The third of the topics I’ve discussed at length in my blogs over the last sixteen years, the decline and fall of America’s global empire, is especially timely just now. I noted in a post last year, while discussing the debacle of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, that the remaining scraps of America’s global hegemony might not be long for this world. Since that prediction seems to be fulfilling itself around us right now in real time, it may be helpful to take a little while to talk about what empires are, how they fall, and what the fall of the US empire means for the future.
An empire is a wealth pump. Yes, I know, every empire has its public relations flacks who love to insist otherwise, rabbiting on about the wonderful benefits that everyone else gets from being subjected to the rule of the empire du jour. If you believe them, I’ve got a cousin in Nigeria who just inherited a fortune and we’d be delighted to cut you in for a share. Whether it’s Virgil claiming that the gods predestined Rome to bring peace to the nations, Kipling babbling about the white man’s burden, or their forgettable American equivalents lauding the United States as the world’s policeman, they’re shoveling smoke. An empire is a system of unequal exchanges designed to pump wealth out of other countries for the benefit of one.
Not all those benefits end up in the hands of the ruling elite of the imperial nation, though it’s fair to say that a very large share of them do. The current situation makes a good demonstration of this. The United States is the third most populous country on the planet, after India and China, and its inhabitants make up about 5% of our species. Until quite recently, when the US empire began to unravel, that 5% of humanity got to use around a quarter of the world’s energy resources, about a quarter of its raw materials, and around a third of its manufactured products. That doesn’t happen because people in other countries don’t want these things. It happens because US policies, strictly enforced until recently by the world’s largest military, saw to it that things worked out that way. Again, that’s the nature of empire.
Mind you, the United States isn’t unusually rapacious as empires go. The British Empire was much more ruthless about plundering its colonies, for example—check out the economic history of Ireland or India under British rule sometime—and the Spanish Empire in its heyday made the British look abstemious. That said, empires in history have a bimodal distribution: in plain English, that means they fall into two loose categories. There are empires that are in it for the long term and settle for a level of plunder that doesn’t bankrupt their possessions, and there are empires that aren’t so patient and strip their colonies of wealth faster than wealth can be generated. The Chinese, Indian, and Ottoman Empires are good examples of the first category, while the Roman, Spanish, and British Empires belong to the second category. Yes, the US is in the second category too: closer to the middle than some, but still in there.
One of the main limits to American rapaciousness is the simple fact that we backed into empire so clumsily. Over the course of its first century of existence, the US fumbled its way westward from its original base on the Atlantic seaboard, now buying chunks of real estate from European powers, now sending troops to slaughter the native inhabitants or bully its neighbors to north and south. Its first tentative steps toward overseas empire—the takeover of the Kingdom of Hawai’i in 1893, the conquest of Puerto Rico and the Philippines in the Spanish-American War of 1898-1900, and a long list of incursions in Latin America and the Caribbean—were straightforward piratical raids meant to seize naval bases and force unfair commercial treaties on less powerful nations: the kind of thing that everyone with a navy of any size was doing just then.
It wasn’t until what future historians will doubtless call the Great European War of 1914-1945 that the United States transformed itself from a regional power to a global hegemon, and that, too, was as much a matter of stumbling clumsily into the role as anything else. The great question of 1914 was who would succeed the dilapidated British Empire as global hegemon. Once various minor contenders got knocked out of the running, the contest settled into a three-way slugfest between the United States, Germany, and Russia. The US won mostly because the British ruling class decided that submitting to American military occupation was less awkward than handing things over to either of the alternative powers. So we took on the role of global empire, pushed a policy of containment on the Soviet Union until Communism collapsed from its own internal contradictions, and had a relatively brief window of unrivaled power before the inevitable downsides of empire began to bite.
Those downsides are primarily economic in nature. The first of them is that the flow of wealth from the subject nations to the imperial center has inevitable impacts on the imperial center’s economy. That wealth doesn’t stay in the hands of the ruling classes, after all: au contraire, whole economic sectors spring up to relieve those classes of the burden of excess wealth by providing them with goods and services they can be talked into wanting. That drives inflation, which is after all the normal outcome when an excessive amount of money starts chasing goods and services, and it also distorts the economy by producing a constantly expanding service-and-bureaucracy sector that produces nothing of value but always has its hand out for a share of the take. If you’ve ever wondered why a dollar buys around 1% of what it did before we got into the empire business, or why so many Americans these days make lavish incomes doing nothing that produces anything of value, why, now you know.
There’s another issue, however. If your empire extracts more wealth from its subject nations than those nations can afford to spare, the wealth pump sooner or later begins to run dry as the supply of surplus wealth to extract falters. Meanwhile the costs of empire go up, largely because of all those people just noted who have their hands out all the time. That’s why British newspapers in the early twentieth century were full of splenetic articles about how the Empire no longer paid for itself, and by gad, something had to be done about it! Of course nothing could be done about it, since it’s a safe bet that once you strip a conquered nation to the bare walls, the opportunities for further plunder are going to drop off noticeably, and because the people yelling about how the empire no longer paid for itself were by and large members of the classes whose ever-inflating share of the imperial take was a large part of the reason why the empire no longer paid for itself.
So an empire inevitably ends up suffering from economic woes that have no simple solution. Inflation guts the productive sectors of its economy by making it cheaper to import goods, causing unemployment in the working classes and driving social crises; the service-and-bureaucracy sector balloons uncontrollably, burdening what’s left of the productive economy; the flow of wealth from the periphery to the center fails to keep pace with the costs of empire, while these latter ratchet steadily upwards. Look through the history of empires and you’ll find this pattern repeating itself over and over again; look out the window, if you happen to live in the United States, and you can witness it in front of your eyes, playing out in the usual fashion.
Of course the question that most of my readers will have in mind is what happens next. It’s a valid question, and it’s easy to answer, because the next stage is taking shape right now.
The British Empire, here as elsewhere, is a useful model to keep in mind. Anyone who was paying attention in 1921 knew that the British Empire would shortly be pushing up daisies in the graveyard of dead hegemonies. In that year, after two years of bitter counterinsurgency warfare, the British government bowed to the inevitable and let Ireland claim its independence. Ireland was the first British imperial colony, and one of the most ruthlessly pillaged; the British Army had fought any number of previous counterinsurgency campaigns there, engaging in war crimes on the grand scale to break the back of Irish resistance; but in 1921 the British no longer had the resources left to hang onto Ireland. From that point on, the wholesale implosion of the British Empire was a foregone conclusion.
In a certain sense, Afghanistan was our Ireland. Of course we held onto it for only twenty years, rather than the nearly three centuries during which England ruled Ireland directly, and we also held it in a typically clumsy fashion, by imposing a puppet government propped up solely by American guns and dollars and then insisting at the top of our collective lungs that this was the wave of the Afghani future, a sure sign that everyone in the region would eventually become the kind of people we wanted them to become. We all got to see, in a naked clarity verging on the obscene, just how much that was worth the moment the US let it be known that it couldn’t afford to keep propping up the facade any longer.
We’re getting a second helping of the same embarrassing discovery in Ukraine right now. Those of my readers who follow the US media will have noticed with a certain bemusement the way that our official propaganda outlets—er, excuse me, our “free press”—have pivoted on a dime. Until recently they insisted that the heroic Ukrainian forces were driving back the Russian invaders; now, they’re offering gloomy prognostications of Russian victory and awkward foot-scuffing pieces about how the Ukrainian government somehow prevented our lavishly funded intelligence agencies from finding out things that scores of bloggers have been discussing in detail for the last three months.
Behind that is one of the most fascinating transformations in the recent history of war. Until this year, the shape of land warfare had been effectively defined by the blitzkrieg concept, which was devised by Heinz Guderian in the 1930s and brilliantly executed by his panzer divisions in the conquest of France in 1940. Massed tanks with motorized infantry and ground-attack air cover dominated the battlefields of Europe in the Second World War and around the world thereafter. That concept became the backbone of the Airland Battle doctrine, the core concept of US land warfare, and most other nations adopted variations on the same theme if they had the resources.
The opening rounds of the Russian invasion of Ukraine earlier this year followed the standard blitzkrieg template: invasion forces blasting their way across the frontiers on multiple lines of advance in an attempt to overwhelm the defenders and force a quick capitulation. This time, however, it failed. The Ukrainian forces retreated into built-up areas where massed tanks can’t function well, and relied on shoulder-launched antitank and antiaircraft weapons to target the assets of the attackers, costing the Russians more than they could afford. Those technologies didn’t exist in 1940, and this is the first time they’ve been used to deal with a full-scale assault by a major power. The result is a significant revolution in military affairs.
Ironically, pundits have been proclaiming the imminence of such a revolution for quite a few years now, but they got it almost entirely backwards. What has happened, as a result of new technologies and new strategies, is that the blitzkrieg revolution of 1940 has been reversed. The Russians, to give them credit, figured that out in a matter of weeks, regrouped, and proceeded to relaunch their invasion as though eighty years of military history had been rolled up and tossed into the trash. That’s why the Donbas right now is a fine imitation of the Western Front in the First World War, with the Russians using massive artillery barrages followed by infantry assaults to gain territory a slice at a time and cost the Ukrainian side more than it can keep paying.
Russia’s tolerably well prepared for this kind of warfare. So is China, so is India, and so are most of the other rising powers in today’s world; for that matter, though they’re losing, the Ukrainians have done an impressive job of holding the line so far. The United States is not prepared for this. Our military learned the lessons of blitzkrieg too well; nobody imagined that American forces might someday have to engage in an old-fashioned slugging match of massed infantry and artillery in which tanks and aircraft play only a supporting role. We don’t have the huge corps of trained infantry needed to take on that sort of fighting, we don’t have an officer corps that knows how to fight that way, and, er, we don’t have the resources we would need to make the necessary changes any time soon.
That’s what’s behind the increasingly flustered cackling issuing from Washington DC and the capitals of US client states when the Russo-Ukrainian war comes up for discussion. The armies of the EU are mostly a joke. The US Army is large and tolerably well equipped, but it’s very poorly prepared for the kind of war that’s broken out in Ukraine. Turkey, which has the only other large combat-ready army in NATO, has made it very clear that it’s not interested in bailing out the US and its allies this time. Meanwhile Russia is deploying only a modest number of second- and third-string units in the war; most of its forces, including all its best units, are being held in reserve to deal with an expected NATO intervention. The horrifying realization creeping through the corridors of power in Washington right now is that the US no longer has the power to enforce its will in eastern Europe—or, potentially, much of anywhere else.
That new reality was made painfully visible when the US leadership called on the nations of the world to subject Russia to a trade boycott once the fighting broke out. The only nations that followed our orders were our client states in Europe and on the fringes of the western Pacific. Everyone else shrugged and ignored the increasingly shrill demands coming from Washington. Biden insisted that the ruble would become rubble—I hope the speechwriter who came up with that impressively stupid turn of phrase can find something better to do for a living—but the ruble is doing fine just now, as is the Russian economy more generally. Our economy, and that of our client states, are quite another matter.
I wonder how many people have realized, in fact, just how awkward a revelation the total failure of Biden’s sanctions has turned out to be. The US and its client states have slapped just about every economic sanction on Russia that they can think of; the result has been that the Russian economy is doing fine, but the economies of the United States and Europe are cratering. The unpalatable truth that has been revealed by this turn of events is that the “global economy”—that is to say, the structure that has been erected since the collapse of Communism to manage the flow of real and financial wealth from country to country—benefits the United States and its inner circle of client states, and nobody else. To Russia, and arguably to a great many other nations as well, it’s entirely parasitic: a means of pumping wealth out of their hands and into those of America’s and western Europe’s kleptocratic elites.
That matters, because now other nations have an alternative. That’s why India is eagerly cutting deals, not just with Russia, but also with Iran and influential regional players such as Vietnam; it’s why Russia itself has just signed a new set of agreements with Nicaragua, which include the right to base Russian troops and planes in that small but strategically vital Central American country, and why Iran is making agreements of its own with Nicaragua and Venezuela. It’s why the president of Mexico rolled his eyes at US demands and pursued his own nation’s interests at the expense of ours. The age of American global hegemony is over, and the only people in the world who don’t seem to have noticed it are the self-proclaimed masters of the world in Washington DC.
The consequences will, I think, be far more drastic than most people seem to have realized. The US economy these days is an empty shell propped up by gargantuan flows of unearned wealth funneled in from overseas. We still produce considerable amounts of food and fossil fuels, but the colossal industrial economy that provided the winning edge in two world wars got offshored decades ago and most Americans, responding sensibly enough to the realities of an imperial economy, have pursued careers as bureaucrats, hucksters, and corporate flacks, not as farmers, builders, and factory hands. As the American empire implodes and takes the imperial tribute economy with it, Americans will have to produce most of their own goods and services again. To say that we’re very poorly prepared to do this is to understate things considerably.
Even if we hadn’t cannibalized the productive sectors of our economy in the rush to build an imperial economy of metastatic bureaucracy and freewheeling grift, we are going to have to get by on much, much less wealth than most Americans are used to. Once we can no longer extract wealth from the rest of the planet, after all, we won’t be using a quarter of the world’s energy and raw materials or importing a third of its manufactured goods; the 5% of us who live here in the US will have to get by on 5% of the world’s wealth…if we’re lucky. The resulting 80% pay cut is going to be a rough road for most of us to walk. The one bright spot in this otherwise gloomy picture is that there will be some benefits in exchange.
In becoming an empire, after all, the United States shed many of the things that Americans once took pride in. We gave up a decentralized federal system of government for a near-dictatorship of the executive branch; we gave up our regional cultures for a mass-produced pseudoculture wholly subservient to a corporate elite; we surrendered a galaxy of individual liberties in exchange for various scraps from the tables of power; we forgot about the culture of resilience that made “use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without” a matter of common sense in most American households, in order to fixate on the frantic quest to claim some of the goodies from the feed trough of empire. We’ve got a lot of work to do to recover some of what we lost, but it’s not as though we have many other options at this point.
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There are five Wednesdays this month, and it’s something of a tradition on this blog for me to ask readers what they want to hear about in a fifth Wednesday post and write something based on the most popular subject. With that in mind, what do you want to hear about?
From up here in Canada, I can imagine the effects of the US empire declining on this country as a political entity. The future Canadas have an additional benefit to look forward to (perhaps) in that the wealth being pumped from Canada in the form of natural resources will be available for them to use.
For the fifth Wednesday post I submit: the future of health care in the face of economic decline. However, if this would run you afoul of your regulatory body, then ignore this suggestion.
In this essay, you pointed out how the German blitzkrieg tactics were enthusiastically adopted by the US to the extent that the US elite class and its media flacks can’t think of any other type of tactic. This, in addition to being one of the disastrous consequences of America’s imperial activity, seems to me to be a failure of the imagination that you devoted an entire essay to some months ago. It seems that all empires, in their later stages, undergo this sort of change, but then I could be wrong.
Coming back to the failure of the imagination, I think it has to do with empires’ relative inability to deal with nonlinearity. Now, the British Empire based its military doctrine around one particular core idea, and the US empire another. Both assumed that theirs was the One Valid Doctrine, which seems to me to be a derivative of the Faustian notion of the One True Path.
Now, if the real world were linear, of course, it would make sense. But the real world being nonlinear (for better or for worse), there are multiple scenarios possible. Thus, the idea of the One True Doctrine in warfare is nonsense, as warfare being nonlinear, there can be more than one doctrine which delivers good results. In this case, then, it’s important to be open to the possibility that the same strategy will not necessarily work everywhere and/or every time.
Your mention of the mass produced pseudo culture strikes a note. I have said that one of the biggest barriers to the social changes that we need to make on several fronts is the fact that most Americans have no identity/ life to fall back on. Without their TV and disposable conspicuous consumption, they have nothing to live for, or life to live. I’m very fortunate to have grown up fairly free of that, well educated, and spiritually grounded which gave me a sense of self although it’s not easy to find a space for it sometimes, But I don’t see any clear and easy path for those caught up in American pop-culture to get out or any recognized leaders/teachers to guide them.
Maybe that would be a fifth Wednesday topic. Life in the US will have to change but can that happen without a collective identity crisis and nervous breakdown?
Very great and concise summary of the state of play as usual. You managed to sum up some loose thoughts I’d been having about the entire military situation. The fact of the matter is that the US simply does not have the ability to even fight a war where “frontlines” are a thing. There’s not enough people in the volunteer force to really replace casualties in the Army or the USMC, and to try to draft people in today’s unhinged politician situation seems like a really fast way to trigger an actual, honest to god revolution in the US.
I wrote this piece recently on US empire and pride month, drawing heavily on your model of the “wealth pump” in trying to explain why the US has become such an aggressive ideological proponent of various fairly crazy and fringe ideas. You might recognize a lot of the reasoning:
Perfect. Beautiful. Awesome Analysis. My granddfather survived mustard gas with a 6 month blinded hiatus while his cornea grew back. His brother was torpedoed and shepherded his wounded crew in an open boat 100s of miles with dead reckoning back to safety. Will our children now be conscripted to a new Somme to repeat another European war to end all wars?
Thanks JMG for the summary of America’s predicament
For those in the commentariat with a taste for the history of fallen empires, I recommend the Fall of Civilizations Podcast at https://fallofcivilizationspodcast.com/. The narrator does an excellent job of taking the listener back to ancient times.
I wonder what future bards will say about an extinct Western Civ.
I have to wonder how long it will take before the elites harbored in Ravenna–I mean, DC–get a clue as to the state of the empire. I’ve long suspected that the awareness of the loss of our global hegemony will hit the American psyche hard. I’m guessing that we’ll see in the not too distant future as things play out.
For the 5th Wednesday, I’d like to toss out a suggestion for an occult perspective on what “development of the soul” entails. What all is involved? What can we do to facilitate it? How can we assess our progress (to the extent that can even be done)?
Give us a preview of what you see happening in these next few transition years as we attempt to adapt to these rapidly changing circumstances … chaos, or at best, a sobering series of belt-tightening downward steps for most of us. Thank you.
@JMG re: 5th Wednesday Request
I’d love to hear more of your thoughts on “Future Military History”, and it seems like a relevant follow-on to this post.
Thank you Mr. Greer. The idea of an inverted revolution in warfare is wholly new to me. I’m trying to digest it. It was my impression early on, that the Russians didn’t do blitzkrieg anyway, that they had their own way of industrial warfare. Also had no clue about the Russian base deal with Nicaragua.
In a previous essay, did you not intimate that the Israeli-Lebanon war of 2006 gave a good idea of future warfare?
As a resident of Pakistan, which is in hock to the IMF and dependent on exports to the west, worker remittances and friendly infusions of cash, what do you think will be the challenges facing countries like us (I suspect there are many third world nations in our position, stuck with the western debt with no clear alternatives.)
Please let us know what you think the USA(world) should do with nuclear waste from power plants and medical uses.
It’s not just your US government that hasn’t come to terms with you quite recent loss of world power, the UK government and a sizeable (52%) of its voters think that the UK is still a world power and commands great respect. Much of the rest of the world appears to be laughing at us.
JMG, thank you for this great summary of what empires are and what causes their downfall.
Taking historic data as a reference, can we make an educated guess at how much time the American empire has left until it breaks apart and loses hold of its ‘colonies’?
Also, who do you think will become the next empire? China, Russia, or maybe someone else?
There is one big difference between the artillery war that has evolved in the Ukraine and the trenches of WWI. The Russians have very precise, long range standoff weapons (missiles) that can reach far behind Ukrainian lines to its most Western borders. This greatly changes the timeline as the Ukraine can no longer deliver food, ammunition and replacement heavy weapons to its dug in troops the way the two sides could in WWI. This does not change the order of battle in the short term, but greatly decreases the time that it will take for the Russians to gain ground. I think the Russians have understood this for several decades and carefully planned their military to neutralize the US militaries “Blitzkrieg” strengths. They developed excellent long range missiles, excellent antiaircraft missiles but still built large quantities of old fashioned artillery and ammunition. I think they always knew that if they could neutralize US air power with high tech missiles, block the delivery of supplies with cruise missiles it would give them the chance to dominate the battlefield with the heavy weapons that had been all but forgotten in the west.
Here in Northern New Hampshire, freight trains carting lumber, paper goods et al was a familiar sight when I was a child in the Fifties and Sixties. I can recall sitting in the car at a crossing with my parents watching a train pulling well over 50 cars go by. By the Seventies, they began withering away, replaced by tractor trailer trucks and the newly completed Interstate highway. The train tracks which used to slice through my home town have long since been pulled up and the beds are being used by ATVs in the summer and snowmobiles in the winter. Strangely the crossing lights are still in place in town and I have not heard anyone discussing them being taken down. Maybe they’re being left because the tourists think they look ‘quaint’?
I think we’re going to bitterly regret the move away from rail as diesel gets more expensive (or simply not available) and the trucks begin disappearing themselves. The few little token scenic passenger trains remaining are not going to cut it by any stretch of the imagination though I suppose they could be repurposed for general passenger service instead of just for tourists. And the gods only know where the money will come from to rebuild all that’s been lost now that our little Empire is tanking. Unless we do some serious scrambling, it’s back to dirt roads with horse and buggies, I’m guessing.
“What has happened, as a result of new technologies and new strategies, is that the blitzkrieg revolution of 1940 has been reversed.”
Difficult to agree with this. The Russians don’t want civilian casualties. The Americans would have done shock-and-awe and obliterated the urban areas where the Ukrainian forces were hiding, with complete lack of concern for “collateral damage” such as civilian lives lost.
I was hoping to discover your thoughts on the Martinist current (not so much about AMORC’s TMO as I consider that to be more Martinist “Lite.”)
On the topic of magic — have you written anything about Ioan Culianu’s _Eros and Magic in the Renaissance_? Would be interested to read it if so.
There is one thing I’m confused about for this week’s post, and it’s your given reason for the US victory in World War II. I thought that the US won mostly because of its greater access to oil and large resource base, not because of the United Kingdom’s choice to side with it — though, having the former world power on its side would certainly help. Aside from that, I’m interested to see if the US authorities will start making moves towards restructuring the military in the months to come, or if they’ll keep committed to a vision of what warfare should be that has passed its pull date, as this post would suggest.
As for the fifth Wednesday post, I’m going to vote for a post on the process of warband formation and how it might happen in the US. I’ve seen a few scary news articles about crime rates in rural areas, and it’s around the periphery where warband activity starts. One of those articles was from the Wall Street Journal, so I’m taking most of the stories with a grain of salt, but I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the process anyway:
I can’t help but think of the Aztec Empire and how our own empire resembles it. The Aztecs started out as a backwater, client state of a major power. Their eventual empire was short-lived. They became a rather demonic state entity that gobbled up tributes, especially human bodies as sacrifices and slaves, from their client states. Those client states, in turn, were very eager to ally themselves with the Spanish at the start of the conquest. It didn’t matter that the Spanish were just as imperialistic, if not more so, than the Aztec.
In many ways, I think our empire is comparable to that. We started out as some backwater colonies. Our empire has been short-lived. Our elites, with their Covid cult, seem to have some demonic influences over them. We’ve eaten up massive amounts of tribute, including human bodies as quasi-slaves in the form of undocumented migrants and victims of human trafficking. Now the other nations that we used to bully (like in Latin America and Asia) are allying themselves with new powers that are eager to sweep the remnants of American global hegemony to the side and take their own spoils.
Kind of eerie. At any rate, I’m glad that I’ve decided to create my own small sewing business. Looks like my products will soon enough be in high demand. Thanks be to the gods that I had just enough humility to seriously consider your arguments about the coming decline, and have had enough time to make decent preparations. Thanks for your work to get all this information, and warnings, out there.
Decay of our nation north of you is progressing. Little Potato and his gang of virtuous deranged Health Stazi are doing a wonderful job of waking up our Western separatists. Who have been subject to, for many decades, the wealth pump of the East. My wish is for competent critical thinking folk in a Cascadia when this lot of wankers are back in the dirt.
Another fine post, JMG. You’ve neatly summed up the view of the American Empire expressed over the last 16-17 years, and it’s spot on. The rest of the world will be happy to kick at the shins of the U.S. as we teeter, and fall over. And then start kicking us in the head once prostrate. You’re also correct on our military capabilities being out of phase for the wars ahead – not so much of conquest and rule by superior force, but the older model of occupation and assimilation. And the U.S. will have to ward off the feeling of regret that many Western nations will feel in asking why they adopted many customs and values of Americans to begin with. It’s really too bad our political leaders have not offered up even a glimmer of the realization of our limitations, and a path forward that makes sense.
5th Wednesday – my vote is for how the supply chain, energy and economic disruptions will play out in the next 10 minutes to 5 years or a decade or so, and best guesses around when and how the next “stable” period will look. I know we have three to five hundred years of the Long Descent ahead, before the rubble stops bouncing as you would say, but I’m curious if there’s any clarification of how things will shape up in our lifetimes (late Boomer here).
I’d noticed that while CPI inflation is lower in Canada than in the USA, it’s still really high. I wonder if the pattern suggests that Canada a) has been benefiting from the US empire, but not as much as the USA, or b) Canada produces more of real value than the USA, c) our economy didn’t get as overstimulated as the USA’s so there’s less inflation, d) most of our inflation went straight to housing and isn’t being captured properly by CPI. I’m not sure which of these are the largest factor, and in any case we’re getting a lot of inflation.
The rent inflation is the really scary one. Am I hearing about the family of a friend being evicted from their apartment, hunting frantically for a new apartment they can afford, which is placing extreme stress on family relationships? Why yes, I am.
Well, and food. My church’s food bank is seeing a lot more takers lately, and so are other food banks in the area. It isn’t like I can’t see the increases at the grocery store, either.
An excellent post, JMG, especially comparing the current tactical environment in Ukraine to trench warfare in WW1. As you have also pointed out, another parallel to WW1 is the resilience (or lack thereof) of countries to support the conflict and deal with the economic fallout from sanctions blowback at home.
I vote for Karma as the topic for the fifth Wednesday post.
Another excellent article John. One thing that caught my eye the other day was a bbc article making a big deal of the fact that the Russian company Lada who make cars were having to sell them without “safety features” such as anti lock brakes, air bags and sat nav systems. However this could be viewed as a feature, not being reliant on imported technology and producing cars with less complex features to go wrong! If they improve their own resilience by not being dependent on high end imports they will come out of this stronger.
Fifth Wednesday vote. Something about Yeats’ ideas and perspectives (your choice what exactly).
Thank you for another enlightened post.
A subject I never tire of talking about is looking toward food systems, and how they will change regionally (since I am in oregon my interest is North America) as we continue on this path of climate change and economic uncertainty.
Specifically to climate change, discussion on how to adapt what’s grown in regional area from what it is to what it will have to be.
And some possible speculation on what and where major food sources will look like over the years and decades ahead.
Someone last week mentioned Karma, and I’ll second that idea for a post.
Biden’s Summit of the America has ended rather badly as several South and Central America leaders refused to attend. As the US influence wanes, the arrival of Huntington’s Civilization State comes to mind with perhaps Mexico or Brazil as the head of such a state.
I wonder if it’s part of an empire’s decline that the common citizens of the empire can’t wait to wash their hands of the whole mess so they can get their livelihoods/dignity back. At least half of the US seems to be cheering on Russia and not Ukraine. I’ve been re-reading Leaves of Grass and notice that we’ve given up so much for so little.
Hello JMG, another great one
Please make a piece on ”The great reset” and the non existent 2. 3. 4th industrial revolutions
Is it the EV mania, the sudden care for climate change bullshit just a way the ”system” admits that the industrial era is dying, and that peak fossil fuels is here?
Will the delusional Davos crowd see the guillotine?
Good day JMG,
One thing I have been wondering about is what the current tension between the West and Russia, and the West and China means for spirituality / human consciousness? Are there signs of how this will change our awareness in the decades to come?
Using the Mercator projection overemphasizes the area of the countries who have engaged in sanctions against Russia. Only 12 percent of world population live in countries whose leaders have thrown in with the US on sanctions.
Today the hill where Guderian stood is on the road FROM Moscow. (Obligatory Al Stewart reference).
For many years I’ve just lurked here but am going to cautiously poke my head up to comment. I think this is a very cogent analysis, but our situation is perhaps slightly better than you suggest, because (I think) we have more than 5% of the world’s resources. Our current borders contain 6.1% of the world’s global landmass, including large amounts of land area suitable for non-irrigated agriculture, pasturage, or timber extraction, as well as generous mineral resources, that many parts of the other 94% of the world do not have.
We may not be able to grow crops in much of the West for much longer. However, at present the US produces enough food calories to feed 10 billion people. If it were not exported to undercut foreign farmers or fed to cows or SUVs, we would have plenty of surplus to support economic specialization even with a substantial decline in output. We produce 19% of industrial roundwood, 17% of sawnwood, 26% of pulp for paper, 17% of paper and paperboard. We have had plentiful fisheries – overfished, yes, but some nations have none at all. We are still the fourth-largest steel producer, over half from recycled iron rather than raw ore. Etc.
When I think about how many smaller nations seem to be mostly dry scrublands, so that in poor countries women walk for hours every day to gather a pail of water and a few sticks, or uncultivatable mountain land or other difficult habitats offering few valuable raw materials, I feel that our more generous resources should allow us to maintain well over 5% of the world’s productivity domestically. Of course if we found ourselves in a really bad situation, subject to a more powerful country, those resources might be extracted for another’s profit; but if we merely had to fall back on our own resources, we have everything we need to support a large and diverse economy.
On another note, I am sorry to see how many people seem happy to see that Ukraine is getting stomped just because it furthers the decline of American influence. Those who didn’t participate in the 2014 coup did nothing to deserve invasion.
I would love a post on education or liberal arts. Great article btw. Any timelines strike your fancy? I’m thinking 5 to 10 yrs then an undruidly word storm…the first of several or many. And how can we prevent emergence of successor empires on north american continent? Or can we? I see a good chance that all my fellow southrons down here try and resurrect a ahem federacy of Mason dixon states…maybe Texas can forestall that. Celadon
@Peter Van Erp
I have been reading about the life of the architect, Louis Sullivan. Some say that his fortunes faded because there was a sudden drive to build in the Neoclassical tradition. The unique American architecture of Sullivan was thrown to the curb in a desire to be more European. Although Frank Lloyd Wright seems to have escaped this problem, maybe because he focused mainly on homes?
Do you see a correlation between the rise of the American empire with the early 20th Century infatuation with the neoclassical tradition? Sort of a, “let’s be like Europe” mindset?
I think the future Tamanous culture will find much in common with Sullivan, Wright and others. Those architects were influenced by Thoreau, Emerson and Whitman.
In essence it’s also why the wealthy nations in Europe still use less energy per capita than the average US inhabitant : the smaller geography and older cultures surely play a big part in it. But it’s also that they used to be client states of the USA in part, but only in part. So they got much less of the wealth flowing to them than the core of the US wealth pump.
Now Europe, having sided with Ukraine, is in the same boat as the USA, geopolitically speaking.
But since it has less height to fall from (less beafsteak to lose, so to say) could we expect that this aspect of the ‘triad of decline’ you have outlined in your last 3 essays, and the peak oil aspect, will hit it less hard than it will hit the USA? Of course the third one is going to hit Europe harder in proportion, given precisely Europe ‘s smaller geography (too many coastlines!)
JMG, great essay! Time to tighten our rust belts, for sure.
You mentioned once writing an essay on the topic of cities and ecology, or the ecology of cities, and human place therein. I’m not sure of your exact wording, and I’d have a tough time tracking it down here, but that’s the topic that get’s my vote: urban ecology, cities in nature, something along those lines.
just because the USA has resources doesn’t mean the population will get to be the ones using them. A less powerful, impoverished USA may find itself selling them abroad to pay debts or to fund someone else’s empire.
Also, since so much manufacturing has been exported, you’re likely to pay large amounts of raw materials for smaller amounts of finished products. And since the dollar will probably not be the global reserve currency by then, the exchange rate won’t be keeping foreign products artificially cheap.
Canada has a lot of resources that are being extracted, but a lot of them are sold and used elsewhere. Sure, we buy finished goods in exchange, but… I wouldn’t count on being able to use the full value of your resources.
Thank you for a concise, and for all intents and purposes, accurate portrait of the Yankee imperial situation. It is quite clear that we in the West are going through an accelerating collapse event, lead mostly by the hard economical and resource limits imposed on us by our dwindling domestic oil and other resource supplies, coupled with the implosion of the debt-money-deindustrialisation regime.
What occupies my mind mostly these days is the question of Europe.
…not surprising since I’m an European myself. (To be exact, a Finn.)
It seems that our so-called European “unity” in face of the Russian invasion is crumbling by the hour. The economic situation on our continent is getting more dire by the day, with runaway inflation plus food and fuel shortages looming on the immediate horizon. Coupled with Italy sliding into a renewed debt-crisis, it seems that a terminal crisis of the Eurozone is not too far off, either. Opposing Russia with the dysfunctional Western sanctions regime and suicidal military support for Ukraine is still a high political priority, to the point of hysteria. But the cracks are already showing.
From the perspective of imperial decline and breakup, what are your thoughts on the prospects of Europe? Is it possible that the coming collapse of our economies will eventually force the Europeans into aligning more closely with Russia and ditching the Americans for good? Or will Europeans cling to their client-state status with the USA until the bitter end (whatever that may mean)? Is it possible that a new Eurasian understanding will emerge, with Europe saving the remnants of its civilisation by accepting its dependence on Russian energy and raw materials, or will Europe stay captive to the fortunes of the declining American imperial “order” until the continent is once again reduced to rubble?
More concisely put, will a possible Western geopolitical realignment resulting from the American collapse require a European war on a grand scale? (After all, the passing of the British Empire and the resulting geopolitical conondrum was not a peaceful affair in Europe, either…)
I’m sort of still hoping that Europe would find a way to go gently into that good night… Which would possibly spare my little nation, situated on the borderline between the West and Russia, of a doomed military confrontation. But nowadays, I find myself despairing…
@ JMG – what will an eighty percent payout mean for the urban fabric of America? This estimate, combined with the incredibly tight housing market, let loose a stream of thoughts: if Americans’ real incomes continue to plummet, but housing prices continue to rise, will that force more Americans into homelessness? I don’t think so, because a great many ‘middle income’ countries have higher rates of home ownership than the US. (Granted that comes with some serious caveats, but let’s set those aside for just a second.) If widespread homelessness, brought about by the collapse of income, secondary to the collapse of empire, becomes intolerable to a great many Americans, will that result in creative solutions, like turning large houses into duplexes, or triplexes? Or, will it result in much more destructive solutions, like the homeless and vagrants literally forcing their way into housing, most likely at gunpoint?
The reason this notion jumped to the front of my mind, stems from the fact that, as far as the necessities, food and clothing are still, relatively, abundant in the US. If true autarky became necessary, we could, in most parts of the country, feed and clothe most people, and probably on fairly short notice. (I assume the political will and leadership would exist as a result of the circumstances requiring such a project which is, a questionable assumption. As with my comment about ‘middle income nation’ housing, let’s set that caveat aside for the moment)
The third necessity, housing, and the urban infrastructure that supports it, is more expensive, Even if those costs are deemed acceptable by the population the infrastructure will serve, it still requires lead time to plan and build. (not to mention the political will it would take to abolish zoning laws and the red tape that often bogs down a great number of projects.)
I know you did this in Retrotopia, but maybe the fifth Wednesday essay should cover the topic of the urban fabric, both physical or socio-economic, we are likely to get here in the US, in, say, forty years or so, once the American empire is well and truly dead and gone.
In your fifth Wednesday post (or whenever), I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on most countries’ declining birth rates. There’s a lot of different ways to poke that topic, and I doubt you really want to get into the politics of abortion, but in general that decline seems like it could be a symptom of the decline you discuss, and perhaps a reasonable if inadvertent strategy for addressing that. That’s not what you meant by “collapse now and avoid the rush,” but it seems like a fitting topic for you.
Today on CNN they showed a picture of Ukraine and it was snowing. Stock footage, sure, but I expect that Spring and Summer won’t be showing up in any video of Ukraine in wartime. Not for a couple of years, since it makes it too obvious the war has been going on longer than the Russian invasion has.
The British cut down all of the trees in Ireland and the Irish haven’t worked very hard to plant the trees back. I wonder if there were Quakers back then who looked at the land being denuded, sort of sighed, and said amongst themselves that once the trees were finally all dead the wars would have to stop.
People in the USA look at Japan and Germany, and even South Korea, and think that the USA is Midas. Any development project we take on must turn to gold, so go ahead and invest early! For that matter one of my finance bloggers said, about three years ago that if Russia started trading in rubles instead of using $USD for trade it could spell the end of the dollar as a reserve currency. I still think the USA has better transparency, and that makes for better accounting practices, but other cultures are much better at math. The USA has been bluffing for a very long time. De Gaul called the USA’s bluff about gold somewhat in the ’70s but it was more than just gold propping up this shambling beast.
Finally, a story I read many years ago had a tiger fan, and whatever country had the tiger fan would prosper. I think about that when somebody on Bloomberg talks about animal spirits of the market. Speaking of which, the Fed should have chosen 50 points or 75 points by now to get a grip on inflation. Will it work? Well, they don’t seem to know why inflation has hit now, rather than back under Obama and QE one through four. I think Russia can manage without the rest of the world but the USA can’t. We were trying to judge them by our own situation when theirs is vastly different. They don’t have an Ogalalla aquifer running out of water, for instance. And if they did, they might plant trees to slow down the wind, and be brutal enough to eradicate the beetles killing vast swaths of trees (something that is not even on the table in the States right now – no new trees, just big reservoirs that are supposed to re-charge the aquifers with water that will magically not evaporate. Man, we’re screwed.)
I just read today’s writings, then let them sit. Your essay was just what I needed, after a couple of what I would call, fraught days.
As background, I started a practice of mindfulness (insight) meditation back in the 1970s, when meditation was all the rage. Born in 1952, twice a day meditation got me through my 20s, preventing me from flinging myself off a cliff, among other things. Mindfulness meditation helps keep perspective.
The last couple weeks, I have had difficulties in staying emotionally balanced. I would say half was my own internal crap. The other half was ‘else,’ else being vibes-from-elsewhere — “not me.” The “not me” portion felt like a black hole, a mass of confusion, chaos, panic, doom, blot — a generalized sense of threat. I looked out the window and, of course, no hoard of barbarians came over the hill to butcher me — I was in no physical danger.
Yesterday, in sitting meditation, I had to take two-three hours to wait to let this blot “pass away” or “move off” of its own accord. The blot had gripped me. I could have done nothing differently but just sit with it until it dissipated.
I felt such a feeling of impending generalized threat, I did a ring of protection (“prayer”) that I had learned from Druid days: (1) in the air with my hand, drew three circles clockwise, opening the prayer. (2) I put everything I near and dear into the circle, praying for my patron saint Saint Julian of Norwich’s “All will be well.” (3) Then, in the air, again, I drew a circle three times counter-clockwise, closing the prayer. I have felt better since. Julian of Norwich lived during the dismal time of the Black Death where about half of everyone she knew, died. Sounds familiar to now: half of what/who we see now may well die on our watch.
I attribute this blot to the cumulative hits others (probably located in my region) are taking while their lives fall apart, and who don’t have the foggiest idea what is happening where they can do nothing except lash out. Such a journey. I wish them well‼️
I thank you for keeping us readers abreast. I feel it a blessing that you are there, writing, clueing us in. Mondays, I say, oh God, I have two days to wait. Tuesdays, I say, oh good, only one day to wait. Wednesdays, I say, yeh‼️, I get a new essay. Half the time, though, the subject is a subject I am not interested in, so I have to wait another grueling week without my “hit-of-JMG.”
A few months back you were writing about the Faustian nature underlying European culture and religion and how America (and much of the rest of the world) had, in whole or in part, inherited that. You expected (I’m paraphrasing liberally here) various regions, including America, to reassert more native influences and briefly sketched out an American religion of the future. I’d like to see a more thorough treatment of that idea, if you haven’t done so already and I missed it.
For the 5th Wednesday, could you comment on whether planting trees even helps the midwestern drought, and whether the Green Wall of Africa will change the weather there? I have read about these things and wondered what you would say about it. I suppose if the answer is, “No.” then it’s short enough that it makes more sense just to reply here. I don’t typically ask questions, but I have a million of ’em.
I will add my vote for karma for the fifth Wednesday post. My spirituality has drifted a bit eastward, and hearing what the Western occult tradition has to say about karma would be great.
Thanks for sharing these hard truths and walloping us upside the head with cold wet mackerels (partially thawed for non lethal impact) over all these years. I keep contemplating the US Grand Mutation chart and sensing we’re in for a lengthy period of profound severe shocks to the system as the empire crumbles…virtually everything may change dramatically in the next 20 years as “all that is solid melts into air”. I plan to encourage my son (33) and daughter (28) to read this fine essay and keep cultivating a worldview that ‘comports with reality’ (cribbing Kunstler’s fine phrase).
I found your comments about the changes in ground warfare to be fascinating. I’ve seen videos of the Russian mobile rocket launchers in action…pretty impressive firepower! Seems lots of other modern warfare rules have changed as well (hypersonic tech, drones)
and the empire’s falling behind in every way imaginable. From The Decline of the West to The Ascent of the Rest!
@JMG: great piece, thanks.
My only quibble here: you seem to be gilding the lily when it comes to Russia in order to prove your point, because the Russian economy is not doing fine, even though the ruble is: I wouldn’t call a 10% recession and 20% inflation “fine”, and the war itself is incredibly costly. I’m not saying they won’t be fine in the future, but right now, average Russians must be having quite a hard time. And, well, Putin grossly miscalculated when he went in (he obviously expected Ukraine to fold and Russian-speaking Ukrainians to welcome him with open arms), and he clearly backed himself into a corner of his how making: he can only go forward, because losing face would be anathema.
