I do have one story to share from the Cold War era which happened when returning home to Munich where I worked from my first ever, highly exciting trip to the US. Jet lagged and weary I slumped in front of the TV and switched on the news that showed pictures of East German workers celebrating the abundant supply of vegetables that had suddenly appeared in the shops. Finally, it would seem, the 5 year plan had worked.

    The next day, I read that West Germany had stopped importing agricultural produce from the East because of the high levels of radiation from Chernobyl.

    Andy

  7. I think the failure of progress and the promise of economic prosperity will drive a lot more people into collectivist thinking. Many younger adults (20s~30s) cannot consistently maintain the middle-class standard of living in which they were brought up in the 80s~90s, even though they did everything their teachers told them to do: stay away from drugs, get an education, get good grades, and work hard.

    Yet, despite all that, many find themselves living in cramped apartments living paycheck to paycheck in deteriorating cities. Social mobility is increasingly downward, but meanwhile you can observe the minority of younger people who have inherited millions because their parents got on the property ladder and made boatloads of money. Working for them is optional and they showcase their lifestyles on Instagram. They’re a sort of emerging aristocracy. Perfect teeth and skin, but also advocating for Universal Basic Income. “Let them eat cake!”

    The anger is justified, but the interest in collectivism just ends up with thuggish behaviors and riots, rather than foodbanks and genuine assistance for the poor. Some want a revolution, but it becomes another case of “it will be different this time, because I WILL BE IN CHARGE!”

  8. You read some crazy things sometimes ! Even a 15 year old teenager would do a better job for writing this kind of text.

    Yes, no more shopping, because you won’t be able to afford it, since all the shops have gone out of business for lack of customers.
    The author wants everyone to live like a king? With how many slaves to make all the technology required?
    The cities are congested so the solution is to stay in the city, of course… implicitly advocating for mass culling of people’s counts.
    “we lost way too many people before we realized we could do things differently”.
    And she could have been part of the unfortunate ones, but those de facto aren’t suffering any longer. What great utopia… Because robots are producing her food & underwear, right?
    “I just hope that nobody uses it against me”. You can’t make up stuff like this.

    Not sure what we need a pitchfork for, here: for hands-on training to city pets, or for some far less desirable use?
    All in all such a text is sure to make unanimity against it, or is it a diversion, and from what?

  9. Thanks JMG for giving voice to our concerns regarding the “Great” Reset. Is this fantasy itself not a perfect example of “end of empire” thinking (delusion)? After all, they’ll think of something.

  10. the age of surveillance capitalism; shoshana zuboff. from what i’ve read in her book so far, this future really began after 9/11 when big gov turned to google priests for more data and more analysis of our data. with over a decade of expert com sci priests mining this data for all sorts of useful information they are able to direct our behavior in ways that are working at the sub-conscious level. maybe a return to old school subliminal messaging? but even more insidious.

  11. John–

    Only tangentially related to the Great Reset, but certainly bearing on the notion of Progress, I spotted this in the Federal Register today:

    https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2020-11-25/pdf/2020-24486.pdf

    SUMMARY: In this document, the Federal Communications Commission (Commission or FCC) acts on its proposal to retarget universal service funding for mobile broadband and voice in the high-cost program to support the deployment of 5G services by establishing the 5G Fund for Rural America as a replacement for the Mobility Fund Phase II and adopting the basic framework for implementing the 5G Fund.

    Gotta have that 5G…

    I have to say, I’m glad our country is as diverse and disunified as it is, with our division of powers, system of limited government, and quasi-sovereign states. Even though it results in the grand and glorious mess we call the United States, it also makes implementing something like the Great Reset here all but impossible, no matter what the embubbled elites might be pushing.

    What are the chans saying about this nonsense?

  12. After I read your first paragraph, I assumed that the work you were referring to was some sort of dystopian novel. Apparently not. Huh. Odd.

    I wonder how many people still buy into the myth of progress. Well, maybe in China they do. After all, the standard of living in China has massively increased over the past 30 years or so. But it seems simply odd to believe it if you happen to live anywhere in Europe, and even more so in the United States.

  13. Interesting take – thanks for addressing this! I’m glad you don’t see it going too far. My take is that we are probably stuck living with this Great Reset agenda which will intensify, peak, and fade away over the next 10-15 years, perhaps aligning with the fading Plutonian influence. I don’t relish the next decade or so, but my hope is that if enough of us can keep our heads screwed on straight and find CONSTRUCTIVE ways to push back and create a countervailing current of sanity, the failure of the Great Reset could leave open space for human beings to thrive.

  14. Dear John Michael Greer,

    I have been a long time fan of yours but I am also a Star Trek fan. I am not going to lie, I think Star Trek is good fiction but only if you can simultaneously keep in your mind the notion that Star Trek is just that fiction. Juxtaposing that fictional world, with the realities of life has not been easy of late.

    The most ardent anti-communists were in fact once Soviet Communists. In that regard, I believe I can speak for Star Trek. It was a great fiction/fantasy back in its day and we should regard it as we regard HG Well’s novel The Time Machine. The Original Series that aired in the 1960s is a classic work of fiction. Likewise, The Next Generation, with Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard, is equally a classic. However it is the second iteration of Star Trek where we can most clearly see Star Trek’s cultural value.

    Anyone who has studied literature/theater of the past three-thousand years will have come across the didactic medieval plays that took place on the church steps. That is what Star Trek the Next Generation most clearly is. A morality play. It gives us a set of rules for how we should treat other people/other alien cultures/cultures here on Earth. The prime directive of Star Trek is “Though Shall’t not interfere in the development of other cultures.” This harkens back to the vision of Democracy in the United States during its early days. “Democracy may be good for us but it may not be good for you.” This line of reasoning has disappeared from all Star Trek discussions/series that have aired since September 11th, 2001. Thus as a life long Star Trek fan, that is when I stopped watching Star Trek.

    The USS Enterprise, as initially conceived, was meant to be Plato’s Republic. The Magical Holodeck was where Patrick Stewart introduced us to classic literature and Shakespeare. The alien worlds our beloved ship visited weren’t actual places, they were metaphors for the struggles humanity has faced throughout history. The new Star Trek churned out by the cooperate media these past twenty years is not Star Trek – It’s a play on Star Trek’s Plato Republic/Medieval didactic play aspect, to subvert our culture rather than entertain it.

    I’m a Star Trek fan. I am supposed to be weird and marginalized. I should not be accepted by the main stream masses. I remember Star Trek being wildly unpopular in the 1990s. Then that changed sometime these past fifteen years. I don’t recognize this Star Trek –

    The only other thing I’d like to note about Star Trek is that in the original lore of Star Trek, genetic engineering and all the gimmicks of progress were tried in the 21st century and they failed miserably. (Eugenic wars, society having to face the long decline.) The deus ex machina of the coming of Spock’s race, The Vulcans, is what snapped humanity up to travel the stars. If you want a Star Trek fan to actually face the future, just tell them the Vulcan’s, a race that is a metaphor for “Logic and reason”, aren’t coming to save humanity from itself.

    My personal belief is that interstellar travel is possible. Just not in a thousand years but maybe in a million years. (We already have a good space ship called planet Earth.) If an Einstein or a Newton comes along every 2000 years and we mange not to burn the library down…. hundreds of thousands of years seems about right. The bottom line is not tomorrow. Live life well and don’t be afraid to dream a little.

    Sincerely,

    Austin

  15. Yo JMG & Ecosophians,

    I had heard a bit about this, but haven’t investigated. Thanks for summing it up here so I don’t have to dig any further.

    I’m reminded again here of Cory Doctorow’s almost unreadable novel Walkaway. I know I’ve talked about it before, but… Here is a summary: “In a world of non-work, ruined by human-created climate change and pollution, and where people are under surveillance and ruled over by a mega-rich elite, Hubert, Etc, his friend Seth, and Natalie, decide that they have nothing to lose by turning their backs and walking away from the everyday world or “default reality”.

    With the advent of 3D printing – and especially the ability to use these to fabricate even better fabricators – and with machines that can search for and reprocess waste or discarded materials, they no longer have need of Default for the basic essentials of life, such as food, clothing and shelter.

    As more and more people choose to “walkaway”, the ruling elite do not take these social changes sitting down. They use the military, police and mercenaries to attack and disrupt the walkaways’ new settlements.

    One thing that the elite are especially interested in is scientific research that the walkaways are carrying out which could finally put an end to death – and all this leads to revolution and eventual war.”

    I really liked a couple of Doctorow’s novels, Big Brother and Homeland in particular. This one I thought was bad mostly for the 3-D printers making everything the so called Walkaways needed and the life-extension / immortality stuff. I know the life extension trope is common in SF. I could handle in Heinlein, but here it has amounted to a bit of shrieking from a kid who isn’t getting what he wants. Oh well.

    I did find it very ironic that the title of his book was adopted by a certain political movement. Always kind of wonder how he felt about that.

    ~~~In other news~~~ Here is my own recent effort to set phasers to de-lobotomize. This is something I wish to offer my fellows here in the spirit of inoculation before Black Friday hits, a piece of writing for all of you who don’t need anymore plastic knick knacks or whizbang miracle odor reducing chemical sprays. Instead I give you “Advertsarial Solutions”:

    We’ve all been there before. That awkward moment when you’re just about to log on to the computer matrix of modified reality, after a tiring day on the computer at work, only to find them there again, stalking you: the adverts. Averting your eyes avails nothing when all available frequencies are already in use. That’s why the research teams at Advertsarial Solutions have spent the past decade studying, redefining, and reinventing strategic sidesteps around the roadblock of corporate media. Most other ad blockers take a stance of subterfuge, attack and opposition to the advertisements we so often encounter in a media landscape that tripled the fat, and as of yet, still remains tasteless. We’ve taken another tack that takes the tacky and turns it on it’s head to make your mediated world fun and wacky. Advertsarial Solutions puts a dash of sartorial eloquence back into the signal exchange between the receiving mensch and the cylon’s at the top of the pyramid shtick.  

    Our inoculations are just like vitamins, but for the mental sheath surrounding your brain! 

    Not only does our proprietary psychic injection system hit your synapses without you even noticing, but it is fortified with a special blend of alchemical spores designed to recharge your vitality and protect you from overt, covert, revert, and preverted media massages in all six of the currently recognized parallel time streams. What’s more, it’s safe for children and babies, kids and pets; and what’s safe for kids and pets is something we can all understand, and furthermore, enjoy! So stop by your local apothecary for a new dispensation of Advertsarial Solution! Just add a few drops to your morning cereal and you’ll be on your way to a brighter today, tomorrow, and yesterday! That’s right, our recombinant minerals have been ionised with a chronoplastic treatment that goes backwards through the branches of the multiverse to protect the person you used to be from the harmful rays of advert radiation. Why not give it a try? 

    ~~and now for something completely indifferent~~

    The mad scientist gang at Sothis Medias research laboratories have been working to get this out before the holidaze, so for a limited time only, the Advertsarial Solutions spores have been added to a chemtrail mix by a company who wishes to remain anonymous.

    So as 2020 comes to to its inevitable conclusion you can safely ignore pretty much most of what the media is laughing at you. Instead why not try a holiday craft, go for a walk to nowhere in particular, and otherwise enjoy your time here on planet Earth without being subjected to someone elses time stream.

    ~~and in all earnestness I wish my fellow countrymen here in American a blessed and hope filled Thanksgiving.

  16. Very good.
    Communism will not come back yet capitalism has the problem of dwindling energy and other non-renewable resources. I don’t think capitalism can continue to work except for online business for a while.

    Do you think we’ll reform it to some kind of sustainable capitalism or will we have to create a new economic system for the era of scarcity industrialism?

  17. JMG,

    I don’t post often, but I’m still reading; thanks for all the insights. As it happens, I’m currently reading Neil Postman’s “Building a Bridge to the 18th Century,” in which he posits similar ideas about the religion of Progress. Sorry if you’ve already answered this at some point in the last 15 years, but what are some things to watch out for when a society loses its faith, and what do you see as the closest historical precedents?

  18. I notice that the True Believers in the religion of progress are as fundamentalist as ever. I noticed someone on facefrack saying that things were so much better… Gay rights, women’s rights, less racism etc. I responded by agreeing that those things were better but it was interesting that he ignored all the things that weren’t better. I got blocked for my trouble. The same person thinks that Kamala Harris is a goddess sent to save America and that Brexit must be stopped. And no, he’s not a simpleton, his views are very widespread amongst middle class, middle aged people in the UK. Funnily enough for all his love of the EU, he recently moved to the island of Jersey, outside the EU’s jurisdiction. It’s similar to all the Americans who said they would move to Canada over Trump, but of course, never did.

    As you said they respond with baffled rage when you question their Great God, and often use the block button too. I guess that under the rage, lies the unacknowledged fear that people like me might have a point… but they are not going to entertain it. Great article, pity Klaus Schwab won’t read it.

  19. I followed the link to Ms. Auken’s post and read it before reading your excellent discussion.

    I have to say my first thoughts were who is paying for all this? Who is manufacturing everything? Who is cleaning up Ms. Auken’s home for the business meeting because surely she does not wish to leave cereal crumbs or clothing laying around.

    And does Ms. Auken wash her laundry or does she drop off her corporate underwear for someone else to wash?

    She is delusional.

  20. Hi JMG,

    You give me great hope with the notion that the populist Right isn’t alone in resisting this global communist nightmare scenario, but where can I find examples of such? Every form of madness visited upon the American people this past year (Russian collusion conspiracy theories, BLM riots, Covid lockdowns, etc.) has, from what I’ve seen, been roundly embraced by everyone on the Left, and the majority of those in the center.

    Does the Left oppose the Great Reset–or do they just prefer that it is themselves, rather than the Davos crowd, who are perched at the apex of its power?

  21. After scanning Ida’s piece I can only say it was a good thing
    I wasn’t drinking any ginger ale as it would have gotten
    splattered all over the keyboard. How is living off the generosity
    of invisible strangers (or AI in her scenario) any better than
    just being dirt poor? Even dirt poor people have a few
    things they call their own. I like how she looks down her nose pityingly
    at the people who chose not to opt into this sterile regimented
    society.

    I think Ida’s going to be very disappointed to discover that
    2030 is going to look pretty much like 2020 only a lot shabbier
    and miserable. By then the myth of progress will be pretty much
    mummified and ready for burial.

    JLfromNH

  22. @ Kimberly Steele and flying cars

    Every time I have to drive anywhere, even to the supermarket, I watch car ballet on the roads. The surprise is always not how many car accidents there are. It is how few.

    Now put cars in three dimensions! Up and down as well as right, left, backwards, and forwards. Yeek.

    One thing about an accident on the road: you won’t be plummeting hundreds of feet down to meet the earth with a splat.

    Up in the air? It’s a long way down.

  23. John,

    Thank you for your insight. As usual, you get to the heart of issues, and help me to maintain a sense of reality in an increasingly erratic world.

  24. Marvellous. Just finished a paper on redemptive scientism, tracing the myth of salvific progress in the post-war era, and came to similar conclusions. One thing, though – isn’t the “doubling down” in the face of continuing slow collapse potentially dangerous?

    The worldview of immanent salvation through progress is as ubiquitous as it’s fragile, and when it becomes entirely implausible, couldn’t really violent reactions manifest?

  25. I have an article lying right next to me from a Norwegian magazine that was printed in march 1969 that aims to describe a familiy living in 1990. And some things are very similar to the piece written by Ida Auken. Everything inside the house, appliances, furniture, even the dividing walls are rented. Everything attach easily to standardised fixtures so if you want a different kitchen layout you just call the rental company and you swap out your kitchen in no time. And ofcourse you have your self driving cars and commuting to work in a supersonic airplane. Cooking is rarely done at home, everything is premade. And they predicted that the news would be presented with more emphasis on entertainment value and speed. They nailed that prediction atleast…………

  26. Great article and an important closing message.
    I have been reading about the Great Reset and its relation to the Covid events since Spring. This is the biggest collective fork in the road to occur during my lifetime thus far.
    I strongly recommend people read the WEF literature and the surrounding research about the big interests involved, and try to comprehend their vision of what ‘build back better’ means to them. It is a lot more than mentioned in this worthy introduction here.

  27. I didn’t read Ms. work of fiction, but I did come across the WEF’s “8 predictions for 2030” video. It opened with “You’ll own nothing… and you’ll be happy.” From that point onward I realized that these were threats, not predictions. “You’re gonna eat it and you’re gonna like it!”

    Regarding Star Trek, man I hate Star Trek. I didn’t know that, though, until a few years ago. When I was a kid Star Trek: The Next Generation was on every day after school, and, as a proper young nerd, watching it was the highlight of my day. Recently, though, I’ve tried to rewatch it and found it unbearable. The characters are bland and emotionless; they spend all day every day walking down featureless hallways in military uniforms calling each other “Sir” and “Commander”; every episode features at least one, and often more than one, staff meeting which are almost as boring as real life office staff meetings; and it usually ends with a sanctimonious lecture of the sort one now hears from corporate SJWs. “It’s Current Year, you Romulan, and that’s not Who We Are!” I honestly cannot figure out what was ever enjoyable about it.

  28. I am regularly stunned at how any governmental action to improve quality of life in the United States is interpreted as infringement on personal freedom. Do you truly believe people in countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, or Germany are not as free as you?

    Ida Auken is exercising her imagination in one direction, and I disagree with her. Many commenting here and in the United States at large, however, are just as mistaken in the other direction.

  29. “It made no sense for us to own cars anymore, because we could call a driverless vehicle…” I tell my friends who are all excited about autonomous cars/transportation as a service: “That’ll go out the window the first time your robotaxi shows up with someone else’s vomit on the seats.”

  30. The thing I noticed most about “The Great Reset” was that it implicitly views history as a computer programme that has a switch that you can press in order to reset it to an earlier version. It really demonstrates a quite impressively disconnected mode of thinking.

  31. I wonder if this is the driving force behind the lockdowns: “See? We still have progress! Look at all the things we can replace with the internet! People don’t want to use the internet for that? Well, too bad! We can make sure they have to use it!”

  32. Greetings from Europe!:-)

    My philosophy professor teaching at Charles University has maintained similar ideas about “progress” for decades. For example: to every generation of her students she would repeat what university used to be – starting with where the noble name came from (latin: in unum vertere) and some information about that the university used to be a safe, free ground where questions could have been asked freely. There were several periods in history, when that was not possible. And it has been changing quite rapidly in the last decade. She was able to teach through the communist era, but recently teaching philosophy is becoming difficult again; the same ideas that seemed to anger the communists seem to anger the younger “managers”. Unfortunately, they are unable to understand the most important ideas, which they usually just call nonsense. Fortunately, some students do understand and she is still popular among students; which is small, but not insignificant hope.

    With regards,
    Marketa

  33. And of course my obligatory Chesterton quote (feel free to delete post!):

    “Communism is the only complete and logical working model of Capitalism.
    The sins are there a system which are everywhere else a sort of repeated blunder.
    From the first, it is admitted, that the whole system was directed towards
    encouraging or driving the worker to spend his wages; to have nothing left on the next pay day;
    to enjoy everything and consume everything and efface everything;
    in short, to shudder at the thought of only one crime; the creative crime of thrift.
    It was a tame extravagance; a sort of disciplined dissipation; a meek and submissive prodigality.
    For the moment the slave left off drinking all his wages,
    the moment he began to hoard or hide any property,
    he would be saving up something which might ultimately purchase his liberty.
    He might begin to count for something in the State; that is,
    he might become less of a slave and more of a citizen. Morally considered,
    there has been nothing quite so unspeakably mean as this Bolshevist generosity.”

  34. A further thought. To me, the most important question is not so much “will the Great Reset ultimately succeed?” – its ultimate failure is pretty much baked into the cake, as you have pointed out – but rather “what will I and my loved ones have to contend with while the elites are TRYING to implement this?” We are already living with dramatic curtailments to basic civil liberties under what I consider to be essentially medical martial law due to the coronavirus measures. I’m interested in how you see the next 10-15 years playing out in the face of this agenda, even if it is ultimately a flop. I imagine it will vary a lot by country and region.

  35. On the topic of Star Trek: I was born some 30 years post Star Trek, and recently watched the original series for the first time, and found it breathtakingly funny: it’s so absurd, poorly written and acted; however realizing just how much of modern “cutting edge” ideas on the future trace back to that show also made me want to weep….

    I also can’t help but wonder if we’re about to see a major re-balancing of power as the backlash against the internet continues to build. It seems to me that for a lot of people this is the last bastion of Progress and once the dream that the internet will just keep growing forever fails, I expect it to take progress in general with it. Of course, I’m fully expecting a lot of people to refuse to admit we passed peak internet even once that’s abundantly clear…..

  36. Linnea, I do believe the reason many Americans are skeptical of such things is because of those who rule over us, or believe it their right to do so. I don’t trust the good intentions of our ruling elite and their professional managerial servants, not as it pertains to me and mine. They’ve made it clear they don’t like us all that much and I’m not one to comply with a hostile authority easily. Call me wary.

  37. As an Eastern European I wonder how well will the “Bloodlands” will go with this Great Reset given their rather recent experience of epic failure with variations of the “kolkhoz” ideas. What do you think will this Great Reset face some resistance in this part of the world?

  38. In some ways, the future is already here. I have noticed since I moved back to a rural life that my friends who live in the city have become harder and harder to talk to about the future. They seem to live in a completely different mental world and wonder how I could possibly be happy in hicksville. As you have noted JMG urban folk seem to become detached from the things that sustain their daily life and are wrapped in layers and layers of abstraction. Its almost as if they are not subjects anymore but are being programmed, as all their opinions are merely those of the news media, word for word. Its usually far more interesting to talk to a drifter or loner living in the woods than a high powered corporate. The former seems to get at the truth, and some of the best conversations I’ve ever had were talking to the homeless people my friends encountered on a drive across the USA. There seems to be an inverse relationship between power and freedom of thought. The least powerful are the most free. (Also extends to other things, like transport. Nothing more free than walking everywhere. Nothing more totalitarian than air travel.)

  39. Danaone, welcome to the USSA. 😉 All these are common features of sclerotic, overcentralized imperial states in decline.

    Kimberly, flying cars are another great example of the fossilization of the progressive fantasy. People have been daydreaming about flying cars since not long after the Wright Brothers. I did a post last year that included a history of the flying car — quite a few of them have been built and tested, you know — and a discussion of the bizarre amnesia that keeps people fixated on that century-old fantasy even though flying cars have repeatedly been built and tested, and always — for reasons solidly rooted in the laws of physics — always turn out to be duds.

    Elizabeth, congratulations on your escape! By all means check out Alaska; I’ve never been there but I’ve heard it’s gorgeous, and they still have some individuals up that way.

    A Reader, it’s a source of wry amusement to me that although The Saker and I come to these discussions from such radically different viewpoints, we end up saying many of the same things.

    Sea Spray, good heavens. I had no idea. (This will doubtless tell you how connected I am to current media culture.) Did its ratings tank?

    Andy, too funny. Yes, that sounds about right…

    Geoff, it’ll result in support for collectivism only if the people who oppose collectivism fail to communicate with those younger adults. It’s precisely because our society is economically and politically overcentralized that there are so few opportunities for so many people, and so much wealth concentrated in the hands of a pampered few. That’s an easy case to make, and if people who are concerned about the future get out there and communicate it, we could see something much more constructive coming out of the justified anger and dissatisfaction of young people who have been promised a glorious future are are getting crap on toast instead.

    Neaj-Neiviv, it could well be a diversion, but enough people are taking it seriously that making fun of it strikes me as a very good idea. In the meantime, it’s useful as a way to cut the ground out from under what remains of the religion of progress.

    Marc, good! Yes, it’s exactly the sort of thing you’d expect to see from a society on the brink of rapid decline.

    Blackoak, the interesting thing is that they’ve been trying that in various ways since the 1920s, with very mixed results at best, and improving the technology doesn’t seem to help much. There’s a basic cussedness hardwired into the human individual that frustrates all such gimmicks.

    David BTL, if I understand correctly, 5G has a much shorter range than earlier versions, so it will be vastly more expensive to provide universal coverage. I wonder if this is a euphemistic way to begin letting rural areas lose cell service…

    Irena, here in the US it’s a religious faith. You’d think that more people would see past it, but it’s stuck sideways in the collective imagination, at least for the time being.

    Curtis, I don’t think you’re wrong. For the next decade or two, the clueless rich and their flunkeys in the media will doubtless be pushing the Great Reset, first in the ringing tones of premature triumphalism, and then in the increasingly plaintive tones of those who don’t understand why they’re losing, until it gets dropped like a hot rock like all the other failed waves of the future.

    Austin, as 1960s science fiction, Star Trek is great. It’s no more relevant to the real world than most 1960s science fiction, of course, but then as you quite sensibly point out, it’s (ahem) fiction. It’s the weird way that so many people treat Star Trek as the actual future we’re actually going to get, and flee into a dilithium-powered fantasy when faced by the awkward features of the real world, that I meant to critique.

    Justin, it sounds as though Doctorow just missed the boat; he got the political dimension but is still trapped in what I’ll term the Gizmocentric Delusion, the notion that technological progress will repeal the limits of the human condition. As for your Advertsarial Solution, good; I’ll suggest, as an accompaniment, Ned Ludd’s famous magic spell, which consists of turning off the wretched machine and doing something else with your time.

    Tony, capitalism as such is unsustainable once economic contraction begins in earnest; once investments on average lose money rather than making money, the entire structure of capitalism unravels. I discussed this in my book The Wealth of Nature, but since that’s out of print, I should probably talk about it again sometime soon.

    Brian, I’ll have to put that Postman book on the get-to list. As for parallels, the collapse of the Soviet bloc is of course the most recent example, and probably the best documented. Watch for talk about the glorious future of progress to become more shrill and more omnipresent in the official media; watch for progress becoming a subject for wry and bitter jokes; watch for a spreading silence as people stop doing anything more than going through the motions. I’d tell you to watch for the ruling elite to become increasingly geriatric, but of course here in the US we’ve already got that…

    Bridge, of course! They know they’re wrong; they know that the wonderful future of progress is already fading in the rear-view mirror; that’s why they’re constantly talking about how this and that and the other thing are getting better…because they’re trying to convince themselves that their beliefs aren’t founded on empty air, and failing. That’s also why the block button is so essential to them. The last thing they can handle is a voice reminding them of what they know is true.

    Teresa, I ain’t arguing!

    Balowulf, depends on which Left you talk about. It’s a very diverse movement, and now that it no longer has its collective hatred of the Bad Orange Man to give it a semblance of unity, expect to see the cracks widen into chasms. If you recognize that many people on the Left want the same things you do, and just have different ideas of how to achieve it, the opportunity to communicate to them and even forge alliances of convenience is open.

    JL, oh, in all probability Auken will never notice that 2030 is shabbier and more miserable than 2020. She’ll be nicely sheltered from all that — I expect to see the privileged classes flee from the ongoing decline into ever more isolated enclaves, so they can maintain their delusions as long as possible.

    Oldguy, you’re most welcome.

    Johan, of course. When the myth of progress finally implodes, I expect to see some serious craziness on all sides — the remaining true believers doubling down in self-destructive ways, and those who have just shaken themselves out of the myth rejecting the results of progress in violent and unproductive ways. (When your paper is published, btw, I’d love to see it!)

    Magne, good heavens — you’re right. I saw similar things in the 1960s and 1970s in the US. I wonder if I can find some good examples; it would make fine raw material to point out just how outdated the Great Reset actually is.

    Anonymous, in the glorious Resettist Union, you should feel honored to wear your neighbor’s dirty underwear!

    Mog, of course. I focused on an immediate target.

    Steve, I grew up with the original series, and stopped watching TV long before the new ones started to be churned out. I didn’t think I was missing anything, but it’s glad to have that confirmed.

    Linnea, I was wondering when the trolls were going to show up, but I wasn’t expecting so blatant an attempt at derailing as the opening move! We’re not talking about Australia, New Zealand, Canada, or Germany; we’re talking about a particular fauxtopia proposed by Ida Auken which is being pushed heavily by the World Economic Forum and other corporate front groups, and discussing its totalitarian features. The Soviet Unioin also clamed to be improving the quality of life, by the way. Do you happen to remember how that turned out?

    RPC, ha! Yes, I would imagine so.

    Phil, a very good point.

    Anonymous, you know, that’s possible.

    Marketa, your philosophy professor is a very smart woman. I hope more people listen to her.

    RPC, thanks for this. What’s the source?

    Greg, thanks for this! I’m delighted to have inspired something constructive.

    RPC, Druids are sneaky. 😉

    Curtis, I’ll put some thought into that. It’s been a while since I’ve done any online future fiction.

    Anonymous, I bet. I thought it was pretty dorky when I watched the reruns in my teen years; if I had the spare time to waste watching it now, I’d probably find it astonishingly stupid. As for the internet, you may well be right about that.

    Eduardflo, yes, and then some. If the EU thinks it has problems with populism in eastern Europe now, just wait until they try to implement the Great Reset there…

    Pumpkinscone, of course. One of the things that makes the Great Reset so lame is that it simply takes bad habits already in place, and extends them to the point of absurdity.

  40. Firstly I have never seen Star Wars or Star Trek and don’t even know if they are 2 different things. I don’t do science fiction or fantasy. I have read a few when my son was interested in them to be able to talk about them but no more.
    What is it with flying cars and drones? I will be pretty annoyed if one falls on me or mine or my house. When you think how hard it is to train for a pilot’s licence how can we all just drive flying cars? I can see hovercraft type vehicles as a means of avoiding road maintenance but at what cost?
    As for living collectively, the beauty of living in a free country is that you can. Why not buy a crumbling building and together revamp it into comfortable living quarters. 10 can do some things more easily than 1 can. I get on well with my neighbours. We chat from time to time, have a drink together about 3 times a year and do lunch about once every 3 years. Works for me and apparently for them.
    All too often we wait for someone to show us the way or give us permission to do those things we believe we want to do. Give it a go by all means but please count me out. I am fairly happy with my life and I want you to be happy with yours but don’t assume they are the same thing.

  41. As Rod Dreher has been warning for years, the danger in the 21st Century is what he calls “soft totalitarianism” that more resembles Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” than George Orwell’s “1984”.

    On the other hand, if the Internet of 2030 is back in the dial-up era as you have been stating since 2015, there isn’t as much to worry about (apart from how younger generations will cope). Since 2015, I have certainly noticed how the internet has become more ad-ridden, more commercialized, less creative, more surveiled and so on.

    OTOH, a lot of people, include Vox’s Matthew Yglesias, are returning to blogs. Over the past month, Yglesias has become the latest journalistic dissident against what he sees as the young, educated, credentialed bubble that dominates journalism.

  42. I remember Star Trek and its offshoots somewhat differently. Beneath the veneer of the U.S.s enterprise as peaceful and benevolent, with the various other “civilizations” as war mongering and malevolent, there was the constant thought that these were two empires going after needed resources that were becoming unceasingly less available within their own parts of the universe, including dilithium and what ever else was needed to continue with their perpetual progress. Thereby was needed [military] outposts across the galaxy (around the Earth) to insure compliance (called ‘respect’) with whatever group these lesser worlds were to commit fealty.
    And personal freedoms, garnered at great personal and social expense by many and previous generations, are now taken for granted in our individualized “societies”; but are too quickly being suppressed by whatever elite groups happen to be in charge in each and several manifestations of “civilization”.
    As one of multiple contradictory convictions, like democracy as necessary; as an anarcho- syndicalist ; as one who knows that we are first and foremost social creatures (with many others to rely on and who rely on us); I often find that others of various civilizations have much to teach us if only we would begin to remove the blinkered ‘outcomes’ that we hold so dear. I do hold, as best I can, to the teaching of many North American Indigenous peoples, that we are given a gift of life (not just human) and our obligation is to preserve what we have to to enable life for seven more generations.

  43. I wonder if the lockdown thing goes deeper than just wanting to make sure other people use the internet: I can’t help but note that a lot of people gripe about how much they hate using zoom for their social life, for example. I wonder if people have noticed how much their lives suck due to the technogizmos and reacted by making sure they can’t change it: the lockdowns and panic at doing anything offline are the only they can justify why they stick with their technogizmotic life…..

  44. Teresa, thank you. Precisely! I’m still locked in to a bad faith arrangement where I drive to work every day and to my parent’s house once or twice a week. I consider myself lucky to still be in one piece when I park the car for the night.

    I’m so vain I think this essay is about me, or at least I will take the opportunity to quote my own essay A Bridge Over Fear. https://kimberlysteele.dreamwidth.org/14295.html

    In the essay I mention the movie Vivarium, a sci-fi horror film which tells the tale of a young couple tricked into posh, senile, suburban serfdom:

    “There is an odd acknowledgement that suburban life is a living hell. In the film Vivarium, a young married couple visit a new construction housing complex with thoughts of a potential purchase. They find themselves stranded in a bland, sunny subdivision called Yonder where all of the IKEA-ish houses are one of two or three models, one of which sports a plaque: Number 9. Quickly learning they are imprisoned in the subdivision, they journey down its eerily empty streets that stretch into infinity. They set fire to Number 9 and do everything possible to escape, all of which is in vain. A package arrives with a baby in it, which the couple reluctantly adopts. Months drag by and the child grows freakishly fast. The young couple, deprived of other people outside of their alien, energy-draining child, quickly grow apart. The husband becomes obsessed with digging a hole in the astroturfed backyard as the wife’s life becomes hopeless, child-centered, automatic drudgery. I won’t give away any spoilers save that the film does not end well.”

    In Vivarium, the couple live in a perfect suburban pre-fab subdivision, their every need taken care of via mysterious boxes that show up on the doorstep, including a box that contains a human (looking) infant whom they end up raising to adulthood. In return, they live under constant surveillance as they go crazy from lack of freedom and meaningful connection with others. I have yet to see a more perfect metaphor for the Faustian bargain that is the salary class’s agreement than Vivarium. The salary class dweller thinks she wants fully automated luxury communism a la Vivarium but she hasn’t thought it through. She has yet to consider that most people don’t want that kind of life.

    If Biden gets his coronation, I think we may be in for a few years more of recession and potentially a second Great Depression. Globalist forces that beg for luxury communism are already hated; expect that hatred to metastasize. The Ida Aukens of the world will inch ever so much closer to being separated from their heads in the most graphic sense. I quote my own essay again:

    “The salary class, as vacuous and detached as the in-dwellers of Versaille in the latter half of the 18th century, has failed to understand the fragility of its bubble. They have already popped much of the frothy economy that dropped a yoga studio on every corner and towns with 13 car dealerships within the same five mile radius. Just as Louis XVI didn’t connect the dots between his own attitudes towards the peasantry with the ill will that separated his head from his body at the guillotine, the salary class cannot comprehend that what’s good for them is not benefiting the lower working classes. The salary classite believes that since she can stay home watching Netflix, so can every else. Let ’em eat cake! The idea that she herself could end up disenfranchised or homeless due to her own disastrous cluelessness doesn’t occur to her, because up until now, there was no limit to the amount she could screw up and have someone (family, friends, government) come in and fix it for her. Now that the salary class and its COVID lockdowns have messed up the economy royally, she does not understand that she is next. She has thrown entrepreneurs like me under the bus and does not see how close the wheels are skidding towards her own well-heeled feet.” 

    I wish there was a slower, gentler way for the whole construct to collapse. Ida Auken, in her supreme vacuousness, hasn’t realized it was a house of cards to begin with.

  45. I tried to read Auken’s text, but couldn’t proceed beyond ”then clean energy became free …” in the third paragraph. I’ll have a beer or two and try again if I can muster the courage.

  46. JMG, the Chesterton quote is from an essay titled “Sex and Property” which is collected in the book “The Well and the Shallows.” I believe it was originally a newspaper column. (If you look at the quality of discourse carried in newspapers a century ago by writers like Chesterton, H. G. Wells, and G. B. Shaw, you realize pretty quickly exactly how much progress we’ve made!)

  47. The Great Reset is communism 2.0?

    Star Trek always did have a communist undertone. I think it’s fair to say this sort of thing wouldn’t be happening under Picard’s watch! 😉

    I’ve adapted John Kenneth Galbraith’s quote “Under capitalism man exploits man, under communism it’s just the reverse.” To “Under capitalism the people who control the means of production control the state, under communism it’s just the reverse.”

    Admittedly this does add a bit of substance to the idea that late stage capitalism can be indistinguishable from communism or, if you like “socialism for the rich capitalism for the poor.” As that seems to be the general way it works out.

    It’s interesting but the great reset I’ve been familiar with was the currency reset that was likely to happen when the US fiat currency collapses. It’s been something that I’ve seen for a few years mainly tied to the Austrian school of economics true believers. A.k.a. Libertarians. The theory goes (or seems to) once the bad debt finally clears the system, the zombie banks/companies fail, and the currency is replaced by a new sound money (silver/gold) then we will finally be able to start growing again and everything will be great! I largely agree with a sound currency and a reduction in debt, I get off the train at the return to growth. No accounting for depletion that I’ve seen…

    My personal utopia tends to the anarchistic, more of the mutual aid type than the criminal/firebombs type. Though admittedly that has its flaws. The best explanation was from the Cossacks “You can do anything you want, though you would be responsible for that.” The best criticism was yours “what do you do when someone decides not to play nice?”

  48. @JMG & crew: Yeah, I suppose I could have been a bit more charitable with Doctorow’s book, as I really wanted to like it because of the political things he was getting right (in my mind). But I guess I find gizmocentric (gnarly word btw!) fiction not all that interesting anymore.

    The gizmocentricity is something I have to deal with myself too, so perhaps I was projecting a bit on Doctorow. Hanging out in radio circles, some folks get really, how shall I say it, Technocratic? Of course I love radio and telecommunications, but I think it can be done with equipment we already have and don’t need to keep trying to “innovate”. As you’ve pointed out before, most of the innovations are simply extrapolations off of tech that is already well understood. Anyway, hams can do some neat things with their digital tools, but they could go back a couple decades into the past and accomplish much of the same things. And do some more interesting things because they aren’t getting blindsided by the new iterations, but instead are working on interesting recombinants of the existing communications tech at a lower level.

    The Limitations will actually create more interesting combinations of things as we move into (eventually) the age of synthesis. The progress narrative also seems to be tied in with a belief in infinite resources. So as the collective comes to grips with not living in a linear history moving from Alpha to Omega but in a a spiral of historical waveform cycles, we can use the power of limits to create not new but different combinations out of that which already exists. In this sense let us all keep dumpster diving from the history of the world, and repurpose that which can be used properly and profitably.

  49. Ms. Auken’s vision reminds me of a feature in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, the German New York Times, if you will, about feeding the world in the future. Because, with growing populations and depleting soils, something must be done, right?
    They explained 6 ideas that qualified for their idea of the 21st century: Eating bugs, in-vitro meat, and automated, vertical, indoor farming were among them, but guess what was missing?
    Gardens. Not one word was used on the possibility that people might just get bored with lawn (and industrial food) and start growing their own again. That they might turn to soil-improving methods and away from agro industry. Not a peep.

    It’s fascinating how that school of thought retains its position of power.

  50. I think the fact that people pin their hopes on the EU becoming the Davos people’s tamed dog and going full retard on globalism is very telling. I guess this is spin on the “landmark integration” that was achieved during with the corona-bailout. There was even some noise in the financial markets about this, whispers of a new glorious era for the Euro. But the thing is that given the circumstances, it was quite a weak response, coming on the heels of the death of free movement and acts of outright piracy perpetrated between national governments (“these medical supplies belong to France now”). Basically the EU is a Biden on the geopolitical stage, held together with duct tape and heavy medication, and still stumbling over the teleprompter. There is little enthusiasm for globalist utopianism, and in many European countries, the middle class is relatively healthy due to social insurance schemes, a more reasonable physical geography and lower inequality (not utopian by any means, but in comparison with the US).

    It’a also great as a study in diminishing returns. Given current technological suites and available net energy, people find it convenient to “rent” their music and film collections, perhaps also renting out their apartment on airbnb over the summer holiday or having a membership in a carpooling service. Maybe renting power tools a couple of times over the course of a year. For anything used reasonably often though, even given perfectly functioning apps and a unlimited supply of clean energy (…), ownership would still be preferable for most things. The fact that she has to resort to the deus ex machina of “everything is free now” to sell her wares is telling. Like much ”tech” nowadays it seems like a solution looking for a problem, it’s fans being motivated more by religious sentiment than real enthusiasm for what it does.

    Compare this with fanatical intellectuals selling the starving masses material comforts previously enjoyed by the czars. Now you have a sclerotic bureaucracy selling the petty burgeoisie an inconvenient service. “Alas, the time is coming when man will no longer give birth to a star”. For good, I do not envy those who had to endure the Soviet terrors.

  51. For the people who are planning on benefiting from a “great reset” it is not only an issue of ideology or progress but a natural progression in the financial subjugation of the masses. In the late 70’s the increase in the real wages of the American worker began to slow down making it hard to grow the economy and the fortunes of those who owned much of the capital. The Reagan administration kicked off a new era where an increase “in the standard of living” was fueled by borrowing from the future in the form of people taking on more debt. We have now hit the stage where most everyone is maxed out on debt. Luckily the financial overlords learned that peons who were maxed out on their car loans, student loans, mortgages and credit cards could still maintain a netflix account, or rent an escooter even though they could not get a new car loan. So wallah!, we have a reset, keep the debt in place pretending it is good, and siphon off the remainder of the serfs money with various rental and pay-to-exist schemes. But I think such last ditch efforts will go badly.

  52. I’m very glad to see this post. I first became aware of the Great Reset nearly a month ago and have been following the story pretty closely since then. What concerns me most about it is the source: the Davos/WEF group, which is comprised of most of the world’s billionaire oligarchs and their highly paid and privileged mercenaries across all fields of endeavor. These are the people running the show, calling the shots the world over.

    Their agenda is profoundly sinister and totalitarian, all couched in the most glowing, humanistic language and imagery. The Great Reset appears to also have ties to the UN 2030 Sustainable Development agenda and is all part of the globalist/one world government mindset…these people have zero allegiance to any nation. They believe in what the WEF’s founder Klaus Schwab calls Stakeholder Capitalism. The problem is, despite their PR to the contrary, they’re the only stakeholders. No one else matters…just there to be used up and disposed of as they see fit. Population reduction is part of the scheme.

    Astonishingly, much of their agenda is in plain view, albeit with the relentless warm fuzzy humanist spin. I encourage folks to look in to this, check out the WEF website…look in to the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development goals. Surely ‘sustainable development’ is one of the titanic oxymorons of our era.

    As you say, the looming totalitarianism of the present time is It “a very familiar landscape of ideas to anyone who knows modern history.” Unfortunately, that’s almost no one nowadays! Hence my grave apprehensions about the coming decade. Welcome to the Panopticon. I know that’s darkly cynical and distinctly unhopeful but, hey, that’s just how I am sometimes.

  53. I think you picked the wrong target this time. To my eyes the Auken piece is pretty clearly satire, which is why the original title was so provocative and the penultimate paragraph is so chilling. The WEF discussion she links to in the piece is summarized as follows: “What if data privacy becomes a luxury that only the wealthy can afford?” Not exactly an endorsement of the future she sketches. And Auken used to lecture in the theological department of the University of Copenhagen, so I suspect she knows her way around a faux-religious ideology well enough to lampoon it.

    Your thought experiment, though, reminds me of Ivan Illich’s warnings about the Club of Rome half a century ago. In 1973, the year after Limits to Growth was published, he wrote Tools For Conviviality, in which his main concern was that as the horrors of ecological limits drew near, people would be all too willing to submit to various forms of eco-technocratic-fascism in order to avert collapse. (Well, we all know how that turned out). His book is still a terrific starting point for a new philosophy of technology, in which he imagines democratically designed limits to technological development as a safeguard to basic liberties and human dignity. Well worth the read, for any of the commentariat who wish to check it out.

  54. My dad was a huge fan of star trek. He’d make us kids sit down and watch it with him. He was a devout beliver in the religion of progress. I have a forgiving attitude twords these belivers – well the believers of 50 years ago, People saw amazing technical progress and prior to about 1973 there was scardely a hint in the media that it wouldn’t continue. I do miss the confidence that most people had in that era.. As you’ve frequently pointed out, the “alternative” view is all too often apocalyptic. Though I don’t go along with eiter extreme I find I prefer the company of believers.

  55. I just realized Ms. Auken refuses to live her own stated beliefs the minute they become uncomfortable.

    If I read you correctly, she titled the piece “Welcome to 2030. I own nothing, I have no privacy, and life has never been better.”

    Yet, when the world came calling and infringed on her privacy, she changed the title of her essay to avoid public contempt.

    Am I reading this correctly?

  56. @JMG: “Irena, here in the US it’s a religious faith. You’d think that more people would see past it, but it’s stuck sideways in the collective imagination, at least for the time being.”

    Clearly, it’s a religious faith for the chattering classes. But do you think that’s the case for, oh, I don’t know, your plumber, your barista, your mail delivery guy, etc.? It’s an honest question. I simply don’t know.

  57. Hi all,

    Two comments. First, from Ms. Auken’s story: “Then, when clean energy became free, things started to move quickly.” I wonder what is meant by clean energy? The only two mythological forms of that particular dream that I think she might mean are atomic fusion and the vague ‘renewables’ that we hear so much about. Both of those aren’t really viable at grid scale for various reasons however, and the simple act of saying “once clean energy became free” seems like a hand wave to get the reader to stop thinking about energy problems and swallow the rest of the proposal. But when one considers energy, this proposal becomes even more laughable.

    Regarding space travel, for some reason there seems to be this libretarian or at least liberal fantasy about it. That space will be an endless frontier where people can go off an live free lives. Both Star Trek and the various government subsidized ‘private’ space ventures today peddle that idea. I think it’s telling that the first society to take rockets and space flight seriously was Nazi Germany and taht the US space effort was built by former SS officers. It’s not easy living a libretarian fantasy when your air supply is controlled by an external authority but that arrangement is very suited to a totalitarian society.

    Regards,
    John

  58. We can’t possibly mention George Bernard Shaw and framing terrible ideas in a better light without recourse to the sublime Oscar Wilde sketch by Monty Python:

    https://youtu.be/uycsfu4574w

    I had only vaguely heard of the Great Reset until Klaus Schwab talked about it recently. My immediate reaction, though, was that he was quite clearly trying to sell the world Soviet-style communism. How can anyone fall for this when the USSR only collapsed 30 years ago?

  59. Also, why do they have business meetings when everything is free anyway?

    This is so dumb I wanna puke…

  60. The “flag” of the Resettist Union will be unwashed underwear attached to a flagpole, proudly fapping—oops, flapping—in the wind…

    I thought Next Generation was a lot more communist than the original—I seem to remember Picard explaining to somebody that they’ve moved beyond money, they worked for the joy of it. I bet this came as interesting news to the Guatemalan who cleaned the Enterprise’s toilets.

    Only George R.R. Martin can get away with meetings. Next Generation writers shouldn’t have even tried.

  61. I love the images and their captions. It seems that the guy who wrote this essay had to temper himself and at least pretend he takes this nonsense serious, but in reality most of the writing time was consumed wiping tears of laughter out of his eyes. Oh wait, I’m projecting…

    While reading that little piece of fantasy fiction you have linked, I had so many thoughts on why this can’t work and what will happen if you try this and so on… but then – “Like Nevada, but with less air.” I’m still laughing tears and it’s hard to find proper words of gratitude for this little sentence and image. If you think about it, that image says truly everything.

    But now, since I’m on the arc back to seriousness, the words you said last week on dreamwidth about “the good folk” and “the kind ones” come to my mind. I think those words provide an excellent advice in this situation, too. And I admit, a part of me is truly scared about all this.

    Greetings,
    Nachtgurke

  62. I just wiped away my tears and started to calm down a little bit and then this… “The “flag” of the Resettist Union will be unwashed underwear attached to a flagpole, proudly fapping—oops, flapping—in the wind…

    I thought Next Generation was a lot more communist than the original—I seem to remember Picard explaining to somebody that they’ve moved beyond money, they worked for the joy of it. I bet this came as interesting news to the Guatemalan who cleaned the Enterprise’s toilets.

    Only George R.R. Martin can get away with meetings. Next Generation writers shouldn’t have even tried.”

    Oh my god, this is just too much…

    Nachtgurke

  63. Oh, btw, nice touch with the Nevada desert! I’ve been saying for years that anyone who wants to start a colony on the Moon or on Mars or anywhere else not-on-Earth should first build a prototype in the Gobi Desert and keep it in operation (with humans and all) for at least a year. It’s a much easier task, of course, but it’ll do as a first baby step. Well, maybe I’m uninformed, but so far, the baby step doesn’t seem to have materialized. I wonder why.

  64. Suppose big ideas for how to change the world regressed further. If these are the ideas of the 1920s now, what 19th century ideas might reappear in future?

  65. JillN, exactly! If people want to live in a commune, more power to ’em; let them go out there and do what the Shakers and all those other 19th-century commune founders did, and live their dream. It’s the attempt to force everyone else to live in one rigidly defined way that’s the problem.

    Aidan, thank you for posting something substantive. Be aware that my patience with the other sort of low-effort post is not unlimited…

    Bruce, I figured out early on that the Star Trek universe is a transparent pastiche of 1960s Earth, with the Federation as the United States, the Klingons as the Soviet Union, the Romulans as the Chinese, the Vulcans as the Japanese (note the eyebrows, which stand in for “slanted” eyes — a neat dog whistle, that) and Kirk as a fantasy General Westmoreland who always successfully pacified his extraterrestrial Vietnams. Then, if I understand correctly, once the Soviet Union fell the Klingons became allies of the Federation, blah blah blah…

    Anonymous, that makes sense. The whole point of Obamacare was to force people who were choosing not to use mainstream medicine to pay for it anyway; it wouldn’t surprise me to see the same gimmick in use more widely.

    Tommy, treat it as humor and it’s much easier. I bet it would be entertaining to read it after you breathe some helium. 😉

    RPC, thanks for this! I’ll check it out.

