Monthly Post

Waiting For The Fall

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, hasn’t it? A Pfizer executive admitted under oath that all those claims that the Covid vaccine would protect you from catching Covid had no data at all backing them.  Inevitably, corporate media flacks are now insisting at the top of their lungs, in the teeth of ample evidence, that nobody ever made the claims in question. Ukrainian agents used a truck bomb to damage the bridge that links Crimea to Russia; Russia, which has supposedly been running out of missiles since about a week since their forces invaded Ukraine, responded by sending a flurry of the missiles they aren’t supposed to have any more to blow up another round of Ukrainian targets, focusing on the energy and transport facilities the Ukrainians are going to need to face the massive winter offensive Russia is all too clearly preparing.

The Ministry of Truth insists this never happened. In other news, Oceania has always been at war with Eurasia.

The rate of inflation here in the US has reached levels not seen since Jimmy Carter’s day, while the economy in the US and globally is reeling in ways that normally signal a serious recession on the way.  The mix of inflation and recession is called “stagflation,” for those of you who don’t remember the Seventies, and it’s no fun. The prices of fossil fuels are swinging all over the place, up because supplies are dwindling, down because a failing economy means that fewer people will be able to afford to burn them.  Oh, and Greta Thunberg has come out in favor of nuclear power, because it’s less ecologically damaging than burning coal.  (As you’d expect from a child of privilege, the one thing she can’t possibly imagine is getting by with a lot less.)

There’s plenty that can be said about any of these things. Just now, though, I want to focus on something a little different. The events that fill newspaper websites and give media pundits raw material for their gyrations don’t happen out of the blue, for no reason at all.  They are the results of cascading chains of cause and effect that ultimately reach back into the tangled recesses of collective thought.  It’s been pointed out, and truly, that politics is downstream from culture; it needs to be remembered in turn that culture is downstream from imagination. The shapes that fill today’s daydreams and nightmares are anything but irrelevant to the future. They will presently become cultural icons, and thereafter make their way into the political sphere.

This is why it’s worth paying close attention to the way that so many people in the comfortable classes are now insisting at the top of their lungs, in remarkably shrill tones, that nobody ought to do their own research or think for themselves. Social media in recent weeks has been full of that theme.  Mention that you’re looking into something yourself or making up your own mind, rather than believing whatever tripe the fashionable pundits approved by the corporate media want you to believe, and you can be sure to field a flurry of denunciations in tones ranging from clumsy mockery to saliva-flecked rage.

This was the justification behind all those heavily advertised claims that you had to get vaccinated to keep from passing the virus to Grandma. Remember?

This is new. Not long ago it was still fashionable to give lip service to thinking for yourself and doing your own research, even though the unstated rule was that if you did so you had to come up with the same results as the talking heads on corporate media. No doubt many of my readers recall how a few years back, asking a woke activist for evidence for their claims would get the instant response, “It’s not my job to educate you!  You need to go educate yourself.” Go back a few more decades and you’ll find pundits insisting in smug tones that liberal democracy was superior to all other systems because it thrives on free inquiry and the clash of competing ideas.

So how did we get, in rather less than half a century, from liberal pundits preening themselves over the open society to their present-day equivalents demanding blind faith in the dogmatic utterances of officially approved experts?  That’s a complex story, and we can begin it with a famous BBC documentary titled The Century of the Self, which originally aired in 2002.

The Century of the Self focused on one of the more interesting offshoots of the psychological revolution of the early twentieth century. That revolution, as most of my readers probably know, was kickstarted at the beginning of the century by the Austrian physician Sigmund Freud, who became convinced that the widespread psychoneurotic diseases that plagued middle- and upper-class women in the European society of his time were caused by repressed sexual desire. He was almost certainly right about that, and the proof is in the results:  most of the illnesses in question became vanishingly rare just as soon as it became possible for people in the comfortable classes of the time to admit to themselves that sexual desire is normal.

Freud went on to construct a system of psychotherapy and a model of the human mind that took sexual libido as the driving force behind all human desire and activity.  As Victorian prudery went out of style, Freud’s ideas became wildly fashionable across the industrial world. Freud’s nephew Edward Bernays took these ideas and put them to work in the field of advertising, more or less inventing modern public relations in the process. Bernays believed that most human beings are incapable of independent thought and will inevitably believe whatever they’re told, provided that the tellers use Freudian lures to sink hooks into the psyches of their audience.  That became a popular view among the educated classes, and found its way into plenty of books—Vance Packard’s The Hidden Persuaders, published in 1957, was one that hit the bestseller lists.

And here’s the CEO pf Pfizer, using that awkward word “preventing.” There are many, many more examples…

Did Bernays’ methods work?  That’s a surprisingly hard question to answer. Bernays insisted in his books and press releases that psychologically based publicity was omnipotent, but then he was always his most important marketing project.  A vain, arrogant, self-important man, he was notorious for trumpeting his successes and covering up his failures. (That habit has been taken up by his many present-day admirers.  You can read any number of essays about the self-proclaimed “Father of Public Relations” without seeing any mention, for example, of the fact that he worked for Herbert Hoover’s  failed reelection campaign in 1932.)  Certainly advertising has some effect in some cases, but the claim that human minds are putty in the hands of a well-funded publicity campaign simply can’t be justified by the results.

If Bernays was right, after all, Hillary Clinton would be well into her second term as president of the United States. If Bernays was right, audiences would have flocked to movie theaters to see Morbius and loved it, and the same would be true of any number of other abysmal Hollywood flops of recent years. If Bernays was right, for that matter, no government anywhere would have had to bother with mandates for the Covid jabs so massively marketed over the last two years:  the publicity would have been rolled out, the crowds would have lined up, and they would still be lining up eagerly for their fifth booster as I write this.

The curious thing about The Century of the Self is that its producers and writers never let themselves notice this. The documentary took Bernays’s claims about the power of public relations at face value. It didn’t talk about Bernays’s many failures, or the even more abundant failures of public relations since his time; it didn’t consider the possibility that Bernays’s writings were not much more than sales pitches for the services he was offering at a hefty hourly rate to corporate clients.  It also never got around to mentioning that the Freudian theory on which Bernays based his approach to public relations crashed and burned decades ago.

The implosion of Freudian psychology is one of the most remarkable events in recent intellectual history, and one of the least discussed outside the psychological literature. The problem faced by Freud’s disciples and their students was that his methods were very effective against the specific set of psychoneurotic conditions that he faced in turn-of-the-century Vienna, and basically didn’t work with anything else. Study after study has shown that Freudian psychotherapy provides no detectable benefit to the great majority of patients. Nor has Freudian theory stood up any better; Freud’s fixation on sexuality made sense in the backwash of the Victorian era, when a century of frantic sexual repression left middle- and upper-class society filled with the walking wounded, but it simply doesn’t work now that most people are calmer and more realistic about their sexual desires—whether or not they choose to do anything about them.

Rather than being taken at face value, The Century of the Self needs to be recognized as a product of its own era, a reflection of the attitutes and emotional needs among the managerial classes at the time it was produced and shown.  By 2002 those who paid attention could no longer ignore the hard fact that something had gone dreadfully wrong with the grand project of endless material progress on which the industrial world had staked its survival in the wake of the Reagan-Thatcher counterrevolution of 1978-1980. The architects of that counterrevolution insisted that the energy and resource crises of the 1970s had been purely a matter of failed economic policies; by 2002, rising prices and declining discoveries of oil and natural gas made it painfully clear that there was much more involved, and that the deeper causes could not be fixed by throwing more money at the already rich.

The Anglo-American attempt to seize and exploit Iraq’s oil wealth in the Second Gulf War was one consequence of that realization.  There were many other consequences, and one of them was an increasing (and entirely justified) nervousness on the part of elites and managerial classes alike about their ability to keep the masses in line. By 2002, decades of impoverishment, immiseration, and malign neglect inflicted on the poor and the working classes were already bearing fruit:  the masses were becoming hostile and suspicious toward their supposed betters.  To those who were paying attention, again, it was becoming painfully clear that this could get much worse, and potentially imperil the survival of the elites and their managerial hangers-on.

The Century of the Self was thus an exercise in organized reassurance. Documentaries don’t appear on the BBC if they fail to uphold the values and agendas of the Anglo-American polticial class, and most people don’t watch highbrow BBC documentaries. Those who do watch them are disproportionately from the upper twenty per cent or so of the social structure. The Century of the Self was aimed by, for, and at that audience, and doubtless helped many of them sleep better at night, lulling themselves into sweet dreams with the comforting thought that the propaganda of the corporate-bureaucratic state would surely keep the masses docile and obedient.

It was far from the only such exercise. I wonder how many people have noticed the way that entertainment pushed by the corporate media has helped foster modern conspiracy culture, by flooding the collective imagination with conspiracy-themed movies, games, and novels? Like The Century of the Self, these all served the purpose of trying to convince people that the corporate-bureaucratic state was run by invulnerable, omnipotent masterminds who planned out in advance everything that happened in the world. That’s a very common habit of ruling classes on the way down. (Do you recall all those old science fiction movie villains who inevitably screamed “No!  This cannot be!  I am invincible!” a few seconds before being reduced to a rapidly expanding puff of vapor?  The equivalent is surprisingly common in real life.)

Of course it didn’t work. The defeat of the officially approved alternatives in the Brexit vote and the US presidential election in 2016 are obvious markers here, but there are plenty of others. Here in the US, for example, it’s interesting to watch the way that Covid vaccination rates have dropped steadily over time.  Something like 70% of Americans got the first round of shots (officially; my guess is it’s closer to 50%, and the rest made use of the lively market for forged vaccination certificates), but that figure has dropped steadily with each round of boosters. The current multivalent booster, despite nonstop propaganda all through the corporate media, hasn’t yet been taken by 5% of the adult population.

The accelerating failure of Covid vaccination in the US has of course been treated by true believers as proof of the irremediable stupidity of the American people. It is nothing of the kind. Most people by now have noticed that the Covid vaccines available in this country don’t keep you from catching Covid or transmitting it to others, as an army of authority figures from Joe Biden on down insisted they would.  They’ve noticed that the rate of harmful or fatal side effects from those same vaccines are a couple of orders of magnitude larger than the rate from all other commonly administered vaccines put together.  They’ve noticed that it’s not the unvaccinated, by and large, who are getting hit by Covid three and four and five times in a row or facing a sudden unexplained collapse in health.  They’ve also noticed, some of them, that heavily vaccinated countries have unexplained increases in crude death rates that mostly unvaccinated countries do not.  And of course they’ve noticed that every time the party line about Covid pivots, as it does so often, the thought police of social media (aka “fact checkers”) instantly claim that the authorities never said what, in fact, it can be easily documented that they said.

That is to say, most people in this country understand that the authorities are lying to them.

I notice, for example, a recent NBC poll that found that only 9% of American voters think that climate change is an important issue. Global warming-themed propaganda backed up with outright censorship of opposing views has been the order of the day for years now, but that hasn’t convinced anybody—quite the contrary, the number of people who take anthropogenic climate change seriously has gone down as the propaganda has ramped up. Why?  Because it’s become painfully clear to everyone that the corporate green agenda is riddled with hypocrisy and graft.  All those claims of imminent apocalypse that turned out to be wrong, not to mention all those earnest lectures from celebrities whose lifestyles parade their utter disregard for the eco-pieties they recite, did a fine job of canceling out decades of propaganda about global warming.

There’s a sharp irony in the collapse in public support for the global warming narrative, because anthropogenic climate change is of course a reality; it’s a much slower, more complex, and more nuanced process than politicians and their media shills want to admit, but it’s real. The bitter droughts sinking their claws into western North America and southern Europe right now and the torrential rains that flooded Pakistan earlier this year are testimony to that reality, but so are the warmer temperatures and wetter weather that are giving Russia a record wheat crop just now, and the freighters sailing from East Asia to Europe through Arctic waters that were thick with ice not that many decades ago. The same shifts in climate belts that are turning Lake Mead into a mud flat are turning the Australian Outback green.

Climate change is a constant reality in the long history of this planet:  that’s one of the things you’re not supposed to think about. The current round of climate change has winners as well as losers:  that’s another.  The increasingly strident attempts to bully people into believing what they’re told, when what they’re told is all too often an obvious pack of lies, has had the usual effect of such maneuvers:  more and more people assume as a matter of course that the authorities are lying to them, even when (as does happen sometimes) the authorities happen to be telling some approximation of the truth.

The frantic demand that people stop thinking for themselves or doing their own research is thus the endpoint of a long slow process and the beginning of a far more dramatic one. It’s something that should be familiar to anyone who remembers the last days of the Soviet Union.  In the decades leading up to the sudden collapse of 1991, most Soviet citizens finally recognized the hard facts that the grand promises of Marxism were never going to be kept, that Communism was an abject failure as an economic system, and that the apparatchiks who insisted that everything was fine and the capitalist countries would surely succumb to proletarian revolution any day now were mouthing phrases that not even they believed any more.

That had immense political consequences. The collective enthusiasm that allowed the Soviet Union to build an industrial economy from the ground up in record time, crush Nazi Germany, and lead the world into space gave way to the savage mockery of Zinoviev’s The Yawning Heights and the icy calm of Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.  Then the Soviet Union faced its final crisis, and the great-grandchildren of the people who rushed to the barricades to overthrow the Tsar, and the grandchildren of the people who endured tremendous privation to defeat Hitler, shrugged and let the whole thing come crashing to the ground.

We are far closer to such scenes here in the United States than most Americans realize.  For that matter, our European client states may be much closer to a repetition of the collapse of the Warsaw Pact states in 1989 than most Europeans realize. Again, politics may be downstream from culture, but culture is downstream from imagination.  Now that the corporate-bureaucratic system has lost its legitimacy in the eyes of the public, and the parade of officially approved experts marching past the cameras of the mass media has become a clown show earning more guffaws than genuflections, the unraveling of the current state of political affairs is coming closer by the day. It’s simply a matter of when the system runs into a crisis it can’t meet without the help of the people, and the self-anointed masters of the world discover to their horror that the help in question will not be forthcoming.

How soon will that happen?  In the nature of things, that’s impossible to know in advance. One thing that interests me is that a great many people seem to grasp this, at least on an intuitive level. The increasing contempt for government and corporate flacks and their abject dishonesties isn’t expressing itself in a rush to the barricades or the kind of violent outbursts so many people have expected.  Instead, people are hunkering down, cutting their losses, ignoring the increasingly hysterical demands coming from government and corporate sources, and waiting. My guess is that they’re waiting for the fall of the current system—and it’s by no means certain that they will have to wait all that long.

438 Comments

  1. My favourite part of Century of the Self was the episode on humanistic psychotherapy and the 60s. Particularly how it could dissolve both sides of authoritarianism. They gave client-centred therapy to the nuns of one of the largest convents in America. Pretty soon nearly all of them had left, and the few who remained were radical lesbian nuns. And I wanted to know how to do that too.

  2. Fine business.

    I still remember when TFYQA was used quite a bit in various underground publications and corners of the web. I think it ought to be brought back into circulation.

    Think For Yourself Question Authority

  3. Thanks JMG, once again you have put into words a feeling I’ve been having percolating in my brain for quite a while. Yes, we are waiting for the fall of the current system. And though it is going to come as a shock even to those who think they are ready…it is necessary…and it seems we won’t have that much longer to wait.
    wishing you much peace

  4. Lots of waiting going on these days, that’s for sure. Waiting for housing, gas and food prices to go down. Waiting for the next variant to kill us all. Waiting for the nukes to start flying and kill us all. Waiting to freeze or starve to death this winter. Waiting for the messiah, religious or political, to save us all.

    In the meantime, some are taking the opposite approach if they have any slack left. Spending their savings like drunken sailors, quitting their job, quiet quitting and partying like it’s 1999. Sort of the “eat, drink and be merry” approach during the Black Plague(s).

    If you can connect the dots and shorten up the timeframe of the imagination—>culture—>politics process, it seems like it’s been a pretty long wait, but like you’ve stated the crowd of people now understanding it is growing. It underscores the sense the waiting is nearing the end…

  5. “…One thing that interests me is that a great many people seem to grasp this, at least on an intuitive level… , people are hunkering down, cutting their losses, ignoring the increasingly hysterical demands coming from government and corporate sources, and waiting….”

    I had a conversation with a friend this morning about how everything just feels OFF somehow right now, and how we can’t figure out which shoe we’re waiting to hear fall – the Russia/Ukraine shoe, the fuel price shoe, the economic maelstrom shoe, or some other shoe yet. To read this just a few hours after that conversation certainly resonates with our feeling of unease and the lack of direction we can pin on that unease.

  6. John–

    Could you (or others of the commentariat) recommend some sound books on the fall of the Soviet Union? It would be interesting to preview what’s in store… understanding, of course, that we’re talking about similarities in pattern and not exact duplication.

  7. Thank you for this, Inspired as always, Reading it I was reminded of a book I have just read ‘The End of the World is Just the Beginning’ by Peter Zeihan (https://bookshop.org/p/books/the-end-of-the-world-is-just-the-beginning-mapping-the-collapse-of-globalization-peter-zeihan/17362467?ean=9780063230477). He bases his theory of decline on falling demographics rather than available energy but it works just as well with either IMHO. His chapters on the fragility of the modern worlds trade networks and the snowballing effects of even a minor hiccup in them are fascinating, and what the world might look like after such a scenario is straight out of JMG’s catabolic collapse play book.

  8. Shame, really. If …nah. I was going to write a thing about how the green movement got co-opted, etc, and have a moan about how things could have been different. Doesn’t matter. We are here, now. I am going to chop wood and await Europe returning to what it was before: a cold, wet bit sticking out of Asia full of smelly barbarians with no redeeming features. My island (Britain) is the colder wetter bit sticking out from the cold wet bit, full of smellier, more barbaric barbarians. We do, however, make good puddings.

  9. Thank you again for the wonderful article. It’s an issue that I ponder a lot. I am constantly reminded of Joseph Tainter’s book: The Collapse of Complex Societies.

  10. thanks for the essay! (I had forgotten “culture is downstream from imagination”)

    I still do listen from time to time to NPR, just to see what the comfortable classes are getting for a lullaby.

    I personally see a bigger and bigger gap between that and the reality on the ground.

    And I do believe you are correct — people will shrug and walk away. If the powers that be think “quiet quitting” is an issue, wait till people actually quit!

    thx again jmg!

    Jerry

  11. I am not terribly conversant in current social media themes, as I deleted most of my accounts some years ago. I’m curious to know how “don’t think for yourself” is being propagandized. What does that look even like?

  12. Well, it’s October 19th. We’re sitting here in Port Angeles, WA. waiting for rain. The air has been somewhat sepia-toned due to the forest fires in the state. It was cold and rainy far into June. Very cold, actually. I had to wear my down jacket. I wonder how long it will take for the Hoh rainforest to turn into a desert. What a strange thought.
    My co-workers mouth the MSM talking points about the vaccines. I tell them I am not going anywhere near that crap.They look at me like I am one of “ those people.” When I help at the gas station, people yell at pump. They sometimes yell at me. “What’s going on,”they say. In the same week as the destruction of the Nordstream pipelines, I yelled back, “have you seen the news?”
    Inside, when they pay for their groceries, they go into shock. It’s devastation at the cash register.
    Meanwhile, I pick up beautiful organic lettuce and gourmet ice cream at the food bank. What the hell. I work full-time. If the people on EBT can afford to buy fresh wild-caught salmon and I can’t, I’m going to use the food bank. We are so FUBARed. Never thought I could survive so long burning on such a low flame incandescent rage. Those of us paying attention look at each other in grim acknowledgment. We’re all waiting for something and we don’t anticipate that the elections will change a thing.

  13. I’ve been waiting since 2008, and what a sweet sweet bitter taste it will be! The real question will be, will those who create hysteria and feed off of it create more or finally admit defeat? Societal vampires, people wonder where these stories come from, has anyone ever considered that they were just metaphors for people in society?

  14. “If Bernays was right, audiences would have flocked to movie theaters to see Morbius and loved it…”

    Brutal, JMG, just brutal. You made me morb myself.

    Seriously, though, thanks for the humor, especially in light of sobering (and spot-on) comments like this:

    “The frantic demand that people stop thinking for themselves or doing their own research is thus the endpoint of a long slow process and the beginning of a far more dramatic one. It’s something that should be familiar to anyone who remembers the last days of the Soviet Union.”

  15. Good morning!

    So, The Century of Self… it would seem, Mr Greer, that we interpreted it in different ways, but perhaps my mind has mixed it up with other film works by Adam Curtis.
    Curtis typically tells stories of grand schemes and their eventual failures – or at least outcomes far different than those who initiated them expected.
    He shows how the human world is a vast messy and chaotic place that resists myopic human attempts to control it.

    My impression of The Century of Self is that it gave us an insight into the clever manipulations by Bernays and company and that with that newly gained education we could reflect on how we have been, and are being manipulated, and inoculate ourselves with awareness.

    Anyway, I’ll probably watch it again with the consideration of your interpretation. I do very much appreciate the work of Curtis. It stimulates much reflection!

  16. Perhaps this question is better answered by a dive into the fall of the Soviet Union, but I’m curious what form(s) you expect the fall to take, if it will be met with shrugs by the disaffected masses?

  17. My NYT reading friend sent me a link last week to a story about Adam Curtis and the BBC’s new documentary on the aftermath of the fall of the Soviet Union. So as you mentioned it is certain that this new work is in the service of an official agenda. From my quick read of the article ( I have not seen the documentary) it is about how the real culprit in Russia after the fall of communism was neoliberal hyper-capitalism and the appointed boogyman is Austrian economist Fredrick Hayek. No mention of the Harvard Boys, Jeffery Sachs or the west attempts to dismantle the former Soviet Union and turn it in to a resource colony ( they are still trying today) or any other things. In my view a kind of primer to get the upper classes to buy in to a more government managed economy ala Klaus Schwab. Also to convince those same upper classes that when the economy does collapse they should trust it to be managed and repaired by Joe Biden and Liz Truss and not count on ordinary people to do the job.

  18. Interestingly, I was told by my local bird seed proprietor all about the “efficacy” of mRNA “vaccines” right from the get go! His prior life was in biology related endeavours. No question that they were/are not at all ‘preventative’, but ameliorative at best. His explanation of how they actually work was extensive and quite clear. As one with 5 physical conditions that mean getting a possible bad outcome from contracting the virus, I have to this day worn a KN95 mask in crowded spaces despite mockery from anyone! He still insists that customers in his store wear a mask also.
    As for Bernays, I still get troubled by my older grandchildrens’ negative comments whenever I mute advertising on any sort of media, or talk over their rapt attention to those ads during which I have no access to a remote “mute” button! They are young adults who have yet to learn how to think, thanks to a great extent to our education ‘systems’. Access to some of my books just might sink in over time. Eschewing advertising will come with more reading too! Learning to re-learn takes one through a bit of metanoia, which can be somewhat devastating but also incredibly liberating!