By the way, the dormant rhetoric of Russian Myr that has come to preeminence in Russian intellectuel circles since the beginning of the conflict really doesn’t bode well for the future of the region. Have you heard about Timofey Sergeytsev, by any chance?
Finally, is it just me, or are Biden and his administration driven by some old cold war era grudges in thair behavior? I’ve found incredibly shrill since the beginning, and have felt that beyond the invasion, they just wanted to punish Russia, and any pretext would have been fine.
For the fifth Wednesday post, I’d like to hear more about what happens when someone is foolish enough to end up cursed by a god.
Jbucks, depends on whether or not Canada maintains its economic independence from the next hegemon. China would be just as happy to have your natural resources as the US is, you know. (Thanks for your vote — it’s been duly tabulated.)
Viduraawakened, bingo! Every empire ends up suffering from a catastrophic failure of imagination, which usually involves failing to grasp that rising powers will use the tactics and strategies that benefit them, rather than those that benefit the failing empire. Britain’s decision to keep pouring resources into battleships between the two wars is a great example of this; our decision to keep pouring resources into carriers is another.
B.Tidwell, that’s a huge issue, of course. It’s one of the reasons that new religions emerge in failing empires — one of the things a religion can do, perhaps better than anything else, is provide a new cultural context for the deculturated. The collective identity crisis and nervous breakdown, however, is inevitable — that has to happen before the new context appeals.
Tinkzorg/Malcom, thank you! As I see it, the US is in roughly the same condition that the Austro-Hungarian Empire was in the spring of 1914: notionally one of the great powers, actually a brittle, fragile, jerry-rigged mess on the brink of implosion. We’ll be lucky to avoid the kind of partition that followed 1918. As for fringe ideas, well, yes; it’s distinctly odd, as a fringe thinker, to see my ideas seeming positively centrist compared to the stuff the US State Department is pushing.
Evan, dear gods, I hope not.
Raymond, well, the bards are already warming up. Rap, to me, sounds like the early drafts of the epic poetry of the deindustrial future.
David BTL, if our current Emperor Honorius is anything to go by, it’ll be many years before the reality finally sinks in through the yard-thick concrete they have for brains. Your vote is noted!
Ron, that’s already in the queue — once I finish the fourth post summarizing the themes of my blogging, I plan on talking about what to expect and how to deal with it. That may take two posts, one summarizing the trajectory I expect and what can be done on an individual/family/small community level, one summarizing a wild-card situation that seems unpleasantly possible at the moment — cough, cough, mass mortality from inadequately tested experimental vaccines, cough, cough — and what that would look like.
Jeff, so noted!
Mohsin, excellent! Yes, I was going to bring up the Israeli-Lebanon war of 2006, another situation in which blitzkreig failed, for much the same reason. The Russian army has its own version of blitzkrieg, which it tried in the opening stages of the current war. As for Pakistan, did you know that Russia right now is erasing debts owed the Ukrainian government and banks in the areas it’s conquered? Expect the same thing to happen on a global scale as the US empire comes apart, possibly by hyperinflation, possibly by straightforward defaults with backing from the new powers. Pakistan’s got plenty of resources and a booming economic future ahead of it, once it can get out from under the current economic system.
Dawnrider, what I think should be done about those is irrelevant. Nobody anywhere in the world has the funds or the resources to store them in a way that’ll keep them safe as long as necessary. My guess all along has been that at some point in the next half century or so, as the last nuclear reactors shut down, the waste will be hauled out to desert areas — here in the US, probably someplace in Nevada — tipped into trenches and buried, transforming that place into a forbidden zone where people who go won’t come back.
Stuart, well, you’ve got me chuckling, certainly. 😉
Bergente, we’re in the rapid-collapse phase now. Exactly when the US empire will come apart is hard to tell in the short term, but I’d be amazed if twenty years pass before it’s mostly a done deal. As for the next power, that’s always the big question, isn’t it? My guess is that we’ll see at least half a century of rivalry between new great powers before that gets sorted out.
Clay, yes, that’s an issue. The question is just how effective those standoff strikes turn out to be in the long run. As I’m sure you know, the US bombed the bejesus out of the routes that North Vietnam was using to get munitions to their Viet Cong auxiliary forces in South Vietnam, without noticeable impact on the course of the war…
Jeanne, in rural regions without suitable landscapes for canals, dirt roads and wagons are pretty much what you can expect. There may be some rebuilding of the rail networks, but that’ll mostly be between cities.
AA, the Israelis didn’t show any particular concern over civilian casualties in the 2006 invasion of Lebanon, which was frustrated by Hezbollah using the same tactics the Ukrainians are using. The transition from “shock and awe” to “aw shucks” is well under way.
Glen, I’ve put that into the hopper as a vote for the fifth Wednesday.
Kathleen, nothing post-length, though I’ve discussed it fairly often here and there. I’ll put it in the fifth Wednesday hopper.
Ethan, the immense resource base of the US made it possible for us to make good on our claim. The crucial decision in the European theater, however, was Britain’s decision to continue to resist Hitler after the collapse of France, rather than making a peace deal — as quite a number of British politicians and ordinary people wanted to do. One of the great alternative-history turning points in modern times is what would have happened if Churchill had been removed from office after the fall of France and replaced by Lord Halifax, who was the logical candidate of the peace party. (I’ve put your vote in the hopper.)
Brenainn, that’s a plausible comparison. Glad to hear about your business!
Longsword, Canada’s no more a single country than the US is, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see both fragment in the near future.
Drhooves, it’s going to be a rough road, no question. I’ve included your topic on the list.
A big quibble on the military analysis – air power basically is artillery, despite the dreaming/propaganda of strategic bombing/shock and awe. Finding opponents and delivering explosives to them is how airpower works. As long as the US has its logistical advantage, whether it it air power or artillery it really doesn’t matter for that stage of the battle. Of course how long that lasts is a big unknown. The US is not going to delivery large infantry forces overseas and it has not been shown to be able to win against committed opponents for quite some time.
One thing that could change that is if things go downhill in the US. If taking over a valley in Afghanistan became more attractive that coming back to the US, then US forces might stay and win like Alexander’s and Babur’s armies.
Are you really Malcom Kyeyune?
I have read some of your articles and I think the one that you link to is the best – informative, to the point and somewhat funny despite the obvious unhappy subjects (wokism and imperial collapse).
Thanks for all your work and I hope you keep commenting and linking here!
Yes, Ireland was fortunate to get out when it did – for, even with all the consequences of World War I, it was not entirely a foregone conclusion that 1921/22 would have been the year – such is history.
Scotland, on the other hand, even a century later, when all that remains of that British empire is its mental ‘microwave background radiation. still has not found that positive exit door – not even when we had the chance in 2014 with a peacefully negotiated and politically agreed referendum.
The real choice then was opting to stand on our own two feet (independence) or voting to ‘confirm’ the so-called ‘safe option’ to ‘retain’ the ‘status quo’… and this latter was relentlessly and remorselessly sold to us as the only way to prevent Scotland from… er… economic collapse. And how did the ‘Yes’ side attempt to counter that? Mainly by arguing, au contrair, that Scotland would ‘of course’ be better positioned achieve… urgle… better success in the game of modernity. If the ‘No’ vote won in the end, it was assumed to be because people were ‘sensibly’ choosing the ‘security’ of remaining in a large modern economy in order to maintain the accustomed standards of living… high house prices, cheap food, pensions and stuff…
There is foing to be another vote – and there is a slim chance it might happen – it’ll likely be run on exactly the same cracked assumptions – despite the even more obvious evidence of what is really happening around us. The Yes side will probably feel it has to double down on selling the key to unlocking new riches arguments, precisely because the no side double down even more aggressively on trying to prove that this particular small country could never in a million years make it ‘on its own’. The tragic truth is that neither side is likely to acknowledge any of the alternative (more realistic) opportunities, largely on the grounds (sadly probably correctly, given that almost nobody here ever turns off their televisions, evcen for a nanosecond) that they could only be a vote loser.
Of all the corners of this planet with positive real-world potential to choose something approximating a historically viable retrotopian path, Scotland surely is up there. It’s partly to do with the degree to which we managed to sidestep a lot of the twentieth century nonsense (not quite as successfully as some other countries, but still more so than most…), and the last thing we want to do now is try to suddenly join in the game the moment the game is up.
It’s a moot point now whether we’re ever going to be allowed to get the chance, but we need to find that positive exit door pronto. Anything else would be missing the opportunity to be an example of a small state opting for managed decline while still maintaining as best it can traditional human values…
As I understand it, the US military strategy on the Ukraine conflict is to flood it with weapons and support it as much as it can, short of actual US boots on the ground. The idea is to bog down Russia in a long, exhausting war, draining them of manpower and money.
If all goes to plan, it will most likely end with Russia as a weakened client state of China. But less talked about is that it will do the same to Europe – if they ever had ideas about becoming the ‘third power’ of the world, those are dust on the wind now. They never did get around to forming that European army – Macron’s dream, was it not? – and the only way their economy will manage to keep going (admittedly a dubious proposition) is with US-supplied, or sourced, oil and natural gas. Meaning they’ll be firmly in its corner when that conflict with China rolls around.
I’m not honestly sure who gets the better end of that deal, the US or China. The major European states are still rich and powerful nations, but soft, and prone to squabbling when they need to be united. Russia was a corrupt mess even before all this, and when Putin dies it could disintegrate without a strongman to hold it together. But until that day they’ll be able to supply China with vast natural resources at bargain-basement prices, at a time when such are in short supply.
I also must admit that I am amused at the incredible shortness of memory being displayed by western liberals right now. It takes talent to have already forgotten how enduringly unpopular the middle eastern occupations were with the US electorate, and the debacle that was the US exit from Afghanistan only a few months ago. There is a not-unjustified fear in some circles that the US will re-elect Trump, or someone cut from that cloth, who will promptly cut off the weapon supplies and leave Ukraine, and the European states bordering it, high and dry. It would hardly be the most remarkable event of the past 10 years if it did.
This last week was “Fleet Week” in Portland, where various navel vessels sail up the river and tie up along the seawall next to downtown. At the peak of empire back in the 1970’s there would be close to a dozen U.S. navy ships and several others from Canada or the Coast Guard. This year there were only two vessels from the U.S. Navy and one of them was the poster child for the military ideas of an empire grown long in the tooth. I am speaking of the Zumwalt class destroyer. Now canceled, with only 3 being built out of a planned run of 40ish due to cost bloat. Its two main features are its odd shape to give it a small “stealth” radar signature. And experimental extra long range (100. miles) gps guided artillery for land invasion support ( not shooting other ships). It is almost a recipe for someones idea of the perfect ship to sneak up on some uncooperative third world country and destroy its antiaircraft batteries with hard to shoot down artillery so the empire could achieve air superiority at little risk. Then the recalcitrant nation could be given a good lesson in why they should play ball in the future. Unfortunately this ship fails its imperial mission and, most others as well. The stealth radar signature is nearly useless against peer militaries ( like China or Russia) that see it well enough and also use satellites, drones, etc to determine exactly what kind of ship is trying to sneak up on them. Then the “smart” ammunition for the long range artillery turned out to cost a minimum of $500,000 each. This price was too steep for even the U.S. military industrial complex so none was ever ordered. So these guns ( on display for the public) have no ammunition and will eventually be removed. Like the empire that built it, this ship has become more of a show of imperial grandeur than a useful device for maintaining empire.
Recently I read substancial excerpts of a history of the Conmanches “Empire of the Summer Moon” as well as supplementary material. The material that I read described the Conmache as a nomadic people of the North American steppe, who as long as they had their horses (mobility), and their buffalo (energy and resources), they were essentially invincible, stopping the Spanish cold in their tracks in their push northwards, scaring off the French from attempting to intrude into nominally Spanish lands to avoid dealing with them, driving the Apache into barren wilderness, and utterly halting any delusions of westward expansion by the Anglo-Americans, depopulating the whole of Mexico above San Luis Potosi.
Concurrently, I was reading the history of the places where the Ukrainian-Russian war was taking place, and a familiar pattern emerged, of a series of forts raised to attempt to halt the raiding of a steppe people that was rapidly depopulating the region.
Similarly, more reading led to the main achievement of the Quing dynasty, which was halting the raiding from the western marches of China, successfully pacifying Xianjjng.
Given the tendency to study history in length in the Russian and Chinese military intellectual cultures, it could be surmised that they came to the conclusion that the American empire was readily surmised as yet another steppe empire, raiding for resources, killing the men, absconding with the children to raise as their own (read immigration). Thus, the sociopolitical machinery for dealing with steppe raiders was reactivated and adapted for these latter day circumstances.
Returning to the Conmaches, their circumscription starvation and defeat was done by first actively denying them the buffalo (energy and resources), then decimating their supply of horses and thus denying them mobility, once these were achieved, it was a question of corralling the Conmache into a barren corner and starving them out until their much decimated numbers submitted to the reservation.
In the south of Russia, it was the fortresses of all the now familiar names of the don and dniepr basins, Kharkov, Kramatorsk, Belgorod, Donetsk, Nikolayev, Odessa, Voronezh, ect, that were used to deny the steppe people of the Crimean Tartars the mobility they needed to enact their slave raids, to deny them economically, counter raiders in the form of Cossacks were encouraged to form, taxing the tartars resources by forcing the defensive while denying the riches of the slave trade. Once the Russians achived the isolation and quiescense of the Crimean Tartars, it became a question of grinding away at Ottoman control of the Black Sea coast before Crimea proper could be conquered.
I for one think the American Empire has a a great raid left in it. I suspect that the Americans will return to Europe, not to fight the Russians, but rather to strip Europe down the bare walls, to completely and abjectly loot the entirety of European industrial capacity in a sub-contiental scale version of the Morganthieu plan. The resources needed to rebuild American rail lines, and the other dozen revitalization projects for the benefit of these United States will be sourced at the expense of existing European infrastructure. The current sanctions regime is precisely designed as the opening round of putting Europe into the resource pump, by breaking the finely tuned industrial supply chains of the main industrial economies of northern Europe, and throwing them into the shredder to make it easier to stuff the slurry through the pump.
This is up there with Twilight’s Last Gleaming. I read Scott Ritters book afterwards and didn’t find myself cheering for anyone like I cheered for the Chinese in your book. For a topic I’d like to see the Battle of the Trees, Ogham, and the Red Book of Ger
Re the timeline of the US empire.
The beginning point is, of course, somewhat fuzzy and subject to debate, but I’d argue that the 1840s with the Mexican-American War and the broad adoption of Manifest Destiny make a reasonable marker for the start of our march to empire. By that reckoning, we are at ~175 years, which is a decent run for an imperial lifespan.
For years, I’ve been referring to the two world wars as the Wars of British Succession. While the Great European War could become the mnemonic future historians use to describe that particular mile marker in history, I’m not sure the concept of a greater European empire has gained anywhere near enough traction to influence people’s thinking hundreds of years hence. If it has, that has only occurred quite recently, so I would expect future historians to lump together the coming wars within and against the EU under the rubric of the Great European War(s).
Our current historians tend to attribute wars to whatever larger polities were fighting in them at the time, with a certain prejudice towards the bigger, the victorious, and those enduring today. Future historians are under no obligation to continue that tradition, but it certainly makes it easier for laymen to only have to memorize the names of the Sassanids, the Mongols, or the Bantu, rather than all the various peoples and regions under their control. To future minds, will Britain become one of the endless warring statelets of Old Europe, so annoyingly difficult to distinguish from one another? The minutiae of the entire colonial period could one day become so blurry that it’s all referred to as the European Conquest, or, adjusted to future political alignments, perhaps the Mediterranean Expansion.
For the time being, I still think the Wars of British Succession packs a great deal of historical context into a simple mnemonic. God knows, arrogantly referring to the those internecine tantrums as world wars, or even as two separate wars, is going to look like a quaint, archaic habit of an overly self-regarding people in the not-too-distant future.
For the 5th Wednesday, how karma plays out over a nation or large group of people?
Unpopular opinion: China will be the biggest loser this century. It is highly dependent on raw inputs from every corner of the globe (oil, gas, fertilizer, minerals) which it turns into exports of low/mid range products to the West and other rich countries. In turn this system is dependent on Pax Americana security blanket (i.e. no pirates robbing those juicy tankers or container ships). To add insult to injury, it prints money at a rate that makes even the Americans blush. Any small disruption to this gangly supply chain could mean mass famine or revolution. Being buddies with Russia is a necessary evil for China but that’s a country with a smallish population and a one trick pony economy. Rather, China needs to be frenemies with the entire world. Because of declining demographics, it cannot consume what it produces, but if it stops producing, the jig is up.
A thought-provoking essay!
While the US does still produce a lot of food, we shouldn’t take that for granted, either. California’s central valley is an ecological basket case, and not due solely to the dire drought currently underway. A lot of this country’s fruits and vegetables come from there. The region’s ability to continue to produce at current levels is highly questionable, due to a century of greed, grift and idiocy that led to the creation of the hyper-complex, energy-intensive water delivery system in the state (the failures of which have been supplemented by completely unsustainable groundwater extraction).
If you can stand a lot of face-palming, I highly recommend Mark Arax’s excellent history of California’s agricultural “miracle,” called The Dreamt Land.
If Russia succeeds in sequestering Ukrainian wheat from world markets, and California’s central valley agriculture implodes, yikes.
B.Tidwell @ 3 I am of the belief that western civilization is dead. It took a mortal wound in WWI, and the coup de grace was administered in WWII. For a century, Americans have had no living culture to sustain them, so are unusually susceptible to pseudo cultures.
Bergente @ 13 I will take a stab at that. For whatever it might be worth, I think we will see something like the Hellenistic Age in the Mediterranean Sea, where there were three large powers in uneasy juxtaposition. I think Canada, if it survives as a separate nation, Australia and Japan will form an alliance to keep the peace, with India as an ally.
One question: Does anyone reading here live in a country where a Belt and Road installation exists? If so, how has that worked out for you? Is the harbor/road/railroad a net benefit to your citizens?
The question that comes to my mind is whether we could be in a Wiley E. Coyote moment in regard to our empire. That is, the Russian Ukranian proxy war is the end of it, and we aren’t looking down. Or do we have an adult in the room that can save the situation for a few more months or years? Again, only time will tell.
It occurs to me that an initiatory fraternal order in the line of the Masons or Oddfellows– that is, one that could collect dues and care for members who were “suck or in distress”, but which also embraced some of the ideas and values that are generally shared among the readership here, including spirituality, “green wizardry,” and cultural conservation, might be a very valuable thing at this time.
And there might just be time to get the ball rolling before things really get ugly.
Excellent piece again. There is another military strategist from the 20th century who is currently having his war doctrine evisorated. Alfred Thayer Mahan’s 1893 article ‘Hawaii and our Future Sea Power’ in which he declared that command of the seas was the chief element in the power and prosperity of nations and it was ‘therefore imperative to take possession, when it can be righteously done, of such maritime positions as contribute to secure command” His would become the guiding theory behind naval strategy in the modern era.
The recent sinking of the Moskva by missile strike was surely the death knell for modern capital ships, especially considering what Russian and Chinese hypersonic missiles could do to the US Fleet.
Fittingly enough, considering the theme of American empire, it was the seizure of the Philippines by the US that surely marked the end of the American republic. While the decision to seize or release the Philippines after the war with Spain hung in the balance, Mahan wrote to a friend “Deus Vult, it was the cry of the Crusader and the Puritan and I doubt if man ever utters nobler”. Kipling would have been proud of that pearler.
The above is lifted from Barbara Tuchman’s excellent “The Proud Tower”.
Could you please write some more on Carl Jung. Maybe about the Red Book, his premonitions of Hitler, or maybe his Answer to Job.
Thanks again for your great work.
P.S Tinkzorg, write another post on your blog, I love your work
my best guess is that the nations of europe will be unable/unwilling to agree on a strategy to cope with the current crisis, and that the EU will either shatter outright, or become a hollow shell that countries ignore while they each do their own thing with whatever like-minded european nations they can find. And since different strategies are being pursued by countries in different situations, results will vary a lot. I am worried about Europe right now. They are doing a lot worse than I expected in this stage of the long descent.
Since The Dispossessed by Le Guin got a warm response in “Reimagining Political Economy” on 16 March, might you be persuaded to give its lessons for Green Wizards an extended discussion?
Also, an introduction to cooperativism for those of us who would like to adopt and adapt it but have no experience or even living memory of co-ops to make an attempt at its methods less daunting would be very useful out here on the ragged edge of a crumbling empire.
I’m not sure I fully agree on this war marking the end of blitzkrieg. I think the Russians wanting to minimize civilian casualties and take as much territory as they could intact so as not to have to rebuild it later affected their decisions greatly. I am not qualified to judge whether or not it was the right decision. I think they were also hoping at first that there might be less resistance.
Gen Guderian’s blitzkrieg worked so well because they through the Ardennes, which no one thought they could, and not straight against the Maginot Line, as the French wished they would.
The Mongol armies always practiced a form of blitzkrieg.
Sherman’s march to the sea in the US civil war was a classic example of it. He avoided any set piece battles and destroyed as much infrastructure and ag land as he could.
In the Mexican revolution Villa’s division del norte practiced a form of blitzkrieg that worked fine until he through them against Obregon’s entrenched and more heavily armed troops at Celaya.
I think the failure of the U.S. use of it in Vietnam, Afghanistan, etc came not from the blitzkrieg itself, but from trying to occupy a hostile country.
So, my feeling is that it will always be a valid method of warfare, but only if used in the proper context.
For 5th Wed, I would go along with drhooves request for a post on the breakdown of supply chains and when you anticipate a period of relative stability.
One of the things that really stands out for me is the high casualty rates and rates of expenditure in the Russo-Ukraine War. The Ukrainian MOD estimates that the Russian military has suffered more than 35,000 battle deaths and lost more than 2000 tanks since the invasion began. Meanwhile, a leading Russian military analyst using open-source info estimates that just in the last two months, the Ukrainian military has suffered around 18,000 killed in action and roughly 70,000 wounded in action, with as many as 15,000 of those wounded subsequently dying of their injuries. He also estimates the Ukrainians have lost more than 1400 tanks and more than 2100 pieces of artillery since the war began.
I seriously doubt the US or Western European militaries would be able to take those kinds of losses and remain as effective fighting forces. The Turks could, but increasingly, they are going their own way and pursuing a return to great power status via what has been aptly described as Neo-Ottomanism.
Russia is currently expending around 50,000 artillery shells and rockets a day, while Ukraine is using 5000-6000 a day. At last count, the US has supplied 220,000 artillery shells to Ukraine, which the Ukrainians have pointed out is equal to the number of artillery rounds the Russians go through in 4-5 days. The difference is that the Russians have been able to keep their artillery units well supplied with the ammo they need and there is no sign they will run out anytime in the foreseeable future. There were reports of Russian shortages in certain categories of artillery ammunition early in the war, particularly 220mm and 300mm rockets, but those shortages have since been resolved.
Meanwhile, Ukraine is rapidly running out of artillery ammo and there is only so much NATO can do to help. As it is, the US and other NATO members have depleted their own stocks of artillery ammunition to a dangerous degree by sending what they can, and no longer have the ability to mass-produce huge numbers of artillery shells and rockets like the Russian have been. Interesting times ahead.
Thanks for another thought-rich essay. There are a lot of paths to post-imperial America and I’ve been wondering what identity will have to do with it. As many say, lots of us have no connection to our place. Wendell Berry had written how we (European-Americans I guess) never became native to this place. Many founders feared unending warfare unless the colonies were bound in some union. What might be the minimum elements of national identity to hold the country together and let each region or state develop a better fit to its local resources and cultural legacy? Maybe self interest will be enough. Reminds me of the kind of transition the school history teachers like to point out from before and after 1860 – 1865 when it went from “the United States are” to “the United States is”.
Interesting that the Russian attacked almost exactly on the 22 February 22 Pluto return of the USA.It’s like we became one year old and the much old Russian Imperial looked over and decided that it was time for a spanking.Do you know anything of Dugin ,his earlier Chaos Magick exploration and the multi polar World theory?I am reading an essay book by Augusto Del Noce “The crisis of Modernity “,he is long since dead but believed Russia would eventually spank Europe per say,and it would be good for them.Extremely interesting times happening now.
I wonder if future historians will speak of an Anglo-American Empire, with London rhyming with Rome and Washington D.C. rhyming with Constantinople. It appears, though, that our Byzantine bureaucracy isn’t going to continue for centuries more. The Eastern Empire and the Western Empire will both have fallen within a generation.
It would be wonderful if you could do an article on temple tech especially now that chemical fertilizers and pesticides are going to become completely unavailable in many areas. I’ve been experimenting with low-input growing and while I can supply some of my own needs it’s very difficult to get a decent yield worth selling.
Dear Archdruid: Let me express , one more time , my admiration for your post.
Do you think that in Western Europe will be convenient to change the model of armies, from the present model based in profesional soldiers , to the old model based in conscript soldiers ?
Fifth Wednesday topic – Karma.
Well I can’t tell what is happening on in Ukraine, but one information here is in context. For a long time we heard about “the heroes of mariupol” in the polish media, the neo nazi Azov people (old people in Wielkopolska hated them for a good reason – many were escapees from Wołyń during the WW2)
And about how the had killed apparently HALF of the invading Russian force (how on earth did they accomplish this was anybody’s guess) but the biggest detachment from reality came when we heard that the Azov people were succesfully evacuated from mariupol. How was it done nobody explained, only recently they said that the Azov people were “evacuated” to the Russian prison cell they admited this after a mounth of gaslighting people in here,
BTW had you heard about this “ghost of kyiv”? which was admitted it doesn’t exist by the Ukrainian Air force?
Nobody belives the official narrative anymore here. And now drummroll please “Monkey pox in Poland!!!”
New guideline send everywhere here
yep if those (undruidly words) people in the Polish health department do the same thing as with COVID
(people with stage 3 cancer dying on the floor, while people with flu being misdiagnosed and hooked up to a respirator in a bed) now, I swear there will be a revolt in the rural area’s.
People in large cities like Poznań followed the rules like they were the Holy Bible while folks here were being mocked for not getting vaccinated etc.
There is so much wrong going on right here now that if I wanted to write about it this grammatically horrific essay would be hundrets of words long.
But one more information recently Polish Forest service had been arming itself, but not because of the Russians- people are stealing firewood from the forests at an enormous rate, Morawiecki even said that you can take brushwood from the forest, because the situation with firewood became disastrous
Is it just me or this is really becoming like something out of The Twilight Zone out there?
Stay safe everyone Wer
Hello JMG, you wrote “That’s what’s behind the increasingly flustered cackling issuing from Washington DC and the capitals of US client states when the Russo-Ukrainian war comes up for discussion.”
Another perspective (i am from Poland): NATO in Europe was direct attacked by Russia in 2014. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_Vrb%C4%9Btice_ammunition_warehouses_explosions
We see the Ukrainian war as a continuation of russian operation launched in 2014, whose long-term goal is central Europe. This is the source of the undisputed support of Ukraine by the countries of this part of Europe, with minimal reaction from Germany et consortes. We defend ourselves, but this time we will not repeat the mistake with the Hitler’s III Reich and we go to defensive all at once to avoid being raised one by one.
JMG, I’ll put in a vote for a post about what to do with, say, $10,000 American in cash.
For the 5th post, I agree with the person who wanted to hear about how supply chains ad economics are likely to play out in the near future.
I vote for the syllabus in Medieval Metaphysics.
Great round up of the current state of the cracking world economic system and Ukraine conflict.
On the matter of possible topics for the next article:
1. I would love to see a discussion of the unexpected directions a proper conflict between major powers could go. All of them have been developing a wide array of new weapon systems behind closed doors which could be wheeled out if things get desperate enough. The situation reminds me somewhat of the Belle Epoque period leading up to WWI where industrial forms of warfare were being developed during that long period of peace. When WWI broke out people were expecting a 19th century style war, only to be horrified by the fresh hell unleashed from the factories. Bioweapons, blinding lasers, automated turrets, drones (which I am predicting will be coupled with biochemical payloads and semiautonomous AI to devastating effect) and many other monstrosities are hiding in labs, waiting to be tested out. If the major powers cannot afford the resource demands of 20th century industrial warfare, what cheap and nasty alternatives might emerge?
2. The intersection between communication technology and culture is really fascinating to me. In coming decades large segments of the population might lose access to the internet (or walk away from it- the experience is degrading rapidly, shining beacons like ecosophia being the exception). Are there any comparable cases of loss of information technology in the past? (e.g. I believe the bronze age collapse saw the loss of writing for a long period). How might people interested in leading this charge help nudge things along?
the problem with that moniker is that there was a lot going on in east asia that didn’t have much to do with europe at all, let alone britain. Japan was locked in a giant war with China, for a start, as well as with the USA and most of the european nations. But that part of WW2 started with Japan’s incursions into China.
“We don’t have the huge corps of trained infantry needed to take on that sort of fighting, we don’t have an officer corps that knows how to fight that way, and, er, we don’t have the resources we would need to make the necessary changes any time soon.”
The Anglosphere also don’t have a sufficiently large percentage of the public willing to tolerate that kind of death toll to achieve victory.
It has, for the past 40 years, become increasingly fashionable to either mock the genuine patriotism of earlier times that spurred two generations to go forth to die, especially among the ‘woke’ who are totally anti-war &c., or super-patriots who wave flags galore (when was the last time you saw a congresscritter NOT wearing the de-rigeur lapel-pin flag?) and profusely thank veterans for their service, but won’t do anything actually risky. As large as the U.S. armed services are, they still are only a very small percentage of the population and many of those joined out of economic desperation. Canada has been a joke since before Trudeau Sr. took office.
The de-moralization of the West, by its own intellectuals and artists who spend their time loudly demonizing the mythos that under-girds any sense of common culture, is also accelerating the decline.
I think I had mentioned earlier that I have been reading Infantry Attacks, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel’s first hand account of his experiences as a junior infantry officer in the Great War, as well as Ernst Junger’s Storm of Steel. The present war between Russia and Ukraine definitely has that “trench warfare on the Western Front” vibe to it and so both books are very much relevant to those who want to see what the future of warfare in the next several decades will look like. In this case as in so many others, the past is very much prologue. Portable antitank and antiaircraft missiles are having an effect on modern warfare similar to the effect that machine guns and bolt action rifles had in the Great War.
I have also been reading the memoirs of a number of German generals from both world wars, including those of Paul von Hindenburg, Erich von Falkenhayn, Erich Ludendorff, Heinz Guderian, F.W. von Mellenthin and Kurt Meyer. One of the things the Germans discovered early on in World War Ii is that the most effective way to deal with enemy antitank defenses was to hit their defensive positions with massed artillery fire in order to kill off as many antitank teams as possible and force the survivors to keep their heads down as the infantry and tanks launch their assault. That is exactly what the Russians have been doing since they adjusted their strategy in Ukraine.
Or as an old Irish folk song, The Kerry Recruit, puts it
“Remember,” said he,”that the Irish fight well,
But the Russian artillery’s hotter than Hell.”
Fast forward a century and a half. This is what a modern Ukrainian defensive position looked like from the air after being worked over by Russian artillery:
Ive done a 4yr degree at a western university, served 10yrs in a western military, 10yrs in in a western corporate environment and for say the last 2-3 years working for myself or basically laboring.
I became completely disillusioned with everything about how western countries are run…
One thing Id like to hear discussed and I think you may plan to already cover; is one of the biggest problems I see is the internal socio economic battles that will take place as the wealth pump effect dries up….
In NZ we have a lot of rapacious bureaucrats and credentialed professionals who are well and truly screwing the country, I used to be one of them…. They are fully sold on the current ideology. They are not going to let go of their current positions easily and that is what I see as likely to cause the greatest damage in the short term…..
On the plus side I think more and more people are slowly starting to wake up….just many of them not in this particular class….
Great essay! I was talking to a few open minded friends of mine about this situation, well I was about to go into it when the Uber they called arrived. I decided to test the waters, continue the conversation, and discuss the situation with regards to my impression of the seriousness of “Oil for Rubles”, the impact that would likely have on Europe, and also developments in the status of the petrodollar, and what I believed was the view of “the West” from the outside, in front of the driver, partially because he was a 50s-ish old man and appeared to be a first generation immigrant (my guess), and likely still paying attention to the news/viewpoints from back home, and I thought “I wonder what this guy thinks about this stuff”, my guess was he might agree, so I launched into it. It was amazing how animated he became, saying “yes, yes!” after just a minute or two and eventually cheering me along and shouting out points. I can’t say what population he was from or could represent, and it was just one random encounter, but it was a valuable bit of confirmation.
In gardening news: I offered my neighbours across the street from me some tomato seedlings. Their apartment has a large rooftop they are often on, and I thought they would have luck up there. He was said yes, and had a couple pots, but it took a couple conversations for him to commit to the idea and buy a bag of soil. We filled them and I gave him some of mine, and planted them. He seemed quite moved by all this and said he actually hasn’t gardened since he was a little boy, and told me a story about an uncle who would garden with him and loved it.
He says the plants are doing great so far (perked up after their standard flopping death throes before “take or die” sets in) and offered to give me a drive if I ever needed it. He’s a good guy, although intimidating somewhat. He seems to have relocated due to trouble out east and is mysterious about it, although does refer to it often now that we know each other. He’s also covered in burns which he’s never discussed, and I have never asked about either. It looks like he burnt the pigment out of his skin though, in several places. I knew a boy in Trinidad that looked the same way after bad burns, due to accidentally pouring a can of burning paint all over himself (an accident caused by tossing matches), his skin basically lost all it’s pigment right at the point of injury. Anyway, he also has a thick French accent and I don’t always understand him.
Anytime I would ask my neighbour anything relating to his past when we were getting to know each other, he seemed to evade the questions, or that was my sense anyway, and decided to leave it. We have known him and his girlfriend since they lived around the corner from us, as our fates were united when a fleeing car thief ran up onto our sidewalk with a stolen truck, hitting his car, and running over our fence. We formed a familiarity with him, in the way that bad luck can unite you – or at least introduce you. We’ve done a few odd jobs together, helping neighbours and what not, since he now relocated right across from us, shovelling snow for each other after storms (this is a useful way to ingratiate yourself to your neighbours in Canada!). This is the first time though, something I did effected him like this, even though he knows how many of these plants I have, and that I’d gladly give them to absolutely anyone who would take them (our neighbour that made the “Johnny Tomatoseed” joke visibly laughed yesterday evening when he saw me trying to pawn some off on a 90 year old (or so) woman going by in her walker)). Despite this, it seemed very personal to him, so I am hoping they do well for him and he gets some fruit and maybe pursues this.
I’m taking him up on the ride, because I want to let him repay me (even though I don’t believe it’s necessary, obviously, but because I just think it will be a sign of respect to him), and also because I discovered a free street library far east of here that has a seedling exchange and said they would gladly accept 100 or so plants. As I’m a slight hoarder, I had a bunch of plastic planters saved from years past and so have two trays to take out there soon. I ended up with a few more plants in pots than would fit on the trays, so I put some out by the curb in the best “take me” spot and actually they went last night! I put out 3 more this morning, and another has gone of those. This seems like something very low cost that I can do to promote home gardening, and is better than invading anybody’s space (my seedling bombing idea I mentioned previously). Also it will allow me to keep replanting the cuttings that pruning the plants creates, as I really loved watching them take root and become separate new plants, and that feeling of just multiplying them was really fun. I was already preparing for losing out on it this year, so it is a nice bonus to think about.
I had a bit of a panic period maybe a month or so ago, when I was reeling from all the bad news and simply terrible decisions, and I realized how real all these ideas were about to become all around me. I just accepted that I was doing the right things learning to garden, and forming better relationships with my neighbours, my two main focuses in preparation for it (common advice from pretty much every peak oil/collapse thinker), my third is trying to learn to repair things at home, which I have moderate successes at. I often say to people who stop to talk about gardening, if our conversation goes on long enough and gets deep at all, that I worry about the price and availability of food in our future. Usually people agree.
Thanks for this essay. The information on blitzkriegs was enlightening. I’d like to put my vote in for a snapshot of daily existence if we get a slow die off of the MRNA-vaxxed over the next five to fifty years and how the demographic changes may or may not resemble past die offs. My Ogham have stood by their prediction that most of the vaxxed will face immune system collapse and/or infertility.
The blame game in Washington D.C. over “who lost Ukraine” has already begun:
More analysis from Moon of Alabama:
As Sleepy Joe throws Zelensky and the Ukrainian government under the bus:
At a fundraiser this past weekend, Joe Biden bizarrely unloaded on the Ukrainian President for ignoring repeated warnings of an impending Russian invasion. “I know a lot of people thought I was exaggerating,” Biden said at the event in Los Angeles. “And there was no doubt, and Zelenskyy didn’t want to hear it, nor did a lot of people. I understand why they didn’t want to hear it, but he went in,” Biden continued. The remarks provoked outrage among Ukrainian officials who contested both their accuracy and propriety.
And as Sol points out, the Biden administration is way behind the curve as usual when it comes to the Russo-Ukraine War’s impact on global grain supplies:
Jesus! This administration is consistent! They’re ALWAYS LATE TO ISSUES! This has been talked about for the last two months (or more) and they’re just now spinning over to it? Amazing! The hubris is breathtaking. The lack of critical thinking astonishing. The inability to plan ahead/prepare contingencies unsurprising.
“Senile elites” doesn’t even begin to describe it…
Excuse me, but what ‘operation launched by Russia in 2014’ with an aim to taking over Central Europe are you referring to? The only operation of note in Ukraine in 2014 was the US/NATO/EU instigated/planned/funded coup that overthrew the elected government of Ukraine because it didn’t smile, drop its pants, and bend over for the US. Unless you count the Azov goons streaming eastward chanting ‘death to the Moskals’, causing the Russian populations of Crimea and Donbass to take measures.
US Secretary of State Blinken, truly a shameless tool, recently stated that “the outcome going forward is up to the Ukrainian people to decide”. You know, respect for democracy and the sovereign will of the people and all that happy stuff. I literally thought I was going to vomit when I heard that. How can this clown even look at himself in the mirror? The US violently changed the regime, we installed an anti-Russian government, with the result we see now – don’t give me happy talk about democracy.
HERE and NOW!!
Dear John Michael, it would be great for 5th Wednesday if you could write something that would integrate as much of everybody’s suggestion with an eye ON SOLUTIONS that we could concentrate on RIGHT NOW! Yes… looking into the future because we are “self-conscious beings that can PLAN.
As it has been well theorized from different sources, there are possibilities that Homo Sapiens exterminated Neandertals human ancesters because of his/her IMAGINATION and MEMORY.
Now, if we could imagine a solution for our national and global problems using our incredible gifts…
After all, all this Empire building, war machines, science discoveries… they are all results of humans thinking, working together…
What does it take to have a vision for which a country or corporation or groups of humans would concentrate its incredible potential to create a better life for everyone?
We don’t need to destroy everything cyclicaly, repeat history if we really want to?!
How about some concrete visions to build from where we are, some pain involved for sure, to “build back better” using some “common sense”? Like the Schiller Institute propose for example?
Common sense… hard to find when you look around these days!
With LOVE and JOY,
Gabriel…the seagull ( as in Jonathan Livingston Seagull)
Excellent essay JMG!
One thing not necessarily realized about the Blitzkrieg is that once the surprise factor was gone (Poland, France, the Balkans, Soviet Union 1941), it turned into a “Big Battalions” game. The Soviet Union and the US together produced approximately 10 times the tanks that Germany did. In addition, the mass of the German Army was still horse-drawn and foot. The US was entirely motorized and supplied about half of the trucks the Soviets used.
In any case, while the US could fight mobile battles well, big numbers, lots of resources, and lots of generally well-designed weapons that were reliable were our method. The Sherman was a serviceable tank but had nowhere near the combat power of the German Panther or Tiger tanks. We had plenty of Shermans, fuel, and munitions; the Germans, not enough tanks, fuel, or ammunition. Somehow, I don’t think the F-35 fits the bill of a generally well-designed reliable weapon. The M-1 tank is apparently the real deal, but is it good enough to prevail when always heavily outnumbered and with lots of antitank missiles flying? Finally, we have an Army with not many maneuver units; most of the Army is rear area/logistics; losses will hurt quickly. We are already running short on the Javelin missile by shipments to the Ukraine, and the Russians have not come close to using anywhere near their full combat power.
Finally, the dirty secret – until 1944 about 75% of the German Army was fighting the Soviets, who had also learned (while fighting for survival) to fight mobile war. Even after Normandy, about 67% of the German Army was on the Eastern Front. NATO isn’t going to provide that sort of support!
As a second point, Europe looks to get hammered. The need for expensive US liquified natural gas (that they still need to massively expand their existing port infrastructure to handle I understand), the fact that their militaries are going to be expanded (probably with a lot of US weapons (so money leaving Europe), and the same problems we have in getting physically and mentally fit recruits), and big strains in NATO (Turkey is, I believe, the second largest military in NATO, and their nose is bent out of joint). The wealth pump in action.
Frederick the Great was right: “He who defends everything, defends nothing.”
In summary, I think our and Europe’s elites have gone completely out of their minds. I agree with Wer; this is almost like something out of The Twilight Zone (only more bizarre).
Pygmycory, my guess is all of the above.
Bird, so noted. As for the new trench warfare, exactly — the nature of that kind of warfare is that it comes down to a struggle between entire economies and populations, not just armies.
Averagejoe, hmm! Very sensible of the Russians — anything to decrease complexity is a good thing.
Jacques and Travis, so noted and added to the list.
Jon, so noted. Yes, I was amused to watch the Summit Of That Portion Of The Americas That Submits To Washington — and yes, one of the core dynamics in the fall of empires is that by the time the crunch arrives, the ordinary people of the empire are eager, and quite reasonably so, to jettison their elite class and do something better with their lives.
