July seems to be a good time for explosions, and not just in Fourth of July fireworks displays in the US. Already this month, a bomb blew up a controversial monument in rural Georgia, while on the other side of the world in Sri Lanka an angry mob stormed the presidential palace and drove the president into exile. These two events have more in common than a first glance might suggest. A dull book in a dull blue cover sitting on the endtable next to my sofa will help explain the link between them.
The book is Covid-19: The Great Reset by Klaus Schwab and Thierry Malleret. It was published in 2020 by the house press of Schwab’s pet organization, the World Economic Forum (WEF), and got the usual praise from the usual pundits in the allegedly serious end of the corporate media. Somewhat less usually, it also attracted a great deal of attention from conspiracy theorists around the world, who made the same kind of hay out of it that their equivalents did two decades ago from George Bush’s offhand remark about a “new world order.” Mention the Great Reset in a good many circles these days and you can count on the sort of reaction you’d expect from talking about the Ku Klux Klan in your local African-American neighborhood.
There are valid reasons for that reaction, though they’re not among the points your common or garden variety conspiracy theorist is likely to mention first in conversation. Those reasons also benefit from a little explanation. To understand why so bland and inconsequential a volume as Covid-19: The Great Reset has gotten the reputation of a latter-day Mein Kampf, it’s helpful to start from a different point: the simple fact that the book is stunningly unoriginal.
You probably had to be around in the 1970s to get a sense of just how unswervingly Schwab and Malleret are trudging along a deeply worn rut. Books by respectable thinkers claiming to offer a template on which a new and better society could be built crammed the bookshelves in those days, and college courses on the subject were all the rage. One example from my collection will give you the flavor: its title is Reordering the Planet: Constructing Alternative World Futures—no false modesty there!—and its authors were Louis René Beres and Harry R. Targ. It was published in 1974 by Allyn and Bacon, one of the big textbook publishers of the day. A college bookstore sold it for $4.95 when it was new (and that was a fair amount of money for a book back then); I got it for fifty cents in a used book shop four decades later, which may suggest just how well its conclusions held up.
Whole forests were clearcut to stock bookstore shelves with volumes like this. One of the major contributors to the glut was the famous Club of Rome, an organization of business executives founded by Italian auto magnate Aurelio Peccei to solve all the world’s problems. Most people these days remember the Club of Rome purely because of their first significant publication, The Limits to Growth. This was a capable study that showed that industrial growth could not be sustained indefinitely on a finite planet, because the costs of growth eventually rise faster than the benefits, eventually forcing growth to give way to decline. (Yes, that’s what it showed. It’s a continual source of wry amusement to me that so few of the people who yelled, or are still yelling, about The Limits to Growth have the least idea what it actually said.)
What most people apparently don’t remember these days is that The Limits to Growth was the first of a whole series of books issued by the Club of Rome: Mankind at the Turning Point in 1975, Reshaping the International Order in 1976, Goals for Mankind in 1977, and so on. These weren’t serious studies along the lines of The Limits to Growth—they had nothing original to say, and offered neither models nor evidence in the process of saying it—and most of them quietly ignored the harsh logic central to that earlier study. All of them nonetheless fielded the usual praise from the usual pundits in the allegedly serious end of the corporate media, and all of them proceeded to vanish without a trace. The Club of Rome is still at it today; their website is currently announcing a new volume titled Earth for All: A Survival Guide for Humanity.
If you take the time to read any of these volumes, and then pick up Covid-19: The Great Reset, you’ll recognize instantly the identity of style and substance. The entire literature of planetary pontificating we’re discussing uses the same very limited set of arguments and makes the same utterly predictable case. All of them start out by arguing that the world is in deep trouble for one reason or another, and humanity stands at a turning point. (That last metaphor is as pervasive in the literature as ants at a summer picnic; year after year, for that matter, with epic inevitability, the turning point is always just about to arrive.) If the right things aren’t done soon enough, some dire fate or other is sure to smite the world, and the only way to prevent this is to hand a great deal of unearned power to committees of properly trained and certified academic experts, who will surely solve all our problems and lead us to an exciting new future.
These books are as predictable as telephone directories and considerably less entertaining to read. They are one and all written in the bland indigestible prose style of the professional intellectual class, and they lurch through their prearranged routines in the graceless manner usual among that class, for all the world like a rhinoceros attempting ballet. Though they claim to address a galaxy of different problems, their proposed solutions are all pretty much the same: more technology, more bureaucracy, more centralized control, and above all, more salaries for more experts. That, in turn, is why their proposals have been so reliably ignored in the United States on the one hand, and the rest of the non-European world on the other.
People in the United States ignore such proposals because we tried that experiment and found out just how badly it worked. In 1961, the new presidential administration of John F. Kennedy set out to improve US foreign policy by staffing the State Department with “the best and the brightest,” which meant in the context of the time a bevy of intellectuals fresh out of Ivy League universities, full of the latest fashionable ideas in international relations. Those experts promptly led America straight into the quagmire of the Vietnam War, while loading the military with a flurry of contradictory demands that made victory impossible and withdrawal unacceptable.
Looking back a decade later in his brilliant volume The Best and the Brightest, journalist David Halberstam pointed out with a fine sense of irony that the American debacle in Vietnam happened not in spite of, but because of the intellectual excellence and academic credentials of JFK’s “whiz kids.” Just as a theoretical physicist is not the right person to repair your drains—you want a plumber for that—a university graduate with a head crammed full of abstractions is not the right person to deal with the gritty realities of foreign relations. As the saying goes, in theory there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there certainly is.
That realization—that expertise becomes its own nemesis—was the insight that most of the countercultural thinkers of the 1960s and 1970s never quite managed to reach, and its absence played a large role in dooming their movement to irrelevance. I’m thinking here especially of two of the writers who influenced me most strongly during my teens and twenties, Theodore Roszak and William Irwin Thompson. Both came on the scene with a pair of books that challenged the intellectual foundations of the age—Thompson with At the Edge of History and Passages About Earth, Roszak with The Making of a Counter Culture and the magisterial Where The Wasteland Ends—and both faltered thereafter, unable to get past their own self-assigned status as the smart guys in the room. Both failed to apply in practice, though they both grasped in theory, the central insight of Greek tragedy: the identity of arete and hamartia, the supreme excellence and the fatal flaw. Neither of them could envision a future in which industrial civilization and its countercultural opponents would be dragged down together, not in spite of their strengths, but because of them.
Most of the world achieved this insight in a different way over the course of the second half of the twentieth century. During those decades, a steady stream of university-trained experts burbled their way from Europe and America to most of the world’s nonindustrial nations, equipped with ornate plans that were intended to raise standards of living and spread Western values. Those plans that didn’t fail outright—and a great many of them did just this—turned out to funnel profits to multinational corporations headquartered in Europe or the United States, burdening their host countries with sky-high debt and very often with other costs as well.
Most governments around the world thus learned sooner or later that when earnest young Ph.D.s from Harvard or Oxford came calling, the best strategy was to smile and nod, and then make sure your government did everything possible to throw sand in the gears, knowing that eventually the earnest young Ph.D.s would give up and go home. Since the Ph.D.s typically had the backing of an industrial nation with whom it was necessary to maintain good relations, throwing them out of the country or, say, shooting them in the back and blaming the killing on poachers was rarely a viable strategy, but the costs of letting them have their way generally ranged from economic and political crisis straight up the scale to full-on national collapse.
Europe is the one corner of the world that really hasn’t had to deal with the worst aspects of the downside of expertise. It’s probably for this reason that Europe remains the happy hunting ground of the current iteration of “the best and the brightest.” The Club of Rome would likely have been mocked out of existence long ago had it been, say, the Club of Memphis, Mumbai, or Montevideo, and Klaus Schwab’s World Economic Forum is also very careful to keep its home base safely in Europe. Its annual parties in Davos draw a sizable American clientele, to be sure, but then the American rich have had an embarrassing inferiority complex toward their European equivalents since colonial times and they’re probably just giddy about being let into the clubhouse with the cool kids.
So European intellectuals like Klaus Schwab keep on rehashing the same dreary rhetoric and churning out the same shopworn plans for reordering the planet. Meanwhile European politicians tolerate the metastatic growth of the European Union, which is the sort of ever-expanding bureaucratic sprawl, answerable to nobody, which populates the wet dreams of would-be world-reformers. It’s not surprising that the overprivileged classes here in the United States gaze longingly across the Atlantic, hoping that someday they, too, can establish a bureacratic oligarchy that can ignore democratic institutions and rule by edict the way the EU does—and it’s also not surprising that people who find this prospect less than appealing have turned Klaus Schwab and his Great Reset into a convenient focus for their wrath.
Admittedly Schwab is an easy target. He’s a professor with degrees in economics, engineering management, and public administration, and thus a classic example of the intellectual hopelessly lost in a maze of abstract daydreams. He’s also the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, and the inventor and promoter of “Stakeholder Capitalism.” What, you may ask, is “Stakeholder Capitalism”? It’s a system in which business enterprises are forced to make their activities conform to a set of ideological principles imposed from without, which may not be questioned and which take precedence over such minor issues as making enough of a profit to stay in business. (In Germany in the 1930s the same notion was called gleichschaltung, “coordination,” though the ideology in question was a little different.) At this point Schwab’s gimmick has large overlaps with the ESG (environmental, social, and governance) fad, which ranks corporations by their conformity to the same ideology and tries to lure investment money to businesses with a high ESG rating irrespective of whether they can turn a profit.
The consequences of this sort of thinking are not good, and this is where we reach Sri Lanka, where the government is sending soldiers into the streets just now in a frantic attempt to restore public order. That was not supposed to happen. In 2018, in fact, Sri Lankan prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe published an essay on the World Economic Forum website announcing that his country was going to become rich by 2025. His strategy for getting there involved following a bevy of WEF diktats, and he did it with such enthusiasm that Sri Lanka had a near-perfect 98 ESG rating, higher even than Sweden’s.
As it turned out, though, the saying “get woke, go broke” doesn’t just apply to corporations; it also applies to countries. Those highly touted WEF programs proceeded to trash the Sri Lankan economy, wreck its agricultural sector, plunge half a million people into extreme poverty, and send furious mobs crashing through the doors of the presidential mansion. Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and the president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, have both resigned and Rajapaksa has fled the country. That ebullient essay by former prime minister Wickremesinghe, by the way, has abruptly vanished from the WEF website in the last few days.
(Those same WEF programs, by the way, are currently being applied to agriculture in the Netherlands, and the government of Canada is moving to put them in place too. Perhaps Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte and Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau can call ahead and have Rajapaksa make reservations for them once the inevitable happens.)
That is to say, handing the future of your country to a coterie of self-proclaimed experts who are convinced that their mastery of abstractions makes them infallible is a bad idea. Handing your own future or that of your family to the same experts is no better. For what it’s worth, Covid-19: The Great Reset gives fair warning of that fact, as it makes several sweeping and confident predictions that have already been disproved by events. Schwab and Malleret insisted in 2020 that inflation wouldn’t be a problem in the wake of Covid-19. (Admittedly, so did everyone else in authority, proving that utter economic cluelessness is no bar to high status.) They also insisted that real estate prices could be counted on to drop once Covid was out of the way, and that people would be so traumatized by the pandemic that they would insist on masks, social distancing, and the rest of the officially approved cootie theater into the far future. Two years later, inflation is out of control, housing costs are soaring, and aside from a minority of drama addicts, most people across the industrial world want nothing more than to put Covid behind them and go back to living their lives in a normal way. This doesn’t exactly give one confidence in the other claims Schwab and Malleret have to offer.
The things that got left out of Covid-19: The Great Reset are in many ways even more revealing than what got put into it. Schwab and Malleret cluck sadly, for instance, about the way that Covid-19 restrictions imposed by governments harmed small businesses, and admit freely that this is a problem because small businesses produce far more jobs than big corporations do. Somehow, although they’re lavish with their suggestions on other topics, they never got around to offering any suggestions for helping small businesses deal with the impact. For that matter, though Schwab and Malleret are loud in their praise of the service workers whose labor kept the privileged classes comfortable in their cozy work-from-home arrangements, that’s very nearly the only attention the laboring classes get in the book. That the laboring classes might have needs and wants and ideas of their own, which are distinct from the ones chosen for them by their soi-disant betters—that never, but never, gets through the pea-soup fog of abstraction.
Perhaps the zenith of this sort of willed blindness to the obvious comes in the book’s discussion of depression as a modern epidemic. Schwab and Malleret are quick to talk about the need to make sure that mental health services are available to the hundreds of millions of depressed people in the post-Covid world—a sentiment that will no doubt endear them to their friends and fellow stockholders in the pharmaceutical industry. Absent from the discussion in the book, of course, is any sense that the epidemic of depression might have a deeper cause than temporary vagaries caused by the pandemic, much less that the cause might reasonably be addressed.
Anyone who’s stepped outside of the oxygen-deprived social bubbles in which the privileged spend their time knows that there is indeed a reason why so many people are so depressed nowadays. When government policies enthusiastically backed by intellectuals such as Schwab and Malleret drive whole populations into poverty and misery by eliminating and offshoring jobs, driving down wages and benefits, and squeezing out small businesses through bureaucratic overregulation, why, yes, there will be a great many depressed people—and for good reason. Insisting that they should all be put on antidepressants to make them stop feeling an honest reaction to what’s been done to them is right up there with handing out bandaids to people who’ve suffered amputations.
Like the American soldiers in Vietnam, in other words, most of the people in today’s world are being expected to slog through a nightmare of misery and enforced failure. Those expectations have been laid on them because so-called experts with too many university degrees and too little contact with the real world insisted, like Robby Mook in Hillary Clinton’s foredoomed presidential campaign, that the officially approved models disproved the lived experience of those who actually get to see the consequences up close. That didn’t end too well for Mook or his employer; it isn’t ending well for Wickremesinghe and Rajapaksa; and all things considered, it may not end well for Klaus Schwab, whose Great Rehash simply serves up the same repeatedly failed programs under a new label.
That, in turn, brings us to the Georgia Guidestones—but that discussion will have to wait for an upcoming post.
Sometimes they don’t even bother trying to hide it and let us know what they really think: https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/an-excess-of-democracy-how-corporations-killed-the-campus,15165.
I guess it was too late to include the explosion at the Hoover Dam?
Seems like this is apropos to this post
Also the local bus company is offering a $4000.00 signing bonus. These are union jobs with starting salary of $21.00 an hour ,plus benefits.
So well said! I’d forgotten all those 70s era doom books — and how far off so many of them were.
I am reading The Psychology of Totalitarianism (Mattias Desmet), and that colors in the cognitive reasons why Our Betters seem to be in such lockstep. Even when obviously wrong, and obviously failing. The caution to the rest of us is to not fall into our own form of ‘counter lockstep’ and imagine overarching evil conspiracies everywhere.
It may look like “they” are working together to create a dystopian (for us little people) future. But they’re just as goofed up as everyone else; maybe more so, because they don’t seem to question their own ideas.
There’s more than a few seeds of their own destruction, beginning to bear fruit already.
This problem of never-ending rehash is not a new one; this lament of it – attributed to King Solomon – was penned centuries ago: https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Ecclesiastes-1-8_1-11/
Or, in more modern parlance, ‘Same * , different day’.
I feel like each time you post this year on the current malaise, I say “one of your best!” But I’ll say it again – one of your best summaries of the current mess out there right now. Thank you for including the ESG stuff. The same could be said for DEI, but in that situation individuals want to see other individuals succeed, and so in most work situations people would it out between each other. The ESG mess is just more unaccountable bureaucracy.
Talked with a friend who lives in an upscale blue area. She was livid because they brough 1,200 refugees into her town and put them into hotels. They raised both local and school taxes to pay for the refugees and the teaching of so many non-English speaking kids. My response was “1,200 that’s it?” Living outside a post industrial city with constant stream of tens of thousands of non-english speaking newcomers who need housing, clothing, no skill jobs, language lessons, and medical care constantly (people come in, get what they need over a couple years, and then move out), my taxes have doubled in the last 15 years to support this immigration. The managerial class loves the idea of no borders and no one is illegal, but by gods, it’s expensive. I’ve never understood why we can’t do immigration in a trickle rather than these waves here. The people themselves are great, it would just be nice to not have to thousands a year in taxes for my household to support them. In fact, honestly it would be cheaper for me to hand them a check directly rather than shuffle it through the government and school district.
Awesome!!! Another insightful post, JMG! I sincerely hope #TheGreatRehash becomes a viral hashtag across all social media!
One of the fundamental difficulties I see is, industrial, high tech, capitalist culture has told people there need be no limit to their desire and acquisitiveness.
Some of us argue that a more local care and concern for people and economics, the health of ecosystems and community, would be far more rewarding to body, mind and spirit. But we cannot say, you can have whatever you want whenever you want it, which is it seems what most people want to hear.
So even as covid, climate, gender and race ideology begins to look like a eugenecist, transhumanist controlled depopulation scheme, people generally still want to hear about eternal progress and growth.
I’m not sure how to reconcile that, though the question consumes me.
Let me , again , express my admiration for your insightful thinking.
Great article, I thoroughly enjoyed the quick read. One thing that wasn’t mentioned by the author is the WEF’s push with the emotional and mental conditioning to switch from eating meat to eating insects. I have noticed how even the MSM is trying to condition the Plebs that eating bugs is good for you and the environment.
The problem I see with that is that the Plebs will quickly figure out that they are the only ones eating the bugs while the members from the WEF are ordering their steaks from Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. Surely that has to add to the backlash that would be coming to those involved with the WEF?
A lovely article. It pokes a lot of holes in inflated egos which desperately need to be deflated.
Some time ago, an archaeologist used satellite imagery to find an old Viking village hidden under some rural pasture. But then the archaeologist had to actually travel to the site and do some digging. The reason is pretty simple: her analysis of the imagery indicates there are walls from a viking longhouse at this location but … is there, really, evidence of this? She had to go out and “ground truth” the discovery, confirm that yes, indeed, there are compacted soils caused by the weight of walls and other actual, physical evidence of a Viking era structure. The satellite imagery told her WHERE to look but she still had to go and actually look before her claimed discovery had any credence.
That would be the fundamental problem with “expertise:” it’s all built on abstractions but with little (or no) ground truth. Your mental / computer model of what is happening, and what will happen, should evolve based on testing your hypotheses to determine how well they match up with reality. You have to iterate your model based on ground truth. A wise expert does this. Too few “experts” fit that definition.
Economics is based on people making rational decisions based on objective data. People are not rational and the data is rarely objective. Ergo, the basic models of economic activity have some fundamental flaws, resulting in the economic projections rarely (if ever) matching up with reality.
Presumably, when economic activity picked up as COVID lifted, demand was going to go up. Demand for gasoline. Demand for building materials. Demand for rental cars. Etc. But shifts in supply tend to lag shifts in demand. And if, for various reasons, the supply doesn’t shift at all, increasing demand vs steady supply = higher prices. Anyone who understands these basic principles should’ve foreseen inflation, especially since supply chains have NOT improved by much (still lots of container ships, sitting off the coasts, waiting to get unloaded). I confess, I didn’t expect it to get as bad as it has but I knew prices were going to go up. Add in other supply chain disruptions (Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the resulting sanctions) and none of this should be a surprise to anyone who is paying attention and has some functioning brain cells.
There’s no small amount of corporate greed, trying to hide their machinations behind “inflation,” but that’s another discussion.
I remember watching, with amusement, as SpaceX tested various vehicles, frequently resulting in them blowing up or crashing. The Starship stuff back in early 2021 was downright hilarious (“at least the crater is in the right place”). SpaceX had a model of how the craft should work and all of these seeming-failures were them “ground truthing the model.” They extracted a huge amount of telemetry from each flight and iterated their model, and their physical design, until they got a larger rocket which can launch and land intact. Their early tests with what became the Falcon 9 were similarly hilarious but … you can’t argue with the results. They ground-truthed and evolved the Falcon 9 model until they had a rocket which they could fly, and land, repeatedly (as of writing they have successfully recovered the vehicles from 130 launches; the booster with the current landing record has landed, successfully, 13 times). I’m looking forward to seeing how their Starship does.
This isn’t “expertise,” this is “engineering;” we need far more of the latter in this world. Breathless books, such as the one you’ve panned, are built on far too much of the former.
WRT the graph from “The Limits to Growth,” the graphs are smoothed in the macro scale. The apocalyptic crashes don’t show up there; they’re in the micro scale. When the growth curve peaks and starts to fall, the non-rational folks out there, who are used to extracting ever-more with each quarter, are going to do everything they can to hide the fact that the peak has come and gone. Eventually, though, they will no longer be able to hide it and, in the micro-scale, crashes will happen. In the macro-scale, all of that is “averaged out” so it looks like a smooth curve and something resembling a “soft landing.” The fact that economists didn’t expect the spike in inflation is another example of someone looking at a smoothed, averaged-out, macro-scale graph and failing to see the micro-scale events.
Wow, I’ve never heard of the Georgia Guidestones until now. I must have missed it in the news sites I sometimes follow. Somehow, I can see where this might be going in the next installment… especially after reading what was inscribed on the stones. I can see how that, plus the secrecy of the builder, and its connections to the esoteric, could really get under someone’s tin foil hat, especially if they are predisposed to believing in some of the wilder conspiracy theories.
I had some run-in’s online earlier this past year with a not-in-good-standing 32nd degree Freemason and militia member who subscribed to many ideas about the Illuminati and Satanism in the Deep State -type stuff. He had joined the Freemasons to learn about and expose the Illuminati therein. Anyway, he was also a devout Christian, and though he admitted not all esotericism, occult practice, and magic were satanic or connected to the illuminati, to him about 90 percent of it really actually was, and most pagan deities weren’t to be trusted.
He ended up leaving the community/forum we were both a part of, when the content producer on that online channel, showed through his investigations that in reality, the subject in question was not at all connected to a secret satanic intergenerational cult. It didn’t jibe with his reality tunnel. The guy was really intelligent and I liked some things about him, but I can really see how this line of thinking, combined with sloppy schwabbly-ness, could lead people down the road of blowing up things they think are connected to the Illuminati, when they are also feeling frustrated and powerless.
Thanks for the essay JMG. Looking forward to part two.
What kind of pushback have you typically observed from your posts discussing class-oriented issues like this one? I recall that you’d mentioned before that while you receive much flack for your discussion of the end of industrial civilization, you’ve seen a muted more muted response when discussing the end of the American empire. I was wondering if responses to your discussion of class specifically were more like the former or the latter (or somewhere in between).
One thing that all the complex, utopian, authoritarian schemes is their inability to respond to feedback. For all their fantasies about freedom, libertarians are correct that markets respond quickly to incentives. Authoritarian fantasies, on the other hand, dismiss such concerns and even denigrate responding to feedback in a plan as “muddling through”. Also, authoritarian planners seem to be unaware of Joseph Tainter’s key insight into the costs of complexity.
I have learned to be very skeptical of any scheme that ignores the needs of ordinary people and the actual consequences of a plan in the market. There must be a constituency for pragmatic realism in culture, politics and economics. Perhaps that should be the goal of would be reformers.
Of course, since it would not recognize or reward their true brilliance a program of pragmatism would not be attractive to the intellectual class.
Thanks again for your essay JMG, look forward to the next installment.
Right on the money…It seems, however, that Schwab”s acolytes have made considerable progress in turning the US into another 3d world green hell, with inexplicable reductions in transporting fertilizer by the Union Pacific (controlled by Black Rock), nearly 100 food processing plants destroyed and plans to reduce animal husbandry greatly (perhaps slowed by the Supreme Court’s EPA rebuke), and unchecked 3d world illegals flooding across the border, virtually unopposed by any of the ruling class…
Information about “The Greater Reset” is at http://www.cesj.org.
Always a pleasure reading your posts. But this ironic treatment of technocrats and power structures is usually voiced by anarchists with a naive faith in the masses; their spontaneous uprising will bring about a paradise on Earth. Let’s see if that happens in Sri Lanka.
I take it that you do not share that faith, but what should we do while the existing world order crumbles around us? If we could at least slow the process down by avoiding catastrophic nuclear wars, mankind would have a softer landing.
JMG Thank you for another great article. Its always confirmed, there is nothing new under the sun. Speaking of the future…I seen a trend among the disconnected futurists…A funny thing. Most futurists work in the software industry, and they know nothing about hardware. You know…that thing that is present in reality and works on energy…Many of these programmers can’t even change a bulb at their homes…But they make emotional TEDX talks…Most of them are technically illiterate.
I love SF. I always did. Honestly the genera deserves a change in name, I would call it TF. Technology Fiction… But I digress
I worked in the hardware part of the auto/electronics tech industry for decades now, and I did lost my faith in the non existent SF future because, not in spite of this fact. Like many peers of mine.
And I also…always wondered. How much is disconnect, and how much is charlatanism in the tech godzilionares. I think they got both sides in spades. Among them there is one guy I see that will fall extremely hard soon, one good friend of us. The conman of the century The one that is not a scientist, visionary or a savior. But an extremely successful financial engineer. Elon Musk
Bureaucratic over-regulation is very common in Britain — there’s a reason the “oi m8 u got a loicense for that” meme exists — and it’s killing our ability to adapt to the world as it is rather than the world as we’d like it to be.
Case in point, e-scooters, which I am somewhat upset about today. They are at present regulated in the same way cars are — loicense, insurance, everything. The government *was* talking about legalising them, and I assumed they’d follow the recommendations of the transport committee and treat them no differently to e-bicycles, which makes obvious sense because a scooter + person travelling at 15mph is no more dangerous than a bicycle + person travelling at 15mph, and the latter is unregulated.
But alas, such basic sense is lacking from our government, which instead plans to create a separate category that will require riders to be 16+ and possess a license. For a scooter. That is probably safer for pedestrians than middle aged men in lycra barrelling around on bicycles not paying attention to what is around them.
E-scooters would be a viable option for replacing cars for most short trips, and extend the utility of public transport. With a quarter of our energy consumption going on automobiles, and oil prices so high, this would be really really helpful to a significant fraction of the population. And the government is intent on strangling it in its crib. Not only are they refusing to do anything to help, they are actively hostile to anyone who is trying to get by…
(BTW the Twitter login isn’t working)
American pragmatism as another reason the US may be some less susceptible to expert engineering? Reminds me of the scene in Blazing Saddles where a townsperson’s comments on their crisis is to quote Nietzsche to the effect that order comes from chaos. Then another townsperson says “Oh blow it out your a_ _ Howard!” Still, we seem neck deep in experts here. As a member of the PMC I’m one of them. The key take away for me is your comment on the American inferiority complex relative to Europe. Too many of us lack a center or moral grounding to react from. That has to be part of the job going through the long descent and an interest of mine is building connections to place and local people as an aid to reinforcing that foundation. Might help more of us better discern the right choices if we spend less time looking out to others’ ideal theory. Thanks as always.
Thanks for another great article tackling the crisis of industrial civilization and Western society. I’ve been sharing out links to these articles to a growing number of family and friends, and I’ve found that many of them are now increasingly receptive to them. The disconnect between the PMC, as they charge full speed ahead in a sea full of icebergs, and the average citizen is readily apparent to a lot of folks now.
I’m glad the people of Sri Lanka have chased their WEF puppet government out of office. I just hope they replace it with something better. Revolution is a risky business. It seems like a getting a Napoleon Bonaparte is more common than getting a George Washington. I pray to the gods that we end up with something better here, once our elites are finally driven out of office.
One memory that will stay with me forever took place during a semester in France. I was part of the IES program and was terrified to discover that I, a member of the lower class from a state university, would be studying with the privileged members of the Ivy League schools and other prestigious universities. What I discovered was that all but two of the thirty or so students would have any sort of awareness of the real world. The remainder knew very little of anything. It was an eye opener and I never took the expert class seriously after that.
At the same time, a classmate who was quite smart, came back from Oxford after a semester. I asked him how it went and he was extremely disappointed. He said, “Jon, every university has two brilliant professors. Find out where they are and milk them for all the knowledge they are willing to give you. The rest are mediocre.”
Thanks for diving in deep on this topic. I heard about it a lot and haven’t been sure what to make of it.
I got a decent lesson over the weekend in the difference between abstraction and reality, as it happens, when I tried to fly the two kites I made (with newspaper, bamboo from our yard and dollar store twine). I made a second one just to get two lessons at once, I guess. The short version is that neither flew, although the weather wasn’t quite right (my cheapo store bought one faired better, though). I’ll try again, adhering closer to the directions, and see if I can work out what my problem is.
I *think* the issue is that I didn’t get the location of the connection point of the lines from the kite to the line I was holding (the videos I watched called this a compass, but I’m not sure if that is a widely used term). It *seemed* like the kites were light enough, they were picked up easily enough, but were unstable, wanting to flip onto their back quickly and just flapping about in the wind as a result. I had built long tails, and even secured some bamboo to the ends of them to weigh them down more, but that is the next most likely error.
I want to rule out everything else before I look into splitting the bamboo in half or quarters to make the whole thing lighter (just for sheer laziness sake), so I will try to repair/rebuild these kites again (one was destroyed soon after its first trial by my youngest, who had helped me build it and was desperate to try it out, but couldn’t resist smashing it once he saw it in the wild, and the other I tried to adjust on the fly).
In related news I started to see some strain in the garden too recently. I’m getting yellowing leaves towards the bottom on some of my tomato plants (mostly the ones in weirdest spots with poorest soil). I made a compost tea with rain water and some compost from deep in my rotting pile, applied it, and cut off the yellowing leaves to see if I can tell how that effects it. The same strategy seems right, try things, and see if they address the issue.
I love ‘The Great Rehash’ as a moniker for the great reset. Nice.
The great reset/rehash/reheat/reboot is a lot more concerning to me than most ‘this is how we should fix the world!’ books because people in positions of real power seem to be actually trying to put it into practice. I’m only somewhat scared that the people trying to implement it will actually create the (dis) utopia they desire. I am more concerned that they’ll break a bunch of systems we depend on and leave us scrambling to patch up jury-rigged replacements while they sputter ‘but, but, you can’t do that! Our models say…’ and try to shut down possible solutions they don’t like and generally get in the way of anyone trying to do anything actually useful.
They can’t build good stuff, but they can break things and get in the way even if their projects fail.
I’ve seen you appearing to poo-poo conspiratorial language surrounding Agenda 21 and such before, but I don’t really see a big difference between what you’re describing here and what I gathered you were talking about at the time. Is it the degree to which this agenda determines policy and events? Or is it in the intent or degree of planning in the minds of the key drivers of this agenda? Do you lean toward believing the 2020 event-which-shall-not-be-named was a pre-planned process or just an incompetent managerial class bumbling through something they weren’t ready for?
Beautifully consice essay in the shut hole out leaders are trying g create !
I really don’t like how the great rehash crowd is handling the food system in the name of environmental concerns. There seems to be no concern for what might go wrong.