  19. Couldn’t agree with you more. Rural folk in my part of the Ozarks are definitely hunkering and waiting … and honing skills … I certainly am.

  20. If imagination is the mother of culture, then technology is the driver of imagination. The proto-human who, in fearful haste, picked up a random rock and hurled it at an advancing predator, found, much to his surprise, that the predator retreated in timid confusion. The primate then ‘imaged’ the possibilities implied by this encounter, and the Stone Age was born. Similarly, it was the mathematics of perspective and the use of linseed oil as a medium (rather than eggs and water) that propelled the art of Renaissance painting to previously unimagined heights. And more recently, it wasn’t high-minded altruism that ended slavery; it was the Industrial Revolution… Logistical possibility = imagination = cultural change.

  21. All very well said, JMG. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Western elites find themselves non-elite within a few years, perhaps less. This winter will be especially tough on the average citizens of these nations, and like Greta Thunberg, I do not think the average American or Western European will be pleased when their material comforts rapidly vanish.

    I’ve also noticed this tendency to condemn independent critical thinking in favor of trusting the so-called experts. There is one website that I used to frequent on a daily basis. It was a relatively new Catholic commentary/news site that produced, in its first couple of years, some very balanced commentary on Catholic and related world events. It has really gone down the rabbit hole, and now “right-wing reactionaries”, “science deniers,” “conspiracy theorists,” and “racists” seem to be one of their major foci. Another is insisting that we defer to so-called experts on matters like Covid, science, and (of course) religion (when those experts don’t happen to be critics like Bishop Joseph Strickland of Texas), etc.

    I was near to being black pilled for a while. I try to be more productive and hopeful now, developing new skills and working on my sewing business. But I do suspect a severe feces storm is on the horizon.

  22. With general confidence on the ropes, it only takes one can’t-ignore-it incident to cause the next step in collapse. The Soviet Union’s bubble met its pin (mostly) with the defeat and withdrawal from Afghanistan. The mid-2000’s property bubble met its pin with Hurricane Katrina, and the banking failures tumbled out from there. I’m guessing the pinprick this time will be winter blackouts in supposed top-tier regions of top-tier countries: New England, parts of western Europe, possibly Japan. But that’s only a guess. If that won’t do it, famine next spring is a good bet. Again, only a guess; my crystal ball is in the TV shop this week.

    Maybe worst of all, this situation could grind on for years before this bubble pops and we slide down to the next stair step. That way, we enter the next crisis completely exhausted with resources depleted. Cheery thoughts on a beautiful fall afternoon; I need to get outside for a walk.

  23. Hunkered and waiting. Lets get on with this. The sooner, the better.

    Waiting is the hardest part. Tom Petty

    Waiting, anticipating,… rockin’ into the night. 38 Special

  24. I’m thinking that if the Democratic Party collapses as a result of the next two election cycles, the Republican Party will likely respond to the crises of our age by establishing a much more naked plutocratic tyranny with which many people will describe with the common misnomer “fascist”. But I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing, because such blatant authoritarianism requires a lot of effort and expense, and this will eventually also collapse under the weight of its own moral bankruptcy even more precipitously, I tend to think, the soft tyranny of the urban Professional-Managerial and Administrative Classes that the Democrats are currently trying so frantically to keep propped up.

  25. There’s a fair chance Bernays betrayed Hoover and deliberately screwed up his campaign. Frank Kent’s ‘Without Gloves’ and other collected columns from the time give a good feel for the period.

  26. Benn, I have to agree with you on british deserts. Your island makes the best sticky buns and puddin’ ever. Although they also do terrible things to vegetables.

  27. Your comments about Bernays and the promotion of “conspiracy theory” really rang true with me. The big thing I noted about conspiracy theorism before I quit hanging out in the places where it was most loudly preached is that it is first and foremost a security blanket.

    The QAnon operation was very clearly intended to keep the angry working-class masses reassured that a “Plan” was in place that would soon take care of the Satanic Pedophiles, and all we needed to do was Trust That Plan. (And of course this evokes Evangelical “Last Days” preaching: any half-competent psyop aimed at the American poor would certainly use the Evangelical myth structures that resonate with them).

    One of the cornerstones of much “Woke Theory” is that name-calling, complaint-filing, and online activism can actually change the world. And so you get armies of people who are repeating shrill slogans and shutting down dissenters because they think they are actually accomplishing something. They believe in Organized Structures of Christofascist Cisgender Heterosexual Oppression not because they have seen evidence of its existence, but because it lets them pretend their life has some semblance of meaning.

    Even the Rothschild/Bilderbergers/Rockefellers conspiracy theories are reassuring insofar as they reinforce the idea that the world is controlled by powerful, superhumanly capable people. The idea of malevolent alien reptiles ruling the world is scary, sure. But it’s not nearly so scary as realizing the world’s economies are run by bureaucrats who thought dumping Weimar-era levels of currency would not have Weimar-era financial consequences.

    As Joe Orton said of Somerset Maugham’s “Of Human Bondage,” conspiracy theory is difficult to put down but easy not to pick up. There is definitely a dopamine reward cycle connected to many forms of social media. But if you don’t want your mind warped by shadowy algorithms, it’s easy enough to avoid getting involved in it. And, as you rightly noted, every day more people choose to do just that.

  28. Yorkshire, yes, I’m familiar with that set of events. From my perspective, it shows that a great deal of “humanistic” psychotherapy wasn’t humanistic at all, it was ideological programming aimed at pushing a specific set of beliefs on people. Me, I’d say it’s better to let nuns be nuns!

    Justin, excellent! Yes, that’s worth bringing back into use.

    ARH, I suspect a lot of people are feeling that way just now.

    Drhooves, I’ll be talking in more detail about “quiet quitting” as we proceed. To my mind it’s one of the most promising trends of our time.

    Michelle, here again, I suspect a lot of people are feeling that way just now. The wheels are coming off the corporate-bureaucratic system and the spreading failures are becoming increasingly difficult to hide.

    David BTL, I’m going to pass this to the commentariat, as the books I’ve seen have been mediocre at best. Anybody?

    Mr. O, so noted. I haven’t been impressed by Zeihan’s other work but if the local library gets his latest in, I’ll give it a look.

    Benn, you do indeed. “Barbarians With Puddings” would make a great band name, by the way.

    Kathy, Tainter’s book is good to keep in mind right now, because excess complexity is one of the defining features of our time.

    Jerry, excellent! That gap — the widening difference between the official story you hear on NPR and the reality you encounter when you turn off the vacuous babbling and step outside — is becoming a chasm into which a great deal will presently plummet, and not be seen again.

    Wqjcv, about as safe and effective as something else to which those adjectives have been applied!

    David BTL, what I’ve seen of it has been reactive, not proactive. It’s not that anybody’s splashing around signs saying DON’T THINK FOR YOURSELF! What happens is that if somebody says, “Well, I’m going to look into it and make up my own mind” or anything along that line, they get dogpiled by angry comments of various kinds, insisting that that’s bad and wrong and they should believe the experts.

    Elizabeth, yep. It’s a rough time, made rougher than it has to be by the unwillingness of many people to deal with the reality that’s slapping them across the face.

    Mr. House, oh, there will be no shortage of further attempts to create hysteria. The problem they face is that the number of people who automatically disbelieve anything the authorities say is rising steadily.

    Monster, I figured it would get the point across. 😉 Humor’s vital in times like these.

    Zhao, by all means do your own research and make up your own mind!

    Slithy, a fine question I can’t begin to answer. It could take any of dozens of forms.

    Clay, of course! Since the consequences to the West of the attempt to plunder post-Soviet Russia have gradually turned from an embarrassment to a widening disaster, finding someone else to blame is going to be very, very high on the agenda of the chattering classes.

    Bruce, glad to hear it. If they’d been honest about the vaccines — “this won’t keep you from catching or transmitting the virus, but it will ameliorate the symptoms, so we’re focusing on getting it to vulnerable populations and it’s available to others who choose it” — the political classes of the industrial world wouldn’t be facing the kind of terminal collapse of legitimacy they’re in right now. For what it’s worth, I’m all in favor of anyone wearing a mask who feels the need to do so — I just object to mandating it for those who don’t.

    Elkriver, I’m glad to hear it. The Ozarks are a reservoir of valuable skills and know-how — long may the people there thrive.

    Greg, no, that’s a common misconception — technology is also downstream from imagination. Before a technology can be created, somebody has to imagine it, and before that can happen, someone has to imagine a need for it. People can do without something for a very long time without conceptualizing that lack as a need that can be filled! Technology is therefore parallel with culture, and technology and culture mutually influence each other in complex ways; I recommend John Ellis’s fine book The Social History of the Machine Gun as a good case study of that process.

    Brenainn, I see the frantic insistence that people shouldn’t think for themselves as a last-gasp strategy of a failing system. It’s not as though it’s convincing anyone who doesn’t desperately want to be convinced!

    Dr. C., a walk is always a good idea after brooding about such things. I don’t know if you heard, but it recently came out that taking a walk every day has been shown to be more effective treatment for depression than any of the medicines being shoved on patients for that purpose.

    Dennis, the sound track of this moment in history!

    Mister N, my take is a little different: less plutocratic, more populist, though certainly with authoritarian features. The question is whether it can establish something that can last for a couple of generations, or whether it goes down in defeat in its turn — and that can’t be known yet.

    Engleberg, I’m quite sure Bernays let that story be circulated, since he was so fixated on maintaining a reputation for infallibility.

    Kenaz, exactly. It’s much easier to believe that the world is under control, even if you think it’s under the control of evil lizards from space, than to accept that nobody’s running things and the world is just going its own way with serene disregard for us…

  29. I see the insistence on not thinking for oneself in a few ways.
    -facile and superficial fact-checkers who don’t actually know all that much about what they’re checking and basically just parrot the official line.
    -the assumption that everything not the official line is wrong
    -the assumption that the only alternatives to the official line are conspiracy theories and russian propaganda
    -refusing to engage with people who have non-standard views
    -accusation of someone saying something unusual of being a) a russian shill, b) a dupe fooled by russian shills

  30. Thanks, as always, for your astute reflection. It’s a good reminder to all of us to understand that while it can sometimes seem that way, people haven’t actually lost the ability to think for themselves, and mass propaganda can only work so long. It’s also good to resist the belief that our elites are some über-cabal with limitless power.

    Speaking of hard limits…

    On your frequent recommendation, I read Limits to Growth with great intent and have reviewed it here: https://brunettegardens.substack.com/p/review-and-giveaway-limits-to-growth
    Podcast version: https://brunettegardens.substack.com/p/podcast-no-7-review-and-giveaway
    (We’re also giving away a paperback copy to paid subscribers, for those interested).

    Thank you for the referral; this is indeed an important book. One thing that really struck me about reading the latest edition of Limits to Growth is the defeated tone of the authors’ new prologue. They seemed downright enthusiastic about the potential to change course back in 1972, and then disappointed in 1992 and 2002. The latest prologue was written in the midst of COVID, and they sound as if they’re struggling not to give up hope.

    I’m reading your own Decline and Fall right now, so your reminder about the Soviet Union’s example is dovetailing well.

    Also wanted to mention that my undergraduate university, a Jesuit institution that taught me great lessons about independent inquiry, now sees fit to ban speakers from campus whose message doesn’t align with the narrative. Back in the 90s when I was a campus activist campaigning on environmental and pro-choice issues, the conservatives who were in the majority could have banned me and my kind from campus, but they did not. The liberals running the place now (and that includes the students) have no problem silencing opposing views. As an alum, I’m ashamed of what’s happening there.

  31. This reminds me of a conversation I had years ago in the wake of Hurricane Sandy with a couple of friends. We were talking about recovery after disasters, and I noticed one friend of mine just could not wrap her head around the fact that there might not be anyone coming to save you. My other friend, who had experience in third world disaster recovery, noted that a lot of times the best support comes from your community rather than the authorities, and this is actually a fact that is planned for in some ways. But in response my other friend would simply say “no but if they can’t come, who’s supposed to come as backup?”

    I then find myself reminded of two things. Firstly, this is very much a view coming out of the religion of progress. The authority figures coming to save you are viewed like a clockwork universe. They’re not humans with their own concerns in a stressful situation, they’re the machinery that insures you get out of your flooded neighborhood.

    Secondly it reminded me of a deeper truth: my own spiritual journey as I’ve been making my way through the Levi book club. I still haven’t gotten over my intuition of the riddle of the Sphinx, which seems to me a cosmic version of what my friend was facing above. A sense that while there are beings out there more advanced than we can ever imagine, there are still no “adults in the room.” No “other” who will comfort us as a cosmic parent. We can solve all the problems we see before us today and reach the level of these more advanced beings, and (if I’m in a pessimistic mood) I’ll believe all we will see there are problems we can’t even conceive of today. Blinding myself doesn’t seem to far fetched in light of these truths!

  32. Hi JMG. I like your description of Freudian therapies as well suited to the Victorian era, but unsuccessful since then, when people began to accept sexuality as natural. I also like your identification of “people” with the upper 20-30% of society; much of what’s written is by and for them.
    I know that scientific studies have found that psychoanalysis doesn’t generally work today, but me and my psychoanalyst ended up building a paved road between my conscious and subconscious. That road makes it easy for me to experience spirits and converse with them. Lunar rituals create a protected space where they can come out safely.
    So I am deeply grateful to my analyst; I imagine he’d be a little shocked at the uses I’ve put his work to, but would simply say that its good that I’ve developed some new psychological tools.

  33. If things play out like the collapse of the Soviet Union, first NATO (Warsaw Pact) will break up and you’ll see people protesting and getting shot in NATO (Warsaw Pact) member countries. When that happens, the clock starts ticking and you’ve probably got 2-3 years.

    I strongly suspect they would try to hide the collapse of NATO from as many people as they can, they would be desperate to keep the facade up. I bet the Soviet Union did its best to hide the disintegration of the Warsaw Pact from its citizens.

    Also, look for some career politician to make a bold move, like oh, say, resigning from the Party saying something like “serving the will of the people is more important”. Look for them to do this 1-2 years before it even looks like things are starting to collapse. See if that pattern reminds you of anyone.

  34. “Oh, and Greta Thunberg has come out in favor of nuclear power, because it’s less ecologically damaging than burning coal.”

    OK, JMG, I always thought that Greta was the most famous PMC puppet in the ecologist “radicalism” nowadays, but this faith in nuclear power is beyond my funniest expectatives. It’s like “The Onion” but serious.

  35. Yes, this interpretation of Century of the Self struck me as weird as well, and I’ve seen it, or large portions of it, quite a few times (I use it as a teacher every semester with my economics classes). Although Curtis may give too much credence to the power of Bernays’s approach, he seems clearly concerned to highlight its negative social and cultural effects.

  36. I think I am going to re-read “Anne of Green Gables” (1908) by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Anne, the main character, is not short on “imagination.” Anne’s imagination is legendary. Author Montgomery’s Anne has inspired people for a hundred years with “what could be” as opposed to “what is.”

    Speaking from the point of view of a 70-year old, I try to use my imagination similar to the character Anne (who I think her story begin when she is something like age 11 years).

    When “all this is gone” (look out a window, and swoop your arm to include all you see), what do you “imagine” be there instead?

    Visually, as things decay, signified by darks, grays, and browns, I imagine bringing in younguns’ colors, signified by purples, pinks, blues, whites, reds, yellows, and oranges.

    May we celebrate imagination with white and yellow popcorn.

    😔Northwind Grandma💨
    Dane County, Wisconsin

  37. Those who slept well after “The Century of the Self” did not get the point of documentary. Of course, every intellectual product (documentaries, books, your writings) has it’s own shortcomings because human intellect has it’s inherent shortcomings, coupled with our limited scope of information we receive and knowledge we possess.
    I would say that both, Adam Curtis and You, are doing worthy endeavour to enlighten the impoverished, maligned and neglected masses.

  38. >I’m thinking that if the Democratic Party collapses as a result of the next two election cycles, the Republican Party will likely respond

    They’ll respond by collapsing as well. Those two need each other, when one goes, so will the other. Oh not to say what will replace them will be any better and will likely be worse. But I think the branding of those two will become so discredited and tarnished, nobody will want anything to do with them.

  39. Do you have a link to the study that shows walking is more effective than depression meds? Have a few people I’d like to forward that to.

  40. For those of you who weren’t there, the most astonishing thing about the fall of the Soviet Union was that it was accomplished without a shot being fired.

    Take the fall of the Berlin Wall, for instance, which resulted in the loss of the Soviet Union’s satellites in eastern Europe. I grew up in the 1960s. A stock news story of the time was what happened when someone tried to cross the Berlin Wall from east Germany to west Germany. It was like trying to break out of a prison; there were two walls, armed guards with shoot-to-kill orders, and a no-man’s-land in which those orders were enforced. Very occasionally, someone made it across without dying, which always prompted a hardening of the defenses. The vast majority of the people who tried were killed by the guards. As time went on and the defenses became harder, fewer and fewer people tried to cross. I don’t recall hearing of anyone who tried to cross in the 1980s before the Wall fell.

    But somehow something changed in east Germany in 1989. I couldn’t tell you what it was. But on one fine day, to our utter astonishment, people entered no-man’s-land … and there were no shots fired. Not a single shot. The exact same people who might well have shot to kill a year or a few months or a few weeks earlier, whose *job* it was to shoot to kill anyone who tried to cross the Wall, just watched and let it happen. And as that became known, more and more people crossed the Wall. People started tearing down the Wall. And then there were people who turned the Wall into money, or at least tried to do so. For a few years after the Wall fell, mail-order catalogs in the US carried pieces of the Wall for sale. The Wall that many people died to cross became a cheap souvenir for a time.

    If I take anything from this story, it’s that whatever form the fall takes when it comes is probably going to be different from whatever form we think it will take based on what we think we know now.

  41. >were mouthing phrases that not even they believed any more

    With emphasis on *belief*. If there’s one thing that struck me from the collapse of the Soviet Union, it was the loss of faith in the system. Nobody believed in it, nobody believed in the supposed leaders of it, all faith was lost. You could see it in the eyes of a girl sitting on the bus, just looking at the tanks rolling by, trying to intimidate the people back into obedience. She didn’t even believe in the tanks.

    I know from personal experience, it doesn’t matter how good a job or how experienced you are at leading, if nobody believes in you, you are going to fail and fail hard. If nobody believes in you, pack it up and call it a day.

  42. David at #6

    Google the name Dmitry Orlof. He lived through the collapse of the old Soviet Union, and has written several books on the subject. He also has a blog that was quite good, but alas, is now behind a paywall. Maybe he has an archive section on the blog where you could access his older, non-paywalled stuff. And once in a while he lets a free essay go on through.

    Antoinetta III

  43. I’ve read of the United States called “the Imperial Republic of the Autonomous Self.” These days, replace “Republic” with “Oligarchy.”

  44. >The bitter droughts sinking their claws into western North America

    BTW, it’s not just the western US that’s undergoing drought, the *Mississippi* is so out of water that they had to shut down all barge traffic on it. That’s how a good chunk of all the grain from the Midwest gets anywhere at all. There are traffic jams of trucks trying to replace that barge traffic.

    I think New England is still suffering from drought, last time I checked.

  45. “My guess is that they’re waiting for the fall of the current system—and it’s by no means certain that they will have to wait all that long.”

    So is it your view we still have a LONG way to go before everything goes belly up? I’m of the thought that we still have a long ways to go. I have come to view that world events tend to take awhile before things really go sideways. Some examples:

    1) In 2008 we had the financial meltdown that nearly took down the world. Here we are in 2022 and the system is still functioning although in my view held together with financial “duct tape and superglue”.

    2) In 2014 we saw a color revolution thanks in part to US Warhawks in Neocons. Now eight years later we have a war with some calling it a pseudo world war.

  46. Humanistic therapy is supposed to be non-directive and let the client figure out what they already knew deep down. How would it be manipulative or coercive?

  47. @David, by the lake,

    Here is an example of how a piece of propaganda of “Don’t think for yourself” looks like:
    A picture of someone dying on a ventilator with “He did his own research!” plastered across the picture. Can’t link the actual picture.

  48. @ JMG – I’ve followed a podcast called Revolutions for the last two years. The whole series covers ten revolutions taken (mostly) from Western history. Or entirely, if you consider Latin America, Tsarist Russia and Haiti to be ‘Western’. Either may, the host, Mike Duncan, is now wrapping up the series by trying to draw common lessons from the morphology of the revolutions he studied in the course of making the podcast. Any one thing he found in the general patterns that lead to revolution was that the societies in question first went through periods of disequilibrium, some lasting decades. Then, some shock to the system hit said societies about two or three years prior to the crises that ended in full blown revolution.
    The list of shocks included, among others: the First Bishop’s War, the Tea Act, the Bankruptcy of the French Crown, and the start of the First World War. Again, there are more, but those are four of the big ones. Once the shocks had been delivered to the system, the rhetoric and eventual action in the streets lead to the overthrow of the old order and its replacement with a new one. Or at least with a new segment of the ruling class, depending on how one wants to look at it. And Duncan is careful to point out that one factor not often mentioned that is almost always an ingredient to a successful revolution, is that a majority of the population just doesn’t care if the regime in power stays or goes. Thus, any sufficiently motivated group CAN deliver the decisive blow and trigger a successful revolution. That factor seems to be very much at play today.
    In light of your observation that a great many people are, either consciously or not, preparing to ride out whatever happens net, it certainly seems that we are in the disequilibrium phase. This begs the question: have we experienced the proverbial shock to the system yet?

  49. In reply to comment #6 by David by the lake, I would hesitatingly recommend Dmitry Orlov’s “Reinventing Collapse” as a good preview.

    I say hesitatingly, only because of JMG’s comment that the books he’s seen have been mediocre at best; I may be jumping to conclusions, but I presume JMG has read it, since it was first published in 2008.

    I confess though to not having a critical eye when it comes to books, so I am unaware of my recommendation’s flaws.

    For what it’s worth, on my to-do list for a while is a book called “Armageddon Averted: The Soviet Collapse, 1970-2000” by Stephen Kotkin.

    -Eugene

  50. Re “My guess is that they’re waiting for the fall of the current system…”

    That’s me in a nutshell. Waiting, and preparing for a comfortable life at a more basic level.

  51. David BTL, Dmitry Orlov wrote a few books on this topic – ‘Reinventing collapse’ and ‘The five stages of collapse’. They compare how the USSR’s decline mirrors the one we are now seeing for the west. He has a smug way of writing about things which can be annoying. But he sure does have a couple of points with what he says having lived in both the USSR and the US.