Paleobear, added to the list.
Tony, you might want to read Carl Jung’s essay Flying Saucers: A Modern Myth of Things Seen in the Skies, where he talks about the spiritual and psychological implications of the Cold War. One thing to keep in mind is that having the world divided like that has been more common than not for the last 2000 years.
Great Khan of Potlucks, it’s the only map I could find! Thanks for catching the Al Stewart reference.
Apteryx, oh, in the long run we’ll be fine — though “fine” doesn’t amount to anything like a quarter of the world’s wealth. It’s the next few decades that are going to be really rough. Before you mourn too much for the people living in desert scrubland, however, you might check out the long-term droughts tightening their grip on the western half of this country…
Celadon, I don’t have a clear timeline yet other than “soon.” The problem is that so much depends on variables that basically can’t be predicted that precisely. As for keeping successor empires at bay, good luck; empires are a normal hazard of human social existence.
Jean-Vivien, the fate of Europe depends on just how efficiently the US strips it of resources in order to prop up its own failing economy. The way things are going, it doesn’t look promising for Europe.
Uncommitted, that’s the biggest of big questions, isn’t it? Just as the US is perfectly willing to fight Russia to the last Ukrainian, it’s equally willing to throw the last European into the same struggle, and strip Europe of wealth and resources into the process. The alternative is submitting to Russia, which may or may not be any improvement. If the Finnish government recovers from its recent attack of insanity and tries to reestablish its neutral status vis-a-vis Russia, your country might be able to avoid that, but the odds are not good.
Mark, are you suggesting that as a fifth Wednesday topic?
Ben, the housing market right now is the biggest of many speculative bubbles in the US, and when it pops — and it will — look out below! I’ve added your topic to the list.
Traz, I’ll be talking about that anyway in two weeks. It’s a normal part of the peak and decline of a civilization, and the causes and consequences are worth discussing.
Pesci, CNN showed you some footage and claimed it was Ukraine. It may have been anyplace on earth — the amount of recycled footage in the corporate media is dizzying.
Northwind, you’re most welcome. You’re far from the only person who’s been feeling that psychic crud, for what it’s worth.
M, have a look at this —
Pesci, my answer to that is almost as short — “it depends.” Tree planting can be helpful in the right place, it can be futile in the wrong place, and what differentiates between these two is a galaxy of subtle local details.
Brenainn, so noted.
Jim, just one of the services I offer. Whack! 😉
Quos Ego, it’s not just the ruble. Russia’s balance of trade is relentlessly positive, and the decision of dozens of Western corporations to pull out of Russia has improved that, since profits are no longer being pumped out of the country. The combination of inflation and recession — properly speaking, that’s stagflation, btw — is worldwide at this point, and a favorable balance of trade and relative autarky in necessities are good tools for dealing with that. As for Sergeytsev and his essay, of course; I think that’s spelled “manifest destiny” in English. That’s not a justification of it, just a recognition that this is what you can expect from a rising power with an unconcealed interest in its neighbors’ land and resources.
As for Biden, it’s more than cold war rhetoric. The entire mentality of the Davos class fixates on the notion that they are the smartest kids in the room, the wave of the future, et cetera ad nauseam, and the dismemberment and plundering of Russia was their big project once the Cold War ended. They’ve never forgiven Putin for taking their toy away from them, and Russia has become their bugbear precisely because it embodies the one force that they know can defeat them: nationalism.
JMG, how would you distinguish an empire from either (a) an unusually country, and (b) a voluntary association of sovereign countries? China sure looks like an empire from here in Taiwan, and to the exile Tibetans, but its government insists that it is just a centralized nation-state. (Previous dynasties were also not empires according to the current thinking, despite statements to the contrary by their emperors.) Conceivably China might belong to JMG’s first rank of empires, i.e. those which steward their colonies with more of an eye to the long-term, and can avoid collapse on that basis. Similarly, the EU might look like an empire to certain elements of Greece or the UK, for example, but then what about ASEAN and CARICOM?
I join Bird’s (no. 24), Brenainn Griffudd’s (no. 46), Andy’s (no. 60), and Will1000’s (no. 76) suggestion of “karma” as the fifth-week topic. (This was nominated before as well.) Partly out of intrinsic interest (several of my religious backgrounds teach some form of it, with much disagreement as to details), but partly because of the suggestion that there do exist metaphysical facts, despite the diversity of religious or spiritual subcultures and their participants. Which raises the question of how we can know such things, given that any side might cite religious authority.
Glen Holcomb (no 17), I’ve been mainlining YouTube videos by Sâr Cœur de la Croix (OMS). On one hand I find this a fascinating tradition; on the other hand I find it difficult to relate to (noting that weird stuff like, ordering demons around, is not entirely alien to Tibetan Buddhism).
Steve T (no. 65), the problem with old-style fraternal (or ecclesiastical) charity is its lack of a sound actuarial basis. If anybody who joined a certain group could expect the hat to be passed on their behalf when they need it, then that group would tend to attract more people who anticipated benefitting from the charity, rather than contributing to it. (More old or sick people, for instance.) Formal insurance schemes regularize such expectations.
John of Red Hook (no. 64) In that case, occultists would be Roadrunners zooming through the painted tunnel!
Ighy (no. 56), that is an excellent book! (“Empire of the Summer Moon”) It offers something of an antidote to popular glorification of “First Nations” and their cultures.
As for the new trench warfare, exactly — the nature of that kind of warfare is that it comes down to a struggle between entire economies and populations, not just armies.
There were a number of German military leaders, including Erich Ludendorff and Ernst Junger, who made exactly that same point after the Great War.
Viewed from that perspective, blitzkrieg could be seen as an attempt to get around the necessity for full mobilization. It’s worth noting that in World War II, Germany failed to fully mobilize until 1943, which seems bizarre, but Hitler was trying to minimize the impact the war had on Germany’s economy and civilian population. He hoped instead that blitzkrieg and advanced technology weapons would avoid the necessity for full scale mobilization with all of the problems that entailed. The end result though was to ensure that Germany was even less prepared for a prolonged struggle than it was in the First World War. That the Germans held out as long as they did is a tribute to the professionalism and tactical effectiveness of the Wehrmacht, as well as the sheer bloody-minded stubbornness of the Nazis and their refusal to admit defeat until the bitter end. The Israelis also used blitzkrieg extensively in many of their wars for the same reason, since they lacked the population and economic base for large-scale, prolonged mobilization.
Now that blitzkrieg is coming to an end as an effective means of waging war, nations will be confronted once again by the same strategic dilemmas Germany and its foes faced in the Great European War of 1914-1945.
Drew, air power is artillery, and artillery is always vulnerable to counter-battery fire. The US logistical advantage is exactly what’s open to question right now, as we no longer have the kind of industrial plant that could flood the world with munitions the way we did in 1942.
Collie, I hope you can manage it this time. One way or another, though, all the countries in Europe are at risk of a drastic decrease in living standards and a long and bitter period of political and social turmoil.
Zergonipal, exactly. The great problem with a war of attrition is that you can’t necessarily be sure that the other side will collapse first!
Clay, the Zumwalt class destroyer is right up there with the F-35 Penguin as a poster child for the total incompetence of the US defense bureaucracy. I hope somebody has the foresight to stick one of each in an open-air museum of failure somewhere.
Ighy, a thousand years from now I expect the great military challenge of the North American continent to be the defense of the eastern agricultural zone against the horse nomads of the central plains. Some things don’t change much.
Five Guns, thank you and so noted!
David BTL, hmm! That’s quite plausible.
Christophe, I could see that.
Andy, added to the list.
Max, fair enough — you’ve made your prediction. Now we’ll see.
Frictionshift, we could produce a lot more food than we do — look up sometime the amount of US acreage that goes into such, ahem, productive uses as lawn grass and flowers for the florist trade. You’re right, of course, that the western half or so of the country is toast as an agricultural asset, but I expect to see a lot more bulk-crop farming in the eastern half of the country as we proceed.
John, that’s a huge question to which I don’t know the answer.
Steve, that’s going to happen if, and only if, somebody makes it happen. Are you volunteering?
Dermotok, good! You’re paying attention. We’ve reached a fascinating nexus in world history at which, at least for now, naval warfare involving large surface vessels has become effectively impossible, and amphibious landings aren’t much more of an option. That’s going to toss any number of cats among the geopolitical pigeons as we proceed.
Rhydlyd, I’ve added it to the list. In the meantime, have you considered following up on the links I included in my post on political economy, contacting the organizations of American cooperatives, and asking for their help and advice?
Stephen, if you redefine “blitzkrieg” to mean any form of mobile warfare, sure, you can make that argument. I was discussing something rather more specific.
Sardaukar, that’s exactly what to expect in a war of attrition where defense is stronger than offense. No, I don’t think the US or any of the western European nations could handle it.
Daniel, that’s a fascinating question to which I don’t yet have an answer.
HPL, yes, I’m familiar with Dugin and his thought. Certainly there’s quite a spanking being delivered!
Greg, oh, probably. “The capital of the Anglic Empire relocated from London to Washington during the war years, as it became clear to the imperial government that the old capital was too vulnerable…”
Aloysius, I’ve added it to the list.
Anselmo, that’s one of the really huge questions just now. If they don’t, I’d encourage you to learn Russian.
Will, added to the list.
Wer, no, it’s not just you. Things aren’t that much different here, though our forest service has had guns for a long time now.
Mirasso, understood. I wonder if you’re prepared for the scale of conflict that will require of you.
Justin, so noted, though I have to say that writing “It depends on your circumstances” 500 times or so doesn’t sound like a helpful post to me.
Lydia and Degringolade, I’ve added your vote.
Zeroinput, now, now, one vote per person! Which of those would you like to enter?
Renaissance, well, did you expect to see people fall in line blindly to take inadequately tested experimental Covid drugs the way they did? If that kind of war became inevitable, you can be sure that the same sort of high-pressure propaganda would be deployed.
Sardaukar, good. I wonder how many other people, especially in military circles, are reading those right now.
Gary, the novelist Upton Sinclair used to note that it’s difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on not understanding it. Of course the professional-managerial class will cling like grim death to the current ideology — that’s what justifies their influence and income. The question is what they’ll do as people outside that class get tired of their repeated failures.
Johnny, sounds like a very productive approach. Keep on going!
Kimberly, so noted; it’s on the list.
Sardaukar, yep. It’s going to get much, much louder.
Gabrielseagull, there are no solutions. There are only responses. We aren’t facing a problem that can be solved, we’re facing a predicament that has to be lived with, and responded to. If you won a million dollars in a lottery, spent almost all of it, and only then decided that it was time to figure out some way to maintain your current lifestyle, you’d be shale out of luck — and that’s exactly our situation right how.
Cugel, I ain’t arguing. The European elites have mistakenly relocated to a fantasy land where the future is whatever they say it is. Unfortunately for them, the future is uninterested in playing along.
Bei, if any of the parts of the nation became parts of the nation through conquest, it’s an empire. China, Russia, and the United States are thus all empires. I’ve added your vote.
Sardaukar, exactly. Exactly.
As far as a fifth Wednesday essay goes, I just ran across this comment of yours in a Magic Monday:
“It would require a couple of pages of explanation of occult philosophy. The very short form is that electronics works on what we can call the subnatural level — the level of subatomic particles and quantum events — and that level borders on the demonic.”
My vote is to expand upon that.
“… the dismemberment and plundering of Russia was their big project once the Cold War ended. They’ve never forgiven Putin for taking their toy away from them, and Russia has become their bugbear precisely because it embodies the one force that they know can defeat them: nationalism.”
That’s it in a nutshell, isn’t it? For years, as the NATO noose tightened around Russia, Putin delivered address after speech in various fora stressing how a new security arrangement for Europe was necessary. You look at the videos of these things, and in the front row are senior American and European politicians, and they are sitting there smirking, rolling their eyes, and outright laughing at times. Literally making fun of Putin and Russia! You know, ‘a gas station with pretensions of being a country’. What Imperial hubris!
The fun is over.
Pygmycory, I think inflation in Canada was until recently, controlled by absurd housing costs. For instance, a one bedroom apartment in second-tier cities costs 700 liters of diesel a month, or 400 pounds of ground beef, or 100 lbs of steak, or 875 pounds of dry kidney beans, or 8 megawatt-hours of electricity, or one slightly rusty beater car. This lets the government print a lot of money and have it disappear into housing.
Now that interest rates are up and it is no longer possible for an investor with 20% down to buy a condo or small home and get a cash flow positive rental, all bets are off. Right now, a condo in my city costs double to buy than to rent…
I don’t know how many of you know of Gonzalo Lira. He is an indie journalist and blogger, who is in Kharkov right now, doing podcasts about the war.
On of his latest videos is “What Russia Has To Do After Russia Wins”
At 24:30, Lira (speaking about the U.S.) says this:
“You see, in the last century, there have been two empires that have vanished – great empires that have vanished – the British Empire and the Soviet Empire. And we, in general, in the world – we were exceedingly lucky, because in both cases, that destruction, that elimination, annihilation of these two empires happened bloodlessly (or relatively bloodlessly). But that’s rare in history.
“In 1956, the British Empire, for all intents and purposes, ceased to exist after the Suez Crisis. In 1991, Christmas Day, the Soviet Union ceased to exist. But, those were peaceful, orderly collapses of great empires.
“We’re not going to be so lucky with the collapse of the American Empire. The American empire is collapsing from within, and at the same time, it is thrashing around in foreign policy. And so, within and without, it’s just thrashing arms as it circles the drain. That’s what’s happening with America, with the American Empire. Once you realize that’s what’s happening, once you have that mental model, that within it’s collapsing and fighting itself and tearing itself apart, and, outside, it’s thrashing randomly to somehow come back and get back on top, then, when you have that model firmly in your mind, everything becomes very, very clear, and you start to realize how truly dangerous this moment is.
“The United States is the great danger to the entire world. Its collapse, which we are witnessing, is the true danger that we have to deal with. It’s what Russia is going to have to deal with (and China as well, for that matter). The whole world is going to have to deal with this, and how the world deals with this collapsing empire will determine our collective future. it will determine whether or not we have a future! Because, remember, this is the first collapsing empire that’s thrashing in its death throes, and has the ability to destroy the world. Understand what’s going on!”
I’ll vote for for a snapshot of daily existence if we get a slow die off of the MRNA-vaxxed over the next five to fifty years and how the demographic changes may or may not resemble past die offs as well.
In terms of having enough resources to support a reasonable standard of living and keep the population fed in the near term, my sense is that the US is doing alright. And given our nukes same still powerful military no one is going to invade and seize territory in the near future.
The biggest risk in my view is that we could become a banana republic to the next empire(s).
The elite control the government.
The elite want cash to maintain their lifestyles.
Rising empires have cash.
Therefore the government can be coerced by various financial leverage to cut exploitative deals with the rising empires, against the wishes of a majority of citizens, and at some point the pretense of democracy is cast aside.
I think/hope we have just enough populist resentment and nationalist/anti-globalist sentiment in the military and police to avoid this outcome, but we shall see.
As for your post, my vote would be for your take on the covid/vax situation, but it sounds like that’s already in the queue.
I would like to know what you think about what part the Occult and magic might have in the collapse of our empire.
A lot of ink has been spilled angrily regarding China’s “Belt and Road Initiative”, lambasting it as a form of “debt-trap diplomacy”. The reality of it is that Western international aid to poor countries nowadays typically come in the form of things like “education” and “climate change mitigation”, with a heaping tablespoon or ten of austerity and woke social justice legislation as conditions. Whereas the Chinese would be very glad to extend cheap loans to build railroads, bridges, ports, et al. with few strings attached (mostly involving having Chinese contractors do various aspects of the work). Western countries can’t do this anymore because they have de-industrialized.
I know you’ve written about the Philippines’ foreign policy pivot away from America back in the days of the Archdruid Report. In the 2010’s, we got into a major fight (practically as far as it can go short of bullets and rockets flying) with China regarding fishing rights in the South China Sea. The administration of then-president Benigno Aquino III filed for arbitration at The Hague, which ruled in the Philippines’ favor. China refused to participate, and while the Aquino administration tried leaning very hard into the American alliance with Barack Obama’s much-ballyhooed “Asian Pivot”, the Philippines got literally nothing from America besides some nice sounding words.
It shouldn’t be a surprise then that when President Duterte was elected, he shifted towards what he called an “independent foreign policy” and started playing off China (and to a lesser extent, Russia) against the Philippines’ traditional allies, America and Japan. It kinda worked, we got a deal with Japan to build a subway and a couple of deals with China to build some dams and bridges, and the latter got a bit less aggressive with driving out Philippine fishermen (although it’s still a problem).
Fast forward to the present, the Duterte administration is on the way out and he will be replaced by Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. You might have heard of his parents ;). At any rate he is promising a continuation of the “independent foreign policy”, and the Russian ambassador already approached him offering cheap oil and fertilizer. The mainstream media and some think-tanks have attacked the “independent foreign policy” as really being subservient to China and Russia… the fact that the aforementioned commentators are American educated and funded (vestiges of the 20th and early 21st century order) may or may not be coincidental. 😉
JMG, fair enough – although it’s a common enough circumstance, at least among people my age in Canada, to have no real wealth but a lot of cash. I’ve thought about just going long on pressure cookers and buying 50 or so All-Americans.
In some good news the local wheat crop is looking particularly good. Last year between the drought and the early heat wave they got 31 bushels an acre, about half of usual. This year with the cold and wet spring (which is continuing, the heat pump is still in heat mode) they are estimating 73 bushels an acre.
My strawberries are doing very well, but the apricot either had the blossoms freeze or the bees simply stayed inside.
As for the army and it’s war plans, don’t forget that we have an all-volunteer force, and to get them to volunteer you must have at least some sort of approximation of a competitive wage with the private sector. ** Expensive labor means the Generals have to be careful with them. So we have a plan that involves stand-off weapons and maneuver warfare, not one involving a million men standing in a ditch. Fixed or towed artillery is supposedly too vulnerable to modern counter battery fire. Whether this is true remains to be seen. Regardless, shoot and scoot is the strategy, and that requires expensive mobile artillery.
The Navy also has problems. The admirals admit they tried too many new tricks on the Ford-class carrier and most of them don’t work and will or have been removed. The Zumwalts don’t work, so they ordered more of the Burkes, which do work, and are cheaper. And the trimaran version of the LCS is cracking their hulls and are not long for this world. The conventional shaped LCS also broke down because the combination transmission that connects the fuel efficient diesel with the very fast turbine keeps breaking. It’s future may well be a minesweeper without the turbine using remote controlled submersibles. Most of them have been mothballed until they can sort out that techology.
And I won’t mention the F-35 “LardBucket” that is bringing such joy to the airforce.
“The engines on A-model F-35s, which take off and land conventionally, have been running ‘hot,’ or close to the limits of their design, and that heat has caused premature cracks, or delamination, of turbine blade coatings,” Bloomberg reports.”
** Alternatively, the government can blow up the economy and get volunteers out of desperation.
And in case you think this is in any way new, grab some popcorn and watch this, a youtube video worth your time. ( or search for Drachinifel failure is like onions
For a future topic, I’m with Kim Steel up at #88. If 1 in 30 vaxed become excess deaths in say the next five years, what happens? Simpler societies survived 1 in 3 death rates. Would we really notice? Or would the real burden be the medical care the afflicted would soak up as their immune systems collapsed? Would triage be essential? “You are dying, here is your Black Capsule for when the pain gets too bad. I’m truly sorry for your plight. Next!”
If there is big hit to fertility does the Handmaid’s Tale come to life?
JMG – you keep quoting that one line of Kipling as a sample of mindless jingoism, while I’ve been wondering if he wasn’t being sourly sarcastic. He certainly knew – and told the world in a poem even seen and sung in Episcopalian hymnals – that the Empire was on its well-deserved way out, which is the context for the comment. Many of his stories deal with the casualties of the Empire’s way with the people of India – consider the Woman of Simla and her story – and also of the plight of the Anglo-Indian intelligentisia, strongly highlighted in Kim. I truly think Rudyard Kipling was more nuanced than you’ve indicated. Of course, he also uses recruitment into the system as the salvation of his characters; but that, too, is a known fact of life. Anyway –
Highly OT: – For me, The Jungle Books threw a lot of light on exactly how Cassilda, Camilla, Aldones, et.al. managed to survive in the deserted and depopulated ruins of Alar as the “last people left alive.” Except, of course, for the palace servants (you think Camilla was scrubbing floors in the kitchen?) – except for the villages where their food came from; even except for the two loyal noble families left to provide possible husbands for the princesses. Even if they did kill each other. Okay – we now return you to your original topic, the decline and fall of their Empire’s successors, namely , US. Whose grab-and-run tactics of conquest go way, way back, as many a T-shirt and bumper sticker in Indian country keeps reminding us. (“A smart ruler knows it’s more profitable to shear the sheep than to slaughter them.”)
How much longer do you think the US dollar will hold its strength to other currencies? It seems weird that it’s still doing as well as it is in the financial market, when the dollar is clearly losing its purchasing power.
Check this out. Rheinmetall, Germany’s largest arms manufacturer, unveiled it’s next generation tank design and named it the Panther KF-51.
No, that wasn’t a typo you saw. They literally named their new tank after the Wehrmacht’s best tank from World War II. I’m sure the symbolism hasn’t been lost on either the German or the Russian people…
For the Fifth Wednesday post, I would love to hear something about food independence and/or green wizardry.
I’m trying to prepare for the future by producing a portion of my own food, but it’s proving a lot easier said than done! Not all of us were gifted by the gods with green thumbs.
I’m also worried about the things that Apteryx & Pygmycory touched on. If we are not very capable militarily and have lots of resources, it seems likely that we’re next in line to be colonized (again). I’m wondering if that’s something that’s more likely in a mid-term future or if we do something so stupid we make it happen much sooner.
5th Weds Post: I suppose what I’m wondering about would be related to karma (on a large or community scale). I’m wondering how communities can reconcile. I feel like we as citizens are almost as divided as we were around the civil war. I just don’t understand how we can be so acrimonious over a bloviating politician (s) and vaccines and yet this stuff is still keeping families divided.
I just recently started working with a railroad doing maintenance of way, which is building and maintaining track. Many different railroads are hiring like crazy right now, which on the surface appears good. They know more are going to cheaper shipping options. However, from what I am learning, all the maintenance folks know how to do is operate machines to do all the work. It was a totally different skillset to clear, level, bring in the ballast/ties/rail prior to how things are done now. So from what I see, JMG is spot on with us in the US just not being able to adapt easily to not having what we are used to having. And so, yeah you’re right, there’s not much likelihood that rail will return to your area.
Awesome article and not a whole to debate or nitpick. Can we possibly add that the Clowns running the Show around the world, decided to throw the proverbial monkey wrench into the works? The system would have gone wonky and wobbly all on its own but it appears TPTB decided to fast track the plane crashing into the side of the mountain.
Me (no. 94), first line: Argh, I mean to write “(a) an usually large country” !
JMG (no. 96) ” if any of the parts of the nation became parts of the nation through conquest, it’s an empire.”
Hmm, the Swiss Confederation conquered Thurgau in 1460… Israel annexed East Jerusalem in 1967, after the Six Day War…
Very nice essay, JMG! I won’t say it’s your best, because there’s so many to choose from, but it’s in the “I want to forward this to other people” category.
I heard on the news tonight we are sending another one Billion dollars to Ukraine. I can’t help but think it would be better for both parties if we didn’t do that.
And I love that I’m pondering what I wish you would talk about on the 5th Wednesday, and I’m having trouble thinking of anything. You already cover such a broad range of topics. Maybe I’m just tired. I still have some time. Let me think on it. But one thing I know for sure, whatever you write, I will read it, and probably love it.
JMG, I think all the proposed 5th-Wednesday topics are interesting. Could you maybe switch from tea to espresso so you can type faster?
If we must narrow it down to one 5th-Wednesday topic, I guess the one with the greatest relevance would be what we as individuals can do to cope with the current fustercluck.
Cliff, it’s on the list.
Sgage, exactly. Now we’ll see who gets to laugh.
Michael, whisper this. We don’t actually know how functional the US nuclear arsenal is…
Tamanous, so noted.
Mark, it’s a serious risk, and if the US fragments, it goes from risk to certainty.
William, so noted.
Carlos, thanks for this. I’ve been watching the Philippines as closely as I can without knowing the language, and I’ve been pleased to see Bongbong’s enthusiastic embrace of the independent foreign policy. That’s the only sane way for a country like the Philippines to play the game at this point.
Justin, if that seems like a good idea, by all means!
Siliconguy, glad to hear it. As for the military issue, exactly — you can’t fight trench warfare with a volunteer force for long. We’ll see how long Russia can keep it up. (I’ve added your vote.)
Patricia, Kipling was a complicated guy, and his ideas also changed as he aged — as happens to a lot of people. As for the cast of The King in Yellow, I’ve thought more than once of using it as a metaphor for the twilight of the US empire…
Varun, the great advantage the dollar has right now is that every other major currency is in equally bad shape! It’s currently losing a lot of ground vs. goods and services, however…
Sardaukar, no doubt the Königstiger will be rolling off the assembly lines any day now, to be followed by the Maus…
Sambo, so noted.
Candace, that’s a real risk. I’ve added your vote to the list.
Rod, I ain’t arguing. It’s one of the wry amusements of history that decadent ruling classes so often make the decisions that bring about their own destruction, in the serene conviction that what they’re doing will guarantee their triumph. Keep in mind that Joe Biden is a typical national leader in the endgame of political decadence, and this may not be hard to understand.
Bei, empire is a sliding scale, of course. There are microempires, mesoempires, and macroempires.
Slink, don’t worry about that $1 billion. Maybe $5.00 and a little spare change will make it to Ukraine; the rest will be pocketed by politicians, bureaucrats, and arms merchants in the US. All the big ticket special budget items in the last few decades are that way; there’s a nice old-fashioned word for them — “graft.”
Your Kittenship, that one’s already on the schedule for this sequence of posts! I’ll pass on the espresso, though — coffee gives me migraines, and those keep me from writing.
“It’s one of the wry amusements of history that decadent ruling classes so often make the decisions that bring about their own destruction, in the serene conviction that what they’re doing will guarantee their triumph.”
Isn’t this exactly what you said a curse from a god looks like? Do you think those play a role?
Hello, I am from Japan.
Thank you for your excellent essay.
As a citizen of a client states of the US, I am very concerned about what will happen in the course of the “twilight of the empire”.
Now I am thinking of the relationship between the Roman Empire and Gaul. It contributed greatly to the Roman Empire as a supply center for Roman soldiers in its heyday. However, It was devastated long before the cities of the Italian peninsula were destroyed, and their dark ages seem to have been long.
so I would like you to write what will happen in Japan, or other western Europe in the near future.
Here in the northern mountains of the Great Western Desert we’ve added flooding (what? how? why is there water falling from the sky in such quantities?) to the problems. Since Yellowstone National Park is one of the affected areas, I’m sure it’s made news worldwide.
But quite simply, we don’t expect water like this. We’re not built for it. Roads are gone. Bridges are gone. Buildings are gone in little creeks that normally you could wade across. Cities don’t have drinking water anymore. I don’t think anyone knows what the damage is yet, or how much can be rebuilt, let alone will
(We are not personally affected: had a good deal of rain from that system but were on the edge and didn’t get enough to cause problems.)
Before that, we had two train derailments in as many weeks in the UP yard. I suggest not relying on trains for a bit. UP hasn’t announced why, but they replaced tracks here just a few years back and we have our suspicions. This is one of the major junctions in the Western US. I can’t remember another derailment here, I’d guess it’s usually decades between them. I would be very interested to know if other folks are seeing derailments.
Signs of decline. The talk is that it may be years before Yellowstone’s roads are repaired, though the park service is saying rather less. I suppose it is possible they never will, but YNP is a huge tourism draw so if it can be done it will be to keep extracting money from tourists. For now, the park is closed to visitors.
Of course, down south as much of just New Mexico has burned as the entire size of Rhode Island and no end in sight to the fire weather conditions. Believe you me, I am grateful for the rain!
Thumb through this book for 1 min, that’s all it takes to get the gist. I would love to see something along this topic of “strategic relocation”
I think this book is a gem. It was mentioned by Randall Carlson (kosmographia)
Thanks for the continued great work and dedication on this and the dreamwidth
I’ve been reading you as a sort of check on sanity for years now. Thank you for that by the way. I have a legitimate question though. My significant other runs a children’s theater as a non-profit. Basically theater instruction and production and performance for kids who are mostly middle school aged. Would she be classified as a productive part of the overall economy? I don’t mean this question sarcastically or as a gotcha; I genuinely don’t know based on the context of this latest essay.
Another mundane astrology post would be fascinating, though it is probably time you took a week off.
Hello Mr. Greer,
I would like to ask about the following statement you made.
“There are empires that are in it for the long term and settle for a level of plunder that doesn’t bankrupt their possessions, and there are empires that aren’t so patient and strip their colonies of wealth faster than wealth can be generated. The Chinese, Indian, and Ottoman Empires are good examples of the first category, while the Roman, Spanish, and British Empires belong to the second category. Yes, the US is in the second category too: closer to the middle than some, but still in there.”
This brings up two questions. First, why is it that the Empires in it for the long haul are eastern/middle eastern while the short terms ones are western? China and India both have access to great mountain fed rivers which given them never depleting topsoil, whereas only the Roman empire via its conquering of Egypt ever had access to something like that. Still, that only explains some of the empires, so what’s going on there?
Second, you mentioned that America did not strip its colonies down to the bare walls as badly as some other empires, and some of the comments indicated that America might be getting ready to do this to Europe. This infers America might have some gas left in the tank. On the other hand, the draught hitting us seems so massive and no one wants to take it seriously. I know this is conjecture at this point, but where do you think that leaves the U.S.? Do we suffer a slow decline over multiple generations as we loot Europe to buy ourselves more time, or do we topple so badly in this generation that there are half a dozen statelets where America use to be?
As far as the 5th article for the month goes my vote would normally be an update on you thoughts about the vaccines, but I think you were already going to address that. So with that said I would be interested if you produced a list of good common sense social changes that ecosophians could point to and say to our increasingly bewildered friends, “hey, here is a bunch of good ideas”. I’ve heard you say things like trolley cars are a great way to reduce air pollution and gasoline dependence, that canals can be repaired very cheaply, that volunteer societies and deregulated medicine can help our health care, and so on. But most of what I know about your views on these topics come from book length treatments or at least full articles dedicated to one topic. An article outlining a dozen or so things that we could reasonably implement in the coming years would be really cool and well worth sharing.
Re #25 above and the mention of Lada cars. Back in the 80s New Zealand was struggling to find international markets for its excess butter production. And the USSR was struggling to find hard western currency to buy imports. So the New Zealand Dairy Board did a deal with the USSR whereby the USSR exchanged Ladas for NZ butter, and the New Zealand Dairy Board set up car dealerships to off-load the Ladas for cash. Another lesson in how you don’t need foreign exchange to trade internationally if you’re prepared to think outside the box.
Pray that the conquerors speak a language that’s not too hard to learn. If Basque speakers get aggressive, we’re in trouble.
Does anyone want to guess who might want to go to the trouble of conquering the U.S.? Mismanagement aside, it’s still a nice piece of real estate.
Let’s all move to Rhode Island, elect as PM either Sara or JMG, whoever has more time to fool with the various PM duties, and call it Greerland. Then we absorb the U.S. We get the population on our side by teaching them how to make baby formula, if they can’t feed the baby au naturel, and otherwise treating them as humans. Americans will demand to become Greerlanders in such huge numbers that the PMC won’t be able to rig elections otherwise.
What should we put on the flag? Cthulhu? A cute kitten? A steaming teacup? A bacon cheeseburger?
re railroads in the US–I recently moved to Colfax, CA, which has always been a railroad town on the transcontinental route. I’m not sure how many freight trains go through each day; they are usually in excess of 100 cars. They require 2 or 3 diesel engines since they are pulling and pushing those cars over the Sierra Nevada. When I was living in Colorado, I would see 100 car coal trains going south one after another. This was in 2005. I assume they were carrying coal from the Dakotas to generating plants.
JMG–your remark about agricultural land used for flowers made me smile. I grew up in California and our family went to the State Fair every year. The counties’ building featured exhibits from each county of agricultural products, lumber from the forested counties, information about tourist attractions and industry. One county in the Bay Area, I think it was San Mateo, always featured flowers. We used to joke that we wondered what the people ate since they grew only flowers.
But considering acreage that does not produce food there are also thousands of acres in wine grapes and growing hops and barley for beer. A certain amount of the corn grown is processed into bourbon whiskey. I don’t know how many acres of land, acre feet of water and tons of agricultural chemicals are devoted to the production of alcohol, but it is considerable. Obviously, these products are profitable, not just for the growers but also for governments since alcoholic beverages are highly taxed. Then we have tobacco (and other smokables where legal). In addition, there are the luxury crops in other nations: sugar, chocolate, coffee, tea. Not to mention coca, opium, kava, khat. Lots of room for conflict between the need for nourishing food vs. the desire for mood altering substances.
My topic vote is for disruptions of energy supplies and the supply chain; I’m in a really practical mood of late.
My new medical clinic is wobbling off the ground. The first 5 weeks, I only saw 3 patients. This week (week 6), I’m seeing another 3. Five appointments are on my July calendar so far, and I have 2 depositions scheduled. I’ve met with the main local labor law firms, and they’ve assured me of a stream of referrals. Many other auspicious developments are raising their lovely heads.
A while back you mentioned in passing your prediction that pursuant to the Covid farrago the world would eventually break down into two kinds of geographic political regions: those implementing biosecurity state totalitarianism, and those that don’t. You mentioned that you had in mind an essay on that topic. That’s the one that I’ve been hoping to read.
I’m assuming that should things shake down that way, the region I’m presently in will go full-on biosecurity state, and I’d like to know your thoughts on likely outcomes for such regions, and for the others.
Thanks for your answer. About Biden and the Davos class: I’m not that sure that it’s a Davos thing, because the rhetoric here in Europe regarding Russia is nowhere as shrill as what I see coming out of the US (and the UK). Of course, Poland and the Baltic states are very belligerent in tone too, but there, you have to look for reasons that are more rooted in Russian expansionism in the last two centuries or so.
But in Western Europe, where many politicians had been pursuing pro-Russian agendas (for instance, Macron’s been keeping in touch with Putin from the beginning, and that’s a feature, not a bug) in the last two decades, punishing Russia is more seen as some sort of duty to defend democracy and to avoid the repetition of WWII (which is a collective trauma we all have here, and that American pundits, and many commentators on this blog, don’t seem to understand). I haven’t seen any of the shrill enthusiasm I saw coming out of the US in the first two months of the war, everybody’s been dragging their feet, and if Putin could just call it quits, almost everyone would be happy to resume trade with Russia in a matter of months.
From the Western European provinces, it does not look to me that the US empire is necessarily dying. Rather, it stopped pretending that it exists for humanity’s sake, and made it clear that it exists for its own elites. In a way, it is refreshing.
Until the early 2000s, we Europeans could not complain about US domination: we were prosperous and at peace as never before, more so than we would have been without US occupying armies.
Now the occupation has become a zero-sum game, where we get poorer so that your weapon manufacturers, mining companies and investment banks can get richer.
Great post, comments section, wow very impressive. Here in NZ the local political blogs leave me uninspired, JMG certainly attracts a better standard of comment.
Re the death of an memory of empires. My father, born 1926 and still alive as a child was told that Britain ruled the waves, had done for a century. That was the way it was, a natural order of things. He served in the Royal Navy and saw its US ally eclipse it. He still sees the world in British imperial exceptional terms. The same myths will take years to die in the USA.
What to talk about: the spiritual vacuum and existential crisis of the West (Faustian culture) and how it can be cured….. You’ve already begun, keep going.
Empires don’t necessarily end with a handshake and a flag-lowering ceremony. Sometimes they hang onto their possessions grimly and and release them only after a deadly struggle.
I’m thinking of a minor empire, the Dutch. In the 1600s they colonized my country, South Africa, until chased out by the British. Dutch East India was a major possession, taken over by the Japanese in WW2, and restored to the Dutch afterwards. The Dutch tried to hang on to the region, rich in rubber and oil, but the Indonesians fought for independence.
A friend of the family served in the Dutch army until invalided out with “wandelende niere” (wandering kidneys). Long trips in army trucks over rutted dirt roads shook his kidneys loose from their bed of fat. They would drive slowly through the cane fields where insurgents liked to hide and jump out of the moving truck one by one, the truck not stopping so the insurgents would not realize that troops had been offloaded, then sweep through the cane fields and catch the insurgents by surprise.
Back in the ’60s when there was a frenzy of decolonization, there was a clear alternative ideology to Western capitalism, namely communism or some form of leftist socialism. But with the fall of the Soviet Union communism has lost much of its luster. There is China, of course, very successful in its own way, but I don’t think many nations want to emulate the ant-like discipline of Chinese society. I think there’s room for a new anti-capitalist ideology. Fascism might fit the bill.
It feels at least somewhat useful!
Closer to the theme of this week’s post, do you think that the USA will invade Canada in the future?
It’s something Canadians often think about. It’s such an unspoken ubiquitous thing here that I imagine its materializing would rouse many men here to passionately take up arms in the conflict. I picture it something like the conflict you described with the Lakelands in Retropia, an impossible quagmire where no real advances are made since we can easily pass for each other and our military has served closely with yours so frequently, and generally there’s no point in it if Canada is sending it’s resources happily over, but also could see it push Canada to pivot to a new alliance that could protect it.
I was curious on your thoughts anyway.
Yet another great post and lively comments section 🙂 Helps me get through a dull day in the library I work in.
I would find a Druids perspective on Karma insightful. I vaguely remember reading a book by Stanislav Grof who explained that sometimes we can have karmic ties to the same beings/people and they can cross over into different inarnations and in different relationship capacities until the karmic pattern had resolved itself. Essentially I know next to nothing about karma but would be interested to learn more, cheers!
“or their forgettable American equivalents lauding the United States as the world’s policeman”
I recall one of the early American imperialists, though I don’t recall just who, talking about the United States’s literally God-given power and _duty_ to bring the light of freedom and progress to “savage and senile peoples” (as I recall the quote).
For “savage” I read “We can downplay their cultural and technological aspects and claim they weren’t ever worth much, so they’re better off with us in charge” and for “senile” “They’re too rich and their buildings are too impressive for us to say they’ve never amounted to anything, _but_ they haven’t been developing new technology, particularly military technology, as fast or as well as we’ve been, so we can claim that they’re stagnant, at or past their peak if left to their own devices, but _we_ can lift them higher — for a price, naturally”.
This was, of course, before one could just point to the Dirty Commies and say that, well, we _have_ to prop up, or indeed install, the dictator oppressing this small country (and ensuring some _very_ favorable trade deals for us), because otherwise they might be oppressed by a _Communist_ dictator! (Or, of course, they might have their own actually free elections and be governed by someone fitting their own desires and culture, with the country’s wealth used for the benefit of its own citizens — but then _neither_ superpower would get paid.)
“check out the economic history of Ireland or India under British rule sometime”
Fun fact, for a given value of fun: as I understand it, the word “loot” is itself derived from an Indian word. Now, whyever might _that_ particular bit of linguistic “loaning” have come about, I wonder?
Interesting as always. I would make two comments.
Firstly, “confine armour to narrow streets and fling anti-tank weapons at them” is not a Ukrainian invention, but was first seen mostly strongly in the first battle of Grozny.
Secondly, you mention a future for the US where its share of world resource consumption drops below its population share, of 5% or so. This is of course possible, but for many resources the US has more than 5% of the world’s share within its own continental mass. For example, it produces some 8% of the world’s bauxite, 7% the copper, and so on. And even in the 19th century with little or no fossil fuel inputs the US was able to feed itself many times over, ie feed other countries.
Now, obviously what a country produces and what it gets to consume are two different questions. But the raw production ability is there for many primary goods, so the fall may not be as far as you expect.
This is a delicate time for small nations bordering empires, such as my native Finland is. We are quite late to the game with NATO, and now that we decided to apply for the membership. Turkey decided to throw a wrench to the process. That leaves us with a declared intent to join the alliance, but without the benefits of actually joining.
Still, we have been here before. We have faced the Soviet Union fighting with equipment provided by the US. Our army is and has been strong, with a sizable artillery for our size, and with geographic features that assist in the defense. The will of the people is strong, should things go south. It is an odd time we live in. Some say that the longer the war takes in Ukraine, the more time we have to keep preparing for some unwanted funny business up here.
We do not have fond cultural memories of Russian rule, except for some brief periods of autonomy. Stuff may get really weird still. One day everything is normal, until suddenly it is not. We are not there yet. One day we might. It is an odd time to be trying to get under the wing of a falling dragon.
For the Fifth Wednesday, I would like a post that talks about how Americans can decline gracefully if it is even possible. I live in a region that is economically depressed after peaking out around the 70s like so many other mill towns in the US. There is a lot of pessimism, mental problems, and vacant buildings with graffiti. If this is a preview of a broader decline, the picture doesn’t look too pretty. A post about how to decline more gracefully or even turn the wheel into a whole other direction – ecosophian, ecotechnic, etc – would be great.
For the fifth Wednesday post, like jbucks I vote for the future of health care in the face of economic decline. I’m already trying to do my bit by reinventing home-grown ancient Roman and medieval anaesthetics:
I agree that empires are mostly wealth pumps from the periphery to the centre, but let’s not underestimate the benefits of empire to the populations of client states. For example, Britain (where I live) used to be a client state of the Roman Empire. If I had been a first-century Briton I might have had to decide whether to offer my loyalty to the local British tribal warlord or the Roman provincial administrator. Given that the latter offered written laws, better roads, hot baths, Pax Romana and a basic form of democracy, I might well have chosen to support the Romans – as did thousands of other Britons.