I do like organic agriculture and think it is the way of the future. It’s how I grow the food I grow in my garden. But there’s a learning curve for farmers that takes time to get past, and you have to find places to source manure or other kinds of organic fertilizer in large quantities, or devote time to growing green manures instead of crops, etc, etc. There’s also usually a drop in yields when converting fields to organic from conventional that lasts several years, or so I understand. And if you don’t find sources of soil fertility like manure… you’re going to have a big permanent drop in production.
Jumping an entire country to organic the way Sri Lanka tried is stupid and dangerous.
I can understand Denmark wanting to switch from doing quite so much animal agriculture, especially if a lot of it is CAFOs. I don’t know much about Denmark’s animal agriculture. I can also understand wanting to reduce synthetic fertilizer use. But if they’re trying to reduce animal agriculture (thereby reducing manure production) at the same time as reducing inorganic fertilizer use… I worry if they’ve actually thought their policy’s first and especially second-order effects through.
I get impression they’re assuming that decreased production at home can easily be made up elsewhere, without asking the question ‘where and how will the increased production happen’? That’s a recipe for higher food prices and starving poor people in food importing nations.
It also stinks for the farmers they’re putting out of business.
NOW… Our power of co-creation rest in our imagination and memory capabilities.
IMAGINATION…planning and visioning culled in the great crucible(holy grail?) of our reasoning mind buffered by the sensitivity/empathy/compassion of our heart. ???
At least, when we really put into practice what we are studying, HERE, following the generous, deep, inner knowledge of John Michael …. The Secret Doctrine, The Doctrine of White Magic etc., we should be able to come up with some working plans that are not so idealistic as to destroy the existing balance and harmony of the systems evolved up to now.
So, I KNOW that I am a PERFECT expression of the UNIVERSAL CONCIOUSNESS right HERE and NOW.
I know that my thoughts FIRST, are building blocks of our manifested experiences along with all the thoughts of all the 8 billions humans on Planet Earth…
I might be soooo small as a “sub-atomic spec” of “creation”… but ALL of US together create this whole experience just like every grain of sand on the beach.
My point is that WHAT I CONCENTRATE/FOCUS ON every second, my thoughts therefore, make a difference, and I CHOOSE accordingly.
The power of MAGIC.
When the human race realizes that IT IS THE CREATOR of our manifestations, maybe we’ll be more careful with our thoughts and words(the verbal expression of our thoughts…)
Doing what is simple common sense in my daily life will help the whole evolution of our species. Simplicity of action, gratitude in every gesture, AWARENESS that the water I’m washing my hands with, the water that flushes the toilet… the ingredients I prepare to feed my body… Everything is… and the way I respect and love it will make a difference in my body, my health, my well-being.
If everbody applies him/herself in the simple things in life, the visions for tomorrow might be a little more realistic, grounded with common sense and harmony.
It is my INTENT and FOCUS this morning enjoying my cup of coffee, and it is my meditative process every blessed day. AMEN.
With LOVE and JOY,
To be entirely honest, I find the current situation extremely depressing and agree with your analysis, with the utter and ongoing failure of the technocrats. While I’ve certainly not had it nearly as bad as many, many others, the ongoing mess has very much disrupted my life, and seems to have created fertile ground for even worse economic crisis, revolutionary violence, and warfare.
Even being born into the privileged classes, the pathologies of the rule of the managerial classes have stymied many of my attempts to make it in life, seemingly at every turn. Personally I have a great deal of animosity for the class I was born into and fell out of. One of the bitter lessons I have had to deal with over and over again is that “my side” may be no better and even quite worse than the other side.
Developing that point, I have read Thucydides and accounts of the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, the slave revolt of Haiti, the US Civil War, and many other revolutionary movements. This disabuses me of the idea that simply shifting the power from one class to another will in and of itself make things any better. There could be very well be violent shifts of power which make things far worse, especially here in the United States if we were to go down the route of a failed empire becoming a collection of failed states.
So I feel depressed because I feel so personally stymied by the the status quo, but I also feel little hope for good outcomes in the next few years. That might be simply realistic, but it is hardly cheering. I feel like I am in a Greek tragedy, with the strange sense of sleepwalking towards very unwelcome futures, and I feel that as a mere mortal that there is nothing I can do to stop people from getting the tragedies they have so richly earned and so eagerly seem to want.
Great post, thanks very much for putting it up. I’ll be spending the next week trying to guess how you link this to the Georgia archive bombing.
The one question I had was this: what leads you to see the US’s federal agency/administrative government as less permanent, sprawling, and unaccountable than the EU’s? Is it that the US bureaucracy is at least nominally answerable to voters and elected officials, even if in practice it’s hard to make happen meaningfully?
I remember the first time I heard Schwab speak. I was astonished that he was actually serious. He is sooo serious and, yet, just one white cat away from being a James Bond movie villain. You just can’t make this stuff up. These people actually believe they are relevant. They have no concept of what real life is like for the rest of us. It’s sad when it’s not screamingly hilarious.
JMG, another fine post. It’s certainly obvious that today we have many people in key positions of responsibility and influence that are not qualified for their roles, and with no check/balance process to limit the damage they do.
When I first started reading your blogs 15 years ago, I thought your comments on the non-technology aspects of the Long Descent were, if you’ll pardon the express, a bit ’round the bend as the Brits would say. Class issues made some sense, but such poor decision making and repeated failed responses to problems with the same thing, over and rehashed again I thought wouldn’t happen. Surely the adults in the room would take the reins? And your idea that the decline would include loss of so much knowledge – that didn’t resonate with me either. I thought surely someone will write these things down and that will survive after the rubble stops bouncing, as you would say.
I could not have been more wrong. I’m not even sure the high-technologies of the wheel or fire will make it through this, the way things are going.
I hereby confer on you the Charles Dickens award for that absolute doozy of a cliffhanger at the end of an outstanding essay. Bravo, Sir, bravo I say.
Thank you so much for your willingness to read such awful stuff, and then condense it and skillfully connect the dots that lead to clarity. And, in a sense, put a sort of spin on it that inspires reflection on one’s life, and a willingness to embrace the need for changes on a personal level, while not instilling panic. Quite a balancing act!
I’ve made so many changes in my life, all for the better, because of your excellent work. Our world seems to be working its way through yet another cosmic shredder, but I just plod along doing what I can do and try to make a positive difference where I can. Is it perfect? Nope. But neither am I. And that’s okay.
Johnny @23, regarding kites:
It sounds like you need to move your kite-string forward on the bridle. I.e., the force vector from the kite-string needs to be ahead (to the windward) of the lift vector; basically the same idea as in airplanes, where the center of mass needs to be forward of the center of lift, or it will be fatally unstable.
(Apologies to all for this silly little tangent. I do like kites…)
What probably taught me most about this subject was DJing and promoting a night at a small club for several years. DJing is one of these things that sits between an abstract vision and the reality of the crowd. When things work there is a mix of these things, and there is an impression of the personality and taste of both the crowd and the DJ, and well, it’s just fun. The process of getting there requires adjusting the abstract vision you came armed with, in real time, based on what the crowd happens to be responding to. Everything seems to point towards the abstraction, the vision, as all important, but really the sense of people, a judgement of what they might like and what they are feeling, and a collection of songs that have worked in the past are all much more important.
I just learned it’s the 53rd anniversary of the moon landing today, by chance.
“When the growth curve peaks and starts to fall, the non-rational folks out there, who are used to extracting ever-more with each quarter, are going to do everything they can to hide the fact that the peak has come and gone. ”
Perhaps it already did, do you think they’d tell you?
Cough Covid Cough 😉
Yorkshire, thanks for this. I’ll see if I can find time to read it sometime soon.
Dashui, I’m waiting for more details.
Marlena, hmm! It’s fascinating to see that on MSN, which has generally been a haven of mindless wokesterism. As for the signing bonus, no surprises there: all kinds of poorly paid, miserable jobs are suddenly having a big problem getting people willing to sign onto them. Maybe the managerial class should have thought of that before shutting down the economy and forcing working class people to discover that there are other ways to get by.
Elkriver, I should probably do a review article sometime soon discussing the high (as in stoned out of their gourds) points of that literature. I loved books like that when I was a teenager.
Old Steve, I bet King Solomon had to deal with prophets and wise men trying to recycle policies that didn’t work for King Saul, either.
Denis, thank you. DEI is one of the things I was talking about when I mentioned the endless push to hire more experts. The entire gimmick is an attempt to make every corporation and government bureaucracy pay six- and seven-figure salaries for a bevy of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coordinators, so another round of college graduates can find overpaid and essentially useless jobs.
KJ, thank you. Spread it around!
William, I think it’s going to take hard times to make that shift possible, but we’re heading into those.
Anselmo, thank you.
Rod, exactly! Keep in mind that it’s never occurred to them — in fact, it’s a violation of everything they believe about the world — that the plebs can think for themselves, recognize when they’re being fed a line of nonsense, and respond accordingly. I’m amused to note that the supermarkets here in East Providence brought in a big line of plant based pseudomeats at high prices, right when the WEF et al. were trying to push those — and they bombed. People weren’t interested. They now take up about 10% of the shelf space they were assigned during the big push.
Meower, of course there will be microscale crashes and dislocations. That’s why I specified that there wasn’t an apocalypse on the chart. The myth of apocalypse envisions change happening in one big lurch, rather than the flotilla of crashes, crises, wars, inflationary periods, bankruptcies, and the rest of it, which is how historical change actually happens.
Justin, I’ve met such people. I have a certain sympathy with them; I think they’re wrong in the strict sense, but they’re reacting to realities. More on this in a couple of weeks!
David BTL, I don’t tend to get much pushback from posts on class issues — well, except for devout Marxists, who show up now and again to lecture me on the gospel according to Marx if they’re not too busy playing entryist games. Class is such a taboo subject in today’s America that I think most true believers are afraid to mention it at all.
Raymond, exactly. Exactly.
Pyrrhus, no question, powerful idiots can sometimes accomplish things. Watch the blowback.
Rudolf, funny. I mean that quite seriously — this is hilarious. The “Greater Reset” people have succeeded in being more abstract, more pompous, and more clueless than Klaus Schwab, and that’s saying something!
Per, no, I don’t share that faith at all. As for what to do about it, why, I’ve written extensively about that subject; you might try my books Green Wizardry and The Retro Future and my novel Retrotopia for starters.
Paleobear, science fiction has never recovered from the loss of all those hairy-eared engineers who used to read stories in Analog and send critiques of stories to the letters column, complete with calculations hot off the slide rule. They kept the genre more or less technologically honest — well, except for Star Trek, which was mindless Hollywood tripe from day one. As for Musk, we’ll see; it depends largely on how the political winds shift this fall, and in 2024.
Alice, one of the reasons a lot of Americans point at Britain as a Dreadful Example is precisely the fantastic overgrowth of bureaucracy you’ve allowed over there. I suppose that when you lost your empire, all those bureaucratic drones who used to make the lives of native people miserable had to find something to do with their time!
Daniel, that seems quite plausible.
Brenainn, no question, revolution is a risky game. It tends to improve things in the long term, but yeah, you have a high chance of having to go through a Napoleon, or a Stalin, or a Pol Pot first. That’s one of the reasons I’m placing my hopes on (and directing my efforts toward) a less violent mode of change here.
Jon, thanks for this! That’s certainly been my experience, in both cases.
Johnny, excellent! Experimentation is crucial; yes, the issue might be where your line anchors. A bridle of some sort may help:
Pygmycory, yes, that’s the real issue — and one way to interfere with them is to make sure as many people as possible realize how clueless they are, and push back.
Erik, that’s “pooh-pooh” — poo-poo is something rather different, and messier. Did you by any chance read my earlier post on secret societies? If not, you might find that helpful in understanding what I’m trying to say.
What I call another nail in the coffin of a “Cashless Society” which is part of the Great Rehash, is many restaurants are passing on the 3-5 percent surcharge for using a credit card. Use cash, spend less for the same thing.
I hope you won’t take my criticisms below the wrong way – it’s much harder to convey passionate buy polite disagreement in writing. Know first of all that I agree with almost everything you say, but…
First, you start with a jab (no pun intended) at “conspiracy theorists” which is funny – nowadays basically everyone that disagree with the narrative is labeled a CT. This includes famous Nobel laureates, former US presidents, journalists, and of course JMG himself.
Rather I would look at the success of predictions by these “CTs” over the last 2 years and it turns out they were right much more often than the official soothsayers. They also were right more often than you, and I think I know why (see below).
In one of your posts long ago, you mentioned that oligarchs use global organizations (like WEF) as tools to be discarded when not useful anymore. You seem to have changed your mind about that because now you present these organizations (Club of Rome, WEF, Davos club etc) as independent actors.
My guess is that they are not independent. How come they continue to attract billions of dollars and the support of most of the rich countries? How come their educated “leaders” have permeated a lot of the governments in the world? The answer, however distasteful it might be your sensitivities, is simple: conspiracy.
Just like the “woke” movement or the climate change movement, this technocratic movement is just another tool in the arsenal of the oligarchs that own most of the money in the world.
I don’t pretend to understand their goals though obviously making money and gaining more power is at least part of it.
So all these movements are tools to be used and discarded.Think about how the opposite of the climate change non-democratic emergency is sold as a libertarian utopia where the rich would make the rules. Isn’t it surprising that both extremes would serve the oligarchs? Both extremes are tools targeting different segments of the population.
I just want to clarify that I don’t think the oligarchs are a monolith (like a big happy family). I actually don’t know of any CT that believes that. And yet that is a strawman that is often used by MSM (and even you) to dismiss any possible CT.
I see the oligarchs like the players of competing sport teams – they have nothing in common with their adoring fans but they share everything (riches, fame) with their supposed enemies. So yes they will fight each other but will they ever share their money with their fans? I doubt it.
If that is not clear, look at the kings and politicians when their countries are at war. They have no qualms of sending their subjects to die for any made up reason but they are surprisingly friendly with the leaders of their enemies – sometimes going in the same circles, marrying each other children and so on. Is that a conspiracy theory?
My conclusion is that you are missing some important parts of the puzzle. Unlike you, I don’t think Klaus rehashing the same tired ideas is a sign of failure – on the contrary, it is a sign of success. Enough people enough of the time have been convinced by these tired old stereotypes so that they continue to be used as propaganda. So we will see more and more technocrats assigned as leaders of failing countries (of course they are put there by oligarchs) and we already see democracy being criticized for being not useful for the 21st century. They did the same thing with freedom of speech and body autonomy and it worked well enough.
I don’t think that they will get their totalitarian utopia – at least not globally. But I can imagine Canada or Australia for example become just like N. Korea with woke fascism as the ideology. Whoever the dear leader is behind the curtains would consider that a victory, don’t you think?
As for the countries that will fight back, they will do everything in their power to turn them into failed states so those countries don’t compete with them for resources. Just look at the long trail of countries left behind US interventions.
So I predict that Europe will continue its descent into poverty but at the same time become even more totalitarian in its religion of progress and technocracy. Is just too easy to bribe/blackmail the leaders. When the people rise up they will either fail (like in Canada) or succeed (like Sri Lanka) but in the end the result is the same: poor people that will consume less resources, leaving more for the rich local overlords or overseas.
@JMG ” I’ve met such people. I have a certain sympathy with them; I think they’re wrong in the strict sense, but they’re reacting to realities.”
I get that. FWIW I really liked the guy anyway, and I know there were things he’d seen and experienced that colored his thinking that way.
Looking forward to further extrapolations.
Diogenese, it may have been a typo, but I appreciate “shut hole” as a euphemism! Thank you for that.
Pygmycory, exactly. You don’t impose organic methods by bureaucratic fiat, you do it by making sure that the process of converting to organic methods is as easy, profitable, and well-supported as possible, while gradually making practitioners of chemical agriculture pay for the costs of their own externalities.
Gabriel, er, okay.
Violet, the reason Greek tragedy resonates down the ages is that we all live in a Greek tragedy. That’s the nature of human existence. As the Greeks themselves pointed out, however, we also all live in a Greek comedy. As everyone around you is busy trying to build their own Cloud-Cuckooland, you can giggle and wait for the feathers to fly.
Jeff, in the US the bureaucracy is legally — though often not effectively — subject to the control of elected officials in the legislative and executive branches. In the EU it isn’t.
Elizabeth, I’ve never had the misfortune of having to listen to him, but this doesn’t surprise me. As for delusions of relevance, yes, exactly.
Drhooves, oh, I think fire and the wheel will get through just fine, though not because of anything our self-proclaimed lords and masters do or don’t do. More on this in two weeks!
Miow, thank you. I’m honored!
OtterGirl, you’re welcome and thank you.
Johnny, okay, now I’m feeling old. I remember where I was and what I was doing when the teevee announced that Neil Armstrong had put bootprints on the Moon.
Marlena, ha! I’m delighted to hear this. About frackin’ time…
NomadicBeer, fair enough; you’ve made your predictions, and I’ve made mine. Now we can see who turns out to be right.
Justin, I don’t think Gregory Bateson knew he was talking about the origins of conspiracy theory, but I’ll be referring to him at length as we proceed.
Johnny #23, the only kite I ever flew was a ‘stunt kite’ with two strings from the kite all the way down to two handles. Being able to steer the kite gives far more control than I imagine the single-string kind having.
I believe a bridle is what the Trinidadians were calling a “compass”. I know people from there well enough (I was born there myself!) to know that it was likely either some antiquated term that is uncommon elsewhere now, but has survived down there, or something they coined themselves. I will look into this more, but I suspect that my bridle was connecting at the wrong point, and preventing the kite from staying upright at the correct angle. Knowing the correct word is useful!
Some cool things I learned from the Trinis on youtube though is that they do kite fighting with razorblades (my dad said they used to do the same thing as kids, attaching them to their tails to use to try to cut people’s strings on their own) and they rig things for friction, so that their kites make whirring sounds when they fly. I didn’t try one of their kites in the end (madbulls they are called), which have a strange convex shape at their top, because they were more complicated, which I took to mean they had more points to fail at, and instead tried a Lebanese kite and a Benjamin Franklin style one like the first few in your illustration, but will get there eventually once I get the hang of the basics. It’s interesting the way there are all of these different regional kite solutions.
These policies are forcing the very people they need to help implement their plans out of these regions. There are so many people fleeing the west coast for flyover country that there are weeks long delays for shipping slots and major rental companies are offering discounts on vehicles and containers to move west.
Pygmycory @ 27: The way I see it is:
The purpose of a farm sector in a nation is to feed the citizenry and support a vigorous and healthy population, a citizenry which can win wars, withstand invasion, and who need not resort to chicanery to be able to live a decent and comfortable life.
This, of course, we do not have here in the USA, or at least not outside of the organic sector. The claim made about regenerative agriculture, as I understand it, is it can feed a nation’s population healthy food. It cannot, and I have never seen any claim otherwise, earn foreign exchange. I suggest that the earning of foreign exchange is not and should not ever have been the business of the farm sector. The earning of foreign money through trade is what craft and manufactory are for.
I find myself unable to believe that the people of an island so favorably situated as Sri Lanka with what must be a 365 day growing season, cannot feed themselves on what they can grow, raise and fish.
I think it is also true that regenerative agriculture cannot support the hoard of unproductive supernumeraries who at present infest our farm sector, which is why the very idea! is so much hated by that hoard.
Thanks Lunar Apprentice! (#35)
I don’t understand what you mean – but I think you are confirming my general guess at my error! The videos do show some steps to get it right, that I also didn’t quite follow as closely as I might have, haha. I am no kitesmith! I usually try to do things close-ish and see if it works. Sometimes a pure guess will be a bullseye, amazingly. Like I made peppersauce once by blending the ingredients I saw in a St. Martin style hotsauce my dad had brought me. Essentially carrots, onions, garlic and hot peppers sitting in white vinegar. I just blended that up without understanding what went into it all properly, and made something that was prized by all my friends that used hotauce. It was seriously prized too, by real aficionados which amused me to no end! I used to bring jars of it into work for them.
More often “easy” gets you a shortcut to failure though, which it seems to have done in this case, so I’ll give “easy plus” a spin and see if I can figure out the knack with this bridle positioning.
It seems rather sad that the culminating product of human civilization (whether we’re talking about this cycle or prior cycles) appears to be mindless bureaucracy!
The new version of “let them eat cake” is making the rounds,
“”Of course, the more pain we are all experiencing from the high price of gas, the more benefit there is for those who can access electric vehicles.” from none other than Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
Now the story is that he didn’t mean it the way it came out, which I could forgive, but that leaves you with the rich get richer since they don’ t have to buy gas.
“Let them access electric vehicles” doesn’t technically rhyme, but it does carry the same arrogance.
By the way, I’d heard that the reason for Marie’s faux pas was that bread at the time was rye, and cake was wheat and she, being clueless, thought that wheat could be substituted for rye one for one. Wheat was also in short supply at the time. I don’t know if it’s true but it was and interesting take on the situation.
Hi JMG, many thanks for the post and for to have enough stomach to read the mental diarrea of these individuals…..
Walter Benjamin, in the ninth thesis of his 1940 essay “Theses on the Philosophy of History” explained clearly what is happening now, he said:
“A Klee painting named Angelus Novus shows an angel looking as though he is about to move away from something he is fixedly contemplating. His eyes are staring, his mouth is open, his wings are spread. This is how one pictures the Angel of History. His face is turned toward the past. Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward.
This storm is what we call Progress.”
When a member of the enforcement class is waving a gun your face demanding that you adopt policies that will inevitably result in the starvation of your family does it really matter if the bureaucrats who sign their paychecks are evil geniuses or bumbling fools? It’s understandable that people would turn to conspiracy theories in order to justify doing what they might feel is necessary. Unfortunately it also makes it easier for someone to pull the strings (Q-anon) and can lead to the Pol-pot outcomes that you described in an earlier comment. On the other hand if we sit around and intellectualize away the danger then the totalitarian boots will still end up kicking in our doors. I guess the solution to the binary on the intellectual spectrum is somewhere between Uncle Ted and Uncle Noam?
FWIW—The Georgia Guidestones were a set of 10 purported rules for post-apocalyptic America etched on granite stones in 8 languages. No.1 is to maintain Earth’s population at a maximum of 500 million, living in balance with Nature…Others are Utopian control freak ideas like a worldwide common language, controlled breeding, and settlement of all disputes in a world tribunal….
you’re saying that the best way to deal with the great reset is to a) make fun of Klaus Schwab, b) point out all the ways this is likely to blow up in everyone’s faces, c) suggest making ourselves more self-reliant in the event of it blowing up in peoples faces and suggest they do likewise, and d) be ready with new ideas that might actually work for when the blowup comes?
There is one person offline I talk about the great reset with, and I’ve been more or less doing that.
Pretty much everyone else in my life offline never mentions the great reset at all in my hearing. They aren’t on the political right and I think most of them likely class the Great Reheat as a rightwing conspiracy theory if they think of it at all. Even the one who’s peak oil aware, puts less into practice in their own life and sometimes turned up on the Archdruid report.
So I don’t mention the great reset either with them – though I do complain about the stupidity of Canada’s covid policies, talk about supply chains, food and fertilizer problems, climate change and resource depletion, doing and making stuff yourself, and with a couple of people even the possibility of the impending decline and collapse of industrialism and the western civilization.
Misty, and it’s not just people who are moving out of the blue states. Ports in the South are expanding their container shipping facilities, because West Coast ports are such a mess right now that shippers are reroutine goods to the South even though it’s a longer voyage around the southern end of Africa. These days Savannah, GA is the third busiest container shipping port in the nation, right after LA/Long Beach and the greater New York port system. Where shipping goes, wealth follows — I wonder if the politicians in California have any idea that their state will be the Rust Belt of the 21st century.
David BTL, well, the theory of catabolic collapse has it that every civilization ends because it heaps up vast amounts of capital it can’t afford to support. Bureaucracy is one form of this excess capital.
Siliconguy, yes, I heard about that! I suspect we’ll all be hearing much, much more about it as the midterm elections come closer.
DFC, yes, I’m familiar with Benjamin’s metaphor. “This storm is what we call Progress” — ha!
Aloysius, at that moment? No, but such moments aren’t all of life, and it quite often happens that the guy with the gun ends up siding with you against the clueless elites come crunch time — you might read up on the history of revolutions, if you haven’t done so. There are many ways to resolve that binary…
Pyrrhus, yep. I’ll be talking about them at length in two weeks.
Pygmycory, there’s much more to it than that, but if those are the projects you can contribute to, you’re doing your part.
With regard to people not doing what they’re told and sticking a massive spanner in the gears of the global economy: https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/we-decided-stop-paying-all-loans-chinas-mortgage-payment-boycott-spreads-property-suppliers
Something seems to have given way in a very repressive society, and the Chinese government doesn’t seem able to stop it spreading. At least thus far.
This looks like a situation to watch closely. A revolution in Sri Lanka can be shrugged off by the world at large, but if one were to happen in China that’s a different matter entirely. Ditto a massive economic crash in China.
Re: “you have a high chance of having to go through a Napoleon, or a Stalin, or a Pol Pot first”
The American revolution seems to have been an exception to this, and my thoughts as to why:
1. Uranus had yet to be discovered when Paul Revere made his midnight ride – it was still in its warm-up phase. – meaning that by and large, Saturn was still the dominant ruler of Aquarius. Note that the ideological influence primary to the American revolution was the Roman Republic – a historical model, not (for instance) a utopian one.
2. Prior to the 1760s, the American colonies largely governed themselves. Part of the impetus for revolt was the British government’s greater interference and intrusion in local government; in this regard, what the colonies did was more along the lines of resistance (resistance, there’s Saturn again) against imperial expansion, just that in this case, the empire in question happened to technically already rule them. Partly because of this, there was no real need to “purge” bureaucracies (not to mention there wasn’t much in the way of bureaucracy to begin with).
3. The ideologies underpinning the “revolution” were not hostile to land ownership, and its success made a lot of unpopulated (well, by white people), unexploited land available. Meanwhile, dissidents (Loyalists) still had places to go – Canada, which remained a British colony, or even England itself. It wasn’t as if the minutemen were marching on London and storming Buckingham Palace, after all. King George III remained on the British throne until 1820. The old regime still existed elsewhere. This generally wasn’t the case for the later revolutions, which assaulted the seat of power and ousted the old regime entirely. (America could not possibly have done this at the time; the logistics would have been impossible and the cost prohibitive.)
4. Geopolitical considerations. France, historically a major rival to Britain, recognized US independence fairly early on and provided at least financial support, meaning that trying to push too hard to quash the rebellion could have resulted in another war between France and Britain (and quite possibly a repeat of the Seven Years’ War).
As for what I think is going on and something that needs to be kept in mind:
Because of dwindling resources, the global economy has shifted from a net positive-sum game to a net negative-sum game. This probably happened at peak conventional oil in 2005; for America, it probably actually happened in the early 1970s and we’ve been compensating by dipping our fingers into the rest of the world’s pies.
The thing about a negative-sum game is that it means that in order to win or even break even, someone else must lose. It could even create a situation where in order for you to lose less, someone else must lose more. The pieces of the proverbial pie are all shrinking, and in order for you to get the same amount, you have to take someone else’s. Since the rich have more tools at their disposal (…because they’re rich), this creates a situation where they more or less have to squeeze everyone else because if they don’t, they’ll lose more. If the population is still growing, it’s even worse than that, because now you have new people demanding their piece of the shrinking pie. Theoretically, this would also work in reverse – a poor person could take the rich person’s piece – but it doesn’t in practice. What happens to you when you squat on a billionaire’s villa is you get arrested for trespassing.
In other words, the rich and powerful are acting in their own self-interest, and their own self-interest in a negative-sum game, without exception, requires them to squeeze everyone else. For everyone else, it looks like the rich are acting in concert to squeeze them. They don’t have to – they could be, and probably are, acting on their own – but since they all are, it amounts to basically the same thing from the non-rich perspective, and it’s therefore easy to see a conspiracy whether or not one exists.
Marlena #3 MSN may publish about diversity being responsible for healthcare personnel shortages, but Raymonds mention of Tainter hits the spot. As one of the 18% of MD’s who left the field when Covid struck, the US hypercomplex system seems primary (somehow that does not make it onto the surveys). Front line workers are managed by legislators, administrators (local, state, federal, hospital, licensing and insurer), litigators, and for most, employers. IT mandates provide high-level surveillance for enforcement. The multilevel interference with patient care is major. This also affects public health workers. PMC ring their hands about the high rates of “burnout”, and then provide “wellness benefits”.
Many patients may learn and practice improved self-care for prevention and basics, and reconsider alternatives. Some may fare better, avoiding questionable surgeries or drugs only tested for a few months. I suspect some previously licensed in-system caregivers may shift toward alternative care, and new entrants may prefer the lower cost and interference. Looks like muddling through is already in action – thanks JMG for your foresight and constructive teaching.
With reference to housing inflation, it’s my understanding that house prices are now falling in Canada, and it looks like the housing bubble may well have popped. Unfortunately, rental prices have not dropped – I think they may still be rising.
I think the situation in the USA is pretty similar, from what I’ve read.
If we go into recession due to demand destruction, that will likely lower inflation. Although it will likely lower inflation in essentials like basic foods less than in items like electronics or new cars. Given the supply chain and war issues I can’t assume that it will be more a stagflation than a typical recession.
> Misty Friday #45
I don’t understand the meaning of your last sentence:
“… on vehicles and containers to move west.”
Where west? Is “west” a typo, and you meant “east”?
If not east, please expound. Thanks.
I’d love to hear suggestions on more ways to be a spanner in the gears of the WEF. Preferably ones that aren’t illegal or otherwise likely to get one into major trouble.
There’s also paying cash when possible and leaving my cellphone behind some of the time when I go places. I don’t do that all the time, but I do that some of the time. And I use linux and other opensource software on my computer to try and make it harder for the control tech crowd to know everything I do.
I was hoping you would write an essay on the WEF; I agree fully that The Great Reset is a worthless book (for further abstractions, see The Fourth Industrial Revolution by Klaus Schwab). However, do you believe that the influence of the WEF is greatly exaggerated? Personally, I believe the same misguided policies are being applied from a whole host of different sectors, and the theories revolving around the WEF falter when they focus squarely on one institution. Furthermore, the policies being implemented in Denmark and Canada, though profoundly flawed, seem to be caused by the attempt to reduce carbon emissions, rather than any WEF policies. What are your thoughts on this? Consider emailing me directly, as it is difficult to find your reply amidst all the comments.
@ Siliconguy, RE comment #49
That’s pretty much par for the course with Buttigieg. This after all was the same incompetent political hack who tried to claim that the supply chain crisis was proof Biden’s economic policies were working;
While being MIA in the process because it seems that taking paternity leave after he and his husband adopted two children was more important than doing his job.
I guess I’m thinking too much about communist revolution while reading the Gulag Archipelago, but our current situation has more in common with the downfall of the Soviets. Maybe it’s time to change up my media consumption. After my first comment I meditated on it and the answer I got is to focus on working with the tracks in space that will still matter in 1000 years.
Any predictions on when the Plebs (The Great Unwashed) as we are supposedly referred to by the WEF will have had their fill and decide to go Sri Lanka on the WEF and its cadre, around the world?