  52. Orwell knew what he was talking about. Has anyone noticed that some sources say that the Chinese chip industry has collapsed. Search for “US sanctions on Chinese semiconductors ‘decapitate’ industry, experts say” Why so little coverage in the US? If the Russians are cannibalizing dish washers for chips to fix their tanks, this is a big deal. If a $20k missile can take out a $1.2mil tank, why is this the top story anywhere? Also, do you think it’s going to slow down China’s plans to take the nearby island where most of the world’s chips are made? But, don’t listen to me, I’m just a nut.

  53. @Brenainn Griffudd #22
    “I wouldn’t be surprised if the Western elites find themselves non-elite”.
    Well… I would. I lived through the collapse of the Soviet Union and there and then the elites did not change. They were the first ones to recognize that the old gig was over and adapt to the new one. All communist party bosses were the first ones to drop the communist signifiers and put Russian Orthodox crosses around their necks. They were also the first ones to realize that nobody was watching the store and steal… er… no, “privatize” oil fields, ore mines and such while their shills were braying about wonders of free market on TV. The kids and grandkids of those old elites are still going strong and live in lavish apartments inside the Garden Ring in Moscow.
    Watch for those at the top changing their rhetoric rather quickly when this gig that we are watching here and now unravels.

  54. Seems like a great many things are already happening. But when they pile up like boulders on our heads, maybe even the strongest supporters of the status quo will be forced to acknowledge the–if not publicly, then in their private living arrangements.

    As for me, I’ve tried to live as if it were all going to come apart “today” for a long time. My means to accommodate that view are somewhat limited, but I got out of debt a long time ago, began accumulating necessary items for a wide range of scenarios, and so on. I can’t manufacture people out of thin air, or youth, but lots of people are similarly handicapped. I suspect it will be a bumpy ride and even the best prepared among us will have a lot of adapting to do.

  55. With all due respect, honorable Archdruid, I quibble with you on one of your introductory comments. The missile and drone barrage dropped on Ukraine following the Kerch bridge bombing was a type of military operation that takes weeks of planning. The operation was possibly planned as a response to recent Ukrainian territorial gains. It was a larger version of the attacks after the Kharkiv offensive. The timing of the attacks may have been affected by the bridge bombing, but it was always going to happen.

  56. @JMG

    In your response to Mister Nobody, you wrote:
    “my take is a little different: less plutocratic, more populist, though certainly with authoritarian features.”

    I’m curious what exactly you envision, and perhaps I should wait for future posts :-).

    My thought is that neither of the two parties can realistically push further into authoritarianism without setting in motion the dissolution of the USA. Whether a concerted attempt to impose nationwide vaccine mandates or wokeness from the left or an attempt by the right to impose a nationwide abortion ban or deport all illegal immigrants, either is going to lead to open defiance and then, if enforcement is attempted, to secession.

    The only way I see us getting to stronger national authoritarianism is if we get a uniting charismatic Fred Halliot figure who can break the tribal political divide, but that divide is so entrenched at this point that I simply don’t see the possibility in the next 10-25 years.

    So I guess I see the two options as

    1) ratcheting tribal authoritarianism leading to secession, dissolution, war/insurgency, and ultimately to new nations with varying forms of government, or

    2) in the face of #1, stepping away from authoritarianism, reducing the size and power of the federal government, and restoring more autonomy and self-determination to states and local governments.

    Personally, I’m hoping for #2.

  57. Thanks for the post this week JMG

    With regards to David-by-the-Lake’s question on books about the collapse of the USSR: I thought that Dimitri Orlov’s Reinventing Collapse (2008) was good,if that helps.

    Wrt “thinking for yourself”: my proudest moment as a parent came in a discussion with my daughter when she commented on how I had always encouraged her and brothers to do precisely that.

  58. There is nothing wrong with thinking for yourself, and doing your own research. However, I have heard people who have fallen down the Qanon rabbit-hole say the same thing. I have heard both flat-earthers (who claim that outer space does not exist), and young-earthers (who claim that the earth is only five thousand years old) say that they came to their conclusions by thinking for themselves, and doing their own research. No matter how much I tried to reason with the flat-earther, all he kept saying was that I needed to do my own research and think for myself. He was convinced that there was a secret cabal of scientists that were faking all of the space launches and satellite data. I tried to explain to him how peer reviewed science worked but he wasn’t having any of it. It could be that some people’s idea of ‘research’ involves watching conspiracy videos on Youtube, rather than actually reading up on science and history.

  59. Yes we are copping a lot of rain (and flooding) in South Eastern Australia at the moment, but we know this will count for nothing whenever the next round of record breaking heat waves, drought and fires hit. Climate optimism is a form of denial.

  60. JMG, Thank you for pointing out Edward Bernays. I think that’s where much that upsets me comes from.

    As a counterpoint to Kenaz Filan’s comment, I’ve gotten the impression that a lot of the wokesters are more likely to be Evangelicals than liberals of the past. I don’t know if that’s because of the people I’m physically around since I don’t seek out the mainstream internet. A lot of the way they recruit the relatively more poor in my communities looks like end times rhetoric and comes from Evangelicals.

    I also see what looks like that Evangelicals are trying to recruit transgender people by saying that even they can be included by a loving and forgiving religion, and then turning around and telling their other followers that the newly proximate transgender people are the satanic pedophiles from the antichrist or what have you and that only their church could possibly save them. Its easier to pull off when they’re always switching churches and recruiting followers for each other.

  61. Thanks for this, JMG. If this is too far off, please erase it. I have no debt and savings in a credit union. Nothing in the NYSE casino. Anything else needed to prepare for stagflation?

    Regards
    Mac

  62. Some thoughts that occurred to me while reading this:

    Russia might be enjoying a record wheat crop now, but what if it doesn’t last? After all, Russia is not exempt from the same laws that everyone must live by. A few seasons of extreme or exceptional drought, and their record wheat crops will be a fond memory. Expecting present good times to be permanent is a good way to get your head handed to you.

    Nothing new about climate change? No, there isn’t. The evidence of naturally occurring climate change in Earth’s past is abundant–and in any case you care to name, the consequences for life on Earth were dire. The Permian-Triassic mass extinction saw the loss of about 90 percent of all species alive on Earth at the time. Recovery took several million years. Closer to the present, we have the multiple volcanic eruptions of the years 536 to 542 CE, resulting in massive crop failures and epidemics in multiple parts of the world. According to some estimates, the death toll ran into the millions. Of course, climate change is not really that serious, isn’t it?

    And don’t forget the real basis of civilization: the ability to produce and store food, especially grains, in large quantities. A few consecutive seasons with mega-droughts in some areas, mega-flooding in others (washing away the topsoil), and your food production is going right through the floor. This year’s droughts in Western Europe and the flooding of one-third of Pakistan’s land area–want to see that on a much larger scale?

  63. Thanks for that. It made me seek out an old satire of Curtis’s film making style that made me laugh again. Far from encouraging ‘conspiracy culture’ his work always despised the idea that anyone was ‘at the wheel’. He became a crucial voice for the liberal class of Britain trying to understand its world post 1991.
    Needless to say, they don’t.

  64. JMG – Thank you so much for this. It is hard watching the system crack, though your insights, and those of your commentariat, are particularly helpful. It seems that pretense is falling hard and fast, along with trust in the system. Constructive action appears to be slower to appear, but maybe conservation/insulation, backyard gardening, media withdrawal and independent/reflective thinking, no longer seem so atypical. One can hope.

    Oddly (or perhaps not), it’s “The Onion” and other satirical or humorous sites, where flagrantly shifting “truths” are highlighted, rather than the mainstream. I do seem to be getting more questions, and fewer odd looks and comments, about self-sufficiency actions. This may reflect spending more time with Master Gardeners. Our local paid extension staff have never heard of the Master Conserver program.

  65. I’ve been thinking a lot about “politics is downstream from culture” and it seems that given the techno-fascistic state of Western Civ, neither precedes the other. Rather, they are interfused while pretending that each is mutually exclusive. Communism evolved to this dynamic in the latter 20th-Century, transitioning from the Public sphere into the Private sphere through TV and hijacking cultural (rather than political) sit-coms. The State would over-see these [cultural] sitcoms that the people adored, and would subtly infuse them with the State’s [political] agenda and ideologies. Czech’s Jaroslav Dietl is a good example of a screenwriter who became co-opted by the State–compare him with Vaclav Havel who instead opted to write in truth via the underground Charter 77 movement.

    We see this in today’s entertainment ecosystem with wokeness in Hollywood (I saw it firsthand as I was previously working on a show in Los Angeles before joining the exodus out of CA). And obviously this has spread throughout culture beyond just Hollywood. So though politics may be downstream from culture, it is simultaneously pulling the cultural levers to manipulate the stream’s current.

  66. @Kirsten #57

    That is interesting. As I think over your comment, an American politician (Tulsi Gabbard) comes to mind. She recently resigned from the Democratic Party and is now campaigning for some rising populist stars in the GOP. She’s an independent right now, and I kind of like her but I also think she’s angling for a new position in the political world. I think she sees the writing on the wall for the woke politics of the current Democratic Party and has bailed on it to save her political career. I imagine, as things get worse, more will do so. So, yeah, I suppose things could happen with the American elites as it did with the Soviet elite. A concerning thought, to be honest.

  67. I’m starting to understand why people prefer an apocalypse: a quick clean death of the status quo rather than this grinding decline. Watching house prices go up, watching food prices go up, waiting for the next flood, watching people get thrown out of work … a constant grind of fear and anger on the nerves that I never picked up from the history books.

    I’m well-prepared and hunkering down as best I can, but it feels like I’m abandoning less fortunate people. Here in Australia, our welfare system WAS something to be proud of, but it’s in decline too. What can the more fortunate among us do right now, apart from writing cheques to food banks?

  68. John Michael, I can barely imagine the fun you must have posting, never have you not given me serious chuckles and at times a good hardy laugh. The fun of me agreeing or disagreeing as you post gives a look into my own mind. Keep on keeping on brother.
    Do you have an access that I could use to your Dion Fortune, Cosmic Doctrine series? My son inadvertently deleted everything I’d saved when cleaning up my computer for me, yes I am a Luddite extrodinaire. I found found your unpacking of the book extremely helpful. Now that I have time to devote to the study I would love to have your writings available again.

  69. I may have to start carrying a Sharpie around with me. That pic of the air dryer was priceless.

    Time for a little graffiti…

    Love this post. Lots to ruminate on.

  70. Ok, I’m going to try a CosDoc-perspective…

    – Society runs off the rails and against a brick-wall: Dissolution, hence: “evil”.
    – Opposition against this process means wanting everything to stay as it is and try to repair the sandcastle that’s crumbling faster and faster: Evolution, hence “good”.

    -> Engaging in this practice means locking up one’s capability for “good” or “evolution” in an attempt to freeze a process that’s possibly too powerful, since there’s not enough “good” to achieve stasis and take it as a step. [“Good” in this context seems to directly relate to the amount of available fossil fuels and it might have been achievable if started early enough. In that case, locking up evil with good could have meant using fossil fuels to stabilize society for a little while and use that as stepping stone to build up a different society that is not that dependent on fossil fuels (i.e. taking the babble about “energy transition” serious).]

    -> Not opposing this process could mean letting the dissolution of society go it’s way and especially get out of it’s way. You can even hate evil in the sense that you say “I don’t want to have anything to do with it.” In that case your capability for “love” or construction is free and you can invest your energy in constructing something different.

    I note the difference in perspective: societal – individual. Size does matter, so it seems.

    I asked myself if I can find an example where “locking up evil with good” is a viable strategy and came up with the approach behavior therapy could take on smaller psychological problems. If the problem is small enough, I can come up with some kind of trick to hold it in check and can continue with ordinary life. If, on the other hand, the problem is sufficiently large, I possibly don’t have the abundance of “good” that is necessary for that approach.

    Hm. Thoughts, comments and critique are welcome 🙂

    Greetings,
    Nachtgurke

  71. >All communist party bosses were the first ones to drop the communist signifiers and put Russian Orthodox crosses around their necks

    And in some former Soviet countries, people in charge just replaced “Soviet” with “National” and carried on, nothing else changed. Which leads me to conclude that ideology really really doesn’t mean all that much in the nuts and bolts of things. Not to say ideology doesn’t matter, but anything that goes over a single-spaced page in length, I would say is something from the mind of a crazy person.

  72. @ JMG & Owen RE: 2-party…

    I agree. Not since Ross Perot has there been much out of the Republican side other than, “We aren’t Democrats”. Democrats have eaten and swallowed so many things that they profess to be against just a few years ago – they are unrecognizable. I imagine Texas governor Anne Richards come back from the dead, her mouth agape at what her party has wrought.

    Take one side away, and we are like a Roman arch – unsupported and our stones falling into a heap around our feet.

    Several people, in the course of these last few weeks, have held forth on the prevalence of socio- and psycho- paths in government. In every case, they were wondering how one precluded them from entering government and politics, where their proclivity for lying and lack of empathy let them thrive. I mean several articles, as in 3, 4 or 5. Did you come across similar in these last couple of months?

  73. That’s the 2nd time in the last week I’ve come across “The Social History of the Machine Gun,” so I’m bumping it up the list.

    Just finished a reread of “The Retro Future;” that was the other.

    Curiously, and perhaps flatteringly for you, I was about halfway through it, reading a bit at my favorite bar, when a very young (22?) female friend of mine asked me what I was reading. We chatted for a few minutes about the book, I loaned it to her, she returned it a week later than promised, and still hadn’t finished it. I asked her if she wanted to keep it longer, and she said, “No…I’ve decided I’m going to buy a copy for myself and journal my way through it.”

    Thank you. My work is done here.
    (In my dreams.)

  74. Well, waiting is fine – we are prepped as much as is possible without going overboard. My kids are 30-38, minimalists and know what they need to for preps – mine was the big work and done for family. On the whole, we are in ‘wait and watch’ mode with all the black swans in the air.

    But as we have spoken of so often – that hockey stick is the outlier and not the norm….

  75. Now the neocons are calling for the US to attack Iran as a response to Iranian military aid to Russia, using the infamous R2P doctrine that has been used to justify so many previous acts of aggression by Gringostan over the last few decades.

    https://www.19fortyfive.com/2022/10/to-defend-ukraine-it-is-time-to-strike-iran/

    Never mind that the Iranians would respond with devastating reprisals of their own ranging from missile and drone attacks against American warships and military bases in the Middle East to encouraging their allies in the Islamic world to target American interests around the world. Or that the world is already teetering on the edge of the worst economic crisis since 1929 and the inevitable disruption of energy supplies from Iran and other Persian Gulf countries would send the planet spiraling into a full-blown depression.

    Articles like this one show just how completely, bark-at-the-moon batshale crazy the PMC elites in America really are. They are every bit as out of touch with reality as Marie Antoinette and her court were prior to the events of 1789.

  76. Well I just finished reading 1491 by Mann (2005) Which I believe I heard about on NPR when it came out. The subtitle is: New revelations of the Americas before Columbus. I was surprised to find an afterword about the Haudanosaune who lived here in the Northeast. I had read the Awkwasasne book “Basic Call To Consciousness” back in 1980, and dropped out of college. (also ran out of GI Bill, among other things) But according to Mann, the 6 Nations inspired the English colonists to think for themselves enough to dispose the theory of Monarchy and Nobility and the thinking they were subject to the authority of people who claimed to be worthy of obedience. The book generally makes clear the effect of viruses on the Americas. Also seems clear to me, a firearms enthusiast from wayback, that guns were not the decisive tecknology that shipbuilding, mapmaking, steel tools, and finance were. Mann seems to think the spirit of liberty, to the extent it exists in the west, was a great gift from the 6 Nations. To me the whole thing, as in the phrase, “all phenomena” is constantly changing, from generation to generation. I had the comforting illusion, indigenous peoples had some stability, some wisdom, but that’s been challenged by this book. OTOH, it makes accepting all the current change even more natural. All in all, becoming more conscious, is ever more of a challenge. I guess that’s why 98% of the people I’ve ever met are on autopilot. Happily, there’s a tiny speck of diamond dust at the core of my being, but don’t tell anyone, OK ?

  77. “2) in the face of #1, stepping away from authoritarianism, reducing the size and power of the federal government, and restoring more autonomy and self-determination to states and local governments.

    Personally, I’m hoping for #2.”

    George Friedman thinks that will happen too. I hope he (and you) is right. The country is too big for one size fits all, especially when the PMC can’t be bothered to come out of their coastal bastions and look at anything.

    Even inside some states we have that problem. The PMC is all a flutter that wolves keep getting shot and poisoned because can’t wrap their heads around the fact that wolves eat whatever they can catch, and cows are slower than deer.

  78. @ Owen re #47

    I’m not up on the rest of New England but starting in mid-September, rainfall picked up here in Northern New Hampshire, where I live, so currently we are no longer in a drought situation. Mid-state is still abnormally dry, and the southern half has moderate drought but not as bad as it was. While this is all well and good, wintertime is when we’ll be watching to see if we get sufficient snow to keep the skiers happy and also provide enough snowpack for runoff in the spring. It’s been below normal for some time but as the climate keeps gyrating, it’s hard to say if this is the new normal or if it’s going to skew in some other direction.

  79. When you’re an expert, it’s nice to be able to change the definitions of words on the fly. It was certainly useful to be able to change the definition of “vaccine” to include mRNA gene therapies.

    On Tim Pool’s show the other day, they were speculating that since when we recently entered a recession the media experts decided to change the definition of “recession,” then it’s a sure bet if Republicans take over next month, then poof!, the definition may change back and we will suddenly be in a recession!

  80. John Michael Greer and/or anyone who knows,

    I’m looking for a book about May 68 and modernism by Andreas Zok, professor of ethical philosophy at Milan. The problem is that I don’t have the title and some of the above details are likely wrong.

    Pepe Escobar, in an interview about Russian and Ukraine, was asked about the leaders in Europe. How they all seemed to be identical carbon copies of each other, uniformly acted like ideology trumped reality, and had no capacity for meaningful thought. Pepe referenced the above book as the explanation and gave the details that I listed.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=wnNqrBUrVWo

    It’s a one hour zoom interview, really worth listening to, but not watching. At about 24, or 25 minutes in they discuss European leaders and Pepe gives all the information that I have about this book.

    Does anyone know it? Or who the professor is and how to correctly spell his name?

    In other news, Newsweek ran an interesting article:

    https://www.newsweek.com/neocons-woke-left-are-joining-hands-leading-us-woke-war-iii-opinion-1748947

    With this fascinating quote:

    “Warping the debate in this way allows delusional and contradictory thinking to go unchallenged. Thus, we get the argument that Putin is a madman who will kill indiscriminately to achieve his aims—but he is also somehow definitely bluffing about using nuclear weapons. And he’s only using that bluff because he’s losing the war—but if he’s not stopped in Ukraine, he will go on to conquer the rest of Europe. Putin’s regime must fall because he has killed or jailed all the liberal reformers and yoked himself to a hardline Far Right, but somehow he will be replaced by a liberal reformer when his regime collapses.”

    Which I think is a fairly accurate assessment of the Orwellian doublethink going on in the MSM’s Putin is evil echo chamber. But it does highlight two things. One, the official narrative (TM) is becoming obviously unsupportable, on its face wrong. Two, that the elites creating and consuming the narrative have fallen for their own propaganda and become incapable of critical thought.

    Thanks for this post JMG. Spot on and rather frightening.

  81. The vaccinated are 3x more likely to get Covid as well as other respiratory infections according to Dr. Harvey Risch, professor emeritus of epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health.

    For the life of me, I still cannot understand how so many people failed to understand their Branch Covidian hysteria would bring a second worldwide Great Depression. I was talking about this in November of 2020. I guess there’s a certain set of elite upper-crusters who genuinely imagine they will be immune to mass unemployment and a devastated economy. They don’t know how to be anything even close to poor…

  82. Reading the Orlov essay referenced above (https://www.permaculturenews.org/2010/12/14/post-soviet-lessons-for-a-post-american-century/), I was struck by this passage which describes quiet quitting quite well:

    “Most Americans have heard of Communism, and automatically believe that it is an apt description of the Soviet system, even though there was nothing particularly communal about a welfare state and a vast industrial empire run by an elitist central planning bureaucracy. But very few of them have ever heard of the real operative “ism” that dominated Soviet life: Dofenism, which can be loosely translated as “not giving a rat’s ass.” A lot of people, more and more during the “stagnation” period of the 1980’s, felt nothing but contempt for the system, did what little they had to do to get by (night watchman and furnace stoker were favorite jobs among the highly educated) and got all their pleasure from their friends, from their reading, or from nature.”

  83. To a boomer a concept doesn’t exist until it’s on TV, before they choose to support something or not. Reality to younger people has a similar relation to social media instead of video. If you get a ‘gram or tiktok user to bare their soul they’ll usually talk about mentally debating whether the last thing they saw is So True, not so much rationally but on an emotional level.

    The power media has over dreams isn’t gone, there’s just generational stratification and the people with that power aren’t as integrated into the crusty old system. If there were a documentary about how close many are to being libidinal husks it might give the wrong people some ideas though.

  84. A large community of people in a northwest corner of “north america” decided that getting vaccinated would prove against the incoming storm. We proved right, as it turns out.
    We faired better than those communities in every direction who decided otherwise.
    I understand your proclivities, and have long appreciated your search for truth, but I mourn that your prejudices may be getting in the way of clarity.
    Just saying.

  85. JMG,
    (I hope this comment passes muster. Apologies if not.)
    Sign of the times: I just received a work email informing me that today (Oct 19) is International Pronoun Day (International? Really?). I work for the State of California, so, not surprising. I also received an attached 6-page FAQ guide providing information regarding the LGBTQIA2S+ Affinity Group, the many pronouns available now, genders, non-genders, fluids, non-fluids, etc. Yes, they have it up to 10 initials now (well, actually 9, the + actually stands for infinity). To paraphrase our host, my eyes rolled so far, I now know microscopic details regarding the structure of my brain. At first, I thought it was a joke email from the Babylon Bee. Oh well. The FAQ guide informs us that we are free to put our preferred pronouns on our emails. For a while now, I’ve toyed with the idea of changing my pronoun to “Praise Jesus,” but that is not a hill upon which I want become unemployed, at least not yet. Maybe when the fall comes and the pension fund has been blown to smithereens.

    I guess it all wouldn’t be so bad except it seems like a navel-gazing progressive version of a Chick tract.