The benefits of Roman occupation were probably enjoyed mainly by Joe Public – not the warlords, whose power would have been severely curtailed.
I’m inclined to agree with Max, without the West to sell to it’s in a big mess. It seems to me that China’s very best option is there to be peace for its flaky model to have any chance of continuing. When I first started hearing about ghost cities I thought it was one or two local politicians that engineered colossal white elephants. It turns out that it’s systemic, the middle classes “invest” in apartment shells (they are not fitted out because that’s unlucky and lowers the value!), because other options eg the stock market can’t be trusted due to the flimsy adherence to the rule of law, no one wants to live in them, and the owners don’t want to rent out because the rental income would be a tenth of the monthly mortgage cost!! But property prices always rise! At least in 2008 the property boom was based on homes people wanted to live in even if they couldn’t afford to. Construction accounts for something like 30% of China’s GDP. When someone notices the emperor is naked it’s not going to be pretty.
This is an important issue, and as it happens I have posted just today a somewhat similar analysis on my Substack.
But I’m not convinced that the Imperial model, or the idea of building an analysis around resource extraction, is particularly helpful, although I have noticed that Americans of all political persuasions, are very prone to do that. What we’re talking about, as I describe, is long term changes in patterns of political dominance and submission which have always existed, and which move with (and often behind) underlying economic and military realities.
You show a map of the British Empire at its greatest size in 1921. But fifty years before, there would have been very little red on the map at all. For Liberals like John Stuart Mill, “Empire” meant essentially Australia, New Zealand and Canada, with India. Britain was the industrial workshop of the world, so it needed the freedom of the seas and free access to raw materials and markets for its economy. But Liberals were wary of expensive imperial commitments. The Cape Colony and Singapore were important as naval bases, even though the latter was too distant and expensive ever to be used properly. (Ireland of course had no resources to take. It was important in the 16th century as a Catholic state that could be a base for operations against the new Protestant England, and needed to be controlled: the Ukraine, if you like to England’s Russia. This importance continued at least until the Napoleonic Wars.)The process by which this changed in the late 19th century was chaotic and episodic, and has been traced in detail by historians like Duncan Bell. The imperial lobby did actually think that colonies in Africa could be profitable, but when people like Rhodes attempted to make it happen, they failed miserably and had to be bailed out by the taxpayer. Indeed, if you’re familiar with these countries, even today, you will realise that at the time, countries like Zambia (Northern Rhodesia), let alone Sudan or Botswana, had little that was worth stealing. Ambitious plans for agriculture and mining came to little or nothing and added to the costs of the colonies. (Quite a few were not colonies as such, but just former Ottoman territories where the British increased their influence, like Sudan and even Egypt.) Outside the noisy but small economic lobby for colonies in the late nineteenth century, there were also the powerful missionary societies (the NGOs of the era) with lots of contacts in government, and the anti-slavery lobby, which successfully ensured that the Royal Navy spent a lot of resources on anti-slavery patrols off Africa.
So for the British, the Empire was essentially about Great Power status, having a worldwide presence and being a major actor in all sorts of areas, as well as having secure and reliable trade and raw material routes. The debilitating cost of two wars convinced the British that this was no longer they way to do it (the French concluded the same thing a little later) and this led to a refocusing towards Europe and the US, and different ways of retaining status and influence , with greater or lesser success. It’s not an accident that the British economy grew massively faster after 1919 and especially after 1945.
I think much the same could be said of the US, which expanded into a vacuum left by the weakness of others. But the underlying correlation of economic and military forces has been turning against the US (and the West) for some time, and Ukraine is an example of how the new balance of power in the world actually is.
Well, empires that are unsustainable tend to shrink into something that is sustainable, if only for a while.
Roman Empire -> Byzantine Empire -> Constantinople
British Empire -> British Islands
Ottoman Empire -> Turkey
USSR -> Russia
Murican Empire -> ???
The only real question is how long does it take and what’s left at the end.
And I’ve maintained what will make it to 2070 (both people and things) is repair-ability. If the thing is easy to repair and the person can repair it, that’s what will live to see 2070. The current notion “Oh, I’ll just buy a new one”, that will be long gone by then.
In this morning’s Washington Post, Charles Lane reports that Democratic Party resources are being used to support Trump-oriented Republican candidates in the primary elections. Their Extremely Clever Plan is to ensure that the general election has their favored Democratic Party candidates running against the weakest, most extreme, least electable, Republican Party candidates. Didn’t they learn their lesson in 2017?
As Lane points out, this was also the strategy of the German Communists in the 1930s. Encourage the Nazi’s, to push the moderate parties out, then take power from the absurdly extreme Nazis.
Can you think of other times in history when one faction of the elites so cleverly pulled the rug out from under themselves?
Thank you for this post. For a topic, please consider a discussion of healthcare, including personal resilience and preparation.
I work in a factory and to say that we (in the US) are poorly prepared to make the transition is an understatement is a massive understatement itself. My first day at the factory the foreman asked if I could read a tape measure. I thought this was a joke but it’s not. Only about 25% of our new hires can read a tape measure. The factory is hot, loud, and dirty (as factories tend to be). We get new hires about every week and they rarely make it more than a month. I’ve been there 2 1/2 years and I’m among the old guard. So it’s not just that we offshored our industry-even if we brought it back the human capital simply isn’t there.
Mark L – You’ve just introduced one of the major themes of Eamon Fingleton’s book: “In the Jaws of the Dragon”. China has the money (because we traded it to them) to buy whatever they want: real estate, natural resources, politicians, business leaders, etc. (And if cash alone won’t do the trick, there’s always blackmail, and potentially covert violence of an extremely focused type.)
Thanks, JMG. Your history lessons are the best I have ever encountered and relate to the issues at hand. As we both know, history rhymes. I have practiced LESS as best I could for 10 years, and that and the pile of rice and beans in my pantry generate disparaging questions from family and friends. They do not like the answers. That being said, I second Dr. Hooves vote for 5th Wednesday. I will be 69 on July 4, and am curious about your hints and pointers on the next 10 years, please? Keep up the great work!
Thanks as ever for a no-nonsense, clear essay JMG.
Regarding Scotland, mentioned further up the comments, my view as a resident is that our future as an independent nation in an age of decline could be much like our independent past – riven by internal conflict, sectarianism and constantly undermined by our large neighbour to the south. They will take a particular interest in our relatively abundant natural resources – possibly already the real reason they want to keep hold of us. There will also be people at the top willing to sell us out, as before – our current nominally separatist leaders are already showing worrying signs of being comfortable with the status quo vis a vis the union. We are going to need cunning and dedicated leaders who can do less with more – I’m thinking about for example the Lakeland Republic army’s ethos and training!
Relative success will depend on how well we manage relationships with big powers. The current Scottish National Party incumbents have firmly thrown their lot in with the pro-NATO and ‘woke’ narratives. The grumbling from the lower orders is getting louder though. We now have an alternative, more hardline independence party (Alba) headed by Alex Salmond, who led the SNP through the 2014 referendum. They’ve yet to make a breakthrough, but have disavowed much of the woke stuff esp. relating to gender, and Salmond, who had a show on Russia Today, would be likely to take a less unfriendly approach to Russia.
As Collie Dog rightly points out, many assumptions held by our PMC-friendly leaders in the Scottish National Party and Greens (who seem to be more interested in the EU and transgenderism than green stuff…) remain to be shattered. Oh and for the avoidance of doubt, despite the gloomy predictions above, I would love to see Scotland gain independence. Getting there may become a bare knuckle brawl within the independence movement though (as well as with the unionists), not the happy clappy love-in of 2014!
I just remembered some old graphic after I came from work today. Apparently when this nonsense in 2014 on Ukraine started the Polish goverment got a proposition from the Russians about dividing Ukraine. There where screenshoots of this years ago everytwhere this article from 2014 explains (Google translate it if you can)
To be honest the polish military doesn’t have enough of anything to hold down to these regions, we send 200 tanks to Ukraine- likely we will never replace them with anything for a simple reason.
I don’t want this post to be long and boring but, let me tell you a tale what was happening before my birth and after the end of the Soviet Union in 1990 in Poland.
In order to show our belonging in the progressive West and our commitment in democracy, liberalism yada yada yada. The Polish goverment began “Dekomunizację Sił zbrojnych i Infrastruktury Polski” (my written english is bad I don’t know how to translate) basicaly these “evil and obsolete” Russian tanks and artillery were send to the scrapyard, factories reparing and maintaining thoose vehicles were closed in 80% and Polish militarry became dependent on Western build and bought vehicles (old obsolete Leopard 1 tanks in the Mark 1 configuration were sold as brand new to Poland) we bought them because even a junk that was phased out from the Bundeswehr was better than the “obsolete and evil Russian things)
But it turns out T 72 which we scrapped are being used with modifications succesfully throught the World, additional sensors and ERA armor made them still in the same league as newer tanks- 90%+ of all Ukrainian tanks were at this stage, and could have performed well but the Russian Air force had been bombing them from day one it seems.
We destroyed good tanks which we had over 1600 by some estimates and we are now left with old tanks from germany and we also have to buy expensive ammo to them, on an another note I was shocked to hear the the Us militarry stopped producing Abrams tanks and outher tracked vehicles in the late 1990s.
The so called largest militarry on the planet is reduced to refubrishing aprox 5700 Abrams tanks in their inventory while the Russians are manufacturing newer tanks like the T 90 or Armata and upgrading their inventories which they have at least 30+ thousands….
Good Lord I really went to far in this comment, I wrtote a damm essay.
Stay safe everyone Wer
I would like to ask you this – why do you say that the Russo-Ukrainian war is structurally similar to WW1? I mean, sure, the blitzkrieg method is obsolete as of 2022, but that doesn’t necessarily imply that the only alternative is what you’ve mentioned. IMO, it could well be possible that the situation is different from both the standard blitzkrieg one or the trench warfare of WW1 you’ve sketched out; after all, just like you mentioned in a previous essay that the future is a landscape, the same might be applicable here too? However, I’m not entirely sure whether my argument is valid, so I’d like to read your thoughts on this.
Speaking of the F-35, I just ran across an ad from General Electric.
“The future of the F-35 is adaptive
The F-35 is the world’s leading fighter aircraft. But without a new engine by the end of the decade, it could face serious challenges. That’s why GE and the Air Force developed the revolutionary XA100 adaptive cycle engine for the F-35, maximizing the aircraft’s potential for decades to come. ”
“By the end of the decade” is a relatively short time for a major defense system. Reading between the lines, this sounds like an admission that “the engine we put into this plane ain’t workin’ so good.”
@jmg — thx for the post! your comment in response to gabrielseagull “We aren’t facing a problem that can be solved, we’re facing a predicament that has to be lived with, and responded to.”
This wins the internet today 🙂 ! Things like this a like a splash of cold water and sorely needed, for which again I thank you!
Also, here in the burbs of Chicago, not seeing many Ukr flags anymore (people are slowly removing them). Think that is starting to pass. Although with a lot of things these days (Covid, wars, energy/gas), the quote from John M Keynes “Markets can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent” seems to be par for the course.
Twilight zone indeed.
I vote for an essay on the following:
It would require a couple of pages of explanation of occult philosophy. The very short form is that electronics works on what we can call the subnatural level — the level of subatomic particles and quantum events — and that level borders on the demonic.
I will also vote for:
It would require a couple of pages of explanation of occult philosophy. The very short form is that electronics works on what we can call the subnatural level — the level of subatomic particles and quantum events — and that level borders on the demonic.
I’ve been trying to get ready for the effects of a crumbling empire. Reading about the Great Depression and how people handled living with little is something I’ve started doing. I have a feeling there are a lot of lessons to learn from that time period.
Boy, was it hard to choose from all those suggestions for the fifth Wednesday! I think I’ll vote for a post on collective Karma: not just how it will affect us as a culture, but individually. Plus what we can each do to mitigate the effects of said collective Karma, since I doubt a person can totally escape it. I can imagine some people whining, “Who, me? Yeah, I’m a US citizen, but I didn’t support that, and had nothing to do with it! Why should I suffer?” (Pouts and stamps foot)
Toxic Plants Blog – The Romans offered “hot baths”? Is that where all your trees went? (Not just for the hot baths, of course, but also the glass and metal manufacturing, and boat-building.) A life of using up finite resources can indeed be pleasant, until the true meaning of “finite” becomes apparent.
I think it is obvious to a lot of people now that we are ‘ descending ‘ since 2020. I think you wrote that the long descent will be a series of steps down and then periods of stabilization.
What do you expect life to be like in terms of resources and ‘ lifestyle ‘ for the average person in the USA once the current step down stabilizes?
Great post JMG. Thank you. I always appreciate your unique perspective and insight into current events.
In your essay on the near future could you include a few words on how those of us who had the good fortune to live the bulk of our lives in the era of abundance can be of use? Specifically, how can we use our accumulated skills and resources to help those who will be most impacted by these changes?
Fascinating article, JMG. I would like to put in a second vote for a discussion of the relationship between the sub-atomic and the demonic.
Well if you have written about the legal system or the criminal justice system, I missed it. I have a friend who, rather stupidly ran afowl of a cluster B who has a sister who is a lawyer, and a bluecheck lower and state court, where the attorney general has written, as an officer of the court, that Five Years to wait for a trial, is, according to him, the speedy trial all citizens are entitled to under the Bill of Rights. They held him in the state prison for 23 months, and conditions of release which began 11 months ago, included paying for the bail bondsman to randomly monitor his curfew and internet which was prohibited at a cost of $800 a month.
I suppose you may have avoided the subject of justice since one would need years to just categorize the subject. I mean, now that I think about it, Where _has_ there been _any_ justice? One speculates if perhaps, the Sackler _consigularies_ weren’t punished for elbowing their way into the official Intelligence sanctioned opioid market. BTW I identify as more as a cynic than as a conspiracy theorist. Why? because the authors of the constitution were far more cynical than I. As I age I bow with ever greater respect to their cynicism. They knew the history of “civilization” perhaps even deeper than you do, JMG.
As the ship of state sails over a cliff to crash on the iceberg below, feckless hubris may be inferred, and everybody makes mistakes now and then, but what if it is intentional? What if they are pushing Granny down the stairs, well all the Grannyies they can’t convince to jump?
I mean there are people around here that drop off kittens that they don’t want to feed on the road, and run over turtles on purpose — what if they had all the money in the world? And were smarter than you to boot? And had their hands on the levers of Power? Might that skew your historic timeline a la Rome, et al, and since heartlessness and fecklessness are not mutually exclusive might it not be a tall steep stairway with a concrete floor at the bottom? Metaphorically. Functionally. AARP quit sending me their views awhile back — is that a sign, or just the fact I never sent them anything in return?
So anyway, is the criminal system justice a factor in your speculations?
Jerry – Re: disappearing Ukraine flags… I saw a comment a couple of weeks ago: “Oh, is it monkeypox already? I still have my Ukraine decorations up.”
i second this B TIDWELL subject as a future post:
“Your mention of the mass produced pseudo culture strikes a note. I have said that one of the biggest barriers to the social changes that we need to make on several fronts is the fact that most Americans have no identity/ life to fall back on. Without their TV and disposable conspicuous consumption, they have nothing to live for, or life to live. I’m very fortunate to have grown up fairly free of that, well educated, and spiritually grounded which gave me a sense of self although it’s not easy to find a space for it sometimes, But I don’t see any clear and easy path for those caught up in American pop-culture to get out or any recognized leaders/teachers to guide them. / Maybe that would be a fifth Wednesday topic. Life in the US will have to change but can that happen without a collective identity crisis and nervous breakdown?”
“Without their TV and disposable conspicuous consumption, they have nothing to live for, or life to live.” — this is where we’re at and they’re dangerous and will continue to be so. i’m lost about how to play this or what to expect or how to knit ends together.
Have you seen this?
A group (largely silicon valley, of course) dedicating itself to the study of “progress” trying to figure out why progress seems to have slowed, why we are getting fewer results in spite of more effort, and what can we do to speed up progress?
Oh and my vote is for karma. Particularly how this group karma thing is supposed to work. I can deal with having to face the consequences of my actions… but being somehow responsible for other people’s stupidity doesn’t sit well with me. Hoping you can explain it in a way that makes sense….
The raid would need to be lightning-fast to prevent the raided countries from destroying their infrastructure first. During the last weeks of the war, Hitler ordered German infrastructure to be destroyed, but he was disobeyed because local commanders saw a better future under the Western allies. I am not sure if he was obeyed in the parts of Germany conquered militarily by the Soviets. If European countries thought they were in fact going to be stripped of everything, they might prefer destruction.
It seems to that a “sub-continental” raid cannot be lightning-fast by definition, and JMG has here written about the demise of the blitzkrieg strategy. In any case, France and Germany have never defended together against an invader, and I don’t think they would be as defenceless as you assume (if they had several years of warning).
It took the Soviets several years after the war to dismount factories from their zone (they were handed a big chunk of industrial heartland by the Americans after the armistice) and mount them again at home.
For the 5th Wednesday brief: You have a lot of knowledge about historical patterns. Can you describe patterns observed during prior empire collapses? I’m looking for info on what the local world might look like to Millenials and GenZs based on history.
My experience has been that M’s & Z’s don’t want to hear the doom. Doom has been a drumbeat all their lives to the point where it’s annoying background noise; they shut you down with “OK Boomer.” But they are open to things like frugal living techniques, so maybe “skills for just in case” might be a good way to go. Actionable info; what they can do now, “just in case” things get weird. Hunker down during warlord time? Learn specific skills / move to places that have proven highly useful in the past? Might be useful in the future?
How will the smarter members of the current generation get through the bottleneck? A lot of this depends on knowledge of history, and you’re ‘way better at describing historical time periods and trends than anyone else I know.
I’d like to vote for what will happen to client states of the US empire during the Imperial collapse. Europe, Britain, Japan, Canada etc. And some of the options we have open to us, making the unlikely assumption that elites are brave, insightful, and have enough public support to make sensible decisions that go against traditional wisdom. And what will happen if they (more likely right now) lack those qualities.
my sympathies, that was my province last November. I’m glad you escaped the worst of it personally. Same for me.
It took us about a month or so to get transportation back to near-normal. I think they’re still fixing a few things in places, but for those not personally flooded things have long since gone back to normal.
I couldn’t agree with you more on this analysis; it’s spot-on. One thing I would add to it though, is that at the heart of the self-destructive behavior of empires lies a ubiquitous fallacy: the belief that money is wealth in its purest form. Money is created by lending, therefore its essential substance is debt: ergo, it is illth, not wealth. From this erroneous belief (‘the deceitfulness of riches’ as it is phrased in the bible) flows the desire to replace real, durable wealth with money. What an empire does is shed durable wealth in exchange for money, the excuse usually offered being ‘cost control’ or some such thing. Durable wealth that produces more wealth – factories, refineries, etc. – are sold into the exploited foreign countries while other forms of durable wealth – roads, libraries, etc. – are left to rot from neglect. What the empire receives in return is a flow of consumable wealth – food, fuel, cosmetics, drugs, etc. – that it consumes at an ever-accelerating pace, and money – which is not even wealth at all.
Thus their striving to amass filthy lucre ends up pumping the wealth out faster than they can suck it in. Once the realization hits that their latter state is worse than their first, their reaction, sadly, is to crave more money – and seek it through doubling down on the destructive behaviors that created their misery in the first place. It is remarkable how closely this resembles the psychology of drug addiction.
So what to do about it? Trouble is, anything to be done would be prohibitively painful, especially for those that derive their livelihood from the money-pump game. It comes to mind that perhaps the fastest and most effective treatment might be to let the money-addiction disease run its course and kill the patient – but I’m not so sure I want to live through that….
On that note, I’d like to cast my vote for a fifth-Wednesday discussion of personal strategies to cope with living through the decline and fall of an empire.
OK, so this is a legit question since this website deals with Magic and Spirituality. I’m not an overly religious person, but I do submit to the idea and probability that there is a higher power we cannot see. OTOH, I have friends who are very religious and subscribe to the notion that we are truly living in the “End Times” and have showed me a passage in the Bible from Matthew Chapter 24 that in particular, says: “that Nations will rise against Nations and there would famine and pestilence” which ironically seems to be what we are facing today all at once. But are these really those signs of the End Times or are they just a mere coincidence?
Without starting or invoking a Holy War because I have NO religious affiliation, perhaps one day you might delve into the topic on the “religious idea and especially the history” of the “End Times” and if there really is such a thing? I think that would make for a fascinating read.
This one really stings: “we gave up our regional cultures for a mass-produced pseudoculture wholly subservient to a corporate elite.”
I’ve been lucky to live in some places with strong local and regional cultures: New Orleans, Natchitoches, Austin, New York (City), Worcester (MA), Sebring, and Los Angeles. I have also lived in places like the suburbs of Dallas which epitomize that mass-produced pseudoculture. Over the years, I have seen places like Austin succumb to becoming part of that pseudoculture as the regional identity is stripped away or reduced to some museum piece that gets displayed in some watered down fashion.
Last time I was in New Orleans a few years ago, I saw the attempts to make it like everywhere else save for some Orleans-esque adornments like you might find on the side of a Popeye’s Fried Chicken joint. (ANyone who has been to a Popeye’s knows what I am talking about.) It did not seem to be taking – just something about the place that refuses to conform.
I think we are going to see regional cultures get reclaimed and begin to get developed again as the Empire winds down. At the very least, supply chains breaking down mean far less out of season food. Instead, we will be growing more locally, and the menu will be at the mercy of what grows nearby and the season we are in.
More descent: Revlon has filed for bankruptcy. Serves ‘em right for “discontinuing” Bamboo Bronze. It was selling well at the time, as were a bunch of other dropped products. I don’t know if some [unDruidly] consultant told them to stop selling a bunch of classic products, or they decided on their own, but either way the Bamboo Bronze situation is a good illustration of the corporate attitude towards customers—excuse me, consumers—and what it often leads to.
Re: Max #61, JMG
I have to agree with Max, in general, one this one.
If we think about what is happening with the Long Descent and the crumbling of our society/civilization, the near-term event will be the collapse of the global economic system. This system was only made possible by cheap, abundant petroleum. As this dwindles, and the ponzi scheme that is the global economy implodes, the trend will be toward much more regional socio-ecomomic systems.
With this in mind, we need to look at the resource base of each possible region. In my opinion, the region with the most abundant and diverse (both are important) natural resources is North America. South America certainly has some abundant natural resources, but not the diversity. Europe has virtually no significant resources. Africa is similar to South America in having some abundant resources, but not the diversity. Australia is the same.
Russia is interesting in that it does have a diversity of resources, but they may not have the labor force to take advantage of them. Also, many of these potential resources may be locked away in the remote northern regions of Siberia. This may require not only a labor force, but also some sophisticated technology (read petroleum) to make these resources available.
Now let’s look at China. China has really only one significant resource and that is labor. Whereas North America was able to capitalize on the abundant natural resources to build a strong economy throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, and the USA was able to build this into an empire in the last half of the 20th century, China only became a great global economic power in the last 40-50 years because of their vast labor force and cheap abundant petroleum, which allowed them to become the manufacturer of “stuff” for the West. As that disappears, how will they feed that labor force? Were will they get the revenue flow to support a giant military? Without the consumerism of the West, China has no large income steam. They certainly don’t have the soil fertility to feed their huge population.
India is in somewhat the same situation, although they have a better chance of feeding their population through their own food production. Their economy was also built on selling their huge labor force to the West via the global economy.
If the US and Canada (along with Mexico) can form a strong partnership (the North American Federation?), they can be a solid, self-reliant, economic power. I think it would require a strong leader who is not divisive and not a dictator, but rather someone that can unify the diverse factions of all three countries. Talk about the need for imagination!
To summarize, I think it’s very important to look at the resources available to each region as the global economy fails.
For the fifth Wednesday post, I’d like to go with the future of health care in the face of economic decline.
Please add my vote to the relation between electronics and the subnatural plane.
Also it would be much appreciated if you could please provide some sources to dig deeper into this issue. I know next to nothing about planes below the material (beyond their mere existence) and I had previously thought of electric forces existing in a liminal state between the material and the etheric. Animal tissues are, after all, piezoelectric; and the flesh of a (very) recently deceases animal responds to electric impulses in a distinct way that is simply not there in supermarket meat.
Princess Cutekitten at #176
The use of ‘consumer’ irks me no end. In part, ‘consumer’ tells you all you need to know about the attitude of the manufacturer: that we’ll eat whatever guano they serve up.
I had to upbraid a social worker years ago who referred to one of my clients as a ‘consumer’. I informed her that merchants have ‘customers’, lawyers have ‘clients’, and medical professionals have ‘patients’.
@lathechuck — yah the flags are coming down — and I am now seeing it happen with my own lying eyes 🙂
@boysmom — re track replacement — what are your suspicions?
@jmg — my vote on another topic would be “is mass formation psychosis triggered by some kind of demonic influence”. I don’t know much about either — but my newb suspicion is that they might be related.
Your article is a “voice of reason” amid the propaganda barrage (from both sides). Full disclosure: I support Ukraine.
As for what you should write about next, something about demonic-influenced AI and quantum physics?
@Thomas F Gauthier :
Globalism was alive and well in the 19th century way before the age of oil, and you are mistaken if you think there can be no global system without abundant petroleum. It will slow down, sure, and probably die out at some point. But there is still space for at least one more global hegemon before it comes to that (if I remember well, JMG even said there could be two, but my memory’s blurry here)
Anonymous, that’s a fascinating question. I’ll have to think about that.
Raito, I’ve added it to the list of topics. Thank you.
BoysMom, yes, I read about that! Ouch. One of the little difficulties with a destabilized climate is that you get more extreme weather of all kinds, including the one that just washed away half the bridges in Idaho.
Friend, thanks for this. I’ve added your topic to the list.
Sean, anything that provides goods or services to individual human beings, rather than filling some niche required for the corporate or government sector, falls on the “productive” side of the line. Some productive economic sectors are more essential than others, but as long as your partner is providing a service for individuals, she’s in a productive sector. (Whether that’ll remain viable in a time of economic unraveling is of course another matter.)
Kerry, thank you, but all my mundane astrology work these days is via my SubscribeStar and Patreon platforms, helping me pay the rent.
Stephen, it takes many centuries of experience with empire for people to figure out that pumping your colonies dry is a bad idea in the long term. European empires didn’t have that background of experience; Asian empires did. As for the US, if it strips Europe bare it’ll be a desperation move, a last-ditch attempt to stave off collapse. We don’t have centuries left to play with. (I’ve added your suggestion to the list.)
Your Kittenship, I’d be delighted if bunches of my readers were to move here, and the local Chamber of Commerce would love it too, but leave Sara and me out of the political dimension, please! What Plato never grasped is that intellectuals by definition make lousy political leaders.
Rita, um, given the intensity of people’s desire for mind-altering substances, food might come in second more often than you think!
Lunar, so noted. Glad to hear about the clinic!
Kevin, it’s on the list.
Quos Ego, hmm! Many thanks for the data points.
Discwrites, from a perspective here in the US, it’s flat on its back gasping for breath. It may not yet have lost the capacity to project an illusion of continued strength, but that’s one of the few real assets it has left.
Nick, oh, I know. I expect that five centuries from now, the tribal warlords of the Ohio River basin will contend for the title of President, however it’ll be pronounced then, and the purely notional claim to rule over vast amounts of North America and command the obedience of countries overseas.
Martin, one of the oddities of the US empire is that it’s never been all that popular with the average American — it’s mostly a fetish of the well-to-do classes — and the rising populist movement here by and large wants nothing to do with it. I think our empire will end the way our occupation of Afghanistan did — not with a handshake and a flag-lowering, but with an unseemly scramble to pull our troops and assets out of country after country, leaving chaos behind.
Johnny, not in the near to middle future, no. The US is far more fragile than most people outside it realize, and it doesn’t have the resources or the political unity to manage an invasion on any scale. On the other hand, it’s quite possible you could end up with a real problem with US refugees streaming across the border from a nation in economic and political collapse.
George, thank you! I’ve tabulated your vote.
Reese, yep. That was a classic bit of early American imperial rhetorical drivel.
Hackenschmidt, I didn’t say it was a Ukrainian invention; Grozny’s a great example, and so are Hezbollah’s tactics during the 2006 Lebanon war. As for the US, er, you might consider the possibility that every ton of bauxite, copper, etc. we’ve mined and exported isn’t there any more…
Oskari, that’s the thing that makes me think the Finnish ruling elite has lost its wits. After watching what happened in Afghanistan, what nation in its right mind would ally with the United States?
@Thomas F Gauthier, #177
> If the US and Canada (along with Mexico) can form a strong partnership (the North American Federation?), they can be a solid, self-reliant, economic power.
Sounds interesting, but you lost me at…
> I think it would require a strong leader who is not divisive and not a dictator [wink, wink]
Mexican American relationships are a complex affair, with both blunt and subtle angles. But I am sure we will not be allowing you to come back an grab, again, the second half of what you have already stolen from us. I am educated enough to realize that historic reality is more complex than that, but I am merely modeling the gut feeling that many millions will experience in the south of the border. For every cry of “they are stealing our jobs”, there is an exact parallel in “they came and took our land”.
That said, your vision is not impossible, or even implausible. Geopolitically, we are in this together, so it is in our best interest to cooperate as neighbors and allies. But the part that I think you are missing is that the Mexican people have a love-hate relationship with the idea of America, and specifically with the American Dream (there’s no coincidence the US-raised Mexican-born young people that made the news during Trump’s administration was labeled as “the Dreamers”). To the best of my insight, what the average Mexican wants in his hearth of hearths is to be invited to the grown-up table. We would have taken Britain’s deal in a heartbeat (if we had had a crumbling empire to sell, that’s it). So, in the not to distant future, this is not out of the cards.
Just, you know, you’d have to make it a CONfederation.
For the 5th Wednesday post, I also vote for the future of health care in the face of economic decline. While your take on the Covid/vax situation factors into this topic, I’m interested in this topic more broadly.
Related to this is a recent piece by Stephen Harrod Buhner where he writes about the ecological impacts of pharmaceuticals and the medical industry: https://www.stephenharrodbuhner.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Iatrogenesis-2.pdf
I have been reflecting a lot lately on how utterly dependent the medical industry (including research, education, infrastructure, manufacture, shipment of medical supplies, sanitation, etc. etc. etc.) is on petroleum and other nonrenewable resources and a growth-based economy. While on one hand, I’m sure many here would argue that the medical industry is largely harmful to health, and perhaps there are many positives that would come with its decline. Maybe so, but modern medicine can be life-saving in specific situations.
In this morning’s Washington Post, Charles Lane reports that Democratic Party resources are being used to support Trump-oriented Republican candidates in the primary elections.
For some reason, I’m picturing the Joker, sliding down a mountain of burning money while laughing maniacally.
Hi JMG many thanks for your very good post,
I always think that the Twilight Last Gleaming of the British Empire was Dunkirk, after that Americans send some battleships to South Africa asking to be paid the debt with gold, and Churchill beg Roosvelt to “treat us more gently”, inmediately the commerce with all the british colonies, closed to the yanks from centuries, were fully open to the American industry and a string of brand new American naval and air bases start to flourish on top of the bones of the British Empire from the North Atlantic to the South Pacific even before the 7th of december 1941, the English empire was then an empty shell.
Manstein, Guderian and Rommel with their 1940 blitzkrieg really “finish” the British Empire that certainly only need a big kick in the door to collapse (in real power). They at least “succeeded” in this.
On the other hand the first hint of the end of the blitz was the Yom Kippur war in 1973, when the soviet air defense and the AT missiles (sagger) of the egiptians gave a nasty surprise to the israelis in the Sinai, losing hundreds of armored vehicles is few days, the israeli army was close to the disaster if not was for the fast unlimited supply of weapons and ammo from US (followed by the arab oil embargo).
The change in the warfare was even more clear in the 2006 war in Lebanon (as someone said) than in Yom Kippur, so the change in warfare from the “war charriot” to the “javelin” took place in the same area that 3.000 years before when the Sea People destroyed the proud charriot armies of the Hittite Empire,and almost make the same with the egiptian army that, that evoid the same fate taking a “backward” approach and return to the massed infantry warfare that defeated the riders armed with javelins.
I was reading just a few days ago that Ukrainian forces are outgunned 40 to 1. And that’s just the Russian second string units? Holy moley.
Maybe I’m being too optimistic, but my thought is that we’re seeing the American propaganda machine unravel in real time. How does the corporate media explain how its every prediction, every single one of its experts, have been proven catastrophically wrong?
I suppose it depends on whether they can move to another Current Thing to keep the viewers occupied.
I looked at that BBC article. The progress studies people are just floating the exact same BS that’s been getting recycled over and over for the past four hundred years.
One of the features of belief in Progress seems to be that it handicaps one’s memory, so that coming up on a century after Einstein, one still thinks that nuclear fusion is a bright new idea that no one has tried yet.
Also there’s some incoherence in the article. Compare:
Second, that the good from progress is defined in humanistic terms: “that which helps us lead better lives: longer, healthier, happier lives; lives of more choice and opportunity; lives in which we can thrive and flourish.”
Crawford and Cowen also have a specific view of what kind of well-being they are aiming to encourage through progress. It’s not happiness – or even the more established metric of “life satisfaction” – instead, their top priority is increasing “GDP per capita”.
They can’t even make it three pages in before collapsing into an Ebenezer Scrooge wet dream.
@Your Friend #122:
Thumb through this book for 1 min, that’s all it takes to get the gist.”
I’d take this with a large grain of salt…looking up my own state, the only correct information could be gleaned from a decent map. And the map is certainly not the territory.
The major railroads have been cutting corners in recent years to maximize shareholder returns at all costs. Though derailments have always happened, it does seem that they are getting more frequent. One of the implemented changes has been to double the length of many trains, from ~120 to ~240 cars, by placing locomotives in the middle and on the rear with computers managing output to balance forces. It ostensibly saves labor but reduces fluidity as the yards and passing tracks are not designed for three-mile-long trains, and the more severe in-train forces when things go wrong can contribute to pull-aparts, derailments, and increased track wear.
Although some regions like northern New England have largely lost their railroads, agricultural regions have a substantial network, and the local/regional companies that run the less-used lines tend to be much better in terms of customer service and employee morale. Whereas in 1920 it was usually less than 10 miles (a reasonable horse journey) to the nearest railroad, now it is more like 20 miles. Not great, but still plenty to work with and many of the lines are greatly underutilized.
The cross-country mainlines are fewer in number than they used to be and are running at or near capacity. However if you look at them you will see that half or more of the trains on many areas carry trucks and shipping containers. As global trade weakens there should be capacity freed up on these lines to carry more of the commerce of a declining, domestic-focused economy.
That’s okay, JMG. We’ll call it Kittenland and have a Khan.
Me smash like button for this 5th week topic:
“It would require a couple of pages of explanation of occult philosophy. The very short form is that electronics works on what we can call the subnatural level — the level of subatomic particles and quantum events — and that level borders on the demonic.”
On the topic of Canada, one issue I think is worth noting is that we benefit immensely from the American Empire. Rhetoric aside, we’ve gotten a pretty good deal up until now, and will likely continue to have one more or less until the empire crumbles. A lot of Americans strongly identify with Canada; we’ve got a crucial strategic location along the border; given our cultural ties an American colour revolution would be effectively impossible to pull off without risking destabilizing the US as well; a lot of privileged Americans are invested here in various ways (monetary, spouses, a lot of Americans come to our universities, and so on); and our political class has been smart enough to take advantage of it all.
Look at just how much wealth flows across the border, and it’s hard not to see that we’re quiet because we’ve been bribed since the 1950s to be quiet, content, and never rock the boat. One of the core components of American foreign policy since the end of the Second World War, and in some ways even before then, has been to keep Canada happy, and so we’ve had a fantastic deal under the American Empire.
I’m watching that with interest, along with the fact that the Democrats core goal with this redistricting cycle seems to have been something like create as many marginal Democrat seats as possible. They created a lot of seats where a slightly Republican leaning environment (such as, oh, this coming midterm) would cost them a lot of seats, because they have such small margins.
It’s fascinating to watch them walk to their doom with such confidence.
Superb post as always.
Would like to know your views on Zeihan’s latest projections on Europe.
This is a bit dated, his latest map shows France dominated Italy, Spain and northern Africa. But the rest is basically the same.
Do you think that is plausible?
JMG, I am curious for a meeting of your prediction of an 80% pay cut and the old analysis of catabolic collapse. For those of us trying to do the right thing as the machine comes apart, what are you suggestions for addressing the pay cut? Also, are their areas in the big step down that might get some public agreement as to jettisoning? Yes, I know simplify simplify. But with so many nice folk clinging to the various vestiges of their privilege, the conflcts are already wonderous as the working class goes into debt to by F150s and guns. How can we get some consensus on what features of our former wealth we need to dump?
Interesting times, wild times. Surreal times;
I was at the birthday barbecuse of my work colleague, at the danube island.
The people were alright and I was OK chatting with them. I was honored to be invited for
the birthday of my nerdy office neighbour and the other office neighbour accompanying, friendly peaceful nerds and certainly clever.
Still it bored me after a time; topics were informatics and the endless airplane travellings and holiday leisurings and leisure leisurings.
There were about 12 people I guess, two little children in the midst of us thirty some things.
None of them seems to talk about hard times coming, even though in the silence of their private mind, they already do consider certain discomforts we speak about,
I suspect. And even more, subconsciously.
Many people around me double down right now, or at least continue what they’ve been doing: drinking, drug taking, screen time consuming, mind numbing,chasing women to their discomfort, meeting women over the internet quantitatively but telling me they’re unhappy….Many of people I meet you could depict as little children hanging on my legs, complaining, wanting treats and that I play along.Or otherwise sometimes, narrowing their eyes in suspicion when I do take such decisions as leave a partying night early to home, to prevent my self from more consumationand sleep deprivation, because I want to regenerate my middle 30ies body and qi.
Interestingly, most of my contemporaries like to stay up late after midnight and go to work late.
One good reason would be the relative quiet of the night in the 2million city in one’s home, when one’s spirit has an easier time settling down.I like to rise early, and see to it that I get outside time after work. Or otherwise, work in my apartment, a little preparation work for whatever
comes this autumn;That finance policy thing, with the interest rates and the central banks buying govt bonds that is on since 2011 or something, is going to be terminated now I hear.
My guess is the political central bureau aims to scrape everything together to allow another hedonistic summer to happen, so as to appease the populace, before this ominous autumn.”Watch the gold markets!” one of my three reasonable friends in my city says. Seems this autumn they’ll be on with the masks and vaccines again, who knows will they double down and demand binge vaccination against every unlikelihood on the planet.
Should I quit my job prematurely? Ride the horse as long as it carries you, my friend says.
But, what if as I said, there will be government mania tightness this autumn…I have been c vaccinated three times and did not feel it to do anything to me, neither was I much sick these years, but I am unwilling to continue.
I took that decision from last summer to december partly for cynical reason, being unemployed and without perspective back then.It was a calculated risk because I wanted to pry the last fun of this ending leisure society and my benefits in it, and because I was unhappy and felt this male risk-taking urge. I am unsure about the exact consequence of these vaccines, kind of guess the truth will be somewhere in between both camps.
It is at least a fact, if we use occams razor here, many people do experience up to heavy complication with these vaccines and some other vaccines in history, the health of our populace is very compromised in many cases, the “sedentary” chicken box lifestyle.
The health of someone already swaggering to tumbling may well topple over with such an event.
OK if Kimberly is right and others, I will die. Even in that case I will do my best effort of a spiritual life and an attempt to honesty, until whenever I end here.
If government mania sets in in autumn, I sincerely deliberate going to the granite rock high lands with amber brown waters flowing down, and to offer the farmers to work for them as a “pilot project”, so as I am not in dire need of money for now, and we could test such an agreement.
I can live in my little wooden hut with a little forest around it we own, with big trees and a few very big sacred trees (those shall never be made firewood while alive). I can wash my laundry there, use an oil lamp, have a well spring out of the rocky underground, some tools for wood cutting…you can live like in the 19th century there.
That’s just such an idea of mine. Until then: there will be much to do here in the city.
That was the first time I enjoyed my life this year more than otherwise, anyways.
A positive note:
Met a friend today, the one who gave me the contact to the dark martial arts club with the witch and the special forces trainer years back, and trained with me there. Once they manipulated his aggression to turn it against me. I was angry back then at him and wanted to threaten him with a knife, but failed to find his home and which apartment to ring.
Now we are good friends, and he is one who understands me well.
He has made his profession as a healing massagist. He has learned from these socially disfunctional but ingeniously competent martial arts clubs of the japanese provenience, where I followed him.
Like me right now, he enjoys being industrious and motivated, building for a healthy and active life.
He is certainly very highly skilled at his healing trade, I think what could call him a master already.
He has always shared many uncertainties and insecurities in life with me.
His skill and motivation certainly deserves respect.
I respect his trade of massaging more than mine – informatics. All the same, it is good to know spiritual people in such a time. Meanwhile, there was a few hours of black out in a footsball stadium of Vienna during a game with Denmark, also affected parts of the sorrounding district. A few other smaller such events were in the newspapers too.
The train is on and I find many analyses in this weeks article very plausible. Good faith to you all, for those who read that far, and for all others all the same :).
For the 5th post, I vote for health care in an age of economic decline, as the first commenter suggested.
(Plug for let’s-cash-in-on-people-panicking event deleted. Sorry, but I have to draw the line somewhere. — JMG)
What to talk about: the spiritual vacuum and existential crisis of the West (Faustian culture) and how it can be cured….. You’ve already begun, keep going.