    Drakonus, your rewrite of Galbraith works — thank you for that. As for Cossack-style anarchy, they had a straightforward response to that: if someone doesn’t play nice, the swords come out and somebody or other gets chopped to bloody gobbets. I prefer a more decorous way of settling disputes, which is why I favor representative democracy with a strong constitution.

    Justin, I’ll know the millennium is at hand when “Back to boatanchors!” becomes the watchword of the ham community. 😉

    Eike, well, of course! Because it’s all about control, ultimately, not about feeding people.

    Leverkuhn, that may be the best one-line description of the EU I’ve yet seen. I recall W.B. Yeats prophetic words: “What discords will drive Europe to that artificial unity — only dry or drying sticks can be tied into a bundle — which is the decadence of every civilisation?”

    Clay, of course. No, it’s not going to turn out well at all.

    Jim, that’s why it’s so important to share history with people these days. It seems to help.

    Dylan, you might want to contact the World Economic Forum and tell them that Auken’s screed is satire. They don’t appear to have noticed.

    Christopher, I find both sides equally tiresome these days — it’s like having to choose between the humorless end of the Southern Baptists and the humorless end of the American Atheist Association.

    Teresa, of course. The end of privacy is exclusively for us peons.

    Irena, that’s the sad thing. A lot of plumbers and baristas and mail carriers really do believe in it. When they lose faith, that’s going to mark a tectonic shift of tremendous proportions.

    John, two excellent points. “When clean energy became free” is like that famous cartoon:

    And of course you’re also right about space. In space no one can hear you protest…

    Hereward, thank you! Seriously funny.

    Sven, an excellent point!

    Your Kittenship, they’ve moved beyond money, and work for the joy of it? Oh dear gods, they’re channeling Charles Fourier and they don’t even know it.

    Ahem.

    General question for all readers:

    Do you all already know about Charles Fourier, or do I need to do a post explaining that the guy who invented socialism believed — as in, seriously believed — that the oceans would turn to lemonade once his political theories were adopted? Inquiring Druids want to know…

    Nachtgurke, no, you weren’t projecting!

    Irena, you’re most welcome. That’s been my thought also. It would be easier to establish a self-sustaining community in the middle of Antarctica, or on top of Nanga Parbat in the Himalayas, or at the bottom of the Marianas Trench, than it would be to establish such a community on Mars. No, nobody’s likely to do any of those things…

    Aethon, I’ve been thinking about the same thing. It occurs to me that I may want to have a contest next week…

  66. This seems like a good time to recommend a visionary bit of science fiction from 1909: “The Machine Stops”, by E. M. Forster. You can read it here:

    http://www.visbox.com/prajlich/forster.html

    (spoiler alert: Forster put the spoiler in the title! What’s up with that?) The “machine” in question may actually be the one that provides everything Ms. Auken desires.

  67. @teresa from Hershey said “I have to say my first thoughts were who is paying for all this? Who is manufacturing everything? Who is cleaning up Ms. Auken’s home for the business meeting because surely she does not wish to leave cereal crumbs or clothing laying around.”

    This is always my first thought. The fact that in The Future everything is always newly manufactured, and it is never even considered that anything could or should – or generally even needs to as a matter of course – be reused, repaired, maintained or cleaned by human hands. We at least usually get treated to long explanations about how it is that no human will be needed to build things, cook the food anymore or grow it… heck, nothing living will be needed to grow the food: meat will grow in a dish, and vegetables on water and added nutrients hydroponically.

    “And Morgan le Fay, priestess of the sea and half-sister of the king, sat in her palace in the island valley of Avalon and watched in the magic well the things to come unfolding. And she saw her brother the king betrayed by his faithless queen; and the wise Merlin led by the young witch Vivien; and all the evil that comes to lands and men when the sacred hearth-fires die untended.” (Dion Fortune’s The Sea Priestess ).

  68. @ Irene and JMG

    I live in the middle of America’s flyover country and I don’t personally know any one in the chatter classes. I know lots of believers in the faith of progress. It use to be 20-15 years ago almost everybody. Even now it is a good healthy 40% of people I know. For some it is American optimism for others it is too much Star Trek for others just they personally have had a good 10-15 years. It is pretty real. I get crazy push back when I try to mention renewables are all they are cracked up to be.

  69. Ida Auken has managed the terrific feat of articulating a vision that is both utterly demented and utterly boring. At least Terence MacKenna had the decency to make his insane view of the universe interesting.

    And unlike Dylan, I’m not getting a satire vibe off of her essay. I expect a well-done satire to have subtle little bits of complete outrageousness, to provoke the reader. (A poorly done satire, I feel, is generally unreadable.) There isn’t anything that rises to the level of outrageousness here – even the bit about lacking privacy is old hat. David Brin has been pushing hard for the Transparent Society for decades, and at least he gives a good show of snarling and snapping at the air when anyone questions him about it.

  70. @JMG: “Irena, that’s the sad thing. A lot of plumbers and baristas and mail carriers really do believe in it. When they lose faith, that’s going to mark a tectonic shift of tremendous proportions.”

    That’s just… bizarre. Oh, well.

    To answer your question: I don’t believe I’d ever heard of Charles Fourier. The first thing that came to mind were the Fourier series (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourier_series), but that’s a different Fourier.

  71. Dear JMG,

    Replying to the question of Charles Fourier, I got introduced to his ideas in my Sophomore class of history of all places, although I’ve never buckled down to read him. Still, I have a good basic sense of the “passional attraction” the phalanxes, the anti-lions, and the lemonade oceans. I find it very strange that Monsieur Fourier so clearly anticipated the Surrealists with his goofy Neptunian brand of socialism.

    If I may, reading this week’s essay I was frankly struck by a synchronicity. Last week I published a story on my blog, “The Candle,” which has the book _One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich_ featured in it, as well as some allusion to much of the well-to-do and intellectual class falling into the outdated totalitarian thinking you discuss above, although that’s pretty peripheral to the main plot. The story is here should you or others wish to read it: https://violetcabra.dreamwidth.org/68084.html

    With the constant losing of ground in the great dream of Progress, after the Soviet Dream of the 1920’s gets put into history’s dumpster a second time where will Progressites retreat to then? The Victorian White Man’s Burden? The Antebellum South? There are so many bad ideas to rediscover from the more pompous corners of Faustian Civilization. Still, I have my fingers crossed that we may get all the way back to the Renaissance, with it’s amazing and gorgeous polyphonic music for voice, harpsichord, recorder and lute, its’ wonderous architecture, and it’s utterly astounding art. That said, I’m not holding my breath.

  72. You immediately noticed the parallels with the Soviet Union? 🙂 And just like with that organization, if nobody owns anything, nobody has a stake in the outcome either. And at some point you reach terminal apathy and then a Chernobyl happens where nobody cares enough to keep it properly running. Well, that and the universe pretty much only cares that you get the right answer, and doesn’t care about abstract ideological delusions.

    Speaking of a culture that’s hopelessly stuck in the past, I was in the grocery store and noticed the song they were playing was from 1985 or so. That’s over 30 years ago. Sometimes it’s a groovy tune from 1975. That’s over 40. There would’ve been a time a 40 year old song would’ve been called a “golden oldie”. Imagine if in 1985, a grocery store was playing big band music from the 40s or something that would’ve been considered “golden oldies” for 1985. How odd would it have been to everyone. Someone would’ve piped up and demanded that they play something more current.

    But nobody notices it today. Playing the same tired old songs and nobody gives it a second thought. They’re comforting, familiar. And decrepit. Much like our culture. And our politics. And our economy.

    Show of hands, who out there would care if NY and CA were to stand up and say the equivalent of “we’re taking our ball and going home”? Would anyone care enough to try to stop them? Or would you find something else to do with the rest of the kids still there? On the other hand what if some deep red state decided to leave? Who would be screaming bloody murder to stop them?

    To me the real coming conflict isn’t that people have incompatible visions of the future, it’s that one side wants to tell the other what to do when the other side mainly wants to be left alone.

  73. “General question for all readers:

    Do you all already know about Charles Fourier, or do I need to do a post explaining that the guy who invented socialism believed — as in, seriously believed — that the oceans would turn to lemonade once his political theories were adopted? Inquiring Druids want to know…”

    Please do! I knew the guy was weird, but that is news to me!

    “Aethon, I’ve been thinking about the same thing. It occurs to me that I may want to have a contest next week…”

    My current idea is a full blown return of the repressed and feminists grabbing onto “separate spheres” as the new form of liberation for women.

  74. So the Great Reset is a thing? I thought it was a joke. I first heard of it yesterday, checking in with Q. He posted some lengthy open letter from an Italian priest, about the Great Reset. I figured it was like posts of Q’s of the theme song for The Last of the Mohicans, or the launch of the Shuttle, for entertainment and inspiration. Rather juvenile.

    I too spent a decade contemplating declining resources. Your blog was a great help. Of late I have been fascinated by mass delusions, from Q, to Russiagate to Progress, in a time of collapse. I know we are in the midst of it. I know the entertainments make it seem like it’s not, but it is collapse, and I expect like you the future will look like little booms punctuated by big drops.

    At the same time one of my favorite things is to cuddle with my love and watch episodes of Star Trek.

    I have been thinking about the Great Mutation a lot too. I saw a random thing on google news talking about how Jupiter and Saturn are doing a thing they haven’t done since 1226. So I did a bit of research, what happened in Western history about that time? Oh, the Mongol invasions. Followed by uprisings like the Albegensians, Catharists, Apostolics and Dolcino, William Wallace on the Isle. Followed not long after by the Black Death.

    I’ve been having some anxiety about that. Not really eager for anything like that Great Reset either. Seems of a piece…

  75. I’m a pretty strong believer in progress and I still find this Great Reset plan to be creepy and dystopian.

    But what really gets me is the irony of the whole situation, when you think about the political ideologies being espoused. Back in the 80s and 90s, neoliberal politicians and economists rightly criticized the disaster that was the Soviet Union, and promised another way forward: capitalism instead of socialism, democratic freedom instead of autocratic tyranny, individualism instead of collectivism, wealth instead of poverty. And now it seems like that road just leads back to the same sorry destination. If you don’t own anything, then that’s not wealth, that’s poverty, no matter how comfortable you may be. If you’re entirely reliant on a vast bureaucratic apparatus that’s always watching you and controls what you can do, what you can say, and to some degree what you can think, that doesn’t seem very individualistic at all. And if there’s no competition because one company or cartel owns everything, then you’ve just gotten rid of the best part of capitalism while keeping all the worst aspects. At that point, it’s just replacing a government autocracy with a corporate autocracy.

    The whole thing seems like an awful paradox. Proof of Horseshoe Theory, maybe. Or maybe the kinds of people who seek to control other people’s lives will find a way to exploit any set of rules, and ruthless manipulators will always rise to the top of any large system by virtue of being ruthless and manipulative. It just leaves me with a sinking feeling that we somehow keep going in circles, even when we try to turn around and go in the opposite direction.

  76. Maybe we could wear masks as an everyday habit and air-high-5 each other from at least 6′ in greeting while we’re at it? Yikes. Double yikes.

    I love my 12 y.o. daughter. I was giving her an overview of this post when she broke in and said, “hasn’t anyone read Voltaire??” Just when I was starting to wonder if we needed to put her in public school too…

  77. My absolute favourite part of the entire thing is that you have all these people babbling about The Great Reset, but it’s a conspiracy theory to think anyone actually wants it. At this point I have to wonder if the mainstream media is trying to lose all credibility….

  78. I admit the first thing I thought of when I heard of the Great Reset was Kek raising up the night of primordial darkness. Which is to say, they should be careful what they wish for.

  79. I find it truly hard to believe that anyone outside a tiny cadre of affluent twits could take that woman’s (or little girl in a woman’s body?) vision seriously. Assuredly, nobody out in the real world would do anything except snicker and say “Yeah, whatever.”

  80. P.S. That picture of two paths through the woods – shouldn’t be be 3 paths? (Io, Hekate!)

  81. I too share Jim W’s fears of a coming panopticon.

    I also worry that we’re all going to be forced – if not a gunpoint, at paycheck-point – to consent to mandatory covid vaccines, via workplace or travel mandates. And I am not okay with being forced to take any medical interventions, most especially a rushed one. Hopefully it won’t come to that, but I am not without concern.

    And related to all of this, I’ve had some interactions with the PMC that leave me shaking my head in disbelief.

    Last week I turned down an offer from a co-worker to send me a link to a covid-tracing ap. It was great, she explained – it tells you if you’ve been near anyone who might be sick with or exposed to or tested positive for covid. You just check into the ap once a day with your own covid health status, and it tracks your movements and warns you if you came into contact with anyone else in the ap network who reported being sick/positive/exposed. I made some vague “er, I don’t really do much with my phone, just calls and texts” excuse about why I wouldn’t be downloading an ap that would ask me every day about my health status and then track where I went and alert others to my presence if I were deemed contaminated. The other co-workers at our (masked, 6-feet-apart, of course) meeting all asked for her to text them the link to this wonderful new opportunity to “stay safe”. While I normally do carry my cell phone in case of an emergency (pay phones having gone the way of the dodo), I’m beginning to wonder if it’s paranoid to reconsider leaving it at home….

    And that meeting was soon followed by a phone call with a former co-worker from years back who’s done quite well for himself. He sold his company, and lives on the proceeds (coupled with some consulting work) in a large home with lots of property. He thinks that “2020 has been good to” him and his family. It’s nice not to have to commute anywhere for meetings, the kids are home a lot, they have dinner together every evening, he’s had time to help his older child with Ivy League college applications, and the family is still able to pursue their hobbies in modified fashion, Covid has been almost pleasant, from his perspective. I didn’t waste time asking him how good he thought 2020 had been for people who don’t live in that sort of bubble.

    And then there was the zoom call a few weeks ago with some people who drifted into a conversation about their hopes for a covid vaccine, and their kids, and how angry they were at unmasked people, and how happy they were that schools were “cracking down” on unvaccinated children. I can’t see these people having any problem with workplace and travel mandates….it’s for the greater good, after all.

    Welcome to a glorious future of constant tracking no health privacy (and potentially no health autonomy) – just as soon as we finish enjoying this pleasant lockdown interlude!

  82. “it’s a source of wry amusement to me that although The Saker and I come to these discussions from such radically different viewpoints, we end up saying many of the same things.”

    Just a point of clarification, the excerpts from Saker’s site are authored by Ghassan Kadi, a Syrian/Lebanese investigative journalist. The whole piece is worthwhile: https://thesaker.is/the-great-reset-no-pasaran/ One of things I enjoy about the Saker’s site are his frequent postings from guest commenters from around the world…many fine thinkers there that bring valuable perspectives.

  83. I can’t help but notice that the things she seems to think would be fixed by her proposed society wouldn’t really be fixed by it. Clean energy isn’t perfectly clean to create, and nor are electronic gadgets. Renting everything does tend to lead to everything having to be transported around all the time, which is energy intensive. And science fiction writers keep promising everything will be free and poverty eliminated, and it never happens. Ditto flying cars. More automation is unlikely to solve unemployment. Driverless cars still need energy to run them.

    On the amusing side, the list of thing she doesn’t own, well, nor do I (except the clothes). It’s what happens when you don’t have much money.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing more things done communally. Better transit and fewer people in private vehicles makes a lot of sense to me. And I love public libraries.

  84. The “Great Re-set” is the totalitarianism of the nursery, technologically augmented,operated by a pathological mommy who wants to prolong her child’s babyhood as long as it is possible to do.

  85. I don’t understand why the claim is being made that the Great Reset is somehow a Leftist push? (Note: Trump was recently a special guest at a recent Davos/World Economic Forum gathering.) The World Economic Forum comes from the same neoliberal minds, from the same upper echelons (and their hired experts) of the transnational capitalist class that brought us Reaganism/Thatcherism, Bushism, Clintonism, Obamaism, etc. I personally don’t see anyone on the actual working class Left pushing this thing. I see many warning against it.

    The Great Reset has coming into the psyche of the American people because the Davos crowd (simply ONE crowd out of many competing ones, albeit an influential one, that includes the Trilateral Commission, Group of 30, Atlantic Council, Bilderberg Group, along with transnational state institutions like the International Monetary Fund, G20, G7, Bank for International Settlements, World Bank) understands that international capitalism and neoliberalism are not fulfilling all the goals that the policymakers originally intended. Yes, they are making record profits but those profits tend to be concentrating to a very small group of people, while much of the world’s people suffer. People are not being “lifted up” as intended but left behind. Wealth inequality is the highest the world has ever seen. Another policy side effect has been global warming. Many within the global elite are now very openly talking about how their policies have been the major cause for global warming. As a result, there is a sort of split within the Global Power Elite, the upper echelon of the Transnational Capitalist Class – some wish to continue business as usual, with an occasional tinker here or there, while others believe that major changes may be needed in order to curb massive unrest due to inequality and the (interrelated) effects of a drastically changing planet.

    This is where the Great Reset comes in. As Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, states in the recent article for Time Magazine, “Will governments, businesses and other influential stakeholders truly change their ways for the better after this, or will we go back to business as usual?” He states, “… there are reasons to believe that a better economic system is possible—and that it could be just around the corner. As the initial shock of the COVID crisis receded, we saw a glimpse of what is possible, when stakeholders act for the public good and the well-being of all, instead of just a few.” After giving a few examples of government-corporate alliances in dealing with Covid, he states, “Rather than chasing short-term profits or narrow self-interest, companies could pursue the well-being of all people and the entire planet. This does not require a 180-degree turn: corporations don’t have to stop pursuing profits for their shareholders. They only need to shift to a longer-term perspective on their organization and its mission, looking beyond the next quarter or fiscal year to the next decade and generation. Some are already doing so.”

    And herein lies the rub. First off, it is not a bottom-up approach to dealing with the various crises (Covid, climate change, massive inequality, etc) that face the people of the world. It is an elitist approach, one conscripted by the wealthiest individuals and their hired guns in the managerial class. It is very much a top-town approach that allows no input from the populations it currently has so much effect upon. And perhaps, as importantly, the concepts behind the Great Reset, for the most part, avoid discussing any solutions (to Covid, war, inequality, global poverty, etc.) that go against the concept of continued (and infinite) economic growth. They do not really even consider the deeper causes that led to these issues in the first place. Artificial reactionary “solutions” are what they are after.

    The people at the World Economic Forum do not look in the mirror and say, “maybe we are not the ones that should be doling out or influencing policy in such a global way.” They do not question their own role in setting the policies of the future. They assume that they know best and therefore should take the reins, as always. They do not question the network of nonprofits, nongovernmental organizations, international corporations, transnational banking institutions that they are interconnected with, the power structure they use to influence their policy ideas. This DOESN’T mean that, perhaps, the World Economic Forum and its ideas within a Great Reset couldn’t be valuable to the world. Perhaps a Universal Basic Income would be a wise approach in dealing with the worst aspects of global poverty. I don’t know. What I do know is that it is not a democratic approach. And rolled out policies never work out as intended, always hurting the poor and working classes the most.

    That said, I ALSO worry about the more conspiratorial reactions to it from the far-right and conspiracy crowds, the ones raising the most stink about it, often in the most amusing ways. Their approach to attach it to the entire Left is also very dangerous as it creates an artificial OTHER to be feared, hated, ignored, and perhaps even warred against if need be. We disagree about how elements of collectivism could bode well for our future but I don’t wish to distract with that issue at the moment. I’ve said enough. My two cents.

  86. balowulf,
    one of my friends is decidedly left of center and is very determinedly involved in the open source movement and trying to reduce the power of things like facebook, microsoft, google etc, and you should hear her talk about privacy infringement online and concentration of power etc.

    She helped me figure out alternatives to windows (I now use Ubuntu), and to google, and has a lot to do with why I stopped using facebook.

    I am also left of center here in Canada, and I’m no fan of the world seen in the essay we’re discussing. It doesn’t solve the problems she claims it will (see my previous comment), and it makes others worse. The privacy situation online is already too dystopian for my liking, and I don’t think her suggestions will solve the world’s environmental or economic problems, either.

  87. JMG,
    Great post!

    And I am glad that you made the very important point at the end – this Great Reset does not try to sell socialism as it was in USSR or Eastern Europe. What they are proposing is a corporate generated facsimile of the USSR as it was seen from the west 100 years ago.

    It’s important to remember that the socialists revolutions were driven by union workers and peasants. For the first couple of decades after they took power, they managed to force industrialize their societies while providing great healthcare, great education (all free) and some semblance of meritocracy. I am not defending socialism – I am just pointing out that just like the nazis, the socialists succeeded (for a while) because they actually helped the poor.

    Compare that with the corporate proposals of today – where the so called socialists in the democratic party are the tools of billionaires like Bezos and Soros and the difference is obvious.
    Just because they want totalitarianism and poverty for the poor while the rich presumably keep their control of the world (who’s going to own the drones?) does not make them socialists. I would call them fascists but maybe a new word with less history is required here.

    Thanks again

  88. @Linnea

    Yes, I actually do believe that countries like Australia, New Zealand, and Germany are less free than the USA and no, I don’t want the government to “try and improve my quality of life”. How would they know what I want? In Australia, the government’s response to bicyclists getting run over by cars is to force cyclists to wear helmets or risk a massive fine. (Obviously wearing a styrofoam hat does nothing to keep cars from running over you). They also arrest people for sitting alone on a beach without a mask on. And don’t forget all the insane martial law lockdowns over Covid19…

    I live in the most European of American cities – San Francisco. The city and state government want to control our lives much in the way of Western Europe, and it isn’t working out very well. In fact, it’s a complete disaster. Just one example of many: I really want to endorse socialized medicine, but the city of San Francisco has their own version (called “Healthy San Francisco”) which my best friend has utilized for years. It started out great, but has deteriorated into a dystopian nightmare of bureaucratic insanity. That seems to be the natural progression of most government run enterprises.

  89. Very few people remember the beginning of the nuclear power industry, when its boosters claimed that it would make energy “too cheap to meter”, but the antinuclear movement never forgot and spread the memory to the broader environmental movement. By now, we all ought to know that promises of enormous freebees are only held out when the elite are trying to convince the rest of us to do something we really, really don’t want to do. Ida Auken’s Resettist vision is dripping with such promises. Yes, somehow it will all be free and it will make us so prosperous that we won’t miss owning things, or our privacy, at all.

  90. But who will prevent it? This big reset is being promoted by the most powerful people and organisations, whom have no problem imposing crazy stuff on us.
    Sure, at the end it just leads to catastrophe, but until catastrophe arrives what should we do?
    For example, one of the first steps is going to be, the almost annulation of cash money, and then some kind of confiscation of bank deposited money. When this is done, what public reaction do you expect? I believe the elites are powerful enough to overcome any opposition. I believe it will be done and it will be a fact.
    So, my question is how to prepare? Maybe invest in gold? Maybe spend today, when my money has value, and at least, it’s still mine to spend?
    I am very worried. Not just in a philosophical way, as worried for humanity and the world, but worried for my humble little me, and how should I survive in crazy times.
    I apologize for my English. It is not my first linguage.

  91. Perhaps this is also a good time to invoke Poe’s Law: on the Internet, sincerity is indistinguishable from satire, because even the most absurd ideas are promoted with sincerity. Except, it’s not just the flippant postings on the Internet, it’s the whole world.

  92. In answer to the general question for all readers, I wouldn’t say I’m familiar with Charles Fourier, no.  The idea of the seas turning to lemonade sounds very vaguely familiar, but I’m not placing where I may have heard it before.
    If that was indeed the case (and I’ve no reason to doubt you here beyond the sheer strangeness of the idea… which I can nevertheless believe someone had), then I do indeed find that surprising.  How was that supposed to _work_?  Was it some sort of “And when we’ve brought about these reforms on Earth, God shall smile upon us and perform this miracle” thing?  And why lemonade?  And if all Earth’s seawater did indeed turn into lemonade, without further miracle, that’s basically the end of most extant ocean life, right?  Which presumably will promptly proceed to start rotting all at once, to boot.  One of the largest mass extinction events in known history and an ecological and economic catastrophe.  And that’s just off the top of my head; I expect there are _many_ more problems that would crop up…

    On another note, and particularly given I’m commenting anyway, given the proximate discussions of communism and Star Trek, I thought some people here might find this essay interesting:
    http://stardestroyer.net/Empire/Essays/Trek-Marxism.html

  93. I have heard about Charles Fourier and lemonade so don’t personally need to know more to add him to my list of fools. It is pretty full.

  94. With clean energy, it seems clear to me that many people view the choice between clean energy and fossil fuels as a Pepsi/Coke type decision, except that one of the soft drinks is made from corn syrup and the other from the burnt corpses of specially tortured puppies. The only reason we drink the tortured-puppies version is because powerful men in smoky rooms hate puppies, and if only the right people were in charge we could have soft drinks made from corn instead of puppies subjected to the rack and iron maiden. The atrocious understanding of how the physical world functions that is exhibited by the average product of Western education systems is truly mindboggling.

    To answer the survey, no, I had not heard of Charles Fourier, but I was surprised to learn that fully automated luxury space communism was actually invented 300 years ago.

  95. JMG,

    Thanks for a timely post.

    I think part of the reason for the anxiousness about the great reset is that corona has handed leaders great power and it’s not hard to imagine them using that power to do even sillier things than they are doing right now. The opposition parties have not objected to the corona measures because it is not in their political interests to do so. However, we can be sure that ambitious politicians will not sit idly by if governments overstep their bounds and try to use the emergency powers to accrue further powers. Maybe I’m being naive, but I still have that much faith in our democratic and legal systems.

  96. “fully automated luxury communism” – I can imagine a Marks and Spencers advert now, as the shopper picks up some not just food but Marks and Spencers food at M&S and uses the automated checkout, “it’s not just Communism, it’s Marks and Spencers Fully Automated Luxury Communism™”

    I was a fan of Star Trek growing up, mainly Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, though Star Trek: Voyager had some good points at other times it felt like just another series to cash in on the franchise, and some of the aliens were a bit derivative, the Kazon were just poundshop Klingons really weren’t they? Some of the last couple of series of Voyager started to seem like a soap opera that just happened to be on a starship.

    Did anyone notice that in Ida Auken’s essay, she does still seem to own a bicycle? It could have been rented of course but she didn’t mention that.

  97. @ Linnea

    I live in Australia. This year my government restricted me to my house for 23 hours a day, put a curfew on when i was allowed to go out, restricted my movement to within 5 kms of my house, did not allow me to leave the city I live in, forced me to wear a mask, forced me to have papers explaining why i was out in public etc etc.

    The federal government does not allow people to leave the country without consent (a clear breach of the human rights charter) and for most of this year internal state borders within Australia have been closed meaning families could not go to funerals, visit love ones in hospitals etc. (a clear breach of the Australian constitution).

    You chose a very bad time to be talking about freedom.

  98. JMG and folks,

    Though not as tv-ubiquitous as Star Trek, I imagine that Mr. Kubrick’s film 2001: A Space Odyssey was right up there with ST, at least for a while, re popular entertainment Progress encouragements. At the time, 1968, one year before N Armstrong put his boots in moon dust, 2001 gave us a vision of a Hilton-like space station, regular shuttles to the moon, a moon base, a manned expedition to Jupiter, and sentient computers …. and from what I’ve read, all this was considered not *only possible at the time, but very likely to happen within the next 30 years*. The Star Trek Universe features the discovery/invention of faster-than-light travel in the mid 21st century, which is quite a leap of faith, I think, but 2001 the film seemed to have been saying: this is really coming, people, so buckle up for not only a lot of moon fun, but maybe for a quantum evolutionary jump into the Super Human.

    Interesting to note that the film came out in 1968, which as single years go, was the 20th century’s version of 2020. A bad, very tumultuous year. Our glorious future in space must have looked pretty appetizing at the time.

    Of course as the years leading to the actual year 2001 peeled away and it became obvious that none of this was going to happen in accordance with the film’s projections, the film lost some of its Progressive clout. I think it remains a compelling film, though; it has a very eerie stateliness, and of course the soundtrack is magnificent. When I see it on the tube these days, it’s like watching a really interesting period piece – so that’s what people were thinking at the time, so that’s how they saw the future.

  99. It did make me think of H. G. Wells “Time Machine”, but without the “Morlocks”. I wonder if the Davos elites would be flattered to be called “Elois”?

  100. Actually, scientists did try to build a fully functioning biosphere. It was Biosphere 2 out in the Arizona desert.

    This was a hugely successful experiment: it demonstrated how damned hard it would be to build a miniature, fully-functioning world and this was when you didn’t have to worry about gravity, air, water, or 400 million mile supply lines.

    In the short term, it worked. The longer the experiment ran, the more problems showed up, including people who started out as friends becoming enemies.

    There were also major funding issues. If you can’t afford it, it’s not possible.

    I dutifully plowed through a book on the subject: The Human Experiment: Two Years and Twenty Minutes Inside Biosphere 2 by Jane Poynter: https://www.amazon.com/Human-Experiment-Twenty-Minutes-Biosphere/dp/156025775X

    IIRC it was dry reading but also packed with information and read-between-the-lines failures.

  101. Oh, man. Just when things can’t seem to get any sillier, we get refried communism touted as our wonderful utopic future! If anyone doubts the lunacy of The Great Reset, I challenge them to spend a couple of years living in my major Canadian city, where one does not own the trees that are growing on one’s own property! I wish I were joking. If one wants to remove a large live tree, one must first apply to the city for a permit. Then pay an arborist to make an assessment. If, in the arborist’s opinion, the tree deserves a death sentence, then one may proceed to cull the tree. But only if one first guarantees the city that one will plant a large tree in its place. But it can’t be any tree – oh, no – it must be one of a handful of species that the city “likes”. I know that the motive for such dictatorial bureaucracy is to encourage a “green” city that is full of native species; but the way in which it is done shows how much power the bureaucrats have seized.

    Need another example to prove my point? Sure! I belong to a community garden, which utilizes park land owned by the city. Our garden has a tattered old hoop-house, which was used only as a shelter from the rain. I wanted to show off some “green wizardry” skills by turning the hoop-house into a greenhouse for growing veggies throughout the winter. It worked well and drew quite a bit of interest and attention. Then Covid hit in early Spring and the city bureaucrats, in their infinite wisdom and benevolence, declared community gardening to be illegal because gardening is a “leisure activity”. Tell that to the soup kitchens, food banks, women’s shelters and families living in precarious circumstances who have received hundreds of pounds of organic produce from our community garden every year! Since I had thousands of seedlings to take care of in the hoop-house throughout April and May, I gardened illegally for two months, expecting any day to be apprehended by the mayor’s “storm-troopers.” By my good fortune (or maybe the spirit guardians of our community garden), that never happened.

    However, by late Spring, sanity prevailed (in response to the shale-storm that we community gardeners raised against city hall) and community gardening again became legal. And in the Summer, our community garden was offered a huge whack of money (from a charity – not the city) to spend. Many garden members thought that a greenhouse would be a good idea. So, in August we identified an appropriate model and submitted the proposal to the land-owner (i.e., the city). To date, the city has refused to permit the installation of a greenhouse because of safety concerns, such as “it will blow away in a strong wind”. When the garden representative argued with the city staff saying that our hoop-house doesn’t blow away, the staffer replied, “Oh, you shouldn’t have a hoop-house in the garden. That’s not allowed. You must take it down.” So now our city – which is so concerned about food security – has taken away all reasonable means of extending the growing season and increasing our productivity on a large scale. (Fortunately nobody told them that I have built and installed coldframes in the community garden, or they would probably ban them, too.) The whole situation reminds me of the famous scene from “A Man For All Seasons”, where Cromwell visits Thomas More in prison. More asks Cromwell, “May I have some more books?” Cromwell replies with, “You have books? Well, you shouldn’t,” and promptly removes all the books from Thomas’ cell.

    Ida Auken and her ilk need to wake up before they allow the fox into the chicken-coop!

  102. Hi JMG

    In reply: Both star trek discovery and Picard scored about 50% from the audience, though critics scored around 80-90%.

    They both seem to have divided fans.

  103. I cannot find the article at the moment but there was a great retort to the original article mentioned called ‘Welcome to 2030. I own nothing, I have no privacy, and life has never been worse.’ It did a great job of counteracting the base point being made it didn’t make the leap to the soviet era like you have. You are completely correct on this observation.

    One thing that I have been seeing a lot more of over the last year or so, is a lot more push back from folks that used to be true believers in ‘progress’ and have awoken from the American daydream.

    And excellent example is the Elon Musk nonsense.

    For every person that is fawning over the latest piece of retro sci-fi remade in flimsy tin foil or worse CGI glory curtisy of Mr Musks retirement fund generating scheme – there is at least one more person that is keenly pointing out just how silly it is that we are letting these ‘visions’ lead us astray from actually building some real viable solutions. It is a fair point to. For the longest time I couldn’t figure out the entirety of why Musks acts the way he does, until I realized it was similar to the scraping of the LA street cars in favor of motor cars. He is trying to misleads folks from viable solutions to problems for his own benefits. Hyperloop will never work as a technology, it will work at crushing public transport solutions and get people to buy more of his crappy cars. There are many more examples of similar things he has done but I will leave it at that for the moment.

    But it is amazing to see how some of the most sheltered folks are the ones that are pushing to most unrealistic future. As you said, “The broad public reaction to the Great Reset, in turn, is a good measure of just how tone-deaf today’s corporate aristocracy has become.” Just last week I spoke with someone who honestly said “COVID-19 has proven that everyone can work from home without excuse.” My jaw was on the floor in disbelief at the statement. All I said was “Good luck running a farm or a supermarket via a Zoom meeting”. Cue the usual retorts about AI, Robotics, Singularity, Moore’s law etc.

    You bring up a keen point that I always put to people. The future is a choice, it doesn’t have to be railroaded into what the TV/Internet is constantly saying. As Mark Twain said “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”. It doesn’t mean the majority is wrong but one should at least stop and step back and reconsider why it has become the prevailing trend.

    Personally when it comes to the future I use back paths around to introduce ideas. Things like the concepts of Jesse Wolf Hardin and rewilding. Rewilding not just ecology but people as well, to be more in touch with the world around them rather than just what they are told is how it should work. To see that there is wealth all around them and not just in the next techno fetish to be paraded around. That you have a choice, not just the one that others make for you. I also try to break peoples ideas of what they narrowly define as technology. I was once asked “What is your favorite technology?”, I answered with Cast-iron cookware, they paused for a moment and then realized that it wasn’t a wrong answer.

    @Kimberly Steel, just last week someone at work mentioned that the flying car is just around the corner and that a prototype has been made. I pointed out to them that I have an article from 1920 saying the same thing. I’m not holding my breath. It is usual that folks will latch onto an idea or just something new and keep running with it. I also have a copy of an article from 1862 saying that we will solve ALL health problems with crude oil.

  104. @JMG, et al.,

    I saw ST in its original incarnation, in the mid-60’s, when I was 12-13 years old. My friends and I thought it was hilariously funny and high camp. We never took it as any sort of blueprint for the future. We took it as a good laugh.

  105. @David, by the lake and @JMG

    “I have to say, I’m glad our country is as diverse and disunified as it is, with our division of powers, system of limited government, and quasi-sovereign states. Even though it results in the grand and glorious mess we call the United States, it also makes implementing something like the Great Reset here all but impossible, no matter what the embubbled elites might be pushing.”

    Amen to that. Have you read Woodard’s ‘American Nations’ yet? You really ought to – it makes a lot of things about the state of the nation quite a bit more clear…

  106. >I still find this Great Reset plan to be creepy and dystopian.

    I like to call it “Socialism with glow-in-the-dark characteristics”

  107. It’s just now occurring to me that a big part of the reason the Establishment is pushing anti-racism so hard might be that anti-racism’s core success, the end of de jure segregation, was imposed on the white South by the Federal government. It’s a story in which the Establishment is one of the good guys. Racial equality is made into a component of Progress, and defense of segregation into resistance to Progress, so that the Feds are heroes for ramming Progress down the throats of the resistant at gunpoint. The idea here is to make people who believe in racial equality love authority, fear decentralization, and fear the end of Progress.

    I was just listening this afternoon to a Bioneers podcast featuring interviews with “Community activists Malik Kenyatta Yakini and Oran Hesterman [who] are transforming Detroit through urban agriculture and helping low-income and working families access healthy food.” Yakini mentioned, as one of the obstacles he faces, that many African-Americans in Detroit associate farming with being poor and exploited and is something they want to stay as far away from as possible. So there’s something more here than just keeping the white working class and working class people of color at odds with each other so they won’t make common cause against the 1%. As the nation becomes majority-minority, the Establishment knows that it needs to convince people of color that it is their friend and that racial justice is a component of Progress.

  108. “Sea Spray, good heavens. I had no idea. (This will doubtless tell you how connected I am to current media culture.) Did its ratings tank?” Not Sea Spray, but I can tell you that there seems to be no public way to readily know that. “Star Trek: Discovery” is on CBS All Access, the streaming service of ViacomCBS, the parent company of Paramount Studios, not CBS proper, so Nielsen does not cover it. Yes, Nielsen does compile streaming ratings, but only for the top ten streaming shows and only on the top four streaming platforms, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus, and Hulu. CBS All Access does not even rate. Mind you, I’m sure ViacomCBS knows, but short of the fine print of an annual report to stockholders, they’re not likely to tell. When you wrote that you had no idea, you weren’t alone.

    As for the “Star Trek” future, even the writers of the Star Trek franchise have figured out there is no straight line from anything past the early 1990s to the 23rd Century of the original series. During the mid-1990s, the Star Trek writers in movies and television depicted a 21st Century that became more dangerous and violent, leading to a global nuclear war in the 2060s that killed one billion people. Then the fictional Zephram Cochrane developed warp drive in the immediate aftermath, got the attention of the Vulcans, who decided to help humanity by guiding our cultural and political evolution, creating the utopian civilization of the original series. Viola, Alien Space Bats solved the problem of human nature getting in the way of the future! In the early 2000s, the writers of “Star Trek: Enterprise” elaborated on that theme, showing that in a parallel universe, instead of accepting Vulcan help, humans captured their ship and reverse engineered it, then used the technology to conquer the galaxy, becoming the Terran Empire of the mirror universe, the one where Spock wore a beard. Without the help of the Alien Space Bats, humanity became worse, not better, although there is some evidence that the humans in that timeline were always nastier than their counterparts in the main Star Trek universe.

    By the way, the first Star Trek episode was actually completed in 1965, but was rejected by NBC as “too cerebral”, “too intellectual”, and “too slow” with “not enough action.” It was only after the second pilot was accepted that the series began airing in 1966.

  109. Nati – Re: how to prepare (for the end of money)?

    I’ve posted comments to this effect before, so I’ll beg the patience of those who’ve read them before. “Gold” is too valuable for individuals to hold in any significant quantity (like, as a source of retirement funding), because if you try to convert any of it into something useful, like “bread”, you expose yourself to home invasion. Storing value in gold requires an army to protect it. You might be able to trade it safely now, but you’re not worried about current conditions, are you? Store it in someone else’s vault? If you don’t HOLD it, you don’t own it.

    Silver is almost as bad, for much the same reason. Banks are probably strong enough to store silver, but not individuals.

    Spend it? Well, maybe. I’ve spent enough discretionary money to have all of the garden tools, cooking tools, sewing tools, woodworking, and metal-shop tools (almost) that I can use. The goal is to be as self-sufficient, and as potentially useful to others, as possible. (Among the tools, I count the books which contain knowledge needed to start developing proficiency with the other tools.) Some tools I’ve bought cheaply (e.g., at estate sales), and sold cheaply to friends who wanted to develop their own talents. In this way, I try to build community self-reliance. You can spend it on land, if you can afford to carry the annual property taxes, and start building fertile soil as well as shelter. If you have property, you may be able to spend it on solar panels (which I expect to be even more profitable as conventional energy becomes more expensive).

    How about “give it away”? If you derive value from a local community organization, a religious institution, a school, or even (ahem) a helpful blogger, grant them some money to support their work! Everybody needs to eat, even the saints. Look for people who are doing good (however you define that), and encourage them. As a Christian, I look back at a church that has survived almost 2000 years (not that anyone 1000 years ago would recognize it), far longer than any form of political structure. (Of course, it WAS part of the political structure in some Bad Old Days.)

    Before the German Nazi’s went after the Jews, they went after the Roma (“Gypsies”), claiming that they were an idle drain on the hard-working German citizens struggling to recover from WW-1. Some communities protected their Romani metalsmiths as important components of their local economy. I want my neighbors to protect me, too. I want them to know that I have nothing worth stealing, too.

  110. Thanks John, you confirm my observation that we’ve reached the point where what’s called progress ain’t.

    As for the Great Reset, I am afraid that it will end with a lot of our so called betters swinging from lamp posts.

    W.R.T. Charles Fourier, I know nothing of him but the remark about the seas turning to lemonade sounds suspiciously like acidification of the oceans due to an increase in dissolved CO2; hardly an advertisement for his brand of socialism

  111. By the way, one comment before I go on to individual responses: I have the best commentariat on the internet, full stop, end of sentence. You guys and gals are great!

    Lathechuck, thank you for the reminder! You’re quite correct, of course — important parts of Auken’s fauxtopia go right back to the turn of the last century. No wonder it’s so dull.

    Will, if it’s down to 40% we’re on the brink of truly convulsive change. Thanks for the heads up!

    Cliff, those first two sentences are pure gold. Thank you!

    Irena, remember that the United States literally built its cultural identity around leading the global march of progress. That we’re going to end up leading that march straight down the slope of the Long Descent is just one of history’s ironies.

    Violet, yes, I figured you’d heard of Fourier. 😉 As for outdated reform movements, I’m waiting for the latest cutting-edge slogan to be “The King should live of his own!”

    Owen, well, it was kind of hard to miss the Glorious Workers Paradise ambience of Auken’s screed, after all. As for the Leaden Oldies still playing endlessly as sky syrup in stores, yes, I’ve noticed that. It’s one of the many ways in which you can tell that progress ground to a halt in 1972.

    Anonymous, I’ll definitely see about a post on the history of socialism sometime soon. It’s a long, strange, bitterly funny story with a very high body count. As for the contest, that’s more appealing with each passing hour. Let me see what I can do…

    CR, Fourier had a lot of really strange ideas, but that wasn’t one of them.

    William, yes, it’s a thing. More precisely it’s a bit of emotional onanism on the part of the comfortable classes — exactly the kind of retreat into fantasy that you see in a ruling class shortly before the tumbrils start rolling.

    Ashara, thanks for your response. Yes, exactly.

    Grover, your twelve-year-old is one smart cookie. Congrats.

    Anonymous, well, there’s that! I honestly think the chattering classes have descended so far into schizophrenic withdrawal at this point that they have no idea how stupid they look to everyone else.

    Slithy Toves, they should indeed. Did you know that Carl Jung wrote about the Frog God in his famous Red Book? I just learned that…

    Patricia, I’d have used a photo of three paths if I could have found one easily online, but this is what turned up this morning!

    El, understood. The thing I’m wondering about is just how bad the side effects of the vaccine will be. Under current US law, vaccine manufacturers are protected against liability lawsuits…

    Jim, duly noted.

    Pygmycory, true indeed!

    Robert, so it would be fair to call it the attempted triumph of the Karenocracy?

    Joshuajude, there are endless quarrels over what counts as Left, of course, and as I noted in my post, a lot of people on the saner ends of the Left are just as horrified by this totalitarian fantasy as people on the Right. Neoliberalism is however one of the flavors of Leftism…

    NomadicBeer, Hitler used “national socialist” for his regime. It might be worth using “corporate socialist” for this one. Socialism needn’t be imposed from the bottom up; it can also be imposed from the top down, as Robert Owen demonstrated back in the day.

    (It suddenly occurs to me that if “national socialist” is abbreviated Nazi, wouldn’t “corporate socialist” be abbreviated “Cozi”?

    Joan, an excellent point!

    Nati, power is a very complex thing, and it’s oversimplified to say that the people currently in charge of a handful of very large corporations are by definition powerful enough to get whatever they want. Organized popular pushback against a failing system can be extremely effective — just ask the former rulers of the former Soviet Union…

    Lathechuck, good. The universe is fond of absurdity.

    Reese, I’ll explain the lemonade oceans in the upcoming post on Fourier. It’s really quite giddy — more colorful than Marxian socialism, though equally unrealistic.

    JillN, so noted.

    Bridge, the Davos set has failed before. They pranked themselves nicely, by the way; Davos is the location of the tuberculosis sanitarium in Thomas Mann’s brilliant satiric novel The Magic Mountain, where all sorts of useless wealthy people pile up in the years before the First World War broke out and the whole shebang came crashing down…

    Justin, funny. Fourier didn’t include space travel in his fantasy, but every other detail is already there.

    Simon, we’re in one of those interesting pauses between the action and the blowback that are so common in political history. I expect the blowback to be tremendous; the question that hasn’t been settled yet is what form it’ll take.

    Mawkernewek, yes, that was one of the bits of incoherence in her bit of fiction.

    Will, one of the things that needs to be brought up over and over again is just how wrong science fiction writers were back then. The entire future we were supposed to get by 2000 did not happen. Here we’re nearing the end of 2020, and we’re further away from that future than we were in 2000. That needs to be brought up, talked about, and understood thoroughly.

    Candace, I’d be perfectly willing to see them call themselves Elois, if they’re willing in exchange to be kidnaped and eaten by Morlocks… 😉

    Teresa, and of course they were caught repeatedly smuggling cylinders of oxygen into the habitat to try to keep things from failing catastrophically too soon…

    Ron, “refried communism” is a good label. But it’s not a matter of Auken realizing that she’s going to let the fox into the chicken coop. She’s a politician, remember? She’s one of the foxes…

    Sea Spray, interesting. Thanks for this.

    Michael, it’s good to hear that you’re seeing more pushback against the religion of progress. That awakening is the thing that most needs to happen just now.

    Sgage, the embarrassing thing is that there are a lot of notional adults who are not as clever now as you were at age 12.

    Your Kittenship, stay tuned…

    Joan, that’s quite plausible.

  112. JMG – I heard of Charles Fourier from Ayn Rand, who explained his ideas so she could do a spittle-flecked denunciation of them. Her least favorite line, regarding the anti-beasts: “It will be a pleasure to live, in a world with such servants!”

  113. JMG,

    I am completely ignorant on Charles Fourier and would be all eyes for a post on the topic.

    Also, I don’t know why I even try, but I’ve brought up the myth of progress to family members twice in the last couple months and got negative backlash both times. From “That’s so pessimistic” to the star trekky “What if we find a planet exactly like earth?”, and “Your no fun when you talk about this”. They also want to conflate the idea to mean that no progress has ever been made and I have to remind them it’s more about not all progress being beneficial, and that progress isn’t going to save us from societal collapse.

    It’s odd, when I first read about your Law of Limits, it immediately made intuitive sense but those close to me reject the possibility of a collapse, even though they agree when I point out that all prior civilizations have collapsed.

    My conclusion from these fruitless conversations is those who study occult philosophy have a major leg up in understanding reality. Limits, destruction, degeneration, change, are all inherent within Cabala.

    But that isn’t useful to most people because in this day and age, the majority have semantic triggers that lead to the outright rejection of anything metaphysical without any consideration. I have noticed if you can present these people science on occult teachings, like Dr. Ian Stevenson’s work, they are much more receptive. I may have woken up one scientific materialist just a tad bit by showing him that body of research.

    Anyway, thanks for reading. I just wanted to confirm your warning to prepare to receive backlash when discussing the myth of progress, and ended up thinking of other things.

  114. “you might want to contact the World Economic Forum and tell them that Auken’s screed is satire. They don’t appear to have noticed.”

    I am totally willing to believe that the WEF is populated by people so tone-deaf that they don’t realize when they’re being mocked.

  115. For some strange reason the classic Burt Bacharach / Dion Warwick song “Paper Mache” is playing in my mind… I find it more believable than the “Great Reset” world of Ida Auken.

  116. I saw that article – I stopped reading when I got to the part about people holding meetings in your living room while you were at work. Couldn’t decide if it was laugh out loud funny, or insanely sinister. But it wouldn’t be “your” living room at that point anymore, would it? It would be their room. Presumably, you would be working inside someone else’s home, so that would be “your” workplace, for awhile. This kind of stuff makes me think General Jack D Ripper was right in Dr. Strangelove about the Flouride in the water and “our precious bodily fluids”: maybe we really are the Romans slurping out of their lead cups. I notice that although the believers in progress want to package food in toothpaste tubes and grow artificial steak (what’s the point?), I’ve never yet seen them suggest we could do away with going to the restroom. I’m almost afraid to suggest it, but maybe the State could just pay for colostomies for everyone, at birth, and we could just change out little “baggies” once a day, perhaps even building a productive economy of scale around the consumer demand for airtight, flexible, yet discreet Personal-Port-O-Potties. Think of all the infections and UTIs we could prevent! It could be used, as off scouring, in hydroponic ponds to grow watercress and drums, for those who still pathetically cling to “real” meat. Better yet, they could install central line ports by order of the government, and hang TPN bags once a day with everything a human body could ask for. No waste products as draught. With computer chips capable of telepathy, and linked by a Twitter hive mainframe, language and food-intake would be would no longer be strictly necessary in terms of efficiency, and a permanent metal and plastic mask, a la Bane from DC Universe, would keep those nasty humans from spreading so many communicable diseases. Or from committing wrongspeak. But at this point, one would no longer be inside a socialist “dream”, but be dealing with a night hag. By the way, are all the Christians out there (like myself) aware that Jesus spoke about the “unavoidables” of Life? Yup, Matthew 15:17: “Do you not yet understand that everything entering into the mouth goes into the stomach, and is cast out into the sewer?” This religion of Progress has worked its way far past the belly, and is entering the nether regions.