    You know, I just noticed, they don’t include an H for heterosexuals. They mention cisgender in the FAQ guide, but a C is not included either. But still, I identify as an H or maybe a P (for Pragmatic, any port in a storm, right? Whoooa, maybe I am a fluid.).
    Will1000

  86. Seems a bit weird saying it, JMG but thanks for your sane balm amidst the current lunacy.

    In 2009, the week of Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, I agreed to make what was to be my sole venture onto New Zealand National Radio The radio host asked if I had read George Orwell’s “1984″ and I had to scratch my head and admit I did not really know. I still don’t know though it is possible. I do recall skipping through a couple of dark, ominous Scifi books by English authors about 60 years ago.

    I did however know in 2009 that our English media, including my teachers, had inculcated in me the belief the novel is a masterful depiction of the atheist, materialist, oligarchic state of the Soviet Union with all its “propaganda” and “double-speak”.

    As a child, I went to sleep here in New Zealand, far, far away from the “Home Country”, with the comforting sound of Big Ben booming out from NZ National Radio and resounding throughout our farm cottage. Its deep, authoritative booms signaled it was time for the latest broadcasts of the “BBC News” from “The UK”.

    The BBC and the City of London Corp still dominate NZ broadcasts. Little as changed except that, whereas I grew up believing the BBC is the epitome of civilization and finest broadcasting service, I am now concluding the BBC is one of the most deceitful, brutal forces on the planet.

    By 2009 I had learned that when the BBC bids me look one way, I am more likely to learn the truth by looking in the opposite direction. And, while “The media is the message”, any book or movie in NZ is the dominant media in that its message is what the book movie or book becomes.
    So it was I came to question our media’s story and conclude that “Nineteen Eighty-Four” is really about the BBC, where Orwell had been employed after his formative experiences of Imperial England in Burma.

    I recall joking with friends in 1984, “Phew, looks like we got away with it…things aren’t good but at least Orwell has gotten it wrong so far…”

    In retrospect, I am now concluding the “Double Speak” in 1984 was far worse than Orwell ever imagined it could be. For instance, by 1977 New Zealand and other Anglosphere nations had established Ministries or Departments of Energy.
    It is boggling to realize the sheer, utter arrogance and hubris of any human being to believe they can ever be a Minister/Secretary of Energy, a person who knows what energy is and who is above the principles of physics. Such delusional behaviour is both hilarious and tragic.

    My research a couple of years ago indicates this delusional dialect of English now prevails in nearly all national governance systems, as well as in the transnational systems.
    In short, the Crown dialect of English is now the global language of Business and it forms a guaranteed recipe for the extinction of Mankind. Wiki has an index of the lunacy at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ministry_of_Energy

    I have now published three essays discussing our use of the words “energy”, “power” and “economy” on Medium.com. I reckon George Orwell would be lost for words if he could see the galactic scale of the Double Speak, especially the vast deceits, delusions and denials inherent in our current, so-called “Energy Crisis”. See for instance:
    https://medium.com/@davemcarthur/what-is-economy-40984b75f3f7

  87. Greetings JMG and Commentariat!

    This is my first time posting, so first, thank you for hosting this space (I really enjoy reading the posts and comments here) and also for your assorted books/essays! I don’t think it’s an understatement to say The Long Descent changed my life, so thank you for the introduction to Peak Oil along with a whole host of ideas I’d never been exposed to before.

    I was just talking with two of my (very liberal) friends about this. They met someone during their travels who completely mistrusts all mainstream media and insists that you have to “do your own research.” My friends were horrified because they believe news has to come from a credentialed source to be believed. I was horrified because the app the person had recommended for news (rumble, I believe) is a video platform.

    This is pure anecdote, but I personally find it very difficult to watch any sort of video without falling prey to at least one of the creator’s ulterior motives. Maybe that’s stirring up outrage. Sometimes it’s accepting a persuasive argument without taking the time to really think about it. Most of the time it’s just getting me to click on one more video. In any case, I’ve cut most video content out of my life to preserve what’s left of my ability to think independently.

    So my question is this: Do you or commentariat believe it’s possible to think independently while consuming the average American’s quantity of video content per day (171 min. TV, 80 min. other devices)? If so, there’s some garbage television I’d like to binge😂. And if not, I think Bernays was still onto something, even if the method doesn’t work all the time.

    Kind regards,
    Telesto

  88. Gosh darn it! That was supposed to be ‘overstatement’ not ‘understatement’! Must be residual brainworms from all that television.😅 Point is, the book was life changing. Have a nice day!
    -Telesto

  89. #81 Kimberly, the key part of his title is the ’emeritus’ – ie retired and so he can say what he likes. It was the same here in New Zealand – early on an emeritus professor of epidemiology criticised the ‘vaccine’ and was the only one of the medical school academics to raise their voice against it – understandably, he got pilloried by the media and the medical school disowned his views

  90. Ozymandias Redux

    “I, O desirous viewer, am an ad.
    I wait here for your accidental gaze
    So I can feed and leave only your daze
    With your focus stuck on my latest fad.
    Be so ensnared, for even if you know
    My innermost workings you’ll still give in
    When days go by and you forget my spin
    Which lives in your mind as the status quo.”

    This message, not quite so directly said,
    Was proclaimed by a cracked billboard once-glowing
    On an old mall with halls no longer flowing
    With people from a town now left for dead.
    Artists start work on the mall’s empty floors.
    The ad ignored, except a scrawled “up yours”.

  91. Something about self-driving cars: https://www.autoblog.com/2022/10/08/autonomous-cars-slow-progress-losses-doubt/

    So much for the AI singularity and the machines rising up against man. Apparently, these things are easily thwarted by cunningly placed traffic cones!

    A quote from the article: ““You’d be hard-pressed to find another industry that’s invested so many dollars in R&D and that has delivered so little”. Uh, well, there’s nuclear fusion…

  92. RE: Tainter’s book: The Collapse of Complex Societies.

    One of Tainter’s observations that struct me most was how “collapse” was viewed by most people as preferable to investing more time/effort/treasure in propping up the old regime.

  93. Brunette, I’m delighted to see you giving The Limits to Growth more exposure! Thank you; the more people grasp the points that book made, the better. Yes, I noted the despairing tone as well, and it’s quite reasonable from their perspective. I’ve spoken to Dennis Meadows, and back in1972 he honestly thought that political and economic leaders would pay attention and make the necessary changes to avert the crisis. He got to find out the long, slow, bitter way that he was wrong.

    Robert, no doubt! (It’s a great story, too.)

    Jack, I’ve seen the same thing. It’s harrowing. But then that was one of the things I tried to get across in my tentacle fiction: the necessary realization that the universe really, truly is not going to bail us out from the consequences of our own stupid actions.

    Tomriverwriter, I’m glad to hear that. I think there’s a lot of value in depth psychology, though I’m much more in the Jungian camp; it may not be suited to most mental health crises these days, but it has other uses.

    Owen, why, yes, I’ve been thinking of that too…

    Chuaquin, no argument there.

    Ives, I take it you haven’t been watching the antics of privileged progressives for the last forty years or so. They’re all over the negative social and cultural effects of this, that, and the other, so long as the item in question is in the hands of someone other than them.

    Northwind, that strikes me as a very sensible move.

    Dances, as long as you’re thinking of “enlighten[ing] the impoverished, maligned and neglected masses” you’re missing the point. How about listening to them instead?

    Kyle, I’ve seen it cited in half a dozen places but I don’t have the link handy. Anyone else?

    SLClaire, do you recall the way that George Will practically had a nervous breakdown when the Berlin Wall came down that way? He was so fixated on the Powerful Evil Commies that he could hardly function for a while after they imploded so ingloriously.

    Owen, yep. And we’re very close to that here in the US right now.

    Bird, we have very few autonomous selves in the US these days. We have a vast number of sheep who bleat in exact unison, “Yes, we are all individuals!”

    Owen, the Mississippi gets a lot of its water from the eastern slopes of the Rockies and the plains stretching eastwards from there, so this comes as no surprise. Last I checked, Rhode Island was out of drought conditions; we’ve had a bunch of heavy rains.

    Rod, the current crisis is only one incident in the trajectory of the Long Descent. By the time things bottom out a few centuries from now people will barely remember the events of this year.

    Yorkshire, yes, that’s its sales pitch. If you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you.

    Ben, I don’t think we’ve had the shock to the system yet, no. That’s more or less what I’m waiting for.

    Helix, that seems sensible to me.

    Bradley, oddly enough, I’ve been thinking some of these same things…

    Clarke, that seems very sensible.

    Raphanus, my guess is that Stavka (the Russian general staff) planned it out as much as a couple of years ago — most competent militaries have plans like that sitting on the shelf. The Kerch bridge bombing was what convinced Putin, who has a long and well-earned reputation of trying to do things with as little military force as possible, to let the generals do what they’ve been wanting to do all along.

    Darren, I heard those from Dmitry himself at several of the peak oil conferences where we were both presenters!

    Mark L, crisis has its own imperatives. If we get a serious economic crisis, and someone can step up to the plate offering a credible plan for resolving it, my take is that it will get the same kind of majority that lined up behind FDR’s dubiously legal measures — or certain other examples I think we can both name. Granted, things will have to get pretty bad first, but they’re heading that way. It’s in the longer term that I would expect to see decentralization cut in hard.

    Raymond, that’s high praise!

    Antony, the downside of encouraging people to do their own research is that a minority of eccentrics will end up holding bizarre opinions. The upside is that you’re less likely to have government officials doing the same thing, and enforcing those opinions with the machinery of the law.

    Higiena, welcome to the party! 😉

    Roy, rigid dogmatism based on a simplistic view of what’s happening is also a form of denial. It’s a very common one right now, too.

    Chicory, er, what? I have yet to meet Evangelical Christian wokesters. If they’re running around in your area, we’re moving into stranger territory than I thought.

    Mac, if you need anything, get it now. It’ll be more expensive in a few months and you’ll have less money. Other than that, collapse now!

    Michael, I see you haven’t read my other writings on climate change. I’m quite familiar with the paleoclimatological literature and the models I’m using are based on that; I’ve also predicted in print that within a few hundred years world population will be about 5% of its current level. Since I was making a brief comment on the subject, I didn’t go into vast detail; you might try searching this blog for other discussions of it.

    Mog and Sardaukar, thanks for both of these.

    Lazy, I’m glad to hear that you’re getting more questions. Do you have a copy of the Master Conserver papers? Print out a few of the easy-to-use ones and pass them around; as the price of energy keeps rising, you may see quite a bit more interest.

    Ryanon, oh, there are certainly feedback loops, just as politics and culture both loop back around to influence the imagination. I’ll be talking about that, using a particular example, in a couple of weeks.

    Mog, also an opportunity to think for yourself and do your own research…

    Kfish, I know. As for how you can help, depends on your local situation and resources. I’ve been increasing my support to certain specific charities that I know I can trust; it won’t save more than a few, but at least it’ll help them.

    Jerry, it’s wry amusement, but it’s amusement. As for the Cos.Doc. series, sure — you can find it all here. It’ll also be in print in book form next year.

    Grover, ha! Not that I’d recommend anything illegal, you understand… 😉

    Nachtgurke, excellent! Now you know one of the further dimensions of “collapse now and avoid the rush”…

    Oilman2, I saw a lot of that a couple of years ago, not so much now. I’m not surprised to see it again, since identifying dissent as psychological illness is quite popular on the leftward end of things. (The right prefers to identify it as moral evil, of course.)

  94. JMG,

    If the progression goes like this: Imagination –> Culture –> Politics

    Then I assume we can add reality on the end like this:

    Imagination –> Culture –> Politics –> Reality (Science)

    Ideally, Imagination, Culture and Politics would react to feedback given by Reality so that ideas that actually work get chosen. But, it’s astonishing to realise that we live in a culture and politics that is completely detached from Reality and is running entirely on Imagination.

    Corona is a prime example. I remember Merkel saying every single person on the planet needed to be vaccinated for the pandemic to be over. That’s was merely a practical impossibility when she said it. But with the recent Pfizer admissions, we know that there was also no science behind the idea. It was imaginary both in a practical and a scientific sense. This wasn’t some wacko on the internet, it was the leaders of our societies.

    Another example from here in Australia. The official energy plan, written by our ex-chief scientist (who is supposed to know about Reality), relies on technology that, by his own admission, does not yet exist. In other words, it’s imaginary.

    Reality, of course, is telling us in the most un-subtle ways that all this stuff doesn’t work and yet it plays no role. Meanwhile, the people who claim to know most about reality (Science) are the ones most trapped in their own Imagination. What a time to be alive.

  95. We would like to live as we once lived. But history will not permit it.

    John F. Kennedy

    Speech to the Forth Worth Chamber of Commerce

    delivered 22 November 1963

  96. Antony from Watertown #64: what I noticed during the crackdowns was that I had no trouble finding stories that pushed the COVID narrative, and very little trouble finding material proclaiming that COVID vaccines were the Mark of the Beast; filled with nanobots ready to hijack your brain; part of a UN depopulation plot. There was, however, a decided shortage of informed messages from medical professionals criticizing anything to do with the vaccine rollout — as any medical professional who spoke up quickly became an unlicensed medical professional.

    I suspect a fair amount of the flat earth/QAnon/etc. material out there was put out by parties seeking to muddy the waters and discredit any opposition that may arise. I also realize that it would be difficult to distinguish between a paid troll and somebody lost in an echo chamber, so I try to avoid speculations along that line. As with “Who Bombed Nordstream,” one can note anomalies whilst acknowledging the truth may never come out.

    Chicory Omnibus #67: I suspect a fair number of these Evangelical wokesters are aspiring social climbers, especially if they got Woke at college. Wokeness is the current favored religion of the PMC classes, and proclaiming your Woke credentials is a good way of ingratiating yourself with people of higher status.

    I noticed that many of the Pagan community’s early adopters of Wokeness were bitter ex-Evangelicals who transferred their anger at Big Daddy Jesus into anger at White Supremacist Patriarchy. I would guess a fair number of them found in Wokeness many of the things they missed from Evangelical Christianity — clearly delineated rules of right and wrong and ontologically evil enemies they were allowed to hate being chief among those.

    As far as reaching out to the transgender community, I was amused by the Tradcath kvetching about Pope Francis feeding homeless trans women and calling them “Ladies.” The Vicar of Christ on Earth treated the poorest and most despised with respect? What’s next, dinner with tax collectors, prostitutes, and Samaritans?

  97. Winning at Bureaucratic Scrabble
    , an observations by Amanda

    They taught me tricks to getting what you want where you want. As a child. In a rotating land of giant public servants.
    Say,
    “I work hard!”
    to get around the protestant work ethic.
    Do force yourself daily.
    How right you are.
    “We just give him what he wants to hear.”
    to get a good mark from that stupid marksist teacher on the management qual track.

    When getting around to getting around all and such obstacles,
    these important things absorb you,
    I wonder now where might you be.

  98. Thank you JMG. Does anyone know where to find more details of the Pfizer executives testimony? I did a briefseach and nothing came up.
    Thank you.

  99. One of my most grounded and happy moments recently was when I picked up a bunch of files and a old worn axe dirt cheap from a thrift store. And made that axe as good as new with one of the files.

  100. JMG: Thought provoking as usual. The current climate feels a lot like the fall of 2008. Still waiting for November.

    Three years ago you started the Dancers at the End of Time series. I think I should read that again.

    I hope none of us are sitting still while waiting for the fall. I’ve changed jobs and moved across country. Winter is nearly here and there’s still a lot of work to do.

  101. Thanks for an outstanding piece, definitely my “read of the month.” I am somewhat chagrined to recognize the part that the “conspiracy culture” strategy had on my own thinking, despite my belief for a long time that I had largely reasoned my own way into those views. I have a faint hope that I may yet possess a few independently reasoning neurons, given that I have found myself more and more questioning of the competence of our so-called “leaders” as it has become more undeniably obvious that most of them were not “hired” because they were part of any grandiose brain trust.

    You perfectly describe the mechanisms behind the steady loss of trust in authority by the public. But it is discouraging to see how many are still clinging to what they are being told despite all the evidence that we are being manipulated and lied to.

  102. “2) in the face of #1, stepping away from authoritarianism, reducing the size and power of the federal government, and restoring more autonomy and self-determination to states and local governments.

    Personally, I’m hoping for #2.”

    I’m currently plowing through “Medieval Mercenaries: The Business of War” by William Urban with a foreword by Terry Jones (yes, that one).

    It’s quite a read; gruesome, bloody, violent, savage, and makes me wonder how the peasants managed other than keeping their heads down and enduring.

    Option #2 might mean self-determination and tiny, localized states but it doesn’t mean the absence of constant, unending wars. They’re just smaller and more localized wars.

    “Medieval Mercenaries” is also a reminder that just because a leader is a priest doesn’t mean he’s going to be easy to get along with. Plenty of bishops led armies to develop their own power and status.

    Yeek.

  103. @ Bei Dawei #95

    I’ve read “Soon I Will Be Invincible” by Austin Grossman and loved it. Great book and a great dissection of some of the silliness in superheros.

  104. There sure was a lot to chew on. I did have to get over my knee jerk reaction to your comments on the Ukraine situation. I don’t think anyone back at the end of February anticipated what is going on now. The prudent thing at this point in time, especially with winter setting in early in some places (Minnesota had some of it’s earliest snowfall October 14th) would be to take advantage of the situation.

    I wish I could say that most Americans are prudent, but some of your other points touched on, especially the point about how obvious it was by 2002 that the USA was in a downward spiral, sting a bit. It was by about that time that I’d definitely realized that the future of the USA wasn’t going to be better than I had had as a child growing up in the 80s and 90s. Roads that had to be replaced every couple of years, buildings that couldn’t last twenty years stood beside buildings that lasted over a hundred, gas was well over a dollar a gallon and I was easily persuaded that a career in the trades wouldn’t be as good as a career in computers so I followed the advice both society and family against my own intuition. Definitely not prudent. It’s ironic considering how obvious it was to me that the lifestyle being lived was just placing bandages on top of bandages, similar to how troubleshooting computer problems, and patching of bugs worked. I guess those were all features of the imagination becoming a part of the culture, and that same line of thinking is REAL obvious in politics these days. A hard reboot is on its way. Amazing how many problems a powercycle solved, hahaha.

    Now, I’m not wistfully regretting what transpired, but happy that I’ve kept my health well enough and am laboring away at the railroad, and more importantly learned some lessons. Definitely one of those is not to trust those who manage us. It’s kind of reminiscent of our Founding Fathers and the Tea Party. Things are perhaps coming full circle?

  105. RE: Mississippi, Owen, JMG

    The headwaters of the Mississippi are here in Minnesota, and oddly enough, it was flooding so strongly at the beginning of summer that docks were being pulled away and now those docks are having to be lowered from the usual positions. There was a huge swing from too much precipitation to now not enough. But it’s not just a problem with the Western influence on the Mississippi’s

  106. “Mark L, crisis has its own imperatives. If we get a serious economic crisis, and someone can step up to the plate offering a credible plan for resolving it, my take is that it will get the same kind of majority that lined up behind FDR’s dubiously legal measures.”

    Three years ago I would have agreed with you, but having watched the two parties perfectly disagree on just about everything during the covid crisis (as unnecessary as the “crisis”may have been) I’m not so sure anymore.

    Eventually the 50/50 division has to break down, but it’s proving amazingly resilient, even when the party in the lead has to shoot themselves in the foot (as with Team Red choosing this year to overturn Roe v. Wade) to restore the balance.

    Real crisis will change things I’m sure. I’ve yet to live through one…

  107. Echoing @ Prizm, the vast majority of the typical flow in the Mississippi River derives from the central and eastern portions of the watershed where average rainfall is much higher, so drought in the Rockies and western plains has a minimal effect.

    Nearly the entire watershed is running a precipitation deficit at the moment, with areas of severe drought from Minnesota down to Arkansas and westward across the plains, and moderate drought in Tennessee and Kentucky. The Rockies are actually doing OK thanks to a strong monsoon season.

    https://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/

  108. The grandchildren of the people who overthrew the Czar are not just shrugging their shoulders, they are often the Neocons, i.e. Max Boot, and are advocating for nuclear war with Russia, promoting the Ukrainian hypocrisy and helping to destroy this country, all because their parents were kicked out of power by Stalin.

  109. Up north in Canada, some of us are not waiting for the fall – we are watching it, live, in real time! I will not go into much detail (I reserve that to JMG’s Towards Ecosophy blog’s open posts on Cooties-19), but I am watching the daily livestream of the six-week inquiry into the justification of the Government of Canada’s invocation of the Emergencies Act (reprise of the War Measures Act) in order to violently crush a remarkably peaceful and large protest by the Freedom Convoy in Ottawa during late January and the first half of February this year. Along with many thousands of other Canadians, I am bearing witness to this inquiry which has dozens of persons testifying and 82 lawyers representing every imaginable party affected by the protest and the Emergencies Act. We are only five days into the investigation, but I can say that the various parties which are playing the children’s classic game of “not me!” regarding responsibility for everything that went wrong has quickly amped up to the brutal game of “throw the other guy under the bus”. All the dirty politics and in-fighting within the municipal government of Ottawa is exposed to everyone to see (including secretly recorded telephone conversations with downright incriminating evidence – juicy stuff!); one clique of politicians blaming the rival clique of politicians; politicians blaming cops; cops blaming politicians; lines being blurred; lines of authority being crossed. The credibility of nearly everyone testifying is being put through the shredder: careers are going up in flames in front of the camera. And this is just the ‘small fry’ so far! Things should really heat up when the Prime Minister and his Cabinet of psychos get torn to shreds by a plethora of the country’s best constitutional and human rights lawyers who are “out for blood”!

    The “mask” of decency that the “authorities” have been trying so hard to keep firmly planted in place is being ripped off by this process. Even the media is revealing some of the sordid details of the shale-show that is presently taking place in Ottawa. Of course, what is happening right now is not an actual collapse in power, but once a collapse of legitimacy becomes complete, a collapse in power cannot be too far off. May the divine law of justice (karma) come into full effect over this whole sordid affair.

  110. Grover, I’m very glad to hear that!

    Oilman2, it’s all in the air — and it’s a matter of watching to see what lands first, and with how loud a splat.

    Blue Sun, calendars are made with a month of Sundays and a blue-ribbon Holstein bore alive two insurance salesmen. Wow.

    Sardaukar, it’s what you’d expect from a bunch of chickenhawks like the Neocons. I want to see them lead the assault onto the beaches — or do just about anything other than sitting at their keyboards trying to get other people killed.

    Mark, now there’s a blast from the past. I read the “Basic Call to Consciousness” too, when it first came out, and it’s still worth reading.

    Blue Sun, no doubt. They might just succeed in flushing their last shreds of credibility in the process, too.

    Team10Tim, I’m not familiar with the book. I read the Newsweek article, though, and it struck me as very nicely on target.

    Kimberly, exactly. It has never occurred to most members of the privileged classes that they can’t snap their fingers and get whatever they want. Their awakening is likely to be very harsh indeed.