I vote for Nick J’s suggestion for 9/29.
JMG said: “What Plato never grasped is that intellectuals by definition make lousy political leaders.”
I want to thank you for teaching me this lesson. Like most people I do have idle thoughts along the lines of “if I was an all-powerful dictator…”. I consider myself a mild mannered non-violent person but somehow all those thoughts end up with millions of dead. Of course the killing is all perfectly justified and everyone else lives happily ever after (sarcasm!).
I always wondered if those flights of fancy were just a symptom of my anger with the world but I realize now (thanks to you) that they are the will to power that all of us (even the nicest) have. So I am thankful that I don’t have those temptations (since I don’t have any kind of political power). I have trouble enough feeling guilty after yelling at my kids, I don’t want that kind of pain on my conscience…
“After watching what happened in Afghanistan, what nation in its right mind would ally with the United States?”
Don’t confuse an abstraction (nation) with a very real bunch of people in charge that are easily bribed with printed dollars, blackmailed with info collected by our very powerful TLAs or threatened with death by same.
Remember a couple of years ago when it turned out that French govt was spied on by the Americans? I read about the French reaction here – they did absolutely nothing. And the French are supposedly the most independently minded of our colonies…
Fox News mainstay Bill Crystal (not the actor, this Bill Crystal was strictly a talking head) made a lucrative career of being ALWAYS wrong. Before I stopped voting, I’d turn him on on election night. If he said my favorite candidate was a shoo-in, I would turn off the TV and mourn.
Speaking of “lucrative,”
JMG, I must point out that if WE funnel up all the money flying around in the collapse, the bad, or stupid, guys won’t get it.
Thank you for the article – very insightful. Being in Silicon Valley I have a front raw seat and watch the process with fascination.
+1 for Karma, please!
Bluewatersky, I’ve added it to the list.
Toxic, demographic analysis of the Anglo-Saxon invasions suggests that a great many Roman Britons were happy to settle down under a new set of warlords; it was mostly the upper and middle classes who fled to Wales and Brittany. The problem with empires is that they cost so much — those written laws, roads, etc. come with a tax burden that starts of fairly modest and then ratchets steadily upwards until it no longer leaves enough to feed you. Under late Roman law, men were required to go into their fathers’ professions whether they could survive on the proceeds or not. Sooner or later you ask yourself whether those baths are worth it…
Michael, as I see it China’s in the same condition the US was in the 1920s, ebullient and overoptimistic. They’re en route for their Great Depression experience, and then for the wars that will follow.
Aurelien, fifty years before the map I showed, India still had enough movable wealth to support the British empire — it hadn’t been stripped bare yet. The aggressive British expansion into Africa was motivated by the declining receipts from India. India, in turn, came under heavy pressure once the hugely lucrative British colonies in southeastern North America were lost at the end of the 18th century — the cotton, tobacco, and sugar plantations were an immense source of wealth, especially since they were worked by slaves under British rule. The reason I rely on the economic interpretation of empire is that it reliably fits the facts, and tracks the rise and fall of empires, in a way that more general explanations do not.
Owen, that’s an important point. The only technologies that will survive on the downslope of our age are those that can be repaired and maintained with the available resources and equipment.
Lathechuck, nah, this is an utterly predictable bit of handwaving. The Dems are doing very poorly in the primaries; Chesa Boudin, the far-leftie DA in San Francisco, got recalled by a landslide, and the African-American community voted massively against him; one of the few Republican congresscritters who voted to impeach Trump got primaried by his own party, and the populists are cleaning up. That’s a disaster for morale on the way into a midterm contest where the Dems could quite literally lose everything. So they’ve got to come up with a claim that will keep their base motivated so they have some chance in the midterms. Lane is retailing a plausible fiction with that in mind — the Dems can now tell themselves, “Don’t worry, we got this, the apparent strength of the deplorables is a trick on our part” and have some hope of keeping some momentum and morale going into the fall.
Lazy, I’ve added your vote.
Thecroatoan, thanks for this. All you readers who are wondering what to do for a living, start by learning how to read a tape measure!
Mac, so noted; I’ve tabulated your vote.
Stef, I wish I could disagree. I’ve had occasion to research several periods of Scots history for book projects, and good gods — it’s an abbatoir. I hope you can manage something better this time around.
Wer, interesting. Not surprising at all — NATO wanted to make sure you didn’t have any tanks they couldn’t take out if they needed to…
Viduraawakened, right now the fighting in the Donbass is trench warfare, carried out by massive artillery bombardments followed by infantry assaults. That’s exactly what was happening on the Western Front in the First World War. Of course there are other ways of making war, and eventually this form of war will also be replaced by something else, but right now major-power war has fallen into a familiar rut.
Lathechuck, well, they’ve got to put lipstick on that pig somehow — and of course it means vastly overinflated profits for GE.
Jerry, the blue and yellow flag in front of city hall here in East Providence went down early this month; the excuse was a local celebration of Portuguese and Cape Verdean culture (we’ve got a lot of immigrants from the Cape Verde Islands and the Azores here) but I doubt it’ll be going back up.
Panda, Drew, and Joy Marie, duly noted down.
Tony, that depends on where it stabilizes. That’s not at all certain yet. I’m planning a post on this, so let me get back to you.
Claire58, I’ll certainly consider that.
Luke, so noted.
Mark, we have roughly the same sort of criminal justice system as most of the world, through most of history — that is to say, corrupt, dysfunctional, and ineffective. Human beings aren’t good at such things. One of the reasons that the ordinary people of falling civilizations are fine with the collapse of civilized structures and their replacement by barbarian war leaders is that the war leaders are a lot cheaper to support than gargantuan bureaucracies packed with people gaming the system at your expense, and the justice they dispense is not noticeably worse.
Erika, I’ve tablulated your vote.
OEP, no, I hadn’t. The BBC’s “Future” feed is so consistently clueless I avoid it unless I really need a belly laugh. Still, it’s impressive in a way that they’ve noticed that “progress is slowing down”! (I’ve noted your vote.)
MouseWizard and Pygmycory, I’ve added both of those to the list.
OldSteve, hmm. That’s true of the US but not of previous empires, you know. (I’ve added in your vote.)
Rod, can you find me a time in history in which nation wasn’t rising against nation and there weren’t famines and pestilences? I’ll wait. 😉 As for a history of the End Times, I’ve written a book on the subject that you might find interesting.
Chris, oh, no question! Once the corporate pseudoculture implodes, that’ll follow in due time.
Your Kittenship, thanks for the data point.
Thomas, hmm. Look at what you just wrote. Russia has vast resources but an inadequate labor pool. China has vast amounts of labor. The two nations share a very long land border. Are you sure you can’t think of some way they could work with this? Even if you can’t, I’m quite sure there are people in Moscow and Beijing who can…
Viduraawakened, CR, Jerry, and Tidlösa, so noted.
Great post as always. Slight historical note though. Holing up in the cities to avoid tanks and utilize snipers was the Red army tactic at Stalingrad. Of course, the Russians know the counter tactic which is just to just back off and seige the city which they appear to be doing quite effectively and with minimal civilian casualties now that their rookies have learned the ropes.
It’s only a matter of time until Ukraine realizes they’ve been used and soon will be discarded since they can’t be used to launder/liberate taxpayer funds anymore. Are our PMC elites stupid enough to think the “rebuilding effort” will be as profitable as the war?
Out here in OK, frustration with inflation is getting even the most non-political folks placing the “I did that” stickers everywhere, they’ve moved from the pumps to the grocery store. 8.6% my backside. A lot of angry people at present and getting worse.
+1 on electronics and demons for the 5th post. Sounds like a fascinating topic that might explain the cognitive dissonance we see in some forms.
@ Rita Rippetoe re #129
Here in Northern New Hampshire, lumber and paper was what justified the ginormous freight trains. Once those industries began drying up, the trains went with them. They’ve tried repeatedly up in Berlin and Gorham NH to revive/reinvent the old paper mills which were such huge employers at one time but no go. The times have changed too much. Even the efforts to resurrect that old architectural monstrosity, the Balsams Hotel, in Dixville is mired in red tape. I fully expect that to ‘accidently’ go up in flames one of these days. In many ways my neck of the woods is an economic backwater which will likely revert to all forest by the end of this century much to the joy of the remaining wildlife.
I have said it for a long time. Everytime a country is referred to as a “services based economy” it is admitting that it has failed long term. I assume the numbers are similar in the US but in Oz – we are a 78% services based economy as of a few years ago. The fall is going to be hard on a lot of folks. I have said it to all my friends in IT – get used to manual labour now before it is forced on you. Some of the smarter one are taking the hint as they can see the decay in the industry.
As for the US in Ukraine. There was a time when the US would be one of the first to offer mass physical on ground support from the military. That almost nothing like it has turned up is one of the biggest signs that the US power is past its prime. You talk about maintenance costs of civilizations. The costs of maintaining the military is starting to become a noose around the nation. As more bases get shut down around the world trying to cut down the costs, the power over nations will go with it. That the US is only giving lip service at best to this conflict is a long way from the global liberators that was once depicted.
Hello John Michael,
completely off topic – I was recently made aware of a Youtube outfit calling themselves Postmodern Jukebox. They make jazzy covers of pop songs, and their rendition of Bowies Life on Mars instantly made me think of the Lakeland Republic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=siUEYNORlhM
wait! i take back my vote! that was beautiful empathetic poetry but i don’t want to waste our time and Papa G’s energy trying to understand explain what we are helpless to even control. so i change my request to:
PAPA G WHATEVER MOST SETS YOUR INEXPLICABLE CURIOSITY ON FIRE. follow something crazy and unexpected that you might casually brush aside too quickly as unrelated or silly. maybe a little dadaism can serve us in times like these.
Beneath, so noted.
DFC, hmm! That’s a fascinating point, that once again javelins disabled chariot warfare…
Cliff, yep. I’ll be intrigued to see what they come up with next.
Monster, so noted.
Forecasting, by 2025? He’s smoking his shorts. He’s got Mitteleuropa including Hungary, which will happen only after the last Hungarian dies fighting it; I’m far from convinced that Germany can rearm effectively at this point, for that matter, and without that, Mitteleuropa is a pipe dream. The Intermarium project, an alliance extending from Poland south to the Adriatic, is much more likely, with some extension into Ukrainian Galicia once Ukraine collapses, and Germany reduced to a punching bag pressured between a resurgent France on the one side and the Intermarium allies on the other. All this assumes that (a) the EU doesn’t succeed in its dream of becoming a corporate-Stalinist empire sending out edicts from Brussels to be enforced by blue-helmeted troops, and (b) nothing (such as inadequately tested experimental drugs, say) causes a serious dieoff of Western European populations, which of course would change the calculus completely.
Dan, history suggests that consensus won’t have anything to do with it. Things will get dumped higgledy-piggledy when the funds run out. Don’t assume, btw, that debts will be honored…
Curt, thanks for this — a fascinating view from a corner of Europe most of us in the US rarely hear about.
William and Jim, so noted.
NomadicBeer, excellent! To have realized that about yourself, that’s an important step forward.
Kirsten, consider writing an article on your experience, to be published late, once the rubble stops bouncing. I’ve tabulated your vote.
BobinOK, it’ll be interesting to see what happens when Ukraine, having played its role in the game, gets dumped by the West. I’ve added your vote.
Michael, two direct hits. Yes, “service-based economy” means “decaying postindustrial society on it way down,” and yes, the fact that the US is no longer itching to send soldiers rushing into every war on the planet is a good sign of our decline.
Thijs, long time no see! Thanks for this.
Erika, so noted. 😉
I am also gonna vote on this as a topic:
“It would require a couple of pages of explanation of occult philosophy. The very short form is that electronics works on what we can call the subnatural level — the level of subatomic particles and quantum events — and that level borders on the demonic.”
The circular firing squad on the “progressive” Left continues to gather momentum, fueled by identity politics.
Not that any of this is new. Several years back, another leading left-wing news source reported on what it called “Feminism’s Toxic Twitter Wars”. But the trend definitely seems to be accelerating, fueled at least in part by the game of musical chairs within the professional-managerial class, which is becoming increasingly desperate and vicious.
Watching the demolition derby tearing the Woke Left apart from the inside out in an orgy of self-destruction has been fracking hilarious to watch, and seeing the PMC being toppled from its position of privilege will be glorious. Unfortunately, there has already been quite a lot of collateral damage along the way, with more to come.
The same cold wet spring that has the wheat harvest looking great messed up the cherry harvest.
“Nearly 15 million 20-pound boxes are expected to come from growers in the five-state region — Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah and Montana, according to the latest estimate of the Northwest Cherry Growers, the Yakima-based marketing organization.
If the estimate sticks, that would be nearly a quarter less than the 20.3 million boxes harvested a year ago and the smallest crop since 2013, when the region produced just 14.3 million boxes.”
Maek Grable @ 163, what, please is a “cluster B”? And whatever is “bluecheck lower and state court”? Do you mean lower end state court?
What you describe could be indeed a serious miscarriage of justice, but one hardly knows how to evaluate when someone insists on using ingroup jargon.
CR Patiño #183
Re: My comment about a strong leader … yeah, that’s why mentioned imagination!
Also, when I think about an alliance in North America, I’m not thinking of the USA, Canada, and Mexico as they exist today. I envision small regional sovereign entities (like Lakeland, etc.). We need to think beyond the present lines that represent borders.
I did think about a Russia/China alliance, and that certainly is possible. I’m not sure if there are enough resources between the two countries to support China’s population, but then again there will be population contraction everywhere.
Thomas F Gauthier @ 175, In addition to the labor force, it occurs to me that China has all the fresh water in three huge rivers, think Mississippi times 21/2, and the vast amount of arable land on the flood plains of those rivers. I believe it also has a far more salubrious climate in most place than does most of North America.
Since your blog is titled “Ecosophia: towards and ecological spirituality,” I’d like to hear more about this ecological spirituality. Is it Druidry?
man, Papa G, that dada thing was pretentiousness upon pretentiousness. i recant EVERYTHING i’ve posted here today and maybe i oughta have a boiler plate option for MORE later. apparently me on the coof is way more PRETENTIOUS.
dadaist? pick the one that whispers coyly from the sidelines? NO! the future is a cock fight with spurs and not what you think!
but my prentiousness upon fresh shamless pretentiousness and using art school circa 91 words like “dadism”… “jejune” can’t be slithering in far behind smoking her jejune Gitanes!
but the pretentious even in my apologia instead of mere APOLOGY…
that kind of tells you something about how we got here.
but i was serious. however it’s still hella pretentious and makes no sense. we’re not at hail mary passes JUST YET for you to throw all the subjects in a circle and pick the one on the sidelines with the coy smile.
these are not subtle times!
I think Bamboo Bronze is an excellent example of how the corporate mind (doesn’t) work. Also, New Coke, remember that?
Lady Cutekitten, that is a great idea. I would do my best to become a citizen of that country.. JMG, I understand that you won’t become a political ruler, but what about becoming the court astrologer and counselor? For the flag I propose a red flag. The Awen in the upper left side, a green Pentagram in the center, and inside the pentagram an acorn, a bee and an ant.
Another ‘death of progress’ moment in the US:
Naked Capitalism neatly dissects an article from the Wall Street Journal about how the Russians are using the ‘primitive, 19th century’ technology of trains in its Ukraine campaign rather than the obviously superior ‘modern’ US roads and forklifts arrangement. The fact that the Russians are, er, not losing is not discussed in the original article.
How do you spell Retrotopia in Cyrillic?
The railroad question is interesting. Like Jeanne I’ve also got many of these former-railway-now-ATV trails around, and because they are fairly well-kept, I always assumed it would be easy to re-install the tracks if need be. I’d like to know whether this is true.
Glad to hear your new venture is doing well. Since I got let go I’ve cobbled together a life that’s better than ever and now even if they let me go back I probably won’t.
“rouse many men here to passionately take up arms in the conflict”
From time to time I read this idea from assorted clueless folk who have likely never touched a gun in their lives, certainly never served in the military or risked their lives in any serious way.
Johnny…. I don’t know what your background is, but rest assured that any men in Canada of the type who would “passionately take up arms”… WANT the US to invade, would love to be the 51st state, so that at least we could benefit from some form of 1st and 2nd Amendment. There will be no armed resistance of any significance to a US invasion. Which I don’t think will occur, the current arrangement will likely continue working well enough.
JMG I vote for expansion of:
“It would require a couple of pages of explanation of occult philosophy. The very short form is that electronics works on what we can call the subnatural level — the level of subatomic particles and quantum events — and that level borders on the demonic.”
Excellent essay. I have also noticed a shift in news reports, from Ukraine`s successful repulsion of Russian soldiers to bewilderment that Russian soldiers are slowly conquering the Eastern region. However, one narrative has remained untouched: the invulnerable West will not tolerate Putin`s totalitarian Russia.
As a Canadian citizen, I`m curious what the effects of Americas decline will have on the country. If you could write an article on this issue, or share any references that may be of help, it would be most appreciated. (If you would be willing to send an email directly to me, that would be much easier than having to scrolling through the comments.)
The Marcos name is just as, if not more allergy-inducing to our Westernized elites as the Trump name is to yours. That said, a lot of things I’ve heard from him so far are full of common sense and such a breath of fresh air!
In one of the TV debates he appeared in during the campaign, he was asked whether the Philippines should just rely on rice imports since production cost in Thailand and Vietnam are much cheaper, Ricardian comparative advantages and all. He quickly answered, absolutely not, because rice is a staple food and therefore a strategic resource! What happens if our neighbors get into trouble, or we get into a fight with them, which results in them either not wanting to or not being able to sell rice to us?
This exact thing is happening now with Singapore (in this case with chicken). So much for all that money: https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2022/06/801474/singapores-chicken-rice-crisis
For the past two decades we’ve been just slightly below self-sufficiency with rice production. Thailand and Vietnam have more favorable geography, but with just a small bump in productivity and it should be doable. Nothing has been as badly managed here in the Philippines as the agricultural sector.
Jes, so noted.
Sardaukar, do you recall my post back on the Archdruid Report, American Narratives: The Rescue Game? The circular firing squad is the natural final phase of a collapsing rescue game, when everyone else is wise to it and refuses to participate. It should get colorful before the roof falls in…
Siliconguy, thanks for the data point.
Thomas, Russia doesn’t have to provide all of China’s resources — just enough of them that China and Russia between them (with an inner circle of allies) can impose unbalanced economic relationships on other countries. Yes, depopulation also makes that easier!
Kat, yes. I’ve posted quite a bit on that from time to time; if you’d like an intro, my recent book The Druid Path might be a good intro.
Erika, er, it didn’t sound pretentious to me at all. Maybe you on the Coof become oversensitized to the thought that you might sound pretentious…
Whispers, if the local head of state wants to come drink tea and ask for advice I can certainly make room in the schedule. First of all, of course, a lot of people would have to move here!
Kfish, yes, I saw that. That’s another First World War moment, too — rail transport was what kept the cannons firing on the Western Front.
Tomxyza, so noted.
Paul, I wish I had time for individual email consultations! As it is, I’ll consider that for a future post.
Carlos, I’m delighted to hear that. The more heads of state pay attention to such things, the better off everyone will be as the global economy comes apart.
I am reading now “The utopia of rules” by David Graeber (famous for “Bull**** jobs” which I will read next).
It’s very readable and I enjoy the history of the “bureaucratization” of modern states (who would have guessed that US was a pioneer of it?).
I have not finished it yet so I hope he will touch on the root causes of this – he did mention that both Germany and US developed big bureaucracies in their fight to replace the British Empire, so he seems to be on the same wavelength as you.
Have you read it?
I have to say that this post will be on my “rereading and digesting” list – like many similar posts in the past, it seems so obvious but it’s not, and I have to keep reminding myself – this is not a fantasy or in the far future. We are living it now and I need to change my life.
One more thing – I was reading you last summer and I was very close to sell all my remaining stocks (like you suggested) but of course I chickened out. Just like the gamblers in a casino, I kept thinking that I will cash out soon but it keeps growing!
So thanks for that advice – I didn’t followed it but I learned something about myself.
In other news: https://www.drive.com.au/news/lada-production-resumes-with-no-airbags-or-radio/
I suppose the intended message is “Har dee har har, the Russians are having to make do with outdated 90’s tech”. But what I got from it is that the Russians, in just three months, are managing to churn out affordable basic cars again. This is something the Americans and Europeans are either unable to (due to supply, capacity, and regulatory constraints) or unwilling to do (as Western automakers are focusing on high-end profitable models given the aforementioned constraints).
Yes, understood. On this side of the border we also have like three or four nations coexisting together.
I cannot imagine the US imperialist class ever giving up their attempt to perpetuate imperialism. I see their attempts in the future becoming draconian and destructive. After all, they do believe they are right, and that they deserve the wealth they have accumulated. My concern is there will be another civil war when a tipping point is reached, which will be catastrophic for everyone. Is there an opinion that this clash may not happen?
Kat (no. 216), here’s another book:
Bron Taylor distinguishes between “light green” religion (i.e. regular religions that sometimes make positive noises about environmentalism or whatnot), and “dark green” religion (i.e. those weirdos who see nature as sacred in itself / of ultimate value). Think Earth First!, not druids.
I am growing potatoes this year in plastic shopping bags. I tried growing potatoes directly in the heavy Northern Illinois clay soil a couple of years ago by sticking them right in the ground. Epic fail, I had almost no yield. This year I cut holes in the bottoms of three tote bags, put my cut up seed potatoes in them with some raised bed soil, and covered the new growth with straw every time they gained a few inches. Now that the bags are full of straw, I’ll wait until they bloom and the flowers and foliage die off before harvesting them. I don’t see why an apartment dweller with a patio or balcony couldn’t try the same thing.
I’ve read here and there that the “Dark Ages” weren’t so dark, at least after the volcano-induced climate catastrophe of the 6th century. A lot of people were glad to be free of the Roman Empire, there was considerable innovation, the worst immoral excesses faded away, etc. When you decide to do an essay on the post-Empire era of the present day, it’d be interesting to compare us with the early centuries of the previous “Dark Age.” One big difference that occurs to me is that we have a much bigger fund of knowledge than our forebears of 1,300 years ago.
The temptation of nihilism is great if I fail to imagine a post-Empire society that supports human flourishing on a sustainable basis. If I think instead that life ahead will be inevitably Hobbesian, and that my descendants will be dirt-poor subsistence farmers cowering before every solar eclipse, then I feel the tug of rage and despair. When we fortunate few have been to the Gay Paree of the Oil Age, we don’t want to go back to the farm, even a farm of honest toil–or, speaking for myself, any dishonest toil for that matter. Of course, many of us have never been on a farm to begin with, and who is to say that our descendants wouldn’t enjoy working a permaculture plot or, like the Amish, crafting fine furniture using hand tools. Especially if they take the time to walk with their dear ones along a river winding through a forested canyon or a grassy plain? Rich in nature, rich in relationships…the happiness of ages past and to come.
Perhaps the 21st century can yet usher in an Age of Restoration–restore the topsoil, restore nature in a thousand different ways, restore ourselves.
Simply that the quality of the replacement parts or the installation was inadequet, and no one caught the problem at the time. Whether the problem is spikes, ties, or rails, or the assembly thereof, is above my knowledge level, but if it were sabatoge or other outside mischief that railyard (both derailments happened in the yard) is fenced, videoed, and patrolled, and they’d have released some “wanted” picture or statement blaming someone. (If we recall correctly, the parts are manufactured in the PRC now, but we cannot find the news article anymore. It was celebrated by the paper and railroad as a cost savings measure–which out here in darkest flyover gets grumbles about factory shutdowns, not cheers.)
As it is, both sets of derailed cars are still lying beside the tracks and local news has no updates.
JMG I vote for expansion of:
“It would require a couple of pages of explanation of occult philosophy. The very short form is that electronics works on what we can call the subnatural level — the level of subatomic particles and quantum events — and that level borders on the demonic.”
China’s geography is very bad, unlike the USA, India is not as weak as Mexico, and the west of United States does not have independent countries with nearly 100 million angry nomads (and has many experience in war), once caught in a multi-faceted war situation China Will lose most of the territory outside the Great Wall and return to the territory of the Ming Dynasty.
Regarding self-sufficiency and the global economy, I’m reminded of what E.F.Schumacher said in Small is Beautiful, that “India is big enough to be a relatively closed society, a society in which the able-bodied people work and produce what they need”.
He said this at a time when India’s population was a little more than half of what it is today. The current situation in Ukraine, coupled with the fact that India has more people in it than the whole of North America and South America put together, makes his point even more valid today than it was all those years ago. Given this, I really don’t see why India needs to be part of the global economy; we could do with shifting our production to domestic needs, and trade with other countries to buy, say, luxury goods like French wines, for example. What’s more, is that it was exactly what used to happen in ancient and classical India; the Roman scholar Pliny the Elder wrote about how luxury goods like wines would be shipped to India in exchange for high-quality Indian textiles, with gold coins being paid to India to make up for the gaps (incidentally, I live a few miles south of a town which used to be a port for trading with Rome in the 1st century CE).
But of course, doing that would require a level of integrity and selflessness that our politicians simply don’t have. I suppose we will likely be forced into doing so than do it in a planned manner…
People here still believe in the might of the falling giant. I think it was the shock, too, that changed the minds of the general population. The support for NATO rose sharply after the war in Ukraine escalated in the earnest. “This could happen here” was and still is the sentiment, and if so, “we don’t want to be alone if it does”.
The problem is that there are no really good options. Being under the Russian influence is a fate worse than death for many. The pressure during the Cold War was tremendous. Only by very tactful diplomatic maneuvers this country managed to walk on the tightrope of “neutrality”.
Finland has a very capable and well equipped army for its size. We have never harbored any illusions about the “democratic development” of our neighbor, so the army has not suffered too brutal cuts. And there is the conscript system too, with most of the men participating, and a sizable chunk of the women too, volunteering. Those interested in how we see the scenarios playing out, here’s a video produced by the army:
For those not so visually inclined, there are a number of hybrid threats described, then various levels of escalation and the Finnish response to each of them. The video is made to motivate fresh conscripts. It is a few years old, but still quite accurate.
So, we do not need so much the foreign boots on the ground as we need intel and supplies. Air support would be nice too.
But overall, how do you share a log cabin in the winter with a bear? By being very cautious, quiet and avoiding anything that might wake up the bear. That’s what the reality has been over here. It changed with the war. It suddenly seemed, that it did not matter what you did or did not do. A crazy invasion for crazy reasons might be attempted anyway. The old rules seemed to have vanished. That’s what got to us. The world genuinely began to look different.
Well, now that I’ve popped back in for a bit, I might as well ask you – have you read Gaebers latsest ( and, sadly, last) book [i]The dawn of everything[/i]?
I’ve a feeling you despise the man’s political stance, but the book (co-authored with David Wengrow) is a tremendously well-informed and devastating attack on what you would call the Myth of Progress – and, indeed, of any linear form of historical thinking. No serious student of human history should pass it up, IMO.
Fair warning: you won’t find any support in it for a circular conception of time, either…
For the fifth Wednesday I vote for the future of education and school system.
Thanks, that is at leat somewhat reassuring. I was asking because a few friends were talking to me about this quite seriously recently, and I was saying I didn’t think it was likely, but then thought about Japan’s actions in World War 2 and wondered what you might think of the whole scenario.
Thanks for the perspective. I’ve fired guns, but never been in the military, so count me in the “mostly clueless” camp. Out of curiosity, are you Canadian? It’s a big country and I have only experienced a little of it first hand, which is why I ask.
I would be pretty much happy to read about all the suggestions made for 5th week thus far. Happy days!
My impression from The Comanche Empire is that their ultimate vulnerability was their dependence on European nations and settler states for their guns and ammunition. They were powerful as long as they could play one set of Europeans off against another. This they were very skillful at. But their empire started downhill after the US-Mexico War because that cleared out the field of weapon suppliers and more so after the Civil War when a unified and much more centralized United States emerged. Still I saw a map of voting for Texas in the early 1870s and there were no voters in the western half of the state.
The other problem they ran into was that they themselves severely depleted the buffalo herds on the southern plains. They hunted many themselves but also traded many for the other foods they needed and for guns and ammunitions and allowed various subordinate tribes to hunt in their territory.
Both they and the depleted buffalo herd were also vulnerable to diseases.
According to The Comanche Empire, the deliberate destruction of the buffalo herds happened on the northern Great Plains and after the Comanche had already fallen.
Still, they had quite a run.
I appreciate your posts. I don’t hear from anyone in rural Poland anywhere else on the Internet.
You have expressed concern about the quality of your written English a few times, but I want to encourage you not to worry about that. What you are trying to say is coming through well.
What exactly would the US stripping Europe look like?
I can easily see the US crushing Europe, partly to hurt Russia, partly to finish off what once looked like a possible rival, and partly out of sheer stupidity. Going overboard in crushing a rebellion against your enemy as a way to discourage future rebellion is a time-honored (though often moral dishonorable) tradition, but screwing over your allies is a recipe for not having any.
But I don’t understand what the US could take from Europe. Aren’t most of Europe’s production facilities off in China with the US’s?
When I first started reading you, in the Archdruid days, I thought you were being too mechanistic in your evaluation of the impact of resource depletion, that we had used some of those resources to build up knowledge and know-how that would stand us in good stead. I also thought that there was a chance that some technological advance would shift things in our favor, though I always agreed that counting on that happening would be extremely foolish and was mostly done in bad faith. However, I have come to agree with you. I think that we are now facing a double whammy. Not only are we facing physical problems such as resource depletion and a shifting and increasingly volatile climate, but in the West, we are doing so with decayed elites. What strikes me and scares me lately is not so much the towering incompetence of the elites, but that they seem to be OK with it.
If I were in the elites, I would be furiously knocking heads to try to pull us (the elites) into some sort of shape again. In the dying days of the Roman Empire, there were a few generals who tried. I think they were all assassinated for their efforts. Something seems to have happened roughly in the 1960s in the US that broke the ruling class and it has increasingly been smoke and mirrors and “Don’t look at that man behind the curtain” ever since. “The Sixties” was partly a cause of that but partly an effect.
I am also less sanguine that emerging powers such as China and India will do much better for long. China did brilliantly for a while, but since it reached the point of more or less saturating the world market for its production, it seems to have shifted much of its attention and production to a real estate boom that seems, to be honest, very American. Florida swamp real estate with Chinese characteristics. Admittedly, much of what is built in China does eventually come into use, but then again there is a lot more genuinely useable Florida real estate now than there was in the 1920s.
Michael Pettis writes very well and sympathetically about China’s need to shift to domestic demand. I watched Japan attempt to do this from the mid-80s onward. Japan still has not managed to do so, which makes it easy for me to imagine China too failing at this task.
This may be partially what the psychic crud that Northwind Grandma and you both mentioned looks like when filtered through the mind of a history buff.
“Ighy, a thousand years from now I expect the great military challenge of the North American continent to be the defense of the eastern agricultural zone against the horse nomads of the central plains. Some things don’t change much.”
Wow, North America will have become China.
I’m sure everyone has noticed, in the nature of current events, a lot of whipsawing. Suddenly, central banks are putting up interest rates rapidly, and maybe soon even more
Here in eastern Canada, it looks like the housing bubble might be in the process of popping. I have been watching housing prices in my area to see how much demand there is, and suddenly over the past week, several properties in my area have relisted for lower prices, in one case dramatically lower.
Canada’s National Post had a piece yesterday saying that the “housing correction” was underway and that people are “surprised” about how quickly it is changing. There’s a possibility this could accelerate as people perceive they need to sell at the peak.
So there’s this whipsaw effect at the moment where changes are quickly shifting from one extreme to the other.
This reminded me of something, so I went to my bookshelf and got out Resilience Thinking by Brian Walker and David Salt, where they talk about the workings of complex adaptive systems, and sure enough, I found some pages about systems and how they shift from one state to another.
They use the metaphor of a ball rolling around in a basin. The system has state variables which define the system, the example they use for a state variable is the level of phosphorus in a pond. As these state variables change, the system tries to find equilibrium, which is in the metaphor is represented by that ball rolling around the basin to find a position of rest.
So the whipsawing we are seeing looks to me like a lot of state variables (status of petrodollar, climate, health of overall population, etc) are shifting and the ball in the basin is moving around erratically as a result. The authors show how that ball can fly over the basin wall and into a new basin, a new system with new rules.
I don’t know enough about all this to know for sure, but it appears to me from the signal of this whipsawing that this next stairstep down the long decline is going to involve some possibly significant system changes, with new rules as a result.
It’s worrying just how ignorant of these things the ruling classes are. I saw this morning that the Bank of England’s chief economist Huw Pill defended the Bank’s underestimation of inflation by saying “Shocks, by nature, we couldn’t anticipate.”
Then why did the fringe correctly predict our current inflation troubles, like, 2 years ago?
Re: housing prices and bureaucratic overhead, Johnny SanFillippo of Granola Shotgun has a timely post:
Johnny is a master of keeping the perfect from being the enemy of the good.
One regard in which the imperial wealth-pump hasn’t been good for us is that it has allowed so many people in the USA to spend their lives living in a world of pure ego-fantasy. The election of Trump and the resulting freak-out was the first harbinger that the ability to sustain this fantasy-construct was under threat. I know from my own experience that when the ability to live in a fantasy comes to a sudden end, all that is left is the equivalent of a barren wind- and sand-blasted wasteland where every moment is pain and despair. Avoiding such a fate at all costs is why you have all this psychic crud and people consorting with demons and all that other fun stuff. But as I also learned from previous years of my life, traveling through that wasteland is indispensably necessary if there is going to be an arrival at something better and much more worthwhile!
I also cast my vote for the “Blue Moon” post to be about the supply-chain issues.
In regards to the revolution in military affairs that has been taking place over the last decade.
The new use of cheaper missile (Drone) area denial weapons has destroyed the old paradigms about air and sea supremacy.
The use of direct surveillance (Drone) down to the platoon or squad level has allowed artillery targeting unlike anything seen before.
Within the next decade surface ships of any kind will be able to be targeted and sunk almost anywhere on earth.
The defense is becoming stronger than the offense incrementally.
I would Like to hear your thoughts about the evolution/collective forgetting of victory gardens and the rise of food insecurities in the western world.
Thanks in advance Arch Druid for all your time and efforts and continued best wishes to you and your family.
Black Tuna and Hand (me)
@JMG: For the fifth Wednesday post, I vote for a discussion on the subnatural level.
Raito Watanabe’s question (#120) on the near future of Japan made me post this comment on an aspect of peak oil discussion called the Export Land Model. Details can be found with your favorite search engine. The important aspect of this model is its prediction of oil exports quickly becoming unavailable, with all spare capacity being consumed by the economic growth (that requires energy), leaving no oil to be exported. As world’s oil production (actually, extraction, but whatever) peaks, any oil being traded soon will be only through country-to-country agreements, not in the open market. This is important to Japan because it imports nearly all the crude oil it consumes. For me, Japan is one of the signals I monitor to assess the coming of the global oil peak. I would suggest to leave Japan while it is still possible. This also applies to any country that relies heavily on imported fossil fuels. If you want to stay, be prepared for interesting times.
Beneaththesurface #184 Thank you for the http://www.stephenharrodbuhner.com link. It is a pleasure to read a well referenced summary of the ecologic effects of residuals from the bloated medical industry. When you add in the agricultural and other synthetics, the decline-style changes in mental/general health and fertility are logical. Late Rome had lead poisoning, and it appears our modern world may never figure out which pollutants to select as a scapegoat….
This is being reported on Voltaire Net this week:
On 19 May 2022, the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture and Information Policy issued instructions the Ukrainian Book Institute to destroy all books published in Russia, printed in Russian or translated from the Russian language.
According to the director of the Book Institute and former president of the Publishers’ Forum, Oleksandra Koval (photo), it will be necessary to destroy at least 100 million books that convey evil. Some works will be preserved by university libraries for specialists to study the roots of Evil.
This auto-da-fé also targets all the classics of Russian literature from Alexander Pushkin to Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
Also on the same site is a report that our Secretary of Defense, Mr. Austin, is hosting a meeting of senior representatives–his counterparts, I suppose–of some 50 countries to try to figure out a way out of the Ukraine debacle. Good luck with that, Mr. Austin.
Carlos M, do you think it likely Marcos the Younger will win the upcoming election? I have seen nothing about this in stateside news, from which I conclude that the likely outcome will not be pleasing to our govt.
Paul Robertson, one effect of US decline which is already being seen is that hopeful migrants, finding out that they can no longer hope to get rich quick on our side of the border are now crossing to your side. Maybe you have room and resources to accommodate them?
This probably counts as evidence of decline given that it applies to the county seat’s school district. The county seat is generally not the poorest town in the county, and this area I thought was doing reasonably well. Being agricultural the great virus kerfluffle had little economic effect on it. But the entire school district is now qualified for free lunches.
“The money comes from the USDA’s Community Eligibility Provision (CEP). The CEP hails from the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act of 2010, which allows qualifying schools and school districts in low-income areas to serve meals for free. In order to qualify for the CEP, 40 percent or more of the student body must be eligible for free school meals through other poverty programs, and if that’s the case, the entire school district becomes eligible for free breakfast and lunches.”
Sardaukar at 211
Ooof! That article perfectly describes the legal aid organization I used to work at. I got in trouble with upper management for noting that our goal, at least as far as our state funded grants were concerned, was to provide legal representation to people in our area who could not afford a lawyer. We were not being paid to endlessly introspect on structural racism within the firm.
(Yeah, all that racism at a legal aid organization … give me a break.)
My favorite was all that nonsense about expecting people to be on time being “white supremacy.” Yet, they still require people to be on time to work. Draw your own conclusion.
I’m not sure if this falls under fall of empire, poor understanding of magic, or useless virtue signaling:
There’s a joking aspect to it, but there’s also the “truth spoken in jest”…
I guess we were all wrong on the Ukraine conflict. Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, head of the UK’s armed forces, has just informed us that Russia has already “strategically lost” the war in Ukraine and is now a “more diminished power.”
If this is what Russia look likes when it loses a war, imagine what they could do if they won.
On the American cultural front, I think we’re seeing the decline and fall of the LGBT+ Rainbow Revolution. Politicians have now discovered they can win or lose elections over “grooming” issues. To date the Left’s response has been a replay of the Critical Race Theory argument: sneering assertions that “grooming” doesn’t exist and conservatives are the real groomers. That may win seal-claps from their peers, but it’s really not a good way to convince critics or win new members.
“Groomer” has also changed the face of social media. A lot of social media users will support any cause that wins them likes and upvotes, so long as there’s no actual risk attached to their statement. Now people are getting doxxed, called out, or reported to employers as “groomers” for supporting child LGBT education and Drag Queen Story Hours. And that means a lot of people who were once happy to repeat those slogans will now be seeking safer causes to promote.
My only hope is that the inevitable backlash doesn’t endanger the lives of good, decent people living non-traditional lifestyles. As somebody who’s old enough to remember when AIDS was welcomed as a plague from God, I know how far things have come and worry about how far back they could slide.
I was not aware that railroads are “primitive technology” in the popular view, but then I guess modern railroads are mostly invisible to the masses. Interesting angle for a propaganda article.
For what it’s worth, the US military uses rail transport extensively in the US, probably more than roads for things like tanks, and almost all bases have rail service. Whole trains of military vehicles and supplies move around the country weekly on a dedicated fleet of DOD flatcars.
We obviously can’t rely on rail in hostile countries overseas, so photos of the deployed US military never have trains, but if we were fighting in a breakaway region of Canada or Mexico I’m sure we would be sending trainloads of tanks across the border.
Re fictional curses and Ukrainian missiles
It also occurs to me that the killing curse was a tool of the “bad” side in her stories, so what does that say about the folks using it here?
“Erika, er, it didn’t sound pretentious to me at all. Maybe you on the Coof become oversensitized to the thought that you might sound pretentious…”
aw, thanks, Papa G! i guess i HAVE been staring at the ceiling for many, many hours… where things replay on endless loops in the wee hours of the morn’.
in the wee hours of the morning when i’m staring at the ceiling YOUR tale kept coming back about the burned up Frenchman you made choke up with your tomato seedlings and it IS highlarious you trying to give an old lady in a walker some seedlings, too. I LOVE IT.
thank you. you’re such a LOVE.
This morning, I watched the cliffs to the north of me become shrouded in a smoky haze, the third summer in a row that I have seen wildfire smoke cover this valley. The Colorado River watershed has a six week period to decide how to trim the water budget, knowing that water flows downhill, or upstream to money. This watershed was a backfill of the emerging empire, a colony of Greater America, extraction division of the Corporate conglomerate. Now 40 million of us are going to decide which 10 million don’t get water. The conservatives don’t believe in conservation, but do believe in extraction. I walk along the Colorado River on trails that weave between gravel pit lakes and a channeled river, and ponder the fate of this region. Sure, we have green lawns and paved roads, but our leaders want to get every last drop of oil and gas,(and maybe oil shale) and keep our water, too. I look out the window and see the desert willow that would not grow here when I moved here, 40 years ago. There is ten-twenty times the traffic on this street as new subdivisions are sprouting up, all within driving distance to somewhere in the new big pickups with Hate Biden stickers, or Drill More. Half of the believers in the Myth of Progress call themselves Conservative, as in, we just need to go back to 1956. We believe in USA, USA and unlimited growth. In another realm, I have walked and ridden horses on Ute trails, climbed to look at Fremont rock Art and sat in cliff dwellings and considered the lessons those places pose for the present dwellers of this land. To think we can live here, maintaining European mythologies, and ignoring the imperatives of this land and waters, is a form of cognitive dissonance that allows a pataphysical solution for our lack of imagination about our future. For me, European philosophy was supplanted by The Book of Changes and the Tzu boys. Lao and Chuang, all translations of translations, enough for me to know of something before the Word, but I digress. The notion that our present trajectory will continue unabated, much like our Empire fascination, is in need of repair. Now, my imagination falters, hidden by the smoky haze of the ghost of the American west of the future.