  117. My biggest challenge as I research our predicament is finding a solution set. High school geometry left its mark on me. Ever since then, I try to see the pattern and figure out how to solve for the missing angle/dimension, in other words find the solution set. If I were to label myself, libertarian (although I prefer voluntarist) comes closest to describing me, and I do believe that “no man is an island”, meaning that we do need community. So as best as I can see, the solution set to all of this is to set up a homestead (based in permaculture and appropriate technology) in collaboration with others regionally. Somehow voluntarily building community is not the same as collectivism, even though they sound the same. I know JMG has prescribed setting up shop in/near a small city. I would appreciate any comments to this line of thinking from JMG and any others that would like to express their understanding of the solution set.

  118. JMG,

    In all good humour, I do wish the WEF would hearken to my earnest literary criticisms as readily as I believe they’ve seized unwittingly on Auken’s literary ironies.

    Maybe I should concentrate instead on reaching the ear of my own Canadian prime minister, who seems to have tipped off much of the furor against the Great Reset with an otherwise fairly boring speech he made back in September. (Americans are actually talking about something a Canadian said in public: what times we live in!) I’ve been tuning him out since his COVID press conferences began back in March- ‘unbearably unctuous’ is how one trusty commentator here described them. I don’t believe he has an ironic bone in his body, either.

  119. Elon Musk and his hyperloop is another reminder of we can choose what we want for public transportation.

    Hershey used to have trolleys (the real kind with overhead electrical lines and metal rails buried in the streets). The current fantasy is to reinstall trolley lines complete with overhead electrical lines and metal rails buried in the streets.

    To which my answer was: diesel buses disguised to look like trolleys. They’d use the existing roads. One or two could be purchased for a much lower cost and serve as proof of concept. Routes could be easily changed to reflect what people actually wanted.

    The response? Not crickets in the last conversation (although I get those).

    No, it was that we shouldn’t use buses because no one wants to wait behind a bus on the street! Instead, the real goal is….

    A monorail!

    So no one driving their car will ever have to wait behind a bus! Or a trolley!

  120. Quick aside to your response to my rather long-winded comment above:

    Neoliberalism may be associated by some with the Left but I believe that is an incorrect assessment. It should be associated with the Left and the Right. It means economic liberalization, which includes privatization, deregulation, globalization, austerity, free trade, and less government spending as a way to increase the private sector’s role in the economy (and society/culture). Most of these features are actually more associated with the political Right than the political Left. And Reagan and Thatcher (using Milton Friedman) are the two politicians that really made this a central component to their political ideology, essentially jumpstarting the neoliberal movement. Neither of them can be mistaken as Leftists. Now, this is the ideology that has, more or less, been the central component of every presidential administration since Reagan but to pin neoliberalism on the Left, I believe, would be incorrect.

    The Great Reset seeks to meet the failures of neoliberalism in an anti-democratic way and MIGHT have some elements that are more associated with the Left, but even that might be up for debate. There is nothing truly collectivist about the Great Reset.

  121. Is it possible to roll your eyes so hard they get stuck backwards in their sockets? I just can’t even…
    I won’t bother to read it. I don’t need to, the title alone is enough.

    Rentier capitalism is running out of things from which they create monetary flows. They are beginning to scrape the bottom of the barrel. They want us to own nothing so we can pay even more rents and fees.

    This is an attempt to spin a narrative, that if we let them take everything, once all the kinks are worked out, they will make it free. Sure.

    I admit I participate in a few ways that I could avoid with a lot of work – buying and ripping cds rather than streaming services for music; building a computer out of open source tools rather than using my company-provided laptop with cloud software. I don’t have time for that, though, I have a lot of obligations.

    –Rose Red Loon
    (can’t login anymore? sorry if double-post)

  122. Lathechuck
    Thank you for your answer.
    Regarding gold, i believe that personal security and safety, in the coming dystopia, will be a very big problem anyway, with or without gold. This is another issue i wonder how to prepare myself.
    Specially in hard times, it is important to have some resources you can count on. Of course, you should manage it wisely.
    But my question was more general, about the practical way to prepare when, like me, you are sure this big reset will occur.

    JMG
    Thank you for your answer.
    I am surprised by it, and hope you are right. I believe Trump was the last chance to stop the global elites in a civil and lawful way, and I don’t think the opposition is prepare to fight in other ways. Not yet and not soon.
    The public acceptance of the covid measurements, is a good example of it impotence. So much was accepted by the public, and for so long time!!
    I don’t blame “the public”. There are reasons, in our modern society, in Western countries, that make it very complicated to fight back the kind of strategy the left use.

  123. When I saw flying cars and electrical energy too cheap to meter, I stopped reading her text. This won’t come to pass…

    Now with regard to liberty, I think the more useful distinction is not between state and private property, but between centralized and local forms. Certain land was the collective, inalienable property of some families until the beginning of the 19th century in England and in Germany. Other land was the common property of villages until the 17th century at least, and all of it was the collective property of groups in North America before Columbus. You proposed yourself a form of syndicalism where all enterprises progressively become the collective property of their workers.

    So with this redefinition, I agree that the absence of local forms of property leads to a loss of liberty.

    While I don’t think Ms. Auken’s vision has any chance to come true, the expansion of Amazon, DashDoor etc. at the expense of local business this year concerns me a lot.

  124. Teresa,

    May I please add, who is growing the food, who is delivering the food, who is cooking the food and who is loading the drones?

  125. Irena said: I’ve been saying for years that anyone who wants to start a colony on the Moon or on Mars or anywhere else not-on-Earth should first build a prototype in the Gobi Desert and keep it in operation (with humans and all) for at least a year. It’s a much easier task, of course, but it’ll do as a first baby step. Well, maybe I’m uninformed, but so far, the baby step doesn’t seem to have materialized. I wonder why.

    JMG said: Irena, you’re most welcome. That’s been my thought also. It would be easier to establish a self-sustaining community in the middle of Antarctica, or on top of Nanga Parbat in the Himalayas, or at the bottom of the Marianas Trench, than it would be to establish such a community on Mars. No, nobody’s likely to do any of those things…

    Actually they did. Twice. Biosphere 2 in Oracle, AZ. It was meant to be it’s own fully functioning self-contained Biosphere. A sort of baby-Earth within Earth to test all these sustainability, green, recycle, renewable, back-to-the-earth ideas that’s been idealized by so many (why people just like WEF and the Danish politician Auken *cough*cough*). It collapsed both times. Some of it due to cascading, surprise ecological problems of various kinds but others due to squabbles and backstabbing power struggles. According to Dr. Walford the second set of problems were just as dire as the first, maybe moreso. Maaaaybe someone could eventually find solutions for the massive plant and animal die-offs coupled with persistent low-oxygen problems (among other ecological problems – I hear sanitation turned out to be a bigger problem than anyone expected), etc. But I’ve yet to hear anyone found a scientific solution to the problem of group infighting and backstabbing office politics.

    I followed it at the time because I was a fan of Dr. Roy Walford who was the group’s medical doctor. He was also a big advocate for Caloric Reduction diets as the only scientifically proven method for genuine life extension. At the time no one knew why CR diets extended life for any species it’s been tried on (over 50, including humans). Now they think it’s due to CR diets ability to kickstart and keep going amazing rejuvenation of the body’s telemeres though I no longer keep up with it if any advances have been made beyond that.

    We’re talking like a typical CR human living to 155 to 160 years and only getting ‘old’ in the final 2 years of life but having the body and mind biomarkers, looks and vibrancy of a 30 year old prior to those final 2. But to do that researchers discovered you’d have to restrict calories from the time you were around 4-5 years old (extrapolating from animal studies of course) to only 40% of what a 3rd world population eats (nevermind the food-flooded environment of the “developed” world) and even then it has to be highly nutrient dense in certain ratios, etc, etc, etc…and thus tracked like crazy. Every meal, all of it has to be super-calculated…how much of this vitamin, mineral, protobiotic, the ratios, etc. meaning nobody can realistically follow such a diet outside of the kind of scientific monitoring the Biosphere 2 participants received.

    Some of the political fighting was about the diet in the first place even though every participant knew ahead of time when they signed up they were signing on for a hardcore CR diet to run 18-24 months. Rumor had it more than one participant rebelled halfway through the ‘no Biosphere 1 contact’ protocol (ie they opened the dome before the experiment ran it’s agreed upon course) and had pizza snuck in at various hours…thus also compromising the dieting part of the experiment. Anyway…you can’t slip on the tracking for very long or big health problems set in and even then problems still may set in later. In fact Dr. Walford admitted in an interview a few years before he died he believed his experiments with hardcore CR during his time inside Biosphere 2 are what triggered his ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Prior to that he’d been fine and there was no medical history of the disease on either side of his family at all as I recall.

    I wish someone would tell Ms. Auken her green biosphere dreams have been scientifically tested in idealized conditions and the results both times didn’t inspire further research money being dumped into it for a third.

  126. JMG, I and all the left wing people round here I know of consider neoliberal to be a right-wing philosophy, and hate it. As in foaming at the mouth fulminations against it all through my highschool and university years late 90s to lateish 2000s, right alongside the neocons. And I agree with them – I fail to see anything leftwing in what is basically lassaiz-faire capitalism, or crony capitalism run amok.

  127. Here’s what Wikipedia says of Biosphere 2’s original mission.

    Biosphere 2 was originally meant to demonstrate the viability of closed ecological systems to support and maintain human life in outer space[4] as a substitute for Earth’s biosphere. It was designed to explore the web of interactions within life systems in a structure with different areas based on various biological biomes.

    In addition to the several biomes and living quarters for people, there was an agricultural area and work space to study the interactions between humans, farming, technology and the rest of nature as a new kind of laboratory for the study of the global ecology. Its mission was a two-year closure experiment with a crew of eight humans (“biospherians”).[5] Long-term it was seen as a precursor to gain knowledge about the use of closed biospheres in space colonization. As an experimental ecological facility it allowed the study and manipulation of a mini biospheric system without harming Earth’s biosphere.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biosphere_2

  128. I am regularly stunned at how any governmental action to improve quality of life in the United States is interpreted as infringement on personal freedom.

    I’m regularly stunned at how many adults prefer to be treated as children by some nanny-state.

    I wish there was a slower, gentler way for the whole construct to collapse.

    Let’s get on with it already — I’ll take “fast collapse” for $2000, Alex. (rip)

    I largely agree with a sound currency and a reduction in debt, I get off the train at the return to growth.

    Bingo!

    Nobody really wants collectivism as they’re really not interested in sharing their things so much as sharing everyone else’s. It’s also instructive that the Davos crowd isn’t the least bit interested in sharing *their* things. In Auken’s world, I doubt everyone has daily access to the Ferrari or weekend access to the villa on Lake Como.

    Churchill nailed it:

    “Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy.” —Perth, Scotland, 28 May 1948, in Churchill, Europe Unite: Speeches 1947 & 1948 (London: Cassell, 1950), 347.

    AND

    “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings. The inherent virtue of Socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.” —House of Commons, 22 October 1945.

    JMG,

    Do you think Bloomberg and now Biden’s pre-occupation with gun control is a last-ditch attempt to head off the bloody rebellion that the GR will certainly bring? Every other policy he’s promoting seems hell-bent on accelerating the collapse.

  129. I most certainly do not have any sort of obsession with the Star Trek franchise, and I resent… {/glances over at two tall stacks of Star Trek novels on desk, hastily pushes them onto the floor, and smiles nervously}

  130. As for Charles Fourier, I believe I’ve heard the bit about the oceans turning into lemonade, but I have no real context for it. It sounds like an essay on him could be wildly entertaining.

  131. I am deeply thankful that the Davos set are not nearly as competent as Lenin and his contemporaries. “Ten Days that Shook the World” by John Reed is a detailed retelling of the October Revolution of 1917. The final blow to the old regime was when the soldiers of the Russian Army stopped taking orders from their officers and began listening to the ‘Soviets’, or representative committees. At that time the career choices for a Russian soldier on the front were to stay and starve and freeze (the Army was not being fed!) or desert and get shot.

    If you’re worried about the likelihood of a Great Reset, then look at how the armed forces feel about implementing it.

  132. @Simon S

    Greetings from America! Can we switch places? I would LOVE to have a government with the capacity to forbid people from spreading the virus… you are welcome to come to my apartment, it is very nice but I cannot leave it because there are 178,000 cases/day in this country, and I will enjoy exploring the neighborhood around your home in Australia where there are 6 cases/day!

    I do not need a “great reset” but I would love to have a great exchange, the Australians who love Covid can come to America, and we can move over there!

  133. John, I bet that sent her around the bend. The thing about Fourier is that foam-flecked tirades give him more credit than he deserves. If you just explain with a straight face what he believed, most people end up laughing themselves into hiccups.

    Youngelephant, duly noted. I’ll stock up on cosmic citric acid. 😉 As for the power of limits, remember that people who belong to the comfortable (Cozi?) classes have had to close their minds to any such thing, because realizing that resources are limited would force them to think about the connection between the excessive share they take and the inadequate share that so many millions of others are left with…

    Joan, a case could be made!

    Ron, oh my. Let’s see if we can get that song turned into the anthem of the Great Reset:

    “Twenty houses in a row
    Eighty people watch a TV show
    Paper people, cardboard dreams
    How unreal the whole thing seems…”

    Arkansas, a fine bit of satire. Just don’t say it too loudly around the World Economic Forum — they’ll think you mean it, and discuss it earnestly!

    Clark, my take is that there are many solution sets, and that’s one of them.

    Dylan, if you can get an iota of common sense through the yard-thick layer of smug self-righteousness that surrounds Justin Trudeau’s brain and keeps it safely insulated from the real world, you’ll have done the world a great favor.

    Teresa, trolleys have major advantages — they’re relatively cheap, easy to operate, and can be maintained with late 19th century technology, which is kind of an issue. As for monorails, suggest instead that they should wait for someone to invent a Star Trek transporter beam, and in the meantime, we can have buses or trolleys…

    Joshuajude, one of the things that amuses us over here on the Right is the quarrels between different leftward ideologies about who is or is not really Left. Mind you, I trust you get just as many laughs out of watching the quarrels among rightward ideologies about who is or isn’t really Right…

    Loon, I think so. Certainly my eyes rolled so hard I think I saw my own pituitary gland.

    Nati, the Trump years were the beginning of the struggle, not the end of it. There’s a long road still ahead, and I think you’ll be surprised to see some of the things that will happen.

    Matthias, another way to conceptualize the same thing would be to recognize that private property can be owned by families, villages, small groups, etc. and still be private. It’s when it’s all owned by the same people who run the government that disaster always follows.

    Panda, I’ll believe the claims for CR when I see it actually work for somebody. So far all we have are theories — and there have been plenty of other theories about longevity that turned out to be duds as complete as Biosphere 2.

    Pygmycory, from a right-wing perspective, it’s socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor.

    Slithy Toves, good question! I think of it as “cozy,” in the sense of all comfortably wrapped up in a bubble of delusions that keeps them safe from the nasty world out there.

    Mr. Nobody, nobody’s going to tease you about the plastic Spock ears in your desk drawer… 😉

    Cliff, so noted! I’ll send for an anti-lion.

    Kfish, I noted some time ago that police, active duty military, and veterans are all overwhelmingly pro-Trump and anti-this kind of crap…

  134. I’m just going to put this out there: I am an American living in America. I am also the owner of a small business that has taken a severe hit and may not survive because of COVID fearmongering. I will not be taking the vaccine even if it means I am forced to abandon the business I have built over the span of 25 years. The State can marginalize me into homelessness and I still won’t take the vaccine. I would rather die. I am spiteful towards the Branch Covidians who believe our entire future should revolve around a disease with a less than 1% mortality rate. I urge all American Branch Covidians to move to countries where they can trade their odious freedoms for their preferred Big Mommy style oppression: I’ll donate a few bucks to your moving fund and I’ll help you pack if you are local.

    If the Covidgestapo come for me, they will learn I can easily sustain myself on spite alone if necessary. They have picked the wrong will to try and crush. I am not afraid.

    True confessions: I never heard of Fourier. What a fruit loop! Please write that essay, JMG. Are you sure he wasn’t trolling with his “lemonade oceans” comment, though? As Violet alluded, it sounds like something Salvador Dali would paint.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  135. The most fearsome of all these ideas connected to the Great Reset and ideas like them, is that they are so totalitarian, the corporate elite and the politicians associated with them so unwilling to consider any moral or other limit, and the ordinary population so weak, disprganized, and despite some tough talk so unwilling to do anything about it that I fear the worst. I’m really not sure what would be needed to change this. The outcome of the election in the Unired States has raised to me the possibility that the current elite can do ever more brazen things like massive election fraud (I don’t know for sure, how massive, but the picture doesn’t look good either way) without any risk of real pushback.

    When comparing the present with the past, the logic behind the arguments of believers in progress are not infrequently about the vast improvements in the material side of life standard (the usual argument is that people do have things today which kings of the past didn’t have), so what are people whining about?

  136. I don’t follow Gordon White and his sources that much, but one thing he said that stuck out to me before is that people watching Star Trek imagine themselves as crew members of the Enterprise while they’re closer to the denizens of the planets the Enterprise visits, interferes with, and have sex with.

    I never watched the original series at all but I did enjoy episodes of The Next Generation as a kid. Thinking back, I think Picard’s Enterprise was a good microcosm of the ideals and paradoxes of liberal ideals — non-interference with other cultures as a principle, but routine violations of the policy that still occur; socialism in the military-government complex of the Federation, where they don’t use money, but widespread black markets everywhere outside and on the fringes.

    Anyway I read this essay a few days ago and thought it was quite appropriate: https://aeon.co/amp/essays/left-and-right-are-over-the-future-is-up-and-down?__twitter_impression=true the author says that the realignment of the political sphere in the future will basically take the form of “upswing” Vs “downwing”, progress vs taking care of earth.

  137. In an interesting bit of synchronicity, Richard Heinberg’s latest essay (https://www.postcarbon.org/the-real-plan-to-make-america-ungovernable/?mc_cid=dc6051cfe4&mc_eid=b6dfd9aee8) addresses the same issue. Being Heinberg, however, he avoids proposing dramatic solutions to perceived catastrophes, and offers ideas to minimize the projected damage as much as possible. The best to hope for seems to be growing communities of people who will respect differences and work collaboratively to grow the foundations of viable neighborhoods. (I’m somehow reminded of a quote from David Fleming’s “Surviving the Future”: “there will be music”)

  138. Mr. Greer,

    Thank you for this post. I wish I could find comfort in your light-hearted, mocking tone. I find the Great Reset and the dystopian public health measures it rode in on, to be chilling. It doesn’t take much poking around the Internet to see criminal intent, but I fear that most people have no exposure to that information. They are content with their MSM sources of information, and the censorship of any other narrative is terrifyingly effective.

    I recently came across a story about a vision that George Washington had about three great travails that would test the nation. https://www.ushistory.org/valleyforge/washington/vision.html I’d love to hear your thoughts about about that story, since the third predicted travail could be seen as similar to current events. I’ve never heard anything else about GW that led me to believe that he was a literal visionary. According to USHistory.org, the origin story via Anthony Sherman casts doubt on its authenticity.

  139. @William Hunter Duncan reading Joseph Campbell’s Creative Mythology , what I immediately thought of when I thought of the 13th century was his quoting of Henry Adams:

    “The twelfth and thirteenth centuries, studied in the pure light of political economy, are insane. According to statistics, in the single century between 1170 and 1270, the French built 80 cathedrals and nearly five hundred churches of the cathedral class, which would have cost, according to an estimate made in 1840, more than five thousand millions (francs) to replace…The share of this capital… which was invested in the Virgin cannot be fixed… and expressed an intensity of conviction never again reached by any passion, whether of religion, of loyalty, of patriotism, or of wealth; perhaps never even paralleled by any single economic effort, except in war. ”

    He then makes some comparisons to the insanity of the pyramids, the temples of Ur.

    Time for a vastly expensive “apogee of spirituality” for our age, I guess.

    And in the Gothic age, he says Spengler pointed out that it was a simultaneous rise of the Virgin Mother and the Devil – the absolute bifurcation of all reality into Light and Dark – and a knife edge between eternal bliss and eternal condemnation like never before – that was the driving creative vision. The gallows and wheel of the Inquisition in the shadow of the cathedrals.

    Sounds about right… Though I assume our bifurcation might be more like the Past and the Future, with the Present this knife edge of potential sin or salvation (Progress) between them… Though a good argument could be made rather for the Individual and the Collective human, instead. I can make a better case for the latter.

  140. @ Avery

    That’s a great idea. You’ll have to be locked in my house for four months without seeing family and friends though. Fair’s fair.

  141. @Panda
    I do not have the reference, but I recall reading that the CR research suffered from severe methodological errors. Most important of those begin that the animals in the control group were overfed. Those papers did not demonstrate that CR extends lifespan, but rather that CR kills you less rapidly than obesity.

    Speaking of the figure 40% less than Third World… this is the first time I heard of that. I always heard 10-20% less than medical advised optimal quantities. We do not need to make experiments to disprove that because we have millions upon millions of case studies. Those happen a lot during famines, and the results are not hordes of supercentenarians dwelling in every corner of the most impoverished nations in the World. Unless of course that guy meant the diets of Third World [dictators, their families, friends and lackeys], in which case it sounds plausible.

    And they have the gall to say Homeopathy is pseudoscience!!!

  142. I would LOVE to have a government with the capacity to forbid people from spreading the virus…

    Why not try quarantining the sick instead of the healthy and/or vulnerable? But of course this approach is much more convenient cover for the GR prologue. Never let a good crisis go to waste.

    If only Sweden would play the tyrant game then the folly of all others wouldn’t be so blindingly obvious.

  143. It would seem that waving the shared underwear of the Great Reset may become just as ubiquitous as those who wave the flag of Bidet whenever the topic of TP shortages are brought up in recent social media conversations. Water pressure not withstanding…
    Nevertheless, I have it on good authority that no one in the Great Reset cleans their own shorts because nobody owns it..
    Point of fact, any and all soiled or gently used under garments are sent by express drone to the deplorables of the countryside for wash and fluff so that the same said deplorables may attain enough social benefit awareness credit to send their deplorable children to Great Reset Summer Camps. For free. The end.

  144. Hi Magne and JMG; regarding the future as envisioned in 1969:

    I recall in 1970 or so, reading a magazine targeted for grade-school & junior high students, with an article trumpeting the wonderful near-future in which all clothes would be made of paper! You’d wear it once, then throw it away. No mending, no laundry, no ironing, no wasting your closet space storing clothes, always in fashion, always new, clean, cheap… Oh, how we can hardly wait! And note the implicit “No ownership”. My 11-13 year-old self read this article in abject dismay. Even then I knew that paper was made from trees, and this just seemed so decadently wasteful, and I hoped and prayed that I would always have the freedom to wear fabric clothes. (And how rich it is, now that I am changing my profession in early 2021 to become a sewing machine repairman! Why if I were Christian, I’d shout Hallelujah from the rooftop!)

    I did a search to see if I could relocate this article for JMG to use as a potential resource. No luck. But I did find this:

    https://timeline.com/paper-fashion-1960s-43dd00590bce

    Apparently, paper fashion did flourish for 15 minutes as a thing in 1966. I never knew. Mercifully, it not only never caught on, it’s not even remembered. Let us thank the gods for small favors.

    And thank you JMG for today’s essay; just today I received in the mail my copy of Klaus Schwab’s “Covid-19: The Great Reset”. I think I’ll be reading it with not-so-much apprehension now.

  145. Last night, a foundational service at Amazon developed problems at one of their data centres and the impact was worldwide. Various well known services were impacted. I was one of the few people who turned up at a Zoom based technical talk as the Meetup service seemed to be having trouble. We agreed to postpone. The most ludicrous story I’ve heard to date is that some people have not been able to vacuum because their internet connected vacuum cleaners can’t be controlled.
    The point of course is that even if it was desirable, the Great Reset will require a level of software reliability far in excess of today’s capabilities. We simply don’t know how to do this on a practical level that would scale up to meet Ida’s poorly thought out vision. We would need an improvement by orders of magnitude. It would require generations of improvements in our disciplines and techniques (hundreds of years worth possibly) If you accept there’s a clear endpoint on the horizon for this phase of our culture It seems clear that we are never going to reach that point.

    Andy

  146. Teresa

    “Now put cars in three dimensions! Up and down as well as right, left, backwards, and forwards. Yeek.”

    Back in the fifties a certain inventor came up with one of the first flying cars. It actually worked (within the limits our host has outlined, i.e., what makes a good car makes a poor aircraft and vice versa). He made a few prototypes and was all set to go into production, having purchased the land to build his factory.

    Then the FAA put the kibosh on his plans for the very reason you stated. However, he was able to resell the land at a sufficient profit to allow him to retire.

    If there’s a lesson in this, it’s hedge your bet with real property.

  147. The roasting of the corporate aristocracy in the commentary is so good. I used to believe they knew what was to be done to solve our problems but intentionally didn’t speak out to preserve their status. Even though it’s partly true, I’ve realized they truly lack imagination for most part. After reading this post, I took a survey in my group of friends about what kind of society they’d prefer. One with 24×7 surveillance with free everything or eke out a living in the countryside. The split was 66/33 for living in the country side. The divide wasn’t anything to do with political alignment but rather on supporting the dem/rep establishment. Still shocking, the number of people ready to give up on privacy or imagination without much thought..

  148. Hi JMG & all–
    The plans of the PTB are pretty ominous, all right, but we need not re-invent the wheel to find strategies that have worked. In Iron Age Mesopotamia, there was a strategy of repealing at least some classes of debt at certain infrequent times– every 49 years, or when a new king was crowned. It is described in the Bible as the ‘Jubilee Year, but apparently other societies at the time were doing the same sort of thing.

    Instead of another round of bailout billions for banks and huge corporations, my fantasy is to pay off all credit cards, mortgages, and student loans with the funny money generated by the US Treasury. We would all go straight to the end of hyperinflation, bypassing a lot of the suffering, violence and death that usually accompany it.

    It’s a fantasy of course, since this requires the rich and powerful to voluntarily give up wealth and power– but if anyone is interested, I wrote more about this idea here:

    http://jackmanassas.blogspot.com/2017/07/the-big-reset.html

    Cheers,
    EG

  149. Oh gosh, I hope Ms. Auken is right and they let misfits like me squat in abandoned rural houses, but I don’t see it on the agenda. I’ve also heard they propose to disallow hiking, to keep human detritus from spoiling nature, and my experience this year on Mt. Fuji, where they put up policed or survellied barriers at the entryways to 90% of the mountain leaves me concerned. My husband said they’re trying to “Disney-fy” the mountain, i.e., make it an expensive treat for people willing to stand in long lines. A new way to seek revenue. And it wouldn’t be the first time either. Historical novelist Nitta Jiro described Mt. Fuji in the 1700s with all the workhands along the way holding their hands out for coins. One of the few forms of travel allowed by the Bakufu was religious pilgrimages, so a whole travel industry sprang up around that, catering to wealthy merchants.
    Thank you so much for writing about the “Great Reset!” I’ve been dying to hear what you make of it.I can attest that the scientific community with whom I have contact (EMF effects) are up in arms about it. The only people I know not upset at the idea are liberal, educated, mostly comfortably retired relatives who have benefited from technological progress all their lives and cannot see anything wrong with it. They perceive the ideas in the “Great Reset” as rumors and conspiracy theories.
    I’ve relayed your take on the next presidency to friends and relatives, leaving out references to astrology for those that reject it categorically. I don’t think you even need an astrological analysis to see the next president faces a severe situation.
    I would not underestimate the amount of misery the Great Reset could cause, however. And many people I know fear Biden will lend power to their machinations. An anti-5G activist in Europe was jailed a couple weeks ago. Not arrested. Just jailed, and in an isolated part of the jail, where she was left unattended for nearly 24 hours before she managed to draw attention by hollering in English (which she said would alert other prisoners that there was an English speaker being held, which she thought would give her an advantage) and banging on the bars, after which they took her to a padded cell and brought in a doctor to interrogate her. She was terrified they’d institutionalize her. She heard them referring to her as an “enemy of state.” I fear we will see anyone in the way of these plotters get Assanged. The technology they’ve deployed so far gives them a terrible amount of power over us.

  150. Simon S, Yes I live in Australia too and still haven’t seen some of my family for over a year. I don’t see that I have an automatic right to have things go my way. Your comments on the breaches to the Constitution are interesting. My understanding of the Australian Constitution is that it is primarily a document which regulates the relationship of the Commonwealth Government and the State Governments and also their relationships with each other. Yes I do believe that some measures that have been taken breach the Constitution but not the ones you pointed out. Anyway, being Australia there is probably a rider in there somewhere which allows the Constitution to be massaged when necessary. We are after all a nation of pragmatists, not of idealists.
    Aren’t we lucky?

  151. Hello JMG,
    I’ve been watching that old German propaganda film from 1934 “The Triumph Of The Will”. Another case of a whole country buying into the Worker’s Paradise dream of a demented leader, officially known as National Socialist German Workers’ Party.
    The images of vast adoring crowds as Hitler’s car sweeps by, the thousands of “peaceful heroic un- armed soldiers” marching with their spades, the ritualized party meetings and nighttime fire illuminated shows for the masses are grim reminders of how easily a people gives up its political and personal freedom when presented with a shiny new future. Looking at those faces at the youth camp, I couldn’t help but wonder how many of them ended up dead in the mud of Stalingrad 8 years later.
    1930’s Germany was a good example of the faceless technocrats running the show. The Banality of Evil…

  152. Surveys tend to find that a plurality to bare majority of Russians and East Germans look back fondly on Communism. The bitter joke is “everything they told us about Communism is a lie. Unfortunately, everything they told us about Capitalism is true.” Bungling the transition in the 90s with shock therapy had a cost.

    A sociologist by the name of Randall Collins predicted the collapse in the 70s using straight up normal geopolitical rules. The USSR+Warsaw Pact had less population and was in a central position (land borders) while NATOs heartland had at most one front and most was protected by a vast ocean. Soviets were using more of the economy for military goods. Given these factors the USSR would fall first. (These factors nicely backfit most Great power conflicts, right back to Warring States China.)

    The primary failure of Soviet Communism’s economic ideology (and indeed China’s before Deng) is that they couldn’t make collective farming work. To the best of my knowledge, no one has.

    The cyclical nature of human societies; their rise and fall, is obvious. As for progress, sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t. Often it is bad for human welfare. I’d far rather have lived as a hunter gatherer before agriculture than in the early agricultural states, which were virtually all horror shows. (Pre-Aryan India seems to be a rare exception, but still suffered from shorter lives, bad teeth, more disease and narrower hips for women.) Likewise peasants bitterly fought the industrial revolution and land clearances, and with good reason: forced off the land, their lives were FAR worse. This process, as an aside, continues. The Chinese had to use a lot of force to get people to leave their ancestral villages. Among other things, people who stay self-report as happier and have higher life-satisfaction than those who leave. (This is not to deny the great amounts of dire poverty alleviated by China’s industrial revolution. But it wasn’t and isn’t all gravy.)

    At any rate, it is advisable to remember that as one civilization declines, others are rising. America can’t handle Covid, but Vietnam, a state that is still young and vigorous and not particularly corrupt, can.

    “How Life Could Change 2030” is a neoliberal dream. It’s not something anyone I know on the economic left would support (the people who do don’t call themselves left wingers, they call themselves centrists.). It’s a pretend game, believing the utopian claims of the so-called “sharing” economy to increase welfare rather than the actuality, which is that they remove labor and pricing power, and thus depress wages, and funnel money towards a very few people. (I won’t say profits, because companies like Uber don’t make profits and don’t actually cover the cost of maintaining their people and equipment. They’re economic locusts.

    I find it odd that I, definitely a left-winger, often wind up having to defend Capitalism’s virtues, like making actual profits, having competitive markets and providing non fraudulent services while letting companies who don’t, go bankrupt.

    Semi-bizarre aside: I was once asked to give witness to a bunch of things for “celestial bureaucrats” (who don’t always see the material world very clearly.) One of those was whether the sharing economy was humans finally becoming generous and sensible and sharing with each other. I understand my answer was not what they were hoping to hear.

  153. I’ve noticed that a lot of Plutonian cultural themes have coalesced since 2006; for example the play acting Neopagans, fundamentalist Christians, New Atheism scene, etc have all descended into demonolatry in a way which in 2006 was unthinkable. Is something similar going on here? Are the various Plutonian themes being forced to crowd together as Pluto weakens somehow?

    Also, on the topic of satire a family member is now convinced that Trump has ordered the American government to destroy plans for an alternative energy technology which is clean and cures anyone who’s near it of cancer. Like genuinely believes this. I’ve given up trying to figure out what’s satire anymore……

  154. @JMG: “Irena, remember that the United States literally built its cultural identity around leading the global march of progress. That we’re going to end up leading that march straight down the slope of the Long Descent is just one of history’s ironies.”

    Right. It occurs to me that this is actually most unhealthy, and I mean that in the most literal sense possible. We all know what happened to male life expectancy in Russia after the Soviet collapse. (And it’s telling that the situation was notably worse in Russia than in Belarus and the Ukraine, so it’s not just economics.) Something like that may just be in store for the US of A as well, with the belief in progress and similar fantasies being a major risk factor. Because once again, it’s not just economics. There’s a difference between “I suddenly have a lot less than I used to, and I’m struggling to get used to it” and “everything I ever believed in was one big, fat lie, and I no longer have any reason to stay alive.”

    Actually, I was thinking about this as I watched a recent-ish conversation between Bret Weinstein and Douglas Murray (it’s easy to find on YouTube, if anyone’s interested). Overall, it was a very good conversation, I thought. (The situation on the West Coast is rather dire, if they are to be believed. I guess our host was wise to decamp on time.) But then in the last 15 min or so, they started prattling on about how the US was the leader of the free world (TM), and how important the US was for the whole planet, and yadda, yadda, yadda. And I thought to myself that those two gentlemen (Weinstein especially) were setting themselves up for one fine heart-attack.

    @teresa from hershey
    @Happy Panda

    Re: Arizona

    This is absolutely fascinating. The things one learns from this comment thread…

  155. To clarify why I wrote what I wrote, my impressions aren’t based on hard data, but rather on an instinctual feeling that something is about to go very wrong. Ressource limits may ultimately restrict the power of Western governments, but by the time ressource constraints begin to bite, it may be too late to avoid hell on Earth.

  156. re: Money printing and the worthlessness of the coin of the realm

    In broad terms, find something that is tangible, tradable, not too fragile and you think will hold its value. There are obvious substances that meet those requirements but there are many others out there too. I’d also get a good book on a historical account of a hyperinflation to read. You only need one. Because after reading a few accounts, they are all depressingly similar. Anyways, it’ll tell you most of what you need to know to cope with one. Here’s a piece of advice most of them miss – the single best response to a hyperinflation is to leave the realm afflicted by it and go live somewhere else with a stable currency. Anything else is less effective than that.

    If I were a youngun, a 20-something, seriously, I’d drop whatever it is I’m doing here – and leave now. Just do it. You’re welcome in advance, you can thank me later.

    re: “vaccines”

    When you hear reports that the glowies are coming out of the woodwork to suppress people questioning vaccines, you know they are not good for you. This is an intelligence test. Pass it and live.

    re: “progress”

    Try looking at used cars sometime. You’ll notice something rather odd. A late 70s/early 80s pickup truck is asking for about 2-3x what a mid 90s pickup truck is asking for. For a certain segment of the car market, they are starting to reject even 1990s technology in favor of the old standbys of carburetion and mechanical ignition, just because parts are cheaper and almost all the work can be done under a shade tree with hand tools. I’ve noticed locally, someone puts out a car for sale on the side of the road from that old carb/points era, it doesn’t stay there very long, someone snaps it up and it’s GONE.

    I suppose if you wanted something to put your savings into to shelter it from money printing, you could do a lot worse than an old Chevy “square body”. tangible, tradable, not too fragile, hold its value…

    I’m going to hazard a prediction of what 2070 will look like, and my guess is it will resemble that “square body” more than it will resemble “Model 3”.

  157. @ Clark

    Re solutions sets and and mathematical framing

    Being a sucker for math analogies, I can appreciate the notion of searching for a solution set. (And likewise, geometry was one of my favorite classes in high school 🙂 Oh, the proofs!)

    The traps that so many people and groups fall into is the search for a solution and the failure to acknowledge that different people are and can be truly different. No man is an island, but some people are peninsular, and some people do well as one island among an archipelago, while some people are mainland. An “solution” needs to have sufficient flexibility to permit variation—variations in values, in preferences, in desire. It is the one-size-fits-all mentality plaguing both side of the American political establishment that causes so much frothing at the mouth. This is one reason I keep coming back to my idea of a looser confederation and a more decentralized system of governance. The trick, of course, is to find the balance between necessary freedoms and necessary cohesion. Best to allow people choices, so long as they are willing to make the required trade-offs for those choices.

    Certainly, the nonsense being brought forth by the promoters of the Great Reset fails in this task utterly, even if their impossible fantasies (“when clean energy became free”) became reality.

  158. The eveything-as-a-service model is becoming notorious in the business world. It starts small, maybe your petrol pump-sized oxygen generator is owned by BOC or Air Liquide. It slowly spreads until even the tyres on your vehicle fleet are still owned by Michelin. Your company song might as well be Dido’s Life for Rent, as nothing you have is truly yours. The process is known as ‘vendor capture’.

    I’ve also finally got round to reading Open Veins of Latin America by Eduardo Galeano, and the words ‘digial latifundia’ come to mind.

  159. I read the article that is the focus of this essay, and, like others, could not believe it was not satire. To me it seemed completely divorced from physical reality. Flying cars? Renting underwear? And the kicker, free energy? (Too cheap to meter, where have we heard that before.) If the writer was serious, then I would have said she was … well … bat, frackin’ crazy. (Just like Fourier and his lemonade ocean.) Finding out there are people who are using it as blueprint for the future is truly alarming.

    I doubt I would have even noticed the creepy parallels to totalitarian societies without this essay. With that in mind, the article then makes more sense. Kind of a “Look how shiny the future can be if you only give up your freedoms” bait and switch tactic. It is a sad reflection on our society that people could seriously believe the future in the article is even possible, much less see it as something to be desired.

    So thanks for this essay. It was quite an eye opener and I now have a warning about the whole Great Reset approach to the future.

    Woodcarver

  160. Since Thor compared San Francisco with the typicl European city, I would like to interject that the most European cities in North America probably are, as far as I know, situates in parts of New England rather than in California, which seems to me culturally to be quite unlike Europe. The “shining city on a hill” aspect of Californian cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco contrasts with the rather traditional chartacter of European cities, which are far older and whose whole layout stem from pre-car culture times. That said, there are, in Euope, too, cities or parts of cities where the more wealthy faux-left and bourgeois classes of siociety are concentrated.

  161. It occurs to me that the reason the elite want unchecked immigration, is to force us into socialism/the great reset, as they know or economy in the US as currently constituted, cannot support all of them. The reason your Trump hating neighbor wants free immigration is similar but slightly different, they really believe in progress and growth and think everyone can be provided for, even if we need a little socialism. Honestly if you see the world this way, not letting in immigrants is hateful and racist.
    It is only when you understand that progress and growth are pretty much over, that we can’t support them all without sinking everyone’s standard of living, and that socialism will only solve the problem for a very short while before making things worse than they were to start with, that you find it frustratingly unfortunate that everyone considers you racist for your position.
    Now that Trump appears to be headed out of office, the MSM are now coming after anyone who supported Trump. If you supported Trump, you basically need to be reeducated very much like Germans after WW2.

  162. @JMG

    Interesting essay. I have had conversations with people on the topic of the supposedly unstoppable forward march of progress, and I’ve many times encountered thoughtstoppers like ‘fatalism’ and ‘pessimism’ in the form of responses to my arguments.

    In India, progress is marketed as the one thing which will ‘bring India out of its superstitious religion, philosophies, and ensure a Western lifestyle for all Indians’. Never mind the fact that progress is causing many regional languages to go extinct, or that rivers which were perennial have gone to being seasonal, or that our incredible botanical wealth is being lost day by day (how many newspaper articles, whether in Western media or Indian media, talk about the plant species going extinct? If at all they do talk about extinction of species, they mention only animals and birds, but never plants or fungi).

    While progress is far more deeply intertwined with Western culture than it is here in India, the problem is that the academic as well as media discourse in India is dominated by the tiny but noisy intelligentsia, which prides itself on its ability to speak English (which makes them display a barely disguised contempt towards Indians who are not fluent in English) and try to be more American than Americans, and unfortunately this group is marketed as the role model for all Indians. While the per capita carbon footprint of Indians is pretty low as compared to the West, this group can easily rival the average Western liberal in wastefulness. It is inspired by the nonsense regurgitated by this group that otherwise intelligent middle-class people often come up with arguments like, “…environment is important, but development is even more important. First, we’ll industrialize and achieve a First World lifestyle, and then we’ll work on environmental issues.”

    Thankfully, with the rise of the Indic movement, as Varun pointed out in the comments section of last week’s essay, this group is being challenged, and things which were taken for granted are being seriously debated upon, and the behaviour of this group is now being scrutinised by their opponents. While I disagree with the Indic movement on a few issues, I’m glad to see this happen, and while I don’t know what the outcome of this will be, I think that a civilization which has weathered numerous shocks throughout the ages will likely not give up so easily.

  163. Very insightful, as usual. Funny detail – this world dear Ida is talking about is basically the Noon Universe, which was invented by two Soviet sci-fi writers ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arkady_and_Boris_Strugatsky ) about 80 years ago. It’s possible she came up with that stuff independently, of course, but the resemblance is stunning, including some very specific details.

    Still, I have to say, there may be a flaw in your analyses/predictions. I wish I could be as sure this idea will go away by itself as you seem to be but the history reliably shows us that 1) just because an idea is very stupid, it doesn’t mean it won’t be widely embraced 2) smaller ratios of middle class to people who have nothing to lose make collectivist thinking more widespread and 3) the cities are machines producing progressives and their supporters. I used to think that the US is more resistant to all 3 but 2020 proved me wrong.

    Also, as we progress further down the ladder of long collapse, Soviet style system just makes so much sense from the managers’ point of view – it would be a miracle if someone somewhere didn’t try it. Oh, wait – they did, in Portland and Seattle and some other places this summer. It was obviously just a non-working prototype, a caricature that was doomed to fail but so was Russian revolution of 1905. When Bolsheviks tried again in 1917 they did it on a much bigger scale and made sure they learned from mistakes made during the rehearsal.

  164. Some serious observations: First, there was a movement for a worldwide order that would bring peace to the world way back in the post-bomb days. But as an s/f reader since age 10, I soon realized that a worldwide order meant there would be no borders across which dissidents and the persecuted could flee; and that one set of ideas would be locked into place without competition from other cultures with other ideas. Need I say, Poul Anderson was writing for Astounding quite a bit in those days. So any mention at all of “World” anything should ring several alarm bells.

    Second, that the Wicked Witch of the ExpatRussian Right had some gems among her garbage, one of which was ‘Never bother to examine a folly. Just ask what it accomplishes.” One of my favorite examples: IRL: the rise of all sorts of sexual variations in the teeming capitol cities of Rome, and of course, the massive microidentities of today’s Woke Left – who live in massively overcrowded and expensive, decaying cities like that. What does it accomplish? “To reduce the number of breeders.” With a topping of “…and the competition.”

    So I ask, what does the folly described in this post accomplish – well, you nailed that one on the nose. And what condition would interest people in a propertyless world? That we’re all drowning in an accumulation of junk – or for the more affluent, “junque.” And can’t find our way out of it, especially when ownership of junk is almost mandatory. “I can’t wear the same outfit every time at work or I won’t be considered for a professional position.” [Quote, from memory, by a fellow bookkeeper looking to advance. And the competition was tough.]
    AND people know they’;re drowning in Stuff and feel helpless do do anything about it!

    Check out “Recognizing and treating HOARDING DISORDER.” with a subtitle on the cover “How Much is Too Much?” **

    The cases cited go way back, of course, and they’re all pathological, but I was amazed to find out, one at a time, how many people I knew from the ABQ S/f society, the pagan community, and the circle I belonged to, had enormous piles of stuff by my standards, and I’m not the most minimalist person in the world. To their detriment: One I found out when she was evicted by another friend – whose workroom and work bags bulge with arts & crafts materials finished and unfinished. Another was living on a cot in her book-laden front room and using her bedroom for storage. Eccentric? But when she died and the leader of our circle helped clean out her place, they used up several boxes of lawn & leaf bags. Etc.

    **Full disclosure: the author is Dr. Carol A. Mathews of the University of Florida, at whose home I’ll be having Thanksgiving dinner the afternoon, along with my son-in-law, his mother, two grandsons, and a granddog.

    Oh, yes, society has a lot of problems, and they are leaking out of the seams at a point that would scare me in any closed vessel.

  165. Owen: if deep red Florida decided to leave the Union, I, for one, would be screaming bloody murder. Unless it decided to go independent and not join the rest of Deep Dixie in the C.S.A.02.

  166. Ex-far leftist here. Voted GOP for the first time this year—and I’ve voted for over 40 years—Green or Socialist when available, otherwise Dems.

    The left’s reaction to Covid, suddenly marching lockstep with the authorities, accusing anyone who questioned anything as being “anti science” or “self centered” etc., jolted me awake. The masked brigades running around town just looking for someone to turn into the authorities, the adoration of CDC, FDA, etc., as if they were neutral players only concerned about the good for all.

    So I’ve been doing some “in hindsight” thinking over the last several months. There was a time I would have embraced Ms. Auken’s vision. But as I’ve come to realize, I would have jumped through numerous mental hoops to buy into it. Just as I jumped through all those hoops to embrace what was necessary to keep my leftist club card valid.

    What scares me is the seeming majority who supports individuals being suppressed for the supposed “good of all”, with a small cadre of people determine what is good. And I was once there…rooting for suppression. I’ve had a change of heart, but having been in that place once, I know how hard it will be to sway people into considering freedom.

  167. JMG-

    Thanks so much for some rather blatant truth telling.

    Much like the child pointing at the nude emperor, however, these days the standard response is not acknowledgement of truth, but rather a rather expansive lecture upon how the emperor identifies as wearing clothes, and therefore, it is a criminal act to suggest that he is a liar without evidence. Youth and inexperience with the current fashionable dogmas are not considered sufficient mitigating circumstances, however, proper confession and ritual self abasement apparently is considered satisfactory penance for misstatement. For now.

    I often find myself running through imaginary worlds when the real world becomes imaginary, as models of the future, however fantastical, often have an element of truth in them. Currently, Shadowrun Lore has running through my head, and specifically the Universal Brotherhood storyline. For those who are unaware, I shall provide a brief cliff note… Short Version, Insect Spirits form a cult that is so spookily like Applegate’s it’s not even funny. Complete with instilling of insect spirits into unsuspecting rubes who join in the spirit of “Universal Brotherhood” and becoming one with the greater good.

    The thought runs through my head that the attempt at silencing vocal communication and insistence on monitorable and recorded communication is surprisingly similar to the concept of a superorganism organizing drones and directing their activities. Similar to an ant Colony, which of course was the professed goal of Dr. Raymond Cocteau in the film “Demolition Man”, which many have already noted bears frightening similarities to the modern day.

    Of course, in such a scenario, that would make sense that a huge swath of humanity would fall prey to the seduction of the idea of simple lists, simple life, all things provided for, and if you die for the colony, you will be remembered for all of fifteen minutes, or two hours, depending on whether or not they think you’re worth a movie. The drone of warmth… even the word drone conjures up images of insect life, at least to me.

    Applegate… well, perhaps it’s only a vast coincidence that the vast majority of computers are run by a company called apple, and a man galled gates. Of course, I may be reading too much into that, but at the same time, their hopes for us all to stay in our rooms, waiting to take our medications that will undo the aging process and make us into transhuman gods seem a mite… suspect to me.

    I admit that I am using frankly unrealistic models of the future, but at the same time, so are the economists, so I really can’t be faulted, I think.

    Of course, now all that talk of apples, and how the establishment is constantly railing against chaos make me suddenly worried that a crackdown on Discordians is on its way. We’re KIDDING! Really! And we will go to the block screaming that it was a JOKE. Fnord!

    Brevdravis

  168. I used to prepare the Federal Reserve Chair and the Director of International Finance for those WEO meetings. I can tell you that even when I was at the Fed, the people lived in cloud-cuckoo land. They were all from Harvard or Yale with Phds and families from the elite. It was a bad day when they hired someone from gasp a state university to write policy. That is how far removed they all are/were.

    It was an unreal place to work since people didn’t understand anything mundane – fork-lift trucks or stoves in the cafeteria. I took two buses to come to work, and was offered a parking pass for the garage. That is how of touch everyone was. I actually had someone ask me if I used a boat to commute since one of the buses crossed the Potomac River.

    So, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least about these folks going cuckoo for cocoa puffs.

  169. Dear John Michael Greer,

    As ever, thank you for keeping up such a worthy blog.

    My two reactions: 1. To sum up the wisdom of the ages, the apparently clever can be deeply stupid. 2. The original title of that story was much better.

    Apropos of everybody-rent-everything, a tip for our ever-more squeezed fiscal authorities: there’s some low-hanging jumbo mangos there in slapping fines on those who “park” their rented e-scooters in the middle of the sidewalk. Oh, even better: just slap the fine on the company– the company has the credit card of the renter.

    P.S. Now is the time to start collecting Biedermeier.

    Kind regards,

    MILLICENTLY LURKING

  170. About the Great Reset or whatever. I watch Max Keyser who is as heterodox economic as one can get. He believes that it is going to crash and burn since it is a house of cards. The elites in his viewpoint are doomed since they depend on fiat currency and money manipulation. Meanwhile, people are ignoring them and developing their own local economies.

    He says that Obama had a chance to correct the financial disasters of 2008, but instead was a total incompetent boob. He believes that Obama made it much worse, increased the wealth of the elites and heralded the revolt of Donald Trump. His money is on the Trump revolt destroying the Great Reset.

    Meanwhile, The Washington Examiner (conservative) has featured the cracks in the picture window of Biden and the Democrats. They see them as alienated and depressed. Meanwhile, local communities are separating themselves from the federal overseers.

    So there are two data points for pondering the blowback.