I only heard about the Georgia Guidestones after they got bombed. My reaction was “somebody spent money to put those up?” I can’t wait to here your take on the guidestones and their destruction.
I’ve also been seeing a lot of articles lately on the woke takeover of nonprofits. Wesley Yang has a pretty good discussion here: https://wesleyyang.substack.com/p/think-tanked. His article traces my experience in the last days of my Legal Aid career last year. It became all about demonstrating ideological purity and “dismantling racism,” and somewhere the idea that Legal Aid exists to help people with little money with their legal problems went out the window. A fine example of utter bureaucratic failure – “oxygen deprived social bubbles where the privileged spend their time” indeed!
Pygmycory, yep. I’m watching the current situation in China as closely as I can manage.
Brendhelm, thank you for both of these.
Pygmycory, as far as I know, here in the US high-end real estate in fashionable markets is losing ground but rents and housing prices for ordinary people are still climbing.
Paul, the WEF has very little power of its own; what influence it has is a simple function of the very rich people who participate in it. (I don’t send private emails in answer to blog questions, btw.)
Aloysius, excellent! That’s always first priority.
Rod, not all at once, and not everywhere. The Davos set has already lost its grip on the Russia-China-Iran alliance and it’s losing its grip on Africa and Latin America as we speak. In the remaining minority of the world’s countries, quite probably each will follow its own trajectory through the end of the Davos Era and out the other side.
Chris, oh, it’s not failure at all. The point of the takeover is to try to find more sources of money to milk before the whole circus winds down. The woke movement has become the political equivalent of Goldman Sachs as described by Matt Taibbi, a vampire squid jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money. Now of course it’s going to leave a great many nonprofits bankrupt and shattered, but no doubt the principals will be socking money away in the Cayman Islands; for them it’s not failure, it’s success.
The July fireworks at Georgia Guidestones and the fact that the EU lost the Russian gas supply make me think we could see some unusual, Schwab-shaped lamppost decorations this Christmas in Europe, at least.
Many thanks for your wise perspective — that’s a productive way of approaching the human condition!
I find it very provocative what you write in the essay about arete and hamartia as closely related. That reminds me forcefully of the Jungians and their idea of the superior and inferior function. Of course, this relates to tragic heroes explicitly: i.e. Pentheus the ordered moralist allows for his inferior feeling to betray him at a bad time when a god comes on the scene. That said, prior to the westward advent of Dionysus, no one faulted Pentheus on his gifts.
Of course, had Pentheus simply made a fool of himself by living his opposite he would have been a campy comic figure rather than a tragic one. So a lesson of tragedy is that there can be too much excellence and goodness in one domain and that can cause enantiodromia into tragedy. But if one goes the route of being a whole human, then invariably comedy ensues with the zany hijinks of the inferior function.
This then helps to explain why arete can be so fatal: if one does something that works, there’s always a real temptation to do what has worked so well even after it stops working at all. To mindlessly repeat the hamartia even when it doesn’t work rather than embracing other options, which tend to be less excellent but often more workable. It seems to me that the mindless repetition of what once worked but now no longer is now where the Western elite are at. It seems likely that they will continue to do that until they can quite literally do so no more. Going forward muddling humanly, I guess I can do my best to view it and experience it from a more comedic vantage point than a tragic one myself!
Hi John Michael,
Mate, doesn’t this probably go all the way back to Plato’s: The Republic?
Unfortunately, folks believing that they’re somehow better, doesn’t necessarily make it so.
The woke movement has become the political equivalent of Goldman Sachs as described by Matt Taibbi, a vampire squid jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money. Now of course it’s going to leave a great many nonprofits bankrupt and shattered, but no doubt the principals will be socking money away in the Cayman Islands; for them it’s not failure, it’s success.
A prime example would be Patrisse Cullors, former CEO of Black Lives Matter, who was forced to resign in disgrace after an embarrassing financial scandal and allegations of corruption came to light. Even after her fall from grace, Cullors is still an extremely wealthy individual with a rather posh real estate portfolio.
And she’s not the only one to discover that professional activism and race hustling can be an extremely lucrative racket. Just take a look at people like Al Sharpton, Maxine Waters and Robin DiAngelo, to name a few of the more notorious examples.
Pygmycory @27 Mary Bennett @46
Another take on regenerative agriculture: I do not think the “hoards” have any idea what regenerative agriculture means. On the other hand, some have family familiar with victory gardens. Recently more backyard gardens are seen, in my area at least.
I think working farmers (at least small to moderate size farmers) are learning alternatives fast, in light of high costs for fuel and fertilizer, and lack of parts/service for high-tech machinery. In eastern Virginia, the majority already use no-till methods – both for effectiveness and cost savings. Production, as defined by product per acre, is decreased with regenerative agriculture, at least during the learning curve/build the soil phase. Production does not equal profits. As resource costs rise, reliability/availability of industrial inputs fall, and local/wholesale prices change, the balance to the farmer shifts.
Hopefully, attentive farmers can and will adjust before soil damage is too severe, and too many go hungry. Organic brings a better price, and inflation decreases the cost of paying back loans (if fixed rate). It may even lower healthcare costs. Although my local extension office is not promoting this much, others have studied various aspects and published it for free. Fortunately, there is good information online and books available – and at least some extension volunteers teaching and publishing about it for backyard gardeners. There is also more information posted about adaptation to climate change, and water conservation/management.
Locally, our farmers markets and local CSA/organic small-time farmers are doing very well, though the food banks are busier again. Our fragmented system, with extensive rural areas, may have some advantages regarding food production. Our dysfunctional Congress seems unlikely to impose either substantive constructive changes or severe restrictions.
Thanks for your great sense of humor, especially the comments under the pictures, as you are tying all the pieces of this puzzle together. Practicing puzzles is probably something a lot of the elite could probably benefit from. They’d hopefully realize that not every puzzle has pieces that connect together in the same way. Although, I wouldn’t put it past them to insist that the pieces should all fit the same on every puzzle.
About a decade and a half ago, as the 2008 global recession was about to get started, I overheard one of the other patrons in the public sauna comment that our US government was so smart, and that while the prices of fuel were going up, a lot of other countries would suffer from we’d pull oil out of magical places that no one knew about. That kind of befuddled me, cause here was a guy who on one hand had very little trust in our government and that they desired to take away all our freedoms, but on the other hand, that they had everything figured out. I didn’t question him. It wasn’t worth it. Often I have wondered what had caused many people to have bought into this idea that an elite group of people should run everything. It certainly strikes me as some sort of programming, kind of like that stuff you get on TV.
What the pandemic has done though, has freed a lot of people from that sort of thinking. In conversation with one of my new co-workers the other day, I joked I’d been sneezing all morning and that it might be Covid. He responded back how disgusted he was that things people had done all the time before, cough, sneeze, sniffle, people freaked out about now, fearing it might be a virus that a lot of people get a little sick from, and there are some who on the other hand just die. It was rather refreshing to be around someone who wasn’t programmed as so many others had been, and instead had been rather thoughtful about the goings on. There’s been too many trapped in that binary thinking of “oh my gosh it’s the virus, I am going to die!” instead of realizing there are tons of other possibilities which we once had all been familiar with. In a sense, Covid 19 has been a great reset, just not the rehashing which the book you mention detailed. As people around the world continue to realize the other possibilities that are open to them, we’ll definitely have a lot more comedy and tragedy, as is so well symbolized by a comedian leading Ukraine into a tragic defeat.
Hi again Johnny. I apologize for not making sense. I was writing in Asperger’s and forgot the readers. Anyway, look at the diagrams that JMG provided in his reply @ 38. You’ll probably want the 2-legged bridle for a basic simple kite. If the kite-string is attached too far back on the bridle (towards the tail), then the kite will be unstable, pitch to one side and dive. So move the attachment forward enough, and it won’t do that. If the attachment is too far forward, then the kite will be stable all right, but it won’t climb. There’s a sweet spot where you get the best climb and altitude, and it won’t go all cattywompus.
And it’s mighty kind of you JMG to put through these digressions.
I visited the Georgia Guidestones two weeks before they were destroyed. I wrote this blog posting of my impressions, along with an addendum after the attack. You might find it interesting.
RE: signing bonus
One note concerning these: a lot are only a gimmick. One company I was offered a job with sent me details on the signing bonus. Turns out, it was an advance, and that money would be taken back in future checks. If you quit before it was paid back then you were required to pay it all back. Even the latest job I took with a Class I railroad is offering a bonus that is less of a gimmick but it still has a catch: if I quit within three years the bonus will all have to be paid back. They are desperate, but still think they are in control.
On a side note, I am entirely enjoying the new job. A lot of interesting new experiences and a side of the world I hadn’t seen before, both from the labor side of things and the union benefits. One thing not new though is all the workers know that there are a ton of positions being created just for those who have a university degree yet those positions offer no real value.
One really curious thing I noticed about the Guide stones was how little reaction it got from anyone. I saw a couple of pieces in left wing corners of the internet that were mostly explanations about what the stones were and who likely destroyed them, then a shrug and on to the next item of news. Something changed in the leftward end of the political spectrum after the end of Roe v. Wade, not sure what it is yet but I’m beginning to suspect that management classes have lost control of another pillar of support.
As for the whole affair in Sri Lanka, the Lankan government got themselves firmly caught between bad ideas from the Chinese empire (namely their debt trap) and bad ideas from the European empire.
This is all very strange!
JMG: Great essay – thank you!
Russell Brand has an interesting take on the ‘Great Reset’.
[PROOF] The Great Reset Is HAPPENING!
Speaking of ESGs: https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Even-ESG-Funds-Are-Now-Buying-Big-Oil-Stocks.html
It’s not just the Russia-China-Iran alliance the Davos crowd has lost its grip on. Russia, Iran and India recently opened a new transportation corridor known as the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC), in part to bypass Western sanctions against Russia and Iran.
India, like most of the world outside of the US, Canada and Europe, has steadfastly refused to comply with sanctions against Russia, while Iran and Argentina have applied for membership in the BRICS power bloc. And I doubt it’s escaped notice in the corridors of power that the other party in the recent Tehran summit was Turkey, which has been reorienting its economy and geopolitical strategy towards the rising powers of Eurasia and away from the declining powers of the West.
To paraphrase ole Bob Dylan, the times they are a changin…
Ecosophian, if I were Klaus Schwab I’d be very careful about my personal security for the next few years.
Violet, that was Arnold Toynbee’s argument: civilizations fall because their leaders try to make the civilization’s problems respond to their preferred solutions, rather than finding solutions that respond to the civilization’s problems. Of course he was familiar with Greek tragedy in the original…
Chris, yep. “I’m an intellectual, and therefore I should have the right to tell you how to run society!” A proven recipe for failure since 399 BC.
Sardaukar, yeah, Cullors is a great example. Another is the clique of professional radicals who moved in on Occupy Wall Street, got control of all the money that had been donated to the movement, then shut things down. What happened to the money? Nobody’s saying.
Prizm, of course! The people who think our society is run by evil masterminds, by that fact, believe that it’s run by masterminds. The thought that it’s run by people not much smarter than Joe Biden has never entered their darkest dreams.
Jon, thanks for this.
Varun, the Guidestones were about as significant, culturally speaking, as this equally famous landmark:
The Hat & Boots Gas Station, fortunately, got moved to a Seattle park. Might have been more sensible to do the same thing with the Guidestones. Still, more about those in due time!
PatriciaT, if you can find a transcript, I’ll take a look at it; you know I don’t do video.
Carlos, funny! So ESG has now sold out, in the classic fashion.
Sardaukar, yep. At this point, with Iran cutting deals with India and Russia, it’s possible that the core of the new great power system will be an India-Russia-Iran alliance: they’ve got the population, the technology, the natural resources, and the geopolitical positioning to dominate the world.
JMG, thank you so much for plowing through Herr Schwab’s blue-covered +2 Tome Of Eyelid Closing. I downloaded the pdf a while back, and somehow never could seem to get past the first few pages. Thanks for taking a hit for the rest of us.
Also, I am very much looking forward to your upcoming thoughts on the Georgia Guidestones, along with the accompanying train of readers’ comments. There has been something weirdly fascinating about the entire subject over these past 42 years; perhaps you and the commenters will tease out some new insights.
Interesting post, thanks.
1) I am wondering why/how you think the WEF got so powerful. I’m thinking of its “young leaders program” of which influential leaders like Macron, Trudeau, Jocinda Ardern, and Gavin Newsom all partook.
2) Do you think the WEF directed/stage managed the crappy covid responses with the idea of asserting central social and financial control? I’m thinking about how folks mentioned above seemed to spout the same stupid ideas as if they were gospel truth and then all backed off a bit at the same time.
3) Wondering if you see any substantial/effective pushback against the WEF/Davos influence happening in Europe or the US.
When you put it that way, I see how conspiracy theorists are barking up the same tree as the Believers in Progress. Essentially that there are no limits to what humankind can achieve. Thanks for the pearl of wisdom!
#23 Johnny #11 Meower68
It made me smile to read your posts within five minutes of each other. Johnny – it sounds like your boosters are still detonating on the launchpad, but keep at it and looking forward to future updates 🙂
Dr. C, fortunately I’ve had plenty of practice wading through neck-deep torrents of dreary academic prose; my day job as an intellectual dumpster diver requires it. As for the Guidestones, it’s a fascinating subject, and I hope to be able to cast some light on it.
Guy, the WEF isn’t powerful. That’s just it. It’s a bunch of academics who have managed to get themselves a gig as respectable hangers-on to those of the rich and powerful who like to play at saving the world in their off hours. Part of that job, as any court jester knows, consists of telling the real holders of power what they want to hear. Schwab’s good at that; he plays the role of Serious European Intellectual™ so that the graceless oafs who own big American corporations can convince themselves, in defiance of the facts, that they really have something meaningful to say about much of anything. The Covid fiasco deserves a post of its own, though I’m holding off until we have a clearer idea of just how bad the side effects of the vaccines turn out to be — it’s still up in the air whether that’s going to be one elite failure among many or the defining event that brings down a hopelessly dysfunctional kleptocracy. As for pushback, we don’t have to wait for that. That was one of the core points of my post: elites destroy themselves by pursuing strategies that used to work right over the edge of a cliff. Watch the gargantuan and growing blowback from the sanctions against Russia if you want to see one whale of an example in action…
Prizm, exactly. Just as old-fashioned Satanists believe in the power of Christian ritual just as devoutly as any Christian — that’s why they parody it — conspiracy theorists believe in the almightiness of humanity’s alleged control of the world with every bit as much fervor as the most devout worshipper of progress and technology.
A fine analysis, but what of the practical political dimension of all of this?
However nonsensical Mr. Schwab’s approach to saving the planet may be, it is the professed “agenda” of The Powers That Be who are now running this country. As you observe, they are terribly envious of their cohorts in the EU and Canada who — at least so far — have far more power to enforce their fantasies on an unwilling population, but this doesn’t keep them from wanting to.
Hopefully, the midterm elections in November — should they actually be held — will serve as a kind of popular referendum on these Great Reset policies, but the people behind the Biden-Ho Administration are for the moment bound and determined to impose them on this country by whatever means necessary. In this sense, it does not matter so much just how wrongheaded these policies may be, but rather the intensity of the effort of our government-media complex to impose them on us. Consider the history of the Soviet Union in this respect and the would-be Stalins in Washington who wish to repeat this experiment here in this country, at whatever the cost and for as long as they can.
Consider, also, that many people in blue states — perhaps a majority in some places — actually WANT these policies, and, moreover, they fervently believe that they have every right and obligation to forcibly impose them on anyone who doesn’t. And they aren’t kidding about this.
In light of this, it is nice to be right, but what are we supposed to do about the lovely people — again remember Comrade Joe (then and now) — who may have no concept of what their agendas might actually portend, but who are totally committed to forcing them down our throats, no matter the cost in misery and death. How, in short, do we prevent this country from becoming the next Sri Lanka when our current “leaders” are Hell bent on taking us there? And there are so many people in blue states and cities who long to travel down this road with them?
Beyond the obvious — voting,if we are able to — could you offer some practical advice along these lines? How, in this case, can one translate this kind of knowledge into power? Or, are there no political solutions, and we just have to let “history work things out” and not sweat the details of the challenging next few years that we will be living though? (The subtext of my comment / question is that we are already living in something approximating the conditions that obtained in the Soviet Union, where “being objective and correct” was not held to be a virtue. Rather, it would most likely get you sent to a labor camp — or, in today’s idiom, it will get you cancelled. In this sense, you are probably the American equivalent of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn,
and whether your words are heeded or not, we are fortunate to have you.)
Re: Georgia Guidestones
I saw this documentary a couple of weeks ago:
“Dark Clouds over Elberton”
A couple of independent journalists tracked down the identity of “R C Christian.” They found out that “R C Christian” was Dr. Herbert H. Kersten from Fort Dodge, Iowa. Kersten was friendly with David Duke, former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and also a neo-Nazi. Kersten was also a friend of Dr. William Shockley, one of the inventors of the transistor. Shockley, as many will recall, regarded white Northern Europeans as the “master race” and called for anyone with an IQ of under 100 to be sterilized. Kersten agreed with him.
Kersten’s friend Robert M. Merryman was a local publisher, and worked with him on the Georgia Guidestones project. Merryman published the book “Common Sense Renewed” which was published under the name of “R C Christian.”
So, it seems that early 20th Century Eugenicism is alive and well!
SIlicon Guy– Part of the reason that the price of bread was out of reach of the poor was that the rich and anyone with pretensions to a higher class wore wigs. Those wigs were powdered white, often with wheat flour.
Like most of Asian, Sri Lanka had been part of the British Empire. One of the first things Britain and other European powers would do was to establish taxes that had to be paid in cash. Farmers then had to switch from subsistence crops to export crops such as tea, coffee, chocolate, indigo, cotton, that they could sell to raise the money for taxes and various license fees, school fees for their children, imports from the mother country, such as tinned foods, gasoline, books, manufactured cloth and shoes, machinery. Colonies were discouraged from developing any industry of their own (this was one of the complaints of American Colonists), so when independence was gained the new nation had to either continue importing or try to develop industries. Either required them to keep on producing agricultural products for export.
Whoever reported on stores passing on credit charges. I live in N. California. In the past 6 months or so an increasing number of gas stations are listing separate prices for gas on credit vs. gas for cash. This includes most of the ARCO chain as well as Shell, Chevron, Mobil and some independent dealers. The difference is up to $.10 per gallon. California currently has some of the most expensive gas in the US, mostly because, in addition to the Federal tax, we pay $.50.5 per gallon.
@Northwind Grandma #59
West as in the states of California, Oregon, and Washington.
Johnny, re: kites
Did you put a string on the horizontal cross member to make it a bow? That helps to stabilize a basic shaped diamond kite.
Thought I’d give you a glimpse of/few data points on catabolic collapse in action in Britain right now. By September everyone’s energy costs will have skyrocketed. Using my own example: I live on my own and as a practicing Ecosophian have been trying to collapse now and beat the rush for YEARS. So my energy use is minimal. I used to bump along for about a decade with a monthly gas/electricity payment of between £20 to £35. It’s now more than £100 per month at the very cheapest rate available on the market. The actual gas/electricity I use is minimal. This is just the ‘standing cost’ so out of my control. By September this is going to double, by April it might triple. But don’t take my word for it, here’s the facts and figures:
John Michael, I would like to introduce you to Martin Lewis, aka the MoneySavingExpert, who should really be the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer. He runs a weekly email money-saving service (free) and over the years has taught many many collapse friendly lessons such as how to minimise energy use, get out and stay out of debt, budget, etc. There are also readers’ fora exchanging very valuable tips on saving, making do, getting out of debt, growing your own, the works. Martin is like a Green Wizard, just a nerdy accountant version. (He also shares your Krampus view of Christmas hehe). Between his advice and yours I have over the years built up some slack, but of course we are the small, nay, tiny minority. Here is Martin’s dire warning (transcript under the video) about what the UK can expect towards the end of the year, exactly when the new PM will take office. I thought perhaps you might use the data points to compare to your mundane charts for Britain. https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/news/2022/07/martin-lewis-open-letter-tory-leadership/
The tough truth about believing in conspiracy theories, or just generally that there are powerful geniuses (cough cough Musk) out there, is that one surrender’s one agency to them. It’s not explicit where a someone states that they are going to give up their life to the imagined beast. No, they’ll just continually post their complaints and fears about it on social media. The entire time they miss any action they take, no matter how small, to improve their life.
This was me almost the entire fall through winter of 2021-2022. It’s been a slog to distance myself from this thinking. I still feel it pulling at me, and my weakness is that I think if I figure out what is going on before someone else then I somehow “win.” Believing in conspiracy theories is taking the role of ‘victim’ in the Rescue Triangle and then waiting for a self-appointed savior to show up. Probably something in orange.
On DEI – checking in on professional orgs and non-profits around me, they’ve all started DEI committees, hired consultants, or employed someone full-time for the roll in the last year. There’s a huge amount of social pressure to do so I would guess. What are you going to do – not have it and have people think you don’t care about racism? I predicted to a few colleagues last fall that once the DEI committee/position was created, the mandatory training would begin. The response was an immediate “they can’t make us do that!” This is during the vaccine mandates being rolled out everywhere, and the lack of 2+2 floored me. I seem to have spent a lot of time on the floor in the last year or so.
It’s funny how someone’s pet project suddenly becomes something everyone has to do under threat. They can’t even wait anymore to let it just happen over time with regular propaganda pushes and incremental policy changes. Everything is now an emergency and unprecedented. There’s a real frenzy about so many things and I don’t know how people keep up day after day.
This may be of interest …
These people keep trying the same thing, just as the resource constraints arguably make their plans ever less feasible.
Under cover of ‘COVID’, they do seem to have got further than they did before.
“Club of Rome, an organization of business executives founded by Italian auto magnate Aurelio Peccei to solve all the world’s problems.”
JMG, it’s the best definition I’ve seen of that “Mysterious” organization in my whole life…Good, precise and short definition of that capitalist group.
The West is going down like the Titanic, and for the same reasons — holding course full steam ahead despite warning signs, believing the ship is unsinkable.
@Jeff Russell #30:
As someone from the Netherlands I’d like to add something to JMG’s answer, if I may.
Our politicians are not selected on being able to make difficult decisions about the future of our country. We’ve been a vassal state of the US for so long that they simply do what someone higher up the ladder wants them to do. It doen’t really matter if ‘higher up’ means the US or the EU or whatever: they simply need someone to make the decisions for them.
Our prime minister Mark Rutte is a slick debater who can talk himself out of anything and everything, but that’s about all he can do.
We’re a small country, but if you look at the larger countries in Western Europe, you’ll see something comparable. France and Germany have weak leaders, the UK just got rid of their clown, and I don’t follow Italy much, but they usually have a new government every other week.
There are some exceptions in Eastern Europe, mainly Hungary and Poland, and of course they get villified for that.
One good example for the way enterprises, who believe in the religion of progress, see the world, is the experiment in the Netherlands planned by Aldi, where a cashierless supermarket will open. This supermarket will function via an smatphone app for paying goods and via sensors which will detect when goods are taken from the shelves and put into baskets. The price then is automatically deduced from the credit card of the buyer at leaving the supermarket. Questions which come up immediately are: What happens if there are electricity blackouts or brownouts? What if there are disruptions in the software and computer hardware? What about the now jobless cashiers? And in the meantime, an energy crisis for gas and electricity threatens to come this winter in Europe, with gas prices possibly rising tenfold.
I’m not quite sure what it means that Ranil Wickremesinghe, who wrote the article that disappeared is, as of this morning, the President of Sri Lanka!!??
And I suppose the WEF gets a bit of credit for having been embarrassed into restoring the article:
The Wickremesinghe essay Sri Lanka PM: This is how I will make my country rich by 2025 is still on the WEF website.
There’s not much detail in the essay, but it does refer to Vision 2025, a 56-page program for the Sri Lankan economy posted in 2017. In it we read on Page 42:
“We will encourage nutritious farming practices. We will introduce a national level policy action on food quality and permitted fertilizer levels. This will ensure that organic products are sufficiently available in markets.”
Elsewhere they say “We will facilitate crop production and improvement, agribusiness development, establishment of large-scale agro-enterprises, and introduction of high yield crops.” i.e. mechanized and chemical fertilizer-dependent agriculture, the very opposite of organic agriculture.
This is typical of the planning documents which pour out of ministries around the world. I’ve read several written in similar style from the South African government. Their purpose seems to be to reassure the World Bank that the bank is investing its money in people who think the same way they do. They are always a mish-mash of good intentions, conform to current woke thinking, but do not specify in detail how the goals are to be accomplished.
A plan IMO should state who should do what, by when, with what resources, and how will it be inspected and measured.
But that means control and accountability, which are anathema to bureaucrats.
Another excellent post!
I’d like to note that the book The Peter Principle, by Dr. Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull, explains so much of what is going on today. It is well worth a read. Published in 1969; and current events prove its validity.
Agreed. A major issue I have with many WEF theories is the belief that this one institution has total control over world affairs.
Thank you for recommending `The Best and the Brightest` by David Halberstam; I look forward to reading it.
A few slightly random comments related to the post.
I’ve read a very interesting report from the French government scientists saying that the per cent age of oil needed to make oil has grown from 10% to around 20% now and is expected to rise to 25% by 2024. By 2030 it is expected to rise to just over 30%.
At what point will the economy, that relies on liquid oil, fall apart as ever more oil is needed to get oil out? Clearly things are in big trouble already and we are at 20%!
The second question revolves around the defenestration of Bojo in the UK. I’m a Tory party member so have the vote at the party elections.
I’m utterly torn on who to vote for. Both Liz and Rishi want to deregulate and reduce the burden on businesses but Rishi wants tax rises whilst Liz wants tax cuts and borrow more.
Or does it make a difference right now? Was wondering what your thoughts were.
Thanks as ever JMG. Very reminiscent of the entry on Expertise in Lean Logic, the late David Fleming’s Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It:
“There is nothing wrong with expertise as an accomplishment. The problem is that it has wandered into a lonely landscape of abstractions, and has been reduced to falling in love with itself. Lean Logic brings it home, where there are real people and places to engage with.”
Regarding the Guidestones: over at the Secret Sun Speaks blog, Chris Knowles jokingly predicted that statue-hating Antifa would be condeming their destruction, which turned out to be surprisingly accurate:
What makes this even funnier is that some of the likeliest candidates to be responsible for the Guidestones are a group of far-right eugenicists, including ex-Klansman David Duke, according to this 2015 documentary: https://www.bitchute.com/video/RQLumiJUG073/
Enantiodromia seems to be the defining phenomenon of our age.
By the way…for the conspiracy freaks; I have to tell you that a month ago I went to a swimming poool in my town. There were several signs there with the security corporation name. It was “DAVOS”. Not very original, sure?
Wasn’t one of Bateson’s insights that we selectively edit the reality we see in order to conform to our beliefs?
I came to know I needed to read Bateson through current deeper readings on communications and media. I may have to bump him up in my list, and save some of the other McLuhan & others for later.
Yet, speaking of McLuhan, I was really stoked learning how much he was influenced by the Symbolists. It makes a nice counterpoint to the study of Levi and other French literature.
Here is a quote from McLuhan that also seems to hint at some of what Bateson was discussing:
“Was it not the great innovation of the Symbolists that they suddenly turned away from cause and effect in order to look at the effects minus causes? Accompanying this
strategy was the discovery that there was a pattern in the effects which revealed the
total process rather than an isolated cause.”
McLuhan here seems to pointing at how the Symbolists were precursors to systems theory. Stephane Mallarme had said, “Every thought issues a throw of dice.”
This quote from Bateson is similar. “We say that billiard ball B moved in such and such a direction because billiard ball A hit it at such and such an angle. In contrast to this, cybernetic explanation is always negative. We consider what alternative possibilities could conceivably have occurred and then ask why many of the alternatives were not followed, so that the particular event was one of those few which could, in fact, occur.”
Bateson had a big influence on the systems approach to family therapy. When looking at the larger system of society I can easily see how his ideas can be used to study conspiracy theories & the culture around them.
This is going to be a fascinating ride. I’ll have to finish my McLuhan so I can get deeper into Bateson!
Looking like the antidepressant sticking plasters are coming unstuck too:
‘Little evidence that chemical imbalance causes depression, UCL scientists find
Researchers question use of antidepressants, prescribed to one in six UK adults’
The dissonance this revelation is causing within and between ‘expert’ camps is even plain to see within this report:
“However, other experts, including from the Royal College of Psychiatrists, questioned the findings and urged people not to stop taking their medication in light of the study, arguing that antidepressants remained effective.”
In light of the recent, increasingly questionable, covid mass-vaccination campaign too, surely trust in the medical industry must really start to tank soon as more info. like this come to light. Quite where that leaves the disenchanted masses, well …
“their proposed solutions are all pretty much the same: more technology, more bureaucracy, more centralized control, and above all, more salaries for more experts.”
Do you think this is because the underlying assumption is “in the course of taking action and organizing the world we have hidden key truths from ourselves and these truths must be revealed and measured”? (Of course the assumption above ignores the fact that “heuristics” not “highly detailed information” is how humans make decisions, so things are hidden for a reason.)
Half-off topic: Did you know this EU diktat about gas consumption?
Meanwhile, some worry politicians are doing the hanged man tantrum on the gas cuts theme…
JMG, I realize the loss of the wheel and fire is an extreme example, and of course the most likely path forward is between extremes. But when I connect the dots of today’s events and project them forward, apparently binary thinking kicks in, and a conclusion to an extreme is the result. I don’t think I’m alone with this problem – the media is very good at portraying extremes, and many are willing to follow along that line of logic.
Looking forward to your next post on this topic. Meanwhile, I will try to stay calm, and put my thinking cap on.
@Violet #29 – I definitely sense depression and dread these days, both with myself and with many others. There are complexities involved trying to explain it and deal with it. For many, I think it’s a reaction of being isolated as technology became more complex, and communication became more remote. Dreams are being crushed, and realistic truths are being vaporized. This is the explanation for the mass formation theory anyway. For me, it’s been the increasing intrusiveness of society and government, and I can also relate to the frustration you’ve experienced with the interference in achieving life’s goals, or just plain living life. It’s a relatively new thing, in my experience, that’s happened over the last decade or so (esp the last two years) – losing control over life, and being at the mercy of hijacked good intentions or blind and foolish motivations in others.
In response, I’m definitely cranking up the collapse now and avoid the rush attitude, and got some catching up to do. I also am trying to lead by example, and suggest alternatives to some of the nitwits I deal with, rather than being abusive or confrontational. But one of my many flaws is not having patience to deal with stupidity, even though sometimes I’m the one who’s the idiot. It’s turning out to be a much more difficult road than I thought. Plenty of bad habits, and plenty of biased thinking to overcome. But at least I can look forward to the day when getting gas, lithium batteries and getting for leaf blowers and power washers will result in a quieter world. And won’t that be a pleasant change?