    Kerry, thanks for this! Dmitry’s essays from that period are first-rate, and still shape my view of the most likely way this will unfold.

    Patricia M, here’s actual footage of the executive:
    https://twitter.com/TrueNorthCentre/status/1579830040858329089

    Anon, depends on the boomer. I’m technically a boomer, you know, and I haven’t owned a television since 1983.

    Sardaukar, thanks for this.

    Robert, in this complex world of ours, it’s much more useful to assume that somebody who disagrees with you might actually have had different experiences than yours, than to assume that any disagreement can only be a product of prejudice and your experiences are universal.

    Will1000, this doesn’t surprise me in the least. I wish it did, but…

    Bob, there’s a point to that!

    Mike, nicely summarized.

    Dave, exactly. My understanding is that Orwell based his novel on his own experiences; Newspeak, for example, was based on the “Basic English” that the Beeb was pushing in those days in broadcasts to the colonies, in an effort to dumb things down. Thanks for the link; I’ve bookmarked your essays to get to when I have time.

    Telestosaturnas, welcome to the commentariat! I have no idea whether it’s possible to think your own thoughts while watching television; I haven’t owned one since 1983 and haven’t watched one since 1980. Nonetheless, it’s interesting to note that so many television-watching Americans seem to have rejected the propaganda being shoved at them.

    Jbucks, is that your work? It’s very good.

    Carlos, I’d add flying cars to that list…

    DaHoj, yep. What’s more, they’re right: collapse by and large benefits the poor and working classes. It’s just that they don’t write the histories.

  111. Simon, yep. Reality is also at the beginning of the sequence: the imagination is partly drawn from reality and partly a reaction against it. So it becomes a creative cycle — it’s just that right now what it’s creating is a world-class debacle.

    Degringolade, that’s chilling. Thank you.

    Amanda, thank you. That’s two poetic responses so far!

    Bill, it’s been chased off the search engines. Try this:
    https://twitter.com/TrueNorthCentre/status/1579830040858329089

    Seideman, nicely done.

    Piper, I can’t speak for everyone but I’m keeping very busy indeed.

    Willem, remember that a great many of the people who still believe realize at some level that if they’re wrong, the future of their dreams has already gone down the ol’ crapperoo. That’s a powerful incentive to blind faith.

    Prizm, things are indeed coming full circle. I wonder how many people have noticed that the US is just a few years short of the 250th anniversary of its founding. As for the Mississippi, so noted and thank you for the correction.

    Mark, oh, it’ll take real crisis to make a significant change. It’s precisely the lack of real crises, and the plethora of manufactured pseudocrises, that’s allowed the divide-and-conquer gimmick to stay in place as long as it has. Thanks also for the data on the Mississippi — I should have expected that, since the data from the Hypsithermal involved an eastward shift in the tree line big enough that the Ohio river valley was prairie.

    Donald, some of them, no doubt.

    Ron, enjoy the popcorn. I hope the spectacle continues to entertain.

  112. Great stuff as usual.

    About 6 months ago I completely (well mostly) stopped talking to people, friends, and family about anything except soccer. I’m a big soccer fan even with all the problems and money and ownership issues. Once you have 22 guys or gals on a field it is just a game and something you can’t know the outcome. It is the only interesting thing left on TV, but only when it’s live. Soccer is better than other sports because no commercials while in play and easy to avoid them. Especially if you turn off the sound or find a direct stream with just crowd noise (my favorite) or attend a game in person.

    Before talking about only soccer I found that I was actually unable to have conversations with people. Not because I’m not knowledgeable or what not, but because of the inevitable cognitive dissonance that I would bring out in people. To the point of losing friends etc. I’m happy to admit that I have always pushed people’s buttons so to speak but most of my life I could be with all kinds of people and we could agree to disagree, debate, etc, but not have true irreconcilable differences. I thought this was maybe me becoming older and a “grumpy older man” so to speak. ( Only 51 so not really that old). My point is that I thought it was something wrong with me, not that I was planning on changing who I am.

    I am an INTP personality for what that is worth, and think that does have something to do with it. Us INTPs are the “thinkers” or the “logicians” with a strong affinity for the truth. So hence we like Mr. Greer! (I’m guessing our host is an INTP and, like me, at least a bit on the spectrum). So, even though I would try to talk to “regular” people in the same ways as my entire life I have found that the reactions have become much stronger and emotional and non-questioning. (like one friend calling the Russian invasion a “GENOCIDE!” And turning and walking away when I pointed out that at that time the number of civilians killed was about 3,400. And that number was from the “official” MSM. This was after he fact checked me on some covid thing or other and held his phone up saying, smugly, “PolitiFact says that is fake news.” I wish I had known then but I didn’t look it up until later that PolitiFact is funded by the Koch brothers. But looking back I realize that wouldn’t have mattered. Facts don’t matter anymore. Only proper thoughts.) Where have all the doubting Thomases gone?

    For many years I thought it was me that was somehow wrong or that I had changed in some way, but it wasn’t until about 6 months ago that I finally figured out that it isn’t me, it’s them. ( I know… You’ve been telling us this all along…)

    And it has definitely been a frog not jumping out of the slowly warming pot kind of thing for me. I didn’t recognize exactly how much warmer the pot had gotten. But then I realized that I can’t talk to anyone about anything but soccer or I won’t have any friends at all. (Even that is hard, not because we might disagree on teams, strategy, players or other aspects of the game, but because most people(by most I mean 99%) buy into the benevolent billionaire owner Bull you know what but i digress). So that’s what I have done. And generally it has helped tremendously. No more arguments. No more cognitive dissonance for other people when I present them with researched facts on different subjects. I even cut out all non soccer news. Well most of it anyway. MSM is constantly trying to slip it to me under the door so to speak. But no more npr, which used to at least be somewhat tolerable back about 25 years ago. Again the frog in the pot.

    Then about a month ago my old buddy invited me to a new book event with the authors. You know a
    scattering of people a presentation on the book. Autographs then snacks and small talk. I won’t get into the book but here is the email that I haven’t been able to send to one of the authors:

    Dear Kathy,

    We met at “bookstore” and were discussing that I was writing a book. As you recall I did say that I wasn’t allowed to talk about politics anymore but only about soccer. The reason for that was exactly because of the reaction that you had, especially when you said “this discussion is over!”

    I’m really glad that I came to the discussion and bought your book. You see I am on the spectrum and don’t react in “normal” ways to people and emotions, or maybe more accurately can’t read people. I am much more comfortable either reading, writing or listening or playing music. I am also very interested and driven to discovering and knowing the truth about things of all sorts be it history, science, politics, or almost any topic. Sometimes I’m wrong, and will admit it, but I try to then learn more about the topic so that I don’t make the same mistake twice

    Why am I glad I bought your book? Because it taught me the reason that people react like you did when I bring up what are researched points of fact. It is because they are experiencing cognitive dissonance.

    From your book:

    “People experiencing cognitive dissonance commonly do one or more of three things to relieve the pain: They attack the speaker who is delivering the message that causes the pain; they dismiss the message itself as false; or they decide to simply stick to their previous belief without even considering the evidence for the message.”

    As I mentioned above I am not good at reading people’s emotions in a “normal” way. But am I correct to think that you were experiencing cognitive dissonance with some of the information that I presented to you?

    You will note that at no time was I rude to you in any way, even when you threw your arms in the air and said, “This discussion is over!” And walked to the other side of the room to, I believe, get away from me.

    I would be glad to provide accurate, truthful, documented information about any of the topics we discussed but I would be concerned that it would just cause a similar reaction. I guess I just have to stick with discussing soccer.

    Sincerely,

    Eric in MD

    That’s how bad it is. The book had a whole chapter on why you need to recognize your cognitive dissonance so we can teach you something that we want you to know about and support and when I discussed issues related to the topic of the book in question I got that response.

    So I realize now that, as your article articulates so we’ll, we are in a new phase of the decline. I understand why people vote for Trump or Biden (different sides same coin). I understand why people, in large numbers, are turning away from our society or are being pushed out. I can honestly say that just talking about soccer has been profoundly freeing and has made me much happier. At the same time I can find outlet by making comments on random websites ;-). And writing, playing music, gardening, and playing and watching soccer. (And my ducks and chickens and family and frisbee).

    We have definitively entered this new world and I worry for all of us as we move forward. I pray that our children and grandchildren will live past this time and be able to live happy, productive, free and free-thinking lives.

    Sorry for the long screed. Haven’t posted in a while, really almost a year and didn’t realize I had this on my chest until I read your post.

    Thanks

  113. The veneer may be dangerously thin in spots, but many of the plates are still spinning, if wobbly. And why not a mixed metaphor for these mixed up times. As I mentioned here a while back, I quit a desk job back in March and have been running a small bike shop, part of a local chain.

    I’m gradually increasing my shade tree mechanic knowledge, and getting better and faster, too. Repairs all day long, but new sales have been very very sluggish. Bikes were in high demand during the pandemic thing, but now most who wanted bikes have them. And many who bought one have decided they don’t want it, and so the used market has tanked as well. Still, at some point people will need to conserve, and bikes will be back.

    I also finally got rid of my “smart” phone—something I was required to acquire for the aforementioned desk gig. I bought a flip phone that has no ability to connect to the Internet. I also switched carriers and went from $80 a month to $10. I was not a big user, and often left it at home, so it was more the principle of not having something because I feel it is truly a demonic bit of technology. I used to joke that the downfall of civilization can be traced to the day the telephone crawled down off the kitchen wall.

    As to what we may be headed for, I’m currently reading My Antonia by Willa Cather. I serendipitously found it in my neighbor’s trash/take me pile after getting it in my head I should read her. What a fantastic writer. And those people, only a little over a hundred years removed, lived such different lives. I’d say landing somewhere between the Civil War and WWI wouldn’t be so bad–in fact we should be so lucky. Certainly not romanticizing that hard life, but it does have its pluses, which would include simply a stronger connection to what we might call reality, and our place in that reality. I am concerned though that the much greater population and the much more widespread availability of weapons great and small will make that scenario more fraught.

    My biggest task while Waiting for the Fall is planting seeds for my son, who will be 13 next month. I need to keep a balance between giving him things to think about and not frightening him unproductively. Part of me mourns that he will almost surely not have the relative comforts I enjoyed, despite living a relatively frugal existence. He knows I am not vaccinated and that I resisted all that nonsense; that I am a bicycle nut but not a climate change nut; that I think going to college at this point is crazy. My little rental cottage is a bit rough and tumble, but cozy enough (too many bikes and bike parts and books) though none of the amenities like at his mom’s house–no tv, cable, dishwasher, microwave, or heat in the bathroom. But it all builds character, all this collapsing now and beating the rush.

  114. With a lot of Marks, I guess I should have identified myself as Mark, formerly M (the original, capital, M) I would have stuck with that, which was a glitch way back when, but I got a new computer and a bunch of stuff did not carry over. So I guess I will be markorollo going forward

  115. In other words, PR methods are subject to diminishing returns.

    Also “waiting for the fall” – I see what you did there, it’s a pun! Fall as in collapse and fall as in autumn.

  116. Freud’s theories were affected by his mentor, another Viennese doctor…When women started talking about dreams in which they had sex as children with their fathers or other men, Freud cooked up the Oedipus complex to explain them, though a much simpler explanation was that they had had sex and repressed the memory…Freud’s mentor liked to have sex with his young patients, and such an explanation would have caused him a lot of problems…Soooo….

  117. More from our experts.

    Bill Gates says: “Political polarization may bring it all to an end, we’re going to have a hung election and a civil war”.

    I say if a civil war happens, it Is Gates himself who is going to be hung.

    OK this was slightly morbid. How about this: Experts say that proposals for peace in Ukraine are dangerous, but nuclear brinksmanship with Russia is safe. And effective.

  118. “Also, look for some career politician to make a bold move, like oh, say, resigning from the Party saying something like “serving the will of the people is more important”.”

    Tulsi Gabbard just resigned from the Democratic Party. Previously Bari Weiss departed from The NY Times with a rather scathing resignation letter. We can hope this is the beginning of a trend.

    As to the returning popularity of nuclear power among the PMC, the energy supply disaster in Germany has been noticed. (I’ve even read things comparing this to a modern version of the Morganthau Plan.)

    The math for renewable energy does not work. So if we can’t burn fossil fuels, and renewable energy can’t maintain the current lifestyle, but also the current lifestyle is not negotiable, the PMC is between a rock and a hard place. So we need fission until the magic fusion plants work. Never mind where we are going to get tritium by the ton. (Current price $30,000 per gram)

    https://www.science.org/content/article/fusion-power-may-run-fuel-even-gets-started

    Speaking of wind, locally we had a 9 day run of no wind at all, then one day of wind, then so far 7 more days of calm, with at least one more expected, but Saturday we will have wind for sure 😉

    It has been delightfully sunny though, at least for the ten and a half fours of daylight we have. The clear skies end Saturday too.

    One last note, our hippy dippy governor who has been agitating for the dams on the Snake River to be removed to improve fishing vacations for his political donors made a comment about not doing that until the transportation and power benefits the dams provide have been replaced. Those for dams move barge traffic all the way to Lewiston ID. Replacing that heavy lift capability is not simple. A pair of nuclear plants would replace the power, and it would take at least a new dual track electric rail line to even start replacing the shipping from the barges.

  119. I feel like this is particularly true with regards to the war in Ukraine. If you make the point that maybe in the larger scheme of things it just doesn’t matter who controls the government of that country, all of the sudden you’re a facist apologist. The media has sold a Mannichean fantasy, and anyone who questions that is suspect.

  120. I have been seeing people not react to all the craziness ( rising electrical rates due to funding subsidies given out for solar and all electric and charging stations; insane sex/gender education and no critical thinks skills taught in the government schools; Our state government telling us we will no longer be able to buy generators, weedwackers, regular cars and trucks, chainsaws, gas furnaces, woodstoves, etc… starting in just a few years; outright crime ignored, infrastructure not kept up, local government workers not seeming to do their jobs…). But, maybe it is like your essay says, and they are just going to ignore it. That is a pleasant thought. I had been wondering if no one in California was paying attention, because any number of these things should have people out in the streets rioting or protesting or something I would have thought.

    I think some of the stuff people just realy dont believe will happen ( no furnaces or generators or chainsaws, or trucks for example ) Certainly none of the working people I talk to think they could do their jobs with electric chainsaws, electric stump grinders ( can you imagine ! ) or electric work trucks. It is just ridiculous to them. But, they are not upset or worried and I think dont even think about it.

    I was wondering about this, but yes, it will be better to see it all just not come to pass with a wimper as it is ignored and people just go about their lives ! I was thinking there would be a thriving black market importing generators and chainsws and gas water heaters over the state line. But, this essay is food for thought, maybe it will just not come to pass, nobody will worry about it nor try and convert ahead of the date, and the date will come and go….

    ( The clerisy ones that live by me have their all electric house, tesla, with a Liquified gas whole house generator there for backup ! And they hire these other people who use stump grinders, gas wood chippers, large chainsaws and other property maintanance similar tools. They had their all electric houses, rebuilt after the fire, using gas powered wood mills, lots of concrete products, backhoes, cranes and large trucks, etc….. Lots of irony)

  121. JMH and David BTL,

    “S/he did their own research” is a put down on social media. Particularly since 2021 when a few people began voicing concerns about the vaccines.

    I was one of them. The data being published weekly by the UK government showed a clear trend for higher covid case rates among the vaccinated than the unvaccinated. It was not clear that the vaccines were a complete dud, but it was obvious they were not the silver bullet they were being promoted as.

    But the fact that I was using data from the UK government didn’t matter. The argument was howled down on social media – disparaged, muted, blocked.

    Not only were people not thinking for themselves they resented anyone who did. It was a case of obey or be ostracised.

    Since that somewhat searing experience I have noticed how many news stories in mainstream sources include the word “experts” in the heading or the lede. It is astounding. Constant repetition of the same word, story after story.

    I see it now as what JMG refers to as a “thought stopper”. We are encouraged to pause critical thinking because someone who is referred to as an expert has spoken and our job is to swallow.

    – Darren

  122. Ron M, that is terrific news. I’ve been appalled by what I’ve seen of the official response to the truckers’ protest, and by Covidian policies up Canada way more generally. May the karmic scythe of justice work its way right up the bureaucratic and political hierarchy.

    I’d like to think something similar could happen here in USA Covidistan, but that seems like a lot to hope for.

  123. Greetings JMG,

    Recently, Adam Curtis came out with a new docu “TraumaZone” which shows the fall of the Soviet Union from archived material by the BBC. The parallels to today’s situation are shocking:
    – Explosion of a major pipeline
    – Nuclear disaster
    – Horrible war in Afghanistan
    – Spreading poverty and distrust in the managerial elites

    A pertinent scene is the questioning of a KGB officer in front of a comittee. He denied spying on people and collecting information. I can see why some liken the current state of the West to Communism but for me it’s parallel evolution. Any system posed with the same problems and threats will react more or less in the same manner.

  124. @JMG #129 – thank you for that. All I could find was the sort of stuff I posted the link to. As for quiet quitting on another front, this lifelong* political junkie has just thrown up my hands and said “A pox on both your houses,” with an actually sick feeling.

    *Lifelong, but with a slow retreat. I stopped taking notes on the SOTU message in 2008, when I realized I could not find one single thing I could pin down in that speech. A brief return to even listening to it in 2016.

    Speaking of chaos, we’re having a very unseasonable cold snap in Florida right now. After being adjusted to temperatures in the 80s. Or maybe that’s just Florida.

    And a blessed Samhain to those who celebrate it; and Dia de Los Muertos likewise. Why don’t we consider 2022 to be the equivalent of that holiday on a longer time scale?

  125. JMG,

    Excellent essay as always. I think you’re 100% correct on where we’re at. The thing I’ve realized reading history is that there really are these weird periods where society seems to be in a sort of holding pattern; consider Toqueville’s warning in 1848 that the french were “sleeping on top of a volcano”. Nobody really believed him – and he sheepishly admitted later he didn’t believe his own argument fully, either – because the *appearance* of calm was everywhere. Of course Toqueville was aware of this; he was simply arguing that the “calm” was very decieving, and that if one listened to the grumblings in the alleys and around the kitchen tables of Paris, it should be clear that the system could blow up any day now.

    To Toqueville’s own amazing shock, it only took a couple of months before all of Europe exploded.

    One small nitpick though: I think you’re being a mite too generous in terms of the “great-grandchildren” bit. In some cases, it was the actual *children* of the old bolsheviks who fought in 1917 that stood there and let the system collapse around them. Vyacheslav Molotov himself only died in late 1986. The Soviet Union really came and went in the span of a single human lifetime.

  126. @Mark L (#124):

    That resiliant 50/50 division is precisely what keeps the dollars flowing into the election coffers of the politicians. I think almost all politicians (on each side) work hard to keep it pretty evenly balanced. A sense of frustrated urgency opens most voters’ wallets. And the Prime Directive is to keep the wallets open and the cash flowing forever. Actually solving the nation’s problems would be less profitable, in the short run, for the political management class than keeping them unsolved.

  127. Sorry JMG, that was for the benefit of the commenter. I realise you and Dimitri have been running around the same garden for a while!

  128. Hi JMG. Another timely essay. The thing that really jumped out at me was your closing paragraph about people simply not showing up to prop up a rotten system. I wonder how that will manifest? A gradual passive retreat into the domestic economy and away from consumerism is gentle vote of no confidence in ‘The Future’? I love the lack of violence implied by a monumental cultural Gallic shrug of indifference. As you have pointed out elsewhere, the enforced break from the work treadmill a great many people experienced has allowed consciousness of how miserable that experience is to surface.
    There are many complicated reasons for the labour shortage we currently have, not least ill health, caring for loved ones who are ill, lack of affordable childcare, poor skills matches, but I think a general disengagement from identifying self with corporate work environment may be the most profound in the long run. Do you think the choice to go to war with your energy supplier is (maybe unconsciously) an attempt to starve the masses back into compliance?

  129. Thank you! Yes, I wrote it last night. I had the idea to write a sonnet about a particularly cocky advertisement a few weeks ago, but your post gave me the nails to put it all together. It kind of wrote itself, to be honest.

  130. I must thank you, again, for your perspectives. I watched that whole BBC series and didn’t take away any of what you’re saying. I just thought it an interesting recap of the series of failed psychology and marketing fads of the 20th Century.
    What I took away is that Lincoln was right when he said, “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time.” Only described in terms of modern psychoanalysis and marketing.
    I have had a sense for a couple of decades that more and more people are getting more and more disillusioned but they are still not facing reality, as it is too unpalatable; they still want very much to believe. It is, I think, the driving force behind the populist movements that are gaining force, as life is not unfolding as-seen-on-TV. People have been feeling disquiet in the back of their minds as the moths of reality begins to eat away at the gorgeous robes of the civil religion of Progress.
    James Kunstler wrote, many years ago, they did not understand where their wealth came from in the first place, so they don’t understand why it is going away now and are seeking out any plausible proximate cause to get angry about. Hence populists who can stir up anger against those apparent causes get traction. Marketing works, at least for a while until the realization of the lie becomes inescapable.
    But I have also seen some pushback recently, in our municipal elections. For the first time in a while, the slate of candidates for ward councilor and mayor included some voices with some very practical ideas, many of which are similar to things you’ve said in your writings. I actually enjoyed casting my vote early for the first time in a long while for someone I think makes sense.

    Bruce

  131. In re “Now that the corporate-bureaucratic system has lost its legitimacy in the eyes of the public, and the parade of officially approved experts marching past the cameras of the mass media has become a clown show earning more guffaws than genuflections, the unraveling of the current state of political affairs is coming closer by the day.”

    I have recently become aware of a “think tank” (RethinkX) putting into words the idea of the current system collapsing of its own self-undermining futility, BUT, they are certain they already have their finger on the pulse of what will take its place. (And the reason I mention it at all, is that several friends who have become enraptured by this “vision” have ‘pinged’ this stuff onto my radar… and indeed, it is a heady vision in the best Faustian tradition:

    “The prevailing production system will shift away from a model of centralized extraction and the breakdown of scarce resources that requires vast physical scale and reach, to a model of localized creation from limitless, ubiquitous building blocks – a world built not on coal, oil, steel, livestock, and concrete but on photons, electrons, DNA, molecules and (q)bits. Product design and development will be performed collaboratively over information networks while physical production and distribution will be fulfilled locally. As a result, geographic advantage will be eliminated as every city or region becomes self-sufficient. This new creation-based production system, which will be built on technologies we are already using today, will be far more equitable, robust, and resilient than any we have ever seen. We have the opportunity to move from a world of extraction to one of creation, a world of scarcity to one of plenitude, a world of inequity and predatory competition to one of shared prosperity and collaboration. ”

    In this vision, technology is the key to “localized creation from limitless, ubiquitous building blocks …photons, electrons, DNA, molecules and (q)bits.” I am so on board with localised, and so dubious of “limitless”, or that this kind of technology will do anything but centralise key powers in few hands, as is already the trend.