  171. Having read the item in question, I have a few thoughts:

    1) This doesn’t seem so much like a serious piece of future think or a parody as it does a piece of speculative thinking about the future. I remember seeing a set of four videos along these lines, each one looking at a combination of two variables (personal consumption, cut back or not; birth rate, cut back or not). Thing is, there’s a few other essays that should have been written about different possibilities that are begging to be written.

    2) Another thing that this reminds me of is what propaganda would have been written during the late twenties or mid-sixties in Soviet Russia – “Promises are being kept and the comrades are benefiting, while we’re aware of certain issues going on we only note them to show we’re doing something about them.” Before, of course, the propaganda would be nothing but glowing praise of the coming utopia, afterwards the utopian images come with exhortations to work harder, then finally the propaganda just get put out without believability (or even an attempt of believability).

    3) I’m also reminded of timelines of what’s happened with many corporations as they’ve taken on monopoly status – Walmart, Purdue Foods, and Amazon. The first stage of dependency upon the incipient monopoly is great as the companies are busy trying to woo their target, then as time goes on the monopolies give less and demand more until the supplier/customer not only has no other alternative but is so deep in hock/dependency that they can only think of feeding the monopoly. Right now she’s in the “wooing” phase, as she’s likely getting everything good enough for about a long as she’d like them. Seeing as I’m imagining corporations with people on top profiting off other’s dependencies, I also wouldn’t be surprised to find out how young the author’s supposed to be – I’ll bet the system is set up so that you get everything you could want (with the debt building up) when young, then as you become older you find yourself stuck with tighter and tighter budgets until you’re making do with what you can while juggling your debt. For a version of this operating today, look at the present state of Student Loans.

    4) Of course, I noted the bike as well. One wonders whether the “residents” were “gifted” the bikes as there have been issues with the self-driving and self-flying cars.

    5) I’ll bet all her clothes were made of plastics. One of the more interesting hand-waves was how the narrator character could get away with “renting” her clothes, with one of the more interesting drives being the development of ways to break apart plastics without degrading them (yes, I know, it’s the NY Times), I could easily see them being given back when the rental period is over to be destroyed, remade and rented out again. And, since we’re in the stage of promises being completed in full (if not above and beyond), I’m sure she hasn’t noticed that her clothes were plastic quite yet.

    And as for Star Trek – HATED the show as a kid. My dad loved it, of course…

  172. This is a fantastic essay, with which I thank you from my heart! I am enthusiastically sharing it with many of my friends who are skeptical about the “reset”, “build back better” and etc, ideas that are floating around…

    That said, there is some nuance that I would like to tease out just a bit.

    Firstly, is there any appreciable difference between:
    “Welcome to 2030. I own nothing, I have no privacy, and life has never been better.”

    and..

    “Welcome to 2020. I own nothing, I have no privacy, and life has never been worse.”

    The only major difference I can see here is that one is still fanciful and set in the future, and one is actually here, in the present.

    And that is where “nuance” comes in. Because the present that we already have, that is consistent with large numbers of people owning nothing, and even larger numbers of people having no privacy, is the product of a capitalist system that pays lip service to “private property” but what it means by “private property” is not what I mean, or at least, would like to mean.

    What I mean by it, and what I would consider eminently worthy of protection (for the very reason you mention – because of the ways it underwrites freedom), is everyone’s right to have not only the integrity of their person respected, but also to have their direct connectedness to their personal extentions into the material world respected – a person’s ability to enjoy, without undue external interuption, their connectedness to that which the person inhabits, that which the person makes, that which the person cares for, that which the person maintains, that to which the person’s direct connection could be “sniffed out” by anyone with a dog’s nose. What makes it hard to call these practical concepts “property” is the ways in which that ends up being the figleaf under which the capitalist concept (see below) hides. But on the other hand, there are no other short words for “stuff I am personally connected to, places I personally inhabit and care for, stuff I personally create and maintain, which no one has the right to take from me” that I can easily think of.

    What capitalism calls “private property” is the ultimate, legally enforceable right to exact tribute, and to exclude all others from extracting tribute, from tracts of lands, animals, plants, minerals, other resources, and peoples, even when any of these are already inhabited, made, cared for and maintained by other people (and/or by animals, plants, etc), by virtue of legally registered and enforced property claims that override every other consideration.

    As a thought experiment, one might say that it would be no violation of the capitalist concept of “private property” for one single private human being to legally acquire private exploitation/exclusion rights to the whole world, even though this would destroy the freedom of every single other human being. OTOH, this prospect would be a violation of what *I* would consider worth protecting under the heading of private property as part of the “underwiring” for freedom.

    I wonder if this term “private property” currently one of those “tangly” thickets of meaning that it suits some people of the more “extraction minded” type to keep tangled, rather than allow people to slowly unpack and carefully examine. I, for one, would like to see some well considered unpacking of this sort, and it strikes me that this might be the kind of work that would be appropriate for those conservatives you enjoin to *communicate* more effectively. (They might do worse than take a leaf from the book of G K Chesterton, who is quoted in another comment, above.)

  173. About Star Trek, I watched the many versions, etc. I remember Christopher Knowles saying that the Federation was nothing more than a military dictatorship. With that in mind, I realized I was watching a show that was totally within the military-industrial complex. Oh, a civilian government would be shown, but it was the heroic military that saved the day.

    Deep Space Nine blew the shine off the whole (ahem) enterprise with its focus on politics and religion. Star Trek never could figure out how to handle religion or religious people. They kept trying to make it seem that people were only worshipping advanced aliens.

    Then there was the Ferengi, the unabashed capitalists of the series. They blew the water out of the whole show’s philosophy since it seemed that the Ferengi could do more with less moralizing than could the Federation. As one character said to a Star Fleet officer, “Face it, our way is BETTER!”

    With the latest – Picard – I read only the novels based on the new show – the wheels have come off of the whole (ahem) enterprise. The optimism is gone, and only despair remains.

    So I wonder if what we are seeing with the Great Reset is lipstick on a pig. Trying to present something different than what it is.

  174. This is probably little more than a thumbnail recapitulation of what many other comments have said in greater detail, but I tend to agree with Charles Hugh Smith, who said that the so-called Great Reset is just a systematic intensification of trends that have been underway for a while now, and this attempt at intensification is unlikely to succeed now that the world-system is so far down the curve of available-energy and financial decline. Though I agree with you that he attempt to implement it could certainly result in some entirely unnecessary unpleasantness. I suppose that given the upcoming Grand Mutation, a certain amount of hare-brained attempts to fix the world are probably somewhat baked into the cosmic cake at this point.

  175. Does anyone else here remember Gordon R. Dickson’s SF novel, “Mankind on the Run” (1956)?

    The protagonist lives in a world very much like Ida Auken’s satire depicts. It’s very comfortable for him at first, but he remains something of a square peg in a world of round holes. Eventually this subjects him to the iron fist that he discovers has always been hidden within his world’s velvet glove. It has a happy ending, in that with a bit of luck he manages to walk away from then entire system and begins a new life where he has to provide for himself is a largely depopulated wild.

    It’s one fo the very, very few SF novels from my ‘teen years that I’ve kept all these long decades. It still wears well, IMHO.

  176. TJ, I tried to find an example of where quarantining the healthy, rather than the sick, worked. I couldn’t, because I couldn’t find any examples of the state quarantining the healthy (this does not include the rich fleeing the plague zone on their own).

    Happy Thanksgiving, 🦃 Americans!

    JMG, you do indeed have the best commenters on the Internet. We are also becomingly modest.

  177. @Kimberly Steele

    You seem to be about as angry about the whole COVID fiasco as I am. (Archdruid, if you have tips for constructively dealing with anger over this whole bloody mess, I’m listening. I should say, though, that I’m a foreigner on a – for now – temporary visa in the country I live in, so any sort of political action is out of the question for me.)

    About the vaccine, though… See, these vaccines have obviously been rushed, and so it’s perfectly possible that a certain percentage of the population will suffer rather unpleasant side-effects. (When they rushed the swine flu vaccine about a decade ago, one of the side-effects was narcolepsy. Fun. Then they quietly withdrew the thing.) My plan is to take it if it’s legally required or if it would somehow massively disrupt my life if I didn’t. The logic being that, if I just drag my feet for a bit before (if it comes to that) being vaccinated, they’ll have tested this thing on millions upon millions of people, and that’ll either reveal side-effects (and they’ll withdraw the thing), or it won’t, in which case, it’s probably safe, and I may as well get it. (And before anyone calls me selfish: ha! There are millions of people who are scared you-know-what-less of this slightly-worse-than-flu thing, and I see no reason whatsoever not to let them have the vaccine before me.)

    The thing that infuriates me, though, is that they’re likely to use this just-around-the-corner vaccine as an excuse for keeping us in lockdown until the spring and possibly until the end of next year.

  178. >Last night, a foundational service at Amazon developed problems at one of their data centres and the impact was worldwide. Various well known services were impacted. I was one of the few people who turned up at a Zoom based technical talk as the Meetup service seemed to be having trouble. We agreed to postpone. The most ludicrous story I’ve heard to date is that some people have not been able to vacuum because their internet connected vacuum cleaners can’t be controlled.

    @adwelly,

    You might be interested in this talk that Jon Blow gave not too long ago. Mainly about how we’re forgetting how to make software that works.

  179. I have a theory about French philosophers such as C Fourier, right up through the likes of Derrida, Foucault, Althusser, etc.

    Generally speaking, as the Brits are known for literature and the Germans known for music (and philosophy), the French are known for art and the sensual aspect of life. Nothing wrong with that of course; sensuality has its place. But there may be a tendency for the French to mix the artistic inclination with philosophy and you get this result: the philosophical work becoming an art work unto itself – the French philosopher may weave a theory simply for the sensual delight of it, because it feels good, because it is an idealization of life, symmetrical and well-balanced, etc. No matter that it bears little relation to the actual human condition.

    Worst case scenario that actually happened in the ‘70s – Cambodian students, inspired by the “artistic” nature of the French Marxist theories, return home to create their own massive art work, using Cambodia itself as a canvas. Result, the Killing Fields.

  180. JMG, I agree neoliberalism is socialism for the the rich and capitalism for the poor. I detest it even more so because of the injustice of that!

    And around here, the parties that have been determined put neoliberal economic policies into practice are the liberals and conservatives, NOT the NDP or the greens. So I think blaming the left for neoliberalism is unfair and inaccurate. It’s more the center and the right that were responsible for it while the actual leftists were screaming blue murder.

    Noam Chomsky certainly has his faults, but he’s no fan of neoliberalism.

  181. @TJandTheBear:

    Within the last week I read somewhere–sorry, I don’t remember just where–that around half or more of the people who carry the corona virus never develop any overt symptoms, but may remain able to infect others indefinitely.

    Think of the implications of that fact (if a fact it truly is) for public policy. Ugh!

  182. Hi JMG, I agree that the big global capitalism that we have is unsustainable. I think commerce, particularly at a local and national levels will continue, with more expensive energy. I think we need to add two bottom lines to business instead of just ‘ net income ‘ : social bottom line, and environment bottom line (and for those who are interested spiritual) . It is a matter of people raising their consciousness to be aware of the impact of their actions beyond themselves and their immediate group, and beyond tomorrow or next month. May all this move forward quickly.

  183. I have a difficult time imagining the world that Ida grew up in for her to write this piece of fiction. Aside from everything being powered by handwavium, all the practical work is apparently being done by robots. It makes me wonder why the government feels the need to provide anything for their citizens. What struck me was how passionless and utilitarian her world is. Objects are just objects, as if they drained all the life out of consumer society. She may not own any household appliances or clothes (musical instruments?), but she does describe the bicycle as “my bike”.

  184. I find it hard to imagine something like the great reset getting to most of humanity. It looks really resource intensive, doesn’t make economic or ecological sense, and a lot of people can neither afford to participate, or really don’t want to.

    I can imagine the elites trying, and it gaining traction in some parts of the more affluent parts of developed world society, but I don’t think it will ever be put into practice fully no matter how much Charles Schwab and the like would like. A lot of people quite sensibly detest the idea, for starters! Of course, a lot of poorer people don’t own a lot of stuff already, but that feels different somehow.

    I don’t own a car, but I don’t rent one either. I use my landlady’s washer once a week and hang stuff to dry. And I most emphatically do own my own clothes, even if many of them were bought second-hand. Ditto my computer. I rent my home because there’s no way I could afford to own, but I’m not renting out my living room for corporate meetings – I doubt they’d be interested in my small, cluttered living/dining room anyway. You can’t fit more than 3 people round the table even if you pull it away from the wall.

    I do think that more people are likely to end up owning less stuff because they can’t afford it, and will end up renting or sharing things they need in order to retain access, while learning to do without other things. That’s inherent in a declining society with limited resources. But the Great Reset is unneccessary, unhelpful, and I don’t think it will ever get fully implemented, though the powers that be may try.

  185. Archdruid,

    It’s strange that closing one avenue of progress is opening up hundreds of others. Ever since I dumped my space fantasies, a world of technological and social possibilities opened up. What’s really surprising to me is if the philosophy of conservation was embraced early enough, it would have kept the possibility of space exploration for a much longer duration than our current consumerist philosophy.

    That’s the one piece of logic that’s allowed people to make the transition out of the cult of progress safely, when I talk to them.

    Regards,

    Varun

  186. This weeks essay brought to mind Jack Nicholson’s quote from the movie A Few Good Men: “You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth.” It’s a sad realization that we as humans forget so easily. A truth that is convenient to ignore, or try to suppress. But it is also eye opening. We consider our ability to think one of our greatest strengths which sets us apart from other species. Yet when we look back, it seems we often repeat ourselves, in terms of millennia, centuries, decades, years, days, hours, minutes, and even seconds. With that in mind, the proverb “even the palest ink is better than the strongest memory” helps realize one of the things that sets us apart as a species is our ability to preserve and record things, and then reflect on those things. I’ll have to finish with another quote, by Will Rogers: “There are three kinds of men. The ones that learn by readin’. The few who learn by observation. The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence for themselves.” A lot of us are just sadistic!

  187. I’ve spent the last month and a half in a media fast, culminating in a solitary retreat, to clear my head from the circus and focus on my spiritual path. I come back and the circus is just as loud as it ever was, I guess that’s part of the practice too.

    Nice essay, JMG, but it’s almost too easy. As others have said, the original essay reads as a satire, and anybody believing it is a fool who will have reality to pay if (when?) they try and implement it.

    Pardon me if this is offensive to anyone (everyone?) here, but I just don’t see the difference between the Left and the Right any more. “Neoliberals” like Obama and Clinton are indistinguishable from “neoconservatives” like Reagan and Thatcher. And what’s the difference between “SJW”s trying to legistlate their morality and the evangelical Christian wing of the Republican party trying to legislate theirs? They are probably the largest chunk of the conservative side in the USA. I have family in this group. They want abortion and gay rights repealed, Christian prayer and intelligent design in schools. The Left has antifa, the Right has actual, self-identifying Nazis. And what’s a “Centrist”? Biden, Clinton, those same neolib/cons. All these labels just seem so arbitrary and meaningless. Why is there such an emphasis on the “Left” and the “Right” when they’re such disparate, heterogeneous mixes of groups and individuals? I don’t even know what I consider myself politically any more, it just all seems like such a phony and dangerous game.

  188. Hi John

    Superb post.

    I agree with you that the fantasy of a Great Reset will not last long, crashing into the reality of resource decline and popular resistance.

    As for vaccines, I hope the scientific establishment will be doing proper safety tests to ensure we don’t see a repeat of this horrifying true story.

    https://www.buzzfeed.com/shaunlintern/these-nhs-staff-were-told-the-swine-flu-vaccine-was-safe?fbclid=IwAR2OMycqn8kQXKGl2V0W_vDbXBkZnc7dyxQI23oWJNLjYKWZ1jFvGzeHMWM

    On the subject of resource scarcity, interestingly Goldman Sachs has just released a report saying that supply crunch issues are coming in oil and key commodities (collapse in global investment post 2014 and depletion).

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2020/11/26/next-commodity-supercycle-may-already-underway/

    “The bank’s commodity chief Jeff Currie – the world’s most closely followed energy guru – says we are entering a new phase akin to the pre-Lehman noughties when the industrial revolutions of Asia were devouring resources and raising fears of peak oil, peak copper, and peak food”.

    The 2020’s is going to be a fascinating decade, the rollover from growth to contraction, the increasing geopolitical tensions and the rising inflationary forces as central banks print like crazy to keep the inverted pyramid of economic abstractions rolling over.

    My own view, is that our current drive towards ever more complex technology, which I see continuing in the shorter term – will be destroyed when the next solar flare occurs, something that is inevitable.

    I would be interested in your thoughts on that John.

    https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/space/how-we-ll-safeguard-earth-solar-storm-catastrophe-n760021

  189. Having recently moved to much smaller living space, I’m somewhat sympathetic to the idea of owning less (for instance) kitchen equipment and renting it out on demand, as a way of reducing both my own storage needs and the total number of pasta rolling machines needed in the region. The problem is the condition of the robot-curated items, when the rental pasta machine arrives jammed with dried dough and missing two necessary pieces. (A better solution is to use dried pasta, which is perfectly good most of the time, and buy fresh pasta from a maker of fresh pasta when needed.) I wonder how much of Ida Auken’s enthusiasm for such schemes arises from the prospect of not having to clean or maintain anything. (If you’ve washed that pot or that pair of underwear, why send it back? If you haven’t, who’d want it sent back?)

    We used to learn the importance of “taking care of” our things. Remember that phrase? Remember when the answer to “Mommy, it broke!” wasn’t “Oh, how sad, those are so cheaply made now,” but rather, “You have to take better care of your things!” (Heck, I was once scolded for punching one of my toys, causing it to break. The toy was a punching ball!)

    Still, worrying about being blocked from your online on-demand drone-delivered kitchen equipment subscription because of someone taking offense to your social media posts is a bit like worrying about collisions between all those flying cars, or all the shadows cast by the vast monorail network, or a defect causing the pure energy required to form a cup of tea, Earl Grey, hot, emerging from your matter replicator as a ten-megaton explosion instead.

    A lot of businesses would love to lock their customers into continuous rental or subscription terms. But there’s enough resistance to that to encourage competition. Does anyone remember DIVX players, that were supposed to compete with DVD? The idea was you could buy a movie disc very cheaply, but you had to pay a fee each time you watched it. It failed rather spectacularly.

    Much more recently, in ultra-coastal-liberal Massachusetts, voters overwhelmingly approved a right-to-repair referendum to prevent auto makers from encrypting their vehicles’ bluetooth-accessed status data in ways that would make it impossible for independent service stations to repair them. The auto makers were highly opposed to this and ran an extensive and expensive scare campaign with fantasies of hackers remotely taking control of your car. Most people still want to own what they own.

  190. OT: Happy Thanksgiving to all those who celebrate it. May all the turkeys be on the table and not sitting around it.

  191. Can anyone among the commentors help me with the title or author of another remembered dystopian s/f novel from (IIRC) the ’50s? I can’t manage to identify it by online searches.

    It is set in a future world where almost all of humanity is locked inside vast, over-populated walled prison cities, where their needs are provided for (skimpily). Only the elite, who manage this world, can open the doors that lead into or out of these cities; the locks are keyed to (IIRC) fingerprints or some other biometric feature. Outside the walls, the planet had returned to an unspoiled natural park-like world, where the elite can move about freely and lead their lives in spacious beauty and comfort. One member of the elite develops sympathy for the masses and lets them know what things are really like outside the walls. This ends badly for him: the masses resort to violence, cut off his arms with their all-important biometric keys, use them to hold the doors in the walls open, and flee their prison cities by the millions, back into the outside world, to take it back from the elite.

  192. Dear fellows of the Commentariat:

    I find that my windows spell-checker now objects to the phrase “their own” as a “reflexive pronoun”. Is this a synchronicity or a coincidence, or is the New World Order?

  193. Hi JMG many thanks for the post

    Looking the whole “project” of the “Dominant Minority” I feel they have terror, sheer terror to the future (theirs not ours).

    This “project” reminds me this article I read some time ago:

    https://onezero.medium.com/survival-of-the-richest-9ef6cddd0cc1

    The project has some spenglerian vein, cause Spengler considered the state stoicism as a later phase of civilization decline, and he identified top-down promoted stoicism as equivalent to buddhism (in Ashoka’s time), and he considered socialism as the “wave of the future” promoted by the powerful in a civilization in decadence.

    The “Lex Julia Maritandis Ordinibus” was a first step in the interference of roman state in the private lifes (due to the demographic crunch).
    This accelerate with Caracalla once said: ” nobody should have any money but I, so that I may bestow it upon the soldiers” (he knew very well what was his priorities to maintain his rule and survive), and extend citizenship to all the empire to increase the tax base, and then debase the currency but oblied the citizens to pay the state with silver or gold for him and the aristocracy and to pay the progressively barbarian army and indian and chinese luxury goods (they only accepted silver or gold). In Augustus’ times the army were 250.000 very professional soldiers (mainly small land owners), with Diocletian increase to 600.000 mercenaries (increasingly barbarian) thirsty of silver & gold ready to plunder their own “citizens”.
    It achieve full speed with to the “Edict of Prices” of Diocletian; and another Diocletian law force the sons to have the same occupation than their fathers, they professions became forced and hereditary, because people refused to work and go to the cities to become part of the roman pleb and do not work for nothing, but the empire needs product for the rich and for the war machine.
    In the last times of the Empire people cut their fingers to not fight in the roman army, then the fate of the Empire was sealed.

    Will they repeat the process?

    Cheers
    David

  194. Great post that illustrates how modern civilization is wholly, inextricably dependent upon oil.

    http://energyskeptic.com/2020/invisible-oil-and-energy-payback-time/

    IMHO the Davos crowd knows the era of growth is over and the GR is the plan for preserving their lifestyles at the expense of everyone else… without getting their own necks stretched in the process. Can’t tell the proles what’s really up, so they have to couch it in terms of Covid, Climate Change, and all the other memes so readily accepted and championed by the virtue signalers among us.

  195. @JMG, @CR Patiño

    It has been decades since I followed CR research so I’m not surprised it’s been shown to have methodological problems. The 40% I remember from an article somewhere but admit I can’t recall where. I suspect CR research suffered from poor research design and possibly also the replicability problem.

    I quit CR myself when it proved impossible to maintain consistently in my own life. Yes, I actually did try to do it myself for quite some time and it just proved to be too exhausting and in my case – poorer health, not better. I was trying to follow it back when it was the latest thing primarily because I was reading a lot of life extension articles and so much written was so glowing about it’s potential. Of course at the time I didn’t realize medical research was so riddled with conflict of interest problems and possibly other problems as well. This was in the late 80s – very early 90s. I do get the impression Dr. Roy Walford was sincere in his belief in the potential of CR. Enough so he turned himself into a lab rat for it and he may have been right that he paid for it with his life.

    In any case I deviated from the reason I submitted my comment in the first place by wandering into musing about CR. Apologies about that. I guess I was rambling that there used to be a time when at least one group of researchers and investors were willing to put their money and lives where there mouths were and try to test whether humans could live in the kind of artificial environments on other planets like you see in SF Space Operas and tv shows like The Expanse. They showed it couldn’t even be done without leaving their home planet, nevermind in outer space or other planets. Both times the experiment failed and nobody has bothered to go for a third run since.

  196. With regard to trolleys.

    At this point in Hershey, a diesel bus tricked out to look like an olde-timey trolley is the most cost-effective answer. It would use the roads we’ve already got and not have to make a single modification anywhere. A single diesel bus, making regular rounds between the hotels, restaurant row, Hersheypark, Chocolate World, the outlets, and the like would cheaply demonstrate proof of concept.

    In fact, we’ve already got them driving around the township taking tourists to see Milton Hershey’s birthplace, Chocolate World (where you buy the tickets), the chocolate factories, including the Reese factory by my house. See https://www.hersheytrolleyworks.com/ for more information. Tickets for adults are $18 apiece.

    When the subject of trolleys comes up, I’m told we’ve already got working trolleys. I point out that they are not trolleys; they are diesel buses as evidenced by seeing them regularly at the ZipZap Exxon station, filling up with diesel fuel.

    Moreover, you cannot support a public transportation system when a ticket costs $18.

    To add to the lunacy, the trolley people want to resurrect the ancient trolleys from 1940! I’ve seen them. Rusted, the wood riddled with dry rot, no AC or heat or accessibility.

    When I bring up these points, I get crickets, followed by monorails.

  197. I finally realized that Ida Auken is a lotus eater. That’s the appeal; to drift endlessly through her days and nights in a haze of sweetness and pleasant thoughts, never doing, achieving, or failing. No wonder many people like this concept.

  198. Regarding Star Trek, and Star Trek vs. Star Wars…I freely admit that I love Star Trek, and have since I was a kid in the 70’s. And it’s not because of the gadgets, the myth of progress, or the luxury automated space communism. 🙂 It’s because it’s the first show I ever saw that didn’t depict the enemies or the bad guys as pure evil. It humanized them, for lack of a better word. They were portrayed as people and not soulless monsters or demons. This is very different than in the original Star Wars trilogy, where everything is black or white, good or evil, with pretty much nothing between them. Star Wars has a simplistic, binary view; Star Trek acknowledges there are shades of gray everywhere, and in everyone.

  199. @Owen

    Thanks for that link, I hadn’t heard Jonathon Blow talk before; I certainly can’t disagree with him and disturbingly he only scratched the surface of the problems caused when multiple complex but arguably correct systems interact in unexpected ways. Under those circumstances you get something like the ‘US data center goes down and now I can’t vacuum clean my Australian living room’ problem that raised eyebrows here and elsewhere yesterday.

    My own go to talk when I need cheering up about these sorts of problems is:

    https://youtu.be/oytL881p-nQ

    Which points a finger in the direction of a better way for software, and sadly a way that is commercially a non starter except in one or two utopian companies and situations. The reason of course is that paradoxically all the economic incentives are all in the direction of greater complexity.

    Of course we are already pretty much at the point of diminishing returns and so eventually things simply will not get any worse. I’ll know we’ve reached that point if I never have to install WiFi codes, operating system upgrades, and new passwords on my bedroom lightbulb again.

    I can’t retire from the industry for a while yet and there are a number of reasons for that, but I’ve picked out my new skillsets that I’ve decided to learn for the latter part of this incarnation. I will not be sorry to walk away from it.

    Andy

  200. I must admit I was largely unaware of the Great Reset prior to reading this post. Obviously I don’t spend enough time floating around certain corners of the internet. But then again, I try as little time as possible exposing myself to the outgassings of the mass media and the verbal flatulence of the liberal elites.

    I did some looking around and it appears as though talk about the Great Reset is gaining traction, particularly among conspiracy theorists. Here are a few articles I came across from the news media attempting to debunk said conspiracy theories. To me, both the theories and the attempts to discredit them show just how widely hated, despised and distrusted the liberal establishment really is in Gringostan, Alta Mexico, the Great White North and elsewhere. Even Izvestia on the Hudson is getting worried about the growing backlash.

    https://www.nytimes.com/live/2020/11/17/world/covid-19-coronavirus/the-baseless-great-reset-conspiracy-theory-rises-again

    https://www.thedailybeast.com/joe-bidens-presidency-already-has-its-first-conspiracy-theory-the-great-reset

    https://www.macleans.ca/politics/ottawa/the-great-reset-is-mostly-just-liberals-blowing-off-steam-mostly/

  201. I’ve been following the Great Reset story since April after the whole Covid fiasco came down, and I wanted to chime in with some observations and resources.

    I don’t want to mention the virus too much or get too conspiratorial (there’s a lot I don’t know), but I think it is beyond dispute that the WEF is deeply tangled up in all major agencies related to public policy around the virus (CDC, WHO, Gates Foundation, etc…). Add in Crimson Contagion/Event 201, and you might end up Noticing some connections that are suspect at best.

    Some sources I’ve found very helpful:

    https://tessa.substack.com/p/great-reset-dummies

    This is one of the best summaries I’ve read of who they are and what they want.

    https://wrenchinthegears.com/

    Allison McDowell has been covering the rising technocracy for many years (mainly in schools), and she is a great resource on how these people think and what “Stakeholder Capitalism” entails.

    https://www.armstrongeconomics.com/

    I don’t know how many people here are familiar with Martin Armstrong’s work, but I’ve found him to be an invaluable resource for many months. I started reading him through Gordon White, and I think Gordon is correct that Armstrong’s work represents a return to cycle models in the West. At the risk of sounding like an internet ad, Armstrong’s predictions have been on point for a long time. He called the economic downturn and election violence of early 2020 years before anyone knew about Covid due to his cycle modeling. His personal takes and opinions may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but he is someone that the ultra elite read regularly, even though he has been extremely critical of the Great Reset and its leading lights. I believe his predictions have validity to them, and they track very well with JMG’s and astrology. His cycle models show the Great Reset going down in flames and taking multiple Western economies with it. Civil wars and peasants with pitchforks are not out of the question. Interestingly, his plague cycle has a pandemic hitting at the end of 2021 into 2022. He predicts Joe Biden lasts till 2022, the same year as a major congressional election upset, After that, there will be no more national elections in the ‘United’ States. It’s pretty grim, but hey we’re on JMG’s blog. Most of us here should be at least familiar with the idea that history is not necessarily on our side. Still, making predictions is hard, especially about the future…

  202. I think that the response to Covid-19 isn’t completely unreasonable, at least not where I am. The latest round of Covid-19 lockdowns are because the infection rate in the lower mainland of BC was skyrocketing, and the number of people in hospital with Covid is a) higher than it was in the spring, and b) is starting to strain the healthcare system.

    If the healthcare system gets pushed beyond capacity, you don’t have to have Covid-19 for it to kill you. Getting cancer or hit by a car and then unable to get medical treatment because there are no available hospital beds will do it too.

    I know this isn’t a popular perspective on this site, that there are many reasons people have issues with the restrictions, and that some of the restrictions elsewhere are more severe, but I feel like the above needs to be said.

  203. @ JMG,

    You may have seen this article in, of all places, the Deutsche Welle – https://www.dw.com/en/five-things-you-need-to-know-about-degrowth/a-55539458

    It’s actually not that badly written. It would be fascinating if degrowth became a propaganda tool that the elites try and use to convince the plebs that they don’t really need all that economic growth after all.

    @ JillN

    Well, the courts ruled that the border closures are constitutional. So, I guess I was wrong on that one.

    Isn’t it funny how easily we slipped back into rampant parochialism this year with all these two-bit state premiers whose names nobody even knew last year beating their chests to see who can be the toughest. Who knows, maybe Australia will break up at some point too. It’s not at all hard to imagine Western Australia and Queensland seceding. I’m sure China would be delighted to pick through the remnants.

  204. Oof! I expected this post to get a lively response, but not quite this lively. Due to other commitments involving turkey, gravy, et al., I won’t be able to respond to every comment, though I’ve certainly read them all and appreciate them all. As previously noted, I have the best commentariat on the internet.

    Now, some responses to direct questions:

    Kimberly, nope. We’ll get to Fourier in due time, lemonade oceans and all.

    Smarttripper, despair is bad tactics and even worse strategy. If you go around insisting that the other side is omnipotent and nobody has a chance of standing against them, that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you point out that they’re a bunch of clueless duffers who have ended up in charge of a senile, failing kleptocracy and are flailing around frantically trying to keep it from coming apart at the seams, and the best future they can think of is a collection of shopworn utopian fantasies that flopped before Joe Biden was born — why, that, too, can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Look past the image of Oz the Great and Powerful and you’ll find a collection of very, very little men and women behind a threadbare curtain; assist other people to see the same thing, and the laughter that results is the most dangerous sound in the world.

    Lunar Apprentice, thanks for this! Yes, I read about the great paper clothing fad of 1966. It stopped dead in its tracks when somebody did the necessary research and figured out that it would take maybe five years at most to cut down all the trees whose pulp had the necessary properties to make functional clothes, and around a century to grow enough trees to start things up again. It was a salutary lesson!

    Emmanuel, spread that around. If ambitious politicians pick it up as a way to win votes, it might get someplace.

    Irena, it’s hugely unhealthy, in terms of mental as well as physical health. One of the reasons that the US these days sounds like an asylum where the lunatics are in charge is that the reality of America’s decline has become so hard to ignore that people are wigging out.

    Robert, Dickson was a fave of mine back in the day, and I’m not sure how I missed that, but I did. I’ll have to find a copy; it sounds fun.

    Your Kittenship, that’s “Cthurkey fh’tonight” in Aklo… 😉

    Will, it certainly accounts for Fourier!

    Varun, excellent! Keep following that trajectory…

    Forecasting, the coronavirus vaccines have all been rushed through to marketing with minimal testing and no attention to long-term effects. We could be very lucky, and have them turn out to be entirely safe. We could be much less lucky, and have anything up to half the population slammed with debilitating or even fatal side effects over the next few years. Me, I’m perfectly willing to forgo air travel and attendance at public spectacles until such time as we’ve seen through experience just how safe the vaccine is. As for the solar flare, is one inevitable? Sure. Will it hit in the next thousand years? Nobody has any idea. To my mind, the repetitive media fixation on solar flares, asteroid impacts, and other out-of-the-blue causes are attempts to distract people from the factors that are driving the Long Descent here and now.

    Robert, you clearly read a lot of science fiction that I never got to — and that was a book I’d have loved back in the day.

    KKA, it sounds to me as though it’s time to turn off your Windows spell checker!

    DFC, it may not be exactly the same, but it’ll rhyme…

    TJ, thanks for this. We’ll be talking about such things a little more on this blog in the future, so it’s timely.

    Galen, it’s as though they deliberately set out to flush the rest of their credibility down the ol’ crapperoo. When anybody can look up “great reset” on their favorite search engine and see all the well-heeled corporate interests pushing it with might and main, trying to dismiss it as a conspiracy theory just makes the corporate media look stupid. Oh, wait — too late…

    Muninn, thanks for this. Whether Armstrong’s specific predictions are correct, we’re moving into an extremely troubled time, and being prepared for crisis is a very good plan.

    Simon, good gods. Deutsche Welle is the mouthpiece of our would-be lords and masters; if they’re starting to sound like an old Archdruid Report post, then the world is changing in a very, very big way.

  205. The original Star Trek was created just as everything was going wrong (oil shock). Nonetheless it is still, essentially, about American optimism, and is based on the experience of almost everything getting better for about 50 years. Each Star Trek since then has been less optimistic, because most SF isn’t about the future, it is about the present and the recent past.

    C. Wright Mills, in 1956, wrote a book about how American society at that time operated called “The Power Elite”. He got the future wrong, but the present right. Star Trek is an improved/idealized version of that period, with the jingoistic edges of the military filed off. Basically, at that point, the mil-ind complex was the most important part of the US economy.

    One of my friends is an astronomer who specializes in finding earth-like worlds. They are, in one sense, rare, but given how large the galaxy is there are lots of them. The issue is FTL travel. Generation ships, even if feasible (questionable, and definitely not with our tech) won’t cut it because earth-like is a pretty broad category. You probably wouldn’t want to live on most of them.

    For now, Earth is where we live and we have to heal the damage we’ve done. For the future, who can say? The modified view of tech progress is that it goes in waves and cycles. Another of my friends spent a great deal of time studying these cycles and identified a key as “fuel and engine”. Before steam, for example, there is actually a revolution in the effectiveness of water wheels and, to a lesser extent, windmills and it has a HUGE effect on the European economy. Most early factories are along rivers for exactly this reason, but there aren’t infinite rivers and other people have uses for them besides factories.

    Early steam engines are massively inefficient. You have to be very close to the source of the coal for them to make any sense. Ironically, by making them more efficient, the British made it possible for other countries to adopt steam/coal power.

    Assuming we don’t upset the ecological balance so much as to cause a human extinction event (I know JMG does not think this likely or perhaps possible, but we are in the midst of a great die-off and the fossil record shows that apex species don’t survive those) and that we don’t drive ourselves back to the stone age, there will be other discoveries of fuel and engines and so on. They may well be centuries from now, or if we fall far enough back, thousands of years.

    What passes for the paean to progress today (and with the original Star Trek) is a group of elites saying “our system will survive and be triumphant forever so we will rule forever!” Francis Fukuyama’s nonsense “The End of History” is the foundational document of our elite’s arrogance. This is errant nonsense. No economic system or political ideology lasts forever. History will end when humans do (and we will end, the question is only when. Cycles happen all the time, races going extinct are just another cycle.)

    One great problem is that while we have many countries, in economic terms we have bound the world into one system far more than at any time in the past except the European imperial colonial era (which ended in two world wars and a great depression.). So instead of economic areas going up and down somewhat independently, we are all going to do it. Likewise, ecological disasters caused by human stupidity happen fairly often in human history, but I am unaware of any human caused ones that were global before this one.

  206. @ neptunesdolphins

    If you wouldn’t mind, next open post (so as to not infringe on the topic de la semaine) I would be very, very interested in hearing more about your experiences and observations from working in the Land of Fed.

    @ Owen (I believe it was)

    Re states leaving

    I think that there are any number of states who’d find other states more than willing to help them pack. CA, in particular, come to mind. Not all of the states belong together and I certainly see some departing, even in the most optimistic scenario for this Union.

    @ the Star Trek discussion

    I saw the original on reruns as a kid and was a teen/young adult for TNG. Didn’t really get into any of the follow-on series. I rather enjoyed TNG, as I came to see most episodes as psychological studies, with the various characters standing in for different archetypes of the psyche: Picard as Leader, Worf as Warrior, Data as Reason, Riker as Libido, Troi as Emotion, etc.

  207. Hi John,

    Totally understand your caution in regard to the vaccines. I also remain doubtful about their safety given they have been rushed through in a matter of months.

    In regard to solar flares, my understanding is that they tend to occur in roughly 20 year cycles and we are due another one within the next 10 to 15 years. Indeed, we were very lucky to escape a serious crisis in 2012.

    I do think it’s a outlier risk, that like a global mass pandemic, we have successfully dodged for decades until Covid-19 appears earlier this year. Hopefully we will be lucky and carry on dodging this risk for decades to come, but it is sufficiently possible that folks should think about it.

    I have already made certain adjustments, in the unlikely but not improbable, case that a fairly serious solar flare occurs within the next 15 years or so.

  208. John ,you cannot just lead us on with lemonade oceans and NOT write about Charles Fourier. I am not familiar with his life and works and would love to learn about it.

  209. I always found it interesting how quickly Star Trek abandoned its own endemic mythos, once it became clear that it simply couldn’t sustain interesting storytelling that anyone cared about by pretending that spacefaring liberal Americans for whom everything is provided without the slightest effort had found the One Perfect Right Way To Live, transcending conflict, money, religion, and anything that gives life crunch and flavor by living in a star-studded utopian United States of the Galaxy. You see it as early as the mid-nineties, in Deep Space 9: the minute they stop soaring across the cosmos away from their problems, and settle down to actually get to know an alien neighbor, things start getting spicy again, with misunderstood religion, war, and underhanded backroom black market deals going on in every corner. The rational materialists are baffled to no end by the local deities, which the native species takes for granted, and continue to be baffled right up until the Captain—who has for all seven seasons resisted the role of prophet/messiah laid upon him—becomes a convert, sacrifices himself to overthrow the nearly-literally demonic invaders and achieves apotheosis, taken up by the local gods to dwell with them.

    Then more recently, we have last year’s series Picard, in which we explore the retirement years of the most quintessentially idealistic Star Trek captain ever, and find that he and the corrupt, scandal-torn Federation now despise each other, and he joins a ragtag group of scoundrels, vigilantes, and warriors to unravel a murder mystery, and settle a personal vendetta—during which we once again bump headlong into alien mysticism, prophecy, and a not-purely-materialistic exploration of the nature of consciousness and the immortality of the soul. Hardly James T. Kirk’s Star Trek (but one that robust swashbuckler may actually have been more comfortable in)!

    Indeed, it looks as though Star Trek itself has completely given up on the Roddenberry vision of the future, and recognized it for the authoritarian dystopia it really is. In so doing, it’s made for a significant improvement in storytelling, and it seems like now it’s only continuing to be Star Trek at all because it’s a ready-made playground in which different writers can come in and expand the edges of the map beyond the boring limits imposed in the sixties.

  210. @JMG,

    I read the Ida Auken piece you linked to, and I have no arguments there – it is as nonsensical and dystopian as you claim.

    As for Star Trek, I have long had what I call a “cordial dislike” of the whole franchise. (Which is ironic because I am sort of named after a Star Trek character; while my parents had no special attachment to Wesley Krusher, they liked the sound of the name, and they wouldn’t have heard it nearly as often if they hadn’t been watching TNG in the years leading up to my birth).

    Basically, I think there are some good moments in TOS and the first few movies, and our culture is richer for having produced them. At the same time, it is indeed a dorky series and a poor roadmap for realistic futures. (And everything after the original series is terribly dull and not worth watching at all.)

    I often surprise people by saying that I prefer Star Wars to Star Trek; it is a surprise because I work in the hard sciences and studied galactic astronomy in college, so people assume I must be the type of nerd who prefers the science and technology focus of Trek, when I really just see them both as fantasies, with Star Wars being the better of the two fantasies since it doesn’t try so hard to be something it’s not.

    Also, there is no Myth of Progress at all in Star Wars. Most of the settings don’t look new and shiny (George Lucas even talked at length about how he wanted it to stand out from other sci-fi by having the characters live in a “used universe.”) Right from the beginning we are hearing an old man talking about a lost body of lore and “an elegent weapon for a more civilized age.” There is no balderdash about a “post-scarcity economy;” there is still money and some people have more of it than others, etc.

    Basically, the core premises of Star Wars would fit comfortably into real human history, if you leave out the silly weapons and effortless interstellar travel. (And on the very slim chance that people do figure out routine spaceflight some day, there will still come a time when the technology has reached its mature state, and then you’ll be travelling between planets in the same grungy old spaceship that your great grandfather used).

  211. @Happy Panda lol, so it sounds like they discovered in the miniature biosphere experiments that they’d have the exact same problems, in compressed timescale, as in the larger one at regular timescales?

  212. JMG, “Cozi” pary sounds too nice for what it is. “Corsoc” is a bit better I think.

    One thing that I don’t know if anyone else missed is the fact that in US at least the use of words like socialism is another way to make sure the plebs don’t get any ideas.

    For example a Fox election day poll showed that 70% of the voters support national healthcare. By calling this “socialism” and using it as a swear word, the rich make sure that most Americans are ashamed to demand this from their politicians.

    Even when the media pretends to support the antics of people like AOC or Bernie Sanders, they always end up presented as weirdos – not really American.

    Of course the 2 people I mentioned like most of the so-called socialists are just corporate puppets used to distract the newly young impoverished people.

    But the end result is that a majority of population views any community or fairness policy (like taxing the rich or local control of schools) as crazy, anti-american and especially impossible.

    I hope you are right and a new generation of activists will come up with a new language to package these old ideas (local community, local power, local care of nature).

    Thanks

  213. @Emmanuel,

    Back during the “great recession” one newsletter writer proposed using printed stimulus to refund 3-5 years worth of income taxes directly to the people. Immediate debt reduction and inflation straight from main street, with biz, markets & gov benefiting from the follow-on effects. He approached numerous congresscritters and couldn’t get any traction whatsoever.

    You have to remember that most government power comes from selectively picking winners, which is why all the money went to the banks.

    p.s.: Late confession… I never bought the utopian premise, regardless I love nearly all things Star Trek. 🙂

  214. JMG:
    Of course Ida Auken will keep an old fashioned bicycle than cannot be disabled remotely. How else would she be able to bug out of paradise?

  215. teresa said:

    “I finally realized that Ida Auken is a lotus eater. That’s the appeal; to drift endlessly through her days and nights in a haze of sweetness and pleasant thoughts, never doing, achieving, or failing. No wonder many people like this concept.”

    If you ask me, she reminds me of someone from ‘Starship Troopers’…

  216. One thing that strikes me about ‘the great reset’ is how it manages to combine the very worst aspects of capitalism with the very worst aspects of communism…

  217. >The reason of course is that paradoxically all the economic incentives are all in the direction of greater complexity.

    @adwelly

    I would say the incentives in general terms are towards performance and efficiency. From an engineering POV, there is a tradeoff between efficiency and robustness. The more efficient and fast you make something, generally the more fragile it gets. The more fault tolerant you make something, the slower and more inefficient it gets. Where you set the compromise between the two is a very interesting choice. However there is no question where the incentives drive everything to.

    What this amounts to over time is a system that is efficient, fast and FRAGILE. Or a system that only looks robust but is actually fragile under the covers, so that the performance targets could also be met as well. Never ever give an engineer conflicting goals, they will just start lying to you in very elaborate ways. Or give you something like the F-35.

    Also, I’m coming to love that “You can’t just” phrase that Jon Blow talked about, once you start thinking about it, it’s EVERYWHERE, not just with computer code. It’s everything in today’s society. YOU CAN’T JUST…

  218. To joshuajude,
    thanks for your research in WEF and I agree completely about the misuse of the words left and socialism.
    Yes, maybe you can have top down socialism but can you have socialism when there is no sharing of resources from the top down? No socialized healthcare, education or anything else? No confiscation/redistribution of land?

    The only reason the billionaires are trying to sell this packaged crap is because the entire economy is circling the drain and they are afraid of the pitchforks. This is not a revolution rather it’s the senile aristocracy trying to hold on to their privileges by using words emptied of all their meaning.

    Think about the proposed UBI. A socialist idea, right? Of course not. The rich just print the money, the inflation immediately destroys the value of whatever the UBI is and nothing changes – the same extreme minority will continue to own most resources and means of production. But the plebes are pacified for another generation (maybe).

    Thanks

  219. Is the ocean made with sugar or with Splenda?

    Ian, are you the Ian Welsh who also has a blog? I read that one too, and your crow looks very familiar.

  220. Lemonade oceans sound like they’d harmonize well with tangerine trees and marmalade skies. (A bit sticky, perhaps.) If I see the girl with kaleidoscope eyes I’ll be sure to ask her. Happy Thanksgiving!

  221. JMG,
    I’ve heard of Charles Fourier, though only in passing in Hawthorne’s ‘The Blithedale Romance’. I’d enjoy reading an essay on Mr. Fourier if you were so inclined to write one!

    Regards,
    John

  222. @JMG

    Thanks for ending on a hopeful note there. But what to do in the meantime? To the extent possible, I’ve gone analog and offline. Paper notes. Dumb phones. Drawing. Nature walks. Etc.

    The catch is… I’m a web developer. So a bit of cognitive dissonance. I recognize my work allows these conversations to be possible. Which is great. Yet I never intended my labor to contribute to surveillance capitalism. Oopsy. I’m striving towards a healthy relationship with technology and my chosen profession, but it’s a hard needle to thread.

  223. Dear Mr. Greer,

    Regarding your reply, “Smarttripper, despair is bad tactics and even worse strategy. If you go around…”

    That was just the response I needed. Thank you. Of course, you are absolutely correct, but you are also insightful and compassionate. Instead of responding to my written question, you went right to the heart of the matter, which is the despair that I have been feeling. Thank you for gently chiding me for giving into that despair and relinquishing my power to fight foolishness (however ugly it may be) with laughter. That’s the best advice that I’ve heard in a long while. You are both wise and kind.

  224. I grew up watching Star Trek, mostly The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine. I was a sci-fi fan in general , but mostly liked the ideas of exploration and pushing the boundaries more than I was ever attached to the techno-utopian future. In fact, I remember when it dawned on me that after watching Star Trek, I would be thankful that I didn’t live in that world. Although I thought alien planets were really cool, I realized that I was glad that I didn’t live in a world where people had so much control of nature, not to mention weapons that could destroy whole planets and the threat of being taken into the hive mind of the Borg, and living in a wholly artificial environment of a space ship or station completely dependent on technology to resist the lifeless void of space wasn’t all that appealing either. There’s enough nasty possibilities to deal with at our current level of technology with nuclear weapons, radioactive waste and such. I can’t imagine a Star Trek level of technology and energy use would end well. So, Star Trek actually had the opposite effect on me as it had on so many others.

    I don’t understand the mentality of people who act like a virus with a greater than 99 percent survival rate might as well be the apocalypse, but then welcome the Star Trek future with its vastly higher levels of danger from extremely powerful technology in the hands of humans (and alien races too).

  225. Happy Thanksgiving John Michael Greer and Ecosophians everywhere!!!!! Stay sane, stay stuffed, and don’t talk about politics at the thanksgiving table…..

    Historical question, when did talking about politics at the diner table become so offensive? If it ever was acceptable? Is it a result of the religion of progress?

  226. Forecasting, solar flares happen in 20 year cycles, but that doesn’t mean one hits the earth every 20 years. It means that every 20 years or so a bunch of solar flares of varying intensities go blasting off in random directions. Given the relative scale of the Sun, the Earth, and the space between, it’s as though the Sun is a blindfolded marksman who sits in the center of a big football staduim (your football or ours, take your pick) and the Earth is a single spectator seated in a randomly chosen position about halfway up the bleachers. The marksman shoots one bullet in a random direction every 20 minutes. What are the odds that the spectator will be hit? That’s why in recorded history there has been precisely one documented geomagnetic storm of the sort current apocalyptic predictions discuss, the Carrington event of 1859; the next one could happen next Wednesday, but it could also happen in the year 4020.

    Michael, fair enough! Fourier will get his post.

    Mo Drui, interesting. Is it in Picard that the Federation is running out of dilithium?

    Wesley, that makes sense to me. Of course Lucas borrowed the “used universe” thing, among other things, from the movie Silent Running — he was anything but an original thinker — but it helped make the first movie, at least, a fine romp.

    NomadicBeer, nah, I chose “Cozi” deliberately. It’s supposed to sound rather dopey, because it is.

    Anonymous, too funny. No doubt you’re right.

    BB, true enough!

    Your Kittenship, Splenda didn’t exist yet when Fourier unleashed his vast brain fart, so it must have been sugar.

    Walt, excellent!