In a nutshell, the western world suffers from a chronic case of chronological snobbery. A care(less) worn path of searching for relevance. Pragmatic theologians like CS Lewis and GK Chesterton have been sounding these alarm for centuries.
“Looking back a decade later in his brilliant volume The Best and the Brightest, journalist David Halberstam pointed out with a fine sense of irony that the American debacle in Vietnam happened not in spite of, but because of the intellectual excellence and academic credentials of JFK’s “whiz kids.” Just as a theoretical physicist is not the right person to repair your drains—you want a plumber for that—a university graduate with a head crammed full of abstractions is not the right person to deal with the gritty realities of foreign relations. As the saying goes, in theory there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there certainly is.”
It’s at the point where I won’t vote for a candidate for President, or any other office, if that candidate has an Ivy Leauge degree. The Ivy Leauge has done enough damage.
Secretary of Transportatiion, Pete Buttigieg – another “smartest guy in the room” has sat on his hands for two years while ships can’t unload, trucks can’t pick up containers, and Airlines can’t make enough flights for all the passengers they’ve booked. As SecTrans he’s done a big fat nothing. We need anoter whiz kid like we need a hole in the head.
Slightly off topic, but I have a book alert, a new title that people here might like:
Magic in Merlin’s Realm: A History of Occult Politics in Britain by Francis Young, and published by Cambridge University Press, 2022.
Here is the publisher’s blurb:
“”Belief in magic was, until relatively recent times, widespread in Britain, yet the impact of such belief on determinative political events has frequently been overlooked. In his wide-ranging new book, Francis Young explores the role of occult traditions in the history of the island of Great Britain: Merlin’s realm. He argues that while the great magus and artificer invented by Geoffrey of Monmouth was a powerful model for a succession of actual royal magical advisers (including Roger Bacon and John Dee), monarchs nevertheless often lived in fear of hostile sorcery while at other times they even attempted magic themselves. Successive governments were simultaneously fascinated by astrology and alchemy, yet also deeply wary of the possibility of treasonous spellcraft. Whether deployed in warfare, rebellion or propaganda, occult traditions were of central importance to British history and, as the author reveals, these dark arts of magic and politics remain entangled to this day.”
And the table of contents:
‘Britain indulges in magic’: the origins of occult traditions in Britain — The secrets of the king: occult and royal power in Medieval Britain — Arthurian dynasty: the Tudors and occult power — House of the unicorn: Stuart monarchy and the contest for occult authority — Politics and the decline of magic, 1649-1714 — Emanations of Albion: politics and the occult in modern Britain — Conclusion.
Well Mr. Greer, it appears that some of that ‘rehash’ done got ground up .. perhaps set on chunk-style .. and forced though a ‘hoover turbine’ .. or some such. Damm!
But I feel sooo soothed that Slurred-Speech Joe is gonna bring us back from the brink of CC !CODE RED! .. with a full hellping of Buttegige condescending paintalk, to wash down my breakfast insect burrito, er .. um, ‘taco’. Build Backflips Better.
Have you been reading the “Washington Examiner?” They are saying exactly the same things. They are a conservative magazine put out as a counter-balance to “Wash. Post” and other such publications. They have observed how the Green Movement in Europe crashed the German economy, and making Europe more dependent on Russian oil. Also how the same movement led to the overthrow of the government in Sri Lanka.
As being a conservative magazine, they are featuring series called “Restoring America.” This series basically highlights what you wrote about dealing with the collapse.
So you are not the only one who is writing and noticing all of this. We Are Not Alone!
@Cugel (#101): The Peter Principle was one of the most helpful books I ever read for understanding how the world of management works, back when I was just beginning my working life in academia. Once I was inside it (as a faculty member), my entire ivy-league university struck me as a madhouse of incompetence, ever at cross-purposes with itself.
And then I read The Peter Principle and began to understand what was going on. Laurence J Peter’s other books filled in the picture around the edges, and eventually there appeared his larger volume, Peter’s Quotations; Ideas for Our Times, which is perhaps the best book ever for unfamiliar, but insightful quotations.
In short, I want to recommend The Peter Principle very highly. Thank you for mentioning it here.
The Washington Examiner put out an article that may explain the best and brightest syndrome.
Politics as the leisure of the theory class
by Michael Barone, Senior Political Analyst | | June 01, 2022 01:16 PM
Politics has increasingly become, for many Americans, the leisure of the theory class. That’s a phrase from the early 20th century sociologist Thorstein Veblen, which I turned on its head in a recent column. He was condemning the showy consumerism of the contemporary rich for having no economically practical purpose. I, on the other hand, was describing the political preoccupations of contemporary people, mainly high-education liberals but also low-education populists, as having no practically achievable goals.
Another theoretical issue that ranks high with liberal voters, according to analyst Amy Walter, is climate change, or global warming if you prefer the older name. They support policies that impose large short-term costs on society for an unquantifiable benefit in the very long-term future. I say unquantifiable because climate scientists’ models, like those of epidemiologists, produce widely variable results depending on assumptions.
The problem for the liberals on the ballot this fall is that the short-term costs are highly visible at every gas pump while the benefits recede into an ever-more-theoretical future.
Having a large bloc of high-education voters has some negative consequences. Such voters, argued Democratic consultant David Shor, are “more ideologically consistent,” with theory pushing their side toward unpopular positions. Presidents Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and, yes, Joe Biden were not elected by promising to legalize ninth-month abortions, shut down fossil fuel production, confiscate guns, and defund the police. But such policies are supported and advanced by many Democratic officeholders in response to their demands.
“Somehow, in my lifetime, the Democrats have gone from being the party of the factory floor to the party of the faculty lounge,” Clinton adviser Paul Begala said. That is to say, from a party pursuing tangible things such as higher wages and protection of Social Security to one pursuing theoretical will o’ the wisps.
This is where he explains the theory class.
The Georgia results do not bode well for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, who claimed baselessly that she won the 2018 election, and for the charges, accepted and recounted as gospel by national Democrats and by Delta, Coca-Cola, and Major League Baseball corporate executives, that state Republicans’ changes in voting laws amounted to voter suppression. “Jim Crow on steroids,” in President Joe Biden’s words.
But voter turnout was robust. Republican turnout nearly doubled, up 92%, from 2018. Democratic turnout was up 28%. That ain’t what Jim Crow looked like in the pre-1965 Voting Rights Act Deep South. It’s an example, rather, of an affliction common among high-education partisans of both parties. It’s what I call, turning Thorstein Veblen upside down, “politics as the leisure of the theory class” — a cultivation of obsolete, ancient grievances and the proclamation of unachievable goals. This is why you have the Democratic candidate for governor of Georgia campaigning against “voter suppression,” which hasn’t been a significant factor in more than 50 years. A majority-white congressional district in Georgia elected black minister Andrew Young to Congress in 1972.
If you search the phrase “politics as the leisure of the theory class”, you get a lot of commentary that adds to what he wrote.
As for me, I do believe that this is real since the people who are discussing global warming like President Biden also use gasoline powered vehicles. Not to mention that Biden could have saved on jet fuel and other fuels if instead of flying out to Mass., giving his speech, and flying back, if he just gave it from the White House lawn.
“…officially approved cootie theater….” wonderful;, had a good laugh. Yes, if only we ignorant peasants would allow our “betters” to do our thinking for us………well, too many have already done that and we see where we are.
We need school teaching practical skills for survival – need for these skills coming right up.
I’m hoping it’s not time to brush Canada off yet – I just read a truly entertaining opinion piece on Al Jazeera; a foam-flecked, drywall chewing diatribe against the Canadian federal Conservative candidate Pierre Polievre that might actually eclipse some of those against Trump during his first run.
Polievre is a fan of Jordan Peterson, and this was the tweet that made the Al Jazeera columnist lose.his.mind:
As the Aryan goddess herself said, ” Let the games begin!” 😉
Note the first: “the House quietly passed a monster $839 billion defense package. It was “the definition of a bipartisan bill,” chirped Alabama’s Mike Rogers, as 180 Democrats and 149 Republicans joined to smash by tens of billions previous records for military spending. With this already underreported story, just one news outlet, Roll Call, described a “first of its kind” report published by the Department of Defense Comptroller’s office, which revealed at least $58 billion of “congressional additions” above Joe Biden’s budget request.”
Note the second: “Every branch of the U.S. military is struggling to meet its fiscal year 2022 recruiting goals, say multiple U.S. military and defense officials, and numbers obtained by NBC News show both a record low percentage of young Americans eligible to serve and an even tinier fraction willing to consider it.
The pool of those eligible to join the military continues to shrink, with more young men and women than ever disqualified for obesity, drug use or criminal records. Last month, Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville testified before Congress that only 23% of Americans ages 17-24 are qualified to serve without a waiver to join, down from 29% in recent years.”
Note the third, though I can’t find the exact quote was a comment that the Army’s recruiting backbone has been red state white men, and those men are not interested in being insulted for their skin color and told they are intrinsically guilty, so they are staying away from the recruiters.
The obvious problem developing is that the military won’t have the men to operate the weapons assuming that the entire defense budget doesn’t disappear into graft.
JMG, I enjoyed this essay and it brought back a memory from 50 years ago. As a know it all long hair 19 year old, I asked my constitutional conservative father how he could vote for Nixon. He replied, “I don’t need any northeastern, liberal, intellectuals telling me they know better than me what is best for me.” These days, I see his point. Thanks for another good read.
I was severely depressed as a child and through my entire young adulthood. Anti-depressants in my case were Band-Aids slapped over a deep, systemic problem. Depression, at least in my limited understanding, is an astral disease, meaning it is a malady of the imagination. This is not to say it is imaginary, but that it poisons the imagination or the world of images with monsters. One of those monsters is the desire to consume, and of course mainstream medicine has no problem letting that one slide. They are complicit with many, many other industries in promoting the desire to consume mindlessly. One begins to understand why Buddhists, Incans, and various others were desperate to avoid incarnation in our materialist era. Friction is peculiarly heavy for this snapshot in time.
If there is a cure for depression, it lies in daily, relentless discursive meditation. As cheesy as it sounds, discursive meditation replaced my ineffectual desires to change the world with the much more productive desire to change myself, or at least to start at Square One and go from there.
> Misty Friday
OUTIES VS INNIES
Thanks❗️I think I understand. I fill in some blanks in how I interpret what you are saying. I don’t know if I have it right. Is the following correct?
“West Coast” (California; Oregon; Washington).
“Fly-over country” (Mid-west) (places east of the Mississippi River but not as far as the Eastern Seaboard?)
(A lot) more people are moving OUT of the West Coast rather than moving IN to the West Coast (in other words, more “outies” than “innies”).
Moving van companies loathe it when they have to drive their trucks BACK to the West Coast without a “sucker”§ paying for it. Truckers are giving discounts to any sucker who moves TO the West Coast rather than FROM. That is, truckers detest paying for a cross-country trip because it means the trip is on their own dime, where they lose profit on the round-trip, or, at best, break even.
§ Oops, I mean plain-old-person; a paying-customer.
For at least a year, at least in my region, I have seen absolutely nothing in the mainstream media about droves of outies, both on TV news or in print-media. I believe such information is being suppressed big-time.
Full disclosure: in 2020, I became an outie.
@Jay Pine 108
There is very high use amongst professionals and engineers in the UK. I was surprised how many of my colleagues were taking them on a daily basis prior to lockdown (I’ve rarely been in an office since).
I suspect that one reason is that even quite minor episodes of sadness or anxiety will get a prescription from a GP if presented and once started they are quite difficult to come off of – even if the original symptoms are long gone.
It seems to me that at the very least, anxiety is a perfectly reasonable attitude to the current situation so I don’t expect the trend to change.
Regarding the cycles of civilization, the Catch-22 is that the very thing we call “civilization” involves the development of the layers of complexity that result in those unsustainable stores of capital. My initial reaction to this understanding is along the lines of: “How do we halt these cycles and perpetuate a sustainable system?” Then I realize the impossibility of such a thing, as all manifested being work through a life-cycle of some length, though perhaps of such a duration that by human standards appears “forever.” (I’m thinking here, for example, of the Buddhist notion that even the gods are caught within the wheel of Samsara.)
But why? It occurs to me that one possible reason is that the cycle of Manvantara and Pralaya, the Cosmic Day and Cosmic Night, is embedded in all things, a fundamental blueprint on which everything in this cosmos (all cosmoi?) is based. In other words, it is inescapable.
To Violet #29:
I understand you and I agree woth you on your depression point of view, although I haven’t been born exactly in the privileged class, I’m more from middle class…
To Jay Pine # 108:
You nailed it. I got depression since I was 19 after a PTSD, and I’ve always thought that antidepressant benefits were mere placebos…when they seemed to work (sometimes), and mere toxics (sometimes). I’ve been better since I do one or another form of meditation, visualization and self-control, but I’ve never left my depressive personality.
I can’t give up this drugs due to medical prescription…however I’ve left ansiolithics thanks God and sensitive psychiatrists. I’ve managed to get out of anxiety (well not always, now anxiety has returned, due to certain outer events!).
Note: This isn’t a medical health post, it’s only my personal subjective opinion. I’m not giving medical advice to nobody here.
To Dr. Hooves #111:
I appreciate your point of view about depression causes, and although my English is a bit crappy, I understand very well your opinion., and I agree with you.
“it’s been the increasing intrusiveness of society and government, and I can also relate to the frustration you’ve experienced with the interference in achieving life’s goals, or just plain living life. It’s a relatively new thing, in my experience, that’s happened over the last decade or so”
Mental diseases are affecting more and more people in my country too, and I think COVID isolation days were lethal for mental health, not only for the mental disabled from before, but for “healthy” people. Too much techno-dependence and isolation.
OK “Collapse now and avoid the rush”- when you can…
To Kimberly Steele #123:
“If there is a cure for depression, it lies in daily, relentless discursive meditation.”
Maybe it would work for me…Thanks for sharing your opinion here. I’ll try it when I get more information about it.
Two weeks ago the Great Resignation was mentioned and Charles Hugh Smith wrote what I thought was a great explanation. He summed up his article by saying:
“Toxic work, toxic economy: At the other end of the age scale, young people are awakening to the wretched reality of an economy rigged to protect insiders and enrich the already-rich. If you set out to design an economy that was optimized to protect insiders and reward the already-wealthy, you’d end up with the developed-world economy. This is equally true in every nation, from China to the EU to the U.S. to every developed nation.
Workers are awakening to the meager rewards of being a slave to their ambition to claw their way into the upper-middle class. In an economy optimized for rampant inequality, the ambitious must sacrifice everything for the essentially meaningless baubles of a high-stress upper-middle class existence.”
All of this came about because, recall, the excesses of private enterprise foisting “externalities” (i.e. toxic pollution) onto the unsuspecting populace at large. Love Canal? Toxic Lake Erie? River on fire?
So, in typical fashion, the populace demanded that corporations be restrained, in the same way you and I are restrained from acting out our momentary anger at another through casual murder.
This worked, for a while, rivers were cleaned up, skys cleared up (somewhat), but the trick was they simply moved the “externalities” overseas, out of sight, and out of mind.
There is a darkness in unfettered industrial capitalism, at least equal to the darkness in unfettered industrial Socialism.
And both ends utterly repress any talk of any reasonable alternatives.
Thus, we pass along the curves of “Limits to Growth” well within the error bars, as the 40th anniversary update made clear.
Your references to Vico’s Barbarism of Reflection come to mind, as fascinating, but functionally useless, abstraction dominates everything from philosophy to business management. Abstraction has created the cultural civil war that culminated in Biden insisting that only a black woman could fill the vacant seat on the supreme court, which effectively shrank the pool of possible justices to about 2% of the potential candidates… which made finding the best person to serve on the highest court in the land statistically 0. Here in Canada, we have witnessed a succession of cabinet ministers chosen to look colourful so that the 40% of non-white Canadians will feel good, most of whom have turned out to be grossly incompetent and uncharacteristically (for Canada, that is) corrupt…but by gosh are they acceptable to the extreme left! Unfortunately, the opposition consists of the usual collection of populists like Polievre with his platform of the typical mish-mash of gripes, or the extremists pandering to the cult of wealth-worshiping religious bigots.
If I may be permitted a tree analogy, the centre cannot hold, because the centre has been hollowed out, much like the tree in my backyard. Eventually, the rot at the centre will overtake the growth at the edges and it will shatter, like the big trees in the wind. Sometimes, a whole tree will fall over in the wind, crashing with spectacularly magnificent violence. A sight to behold! Mostly, though, they come apart branch by branch until there is little left but the decaying trunk.
My friend the retired academic/ NYT times reading prog has recently been forwarding to me articles referencing the limits to growth study. These all come from the approved NYT/PMC realm of information. He knows I am interested in the LTG study and its predictive value. But all of the studies or articles are the same. They pretend to take the LTG study seriously but skew its message in two ways. The first is that there is still time as the real effects will not be seen until “later in the century”. And the only way to save ourselves is increased centralized management of the economy and energy system by approved experts. The most laughable bit of rhetoric is the theory that the dire consequences of the LTG have been shifted out in time because we have moved to a much more energy efficient economy based on high value/low energy activities such as legal and financial services. You see, those primitive folks from the 1970’s could never have seen the wonderful heights of abstraction our economy could obtain from the smokestack and dust filled wasteland of that industrial past.
lower prices for cash payment is something I haven’t been seeing here in Canada. What I’ve been seeing instead, is places asking that you not pay cash, or in other cases that if you do insist on using cash you must use exact change only. Including the cheese seller at the local farmer’s market, or my formerly favorite restaurant.
I wish they’d offer lower prices for cash!
Northwind Grandma, I wonder how many of those outies expect to recreate their West Coast lifestyles, including the small armies of migrant servants. My personal and private prejudice is that anyone who is not President of the US, or maybe Elon Musk can and should pick up after him or herself. I moved from CA to NY a decade ago, and one of the things I like best about my new neighborhood is not having to fend off the guys who expect to be able to run up my electric bill for their power equipment doing yardwork I am supposed to pay for.
Milt, I’ll leave that to people who have experience in practical politics, which I don’t.
Michael, interesting. Did they mention if Kersten et al. had any contact with Rosicrucian traditions?
Miow, thanks for the data points. Lewis sounds like a very interesting cat, so thank you also for the link!
Denis, many thanks for both of these. I’ve seen these same patterns many, many times.
David, of course they just keep at it. That’s the power of the myth of progress — once you convince yourself that something is the inevitable next step in progress, you can’t let yourself think that maybe you’re wrong and it’s not going to happen. Right there, you’ve got half the reason our civilization keeps on pushing on a door marked “Pull”…
Chuaquin, you’re welcome.
Martin, true enough!
Booklover, I wonder if it’s ever occurred to them that that market will become a favored target for hackers…
Phil, now let’s see how long he can hold onto it.
Martin, yep. They apparently got embarrassed into putting it back up.
Cugel, hmm! It’s been a long time since I read The Peter Principle or any of the other literature in that once-rich genre of analyses of organizational failure. Might be worth a second look.
Paul, you’re most welcome.
Forecasting, thanks for this. The increase in the energy cost of energy production is a massive issue, not least because it can just keep on going up. It’s quite literally possible for the figure to pass 100% — i.e., you have to put more energy into extracting oil than you get from burning it. (That’s why kerogen shales are not, and will never be, an energy resource.) As for Bojo’s replacement, I think it’s a choice between two forms of disaster — Britain can raise taxes right as it’s stumbling into a stagflationary recession, or it can borrow more right when the global credit markets are becoming increasingly problematic. “Spend less” — the only viable approach — is of course politically impossible.
Jason, thanks for this. Lean Logic is a brilliant book and my copy is getting significant wear.
Luke, too funny.
Justin, yes, but the specific insights of his I’ll be talking about have to do with the genesis of schizophrenia as a form of self-canceling communication driven by double binds. More on this soon!
Jay, fascinating. If that spreads, life could get very colorful indeed.
GlassHammer, no, my guess is that what drives it is simply the conviction on the part of university graduates that they ought to have plenty of jobs available and make lots of money. Most if not all human ideologies are motivated by ordinary cravings for prestige, security, and wealth, usually at someone else’s expense.
Chuaquin, yes, I saw that. It’s going to be an entertaining summer.
DrHooves, no question, it takes hard work to break out of the binary trap. Thank you for making the effort.
Dave, I may have to give Lewis’ concept a signal boost one of these days. “Faith in progress” = “Chronological snobbery” pretty consistently.
Christopher, Buttigieg has demonstrated pretty clearly that he’s hopelessly inadequate in any kind of national position. It’ll be interesting to see the Democrats try to pretend that that’s not the case when they run him for office.
Justin, interesting. Thanks for this.
Polecat, if you really want to imitate the Democrats you’ll have to mumble more and put the word “asufutimaehaehfutbw” in there somewhere! 😉
Neptunesdolphins, hmm! No, I hadn’t been, but that’s good to hear. “The leisure of the theory class” is probably the funniest thing I’ve encountered yet this year, btw.
Nancy, well, the schools aren’t going to do that, so the rest of us need to get busy.
Pixelated, the fact that Poilievre is fielding that kind of abuse is to my mind proof that Canada is still in play. The corporate media doesn’t denounce those they don’t fear.
Siliconguy, yes, I saw those two stories. A fine juxtaposition — and a requiem for the US military.
Mac, your dad definitely had a point.
David BTL, in effect, yes. You can also simply say that civilizations have lifespans, like individuals; they are born, they grow up, they get old, and they die.
Rod, exactly. The Covid shutdowns made it impossible for a lot of people to ignore just how miserable employment has become, and simultaneously forced a lot of them to find other ways to get by. Now the game is up, as Smith points out.
Renaissance, of course. Unfettered anything leads straight to disaster.
Clay, well, they pretty much have to claim that, because the alternative is realizing that they and people like them wasted the decades that might have spared us from a messy future, and the most effective way to deal with the crises ahead is to get rid of the useless makework jobs that support them and people like them…
Here is a “cut and paste
repost I made on JMG’s Dreamwidth channel, which I think is relevant here as well.
A Substack blogger named John Carter wote a good article, “A Conspiracy of Systems, A System of Conspiracies,” in which he does a great job of analyzing the “systemicist” vs. “conspiratist” points of view.
The end of the article sums it up quite nicely:
“To put this into practical terms, a conspiracist might imagine that everything would be fine if we just threw a rope party for the worst actors and put good – or at least indifferent – people into their place. They ignore that unless the system is changed, it’s likely that the same [filthy] outcomes will develop. The systemicist makes the opposite mistake: if we can just adopt a better set of laws, or more intelligent regulations, or modify the constitution, or change the economic incentives, or promulgate a better ideology, everything will improve. Left out of their clean equation is that you can have the best laws in the world, but will still end up with a pathocracy if those laws are being administered by a secretive cult of characteropathic monsters.
“Taking this more balanced view of things naturally results in a broader distribution in the perception of agency within society. The extreme conspiracist essentially places all agency in the hidden masters. The systemicist pushes all agency into invisible societal forces. That concentration of agency is what leads to the tendency to despondency when an extreme view is adopted. If agency is split between forces and humans, it follows that agency is found to greater and lesser degrees everywhere. That means that, yes, there’s the weather and landscape provided by ambient social conditions, and yes, there are the lurking predators represented by the various dark conspiracies; but neither are all powerful, and there’s room in there for you, little human, to act according to your own will, and change things for the better: to shelter from the storm, to alter the environment, and to cull the predators.”
Schizogenesis. Gotcha. That makes a lot of sense. [Sorry to be skipping ahead so much, these ideas are just super exciting. Thank you.]
Incidentally, this gave me an idea for an imaginary band name:
Schizogenesis Porridge and the Temple of Psychiatric Geezelords.
(It’s deindustrial post-metal, go figure.)
Straws in the wind:
From my student days, re: The Experts – “The bachelor’s degree, self-explanatory. The Master’s degree, More of the Same. The doctorate: Piled Higher & Deeper.”
Our foreign policy’s anthem, courtesy of composer John Williams and some very popular science-fiction-meets-Campbell’s-monomyth movies: heavy on the downbeat, now…..
WE are the EMpire, we’re BIG and we’re MEAN
We are the U.S deSTRUCtion MAchine…..
Re; passing on credit charges. The University of New Mexico, which nickels-and-dimes us peons to death, pulled that one on people paying their bills online 20 years ago or so. First they offered us the pay-on-line option as the better way to pay our bills. Then, years later, they said those who paid online would be charged a fee I knew amounted to the fee charged merchants by the credit card companies. I promptly reverted to paying by check.
Actually, I’m glad to hear it. This whole business of “We don’t accept cash” was not only a pain, but worked a hardship on children, the homeless, and the unbanked poor. Not to mention the addition of “pick your tip from this menu” and the subsequent “How’d we do, huh? huh? huh?” (Picturing hands curled up at the wrists like doggie paws….)
JMG, although NomadicBeer ended ended his comment with a prediction, which you addressed, I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the substantial portion of the comment that suggested that oligarchic actors are funding/filling/promoting organizations like the WEF or other non-governmental but government-influencing organizations to effect changes that benefit them and harm common people. The creation of those types of organizations requires the thought and financing of more than one person – thus generating talk of “conspiracy” between wealthy/powerful people aligned toward some purpose.
I note that NomadicBeer suggests that he’s not referring to a cabal of ring-of-power wielders acting in perfect unison, but more to a trend that positions one group with common aims and the power to change societies against many individual or loosely organized and far less powerful actors.
What do you think is to be gained/lost by entertaining this analysis (actors conspiring to do something) vs. what is to be gained or lost by not granting validity to so-called conspiracy theories?
JMG – Re: Russell Brand video transcript
My apologies! The instant I posted my comment (#77), I recalled that you have mentioned (several times) that you don’t watch videos. I’ve finally have a chance to reply. I hope I can explain it clearly enough. To see the transcript: Under the video, video caption & sub-caption(?) are a series of symbols going from left to right: thumb-up/like, thumb-down/dislike, arrow/share, down-arrow/download, heart+$/thanks, scissors/clip, lines+/save, and 3 dots (…). Click on the 3 dots – one of the options is “show transcript” (on my p.c. this shows up on the upper right of the page. The video could also be simply listened to without the images. For myself, I frequently prefer to read transcripts rather than watching videos because of the time saved.
It seems to me that Putin’s Russia, bizarrely, is showing how stupid the western elites are. The West has fallen completely for the Great Rehash (communism 2.0) and now we are lurching from one crisis to another. Putin is unafraid to say it like it is.
“Russian President Vladimir #Putin is the most dangerous man in the world at the moment, (1) because he is telling some basic truths about the global elite and (2) he has the spine and the capacity do do something about it.”
Of course, that is why the corporate media hate him. Putin even called Julian Assange a freedom fighter while Biden wants him dead and of course Snowdon is still in Russia for his own protection.
It’s funny how everything I was told turned out to be wrong. In the 80s the Russians were to be pitied (well true enough – that’s what Communism leads to) and the US was the land of the free. Now it seems to me that Russia (who are obviously winning in Ukraine) despite the billions the West has thrown at it, is clearly going to dominate the New World Order and as you said, likely in an alliance with India and Iran. I never thought I would be a Putin supporter, but here we are.
Interesting commentary as always. I’ve been trying to figure out why I haven’t had much to say recently. I think it’s because you are commenting on current events. I appreciate your viewpoint and the research you have put into these subjects. There is not much I can add.
On a personal note: I’m well into my plans for moving back to the Midwest. Hopefully my family and I will be settled in before Halloween.
Imitate?? IMITATE!!! … Sir Greer, HAIL NO!
I wish not to be some slow phasmid, making a stealth approach towards mocking one’s ‘betters’ … No. I prefer the more vespidarian way – stinging, biting, sarcasm – as so many others have recently proved – directed at piercing the exoskeleton of the ClownWorld at large.
It’s FUN to chew up those forest-for-the-trees (both cellulosic AND digital, especially the ‘pulps of record’ .. whilst feeding elites to the growing young – to better yet grok the invasive woke and wefians crawlin to the fore.
Re: JMG: “Michael, interesting. Did they mention if Kersten et al. had any contact with Rosicrucian traditions?”
Not in the documentary, but others associated with the documentary have speculated about that. Yes, the name “R C Christian” does sound a lot like “Christian Rosenkreuz.” In the documentary, the journalists conclude that the name “R(obert) C Christian” is a portmanteau of the names of Robert Merryman and Herbert Kersten (“Kersten” being an archaic German form of “Christian”).
So, who knows? We may never solve that mystery!
@Jon, I read your blog post, but was unable to post there. Agreed about the French Revolution and in part about the Russian one, though it seems a stretch to call the Bolsheviks “Liberals”. I just read Dostoevsky’s Demons, which mocks the entire spectrum from liberals to extremists.
What I don’t understand is your comment about Social Democrats in 1930s Germany. The SPD was out of power on the national level since 1930. It was the only party to vote against Hitler’s empowerment, and its leadership was rapidly imprisoned as far as it hadn’t fled the country. So I don’t see how Social Democrats as such made any contribution to German politics in the 1930s.
It seems I missed a meme. A different poster some time ago also blamed Social Democrats for Hitler, so it seems to be going around.
In May the Club of Rome published a new book Limits and Beyond: 50 years on from The Limits to Growth, what did we learn and what’s next?. (Ugo Bardi & Carlos Alvarez Pereira, eds.) By the coincidence I superstitiously believe in, my copy arrived today.
(In my imagination, the book consists entirely of two answers to the title questions. “Nothing.” “See Previous Book.” But no such luck.)
I just finished the first chapter, by Bardi, a retrospective on reactions to the original book, including precursor ideas that influenced those reactions (e.g. Malthus, Hardin) and more recent developments. The chapter is apparently a condensed and updated version of Bardi’s 2011 book The Limits to Growth Revisited but since I hadn’t read that, I found the chapter informative to about the level of detail I’d be interested in. I’m looking forward to the next two chapters, by Jorgen Randers (setting out to clarify what TLTG actually said) and Dennis Meadows (an FAQ essay that I suspect will echo the Q and A from his talk at Artemas in 2014).
I’m hoping that due to the connection with the original work, the book overall doesn’t just turn out to be another dull book in a blue (and white) cover. But of course it probably will. From the forward and table of contents, it appears that at least some degree of blaming colonialism, patriarchy, the “dominant Global North,” and so forth for the present situation is in the offing. Which is fine, unless they pretend that getting rid of those things now is (a) globally practical and (b) going to fix anything somehow. As is my wont I’ll be looking for any common ground, but will any of the contributors actually directly say “consume less” instead of beating around the bush (“more equitable resource distribution to economically disadvantaged populations”)?
Michael, many thanks for this. It’s a point well worth repeating.
Justin, funny! I’ve just coined a band, for a fiction project now under way, called Smudge and the Memelords — maybe they can play a gig together with your entry. 😉
Patricia M, thanks for all of these.