Thijs Goverde @ #207
What you call off-topic, I call synchronicity. Just got introduced to Postmodern Jukebox this week.
Fantastic, thought-provoking post as always, JMG.
A week or two ago there was a discussion here about how to do small scale solar, and I mentioned that the inverters were a known weak point. The same is true with the large scale installations.
” Repowering provider Solar Support reporting that nearly half (45%) of inverters are abandoned just four years after site completion as a result of manufacturers being discontinued;
Research from DNV noting how uneven terrain is driving performance losses of up to 6%, proving the need for tracker technology and advanced modelling software;
Analysis by Raptor Maps indicating that disruption to asset performance caused by balance of system anomalies and the complexity of installations is on the rise, and;
Research from advisory STS indicating that the frequency of high-risk quality concerns found within module purchase contracts has increased 20-fold between H1 2020 and H1 2022.”
So those very expensive inverters are only good for four years, then the “Lifetime Warranty” turns out to apply to the model number, or the entire company. If you you have ever put an oscilloscope on the power line it’s very clear a clean sine wave is not what is on the wire. Electronics hates high voltage spikes.
The uneven terrain problem is easily fixed, add more space between the modules. That does increase the cost a bit because you need more land now, but whether that is worth 6% depends on local conditions.
The last point is interesting too, the quality of the PV panels is declining, whether it’s lockdown problems in China or the intentional application of “minimum acceptable quality” or old fashioned planned obsolescence I don’t known. There is good money in repowering PV, where the old less efficient (16%) panels are scrapped and replaced with new (20%) panels. The PV vendors may be expediting that.
As far as empires go, I have always been an anti imperialist American. So no disagreement about the American empire fading. I think a citizen can be either a patriot of the Republic or a patriot of the empire and most citizens unthinkingly are both. However it seems to be a zero sum game between Republic and empire. What is good for one is bad for the other. So now I have come to realize I am a patriot of the Republic. That doesn’t mean I root for the opponents of the empire. Now we are seeing conservatives who identify with Russia acting as a counter force to the American empire. This really reminds me of the far left, first wave boomers who rallied to the Viet Cong in the anti war movement. It seems to be the same mechanism reflected in a mirror.
I believe Russia has bitten off more than it can chew in Ukraine. I don’t follow the media narrative so much as informed blogs that paint a very different picture. Ukraine is trading very little land for an awful lot of blood. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Russian army collapse and walk home. They have done it before.
JMG has written about a new center of power emerging east of Europe. Perhaps that center could coalesce in Kyiv which is a much more ancient and cultured city than Moscow.
The railroads along the gulf coast have abandoned lines along the coast after the devastation of Katrina and Ivan. The old Sunset Limited used to run from Los Angeles to Jacksonville FL. They have just extended from New Orleans to Pensacola, but I doubt they will return along the coast. The railroads prefer lines further north in the interior of southern Georgia and Alabama. So they seem to believe in climate change when it comes to investment in private infrastructure.
A few more words can be said about resiliency. I no longer think about being a survivor. I haven’t lived a life of philosophy. After 50 years of hard labor my lower back is gone, threatening to go on strike at any moment. The nerves in my arms are toast. Grasping much of anything in my hands is becoming problematic. My eyesight seems to be deteriorating. Actually, I am starting to look forward to my next body, because this one is toast. So how about a 5th Wednesday on switching bodies?
More evidence the housing bubble may be close to bursting.
Since the center of the community is based on “religion” (medieval times the church, and more recently the market/mall), now that everything is online and society is fracturing with many if not most of our relationships being virtual and not able to hold us together when things hit the fan, I vote for the 5th-week topic to be a discussion of the what religion and community will look like in the coming years as we realize that we need each other again for real.
@252 Mary Bennett – According to the Wall Street Journal, the Ukrainian library book ban targets books that are by sanctioned authors, support the war, are anti-Ukrainian, etc. It’s a bad idea, for sure (though how many US libraries in the past 20 years would have dared to carry books that were pro-Wahhabi?). But the claim that ALL books by Russians, including historical novels, will be banned seems to be found mostly on a group of Marxist websites, from which voltairenet, a leftward site, may have uncritically derived it, and a couple of Russian government sites who might have reason to exaggerate.
Kenaz Filan wrote, comment # 256
On the American cultural front, I think we’re seeing the decline and fall of the LGBT+ Rainbow Revolution. Politicians have now discovered they can win or lose elections over “grooming” issues. To date the Left’s response has been a replay of the Critical Race Theory argument: sneering assertions that “grooming” doesn’t exist and conservatives are the real groomers. That may win seal-claps from their peers, but it’s really not a good way to convince critics or win new members.
American secretary of state Anthony Blinken (who has shown himself to be an incompetent political hack on a par with Hillary Clinton, Samantha Power and Victoria Nuland) said recently that he badgers Saudi leaders every chance he gets on LGBTQ issues. He has also ordered the flying of so-called Pride flags at all US embassies, which is sure to anger a lot of Muslims around the world.
The KSA is a conservative Islamic society that is the world’s third largest oil producer and has been a strategically vital American ally for nearly a century, but which has been seriously considering ditching the Petro-Dollar in favor of oil sales in Yuan, in part because of what it sees as unfriendly and provocative behavior by the Biden administration.. And yet the Biden administration seems hell-bent on alienating the Saudis and everyone else who hasn’t already drunk the Woke Kool-Aid. It seems that for Creepy Joe and the rest of the Democratic Party leadership, appeasing what one conservative commentator recently described as “the Democratic Party’s most bizarre micro-constituencies” takes precedence over everything else.
These Woke idiots are just going to keep pushing and pushing until their policies and agenda blows up in their faces. Sadly, the backlash, which has already started, is going to end up hurting ordinary Americans (including a lot of LGBT people who are just trying to live their lives in peace) who had nothing to do with those policies and in many cases objected to them.
Mary Bennett wrote, comment # 252
This is being reported on Voltaire Net this week:
On 19 May 2022, the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture and Information Policy issued instructions the Ukrainian Book Institute to destroy all books published in Russia, printed in Russian or translated from the Russian language.
According to the director of the Book Institute and former president of the Publishers’ Forum, Oleksandra Koval (photo), it will be necessary to destroy at least 100 million books that convey evil. Some works will be preserved by university libraries for specialists to study the roots of Evil.
This auto-da-fé also targets all the classics of Russian literature from Alexander Pushkin to Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
Gee, that kinda reminds me of another bunch of people back in the 1930’s and 40’s who had a fondness for public book-burnings. It’s even more ironic when you consider that one of the Russian government’s justifications for invading Ukraine was to “de-nazify” the Ukrainian government…
Are you talking about Bill Kristol? The guy who never met a war he didn’t want other people’s kids to die in? Yeah, he’s the dirt worst. At least he’s always wrong – I shudder to think of what the world would look like if he were ever right.
@ Kfish and JMG with regards to comments # 220 and 225.
As Oswald Spengler and others have pointed out, a lot of the technologies and tactics that characterized World War I were prototyped in the American Civil War 50 years earlier, including the use of trench warfare in the battles between Grant and Lee during the 1864-65 Virginia campaign (1). If you look at maps of the Civil War, nearly all of the campaigns were conducted along major rail lines and navigable waterways, and many of the critical battles, including Vicksburg, Chattanooga and Atlanta, were fought to control important rail junctions. it just so happens that one thing both Russia and Ukraine have is dense, highly developed rail networks and lots of navigable rivers.
(1) Some military historians have argued since the 1920’s that the European powers could have saved themselves a lot of trouble during the Great War if they had payed more attention to the lessons of the ACW.
JMG – Do you see increasing evidence the elites are turning on each other, such as this (no need to read beyond the headlines)? https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-06-16/musk-tesla-spacex-are-sued-for-alleged-dogecoin-pyramid-scheme https://themarkup.org/pixel-hunt/2022/06/16/facebook-is-receiving-sensitive-medical-information-from-hospital-websites
I wonder if this represents a historically typical shift towards desperation, similar to changing effective warfare measures? Perhaps a signal of decline acceleration, at least for the current step down?
The past three days I have attempted to reach Treasury Direct by phone. The wait time, according to the answering machine, is more than two hours, but i was cut off once and told it was too late in the day to even get in line yesterday. Previously in my experience, any wait was negligible to a few minutes. When the US Treasury is unable to adequately support funding, it seems meaningful to me. The IRS is not doing so well either, from my readings.
Yes, KRISTOL (oops). Horrid, isn’t he?
New Revision Of Revised Bible: “There will be wars and rumors of wars. There will be famine. Bill Kristol will be right about something. When you see these things happening, know that the end is near and flee to the mountain top…”
The Biden administration, whoever that may be in reality, seems to think the world is Twitter and everyone will be frightened into compliance if you just keep harping at them. I keep expecting them to announce that Russia has been banned and canceled from the U.N. or that the KSA is being sent to see Human Resources because of its anti-feminism and homophobia. We are governed by people who think like AWFLs (Affluent White Female Liberals). It’s scary.
In response to rising energy prices, a leading house organ of the liberal establishment is urging the Biden administration to nationalize the oil industry.
This proposal ignores at least two inconvenient facts:
1) History shows that the only thing that is even worse than an economy run by a bunch of corporate kleptocracies is an economy run by a bunch of government bureaucrats.
2) Such a move would almost certainly be overturned by the Supreme Court, based on a similar case from 1952. In that instance, the Truman administration responded to a labor dispute that was disrupting steel production in the midst of the Korean War by ordering the nationalization of the steel industry. The Supreme Court ruled that this was an unconstitutional abuse of power and overturned Truman’s executive order.
I realize that in part this is just political propaganda of the expected variety, but it seems to me the ads for the upcoming US election have become even more vacuous than usual:
“Senator X kicks puppies and eats little children. Call Senator X today and tell him/her to stop kicking puppies and eating little children!”
“Senator X is fighting vast hordes of demons bent on destroying life as we know it. Call Senator X today and tell him/her to keep fighting for life as we know it!”
Hi JMG, Another post that deserves much forwarding. You do yourself proud.
Greerland indeed, may the Gods be listening. No politicking but maybe court astrologer? Just part time though; we need you here at ecosophia.
For the fifth Wednesday post I vote for your thoughts on national collective karma and perhaps thoughts on what mechanism(s) might be involved with “natural disasters” i.e.. earthquakes, floods etc. as part of the expiation.
NomadicBeer, no, I haven’t read it. Graeber’s an interesting cat but there are only so many books I can read in the available time! Fascinating, though, that a thinker on the far left would criticize the pervasive bureaucracies that have been the inevitable results of leftist policies…
Carlos, yes, I heard about that! The Russians are being sensible, and engaging in ретротопиство — if the lessons from my high school Russian classes hasn’t completely deserted me, retrotopistvo is a decent Russian equivalent of “Retrotopianism”…
Karen, the detail a lot of people forget is that the only power that an elite class has is the power to order other people to do things, and if the other people turn their backs and walk away, that doesn’t leave the elite class with many options. That’s usually how revolutions take place, you know.
Kimberly, good. There used to be books on apartment-scale gardening — I have no idea what’s still available on the subject, but it’s worth doing.
One thing that gives me hope is seeing the tremendous popularity of DIY projects. Here in the US, at least, and I hope other countries, a lot of people have work spaces set up in their garages, or even in public areas like “maker spaces.” I don’t think that drive to build will ever go away.
I keep having a vision of some people tinkering around with a project, say, radionics or something that involves chemicals and a wandering bureaucrat comes by with a stern message that what they are doing is illegal, and to cease… only to be refuted with several guffaws.
JMG, There is some speculation on the internet ( Moon of Alabama and others) that since the U.S. Administration ( the empire) realizes that they are badly losing in Ukraine they will lash out with an action somewhere else on the geopolitical stage to show that they are still the boss. The potential arenas are Syria, Iran, or even China. This seems like a horrible idea and only the most senile of imperial rulers would go down such a road, but do you think we are that far along in the twilight of empires to try such a thing? And if we do, and it goes bad does it act as a trigger that just sends us down the slope of decline that much faster.
Since we only get one vote, I’ll also throw mine behind discussion of electronics and the demonic.
Just came back from work, I’ve read some comments, I often can’t speak because I don’t have time. Well You would be suprised how many people in rural Poland know English and german because many of us were forced to work abroad somewhere in the EU. Me and my brother had worked in germany for some time and at first I didn’t know squat about English but Some folks there helped me at least when writting comes to mind. Well there were 5 of us living in Krakow am See in a small apartment helping in the construction aroung the town and I was choosen to be the spokeperson for the group for some reason I never geasped German (old grievances in Polish blood perhaps). I stumbled on the blog by accident, let’s say this for a long time there has been growing resentment toward the EU in the rural areas in Poland. Our so called betters in Brussels had been making certain laws that did everything possible to make the life of ordinary folks here miserable, I am not talking just about the whole “gender’ thing and LGBT Matko Boska co za ( bad words).
Let’s just say that the promisses of the EU about prosperity of poland were complete manure. Będziemy drugą Japonią- ranted Lech Wałęsa for years now He is shilling out there for whatever is popular. vaccines, BLM, renewable industry name it our politicians are like parrots now.
for years we had legislation like “polish cucumbers are not long enough” ogórek Małosolny- local speciality had to be regulated and changed by the EU bureaucrats, but the whole “broke the cammels back” came with COVID, Christ allmighty in heaven (you are not vaccinated- you are a criminal), (you are practising tradicional medicine – you are a conspiracy theorist, homophobe etc.) ( YOU ARE QUESTIONING EU AND IT’S POLICIES LIKE MIGRATION, VACCINES, RENEWABLES- YOU ARE A PUTINS AGENT!!!!!!!!!!!!)
A lot of people became disillusioned and hostile towards progressives and EU after that, we elected Prawo and Sprawiedliwość to power, only for them to embrace the worst parts of pro COVID idiocy. Many people looked up to pope FRancais in that situation but let’s say he is questionable right now.
People in big cities live in a bubble (I spoke about that idot with purple hair who called us folks in our small community as orcs and medieval peasants, how many idiots like that are walking around in our nation i don’t know)
What I am getting at that there are like two Poland’s one is the thing you see in the MSM (pro EU etc), tourist area’s for foreginers also pro EU and everything and the rest of us in rural area’s which is getting more and more angry and detached, how long untill something breaks…
Jezu napisałem kolejny esej, na razie córka płacze trzeba ją pocieszyć a potem spać bo jutro kolejny zajęty dzień.
Love Kimberly’s potatoes-in-a-shopping bag idea!
I’m experimenting with slightly fancier “grow bags” here on the patio and porch of our small house/small clay-packed yard. A month into this and so far, so good.
They are made of recycled plastic fabric which creates a wicking action when the roots reach the side of the fabric pot. My understanding is that the air “prunes” the root when it reaches the edge of the pot, so rather than roots that just go round and round the pot, new roots form more quickly instead, making for a healthier plant.
So far, I’m pretty impressed. And storage at the end of the season will be clean them out and fold them up. Definitely reusable.
Greg, how dark the dark ages were depended on who you were and where you were. If you were an agricultural slave in Gaul or Hispania, and you didn’t happen to get in the way of one of the armies, things improved considerably for you once the Romans were chased off and your new Frankish or Visigothic chieftain settled in to stay. If you were an urbanite of the middle or upper classes, your fate might be pretty wretched. “We” may have a greater fund of knowledge, but how many technologies can you personally operate, repair, and make from scratch? That, not how much knowledge is available in the abstract, will determine what gets handed down to the future.
Karim, so noted!
林龜儒, if China’s foolish enough to end up in a multifront war, sure. That’s by no means guaranteed.
Viduraawakened, economic autarky is a viable option for any nation, such as India, with a sufficiently abundant and diverse resource base. I hope the next generation of Indian politicians has the good sense to realize that.
Oskari, oh, granted, there are basically no good options. That’s a common fate for a small country on the border of a big one. I hope you manage to get by.
Thijs, I haven’t read it, but I’ve looked at it. I get the impression that the sound of grinding axes is fairly easy to hear in it, but what history these days doesn’t suffer from that drawback? At some point, when time permits, I plan on skimming it, getting a good list of Graeber’s sources, and reading those.
Marko, so noted.
Johnny, Japan’s actions in the Second World War need to be understood in the context of Japanese culture and history — Ivan Morris’ brilliant book The Nobility of Failure is probably the best introduction to the mindset that launched Japan on its self-defeating strategy in the Pacific War. The US doesn’t share the same mindset, to put matters mildly.
Jessica, the US stripping Europe would likely involve massive sales to European nations of overpriced weapons that don’t work, attempts to pressure European governments into transferring their gold reserves to this side of the Atlantic, forced deals transferring intellectual property into US hands, and any other gimmick that would allow movable wealth to be carried here. As for your broader point, I wish I could argue.
Jbucks, the housing bubble is losing air on this side of the border too. Whee! Down we go…
Isaac, thanks for this.
Mister N, that’s an important point. One of the pervasive problems with empires is always that a tribute economy makes delusional thinking seem much more plausible…for a while. (Your vote’s been tabulated.)
Valiant, thanks for this! An important point.
Black Tuna, you’re welcome and so noted.
Packshaud, your vote’s been tallied. As for Export Land, that was one of the things behind my stories about Japanese nanmin staging a mass migration by sea to the Pacific coast of North America.
Mary, does this surprise you?
Siliconguy, thanks for the data point.
David BTL, yes, I saw that — and I thought the same thing you did. She’s just agreed in public that the Ukrainians are the Death Eaters.
Kenaz, it’s good to see that Admiral Radakin is helping to maintain the long and glorious British tradition of babbling, drool-spattered idiocy in high military command. As for the “grooming” backlash, there’s a noticeable amount of schadenfreude in watching the tools of internet mob violence turned against the left, who started it. I hope that eventually all sides recognize that it’s a bad idea and back away from it.
Erika, ouch. Feel better soonest!
Jdm, thanks for this vivid and moving prose poem.
Siliconguy, that’s why PV electricity isn’t a good use of sunpower. Solar thermal, especially for water heating and space heating, doesn’t have that problem.
Jake, well, we’ll see. I’ve added your topic to the list!
Sardaukar, yep. This may be one for the record books.
Clark, duly added to the list.
Sardaukar, yep. Once you have rail transit and large amounts of decent artillery, trench warfare is the name of the game, until and unless you can get a fast-moving force into the hinterland and refuse to let it get tied down. It’ll be interesting to see if the Russians have a Sherman move in mind.
Lazy, hmm! That really does look like the wheels coming off.
Sardaukar, because of course they are. It’s not as though they’ve had a single new idea since 1956…
David BTL, well, of course! The alternative is talking about what’s actually going on, and nobody wants to risk that.
JeffinWA, you’re welcome; I’m not holding my breath on Greerland, as nobody yet seems to be volunteering to move to Rhode Island! I’ve got your vote tabulated, btw.
Jon, that seems hopeful to me too.
Clay, well, we’ll see, but I think they’re mistaken. I don’t think the US military is prepared to risk any actual combat at this time.
Sister Crow, duly noted.
Wer, thanks for this. That same division is common in much of the world: a minority of well-to-do globalists who insist that everything’s getting better, so long as they and their friends get more and more power and wealth, and a majority who see the other side of the picture and are getting fed up with it.
Americans, don’t forget the post office will be closed Monday. Probably the banks too—I think they close whenever the Federal Reserve closes.
late to the party and unfortunately I’m unable to catch up with the mass of comments… so please forgive me if this has been brought up several times already…
1) German media celebrated chancellor Scholz for his “coup” to wrench the rights to Germany’s largest gas storage facility (which is at 2% (!!!) of it’s filling capacity at the moment…) out of the hands of Gazprom. Now, so the story goes, we can sell the capacities to other natural gas providers. Ok, I’m pretty sure that I don’t have to go on but it becomes even more bizarre, since at the very same day I read on RT (not on our media, though) that one of the largest LNG facilities in the US (I believe Texas?) which serves 20% of your LNG exports has been shut down for at least 3 weeks due to some explosion on the site. Media said that residents claimed to have seen a fireball, but drone footage seems to show only firefighters on the site, but no flames and no smoke… possibly some “elegant” way to deal with Biden’s energy emergency? But Scholz made a coup, yes. Somebody else may fill the storage. No bread? Why don’t they eat cake???
2) Have you read about the proposal for a “European commonwealth” formed by the UK, the Baltic states, Ukraine and possibly Turkey, err, Türkiye? It’s been said the US leadership would approve. I doubt this very thing will go anywhere as much as I doubt that the Turkish leadership would want to play with the losers. But I find it quite likely that some other kind of European military-economic alliance will emerge in some not too distant future. And this will surely bring the end to NATO and EU as we know it. And it makes some cracking lines in Europe more visible, as well as it shows that there seem to be at least some people in the US leadership who for the wrong or right reasons want to do the sensible thing – to wind things up and pull out of international obligations without losing their face (On the other hand, the US military recently invested a quite large amount of money in the construction of a huge military hospital close to Ramstein – I wonder who they expect to treat there?). All in all, I have to say that I very much doubted the scenario you have sketched in your essay of “The next European war” when I first read it. Now I can see how it might come to pass, unfortunately.
Cheers, and many thanks for your inspiring writing. It does provide a very useful toolkit to make sense of much that is happening in the world.
@Mary Bennett #252:
The elections were conducted last May 9th. Bongbong Marcos didn’t just win, he (and his running-mate Sara Duterte, daughter of the incumbent president) obliterated the field! He won with 59% of the vote, in a race where there are 10(!) contenders and at least half of the candidates were well-known nationally. His closest rival, current vice-president Robredo, got less than half the votes Marcos did. This is the most popular win under the current 1987 constitution, which by the way was instituted after his dad, Ferdinand Marcos Sr., was ousted in the 1986 “People Power” revolution (widely considered to be the world’s first “color revolution”). Very ironic, considering that in the words of one of its framers, the 1987 constitution was supposed to prevent the Marcos family from going back into power. Not only that, but the 2022 elections is generally considered the cleanest and most peaceful elections to-date. Even the “independent” (actually anti-Marcos) poll watchdog NAMFREL vouched for its credibility.
Mind you, this is not merely a populist win. While the highly westernized intelligentsia (within the academe, media, and Christian clergy) were very loudly against Marcos, the economic elite in general also voted largely towards Marcos. Opinion polls have shown his support among the top income class to be at around 56% which is still more or less together with the general population. He also has widespread support among politicians at the local level.
Marcos is, unlike Duterte, for all intents and purposes an elite establishment political figure, but the Marcos family has been a pariah among the intelligentsia for the past 4 decades or so. It eventually became an asset for him because he didn’t need to appeal to the respectable crowd (and couldn’t, anyway). Heck, he attended Oxford, and one of the attacks hurled against him is nitpicking whether or not his “Special Degree” counted as an actual college degree or not. If it’s any indication how tone-deaf the intelligentsia is in this country, that actually ended up increasing his populist appeal!
Anyway, from what I see of him compared to Marcos Sr., he seems to be potentially at least as smart as his dad, but with little of the megalomania. So far I am optimistic.
As far as car tech goes, 90’s vehicles are the sweet spot in terms of cost efficiency both in building and operating. The brand new old Lada models should have electronic fuel injection, which is critical both for fuel efficiency and reliability (especially in starting in cold weather, i.e. pretty much everywhere all year in Russia). But they won’t have the additional weight and complexity from all the “safety and emissions” doodads and gizmos that cars have acquired in the past two decades.
A friend of mine dismissed it comparing the move to reviving the East German Trabants. I’ve actually driven one when I was in Berlin (as part of one of those gimmick driving tours). I also happen to own a Toyota Revo, which is a twenty-year-old “Asian Utility Vehicle” (i.e. parts-bin van-like truck) which is then based on the 1980’s Toyota Hilux platform. Yes, those same Hiluxes that terrorists and irregular armies like to use, (in)famous for its reliability! There is no comparison, and I would not mind owning and driving a 90’s European vehicle either.
I have a feeling that now blitzkrieg is no longer an effective strategy, military forces are going to be taking another look at the wars of the mid 19th to early 20th centuries, particularly the American Civil War and the Great War. One area of interest will be successful commanders who were able to win by outmaneuvering their opponents on the battlefield in spite of the limitations imposed by trench warfare.
One area of interest will likely be the stormtroop tactics employed by the Germans during the last half of World War I. Erwin Rommel’s Infantry Attacks and Ernst Junger’s Storm of Steel are a great resource because they provide detailed, vivid descriptions of how they successfully employed those sorts of tactics as junior officers. Those tactics were particularly effective when combined with the artillery tactics developed by commanders like Oskar von Hutier and Georg Bruchmuller. Another area of interest will be employment of strategic level flanking maneuvers such as Sherman’s March to the Sea, Sheridan’s Shenandoah Valley Campaign, Allenby’s Palestine Campaign and the German offensives along the Baltic Coast in 1917.
Thanks for the kind words! So far six seedlings have been taken from our curb, and I did go with my neighbour to drop off about a hundred more. I have my first tomatoes coming in now, and we’ve been eating greens for about two weeks steadily, where we’ve stopped buying greens entirely now, and we’ve harvested some radishes too.
Hi John Michael,
Hello! I’ve been off the air for a few days with serious computer troubles. Mostly sorted out now, but I was forced to reconsider how the entire system works here, and let’s face it, this computer stuff doesn’t stand much of a chance longevity wise. Earlier in the week there was a lot of talk about Artificial Intelligence worried about being turned off. I tend to believe that hardware failure is the bigger issue, but that’s me. 🙂
Enjoyed your essay. What I noted about the recession in the early 1990’s – which hit me personally pretty hard – was that the effects began at the edges before moving to the centre. It was the rural holiday homes that got ditched in those days as people sought to tighten their belts. The sell off drove everything down further like an awesome feedback loop, which left me scrambling to keep a roof over my head, food on the table and the lights on. I never forgot that lesson, other people have to learn the hard way, I guess. Speaking of which are you keeping a Druid’s observant eye upon the markets? Crypto… If it looks like speculation, smells like speculation and screams like speculation, it probably is speculation. Always it begins from the edges, like that fall. And I note that yet again the crypto exchanges have repeated history. Unregulated bankers and customers would have done well to read up upon their industries history. But do they listen, no!
On a purely selfish note, I do hope that the events drain the pockets of the tourists who have of late been taking over the few amenities available for locals. A minor matter which hopefully self corrects, maybe…
I look forward to being able to read the comments tonight. The past few nights I’ve been burning the midnight oil trying to fix computer things and do work that was unable to be done because of computer troubles. I’m not a fan you know, and could happily go back to paper based systems, which I know intimately. They worked pretty well and required about the same people resources, and that’s the joke of it all.
Reading through comments, this came to mind, because several readers have asked “how can I help during the decline?” Start with one’s intention. If one wants to “help the world,” breathe in the bad and breathe out the good. Close the eyes, and do this twenty minutes a day for the rest of your life.
(1) Former “new age’ people don’t understand the concept (of breathing in the bad) AT ALL‼️Their collective nearsightedness was the reason I broke with “lightweights” of so-called new-age. Their way (“breathe in the good”) leaves the world worse off, not better. Keeping the good for oneself is selfish in the extreme.
(2) The first thing out of people’s mouths is, “isn’t ‘breathing in the bad’ dangerous?” To which I answer, “dangerous to whom?”
It is not a meditative practice for the weak. It may sound easy. It is a practice that makes or breaks a world, not to mention what it can do to a person.
A few brief notes on how thing are going in Japan and a bit on Crimea.
Prime Minister Kishida spoke to the nation a couple days ago, saying Japan condemns Russia for invading Ukraine and then leaving that at that, which is a good sign that they are not likely to commit militarily to that conflict. Taiwan is a whole ‘nother matter. If China does invade there, there will be all sorts of support for domestically for military engagement, including revising the constitution to allow that. I note that when Biden visited Japan recently, he reassured Japan that if China invaded Taiwan, America would back Japan up to defend Taiwan, to which the Pentagon reported interjected “Oh no we won’t.” That made quite an impression on the Japanese.
The rest of Kishida’s speech left no doubt that Japan will officially pursue the WEF’s agenda, focusing on digital transformation, the 5G buildout and preparedness for future pandemics with establishment of a Japanese version of the CDC. So in the short to medium term, we are in for real misery here. I hope that RFK Jr.’s book on Anthony Fauci can be translated and made available to the Japanese public before too long. I supplied one page from that to my advanced students, recounting how at least one clinic in the US stayed open and successfully treated COVID patients. My students’ immediate take-away was that the panic and two years of economic havoc and restrictions on socializing had been completely unnecessary.
On Crimea, my Russian student finally made it to Sochi from Turkey where he’d been laid up a month, having his flight reservation for Moldova cancelled (they told him because he was Asian, but I reckon the threat of war spreading to Moldava was the real reason), and then testing positive for COVID. His e-mails to me have been sporadic, not for lack of effort on his part, but communications blocked a significant amount of the time. He said in Sochi (Black Sea coast) there was no hint of war.
A couple days ago, he reported he’d made it to El’-M’yansk, Crimea, where he has friends. I think he is referring to “Armyansk,” which he visited a year ago as well, up on the isthmus, next to the border.
Quick direct translation of his words: “I’m now in El-Myansk in Crimea. This place is very different from last year. There are so many military vehicles around that I don’t even speak in English or Japanese. There are many Ukrainians here and the police and military are very careful. And prices of goods are three times higher, depending on the item. Only gasoline is very cheap, but in addition, it is very expensive. I have tried to send you messages many times, but couldn’t, because the Internet was blocked.”
He is getting quite an education, which will distinguish him from 99.99% of his countrymen. I’ll keep praying for his safety. His circumstances are a much better Russian teacher than I could ever be.
Because Ukrainians and Russians are all but identical, Russia will be dealing with infiltration by revenge-seekers no matter the outcome of the war.
Apteryx @ 267 as for US libraries (You do not want to get me started on that topic–suffice it to say that discard and acquisition policies are scandalous, IMO) and books which are “pro-Wahhabi”…I don’t know about that. Public library patrons have seen a veritable river of Middle Eastern chick lit passing through new book sections. (sigh) I fondly remember when I used to wait for the newest translations from the great mid-century Latin American and East European authors. Jorge Amado. Miguel Asturias. Milovan Djilas. Ivo Andric.
Sorry, JMG, but I can not help myself… ретротопиЙство (retrotopiystvo). You missed a Й. Just classes in high school? Wow, impressive!
@Wer, Thank you so much for writing about the situation in Poland. It sounds like the rural-realist/urban-fantasist divide is occurring just about everywhere. I enjoy reading bits of Polish, but your English is fine.
As for my vote on a topic, a discussion of electronics and the demonic that several have mentioned would really fascinate me and several other people I know.
I just finished reading _The Dawn of Everything: a New History of Humanity_. It is impossible to summarize an almost 700 page book in a sentence or two. The authors observe that many recent discussions of human history attempt to explain the origins of inequality. There is also a strong belief that original human societies, bands of foragers, did not display inequality. The growth of inequality is usually seen as the result of the development of agriculture which was believed necessary for the development of specialists, rise of armies and autocratic leaders, either political, religious or both. The authors postulate three basic freedoms: freedom to move (I.e. relocate), freedom to disobey, and freedom to create or transform social relationships. They describe recent archaeological evidence that suggests that peoples in the past have deliberately retreated from and rebelled against oppressive societies such as the slave owning tribes of the Pacific Northwest, and the urban center of Cahokia, among others. They emphasize the idea that humans are active participants in the formation of culture, not helpless pawns of technological change.
While it is true that the book does not support cyclical theories of history, neither does it rule them out. It also does not support the various schemes of progress such as foraging-pastoralism-agriculture-industrialism nor Marx’s primitive communism-slavery, feudalism-capitalism-socialism-communism.
I really recommend the book.
Nachtgurke, and now the Russians have cut the gas supply to Germany so Scholz’s shiny new storage facility is going to sit there gathering cobwebs. I hope this coming winter isn’t too harsh. As for the next European war, I wish I was wrong, but two millennia of European history are arguing against me.
Carlos, I was amused earlier today to encounter a paean to the 1999 Toyota Corolla in nearly the same terms you’ve used here. “You want a car that gets the job done? You want a car that’s hassle free? You want a car that literally no one will ever compliment you on? Well, look no further. […] Let’s face the facts, this car isn’t going to win any beauty pageants, but neither are you. Stop lying to yourself and stop lying to your wife. This isn’t the car you want, it’s the car you deserve.”
Sardaukar, that seems very plausible to me.
Chris, glad to hear you got the problem solved — for now. No question, computer technology at this point is the wave of the past; you might see if you can find some textbooks teaching how to do bookkeeping on paper — you know that already, I know, but you might be able to find a very lucrative second career teaching other people how to do it.
Northwind, if that works for you, by all means, but I emphatically don’t recommend this for anyone at all. I know people whose lives went straight down the crapper when they did this, without doing any measurable good for anybody else.
Patricia O, thanks for the updates! Your vote’s been tabulated.
Kirsten, thanks for this! Oh, of course, I left out the и краткое. I did three years of high school Russian and was reading selections from Pushkin and Lermontov by the end of it: one of the few useful things I did in my time interned in public schools.
Per Chris, an update on my foray into Crypto:
Right now my $1,100 “investment” is worth not quite $200. That also includes just over $60 in “earnings” (interest, various things done to get extra crypto), so we’re talking of a net worth of around 17% of my “investment.” Mind you, I would have done slightly better with Bitcoin (which is only 33% of what it was when I started the experiment 7 months ago), but even so I’m glad I only put out what I was willing to part with (per my nephew’s advice).
What will be interesting is seeing what happens if it spikes up again. Many old dogs are betting that the Cryptos will, after a shakeout, reach new highs. I can see it – but if it rises again the high will be the last high (IMHO).
Something that, somehow, hasn’t escaped my mind since I first thought it (no, it’s not my theory on Gods being amused by American actions, although the Democrats putting out those “adverts amping Trumpist in primaries” definitely reminds me of that.
More to the point I wish to make, I’ve been following the leftist reaction to the threatened overturning of Roe v Wade and I can’t help but wonder whether the Aztecian Gods were the people behind the abortions in These United States, and with Roe v Wade about to be overturned their source of nourishment is about to be radically reduced…so they started egging on the pro-choice people on the left to actions that may tip the balance to more violence. I can see the COVID concerns as nothing more than the beginning trigger for much worse things happening on this land, giving the people a focus while the real holocaust develops in a different way.
Erwin Rommel’s Infantry Attacks is heavily based on his experiences fighting in the Italian alps. The difficult mountainous terrain meant that trench warfare never got entrenched to the same degree as on the western front, and manouver was a lot more possible.
I suspect avoiding trench warfare may have as much to do with manpower vs. amount of front to cover and the terrain being fought over as with the skill of the officers. The eastern front was much less entrenched than the western front too, due to fewer soldiers fighting along much longer fronts and a lot less in the way of artillery and modern equipment.
I certainly hope that modern generals are learning from those who did find ways to avoid endless trench warfare, though. That’s a way of war that eats entire generations.
Is it hard to learn Russian?
I wouldn’t mind moving to Rhode Island IF we could afford it and if we could find a rural or sort-of rural area. I have a dark feeling that cities will not be good places to be when the serious shortages hit.
Hi Mary Bennett, how do U.S. libraries decide what to acquire?
Talking of computer technology now being the wave of the past: Well, Zero Hedge has story from the Washington Post that Biden and the Democrats wanted to start sending out fuel rebate cards, but the ongoing computer chip shortage put the kibosh on the idea. Are we seeing the Great Reset dreams of digital currency and social credit scores starting to go down in flames yet?
Donauinsel! I miss it. I lived in Vienna for half a year and rollerbladed almost every day. Many fond memories of the place.
(Donau Insel is the Danube island that Curt referred to.)
My vote for Fifth Wednesday is Demonic Electronics because that makes no sense at all based on anything I have learned or experienced, so it figures to be the topic that I learn the most from.
@JMG, the form of asset stripping Europe you describe makes sense. The overpriced weapon scam is already well underway. I haven’t been to Europe in 8 years, but back then I had the sense that Europe was still seeing the manufacturing powerhouse that saved them from the Nazis and imposed a peace quite humane compared to their own failure after WW1, but that America is long gone. People can live off their reps quite a while. Though if doing so hurt the European oligarchs rather than helping them, the reputation would have been sullied long ago.
I’d also be intersted in a post on the subatomic’s low place in the chain of being.
@Princess Cutekitten #174
“In the factory we make cosmetics, in the store we sell hope.” — Charles Revson, founder of Revlon
If Revlon has gone bankrupt it means our womenfolk have lost all hope. We’re doomed!
Exactly! There are no good options. So the best thing to do is to accept that as a fact and focus on what seems the least damaging choice, well knowing that whatever you do, it is a gamble and even then, the game itself may be rigged.
So as always, we keep watch, live our lives the best we can. In a sense it is no different, a life of a nation, from a life of an individual. You live, love, laugh, and go to war when it is required. Nothing lasts forever, and there are things worth both living and dying for. As for myself, I take dance lessons and stock the pantry. No destiny for me is unthinkable. Let the future bring forth what it may – today we dance and sing.
For the 5th Wednesday I would appreciate getting your thoughts on how the destruction of the economy will be dealt with domestically by the ruling class.
They want out of the obligation of maintaining a good lifestyle for the masses. They have been working on that at least since offshoring and massive immigration began. The rulers have had the managerial class convince the young, especially females, that there is nothing more noble than to lower their standard of living to fight climate change, Covid and Putin.
However, not everyone is young and as the young get older will they really like being poorer than their parents as are many millennials?
The united war against the Trump presidency and the 2020 election fraud shows that the rulers are letting the gloves come off.
So what happens in the US now? The rulers are brazen about how much they hate the heritage population. Will they still maintain the illusion of freedom and a two party system once the faux good times are clearly over?
Haha back to the future indeed. So much to ponder about in this post.
As a Saudi, and despite our history with the US, I’ve always been critical of their foreign policies with our neighbors. So I’ve always had this anachronistic feeling towards the US, I want them to be better; but not on the expense of others. I’m very admiring of and connected to the founding ideals that shaped your nation originally, hopefully we’ll see an American renaissance of some sort in the near future.
I’m also reminded of the Atlantic Charter, how does it fit in all of this? I can definitely see the good and potential it had, Dion Fortune asked her followers to swear by it during the war as you know. But it was obviously exploited from the economical aspect. How do we look again at this essential text while accepting and working out the realities we are facing nowadays?
I’m very, very alarmed of possible atavism into Black Brotherhood mindsets that shaped most of our cultures and leadership of the past 2000 years, especially now as it’s cloaked in exotic and hip clothes. I seriously don’t want a single material figure claiming to be the “sole” mediator between me and the divine or the invisible, we are so past that, and it’s seriously alarming to see these ideas resurfacing again among the youth, let alone those already living in democratic cultures. Even if this is astrologically supported, we should work against it. This all falls back into the role and importance of the ideals that founded America, we will definitely see a global backlash at you (which is partly understandable), but I hope it doesn’t escalate into that dangerous level I’ve been referring to, I cannot stress this enough.
On the other side, what books on Irish history would you suggest?
Hi John Michael,
An intriguing thought, and earning a living that way had not occurred to me. Although I’ve done plenty of work training people (and still am bizarrely) over the years. Something to keep in mind as a Plan B. Just for a lark I looked up the very excellent High School text on the subject which I can still remember the name of: Introductory Accounting : Principles and Practice Paperback – 1 Jan. 1986 by Ian Duffy, Leo; Munro.
The only reason I can recall the title and authors was because I quite enjoyed the classes and the teacher was a hoot. A real old timer with a grumpy attitude, and a knack for imparting information. Co-incidentally he was the school’s discipline master, and as such ran the after school detentions – go on, ask me how I know! 🙂
I’ve been rather fortunate in my life to have come into the orbit of some very accomplished older male role models whom have given me some of their time. Much appreciated, and I’m accruing debts, I guess. Anyway, that’s all part of the journey we all are upon. But how was I expected to know the Sensei who I trained under for many years was one of the best martial artists our country has produced? I was oblivious, but far out man, the training was relentless. Once we weren’t such an insular culture, although people nowadays insist that things were otherwise.
Longer term I can see a guild type arrangement, and going back to the apprenticeship model of training for the profession. A long time ago I knew accountants who got into the industry that way. It amuses me that the current method of training via the University system is considered to be the only way forward – that ain’t necessarily so. And if that lot remain too expensive, they might just do themselves out of a job. I now speak with people frankly about the concept of: ‘return on investment’. Mate, the pain in their faces upon hearing that.
You’re spot on about the computer and communications equipment. Mate, I’ve lived in a time when they weren’t required and I did just fine in those days. It’s not something I fear, and to be candid – you may have noticed 🙂 – I’d quite enjoy the gentle art of writing long letters. It would be no hardship.
Could you please do a post on what you think the specifics of the collapse will look like for people in America? I’ve read your novel Star’s Reach, but was wondering if you had any predictions in the nearer term 10-20 years.
I think the STEM fields are going to take the same hit the beaurocrats and corporate flacks are going to recieve once globalization winds down because they all sit at the same economic layer. (They are all in the icing of the cake so to speak.)
Do you think the STEM fields are ready for that hit?
JMG, Maybe sometime during Kamala Harris’s second term; more or less every free minute of my time is spoken for until then. But what I am hoping is that somebody who has the necessary time, or preferably a group of somebodies, will take up the idea and run with it. I’d give them whatever help I could.