    “Picture yourself by a lemonade ocean,
    With plant-eating lions and sex played in teams,
    Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly,
    The man with the socialist dreams:
    Charles Fourier, the crackpot!
    Charles Fourier, the crackpot!
    Charles Fourier, the crackpot!
    Oh, ohhh…”

    John, you’ve read The Blithedale Romance? Excellent! You get tonight’s gold star with turkey wings for paying attention.

    Brian, what to do? The statue of Apollo explained that to Rainier Maria Rilke: “You must change your life.”

    Smarttripper, you’re welcome and thank you! The thing is, I’ve been there and felt that; I know how easy it is to fall into despair in a miserable situation like the one we’re in, but I also know that if you can overcome that, the other side has no idea how to deal with you. Despair is their stock in trade — and it’s their only stock in trade. Rise above that and laugh, and you’ve just overcome their most significant weapon.

    Austin, I have no idea! That’s a question worth researching.

  227. A couple of interesting (maybe) bits sort of relevant to the post:

    The word “nazi” was predated by the word “sozi.” That word was used to describe German Social Democrats who voted for war credits at the start of WWI. “You’re a good Sozi.” The NSDAP, being socialist (partly in theory,) took that and changed it.

    Ida Auken suffers from lack of historical knowledge. It’s happened before, if only she could read. Not owning things was a hallmark of Stalin’s USSR, as we all (except her, apparently) know. This wasn’t limited to rank and file Party members, or the society at large. After Stalin’s death and some political maneuvering, Khrushchev became the leader of the Politburo. He began kicking out Stalin’s henchmen. One of these, Kaganovich, discovered when he was evicted from his luxury apartment that he and his family owned nothing but their clothes. Everything else they had accumulated over the years was state property.

  228. Speaking of the Great Reset, guess what I found on the WEF website:

    https://www.weforum.org/press/2020/06/the-great-reset-a-unique-twin-summit-to-begin-2021/

    This is genuinely creepy stuff. Interesting timing to say the least, especially considering that Biden, who has been linked by conspiracy theorists to the Great Reset, takes office on January 20, 2021 and the Davos 2021 meeting was originally scheduled to begin five dsys after his inauguration.

    Really makes one wonder, doesn’t it?

  229. Hi Forecasting and JMG,
    This comment chimes in with your concerns regarding a Covid vaccine, and I can understand JMG considering it redundant enough to not put through.

    I too am extremely concerned about the potential hazards; few days ago, I wrote a letter to my estranged wife regarding this, as I do not want our 10 & 17 year-old daughters to receive this vaccine.

    What follows is the letter I sent her (Please allow that my argument is oversimplified, and I didn’t fact-check it the way I normally would before presenting such an argument in public).

    “Dear K****,
    This subject hasn’t yet come up between us, and I’d bet we’d actually agree, but it is coming down the pike: Regarding a vaccine for Covid, I will not agree to the girls getting it.

    No doubt you’re well aware of my generally pro-vaccine stance, so I’ll need to explain.

    To date, there has never been a safe vaccine for ANY corona virus, though not for lack of research. The biggest problem has been VADE (vaccine associated disease enhancement), in which the vaccine primes the immune system as it should, but upon re-exposure to the wild virus, the immune system OVER-REACTs, and kills. This happened to animal subjects when vaccines were being developed for the Asian and Hong Kong flus, and SARs, stopping vaccine development cold. This phenomenon can occur from anywhere from 100% of subjects vaccinated, or 1 in a million, or anything in between. It takes 3 – 4 years to establish the VADE safety profile of a vaccine. Given the development history of corona virus vaccines, you’d want to be vigilant for this. Some Covid research tries to get around this problem by targeting mRNA strands, or other novel approaches. To my knowledge, none of these novel approaches has ever been used to produce a vaccine for humans. This is all virgin territory, with this research being rushed, without all the safety protocols generally used for new vaccines.

    You may recall the varicella (chickenpox) vaccine. It was developed in Japan, and put into general use there in the mid 1970s. The US would not allow this vaccine to be used here until the 1995 – 2000 timeframe. Why? Because the FDA did not know if the risk of a child dying from VADE was greater than the risk of dying from chicken pox. The childhood fatality rate for chicken-pox is 1 in 10,000. It took 20 years of Japanese data for the FDA to be convinced that it was safer for a child to get the vaccine than to NOT get it.

    For a child, the risk of dying of Covid is comparable to chicken pox. There is no way a Covid vaccine could be demonstrated safer (for a child) than Covid itself within the space of a few months. I can see a case for trusting it for your [elderly] parents, or Elsie [a developmentally disabled relative]. But for the girls: no way.

    Yet it appears that US authorities are going to push hard for mandatory Covid vaccinations, perhaps starting as early as next month. Why would they do this? Would you trust them?”

    My two cents,
    –Lunar Apprentice

  230. I’m thinking here of a twisted version of John Lennon’s Imagine about a neo-liberal/great reset world..

    Imagine there’s no privacy..
    Your every word we know!
    government surveillance all around us
    corporate surveillance for all!

    Imagine No trade barriers
    Freedom of capital for all!
    unrestricted immigration!
    enforced multiculturalism and more!

  231. So many good comments! Many that I can point to and say, “Oh, that’s what I was thinking!” Nice to know I’m not all alone, bumping around and barking my shins trying to find the way out of a dark room. Some random thoughts:

    JMG, your picture with two paths… I believe there are multiple paths, plus the option of making your own path to follow, or just walking off into the bushes, leaving no path behind you. The last one is very tempting in this day and age.

    In Candide (someone mentioned Voltaire) it’s said the world would be a better place if everyone tended to their own garden, and that makes a lot of sense to me. I may like carrots, you like peas, so we plant what we like to eat. The Great Reset sounds like someone comes along, says “Not everyone has peas and carrots, let’s fix that!” and plows under all private gardens then doles out turnips to everyone.

    I’ve had the feeling that the left is being pushed from behind by the big corporations. The corps (maybe they should be referred to as “corpse”!) see their control slipping, and this is a way for them to keep a grip on things. It’s very strange thinking of the left as a puppet of the Corporations; do you think they even see this? Sometimes I think the left hopes international Capitalism can be taken over by international socialism, but that’s a pipe dream to me. Besides, didn’t Mussolini say that fascism is the union of the corporation and state power? That sounds like what is going on.

    I also have always thought that some version of the Trolley game is being played. You know that philosophical example where a trolley is coming down the tracks, and is about to run over people so you have to decide whether to allow it to continue, or pull a lever to divert the trolley to another track that has less people on it? Either way people will die. The problem is many people think they would be the one pulling the lever, when they are really on the tracks, and if today they are saved for the good of all, tomorrow they will be on the one destined for destruction for the good of all. And guess who really has control of the lever?

    Joy Marie

  232. No, I think that’s in Discovery, which is the other ongoing series, and which I’ve not seen. From what I’ve heard though its perspective throughout is pretty bleak, with the moral perfection of humanity just as thoroughly abandoned and the utopian nature of the Federation just as thoroughly abandoned. Compare that outlook to Enterprise, the other prequel series that came out in the early 2000s also set in the pre-Kirk era, which was all about humans growing to take their place as the mature, rightful heirs of the cosmos, under the oppressive thumb of the condescending Vulcans (there’s a real teenager-trying-to-spread-his-wings vs. unsupportive-parent dynamic there). I’d say by now the wheels have well and truly come off the Federation, and it’s up on blocks while everyone else in the galaxy struggles to get by without the benefit of being told how to behave by a crew of sanctimonious imperialists at phaserpoint.

  233. Almost forgot:

    Someone mentioned the Grand Mutation, the happenings of 1226, and Mongol invasions; the new Mongol invasion has started with a Mongolian folk metal band The HU. Their songs “Wolf Totem” and “Yuve Yuve Yu” were the first Billboard hits to top the chart by a Mongolian musical group. I had heard the songs on a local rock station, loved the tunes but couldn’t make out the words. Didn’t know at the time they were Mongolian. I finally looked them up. They sing of Mongolian culture, the ancestors, and Genghis Khan.

    Wolf Totem lyrics: https://genius.com/Hu-wolf-totem-english-version-lyrics

    Yuve Yuve Yu lyrics: https://genius.com/Genius-english-translations-the-hu-yuve-yuve-yu-english-translation-lyrics

    The videos are cool too!

    Wolf Totem video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jM8dCGIm6yc

    Yuve Yuve Yu video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4xZUr0BEfE

    I’ve got to get the CD!

    Joy Marie

  234. Owen wrote, “Playing the same tired old songs and nobody gives it a second thought. They’re comforting, familiar. And decrepit.”

    Having lived through the repetitious Top-40 playlists of the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s, I long ago sought refuge by scouring through my relatives’ record collections, looking for weird experimental folk from the 60’s, quality crooners from the 50’s, and big-band toe-tappers from the 40’s. Those discoveries led me to such treasure troves as Alan Lomax’s recordings and the Harry Smith collection, which then inspired me to track down conjunto, Cajun, and gospel artists. Western culture has clearly passed way out of the heady creative foment of the Renaissance, but the wonder of early-jazz-dance tunes, the British invasion, or Motown’s crazy inventiveness were high-water marks within their respective traditions. Decrepit they are not.

    Likewise, the creative flurry that has emerged out from under the recording industry’s recent stranglehold control over the airwaves is quite inspiring. The current experimentation erupting in the various branches of rock music could easily fill a dial full of Top-40 playlists, but who would want that particular repetitious torture to return? Fortunately, it is not going to. Part of the reason that stations play such a melange of music now is that the industry moguls lost much of their control over new music. Their profits only come from playing music they own the rights to, which does not include much of the best music being created today. The recording industry has realized, like so many others, that recycling can help prop up their bottom lines.

    Meanwhile, the industry pathetically tries to crank out only the dullest, safest, most over-tested and over-produced drivel they can, in pursuit of new, risk-free hits. Like in the dying days of disco, they have become utterly disconnected from creative new music that goes on taking risks. Who could tolerate stations playing only the industry’s interchangeable, vocally-altered tripe in a Top-40-type loop? Hopefully, the gods will save that particular punishment for a special circle in hell reserved for music-industry executives. Count your blessings that they’re interspersing “the same tired old songs” in their broadened playlists — the alternative is too ghastly to imagine!

    Also, expect a lot more of this nostalgic reviewing of the “greatest hits” of the late, great Modern Age (the Great Reset being one such nostalgic re-packaging and re-peddling of a “greatest flop” from our dying age of illusion.) An era of hopeful, idealistic, deluded enthusiasm is passing, along with its alluring progressive catechisms. There is still much we need to process, synthesize, and preserve as we transition into the unpredictable new era awaiting us. Given that, we might as well begin unpacking the wonders of our recent past and learn to appreciate the soundtrack to our long descent.

  235. I believe this is a more realistic picture of life after the Great Reset:

    INT. RENTED APARTMENT – 2030

    *Sound of toilet flushing*

    IDA: Alexa, more toilet paper please.
    ALEXA: (computer voice) Toilet paper will be issued in… TWENTY… SEVEN… days.
    IDA: I need it now! The plant-based wiener ration gave me diarrhea.
    ALEXA: Toilet paper will be issued in… TWENTY… SEVEN… days.

    *IDA phones a friend*

    IDA: Sybil, do you have toilet paper for me? I saved a can of peas you can have.
    SYBIL: It’s a deal. Come round in an hour.

    *CRASH! The front door splinters open and POLICE burst in*

    POLICE: Citizen Ida, you are under arrest.

    EXT. POLICE VAN – 2030

    *Ida’s friend SYBIL is already in the van*

    IDA: Sybil! What are you in for?
    SYBIL: Dealing toilet paper on the black market. You?
    IDA: Hoarding peas. And spreading malicious rumors about the wieners.
    SYBIL: You’re lucky. Black marketing is worse.
    IDA: Huh! Wait till they see the underpants I returned.

  236. Austin, I suspect that I am one of the older people commenting here, if not the oldest, and can remember being told as a child not to discuss religion or politics in company. I assumed that it was to keep people of very different opinions at least on speaking terms. However the vision of debaters standing on the table, feet firmly planted in the meat pies and blancmange makes it a very tempting undertaking. I do think I may be suffering from senile disinhibition however so don’t try this at home.
    Or else everyone gets extremely boring when they try to put one another right.

  237. TO Simon S,
    We’ll take Northern Territory and South Australia, too, please if that is all right with you. Australians have always been parochial except when overseas. It’s all that sport. You were right about the premiers. Always be afraid of politicians trying to appear statesmanlike.

  238. “It’s no exaggeration to say that her imagined future is a totalitarian wet dream, since where there is no property and no privacy, there is no freedom.”

    I am thoroughly convinced that the Soviet Union and Communist China are large versions of Jonestown.

    Offshoots of the Religion of “Progress”. Cults.

    That infamous cult that resulted in everyone in the Guyana Compound committing suicide. Cult dynamics make a good explanation including the Totalitarianism of the leadership cadre.

    And the Ideological Totalism and Brainwashing.

    And the privilege of the upper echelons as well as the Gulags and maybe even mass graves(Similar to the Jonestown incident) of which many Totalitarian Cults have in Miniature.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0807842532/

    That also explains the insistence of true believers in communism remaining true believers in the Leader and the Communist Platform to the end when they were shot by the Thugs of the “Guru”.

  239. @Tony C

    The current model of Capitalism is inherently unsustainable. Given that it is a Fractional Reserve Banking System.

    That means that more money is always owed than is borrowed.

    That would require a constant increase of borrowing in order to keep it sustainable.

    Therefore Exponential Growth in Loans have to occur. Therefore Growth must be exponential.

    And without growth this entire usurious Financial System will cease to function.

  240. @Ian
    “Semi-bizarre aside: I was once asked to give witness to a bunch of things for “celestial bureaucrats” (who don’t always see the material world very clearly.)”

    What were they like. I am genuinely curious. Do they suffer the same problems of Bureaucracy that we also complain about on this earth?

  241. @NomadicBeer: “Think about the proposed UBI. A socialist idea, right? Of course not. The rich just print the money, the inflation immediately destroys the value of whatever the UBI is and nothing changes – the same extreme minority will continue to own most resources and means of production.”

    As I see it, UBI is essentially a scheme to further enrich landlords. So, your peasants suddenly got an extra 10K (or however much) per year? Awesome! Just increase rent accordingly.

  242. Hi John Michael,

    It’s life John Michael, but not as we know it! 🙂

    Actually I was quite partial to Star Trek, but understood that like say my complete collection of Jack Vance Space Opera’s, it was a narrative. To take the story seriously is as bizarre as folks taking George Orwell’s classic book ‘1984’ as a ‘how-to’ manual. Except that the narrative presented in the book ‘1984’ is a closer possibility, and given that I have had to regularly display my identification and papers to military personnel this year, well it’s just not funny.

    “he Great Reset is being marketed by a gallimaufry of politicians, plutocrats, and tame intellectuals” So these same people who organised the road blocks and id and papers checks in recent times which I referred to above, proclaimed that they’d created a ‘ring of steel’ (their words) surrounding the metropolitan area and enforcing containment of the population to that area. Except that anyone with half a brain could sneak down the un-patrolled back roads and head out of the city and into the rural areas. It was a mockery, but their use of magic in the form which you know it to be, was perhaps an indication to me as to how weak their hand actually had become. But the repercussions have been truly epic – no doubts about that.

    Hmm, most likely they’d deliver the wrong underwear, or it would arrive in a slightly soiled state. Yes, that’s something to look forward too (he says sarcastically!)

    Crazy stuff, and I tried to get as far from such nonsense as possible, but the system holds on pretty tightly I can tell ya.

    Cheers

    Chris

  243. Fair enough John. I take your point. Would make a great movie though 🙂

    A different point on the Communist nostalgia from the Davos/Great Reset crowd. Given that we will be entering into an era of contraction at some point in the future, (if not now), do you think we will see a revival of a form of state socialism, central planning as an alternative means of managing the economy during the era of scarcity industrialism?

    I doubt the economic elites are consciously thinking along these lines – although military and security circles might be – what is your take?

  244. Hi John Michael,

    Charles Fourier sounds like a right nutter, so yeah, his ideas should be dissected and properly lobotomized and sent back to whatever dark layer of the Underworld they escaped from in the first place. 😉

    Cheers

    Chris

  245. Thank you for addressing despair, JMG. A lot of people succumb to depression, and I will pass along what you are saying. It really is true. A lot of these absurd things they are doing and saying such as their treatment of Assange are calculated to drive folks to despair. It is really a big psyop if there actually is any cunning behind it at all. What you are saying jives with what Andrei Lobaczewski noted about pathocracies throughout history. They get ahead by playing head games, but find ultimately that the people they thought they could wow into psychological submission just laugh and run away chattering amongst themselves in some new unintelligible jive. We are always the ultimate winners. I note that the policing of Mt. Fuji covers an area of about 500 square kilometers with just a handful of access points that they can barricade and man. With their malevolent attention turned toward that icon, lovely trails just another 15 km away are unattended enough to be hazardous to the unwary. It’s best just to shrug and laugh at their folly. Mt. Fuji can be loved from wherever she can be seen.

  246. For the infantile future of great-mommy nursery, no wonder everyone in the UniFuture wear washable onsies. When the ship meets people sporting lion-skin loincloths, you know they’re sporting for a fight. And of futures, the predictions are so off Blade Runner was supposed to have already happened.

    This is so identical to Orlov’s “Collapse Gap” it’s eerie. It seems we didn’t realize our own apparatchiks and our own Pravda, our own propaganda. But here we are with the same thing: the UniParty™ doubles down while everything they say is mocked ruthlessly and rightfully. Which follows the same as the USSR and the nuclear Space Future of Yuri Gagarin while the rivers are burning, the shelves are empty, and Chernobyl melts down. Like us.

    But what Orlov said was: the people didn’t believe anymore. That’s what really shut it down. Now granted, the KGB realized this too and made arrangements to go underground, to direct the breakdown, cooperative robbery, and rebuild, but that’s what it took. Walking away. Making arrangements other than money, police orders, etc.

    In Auken’s case, instant collapse is easy. In a world of sheep, one wolf can rule them, which I imagine is by design, but you still find Jr. Manager Wolf-in-training, picking out naked pics from womens’ cell phones like Snowden’s crew did, then “ruling” them the ones you picked out on your catalog of unavoidable surveillance-cams, by cutting your victims off from society with fake reports and paperwork for amusement thus being their master, while delivering a kickback to your own superiors to look the other way. You know: like every other time in history and in the Soviet Union in particular. Meanwhile, people like her have cameras everywhere, don’t own a car, can’t get a travel visa approved, and can’t fight back. Because the police arrest their enemies but release their friends. …Purely theoretically of course: no D.A.s in the U.S. have let criminal smashers, assaulters, and arsonists go because they agreed on politics “by any means” or anything. When sheep are this unworldly, this credible, it’s beyond my reach to help them. It will take some dirty street person to do it for them out of a pure human empathy they don’t share for pure human charity they don’t deserve. After they themselves were so abused by the system and unable to even speak about it to anyone because HE is always watching. A culture of universal battered wives. A Star Trek future indeed, but a alien culture the Crew meets and serves as a chilling moral warning to the audience at home.

    So what will it cost to NOT participate in their joyeaux “Utopia” – the one identical to the new TV series? Already the truly wealthy pay OTHERS to text, forbid electronic idiot-boxes for their children and force them to play with real toys and read paper books. And what would I pay to own a kitchen where I cook my own food from my own garden, and use my own wood stove? Trick question: it is priceless. If you have to ask, you can’t afford it; you’re not in the Club.

    We believe that government action in America destroys all freedom after +100 years of hard, cruel, experience. Rightly or wrongly, we assume that universal truth here must exist elsewhere. War on Poverty! Now with 50x more poverty! Notes from above in Australia only reinforce our belief.

    I’m not sure if the Reset should be set with the Left, but that seems right to me as it follows the pattern of NY hipsters, environmentalists, and extreme top-down authoritarians. I can’t think of a part of the remaining Left that would oppose it. The (far) Left is now anti-Union and anti-worker, so the barely remaining neanderthal Left of the 70s? The tiny slice of new Dirtbag Left? Because it certainly doesn’t seem to be the Right in any meaningful way. The plan is anti-capitalist in the extreme, complete anti-private property, anti-success, and as noted is extreme Soviet. That couldn’t be the Right. Notes above from people in progressive cities make my point. Not that the words mean much, it’s about class and power, but the objection is notable. Could there be a new Left that opposes all hipster values, burns their iPhone, fights for privacy and freedom, wants individual rights, and doesn’t live in the few bright cities but out in the countryside working, and is 100% against the WEF’s twin brother, the Green New Deal? One can hope.

    Did anyone think that maybe the idea is to get a collapse of faith in the religion of progress, so that they could present their new “Magic Solution on Tap”? There’s nothing better than a shattered person or culture to steer around like a MechaRobot. If I were them, I would, since their total failure is both obvious and inevitable, and it’s a whole lot easier and more reliable to destroy than to create.

  247. I’ve seen a couple of comments here mocking Fukuyama’s “The End Of History”, but it’s important to realise that Fukuyama’s book did NOT predict the end of history, but rather the eventual destruction of liberal democracy from within.

    i.e. it’s probably the most misunderstood book of all time. There’s a good precis of what Fukuyama actually wrote (rather than what people think he wrote) here:

    https://unherd.com/2020/09/why-fukuyama-was-right-all-along/

  248. @Owen

    > I would say the incentives in general terms are towards performance and efficiency.

    That’s what I used to think too.

    What has, after really too long, changed my mind is the very large number of counter examples. The situation over Australian vacuum cleaners (and doorbells I found out) is neither performant nor efficient. You mentioned the F35; I’m no weapons expert but none of the stories I’ve recently read on the subject suggest anything of performance or efficiency, or value for money if it comes to that. Between us we could probably describe dozens more.

    I made a bald statement without any evidence to support it, I’m wary of straying too far away from the central themes of this blog but I will say a few things, complexity in the form of added features is often a selling point (whether or not they make sense), and complexity can often lock in a customer or an engineer who has made a huge effort to understand some aspect of a vendors technology. Finally in big projects a new system is often layered over legacy systems rather than replacing them. Such an approach often seems less risky and may be cheaper in the short term. In the long term, that’s technical debt.

    I’m going to avoid most of the obvious cheap shots at Microsoft, but I do feel Jonathon Blow’s pain.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all those celebrating btw, and Uk timezone readers might want to check out the dreamwidth blog for a weekend read!

    Andy

  249. On the topic of the vaccine, I for one won’t be getting it. I no longer trust anyone with the ability to cover its side effects will do so. In other words, no matter how many people its tested on, I expect it to be hailed as wonderful and glorious and problem-free. This is especially since I know people who are in positions of power and are saying the virus is so dangerous that the law needs to make reporting on side effects, even if true, illegal…..

  250. El,

    Has your coworker not noticed that the app is precisely useless as it only tells you about those who have opted in?
    Of course, the plan will be to eventually make it mandatory…

    What I am really wanting to know is what percentage of the population are like those people you speak of? If people love totalitarianism and applaud it, what hope is there?
    What was the point of establishing this republic with its constitution?

    And, as I have complained before, absolutely ALL of my 70’s back-to-the-land hippie friends who once didn’t trust the man, didn’t believe in their wars, knew politics was corrupt, and know that the media is in 6 hands – they swallow and applaud every bit of this. Their lives have stopped. They mostly bought cheap farms 40 years ago and have turned them into very nice places, which they intend to leave to their children…but they all just voted for communism 2.0.

  251. So, I gather nobody on this forum liked Ida Auken’s vision. Phew! That was unexpected.

    Her (impossible) future society looks, day-by-day, uncannily like the future societies imagined by the likes of William Morris. That is interesting, and indeed worthy of the extended discussion of visions of the future that you had here. However, note that the intermediate steps supposed to take us there are quite different from those imagined by those old socialists, since Ms. Auken’s vision is entirely brought about by the empowerment of private enterprises.

    What I find increasingly unhelpful is categorizing participants on this forum, current politicians, the World Economic Forum or anybody else as “left” or “right”. These words seem to have lost all meaning. If you need convincing, some writers on the Marxist site “The Bellows” use “The Left” as a hate word… Is Hillary Clinton left? On a left-to-right scale, I would place her “top”, as I would also Klaus Schwab and Jeff Bezos. None of them would close tax havens, increase taxation of the rich, give workers a say in the administration of their companies where they work, or any other historically left economic proposal. Of course, nor would they take any steps towards freer markets with numerous small players or restore historical forms of government, which are what I understand to be the recipes of the right.

    JMG, you said “we on the right”. You are free to call yourself whatever you wish, but I don’t see what you have in common with people who preach obligatory school prayer, American empire and fracking and who wax lyrical about the entrepreneurship of billionaires.

    E-prime, a version of English lacking the verb “to be”, has been mentioned often on this site. I propose a form of English that eschews the words “left” and “right” and speaks about specific policies.

  252. I gew up watching The Next Generation on TV. My parents weren’t very fond of it, but somehow I managed to watch it anyway… When I was older, I had a dream (more than once) where I was on board of the Enterprise. The universe was very old, and we flew along its slowly shrinking boundary (it was like a fog you could not cross). I felt dread and emptiness. Of course this was a message telling my conscious self about the state of my life at that time and now with all this talking about Star Trek I find it very telling, that my dream used TNG exactly for what it is: A symbol of a lonely, empty life with material and sensory diversion in abundance but lacking any deeper meaning.

    I’m curious and all fond for trying out things and experimenting just for the sake of it. And I know that many scientist share this feeling and say: We should go to Mars just because the way to get there (not the actual flight, maybe…) is fun and we want to find out if we can do this! I love images like the Hubble Ultra Deep field and think contemplating it can become a kind of initiation. But on the other hand: We don’t even know who we are let alone the other ones we meet and talk to every day. We won’t find out on Mars! So while I think it’s vitally important and possibly fun, too, to push our knowledge of the material world (it’s a pity, for example, that the James Webb Space Telescope hasn’t been launched yet) it’s very unhealthy to misuse science as a means to evade the real and hard questions it will never be able to answer.

    I hope you all enjoyed your turkey 😉 No turkey here in Germany, but very classical, too: roulade with red cabbage and potato dumplings!

    Cheers,
    Nachtgurke

  253. @JMG – I read this reply you’ve made to Smarttripper, and suddenly something clicked:
    “I know how easy it is to fall into despair in a miserable situation like the one we’re in, but I also know that if you can overcome that, the other side has no idea how to deal with you.

    “>>>Despair is their stock in trade — and it’s their only stock in trade. <<<

    "Rise above that and laugh, and you’ve just overcome their most significant weapon."

    What clicked is this – whoEVER "they" is, IF what they are selling is despair, they ARE doing a number on you.

    This goes for the "conventional" narrative which says, you have no choice but to trust us because there is nothing better out there, and anything else has gotta be worse, and you can only despair at such a dearth of alternatives.

    But it ALSO goes for the "one conspiracy to rule them all" kind of narrative, which says, trust us when we tell you that you have no power, when we show you that everything you see is part of the shadowy "CABAL's" infinitely devilishly worked out plan, there is no way out, all your friends are brainwashed sheeple, and all I have for you is this red pill that will "wake you up" and open your eyes to a landscape full of despair in which they have all the power."

    Detect the wielding of despair, and point, laugh and walk away. And then find some friends who have small, but definite positive agendas to work for, and find your own small but definite positive agenda to work for, and put your own small, but definite personal powers to work!

  254. Just this morning (Friday), I read the “Welcome to 2030…” article by Ida Auken, and got a sense of vertigo. The essay is (now) bracketed by a disclaimer:

    “Author’s note: Some people have read this blog as my utopia or dream of the future. It is not. It is a scenario showing where we could be heading – for better and for worse. I wrote this piece to start a discussion about some of the pros and cons of the current technological development. When we are dealing with the future, it is not enough to work with reports. We should start discussions in many new ways. This is the intention with this piece.”

    Well, we’re discussing it! (The discussion didn’t start with the essay, though.)

    There’s nothing in the essay that I find quite so ominous as the phrase: “We lost way too many people before we realised that we could do things differently.” In that, I hear echoes of The French Revolution, The Cultural Revolution, the Holodomor, the Jim Crow Era, and the Killing Fields.

    Since the “Author’s Note” is a reaction to “some people [who] have read this blog”, I assume that means that the essay that I read may not have been the essay that JMG read. At least, the (repeated) Author’s Note puts the essay into a different context than its first readers found. The sense of vertigo comes from realizing that the text I read is not necessarily the text you read, and that everything posted to the Internet has the potential to be revised, extended, contracted, or simply disappeared. If read “The Communist Manifesto”, “Mein Kampf”, “The Republic”, or “Design for Utopia”, as research to develop vaccines against such harmful ideas, I can turn the pages and know that I’m seeing the actual words. (I also know that whether or not I’m toying with dangerous ideas is a private matter, when I’m extracting them from books.)

  255. “The atrocious understanding of how the physical world functions that is exhibited by the average product of Western education systems is truly mindboggling.”

    Maybe that’s why so many people are able to believe that masks are anything more than useless.
    Actually, they are worse than useless in that they are filthy and harmful to the organism.

  256. @JMG

    A question about sci-fi:

    While modern day sci-fi is everywhere and features, in most cases, themes and storylines based on the infallibility of Progress, I am actually wondering as to whether sci-fi was prevalent in ancient times too. An example would be the Mahabharata, which talks of weapons like the Brahmastra (which is supposed to have an effect similar to that of a nuke) and other powerful weapons which sound eerily like the gosh-wow weapons of current day sci-fi. Obviously, such things didn’t exist, but the parallels to modern technology as well as the tech found in sci-fi novels are pretty close. So, is sci-fi something which is common across High Cultures, or is it only a Faustian thing?

  257. I wonder if Klaus Schwab in his idealistic youth was influenced by the White Bicycle Plan, launched in 1965 in Amsterdam. White-painted bicycles purchased by the City Council could be used by anybody. Pick one up, ride where you want to, and drop it for the next person.
    https://dangerousminds.net/comments/the_white_bicycle_revolution

    “Within a month, most of the bikes had been stolen and the rest were found in nearby canals”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle-sharing_system

    It probably needs Chinese-style mass tracking, surveillance, and credit scores to be reasonably vandal- and thief-proof. Not only bicycles, but other stuff as well.

    Actually, the Great Reset sounds more like Cuban-style socialism than Soviet communism. Only with more resources and better technology.

  258. David BTL and everyone else, and JMG

    The Fed (the Federal Reserve Board of Governors) would fit right in this blog topic. Imagine Disney World designed by Woodrow Wilson. That is the Fed in a nutshell.

    They are removed from reality and live in their own dream world. Greenspan was a follower of Ayn Rand and ran monetary policy based on her ideas. He got his come-uppance with the Crash of 2008. Before that he was the golden prophet of progress and all that bother. I do believe that the Great Reset is something that he and others at the Fed would have come up with. I do believe they signed on to it if not for Powell, who is from the outside and is not a part of the Fed World. We shall see.

    Yellen (I knew) is a card carrying member of Fed World. She of course will try to bring the religion of progress back to fiscal policy.

    What will happen (and JMG’s astrological forecast bears this out) is another Crash or at least a very big mess. It is in the details that the unraveling begins.

  259. I wonder if people read Catlin Johnstone’s blog. She has posted something that is about the modern religion of today.

    https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2020/11/26/oligarchic-imperialism-is-the-new-dominant-world-religion/
    Oligarchic Imperialism Is The New Dominant World Religion

    She says

    Oligarchic imperialism is the new dominant world religion. It is the scripture that everyone reads from. It is what shapes our culture. It is what holy wars are fought over and acts of terrorism committed for. It’s what power is built around. It’s what you’re branded a heretic for rejecting. It’s just as fake as any other religion, just as crafted toward the advantage of the powerful as any other religion, and just as dependent upon blind faith in insubstantial narratives as any other religion. But it lets its adherents feel smug and superior to people who believe in those primitive older religions.

    Adherents of the old dominant religion used to read the Bible; adherents of the new dominant religion read The New York Times. Adherents of the old dominant religion used to go to church on Sunday; adherents of the new dominant religion go to Hollywood movies. Adherents of the old dominant religion fought in the crusades; adherents of the new dominant religion kill families with drones and Tomahawk missiles overseas. Adherents of the old dominant religion used to burn heretics at the stake; adherents of the new dominant religion imprison journalists and deplatform “Assadists”, “Putin apologists” and “conspiracy theorists” so their ideas don’t infect the rest of the flock.

    Johnstone continues:
    Religion isn’t disappearing, it has just changed its form. The world has become too small for widespread belief in omnipotent deities creating the universe in six days and controlling all our affairs, so now people tell new fairy tales about a liberal world order which must be preserved by a beneficent superpower and its allies. In reality it is nothing other than propaganda for a murderous, tyrannical theocratic empire, of just the sort once presided over by Rome.
    —-
    I guess we are all heretics here.

  260. On the topic of the vaccine, I think it’s worth noting that these will probably be MRNA vaccines, which have never been tested before. Not just is the vaccine being rushed, but the basic underlying process has never been approved before. According to a friend of mine who just quit being a doctor in advance to avoid being subjected to such a vaccine, a large part of why they’ve never been approved is concern over possible effects on future generations. She said we may not actually know just how bad the damage is until women whose mothers took the vaccine before they were born start having children.

  261. My first thought when I read Ms. Auken piece was: “if this future were anywhere near to happen, we’d surely be halfway there”. Meaning, if this overabundance of free goods and services had any possibility of existing tomorrow, by now we would enjoy a tendency of modest but increasing abundance today.

    What we observe is the exact opposite of that. Today we have great (though unevenly distributed) abundance that is steadily dwindling away, slowly at first but picking up speed just now.

    That last is not only caused by resource depletion. All through 20th century, industrial productivity went up. However, worker’s share of the products and services resulting from such productivity remained stagnant while the rich grew richer. If they had the least intention of sharing, they would have shared during the good times.

    Instead, what TPTB learned from 19th century is that commoners are 3 missed meals away from riot. With that in mind, they avoided making the necessities at the base of Maslow’s pyramid scarce. What they have made scarce are the 2nd and 3rd tiers in the pyramid: the things that give you a sense of security, or belonging, or companionship. We observe precariztion of labor: it is not that you don’t get a living wage for your labor, but that you don’t know if your job will be pulled from under your feet this very week or later.

    If you are in the lower tiers of the salary class, the threat is more subtle. You get handsomely compensated for your labor, but you must commit yourself in body and soul to the company’s goals. Unpaid overtime is de rigueur, as are offhours calls. If you do not comply, you face career stagnation, social scorn from your peers and eventual downsizing whenever the economy takes the next downturn.

    What do the financial elites get out of this. After all, money today is an hallucination: there’s not enough wealth in the world to account for all the money there’s in cash, stocks and bonds. What they can buy, if not goods and services, is souls. If you have infinite hallucinations to give away, you can bend most people wills however you fancy. Bribes change hands, laws get rewritten or ignored, people look the other way.

    Maybe that’s what Ms. Auken was talking about, after all. It does not matter if all those free products and services exist after all, just that enough people think they can.

    Hallucinations are cheap.

    p.d. Please let me share this (mildly relevant) new Microsoft Office 365 feature: Foreman in a box.

    “One way to crystalize just how creepy this scheme is is by imagining a person with a stopwatch and a clipboard sitting behind you. Meticulously recording how long you spend on each task, compiling a dossier on everyone doing the same, then reporting the findings to management,” – Heinemeier Hansson

  262. JMG: “The thing is, I’ve been there and felt that; I know how easy it is to fall into despair in a miserable situation like the one we’re in, but I also know that if you can overcome that, the other side has no idea how to deal with you. Despair is their stock in trade — and it’s their only stock in trade. Rise above that and laugh, and you’ve just overcome their most significant weapon.”

    THE OTHER SIDE HAS NO IDEA HOW TO DEAL WITH YOU!
    yes… using an unexpected response to their tortures as your only way –only CHANCE– of fighting BACK and WINNING!

    that’s IT, ya’ll! as i read about all that’s coming down and i’m just a pipsqueak, one broke-ass person… i know how much more powerful that idea is. twisting their sadomasochism and your expected response, to get off on DOING THE OPPOSITE and turning your face INTO it like the sun, and thus upend the script (and thus the whole paradigm in the culture)? the older i get the more i understand why the poets and intellectuals and artists get eradicated first. the lovers and seducers to another WAY.

    this transcendent defiance is what i saw in de Sade’s writings, and yeah, JESUS: do what you will and i will always be free because it’s not even in my NATURE to concede defeat and blindly obey. another reason to prefer the company of hookers and general riff raff. they KNOW the pain of being on the bottom and made to do unspeakable things to fend for themselves. / you have to learn to get off on the defiance of standing your own ground. religious stuff, y’all. what the non violent role playing trains you to do. well, it trains you how to react; i think that gives your spirit the room and PERMISSION to feel connected and turn animal terror and fear into a channeled power.

    this is where i got inklings of abuse being turned from private casual wasted sick moments, into something USEFUL and transcendent. this is what art at its best is training for, right? once you go beyond sofa art and wallpaper you wonder… “what can this REALLY do?”

    this is why Malcom X was riff raff turned into a prophet. the riff raff know the COSTS to their own souls while the so-called “good” upstanding people think meat is born plastic-wrapped, and they know the cost of staying in such a place.

    and if you can make what often starts out as a broken glitch (the abused go mad trying to fit in and have multiple realities when the world acts as if there’s only one), the glitch that has us medicated to behave and fit in, this …tendency (eroticization of being “bad” or “evil”) toward defiance energy and audacity and joy CONTAGIOUS? ah… that is the key. how do you snap people’s necks into falling in love with themselves and all that is holy in the world anew? it’s the love affair for the angels!

    wow. needed this. thanks, Papa./ i see your site as my tarot card pulls. apparently we’re already in some secret dance. it’s in the 5D. more later. right now it’s gotta remain the sweet unspoken part of surprise and adventure.

    love affair secrets must stop being for the ones we only wanna shtup and be used indiscriminately with everyone and anyone willing to go…”yeah, i SEE you and i raise you THIS!”

    enough passive consumerism/give me swiping love. practice love affairs everywhere with anyone like how you can practice your kegels without anyone ever knowing…til it’s TIME!

    (smile)

    thanks for the inspiration, Papa. so needed it. am struggling. off to the gym to reinforce the same ideas in my muscle.

    x

    erika

  263. Anonymous wrote: “My absolute favourite part of the entire thing is that you have all these people babbling about The Great Reset, but it’s a conspiracy theory to think anyone actually wants it.”
    Someone recently shared a phone screenshot of when gxxgle or whomever recommends the top news stories for the day, where a link to a WEF piece “The Great Reset: Building Future Resilience to Global Risks” was right beside a NYT headline “The baseless ‘Great Reset’ conspiracy theory rises again”. It’s become so see-through, and I think it’s a hopeful sign that many people are finding it more silly than scary.

    (Btw I accidentally typo’d “The Great Rest”, which sounds equally nefarious but at least not so out of touch!)

  264. Martin Back,

    Actually, it probably depends on the city and system used. In Madison we have a fairly successful e-bike sharing system that uses time bound bikes, and credit cards to help regulate the use of the bikes. You go to one of the docking stations, put in your credit card, and take out a bike. The bikes are active for about two hours, at which point you have to take it back to a docking station, and re-up your time. They’ve been in use for several years, and the project has been sufficiently successful that the city is hoping to expand.

    It’s one way technology is used appropriately to create a public utility.

  265. @ neptune’sdolphins

    Re the Fed

    Thank you. “Disney world designed by Woodrow Wilson” is a vivid and memorable description!

  266. @Martin Back
    I used to live in Cambridge, UK and this idea was tried some years before my time there, as the “green bike scheme”, which apparently had similar results of the bikes disappearing promptly, or ending up in the river. I did occasionally a bike painted all green that looked like it could have been one.
    The authors of this article made the crossing from Hong Kong to Shenzhen specifically to try out the bicycle rental schemes: https://www.camcycle.org.uk/newsletters/131/article18.html

    There’s a picture of a couple of green bikes here at the first link, and a short writeup at the second: https://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/news/local-news/gallery/27-vintage-photos-show-90s-19222372 (see picture 14 of 27)
    http://iankitching.me.uk/history/cam/old/green-bike.html

  267. Brother Greer and fellow Ecosophians,

    I’m a long-time reader, very infrequent commenter.

    A extend a hearty greeting and my thanks to our host and this community for another thoughtful, insightful post, as well as the high-quality and inspiring discussion that follows it. The ability that seems to exist here to maintain a dynamic dissensus that creates new and exciting perspectives is one that has kept me coming back to this blog(s) for nearly 15 years now.

    I agree with nearly everything you write here, JMG, but there’s one sentence that I’d like to explore a bit. You write “It’s no exaggeration to say that her imagined future is a totalitarian wet dream, since where there is no property and no privacy, there is no freedom.” As one of the resident libertarian socialist readers (yes, for the possibly confused, that is a thing, and no, it’s not an oxymoron–it’s an ideology with a much longer and more storied history than the pro-capitalist libertarianism more might be familiar with), I would argue that property is not necessarily a key to freedom, at least not for those who have little to no property and who struggle to envision any realistic path to ownership.

    For the many of today’s property-less wage class, who cannot conceive of ever possibly owning a home or even a car, why should they believe that property is freedom? For them, the abolition of property–that is, the abolition of the property rights that their landlords use to extract rent from them, or the ownership of the profits created by the output of their labors, is instead the key to freedom from exploitation. For a, let’s say, Theosophist radical feminist of the late 19th century, the key to freedom might just as well be the abolition of men’s property rights over her body and decisions, rather than the extension of such property rights to allow her to control others. In short, for those without property and without the fear of losing such, the abolition of property can be seen as liberating just as much as the acquisition of it can be.

    Likewise, for urban workers, where the majority of their waking lives and work are under corporate surveillance (NSFW, anyone?), both involuntarily and quasi-voluntarily (facefrack, Google, etc), what use is the notion of privacy? The absence of privacy, for some at least, can come to be associated with the harsh realities of life in the 21st Century, as well as the corporate wages and digital social interactions that have already replaced older modes of living for many younger people.

    I don’t say any of this to argue that Ida’s vision of the future is indeed a utopia. I just want to explore the differing perspectives, motivations. and desires of other people who might indeed be attracted to such a vision and support the (probably futile and destructive) push to enact it into the world. That is a skill that you, Brother Greer, have helped me to hone.

    All that said, as we conclude this most uniquely American holiday of Thanksgiving, I pray that you, JMG, Sarah, and all Ecosophians have found someone and something to be thankful for. And in the spirit of deepening our spiritual practice to the origin and history of that holiday, may we all especially cultivate gratitude for those who are radically different from us, and who have shown us acts of kindness, compassion, and service–even and especially when we may not have deserved it or have yet to return the favor.

    PS: a tip in the hat jar, and a note that Johnny Appleseed has been chanted in our household to two children and one as yet unborn. The two apple trees I planted in the yard this spring seem to have noticed.

  268. Bird, thanks for both of these! If Sozi and Nazi were both in use, then Cozi for corporate socialists is workable. As for the Soviet Union, yes, exactly.

    Galen, thanks for this.

    Lunar Apprentice, that makes perfect sense to me.

    BB, I could see it. “Imagine no possessions” is even in the original — somehow, though, Lennon never gave away his…

    Joy Marie, I would have used a picture with more paths if I’d been able to find one in a hurry. Your definition of the Great Reset works, too.

    Moi Drui, fair enough! I’ll look it up in print media one of these days; it might be a good source of edgy metaphors.

    Joy Marie, their timing is good. 😉

    Martin, indeed it is. Thanks for this!

    Info, that strikes me as a fair analysis. One of the things I’ll be talking about in the forthcoming post on Fourier is the unacknowledged dependence of socialism on Christian apocalyptic rhetoric, so there’s even a linear connection.

    Mog, it would indeed be good. I have no idea whether we’ll manage it, though.

    Chris, that sounds about right. They were literally talking about putting a “ring of steel” around Australian cities? That’s a very straightforward translation from the original German, isn’t it?

    Forecastingintelligence, the problem is that too many people know that state socialism is a dud. Even among the elites, that knowledge is pretty widespread! What I expect instead is state capitalism a la China, with further integration of big corporations and big government; we’re already almost there in the US, with “too big to fail” corporations propped up by government money. Of course that’s also a dud in the slightly longer term, but the elites can pretend otherwise for a while.

    Chris, another vote for lemonade oceans! “Nutter” is a good description, yes.

    Patricia O, you’re most welcome. One of the ways the system falls flat is precisely that it so often fixates on the iconic, and loses track of everything else. That offers opportunities for evasion on the one hand, and monkeywrenching on the other.

    Jasper, Dmitry is looking more and more prescient just now. It would not take too many more fumbles on the part of the comfortable classes here in the US to bring about a complete loss of faith in the American project on the part of most Americans. Once that happens, it’s just a matter of waiting for the inevitable crisis, since the only power the elites actually have is the power to give orders. If the people who are supposed to follow the orders simply shrug and walk away, down it all comes, just as it did in East Germany in 1989 and the Soviet Union in 1991.

    Phil K, I found Fukuyama’s book turgid and ultimately unreadable. I’ve poked fun at his essay, “An end to history?”, which did in fact claim that history was over; you can read it for yourself here if you doubt that. Yes, he later walked it back.

    David BTL, of course! The pull quote that struck me was this: “We must remember that all debt is credit,” said Panetta. “If we cancel a debt, we cancel the corresponding credit and this could have broader, destabilizing consequences.” That is to say, the people who got rich off the mass production of paper debt would lose some of their gains, the poor dears…

    Anonymous, can you point me to documentation on the powerful people who want to make it illegal to report on side effects? I don’t doubt you, I’d just like something to cite.

    Onething, so noted! I’ll be delighted to introduce you to him.

    Matthias, the terms “left” and “right” both include a great many divergent points of view, but there’s what Wittgenstein called a family resemblance that makes them functional terms. One aspect of that is that most leftward belief systems claim that it’s possible to make the world better by imposing some set of rationally defined rules on society, while most rightward belief systems claim that this doesn’t work. As for Clinton, Schwab, and Bezos, they belong to what I’d call the kleptocratic center.

    Nachtgurke, that sounds very tasty!

    Scotlyn, bingo. You can also include the purveyors of inevitable apocalypse in your list of despair merchants — it’s just another version of the same game.

    Lathechuck, true. I find the disclaimer one of the most intriguing things about the whole business. It’s clear that the Great Reset is not getting the reaction they expected!

    Viduraawakened, that’s a fascinating question. I know of no other society in which science fiction as such has been a literary genre. Marvelous weapons appear in the literature of many societies, but they’re like King Arthur’s sword Excalibur — the standard weapon system of the age, but taken to a superlative level. The material on advanced weaponry in the Mahabharata is, to my knowledge, unprecedented in other epic literature; it’s one of the things that has led some scholars to speculate that somewhere in there, there’s a dim memory of holdovers from a previous era of high technology.

    Martin, thanks for the reminder! That’s a great example.

    Neptunesdolphins, thanks for both of these.

    Anonymous, that seems quite reasonable.

    CR, that’s an excellent point. (BTW, with regard to your other attempted post, please remember that it’s not your job to tell me how to run my blog, or to tell other people what they can and cannot post here. ‘Nuf said.)

    Erika, it’s time indeed. Winter is always a reminder that spring is close.

    Devin, thank you, but you’re missing my point. The wage class is unfree precisely because they don’t have the capacity to own their own homes and the means of production that provide them with their income. Women were unfree in the 19th century because they didn’t even own their own bodies. A socialist system that prevented the wage class from owning their own homes would be just as unfree as today’s capitalist system — meet the new boss (a bureaucrat), same as the old boss (a capitalist), as so many people saw during the heyday of Marxism. Equally, do you think that women would be more free if their bodies were owned by a government bureaucracy? Individual ownership of necessities is much saner.

    Methylethyl, I see we’re going to have a lot of fun in an upcoming post. 😉

    Galen, thanks for these. Interesting that MSN is carrying the first of those…

  269. There’s a curious bit in Auken’s story, where after going on and on about how she owns nothing, and everything is a service… she refers to “my bike”. So… she’s happy to share her living room, own no cooking appliances, have no car… but not the bike. That one thing, is hers. It seems an odd oversight, given that may european cities already have bike rentals: that’s real, not even part of the whizzbang future! But she can’t quite grasp it in imagination. Maybe it’s only appealing if it’s fantasy.

  270. @JMG: The best commenters? (blush) Aw, shucks!

    @Owen: I, for one, would be relieved if CA and NY decided to take their balls and go home. There remains some doubt about whether they can find their balls…

  271. @JMG – if I may, regarding your reply to Devin:

    “The wage class is unfree precisely because they don’t have the capacity to own their own homes and the means of production that provide them with their income. Women were unfree in the 19th century because they didn’t even own their own bodies. A socialist system that prevented the wage class from owning their own homes would be just as unfree as today’s capitalist system — meet the new boss (a bureaucrat), same as the old boss (a capitalist), as so many people saw during the heyday of Marxism. Equally, do you think that women would be more free if their bodies were owned by a government bureaucracy? Individual ownership of necessities is much saner.”

    Actually, it is incredibly sane if people can “own” or “belong” to their own homes, and their own means of production AND be in charge (along with their fellows) of their surrounding environments, rivers, forests, etc etc.

    The difficulty for me (and maybe for Devin, although he has pointed to other facts), is the way that “private property” has become the main engine of DISPOSSESSION. That is to say, it is what legalises stealing homes from people and people from homes. It is what legalises stealing means of production from workers and workers from means of production. It is what legalises pushing indigenous people off lands that may contain claimable, extractable, profitable resources like mines, forests, and other such domains. Each of these acts of DISPOSSESSION removes people from that which THEY have inhabited, THEY have cared for, THEY have made, and THEY have cared for and maintained has been carried out legally and enforceably in the name of “private property.”

    It is the way that “private property” dispossesses free peoples and renders them subject peoples, that is what makes it hard to conceive of the SAME “private property” as an engine of freedom.