Temporaryreality, as I’ve noted repeatedly in these posts, conspiracies exist; wasn’t it Adam Smith who said that people of the same profession never meet, even socially, without conspiring to raise prices and defraud the public? The place where conspiracy culture falls flat on its nose is in insisting that (a) “they” — however defined — are all in it together, and (b) everything that happens, happens because “they” decide to make it happen. Au contraire, the WEF is patronized by one faction of the global rich, but there are other factions with various agendas that diverge from or flatly oppose what the Davos set is trying to do, and there are also plenty of mistakes, accidents, and exercises in stupidity. As Michael Martin pointed out a few comments up, the conspiracist viewpoint is among other things an abdication of agency; as I pointed out further on up, it’s also rooted in an anthropolatrous point of view that defines the human will as omnipotent over a passive cosmos. Both these, to my mind, make it a very unproductive way of thinking.
PatriciaT, many thanks.
Bridge, duly noted. It’ll be interesting to see how all this plays out.
Piper, may the move go well!
Polecat, so noted! Give ’em — you know, the thing. ;-)\
Michael, well, all I can say is I’ve never encountered anything in the Rosicrucian traditions that is at all like the Georgia Guidestones, and I hope that Kersten et al. just pulled the name out of their collective backside.
Walt, by all means let me know what you find. I swore off Club of Rome books — other than the original LTG, of course — after reading half a dozen of them and finding exactly the sort of catering to buzzwords and building eco-castles in the air that you’ve described.
@Rod #10 and polecat #115, a couple of years ago I looked into edible insects. I thought it would be an interesting challenge and a useful skill to learn how to cook them to best effect. My project went nowhere when I found out that pound for pound they cost more than prime filet mignon. Maybe things have changed a little since then, but I’m not going to believe anyone is serious about persuading anyone else to eat insects until they’re actually available at a price lower than, or at least comparable to, other proteins.
Arete,”the mindless repetition of what once worked but now no longer is now where the Western elite are at.”
I think what has worked and what they’re good at was Edward Bernay’s “Propaganda”(Literally the title), a book on every Wall St. and Madison Avenue bookshelf. “Father of Public Relations”, “Crystallizing Public Opinion”, in which he said, “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society *constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country*.”
“[The] American business community was also very impressed with the propaganda effort.”
“There are invisible rulers who control the destinies of millions. It is not generally realized to what extent the words and actions of our most influential public men are dictated by shrewd persons operating behind the scenes.”
Which is essentially the core belief and goal of the Technocrats. They controlled things, the people were empty idiots, tabula rasas who the Technocrats told what to do like bots. In fact the word “Robot” means “Slave.” “Propaganda is the executive arm of the invisible government,” Bernays said.
However, he also said another important thing about this new Science that would dominate behavior and rule nations: he said that ultimately, *Propaganda can never be too far removed from the truth, for if it is, it loses all power and collapses.* So even perfect Propaganda, in a smooth and perfect mechanism of Propaganda, raised from birth on Propaganda, in a nation of Propaganda, on a people most willing and eager to believe in Propaganda, will be lost if you start saying things that are self-evidently untrue, false, easily discredited by their daily experience.
*And so here we are today.* The same Technocrats are pulling the same perfect levers that have worked perfectly for 100 years, so much they set the machine at 6am and have a sandwich, yet they don’t know how it works or why and are using it wrong. For things the maker himself said it was not intended nor capable of, but they never read the manual, and never heard of the inventor, then wondering at its terrible results.
…Must be the Peoples’ fault! Yeah, that’s it!
Their problem? If Propaganda is punctured like other bubbles, ALL of it ceases to work, and it takes out all the people involved in it. Think of Pravda or Pyramid schemes. That’s what’s happening right now, but so thankfully, they are too stupid to recognize it and keep pulling the same levers right down the drain.
Arete: a thing you are so naturally good at that you never learn anything else, and when challenged don’t even try anything else but go down with the ship. For example: they could try telling the truth and doing some hard work for a change, sharing the challenge with others. Nope. Arete = Hamartia
Wickremesinghe is back…as the new president! Perhaps not *the* brightest move of the Sri Lankan illuminati.
In other news…
Saudi Arabia admits (or claims) that they will soon reach “peak oil”!
Today’s Jumble Puzzle showed “the board” unanimously in favor of raising prices 10%; the puzzle solution was “The Greedy Agreed.” Which is what you’ve been saying all along – as have the conspiracy theorists. Yes, and dogs bark and bite; cats scratch and prey on small things, liars lie and thieves steal. Adam Smith said it. And Woody Guthrie noted “Some rob you with a six-gun; some, with a fountain pen.” Nothing to see here, folks, move right along. Ecclesiastes summarized it (as you noted) “nothing new under the sun.”
Thanks for reiterating that, then.
I guess I have a hard time knowing where to draw the hard line between the alien space lizard type of conspiracy theory (or, in more natural terms, a “they” of your choice that has a plan and in support of which “they” are all in cahoots) and what looks observable from my little pinpoint awareness that suggests powerful players are moving chess pieces around in conjunction with other powerful players and against yet others … and playing moves that are simply making things worse.
Perhaps this isn’t a constructive line of thought or way of assessing things though? I’m still puzzling over what an effective resistance would be… but against what or who? Perhaps it’s less useful to look for the head of the snake because there isn’t one, there are just individual snakes and so the best course of action is either find another hiking path, wear protective footwear, learn to charm snakes, become a cold-weather hiker and learn to live with them?
Poor snakes, I don’t mean to malign them – I guess my point is just that in a human-scale civilization there would be ways of dealing, on the ground, with powerful actors who are deemed misguided. In this era, they’re almost abstractions, they’re so remote – but they play their games nonetheless, and they make things worse.
Re: “Conspiratism” again (!)
Harrison Koehli, in his Substack blog “Political Ponerology,” recently put up a post entitles “On the Fractal Nature of Cosnpiracy,” in which he gets into the “Systemicist vs. Conspiratist” debate from a different angle.
Koehli compares the analyses of Mattias Desmet (The Psychology of Totalitarianism) and that of the late Andrew Łobaczewski (Political Ponerology). Both authors have their explanations as to how and why totalitarian systems form. From the article:
Chapter 8 of Mattias Desmet’s The Psychology of Totalitarianism (PT) continues his discussion of the nature of totalitarian leadership, specifically his contention that the causality of totalitarianism is not best explained by either greed or deliberate conspiracy. Rather it is a complex process, the results of which may be conditioned by certain facts on the ground (e.g. technocratic ideology), but which are not intended in the manner many may suppose, i.e. a grand plan agreed upon by a group of conspirators and rationally and systematically put into effect, the results matching more or less with the original goals.
Desmet starts the chapter with the example of the Sierpinski triangle—a fractal where a type of order emerges from seemingly random steps. …
Totalitarianism is like the final fractal: “Nobody needs to know or have ever even seen this pattern. It is enough that all people independently follow the same simple rules as they place their points” (PT, p. 122). So Desmet is most definitely not in the “conspiracy theory” camp. By that, I don’t mean he denies the existence of conspiracies, or that he doesn’t have convictions that would be labeled conspiracy theories by detractors. Rather, he argues against what I would call a maximalist conspiracist position, which somewhat cartoonishly imagines a sinister human group guiding and controlling all major world events along a rational and deliberate plan for nefarious purposes. By contrast, the minimalist position acknowledges the obvious and common reality of not-so-grand conspiracies and the conspirators involved in them.
I see this chapter as Desmet trying to disentangle the process of mass formation (and its results) from what we see in actual conspiracies. For instance, crowds act in ways that seem coordinated. Slogans spread at a remarkable speed, disparate actions seem harmonize. From the outside, the crowd’s actions look planned, but they’re not. Rather, crowds are complex dynamic social phenomena, like murmurations of starlings. Whatever is going on, it isn’t conscious or rationally developed, but rather follows certain implicit rules.
However, once a totalitarian “mass formation” takes place, then psychopathic types tend to take over and turn the regime into a true “secret society.” Koehli summarizes as follows:
Here’s how I summarized the psychopathic worldview in PP, borrowed from Thomson’s recent book on psychopathy: “I can do whatever I want because I have been wronged in the past; everyone else is dishonorable, selfish, weak and manipulative; therefore, I am justified to take advantage of them.” That’s the psychopathic vision in a nutshell: total “freedom,” free stuff (money, women, prestige), and slaves. How they get there is inconsequential. But they’re more than willing to exploit a mass formation to do so, and make sure they’re the ones who end up on top, which is easy for them, since they’re more ruthless than 95+% of the population. And once they win, helped along by a society that has lost its moral compass and its ability to distinguish saints from psychopaths, everything else falls into place.
In a nutshell, “systemicism vs. conspiratism” is not an “either/or” proposition, but a “both/and (+++)” in which the sum of interactions becomes greater than the parts thereof.
All in all, a fascinating and highly informative piece. Much recommended!
What shocks me is that anyone would bother to attempt to “rule the world” in the first place.
Stories that base their premise on the notion that that’s a bad idea are all over popular culture, from movies and books to children’s cartoons (Anyone remember Pinky and the Brain? Or seen the latest Marvel movies?). It’s the same tired trope of a evil (or not so evil) genius who plots to take over the world (and inevitably fails).
It’s such an overplayed, worn out trope, you’d have to be living in quite the bubble not to internalize the moral of the story, which is, of course, that any attempts to take over the world never work out in the end.
In fact, I doubt if your average 8-year old kid would believe it if you tried to explain the premise of these books to them. They’ve probably seen hundreds of failed attempts at world domination played out on TV already.
Some deep thinkers at Princeton University have assembled a massive set of plans they call “Net-Zero America” (by 2050). Of course, they have a web site. https://netzeroamerica.princeton.edu/the-report
I’m not saying that their conclusions are sound or that their plans are feasible, but they do address some of the issues with unprecedented granularity. They want to see more wind farms? They show where these “farms” need to go. More transmission lines from wind/solar installations to consumers? They draw the map. Pipelines of captured CO2 to plausible underground storage? They’ve drawn the maps and calculated the pipeline capacities needed. The beauty of this report is the level of detail that makes the goal so challenging. HOW many electric vehicles need to be built? HOW many heat-pumps needed for home heating? HOW MANY new nuclear power plants, grid-scale batteries, gas turbines, etc., etc. Then you can ask where will the people come from to work in these careers?
So, let’s play a game of “find the blind spot”. What do they assume, that just ain’t so?
To start with, they assume that overall energy demand will increase gradually over the next 30 years. (Slide 8, EIA 2019 forecast). They show electrical generation roughly doubling, as coal and gas generation goes to zero, by 2050, but THEN what? (Slide 25) Do they expect electrical demand to level off, or continue growing (if so, how?). If they need to build out all of the good wind and solar sites to get to 2050, how do they get to 2060?
Let’s play another game: “find the funding”. If you’re lucky, you’ll find that the report was developed with support from Princeton U, BP (oil/gas company), and ExxonMobil (oil//gas company). I’m sure it’s mere coincidence that people pushing renewable energy sources (wind/solar) can provide flexible generation-on-demand (gas turbines) for those times when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining.
The thing is JMG, is that The Mocking Laugh will prevail. One has to fend off the bejeweled/altered/narssicistic CaPiTaL corprolites/media-jabberjays/assorted clingons etc. with derison somehow, short of bouts of repellent inertia .. or in spite of it.
Dynamite! I love the way you’ve tied some important threads together here. Always do.
For some reason E.F. Schumacher, as an antidote, popped into my head about halfway through…
I saw some mention of e-scooters upthread. I’ve been thinking about buying an e-bike for my (short) commute and errands instead of taking the truck – part of selling our 2nd vehicle. Do you, or does anybody else, have an opinion on the subject they’d like to share?
I’m really eager to read your take on the Guide Stones, then, because both of us have pretty much the same idea of the role they played in American culture. I found their instructions to rebuild society both bland, and pretty damn useless…which, I guess describes the entire management aristocracy?
The value of the Rosetta Stone was not in the content of the writings inscribed on it, but in the fact that the same thing was written three times in different languages. One of the languages, Ancient Greek, had survived as a scholarly language that could be read and understood by the people who dug it up. Another inscription was in hieroglyphics. The Egyptians themselves had forgotten how to read hieroglyphics during Roman times. All later attempts to figure out what the inscriptions on ancient Egyptian tombs, monuments, and papyri meant completely failed until the Rosetta Stone gave scholars enough clues to put them on the right track.
If the Georgia Guidestones had survived long enough to fall down, be buried in dust, forgotten for a couple of thousand years, and then dug up, they might have become very useful to posterity. Although granite is not very resistant to erosion.
Fuzzy Gnome #97, the Italian ruling coalition fell apart today after an eighteen month run.
As an additional point, the revolutionary Colonists contended that they were being denied their rights as free Britons by the government in London. Thus, they wanted something similar to the existing order in many ways.
With respect to the French, they openly entered the war in 1778, sending troops and naval forces to North America. The British had to pull troops and ships back to protect the Home Islands from possible invasion, and lost their former near complete control of the sea lanes off the colonies. The defeat of a British fleet at the Battle of the Virginia Capes in 1781 meant no relief for, and the eventual surrender of Lord Cornwallis’s force at Yorktown.
As an aside, I had to laugh when the US got so petulant (no French fries; freedom fries) about the French being less than enthusiastic in the run-up to Iraq, seeing that their support was a key in the Revolution.
JMG, it was Adam Smith, but you have overstated it slightly. He said seldom, not never.
“People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.” Adam Smith
Chuaquin, I did my best to create a simple explanation of discursive meditation that even I could understand here:
Hope this helps you. It really has transformed my life.
Jasper, exactly! They’ve specialized in the management of appearances so long and so intently that they’ve lost track of the awkward reality that there has to be something behind the facade.
Tidlösa, I saw the Saudi announcement. That’s huge news — as much that they admitted it as that it’s real. Here we go…
Patricia M, good heavens. They still have Jumble puzzles in your newspaper? I’m impressed.
Temporaryreality, yes, there are snakes, and then there are lots of stray sticks that look like snakes unless you’re close up to them. Some things happen because people make them happen, and other things happen out of the sheer cussedness of existence; civilizations rise and then they fall, and both sides of the arc are messy, not because someone make them that way but for the same reasons that birth and death are messy.
Michael, thanks for this.
Blue Sun, you’d think!
LatheChuck, my first question is whether they’ve taken resource shortfalls into account — for example, does their projected number of electric vehicles fall within the limits of the supply of lithium for batteries? How does their reliance on gas turbines match the long-term availability of natural gas? My second question is whether they’ve factored in the disastrous European experience with wind and solar power, which have emphatically not lived up to their billing. My third question is whether they’ve ever heard of the concept of net energy, and if so, have they taken it into account?
Polecat, that’s certainly one strategy!
Grover, Schumacher’s a great anecdote. As for e-scooters, I have no idea — I wouldn’t trust myself to drive anything faster than my feet.
Varun, stay tumed! It should be entertaining.
Deborah, if it survived, it might have helped people in the future roll their eyes in eight languages…
Team10tim, thanks for this.
I’m a lizard keeper, and my experience with buying insects for my pets matches yours. Live crickets are really expensive, pound for pound. Mealworms somewhat less so. Maybe cricket meal is cheaper… but the live ones aren’t going to be replacing meat any time unless the price drops like a rock.
Mealworms are pretty easy to breed yourself, but a small colony doesn’t produce much in terms of feeding a human rather than a gecko.
TemporaryReality: or you could learn to ID venomous vs. nonvenomous snakes. Then concentrate on avoiding the dangerous ones. An awful lot of snakes are totally harmless to humans, including harmless ones that mimic deadly ones. Coral snake dangerous, king and milksnakes harmless and make good pets. Unless you’re a snake yourself. Kingsnakes got their name from their habit of eating other snakes.
Some conspiracies and powerful people are probably pretty harmless likewise. I don’t really care if some people decide to create a pet rock cartel and jack up the price of commercially available pet rocks.
For most of my career I worked in the New York City area in the field of urban transportation planning. We used to have a saying that whenever new innovations came along (for example bike lanes or bike share programs), the order of adoption would always follow the same pattern: First in Europe, Next on the west coast, and then Finally on the east coast.
This statement was always made rather wistfully, as if to lament that we were ‘behind the times’ here. That says a lot right there.
It seems to me this pattern may be showing up in other ways as well.
My brother co-stars on a podcast called Lost in Ohio, on which he eats unusual things, including bugs, up to and including a cockroach. (He says they taste like unseasoned potato chips.). If I remember, I’ll ask him about the price per pound of cockroaches. 😃
A pound of bugs would go a lot further than a pound of filet mignon.
The Princeton report Lathechuck found looks interesting.
Two things I noticed is that they intend to shut down mining in Arizona, so where is all that copper coming from exactly?
Secondly, they intend to double the amount of natural gas generated power in Washington. They are closing the nuclear plant. And they are amazingly optimistic about solar power given the winter conditions here.
I look forward to a deeper dive. The next few days will be hot so I’ll be inside in the afternoon anyway.
In South-Central BC where I live, the tourists are back in large numbers for the first time in 2 years.
What’s NOT back–Large numbers of boats on the lake. In fact, there are at least ten speed boats for sale in the yards and driveways within a kilometer of my house, and they do not appear to be selling. Why? I have a theory–Car gas sells locally for the equivalent of about US $6.00 per gallon, but boat gas is about US $8.00 per gallon, and the miles-per-gallon of such boats is very low.
I think that some sort of line has been crossed up here. Many people who were once wealthy enough to own boats are now unable to afford them. I am starting to feel smug about my canoe…
The discussion about conspiracy theories in this comments section reminds me of the logic underlying your Covid open posts on the other blog – “never attribute to malice what can be attributed to stupidity, incompetence, delusional thinking and arrogance”.
As an aside, regarding the situation in Sri Lanka, yes, it’s a worrying one. Our government has extended a line of credit to the Sri Lankan government, but I’m not sure how much longer we can continue doing so, especially given the hunger problem here.
What I’m worried about is a massive refugee influx into India from Sri Lanka. Sure, Sri Lankans are nice people overall, but can we afford to absorb so many people without putting a severe strain on our economy? I don’t think so. There are already more or less credible reports of a trickle of refugees from SL coming into India.
I just hope that the Sri Lankan experience serves as a wake-up call to other small countries like Nepal (which is also going through severe economic troubles, btw) to 1) stop trusting the CCP and getting sucked into their debt-trap diplomacy and 2) following the policies favoured by the Davos set.
If you want a reliable source of information about the SL crisis, I would recommend WION: https://www.wionews.com/sri-lanka
@Grover E-bikes are great, can recommend. I’ve got a trailer for mine so I can transport a fair amount of stuff.
“Why the Club of Rome was wrong about us running out of resources” ?
> What I call another nail in the coffin of a “Cashless Society” which is part of the Great Rehash, is many restaurants are passing on the 3-5 percent surcharge for using a credit card. Use cash, spend less for the same thing.
It’s a nail, but is it in the coffin?
I mean restaurants do this because they can. But in many places there will be passed laws (someplaces already have them).
First they wont be allowed to “discriminate” against cards with a subcharge, then they’d be forced to have a POS and accept cards, and thirdly they can also be forced to only accept cards.
As for the subcharges from banks and credit card companies, complaints about those will be easy to address: the main cash replacement card will be government issued, and wont have those.
Hi John Michael,
These great utopian ideals somehow always seem to produce huge body counts. Not nice, but history does seem to suggest that inevitably the leadership fails due to a lack of ability, or chronic over-reach.
Hey, I noticed the Saudi article linked to by Tidlösa included more interesting titbits of information which is of relevance, including this one: As it seeks to boost production capacity and not just offset natural declines, Aramco is increasingly turning to more expensive offshore reservoirs.
Even that disclosure suggests that net energy is declining. Certainly not good news.
It was a beautiful winters day here, sort of warm (for this time of year), blue skies and not a breath of wind. We spent the day splitting and hauling future firewood for sun drying. It’s a good energy source, because of the visceral nature of the material. You get to handle the stuff from the beginning of the process until the very end point, and there is a physical connection. And it is hard work, so a person never wastes the stuff, and certainly never over heats the house.
I have skimmed The Great Re… Given the negative sentiments shared here, and the incredible backlash it is gathering in The Big River comments, I was expecting a tone and an exposition more outrageous that what I actually read. There are some assessments of the current situation and tentative explanations that I actually could sympathize with. For example, that there is now a stronger return in force of interventions of governments, as contrasted to the last 40 years of laissez-faire following Reagan-Tatcher, seems an adequate assessment of the situation. What those interventions should be about, how much involvement that should be, and who should decide on those matters is stated half-tones and convoluted phrasings, so I guess that leaves room for projecting all sorts of readings.
On this issue of governance, I find it surprising that Schwab, having done two PhDs in Switzerland (and therefore having had his education subsidized by Swiss tax payers), is overlooking the Swiss political system as a model of global governance. The Swiss citizens vote 4 times per year in Popular Referendums, each encompassing 3-5 issues of Federal Interest. Each initiative up for a vote has been supported by at least 100,000 citizens prior to the vote, can modify the constitution, and can repel or amend laws voted by Parliament. The same mechanism applies at the Cantonal levels. This is in addition to electing representatives at the Commune (Municipal), Cantonal (Region), and Federal level. Moreover, the representatives at the Federal level (Parliament) are chosen both according to Cantons, to give enough voices to smaller Cantons, and proportional to the vote at the Federal level to still introduce some amount of proportionality. So, when Schwab mentions government examples that favour Scandinavian social democracies, but overlooks the Swiss model, that seems pretty disingenuous, especially since the WEF is hosted in Davos (Switzerland)!
I do agree with the Rehash re-labelling. The introduction of the Great Re… pretends to aim for explaining first and influencing second, but there isn’t much groundbreaking in explanatory power by the analyses presented. I have definitely found more food for thought and deeper insights in these essays! So that somewhat highlights to me that not all ideas operating at the mental level (according to the occult levels introduced in previous essays) have the same quality, and that the mental level can be used for all sorts of other intentions (wills) rather than say, illuminating part of our lived and shared reality and empower everyone to consider a larger diversity of choices in their lives.
Hi John Michael,
The Gentleperson’s Guide to Forum Spies was a fascinating read, and many thanks for the link. Mate, when I first encountered trolls – who said things on the interweb, that they would never dare say to my face – it was rather upsetting. Nowadays, I delete them out of hand. For your interest, in groups over the years I have occasionally encountered some folks of the saboteur variety. Such people display the inherent weakness in the system. Strange folks those, and one hears stories.
JMG wrote: “My second question is whether they’ve factored in the disastrous European experience with wind and solar power, which have emphatically not lived up to their billing. ”
Are you not being a bit too harsh about this? I agree that renewable energies cannot be perfect substitutes to fossil fuels and thus cannot sustain our wasteful industrial civilisation, but still…
I recently read Modernizing a Slave Economy: The Economic Vision of the Confederate Nation by John Majewski. It’s an excellent book that shows the Confederates were much more enthusiastic about industrialisation and political and economic centralisation than is normally assumed. The central claim is that the primary reason why the South was the way it was (in a number of ways) was because the soil was terrible.
Particulary relevent for this discussion was how poor whites felt about slavery and secession. Those who lived among the plantations were very enthusiastic for it. It’s suggested that’s because they knew the slaveowners, were in kinship networks with them, and could go to them for help if they needed it. Meanwhile those living on small farms up in the Piedmont, or similar places with very few slaves, didn’t see why they should risk everything for the interests of remote cotton, sugar, and tobacco barons. Which is how West Virginia ended up being formed.
Then when you come up to date and think about the wealthy who hide in gated communities and scream bloody murder at having to include low-income housing in their luxury apartment complexes. The people they exclude are the people who might have fought for them.
The link to the energy comment is above. A very interesting read. What I would find interesting is if we could find out the cut-off point where it things unravel. Is it 20%, 25% or 35%. What is most striking about that graph in the article is the massive rise of energy required to get oil out between 2030 to 2040.
That would suggest that there is very little hope of the global economy functioning, as we know it today, for the next decade.
As for the Tories, I’m leaning to Liz. Why? She seems a bit more free thinking and radical in her thinking (which we need in a leader) and, given credit markets are still fairly open and low, the UK might as well borrow money at a reasonable rate, when we still can.
Given the the trends, and what some analysts I follow think is a pretty bad global recession/shock coming by late 2023/2024, makes sense to borrow whilst we still can, before the walls go down in the global credit markets.
@ Patricia & JMG
The Jumble Puzzle is in both of the newspapers I purchase: the Manchester Union Leader and the Caledonian Record. I generally don’t look at it as I find the puzzles too easy. But how apropos!
Maybe I should start doing them again, instead of making a beeline for the obituary column as I have been doing lately (I figure if I’m not listed there, I’m doing all right.)
I look forward to it!
I have a question for you and your readership. What’s the conservative view on the recent unionization pushes in Amazon, Starbucks, and etc…? From the commentary I’m reading it doesn’t seem like the conservative base is very supportive of the work reform movement because of the involvement of communists and socialists.
I reading your “Monsters” third edition where you discuss how the scientific method is really a theory that everyone decided to adopt or enforce. That no one really could prove if the scientific method really worked or not. It just sounded like it worked.
In my reading about “Live Pterosaurs” (the monster I encountered), I have been looking at Jonathan Whitecomb, who writes books etc on the subject. He is a Mormon who believes in young life, old earth. He writes a great deal about how ordinary people see pterosaurs but that the scientific community talks them out of it. It struck me that he was saying the same things – that what we have for reality or what people agree is reality is actually a belief. Untested belief.
This was brought up by the discussion on how antidepressants and brain chemicals are really a theory. They are since nobody really went about checking how the brain works. They came up with it since it seemed to make sense, and also keeps people happy. Various forms of therapy since then build on theories of keeping people happy. (I do take Prosac because in my case, it does work. However, it doesn’t work for everybody, nor should it.)
But it does point to the ideas of the Best and Brightest knowing what is best. They don’t. They think they do, and they convince the rest of us of it. But in the end, it is a pile of holes.
None of this stuff is tested but people are expected to accept that because someone says it is. It would seem to that people of the theory class are badly frightened. Hense the Jan. 6 Hearings and the commentary which is the same – we all should be afraid, very afraid of the Bad Mad Orange Man. Only one weary reporter let it slip when he asked one of the people on the Committee – why should we watch this, what is so new, that we haven’t seen it a hundred times before? I saw the same reporter the next day solemnly stating how important they were since Democracy was endangered. So, the Best and Brightest really want us to keep them safe. (They really don’t give a doodly-darn about us.)
I say if you don’t like me at my diddlyest, you are definitely not going to like me at my doodlyest.
Re civilizations, their lifespans, and eventual demise
It is likely the result of being brought up in a Faustian culture, but the demise if a civilization, like any other death, registers as a failure. An unavoidable one, certainly, but a failure nonetheless. Perhaps if I try to view things from a much larger perspective, I can reframe it as “the assigned task has been completed and now this particular tool can be put away”?
JMG, the guys at The Duran did a recent podcast discussing mainly the failures of western leadership with regard to the current crises (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZyD8YCc7Ls) and Alexander Mercouris ended the discussion with this which I thought you and your readers would find interesting and or relevant:
“Way back when I was a university student, I studied the origins of the first world war. Anybody who does history at a British University is always forced to study the origins of the first world war. It is always this big topic. There was this big book that was still being debated at that time that had appeared in the 1960s in Germany which is called ‘The War of Illusions’, the illusions that lead us, especially those in Germany, about both their own position and that of their adversaries, which led them to actually go into the war.
They weren’t functioning, in other words, in the real world and it seems to me that that’s exactly what has happened this time. And ultimately we can ridicule the Ursula’s and Truss’s and all this, but of course they have led us into a disastrous position. And we have talked about how they might be using the HIMARS to goad the Russians into doing something crazy and reckless because that’s in a kind of way where if you could escalate, you can somehow end the dissonance between what you believe and what is actually real. And that is what happened, unfortunately, with the first world war. So it is a dangerous thing that we have leaders in the west, a political class in the west, which when it pitches itself against its adversary, is so incredibly badly informed.”
I was thinking about the Diversity, Inclusion, etc and realized that there is one group that is always left out. Guess which one? Yep, the people with disabilities. In Maryland, there was Tim Allan who uses a wheelchair, and had as his campaign, “Maryland Let’s Roll!” He says it as he wheels down the sidewalk. He lost in the primary. What people wrote about was how there were no women at the Governor level and how most of the women were shut out. And on it went. Zippity on how anyone with a disability was shut out.
Then of course, race and gender determine your political outlook. Heaven forfends if you are a Black person with conservative view, or a woman who opposes abortion.
Meanwhile, there is a lot of fraud going on. Do you know how many professors are Native American, who turned out to be White? Or how many said they were Hispanic but were really…. you guessed it … White. The dead give-away is how they only spend time with White people, and how comfortable White people are around them. Native Americans, in my experience, are foreign. Like many people who are foreign, others do not know what do around them.
So what passes for Diversity, etc is really a fraud to make the theory class feel good about themselves.
At least, I take heart that Gov. Abbott of Texas (R) has his chair upfront, and the media shows it.
Darkest Yorkshire #180,
“Meanwhile those living on small farms up in the Piedmont, or similar places with very few slaves, didn’t see why they should risk everything for the interests of remote cotton, sugar, and tobacco barons. Which is how West Virginia ended up being formed.” This is fascinating, because I have family history directly related to these sorts of issues. My great great great grandfather Etheldred lived in one of the many hollers of western North Carolina where he carved out a living constructing water mills, barns, and various other utilitarian structures. The civil war broke out, and he *briefly* joined in the war effort fighting for the Confederacy, traveling down to South Carolina for some campaign or another. Essentially, he only stayed down there for a year, deciding fairly quickly that he had absolutely nothing in common with these plantation folks and didn’t see the point in risking his life any further. So he left (with an honorable discharge, I don’t know much about that part) and returned back to his dozen or so kids and went back to breeding prolifically with his 2nd wife (my great great great grandmother) and best friend’s widow.
JMG, upthread you said:
“David BTL, well, the theory of catabolic collapse has it that every civilization ends because it heaps up vast amounts of capital it can’t afford to support. Bureaucracy is one form of this excess capital.”
I am honestly wondering if this is aspect of the catabolic collapse model reflects the Discordian “belief” that Bureaucracy is the next-to-last step in the five-stage cosmic cycle ending in The Aftermath and restarting again in Chaos. It certainly seems like Aftermath is an apt description of the next stage.
Thanks for what the youngsters call the white pills, even if they’re often tough to swallow! Garden is looking good, dandelion wine is tasty, I’ve lost 40 pounds and gained muscle and endurance, and I’m feeling more like a green wizard every day, as I currently masquerade as a PMC flunky.
Oh, I almost forgot. Smash.
@ Karim Jaufeerally #179
Are you not being a bit too harsh about this? I agree that renewable energies cannot be perfect substitutes to fossil fuels and thus cannot sustain our wasteful industrial civilisation, but still…
No, JMG’s “disastrous” characterization is absolutely correct.
The term “renewables” itself isn’t even technically correct and they’re certainly not even realistic substitutes. Solar, wind, geothermal, nuclear and even hydro are all entirely dependent upon fossil fuels for their construction & maintenance. Many of them won’t even be economic at higher oil & gas prices.