    Executive Summary of “RethinkXing Humanity” here: https://www.rethinkx.com/humanity-executive-summary

    I cannot put into words the disgust I feel at this vision that is so energising to some of my friends… Maybe it is the way that it so clearly envisions The End of livestock farmers such as myself and my husband… 😉

  132. >Not since Ross Perot has there been much out of the Republican side

    Ahem. Perot would want a word with you, he wasn’t Republican, he was an independent. As I recall, the Bushies did some pretty dirty things to him during the ’92 “election” season and part of why Clinton won was that Perot got so ticked off at the Bushies, he decided to sabotage their chances by drawing votes away from them at the last minute.

    Not that Perot would’ve been able to do anything anyway, as the Orange Man discovered when he became the hood ornament of the car…

  133. John–

    It occurs to me that there’s a parallel between Biden’s use of the SPR and, on a much larger scale, Reagan’s exploitation of Alaskan oil–buring through our reserves in a desperate attempt to stay afloat.

    Same song, different verse.

    They’ll be nothing left in the tank shortly. That was always going to be the case eventually, but we could have used those reserves so much more effectively than we have.

  134. JMG’s comments about the elites come nicely with an article I came across written by a guy who was asked to advise billionaires on how to run their secret apocalypse bunkers. No, I’m not joking.

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

    JMG mentioned all the conspiracy TV shows and movies. I think though of all the zombie movies and games, and other global collapse scenarios. Who comes up with these, and who approves spending $100 million to tell these stories? Well, these same elites we’re speaking of. From this I think we can diagnose them with that old problem of, “Obviously we can’t continue as we’re going, therefore everything is going to collapse – suddenly and overnight.” And that’s why they’re building their bunkers.

    Interestingly, they bring up a point you’ve mentioned before: “How do I maintain authority over my security force after the event?” I’ll leave interested readers to glance over the article to read the comical ideas they came up with. The writer makes mention of the environmental and human cost of our wasteful industrial lifestyle, and suggests that apocalyptic visions are a VR escape from this.

    The writer goes on,

    “When the hedge funders asked me the best way to maintain authority over their security forces after “the event,” I suggested that their best bet would be to treat those people really well, right now. […] They were amused by my optimism, but they didn’t really buy it.”

    They prefer their electric shock collars, I suppose.

    Here’s a more recent article on these clowns.

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-10-20/tech-billionaires-are-planning-for-the-apocalypse/101546216

  135. I often read your posts twice. Partly to help the information and advice sink in, and partly because your writing style is so enjoyable. Thanks for what you’re doing here. It’s valuable.

  136. It seems that about the time of Bernays we also started issuing birth certificates from state governments. Everyone suddenly needed a form issued at birth to make them legitimate in the eyes of the legal system. Then they layered on 9 digit numbers because too many had the same name. The idea that some people in a building hundreds of miles away from me can manage the population through a bunch of paperwork and computer programs really is laughable.

    I agree that the true vaccination rate here for the original two doses is much lower than the 67% reported. The rate was around 40-43% nationally at the end of May 2021 when shots were widely available without waiting. Everyone who wanted them got them. Then in June 2021 colleges started mandating shots to return to campus (with the promise masking would be dropped) and states set mask mandates for unvaccinated people. That didn’t move the rate of vaccination much, so in July 2021 the hammer came down and soon there were no exemptions to covid vaccination to just live a normal life.

    Now that the vaccine is back to being more-or-less voluntary (the CDC issuing guidelines to force it on children starting at 6 months has me both nauseous and shocked), we can see what the true acceptance is of the narrative. Unfortunately the 10% or 5% taking them likely hold positions of administrative power over the rest of us and are eager to play tyrant again, I fear.

  137. “All those claims of imminent apocalypse that turned out to be wrong, not to mention all those earnest lectures from celebrities whose lifestyles parade their utter disregard for the eco-pieties they recite, did a fine job of canceling out decades of propaganda about global warming.”

    And we saw the same narrative play out during the Y2K computer bug where planes would fall out of the sky, coffee makers would refuse to make you coffee, your car would refuse to start, pacemakers would get confused and just stop, toilet bowls would refuse to flush. Okay, okay I exaggerated a little about planes falling out of the sky. Sheesh!

  138. Looks like Europe is starting to go. Liz Truss is out as Prime Minister in the UK (looks like she was pushed). My guess is she’s just the first of national leaders to fall; the weather is not really cold yet and things look to get a lot worse. I think that EU bureaucrats are very worried too. I look for lots of finger pointing and attempts to blame somebody else.

    Since this is now the “much-applauded” interconnected world, the USA will feel this (I think pretty hard). Could this be the beginning of the ?

    Grab your popcorn; keep your heads down!

    Cugel

  139. This is a thought-provoking essay that roughly hews to Toynbee’s explanation of how civilizations lose ground and fall, which you have posted about before. I have read and appreciate both Toynbee and Spengler. The primary criticism of Toynbee’s approach is that it ultimately amounts to little more than “what goes up, must come down.” The developments he articulates for the failure of civilization: uncreative elites, disaffected internal and external proletariat, warrior bandits in the borderlands, unsatisfactory institutions, military confusion and the like (with a very late nod to environmental destruction, in Mankind and Mother Earth), are present to some degree all the time in any civilization, which is why one can find examples of highly educated and well-connected commentators decrying the imminent fall of their own societies, even during periods we now look back on as times of expansion and consolidation. People in Georgian England like Blake (who I greatly admire) were talking about the impending fall of kings and governments, and the equivocation and delirious hedonism of the upper classes, as were people in Belle Époque France, and in the 1970s USA, and the 1930s USA, and the 1870s USA, and for that matter the 1790s USA. Jefferson and Madison wrote gloomy predictions of impending social disaster and elite fatuousness, around the year 1800. If you had lived in any of those times, would you have found anything different to say, than the essence of what we see here? And if not, why should we find these words today prescient? This is not an attempted gotcha, but a serious question, as your entire program amounts to a pretty big claim: that *our time* is the hinge of history when all goes into reverse. You have claimed more than once that the failure of Western societies to adopt alternative lifestyles during the 1970s constituted the great failure that led to all the crises to come. You have read enough history to know how often such claims of “our time” being the great moment, have been made before.

  140. Hello John Michael and fellow commenters,

    Every once in a while I come commenting here to offer some continental european perspective that may come along the lines with the current post of JMG’s.

    First reaction reading, I almost spilt my coffee (was working from home yesterday) reading that Greta endorses nuclear energy. That was a good one. How dares she?! 😀 Nuclear energy is stuff for grown-ups, child !

    Anyway, she so said that and Mr Bundeskanzler did get the memo or is it the other way round? Next year, Germany will officially put an end to nuclear energy on german soil. I’m being precautious here because german government didn’t ask our beloved french president to stop our nuclear plants so Germany will be happy to buy some nuclear power from us in the near future. Originally, Germany would have shut down its remaining NPP this year.

    For everyone to get the picture, half of the 60 or so nuclear reactors in France were shut down for most of the year for reasons ranging from expected maintenance to cracks in reactor vat. Prospects remain dire but, at least, I don’t have random power cuts anymore (being surrounded by three NPP in a radius of 50km or so, I guess I can get a little share of it). If some of these kettles runs amok, I’ll warn everyone of you.

    It’s funny the essay talks of the genealogy of PR/advertising rooted in Freud’s work. Freundian “therapy” was all the rage amongst PMC and elites in the 80-90. Lacan’s work was praised and you couldn’t pretend to be a member of the cultural elite without having paid a psychoanalyst during several years. Of course, french people being french, this was mocked, parodied, averted to death in many comedy movies (hence my first exposition to the subject). Today? I guess if you want to be instantly labelled as ridiculous, trying to expose Lacan’s or Freud’s theories in PMC circles would a winning move.

    On the opposite, Jung’s work is much more praised but mostly in fringe circles I happen to visit from time to time.

    Here, since Macron got re-elected but couldn’t get a majority in the National Assembly, things are a little off. Our governement seems to be so much in a coma compared to the 5 years before and the National Assembly has turned into a circus. I guess it’ll turn into a freak show after the next general election in 2027.

    Meanwhile, one half of the country is on strike either officially demonstrating against inflation and poor wages or officiously doing not that much and the other half is busy finding opened gas stations.

    Me, I’m very busy trying to convert some of my savings into home improvements and getting to earn money without spending a whole day sitting on a chair nodding to any quirk from the managers. With a bit of luck, I’ll have a conservatory with a tub inside added to the house by early november and a heat pump to replace my gas heater before winter really comes. Wish my luck.

  141. Hi JMG. The mention or “A Basic Call to Consciousness” in the comments prompted me to investigate and purchase the book. It brought to mind “The Dawn of Everything” by
    David Graeber and David Wengrow. I was particularly interested in their description (after much research) of Uncivilized warlike European pirates interacting and learning from peaceful, civilized indigenous people. They called the Indigenous peoples “Americans” through out the book. Not the way I learned it in public school in the 60s, but you and I have talked about THAT before.
    Have a peaceful Fomhar season.

    Mac

  142. JMG and Kenaz, thank you for the calibrating information about the prevalence of Evangelical wokesters on your end. It also makes a lot of sense that they would be motivated by social climbing. I will definitely vote this election, but I shouldn’t be worrying about politics so much.

  143. >Tulsi Gabbard just resigned from the Democratic Party. Previously Bari Weiss departed from The NY Times with a rather scathing resignation letter. We can hope this is the beginning of a trend.

    Yeltsin was the only one I’m aware of who did what he did, when he did. No other career politician bolted from the Party at the time. It’s also instructive to note that Yeltsin didn’t come to a good end either – he got run out with tar and feathers with a serious drinking problem to show for it all 10 years later.

    But I do have to admire the guy for doing what he did when he did it – it’s easy to look back and say “Oh, he knew what was coming and was just being smart” but he was not looking back, he was looking forward and the future is foggy with low visibility.

  144. >I had been wondering if no one in California was paying attention, because any number of these things should have people out in the streets rioting or protesting or something I would have thought.

    I think it has been easier so far for those sorts of people to pull up stakes and find a new home, which they have been doing so in ever increasing numbers. TX seems to have become a very popular endpoint, for instance.

  145. Having lived through the collapse of the white minority government in South Africa, I think one of the reasons for collapse is that the ruling clique run out of ideas, and the old ideas have stopped working despite enforcement and/or propaganda and brainwashing, and the people come to realize this and accept that fundamental changes are needed.

  146. Well it seems you are right about the growing level of indifference. Liz Truss resigned as PM a few hours ago, and I find that not only does it bother me very little, Im also supremely unconcerned about who gets in next, or who gets in after the election; nothing will change. Preparations for the fall (not the autumn) will carry on quietly here.

    I’m going to have to replace my car this year. I’ve got family commitments that require me to drive around for a couple of hours a week and I will need something capable of carrying heavy loads a few miles to the sea. I find that I’m reluctantly considering diesel. Largely because there’s a realistic chance of being able to make biodiesel in usable amounts myself.

  147. (@David BTL, & all:) Tangentially related to the fall of the USSR and the Eastern Bloc in Europe… but closely related to the idea that culture is downstream from imagination and politics is downstream from culture.

    I found the following books by Tim Mohr and Stephen Coates to be fascinating.

    “Burning down the Haus :punk rock, revolution, and the fall of the Berlin Wall” by Tim Mohr

    It probably helps with this book if you are a punk fan, but its definitely not required. What I found so wonderful about it was the way East Germany simply did not account for something like punk rock, and western music in general, to have such an impact on the younger generation. The Stasi couldn’t keep the tapes out, and they of course couldn’t keep the radio waves from coming into the country. As the influence of punk “came down the tree” one of the ways it earthed out was in events leading to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

    Here is a description: “It began with a handful of East Berlin teens who heard the Sex Pistols on a British military radio broadcast to troops in West Berlin, and it ended with the collapse of the East German dictatorship. Punk rock was a life-changing discovery. The buzz-saw guitars, the messed-up clothing and hair, the rejection of society and the DIY approach to building a new one: in their gray surroundings, where everyone’s future was preordained by some communist apparatchik, punk represented a revolutionary philosophy—quite literally, as it turned out. But as these young kids tried to form bands and became more visible, security forces—including the dreaded secret police, the Stasi—targeted them. They were spied on by friends and even members of their own families; they were expelled from schools and fired from jobs; they were beaten by police and imprisoned. Instead of conforming, the punks fought back, playing an indispensable role in the underground movements that helped bring down the Berlin Wall. This secret history of East German punk rock is not just about the music; it is a story of extraordinary bravery in the face of one of the most oppressive regimes in history.”

    And another wonderful book is “Bone Music: Soviet X-Ray Audio” edited by Stephen Coates who does the excellent British radio show The Bureau of Lost Culture (and related events/publications). This book is about how western music was bootlegged in the USSR onto used X-Rays. It’s the follow up to Coates previous book X-Ray Audio.

    “During the Cold War era, the songs that Soviet citizens could listen to were ruthlessly controlled by the state. But a secret underground subculture of music lovers and bootleggers defied the censors, building recording machines and making their own records of forbidden jazz, rock ‘n’ roll, and Russian music, cut onto used hospital x-ray film. Bone Music is the follow up the acclaimed X-Ray Audio: The Strange History of Soviet Music on the Bone, delving deeper into a forgotten era when being a music fan could mean a lengthy prison sentence, or worse.

    Who made these records? Why did they do it and how was it even possible? Foregrounding interviews and oral testimonies gathered over five years, Bone Music presents the stories of the original bone bootleggers, their customers, musicians, record collectors, and commentators, evoking a spirited resistance to a repressive culture of prohibition and punishment. It reveals that although Western jazz and rock’n’roll were important to the Stilyagi youth culture, the true rebel music was that of forbidden Russian émigrés, gypsy romances, and criminal tunes: the soul songs of a society brutally cut off from its culture.”


    [For those who like audio, these crazy shortwave cats I know did an episode featuring Stephen Coates talking about how the Russians would record off of shortwave to get music for their bootlegs.

    Available to listen to again in archive form here:

    https://www.mixcloud.com/kmtsradio/x-raydio-channel-292-1262022-3955khz-plus-wrmi-extra-mix/

    You can check out Coate’s excellent radio documentary work here: https://bureauoflostculture.podbean.com/%5D


    So all this gets me wondering, what other kind of good stuff might be useful for injecting into the cultural realm, from the imagination, that might be of good to the American people over the coming years? I’ll be continuing to think on that on my walks and rambles.

  148. My favorite moment in CotS was when Curtis was interviewing the daughter of Wilhelm Reich, and she made reference to “wronging a right” (in reference to how Anna Freud, had worked ro destroy Reich’s professional reputation, but now herself was falling from grace), then corrected herself to “righting a wrong”, and Curtis asked “was that a Freudian slip?”. I laughed out loud – genuinely funny quip

  149. >RethinkXing Humanity

    Sounds a lot like Fully Automated Luxury Space Communism.

    On a more serious note, even if you went with something like nano-3d-printers, automated fabricators, you’d still run into the problem that some elements of matter are scarcer than others and those places with the desirable elements, will have the power. You’re starting to see it with Lithium, for instance. Only so many places that have it and it’s not exactly clean or easy to extract either.

  150. Re: David, by the Lake’s question for reference material on the fall of the Soviet Union.

    The Unquiet Ghost, by Adam Hochschild is good read. The book is the result of interviews the author conducted in Russia in 1991 during a brief window when folks seemed willing to reflect on the human cost of a political utopia that seemed to have come to nought. Well written, enlightening read imo.

    The other is (oddly enough) Adam Curtis’ latest, (rather clumsily titled) TraumaZone: What it felt like to live through the collapse of communism and democracy. It’s 5 parts, available on youtube if you just plug the title into the search bar. No voice narration at all, very sparingly subtitled, the film was made after Curtis was given access to everything the bbc shot in Russia between 1985-1999. Gives a very good sense of the texture of everyday life. One can feel pretty well how easily the cataclysmic and the mundane can live side by side. Well worth a watch.

  151. @Denis #156 – and that birth certificate requirement has turned a good many tribal elders into nonpersons, because they can’t prove they were born here. And some Southern black elders from states where nobody was bothering to issue birth certificates to the likes of them. And a few scattered others. But mostly it’s been a headache in the various Indian nations.

  152. >For those of you who weren’t there, the most astonishing thing about the fall of the Soviet Union was that it was accomplished without a shot being fired.

    Not entirely true. They did mow some protestors down with bullets. Not as many as they did in the past though. And there were some people who got run over by tanks as well. What mystifies me is how quickly they pulled the tanks back after killing people. Almost like even they didn’t believe in the tanks either.

    It’s almost like they were all listening to the inverse of that Journey song – “Just Stop Believin'”

  153. @ N.N. Scott #161 – what you’re pinpointing is every Crisis Era – what JMG calls “anacyclosis,” from the ancient Greek experience of the same) and every midpoint age of youth rebellion and cultural ferment that’s ever happened in the U.S.A. And yes, in both cases, the old folks and young fogies howled that society was about to fall. As JMG noted, during the Crisis Eras, it generally did, and was rebuilt along different lines. Likewise during the periods of cultural ferment, major new ideas upset the old verities, and often fed the reforms of the following Crisis Era. Aristotle spotted this. So did an Arab historian further down the line, So have a good many writers with a grasp of the life cycles of nations and political order.

    From the Norse: “wolf age, axe age…brothers will turn against brothers, and cousins against cousins….” [The Prophecy of the Seeress]

    and from ancient Egypt, “To whom can I speak today? The times are very evil.” [The Man Who Was Tired of Life.]

  154. JMG – you provided the Master Conservation information I have shared. I tend to focus more on self-sufficiency and saving money, at lease initially, than the bigger picture which seems to overwhelm. It is discouraging how few people read much beyond sound bites.

  155. FDA had been long underfunded, but dropped the ball in allowing substandard research for mRNA vax. Pfizer ended up admitting the problem when legally pushed. You do not have to be a scientist to recognize the problem. They did not test all participants regularly, for possible infection. After the initial test, they only tested those who reported specific symptoms, even though asymptomatic (and contagious) infection was well established at the time. Exclusions were not clearly demonstrated as well.

    For the geeks/thinkers:

    https://www.fda.gov/media/144434/download moderna https://www.fda.gov/media/151733/download Pfizer https://www.fda.gov/media/159195/download Pfizer young kids

  156. “to a model of localized creation from limitless, ubiquitous building blocks”

    Thanks for that funny bit. That’s a howler. Wander out to your yard and see how much copper you can dig up. The silica you can dig up, but purifying it to make a solar cell is another issue. You will also need purified phosphorus and boron, indium, and probably silver. That all goes into a aluminum frame. Fortunately the aluminum is in the same dirt as the silica was. Purifying it only requires caustic soda, a whole lot of water, fluorospar, graphite (petroleum coke works well) and an amazing amount of electricity.

    There are no limitless building blocks. There are especially no ubiquitous building blocks. The last moron who tried to disperse industry into the villages was Chairman Mao. Look up the Great Leap Forward if you want to see how that came out.

    Ubiquitous building blocks. Snort. Even in the Stone Age trade routes hundreds of miles long existed to move flint and obsidian around because the good stuff isn’t found everywhere.

  157. Eric, many thanks for this. I’ve never done the four-letter personality type business but I’m well over on the spectrum, “adult residual Aspergers” or whatever they call it these days, and yes, I’ve had experiences like the one you had with the author. It’s a source of occasional distress and more than occasional wry amusement to me that so often people, who understand a concept such as cognitive dissonance in the abstract can’t recognize it in themselves!

    Mark, that’s a typical condition in stagflation — sales are way down but repairs are way up. If you can fix bicycles you’ll do well. I’m delighted to hear that you’ve found your way to Willa Cather — a brilliant writer, one of the great voices from that era.

    Ecosophian, heh heh heh.

    Pyrrhus, once Freudian ideas lost their gleam, yeah, the scandals started coming out.

    Ecosophian, one of my English friends responded to the results of one of their general elections a few years back by saying she’d only tolerate a hung parliament if it was a public hanging. That sentiment seems likely to spread…

    Braverzak, oh, it matters. What most people realize but nobody’s willing to admit is that the Russo-Ukrainian war is a defining moment in the twilight of US global hegemony, and the failure of the West’s response to it draws a hard line under the EU’s ambition to expand into a global government. The outcome of this war is going to have an outsized impact on history.

    River, I suspect a lot of people who would otherwise riot in the streets are simply leaving, and a lot of others are assuming (probably accurately) that the current virtue signaling in Sacramento will come to a sudden stop the moment that the lives of the rich are impacted. But I don’t know. It’ll be fascinating to see how it all unfolds.

    Darren, thanks for this. Watching that in action has been fascinating, in a gruesome sort of way.

    Engineer, oh, it’s a little more than convergent evolution. Communism is one way to arrange a society run by cadres of experts who think that their mastery of abstractions makes them uniquely qualified to tell everyone else what to do. The current corporate-bureaucratic system is another way to do exactly the same thing. The ideology is different but the distribution of power is the same, and so are the consequences.

    Patricia M, you’re welcome. Welcome to your postpolitical period; it’s a good deal more pleasant, isn’t it?

    Malcom, thanks for this. You’re right about the generations, of course — I was doing a rough estimate in my head.

    Waterworks, whether going to war with your energy supplier is a subconscious attempt to starve the masses, or a subconscious attempt to get out from under the cognitive dissonance of decrying fossil fuels while using far more of them than the masses do, I think you’re right that there’s something profoundly irrational going on here — and profoundly stupid. Here in the US, certainly, all the other factors you’ve named for the labor shortage have been present for a good long time, and I assume that’s equally true on your side of the pond — thus my sense that there’s a new factor, a recognition by the laboring classes that working on the terms offered them by corporate employers isn’t worth wasting their lives on.

    Jbucks, glad to hear it. I hope you can find more places to post it: it makes a useful point, and does it with considerable verve.

    Renaissance, delighted to hear about your municipal elections! That’s where change starts: local races, local issues, and ideas that work being tested out at that level.

    Scotlyn, oh dear gods. That’s one of the best examples of pure futurist word salad that I’ve seen in years. To call it supremely stupid is to overstate its intelligence; without real physical wealth — raw materials, energy, and human labor — none of the rest of it matters two farts in an Atlantic gale. It’s typical, though, for the more clueless end of the geekoisie to miss that, and get caught up in bizarre fantasies about conjuring wealth out of thin air. Don’t worry about the consequences; there won’t be any — the whole thing will fall to the ground the moment they try doing it in the real world, with real economic factors.