    This is why I made my plea earlier for conversations that disentangle the many tangled meanings that “property” comprises. Especially with conservatives who seem to be easily triggered, and rendered defensively deaf, by anyone asking questions about what “property” entails and is all about. Especially questions about how private property, when it gives legal cover to dispossession, can spell freedom for anybody.

    I invite a conservative, thoughtful, response.

  272. John—

    Not directly related to the Great Reset, but touching on the prevailing Grand Unification Theory of Humanity and the demise thereof.

    With respect to the debt-cancellation article I noted above, would you see the resistance of the Euro-elites (per treaty, as mentioned in the article) and the rise of the issue with populist movements in member-countries as fundamental to the eventual collapse of the EU project? And what parallels might you see with events on our side of the Atlantic? Certainly, a retreat from the abstract economy back to the real economy (of actual goods and services) is in the offing, though the path ahead is obscure.

    Closer to the immediate topic, the key to the envisioned future-world of no-work and no-property (yet stuff is somehow still produced and everyone is somehow still provided for) is dependency; that is, the populace exchanging self-reliance and productive skills for leisure and reliance on “the system.” While we’ve trod down that path a ways already in this consumerist industrialization (industrialized consumerism?) of modernity, I think we’re seeing signs of the ebbing of that tide and a resurgence of the Old Ways. Is this something the elites see as well and are desperate to paper over, or are they truly so embubbled as to be missing it altogether?

  273. @El re:tracking apps: I forsee lively market opportunities in phone faraday cages, dog harnesses with phone pockets, phone-free social activities, phone swaps, and apps that will feed your phone fake location data while it sits on your table at home.

  274. @Devin G. Martin
    @JMG

    If I may… It’s admittedly more convenient to own your own home than to have it owned by the state, but it is far better to have your home technically owned by the state (with you having the right to live there for the rest of your life, possibly for a modest fee) than to fork out something like 40% of your income to a landlord. So, I wouldn’t want to abolish private ownership of real estate, but I don’t see how anything other than state intervention can prevent landlords from sucking up massive amounts of wealth.

    The other thing to remember is that it only makes sense to own your home if you live somewhere permanent-ishly. If you move somewhere for just a few months or years (say, to study at a university or for a temporary job), then renting is a far better option. But once again, how much is that supposed to cost?

    So, I tend to think that home ownership should be encouraged, but that most rental property should be publicly owned, the goal being to house people, and not to concentrate wealth.

    Possibly, there are better options, but I don’t see them. Schemes such as giving “housing assistance” to the poor (and even the not-so-poor) so that they can afford rent at market prices are simply a transfer of wealth from taxpayers to landlords.

  275. Thanks for that Kimberly.
    178,000 cases per day, ooohhh yeeeaaah…(eye roll)

    It would be an incredible solution if we could take all the Averies who love tyranny and lack discernment and switch them one to one for Aussies who don’t want to live under house arrest. As I see it, we would not be in this terrible and dangerous mess if there weren’t so many people who like it and condone it!

  276. JMG and Patricia Mathews and Joy Marie, there are three paths in that picture! Don’t forget the one behind you, that you arrived there on.

  277. Hi Varun,

    I think there’s a large difference between bicycles being rented in two hour time blocks with your credit card number attached to an individual bike and bicycles that are free for the taking.

    People paying for a bike are far less likely to trash it or throw it into the canal. If the bike is free and there is no way vandalizing it can be tied to *you*, then who cares! Why should you take the extra effort to place the bike in an upright position where someone else can use it and not steal the tires for resale elsewhere?

    There’s zero risk in vandalizing when you don’t have money or reputation at stake.

    Speaking as a person who regularly picks up litter and trash-picks, a sizable amount of the population does not care. They care only when they’re being watched or charged.

  278. Hi Joy Marie,

    Thanks for the links! I like the Hu too, and now I know what they’re singing about.

  279. Regarding “Imagine” by John Lennon, there is a famous story that Elton John related when he visited Lennon at his apartment in New York. After Lennon had showed him the temperature controlled wardrobe he had bought for Yoko’s fur coats, Elton asked him how on earth he could sing “imagine no possessions”.

    To which Lennon replied, “It’s just a song, Elton.”

  280. And… I have garbled a sentence which should have read:

    “Each of these acts of DISPOSSESSION removing people from that which THEY have inhabited, THEY have cared for, THEY have made, and THEY have maintained, was carried out legally and enforceably in the name of “private property.”

  281. @ Martin Back

    Thanks for that link to the White Bicycle system. Here in Melbourne, our city council tried a similar scheme a few years ago with the exact same results. We don’t have canals here but it became a common sight to see the bikes in the Yarra river.

    I once spent a weekend with a friend who was an expat living in the Chinese city of Chengdu. On arrival, I learned he had picked me up a second hand bike to use over the weekend. I asked him how much I owed him and he said not worry about it. The bike had only cost him about 50 cents. I asked him why it was so cheap and he said that the way the system works is that you ‘buy’ the bike knowing full well that it will be stolen again at some point. When it does get stolen, you just go back to the second hand bike dealer and get another one for 50 cents. You could even ‘buy’ the same one you bought from him last time.

    I think that’s the kind of low-tech, decentralised system that has a real future.

  282. Quote JMG:

    “[…] can you point me to documentation on the powerful people who want to make it illegal to report on side effects? I don’t doubt you, I’d just like something to cite.”

    Here’s some live footage of lockdown critic Dr. Andreas Noack being arrested by the Neoschutzstaf… eh… I mean heavily armed German police – live on his own podcast, no less – for asking to many critical questions about such matters. That should point you in the right direction…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OWHLnDsOSwA

    Parental advisory: It’s a grim video.

  283. Robert,

    Within the last week I read somewhere–sorry, I don’t remember just where–that around half or more of the people who carry the corona virus never develop any overt symptoms, but may remain able to infect others indefinitely.

    I am almost certain that is fear mongering nonsense. In order to spread it, it must be replicating in your body, and that goes with symptoms. I suspect that this 90% asymptomatic among positive “cases” is utterly normal for people as they go about their lives every year. We encounter bacteria and viruses quite often and our immune systems throw them off without us ever being aware of it. Again – that is probably the norm. After all, we have never tested hundreds of thousands of healthy people looking for RNA fragments before.

    Even though I suspect this is a laboratory virus it is not a magical virus with unheard of abilities.

    But if the above were true then hallelujah – we will reach or have reached herd immunity in no time.

    I have a question – why is it that people who fear this virus never seem to decrease their fear in light of therapeutics that work, such as HCQ and budesonide, among others?

  284. You said: “most leftward belief systems claim that it’s possible to make the world better by imposing some set of rationally defined rules on society, while most rightward belief systems claim that this doesn’t work. ” By that definition Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman and Ayn Rand would be leftists, and one might even claim that their followers, such as Pinochet and Margaret Thatcher, are to be found on the left… SInce all these figures claimed to be anti-left, and fought against all who called themselves leftists, the definition makes no sense to me. I repeat my proposal to use the English language without the words “left” and “right”.

    On the other hand, “Burkean conservatism”, “Catholic social teaching”, “market liberalism”, “social democracy”, these and many other labels make at least some sense to me and facilitate discussion.

  285. Re: Australians unable to use doorbells or vacuums (giggle, snort ) remember that Ray Bradbury (?) (Arthur C. Clarke? )story about the smart house that disliked its owner?

  286. Nachtgurke: For Thanksgiving, my son-in-law’s mother fixed her Eastern European-born late husband’s favorite dish: cut-up red cabbage cooked with chunks of apple and smaller chunks of sausage. Very tasty! One author mentioned such a dish in passing in a novel and called it “German stir-fry.” Shirley says it’s common all over that part of the world. She added caraway seeds for flavor -they tasted like hopped-up dill seed. As I said, tasty.

  287. In the mid 2000s I went to an astronomy camp. One of the things we did was have a singing evening, which had a load of well known songs in a songbook including “Imagine”.
    I had a realisation that it is actually one of the most nihilistic songs, nothing to kill or die for is all very well, but the obvious implication is “nothing to live for either”. But as Lennon himself said, “it’s just a song”.

  288. Methylethyl, why, yes, there’s that…

    Scotlyn, I don’t disagree with that at all. It would follow, at least from my perspective, that socialism — which involves transferring the ownership of all property to the state — would be even worse than the mess we presently have: as Robert Anton Wilson noted, “whitewashing a wall by painting it black.” I’m very much in favor of reforms that stop the abuse of property rights by corporation and the rich; for that matter, as you might recall, turning corporations back into what they used to be — temporary financing arrangements for public goods — was one of the things I talked about in the posts that became Retrotopia, and it would do a great deal to undercut the abuses you’ve mentioned. Giving all ownership of property to the state, by contrast, simply makes things worse.

    Galen, Lind is getting into interesting territory. He’s definitely grasped some of the core features of the crisis of our time. I wonder if anyone is listening…

    David BTL, it’s still too early to say whether populism will bring down the EU, or whether it’ll have to wait for Germany’s wealth pump to drain southern Europe dry and drive a series of cascading economic crises that’ll do the thing. As for the movement away from dependency, I have hopes; it’s one of the modes of backlash I expect to see more of. My guess is that if the elites see it at all, they dismiss it as the actions of rural holdouts hopelessly behind the times; it has never occurred to them in their darkest dreams that it’s the wave of the future.

    Irena, fair enough — that’s a reasonable argument. If housing is to be owned by public entities, though, I’d like to see it owned by local governments rather than the national government, so there’s more of a chance that citizens can influence how it’s managed.

    Logan, thanks for this. Yeah, that sounds about right.

    Sven, unfortunately that’s not something I can cite to justify the specific claim that’s been made.

    Matthias, if you don’t want to use those labels, you know, you don’t have to.

    Mawkernewek, true enough!

  289. Speaking as a transmission engineer: The article about CME has some reasonable comments by engineers despite trying its best to invoke fear. It is a risk, but I don’t think a Carrington Event would set us back as much as the author would like to imply. The article tends to conflate EMP and CME a bit. EMP is a risk, but I think an adversary could cause a similar disruption with cheaper methods. In my opinion, both EMP and CME are risks to the power system that are being managed appropriately.

    The Great Reset sounded a lot like a globalist advertisement, so I mostly ignored it. I think it would end up more like the Movie “Brazil” than Star Trek. My favorite moment: “Don’t hold out too long or it will jeopardize your credit rating.” Spoken as the protagonist is being strapped in for interrogation. Video link:

  290. One thing to keep in mind right now, based on some of the comments that I’ve been reading, is that astrological influences are still in effect.

    Right now, as in right now, there is a Jupiter/Saturn/Pluto conjunction (enhanced and extreme restriction) that is actually STRONGER (i.e. closer) now than it was in March. In addition to being in lockdown Capricorn (restrictions on businesses and external life, i.e. “stay at home”), it’s also opposite the US natal Mercury (restrictions on opposing thoughts) and conjunct the US natal Pluto (extremism) for any July 1776 chart… other countries may vary, but as JMG has pointed out, Western Europe has been in many ways a vassal state of the US since 1945. Furthermore, Uranus, planet of individualism and freedom, is retrograde and in detriment in Taurus right now. And then Neptune’s in Pisces (upgraded delusions) and the nodes are squaring it, and Pluto’s coming up on the Saturn opposition of its demotion – it’s kicking and screaming, trying to say to the world “I’m still relevant!”

    Basically, right now the stars are WANTING lockdowns and restrictions. Right now the stars are NOT favoring freedom, liberty, and open expression.

    The Great Reset as a whole has a Jupiter-Pluto vibe to it (let’s nuke [Pluto] the current economic order [which I would argue is more Jupiter, not Venus]), and this particular junction does tend to be assocated with “economic resets” of some stripe or another. Note that the last Jupiter-Pluto conjunction was at the end of 2007, when the 2008 recession actually started, before that in 1994 (essentially the start of the tech bubble and thus the bubble economy), 1981 (Reagan reset to end stagflation), 1968 (the recession that started stagflation, 1955 (like 1994, this one is tricky, but arguably the start of US consumer culture and the end of the postwar era), 1943 (take a wild guess), 1930 (the Great Depression), and… 1918.

    Now of course 1918 was when the communist Soviet Union came into being, and that was also during the Pluto crescendo period, just after the converse Saturn opposition to the discovery chart. So interestingly we have a sort of “mirror image” playing out here. But now Pluto is waning, not waxing. What does that mean? That it won’t gain traction? That it will be implemented after all, but poorly, and won’t last as long as the Soviet Union did? That it’s desperate scrambling, rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic and screaming “We’re still relevant!” to an increasingly uncaring world? Hard to tell…

    (Of course, that 1918 conjunction hit the US, too. But there it was conjunct natal Jupiter, and led to the Roaring Twenties – I’m pretty sure these have essentially been marking economic eras, for good or ill.)

  291. re: smartphones

    Don’t get too used to them, they’re going to go away. They’re very difficult to repair when they break and getting intentionally more and more difficult to repair as time goes on.

    Even when they can be repaired, like with electric cars, they need new batteries every so often and those batteries are almost impossible to repair or make without having a multibillion dollar factory to do it with.

    The first serious round of supply chain disruptions, the batteries go away, the chips go away and within a few months, the smartphones start going away too.

    I suppose you could come up with a sustainable field-repairable phone that could be fixed with off the shelf discrete components and a soldering iron but it would probably resemble the old 1980s brickphone and not the smartphones you see everyone pawing at.

    That’s why I maintain that 2070 will probably still be using combustion engines, although they’ll probably be running alcohol and there won’t be as many of them around. You don’t need a multibillion dollar factory to make new alcohol, you can do it in your backyard even.

  292. Thinking of Star Trek the Next Generation, I grew up on it, liked the little morality plays. It has one great contribution to the collective imagination that I think is perfect for this Conversation. In addition to the Federation, they also included a perfect Shadow of the Federation: The Borg.

    I will paraphrase the ‘greeting’ that a Borg ship gives to any being they encounter, don’t forget to read in an a thousand monotone voices speaking as one:

    “We are the Borg, you will be assimilated, we will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. You culture will adapt to serve as us. Resistance is futile.”

    Props to the Borg for a very evocative usage of the word ‘assimilated’ compelling diction is always appreciated.

    Think, if you will, of the Borg and the Federation together as symbolizing the Progressive spirit. The Federation showing everything it loves about itself, and the Borg everything it cannot accept about itself.

    The Great Reset is a Borg assimilation, and just as the Borg are presented in the show as an unstoppable force, which cannot be reasoned with I think the believers in progress see it as an unstoppable force of nature.

  293. @Christophe

    >Having lived through the repetitious Top-40 playlists of the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s

    What? You got tired of having. The Time. Of your Liiiiiiiiife? Like you never. Had. Like This Before?

    Just to pick on one song I remember getting drilled into my skull back when it was new.

    I remember the DJs would sometimes play bootleg songs for a brief moment when their bosses were busy and you’d get a sense of a different musical world out there far beyond the narrow confines of the standard radio fare. Even if some of the songs were goofy, they were different.

    My suggestion to the people selecting songs from the past is why stop at 30 years ago? If you’re going to live in the past, really live in the past! Let’s go back to the 1890s ragtime era and hear “Hello my Baby, Hello my Honey, Hello my Ragtime Gal” once more. There must be some reason they’re stopping at 30-40 years ago but not really wanting to go much past that. I suspect it’s a temporary reason and either we’re on the cusp of going forward – or going further back.

  294. >As for the movement away from dependency, I have hopes; it’s one of the modes of backlash I expect to see more of.

    One of the things I would urge more people to do is to do more for yourself, even if you’re not all that good at it. Do it anyway. Just try fixing something yourself before calling someone else or buying something new to replace it.

    They want a world that’s specialized and interdependent and I say in this era, that’s a fool’s errand. I say it needs to be more general and less interdependent.

  295. I am 52, almost 53 years old. I have liv ed in the UK my whole life, although I have travelled outside the borders of my country from time to time. My own personal history is as a leftist.Both of my parents were trades union members. On reaching adolescense I became involved with first, the peace movement, then left wing radical politics. Propitious times. The early 1980’s marked the zenith of the anti-nuclear social movement, and there was plenty of other stuff to get involved with. The 1984 miners strike, the anti poll tax campaigns of the mid to late 1980’s The rise of the left within the Labour Party. All in vain of course.The end of the cold war removed, or at least reduced the perceived need for the weaponry of the end of the world. The coal mines closed anyway, as did much of the rest of our industrial base. The socialist/pluralist Labour Party morphed into Tony Blair as it mirrored the US Democratic Party’s transformation from class politics to identity politics. As it expelled the activists, I became disillusioned, and dropped out.

    At the time, I didn’t really understand Marxism. As a teenager it was enough that it was the radical left that was actually trying to do something, rather than just acquiescing. We wanted to fight for a better world, but we were always too busy fighting rearguard actions defending what we had. Thanks Maggie.

    But I don’t agree with your assessment of the left either, Mr Greer. We weren’t fighting for gulags and show trials. We were just ordinary working folks trying to put a brake on the way things were going.

    By and large we failed. Just as the UK peace movement were incidental in the closure of US airbases, the grassroots left really didn’t stand a chance against globalisation, neo-conservatism and neo-liberalism.

    So here we are 30 years later. The Elite can be black, or female, or openly gay, or whatever, but I’m not convinced that we’ve become more egalitarian.

    Marxism is a useful analytical tool, but it’s just one of several such tools. The works of 19th century intellectuals can, and should be supplemented by an understanding of current ideas that take into account ecologocial limits that were beyond the horizon when Adam Smith and Ludwig Feurbach were composing their thoughts.

  296. Dear Brother Greer,

    With utmost respect and fraternal love, I believe that it may be you who is missing my point. I never said anything about state control over property, and just like you, I believe that turning over control of personal property to a centralized bureaucracy is just as disastrous as turning it over to a centralized corporation–which seems to me to be the vision of Ida Auken’s short narrative. I am also a big fan of The Who, even though I’m not a part of their generation 😉

    If I may, I believe that Marx, and socialism in general, and its relationship to property is not well understood by those “on the right.” That is largely thanks to Lenin, one of the greatest political magicians to ever walk the earth, and his (and later Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, etc) ability to bastardize it in the pursuit of total power and control. In the philosophical tradition and ideology that preceded 1917, it was understood that there was a difference between “personal property” and “private property.” The only form of property that was to be abolished was the type that monopolized the commons, not the type that was used personally. This short article sums it up quite well for anyone, especially those of a conservative bent, who may be interested: https://medium.com/@storpip/property-vs-possession-why-communism-wont-take-your-toothbrush-917c4508 (note that I don’t endorse everything stated here, just that is helps to disambiguate the notions of private vs. personal property).

    (Also to Irena:)
    I’ve learned a lot from you over the years, John Michael, including the idea of applying a Burkean approach to “radical hard-left” ideology. One potential policy alternative for our unsustainable model of capitalism could be to create a tax structure that encourages personal home ownership by lowering property taxes for those who homestead their homes and land, but increases substantially for those who use property rights to monopolize the commons for profit–landlords, capitalists, corporations. This is something that I think a sizable majority in our country could possibly support, but would be vigorously opposed by said landlords, capitalists, corporations, and our very own Orange Julius himself.

    Matthias Gralle has it right when he says that the terms “the left” and “the right” are nearly meaningless today, and more precision must be used if we are to avoid the monkey brain from kicking in and clouding our ability to truly hear each other. Once again, this is something I have learned from our host. For those who find themselves closer to what we call “the right,” in the USA, the word “property” is a warm fuzzy, and the words “Left” or “socialism” are cold pricklies.

    Scotlyn, thank you for saying exactly what I was looking to dig into here–the loaded meaning behind “property.” I agree with everything you said, and I’m warm fuzzy that our host is amenable, too. As for your insight about “them” causing despair in order to control us: I largely agree, but I would point out that “the one conspiracy to rule them all” also gives a false hope that “this ONE thing, this ONE leader, this ONE ideology” is the solution to the despair that is cultivated, brought to seed, and broadcast out. Irrational hope can be just as dangerous a tool. In both cases, it’s always important to know exactly where your desires, hopes, and fears stand, so that you can be aware of when others are attempting to manipulate them.

  297. @Matthias Gralle, JMG re the Left and the Right,

    Matthias, I get where you’re coming from. It’s actually pretty reasonable to look at a classification system that puts admirers of Ayn Rand, Benito Mussolini, and Pope John Paul II together on the Right while overlooking the wild differences in underlying ideology. (And I also think you’re right to point out that the “imposing some set of rationally defined rules on society” definition of the Left doesn’t do a very good job of excluding the uglier end of the Right).

    I think there are at least two other ways to understand Left and Right that make more sense.

    One is that Right-wing folks are more likely to openly favor some amount of inequality as a positive/necessary attribute of society.

    The “openly” part is important – the regimes over which Lenin and Stalin presided did not have any sort of real equality between masses and elites, and the softer form of Leftism that presently exists in the US and EU is the creature of the PMC and people like Bill Gates and George Soros. At the same time, the Democrats would never make a billionaire the public image of their party the way the Republicans just did. And even though the Ayn Rand and John Paul II ends of the conservative movement have wildly different worldviews, those worldviews both have a big place for hierarchy – the hierarchy of the smartest/hardest-working/best members of society becoming the richest, on the one hand, or the hierarchy of family and clergy that’s needed to maintain public morality, on the other.

    Go back to the great struggle between Naziism and Communism and you have one side whose prison camps and mass graves were seen as necessary steps on the way to an (imaginary) raceless and classless society, and another whose prison camps and mass graves were justified in terms of a whole lot of balderdash about the Master Race.

    That’s hypothesis number 1. Hypothesis 2 (and there may be plenty of overlap) is that “Right” and “Left” aren’t about ideology per se, but rather about connections. Basically, when the words first entered common usage in mid-19th century Europe, parties that approved of the French Revolution were on the Left, and those that didn’t were on the Right (with plenty of in-between shades). But ever since then, when new movements emerged, they took their chirality from whomever they allied with, or alternately, they took the opposite chirality of their enemies.

    So for nearly a century, the Right was full of conservatives and reactionaries (because conservatives and reactionaries had disapproved of the French Revolution). Then the Nazis showed up; they were not conservatives or reactionaries in any real sense, but their intense hatred for communists and Jews (the latter usually being found on the Left), and their alliances with various conservative elements who didn’t see what was coming until it was too late, ended up earning them the denomination of the “far Right”.

    In America in the 1980s, Ronald Reagan assembled a coalition of social conservatives who wanted the reversal of the sexual revolution (and didn’t get it), market-adoring capitalists who wanted low taxes and trickle-down economics (and did get it) and neocons who wanted (and got) a more bellicose foreign policy. As our host has pointed out before, the Reagan coalition had little in common with the older conservatism from a few decades earlier, but because Reagan welded his coalition onto the remnants of the Old Right, and because the Left loudly denounced Reagan and everything he stood for, his ideas came to be seen as the characteristic features of the “Right” by a generation of Americans.

    Anyway, these are just tentative ideas at this point. I would appreciate your thoughts on them – do you see either or both of these as useful ways to make sense of the Left/Right terminology in the Euro-American politics of the last two centuries?

  298. Two more quick thoughts to get out, and then I’ll give this thread and our gracious host a much needed break.

    One: I’ve mentioned this blog to many people over the years. One thing I’ve found is that for those who would consider themselves “on the left,” many stopped reading around the time you left the old ADR and started writing about politics. I suspect it was mostly due to them wanting to avoid the cold pricklies from reading your writing about Trump in a way that wasn’t coming from an emotional place of sheer disgust, horror, or confusion. What seems to have happened is that your readership over those years has tended to be a little bit more “rightist” than it may have been in the past. Echo chambers are hard to escape in media of any type, but especially digital forms. I suspect that this may be part of the common refrain that “there’s no way Biden could have won the election, because no one I know supports him!” Of course, that’s also partly true–a very large chuck of Biden’s voters didn’t support him, either, but simply loathed him less than the current occupant of the WH.

    Two: the desire for privacy and freedom are nearly universally shared in our culture, at least as far as I can tell. Even Ida Auken’s narrative suggests that the loss of personal property will bring new freedom, and expresses hesitation about the loss of her privacy.

    What things people believe help them to achieve liberation and privacy, however, are wildly divergent based on our own individual experiences, accumulated knowledge, and emotional ties.

    Many people, including some readers here, have looked upon the urban riots this summer in confusion and/or disgust; perhaps especially those who watched from more rural or suburban areas or came from more racially homogenous backgrounds. But I would argue that those riots were in essence an expression of violent rage against a perceived invasion of privacy by overpolicing, police surveillance, police harassment, and of course the constant reminder of unjustified murders by those police forces.

    I grew up in an impoverished, majority Black area, and when the cops showed up, it always meant someone’s family was going to be broken up, most often over some minor crime that wealthier and/or whiter people routinely get away with like drug sales or use–because their neighborhoods are not surveilled, harassed, or prosecuted for at nearly the same rates.

    Those living in urban areas see the reality of this police surveillance state much more clearly, because it is in urban areas that the police have become most bloated, militarized, and over-funded to deal with decaying social conditions that the liberal elite would rather sweep away into expensive prisons. Thus the sympathy that BLM protests garnered among the “liberal” urban populations, and the calls for defunding the bloated police forces. Those among the more ideologically coherent portions of “the Left” understand that it is politicians belonging to the local and/or state Democratic Party that have created this police state over the past several decades…however, Republicans would and have done the exact same thing where they have had control (and on a federal level, just look to Nixon and Reagan for creating the national framework that allowed and encouraged the police to bloat–largely to attack “leftist” groups like the Black Panthers and use the War on Drugs to artificially lower the unemployment rate).

    To sum it up: we must work hard to understand the motivations and perspectives of those we (think we) disagree with most if we hope to move past the contradictions of our Faustian society and create verdant alternatives for Posterity.

  299. @pygmycory: On whether or not the BC NDP represent neoliberalism: “BC’s “nerd” Premier gives Vulcan salute at swearing in” https://www.ctvnews.ca/local/british-columbia/2020/11/26/1_5206659.html

    It reminds me of when much excitement was had over the fact Obama read comic books, and John Hodgman from the Daily Show called him the Kwisatz Haderach.

    Our lockdown on medical system protection grounds is not that sensible. 70% of deaths are over 80 (https://health-infobase.canada.ca/covid-19/EPIDEMIOLOGICAL-SUMMARY-COVID-19-CASES.HTML) and the median age of death according to the BC CDC is 84. On an average year, 105 for every day in BC, and 13 people are dying per day of covid right now. Given average lifespan in Canada is 84… The death rate has increased by ~10% to move deaths forward by less than one year.

    There are people younger dying, but for any age group your odds of dying are that of regular ole flu, multiplied by the first year of your age decade (so if you’re in your thirties, you are 3 times as likely to die of Covid as flu, and if you’re under ten, you are less likely – I am having trouble finding that article again, though, it was a Vancouver outlet that published it). While I had a healthy cousin die of the flu in his thirties, so know the chances are non zero, I am still not that worried about either. No one I ever told that story to got a flu shot, either to selflessly protect others – because they “don’t work”, but now, will patriotically line up for an untested new one because they’re Compassionate. It does not compute.

    My 63 year old mother has had her double cataract surgery delayed indefinitely because we must do everything possible to ensure 84 year olds don’t die in their own current long term care home beds, and that hospital space will be reserved for them even in day surgery wards. Which is a bummer, since she’s already mostly deaf. Which is worse – if she has a subordinate digit likelihood of dying of covid, or lives deaf and preventatively blind for the next 25 years? (trick question, she won’t decide to live that long). Many, many more people will be dying of cancer, stroke (two of my relatives last couple months – one died, one went blind) and heart disease that didn’t need to because they stopped screening, and everyone comes in now too late. Cancer usually doesn’t just take those with preexisting conditions.

    They don’t really care about saving lives, or saving lifespan, but they care a lot about the optics. Henry originally said she’d read Camus’ The Plague and preventing that was her motivation, so I liked the lady. But I’ve been rather disappointed to hear the she now believes the essential workers and shop keepers I know who developed face sores, migraines swollen glands and other issues from their masks were making it up, so I think the stress got to her…

  300. It occurs to me that the the SJW true believers are very often the lefty foot soldiers of the lefty end of the Cozi Flying Car set. There is tacit acknowledgement by both that the SJWs won’t get the whiz bang future, at least no time soon, so focus on “achievable goals” of enforcing cosmetic diversity with cognitive monoculture. They trade the longstanding technological promises of Progress for secondary social ones that should have been the natural result of those prophecies fulfilled – they skip the mode of Progress’s salvation in favor of being a citizen in an enforced simulacrum of the Neo Jerusalem. In the same vein, I feel like I see many more (unconsciously?) Christian Dominionist memes from my righty family these days – they feel like precise analogs for the SJWs on the right, even if their emergence is a spontaneous equal and opposite reaction to the SJWs instead of a deliberate creation by external forces and so is not nearly as far advanced. Watching both makes me quake in my boots, because I would find either theonomy, Progressive or Christian Dominionist, utterly hellish and would be hard pressed to pick a side if (please gods not when) the shooting starts in earnest. The comment on the other blog about how the tender snowflake tendencies of SJWs, and I feel increasingly in some of my rightward Christian family, are an early failed movement in the direction of Tamanous makes me wonder how to de-universalize the goal.

    As a side note, I am a great lover of Star Trek as my preferred mental junk food, but specifically Deep Space 9, where in later seasons the Federation is caught is a brutal war with an enemy that is in a very real way the Federation – the Dominion is a diverse coalition of many species from across vast distances who are all disposable cogs in the machinations of the literal Holy Bureaucrats (the god-appearing Founders) who revile the peoples they rule. It has many/all of the same problems as all Star Trek, but the friction between the Federation and Dominion, as well the main character gradually accepting his role as prophet of true gods whose goals sometimes counter the Federation’s allows some flecks of spice and chew to the standard Star Trek wafers and Welch’s offered Progressive faithful.

  301. Brendhelm, thanks for this.

    Patricia O, thanks for both of these.

    Owen, and there’s also the fact that a growing number of people are turning away from them, and going back to flip phones or even just a land line. I expect them to fade out over the next two decades.

    Ray, so the Borg is the Shadow (in Jungian terms) of the Federation. Got it.

    Paul, most of the people who overthrew the Russian Republic in October 1917 didn’t think they were fighting for gulags and show trials either, you know.

    Devin, I was referring to socialism as it’s actually practiced, not to socialism as it appears in the notional constructs of radical intellectuals. If you can show me a socialist nation that didn’t end up effectively erasing the distinction you’re trying to draw here, I’d find that useful as an analytical tool. It’s fine for the Medium to say that communism won’t take your toothbrush, but over and over again, what happened is that Communists took power saying one thing and then did another. That suggests a pervasive problem with the ideology itself — and it also suggests the old adage: “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me…”

    As for your tax proposal, that’s potentially viable. Have you by any chance read my book Retrotopia? One of the policies of the fictional Lakeland Republic was that earned income — wages, salaries, royalties, and dividends — paid no income tax, while unearned income — interest, rent, capital gains, etc. — paid income tax at a hefty rate. I’d be interested in your opinion of that as an option.

    Patricia, it’s already in process.

    Buzzy, I could see that.

  302. Irena,

    What in particular do you find attractive or romantic about life in “the projects”? The idea that residential landlords are intrinsically, evilly extractive is no more true than that of supermarkets.

    Private property is the only kind of property that humans innately care about. You’ll remodel your house, improve your land, and accessorize your car… yet if it’s not yours you’ll “beat it like a rented mule”. If the entire world is rented, then nobody gives a damn and there are no nice things.

  303. Hi Owen,

    I want to hear “Hello my baby “ sung by a dancing frog wearing a top hat. Nostalgia all the way!

    When you think a moment about “One Froggy Evening,” you wonder why it’s considered suitable for little kids. Once the man latches on to the demonic frog, the punishment for his greed seems eternal, until some other sucker comes along. Wowsers!

  304. @Owen:

    I remember as late as 2005, there still being a “Golden Oldies” station in the large southern California metro I lived in at the time. When I was a younger you could bank on finding Golden Oldies radio stations in every major market, even if it meant you had to flip over to AM. “Golden Oldies” is more properly known as “Standards” which is kind of amusing to me because that is not considered standard music in any modern sense. (On SiriusXM it’s channel 71 titled “Standards by Sinatra & More”. If you have a capable radio, it is currently free to all through December 1 or 2 even non-subscribers, just turn it on.)
    The Standards format is post-war music up through maybe the late 60s when it got drowned out by everything else. The 60s counter culture was a demarcation point in American culture which I think explains why you don’t get a lot of airtime on stuff before that.
    Discarded music doesn’t just mean the distant past. Consider “smooth jazz” which was arguably at one time, America’s most popular format, up until the early first decade of this century. Then it got derivative and dropped off the cliff. Really, same thing with disco, although the story of that music’s demise is several decades earlier. I like disco, but only because what maintains a place in pop culture from that genre is the best of it. Go back and listen to all the lesser known tracks that would have saturated disco radio in the late 70s and you’ll understand why it all had to end. Although the popular revolt against disco was really spearheaded by scared anti-gay rockers reacting to a bunch of rock stations moving to disco, the genre was already headed for extinction.
    Anyway that doesn’t take you back to the 1890s. Or even the 1930s. I think music history rhymes, instead of repeating itself, so don’t expect a return to those times, regardless of mankind’s eco-social-political situation. For a great taste of what I mean, get on YouTube and look up “bardcore”. Listen in amazement as the pop tunes of our time are played medieval style. Now that goes way back.

  305. These are strangely comforting words JMG, at least in that the madness may be about to reverse. The spell might soon be lifted.

    But I think there may still be ample room, time, and energy left for the ogres of technology to “advance” into a hellscape of absolute control qualitatively different from anything yet attempted, including in the USSR, and with much more, ahem, *global* reach.

    What I imagine is technological marvels for a tiny, psychotic oligarchy, skilled in using powerful AI-enhanced surveillance and automation to massively amplify its power to pseudo-divine levels versus the masses, who in turn will get to enjoy absolute serfdom, microwave bombardment, malnutrition, and drug/VR dependency. (This is really the core of the “Great Reset”, once you parse it.)

    Genetic manipulations—which will probably be stupid and will quickly get out of hand—could nonetheless be a major feature. Those who have considered the possible origins of Covid-19, for example, or who have paid attention to the curious “novel” genetic vaccines now being proposed for it, or who have simply read anything about biotech’s veritable mania for CRISPR nowadays, will know that this is no longer so far-fetched.

    What limits will a crazed progressive-technocrat will stop at, when he a) feels his mandate is the “improvement” of humanity, and b) is convinced he has at long last just the limitless power and technical toolkit—at long last—with which to effect it?

    The idea that any of this will be “progress” in the usual understanding of the term, except for a minuscule number of psychopaths running things, is very debatable. But even this depends on whether you attach a universal, positive affective component to the word “progress”—that you define it as something nearly everyone sees as hopeful, as “things are getting better than they were, on the average”.

    If you do drop this affective component, and try to see Progress simply as “objectively increasing absolute control over all details of existence, available to *some* people”, then progress may indeed continue for quite some time longer than you suppose.

    And if we go full postmodern, surely the Dream is that we can *virtualize* the whole story of Progress. Who cares if things are “really” getting better—the story is all that exists, so feed me the right sensory inputs and I will believe in it! Show me an endless Escher-staircase on my Oculus Rift, and I will climb it to infinity!

    Perhaps we’re saying the same thing, as I notice you admit the “Union of European Resettist Republics” could hang on for the better part of a century before collapsing. It may be that the sheer delusionality of such an elite will be bound to cause its downfall—just not in time to stop a litany of horrors. I read this as a case of “there is hope—but not for us.”

  306. I’d say almost all of us are considered to be of the right now, regardless of our actual views, for the simple expedient that we’ve all been expelled from the left due to associating with heinous thought criminals such as JMG who, gasp, pearl clutch, think for themselves and don’t even parrot the latest woke talking points.

  307. Dear Brother Greer,

    I said I was going to give this thread a break, but since you asked: I read “Retrotopia” when you posted it as a series of blogs on ADR (thank you for giving your loyal readers a first draft read of your books!), and as a present citizen of the forthwhile Lakeland Republic (Madison, WI–hello Varun and David BTL!), I’m doing what I believe I can to support, encourage, and enact such policies here. Believe it or not, part of that is currently taking shape as being a dues paying member of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), which thanks to the influence of Bernie Sanders has become the largest socialist organization in the USA since the heyday of the old Socialist Party of America and the Wobblies. DSA is a big tent org, and while there are some in the org who have no qualms with a Leninist style vision of socialism, the internal contradictions of their own positions, as well as the fact that the vast majority of Americans would never go for such a thing, mostly makes them harmless in practice in my view. My sense is that they simply want to liberate themselves from the exploitation that dominates their lives that they bundle up and label as “capitalism” (cold pricklies!)

    However, given that so much of our political economy is still dependent upon the federal government, I’m afraid that there’s very limited options for policies to change until/unless these kinds of innovative policy ideas become a larger part of the national discourse, or the nation fragments. I’m willing to accept and work with either scenario, but I’d prefer the former.

    I’m also a fan of “The Wealth of Nature,” though several years ago I gifted that piece of personal property to someone I thought might benefit from reading it a few times. I read it as you worked the ideas out on ADR, and then again in the treeware version. If it ever comes back into print, I’d be interested in obtaining another copy.

    One small contention with your reply: “The Medium” is simply a blog hosting site. “The Medium” doesn’t endorse or editorialize its blogs anymore than Blogger or WordPress did/does with yours. Even if it did, that doesn’t necessarily invalidate the arguments made in this article. Again, with all respect and fraternal love (you truly are like a mentor to me; I joined a lodge ten years ago under your influence, and I feel honored to have the time, opportunity, and present clarity of mind to meet you on the level), I would like to gently remind you that criticism of the source is what is known as the “genetic fallacy” or fallacy of origins.

    You write: “If you can show me a socialist nation that didn’t end up effectively erasing the distinction you’re trying to draw here, I’d find that useful as an analytical tool….what happened is that Communists took power saying one thing and then did another. That suggests a pervasive problem with the ideology itself…”

    I’m not particularly interested in “actually existing socialism” as I don’t believe mimicking it would help ameliorate the worst aspects of earth/people/soul eating neoliberal/neoconservative techno-industrial capitalist bureaucracy. In fact, most “actually existing socialist” states, as they have matured their own ruling class of the inevitably neoliberal PMC, have moved closer and closer to a form of managed capitalism and have increasingly allowed private property to flourish, along with a growing class of traditional capitalists, landlords, and petty bourgeoisie.

    The terminology and underlying ideology changes from nation to nation depending on their own historical circumstances and which ideology was used to consolidate power through revolution or reform–for hammer and sickle types, you might call it Red New Dealism; James Burnham, the Trotskyist turned conservative writer for “National Review” and close colleague of William Buckley, called it the “Managerial Revolution” and said it was endemic to the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, and FDR’s New Deal. See China, Vietnam, and Cuba for good examples here. But the idea that all Communist countries seized all forms of private property from good taxpaying citizens is also mistaken. In many of such countries, private property just switched hands from the monarchy/colonial owners to the state. And in countries where the Communist party has fallen and replaced with a nominally democratic, capitalist ruling class, the actual private property ownership is still in the hands of the very same PMC class. The thistle encyclopedia has a good article on this: https://www.britannica.com/topic/property-law/Aspects-of-property-law-in-communist-and-postcommunist-countries

    More data on personal property in former and existing Communist countries is hard to come by, even in today’s digital information world. But as far as I understand, in most Communist countries personal “ownership” of a home wasn’t entirely eliminated, though strict restrictions on buying, selling, and inheritance were in place, as well as the ability of the government to seize personal property at its whims. However, these things aren’t unheard of in free countries, either. Ask the folks who are fighting eminent domain along the border regions for the much ballyhooed Great Wall here, or anyone who has missed payments on their mortgage or property taxes. In the west, capitalism and democracy haven’t aren’t guarantees of personal property. Money, and especially access to private property and capital, is.

    After a century of capitalism and nominal growing democracy, the United Kingdom still had less than a quarter of its population as homeowners in 1918: https://www.economicshelp.org/blog/15814/housing/uk-housing-history/

    It took WWII and the rise of the emergence of the New Deal/Social Democracy management of the world order to engineer the mass rise of working class homeowners. It was done through massive tax transfers and tax breaks to the working class–here, the GI bill, federally secured home loans, and sometimes cheap government housing that allowed workers to save enough to eventually purchase their own. It’s worth remembering that the New Deal was in part done to save capitalism, and prevent the rise of socialism and/or revolution against the old elites–whether those took their ideal philosophical forms, or the bastardized totalitarian state forms that actually emerged in the turmoil of the early 20th Century.

    I understand and share your distrust of “actually existing socialism,” but I’d argue that the association of the broad tradition of philosophies and ideologies that fall under than banner of socialism with the totalitarian states that wielded that ideology to violently concentrate power in the hands of an oligarchical bureaucracy was simply a function of political magic–from both the Communist bureaucrats themselves to their own populace, and from the Capitalist Professional Managerial Elite ruling class in the “free world.” Both sides saw the value in propagandizing the idea that the true essence of socialism was totalitarian state power, rather than an industrial system that envisioned the return of the commons to the commoners. The essence of what I (and many of my “comrades”) consider socialism is quite simple: that the means of production are part of the commons, and as such are owned and shared among all those who participate in production. I would also add that such a system should take care to ensure that the common good is shared with those who are unable to participate in production, such as dependent children and the elderly.

    Finally, consider your own argument with just a few words changed: “If you can show me a (post colonial, capitalist democratic) nation that didn’t end up effectively erasing the distinction (between democracy and capitalism as theorized in the West, and democracy and capitalism as practiced in third world resource colonies) you’re trying to draw here, I’d find that useful as an analytical tool….what happened is that (democratic, capitalist [neoliberal] ideology) took power saying one thing and then did another. That suggests a pervasive problem with the ideology itself…

    I contend that the phenomenon of so many countries in the world today calling themselves capitalist democracies (Russia, most of Africa, much of South America), and yet seem to stray so far from our understanding democracy and capitalism here in the USA isn’t necessarily a pervasive problem with those political ideologies and economies as such, but rather an issue with how ruling classes wield ideologies as political magic to consolidate and hold power. And that is something I am grateful to you for helping me to understand in a deeper way.

  308. David by the Lake and Varun,

    If you happen to read this…

    Some long while ago, I suggested that perhaps those of us Ecosophians in Wisconsin might get together sometime to share each other’s company, ideas, and physical presence. I flaked out on that offer–but to my defense, life has been quite busy and I haven’t spent much time reading comments here.

    I would like to again extend the offer, perhaps once the pandemic has cooled down if that is acceptable and reasonable to you. I would love to meet and talk with others who share our common interests.

    If you would like to reach me, put in a private comment or email to our host, who I’m sure would help facilitate our congregation. Perhaps we could even plan to host a trip to hear him speak in person in our neck of the woods someday!

  309. I am American but it seems to me that Europeans have more rights in some ways. They have more protection from big tech in terms of data protection and better anti trust enforcement. And while social welfare may go too far, most Europeans seem to like the unemployment and health care protections that so many Americans wish they had as the pandemic hits their businesses and families. And Americans seem to live under the threat of violence from each other due to the heavily armed populace. I don’t see Europeans marching in the streets with rifles or on the edge of race wars.

    Time will tell.

  310. @JMG

    Fair enough. As I believe this particular piece of footage needs to be in circulation, I merely jumped on the opportunity to share it. To be able to have direct citations as you suggested would be interesting, to say the least…

  311. >But I think there may still be ample room, time, and energy left for the ogres of technology to “advance” into a hellscape of absolute control qualitatively different from anything yet attempted, including in the USSR, and with much more, ahem, *global* reach.

    Won’t matter. The USSR had pretty good control on their populace too. That was never the problem. The problem was getting people to care about the society they lived in. And they really couldn’t have cared less.

    >Genetic manipulations—which will probably be stupid and will quickly get out of hand—could nonetheless be a major feature. Those who have considered the possible origins of Covid-19, for example, or who have paid attention to the curious “novel” genetic vaccines now being proposed for it, or who have simply read anything about biotech’s veritable mania for CRISPR nowadays, will know that this is no longer so far-fetched.

    *cough* What makes you think they aren’t already out of hand? *cough* Show of hands, when a real pandemic comes who will have enough trust in the public institutions to pay attention to them or cooperate with their edicts? Wolf! Wolf! There’s a wolf! Seriously, there’s a wolf!

  312. Hi John Michael,

    The ring of steel sounded good in theory, but in practice it was more like a colander.

    My grasp of the German language is frankly (!) not good, and so I had a poke around, and the terminology ‘ring of steel’ was used recently as the title of a 2014 book by an English author which covered the period 1914 to 1918 in the German, and I guess the final days of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. That was perhaps not a good time period to bring to mind.

    However, the English also employ the words so as to describe monitoring of civilians, so for me the words have an ominous meaning to them. In fact a lot of language used recently such as ‘lock down’ or ‘curfew’ (and we actually had one of those in force for the first time) really wouldn’t be out of place in an institutional setting such as a prison.

    It’s been a very strange year.

    I live quite remotely, and over the past few years there have been calls – for my own safety, of course – for this sort of living situation to be banned. I’m very uncomfortable with such calls. Does that sort of thing happen in parts of your country? Certainly the fear buttons get pushed hard when it comes to that story.

    Cheers

    Chris

  313. TJandthebear on rented property:
    My grand-aunt lived in the same apartment rented from the city of Berlin from the 1930s to very shortly before her death a few years ago. It was in a pleasant side-road, all buildings had three storeys, and everything looked as well-kept as if people owned their houses. Her apartment certainly did look as if she owned it.

    Just because there are bad examples of municipally owned renting properties doesn‘t mean all are.

    When German towns started to sell off their rental properties to “locust” investors for short-term gains in the 2000s, that is when the properties started to be neglected, while rents shot up.

  314. I think the rise in the belief of all living and being cared for ‘via the technological cloud’ (cuckoo land?) is multi-faceted but two particular reasons come to mind for me:
    a) Believing in the benevolence, freedom offering potential and the balance/objectivity of technology. This seems to be going on especially with those under thirty-five(ish) who maybe been blinded by a life only knowing the internet. This is of course in the face of such issues as brought up in this article on the hidden dangers of algorithmic decision making:
    https://towardsdatascience.com/the-hidden-dangers-in-algorithmic-decision-making-27722d716a49
    b) The rising high-tech economies of the Asian Tiger nations (Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea etc.) together with the continued affluence of the Scandinavian ones in Europe. These all share a pretty deep rooted trust in their governments and the benevolence of technology as already covered – they are the poster children for the ‘reset’. This has only been enhanced by their perceived success dealing with the current pandemic – again linked with the use of technology in the East especially.

    Sometimes you’ve got to look beyond America you know! 😉

  315. @Devin G. Martin
    @JMG

    Your tax proposals sound quite good, but there are two concerns. First, gameability. If a corporation is a “person,” then how do you prevent “interest, rent, capital gains” from suddenly turning into wages because, oh, I don’t know, you have to file taxes on it, and that’s work, and if you’re working, then surely it’s a wage? (Okay, so that’s silly. But declaring that a corporation is a person is no less silly, and yet that didn’t stop it from happening.) That can probably be dealt with, though, with smart enough legislation and proper enforcement. A more serious problem is that a CEO’s multi-million dollar compensation is earned income, as is whatever your plumber charges to fix your pipes. Putting those two types of income into the same category does not sound helpful. It also strikes me as problematic to put JMG’s royalties in the same category as JK Rowling’s (it is my understanding that Ms. Rowling is richer than the Queen of England by now). How would you address that?

  316. @JMG – in your reply to me you twice mention the danger of transferring property rights to the state, which I have never once argued for – so it makes no sense for you to make this point in answer to me.

    You yourself have taught me, and others about common “thoughtstoppers” and how they work. And it is true that anyone asking whether we could give some deep thought to the concept of “property” which underlies such a huge proportion of our legal framings and political machinery, frequently encounters what looks (to me) a little bit like one of those thoughtstoppers…

    If we suppose “property” is claimed by the state, instead of by any other party, would that change the meaning of “property” in any way? No it would not. Therefore, my point has been sidestepped and not addressed.

    To untangle some of the vexed meanings of “property” and start talking about them as separate, and separable, strands of meaning, would be to pay attention to how a long history of justifying various acts of dispossession and expropriation has resulted in a huge and clunky framework around the central core we know as property law, which enables the wealthy and powerful pushing for its various enactments over the centuries, to mobilise state enforcement machinery to protect their claims in law to the spoils of their expropriations and dispossessions.

    IF the resulting property law also *happens* to protect some individuals (but by no means all) in their personal possession of their homes, their means of production, their small businesses, their homeLANDS, etc, that is an accidental side effect, but by no means the point.

    So, when you say, “I’m very much in favor of reforms that stop the abuse of property rights by corporation and the rich” I simply wonder how someone could be said to have “abused” rights which THEY see as their own prerogatives to dispossess and to expropriate, while writing into law the necessary language allowing them to legally assert those prerogatives in ways that continually deny ordinary people POSSESSION or “rights” in ANY of what they work on, live in, create and care for.

    Is there not a need to differentiate between a right to possess, and a “right” to dispossess?

    And, would doing so not help us better understand how our property law works, what it does, and what it won’t do? And what it might do differently?

    I really hope this comment does not come across as hammering home a point already addressed, which, if it were that, I certainly accept, would deserve being moderated out.

    I hope instead, you can read here a plea for a point not yet heard, or addressed, to BE heard, given consideration, and thoughtfully addressed. I do not expect full agreement, by any means! All I seek to invite is thoughtful conversation to broaden my questions and thoughts out a bit further.

    But it would be nice to be heard for what I am saying, and not to be dismissed for what I am not saying.

    ** Practical examples of “that to which we are connected” are, for example – our homes, our inventions, our cared for environments, our small businesses, our “commonses” (in the Nordstrum meaning of “commons”).