As someone who has spent a decade as a part time bike builder and commuting cyclist I will chime in on E-Bikes. E Bikes are an excellent tool to wean yourself off of full size petroleum or Battery Driven Cars. Especially if you are older, have physical limitations or living in steep terrain that prevents longer distance utility travel on a regular pedaled bike. The thing to know is that E Bikes are completely the product of a Fragile China based supply chain of motors, switches and batteries. Given the expense of these “tech” items most E bikes have evolved to be constructed on an armature of cheaply built, heavy, low durability components ( from frames to pedals). This makes most of them nearly useless in the “Pedal Only” mode. Because of this E-bikes will be a very short term solution to transportation problems that will not last very far in to the catabolic collapse of the global supply chain. In my opinion, 10 years at most. In comparison a quality steel framed bike with high quality components will last for your lifetime or longer , with the stockpiling of a few low cost wear items ( tires, chains, brake pads etc). If one has the youth and/or physical stamina combined with decent conditions ( mostly flat, safe travel routes) a long nose cargo bike or cycle truck ( pedal powered) could be one of the greatest investments in resiliency possible. I can think of no better future business than a tough and skilled person with a well built cargo bike hauling loads of all kinds for people and business. I know several people today who make a living doing bike delivery. They are successful by focusing on niches where bikes have a big advantage, which involve homes and business’s with challenging parking, or high value-to-weight products with a “green-cred” boost such as artisanal coffee beans. In a future where most high-energy transportation disappears, a man ( or woman) with a cargo bike will certainly be able to put food on the table. So, go-ahead and get an Ebike or scooter but don’t assume you will still be riding it 20 years from now.
Piper at the Gates
> I’m well into my plans for moving back to the Midwest.
Blue Sun, the saying left something out that strikes me rather forcefully — what about the rest of the country? The west coast and the east coast are fairly thin slivers of the US, after all…
Your Kittenship, not at all. A pound of bugs has no more protein than a pound of filet mignon…
Emmanuel, okay, that’s a good sign. Enjoy your canoe!
Viduraawakened, thanks for this. I hope plenty of countries profit from the example.
Postkey, Tim Worstall doesn’t know the difference between shale oil and kerogen shales — I caught him out in that back when I was writing The Archdruid Report. That means he literally has no clue about energy economics. There are an endless number of attempted refutations of The Limits to Growth; the point that deserves to be made, and has been made repeatedly by peer-reviewed studies, is that predictions based on the LTG models have proven to be more accurate than predictions made by its critics.
Chris, yep — any attempt to create heaven on earth reliably creates its opposite. I saw that detail in the Saudi announcement. The writing is really on the wall at this point.
Viking, of course Schwab “overlooked” the Swiss example. His rich friends don’t want the rabble to have any say in anything. I’m glad you find these essays more useful — if you didn’t, I’d hang my head in despair!
Chris, I found that essay very useful, though it mostly confirmed my experience. I’ve had a lot of trolls to deal with, of course, but I’m pretty sure I’ve also had paid shills and saboteurs — I’ve had to rein in quite a few of the standard tactics at this point.
Karim, I wish it was an exaggeration. Green energy of the kind they’ve overbuilt in Europe — the highly centralized high-tech approach — has turned into an economic black hole and a massive political vulnerability propped up by vast inputs of Russian oil and gas. There are green technologies that work well, but Europe isn’t going for those.
Yorkshire, fascinating. Thanks for this.
Forecasting, oof. Thanks for this; combine it with the Saudi announcement that they don’t have any spare production capacity and the end of the oil age is pretty clearly visible.
Jeanne, thank you. A definite blast from the past.
Varun, I can’t speak for other conservatives, but I’m in favor of labor unions. They’ve proven themselves to be a helpful counterbalance to the destructive proclivities of unchecked capitalism. I’m especially delighted to see big name plutocrats like Bezos and Schultz forced to realize that they really do have to bargain for what they want, instead of simply playing petty tyrant.
Neptunesdolphins, consensus reality is a very unsteady thing, and these days — when the official version of what’s real has been twisted and folded like origami paper to prop up the status quo — it’s more unstable than usual. That is to say, the sky is black with pterosaurs coming home to roost…
David BTL, like the rest of us, you will die. Does that make your life a failure?
Thecrowandsheep, Mercouris is dead on target.
Neptunesdolphins, I find it really interesting to note all these white people who are pretending to be Native American or Hispanic or what have you, and compare it with all the chatter about “white privilege”…
Monster, yep. The other name for the stage of Bureaucracy is Consternation, and we’re deep into that, with Moral Warptitude aka Aftermath bearing down on us. Whee!
All this talk about recession, depression, shrinking petroleum.
I am waiting for autumn to hit. A large hunk of Americans partied during July 4th weekend😎 — money they will have needed to pay for upcoming autumn and winter heating bills. When they go to the cellar to look for their heating💰, the cash won’t be there.💣
Mainstream media showed that for that one 3-5 day weekend, individual American extended families splurged $thousands on airfare and hotels for multi-family members to party — for argument’s sake, round it to $5K per family.🤑
I was flabbergasted at Americans’ profligacy — my mouth hung open in disbelief. (Where is the emoji that shows a mouth gaping open?😨)
Americans are clueless that if one spends $1 for one thing, that $1 is not available to spend on another thing. They are used to freebies. At some point, freebies will vanish.💸
Not only that, I know of an inordinate number of people who caught COVID over that weekend.🦠
Just wait. Come chilly weather, Americans will hoot, holler, and scream bloody murder: they will “blame the government” for “ ‘leading them on’ — in the belief that they could party over 4th of July, and have their winter-heat too.”😤
but… they will have brought it on themselves. Toddlers in adult bodies.🍼They need to grow up.👶They should have thought twice about having that third kid.🤰There is no better teacher than to witness one’s own kids starve or freeze. There are words for what Americans need to learn: thrift; prudence.
By the following winter, Americans — maybe a smidgen — will have learned that they can’t party and have warmth in winter too. Or have clothes. Or have food. The spendies are over — no-one to bail them out.🪣
In the meantime, three-quarters of Americans “have a fever” either through heatwave☀️🌡or COVID🤒.
By the time I graduated high school in 1970, I sensed that America’s starving times would return. Warnings existed. All we needed was to read any book by author Studs Terkel such as “Working” (1974). But people of my generation wanted to birth children, so they kept on popping ‘em out. They listened not. Now what dire straits are their descendants in? Who caused this? They did.🏚
I am sitting in my ringside seat🥊, waiting for mainstream media to headline American homes’ freezing.🥶
Oy, but not too much oy.🙄
I was delighted to see the comment on Pterosaurs this evening; the idea of a living relic from the (I looked it up on Wikipedia) Mesozoic period has brightened up an otherwise difficult week. I had never heard of this until a few minutes ago; it’s absolutely new as far as I’m concerned and so I’m happily anticipating the Baader Meinhof effect in 3,2,1….
Hi Dr, Hooves, that seems like a good analysis of some of the depressing aspects of the current scenario and reasonable hopes of what might come afterwards. On my own blog I just wrote a piece on my blog — https://violetcabra.dreamwidth.org/312099.html — about a technique that helps me to feel better which is to imagine my hopes and fears so absurd and over the top that I can’t help but laugh at them. If I can laugh at my hopes, my fears, and myself then I tend to always feel better and to have a better sense of perspective.
Hi Chuaquin, fair enough! I could reasonably write that I am from the middle class too. That said, compared to most of the world’s population I am absurdly privileged!
In regard to e-bikes and scooters, be sure you don’t have this plant around your neighborhood.
They are common here and render bicycles useless except as tire patching practice. I tried a foam insert to replace the tube, and that made pedaling take too much effort.
An electric scooter of the Vespa type might have better tires, but I’m not sure anyone is making one of those yet. There are electric motorcycles, but they are motorcycles under the law and all the training your state requires for any other motorcycle.
pygmycory @ 167, reptile identification is an essential working class survival skill. I got good enough at it that it would take me about a week in a new environment, neighborhood or workplace, to ID the crocs and the mambas, and figure out how to stay out of their way.
As for evaluating public policy and proposals, I look at cui bono, and then at timing. For example, our host most astutely pointed out that the sexual ID hysteria followed after the shutdown of occupy.
Tablet magazine, a mag of Jewish life (I happen to be WASP turned RC, BTW), has an article about how the Pritzer family financed the gender disphoria hysteria.
Oh, of course. Flyover country doesn’t matter. How parochial of you!
I had to just keep my mouth shut when corporate higher ups would bash the midsection of America. Sometimes subtly, sometimes quite bluntly. As someone born in Iowa I never bought into that.
That’s one of the reasons I have since left the corporate consultant game and moved on to a different (but related) part of the industry.
I’ve been rocking ebikes for about 6 years, because I live in a rural area with work spread across 3 towns and steep hills in between. If you are in a proper city, a real bike is a pretty good bet. But I think ebikes are the basis of the only electric vehical system that makes sense.
Think about all them e-cars you be seeing, they don’t work good, because the energy density of batteries is low so moving something through 70mph of wind resistance isn’t gonna work. A battery as plenty of power for going through 20 or 30 mph wind resistance though, because wind resistance goes up by the cube. relative to velocity. For a fat sum of money you can get it to work, but car speeds are a gimik with electric.
Thing about getting an ebike though. Step one don’t get an ebike. Get a decent real bike, scale to your budget as you see fit, cheap bikes and expensive bikes both do just fine as every day commuters. I know bike people love expensive bikes, but I do 3000 miles a year on a 15 dollar yard sale find. Do buy the nicest tires you can get, I personally like continental plus sorta tires. So once you got a bike, buy a cheap kit: a (planetary) hub motor to replace a wheel, a control box, throttle, screen, battery. They got kits on ebay and the like that do pretty ok. You can spend big money too and probably have less fussing to do. If you drop more than a grand into the project your needs are a lot greater than mine, I’ll say that much. That being said I’ve though of some systems I’d love to drop $2000 on to put together if I didn’t have the earn the lucre.
Re: eating bugs. I took a careful look at the “sustainable proteins” (insects) shelves at my local market, and noted that said bugs appear to be freeze-dried. They’re certainly shelf-stable, which requires very low water content. So, rather than compare the prices of dried crickets to fresh, juicy, filet mignon, the comparison should be to stiff, dry, beef jerky. A very quick on-line market survey shows prices between $18 and $40 per pound for the jerky (and how much of that is sugar?). Honey-mustard crickets: $40/lb. Mealworms: $26/lb (for chickens, though; not human consumption).
The lesson I learned from this survey was “protein is over-rated”. I started saving the fat from bacon and roasting chickens to recover as many calories as I could. Using chicken fat as the shortening in baking-powder biscuits is a win, flavor-wise, as is spreading bacon fat on a buckwheat pancake (instead of butter).
@Aldarion I don’t know why you couldn’t reply/post on my Blog. Did you get an error message? I view Liberals-Conservatives as a continuum, not a dichotomy. I consider myself ‘liberal’ yet have many ‘conservative’ sympathies. And vice-versa. I always have. It makes it hard for me to come down decidedly on one side or the other of a lot of issues. I suppose I should say, ‘Those people who get tired of being patient and compromising and decide one day that they have the right to force their ideas on everybody else.’ Hard to put that on a T-shirt. With regard to 1930’s Germany, I meant the National Socialist Workers Party, whose acronym we all know. Thanks for the correction.
On the subject (yet again!) of political agency, here is a wonderful and inspiring quote from the very end of Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America:
“I am aware that many of my contemporaries maintain that nations are never their own masters here below, and that they necessarily obey some insurmountable and unintelligent power, arising from anterior events, from their race, or from the soil and climate of their country. Such principles are false and cowardly; such principles can never produce aught but feeble men and pusillanimous nations. Providence has not created mankind entirely independent or entirely free. It is true that around every man a fatal [i.e.: predestined] circle is traced, beyond which he cannot pass; but within the wide verge of that circle he is powerful and free: as it is with man, so with communities. The nations of our time cannot prevent the conditions of men from becoming equal; but it depends upon themselves whether the principle of equality is to lead them to servitude or freedom, to knowledge or barbarism, to prosperity or to wretchedness.”
I read through the Princeton report referenced above. There is a reason Princeton has no reputation as an engineering school.
Thousands of miles of new pipelines needed for hydrogen and CO2. Hundreds of new natural gas combined cycle power plants, but natural gas supplies are to be half of now, or even none at all, because the plants will run off hydrogen from the thousands of electrolysis plants, powered from the immense herds of windmills and solar panels connected to the electrolysis plants by tens of thousands of miles of electrical transmission lines. And all of this to be done with no more mining in the US. I wonder what country they intend to invade and literally strip bare.
Biomass (referred to as perennial energy grasses) is to be fed to pyrolysis reactors to make chemical precursors for various things (I’m sure this includes jet fuel for the elite) but there is a debate about whether to convert two states worth of area into solely this product of not.
And they have great confidence in the viability of carbon capture and sequestration. This does work, but it hasn’t scaled up at all well.
I do give them credit, they really tried to put numbers on what is needed for net zero, or even an approach to that. Of their various scenarios the E+RE- might be doable (except for gigaton per year of carbon capture).
Even if the total materials are available the production rate is only so much per year, and that will slow things down all by itself, not counting the epic court fights over where to put all this new construction/mines/smelters/transmission lines, etc.
They have also failed to notice winter, as in the annual production of energy sort of glosses over the lack of solar in the winter. Being from New Jersey I would have thought they would have noticed the seasons. I guess the lights are always on in the ivory towers.
Their system is stunningly complex as well, smart homes turning off water heaters and the like to keep the grid up. And they admit the labor requirements of this renewable power will be much higher than today as well, and they are somewhat worried about finding enough people to do the grunt work. Tearing out every gas furnace in the country and replacing it with a heat pump is not a tiny project. A quick lookup from 2017 said 55 million gas furnaces existed then.
Speaking of unreality — “the shamanification of the Tech CEO.”
And… one for the Brightsiders…
Hi John Michael,
Yup, it was a very useful essay. I used to write for the actually physically published hippy-press in various corners, and the feedback from readers was so slow as to derail the trolls. They were still there for sure, but lacked immediacy. And here I cite the author Robert Bloch’s spit flecked invective critique of Robert E Howard’s fictional creation: Conan the Barbarian. For educational purposes I shall reproduce the comment here:
“Enough of this brute and his iron-thewed sword-thrusts – may he be sent to Valhalla to cut out paper dolls.”
It was amusing, but also not very nice of the cheeky scamp, and unlike Howard’s writing, Psycho bored me.
What interests me about these dull sorts is that they seek to derail a conversation, and if that is not an act of fear, I don’t what is. And if you take a wider purview, the media certainly appears to be working towards that end right now. The joke is though, just because we don’t widely discuss issues such as the err, recent Saudi pronouncement and its implications, doesn’t mean that it can’t hurt us. Dunno about you, but it is an almost childish response to an otherwise serious situation.
Northwind, I figure a lot of Americans are having one last fling before the boom comes down. A great many people seem to realize that the boom is indeed coming down, for whatever that’s worth.
Blue Sun, yeah, I’ve seen that too. I wonder how long that’ll last now that people are moving out of blue states to red states as fast as they can…
Lathechuck, so even with the fat and water removed, beefsteak is cheaper than bugs. That’s about what I’d have expected from a Klaus Schwab brain fart.
Michael, thanks for this.
Siliconguy, excellent. I haven’t had time to look at the proposal yet, but clearly I have an entertaining hour or so ahead of me.
Patricia M, thanks for both of these.
Chris, well, I haven’t liked anything Bloch wrote since he stopped doing Lovecraft pastiches. May he be sent to Valhalla to terrorize paper dolls.
Offlist 1: NomadicBeer, we are not going to have a rehash of the endless argument between conspiracy theorists and their critics here. No new comments from either side of that debate will be put through. ‘Nuf said.
Offlist 2: Mother Balance, it’s not Masonic regalia — it’s a lodge collar from a lodge of the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes — and yes, that’s a real fraternal order, active in England, Canada, and a few other places. Here’s some info about them:
As for whether it should be for sale, well, you’ll have to ask a member of the RAOB about that!
“They are one and all written in the bland indigestible prose style of the professional intellectual class, and they lurch through their prearranged routines in the graceless manner usual among that class, for all the world like a rhinoceros attempting ballet.”
As a current university student I found your comment to be a wonderful insight into the Ahrimanic evil of higher learning, it was also Hilarious. Honestly, only someone who is mad or willfully blind could hope to find reason in the modern university. The stress and cognitive dissonance of a modern degree in ancient history is driving me to ill health.
On eating bugs: Is there any evidence that any culture has cultivated bugs as food livestock? That should be all it takes to put the nail in the coffin of that idea, especially considering that beans and rice are more environmentally friendly and more palatable.
Siliconguy – The best thing I can say about that report is that it brings alternate techno-futures into focus, in a way that allows us to look at one aspect after another and say “well, that ain’t gonna happen”. It’s one thing for someone to make vague, hand-waving arguments about “wind farms and solar panels and hydrogen (and gas turbines)”, but you have to give these guys credit for putting numbers on the components. So, when you realize that none of their proposals are feasible, you either have to question their premises: “continued growth of a society that need not change, if we change the infrastructure” or their goal “net-zero by 2050 (if ever)”.
And remember, this was just Net-Zero AMERICA, with vast, windy prairies and sunny deserts.
It’s not “Net Zero” Africa or Europe, or Asia.
Back to the Princeton report: they also assumed the steel needed for all would be scarp augmented by iron directly reduced by hydrogen. I haven’t looked that up since about 1990 so was wondering how much the process had improved.
“Specific initial annual production targets are given for nine projects. Combined, they account for 20.45 Mt/year, which is about eight times the capacity of a large DRI plant. It would significantly increase European DRI capacity. However, it still constitutes only a minor fraction of EU steel production, which was 159 Mt in 2019. ”
Hydrogen saturated steel has certain structural issues too, but it would be fine for many uses. And the Princeton group was planning to dilute it with scrap iron anyway. Of course the amount of new steel they need exceeds the amount of scrap steel that exists. Details, details. (Insert arm waving emoji here)
@northwind (and @jmg )– I second @jmg’s comment — probably a last fling. Just got back from “med bow” in Wyoming. I even made it up the summit — and coming from the Chicago area, walking up to 12000 feet was hard (but it felt good once I made it!)
Hotels were full on this trip, But, I noticed lots of items that did not work — broken ice machines, broken gas pumps, crashing “scooters” (a competitor of Starbucks) payment systems, and the sporadic shortages of food items at restaurants. Not as many RV’s (it seems to me) as in previous years.
It was fascinating! (but again — the hiking was good).
I’m not sure we are as free of the influence of the Best and the Brightest as, say, your average third world country repeatably fracked over by our Economic Hitmen (Hitpeople?). One example might be the Project for the New American Century, which spawn the Neo-Conservative movement that doesn’t die, although the Ukranian war might the hydraulic press that finally crushes it (Terminator movie reference).
Or is there a difference between Kagan and McNamara that makes a difference?
Twin Cities, Minnesota gathering of JMG fans. Hoping for some good discussion.
We’ll be meeting early afternoon of Sunday the 31st. Email me for more info.
We have those stabby buggers where I live, we call them goathead.
I present a possible solution, Goo filled tires!
I don’t know how decline sustainable it is, but at most bicycle shops here you can buy tire tubes filled with a sealant goo, so that when it gets a hole, you merely spin the tire, wait for the sealant to coagulate and plug the hole, and then you can reinflate and be on your way.
An internet search returns this:
Hope that’s helpful to somebody
Old Will, glad you liked it. A lot has gotten worse at the universities in recent years, but the dancing rhinoceri haven’t gotten any better since I was first in college.
Justin, you’d think that would be enough, wouldn’t you? But the myth of progress assumes that everyone who lived before now was just plain stupid, which is why we can make mistakes they weren’t dumb enough to try and still expect the results to be good.
Siliconguy, it’s the gift that keeps on giving. 😉
John, that’s a valid point. I do think there’s a difference between McNamara and Kagan that matters; McNamara didn’t yet have decades of bad decisions by incompetent intellectuals to look back on and learn from, while Kagan is apparently too dense to learn from it.
I think Putin aptly criticized the west’s recurrent need to be in charge even if their ideas empirically fail to produce the results that they are hoping for:
“President Vladimir Putin recently said Western countries “are stepping on the same rake,””
Here he is talking about the oil price cap driving up the price of oil the same way western sanction drove up the price of natural gas. Stepping on the same rake fits it well.
The last 20 years of US foreign and energy policy looks a lot like criminal mastermind Sideshow Bob walking through a field of rakes:
Our host has previously spoken often about how elites preaching about climate change then hopping on their private jets undermines productive efforts at change. And this hypocrisy is of course part of every Great Rehash.
I know our host doesn’t use Twitter (he’s wise), but amusingly there’s an account dedicated solely to tracking celebrity private jet flights. Every trip recorded is followed by a fuel consumption and emissions calculation. To call their manner of travel “inefficient” would be an insult to profligate waste.
Hi John Michael,
Yes, but Valhalla is too good for the likes of such folks. 🙂 The cover art for his earlier fantasy stories are a hoot!
Down here we dodged the 2008 GFC for all sorts of reasons including luck, minerals and rapid policy changes, still the costs are mounting. Thought you might be interested in the experience from an earlier hard recession (early 1990’s) which I got to experience as a young bloke in my first job. It’s an article about the car market down here. That market frankly doesn’t make a lot of sense to me right now, but that’s where economics meets the hard road of reality:
LandCruisers ‘better than money in the bank’ in hot second-hand market, but European badges in the dumps.
Anyway, the quote I wanted to bring to your attention from the article is this:
“It’s a worry. I can still recall as an auctioneer and valuer in the 1990s with the Keating ‘recession we had to have’ we had this period of bizarre consumer demand and then it fell off a cliff,” he said.
“Nothing happened for six months, and then the flood gates opened and we were that busy doing repossessions and auctioning homes where the banks had moved in.
“It was an awful period of time and I fear that we’re going to be seeing that similar situation.”
Perhaps this explains the splurge of ‘spending that you (and others) may be witnessing in your country. We’re in the hang time I’m guessing. What’s your opinion of that suggestion?
Thank you for the vote of confidence on ebikes! I’m getting one. Ordering it today actually!
Very excited. It’s a 49th birthday present to myself next Saturday. That and selling our 2nd car…
I keep seeing Nick Land’s name come up in dissident circles as having diagnosed our current situation and predicted it. I don’t recall you writing about him here and that could be faulty memory on my part. Thoughts on Land?
Re death and failure
Only from a certain perspective. Certainly, as I compare my fifty-something body to my old twenty-something body, the limits I have to abide by now that I didn’t previously, it feels can feel like failing at times. I’ve gained some amount of wisdom, but what would have been nice is to have had that wisdom back when I had more capability to do something with it, rather than as I slide into the autumn of my life.
From the perspective of reincarnation, of course, the issue gives me less heartburn. When this round is done and I’ve learned it’s lessons, I rest for a while, reflect on what has been learned, then circle back for another go. That’s where I was trying to go and apply that same framework to civilizations. It still sucks to be trapped in a failing body, increasingly incapable of action, but it softens the blow a bit to see that such is not only an end but also a beginning.
Andy: Glad to brighten your week with pterosaurs. The worlds are full of a number of magical things….. including pterosaurs.
Everyone else, about bugs: Various African countries list bugs as part of their daily food groups. Zimbabwe does group bugs with protein. Perhaps the bugs in Africa are bigger or something.
@ Justin re #210
Actually, any number of traditional societies do regularly consume insects such as wichity grubs by the native Australians or Kunga cake in the African Great Lakes region (made from swarming gnats captured with greased frying pans) though these are seasonal foods. Crickets have long been eaten in Thailand and migratory locusts have been on the menu in Africa and Southeast Asia.
Part of the problem may be just that of size. Most bugs available in the Northern Hemisphere are small so you
would have to raise vast numbers of them to yield enough to feed large populations. Cultural resistance is also a factor as well. There is a passage in Leviticus Chapter 11 which allows the eating of locusts and grasshoppers, but states other insects are unclean and under no circumstances to be consumed. Overcoming the ‘eyuck’ factor has always been an issue.
Some enterprising soul may come up with something acceptable for western cultures (who are the main resisters to this change in cuisine) but I just don’t see it ever really taking off. But we’ll see….
@JMG and Princess Cutekitten, actually Her Kittenship is right about a pound of bugs having more protein than a pound of beef, because the insects have a lot less moisture contributing to the weight.
Although, she might have meant that the bugs would “go further” in a different way… if everyone in your family refused to eat them.
It doesn’t offset the high prices enough to make the bugs home-economical, though.
Prime filet mignon: $80 per pound, $5.00 per ounce, 7 g protein/ounce, $.71 per gram of protein
Mixed bugs: $18.25 per ounce, 23 g protein/ounce, $1.25 per gram of protein
Both prices are from small high-end retail packages; bulk sizes and different qualities, packaging, and marketing affect prices greatly, so the bugs won’t always come out more expensive, but I’m only comparing with a protein I don’t even eat to emphasize the point. For my own home economics I have to compare it with chicken at under $0.03 per gram of protein.
Bugs sold as animal feed instead of human consumption, like the ones Lathechuck and pygmycory mentioned, cost less, but that’s not a fair comparison to all my other food purchases, that all are labeled, packaged, and regulated for human consumption. “Shoveled into bags from piles on warehouse floors” (like the cheap bulk bird seed I buy, for instance) is not what I’m looking for.
Having gotten a bit farther in the Limits and Beyond book, I found this amusing…
My prescient question, from upthread: “Will any of the contributors actually directly say “consume less” instead of beating around the bush (“more equitable resource distribution to economically disadvantaged populations”)?”
Quote from page 54: “Most likely, this [solving certain problems] will ultimately require equitable allocation of finite global commons on a per capita basis.”
Overall, since the book is a compilation of solicited but not pre-coordinated individual essays on a more or less common theme, so far, like any such, it’s proving a mixed bag. Not surprisingly, there’s a lot of twisting and turning to avoid acknowledging the QED of P1: “achieving A requires B” and P2: “B is not humanly possible.”
Regarding the Princeton report for a zero-carbon future mentioned by Siliconguy #204 and #212, a series of similar reports were produced in and for the UK during the 2010’s. Supposedly technically robust, they were produced by the Centre for Alternative Technology using a variety of energy and engineering experts from academia and elsewhere. The principles seem quite similar to the Princeton plan – electrification of most heating and transport, public transport, walking and cycling instead of most car transport, reducing personal energy use by about 75%, producing synthetic fuels from biomass, eating less meat and huge land use changes. Whether the present UK government intends to follow a similar plan to achieve its own aim – enshrined in law – for the country to be zero-carbon by 2050, or indeed whether it has any plan at all for achieving this, it has yet to say. I can’t comment on the technical aspects but the main obstacle is that too many parts of the plan are unsaleable at present to too big a part of the electorate. It will probably stay that way until energy is so expensive that people have reduced their use by 75% involuntarily, by which time I guess there won’t be the resources to build out a massive zero-carbon infrastructure.
I heard a whisper on the breeze
That Paris and Berlin would freeze
In December ’22.
Except, of course, the very few
Who made the plans to hurt the Reds
And get you shivering in your beds,
Wishing for a bit of gas
To unfreeze your frozen ***.
Traitor! You must do your bit
To support the stupid twit
Who okayed this dreadful plan
Just to please old Uncle Sam.
“proof that Canada is still in play”
Oh we’re in play baby, don’t let anyone tell you different!
“You probably had to be around in the 1970s”
Yeah I bet, I always love hearing these perspectives and seeing that there’s nothing new under the sun. Speaking of things from the 70s that I never experienced, we watched Star Wars with the kids for the first time recently, which is the next best thing to being able to see it for the first time yourself. Likewise I’d happily throw a penny at anyone who’s able to describe to me what it was like to hear Led Zeppelin II when it was brand new.
I want to thank JMG for some advice he threw out to someone several posts ago, which was to say, in essence, that “muddling through is about all anyone can do at this point.” That’s wiser than it seems, I’ve been getting a lot of mileage out of that since I read it. It’s hard to accept for people who have always been driven and successful and are used to calling their own shots.
Also thanks to everyone who offered me suggestions on wood stoves, I think I’m gonna bite the bullet on this one. I realized that you can tell that a stove will probably heat my house because of the fact that a single window A/C unit cools it.
As for “collapsing now”, I recently halved my monthly internet bill, by switching providers and decreasing my speeds by quite a margin. My former company tried hard to get me to stay, offering me a hefty discount, and they almost got me, except that I kept it in the back of my mind that “no, I WANT suckier internet, that’s part of the point here. It’s not just about saving the money, I actively want to get accustomed to worse services.”
Team10tim, a fine metaphor. That’s the catastrophic downside of the cult of entitlement: you lose the ability to notice when the situation isn’t under your control.
Hackenschmidt, glad to hear of this! Mockery is a useful working tool just now.
Chris, we’re definitely in hang time here. The Democrats in power are using every trick in the book to try to keep the economy from collapsing completely until after the midterm elections in the hope that the GOP doesn’t end up with enough seats in the Senate to impeach Biden. Come November, I expect to see things get very ugly indeed.
Denis, I’m considering a post on Land. To my mind he’s wrong, disastrously so, but in interesting ways.
David BTL, instead of feeling trapped in a failing body, why not try to understand your condition as your body ripening toward its fulfillment? That’s what death is, you know — not failure but the natural completion and fulfillment of life.
Walt, funny. Predictable, but funny.
Robert, that’s usually the challenge. If we started with a large-scale conservation buildout to cut energy consumption, that might open up a window of opportunity during which some useful changes could be made, but the time frame for a wholesale conversion passed long ago.
Martin, funny. I see the first stirrings of a musical…
Bofur, delighted to hear all of this. If you haven’t yet read Warren Johnson’s Muddling Toward Frugality, it might be worth your while.
Mary Harrington’s interview with Peter Thiel on Unherd is depressingly revealing regarding the way the rich elites think:
“What if the Club of Rome is right, though, and we really have reached the limits to material growth? I put to him for a number of reasons — culturally and materially — it seems more than possible that we’ve irretrievably passed the point of Peak Progress. If this is so, he tells me, the first response should be frank realism. We should, he suggests, “at least be able to talk about it, and figure out ways to make our society work in a low-growth world”. But he sees this attitude less as realism than a cop-out: “I think that sounds like a lazy excuse of people who don’t want to work very hard. It sounds too much like an excuse.” Far from being a matter of humans bumping up against natural limits, he argues, “I want to blame it on cultural changes, rather than on us running out of ideas”.”
I could answer what Conservatives say of Amazon unionizing: that’s what happens when you have unrelenting, government-created, and paid-for (and illegal) monopolies instead of actual competition.