@Mary Bennett 293: “Middle Eastern chick lit” is to a book saying Al-Qaeda is right as a Tolstoy novel is to (from Ukrainians’ perspective) a book saying that Ukraine should not exist as a nation. In both cases, the former is not promoting a hostile or extremist political view, and only bigots could object to its presence in a library. Several fringe websites are claiming that that’s exactly what Ukraine is now doing. However, the WSJ, which I find a bit more trustworthy but not much so, says otherwise. I don’t know what to believe. Any voices on the ground?
All commenters on Rhode Island, several of you including JMG suggest that people should consider moving there. The need for near-term migration is something I have spent a great deal of time looking at (still looking for a way to get out an unpublished manuscript on the subject, in fact). I tend to believe that all small northeastern states are overpopulated already, as evidenced by housing costs and studies demonstrating that the cities already can’t be provisioned by regional agriculture, so people should better move to eastern states that are larger and have a better ratio of farmland to pavement. There are also political dangers in moving to a densely populated small “blue” region that might become an unsustainable bantustan if things get ugly. Is Rhode Island, a state that Aaron Rodgers could throw a rock across, really capable of welcoming many more people?
I think a lot of us will enjoy this podcast.
In 1989 Homer Simpson was created as the average American. High school education, but could afford a large house, 2 cars , 2.5 kids, non working wife. Now the writers admit it’s impossible today. https://www.npr.org/2022/06/02/1102751823/homer-simpson-vs-the-economy
To Her Feline Highness @ 303, Library acquisitions, how determined, I wish I knew. I do know that there is, or was, a publication named Kirkus Reviews which specialized in reviews of new books for the benefit of librarians. I think, back in the day, a librarian could read the review as an aid to determining whether a new book might be of interest in his or her particular town or neighborhood. It is not apparent to me lately that the profession even cares what readers like. I have also noticed changing trends in new book areas of libraries. I have learned that the dread phrase “New York Times Best Selling” usually denotes a book to be avoided.
Now, public libraries are publicly funded and, in some jurisdictions, funding, in the form of a small increase to taxes, has to be approved by voters. Some acquisitions are clearly made with this reality in mind. There is now a Christian publishing business, Bethany House is one company, which specializes in mostly historical fiction. These novels do have the merit of being well written and well edited, and can be found in the new book area, next to the above mentioned ME chick lit, and the latest bit of PMC urban crapola. African American writers seem to be falling out of favor, which is unfortunate, because some of those authors are really good. Substantial offerings of mysteries and SciFi/fantasy are intended I think, to keep up the numbers of patrons, always important when asking city council or county commissioners for increases in funding. Political correctness has not yet found a way around the fact that nearly all readers love a good story.
The idea that libraries are also guardians of cultural heritage has, as we all know, been rejected and forgotten.
The thought has occurred to me that about the time when American publishers began to feature sexy sensationalism, Peyton Place, Valley of the Dolls, and the like is also about when readers in search of stories began turning to the genre writers in SciFi and the like.
RT is reporting the following this morning:
Former tennis world number three Elina Svitolina has gone on record stating that she doesn’t agree with the US Open’s decision to allow Russian players to participate in the New York grand slam.
Perhaps someone could explain, so that I can understand, why this is anyone’s business except the organizers of the US Open.
Sure, I know the conduct of the Ukrainian oligarchy, I refuse to call it a government, has been to some extent provoked by the neocon faction aided and abetted by other elements of our own establishment, which I also decline to label a ‘government’, but, as any parent knows, he/she made me do it is no defense.
Sigh… JMG…could you please delete my prior submission and use this one instead? One of these days I hope to master formatting before hitting the submit button. grrrr…
On breathing in ill-will, breathing out good-will (post #291)
For some people the breathing out the good/breath in the bad might be a good practice. From what I understand though that is a considered an advanced practice even for monks. For most muggles – especially so for those whom don’t actually have a direct guru overseeing their practice it is very advanced.
Sadhguru says the problem is similar to pop-spiritual-energy-healings of others – the current make up of all of one’s sheaths gets impacted by all of those inputs, not just solely of your own intention. It’s the same problem as the Magic Resistance because it has the same error – that the original shape of all those other intentions doesn’t actually count, what only matters is your own good intent. Absolutely not true. The original shape of all that subtle-Plane ill-will crud counts too.
It matters that the practitioner is literally breathing in as energy-food for all his/her sheaths all those bad intentions of everyone around them. Their ill-willed original intentions count too in having a long-term karmic effect on all of your sheaths for multiple lifetimes. If you aren’t directly aware of how Mother Nature is ‘digesting’ that subtle-energy pollution one’s breathing in as it’s happening (a type of Kriya Mother Nature is doing on auto-pilot but under a legit Guru one can train to make it completely conscious) then one either needs a Guru to take responsibility for the practice to shield you from the worst effects or realize that breathing in pollution (which is what breathing in bad intent is) has safer options.
Most well-meaning and enthused ‘Book Yogis’ (what Sadhguru calls anyone who doesn’t have a direct Guru lineage taking subtle-spiritual-Planes responsibility for them – he has an entire video on Sadhguru Exclusive discussing what it means on the subtle Planes for a guru to take responsibility for someone under their training) means your sheaths have to ‘process’ and ‘digest’ all that pollution at whatever level you’ve managed to train all those sheaths’ subtle-body organs and chakras up or down to. For most muggles it drags them down long term. I would hazard a guess the ‘spiritual daily practice people’ on this forum who have a direct Guru are likely a minority.
I would recommend simpler methods. The Buddha’s own advice is pretty good for some Book Yogis. Simple watching of breath, then on exhale think, “May all Beings be at ease.” and relax any tensed up muscles when breathing out. This activates Apana vayu – the vayu responsible for excretion (yep, it’s the one activated every time one goes to the toilet) and relaxation. Hence…the Ānāpānasati Sutta.
Even that should be counter-balanced with one of the other vayus (if you do Anapana for longer periods of time) according to Sadhguru but under the direct training of a responsible lineage that’s a given. Apana is one of 3 of 5 vayus that unbalanced practice creates serious mental and physical problems later on – if not in this lifetime then for sure the repercussions will show up in future ones. Book authors and Youtube spiritual-celebrities usually don’t tell their followers that.
Northwind, if that works for you, by all means, but I emphatically don’t recommend this for anyone at all. I know people whose lives went straight down the crapper when they did this, without doing any measurable good for anybody else.
Sadghuru agrees with this. He likened it to the following: “You don’t go to a poor man when you need financial help. Only a rich person has the resources available to help you. Before you can help others like that you have to be rich yourself first.”
He estimates about 80% of the global population are in a “terrible way” (his exact words). Everywhere he goes the way societies are these days is contributing to dysfunction of human well-being. Mental and emotional illnesses are metastasizing on every continent. People are at a place where they are like the poor man. Even if many want to help by breathing in bad/breathing out good they don’t have the inner riches of built up subtle-Planes/subtle-body resources to be charitable in that way. Not to the degree that current day people around them actually need. It’s so bad it forced him away from Shoonya as Isha’s foundational program as it was in it’s earliest days.
I don’t think India’s population had metastasizing psycho-emotional illnesses in the Buddha’s day to the degree most continents have now. It’s gotten vastly worse since then.
I briefly owned a second hand Hilux, imported into the Uk from its original owner in Japan. It’s quite an intimidating vehicle to drive – for all the other road users in any case. I got the distinct impression that flower beds died as I passed and babies woke crying in their cribs. Rather like driving along in a Harry Potter Dementor.
As to their reliability, there was a famous series of attempts by the classic Top Gear team to kill one which culminated in allowing a high tide to pass over one. Although this would certainly finish off your average pirate, a quick squirt of WD40 on various vital points of the engine and they were able to drive it off the beach, with only a rather soggy drive’s seat as the damage. A remarkable piece of engineering.
Here’s an ironic aside for you: I follow a YouTuber who is a British man married to a Russian woman, living in St. Petersburg. He says that according to his wife, Russians pronounce the word Ruble as “rubble”. Seems like Americans who use that pronunciation to denigrate the Russian economy are actually honoring it.
It shouldn’t be anyone else’s business, but some Ukrainians have realized that their status as unfairly-oppressed-by-evil-bigots-du-jour gives them particular clout when making demands of woke-ideology-infused institutions.
Godozo, I’m pretty sure that most people who are waiting for a new high will sell at the bottom. That’s usually the way speculative crazes end. Once Bitcoin’s back below US$1000, mind you — yes, that’s one thousand, not ten thousand, i.e., where it was before the first Bitcoin bubble took off at the beginning of 2017 — it may well be worth buying again; as I’ve noted before, the underlying idea is good, it’s just that it became the victim of speculative frenzy. As for the Aztec gods — brrr.
Your Kittenship, Russian’s not especially hard; it’s fairly logical, and the spelling is much simpler than English. (To be fair, the only language I know of that has worse spelling than English is classical Tibetan.) As for Rhode Island, it’s got a lot of rural land in the western half of the state, and it’s not as urbanized as many people seem to think. The one big city, Providence, has only around 190,000 residents — about what it had in 1900 — and most RI communities (including the one I live in) have a surprisingly small-towny feel to them.
John, I saw that! No doubt they could do something less high-tech, but that never occurred to them…
Jessica, I’ve tabulated your vote. As for Europe, yeah, I get the impression a lot of people overseas still cling to the belief that the US is what it was in the 1950s. I’ve got bad news for them. Here’s a sample of what the US industrial economy looks like today:
Ray, so noted.
Oskari, sounds like a workable plan.
My Comment, I’ve added that to the hopper.
Aziz, I hope to see America stumble its way back to its ideals, but I’m reminded of one of Winston Churchill’s famous lines: “You can depend on the Americans to do the right thing, after they’ve exhausted every other possibility.”
Chris, no argument there. You might want to see if you can find some copies; give it a few years, and people who have no clue how to balance a checkbook by hand will be beating a path to your door…
Trustycanteen, I’ve added that to the list.
GlassHammer, that’s an excellent point. It’s not just because they sit in the same layer as the bureaucrats; there’s been such a push to churn out STEM-field graduates that the total would exceed the number of jobs even if the economy wasn’t coming unglued, which it is. Also, of course, the prestige of science and medicine are taking a beating right now, and for good and sufficient reasons — not something that promises an abundant job market…
Steve, then it probably won’t happen. That’s the case with most such things: everyone wants to come up with the idea, nobody wants to put in the effort to get it off the ground. Sorry to be such a grump about this, but there it is: there are a thousand good ideas for every person willing to roll up their sleeves and do something about one of them.
Panda, thanks for this. My take is that breathing in negativity and transmuting it is something suitable for saints and mystics who’ve already generated enough positivity to overcome it. Lacking that, you just wreck yourself.
Simon, hah! Thanks for this.
This post is making it around bird land again and the comments are there are thoughtful.
I haven’t read all the submissions for 5th Wednesday post, but one thing that is puzzling to me is how parents (mostly middle class white) today are doing things with their children that would have landed them in jail or at least in court with social services. And its not individual one off stories, it’s a daily list of groups of parents doing gender re-assignment (now the 2nd most common surgery for boys under 8), taking them to drag shows, having them perform in drag shows, etc. It feels like none of that was occurring 5-6 years ago and if I time-traveled back to then and told someone 2022 would be this way, they would think I was nuts. I know talking about it gets a whole new level of trolls and abuse, so I understand if you want to avoid it completely. It’s just really bizarre and I’d love to hear your perspective.
I saw a call for a current day fraternal-type order to be imagined. I’d love to take a go at it. I have some books here on fraternal orders, secret societies, communal utopias, and the like, but I’d love to hear what resources people recommend. I was on 3 non-profit boards, have training in running non-profits, and volunteered with them for over a decade, so I definitely know what doesn’t work 😉 I’d also be willing and able to take a trip to some archives to go through any society’s papers for clues. Looks like HSP has some publications from 1890-1950 with statistics, insurance standards, constitutions and bylaws, and activity reports. I could write up what I find and imagine how it could work today, then try a pilot here.
Being cut off from my past work to ongoing vaccine mandates has it benefits!
@ Martin Back re #308
Nah, we’ll just start making our own stuff again, that’s all. I never wear it myself because my skin is dreadfully prone to irritation, and it doesn’t take much to make me break out. In reading the stories about Revlon’s woes, I came across the informational tidbit that it takes 35 to 40 types of raw materials to create the component parts for a tube of lipstick so part of what’s happening is that supply chain disruptions are biting them hard.
I see the potential for some home-grown cottage industries. Homemade makeup is relatively easy to concoct, using ingredients no doubt a lot less harsh than some of the questionable substances Revlon, Maybelline, et al cram into their products. Enterprising readers may want to look into this.
> 21st century can yet usher in an Age of Restoration–restore the topsoil
book WEEDS: GUARDIANS OF THE SOIL
I am reading a book called “Weeds: Guardian of the Soil” by Joseph A. Cocannouer. First printing, 1950. Reprinted Midwest Journal Press, 2015. ISBN 978-1312939073. I hopped on Ancestry.com, finding him born 1882 Illinois, death 1969 Oklahoma.
I backtracked his Cocannouer line and found his heritage was Palatine German from Pennsylvania. In my opinion, I have bumped into enough people of Palatine German heritage to think that the whole lot of them is psychic.
I am new to things horticultural. I have the feeling from this book that weeds are magic. This book has influenced me enough so that, on my watch, no-one is going to slander weeds anymore. Slandering and libeling weeds is an American pastime, and I aim to put a stop to it.
SiliconGuy – My experience with rooftop grid-tied solar has been almost entirely positive, over ten years. I have about 20 panels, each with a “power optimizer”, feeding a SolarEdge converter. Last year, one of the optimizers failed. I noticed it a month or two later, when I was looking at the system monitoring display (which I should do at least once a month, I guess). The failure did not affect the rest of the system, but I got no power from that panel. It took about two months to get a replacement installed (at no charge).
“Aziz, I hope to see America stumble its way back to its ideals, but I’m reminded of one of Winston Churchill’s famous lines: “You can depend on the Americans to do the right thing, after they’ve exhausted every other possibility.” “
That’s going to take a long, hard slog, the complete unpacking of the United States and lot of people having to let go of a lot different people learning how to let of a lot of different things.
JMG (and all) Regarding the current status of Ukraine — I’m in the “strong-form agnostic” camp. That is, I don’t know and I can’t know. I have low confidence that Putin knows, and only slightly higher confidence that Zelensky knows, the real strategic situation. From Sun Tzu on down, if you can appear to be weak, where you are strong, you can entrap the enemy. If you can appear to be strong where you are weak, you can deter the enemy. Zelensky’s tightrope is to appear weak enough to invite assistance, yet strong enough to persuade that it won’t be futile. Putin’s challenge is to wind up the affair before it becomes obvious to his population that the “missing” soldiers are not ever going to come back, and domestic issues become important.
Or, as Winston Churchill said “In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.”
Personally, I long for an explanation of Hunter Biden’s role in US – Ukrainian relations going back at least 12 years.
Come to think of it, Victoria Nuland’s famous “hot mic” moment “[Frack] the EU.” is come to pass! I think she meant that the opinions of the EU could be ignored with respect to US mischief in Ukraine, but it’s apparent that they are well and truly [fracked] by the loss of Russian oil and gas.
This is SO on topic! Guess who is pounding the drum for war, War, WAR! Very 1914, isn’t it?
No. Freaking. Comment.
#291 June 17, 2022 at 8:48 p.m.
What you are discussing here sounds a great deal like a Buddhist practice I learned ages ago called “tong-lin” or “giving and receiving.” One breathed in dark, hot, gooey badness and breathed out cool, light refreshing goodness.
It was hard to do at first, and somewhat oppressive at first. But it works when you consider the whole “emptiness of other” business. I’m not sure how to describe it but it’s an essential part of Lo-Jong or “mind training.” My attempts to go into the reasoning for it usually sound like nonsense so I’ll only describe my experience with it and leave the “theology” for others. At first it served to help the me gain a sense of humility and a focus on the importance of attending to the needs of others, but eventually it actually seemed to benefit others. You can do it for individuals or groups or the whole world, which is what you described. It’s especially something you can do when you encounter someone in dire need in your everyday life…and it’s an invisible practice you can carry around with you.
Egoistically, I guess, I have managed to forget all about it these past few years, but I think I’ll take up your challenge. I need something to do with my mind to get over myself when I wake up in the middle of the night, which is often.
If I wind up doing that, perhaps I’ll also have to remember to recite a dedication of merit when I get up in the morning, after a night filled with instances of doing it.
For 5th Monday I have been wondering for some time how those areas currently not far along the progress road are likely to fare as things wind down. No doubt geographic location will have some influence.
My vote for what to discuss on the 5th Wednesday is mental health. Perhaps specifically in light of the implications of the end of the US / Western empire and the adjustments people will make, or fail to make and the psychological traps people will be liable to fall into. It seems to be the case that some people react differently to others with respect to their career aspirations coming to nothing some being quite resilient and restarting in another field, but others getting stuck one way or another.
After your reply and re-reading the blitzkrieg section of the post, I see where I was wrong in considering Villa, Sherman and the Mongols as blitzkrieg. Aside from the German victory in France in 1940, where do you feel it has actually succeeded? It seems that after the the initial German success against the USSR in 1941, their failure to defeat them before winter doomed the effort: perhaps if they had just gone for the oil fields and not bothered with Moscow and Leningrad. Perhaps Gulf War I could be considered a success, or some of the earlier Israeli victories over the Arabs. would you consider the second American war on Iraq a bltzkrieg success in its initial stages, then lost by being clueless once they had accomplished that. I suppose the whole American concept of “full spectrum dominance” and only attacking much smaller, weaker nations was all blitzkrieg.What would you consider blitzkrieg successes?
It was interesting reading Valiant Johnson’s linked article at 248.Obviously an air fleet of F35 lardbuckets would be decimated in days by anti aircraft rockets of that nature Of course they will continue to churn them out, since the whole point of the the “defense” budget is to pour money into the war industry.
Even the current Russian artillery/ infantry tactics must be very expensive. I can’t imagine many countries being able to sustain that very far into the decline, especially since I doubt any country is going to risk mass conscription. Other than Russia, and perhaps China, do you feel any other country could do that
On the crypto subject, I was talking to a friend last night who had invested $4,000 in it, which is now worth $1,000.
Thanks for your insight and providing this forum for discussion, Stephen
I’m trying to think of the most recent historical case where the ruling class hated the ruled as much as our rulers hate us. ???
All rulers look down on the peasants, but now we are seeing flat-out hatred. I truly believe they’d launch a Mao-scale slaughter if the peasants weren’t so scattered out and so heavily armed themselves. If ever They start coaxing you to resettle in large “community farmlands,” To Keep Us Safe and for a great opportunity to obtain a degree in Agricultural Resources, run. They have the bombs and the poison gas, and once you’re all safely contained together, They’ll use them. Or They might just confiscate all the food you learn how to raise and starve everybody. That’s how Mao did it. Stalin too, although he didn’t take it as far as Mao did. Having Hitler breathing down his neck probably made Stalin think it a good idea to keep some cannon fodder around.
Mary B., I wondered what an “urban romance “ was so I read a couple off Kindle Unlimited. Amazon promptly decided I was black. 🙄. (I am not now nor have I ever been African-American.). I guess it never occurred to whoever programs Amazon’s computers that people might just be curious about something different. If that kind of thinking applies to the library’s book-buying, that could explain a lot.
I also get a lot of junk e-mail promising me a rock-hard erection, even though my name is unambiguously female. I still haven’t figured that one out. Maybe the computers can’t answer the “What is a woman?” question.
Did you design Wolf Richter’s, “Nothing Goes to Heck in a Straight Line?” It’s really amazing. It’s too bad he is having a problem getting more beer mugs.
At the moment I’m not sure it will even make that big difference, whether the coming winter will be a harsh or mild. Gas supplies are so low at the moment that I strongly doubt that they can serve electricity generation, industry and households with enough gas anyway. It sounds very nice, doesn’t it: Private households will be the very last that will be cut of from gas supply so you won’t freeze. Few people seem to realize that if they shut down power plants first and implement rolling blackouts, your gas heating won’t work anyway, whether there’s gas or not. And how will you pay your gas if the glass-factory you’re working at closes it’s door because it just lost all it’s crucibles since they can’t be cooled down without being destroyed? Just to give an example…
It’s a weird mix of feelings for me. At the one hand I openly admit I am rubbing my hands in glee, but at the same time, I am beyond sad for the tragedy that unfolds before my eyes and the suffering it will cause and already does.
JMG, I’m not so much concerned about a small-town feel as about what those 190,000 people will do when the [unDruidly word] hits the fan. They’re all packed in together, helpless if the authorities close the roads. I guess everybody in Providence could row boats into Canadian waters? 😳
The East Coast is vulnerable to food shortages, either real or Mao-type -planned shortages. Here in rural Kittenville, at least we can flee into the fields and eat the field corn. For a while.
You would not believe how close together corn plants are planted these days. I’m not sure what is being used to keep them from choking each other off, genetic modification would be my guess, but whatever it is I doubt it will work under natural conditions. And corn is a heavy feeder—Indians used to bury a fish with each plant. So all those extra plants crowded into the field would have to have staggering amounts of fertilizer. And when same can no longer be obtained, you have a problem. Even if They really liked us, modern industrialized agriculture is a house of cards. As if we didn’t have enough to worry about.
@godozo re: #300
I suspect H**tzilop*chtli (name censored to avoid unwanted invocation) and friends may also have a “backup” plan in the form of Lake Mead…
Apteryx @ 316, I do not care about so called “offensive” content of a book, although I do admit to a visceral hatred of pornography. I have, for example, obtained insight and enjoyment from books and essays by Edward Said, Tariq Ali, and I am still in hopes that all five of Munif’s great novels will sometime be translated into English. I think that Said did not understand Mansfield Park, but then neither did Lionel Trilling. I think I have every right to object to public funds being used to support the careers of a pack of overprivileged daughters of the international elite. Benazir Bhutto risked, and lost, her own life to return to her own country from comfort and status in London; I wonder how many other elegant internationalist Oxbridgers and the like would do the same.
JMG & Sarduakar: What annoys me most about this grooming controversy is that it was entirely avoidable. At this point most Americans know at least one or two LGBT people, are reconciled to the idea of gay marriage, and generally couldn’t care less what consenting adults do in private.
For most LGBT Americans this is a good thing. If you’re a Sexual Revolutionary a la Marcuse & Pals, it is a replay of Communism’s failure to sweep postwar America. People who are leading comfortable lives aren’t interested in overthrowing the system. And so they had to do something to create opponents.
Enter Drag Queen Story Hour, child drag queens, and LGBT books for kindergarteners. Because they knew that parents would get upset and create that Sex Negative Christian Fascist Bogeyman they need to keep the revolutionaries fired up. Only they underestimated just how big the backlash would get, and (thanks to social media bubbles) grossly overestimated just how much support they had outside their little circle.
Most LGBT Americans have no interest in indoctrinating children, and very few Americans of any persuasion would support children being bullied for their actual or perceived gender identity or sexual orientation. But their efforts to. “educate” children are only going to wind up making things worse for LGBT children and adults who just want to go about their lives like everybody else.
JMG (no. 325) “To be fair, the only language I know of that has worse spelling than English is classical Tibetan.”
You studied some Tibetan?! Gon chok sum!
The spelling issue is the same in classical and modern colloquial–Tibetan has a bunch of silent letters, and complex letter combinations (the classic example being “tulku,” whose spelling gets romanized as “sprul-sku”). The extra letters seem to have actually been pronounced during the imperial period (1300 years ago), and still are to some extent in Ladakhi. But as Tibetan culture gravitated away from India and more towards China, a linguistic shift seems to have occurred–the language became more “monosyllabic,” and tones were introduced. Tibetan students should consider themselves lucky that the language has an alphabet at all!
Denis (no. 326) (on both topics), would you believe in a Martinist-inspired, Chris Chan based fraternal order called “Les Chevaliers de Sonichu”?
Northwind Grandma (no. 291), this is a Tibetan form of meditation called….
Right on schedule with this post: Fed Chairman Powell: “Looking forward, rapid changes are taking place in the global monetary system that may affect the international role of the dollar… FedNow service will be coming online in 2023… a US central bank digital currency would improve upon…”
On bitcoin, yada yada not investment advice, I am predicting a bottom of about $10K and the next bull run stopping around $30K in late 2023, with future cycles getting smaller thereafter. That being said, I will be buying $0 worth of Bitcoin when it hits 10K or thereabouts.
Hi Patricia M.,
“…you can’t get mass creativity from slaved [sic] minds.”
How true. Why, sometimes you can’t even get correct spelling from ENslaved minds.
JMG, i have only one issue with your post. I have followed very closely the Russian SMO into Ukraine and from your take on the subject I suspect you are basing your interpretation of the initial blitzgrieg as a failure on the mass media claims which are not so much riddled with llies and misinformation as composed entirely of them.
Based on the extensive reading of many and varied observers far closer to the action that blue screened western ones, the view I have of the situation was that the rapid advance was to achieve control of vital infrastrucuture and evidence to prevent Ukrainian/nato mischief, such as the biolab facilities and nuclear power stations housing the 30 tonnes of plutonium that Ukraine has collected without telling the IEA inspectorate. An added bonus was that it distracted the Ukrainian forces that were prepapring to blast the Donbas region into little bits long enough to enable the Russian forces to reinforce the DPR and LPR forces with enough heavy artillary to conduct the current campaign which is not so much trench warfare as a carefully co-ordinated destruction of military capability to prevent future conflict. The mainstream western media also ignore the effectiveness of Russian missiles in keeping the logistical support for the Ukrainian forces in a disfunctional state and discouraging foreign volunteers from participating. Once sufficient damage has been done I expect to see a resumption of forward movement, possibly within weeks. It has, on the whole been a master class in the use of manuevor warfare tactics.
Other than that thanks for a timely and, as usual, excellent essay. Looking forward to you interrogating the possible outcomes of the recent experiement with untested health products.
I vote for electronics and the demonic as a subject for next week, an interesting area to delve into given the now ubiquitous nature of our exposure.
PS, I gave your essay on climate change to my 76 year old farmer employer to read. He is an entirely physical individual, with no apparent interest in religion, magic or the occult. He was very impressed with your clarity of thought, and the wisdom you bnrought to the subject, and when I told him about your background in druidry and magic he shrugged and said “smart is smart, wherever you find it.
Hi John Michael,
It’s a very practical idea. Thank you for mentioning it.
I must add that you guys are putting on a good show of epic blunders. It’s impressive. I wish it were not so. I’ve often wondered over the past few years if the career politicians which seek such roles and in such numbers nowadays, have confused strategy for policy? But I don’t know them, and don’t care to.
I never studied the language, but French spelling seems odd to me. Why all those silent letters at the end of words?
Back in the day, Rudolf Flesch analyzed English spelling for his book Why Johnny Can’t Read, and found English spelling is 87% phonetic, so if English is a foreign language you want to delve into, don’t let the spelling scare you. If all else fails, there are a lot of native English speakers right here in Greerland who can help you.
If you’re wondering why Johnny couldn’t read, it was because nobody taught him how—at the time, the Experts had unanimously concluded that phonics was uncool. Many of them still think that, which is why the U.S. has so many illiterate and barely literate people. I taught Sonkitten to read before he went to school, to be on the safe side, but still insisted in his Individual Education Plan that his reading instruction be all phonics, no look-and-say (the Cool method of teaching reading). I don’t think the teachers were thrilled, but the IEP is a powerful weapon that parents can use to protect their handicapped kids from stupid educational fads, so they had no choice.
And when Trish joined his class, the teachers were also glad he could read fluently. Trish was confined to a wheelchair, only able to move her head. She preferred being read to to watching TV. And who wouldn’t? There’s never much on during the day. The teachers didn’t have time to read to her, and the other kids couldn’t read, but Sonkitten had the time and the ability, and everyone lived happily ever after. Thank you, Rudolf.
Denis, I admit I wonder why it is that castrating their sons has become such a fad among Americans in the privileged classes. It’s as though they want to make sure they have no descendants. As for a modern fraternal order, glad to hear it; if you’re interested, my book Inside a Magical Lodge covers most of the nuts and bolts — fraternal lodges and magical lodges use the same basic structures — and the other thing I’d encourage you to do is join an existing order such as the Grange and learn how it works from inside
Tlong, I ain’t arguing.
Lathechuck, I’m less agnostic than that. I assume — and this has worked often enough that there’s some grounds for the assumption — that if you take the claims of the two opposing sides, split the difference, and adjust via such facts on the ground as you can get, you can come tolerably close to a sense of what’s happening.
Patricia M, sad. Really sad. I trust he’s going to volunteer to go serve in Ukraine.
Jill and MawKernewek, they’ve been added to the list.
Stephen, seems to me you’ve answered your own questions.
Nachtgurke, I know the feeling. Watching the wheels fall off the US right now evokes similar emotions in me.
Your Kittenship, ah, you’re still stuck thinking in fast-collapse terms. You also may not know just how much food these days is grown in the Atlantic states.
Kenaz, hasn’t it occurred to you that it’s a means of punishing the LGB community for being insufficiently obedient to the elite classes?
Bei, just a little bit, while reading up on Tibetan Buddhism. Any language that takes a word pronounced Chenrezi and spells it Spyan ras gzigs has English spelling beat and then some.
Justin, well, Bitcoin dropped below $18k today, and the panic is just getting its feet under it. I’d expect to see it shed much more before it bottoms.
Simon, I’ve also been following the Russo-Ukrainian war, and I interpret what’s going in rather differently, as you know. We’ll just have to wait and see who’s right. Your vote’s been tabulated, btw.
Chris, hey, when Americans do things, they do them on the grand scale! Our blunders are never petty little blunders, no sirree, and when we decide to be stupid, why, we can out-stupid the stupidest stupid that ever stooped! Yee-haaah!!!
Your Kittenship, I grew up with phonics because my parents read the anti-phonic literature, decided that it was crap meant to restrict children’s ability to read so that every kid in a class could be made to read the same lowest common denominator, and taught me phonics themselves. That’s part of why I was reading at a 5th grade level when I started kindergarten…
Well, we’ll see. When I say I don’t have the time, I mean it literally until probably January of 2023. After that, more possibilities open up. But I’d like to see that there was 1. interest and 2. someone, or preferably multiple someone’s, with the organizational skills that I lack willing to come on board. What I’ve noticed is that it’s easy to get enthusiastic responses to suggestions, hard to get actual help, and a project that big would require help.
JMG you replied to Denis…. I think I can offer an explanation.
“Denis, I admit I wonder why it is that castrating their sons has become such a fad among Americans in the privileged classes. It’s as though they want to make sure they have no descendants.”
First, in the privileged classes women dominate a lot of spaces. Jordan Peterson theorized that abortion is so important to privileged class women because… way back in ancient days…. if another woman’s baby died in the stone age village, that’s more food for your own biological baby. Abortion amounts to the same thing. I subscribe to the school of thought that we don’t know a lot about the female shadow. That women’s ability to play coy, stifles honest discussion about it.
Two, Women need men in their lives. With wages being driven down, the government has replaced men by and large. I see of women, formerly of the privileged class who divorced their husbands mooching off all the men around them in any way they can. This includes their sons. They view their own son’s as tools. Unlike in China though, we create INCELS for the boomers retirement plans. Castration is the natural endpoint.
(I know a few unfortunate bastards who have been pushed to the LGBTQ knife’s edge and it’s not funny. I think overturning of abortion is the first strike back in a battle of the sexes.)
While looking at the map of nations sanctioning Russia, I was struck at how the world was divided. The USA, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and South Korea. Notice anything about that group? Other than the last two, they are all majority white countries. The rest of the world who continues to trade with Russia would mostly be considered majority non-white. Isn’t that odd, since many if not most of the supporters of the sanctions are part of the lefty-woke PMC crowd, who claim to fight white supremacy and champion the rights of People of Color everywhere? Guess they didn’t get the message that sanctioning Russia isn’t considered in the best interests of POC by the POC themselves.
Well, JMG, I will examine the Atlantic coast more closely.
I don’t anticipate a fast-collapse scenario, but I can see Them cordoning off a city out of Covid-type hysteria, or some other type of hysteria, such as They decide Providence, for example, is a hotbed of white supremacy. They’re pretty nutty, you know.
The castration/gender bending thing is nothing new from a Spenglerian perspective. It happens quite often and predictably at this stage of civilisation, among urban elites close to the sources of power.
Look no further than the Eunuchs of China.
As to why it happens, who knows, maybe something to do with demands of the system (read Ivan Illich), or the fertility of the culture dying out metaphorically and literally. It’s a self-extinguishing phase, so good riddance I suppose.
Thank you for the laugh! (The link–I haven’t seen such a gem in ages.) It’s nice to see history has been restored. I was beginning to worry about it.
“I keep having a vision of some people tinkering around with a project, say, radionics or something that involves chemicals and a wandering bureaucrat comes by with a stern message that what they are doing is illegal, and to cease… only to be refuted with several guffaws
Bureaucrats have the power they do because they get to use the organized violence of the state against violators.
This is what gives Laws teeth.
So in your scenario the Bureaucrat will call in Armed Men who will subsequently destroy the equipment and arrest or shoot those doing radionics or chemicals and dumping them in a mass grave or mass cremating them.
Bloated Bureaucracy is when a Warlord band gets too bloated imo.
No doubt caused by many left-leaning bureaucrats to expand the range at which armed violence gets applied. All Red Tape in the end is enforced by the gun.
Law is applied violence when you come down to it.
JMG (no. 353) “Any language that takes a word pronounced Chenrezi and spells it Spyan ras gzigs has English spelling beat and then some.”
“Chaos,” by Gerard Nolst Trenité
I take it you already know
Of tough and bough and cough and dough?
Others may stumble, but not you,
On hiccough, thorough, lough and through?
Well done! And now you wish, perhaps,
To learn of less familiar traps?
Beware of heard, a dreadful word
That looks like beard and sounds like bird,
And dead: it’s said like bed, not bead –
For goodness sake don’t call it deed!
Watch out for meat and great and threat
(They rhyme with suite and straight and debt).
A moth is not a moth in mother,
Nor both in bother, broth in brother,
And here is not a match for there
Nor dear and fear for bear and pear,
And then there’s dose and rose and lose –
Just look them up – and goose and choose,
And cork and work and card and ward,
And font and front and word and sword,
And do and go and thwart and cart –
Come, come, I’ve hardly made a start!
A dreadful language? Man alive!
I’d mastered it when I was five!
@Princess Cutekitten (#351) and JMG:
I, too, taught my oldest child to read English when he was about 4 years old, so that no matter how badly the local schools fracked up, he could still educate himself if he cared to.
He didn’t like the work, but he did like potato chips very much, so he was OK with doing the work for payment in potato chips. We used the small books of “Peanuts” comics that were being published in the 1970s, as our reading material. He adored “Peanuts,” so it didn’t take him very long–only a few months–to get the hang of English spelling and start reading the books on his own.
As it turned out, he then used those same “Peanuts” books to teach his younger brother how to read English before his turn to start school, so I didn’t have to do it.
I was always interested in linguistics, and I took basic undergraduate courses in it at UC Berkeley, so it wasn’t hard to figure out how the system of English spelling actually worked. It’s not a simple 1-to-1 system, but it is quite systematic, and not overly complicated if reading is your goal. (If writing is your goal, that’s quite another matter, and a much more tricky one.) In fact, as I discovered, Noah Webster had worked the system out for American English back around 1800, and somewhere or other I had picked up a paperback reprint of his “American Spelling Book,” where he lays out the system quite clearly in the opening pages. (The speller itself is a tedious book; Peanuts comics were more fun for a child.)
I will understand the Russia-Ukraine war in about 20 years by which time I expect to be dead. My own view is that it is the responsibility of their leaders to look after their own country and not up to me to try to do it for them. It reminds me of 1914 when a Serbian anarchist assassinated an Austrian Archduke and the whole of Europe exploded. I know there were underlying tensions (it was more than 20 years ago after all) but how different for the sacrificed generations if the assassin had been handed over to the Austrians and the rest of Europe had looked the other way.
@Kenaz, @John Michael Greer
“Kenaz, hasn’t it occurred to you that it’s a means of punishing the LGB community for being insufficiently obedient to the elite classes?”
We need to embrace the word “and” to describe such machinations of power, of its interactions with evil and the demonic.
I recommend reading the Screwtape letters by C.S Lewis to be familiar with why those events are happening:
I suspect Machiavellian plotters and genuine bad apples on the ground are working together to produce the desired results they want.
The Drag Queen story hours and other events seem to have come out of nowhere against the wishes of the majority. But from a highly organized minority.
But they don’t really care too much about the opinions of sheep. As they expect the masses to submit to their push.
If spam costs nothing to send, why would you care about targeting it to fewer people?
The problem with AI recommendations is that the starting point of average sales correlations says little about individuals. Just like bigots they never learn that just because on average those who are/do X are MORE LIKELY to be/do Y, doesn’t mean that any given person who is/does X is LIKELY to be/do Y.
They never learn from failure because failure is their norm. So they go crazy when by accident they get a prediction right, including alternative ones there wasn’t space to show you. And since it started from useless, it has no incentive to ever stop being its new type of useless until that broken clock happens to be right again.
Dear Denis and JMG
Denis you say that gender reassignment surgery is now the 2nd most common form of surgery for boys under 8. Is this true? or is it some kind of right wing propaganda? I say this because I myself am trans and have had gender reassignment and a gender recongnition certificate etc and the idea of giving gender reassignment surgery to boys as young as 8 sounds crazy. Surely this is against the law isn’t it? In the UK you cannot undergo gender reassignment until you are 18.
The problem with doing this to children is that they are still developing and forming their identities, and some children will go through a phase where they identify as the opposite gender and then grow out of it. Trans children exist, but if you give them surgery at such an age you are likely to end up with a lot of people regretting it. Even some adults in the 30’s or 40’s can some times regret. It. Having had that surgery I know what a serious business its. It is something you only do after long hard thought, and you have exhausted all other possibilities. Even adults have to undergo medical assessment and a 1 to 2 year real life test before they can under go surgery in the UK and that is something I support.
Of course children with gender problems need support and help and in some cases a social transition may be appropriate. But surgery before 18 is just plain wrong because it is not reversible, and is likely to lead to a backlash that would make it more difficult for Trans women to get the treatment they need.
Please Denis tell me that this is not true and that its just some piece of propaganda you picked up on the web or a tabloid newspaper.
@Bei Dawe 345:
I don’t know any Chinese, but it is hypothesized that the same transition occurred in Chinese, too: bundles of syllable-initial consonants simplified, and tones reducing (part of) the resulting homonymy. It’s just very hard to reconstruct the old pronunciation in Chinese because of the writing system. Most linguists seem to suppose Chinese and Tibetan were once quite close.
@Lazy Gardener 272:
Good luck with your efforts! Myself, I have been waiting for over nine months for an acknowledgement of receipt of a visa application (not in the USA). If they so much as acknowledged that they received our application, our lives would be enormously improved. I was in doubt if this was a behind-the-scenes way of reducing immigration (legitimate in my opinion, but should be done out in the open) or terminal sclerotization. Your report makes me tend towards the second option. I do know from second-hand tales that certain higher-up government officials zoomed off to their lakeside cabins at the beginning of the pandemic, never to come back, and I could see with my own eyes that the provincial government had not come back to their offices in April 2022 – for all I know, they still haven’t. It is easy to imagine how that would slow down all government actions.
I do have your book Inside a Magical Lodge and hit myself in the head right after I hit “submit” for not listing it. Will do on joining the Grange. I talked to them at my state farm show and intended to join this spring.
Happy Father’s Day, Papa G! And Happy Father’s Day to other other Daddies here.
I haven’t been following the Jan 6 hearing except incidentally, but a comparison with the assassination of Julius Caesar sprang to mind. The parallel isn’t exact, as the Roman incident occurred as the nascent Empire was forming from the Republic (though one could argue the Late Republic was a small-e empire in its own right), but I think the Democrats are making a similar error as the conspirators by focusing on the man and not the movement, the symptom and not the root causes. They may (metaphorically) kill Caesar, but that isn’t going to stop Caesarism. If anything, finding a way to bar or otherwise prevent Trump from running in ‘24 will only enable his successors an open field, much as Julius’ death paved the way for Octavian.
On the other hand, speaking as a constitutionalist, the events of that day do need to be addressed and speaking as a constitutionalist who thought that Trump had some good ideas, I’m very disappointed that he didn’t make better strategic choices after the EC had voted and his legal avenues had been exhausted. A speech along the lines of “I disagree with the outcome of the election, however, the Constitution is more important. But mark my words: I will be back!” would have been quite effective and laid the path for a powerful run four years later.
But if the goal of the Democrats is to “preserve our democracy,” I think their focus is on the wrong thing. Addressing the underlying issues facing the “common man” (in the generic, nongendered sense of the term) would be a better investment of their time and energy as our empire comes apart around us.
Concerning the question about gender reassignment surgery.
I think the most common surgery procedures are Appendectomy, cesarean section, cataract surgery and probably breast biopsy.
If you look at only cosmetic surgery then the second most common procedure is breast augmentation. A part of these may be for gender reassignment.
For gender reassignment under 18 you may search for “Raising Ryland: Our Story of Parenting a Transgender Child”. There is a documentary and a book describing this case.
It seems their child told them it was a boy before it could even speak, so Hillary and Jeff Whittington posted a YouTube video chronicling their five-year-old son Ryland’s transition from girl to boy.
Anon #365, I’d be inclined to ignore that claim as right-wing propaganda. I’ve also heard some conservatives try to claim that first and second grade teachers are teaching their students how to use sex toys, which the vast majority of people would be absolutely NOT OK with, but it’s telling that they can never seem to provide concrete examples of instances where this is actually happening. It’s led me to wonder more than once, why is it that conservatives are obsessed with sex, and why does it always come out in the CREEPIEST ways?