    David BTL, ding! We have a winner. Exactly.

    Hackenschmidt, yep. It really is funny. The one thing the self-anointed lords and masters of the world can’t bring themselves to do is to treat their subordinates like, you know, human beings. This is why they’ll fail, and fall. In an age of decline, personal relationships take precedence over the capacity to manipulate complex organizational and technological structures; Alaric the Goth and Attila the Hun didn’t gather their hordes and sack the Roman world because they were good at gaming the system, the way our current rulers are. They achieved what they did through charismatic leadership and the capacity to win the loyalty of masses of barbarian tribespeople. The same thing will be true this time around…

    CM, you’re welcome and thank you.

    Denis, well, we’ll just have to see what the long term effects of the jabs turn out to be.

    Anon, I don’t claim to be infallible — I missed Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and Liz Truss’s self-inflicted implosion, for example! — but from my perspective, this guy is so far out to lunch he’d better plan on having dinner there too. We’re in stagflation already, with inflation rising as the real economy sags.

    Bei, interesting. Yes, I can see that.

    Rod, yep. I remember that one well.

    Cugel, Truss really went out of her way to shoot herself through all four cheeks at once, but it’s quite possible that she’s simply the first domino to fall. It could get colorful…

    N.N., thank you for an original critique! Inaccurate, granted, but I don’t think you’ve read my other writings and so can be forgiven for the mistake. No, I don’t consider the present time to be the hinge of history. The turning point for Western civilization was in 1914 — compare the growth of European empires before that time to their implosion thereafter. Europe in the aftermath lost power to two successor states, the US and the Soviet Union; the latter collapsed in 1991, and the US is in the process of collapsing now. Technology? Always a lagging indicator — you might check the way that Roman technology continued to improve while the empire stumbled down the slope of decline and fall, and only imploded when the social support system for it fell out from under it. Ours is following a similar trajectory.

    As for Blake, he was quite correct, though a little ahead of his time, to talk about the fall of kings and governments — notice the impact of the Napoleonic wars, followed by the First World War a century later, on exactly those two things — while the European writers of the late 19th century who saw decline and chaos in the near future were quite correct. At this point we’re more than a century into the decline, with much more to come. That’s the crucial point I think you’ve missed: the fall of a civilization unfolds over a timescale of centuries. Ours is no different. Blake was sensitive enough to catch the first rumblings; the writers of the Belle Epoque (have you by any chance read what Péladan had to say about this? He’s worth reflecting on) were poised on the cusp, and knew it; the breakdown of US hegemony is an incident in the Long Descent, and we’ve still got at least another century to go, probably more, before Western civilization bottoms out in a deindustrial dark age from which new civilizations will rise in their turn.

    Sebastien, many thanks for the data points!

    Mac, thanks for this. I didn’t find the book especially useful but — why, do your own research and make up your own mind.

    Chicory, you’re most welcome. I’ll also be voting, but it’s not useful to fret about it too much.

  158. Hi John,

    Superb post.

    In regard to the forthcoming collapse of Europe, two data points for you:

    https://bylinetimes.com/2022/10/19/britains-stark-choice-ahead-transformation-or-collapse/?fbclid=IwAR2Zx-JyUK4llSr6uRbmbKYrdpdoQgHopdT1pgKH6aXC8qNMtuLb-krU4Pc

    “Five years ago, I warned in a study that Europe faces an increasing risk of state failure due to the escalation of interlinked environmental, energy and economic crises – and I found an intriguing pattern: states begin to fail within 15 years of losing their main sources of energy and economic revenue.

    Escalating crisis drives social polarisation, undermining national cohesion and resulting in outbreaks of civil unrest. Without a change of course, these outbreaks coalesce to undermine the functioning of key state institutions. At worst, they can lead to total government collapse and a state of permanent warfare.

    Gripped by multiple crises, Britain now appears to be following a familiar pattern of environmental, energy and economic-driven state failure.”

    https://www.ft.com/content/9dce9754-e3d6-491e-ac3a-1b4488abd5f8

    Nor has he missed another quirk in the timing of TraumaZone. After all, the new British government is keen to launch its own take on laissez-faire shock therapy. “Russians have said to me: Britain is just Moscow in 1988. I do have a sense that this also feels like a place in the very final days of empire. The same strange nostalgia. The same dark pessimism about democracy. And that feeling the ground is now starting to move quite rapidly under our feet. Well, it is, isn’t it?”

    So, if Europe is facing systemic state failure – starting with the UK – I wonder how that will manifest itself.

    Fascinating times.

  159. @JMG – “word salad” is an excellent description. 🙂

    When I was reading it (as my preferred alternative to watching a video presentation that a friend assured me that I would *really* enjoy) I was reminded of Owen trying to make some sense of that Noology brochure in WOH… 😉

  160. Great take, JMG.

    I, too, felt Curtis conflated Bernays with his uncle unfairly. After reading Bernays’ book Propaganda (written before that had become a dirty word), I saw he was just a pompous and mediocre writer, not one to be feared.

    To me, the more important influence on him would have been his involvement in the Committee on Public Information, one of the largest agencies devoted to propaganda the US had ever cobbled together. After all, what they managed to do was astounding.

    First, George Creel wrote Wilson and the Issues in 1916, explaining why President Woodrow would not involve the nation with the war in Europe. After re-election, Creel then headed the Committee and convinced the nation that it needed to enter the war.

    Being part of such an effort to reverse public opinion must have made an enormous impact not only on Bernays, but on everyone (famously like Walter Lippmann) who took part in the Committee’s work.

  161. Hi JMG

    Just yesterday the CDC, like the politburo of North Korea, unanimously approved (15 votes in favor, 0 against) that Covid vaccines be included in the vaccination protocol for children, and that means that those who do not get vaccinated can be prohibited from accessing the majority of the schools of your country:

    https://thepostmillennial.com/cdc-votes-to-add-covid-19-vaccine-to-vaccines-for-kids-program

    They are going, of course, in the “right” ($$$$$) direction, at the “speed of $cience” (as Pfizer dixit).

    First in the center of the Empire and soon in the vassal states (EU, as my country).

    I enclose also an interesting video from Dr. John Campbell about the excess mortality of newborns in Scotland:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wj4rE0LrpR0

    Cheers
    David

  162. About The Limits to Growth, maybe I’m remembering wrong (can’t found now the video), but in a conference of Dennis Meadows he said that he read your books (like Retropia I imagine), because they give him some hope of a viable future.

  163. IMHO the “Overton Window” is definitely shifting, and Elon’s takeover of Twitter will accelerate that.

    More and more data is showing conclusively that the jabs are far more deadly than the disease itself (and that’s not even accounting for the huge decline in birth rates 9+ months after the jabs started) and this is now being discussed openly. The narrative on Ukraine is being actively and increasingly challenged on many fronts as well.

    The brazen lying of the current US administration is almost impossible to ignore at this point given the reality on the ground.

    BTW, did everyone see the “man on the street” interview wherein a young adult male declares that “farming must be shutdown since it’s the largest contributor to climate change”?

    Given our own (perhaps intentionally) disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, the cracks emerging daily in the EU, and the FOMC wreaking havoc on the rest of the world, it very much looks like NATO’s fall is already on the table.

    Everyone is also starting to acknowledge the global supply chain is broken and “reshoring” is the next big thing. Hopefully as the financial system implodes — and that’s happening as we speak — “reshoring” will eventually break everything down to the local level.

  164. @Andy #169

    Research diesel carefully. There’s a burgeoning crisis that could result in diesel prices skyrocketing compared to gasoline. Oilman2 could probably explain more eloquently than I.

  165. I feel the waiting and hunkering down, too. Or at least the not talking about what I really think with a lot of people I know because I know they won’t like it and won’t listen, and being very disenchanted with the government, including groups I used to consider myself part of. I just stay silent or change the subject when I hear a lot of conventional wisdom I think is wrong. I used to be more outspoken when I disagreed. And some of the people I’m avoiding speaking up about certain subjects are people I used to be able to talk about almost anything with.

    Physically, I’m running around more than I have in years playing music and enjoying it greatly, but a lot of that is because between health issues and covid, I haven’t been able to really be out in society for four years. So it’s ‘SEIZE THE DAY’ in all capital letters. Because I don’t know what tomorrow may bring, either to me or the world.

  166. In dismissing Freud so absolutely I think you’ve missed a growing movement in unofficial medical circles. The late John Sarno, who credits Freud for his ideas, cured countless people of ‘incurable’ chronic pain (and continues to do so with his published works even beyond the grave) – see: http://www.thankyoudrsarno.org/ – His best work is probably the Divided Mind. From this, a larger Mind body healing movement is beginning to grow (e.g. see https://ppdassociation.org/). It may never be mainstream, because it counters almost all dominant medical beliefs, but this method of healing is curing people of ‘incurable’ diseases (I was one patient who was cured and have taken up my own practice with this work). Might be worth a quick look next time you’re thinking of Freud.

  167. JMG,

    Oh, for sure. As if I would do something like that…;)

    If I did, though – just thinking out loud here – I might try a twist to the message:

    “Push Button for the Latest Health Update from Tony Fauci.”

    So many of the foxxed people I know have either COVID itself, or shingles, or heart problems, or…

    All of a sudden, too.
    It’s weird.

  168. @Anon #157:

    Thanks for sharing that. I’ve been a bit disgruntled with my financial advisor of late; he runs a website and a podcast which I won’t link to (that’s getting a bit personal) but the point is he makes a habit of breezily dismissing what he refers to as economic “doomers”, pointing to the graph of the stock market over the past number of years, which goes up on average even considering events like 2008, and so on.

    In a way a lot of the financial stuff that’s out there reminds me of the medical information that was available over the past two years. You’d have the majority opinion, and then you’d a have quite an array of dissident doctors and scientists saying something very different, and I can imagine that this would leave the layperson thinking, “Gee, I’m not sure who to trust, but these alternate voices seem to have a point.” That’s how I feel right now with respect to the financial picture.

  169. The PR style of our Prime Minister in New Zealand was pretty awful during Covid-19. She seemed to enjoy speaking down to the population like we were all naughty children. When we were very scared about the virus initially, this communication style seemed to work well (command and control with simple messaging).
    It has however backfired and now many find her cringey to listen to and don’t enjoy her condescending fake smile. Many of us have started to expect the PM – who constantly preaches about being kind – to actually, you know, be kind. The horror!
    It appears our Great Manager is the last to recognize that the tide has turned. Many NZrs have given up even trying to talk to our Government anymore, because of the nasty dismissive responses we get. We are now just patiently waiting until the elections next year. Who can know how that will turn out…

  170. Can someone please explain, so as I can understand, just what is ‘authoritarianism”? It looks to me like just one more fashionable buzzword.

    Mark L @ 124, I think the Republican party had little choice as to Roe vs. Wade. Republicans have relied on conservative Catholic voters since about 1980, never mind Republican affronts to Catholic social teachings, in return for promising to overturn Roe vs. Wade. The bill finally came due. (For the record, I agree with JMG that this and should always have been, a state’s rights issue. I also think there has been plenty of hypocrisy and special pleading on both sides) Whatever the laws of your state are, that is what you have to live with.

  171. One interesting question is: What will happen afterwards?

    If this really isn‘t going to be a torches-and-pitchforks event, but more of a shrugging-shoulders-and-simply-letting-it-crash affair, then what will happen after the rubble has stopped bouncing?

    Will the old „elites“ simply use their still existing riches and networks to build up a new (= old) system under a new label, and everybody will keep on shrugging their shoulders?

    Or will everybody be too busy surviving to do much about it?

    Or will the formerly-shoulder-shrugging masses make good use of the cleared-off space and start to build up (truly new) systems themselves?

    One can but hope, of course, but general experience with human beings (myself included 😉 ) doesn‘t make me very optimistic about real change for the better.

    What is your (and everybody else‘s) take on how the behaviour of the masses will develop in the longer term?

    Milkyway

  172. Hi John Michael,

    I wouldn’t advise using those err, techniques. As you’ve taught us, magic is the art and science of changing consciousness in accordance with will. Unless a person exercises a very powerful will and can learn from and accept the consequences, I’d suggest that such techniques are best used upon yourself. People, being people, have minor successes and without experience and time for consideration of the consequences, they immediately scale up their efforts. And the consequences reflect back upon them exponentially. This is I’m guessing why our leaders tend to look and act as if they were the Marketing Department of The Sirius Cybernetics Corporation, in Douglas Adam’s book, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy where it was penned that they were : “A bunch of mindless jerks who were the first against the wall when the revolution came.” Anyway, the point is, there is an end point to all this nonsense as the practitioners are accumulating costs and inadvertently heading towards Seppuku, they’ll do all the hard work themselves. Heck of a cost though.

    Cheers

    Chris

  173. Hi John Michael,

    On another issue, I’ve long had a hunch that the turning point for decline was when it no longer became economically feasible to extract coal using human labour. The timing would be about right, but I dunno.

    Cheers

    Chris

  174. Some may be interested in a lawsuit making its way through the courts in Washington DC against homeopathic products. Here’s a link:

    https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/lawsuits-against-us-pharmacy-chains-selling-homeopathy-to-proceed/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=lawsuits-against-us-pharmacy-chains-selling-homeopathy-to-proceed

    Briefly, several large chain pharmacies are being sued for marketing homeopathic products. I found this text interesting:

    “…studies and patient experience have shown that homeopathic products are not effective; Walmart and CVS present homeopathic products alongside FDA-approved over-the-counter products, under aisle signs indicating that the aisles contain remedies for pain, colds, heartburn, and other conditions; and the retailers do so without informing customers that there is no scientific evidence that homeopathic products have any value in treating those symptoms and diseases….”

    also:

    “… Like-cures-like is simply sympathetic magic, a pre-scientific belief, and is the entire basis for homeopathy:…”

    Yup. But the author assumes that magic does not work. He starts from the assumption that it does not work, and this blinds him to the possibility that it could work.

    A lot of my patients at the pharmacy have the experience that the homeopathic products they get from us _do_ seem to work. When asked, I tell them up front that there are no scientific studies on the effectiveness of homeopathic medications. I tell them, “They are safe, but I can’t guarantee they will work.”
    Customers keep buying them anyway. When they do, I ask them to “Please tell me if this product worked for you, or did not work at all. I want to hear about it either way.”

    Not every customer tells me how things went, but a lot of them come back to say things like “That Venixxa worked a treat on my varicose veins!” or “My child’s flu went away with Sambucol.”

    No one has come back to say, “This D*ned stuff does not work, and I want my money back!” –As you would expect to be the case with a truly worthless medicine.

    To me, the persistence of people getting homeopathic preps is another example that people are more and more doubting what experts tell them and finding other ways of taking care of themselves. Products that do not perform as advertised do not get repeat purchases. These products have been around for many years…

  175. My wife sent me this: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/climate-activists-throw-soup-on-vincent-van-goghs-sunflowers-to-protest-fossil-fuels-180980958/

    Choice quote from one of the activists’ spokesfauna: “people are going to have to choose between heating and eating this winter, and that can be so easily avoided … [by] switching to renewable energies, which are currently nine times cheaper,”

    I responded with:

    “Thought exercise: if it was that easy to switch to renewables, why is Germany (a country that went all in on wind and solar in the past decade) hoarding liquefied natural gas? If it was that cheap, why isn’t Just Stop Oil and other similar activist group raising funds to retrofit peoples houses with, I dunno, solar thermal water heaters instead of pulling off idiotic stunts like this?”

    (granted, solar thermal is quite cheap and easy, but it ain’t quite fully automated luxury space communism)

  176. Bei Dawei #117
    Thank you, I will email him to find out and post the book title if I find it.

    Eric in MD #131
    The emotional reaction is the Kübler-Ross five stages of grief.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_stages_of_grief

    It is not a rational process. It is an emotional process, a self defense mechanism to protect against a truth that the individual is not yet ready to accept.

    And the US is on the verge of collapsing like the former Soviet Union. Specifically, if we lose in Ukraine then it’s curtains for US hegemony. That means all of the PMCs in the well off US empire are about to have a serious drop in wealth and status that they are emotionally unprepared for. Forcing people who aren’t ready to accept that reality to discuss the details of that reality is going to reliably provoke an irrational emotional response.

    And I know that it is not just Ukraine. There are so many chickens coming home to roost that soccer is just about the only patch of blue sky that is still visible.

    Good luck navigating the minefield.
    Tim

    PS I’m also INTP. We seem to be prone to recognizing looming disasters that others manage to ignore. It is a fascinating, but rather lonely, vantage point to watch the world from. The Oil Drum and Dave Murphy’s Do The Math did Meyers-Briggs surveys on their sites and INTPs were way over represented.

  177. team10tim,
    it wasn’t just INTPs that were over-represented. I think INTJs were as over-represented, if not more so.

  178. Forecasting, many thanks for these. I glanced through the piece by Nafeez Ahmed, saw that he’s aware of net energy, grinned, and put it on the “read this soon” pile. I can’t read FT as I’m not a subscriber, but it doesn’t surprise me to hear other people noticing the pre-collapse vibes. If the Tories continue trying to shake off the populist wing that put Bojo into power, and Labour continues to pursue managerial-class power and ignore its roots, I think it’s quite possible that Britain could see massive change — even a revolution, if the US decides it doesn’t need its Landing Strip One any more.

    Scotlyn, it’s certainly the sort of thing I was trying to satirize in that passage!

    Jim, Bernays constantly exploited his uncle’s name for his own benefit, so no surprises there!

    DFC, and it’s never occurred to them that they’re laying the groundwork for the abolition of the CDC, the removal of the law exempting vaccines from liability, and the final collapse of the US public school system. Quite a spectacle…

    Fragile, yes, he told me that. We met at a peak oil conference in Pennsylvania and had a couple of long talks. I was very, very pleased.

    TJ, I think all of that’s quite possible. I was at the grocery today and the NY Post — which is on the newsstands here in Rhode Island — was accusing Biden right there on the front page of engaging in election manipulation using the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Impeachment proceedings are likely to begin about an hour after the new Congress takes its seats…

    Pygmycory, glad to hear that your music is continuing to go so well! That sort of thing — outside the political realm, weaving together connections between people in a non-ideological way — is hugely important.

    Anin, I’m glad to hear that. I’ve been suggesting for some years now that depth psychology will survive only in alternative circles — Jung has been enthusiastically adopted by some ends of the occult scene, for example. Freudian ideas can be valuable if they’re approached the way that alternative culture approaches everything, as a resource for bricolage and creative resynthesis; I’m glad to hear that this is happening.

    Grover, I’ve been hearing the same thing from other people. It’s unsettling.

    Monk, you might consider grassroots organizing to help the elections turn out the right way. That can be very quiet, until the polls open!

    Mary, it’s not a buzzword at all. Authoritarianism is a term for the radical centralization of power: an authoritarian regime is one where most power is in the hands of a leader or a small circle of leaders, and political dissent is ineffective, risky, or (usually) both.

    Milkyway, that’s easy enough to answer. Look at what happened at various points in European history when a discredited governmental system collapsed. You have quite a few examples as recently as 1989…

    Chris, oh, granted. As for coal, hmm! That’s an interesting suggestion.

    Emmanuel, yeah, that’s par for the course. They’re trying to squeeze out homeopathic medicines because for many conditions, homeopathy works better with far fewer side effects than chemical medicines do. Fortunately it’s not actually that hard to make your own homeopathic medicines; I’ll be posting on that in due time.

    Carlos, exactly. I want to see some of those thugs try living on renewables 24/7. Preferably behind bars.

  179. Our current presidential administration almost seems as if it was set up as a listhmus test for belief in the official narrative. If you believe the two characters holding the #1 and #2 offices in the land are sane rational and logical people making actual policy decisions for the USA then you have suspended any pretense of thinking for yourself, or you are holding your nose and pretending because it benefits you.

  180. Chicory Omnibus (#67) says: “I’ve gotten the impression that a lot of the wokesters are more likely to be Evangelicals than liberals of the past…”

    JMG answered: “er, what? I have yet to meet Evangelical Christian wokesters.”

    Goodness, yes! There are two points I’d like to make here.

    First, there have been complaints by the more conservative Christians that Wokeism has worked its way into the churches. Some say it happened during COVID; the churches shut down, and when everyone came back they found the church administration had gone woke. Maybe you could say that Evangelical Christianity, at the headquarter level anyway, has gone through a “reset”.

    Second, Wokeism is an evangelical religion by itself. It aims to convince people of the rightness of its ideology and the wrongness of other ideas (conversion, salvation) and engaging converts in the belief through activism (missionaries, evangelism). A few months ago I was pondering on the word “activist” and suddenly the word “crusader” came to mind. Just as the Christian crusaders swept through Europe, the Middle East and God knows where else spreading their version of the Christian gospel, by force if necessary, today’s Woke activists are sweeping through Europe, the Americas, and God knows where else spreading their version of the woke gospel, by force if necessary.

    I’ve only made it through comment #67 so far, and I’m going to continue tomorrow when I have more time, but just want to also say that this essay rings my bell. I’m also just waiting with baited breath for what happens next. Can’t say it makes me comfortable either, but the Gods, the Universe, the Tao, etc, don’t seem to let that bother them…

    Joy Marie

  181. Yes. I’ve always thought WWI was what I call a MegaCrisis, though IIRC, I placed the date at 1917. Same difference.
    I did note that Russia, Greece, Turkey, et. al were on a timeline for whom 1914 (or 1917) was one of your classic every-80-years anacyclotic crises, for whom the Big One was the Fall of the Ottoman Empire. And yes, the USSR* lasted exactly one person’s lifetime.

    *OR as many a writer has put it, “the Reign of the Red Tsars.”

  182. Re: Myer-Briggs – For me, INFP seems to be a good fit. Or as I once told Carol, “I think I think at right angles to everybody in all 4 dimensions.” Sigh.

    However, the class my affluent kindred belong to all seem to think in one dimension these days, to my bewilderment.

  183. P.S. INTP’s are the Einsteins of the world. INTJ’s are the Sheldons. (From Big Bang Theory.)

  184. Speaking of depth psychology, I have been reading Jung since last month – essays on archetypes and now the (semi-auto-)biography.

    Today as I was reading through the comments, I thought: “what was that trademark turn of phrase that JMG used to insert into almost every post”? Before I remembered, I saw it in one of your comments: “wry amusement”. I hope we can find the peace of mind for wry amusement in the coming years.

  185. @JMG, I hadn’t really been thinking in terms of drawing people together with the music as a political strategy – back in the spring I was lonely, wanted more music in my life, and was unhappy with the lack of live music at church. All those problems are now solved. I also have a possible new career if the recorder teaching works out. I am finding putting myself out there as a potential teacher emotionally difficult, even though I’ve been teaching one student for months. If I want this, though, I have to do it.