  317. It just occured to me that the religion of progress has it’s own antichrist – the Holocaust. Specifically the death camp side of it. Those who claim the Holocaust was unique among genocides are very clear about their reasons – because it used things like chemistry, industrial engineering, railway scheduling. Despite that other genocides have killed more quickly and efficiently with rifles and even machetes. So the Holocaust isn’t the worst thing ever because of why the people were murdered, or the total number, or percentage of the targeted population killed. But because it profaned the talismans of modernity.

  318. I note that only 10 % of the UK population downloaded the saturation-advertised covid19 Track and Trace app on its launch weekend. That has apparently risen to the giddy heights of around 15%. I suspect this is probably constitutes everyone who has been required or heavily encouraged to have it for their workplace. Certainly no-one gave so much as a second glance when we failed to ‘log in’ to our place of worship with the app.

  319. The image that springs to mind is of the story about Marshal Ney at Waterloo, after already having destroyed the entire Cavalry arm with a futile, unsupported attack, calling out for one more cavalry charge that will win the day, even as the Anglo-Dutch troops begin their advance and the French columns begin to dissolve as the Guard retreats…

    Margaret MacMillan’s book “The War That Ended Peace” begins with an excellent chapter on the Paris Exposition of 1900, which, better than Star Trek, encapsulated the entire expectation that the technological innovation of the civil religion of Progress could only ever make lives better and that things like wars would cease to be since everyone would become so well off that no one would want for anything. Obviously that didn’t work out quite as expected, so the popular explanation was to blame the existing monarchical political systems and hierarchical social structures. Egalitarian Republicanism or Communism would obviously resolve all social problems… Even as late as Roddenberry’s time, that was still a credible fiction, that a society with a sufficiently complex technology would inevitably have to become sufficiently enlightened as to cast aside such things as prejudice and petty wants. In 1966, the first space flights were still happening, the first artificial satellites were going up, jet air travel was just becoming possible for the masses, supersonic passenger flights were in the near future, and it was still possible to believe that the ubiquitous gadgetry really was saving labour and time. It was still a time when anything imaginable was possible.

    As I was reading this essay, a subtle point occurred to me was that a lot of the Star Trek adventures took place on planets exploring ruins of technologically complex civilizations that had disappeared or self-destructed because they weren’t sufficiently sociologically “advanced” which encapsulates the whole concept (if I may be so bold as to maim a bad Latin phrase) ‘ad astra aut ad aspera’ that is so popular even these days.

    I know you were never into cyberpunk, but the key aspect of that particular genre of fiction which, tellingly arose in the 1970s, as the Moon was abandoned and the environmental costs of technology were becoming terribly apparent, was to postulate that neither Star Trek nor Mad Max would be the future, but rather one in which technology would continue to become more complex and amazing, yet poverty and squalor would still exist. More like what we got (but without considering energy shortfalls).

  320. Out of the currently existing socialist organisations, how many of them do you think would agree with your definition of socialism?

  321. @sevensec, every once in a while I read a particularly insightful or well-stated paragraph from Ecosopophia posts or comments out loud to my wife, to help justify the time I spend reading it. The paragraph you posted concluding, “Show me an endless Escher-staircase on my Oculus Rift, and I will climb it to infinity!” is the latest. What an excellent metaphor. Thank you!

    She grasped the point immediately, as she usually does.”When I think of younger people that seems like what’s already happening to them,” she said.

    (In return she briefs me on the latest abusive TV commercials. Minutes ago, she mentioned being impressed by a motor vehicle ad boasting of “520 miles on a two-hour charge.” I told her, “but that’s a hybrid vehicle, so they really mean a two-hour charge plus a full tank of gas.” “Oh,” she replied, “they lied to me and I hate them.” Exactly.)

  322. >Americans seem to live under the threat of violence from each other due to the heavily armed populace.

    Nah, I live out in East HillForest County, RedState and you hear guns going off ALL the time, people just plinking away on their own property. Or maybe their relative’s property? Who knows? Gunfire is so unremarkable, nobody thinks twice of it. And the crime rate is pretty much nil. I know, our ways are strange.

    I would say, you’re on your own out here but then again – you are also on your own in the big city too, they just hide it from you better. Here’s a guy describing how useless the police are when you actually need them.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jAfUI_hETy0

    You sound like one of those people who has made safety the central point of your life? Oh noes! Something even remotely dangerous might be out there in the world! Someone saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaave me!

  323. Dear Owen, with regard to the rising prices of carburated trucks, also becoming rather thin on the ground are mid century useful implements like the old GE irons, mixers, pre Lodge Logic cast iron cookware, and sewing scissors, needles and pins.

    Dear Devin G Martin, I believe the first description and identification of the nomenklatura phenomenon appeared in The New Class, a seminal book by the Yugoslavian dissident, Milovan Djilas. I would guess that Burnham stole and used the idea without attribution, a not uncommon occurrence on the pages of National Review

    Maybe there is more to the “Great Reset” than I had realized. I had supposed it to be a kind of bribe cum propaganda effort to get us tapped out nobodies spending again. Using what for money is something we are not supposed to ask. The article discussed in the original post describes in part how the very rich live right now., They don’t shop for clothes; clothing and meals are delivered to them and the laundry incl. underwear is whisked away. On paper, they don’t in fact own much, the family wealth is tucked away in various trusts. A curious report during the 1998 presidential campaign showed that Democrat Dukakis, son of Greek immigrants, had a larger net worth than Republican Geo H. W. Bush.

  324. >Private property is the only kind of property that humans innately care about.

    Well, it can get complicated. There’s a piece of land next to mine owned by someone else who can’t really get at it because of terrain and geometry. Basically the guy who owns it can’t care for it because it’s hard to get to and the people who can get to it easily, don’t own it, so it turned into a defacto garbage dump and got overgrown with brush and weeds.

    I think I was literally the first person to treat it like something other than a garbage dump for the first time in decades. I actually saw pull tab cans from the 70s on the plot. Along with the remains of 3 different box spring mattresses and rusted doorknobs and bits of plumbing and tubing and linoleum and…

    I did manage to bring it up with the guy who actually does own the property, and he was dismayed at what had been going on but I also noticed other than being dismayed and saying things, he didn’t seem that interested in actually DOING anything about it all. It was pretty inconvenient to get to the plot, in his defense though.

    Honestly, it really should be attached to people who can get to it, so it can get cared for properly, but it just goes to show you what happens when someone doesn’t own something but they are allowed access to it – it gets abused. Which is why when I hear a pinhead going on about “Oh you’ll own nothing and the world will poop unicorn rainbows out its behind”, all I can do is just snicker uncontrollably.

    I wonder if that pinhead author would’ve helped me load those rusted box springs into the back of my pickup truck? Probably not. Probably would’ve gotten her dainty hands dirty, after all.

  325. >Greenspan was a follower of Ayn Rand and ran monetary policy based on her ideas.

    JMG once mentioned that Ayn Rand was essentially a Satanist? So, essentially “Evil be thou my good”? And that’s the banking system as we know it? Am I missing something from this line of thinking here?

  326. On risks of Covid vaccinations, I was saying months ago that children should be excluded from both Covid vaccine testing and the eventual vaccination program itself. The basic vaccine side effect risk is if the vaccine provokes an autoimmune response against cells in the body that happen to have similar proteins to the vaccine. Such cells’ functions or even existence might be unknown. This risk is most prominent among children, who are going through developmental phases in which distinctive cell lines are present for a relatively short time. Autoimmunity to those cells at that phase can then affect functioning that develops (or fails to develop) subsequently. That’s exactly what happened in the narcolepsy-from-swine-flu-vaccine case.

    Since children in the short term are the most vulnerable to undetected vaccine risks, and least vulnerable to severe Covid-19 symptoms, it makes sense to vaccinate them last, if at all. (Whether this is a stated policy or not, it appears children will be last in line anyhow, after health care workers, elderly, diabetics, other medical patients, first responders, teachers, public-facing employees and so forth.)

    Being well past mature-adult phase myself, at lower risk of vaccine side effects, and at higher risk of Covid, with close relatives who are at much higher risk still, I’ll be asking for a vaccine as soon as one is available to my demographic group. There’s a small risk of developing a delayed (thus not noticed in the testing periods) but lasting autoimmune condition as a result. But you know what carries a greater risk of that? Getting the disease itself in lieu of vaccination.

    Also, it’s the least I can do to repay all you youngsters for your consideration (however grudging or involuntary) in masking, distancing, and other measures, by being one of your millions of vaccine guinea pigs.

  327. Scotlyn, thank you for your ongoing questions about conceptions of property. A week or two ago, I was chewing (with baby teeth) on this very notion after having started reading the March 2020 issue of “Local Culture” that is about distributism. I realized then that I actually didn’t know what I thought about private property beyond instinctual reactions (that were somewhat conflicted). I’ll be going back through the comments to facilitate more thinking, but it occurs to me that this is a topic worth exploring more deeply and for longer than one week’s comment thread can allow. I don’t suppose you’ve got a blog or a dreamwidth journal where this conversation could continue, do you?

  328. @Irena re: tax proposals: it seems like there are some fairly simple solutions there: 1) Corporations don’t get to be people. and 2) that, plus heavy tax on unearned income will take care of the rest. IMO even now, CEOs making millions doesn’t hold a candle to what the rich are raking in from investment income– and the more detached the stock market becomes from the economy as experienced by regular working people, the more clear that graft becomes. But with tax on unearned income, and corporate non-personhood… I can’t see salaries staying so high. The prestige and reward potential of venture capital would pretty much dry up, and businesses would tend to operate at a more modest level.

  329. Anonymous, did I understand correctly that your acquaintance walked away from her career as a physician (effectively rendering her years of education null) because she *fears* mandatory vaccinations? That’s a decisive move to make on the basis of a suspicion – or does she have information the rest of us don’t?

  330. JMG,

    I’d heard of Charles Fourier and the lemonade ocean from Hakim Bey, the pseudo-Sufi “ontological anarchist” chap, who I read a fair bit of back in the day. He wrote an essay with the memorable opening line: “Nietzsche was so sane it drove him mad – Charles Fourier was so mad he attained a kind of perfect sanity.”.

    But I never looked into him more; I’d sure like to hear your take both on Fourier and the history of Socialism. Anything in that area actually: your political economy / Democratic Syndicalism and Burkean Conservatism posts remain some of my favourites. I’ve got follow up questions on your Syndicalism post that I should pop in an open post one of these days.

    Cheers,

  331. Regarding old-style music, this must be what waking up in an alternate reality feels like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rve03u7oEvI

    The VR Escher staircase reminded me of something. Years ago there was an isometric 3D construction game you could spoof into letting you build an Escher staircase. It would only exist for a second or two before the computer would crash.

  332. @Owen re: private property, care, and access

    There is definitely an argument to be made for restricting absentee land ownership. In our neighborhood, there is a “vacant” trailer sitting on a half-acre lot at the end of the street. The venetian blinds in all but two windows look oddly melted. Every day, there’s a regular pulse of shady-looking people with backpacks coming and going from that end of the street. They walk about a mile and a half up the road, and meet up with cars pulled over on the shoulder there. We’re pretty sure they’re squatting in that trailer and cooking meth. But that’s conjecture, they don’t bring customers into the neighborhood, and they’re not close enough to harm any neighbors if the place blows up (this has happened to a couple other houses in the neighborhood, so we’ve seen the blast radius), so we haven’t called the cops. Their next-door neighbors have a big sign out that says “The kingdom of Satan is coming for you”– so I expect they’d be glad to see the place cleared out.

    Anyway, we looked up the property, to see if maybe we could make an offer on it, and just get the trailer hauled away, maybe rent the lot for some token amount to a friend who wants out from under her crappy trailerpark landlord. And it belongs to some guy in France. Haven’t the foggiest idea how to even contact the guy. Why the frack does he even own a derelict trailer in the sticks in the US? It’s a nuisance to the rest of the neighborhood.

    Private property is essential, but I think there are reasonable limits one could propose for the greater good of the community, such as strict limits on absentee land ownership, and an outright ban on land ownership by non-citizens (foreign real estate investment has been really jacking up prices for homes and farmland in many places). This would have, I think, the pleasant side effect of making land more affordable and more available for ordinary people who want to live on or farm it, rather than use it as an investment vehicle. And, you know, it’d be easier to clear out the meth labs.

  333. Sevensec, my read is that it’s much, much too late for that. At this point we’ve already tipped over into catabolic crisis, and every new generation of technology that comes out will be shoddier, less reliable, and more fragile than the ones before it. Partial rollouts of some elements of the Great Reset dream will doubtless be tried in the more compliant nations, and break down messily because the endless supply of cheap energy and its products on which Auken’s fantasy depends is no longer available. Elsewhere, things will stumble along their current trajectories for a few decades more, while abandoned areas outside the reach of the system will spread. The kleptocratic elites have already achieved a nearly schizoid level of detachment from the world the rest of us inhabit. As they virtualize their world even further, I expect the gap between the unreality they inhabit and the reality the rest of us know to become the supreme political fact of our age. Theodore Roszak predicted it back in the early 1970s:

    “Glowing advertisements of undiminished progress will continue to rain down upon us from official quarters; there will always be well-researched predictions of light at the end of every tunnel. There will be dazzling forecasts of limitless affluence; there will even be much real affluence. But nothing will ever quite work the way the salesmen promised; the abundance will be mired in organizational confusion and bureaucratic malaise, constant environmental emergency, off-schedule policy, a chaos of crossed circuits, clogged pipelines, breakdowns in communication, overburdened social services. The data banks will become a jungle of misinformation, the computers will suffer from chronic electropsychosis. The scene will be indefinably sad and shoddy despite the veneer of orthodox optimism. It will be rather like a world’s fair in its final days, when things start to sag and disintegrate behind the futuristic façades, when the rubble begins to accumulate in the corners, the chromium to grow tarnished, the neon lights to burn out, all the switches and buttons to stop working. Everything will take on that vile tackiness which only plastic can assume, the look of things decaying that were never supposed to grow old, or stop gleaming, never to cease being gay and sleek and perfect.”

    J.L.Mc12, thanks for this.

    Synthase, there’s always that!

    Devin, of course you don’t think you’re going to imitate the failed socialist states of the past and present. Socialists never do. The fact that that’s what always happens isn’t a function of human intentions, it’s a function of the flaws hardwired into socialist theory, which guarantee the same overfamiliar results. Still, socialism is perhaps the supreme example of the fallacy of “But it’s different this time!” which pervades the entire field of modern economics; the idea that there might be something a little amiss about doing the same thing and expecting different results somehow never sinks in. (By the way, please try to keep your posts a little shorter. You’re welcome to be part of this conversation, but it helps to remember that it’s a conversation, not a soapbox.)

    Jeff, Europe has had a very quiet period in the wake of the Second World War. A century ago people in the United States congratulated themselves because you didn’t see Americans marching in the streets or on the edge of class wars.

    Sven, fair enough! You’ll notice I didn’t delete the link… 😉

    Irena (if I may), you may not be aware that in the US, government-owned housing consists almost entirely of rat-infested, poorly maintained tenements consigned to the impoverished classes. I understand that things are different in Europe, but that’s the reality we live with over here.

    Chris, no, so far I haven’t heard any suggestions that living in rural isolation and working remotely should be banned — quite the contrary, it’s being tacitly encouraged these days. That’s frankly weird — from an American standpoint, at least.

    Jay, thanks for this. I know the United States is a weird place, but keep in mind it’s the only place I’ve ever lived.

    Irena, I didn’t say that the Retrotopia income tax policy was a universal cure for differential wealth. It’s one part of a whole series of proposals that are aimed, not at eliminating wealth differentials (there are rich people in my fictional Lakeland Republic), but at making sure that the working classes can count on a living wage and that some of the worst abuses of the current system here in the US are addressed.

    Scotlyn, the conversation has repeatedly referenced socialism, which in practice (as distinct from theory) always involves transferring a great many property rights to the state, thus I thought it was reasonable to mention it. As for property rights, I’d already suggested that the concept needs reform to stop some of the many abuses we’ve both mentioned and agreed on. How am I missing your point? Help me here.

    Yorkshire, that makes a great deal of sense! It’s relevant, too, that a very large number of the people who were killed by the Nazi regime were simply shot and buried in mass graves, but that’s not the aspect of it that gets people’s attentions — as you say, it’s the talismans of modernity that matter.

    Dishwasher, thanks for the data points! I’m not surprised, but I’m encouraged.

    Renaissance, I need to reread MacMillan’s book; that’s an excellent point. As for cyberpunk, I disliked it purely because it was so close to the world I lived in — Seattle was in the early stages of the tech boom when Neuromancer came out, and that’s where I was at the time. I was surrounded by the hacker-and-slacker culture that cyberpunk glorified, and the last thing I wanted was to have it all through my fiction reading as well!

    Yorkshire, I’d be amazed if any of them did. The tragedy of socialism is that it harnesses valid and important human desires for a better society to a set of appealing but fatally flawed theories, and the attempt to put those theories into effect inevitably produces the same dismal results. The socialist parties and movements all believe that this time it’s different, that they can put the theories into practice and have them bring about the shining society of the socialist mythos. It’s after they achieve power, if they ever do, that they get to face the awkward discovery that that’s not what happens.

  334. @JMG

    I thought you where talking about Joseph Fourier, so it seems that In my case there’s a 100% absence of knowledge, and I’d be interested in finding out why I should be interested. So go for it.

    Andy

  335. @ Devin – thank you. 🙂

    Disambiguation is EXACTLY the word for what I’m asking people to consider doing when it comes to the “ambiguation” that helps “endarken” the dark side of property law!

  336. TJandTheBear – “Private property is the only kind of property that humans innately care about. You’ll remodel your house, improve your land, and accessorize your car… yet if it’s not yours you’ll “beat it like a rented mule”.

    What if we reversed this and proposed, instead, that “what humans innately care about is the only kind of property that can be owned”?

  337. Hi JMG and the commentariat,
    I feel I am in a weird position as a semantics nazi trying to force people to use the “right” words but I will try anyway 🙂
    I don’t have the knowledge or the inclination to define left/right socialism etc. BUT, when it comes to actual societies and how they worked, I have seen a bit of the eastern European implementation of socialism.
    The way USSR and eastern Europe is described in the comments misses the point, so I will be the devil’s advocate.

    Given the track record of the soviet style communism, if we don’t try to understand how it actually worked, we run the risk of the people in control here putting the label “communist” on anything they don’t like (like Burkean conservatism?) and immediately removing it from the public discourse.

    FIrst, I disagree with JMG that state communism was a dud in the short term. Like I said before they achieved some amazing things (like winning the space race when the country was feudal 50 years before). Together with the gulags, forced collectivization, sex equality (how many doctors were women in US in the 50s?), great education etc – these are all parts of the system. If you discard most of them and just keep the ones you don’t like, that is just propaganda and that can be used against anything we propose too.

    I think that the proposals that we see thrown around (like the Great Reset or the GND or what have you) have nothing to do with the soviet system so comparing them is misleading.
    On the contrary, a true soviet style transition in US or the west would work very well in the beginning because there is so much real wealth concentrated in the hands of the few that for the first couple of generations most people could enjoy happy lives working 20 hours a week with guaranteed healthcare, education and a place to live.
    Luckily, there will never be a soviet US or EU because of that same wealth concentration – the rich can easily avoid a revolution by promising crumbs to some voting blocks.
    I say luckily because I think that kind of western soviet society would inevitably descend to horrors much worse than we saw in USSR and it would take everybody down with it. I prefer the capitalist collapse alternative where pockets of survivor communities might be able to experiment with new type of societies.

    Here is the big difference with the soviets: they actually took all the real wealth (land, factories, universities, hospitals etc) and reorganized them from the bottom up. They really rid of most of the rich people and it took generations for them to come back as “nomenklatura”. They really provided positive rights to people (place to live, education and healthcare, guaranteed job).

    Can you not see the difference between this and the WEF/Davos proposals where the rich become even more powerful because they would take everything from the people?

  338. Mikhail Gorbachev attempted to have American prosperity with Soviet communism through his policy of perestroika (“restructuring”).. I remember reading his book of the same name in 1990 and thinking, sorry my friend, if you want American prosperity, you have to accept the American work ethic, American hire-and-fire, American advertising, American capitalism, and American levels of neurosis. You can’t square the circle.

    A year later the Soviet Union collapsed.

  339. So, I tend to think that home ownership should be encouraged, but that most rental property should be publicly owned, the goal being to house people, and not to concentrate wealth.

    @Irena, given your statement above I don’t believe my question was in any way a misrepresentation.

    You can modify the key words in your statement endlessly and the outcome is right out of the socialist playbook: “most {businesses} should be publicly owned, the goal being to {serve} people, and not to concentrate wealth”

    If not for the pursuit of wealth those rental properties wouldn’t even exist, let alone the resulting government tax revenue that was abhorrently mis-allocated into the infamous projects.

    @Scotlyn, it’s the government that’s primarily facilitated that dispossession (through zoning, rent control, eminent domain, property taxes, etc.). We don’t need more government, we need government that isn’t incentivized to serve the dispossessors.

    @Matthias, by choice I’ve rented my entire life and treated every one of my abodes as pretty much my own, but of course since I didn’t in fact own I also didn’t spend a thin dime on upgrades. Renters don’t add value to properties even if they don’t abuse them.

    @JMG, I’m continually surprised at the demonization of landlords in particular. So many that willingly shell out absurd monthly sums on car payments and daily Starbucks resent only those dollars spent on rent. I’d love to hear your thoughts on that.

  340. @JMG: “Irena (if I may), you may not be aware that in the US, government-owned housing consists almost entirely of rat-infested, poorly maintained tenements consigned to the impoverished classes. I understand that things are different in Europe, but that’s the reality we live with over here.”

    Yes, I read something like that on Sharon Astyk’s blog many years ago. (Remember Sharon Astyk? I sometimes wonder what became of her.) I really don’t know why that is. But as Matthias Gralle pointed out, this is by no means universal…

    As it happens, I once (~20 years ago) had a chance to spend ten days or so in a subsidized (welfare) apartment in France. (The woman who lived there rented it out to my family while she travelled to visit hers. I don’t think she technically had the right to do that, so shh, don’t tell anyone. 😉 ) Anyway, the apartment was small (but she lived there alone), but otherwise very nice indeed. Given a chance, I’d jump at the opportunity to move into a place like that and spend the rest of my days in it. As long as it didn’t cost me an arm and a leg, that is. The (privately owned) apartment I’m currently renting does indeed cost an arm and a leg, and it’s not nearly as nice…

  341. @Scotlyn:

    I’d like to note that my native language German has two words for “property” that might help tangle it apart a little – I’m not sure if English makes the same distinction: there is “Eigentum” and “Besitz”.

    The latter word means more or less “possession” or “power of disposition”. So when you rent an apartment it’s in your possession but it’s not your property.

    I understand you to be arguing for our society to place less value on invisible, politically apportioned and defended property rights and to place more value on the “real” – in the sense of “visible” – possession and making use of something. Does that sound right?

  342. @methylethyl
    @JMG

    Re: tax proposals

    Fair enough. Perhaps the Pareto principle applies to this case as well: 20% of reforms remove 80% of abuses.

  343. Reading this conversation thread, and some of the various ways people keep talking past each other on the subject of Socialism, I did want to make one observation. I think one of the reasons the American left and right keep talking past each other over this topic is that they’re both using the same word to mean very different things. Your typical person on the right is usually talking about the sort of Marxist governments of the soviet variety that have usually ended in gulags and mass censorship… while more often than not, the typical American leftist is talking about the sort of social democracy that was the American standard for a good 50 years or so up until Reagan finished the counterrevolution Goldwater started. I noted with some amusement over the last 2 elections that Bernie Sanders’ “Democratic Socialism” that was hailed as a progressive dream by the left and lambasted as a communist dystopia by the right had a proposed tax code that essentially resembled the one in place at the end of Reagan’s first term in office for instance, or the fact that the policies often spoken of in fear-flecked tirades by the conservative media are usually a good deal to the right of the policies that were actually in place here -during- the night of red scare.

    You noted some time ago that the Democrats have without realizing it turned into America’s Conservative party, usually managing little more than rolling back the clock a few years trying to bring back some fragment of a New Deal era that’s slipping further into the past and trying to call it progress while the Republicans keep rewriting the playbook and controlling the narrative. I think there’s no better evidence of that than the fact that the so-called progressives who months ago were waxing poetic about socialism and calling for the defunding of the police just elected a cop as Vice President and a rehash of George W. Bush’s second term as President. Socialism continues to be a buzz word that evokes powerful feelings on both sides, but in terms of on the ground policy proposals, what the left tries to attach those feelings to very rarely has anything to do with the concept. I could imagine an election 20 years from now that pits some sort of wildly original set of Retrotopia style policies from the Republican candidate while a Democrat or Socialist tries to pass off a slightly reworded version of Trumpism as a stepping stone on the way to the Great Reset.

  344. @JMG – “As for property rights, I’d already suggested that the concept needs reform to stop some of the many abuses we’ve both mentioned and agreed on. How am I missing your point? Help me here.”

    Here is my best shot – and bear in mind I’m only trying to “think in” to the cracks where only weeds grow, because, for sure no one ventures there on purpose…

    Property rights are not possession rights [according to my best effort at disambiguation], and below I lay out the reason I consider this disambiguation necessary.

    Security of possession is what underwrites freedom. (As I believe you agree)

    Security of property, on the other hand, is the entire basis for a legal system written to underwrite legally enforceable claims to acts of DISpossession. (As I do not believe you have heard me say in so many words, despite me saying it several times). Securing dispossessions is, on this reading, not an ABUSE of property rights, but a USE of property rights, precisely as they are written and conceived into law.

    I would like to talk freely with others who are willing to talk with me, about possession rights, and how to secure them, and how that helps to secure freedom, without having to give ground to the kind of property/DISpossession rights we actually have which abolish the freedom of the dispossessed.

    I would be even happier if I could, even once, persuade a person of conservative bent, that this is a worhwhile disambiguation effort that exists completely independently of anything to do with socialism, and which, if negotiated and navigated right out there, all hands on board, in open discourse, might result in MORE security of possession, and in MORE freedom, for all of us.

  345. @Wesley @Matthias Regarding your distinction of Left/Right: Jordan Peterson has a way of dividing them into open and closed to change. Left/Liberal are more open to new ways of living and Right/Conservative are more traditional in their approach. One of the ways this is playing out in contemporary times is that the “Liberals” are ironically leaning towards an authoritarian collectivist redistribution of wealth and power. While this approach does not promote free speech and other classical liberal ideals, it is going away from traditional values in the US. So I think the non-traditional vs traditional or open/closed is an easier way to look at the psychological difference between the two extremes. Even so, I think we need to include the dimension of authoritarian/anti-authoritarian to understand the dynamics more completely.

  346. @ Devin, et alia–

    Re regional ecosophians and a potential confab

    I’d be very interested in having a get-together in this neck of the the woods. I’d suggest that we think of it as Midwest, perhaps, rather than merely WI. I believe there are a number of this community in neighboring states (Kimberly–of the library project–is near Chicago, for example, and I seem to recall someone from IA being interested the last time the topic of a gathering came up, and there are a few more around as well in addition to you, Varun, and I). Once the world’s no longer on fire, we should definitely see if we can organize something at some central local reasonably accessible by those participating, even if its only a simple meet-up to start.

  347. @Wesley:

    Thank you very much for your reply. Both of your hypotheses sound very worthwhile exploring, and they certainly make more sense to me than attributing dogmatism exclusively to the left. A few years ago, I met a young medical doctor with a passion for day trading and complete belief in Austrian economics, evidence be damned. He insisted in the face of every example I brought up that a free market, left to its own, will never develop monopolies. He even stated that Austrian economics did not need real-world data since it was founded on self-evident principles!

    With regard to accepting inequality, I have wondered over the years reading this blog if belief in reincarnation (quite apart from the question whether it is true) would be correlated with a higher acceptance of inequality, both because better or worse material existence in this life would be a consequence of preceding lives, and because it might even out in future lives (similar in this aspect to “pie in the sky” Christianity). However, many believers in reincarnation seem to self-identify with a fight for greater justice and redistribution in the here and now, so I am not sure what there is to this speculation.

    Your connectivity hypothesis seems to me to be the null hypothesis in that it explains why the terms left and right are used, but renders them analytically useless like I suggested.

  348. Re: socialism

    I don’t think anyone wants to replicate the Soviet Union. (In this blog’s readership, I mean. Ida Auken apparently wants to do just that.) The fact remains that some things have a tendency to crappify when left to the free market. Housing and health care come to mind. The problem is that humans cannot reasonably do without those, which turns them (humans, that is) into captive consumers. Contrast that with (say) restaurants. Nobody has to eat out. If all restaurants in a given area suck, with a tendency to get even crappier and yet more expensive with each passing year, then you’ll get a lively home cooking culture, and the restaurants will go out of business. (And then perhaps someone will finally open a decent restaurant.) So, the restaurant business can safely be left to the free market (apart from some basic food safety regulations, that is). But if all housing in a given area sucks, with a tendency to get even crappier and yet more expensive with each passing year, then what you’ll get is a population that spends an ever greater share of income on housing, for less and less use value. Because, unlike home cooking, living in a cardboard box under a bridge is simply not a viable strategy.

  349. @TemporaryReality – thanks for the response. I also have a couple of issues of “Local Culture” and truly appreciate the effort that the Distributists (along with others, such as Wendell Berry) have put into “thinking in” to the same, weed infested, crack in the pavement that I, as a free person who loves my own freedom, am trying to think my own way in to. 🙂

    I don’t have a blog – I am a primarily a reader and a responder, not a writer or an instigator. However, I do have a dreamwidth journal, and I have just posted an invitation to further discuss this matter here – https://scotlyn.dreamwidth.org/1247.html. By all means, please have at it!

  350. Thank you very much to everyone who has added nuance to the discussion about property and freedom, especially Scotlyn and Devine! Sometimes I fear that the community on this blog has turned into an echo chamber and that arguments have become lazy (left = cold prickly), and then a discussion like this one comes around.

    If I may, I would like to expand specifically on Scotlyn’s “right to dispossess” and on my own earlier post. It occurs to me that our usual “private property” (say, a house or car) contains at least four different rights, i.e. four different categories of actions that we can take with the support of most, or of the most powerful members of our society.

    1. The right to enjoy that property without destruction (which renters, hikers in a national park etc. also have).

    2. The right to sell it. Many societies in the past did not admit this action in certain cases, especially for land. Noble families in Germany up to the beginning of the 19th century could not sell their land, though they could do with it as they saw fit. Certain church land in Northern Germany today “belongs” to private persons, but they can never sell it. In Old Testament times, land would come back to the same family after 49 years, even if they had sold it. North American indigenous societies did not even conceive of selling land, they were used to only selling the temporary use of it. I wonder if the right to sell should be restricted in certain circumstances (like @methylethyl suggested for foreign buyers) without otherwise impinging on use of the land, or if the buying up of large quantities should be discouraged by the tax code as Devine suggested in order to preserve the freedom of all citizens.

    3. The right to modify the property as one wishes, even up to the point of destroying it. This is the crucial right that renters don’t have, and that stakeholders in a company (whether capitalist or syndicalist) don’t have without consent of other stakeholders. This is where I think a nuanced discussion is most important, since this right should not be the same for toothbrushes and for forests. In fact, even in a capitalist society, there are restrictions, e.g. on changing the façades of historical buildings.

    4. The right to hinder other people from enjoying the property. Etymologically, “private” means “that which somebody has been hindered from using”. Houses or apartments need to be private in this sense, or strangers could walk into our home at any time of day or night (though I don’t think this means that all other three rights need to be present at the same time). Now, it it is here where I don’t see the usefulness of extending the term “private property” to commons like village greens, municipal swimming pools or nature reserves. It is commonly accepted that every resident can use such a commons as long as they keep within accepted rules. There might indeed be a restriction such that somebody from another village cannot graze on our village commons (I can’t think of a contemporary example), but I continue to think that the term “local property” is more adequate in this case than “private”.

    To sum it up, freedom for all citizens, or residents, or even for all humans is not necessarily correlated with the maximum extension of all four rights to all types of property, and that is why several of us have stumbled over the term “abolition of private property”. In fact, in my opinion freedom is best served by a judicial combination of the four rights according to the type of property.

  351. (Ok, let’s try again. c o n c i s e )

    Note that the *luxury* part of the today’s encountered moniker “Fully Automated Luxury Gay Space Communism” would be going against [the Soviet] vision. (And the “gay” part would be completely unthinkable.) I’m pretty sure that this concept instead comes from the (much later) Ian M. Banks’ “The Culture” universe. (But even Banks was acknowledging that it was an ambivalent ideal – one of the recurring criticisms of The Culture being that their humans were just pets for the Culture’s artificial Minds.) As far as I remember it, the Strugatski’ Noon universe has no AIs. Indeed one story, if I’m not confusing it with one from another soviet author, is about humans mutating into extremely different shapes in order to be able to work in very inhospitable environments, not about leaving that job to robots ! (And back to human when (if!) they survive the ordeal.

    So, no, Auken’s future is NOT the Noon Universe. It’s probably not even The Culture (which is controlled by benevolent super-intelligent real AIs, not power-insane “for the greater good” out-of-touch people). I would classify it as Cybernetic Corporatism. Not sure it can be even called “socialist”, though Cozi is a great double-entendre moniker.

    A more useful model than just Right vs Left is “the political compass” : https://www.politicalcompass.org/analysis2
    It mostly keeps the Left vs Right dimension, but it stands for the economic scale of equal vs unequal, while the additional Top vs Bottom scale that is added represents the social scale of Authoritarian vs Anarchist. Note that Hitler ends up Top Center. Auken’s Cozi / Cybernetic Corporatism is probably Top Right. I guess that the main issue is that any “best intentions” utopia is likely to land in a quite different quadrant when applied in practice.

    Reading those analyses about the Great Reset sent chills down my spine. It so happens that I’m going to (re-) enter the job market soon, and I am very apprehensive about the eventual encounter with greenwashing. I have been re-running in my head the inevitable confrontation : “Your greenwashing is bullshit ! Our company doesn’t *care* about the environment, if it did, it would have sent a *meaningful* signal, which would have involved *sacrifice* to the bottom line !” (I have no idea whether I would actually find the courage to actually say that…)

    Lo and behold, and looks like our “corporate masters” fully agree with this line of thought !?!
    ( @Simon S ) I wasn’t aware of the [German Newspapers] pushing degrowth, but I *am* aware of [French Economic Newspaper that I can’t find any more] that did a whole issue on degrowth recently. As the French “Degrowth” newspaper titled : “Have we won ?!” : http://www.ladecroissance.net/?chemin=journal&numero=165 (At that time, because supposedly 54% of the French were for degrowth.) Answer : Nope, this is yet another example of the uncanny ability of capitalism to assimilate the criticisms it faces. So, a bit like you said, it’s “degrowth for the people, business as usual for the elites”. But it’s devilishly compelling to go along with this (hell is paved with good intentions). You have to have a very strong culture to resist the “for the greater good” lure. Most people don’t. (Consumerism has been instrumental in this.)

    Oh, also, speaking of Cybernetic states… don’t you think that Cozis have some “China envy” ?

  352. Patricia Mathews – Certainly very tasty and a little bit old-fashioned 🙂 I don’t think any German (who still cooks it) would call it that way, though. I know this dish with bacon cut into small pieces instead of sausages, although I prefer the cabbage cooked with apples and onions alone as a side dish. Caraway is something I usually add to any variety of cabbage since it effectively prevents you from bouncing against the ceiling at night… Adding some anise gives an interesting flavor, too.

    Our cabbage grew very badly this year since it was very hot and dry – so our stocks are unfortunately depleted soon. There’s a lot of talking about eating and cooking “regionally” and “seasonally”, at least in Germany. Very little amounts of cabbage and Sauerkraut are seen in the stores to make that claim appear as something people are taking serious, though…

    Cheers,
    Nachtgurke

  353. @WaltF – you’re absolutely right! Every Y-shaped fork in the road is a 3-way crossroads!

  354. Irena,
    At one point I got hooked on reading old housekeeping manuals on Project Gutenberg. As pleasurable habits go, it was quite useful and occasionally a bit horrifying.

    The point of interest here is that those manuals uniformly expected that an urban housewife would budget about ten percent of income for rent, in whichever social class the young housewife fell. These of course were not governmentally subsidized housing-being out of copyright most were over a hundred years old-but what private landlords charged at the time.

    I propose that rents have gone up as costs of being a landlord have gone up, and as government-mandated housing standards have gone up. One must supply indoor wiring and plumbing, phone, internet, cable, and heating today. The government says two people per bedroom, bedroom must have this much space and a closet of so much. A family of five cannot rent a two-bedroom apartment. A single mom with a son over a certain age cannot rent a one bedroom apartment. All of these laws and regulations designed to force landlords to provide a better quality of housing combine to also force rents up.

    I doubt government could supply housing that meets with all of modern regulations at a lower cost, and suspect that it would cost rather more, which would just result in higher taxes to pay for it.

    If you were permitted to rent an apartment with a wood stove, water, and sewer, and no other utilities, at a quarter the cost of the apartment with regular modern utilities, would you value money or utilities more? In most places it is, of course, quite illegal to rent you such housing, but if it were an option, which would people choose?

  355. @DT: at my last exercise class Friday, the instructor was playing the usual tinkle-and beep music, like someone plucking lute strings one string at a time, but the last one on the mix was ….Greensleeves!

  356. Dear Synthase,

    If I may regarding political identities:

    Something that I think one must seriously consider is the appalling degree to which political identity is more than anything amongst the vast majority of people I’ve known merely an issue of fashion. That is, the platitudes and credos that differentiate “us” from “them” are fashions that are worn like business suits, black hoodies, cardigans, zebra-print leggings, or combat boots. If one wears the right costume, but expresses the wrong opinions one can play it off as a big joke. I’ve known intelligent people, very, very intelligent people, who approach politics in precisely this cynical manner of selecting an appropriate business tie. There own vision for the future or right action — should they even have one — gets buried underneath a barrage and mirage of various fashion considerations, “ie, does my vegetarianism match my jackboots?”

    Even amongst the most earnest, I’ve seen continually that very rarely does any politic prevent folks from going along with whatever herd that they dress in the same fashion as, regardless of lack of continuity or contradictions between what was professed yesterday and what one professes today. When real conflict happens regarding politics, it’s not at the level of politics, but something lower or higher than politics, ie. “I’m going to eat steak no matter what people say!” or, “but I know myself as an immortal spirit and to nod my head would betray that spirit who I serve and essentially am.”

  357. NomadicBeer, fair enough. I grant that the match between Ida Auken’s fauxtopia and the Soviet Union is far from exact, and the dispossession of the existing elite in favor of a new nomenklatura is of course one of the core differences. My point was simply that what Auken was imagining had uncomfortable similarities to the Soviet state — if you will, it’s what the Soviet state might have looked like if it had been imposed by Fabian socialists who got the rich on their side first. You’re right that this would have removed most of the advantages that enabled the Soviet Union to accomplish what it did!

    Martin, that sounds about right!

    Irena, of course it’s not universal — but it’s the American reality that TJ and I are talking about. The fact that things are different in Europe, where the cultural and political realities are so different, doesn’t change the fact that that’s what it’s like over here. Attempts to impose European solutions on American problems pretty consistently go haywire in some such way.

    And I’d take your Pareto principle a little further by suggesting that reforms suffer from the law of diminishing returns. The first 20% of them do 80% of the good; each following reform does less good, until the zero point is passed, and after that, each further reform makes things actively worse…

    Esingletary, it occurs to me that my issue here may be a function of my Aspergers syndrome. If people want to talk about social democracy or democratic syndicalism, that’s quite another matter — both have track records that reliably don’t end in gulags, and do tend to produce noticeable positive results (as well, of course, as plenty of negative ones — but that’s true of every system of political economy). When people use the word socialism I assume they’re using it to mean, you know, socialism: government ownership of the means of production and all other significant capital. If they’re using it as, say, a synonym for “warm fuzzy” in a political context, that might well cause confusion…

    Scotlyn, I’m trying to make sense of this and failing. An example may help. Let’s say I have possession of a house, and you move into my spare room and start living there without my permission. If I don’t have the right to tell you to leave — thus dispossessing you — in what possible meaningful sense do I have possession of that house? And if I do have the right to tell you to leave, in what way does that differ from the right of a landlord to tell you to vacate an apartment if you haven’t paid the rent? It seems to me that possession includes and requires the right to exclusive possession, and thus to dispossession of anyone else who attempts to make use of the possession. If you disagree, then what do you mean by possession?

    Irena, some things unquestionably crapify when left to the free market, but some things crapify when left to government — and as the example of publicly owned housing in the US vs. Europe shows, what goes in which category can vary from place to place and governmental system to governmental system. That’s what makes it so challenging to try to develop a mixed economy that minimizes total crapification.

    Peak Singularity, thanks for this. Of course there’s plenty of China envy among the corporate socialists of our era; I’m sure Nancy Pelosi would love it if the Democratic Party could simply hold a party congress and elect her President, without any input at all from the deplorable masses.

  358. @TJandTheBear

    Oh, no. Most businesses should be private. Restaurants, publishing houses, hairdressing salons, etc. etc. Housing is different. As is e.g. health care.

    As for: “So many that willingly shell out absurd monthly sums on car payments and daily Starbucks resent only those dollars spent on rent. I’d love to hear your thoughts on that.”

    I know this was for JMG, but if I may… Me, I’ve never owned or rented a car (I can’t drive), and I do not believe I’ve been to a coffee shop this year at all (even before COVID). See, there’s a big difference between Starbucks coffee and rent. You simply have to have a place to live. You do NOT have to buy Starbucks coffee. If Starbucks coffee is too expensive, then you do without. The end, problem solved. Not so with rent. So… If coffee shops raise prices to the stratosphere, then they go out of business. If landlords do the same, then you stop spending money on whatever else you’d like to spend money on (e.g. Starbucks coffee), and you pay what you need to pay so that you wouldn’t live under a bridge.

    @BoysMom

    Thanks for your comment! But… I don’t buy it. Why is it that rent (and property prices, too) have gone up so much in just the past couple of decades, when nothing much has changed in terms of housing standards? Also, why is it that housing is so much more expensive in some areas than in others, despite the fact that housing standards are very similar? Clearly, there are other reasons.

  359. Even the left now is beginning to sense that the Great Reset is a Trojan Horse. See page 72 of this: http://www.aevamagazine.co.uk/uploads/3/9/0/5/39058099/__aeva_summer_autumn_2020.pdf which is long but full of well documented, well written articles critical of the technocratic triangle of COVID-vaccinations-5G.
    Speaking of left versus right, it would be strange not to be confused by the whole situation. It is completely irrational at this time and may always have been so. I guess someone who has been a leftist all his or her life and has had no need to question any of the fundamental principles, and I think faith in Progress has been key all along, will continue to be a leftist and perceive the right wing as dangerous. Probably a similar thing happens on the right.
    It actually astonishes me to realize that 20 years ago I was part of an NGO of the heavily government-affiliated type (aka astroturf) that was allowed into the same building at the Kyoto conference in 1997 as all the industry and government delegations (real NGOs were assigned to a gym across the street), and we were part of an effort I began to realize was counterproductive to jet delegates all over the planet to try to persuade governments to do something about global warming, and I was hobnobbing at fine banquets in expensive hotels with the very people who have been trying to usurp local sovereignty for lofty international ideals. They were all entirely sincere, but had an exclusive focus on their agenda and getting it enacted. I’d been a volunteer at Friends of the Earth Japan for a few years, and gotten called to work for the astroturf org by one of the other volunteers at FoEJ. They are not bad folks at all. They just have a blind side by necessity. One of their members expressed interest in the 5G controversy early this year, and I warned her the government would not be amenable to that, and she did go silent on the topic shortly thereafter.
    Thus in 1997 I was a life-long green leftie, but I had just discovered health effects from wireless technology (and in fact met someone in Kyoto from Europe who drew the line at getting a cellphone) and was patiently trying to find ways to alert the greens to this hazard. Mostly they were open to the idea, but considered it a minor issue, not to distract from the major ones. In the course of time as I continued to bring the subject up, I began getting cut off by green, left-leaning and intellectual organizations. I had been publishing articles regularly, but I could not get anything on EMF hazards published, and pretty soon, could not get anything published. When I pointed out that my own health had been affected, one former friend at Kyoto Journal simply cut me off with “Somebody like that would turn up!” Among my family, all of the intellectuals and leftists rejected what I was saying, but what surprised me was the right-wingers were all sympathetic and open to the idea. I gradually came to realize I’d been pigeonholed as a right winger over this one issue and this was why people were refusing to examine it. EMFs were the new fluoride (and I also learned for the first time that fluoride is in fact toxic).
    When the Democrats began backing vicious war criminals for office (Hillary in Libya, Obama and Biden in Libya, Ukraine and Syria), I wrote them and told them they no longer represented my interests. The right is just as bad. I would agree with our host’s “Shift Center,” but now “center” is defined as “Hillary.”

  360. Patricia Mathews – there’s another automated-house story by Bradbury, “There Will Come Soft Rains” – less directly gruesome and the house is not the cause, but still a story to make you think.

  361. @Kimberly (& everyone)

    (As a kid I was the target of bullying, and one of the things that was impressed on me then was that no one wished to hear about *me* thinking well of them or sympathizing with them. *That* would be *gross*. Who did I think I was, presuming to offer affection or sympathy? As a result I never really learned how to express sympathy or liking. (AKA “CPTSD.”) So I sympathize with your economic situation and I don’t know how to express it. I’m sorry! Spouse and I are out of work too.)

    You mentioned a 1% mortality rate–but that’s with treatment. In places where it became so prevalent there weren’t resources to provide everyone with treatment, it has been higher.

    In RI where I live, all our covid beds are now filled. We’re opening up field hospitals in hopes of keeping doctors who were assigned to other conditions *on* those other conditions, instead of reassigning them to covid patients.

    The next step is going to what’s been euphemistically termed “crisis standards of care,” IOW triaging, IOW rationing. I’ve often thought that fear of this possibility has been one of the drivers of political reactions to this disease. 8 or 9 months ago I read a couple planning documents that talked about how it traumatizes doctors, knowing what “should” be done to treat or save a patient and being unable to do it.

    Having scientific *knowledge*, but lacking the *resources* to get any use out of it.

    You know. One of those things that happens during a decline.

    But I mean…we here have had years of JMG’s preparing us for such situations. I’m not really surprised that everyday politicians have never heard of the concept, and their only reaction is “Avoid that horrible situation by any means necessary!”

    I mean, it *is* horrible! It’s one of the painful features of a decline. The readers of this blog have reason to believe that it’s not a problem that can be solved, but rather a predicament that can only be managed…but our politicians don’t have that perspective…I can see why they want to “solve” this.

  362. @JMG: “Attempts to impose European solutions on American problems pretty consistently go haywire in some such way.”

    Okay, fair enough. But you see, I am not really interested in telling Americans how to conduct their business. It’s that the US is (for the time being) so influential, culturally and otherwise, that American ideas have a tendency to make their way into Europe and mess things up over here. (The Americanization of education, to give just one example, has wreaked havoc in more than one European country.) So, once again, it’s not that I want to tell Americans how to conduct their business. It’s that I don’t want the American model to be stealthily imposed on Europe, as it very frequently ends up being, very often with rather suboptimal results.

  363. “When people use the word socialism I assume they’re using it to mean, you know, socialism: government ownership of the means of production and all other significant capital.”

    I totally get the Asperger’s. I’m in that same boat. I notice though that when pressed on what exactly they mean by Socialism, the response is almost always something along the lines of “you know, like Canada.” That obviously doesn’t answer for the World Economic Forum’s utopian fantasies, but it does clear up a linguistic disconnect among at least some American progressives.

  364. I’ve never seen Star Trek but my first visit to USA in 1965 seemed like a trip to the shiny future. This year it seemed like a vision of hell. America fukked up without the help of commisars or apparatchiks; genocide, slavery, bombing, invading, droning and pontificating didn’t work either. But we Europeans still love your optimism and exceptionalism. If only we could be like you. Sigh!

  365. I’d like to add a bit of pertinent background about Ida Auken from an avid Danish reader of your work.

    Ida is a member of a danish political dynasty of sorts – her uncle, Svend, was Denmark’s minister of environment from 1994-2001. During this time he is credited with laying the groundwork for the Danish wind energy industry, in particular the industrialization of offshore wind.

    In the late 90’s, harvesting electricity from the coastal waters seemed like an outlandish subsidy dumpster, and was ridiculed as “Svend’s gift to the world” – implying that the Danes would get nothing from sponsoring such a long-term R&D project. Fast forward 20 years, and offshore wind can be built on almost purely commercial terms, and is a major export industry for Denmark (for disclosure, I’m an electrical engineer, so not exactly a neutral observer).

    I would say, this story so far illustrates the canonical view of what progress is supposed to look like. What is interesting now in 2020, is that Denmark is trying to reconcile limitless growth with a plausible roadmap to fulfilling their obligations under the Paris climate accord, and as a result, we are also doubling down on techo-optimism.

    As all available space for wind turbines on land has already been taken, this roadmap involves raising so many wind turbines at sea that the amount of maritime territory of the country is a limiting factor. The EU has proposed similar grand visions for the North Sea – including, seriously, hydrogen production on artificial islands. Deeper and deeper waters, more violent swings in over-/underproduction sounds to me like a recipe for diminishing returns.

    But I’m withholding judgement about this: Will this effort be regarded as a brilliant example of visionary leadership? Or an illustration of how foolish and desperate we were not to do the obvious and reduce our extravagant over-consumption? Time will tell; the stakes are high. Personally, I’m trying to have it both ways (minus the extravagance), with a day job in the energy industry, and weekends at my modest farm nurturing a field full of young fruit and nut trees.