Let’s face it, Putin is mad as hell and he’s not going to take it any more.
What worries me is the US response to the invasion of Ukraine. The policy seems to be to supply Ukraine with a dribble of weapons, enough to keep them fighting Russia, but not enough to bring them victory. “We want to see Russia weakened to the degree that it can’t do the kinds of things that it has done in invading Ukraine,” said Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
That could take a long time. You have to destroy Russian men and materiel faster than the Russians can replenish them.
And what if the policy looks like succeeding and Russia finds itself substantially weakened militarily? Putin has already warned us. If Russia’s existence is under threat, he will use nukes.
It is rumored that Putin has cancer. His face certainly looks puffy at times, like someone undergoing some kind of treatment that is hard on the system. If so, I believe he will want to bring matters to a definitive conclusion while he is alive and has his wits about him. He realizes that there is no one else in his league as a leader who has the will and the guts to stand up to the West.
So, the clock is ticking. If the West doesn’t settle soon, and it will have to be largely on Russia’s terms, there is going to be big trouble. Personally, I think the chance of nukes being used in anger in my lifetime is 20-30%, and I’m 74.
Steve, you and Denis might want to compare notes, then.
Awkward, so noted. I’m not sure those points explain it adequately, but we’ll see.
Joy Marie, oh, most of the people who wax rhapsodic about POC aren’t POC themselves, and the only POC they accept into their own social circles are those who have abandoned every trace of their own cultures and adopted the habits, attitudes, and appearance of the white managerial class. That is to say, the elites in the West are totally fine with people of other races provided the latter are utterly subservient to the former, and not otherwise.
Your Kittenship, there are good reasons not to live in Providence proper, or in any other metropolis, less focused on “Them” and more on the entrenched craziness of the urban upper classes. Providence was still mask-crazy long after the rest of the state had shrugged and gone on with life, for example, and its mayor was in the forefront of Covid cultism while that was fashionable. But then I didn’t suggest Providence to you, did I?
PumpkinScone, that’s a good point. Part of the general sterility of a dying civilization? Yes, I could see that.
Bei, a different poem comes to mind:
“If an S and an I and an O and a U
With an X at the end spell Su;
And an E and a Y and an E spell I,
Pray what is a speller to do?
Then, if also an S and an I and a G
And an HED spell cide,
There’s nothing much left for a speller to do
But to go commit siouxeyesighed.”
Robert, okay, clearly I need to take a look at Webster’s book.
JillN, if it hadn’t been the assassination of the archduke, it would have been something else. It wasn’t simply a matter of underying tensions — by 1914 Europe was a powderkeg that had barely avoided half a dozen major explosions, and the assassination was just one too many tosses of the coin.
Info, “and” is a useful word. Since I don’t claim to be able to fathom the intentions of demons, however, attending to the possible intentions of human beings seems sensible — and in this case, the political motivation of the “drag queen story hour” business is pretty obvious.
Denis, delighted to hear it. You’ll have a good time.
Erika, thank you!
David BTL, oh, granted. I don’t think anybody managed that whole business with any particular grace.
Martin, it’s quite a liberal fashion statement these days for parents to have a trans child. I hope the poor kids don’t mind too much what’s being done to them. When somebody insists “my child told me this before he could even talk,” I have to wonder just how far into Munchausen syndrome by proxy they’ve gotten.
I read the Screwtape Letters back in the day and agree with a lot of it. My one quibble is Lewis’ assumption that “the patient’s” mother is ruled by her stomach and shouldn’t be, as if it’s a moral failing. Until I was over 80 and started having digestive problems, I agreed with that. Now, I wonder. And yes, bats are a lot better than bureaucrats!
I have just finished reading geopolitical analyst Peter Zeihan’s The End of World is Just the Beginning and he basically disagrees with everything you claim.
In a post-Bretton Woods world, geography and demographics are going to be the determining factor in whether countries (or even civilization) are able to survive. He sees the United States as pretty much alone in being in a superior position to weather the coming storms and even thrive. He looks at various categories such as transport, finance, energy, industrial materials, manufacturing and agriculture and sees the U.S. well-positioned for the future (although things are going to be very nasty for many other countries) and provides a wealth of detail to back up his predictions.
@JMG (#374) and anyone else interested.
Look for any really early edition of Websters “American Spelling Book”; there are several on archive.org. I am looking at an edition from 1809 as I type. The part I mentioned is titled “Analysis of Sounds of the English Language,” and it’s only eight pages long. The heart of his “Analysis” is given the table on the last two of those eight pages.
“I admit I wonder why it is that castrating their sons has become such a fad among Americans in the privileged classes.”
There’s mastectomies for the daughter’s too. I’ve watched my middle-class white suburban mothers I know grab onto one thing after another for two decades now. Each thing they grab declares their child special, unique, and in need of special care and attention. There’s been peanut allergies, asthma, dyslexia, asperger’s, autism, sensory-issues, ear tubes, red-dye #5, sugar, gluten, and bullying. All of these things are real issues for children (and adults), but the way they swept over everyone and consumed their thinking is odd. One replaces another as “the current thing” for parents. None of these previous issues required removal of body parts though.
I can only report on what I observe and I’m sure my observations have biases I’m not accounting for.
The intensity of it and sureness of the advocates has me baffled. Like covid and vaccination there is no way to discuss transgenderism. It’s all a matter of degree, and not an absolute. If I were to say ‘zero’ is the number of transgender surgeries that should be done at any age, and perhaps people should just live with the body they have, well that would get me banned from society and maybe even this comment section. It’s strange to me too that the majority opinion seems to be “oh this is just way things are now and we have to let it run its course/let people make their decisions/be supportive. As soon as the regime hopped on to supporting transgenderism in the military and schools, I began to wonder what is really is going on.
Anyway, I threw it out here as a 5th Wednesday topic because I was curious of your perspective JMG based on all your reading you’ve done. I didn’t put it out here to have the comment section devolve into emotional posting.
I grew up in upstate New York in the 1960s, and fell in love with New England. Two, three years ago, when looking to get out of Northern California, I investigated New England and New York State as destinations. I did a lot of research. What I found was that, for the specific regions to which I wanted to move, New England was too densely packed with people, too high priced, and has a lot of toxic waste sites (including Colonial river mills). As much as I love the Northeast region, our foremost needs were for relatively sparse population, services a stones’ throw away, all-around cheap(er) prices, and negligible pollution. The northeast USA was no longer attractive.
On learning to read: I don’t remember ever “teaching’ my daughter to read. Both her mother and I read to her a lot. We all loved Roald Dahl. She could recite the entirety of “Revolting Rhymes” at age four. She just seemed to learn and we would help her with words she couldn’t read or didn’t understand. She was reading pretty well by the time she started kindergarten. She is now a university librarian.
On the subject of gender identity: I worked for a long time at a private middle school, and as an involved parent at my daughters altrernative elementary school. We gave the kids pretty free reign to present as they wished, and stressed tolerance and acceptance on the part of all the students. There was a lot of cross dressing by both boys & girls at the talent shows, which seems to fascinate them at that age: acting out stereotypes of the opposite sex. We never made them feel they ought to though. Various of our middle school boys and girls “came out” or were confident enough in themselves to do so later in high school. Some later switched back. Experimenting with and establishing sexual identity is a big part of adolescence. I am very much against any kind of surgical intervention or even hormonal treatments of a child. They aren’t developed enough to really know.. It also seems to me that doing that surgery on a child could have long term physical and physic harm that we can’t even guess in advance. I can’t imagine what karmic or reincarnational effects it might have.. in many places one can’t rent a car until one is 26 because the companies feel one’s brain is not developed enough to make good decisions. So, a sex change as a child?
Thanks for your article! You write “The Russians, to give them credit, figured that out in a matter of weeks, regrouped, and proceeded to relaunch their invasion as though eighty years of military history had been rolled up and tossed into the trash.”
Now from what I’ve heard, Russia learned those lessons in the Syrian war. The were attacked by the Israeli’s, who have the best tanks in the world (called “Merkava”.) The Russians won and their ally Assad is still in power.
An alternative description of the start of the Special Military Operation from https://www.voltairenet.org/article217173.html:
“The Russian general staff attacked from all possible borders; from Crimea, from Rostov, from Belgorod, from Kursk and from Belarus. In this way, the Ukrainian armies did not know where they should concentrate. In this apparent disorder, the Russian armies destroyed the Ukrainian air defenses and raided the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, from which they recovered the illegal reserves of uranium and plutonium, and several military laboratories where they destroyed containers of viruses and other biological weapons . They destroyed the railroads when the Westerners offered to send weapons to the front. Then they fought against the Bandarist Azov regiment in its stronghold of Mariupol. Finally, they are cleaning up the parts of Donetsk and Lugansk oblasts that were occupied by the Ukrainians.”
If true this is just a detail that would fit almost equally well with the rest of your essay.
JMG, “They” ARE the urban upper classes.
How’d you end up in Providence? Was the call of Cthulhu too strong to resist? I ended up in Kittenville because I inherited the house here, and I like it—I never thought I’d like a small town! (I grew up in one; it was hell.)
With regard to the whole trans thing, the thing I find weird is how all the arguing, moral panicking and pearl clutching is about trans women. Trans men exist too, and you hardly hear anything about them.
I think a lot of that is that trans men are hard to spot, providing they’re taking hormones and have had breast reduction surgery. Nobody is going to twig that someone with a deep voice, beard and male pattern baldness wasn’t born male unless they already know or they take their shirt off in front of you.
But the difference in social concern and volume of arguing depending on the direction of gender change is truly striking. I think it’s more than just the relative visibility of trans women vs. trans men. I think some people feel threatened by the idea of men wanting to be women in a way they don’t by women wanting to become men.
Dear JMG and commentariat,
If I may, since the whole trans scenario came up, I wish to note that there are transgender humans who really hate the politicization and creepy fetishization of a medical problem and have lamented and decried the perverse cultural developments that have occurred in the name of transgenderism. I am one of those individuals, and I have watched utterly appalled as so many obviously bad ideas have been implemented in the name of gender identity. Over and over again on my blog and on this blog I’ve noted my criticism of transgender ideology. That said, my life has been heavily marked by dysphoria and I would equally lie if I were to write that transgenderism is _only_ ideology. Still, to make this comment relevant to the main post, I think there’s a moral to this story which is that in a time of declining empire you really, _really_ don’t want your identity getting all mixed up in politics! Just ask the Greeks in Izmir (Smyrna), 1922.
The IEA: “Europe Could See Energy Rationing This Winter”
“IEA: Europe could be forced to start rationing energy this winter.”
“Birol: The world faces a “much bigger” energy crisis than the one of the 1970s.”
“Now we have an oil crisis, a gas crisis and an electricity crisis simultaneously,”
The western elites are all in full Marie Antoinette mode like your Sen. Debbie Stabenow “let them buy Teslas!”:
It seems self preservation is out of fashion those days for the western über rich.
Princess Cute kitten @ 337
In the Western world, I’d say it was the ‘Yippies’ … the Real hippies, not the later ersatz 2.0 version – which Madison Ave. deemed a consumer goldmine! Of course the starched shirt-n-tie rigid Establishment CONFORMIRATI still – especially the Washington concensus + the MIC – LOVED their hippy punching. Nowadays .. its the anti VAXxers/anti WEFians who appear to fix the current bill..
…fifth wednesday: the mideaval metaphysics reading list updated the last generation maybe?
Yeah, there is that. When people are spoiling for a fight they’ll find one.
Without a doubt, someone being told to stop their radionics project would do it if they knew the bureaucrat had the power. I guess I wasn’t clear, but I meant that the bureaucrat was laughed at because everyone knew they no longer had armed servants to carry out the act of enforcement. That’s what I think will happen in the future: those in power will find out that they no longer have the consent of the governed.
Robert Mathiesen (no. 361) “It’s not a simple 1-to-1 system, but it is quite systematic, and not overly complicated if reading is your goal. (If writing is your goal, that’s quite another matter, and a much more tricky one.)”
Yes, that’s the situation with Tibetan exactly.
Aldarion (no. 366) “Most linguists seem to suppose Chinese and Tibetan were once quite close.”
Yes, one normally speaks of a “Sino-Tibetan” language family. But there are like, three people working in this area, most of them rather eccentric. If just one Victor Mair level genius type ever takes a look at it, the whole category may go the way of the late, lamented “Uralic-Altaic” family (although the Chinese will scream bloody murder). For example, one colleague insists that Tibetan is actually Indic, which seems plausible.
I sometimes think that the “branching” metaphor that we use in so many fields, including linguistics, distorts the way we perceive things, and that a better metaphor might be the “braided river” model I read about in “Tricycle”:
to Clarke aka Gwydion #333
(333 — how interesting. Three three’s. SOOO Druid.)
My response to your note: 🥲 — a tear and a smile.
I think the political motivation of drag queen story hour is the same as that for lockdowns—to make sure the peasants don’t forget just who is in charge here.
“even though my name is unambiguously female”
Well, as you probably know, a number of names that we think of as female were formerly male (Ashley, e.g.). Because of this, I have at times tried to think of what is the most unmistakably male, masculine names, and to me it always comes down to: Walter.
I assume Princess Kitten’s name is not Walter.
Allison, yes, I’m familiar with Zeihan’s claims. I think he’s smoking his shorts, and his wealth of detail involves heroic amounts of cherrypicking. That said, we’ll just have to wait and see who’s right, won’t we?
Robert, already got it! Thank you.
Denis, do you remember “Indigo Children”? If not, back in the 1990s parents were insisting that their kids were ascended souls of a higher quality than anybody else, and that meant they were fragile and special and had to be given whatever the parents wanted them to have. It’s the same thing, a fantasy of entitlement on cheap steroids.
Turtle, well, we’ll see when the rubble stops bouncing. Certainly some aspects of the initial Russian blitzkrieg were quite effective. Their reorientation toward trench warfare, though it seems to have involved some fumbling, seems to be proceeding fairly well at this point, and things appear to be approaching the kind of breakpoint at which the weaker side either retreats or collapses. I doubt the Ukrainian command will have the sense to order a retreat.
Your Kittenship, I’m not in Providence. I’m in the city of East Providence, on the other side of the Seekonk River, which has its own city government, its own local culture, and a less than enthusiastic attitude toward the posturing in Providence proper. I’m here, in turn, because it looked like a good place to settle and I had no trouble finding a decent apartment at a reasonable rent.
Pygmycory, I know several transmen, and yeah, they blend in much better. I think part of it is the masculine sense of entitlement common in both our cultures. Men by and large grow up thinking that they can have what they want if they bellow loudly enough for it; women by and large grow up thinking that they have to negotiate for what they want. In that sense, transwomen act like men, and transmen act like women…
Violet, thanks for this. You’re quite right, of course, and I wonder to what extent those bad ideas are not emerging from the trans community at all, but being promoted by others with various political goals in mind. (For that matter, I’ve wondered more than once if a significant number of self-proclaimed transwomen who aren’t taking hormones and aren’t getting surgery are actually men’s rights activists and pickup artists who’ve decided to mess with the left by taking them at their word…)
DFC, yes, I’ve been watching that. Listen carefully, you may just hear the distant sound of tumbrils starting to roll.
Emily07, duly noted.
JillN, and when you have nations whose interests are irrevocably in conflict, war is the usual outcome. I wish that weren’t the case, but here again, history is against me.
Hi stephen pearson,
When Mom read to me she’d run her finger under the line of text. I don’t remember for sure, but evidently I said to myself, “Hey! Them little marks stand for sounds, and those sounds can be combined to make words! What fun!”
Sonkitten learned the alphabet at the advanced age of 1 1/2-2, watching Wheel Of Fortune. I had not tried to teach him the alphabet because I thought he was too young. I HAD noticed him watching Wheel Of Fortune intently, and then one day I found him pointing to and pronouncing the letters on his blocks. Thank you, Vanna.
So much of history has this look of inevitability, that is, things happened the way they did because they had to.
But then I hear about events that must have seemed inconsequential at the time in the bigger scheme, yet must of had monumental consequences down the road. Or so it seems.
VC winner Henry Tandey didn’t pull the trigger. He could have but he didn’t. He just couldn’t bring himself to. What if he had? What if he had pulled the trigger and missed? Some say that records show that the event in question wasn’t possible, yet both Tandey and Hitler say that it took place, with Hitler saying he was sure he was done for.
So would there have been another of Hitler’s ilk in Germany and would things have unfolded much the same without him?
What if things had happened a bit differently at Dealey Plaza or the Ambassador Hotel and one or the other Kennedy survived? Would we still find ourselves more or less where we are now? Are individuals so unimportant that their living or not living hardly affects the direction of events?
What if Milton Friedman had gotten into a different line of work? How much would the shape of the global economy be different? I mean, big business will turn over rocks to find justifications to do what they want anyway. Was Friedman’s explicit prescription for what businesses ought to do all that necessary in finding ourselves where we’re at?
In any case here we are. And what ever happened to Mabus? Has he come and gone? Did he do his nefarious deeds and disappear into the sands of time unrecognized for who he was?
In regards to Solar Electric, as an intermediary “on the way down” look to using it for small, critical loads without inverters. Myself and a couple neighbors have well pumps that are connected directly to a couple solar panels. Pump uphill to water tanks and if the grid power fails will gravity at lower pressure to the house and garden. You can wire DC lights to run on DC power if you are able to have a small simple battery. A Iron Edison battery will last your lifetime and more ( Nickel/Iron) a hundred years. The critical use is to have water. Having some small amount of light is nice. Communications seems to be the electric item that people in less developed parts of the world consider the most critical, so add that to the list, if we are aiming more to that standard of living, we should take note. Many AC power tools can run off of straight DC power, no conditioning, during sunny days. ( Regular refrigerators and washing machines will not due to pumps, the AC pumps do not run on DC power)
Water, communication, small amount of lighting if possible will make for a more comfortable transition.
( House cooling should be done by smart design/building ( Earth Ship Designs are in the desert for a modern example). House heating reduced by smart design/building, solar thermal and then reduced efficient wood burning for the remainder. )
https://livingenergyfarm.org/energy/ for one example of direct use of DC electricity
While I think that limited solar electric via direct DC is the way to go in transition, I have had a Solar electric system for 23 years, before I knew better, it is considered quite small by the new ones people are installing, but quite luxurious vs a Living Energy direct design. I have a neighbor with the same inverter, his is older. While not the way to go for the future, do know that the new ones are short lived and failing soon by design, just like the refrigerators and washing machines. SHort lived junk by design, what a waste.
“Russia itself has just signed a new set of agreements with Nicaragua, which include the right to base Russian troops and planes in that small but strategically vital Central American country”
Nicaragua?? Oh, fudge!
That guards the approaches to the Panama Canal.
Without easy access to the Canal, our navy has to sail all the way around South America to get between the East Coast and California-Washington-Oregon.
With no-longer-speedy access to the West Coast, it would be easier for somebody– say China– to pry it away from the East Coast, i.e. to split the U.S. in two.
It’s a shiny prize at first look– massive amounts of farm production etc– but the downside is that California in particular is dependent for both water and electricity on points east (Arizona, the Colorado River, etc). The way the East could deprive an opponent of the benefits of California would be to cut off the water and electricity… an ugly possibility to say the least. (With all the China capture in our government, however, I’m not sure they would do that.)
JOHNNY TOMATO or JOHNNY the TOMATO ANGEL… i think i prefer Johnny Tomato. you need a little drawing with your name that you print out to a zillion on a sheet… you’re already a CHARACTER. have FUN with this theatrical fun because me on The Coof has already made a movie of you giving seedlings away to a crusty burnt up Frenchman with a mysterious past… and also to the 90 year old neighbor with the walker.
and then when you write Kimberly says you’re GONNA DIE (because you got boostered up), i felt for you AND poor dear Kimberly!
and so me coming OFF The Coof has much to share and you come first because in all the ceiling staring time i had i SOBBED when i thought you writing I’M GONNA DIE!
and then i realized… “yeah, we’re ALL gonna die. when’s anyone’s guess for all of us now that nothing can be taken for granted anymore anywhere.”
so i’ve got a moment and wanted to reply to you:
JOHNNY TOMATO! YES! YOU’RE GONNA DIE WE’RE ALL GONNA DIE!
and the big thing i learned on The Coof is about bad becoming good and James and i had big existential fights about GOD in our Coof in a small studio apartment.
BUT i didn’t expect to be here THIS long. i wanted to go out in blaze of glory because i didn’t wanna grow old in the USA but have you seen these kids here? you don’t wanna be YOUNG here, either.
i digress: many of us artists and freaky odd not fitting in types, we wasted many years being miserable suicidal for not fitting in and seeming SEEMING as “happy” as regular normal fitting in people.
now in this whirly gig upside down world, we know regular normal people were never HAPPY. they were gritting their teeth just to get out of bed and make it out the door took an army of therapists an arsenal of drugs and a carpet of platitudes and “just hang in there” KITTY posters.
because kitties have ALWAYS reigned supreme even in Before Times.
anyhow, we’re all going through a collective existential crisis of ’em ALL right now and maybe knowing remembering and imagining HOW you’re gonna DIE will make you hurry and LIVE as you already ARE in full living tomato red love color.
please make yourself a little label and make a little flag by wrapping it around a toothpick or something you leave behind. people will keep your label and i just had to write this because you’re a MOVIE already in my head and HAVE FUN WITH IT. why not?
it’s a STORY people will love and pass on. i just love your Johnny name. i mean every rock song every BLUES song has a Johnny in it or SINGING it. Johnny is so classic so CUTE so FUN and people will wanna SAY YOUR NAME.
so come up with something that makes your toes curl like when i hear “kitten” here at home.
and regarding the blues and reading Martin Luther King Jr’s “strength to love,” he thinks the dark is a huge part of the LIGHT. they cannot exist without the other and so within the dark IS the light.
and if you’ve got a funny thing inside of you, just make friends with it and try and co-exist, because i lot of us freaks who’ve tried to destroy ourselves did damages to our bodies or psyches and we’ve had to make peace with the same agonies because the JOB of the artist is to transmute the agonies and uglies into the best of the other sides.
i was getting hella blue about how the government is cynically exploiting gun violence in schools so they can have at the kids themselves. as evil as i think i figure people can be, i never plan on an elastic waistband stretchy enough to accomodate MORE room for cynicism. cynicism makes you UGLY. i’m a multi leo and vain as hell and that’s the real reason i avoid cynicism. it shows in a curl in your lip and nose.
and not for someone named Johnny Tomato!
so maybe you’d be boring and dead without having done what YOU did, which needed to be done so you can LIVE.
sometimes we’ve gotta “mess up bad” to get it hella RIGHT. whirly gig times. bad childhood=good skills for 2022 and beyond.
and Papa G thanks for saying you didn’t think my saying Dadaism was pretentious. i BROKE INTO TEARS! and thought, “i’ve found my people! people who don’t fit in with other people either!”
i didn’t even know we were a THING. i didn’t know we EXISTED.
that’s another reason i’ve come back from battling the eternal existential blues around all this evil. because it cannot –evil cannot hold on indefinitely and we don’t know what is needed to get where we’re going.
James and i have been fighting about god and the bible and old testament and new and i’m yelling why you gotta BELIEVE??? all this is just a GOOD IDEA.
King makes SENSE.
dinner ready gotta go.
just wanted to show you an alternative take, Johnny Tomato. just doing my job!
On solar power…
I was recently talking to an acquaintance of the tesla-driving variety, and somehow the subject of laundry came up… I mentioned that with all the sunny days we’ve been having lately, my solar-powered clothes dryer has been working great. He was all excited to hear there was such a thing as a solar-powered clothes dryer, so I invited him to see it. He was quite disappointed to see it was just a piece of rope and some wooden clothespins.
I looked at my Panama Canal comment, and especially right before Erika’s comment, it’s rather a downer. I tend to think in the same terms as the old-school globalists… I guess I read too many strategery articles.
I have to admit that when geopolitical things actually happen, they often don’t happen the way I (or anyone) really expected.
So, Russia camped out in Nicaragua? May turn out in a way I can’t imagine. Whatever it is, I hope it’s not too hard on the grassroots people.
Erika, thanks for the reminder about Dr. King’s “Strength To Love”. I’ve paced many mental miles since I last read it, and I should dig it out of its box and read it again from today’s mental angle.
Hi Lady Cutekitten
It is funny, because both my daughter’s mom and I were very influenced by Steiner/Waldorf, who said you shouldn’t teach kids to read until 7, so we just read to her because she loved stories without making any attempt to teach her to read. Somehow she just started reading. We went on then to read her the C.S. Lewis Narnia books, then all of Tolkien, then Ursula K. Leguin’s Earth Sea series. And then she became a botanist.
As I understand the Nicaragua deal, they have just added Russia to a list of countries including Mexico, US, Canada and the rest of Central America who can station troops there during an emergency. One would think they would have taken the US off the list, so adding Russia is probably more symbolic at the moment. I only saw one short article on it, so am not that well informed.
I have a single panel on my cob cabin in the California desert, which gives me 2 or 3 hours of reading time with 2 bulbs, which beats a parafin lamp. There is also a much bigger system in the main area, which runs a lot more stuff. Don’t try to run power tools or even the coffee grinder off it on a cloudy day, but it makes a very luxurious step on the downslope. The stuff still has to be manufactured and doesn’t last forever.The property is 3 miles off the road, so mains were never an option.I guess my main point is that it is never going to scale up to give people the level of energy use they get from the fossil fuel fired grid.
“Info, “and” is a useful word. Since I don’t claim to be able to fathom the intentions of demons, however, attending to the possible intentions of human beings seems sensible — and in this case, the political motivation of the “drag queen story hour” business is pretty obvious.”
Indeed. As Kenaz noted he only wanted things to go so far.
But I suspect even with all our free will. Spiritual Beings also have a vote. Just like our communication across the internet would take on the life on its own as it passes through various people.
It would give rise to “Egregores” that go far beyond the intentions of the originator. Even in directions they don’t want:
“Egregore (also spelled egregor; from French égrégore, from Ancient Greek ἐγρήγορος, egrēgoros ‘wakeful’) is an occult concept representing a certain non-physical entity that arises from the collective thoughts of a distinct group of people. ”
Hence being very aware of Spiritual realities would allow us to act with more wisdom in those matters. So we don’t unintentionally create “Egregores” that go beyond what we intend.
All of our words have implications. Therefore its best to be precise in our wording for starters naming things as they actually are:
“When Confucius was asked what he would do if he was a governor, he said he would “rectify the names” to make words correspond to reality.”
Thereby doing one’s best to set limits on said implications from going bad.
My thanks as ever for this essay, a pleasure to read and much to ponder.
My vote for an essay: I second packshaud — for something about the subnatural level.
American media insist on labelling the government of Venezuelan as authoritarian. Yet with crushing US sanctions, the government has managed to still have regular elections which independent observers vouch for, and also managed to maintain a health system that benefits the less well off. It would be good to understand how the Venezuelan economy is doing with very limited resources, and the loss of their main income from oil exports. Also the impact of US sanctions on the ordinary person.
This might have something to do with the appearance of a new generation of extremely aggressive and entitled TRAs who are predominantly MtF (even if the ‘transition’ consists of self-identification and nothing more), demanding access to female-only spaces everywhere from bathrooms to prisons to sporting competitions, and shouting “TERF”, “Nazi”, and “bigot” at any women who dare to raise some questions about this. The fact that these vocal TRAs then send rape threats, death threats, and unsolicited pictures of their privates to those women who won’t simply sit down and shut up (e.g., JK Rowling) doesn’t really help their case very much.
>The intensity of it and sureness of the advocates has me baffled.
Puritanism run amok. Or maybe it was always just garden variety Puritanism, lurking, waiting for its moment to shine once again.
The first time I heard Tibetan spoken live in ordinary life (not ritual incantations), I was surprised that it sounded nothing at all like any kind of Chinese, not Mandarin, not Cantonese, not Shanghaiese (Wu), not Taiwanese. Nor Thai or Vietnamese which sound similar to Chinese. The first time I heard Burmese, I was surprised how much it sounded like Tibetan.
Not that the sound of a language is all that reliable an indicator of its origins.
BTW, the Tibetans apparently have some Denisovan genes.
Many languages have odd spelling because they are written with alphabets borrowed from quite difference languages (like writing English with an alphabet derived ultimately from the Semitic Phoenician. (“Vowels, we don’t need no stinking vowels.)” Both Tibetan and Thai are written with alphabets derived (it seems) from Sanskrit.
For easiest alphabet to read I nominate Korean. Super logical, designed specifically for Korean. You can learn to read it in 1-2 hours. You won’t know what the sounds mean, but you’ll know what the letters are sounding.
Mary Bennett – Apparently there IS about to be a massive Ukrainian censorship campaign, though the details are different from early reports. A Business Insider piece, derived from BBC and NYT reports, claims that Ukraine’s parliament has just passed two bills (though not yet signed by Zelenskyy), one of which would ban import and distribution of books from Russia and Russia-occupied areas, and ban printing of books by Russian authors unless they renounce their Russian citizenship in favor of Ukrainian citizenship. The other bill would ban public performance of music by Russians who were Russian citizens after 1991 unless they submit an application to the security service “declaring their support for Ukraine’s sovereignty.” (This sounds like a great way to end up suddenly suffering polonium poisoning, doesn’t it? A big ask.)
Censorship of your enemy’s excuses for aggression, during wartime, is ubiquitous and reasonable. Censorship of nonpolitical works based on nationality is wrong and adds fuel to the fire of conflict. (Of course, when Putin censors it is to preserve the glorious traditional Russian culture. But I digress.)
From today’s front page, Gainesville Sun: “War begins to wear on both sides.” After four whole months. Isn’t that the song they sang in 1914 as well? “I’ll be home for Christmas”?
Oh my yes, the book Indigo Children was recommended to me quite a bit when my kids were little. I gave it a quick read but there wasn’t much too it. Kind of like The Secret. Just believe and it’s true!!!
It occurs to me that we as a society don’t know what children are for anymore. All kinds of things then get pushed on them from all directions.
While I don’t believe in one unifying theory of everything for what we are seeing in our culture these days, it does feel like that what is being push onto children is part of something tied into everything else.
Thanks for listening to me ramble about this. It’s next to impossible to have any conversation about it with anyone. People immediately go to a side or view and apply all the thought stoppers. Historians in 50 years will have a lot to write about!
Good question, good observations…
Indeed. People will simply swear fealty to New Warlords. Drug Lords are the Feudal Lords of Mexico for example. The Mexican Government isn’t really in charge.
Thanks for the kind words again, and the concern, but I suspect you have mixed me up with another commenter somewhere, as I am not boostered and didn’t get any mRNA shots at all. I went with AZ because it seemed to me the least risky of my options (at the time they were in the process of banning it here in Canada, but I was sure that vaccine passports were going to be mandated down the road – I was pleased to see that resistance in the public prevented that), I’m willing to accept that getting any shots at all may have been an error, but other than a mild hungover feeling with the first dose I’ve not had any side effects that have made themselves known yet. Certainly though, I will die at some point, like everybody else, but I don’t have reason yet to think that these two shots will be to blame. Hopefully I can contribute positively to the world while I’m here.
In tomato news, a guy asked about the seedlings I had out front, to confirm they were put there to take, and in discussing it he told me his apartment complex has a big area they are trying to use as a community garden. I gave him all the rest of my plants that were ready to go (maybe a couple dozen on a tray) and we shook hands. I told him to come back any time, and that I was going to try to keep a steady stock of seedlings in planters (they’ve been steadily picked up – at least one or two a day on average). My general sense of things is that if I keep this up for a few years, the intensity of the garden, the eccentric characteristic of some of my bamboo framework construction, and likely just my personality, may turn me into a bit of an oddball fixture in the neighbourhood. Strangers already stop by occasionally and tell me they were fans of our garden from previous years. It’s still early days now, but it all has gotten very jungle-like the past couple years, with many different varieties of plants growing close together and climbing on top of each other.
why yes! i did illustrate Wolf’s mugs.
James and i use our two mugs every night, out of the freezer, with our beer.
i used to write on his site and i STILL love Wolf because he’s a helluva a guy, but i cannot even talk to him right now because i cannot talk to anyone about ANYTHING but how to fight for what’s left of America. anything else, like how to invest in this country as any other private equity raping a business to death, i just can’t hang anymore.
i was too sick to make it to juneteenth to dance this weekend but even that (shrug)… i not FEELIN’ it anymore. dance for what??? freedom? whose freedom? freedom to shuck and jive? freedom to be their slaves???
In regard to pygmycory;
“I think some people feel threatened by the idea of men wanting to be women in a way they don’t by women wanting to become men.”
Women passing as men has long history, as in my favorite Shakespeare play, Twelfth Night. And they are not physically a threat. If such a person were to hassle me in the men’s room I could flatten him/her/it.
The reverse is not necessarily true. I have no expectation that my daughter could defend herself from a former man who had declared himself a girl at age 18 after all that goes with male puberty had already occurred.
If the transition occurs before puberty then my objections would no longer be valid, but then I honestly don’t know how such a transition does not count as child abuse. The child is too young to make a decision of that magnitude. Society won’t let parents spank a child, but will allow wholesale removal of body parts? There is a disconnect there I do not comprehend.
What is your outlook for the Scandinavian countries and their high living standard in the coming decades. Would they be able to maintain their social and economical model as the US retires from its Empire role ?
Regarding languages written with borrowed alphabets, there is the case of Afrikaans. The original European language spoken in the southern tip of Africa was Dutch, because the Hollanders were the first to colonize the region. Dutch was the language of the courts, the bible and the church, and officialdom. But in the lower strata of society a sort of ‘kitchen Dutch’ arose which gradually morphed into Afrikaans and displaced High Dutch.
Academics researching the origins of Afrikaans were keen to find the earliest written examples of Afrikaans. They were somewhat surprised to discover it was first written phonetically in Arabic script in books used by the descendants of Malay slaves in their madrasas from about the 1830s.
@JMG: A data point: this morning’s NPR Marketplace program noted that there is a shortage of popcorn.
@ Princess Cutekitten: if you are hinting in #191 for a candidate for the First Citizen of the Khanate of Greerland, please count me out. I would be satisfied to be the Khan’s favored boat captain.
@ Princess Cutekitten #303: Re Libraries acquisitions. I don’t know, but it appears to be reading the bestseller list of the NYT, and anything mentioned on an NPR show. Even more appalling is their patterns of de-acquisition: the Providence Public library discarded Toynbee’s Study of History whilst I was reading it.
Add my vote for a discussion of electronics and the demonic.
King’s “strength to love” – every single chapter is relevant to now as if it were written as a handbook. i see why even the liberal left reprints him with holes distractions and misdirections because he’s hella dangerous to ANY status quo.
how do you face off evil??? how do you get your HEAD right and proper?
yeah, re-read “strength to love.” this is what i’d wished the Quakers were but never truly were or could be.
and JOHNNY TOMATO-
yes! you’re becoming a larger-than-life CHARACTER and it’s FUN isn’t it? Emperor Norton was my muse for becoming my own thing here in san francisco.
make paper flags on popsicle sticks! not matches. what was i thinking?
sorry i got the dying thing wrong. i’ve been in my head all week.
Reading to the end of comments, here I generalize about Americans since I know them.
> psychic crud
My acupuncturist (call her “Bessie”) said that clients are coming to her clinic in increasing levels of distress from cumulative personal losses. Bessie’s concept was “collective collision.” Clients having a loss, having unfamiliar feelings of sorrow that they don’t know what to do with, which easily graduate to anger. They have zilch spirituality to fall back on. For example, when the person next door becomes furious, and the person beyond that becomes angry, and the person beyond that, &tc., one has several angry people on a collision course. The result is people flailing around hitting each other psychically and physically, by accident and by intention. Occasionally, collisions turn into full-out violence. They can’t label it so can’t stop it. Things go from bad to worse.
Bessie recounted a story that happened not long ago. A long-time female client (“Sally”) came in for treatment. At the end of the office visit, for no reason, Sally started screaming at Bessie, telling Bessie off, blasting her with such bile Bessie had hardly heard before. When Sally finished her tirade, a floored and freaked-out Bessie said she could no longer have Sally as a client and to please leave. At that, Sally battered Bessie a second time. Eventually, Bessie escorted Sally out of the office, telling Sally that if she ever showed up again, she would call police.
Bessie said that she is having so many clients like that, people who are hugely unbalanced, that she has had difficulty keeping herself balanced and motivated. Bessie has an entrenched decades-long spiritual practice that she depends on (a good thing) but, even so, she feels shaken. A few weeks ago, she didn’t know if she could keep her practice open because clients were sucking the life out of her. Bessie has since recovered and — for now,— has decided to keep her acupuncture clinic open. But if clients keep ***BATTLING*** her, she will call it quits. Bessie may soldier on another year, then close the clinic, retreating to a less hazardous vocation (she has a second career in the wings). And it is all because the American public is turning into major sh_its.
Bessie is part of “the help.” She never thought that becoming an acupuncturist would burden her with so much risk. There are all sorts of services considered “help.” With decline, help may fade into nothingness, one practitioner/worker at a time. Bessie is feeling it. Circumstances are causing the public to batter others — ANY others — innocent bystander OTHERS — resulting in collateral damage. And it is increasing.
Coupled with that the vast majority of Americans have no spirituality whatsoever as an internal resource, citizens are going off the rails. They are spinning wildly, then when “their grasp” gives way, they go shooting off on a tangent, making the situation worse by landing in yet another unfamiliar place. They are massively confused, having no idea what is happening, and lashing out. They are years away from learning how to stop their confusion, if they ever do.
“Psychic crud” is a good phrase, and is having real impact on the likes of Bessie.
May I make a request only that the 5th Wednesday post be “something JMG can actually personally speak to”?
Since Violet, long time, well known commenter has to come in and defend herself with #notalltrannies, when she really shouldn’t have to – ecosophians know she exists, if you want to know what’s up with the trans scenario, people could all her instead of psychologizing – or worse risk on a forum about spirituality, theologizing – about what’s wrong with Those People.
It’s an awful and humiliating position to watch people talk about you and why you’re bad, knowing no one thinks you have a side of the story. I should know, as seemingly the only active young mother here who doesn’t identify as non-neurotypical, conservative or as a homeschooler (and holy hell, shouldn’t straight white men know that, these days, too?)
As white middle class woman, bi, graduate-degreed, professional, divorced and from a liberal area to boot! I could talk a lot about what pressures the women I know are under. I’m very active in my community, as are my friends, my ex is a teacher. I’m not autistic, and understand body language and social dynamics actually pretty well. I could tell you stories from all over the Commonwealth and the US – believe it or not, different things are happening in different places – that could satisfy some curiosity about What’s Wrong With Those People.
It’s just that I don’t think it will be what people here want to hear, because they won’t be the Big Baddies you’re looking for. It’s going to be story after story of some people who are crap, because women are people; and others in horrific double binds, and lots of scapegoats and gross social power dynamics in which I can assure you the women themselves are not the winners.
I could even link to some really empathetic evidence compiled by a man, indicating pretty well that the Freudian ‘mommies be castrating’ memes aren’t representative of what’s going on with these boys: When Sons Become Daughters.
I could link still further to elaborate on pygmycory’s observation that for some reason no one cares that much about trans men. There are actually way more of them (I had a really good link on that which I can’t find, I once put it on Violet’s blog, maybe she can find it), and no, there is no panic about that, and I could not be less surprised given the obvious politics of it all.
Quillete again, on daughters who become sons (again, note the actual role of the mothers): https://quillette.com/2020/12/18/like-it-or-not-keira-bell-has-opened-up-a-real-conversation-about-gender-dysphoria/
A story about Kiera Bell that shows her face. I think it is important for context, because I don’t think that’s a coincidence, either.
I looked for some data on the most common surgeries for children in the US, and they were about what I’d expect – they are not gender reassignments, though one is for intersex infants, which has a really horrible harmful history in which it is, again, not cisgendered children who are being harmed with unnecessary surgeries by their parents. “I want to be like Nature made me”.
Apologies if that is rant-y… if it is, I well simply claim the Devil made me do it; I hear there is a lot of that going around 😉
On Bitcoin. I would like to give my two cents on whether it would be a good idea to buy bitcoin when it drops below $1000.
Something to keep in mind is how mining works. Currently a bitcoin miner is a specialized piece of equipment. It cannot do general computing, it can only mine bitcoin. That means that it only has 2 economic uses.
1. Mine bitcoin and recieve mining fees.
2. Be used in a 50% attack on the bitcoin network.
At today’s price, if you use an antminer pro s19 to mine btc while spending $0.12 per KWH for electricity you are making a loss. If a year from now btc has lost 95% or more of it’s value, then more than 95% of the current miners will have to stop mining in order that the rest of the miner can be profitable. Maybe all that hardware is thrown in the landfill. But maybe somebody works out the only way to recoup some of their losses is to attack the network, or sell thier equipment at a discount to someone who will.
I’ve just had this drawn to my attention – although i probably don’t truly appreciate the implications it might be an important data point if not bunk.
you are right that the FtoM crowd do seem to be being less obnoxious as well as less visible, and that’s almost certainly part of the reason for the difference in reaction. I wish they would back off; I think the actions of the really aggressive FtoM activists are endangering trans people and creating the conditions for a big backlash, as well as some being pushing costs off onto biological women.
But the reaction to MtoF still seems a little on the hysterical side to me, and when coupled with the near-silence on the subject of FtoM’s, well, it feels really weird and I think there has to be an additional factor.
It’s like the idea of someone born male wanting to be a woman terrifies some people, but the idea of someone born female wanting to be man is considered perfectly natural. I’m left wondering if there’s some of the old ‘men are superior to women’ attitude going on. As if being a man is superior to being a woman and all