You either have literal monopolies, like Amazon never paying sales and other taxes for 20 years and not being arrested, then getting billions in CIA money after they do; or else financial monopolies like Starbucks and Home Depot getting 0% interest and regular bailouts while the local hardware and diner get 20% interest and a visit from the code people and the IRS.
Conservatives may not be in favor of unions, since the process *forces* people who don’t want to join to be in it, but when you’re talking breaking the law every which way on one side, it’s hardly surprising when it gets broken in the other to offset it. Of course, not playing favorites, enforcing the law justly, and not requiring involuntary exchanges would be their solution.
I honestly can’t believe people take renewables seriously. The same people who put out this pretty report have been wrong about every prediction for 50 years in a row. We just saw Germany collapse with the barest *attempt* at renewables, as they provide essentially zero power though every wind site in the whole country was built. There is zero chance the electric generated can create replacement turbines which will fail in a mere 20 years, possibly their breakeven point. All the nations’ worth of concrete, copper, rare earths, diesel, etc could have been better spent building one passive Roman aqueduct and lighting the rest on fire while hooting in circles like potlatch cannibals.
But how’s this essential problem: you’re on a very complex and expensive ship. To get on another one, you need to build this second ship while you are also fully sailing and repairing the first one without harm or incident. That means you need, 100% (petroship) plus 50% (new ship) for 150% of present capacity and usage? Do I see that happening at all anywhere? Now this is amortized over your time horizon, but let’s say we mine 30% more copper. Then what? It’s either gone or we have a copper mining collapse when we’re done with the buildout.
Let’s say we cut present usage 50% to create the capacity. How? In France they are rioting at far under a 5% buildout of renewables.
Add to that renewables don’t make any power. That is, they are so extremely marginal, 5-20%, they cannot be attached to the grid, which has 5-20% transmission losses. So they have to decentralize exclusively to get any net power at all, which is the single thing they refuse to do. It’s also all electric, which we don’t need. Charging transformers use 5-20% of the power in the grid right now: that’s your phone cube, the TV when it’s not on, etc. So we *can* make enormous gains, but just as decentralization is not profit, conserving energy is anti-profit, and never discussed unless they can sell you something like lightbulbs at 10x the cost but only 8x the life.
So we are watching them get hundred-billion tax handouts per country, fail at generating any power, refuse to use engineering that does work, not decentralize, not add resiliency, and never take the extremely easy energy wins everyone knows are available at zero cost. Oh and put the costs on the poor rural Yellow Vests, and subsidize both free cars and free charge-ups for rich urban Tesla owners who don’t have to drive across Wisconsin. Yup: it’s a scam all the way down, from every possible proof.
But some experts put out a report.
But back the original: Suppose it could work: where would you get an America and a Half’s worth of power and raw commodities during the build out? And can I see anything, anywhere, in all time, where you proved a success?
In the meantime I can use local firewood that’s going to waste, grow a garden that requires zero shipping, hang out the laundry, and heat with a storm window cold frame, a pile of bricks, and a solar hot water wall: all of which are very near to prohibited, illegal, in most areas.
About eating bugs: Bayou Renaissance Man has an interesting post on his blog on this topic, based on decades of living and traveling in Africa. A brief excerpt:
“Sure, Africans eat grasshoppers – mostly because the grasshoppers have eaten their crops, and they’ve got to eat something or starve to death. I’ve eaten grasshoppers myself on occasion. They were just another food-from-necessity, certainly not food-because-I-love-their-flavor.” https://bayourenaissanceman.blogspot.com/2022/07/the-anti-meat-propaganda-war-is-dialing.html
I think there’s good reason to be skeptical about the narrative around Sri Lanka. Many things don’t add up. For one, Rajapaksa was not simply a Western puppet. Had he been, he never would’ve been allowed to turn to Chinese lending for infrastructure projects like the Hambantota Port. The globalist/WEF types view China as the biggest challenge to their lunatic agenda and such a move would have sealed Rajapaksa’s fate in their eyes. When you add in that the National Endowment for Democracy (read CIA) and USAID had been pouring millions into various NGO, “Human Rights” orgs, etc the whole thing starts to look like a classic color revolution.
Neptune’s Dolphin, #118. My first husband’s doctoral dissertation was on Veblein’s work – he’s no longer alive and he most likely would have viewed “The leisure of the theory class” as sacrilege, but I had a tea-coming-out-the nose moment with it. I think you’ve found a synonym for us: “theory class” = PMC. Thank you!
LR in Idaho
@ Siliconguy #121 – Another reason that young men are not interested in enlisting in military service is because of new & ‘improved’ nonsensical requirements making it even less desirable than ever for potential enlistees . For example, I know of a young man who strongly considered enlisting (and worked hard to lose weight & get in shape so he could qualify) BUT decided against it when he was told that he had to get vaxxed against a certain virus. I wouldn’t be surprised if the draft was brought back.
“The last 20 years of US foreign and energy policy looks a lot like criminal mastermind Sideshow Bob walking through a field of rakes:”
I was thinking of Clouseau vs Dreyfus. Dreyfus is almost out of the asylum when Clouseau visits…
Shout out to Nomadic Beer post #40 – Thank you for putting my own thoughts into words better than I could. I think “conspirary theorist”, a term supposedly deployed by the CIA in the 60s to discredit people questioning events surrounding the JFK assassination, is someone who understands (to some degree) how oligarchical power propagates. Your comments on coordination of power at higher levels and their shared goals has been confirmed by more than a few insiders that gained a glimpse into that world. A podcast I heard mentioned of the the biggest issues is people don’t understand how power diffuses downward, e.g. the coordinated shut down of a large part of the world with the same message spewing out everywhere. I often wonder about those most successful at the start of the industrial age who have managed to compound their wealth and power since that time through their heirs.
I also wonder where Canada will end up and if its worth leaving at some point. Martin Armstrong’s model has Canada and the US breaking up in the next ten years. I wish more people would read his blog and his cyclical model based on 3.14…. The Geometry Of Time!
John, I appreciate your broader historical outlook, and love hearing arguements as to why those with the most power are less coordinated and competent than I think.
Talking of things getting ugly in November… In the last few days Tucker Carlson (a MSM commentator that I currently have some moderate respect for) has not only touched a certain third rail in American politics but has seemingly grabbed it with both hands. The third rail in question is the one that is the subject of those now 50 weekly open posts on your other blog. I’ve been wondering if this would happen. It would be the perfect Republican counter to the that issue that the Democrats are now using for attack that they had fifty years to make into actual law instead of relying on a dubious Supreme Court ruling. In fairness to the left in my opinion “conservatives” have also been making hay in their own way with this issue for the last fifty years.
Again, we shall see. But we already know that interesting times are ahead.
Hi John Michael,
It does look that way, doesn’t it? The flip-flopping with economic policies (going from printing, to printing with interest! 🙂 ) and the inability to learn from history is quite gobsmacking. I did mention quite a while back that interest rates would be the preferred tool, and they’d go hard. The quote I referred to was kind of how it worked out back then. A crazy last minute splurge, followed by deathly quiet, then a plunge. The lesson I took away from those times was that the authoritas could royally stuff things up, and I can’t speak for others, but I never forgot that time and kept it as a future possibility.
Well jeeze Mr. Greer …
I just pulled up and done got hit broadside by that dratted B-Bee! They put any sarcasm that I could muster to absolute shame!!
Righteous Sting meet OWIE!!!
Time to perhaps consider a new venture, methinks….. maybe I can claim fame as a scurrilous Onion peeler.. Whatdoyathink? ‘;]
Here’s hoping they keep a ‘hot’ hive or two going.
Oh, by the way .. you should all check out Dr. Zaius, courtesy of the CTH.. It’s to um, die for..
Damn them ALL to Hail!
Jeanne, I said “raise as livestock”, not “eat”.
Well you can add Malaysia to the growing list of anger and frustration from the Plebs. This is rapidly going global. As the 80’s song would say: “The Heat Is On”.
@John Michael Greer
“Alice, one of the reasons a lot of Americans point at Britain as a Dreadful Example is precisely the fantastic overgrowth of bureaucracy you’ve allowed over there. I suppose that when you lost your empire, all those bureaucratic drones who used to make the lives of native people miserable had to find something to do with their time!”
I do wonder that after the Bureaucracy dies. The Warrior Aristocracy was always a successor stage afterwards.
But the Bureaucracy gets built back up as Commoners get increasingly involved in War. Resulting in the need to tax and organize. Which overshadows and eventually displaces the Warrior Aristocracy at the top of the food chain under the Absolute Monarch.
But in China the Civil Bureaucracy permanently subjugated their Warriors to prevent them from reaching for the Throne since the Song.
It seems that in China in particular the Bureaucracy is remarkably capable of remaining in control no matter how many dynasty collapses happen. By just bowing to the next Absolute Monarch but always keeping the Military subjugated under their ultimate control.
Off topic. Just a note about COVID. Dane County just re-instituted masks.🖕🏼I am not sure if it is “an order” or only a suggestion. Either way, I don’t care.
My husband looks at me aghast because I cannot take COVID seriously (any longer). My mother trained as a public health nurse during World War II, and taught us kids about inoculations, carriers, immunity, the whole “virus shebang” before I could walk.
I don’t trust “the govmint,” or so-called experts, or the mass media, or anything other than looking at the behaviors of previous epidemics. Even back to the Black Death of the 1300s, which kept periodically recurring into the 1500s.
I operate according to what happened in epidemics like the Spanish Flu of 1918-1924. That virus came and went in successive waves. It was roughly “gone” by 1924. That flu virus is still with us, and there is nothing we can do about it. The world reached herd immunity.
Here in Dane County, there is a new “mask obligation”—pffft. For whose protection? Mine? I don’t give a flying frack if I catch it, nor do I care if I give it to others (asymptomatic “carrier”). I think I had it at least once anyway, back in early 2021 — I couldn’t, and can’t, be bothered to get tested — I will not become a statistic. Testing itself is a racket ($$$$$). COVID now is no worse than a bad cold or light flu. Yes, people still die from it, but they would have died within a couple years ANYWAY, from something. So, no-one is going to get me to regularly wear a loathsome-mask-that-prevents-me-from-breathing. I will wear one only when someone puts a musket to my head. Nor will I accept anymore inoculations.
COVID variations are valid, but the above-mentioned Spanish flu had the exact thing going on (as do all viruses), and it eventually faded into the background. Simply, people became/become immune. The longer people hide behind masks, the longer it takes for large numbers around us to become naturally immune.
And now, moneypox. Note the missing “k.”§ I think drug companies, &tc. monetize each virus-of-the-month. Nope, not gonna get me to get a shot for that. I say, “No.” If it wasn’t moneypox, it would be something else. Drug companies, &tc. love to use scare tactics. Sorry, not falling for it.
Re eating bugs: I have tried dried mopane worms. When dried they break up and the result looks like black pellet cat food, and tastes like poor-quality biltong (our version of beef jerky). They’d be okay for added protein in a stew, I guess.
I hope mopane worm never becomes a fashionable food for rich people. They would buy up a source of cheap protein for rural Africans. It would be like crayfish, which I remember in the 1950s were considered the cockroaches of the sea, not to be eaten by decent people, but now only the rich and poachers can afford to eat them.
My stepfather mentioned catching and barbecuing locusts during the depression of the 1930s. They were driven by hunger, not by virtue signalling.
About edible insects
I don’t know how TPTB came with the idea of substituting meat with bugs, but this is not how insects are consumed in a culture that actually appreciate’ em. At least not in Mexico.
I do love crickets, more often than not I eat them in quesadillas. Even if they add lots of flavor and texture to the dish, it must be said that the bulk of both weight and calories in that meal come from corn masa and cheese. Crickets are a sort of ingredient that is closer to a spice than a staple. They are therefore pricey (in the cities), but used in small quantities.
Now, I am not really sure if there are people today raising crickets in some bug farm or another, but traditionally the peasants who began consuming these insects caught them in the wild. Actually, this was as much a pest control effort as a protein supplement effort: “you eat my maize, I eat you, we are even”. When this acquired taste was adopted in the cities, the peasants began catching the bugs as a sort of “cash crop”; they sell them for money in order to buy even more calories, or other necessities of life they cannot provide for themselves. One of the reasons the bugs are expensive is because the process of catching those is labor intensive.
You’ve mentioned Sri Lanka, as did Daniel H #236 and I can give my own impressions from two, two-week work visits in late 2017 and 2018. I was based in Colombo but did some trips to various parts of the country by train and car – other people driving as the roads are mad! My overall impression is that things were not too bad at all and that while not many people were very wealthy, there were few signs of severe poverty either. Beggars, filth and general squalor were much less in evidence than when I was in Athens in between the two trips. The health, education and social welfare systems seemed to function better than in most LIDCs. Whether all that was propped up by debt I don’t know, but certainly the bombings of Easter 2019 then Covid destroyed the tourist industry which was a pretty big share of the country’s income. Certainly there was nothing I saw before that, that indicated a violent overthrow of the government was on the cards.
@Siliconguy – I clicked on the link to read about the plant, it looks like it grows in warmer places and so we don’t have it around here, but what struck me funny is that it’s in the “caltrop” family of plants.
The “caltrop” family? That’s too amusing in view of your advisory – in case anyone doesn’t know, a “caltrop” is an obstacle strewn (on a road e.g.) to inhibit passage. I’m sure the naming of the plant family was intentional!
Inspector Clouseau from the Pink Panther? Tea would be coming out of my nose if I’d made any this morning.
@PatriciaT “I wouldn’t be surprised if the draft was brought back.”
I think that would shred this country. Unless there was a rallying cry like Pearl Harbor. But even with that I can’t imagine the PMC, and their kids, would want to do that — and with social media, the poor who normally fight the wars would be able to resist as well.
(and don’t get me started on the low number of people even qualified–see this line https://www.thoughtco.com/us-youth-ineligible-for-military-service-3322428#:~:text=At%20least%2071%20percent%20of,constant%20flow%20of%20qualified%20volunteers.)
if it starts to really happen, our host (and us) better buy lots of popcorn!
thx for the thoughtful comment!
Yeah, thats kinda what I figured your position was on the subject. Ive been fairly impressed by the younger generations willingness to push back against management.
Northwind grandma #248
Dane county only recommended people wear masks in doors, it isnt a mandate. Also I didnt realize you and yours were in Dane. Im in madison.
Here in France, I had a conversation with a friend, last week. He is a distinguished, high IQ mathematician, and we’ve been friends for 50 years or so.
I told him that we could have a catastrophe, energy-wise, in the Winter. He strongly disagreed because France hasn’t had a real, major national catastrophe since WWII, and therefore such things as energy shortages, food shortages, etc, can’t happen here. I told him about countries such as Sri Lanka and Lebanon, both being countries that became civilized a very long time ago, and where, mind you, a major national catastrophe is currently happening, but he kept saying “I’m talking about France.” His approach was the same when I spoke about events prior to WWII: “That was a long time ago.” The historically recent putsch attempt of 1961 by French generals? “It failed.”
So he’s heavily in denial, and since the next stage of grief, according to Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, is anger, I expect him to be very angry this Winter. Against whom? It’s hard to tell. Putin, the French government, the USA? All of them? I don’t know.
Last year I gave my eldest son and his wife a little gas stove. Their apartment, like mine, runs on electricity, and they have a baby. If there were a power cut, they have no way to cook food, and while adults can survive on cold meals, babies need warm milk. The little gas stove is for such an emergency. Yesterday, the family gathered together for lunch. My son, who is an accountant and a great fan of cryptocurrencies, was dismissive: “Power cuts? Such things never happen here, and never will!”
True, in France we have a very dependable power grid, but even the best power grid needs fuel.
I could tell lots of similar anecdotes. I expect to see a lot of anger next Winter, here in Western Europe… After anger there will be bargaining (aka throwing the Ukrainians under the bus, maybe), and then depression (I don’t know how that will manifest itself collectively), then, hopefully, acceptance, but not necessarily very soon.
@ Justin #245
My apologies. I misread your posting. The only bugs I know of that might fall into that category are mealworms which are used as a supplement in bird feed and also as fishing bait. It’s been recently discovered that mealworms can consume various plastics including Styrofoam without ill effects but how useful this will turn out to be remains to be seen. It depends on how it breaks down in their gut.
@ Patricia @ 253
The very same and Dreyfus then transforms himself into a Bond-style villain, death ray and all. I still get a kick out of watching the UN building get vaporized with onlookers watching at a safe distance, all dressed in the styles of the 1970s. It’s so wonderfully absurd.
You guys are wonderful, very thoughtful and “adorn” the essays by JMG perfectly. That’s the first thing that needs mentioning. My post poses questions that arise out of the issues downstream of the devolution we can expect, and I hope it’s sufficiently relevant. Otherwise, I expect Mr. Greer not to let it through at all.
I’m wondering, though. One of my favorite television shows that I actually watch (I admit I occasionally indulge) is “America’s Test Kitchen.” Brilliant rethinking of classic recipes to make them efficient for…today’s kitchen. Emphasis on “today’s.” Back when I had a standard kitchen, I used to watch this show avidly. My options are much more limited today, and my ingenuity for adapting to them has taken a nosedive. Still, the show and the issues it raises interest me.
With the Great Reset upon us (or the slow collapse, take your pick) those kitchens and those ingredients shown in the aforementioned television show look VERY luxurious to me and I’m guessing that much of what I’m seeing will be unobtainable soon if it’s not already. Does anyone in the commentariat have serious ideas or even fully developed cookbooks/methodologies that take into account the need to make substitutions across the board in how our favorite foods are prepared.
There’s a science to it, I know, and I don’t only mean science of cooking chemistry and taste. Not everyone in the near future will have access to the encyclopedic books on cooking chemistry and science that are out there, or if they do, they may not have the expertise (or patience) to adapt the information contained therein to their (new) current conditions. Meaning a much reduced variety of means of cooking, etc.
As a random example, how can we adapt our cooking to the stovetops of wood stoves, or jet stoves, etc.? Or a wood fire with some sort of grill arrangement? And so forth. Anyone have some guidance? I don’t anticipate living long enough to enjoy this recalibration in its fullness, but I bet many of you will, and the question has occurred to me. Sure, there are camping/campout cookbooks and much older cookbooks, but is there anything that deals with the replacement of our current methods with those older ones in a systematic and useful way?
As another example, electrified ovens in every home (or multiple ones) with reliable temperatures, for example, strike me as unlikely to be in as common use in the near future as they are now, what with electricity costs doubling and tripling and so on. What to do? What to do? Surely many of you have thought about this or are already trying out the alternatives and have wisdom to share with the rest of us.
Luke, that’s predictable if depressing. The fact that Thiel thinks the only resource we have to worry about running out of is ideas…
Jasper, I don’t disagree. In a just and fair world, unions wouldn’t be necessary. In the world we actually live in, they provide useful pushback against the self-destructive tendencies of capitalism.
Daniel, nobody’s saying that Rajapaksa was just a Western puppet. He and Wickremesinghe are simply technocrats who bought into the snake oil the WEF is selling. Does your explanation account for the disastrous results, in terms of agricultural production and economics, of the Sri Lankan government’s attempt to push organics on everyone without adequate transitioning measures?
John, I heard about that. The thing that fascinates me is that the GOP may use it as a way to trash the Democrats and distance themselves from Trump at the same time — and it would likely work.
Chris, I get the impression that the governments of your country and mine are taking part (with others, of course) in a breakneck race to see who can mess up first and hardest. It should be a fierce competition.
Polecat, that Bee has a deadly sting. (It’s a wild and an untamed thing…)
Rod, thanks for the data point. The heat is on indeed.
Info, of course. Too little bureaucracy is a source of problems. Too much is an even greater source of problems. The point at which there’s just the right amount lasts for about fifteen minutes out of the thousand year lifespan of a civilization.
Northwind, I trust I’m not misgendering you or something, but I’d be willing to bet that you’re not a young gay man who goes to orgies, and neither is anyone you have intimate personal relations with. Those are the risk groups for monkeypox. The corporate media is doing its level best to obscure that detail, since they can sell more “health” care that way.
Robert, it wasn’t in the cards until the government adopted a stunningly clueless set of agricultural policies pushed on them by the WEF.
Horzabky, there may be a drought in France but clearly denial is in full flood. The flat insistence that “it can’t happen here” is one of modern Europe’s great vulnerabilities, and you’re probably right that once it does happen, there’s going to be a lot of anger.
Perhaps the zenith of this sort of willed blindness to the obvious comes in the book’s discussion of depression as a modern epidemic. Schwab and Malleret are quick to talk about the need to make sure that mental health services are available to the hundreds of millions of depressed people in the post-Covid world—a sentiment that will no doubt endear them to their friends and fellow stockholders in the pharmaceutical industry. Absent from the discussion in the book, of course, is any sense that the epidemic of depression might have a deeper cause than temporary vagaries caused by the pandemic, much less that the cause might reasonably be addressed.
In line with the above the following article was published a few days ago by The Guardian.
The age range studied was 16 – 24. Young men aren’t faring any better than young women. The most common mental illness for all groups studied (men, women, lgbtq+, etc) was anxiety. Presumably the kind of anxiety that is regular, debilitating and destabilizing.
The second most common is depression. Third is drug abuse. Young men were more prone to drug abuse, likely in an attempt to do something…anything…to get relief from the pain regardless of whether it is legal or not. Their elders aren’t helping them but they at least still have some kind of gumption to find something to alleviate their own suffering so they turn to self-medicating. Women were more likely to succumb to debilitating depression.
This is Australia as of 2021. A country I deem to have far less GovCorp corruption than the U.S., far less economic inequality than the U.S. and a much better social safety net than in the U.S. And still it isn’t enough.
It reminds me of what Johan Hari’s book said about rampant mental illness across Europe (example: one in three French are on daily mental illness drugs) and of course what Sadhguru has said..that mental illnesses are metastasizing around the globe on every continent to such an extent that in 50 years time he says 50% of the global population will have some kind of seriously debilitating mental illness if things are not done to turn the ship around.
On another note:
I’ve recently come to the conclusion that the U.S. may be on the cusp (if it isn’t already) of reaching Latin American levels of GovCorp corruption. If things get dicier (as Abhigya Anand and Martin Armstrong say it will be for 2023) my state (Texas) might well become the next Bolivia or even Argentina/Venezuela as the cartel war band incursions and civil unrest become ever more extensive and serious. Well, actually, maybe the U.S. has always had Latin American levels of GovCorp corruption. It’s just that it’s wealth gave it a patina of respectability for a while but that moment has passed.
FYI, I’ve started reading one of Peter Zeihan’s older books, The Accidental Superpower and it seems he agrees with your assessment about roving war bands becoming a problem over the next few decades throughout the U.S. as things spiral out of control. I have a suspicion its one of the reasons he left Texas (I recall one video where he said he lived in Austin for 17 years) and then last year packed up and moved to Colorado. Texas has similar problems as Ukraine I guess although the soil is cr*ppier in my opinion. There’s a reason Texas is known as a ranching state, not a food-for-people-crops state.
He says Ukraine has the problem of being a “wide open”. Texas is similar. There are almost no natural terrain features that can be turned into a military advantage for a strong defensive position against metastasizing war band culture and large civil unrest. I note that Colorado is not a “wide open” and I suspect he thinks the problem is going to be bad enough soon enough that it was one of his prime criteria for a new place to live. A place where an average citizen will have mother nature aid in self-defense from being repeatedly pillaged and looted by roving war bands. The Wide, Open, Rich, PMC Suburbs of Texas are ripe for a reaping.
I can easily see the U.S. splitting apart because D.C./LA/Chicago/NYC are still far enough away from the paramilitary war band/cartel problems they double down on policies that put border state populations at greater risk. Death counts among civilians that make the cartel war days of Pablo Escobar look like an infinitesimal blip.
So he at least agrees with you on that part – that War Band-ism is about to become a much bigger problem in the U.S. than it has been in at least my living memory. The very weird thing is that despite this – and it is but one of the huge problems he sees barreling down the train tracks on the U.S. – he still harps on about all kinds of supposed advantages the U.S. has compared to China or the EU or Japan. Very odd. But then again…wealthy Western Europe is ripe for War Band-ism too.
JMG said: I’m considering a post on Land. To my mind he’s wrong, disastrously so, but in interesting ways.
I vote for the essay on Nick Land 😀
JMG, you raise so many interesting points. A few that stood out to me…
“Those experts promptly led America straight into the quagmire of the Vietnam War, while loading the military with a flurry of contradictory demands that made victory impossible and withdrawal unacceptable.”
The man who most perfectly exemplifies this, and whose thought and career is worth reading about as a cautionary tale is Robert McNamara. He might be gone but his ideology is still with us.
“That realization—that expertise becomes its own nemesis—was the insight that most of the countercultural thinkers of the 1960s and 1970s never quite managed to reach, and its absence played a large role in dooming their movement to irrelevance.”
They could not and still cannot take that step. There is always a better policy or new, smarter experts just around the corner. To reject expertise is to reject technocracy, and to reject technocracy is to reject the very idea of Progress itself. Rejecting the idea of Progress places you beyond the pale (as you well know). Few have the courage to do so.
Belief in expertise can, however, morph into something bizarre. “Trust the science” sounds like it came straight from the catechism of the Adeptus Mechanicus. Scientist-priests persecuting unbelievers for heresy no longer seems far-fetched. In fact, I’d argue it is already happening.
Regarding the example of Sri Lanka, what level of violence do you see coming as part of the decline?
@Clarke aka Gwydion
If you have experience with cooking then adapting to gas stoves, wood ovens, etc. is actually pretty easy. Look at places were cooking does not depend on electricity, but on gas, carbon or wood:
Look at cooking in rural places. Improvising an oven, grill, etc. is actually quite easy as long as you’ve got something to burn. Most of the following information is in spanish, but i’m sure you can find similar videos in english:
How to make an oven with bricks and clay:
How to cook in the ground:
How to make a grill with bricks + metal:
How to make an open-fire woodstove:
As for substituting ingredients… there’s a class chefs take in school that shows them how to approximate the flavor of a dish using local ingredients with up to 70% similarity. This will differ depending on your geographical region, but “Substituting Ingredients: The A to Z Kitchen Reference” by Becky Sue Epstein is a good resource.
Managing resource constraints is a bit more difficult. What is likely to be available in your area if global supply chains collapse? What is grown locally? What can be grown locally but isn’t? A useful exercise might be making a list of what you think will be available. Make sure to include something you can make flour with, a protein source, a dense carbohydrate source such as potatoes, squash, beans etc, and a source of fat. You will be surprised at the variety of things that can be made into bread or similar dishes: there is of course the traditional grains: wheat, rice, corn, etc. but you can also make flour from almonds, nuts, and many other seeds. Protein sources also vary enormously: meat (cow, deer, goat, etc.), fish & shellfish, eggs, milk & cheese, insects, mushrooms, and certain plants all can be taken as a basis for your diet. Fats are necessary if you want what you cook to taste good: butter, vegetable oils (olive, coconut, canola, almond), and meat fats can all work. The important thing is to make sure that whatever you choose is both cheap, abundant and easy to conserve.
Then from your short list, take a moment to think of all available combinations between ingredients and cooking methods. Sure, the list might not be as big as you would like it to be, but it’s still pretty significant. I’m sure you can even think of ways to make moonshine.
Now, the secret to making this a feasible plan is additives; Things that you can use in pretty modest amounts that will make your food tastier: spices, salt, honey & other sweeteners, and seasonal fruits & vegetables.
Once you determine the ingredient list, the cooking methods available, and the additives, you can slowly but surely grow a recipe bank through experimentation.
JMG, regarding the sanctions against Russia, it occurs to me that the European elites, and particularly the Germans, are making the classic mistake pointed out long ago on the ADR regarding the technological fallacy: they have never realised that technology without energy inputs is nothing. Even a spade requires (human) energy inputs.
The Europeans thought that choking Russia from access to technology would choke the economy when of course practically everyone else could see that choking access to Russian energy would choke the European economy.
Would it be fair to say that energy can be converted into technology, which is a creative process, but when technology is converted into energy, it is a destructive process, and in the worse case, a catabolisation process? (as a nasty little example, is renewable energy a destructive process?)
Regarding Mercouris, his politics would seem very moderate Burkean conservative?
I notice that you field the following question not unoften and may wish to copy and paste the answer given by Mercouris (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BLYU1pFpuc), who is based in London, when asked by an American about whether to move from the US (to Europe):
“I never give people advice about that, everyone must make their own decisions. I still think personally, for what it’s worth that the US has an awful lot to offer and it is a huge country and perhaps you might want to consider that if you are unhappy where you are, there are lots of other places in the US where you could move presumably, and they might suit you better, so I am not going to give you that kind of advice. I don’t think it is for us to do it.
What I am going to say is clearly lots of things are going wrong in the US but I also have to say this. I think the chances of the US turning things around are much higher than in Europe so don’t expect that you will find greener pastures and a safer footing in Europe than you would find in the US itself.”
@Jeanne, I think I came across a little harsh in my reply to you. Sorry about that. And that is a good point about chicken feed, although traditionally chickens find their own bugs to eat – they weren’t raised in such concentrations that bugs had to be fed to them.
I don’t have a specific source, but one pre-industrial “bug farming” practice was suspending rotting food, probably things like squash that maggots like, above aquaculture ponds / rice paddies. Flies would lay eggs in it and the larvae would fall out and the fish would eat them. Of course, this would also function as a form of pest control by ensuring that most of the reproductive efforts of the flies would end as fish food, and maybe that was the real point.
It seems that the western elites and their “intelligent” agencies are full “Baghdad Bob”, they have been saying that the ruskies are running out of missiles, ammo, armor, spare parts, manpower, logistics, communication, etc…, now the über-Baghdad Bob the MI6, very famous for their exact expertise in the WMD fiasco in Irak, are saying that the “Russia about to run out of steam in Ukraine” and “it is a good opportunity for them to attack in Kherson”:
I thought that the russians are using diesel and gasoline for their tanks and trucks, but it seems they are using steam instead 😉 ?, for sure will be the European countries, including UK, that will “run out of steam” this winter…
The self delusion of the western elites is impressive, the secretary general of NATO, Jens “Comical Ali” Stoltenberg is saying to the european population:
“We should stop complaining and step up and provide support, full stop.”
With salary in the six digits, probably with a well paid revolving door waiting for him, Stoltenberg is asking the population “stop complaining”; clearly he will not suffer cold and/or hunger nor will lost his job, if the things go very badly, he is real brave man risking OUR lives.
Prepare for regime change in all Europe (except Hungary) and may be even in USA.
The situation in Spain isn’t better than in France. Denial is everywhere. Government “muppets” here say that everthing is OK because we don’t depend on Russian gas and oil, thanks to the “huge amount” of Algerian gas…but supposed “accidents” happen:
We depend of a not very reliable source, and even if there would be gas excess this winter, EU would press to Spanish govt to “help willingly” to deficitary countries like Germany.
Algeria isn’t exactly a Russian vassal, but they historically have good relations. And Putin could press on Algerian government because Russia is a good army provider for Algeria…
So winter is coming.