    -P. Douglass

  366. Ida Auke’s spiel reminds me of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. It’s like a sort of nightmare scenario of the future where we are controlled by an elite via algorithms. It will never come to pass. The tone of the author suggests to me that she has her tongue tickling her cheek, but like Huxley, there is also a sinister nuance that this is a prospective blueprint for a future in which we serfs will come to love our digital servitude. I read people here getting worked up about it and my thinking is why waste your energy worrying about this person’s weird fantasy that is so obviously flawed that it can never happen. I also read a lot on here about ‘Social Justice Warriors’, ‘the Managerial Class’, ‘the Salaried Class’, ‘the Left’ as if this is a lumpen mass of psychotic droids who will do whatever they can to keep the deplorable rabble down. I read people writing about Covidiots and enforced mask wearing and BLM as if this is the pogroms and the ghettoes getting emptied and rounded up into one-way trains. I read JMG calling people (Linnea) trolls for offering a different perspective. Come on people, you are of a high calibre here, this is one of the finest corners of the internet for information and opinion and it is a shame to see such rhetoric dominating.

    Where I live, not long ago, the state was rounding up civilians, pulling men and women from their beds and families and putting them in jail without trial on suspicion of dissent, sometimes executing them in alley ways. Society was split along ethnic/religious lines with each side taking out random members of the other at will at any time, one side in collaboration with shadow state intelligence agencies who had maintained control for a few centuries in an empire in which the sun never set. Thankfully the ‘neoliberal’ system that so many here look down their noses at, the ‘Stateless Globalist Fabian Distopia’ otherwise known as the EU, stepped in and threw plenty of money at us and helped to calm the nationalist fever that fuelled so many young men to take up arms and ruin the lives of other young men and their families and communities. Life here is so much better now, despite currently having to wear masks in the shops and not being able to have a pint. Really. Ask anyone in Northern Ireland.

    I suppose what I’m trying to say is beware simplistic facile narratives that make ‘you’ and ‘yours’ right and ‘them’ (or ‘themmuns’ – as they say here) wrong. This kind of talk is intoxicating and dangerous. It leads to division and hatred and is good for no one.

  367. But if all housing in a given area sucks, with a tendency to get even crappier and yet more expensive with each passing year, then what you’ll get is a population that spends an ever greater share of income on housing, for less and less use value.

    Sounds like San Francisco. 😉

    @Irena,

    Honestly, I’m not picking on you, but… if all housing in a given area sucks then you move. Nobody’s obligated to rent any specific place within any specific area, they do so voluntarily. Staying and (perceptually) overpaying is a choice.

  368. Brother Greer,

    My apologies, and thanks for the reminder. I will remember to circumscribe my passions and keep my desire (to verbosely pontificate) within the due bounds of all humanity, or at least our community Ecosophians 😉

    Since so many other brilliant commenters have elucidated and expounded upon many of the topics I wanted to explore in ways both familiar and new, I don’t have much more to add to this conversation here.

    I will note, however, that by using the S-word, I seemed to have sparked an enjoyable and enlightening conversation for many. It makes me wonder how things may have been different if instead of using the term libertarian socialism, I had used the more traditional term for the flavor of political heresy I subscribe to: Anarchism. THAT term and political tradition has its own fraught and loaded history and is typically equated with nihilism and/or a desire to eliminate all forms government and hierarchy.

    @David BTL and fellow western Lakeland Republic (that’s midwestern) ecosophians: let’s circle back on a meetup group in the spring.

  369. Thanks John and all for a great post and comments. Here’s my 2 cents:

    On Star Trek, Star Wars, and 2001: A Space Odyssey

    As others have pointed out, science fiction’s visions, thought experiments, imagination, and dreams are not necessarily meant to be predictions of the glorious future promised by technological progress. Sometimes, like Lennon’s Imagine, they’re “just a song.” (Is that story apocryphal? I’ve never heard it before, but anyway, it rings true.)

    Sci-fi can sometimes be prescient and inspiring, but equally often it warns that things might not turn out so well, or we’re going somewhere we can’t imagine. The dazzling artificial intelligence of HAL becomes the evil nemesis. Dave can’t beat it at chess, but he can pull the plug. He slays the beast, and via the many-colored gate of stars, he is reborn. Evolutionary progress is envisioned. And the soundtrack is sublime.

    Speaking of outer-planetary stuff, Neptune rules visionary fantasy, dreams and imagination. Uranus governs technology. Their uncomfortable modern alliance has spawned the Internet. And what rough beast crouches at the heart of that labyrinth?

    blackoak777: thank you for the mention of Shoshona Zuboff’s Surveillance Capitalism and subliminal messaging.

    “The competitive dynamics of surveillance capitalism have created some really powerful economic imperatives that are driving these firms to produce better and better behavioral-prediction products. Ultimately they’ve discovered that this requires not only amassing huge volumes of data, but actually intervening in our behavior. … Surveillance capitalists now develop “economies of action,” as they learn to tune, herd, and condition our behavior with subtle and subliminal cues, rewards, and punishments that shunt us toward their most profitable outcomes.”

    https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2019/03/harvard-professor-says-surveillance-capitalism-is-undermining-democracy/

    In this case, hardwired cussedness may not be enough of a defense, for most of us. She does propose some methods of addressing the problem — without pulling the plug.

  370. @NomadicBeer

    I think a lot of the benefits of the Soviet Union you talked about could be accomplished by the concept of Debt Jubilee:

    http://www.cadtm.org/The-Long-Tradition-of-Debt

    That included the return of all property to the original owners as a result of the Debt Jubilee. Freeing people from Debt Slavery and granting them Capital to get back on their feet.(Leviticus 25).

    Of course the Lenders have to eat all the losses involuntarily. But if it becomes a regularity. Say every 7 years. And every 49 years also involves the return of all property to the original owners.

    Then they can adapt to that.

    That is proper redistribution without all the other downsides like the tyranny and terror of the Soviet Union.

  371. @JMG

    “Irena, some things unquestionably crapify when left to the free market, but some things crapify when left to government — and as the example of publicly owned housing in the US vs. Europe shows, what goes in which category can vary from place to place and governmental system to governmental system. That’s what makes it so challenging to try to develop a mixed economy that minimizes total crapification. ”

    The key guarantee of the possibility of quality is competition in a market economy. The moment things becomes too monopolistic is the moment that crapification begins in earnest.

    Consumers also need to have good taste and be well informed in order to ensure that only quality is rewarded and not trash. The more they lean towards quality and the quicker they jump ship once they realize a company is corrupted. The better.

  372. It seems ms Auken does submit to the machine, but the machine did stop. Just the other day, as the doorbell server kicked the bucket
    https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-55087054

    I wonder what ms. Auken thinks when, one day, in 2030, the machine screws up the schedule and a group of businesspeople enter her living room to find her taking a day off of not working, just sitting there in her knickers.

    I guess after she sold her privacy, it doesn’t matter much, as the doorbell already knows who came by your house last evening
    https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-51709247
    and the furniture arrangement in your house is common knowledge
    https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-40714398

    Long live the Machine!

  373. Violet: I think a large part of that is the phenonema some other commenters have called “designer beliefs”, status building political stances, invariably cooked up in the humanities department of Harvard University, that adopting and acting upon have nil to negative costs and consequences for the wealthy upper classes, high but not crippling costs and consequences for the upper middle classes, and catastrophic to democidal costs and consequences for everyone else.

    I still think that once you’re out of the left, you’re out for good. Personally, I live in a woke city and have to associate with woke people to earn my living. Maintaining personal camouflage requires a similar level of effort to, say, secretly being a werewolf. That’s much how it feels, anyway.

  374. @Scotlyn

    The way I understand your examples, what you call “dispossession rights” is a case when 2 claims of property rights, -one bogus but legal, another real but undocumented, – get systematically resolved in favor of the high status party. Under any human society, people in the elite have more rights, as well as as more opportunities to game the system and extend those rights beyond their normative limits; that comes with being social primates. I do not see anything inherently special about property in this regard.

    For these reason, I do not see a need to make a distinction between dispossession and property rights, the first being an abuse of the second. At least not based on what I have read so far. You could argue that people may be granted “anti-dispossession” rights, in the sense that, under specific conditions, a landlord may find himself unable to evict a tenant that has failed to pay rent. You could argue that the right of this family to have a roof over their heads triumphs the right of that other person to earn money, at least for a time. Social mores are flexible, so there are societies where this arrangement would make sense, and others where it would be anathema.

    Just like money, there are nowadays more “rights” than… I don’t want to say goods and services, but… stuff that fulfill those rights. At the end of day, a right you cannot defend is a gentle pleasantry.

  375. Patricia O, fascinating. So the Great Reset isn’t even getting support from the demographics at which it’s most obviously aimed. I wonder how soon it’ll be folded up and replaced.

    Irena, and there I agree with you heartily. Europe is Europe and America is America, and one size emphatically does not fit all. If all sides can recognize that the Atlantic marks a distinction that matters, and things that work on one side of it don’t necessarily work on the other, that’s a gain for everyone.

    Esingletary, Canada? Okay, there’s definitely some serious linguistic disconnect going on, then, and it’s entirely the fault of the American right. I’ve been saying for years that by insisting that everything to the left of Barry Goldwater is “socialist,” they were setting themselves up for a revival of socialism. Sometimes it sucks to be correct…

    Mannanán, the optimism is purely on the media these days. I can’t think of a time when I’ve seen and sensed more dread and fear and pessimism from Americans. As for commisars and apparatchiks, I see you didn’t stay here very long; if you ever come back I can show you plenty of both!

    P. Douglass, thanks for this. That will certainly explain some of Auken’s techno-optimism.

    James, I didn’t call Linnea a troll because she disagreed with me. I called Linnea a troll because she tried to derail the conversation into a canned talking point from her side of the culture wars, rather than addressing what was actually being said. A rather strong case could be made that you’re doing the same thing here with a series of one-sided accusations about how wrong everyone here is. I’m well aware that we live in extremely dangerous times in the US right now — you’re apparently not aware that I’ve written at length about the risks of domestic insurgency or civil war in the next decade or so — and caricaturing the discussion here in an attempt at tone policing, as you’ve done, isn’t exactly helpful in that context.

    Your Kittenship, um, throwing another really controversial issue into the mix when people are already upset about a range of hot button issues is not exactly helpful. I’m going to ask people to read this if they want but to keep their responses to themselves.

    Devin, in that case people would probably have rolled their eyes. Some years back, when I blogged primarily on peak oil, I had a series of run-ins with neoprimitive anarchists, one of whom I had to ban because he insisted on posting twenty-three-screen diatribes in response to my posts. Now if you’d showed up and started to talk about social democracy you might have gotten a respectful hearing…

    Goldenhawk, yes, I know about science fiction. I’ve been reading it since the mid-1960s. That’s why my post specifically focused not on Star Trek itself but on, ahem, “contemporary culture’s weird obsession with Star Trek” — which is another matter entirely.

    Info, no argument there. This is why the antitrust laws are crucial and need to be enforced far more stringently than they are. Good luck getting activists on either side concerned with so important an issue, though!

    Dan, I heard about that. I understand that a lot of people in Australia also couldn’t use their vacuum cleaners, because a server in America was down. If that’s not a perfect definition of the excess complexity that Joseph Tainter talked about in The Collapse of Complex Societies, I don’t know of one.

  376. Esingletary,

    You noted some time ago that the Democrats have without realizing it turned into America’s Conservative party, usually managing little more than rolling back the clock a few years trying to bring back some fragment of a New Deal era that’s slipping further into the past and trying to call it progress while the Republicans keep rewriting the playbook and controlling the narrative. I think there’s no better evidence of that than the fact that the so-called progressives who months ago were waxing poetic about socialism and calling for the defunding of the police just elected a cop as Vice President and a rehash of George W. Bush’s second term as President.

    My thinking is that such an analysis is a non sequitur, born of a forlorn expectation that things ought to make some sense, that things ought to have some relation to outer appearances. I don’t think the progressives did any such thing. Rather, the deep state not only controls the narrative but has been using some fairly sophisticated brainwashing techniques so that these progressives were going to vote for whatever garbage they were given. They didn’t vote ‘for’ anything. They were literally emotionally compelled to vote Trump out of office so they could stop being emotionally tortured. They didn’t want Hillary, they wanted Bernie, but their masters said no. They didn’t want Harris; she got 2% of the vote in the primaries and dropped out quick. As for Biden, he was the least interesting candidate I have seen in my lifetime and and the lack of voter enthusiasm was shocking, not to say embarrassing. But that is what they were given.

  377. Sorry, JMG, I didn’t know alternative medicine WAS that controversial. I thought it was pretty popular. I was way off, I see. Sorry!

  378. As a homeowner, I’d like to point out that home “ownership” is a fiction, albeit a nice one. you think I “own” my home? Nope. I pay rent – in the form of property taxes – every single year. If I were to stop paying my taxes, I would become dispossessed. Fortunately, the city/county/school district who benefit from my taxes all find it more convenient for me to think I own my home and thus take care of my own maintenance, utilities, landscaping, and so on, myself. It’s really just a long-term lease, transferrable to heirs (if I had any) who could then keep it (assuming they were able to pay the taxes) But, as JMG pointed out above, they at least give the illusion of ownership – I don’t HAVE TO let someone occupy my spare room under current law (those last 3 words are important). (Why would anyone ever have to? Read history – quartering of soldiers was a real thing. If current trends against “evil” landlords continue, how long til I am forced to open up that room to a random person who pays no rent? It is this thought that keeps me form renting it out, actually. And this was BEFORE the covid crisis causing a suspension of evictions in our county). And no, it isn’t a mc mansion we’re talking about -1600 sq ft, well below the average for the city.

    This debate about socialism and redistribution is interesting. My boss (not quite 60 yrs old, worked his butt off all his life, from a working-class family, never went to college, still very working class, owns his own home) tells me of a show he watched, in which college kids were asked if it would be good to take from people who have money to give to those who don’t. Of course, they all agreed that was a good thing. “And do you make good grades?” “Yes, mostly A’s” “Good. We’ve come up with a plan to redistribute grades – take from those who have As to give to those who have Fs. Everyone will get Cs and Ds, most likely” “That’s a horrible plan!” “Why?” “I worked for my grades!” “What about the people who worked for their money?” ….blank look of incomprehension….

    As for other ownership. yeah, I prefer to own my CDs rather than rent music from spotify. I use the library occasionally, but have ended up buying most of my own books, powertools, and garden tools. I own two computers, but the software on the newer one is rented (you can’t buy most software anymore). Only my old and decrepit no-longer-upgradeable mac has software that I “own” (paid for a cd, installed it 15 years ago, and it still runs). Choosing not to upgrade is no longer an option. You stop paying, the software stops working. This is NOT a feature I want in my books (why I never bought a Kindle and when one was given to me as a gift, I sold it) or tools (why I buy most of my tools from antique/junk stores and garage sales) clothing (gives “wardrobe malfunction” a whole other meaning) or household appliances (I thought the stuff about the vacuum cleaners not working because of an Amazon glitch was a joke when I first read about it).

    Zowie. What a weird world this is turning into. Will be busy tomorrow, covering the more vulnerable plants in the garden in preparation for the predicted first freeze coming up Monday. From the 80s to the 20s in one week. Pretty normal winter weather in this part of Texas, actually. I hope all those unfortunate locked-in souls in Australia are able to get their vacuums to work.

  379. It looks like our dear Ida took the literary equivalent of a lit cigarette and flicked it carelessly into a container of emotional gasoline. The flames throw light on the angsts on all sides of the political spectrum. I hope it does not turn out to be the shot heard round the world. I see our host is having to field emotional diatribes and am grateful for his patience. Just about everyone who sticks around on this forum is very good at exerting self control and will tone it on down as the need becomes obvious. I’m grateful to JMG for this big window here this week to get a breath and hear his interpretation of events in the evolving crisis. It looks a bit like the “collapse” lots of folks were saying was inevitable. My biggest concern all along, if I were to survive it, was avoiding falling into slavery. It looks like that may indeed be a challenge.

  380. Walt F wrote, “There’s a small risk of developing a delayed (thus not noticed in the testing periods) but lasting autoimmune condition as a result. But you know what carries a greater risk of that? Getting the disease itself in lieu of vaccination.”

    I think that rhetorical questions, begging facile answers, have lost some of their ability to draw listeners into unquestioning agreement as of late. Everyone gets to make his or her own assessment of the relative risks associated with the various responses to disease currently on offer. None of us has complete information, so all of our assessments will rely on considerable guesswork. Some of us will prefer to equivocate or procrastinate in the face of uncertainty; others will face down uncertainty by crafting justifications for our convictions as quickly as possible. Uncertainty is uncomfortable, but our coping mechanisms only serve to reduce the discomfort, not the uncertainty itself.

    One thing I am quite certain of is that I do not know “what carries a greater risk of that,” and neither does anyone else. None of the vaccines has gone through a sufficient review process to evaluate the risk of delayed but lasting conditions of any kind. Whether that risk will be immeasurably small or devastatingly universal cannot be reliably ascertained at the present time.

    Neither has the disease undergone an unbiased review process anywhere on this planet. We could trust China or Japan’s excessively low infection and mortality rates, or we could instead rely on the excessively high infection and mortality rates currently coming out of parts of Europe. At the moment the risks posed by this disease are being hotly debated and remain a matter of speculation for each of us individually. Arguments could be made for including or excluding the drastically outlying mortality statistics that came out of northern Italy and the New York City environs back in March. Likewise, including or excluding the outlying statistics from those third-world countries with zero official Covid deaths might affect the reliability of our final assessment (as well as opening us up to attack by SJWs for cultural insensitivity.)

    Alas, comparing the damage risks associated with either disease or vaccine with those associated with the “mostly peaceful” reprogramming that cultural insensitivity can inspire is way beyond my pay grade. All I can say for certain is that anything inflicted “mostly peacefully,” whether disease, vaccine, or reprogramming, scares the bejeezus out of me.

  381. About government housing. I must live in an exception, to the rule. I live in government subsidized senior housing. Western Washington It’s managed by HUD (Housing and Urban Development) minions (truly, horrible people), but sort of owned by a big hospital organization. Ultimately, the deed is held by a bunch of nuns. Who we haven’t seen or heard from, in decades.

    The building is fairly well maintained, though that started going a bit downhill, about two years ago. So, I have a one bedroom apartment, with a $200,000 view … that I pay $300 a month for. I know I’m extremely lucky. And, I also know that the whole thing could be ripped out from underneath me, on a thirty day notice.

    I keep trying to figure out a plan be. Given my age (71.) Right now, I just hope that something would surface in my social network. Which is pretty good. But, I suppose it will end up being a single room. Not a bad thing, as long as there’s a little bit of garden space. Lew

  382. Hi John Michael,

    I can confirm to you that I did indeed use the vacuum cleaner today down under, but other than the two computers no other items are connected to the interweb. I couldn’t even begin to imagine the possible mischief if say other items such as the off grid power system were connected to the interweb. Yeah, that ain’t gonna happen.

    Thanks for the blast from the past by mentioning the ‘neoprimitive anarchists’. Forgotten about them, but yeah they were as much of a pain as the bicycle purists. Unfortunately I made the mistake of engaging with such folks and remarked that from my perspective, linguistically ‘organised anarchy’ is the stupidest thing that I’d ever heard. The reprimand received was truly awful I can tell you, but at least there was the mention of the Monty Python and the Holy Grail skit on the ‘anarchist collective’.

    Near to where I used to live back in the big smoke there was an anarchist club house, and the group apparently devolved into in-fighting, whilst on other side of this ‘out and proud’ anarchist club, high rise apartment developments were constructed. I dunno, the actuality didn’t look so crash hot to me. I’ve long thought that I should take a photograph as the contrast provided was quite surreal.

    My earlier comment was eaten by your website, but no matter, I talk overly long as a lifestyle choice! 🙂

    Cheers

    Chris

  383. @Nachtgurke – old-fashioned. Yes, this makes food sense: Mikhail was older than Shirley; GI Generation, in fact, contemporary with my father.

  384. Anecdote 1 of 2:
    Last Friday night, I went to the pub. By 9pm – on a Friday night on a rugby weekend – I was the only customer there. The manager had sent the rest of the staff home, and had turned the lights off everywhere except the section by the windows where I was sitting. When I left, he closed the pub. This weekend is his last in the hospitality sector after 29 years; he and his wife (who worked in the kitchen) are going to start new careers in the care sector, which is booming.

    As I walked home, I passed a number of restaurants, bars, and pubs. None had more than single figures of customers. In one pub, I saw the landlord sitting alone by the bar. Further covid-inspired restrictions on the hospitality sector are coming. Everyone expects that a lot of these places are going to shut up shop and never re-open.

    Anecdote 2 of 2:
    Last week, all my furniture etc arrived from China. There were 70 boxes of various sizes, all full of large amounts of bubble wrap. Some way into the unpacking process, I gave up and went to the pub. I was chatting to one of the barmen, and complaining about the amount of effort it was going to take to cut all these boxes up so they could be put out for recycling. “Wait”, he says, “I know someone who drinks here who’s moving house, and could really use them”. Various phone calls were made, with the result that the woman concerned and her husband make several visits to my home, and take all the boxes and wrapping with them. It’s a win-win. More relevant to the post, I met new people, formed new social connections, established some mutual goodwill, and will likely talk to them more over beers in the future – and it all happened through the pub.

    After the first lockdown, there was a burst of articles online expressing the sentiment that ‘we can’t go back to the way we were’. People didn’t want to commute for hours to toxic office spaces surrounded by overpriced sandwich stores. They enjoyed working from home; they enjoyed spending time with family, friends, and community. They enjoyed spending time in their garden, if they had one. People were aware for the first time of the global supply chains they depended on, and of those chains’ fragility. For a moment, we had a popular, shared, vision of a greener, more localised society. As a druid, I heartily embrace this vision!

    So, when I started seeing articles about a ‘Great Reset’, this is what I thought they were talking about (and didn’t read them, because I have a lot going on just now).

    it turns out, though, that this idea is being subverted.

    If, for ‘health reasons’, pubs, bars, cafes etc are closed; if social groups and community organisations can’t meet; if restaurants and shops are delivery-only – then the idea of community is gutted. The institutions we depend on to build social networks, social trust, and a vibrant civil society are undermined. We become a society of strangers, not knowing who to trust. We will revert to closed networks of family, and people we know from school, etc.

    If cash becomes ‘unsafe’, so all payment is digital; if shopping from [the Female Warrior / Big River company] becomes the default for ‘convenience’, then local industries and retailers go to the wall.

    In fact: we will become a society very like contemporary China, where all of these things are increasingly true. As Aidan has already mentioned, Rod Dreher has been sounding the alarm about this for some time, because we are becoming, like China, a society where everything is monitored – and departure from the norm will be known, and punished. It’s no comfort that this will be done, not by a Communist party trying to create a perfect, standardised society, but rather by corporate interests seeking to extract every iota of wealth.

    Regarding the comments on political labels, can I venture that these days, it just misses the point: the problem is always with fanatics determined to create a perfect society. Whether that society is ‘the Kingdom of Heaven’, ‘the Workers’ Paradise’, ‘a racially pure society’, ‘ a woke society’, or ‘a perfect market’ makes little difference in the end to the people who get in the way of the project.

  385. @TJandTheBear: “Honestly, I’m not picking on you, but… if all housing in a given area sucks then you move. Nobody’s obligated to rent any specific place within any specific area, they do so voluntarily. Staying and (perceptually) overpaying is a choice.”

    That oversimplifies things a teeny bit, don’t you think? Moving is an individual solution to a collective problem. Which isn’t to say you shouldn’t solve your problems individually if you’re in a position to do so! Me, I’m something of an expert on moving by now: I’ve lived in eight different cities (in six countries, on two continents) in less than 40 years of my life. So, it’s not like moving is an option I’d never entertain. But also, by now, I’m more familiar than I’d like to be with all the costs (not just monetary ones) of moving. Employment is a major issue, of course. Leaving your entire social network behind is another. Some people could only move if they first divorced their spouse, and then they’d have to pay child support, while seeing their kids only infrequently. And for some of us, the ability to secure a visa is actually the single most important factor to consider. So, while “just move” can be excellent advice for some individuals (especially young people with no dependents and few attachments), it is a version of “let them learn to code” for many (probably most) others.

    Now how about collective action to fix housing?

  386. @clark: While the resistance to changes may be part of the self-image of conservatives, the thinkers/propagandists I cited were very radical, and actual right-wing governments since the 1970s have open made huge changes in their countries’ systems in the direction of more market interactions, though not necessarily more market competition (originally Pinochet, Thatcher, Reagan; the last two governments in Brazil) or away from laicity (India, Turkey, Poland).

    So if Wesley’s null hyothesis of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” isn’t the whole story, then the inequality hypothesis sound a bit more convinving.

  387. Hi JMG

    Re: marxism and death squads & mass graves

    I do not agree with your direct relationship of marxims and some kind of “unavoidability” of deaths squads and mass graves worst than fascism (or even “democratic” regimes).

    I want to show you the example of your continent: America (in the South), that I know much better than, for example Russia or China, because I have been there, and I know many people from there, apart the deep cultural, linguistic, artistic, social bonds with Spain we maintain.

    I have to see those death squads and mass graves of Fidel Castro, or Allende or the Sandinistas or Evo Morales, or Hugo Chavez, but I can show you thousands of mass graves in the Batista’s Cuba, in the Somoza’s Nicaragua, in the Pinochet’s Chile, in the Junta’s Argentina, in Guatemala, in El Salvador, etc…, filling of hundreds thousands people due to the mere fact they were trying to improve the lives of peasants and workers (even from a non marxist perspective), the peasants’ leaders, the sindicalists, the indigenous leaders, the jesuits, the priests from poor provinces, etc…all were killed like flies, in fascists or “democratic” governments.
    All aided by “los gringos” in the infamous “Escuela de las Americas” where the CIA and US special ops officers teached the fascists South American armies how to torture and exterminate the political left and kill leftist popular leaders.
    The ratio of political killings in Las Americas beeing generous, could be 100 x 1, always the right win!, believe me.

    Take for example Cuba, a country that, thanks to the collapse of the USSR and the US blockade (siege) receive 80 – 90% less oil than before 1989, but there are no mass starvation (calories intake is similar to the 80’s), the life expectancy is bigger than that of the US, as well as the education and health care for the hoi polloi, the “desperate death” (by opioids, alcohol, suicides, etc…) many times less than in USA, even if the GDP per cápita is 15 times less in Cuba than in your country, having the US the yuuuuge “wealth pump of the world”.
    Why compare Cuba with Switzerland or France or Sweden or even Miami as the right do?, why do not compare the social situation of the cubans with those of El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Haiti, etc… closer neighbors not under a blockade?; are the people there much happier than in Cuba?

    In Cuba they have built a organic agricultural system that the rest of the world should copy for the future, just to learn how to live with much L.E.S.S. (less energy, stuff and stimulation), of course the people in Cuba are not happy with the leadership, and they should go longtime ago, but may be the people in our countries will not be also so too happy in the future with the leadership and “regimes” when the oil available be 10% that of today, and they have a “laissez-fair” capitalistic economy.

    Anyhow the trend of the left in those South American countries is to mix some ideas of marxism (for example about to dispossess the dispossessors) and add many elements of the “La Via Campesina” and turn to the traditions of the land, as the Zapatistas, or the left in Bolivia and in many other places, where the statism is not welcome, but a return to the communal collectivistic way of life of the tradition (as we also had in Europe before the “Enclosures Acts” that start in England and progress to feed the Industrial Revolution), and also with private property (but not of the natural resources, and strategic sectors like energy, water, health care, etc…).

    Every ideology change with the cultural, religious, geographical, social and historical events, and in some cases some personalities affect a lot the outcome of them. I think it is not (only) the cold theory what matters

    Cheers
    David

  388. @P. Douglass :
    I recently stumbled onto a new kind of energy storage mechanism : burning iron !
    https://newatlas.com/energy/bavarian-brewery-carbon-free-renewable-iron-fuel/

    As you are well aware, energy storage is a huge issue with renewables, so this seems very promising, as the full cycle efficiency is 40%, which is close to hydrogen… but seems to be much “lower” tech.

    Now, of course, iron is *heavy* (but all the non-liquid-hydrocarbon energy storage forms aren’t *that* light either, once their “containers” are factored in), but it can certainly power heat-based industry, and if it can power steam trains and maybe even steam boats, then we could transport the iron (and the rust back to the energy storage factory) and actually *have* a renewable-powered industry (the numbers for which haven’t been looking good so far without fossil fuels/nuclear) which is *also* less polluting than the current industry (no CO2, no acid rains nor smog from coal burning, no bunker fuel pollution). Of course it would still be much smaller than the current industry (because this is far from being as “efficient” as fossil fuels), but this is pretty much what we need (other industry effects still being problematic.)

    @blackoak777, @Goldenhawk :
    Cory Doctorow has his own take on Surveillance Capitalism :
    https://onezero.medium.com/how-to-destroy-surveillance-capitalism-8135e6744d59
    This is something that I have been saying for many years now (and it has been told since the Reagan era by cyberpunk authors), one of the main issue that we have these days is the rise of gigantic transnational monopolistic corporations. After all, politics are about power, so how can you have a working democracy when one of the actors that you have to deal with has so much concentrated power ? No wonder that these big CEOs are now trying to impose an Environmental / Social / Governance model of “stakeholder capitalism” (See the reports that Galen Diettinger linked.) – they now *do* have more (unrestrained) power than the politicians ! “Democracy is so *inefficient*, let’s court-circuit it !” Of course they are conveniently forgetting that they helped quite a lot into making democracy what it is these days with their lobbying (or more likely, are just hypocrites). Note also that in Auken’s vision there’s no concrete mention of politicians, nor of corporations *except* that the only concrete example of work being done by actual humans is… business meetings ! And you can imagine that since this is a piece by the WEF ‘with “partners” such as Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, IBM, IKEA, Lockheed Martin, Ericsson and Deloitte’; that this is not so much a world where the corporations are gone, but rather one where they have assumed so much power that they are a permanent background that the people don’t even pay attention to… (see also : GAFAMS : https://gizmodo.com/i-cut-the-big-five-tech-giants-from-my-life-it-was-hel-1831304194 )

    Speaking of which, are you aware that this blog seems to sends data to Google and Facebook (and others) ? (I recommend to try the browser uMatrix extension, which shows and allows you to selectively block the third-party features.)

  389. Just to add some minor points to the interesting discussion on property rights and dispossession:

    It seems that in practice these questions become more relevant when considering the effects of property rights in situations where the demand for the ability to reside somewhere becomes acute, ie, a city. When numerous people compete for limited space, infringements on perfect property rights by authorities are used to negotiate both quality of life and the ability to afford living there.

    A few examples:

    – The issue of ‘renovictions’, ie, when rent prices as a whole in a city go up significantly, and landlords are thus incentivized to increase rent, and then evict low rent tenants in order to renovate and then reenter the rental market with higher rental fees. Should city authorities limit this practice in order to ensure that poorer people can live in urban centers, but in doing so, limit the ability for landlords to dispossess people from their property?

    – The same applies to rent cost controls in general. Limiting the cost of rent, usually by limiting the ability for a landlord to increase a tenant’s rent up to a certain annual percentage, is an indirect way to limit the ability to dispossess a tenant through the tool of rental increases.

    – Other issues around limiting perfect property rights come in of course when dealing with quality of life issues. Someone upthread mentioned the example of cutting down a tree on one’s property, and having to deal with city authorities to do so. This is also done in Germany, I believe. That tree might be providing shade to a neighbour, to a nearby sidewalk, etc, and the decision to remove it affects other people. Perfect property rights are also limited in ways when it comes to noise, of course, out in the countryside if someone lives far away from others, that person can chainsaw down a few trees at 3 am or play loud music, but there are obvious problems in a city or town where others are affected.

    One might argue that in all these cases, these sorts of issues could be resolved by each party by negotiation, with the assumption of good will on all sides, but very often in practice that good will is overruled by laziness and self-interest, and so regulation is needed. Indeed, at the moment I am involved in a dispute with a troublesome neighbour, and after trying the good willed discussion approach, the only thing that seems to work is the threat of fines.

    I realize after writing this that these points are fairly banal and that I don’t believe anyone was arguing against the need for regulation in general, but I thought I’d add them in case it illuminates the discussion on dispossession and property rights.

    Such issues, by the way, are why I am pretty firmly in the social democrat camp. There are different flavors of it, of course, but it seems like an imperfect, messy system in which individual rights are balanced against the needs of the whole, and both government and business are prevented from becoming too influential. When people on both political extremes are unhappy with the political system they live in, that to me is a good sign, it likely means that there is a strong center and the needs of most people are met, however imperfectly.

    In any political system, there are always going to be people who lose out. It appears to me, and I could be wrong, that in a social democracy, there are probably the least number of people who lose out.

  390. Oh, I just realized – something was bugging me, and I looked up Reagan & Thatcher (& Hayek, Friedman…). I had *completely* forgot that they were “conservatives” ! So, what happened so that they and their spawn are considered “(neo)liberals” these days ? Well, looks like it was roughly : the Soviet Union fell, and without an opposing worldview, the Overton window was pushed waaaay to the right. But of course in doing so, “(neo)liberals” have given up on their working class constituencies. Forward to 2016, and Trump wins the Rust Belt. As much as one can make a consistent appraisal of his economics, it seems like that Trump is actually somewhere in the center. As a reminder, one of the main goals of the 1864 First International was for workers to internationally cooperate to prevent the *import of foreign workers* to break strikes ! So, it looks like that Trump might be to the *left* of the likes of Mrs Clinton (and Biden ?) !!

  391. @Cary

    Thanks for that (excellent) comment. Yes, of course, this is first and foremost about avoiding triage. “Saving lives” is a secondary goal at best as far as I can tell. (If you need proof, just look at the differences in the type of response that COVID on the one hand, and the opioid epidemic on the other, have elicited.)

    And you’re right: most people (politicians very much included) see this as a problem to be solved, and not as a predicament to be managed. It may take another epidemic or three before their perspective shifts.

    That said, I’m not convinced that the reason that COVID cannot be “solved” is because we’re in decline (although we *are* in decline). I think it’s because we have too many medical toys on our hands. Why did the 1957 flu not provoke this kind of response? I’m going to guess that it was because they simply didn’t put 80-year-olds whose vital organs were failing on life support. And nowadays, most people seem to think that providing only non-invasive care to elders, and letting nature take its course if that turns out not to be enough, is tantamount to lining up grannies against a wall and shooting them. Okie-dokie. So, lockdown it is. And then we’ll have to deal with the consequences of our solutions.

  392. I am a health care worker in Ohio and some very surprising good news came my way about the covid vaccine. It was oeiginally going to be mandatory but is now voluntary due to heavy pushback. I truly thought ir was goinf to be mandatory due to us being in health care but the blowback has already been fierce enough its not and this is in one of the largest health care providera in the midwest!

  393. >And it belongs to some guy in France. Haven’t the foggiest idea how to even contact the guy. Why the frack does he even own a derelict trailer in the sticks in the US? It’s a nuisance to the rest of the neighborhood.

    Well if you have no way to contact him, he also has no way to object if you were to do something to his property either. Talk to your neighbors, gather them together, rent a dually fifth wheel (or borrow your cousin’s), find the trailer hitch, lower the wheels, sawzall the utility connects and haul it away. Take it to the county landfill. They charge by the ton, but they’ll take it. Start growing vegetables on his land. Or build a fence and raise some livestock on it. He has no way to object. As far as I’m concerned, if you’re going to own land you need to be there to beat people off it or it really isn’t yours. I mean, the methheads are already (ab)using it, why leave it only to them?

    If he’s behind on his property taxes, if you start paying his taxes for him, you can pretty much take his land away from him in most jurisdictions. The local courthouse will want pieces of paper with the right symbols on it but with the proper rituals executed, it becomes yours.

    Some places have “attractive nuisance” laws too – if the junk on his land would attract kids to come play in it, you can get it called an “attractive nuisance” and the court can get the property taken away from him. But it’s not a standard law, some places have it some don’t. I would comment about parents making kids behave in the first place but that seems to be a minority opinion in those places.

    There are also laws mandating the grass get cut in some places as well, although that will just lead to fines and not much else and if he’s in France he can just go “thbpt” at you in French but if the fines go unpaid for enough years, they’ll take the property away. And also see “attractive nuisance”.

  394. @ the discussion on markets, socialism, property, and the role of government

    My thoughts, with which I will try to be concise.

    The problem with centralization of control and collectivist framing is that it gives everyone an excuse to get into everyone else’s business, something we quite frankly need much less of these days. As a local example, my city is attempting some beautification measures—laudable enough goal, but while I dislike peeling paint as much as the next person, I have significant issues with government enforcement of esthetics when it comes to property. Front yard vegetable gardening is not allowed in this city on the basis that it impairs neighboring property values. (Covenant neighborhoods, on the other hand, are a different matter, as one purchases that property from the prior owner—the developer—with specific conditions attached.)

    Where I *do* see a role for government—local government— in things like housing development is as a developer-of-last-resort. During my time on city council, and since, I’ve suggested that the city establish a Housing Development Authority and provide it (perhaps via a grant for which the city might apply) seed money. This body would then be authorized to purchase foreclosure properties—nominally the worst of the worst—rehabilitate them, then sell them in order to put them back in market circulation. This could be down with only a small profit margin (all-in costs plus small percentage), much smaller than a private developer would require. The original seed money gets recycled, grows by small amounts with each project, and whole blocks get a boost in property value as the foreclosures are cleaned up. A legitimate government role for a limited goal with limited authority managed locally.

    And that is a good example of my preferred approach to our quandary generally. I think it was Devin who mentioned (and forgive me, Devin, if I paraphrase you inaccurately) either the federal government getting its act together or the country fragmenting. I’d offer a third path, which is decentralization. It isn’t that we need the “right” program coming from the DC bureaucracy, and it isn’t that the country needs to break apart (though some fragmentation is likely, in my view): it’s that we need to allow different parts of the country to tackle different problems different ways. In other words, less central control and more dispersed control. Most programs ought to be run at the state and local levels—and in large cities, this might mean sub-municipal levels such as a neighborhood council or burrough. That is, the people being impacted are the ones managing the program, not distant bureaucrats.

    Just my two cents, for what it’s worth.

  395. JMG, thank you for this post! It made me pull out my Jean Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract. A lot of the tensions inside of socialism can be traced back to his theory of the “general will”. I’ll say this about it so far, it’s certainly not a very individualistic kind of ideal republic that he envisions. He goes so far as to say that the general will cannot possibly contradict itself, which seems like the doctrine of Providence transferred to the secular sphere. It’s a very rationalistic and functionalistic view of man, which leaves little or no room for small scale cooperation along organic lines. Which is exactly what we are getting (eg., it’s illegal to collect rain water or have a community greenhouse). The whole concept of general will seems to be an invitation to a kind of soft, democratic “totality”. If “socialism” means “the rich can’t have everything, and the poor nothing”, then I’ll happily consent to call myself a socialist, but the problem for me (on the Right) is that anything beyond this (historically) veers into territory that is either arbitrary, truncated in a utilitarian way, or downright “totalistic”. I’d be willing to pragmatically compromise with socialistic positions on individual issues (eg., the government administering the emergency rooms of hospitals, which aren’t profitable anyway, & are arguably necessary at a minimum level just because we have so many automobile accidents, shootings, etc.), but ideological socialism, even “social democracy”, worries me considerably. Ayn Rand may be the opposite error, but placing the “group” ahead of the individual in every case means that, in some sense, everyone would be a slave to the general will. Under ideological socialism, even your disagreement would not mean “anything”. Presumably, then, any injustice an individual suffers would mean nothing, either. The whole Mask thing really brought this out: clear objectives, falsification parameters, and timeline would have made the thing much more reasonable, but you saw what we got – at the end of March, you were “bad citizen” if you didn’t conform to the hive. People’s constitutional “rights” are only secure as long as they have standing in the community (Sholem Asch). Rousseau’s dogma of the general will seems to have great potential for obliterating one’s standing in the community.

  396. I applaud your deconstruction of the cult of progress. However, one must not lose the sight of the other–cult of equality(perhaps in another article?). Vonnegut’s “Harrison Bergeron” was not taken as a warning but as a blueprint. It is not equality in its basic human sense, but a kind of “social redistribution” and institutionalization of “reimagine capitalism” policies.

    This neo-equality is a major theme of the Great Reset propaganda sprinkled with doubleplusgood newspeak such as white privilege, equal outcomes, social justice. Make no mistake about it, these ideas are inherently racist and socialist as they abandon the idea of meritocracy in favor of forced government “equal outcomes.”

    It’s as if they took their best misbegotten pet idea of Eugenics and replaced the outcome of purity with that of diversity. And it is no less dangerous then, and what it led to, than it is now. When people start making hand gestures and slogans, it is not long after that we see armbands, silly hats, and lists of people they need to get rid of at 3 in the morning.

  397. @TJandTheBear: “No, they [housing and health care] aren’t [different].”

    Indeed. Those are businesses just like any other. If Netflix wants to stay in business, then it had better produce shows that enough people are able and willing to pay to watch. Likewise, any business that wants to produce polio vaccines needs to do proper market research to make sure that the product (in this case, the polio vaccine) can generate sufficient profit to make production worthwhile. Otherwise, those vaccines should be scrapped. Just like an unpopular show on Netflix. As always, it’s all a question of supply and demand. Most importantly, the government should stay out of it!!!

  398. Brother Greer,

    Fair enough. I know the type, and the irony of the actions of such people (spending hours typing abstract symbols on a techno-electrionic medium) with their stated goals (being hunter-gatherers) is not lost on me. I’ll try to be as concise as I can in my reply here, but I do believe you may find these thoughts helpful.

    Re: your suggestion that I use the term social democracy–I simply invite you to look up the definition of social democracy in any encyclopedia. What you’ll find it that it is almost universally defined as an ideology that belongs to the larger body of socialism. I agree that the confusion and revulsion that some, especially those who consider themselves part of the right, have to that term is in part due to the magical blowback from the right’s deployment of political magic around the term itself.

    If I may deploy an example to illustrate: I have a dear friend who considers himself to be on the right (incidentally, he also has Asperger’s). Thankfully our personal bond of friendship transcends our political and religious disagreements. What I’ve found is that recently, he seems (to me) to have been entertaining more and more extreme conspiratorial thinking–that the election was rampant with nationally coordinated fraud, that the coronavirus was engineered in a lab, that satanic ritual child abuse is rampant among the “elite,” even that his Pope may be part of said satanic attempt to usurp and subvert the Catholic church.

    For a long while, I was quite confused about how someone I know to be extremely intelligent and thoughtful can entertain so many ideas that, to me, seem to fall apart upon a more careful analysis and evidence. Then it struck me–his thinking has become dominated by fear, horror, and disgust at a constellation of concepts (socialism/progressivism/globalisation) that have been bundled together and demonized as an evil talisman by political magicians. In short, “S-word bad” + “all these things are S-word.” He sees developments in society that we both often reject, but he tends to bundle them into the single concept of “rising socialism.” Fear-based thinking not only deludes, but invites the believer to ascribe sinister (Latin: left-handed, as in the left-side of the French Assembly) motives to all those one can label and dismiss as “leftists.”

    As for your idiosyncratic definition of socialism, I’d suggest that what you are describing does have a more precise term within the broader tradition of socialism: Marxism-Leninism, a term coined by Stalin to refer to the official state ideology of the Soviet Union.

    IMHO, that particular strain of socialism reliably turns out horrors because of universalism married to the awesome violence of modern state power. Take any ideology with a tendency towards universalism and marry it to state power, and you get similar results. Marx (the Jewish prophets) became the word as flesh in Lenin (Christ), and then was modified by Mao to deployed by those on the periphery of its cultural origins (Muhammed). I have no qualms with anyone’s religion, but I believe the “Judeo-Christian worldview” is just as responsible for destroying millions of lives, languages, human cultures…you get the picture.

    Are you perchance familiar with the short essay “A Real Case Against the Jews” by Marcus Eli Ravage? I won’t link to it because it has been reliably scrubbed from the “respectable” internet today and is almost only ever talked about by white supremacists these days. It was also used as Nazi propaganda. The irony is that what Ravage was saying was completely misunderstood by those who had already decided that the Jews were behind all the sinister happenings in the early 20th Century (and keep in mind, that included both Nazis and Soviets, the Jews apparently were able to be behind all the Communist revolutions and all the Capitalist banks). What the author is actually postulating is that it is universalizing Judeo-Christian tendencies, married to nation-state power, that is at the root of both the phenomenon of anti-Semitism, and much of the other mass delusions in Western culture.

  399. I had, what I think, an original thought last night after reading your article for a second time last night.

    Our current understanding of society is one in which those in charge are not expected to set an example for others to follow. What many now hope for are not leaders but programmers, a small group of ultra-wealthy uber-nerds crunching out a complex code that factor in all the vagaries of life into a strict and minute set of instructions that will enable those who follow them a predictably long existence. I imagine that’s the notion of progress those driving alone in their cars with a mask on truly believe in.

    It’s actually not important whether or not the AI built achieves self-awareness and then decides to eliminate it’s creators, the few human beings that we are putting in control will be dystopian enough.

    Nate D.

  400. Irena,
    As for why property prices are different in different regions of the US, well, first, different regions have different regulations and taxes. If I pay $3000 a year in property tax or $30,000 a year on property tax, as a landlord, I would include that in the rent. It is a cost of being a landlord which must be covered. In the small town I live near I pay $80/hr for a plumber. If I lived in a city I might pay $200/hr. As expenses go up, rent goes up.
    Furthermore, if I were a landlord, I would expect to live off my rents. In a higher cost of living area, of course I would require more income, and I am sure landlords generally choose to live in a middle class fashion at a minimum. My local landlord friends are decidedly middle class. People do not go into rentals as a charity, (Lew’s nuns above excepted), and due to anti-discrimination and privacy laws landlords cannot drop in to make sure there are no forbidden pets peeing on the floors or refuse to rent to that quartet of obviously poorly behaved young people. So rents must be high enough to cover that sort of damage and missed rents from the time required to gut and repair the unit. There is a formula for this, depending on location and local renting populations.

    Mortgage, taxes, insurance, repairs, and landlord’s living: those are the things covered by rent.

    However, if you were permitted by the government to rent a place that did not have modern amenities and thus not have to pay for them, would you do so? Assuming there was no risk of the state taking your children for failing to provide them with said amenities? If there were enough demand for less-modern housing, perhaps an exception could be carved out in some regions as a step towards the future.

  401. “I’d say almost all of us are considered to be of the right now, regardless of our actual views, for the simple expedient that we’ve all been expelled from the left due to associating with heinous thought criminals such as JMG who, gasp, pearl clutch, think for themselves and don’t even parrot the latest woke talking points.” – This is why I don’t use my real name or usual internet handle here, or when I say things like “Biology is real, sex is real, and gender roles are stereotypes.” I’d be (metaphorically) burned at the stake for heresy: meaning I’d be doxx’d, potentially fired from my job, and threatened with physical violence.

  402. That oversimplifies things a teeny bit, don’t you think?

    Not at all. Just because someone doesn’t *want* to move (for whatever good reasons) doesn’t change the fact that it’s still a personal choice. And again (since you always miss the point) it’s precisely collective action that’s led to most of those rent increases:
    * Restrictive zoning limits the land available for development
    * Increasing developer fees raise the price of new development
    * Increasing property taxes raise the cost basis for owners & developers alike
    * Rent control limits the available housing stock and discourages new development
    San Francisco illustrates all of these points in spades, but you can easily see that the US cities with the highest rental costs exhibit all of these attributes.

    “Collective Action” can’t fix the problems that it created.

  403. @TJandTheBear: “since you always miss the point”

    Thank you so much for informing me of that. ‘Cause otherwise, I might have read the rest of your comment, you see. But as you so helpfully explained in the quote above, that would be a complete waste of my time. So, I stopped reading, I’ll be sure to skip your comments in the future.

    Thanks again for being so considerate of my time. If only more people were so kind.

  404. Your Kittenship, an analysis of alternative health care that starts off by rehashing medical-industry talking points word for word about how awful alternative health care is, and then plunges into angst about how intelligent, educated people are using it instead of doing what the medical industry tells them, is pretty much guaranteed to stir the pot…

    OEP, thanks for this. Those are real concerns, and not well addressed by the status quo just now!

    Patricia O, the diatribes you’ve seen are nothing compared to the ones I’ve deleted. This is definitely a hot button issue, and the thing that fascinates me is that the trolls don’t want to talk about Ida Auken at all. Like Linnea, they’re all trying to pick fights about other issues. That in itself tells me that this is a theme worth discussing.

    Yorkshire, worker-owned co-ops. There are thousands of them worldwide, and they thrive, while providing their employers with better pay and benefits than standard corporations do. That was one of the main thrusts of democratic syndicalism back in the day, and it would take only modest changes to the tax code to give them enough of an advantage over standard joint-stock corporations that they could become the dominant form of large business enterprise in the industrial world in a generation or two, thus distributing wealth and control over the means of production far more widely than they are now.

    Lew, I’m delighted to hear this. I knew people who lived in HUD apartments in Seattle who had far less congenial surroundings.

    Chris, I’m scratching my head now trying to remember the name of the neoprimitivist who was such a pain in the rump, who posted those vast screeds in the early days of the Archdruid Report, and who founded a website titled Archdruid Watch (now, alas, long since defunct — there isn’t even a copy on the Wayback Machine. (Finally found the name via a weird search string — Jason Godesky.) I haven’t seen anything about him online for more than a decade now. Blast from the past…

    Bogatyr, a case could be made!

    DFC, ah, yes, Cuba. Are you at all familiar with Human Rights Watch, the widely respected group that monitors rights abuses in countries around the world? Here’s the HRW report on prison conditions in Cuba, where torture is common and dissidents end up as political prisoners if they don’t manage to flee the country first. Do other countries, including mine, have their own problems with human rights abuses? Sure. What makes socialism (in the precise sense of the word) distinctive is that it doesn’t seem to be able to get along without them.

    Jbucks, plenty of people find social democracy a viable approach, and history shows that it doesn’t have the same problems that socialism (in the precise sense of the word) does. I’m not fond of the kind of regulatory state where vast cadres of unelected bureaucrats pursue policies that a