So… I’m checking out the latest on the unclipped hedgerow ..wink wink!! and low-an-behold!, there’s Herr Doctor BIRX – “$qwaaaakkk”… stating essentially, that the Vauxxines ‘didn’t do Nottin’ … but take them anyway. Look at that screenshot, and tell me that it does NOT resemble our ‘former’ briefly vauted high minister of ‘Dis’Mis’Mal’ In-Fo-Mation?
Body Lingua don’t lie…
Re: “ ‘it can’t happen here’ is one of modern Europe’s great vulnerabilities”
The ironic thing is, of course, that to say “it can’t happen here” is also to say that the universe has a limit, that whatever be the situation elsewhere, “it” (i.e. something undesirable) can’t happen “here” (i.e. in my corner of the world, where I am). Given the right conditions – conditions that arise gradually and don’t necessarily announce themselves on arrival – can happen here, for any values whatsoever of “it” and “here.” (Yes, “any value of ‘it'” would include the glitzy spacefaring monofuture, if the conditions, including available resources, were right to produce them. They’re not.)
The conditions for a major famine, however, do exist. You have drought in most of the world’s breadbaskets, and the biggest breadbasket that isn’t in drought is at war, with Europe being by proxy a major belligerent – plus lingering supply chain issues, etc. I’m half wondering if the restrictions on fertilizer (and in general most of the “green”/”climate change” policies) some nations are imposing or threatening to pose aren’t merely greenwashing but a way to make it appear as though our switch “away” from brown energy is a choice – and not, for instance, the brown energy starting to not be there anymore…
„the best way to deal with the great reset is to a) make fun of Klaus Schwab“
I love this, and have been practicing it rigorously. In my experience, even pretty mainstream people open their minds to the reality of the WEF and great reset madness when you use a tone of ridicule, like „you gotta see the WEF‘s Twitter feed, it’s like ideas for black mirror written by five year olds!“
Sardaukar, JMG re: INSTC
I must say I‘m really happy about this development. I‘ve always had a soft spot for Persia, because that place has been around for so long!
The fact that the modern state of Iran is going through some transitory emotional hiccup because it had a run-in with an upstart kiddo empire mustn‘t distract from the fact that this is a place that gave us things like the concept of zero, or monotheism, and that has still-working 3,000 year old windmills and passive, clay-based air conditioning.
I‘d love to see Persia back in action, and the very same goes for India, for the same reason.
We have a distorted image of these places, because of those guns-germs-and-steel-related problems that took place, well, from their perspective, only rather recently.
Russia is much younger country, but I‘ve always sensed a vibe of great potential from it, and after all the sacrifices it has had to make to the sheer hostility of its land, and to the allure of its potential, I wish it all the best from the bottom of my heart. Someone with such a hard start deserves to win at some point.
So yeah, reading your assessment of this co-operation, JMG, made me smile. I‘m looking forward to a great power that has roots of this kind, it will be informed by such deep and different influences than we‘ve known from the last one, that it’s presence might just make the whole world feel different.
Not to ignore the rise of China, but being of Indo-European descent myself, I associate the prospect of an Indian-Persian-Russian cultural epicenter with a sense of meaning and character in world affairs that may well be much more profound for us westerners than our rather shallow-rooted phase of dominance has been.
Maybe, in this new great power and it’s cultural influence, long-buried elements our own identity will come back to life, which have never found a place in the Faustian run.
So, I, for one, welcome our new Indo-Russo-Persian overlords!
Of course, that great power will have its dark sides, like they all do. But this one has ancient roots, and a powerful connection to all the things we so badly miss, so I‘m pumped, man, bring it on =D
@Jerry 254: a “new Pearl Harbor”? I think the USA has been there and done that already. That’s not to assume that there aren’t people out there who think we need a “booster” right about now. I have mixed feelings about the draft, having been a “draft motivated volunteer” or “DMV” myself, back in the 1960s. I think having a broader cross section of society in the military than the segment who would volunteer without coercion makes for a better, more balanced force. And yet it’s involuntary servitude of the nastiest sort. Like I said, I’ve got mixed feelings about it. Some folks can benefit from military discipline, while for others it’s just gratuitous hazing and abuse, creating a life-long aversion to military service.
Clarke aka Gwydion # 258
Take a look at books by Walter Staib, such as “A Taste of History Cookbook: The Flavors, Places, and People That Shaped American Cuisine” and of Georgia Pellegrin, like” Modern Pioneering” and “Girl Hunter”
Hope this helps
Panda, industrial society has created a miserable, antihuman world and forced people to live in it. I suspect one of the main reasons it will fall apart is precisely that so many people would rather huddle in a burnt-out basement than keep on slogging through their daily round. As for Zeihan, I’m glad he noticed.
Starfish, exactly. The failure of the religion of progress is the mainspring behind most of the really weird social phenomena of our time. As for Sri Lanka, I don’t know the country well enough to hazard a guess.
Thecrowandsheep, exactly. The European elites have forgotten that technology means nothing without a power source. Yes, converting technology to energy is a mode of catabolism. As for Mercouris, thanks for this — he’s quite right, I think.
DFC, I think they’re quite literally clinically insane. I suppose that’s inevitable — once you buy into the notion that you’re “history’s actors” and that everyone else can only respond the way you expect, which is the standard belief system among Western elites these days, you’re basically headed for mental wreck.
Polecat, I saw that. They’re hanging their heads at the Onion right now — how can you write something more absurd than Birx insisting with a straight face that of course the vaccines don’t work?
Brendhelm, nicely summarized.
Eike, so noted. I hope you don’t find the transition too rough, however. The last time Iran was a major power Europe was a cold, damp economic backwater racked by endless wars, not to mention plagues and famines. Those days could return quite easily.
Clarke aka Gwydion #258
regarding substitutions of food
I am a fan of the books that come out of America’s Test Kitchen (ATK) TV show. I am an idiot-cook so need ATC’s “show-and-tell” magazine called Cook’s Illustrated — they bind the six issues into a book each autumn, and sell the book as an annual book.
I put ATK in with “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives” — the food looks so scrumptious, I want to “squeal my car out of the driveway to get to the grocery store to cook that recipe now‼️” But I never do drive off like a maniac. I just sit and stew at how mouthwatering the stew looks.
I have used a book called “The Food Substitutions Bible” (2010) by David Joachim. I have it, but at the moment, I can’t find it — it must be among books still packed from the move.
Substitutions are in the cooking-hacks category. I never thought about it, but yeah, cooks are going to have to substitute a lot more.
One worthwhile substitution is buying a big hunk of cheap meat (perfectly good, just tough and/or chewy), and slow-cook it in a cast iron Dutch oven. Add potatoes, carrots, other veggies. The whole family gets to munch on tasty eats all week. This tactic deserves to be in the Tightwad Gazette.
I have given some thought to what cooking would be like in a declining age. It is going to be rough putting food on the table, not only cost-wise but also in cooking. People don’t cook these days — they order by phone or by “app” and have ready-made food delivered to where they live — it is exorbitantly expensive. I figure these deliveries aren’t going to last long.
It finally dawned on me that the American public does not know an important cooking fundamental, which is (1) bacteria is in food, and (2) heat kills bacteria, and (3) if one eats enough of said bacteria, one gets sick, or dies. The reason why so many Americans get food-poisoning every year is that they don’t KNOW to go the extra step to check _blankety-blank food_ with a meat thermometer to see if the food’s internal temperature has reached 165º F. This applies to hamburgers and hot dogs. I just checked Amazon, and an analog meat thermometer is US$12.
I bet it will take five years for Americans to learn to cook their own food, like in the olden-days of the 1950s and 1960s when some nuclear/extended did an archaic thing called “dinner time.” A cook who comes up with safe and tasty meals on a regular basis will be worth more than England’s crown jewels.
So, yes definitely, knowing how to substitute foods will be a much needed sub-set cooking skill.
Dane County, Wisconsin
thecrowandsheep (#264) said:
The Europeans thought that choking Russia from access to technology would choke the economy when of course practically everyone else could see that choking access to Russian energy would choke the European economy.
Why do I get a Paul Atreides, “The spice must flow” vibe when I read the above. I wonder if WEF is a secret fiefdom of the Baron Harkonenn.
Hello John Michael,
As a Dutchman running a small agricultural business I find it very interesting that you should mention the Dutch farming crisis. What, in your view, are the WEF programs being implemented there? Is it the PAS (Programma Aanpak Stikstof, the Program to Handle Nitrogen)?
This is a policy that says framers can get a permit to expand their business as much as they like, as long as they hand in a plan that says they will, pinky promise, reduce their pollution at some point in the future. This reduction is usually achieved (or rather, not achieved) through technological innovations (such as “air-washers” and “magic stable floors”) that, though expensive, never really seem to work as advertised.
A heavily bureaucratic, technocratic, expert-driven policy, in short, that seems to fit your description of WEF-programs to a T.
It is described as a WEF program by, at the last count, precisely zero people.
What [i]is[/i] described as a WEF program by certain politicians, however, is our Supreme Courts ruling that, no, the law is clear, you have to actually lower your pollution before you can expand.
Most farmers are very angry that their precious technocratic, bureaucratic paper-reality business model is taken away from them. They invested heavily in all their techno-hogwash and are afraid they will get in serious financial trouble.
The banks, who enabled all this spending, are of course not going to ease up on their payments.
So… to your mind, what is the WEF-program here?
“That realization—that expertise becomes its own nemesis—was the insight that most of the countercultural thinkers of the 1960s and 1970s never quite managed to reach, and its absence played a large role in dooming their movement to irrelevance.”
You did not read the same countercultural thinkers that I did. Robert Anton Wilson made the folly of expertise one of his central themes. But he was a science-fantasy satirist, so of course he was not a ‘serious’ thinker. It wouldn’t be the first time in history for the jester to be a wiser prophet than the sage.
This jester’s wisdom was not confined to stoner clowns. Square clowns were in on the joke, too. Note C. Northcote Parkinson’s work, and of course Laurence Peter.
“I must say I‘m really happy about this development. I‘ve always had a soft spot for Persia, because that place has been around for so long!”
I agree completely (and with the rest of the comment, a beautifully-written comment, thank you).
I’ve wanted to visit Persepolis ever since I heard the place mentioned in an Iron Maiden song as a youngster and wondered where that is. I actually have a funny story which I won’t go into just now but it revolves around me traveling overseas and having a discussion with some Persians about why it was too dangerous for me to consider “just popping over” to Iran for a jaunt.
On Russia – this is fading into the rearview mirror but within the recent past one could still find people who had been alive at the same time as Tsar Nicholas. (I met a 102-year-old at the hospital a couple of years ago.)
A generation of kids is coming up that will know Sovietism as an unfortunate period that Russia lived thru rather rather what they “are”.
As for France – baha, what can you say about someone so ignorant of his own history that he says “events could never happen here.” I thought Europeans grasped their own history better, what with all the monuments just lying around.
A novel came out in France, a few years ago, called Submission, by Michel Houllebecq. It revolved in essence around the experience of living in a period of post-modern ennui. The book was decent and made quite a stir in certain online circles, but you know, I don’t think it could succeed in the same way today. Because the time for ennui is past; now things are happening.
It’s begun to leak out that the DOD was coordinating some of the action on Jan 6th. It’s supposedly illegal for our military to act on U.S. soil, although when has written law ever stopped the regime from doing what it wants? The assessment that the events of 2020 rolling into 2021 were a color revolution are looking more and more true. In which case, I hope people are keeping personal journals and preserving them.
Behind paywall, but the headline rather says it all:
Poor upper middle class! :/
Perhaps the dividing line between the “who benefits” and “who pays” segments is shifting upward on the socioeconomic ladder.
With regards to living in a society in decline and with dealing with one’s own mortality, the Preacher in Ecclesiastes has some insight,
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.”
I was a big fan of C Northcote Parkinson’s work, so when it was announced that he would give a talk at my alma mater, University of Cape Town, I made sure to be there.
It was on 30 September 1969, the day after the Tulbagh earthquake. “I knew my arrival in Cape Town would be earth-shattering, but I never expected quite this impact,” he began.
A gentleman of the old school, and very funny with a sharp eye for bureaucratic absurdities.
@clarke #258, if you do video, try Townsends on youtube and the whole lot of historical cooking recreators. There is an entire fan genre of people who practice historical cooking methods. There’s some gal who cooks 18th and 19th century recipes with a fireplace hearth. She has some excellent advice on keeping one’s skirts out of the embers.
The real problem is ventilation. In a modern kitchen, about the only back up cooking method that can be used indoors is an alcohol stove with a window open. Liquid alcohol has a low energy density, so using it for anything except tea and a fried egg is way too expensive. The most applicable cooking techniques come from camping. Pre-soak oatmeal, bring soup to a boil and wrap it in an insulator, etc.
I have a heavy grill which can fueled with kindling instead of hardwood briquets, but it is miserable to cook outside in winter. I had quite a stretch a few years ago where my gas stove was out in November. I made it through with a toaster, the alcohol stove and limited use of the outdoor grill.
I also raided the deli line at the supermarket, which sounds like it contradicts the spirit of the adventure. One of the things that occurred to me was the number and variety of prepared and cooked food available in the pre-modern world. Bread and whatnot from centralized ovens, no refrigeration so meat was cooked up and sold in stalls, etc. Also, how much cooking was communal. Laborers in rooming houses got two meals a day and just had to find lunch on the job.
Recipes that start with basic ingredients can be converted to low tech cooking setups. People who think dinner comes from the freezer aisle in the supermarket have a learning curve ahead of them.
Kaiser always has something useful to say. Terminology alert: what he calls a High was Strauss & Howe terminology, since those two never imagined that a Recovery could be anything else. A lot of us prefer “Recovery,” as in a resting place before the next drop. That is, “the new normal.” JMG – in my latest letter I’m including some of my 2008 predictions found in an old notebook. Primarily, that what we were calling a crisis then was a mere, mild dress rehearsal for the big one “late in the 21st Century,” which of course is the one now upon us. Unless what we’re in actually is the recovery.
Anyway, Kaiser dissects the Reagan years and later with an acid-tipped scalpel.
Clarke aka Gwydion – Re: alternative cooking. I’ve recently come across the idea called the “Sand Battery”. Based on the observation that dry sand is a cheap and sturdy insulating material, if one has excess solar power during the day, it can be used to heat a thermal mass (more sand, or brick) all day long, and it will (so they say) still be hot enough to cook your dinner after the sun goes down, and breakfast in the morning. Since the core of the sand battery can get VERY hot (as long as the tungsten heating element doesn’t burn out), this seems plausible to me. Bear in mind, though, that a cubic foot of sand weighs about 45 kg (100 lb), so this is hardly a portable cook-stove.
I admit though, that I have not calculated the rate of heat loss through a reasonable amount of sand, but I know that when a blacksmith wants hot iron to cool slowly, it can be plunged into dry sand.
So busy here with a booming berry crop, but wanted to say I enjoyed your post this week very much and wish I had more time to hang out here! I just realized that while any serious attempt to brew alcohol here would be illegal (a bureaucratically controlled tax cow for the government), the other major addiction in society is the sweet tooth, so I am pricing sugar and laying aside a good canister of the stuff, though none of us eats it. If sugar does become impossible to obtain and I run out, then finally people will be happy with the stevia we grow and have learned how to use.
JMG – I just thought I’d throw out a prediction here. I hear that “nuclear power is green” (because it emits no CO2″, and then “natural gas is green” (because it can fill the gaps between solar and wind generation). When shivering people discover the amount of particulate (smoke) pollution produced by burning wood, especially wood that hasn’t even had time to properly dry, they’ll realize that centralized combustion beats distributed combustion. And firewood theft from public parks will be hard to control, when there’s frost inside the window panes. I expect to hear within the next two years, that actually “coal is green”, too.
Glad you finally devoted a post to the WEF’s totally unimaginative utopic vision, JMG; I recall when the “great reset” was first discussed on your blog a couple of years ago, I referred to it as “refried communism”. My opinion certainly hasn’t changed since then! Though only tangentially related, it reminds me of Alvin Toffler’s “Future Shock” which filled me with horror and dread when I read it as a 13-year old – especially when I realized that Toffler was not recommending a Luddite revival to prevent the hideous dead-end future from manifesting.
I always try to calm down people who get all worked-up thinking that the WEF is some all-powerful global organization that is going to relentlessly bend the world to its iron will. Sure, there are a bunch of super-rich and powerful folks who belong to the club and like to flock to the feet of their ‘guru’ once a year: but they are nearly all, to a person, intellectual midgets who have paddled so far up the creek of abstractions that their well-laid plans are already coming apart at the seams and the only thing they know how to do is to double-down. They give Monty Python’s “Upper-Class Twit of the Year” skit stiff competition!
Speaking of Upper Class Twits – and diving into the topic of edible insects, Canada’s super-genius-filled government forked over $8.5 million to build a 12-acre “cricket processing plant” that will supposedly produce 13 million kg of critters annually: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/london/cricket-farm-london-ontario-1.6506606 Supposedly, the crickets are destined as pet food, but many of us suspect that they are intended to become ‘people food’. The Romans were lucky: they had bread and circuses; Canadians now face the prospect of bugs and CBC news! I am eagerly looking in the supermarkets for bags of dried crickets so that I can buy a whole bunch of bags and deliver them to my Liberal Member of Parliament’s door with a sign: EAT THE FRACKING BUGS! Meanwhile our empty-headed PM has managed to rack up in the course of 7 years federal debt which exceeds the cumulative debt of all other governments since the birth of the country in 1867! Hey, with a Finance Minister whose only training is in journalism (and is a hard-core WEF-er), what can one expect?
While I do see the WEF-ers as a bunch of rich morons rather than evil geniuses, I still see them as evil. Not in a Snidely Whiplash (archenemy of Dudley Do-Right) kind of way. But, in my books, a person deserves the title of “evil” if they are oblivious to the suffering of others in order to achieve their insatiable ambitions or realize their supposedly ‘lofty’ ideals. Evil genius – no; but just plain evil. Like Queen Jadis in C.S. Lewis’s ‘The Magician’s Nephew’ who had never for a moment considered the lives of all the ordinary people who were snuffed out, along with all other life in her world of Charn, when she emitted the Deplorable Word in order to defeat her sister in battle.
Hi John Michael,
It seems that the best and brightest have only themselves to blame for this: Russia’s Gazprom tightens squeeze on gas flow to Europe by cutting Nord Stream 1 pipeline’s capacity by 80 per cent.
A culture of escalation only works when you have a winning hand held in reserve, and western Europe looks really weak. The policies being pursued seem genuinely idiotic.
Perhaps a smarter path would have been to have Plan B supplies in place, working and tested prior to poking the bear. What’s going on now makes no sense whatsoever.
Someone shared this article,
“Scientists alive today outnumber all the scientists who ever lived up to 1980. Or, in other words, 90% of all the scientists who ever lived, are alive today. A simple statistic capturing the power of the exponential growth in science over the past century”
I view it differently: more than half of all scientists have existed since 1980, but we have NOT had more than half of all scientific discoveries since 1980. This to me is a simple statistic capturing the power of diminishing returns. Compare 2020 to 1980, then compare again with 1940, 1900, 1860 and so on. We require more and more scientists to come up with smaller and smaller refinements of what we already knew.
The Club of Rome recommendations, like so many others, often depend on yet-undiscovered technologies. Fusion’s a favourite ugly mutt of a puppy for our host to kick, but the vague “continuing growth in efficiencies” is the more popular kind – the vaguer they keep it, the less accountable they are when it doesn’t happen. “Well, it could have happened, but… and just wait till you see what’s coming! If we just spend another few billion…”
Thank you for the response. For my question on violence, I meant in Europe and North America.
@Happy Panda #260
It seems to me that mass mental illness and use of drugs, legal and otherwise, is a natural response to living in a deeply sick society. The only cure is to treat the cause and not the symptoms.
As for defensible terrain, mountainous regions have always been the hardest to crack. These regions often produce long-lasting and unique cultures because they can be easily defended. Urban areas are also very defensible. The Battle of Hue in Vietnam illustrates this. The problem with urban areas, unlike mountains, is that you really, really don’t want to live there while a battle is taking place. A look at the before and after pictures of a city that has experienced urban warfare shows why.
The term “GovCorp” is excellent by the way.
@ JMG – in a reply to a commenter, on Bateson, you said: “the genesis of schizophrenia as a form of self-canceling communication driven by double binds.”
This is, perhaps, more widely applicable than might be supposed, since “self-canceling communication driven by double binds” is also at work in many disease processes in the physical body (where *effective* intercell and intertissue communications are physiologically essential). In TCM many of these “self-canceling communications” are grouped under the general heading of “qi stagnation”. It so happens that acupuncture can be quite good at dis-entangling the stalled and self-canceling communication channels and getting them up and running again.
TCM also recognises that many physical and physiological processes are closely linked to, and often mirror, mental and emotional processes. Which means that Bateson’s scenarios might be predicted not only to have the schizophrenic effects he discusses, but also some physiological “qi stagnation” effects. (Sadly, I do not see many schizophrenic patients, so I would not be able to put this hypothesis directly to the test).
Still, thank you for the phrase, which is helping me think better into my own patient’s issues.
@ Conan – thanks for the quote! It triggered an old mental soundtrack, courtesy of Cat Stevens, which should have implanted that message deep in the minds of everyone who was around and listening to popular music back then. (Where have all our poets gone? Back then, they were all writing songs.)
And in complete contrast to Kaiser:
sevenene #263, marlena13 #273, Northwind Grandma #275, Raphanus #284, Lathechuck #286
It makes me very happy that so many have responded to my questions with so many resources. My questions were asked for the community here, not so much for myself. I suspected there was a lot out there, and there is. I was particularly pleased, with Northwind Grandma’s accurate reading of my original questions. You guys are amazing! Thanks!
Thijs, interesting. The accounts I’ve read describe the Dutch government’s policies very differently. Perhaps you can point me to an English-language source that describes the situation from the point of view you’re suggesting here.
Paradoctor, please reread the sentence you quoted, and note the presence of that helpful word “most.” I read a lot of Wilson’s work back in the day, btw…
Denis, no surprises there.
David BTL, one of the oddities of American culture is that the upper middle class is the whiniest of our social strata. I’ve seen I forget how many dozens of books insisting that the middle class (meaning, of course, the upper middle class) was being dragged down, destroyed, ravaged, plundered, etc., etc., during decades when they were profiting hugely at the working classes’ expense. If they ever actually get squeezed, I expect the shriek of overtheatrical anguish to deafen listeners on Neptune.
Conan, I ain’t arguing.
Patricia M, thanks for this.
Patricia O, good heavens. And there are no Japanese moonshiners?
Lathechuck, bet the farm on it. I’ve been saying for years that once the energy crunch hits, the Sierra Club will be insisting that Yosemite ought to be stripmined.
Ron, I remember Future Schlock — er, Shock very well. I should probably reread it sometime soon when I need a good laugh. I think you’re quite right that the WEF contingent is evil; people can be stupid and evil at the same time, after all.
Chris, I’ve been watching that with great amusement. Russians are generally not known for their subtlety, but whoever is crafting strategies for the current situation on the Russian end (whether that’s Putin or one of his inner circle) has a mordant sense of humor and a very delicate touch.
Hackenschmidt, good! What that shows isn’t the growth of science over the past century, it shows the growth of excess employment in the sciences over the last century. One could prove quite handily by the statistics you’ve quoted, given a little dubious logic (and there’s no shortage of that these days!) that we need to fire 95% of the scientists currently employed so we can get back up to the rate of discovery we had in 1880. 😉
Starfish, in Europe and North America? A very, very high risk of mass violence. I hope we can avoid it.
Scotlyn, that’s fascinating and makes a great deal of sense.
Patricia M, well, of course.
Clarke, I have the best commentariat on the internet, full stop, end of sentence.
If the West isn’t aware of Russian subtlety, that’s the West’s fault and one of its very many blind spots where Russia is concerned. To generalize just a little, Russians make some of the very best chess players in the world, and some of the very best higher mathematicians. These are subtle skills indeed.
I think the West is mistaking patience, endurance and playing the long game for lack of subtlety. We play football; they play chess, but also physical sports far more violent than football.
We wear helmets and pads when we play football. When there is a serious injury, the game stops for a while while the poor injured player is carefully removed from the field.
Russians have a legendary sport called “wall against wall” (стена на стену) in which two lines of men face off without any protective gear, 50 men on each side, and begin violently hitting one another over and over. The game lasts until only one Russian is still able to stand upright: at that point he and his side have won the game through sheer endurance. This sort of game does not preclude subtlety elsewhere in Russian life.
@ Grover – re e-bikes.
I bought one five years ago to replace my car. It works very well, and prevents the “Donegal hills” from adding stress and breathlessness to my journeys. It’s like having 2 or 3 helpers adding strength to your pedals.
The one thing I have learned, though, is that having a spare battery makes all the difference. I lasted for 2 years or so with the bike’s first battery, but as its range gradually shrank, I eventually found myself stranded with a spent battery half way through some of my journeys. And that was pure misery, because now you have a bicycle that you can surely pedal, but it is twice as heavy as other bikes, and it is not helping you one bit.
So I invested in a second battery, and that meant that now I could carry a fully charged spare and run one battery down to the end, and swap them out by the roadside. This actually began to give my first battery a longer charge time, and the second battery shows no sign of shrinking its range anywhere near as quickly as the first did.
So, my 2c. Invest in a spare, and carry it with you if there is any chance your battery may run down before the end of your journey.
Happy Panda mentions statistics of Australians having mental illnesses. What I’d point out is that these are self-reported from the 2021 national census, which was taken on the 10th of August 2021.
By July 2021, my state of Victoria had had its fifth (not a typo) lockdown, exited it for nine days – and went back into lockdown from the 5th of August.
All retail businesses were closed except supermarkets and liquor stores. All libraries, gyms and so on also closed. Nobody was permitted to gather in public. Schools were closed. Only one person per household per day could leave the home for food shopping.
Weddings were banned, and funerals were limited to 10 persons attending.
The household could leave the home for exercise, but playgrounds and skate parks were closed. Nobody was permitted to go more than 5km from home, and there was a curfew from 9pm to 5am.
“Essential workers” could travel further and outside curfew, but had to carry prints to present when challenged by police.
This was, remember, the sixth lockdown, with over 80% the over 70s vaccinated, and it was already over 200 days in lockdown since March 2020; by the end of 2021 we’d experienced over 270 days of lockdown.
Complementing this was the state Premier standing up at 12am for a press conference every day for 120 days straight – and the most apolitical way I can express it is to say that his countenance was not cheerful and encouraging.
Of course, protests were banned, too. There had been some anyway, and of course there had been violence.
Given all this, asking people on the 10th of August 2021 how they were feeling was not likely to get the positive reaction we might hope for.
While it may say some things about Australian politics and culture, this result indicating high levels of depression and anxiety is not necessarily representative of a more general psychological malaise in the Australian populace.
Thank you, JMG, for what you do‼️After reading your posts (plus reading the commentariat), I feel optimistic.✅🔁🕚
The buzz of creation… I feel the infinite… oh the hours, the minutes yawn… I lie awake wondering what Wednesday’s post will be. I am standing on the breakwater on the shore, at dusk, the wind howling 50mph in my face, I am blown away, waiting… 10am. 11am. Bingo. How long it feels… until your next post on the theme of decline. Oh, and sometimes I have to wait a week. I am a declension-junkie.
Hmm… in the meantime, at 70, I am feeling in better health than at 35.💪🏼😁No joshing.🥸
Dane County, Wisconsin, USA
Christ allmighty. I could write because the situation here is really bad. Folks here are watching kennly what is happening in Neadherlands and taking notes… I am not joking EU policies did everything in their power to throw small time Polish farmers under the bus, more and more people are saying here that if the Dutch goverment and it’s idiotic policies cave in we should do it here as well. Let me tell you this Orban is demonized here because he takes in account the reality of the situation, and is saying no to the EU (undruidly words gallore)
Recently a bombshell went off Poland will be without a half of coal that it needs in the winter, the goverment is blaiming PUTIN of course and the EU and themselfs and of god I don’t want to recaunt the situation it hurt my brain. Well Poland still has a lot of coal but it is deep underground I belive I said this and showed a website some time ago here, if you want to read more you can Google translate or something
There is a movie “Miś” made about the madness of communist Poland in the 1980s by Stefan Bareja (insane bureacracy, MSM reporting a fake reality, witchunts on the not thinking right people) only now it is happening now in “free”, “democratic”, “european ” Poland there are no words to describe this,
A lot of people are asking questions like “how are we going to war with Russia? we have no industry no coal in the winter and no tanks anymore we gave them up to Ukraine mounths ago, Stalowa Wola the place where assembly of Nato given technologies was happening is laying down hundrets of workers and downscalling reason Lack of parts.
And one more thing if some WEF, Davos worshing obese blue haired moron ever comes to our village and starts ranting about the greatness of EU socialism, gender studies, LGBT and screams that we are bad people because we are not vegan and don’t eat bugs expect him (or whatever his gender pronouns are) to disapper and the body never to be found
It might be agressive but me and a lot of people are getting close to the boiling point here, Everything we hear here is a lie and everybody treats us folks in rural Poland like we are expendable trash, and we should be “greatfull” for our Brussels betters.
May God helps all Wer
P.S Internet is getting really wonky here and I don’t know if or when I could reply I know that this post Is long I might be wenting but the situation here is getting bad. We might have a Sri lanka , Wenezuela situation here if thing don’t change rappidly.
@ JMG, oh there’s all manner of politicians putting their own spin on the situation, to be sure. I suppose the accounts you’ve read are based on their, ahem, private brand of manure.
A balanced account of the situation ccan be found here:
There’s also this handy blog post by Franciska de Vries, a professor in soil science at the University of Amsterdam, that gives slightly more details about the PAS-program:
This “whiz kids” story is really old, it is told in “The travels of Gulliver” in one of the less popular travels.
Thanks. This question of how to use and evaluate expertise during the 21st century collapse of the 20th century’s progress mania is very important.
The essay you mention is still available, but only by search:
We need to continue to help people distinguish between actual expertise and faux experts who have mastered the rhetorical use of favored abstractions. An actual expert is someone who has experience with how the real world works. They know how to evaluate which abstractions are useful in which contexts because they have done the hard work, studied the history, learned the science, tried out ideas in the real world, and know how to evaluate the likely successes and failures of applying the abstractions used in their field of expertise. But in the present era, such people tend to be “negative”. They are always talking about likely problems, they don’t talk about “progress”, they don’t give you that sense of hope and optimism, so they are not electable. So the people chosen to lead political and educational institutions are increasingly faux experts. They are geniuses when it comes to knowing what to say to who and when to say it, and they know just which abstractions will unite and inspire the constituency they are talking to at the moment. And they have freed themselves of such inconveniences as worrying about whether what they say is true or whether their rhetoric relates to reality in any meaningful way. The Wickremesinghe essay linked above is a perfect example of a faux expert and the future he led Sri Lanka toward is going to be shared by many more powerful societies than Sri Lanka if people don’t wake up from their progress fantasies.
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