    One thing I did think of though is that years ago you suggested we find a skill or area of knowledge that we learn well enough to help keep it alive and pass it on to others. That kind of stuck in my brain. I seem to have picked the western musical tradition and Christianity. Or some tiny portion thereof – that would be the work of an entire people, not one person.

    If anyone’s interested, I now have a youtube channel: Lizzie’s Music Making. Right now it has baroque and folk recorder pieces in period costume on it. There will also be harp music, hymns on harp and voice, recorder tutorials, flute and piccolo music, arrangements and original compositions for harp, voice, recorder and various combinations thereof in due time, with sheet music available.

    I’ve gotten back into composing music, on top of everything else. This time I’m concentrating on writing for one instrument I can play, or small groups that I have access to. Though my suggestion I might try writing something for my parent’s small-town amateur orchestra once I get a bit better at it was received with enthusiasm. That would be quite the interesting challenge, if I get that far.

    My composition philosophy is that I want to write things that I enjoy, and think other people will enjoy listening to. Ideally, I want to write things other people will be willing to play. I do not care about fashions in art music. I usually don’t like modern art music, but love 19th century and prior, along with folk and religious music. There are a lot of people in the same boat. If I want to write a hymn or a minuet, then I will. There isn’t enough music written for small lever harps, so that’s high on my priority list. Also solo music for bass recorder. It’s a lovely instrument and quite agile. It should get to play something other than ‘pom pom pom’ bass lines sometimes. Which is why I wrote a minuet for solo bass recorder yesterday. Also great practice for reading bass clef…

    I’m a little worried I’ll burn out, but right now I’m having too much fun to cut back.

  186. I look forward to instructions as to how to make homeopathic medicines.

    I make some herbal remidies and some of those with plants found on my property, as opposed to imports.

    But, currently, I am going to the east west free clinic and taking alot of chinese tea pills and accupuncture.

    But, some is home made, for example ground boswellia resin (frankensense) to take a bit off a spoon a few times a day, this is working so well I want to try and grow it here, and he has talked to us about how we can do some of our own acupuncture on ourselves.

    There was some talk there in the community treatment room about the spot between the eyebrows, as this is an open mind, clear thinking, spot for an accupuncture needle and how some minerals or tapping or pinching can be used for accupuncture effects, and then the thought of the Indian tradition of the painted on spot on that location, what could be behind that tradition, because if you are pinching your self there it will cause the spot to be red, and/or the correct mineral there can have some effect, so that their cultural stories of the red dot may be from this ( not saying that the current red painted dot does anything of course)

  187. re. Orlof. I haven’t checked recently but the French translations of his blog entries seem not to be behind a paywall.

    re Freud. A few years ago Frederick Crew published _Freud: the Making of an Illusion._ Freud’s private papers had been sealed away from researchers since his death but recently opened. Crews used this material for a long and devastatingly detailed critique. Here is the review I put up on the LibraryThing site:
    “It is clear that exhaustive and exhausting are very close to being synonyms. At first, I did not understand why Crews was probing Freud’s earliest years rather than concentrating on the period in which he formulated his theories. But after completing the book it is clear that Crews believes that Freud’s career must be viewed as a whole. Crews reveals a career in which Freud consistently shied away from the difficult work of actual science and medicine. His followers created a myth of the rise of psychoanalysis which consistently ignored, concealed or explained away lapses in method and ethics. One pities the victims described: people who were physically destroyed by Freud’s early and careless use of cocaine as a universal cure; people who were misdiagnosed and harangued by Freud on the supposed sexual trauma behind their symptoms while their actual physical maladies went untreated; his family: the younger sisters Freud admitted having sexually abused in his private journals, the wife that he deserted for her own sister, and their children who grew up convinced that they were as psychologically ill as their father.

    Since there have been a number of books in the past few decades both debunking Freud’s theories and attacking his misogyny I initially wondered why another was necessary. However Crews’ access to recently released letters and other materials gave insight not available to earlier biographers.”

    There are a number of other reviews up on LibraryThing.

    Darkest Yorkshire asks how humanistic therapy can shape patient’s decisions if it is supposed to be non-directive. There are subtle ways to influence. “I think you should quit the convent and marry that cute priest.” is quite likely to backfire. But non-committal seeming “hums”, “tell me more”, “let’s expand on that thought” and so forth don’t seem to be aiming at a particular result but by being slightly warmer in tone, more frequent, etc. when the patient is going one direction and less frequent or more neutral in tone when the patient is going in another direction; well the therapist can honestly say “I never told anyone to leave the convent” and even believe that he or she did not intend a particular result. I read an interesting book “Don’t shoot the Dog” by Karen Pyror on the power and uses of training through positive reinforcement. She tells of how she trained her mother out of starting every phone conversation with a series of complaints about how seldom she (Karen) called, by responding positively to any remark that was not a complaint and being silent or making neutral sounds in response to the complaints.

    On electric tools replacing as powered. My sister has five acres of land, mostly pasture for her horses, so about 4 acres total that need mowing. Her old mower bit the dust, so she researched an electric mower. Model she looked at would only mow about an acre before needing recharging overnight. So, it would take her 4 days to mow the entire pasture. Not real practical. She got another gas mower.

    Rita

  188. TJandtheBear wrote

    “BTW, did everyone see the “man on the street” interview wherein a young adult male declares that “farming must be shutdown since it’s the largest contributor to climate change”?”

    Sounds like the idiots in the Dutch government currently destroying their own agricultural sector while generating massive pushback and social unrest.

  189. It’s been 9 days of calm again, but now the wind is kicking up as a cold front comes through. Nine days of calm, one day of wind, nine days of calm. one day of wind.

    I found a spreadsheet the BPA keeps. It has the power output of everything at five minute intervals. There are 3,000 MW of installed wind on the local grid, and an awful lot of generation numbers under say 20 MW. If the weekend is as rainy as advertised I could do some tinkering and see what we have for a capacity factor.

    As a side note, there used to be 4,000 MW of wind. I don’t know if the contracts changed or if the blades fell off. Probably mostly the former.

    The spreadsheet is linked from this line just above the main part of the graph. For Historical Data, See Item#5 on the VER page of transmission.bpa.gov

    https://transmission.bpa.gov/Business/Operations/Wind/baltwg.aspx

    As to why people are looking favorably at nuclear again, admire the steady cobalt colored line. 1150, 1150, 1150, etc. day after day after day. It’s really easy to get hypnotized by steady repetition.

    In Star’s Reach, I seem to remember a plot point where the collapsing society tried one last attempt to build nuclear plants to save themselves.

  190. Well I couldn’t wait, at least for a quick overview.

    There are 2827 MW of installed wind capacity on the BPA grid.

    for 2022 so far;
    The maximum output was 2641, or 93.4% of nameplate
    The average output was 715 MW, or 27% of nameplate
    The median output was 399 MW, or 15.1% of nameplate.
    The minimum was, of course 0. Actually that should be a negative number as an idle wind turbine has to keep certain parts warm and keep the blades turning slowly to avoid them taking a permanent sag.

    If anyone has forgotten, median is the point where 50% of the values are below and 50% are above. How much above and below doesn’t matter.

  191. @ JMG – by your response I assume you don’t think the overall Covid debacle hasn’t been a sufficient shock?

    If not, what sort of shock are you looking for to signify that we have reached the sort of turning point that brings things to a full-blown crisis?

    (Asking for a friend)

  192. @ Joy Marie and Omnibus.

    You’re quite right, but this evangelism is merely a long established feature of west European culture. It doesn’t matter if the religion is the original Christian varieties or the new secular ones. Our Faustian all encompassing drive to expansion means we have to demand that everyone follow the one true religion, and our history is littered with the results. Once this I recognised it is easier to step out of our cultural view point and see this tendency everywhere. It exists in medicine (look at the last 2 years) and every other field. Even our science, despite genuflections to objectivity, is riddled with it.

    No other culture has ever cared so much about what everyone else in the world believes, and it’s quite to funny to watch.

  193. JMG, I know – I wrote my question with these examples in mind. But somehow, deep down, I was just hoping you‘d give me a more optimistic outlook… 😉

    *sigh* I suppose the effective outcome would, eventually, in due time, be the same, even if the masses went down the torches and pitchforks route, wouldn‘t it?

    Milkyway

  194. I think its a lot easier to comfortably dismiss conspiracy theory and assert no one is at the wheel. It absolves one of having to untangle the mess of information on these subjects which most people don’t have the time or inclination for. Only after years of drilling down into ‘conspiracy’ subjects does one realize it is simply history not fit for public consumption. One comes to realize how far and wide these oligarchs have shaped the destinies of nations in the 20th century. While not all powerful, my point is this effort is much more coordinated than people appreciate. The information was there for all who cared to listen and look – myself and many others had been well aware since the late 2000’s the weaponized virus/vaccine push was coming at some point – “a culling of the heard” – and here we are. I have have no special access to information, just a willingness not to dismiss these things as ‘conspiracy’. As political science professor Lance deHaven-Smith states in his peer-reviewed book which was published by the University of Texas Press:

    “The term “conspiracy theory” was invented and put into public discourse by the CIA in 1964 in order to discredit the many skeptics who challenged the Warren Commission’s conclusion that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated by a lone gunman named Lee Harvey Oswald, who himself was assassinated while in police custody before he could be questioned. The CIA used its friends in the media to launch a campaign to make suspicion of the Warren Commission report a target of ridicule and hostility. This campaign was “one of the most successful propaganda initiatives of all time.”.

    I do believe the current globalized effort will fail for the reasons JMG has outlined in previous articles.

    As for the reference to reptilian shape shifters, I’m surprised people take it literally, which does make it laughable. I would argue it is a metaphor to describe the “elites” view of the great unwashed. They’re functioning from their reptilian brain (more for them, none for you), and can easily shape shift when in front of the curtain (not so much these days).
    As one commenter pointed out above the elites will shape shift into whatever form suits them when the time comes.

    A recent article quoting Dr. Malone pioneer of the mRNA technology who is fighting against the injections:

    “This is not by chance. This is not an organic thing that’s arisen from some local subculture,’ Dr. Robert Malone said. ‘This is something that’s being moved into the culture in a coordinated fashion, globally.”

    https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/dr-robert-malone-unprecedented-information-and-knowledge-warfare-has-been-deployed-on-the-world/

    Gordon over at Rune Soup is a great foil for your perspective on conspiracies/history JMG. Whatever the cause of the chaos the antidote seems to be the same, community and self sufficiency.

  195. TJandTheBear #188

    As far as I’m concerned at the moment diesel cars are the worse possible choice for my personal transport needs except all the others. The disadvantages are obvious, they pollute, they drive poorly, they are usually powered by the very worse kind of fossil fuel. At the moment they will be banned from sale in the UK after 2030 with all that implies for the end of life of that technology.
    On the positive side, they can carry heavy loads quite effectively, they have an excellent range, and I believe that in a pinch I can make biodiesel from plant oils used and unused, edible or inedible, using techniques not unlike brewing beer or making cheese. That is, mixing stuff at various temperatures, and then separating the useful from useless.
    Unfortunately the standard technique requires the use of methanol which is easy to get hold of but dangerous. It has to be treated carefully.
    I’m in the fortunate position that I no longer have to drive very much, but I have ongoing commitments that require a few hours a week and I’m well aware that I may have to evacuate north at some point. The car is also the bug-out bag.
    There was a period about 20 years ago when diesel was being pushed by experts as a reasonably green choice to the extent that there were some government subsidies available for switching to it. That turned out to be at best misleading and at worse a deliberate lie by some of manufacturers on emissions. The scandal of the defeat devices is still going through the legal system here. The reputation of the integrity of some large European companies crumbled pretty much permanently at that point.

  196. @St. Claire #43 — I was a girl when the Berlin Wall went up. I didn’t expect it to come down in my lifetime.

    Although that event was unexpected, it didn’t come out of the blue. The following is from memory, so some of the details (which I followed pretty closely at the time) have been absorbed into general impressions.

    If I had a timeline, it would be about a decade of stagnation, then two or three years of random events leading nowhere, then one of Russia’s periodic failed attempts at liberalizing from the top down, and then . . .

    The long term lead-in was Leonid Brezhnev becoming Nikita Khrushchev’s successor. He held his office a long time without trying very hard to fix any of the USSR’s problems. When he died or stepped down (I don’t remember which, but he wasn’t removed in a coup), the Party selected some other old man to be Secretary General. He died in office within a year or two without having time to accomplish much. This happened twice more in a row. It became the subject of jokes. The only one of the three whose name I remember was Andropov.

    After those three cards were dealt and discarded, Gorbachev was appointed to lead the Communist Party of the USSR. He was younger and in good health and had ideas for reform. One of the ideas was more openness (Glasnost). The other was economic reform (Perestroika). The relations between the USSR and the US became less tense. (They couldn’t have become more tense without resulting in WW III.)

    That’s the USSR. What was happening in the Warsaw Pact? The kinds of people who were behind the Prague Spring in 1968 (which was crushed under the treads of Soviet tanks) began to get their nerve back and their hopes up.

    The tipping point as I remember it was when the Communist authorities in some Warsaw Pact countries (Hungary? I can’t remember) announced that they were going to stop enforcing any regulations against traveling out of the country. Anybody who wanted to go to Western Europe was free to do so, and come back, or not come back.

    That was what the Berlin Wall was supposed to prevent for residents of the sector of Berlin under control of East Germany, surrounded on all sides by West Germany. But when the border controls went down in one Warsaw Pact country, people in the other WP countries could take a trip there, and from there head to somewhere outside the Communist sphere, and a whole lot of people did in a short period of time.

    Two or three days later, a couple of other Eastern European governments announced the same freedom of travel policy.

    I wondered what Gorbachev was going to do about it.

    Not only did G not send in the army to reassert control, he didn’t even scold the authorities for acting without consultation.

    In a matter of weeks or maybe a couple of months, East Berliners looked around and thought, if we try to cross into West Berlin, probably nobody will shoot at us. So they did, and nobody shot them.

    The last bit was what they show in documentaries, the East Berliners tearing down the wall with sledge hammers and their bare hands. Because they didn’t think anyone would stop them.

  197. Rod re Y2K, I was a computer programmer working for an airline at the time, and no one thought planes were going to fall out of the sky. The reason Y2K was not a disaster was because vast numbers of programmers and analyst programmers spent a decade fixing the real problems, not the tabloid fantasies, at increasingly inflating salaries. I remember an IT manager friend saying later in 2000, it’s great I can get a good programmer for £75,000 now, I was paying £150,000 last year! And while it was largely fixed I seem to remember several nuclear power stations going safety critical, and a few years later people over 100 getting invited to attend nursery school in the UK.

  198. Re M-B personality types

    I’ve been tagged primarily as an INTJ, but also as an ENTJ.

  199. You see, the Plebs are a lot smarter than the Media makes them out to be. Case in point CONgresswoman AOC who got heckled at a Town Hall meeting in her District in NYC.

    “I believed in you, and you became the very thing you sought to fight against,” one member in a Bronx AOC town hall event yelled. “You ARE the establishment!”

    “You voted to mobilize and send money to Ukrainian Nazis! You are a coward! Where are you against the war mobilization?” one citizen shouted.

    Hecklers began shouting, “AOC HAS GOT TO GO!”

    https://www.armstrongeconomics.com/international-news/politics/aoc-has-got-to-go/

  200. >I was reminded of Owen trying to make some sense of that Noology brochure in WOH

    Lol. I had no idea he created a character with my name. Well, I’m going to go by a new name then. Eh, what’s in a name anyway? Yeah, I know.

    Here’s something else to throw out there that nobody seems to have noticed. Russia was essentially a state-run enterprise and it collapsed in 1990 or so. Did you know that Mexico was essentially a state-run enterprise too? They managed to fly under the radar because they were smart enough to never brand themselves as communist, but essentially the PRI was the economy. That all collapsed rather quietly in 2000.

    I can’t recall offhand if any notable state-run enterprise collapsed in 2010 but here’s what I would ask. Perhaps, just maybe – it’s our turn? People would splutter “But we’re not a state run enterprise!”, and I would counter “Oh really?”. Last I checked the economy was more than 50% government activity. We passed that mark in 2020. The stock market seems hopelessly and helplessly dependent on Fed policy and it herks and jerks to whatever it thinks the Fed is going to do next, not whatever the underlying companies are going to do. It seems that having government connections (cough Elon cough) seem to matter more than just about anything else. Certainly turning a profit is a quaint 20th century notion.

    I don’t think shock therapy is on the menu for us, as much as the Russkies would love it to be. But I’d think about what you would do if some of these overly big companies were to get dysfunctional to the point where they became essentially shut down. Some of them you’ll never miss, but some of them you will. There are some babies in that bathwater.

  201. Re: Mark #132

    I have never used a smart phone but it’s getting increasingly difficult to use certain services without one, or people just write me off because of the extra effort of sending a text message or an email instead.

    Recently I joined a group of people who supposedly will gather together and evacuate from my city in case of an emergency. I have to pay a monthly subscription to be part of this group.

    They currently use WhatsApp, Telegram and a mobile app to disseminate information and send alerts. Reasonable enough while these services are available, but in a real emergency cell phone networks and the internet will probably stop functioning.

    They’re flummoxed and don’t know how to deal with me and what to make of the fact that I don’t have a smart phone. Is it about cost? No. Then why? I have my reasons.

    I’m willing to buy a two way radio for such an evacuation scenario and having done some research, I see one gets analogue and digital two way radios. Of course the digital ones are touted as much better for a bunch of reasons and perhaps they are. But I bet their insides are far more complicated and therefore difficult to repair than analogue ones.

    I’ll probably end up cancelling the subscription.

  202. Irreverent comments from the family following Truss’s departure yesterday:

    Not sure we have seen a meltdown in parliament like this before.

    Not since 1649

    And we all know what happened then!

    Well, we have a completely disfunctional parliament and King Charles…now who to cast as Cromwell…

  203. We’ve reached a point in the slow train-wreck that is the US Empire where the President is impeached for winning the election and the SPR is deployed as an election gimmick. (I, too, expect articles of impeachment to be filed the day after the new Congress is seated, although McCarthy–the presumed Speaker should the Republicans take the House–appears to be walking that back at the moment. Whether the rank-and-file allow him to do that is another issue, of course.)

    The whole thing is pretty sad, but what can we do but wait for what’s going to collapse to collapse so the new structure can be built? I’d prefer to reform what we’ve got, but one wonders how good an investment of energy that would be.

  204. I saw a bit of a Russell Brand interview with Adam Curtis where Brand treated him as some kind of guru. Curtis then made the astonishing claim that nothing was changing. Brand didn’t pushback. IIRC, this was after the Brexit vote and Trump. I stopped watching it after that.

    It seemed like Curtis was doing some kind of incantation. “Nothing is Changing” = I am not going to notice all the things that are changing. Obviously, Curtis calls himself a progressive. It reminds me powerfully of Orwell’s, “The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.” – George Orwell, 1984

  205. Hi JMG and DFC. We started homeschooling our children last year. We always had a back up plan if we needed it, even if we never used it. Now with this CDC ruling, there’s no going back as far as I’m concerned. It’s scary. With some of these things, you can’t always be in the popcorn-eating seat.

    BTW, I’m glad I can come here once a week for some sanity. Thanks John!

  206. The ultimate journalistic Toady to the empire ( David Brooks at the NYT) has a new opinion piece out that explains that the reason republicans are gaining ground in many midterm races is that they have a ” clearer narrative.” That should make the comfortable classes sleep better at night. It is not years of pandemic foolishness, warmongering, wokesterism, inflation, lying and outright contempt for much of the country ,but the lack of a clear narrative that might cause them to lose seats in the next election. That means they don’t need to change at all, just employe better PR people to clarify their message and they can turn things around. With that kind of sharp insight from the establishments premier propaganda operation these fools will think that they are in a ride at Disneyland when the are heading down Pennsylvania Ave in the Tumbrils on the way to see the “Madame”.

  207. Wanted to throw this into the woke-ism discussion – I’ve watched the acceleration of it into long gone history with some horror. I expected there to be the burning of archival materials at points.

    Today in Philadelphia at the John Dickinson Symposium they are discussing his view of social justice and gender theory https://librarycompany.org/event-directory/dickinson-symposium/participants-2/ . The nearby Presbyterian Historical Society has flown BLM and varieties of rainbow flags continually the past two years.

    Neither Dickinson nor any traditional Presbyterian would have supported gender queer theory, social justice, or BLM. But rather than just accept that and move on, there’s this continual bludgeoning of these long dead people and religions.

    Why can’t the woke just go invent some new thing and invite people to participate in the new thing? Why do they have to go twist and destroy everything in the past?

  208. Hi John Michael,

    Yeah, I don’t have any basis for the idea, other than intuition. Coal used to be extracted by human labour, and then that no longer became economically feasible. The economies of Europe were based at that time on looting and of course the energy source of coal. When both of those income streams declined whilst the costs were still there, well, look at what happened next. The twentieth century for them was a real mess. War in that part of the world is historically nothing new.

    Cheers

    Chris

  209. Thanks John.

    https://forecastingintelligence.org/2017/12/26/book-review-of-nafeez-mosaddeq-ahmeds-failing-states-collapsing-systems-biophysical-triggers-of-political-violence/

    I did review his book a few years ago.

    There is a lingering faith that Labour can restore stability in the UK. We will need a UK general election and Labour to implode under the pressures before some kind of revolutionary moment arrives.

    There is talk of Nigel Farage returning to frontline politics but who knows, maybe it will be someone/somebody else this time.

  210. @Joy Marie
    “Just as the Christian crusaders swept through Europe, the Middle East and God knows where else spreading their version of the Christian gospel, by force if necessary, today’s Woke activists are sweeping through Europe”

    Contact with Islamic invasions and ceaseless battles helped popularize the concept of Jihad which become a “Crusade”. That led to what we see here.

    Spanish Kings was at War against the Muslim conquerors for 700 years before completely expelling them from Spain. Before going off into the New World.

  211. RethinkXing the Titanic: “All we need to stay afloat is additional buoyancy, and there’s an unlimited supply of that in the very air around us.”

  212. @JMG @here

    “…culture is downstream from imagination” I really like that thought. Reminds me of Rob Hopkins. But if the degrowth folks are gonna get people on board, they’re gonna have to do better than defacing artwork, blocking freeways, and calling people transphobes. Same with the right wing. For most people, Orania isn’t romantic. Neither was Jan 6th. Who wants to sign up for that team?

    Back to imagination, I wish we could imagine future(s) more ala carte, more localized. There’s no reason a Trad Catholic community couldn’t have great bike infrastructure. Or a more progressive community couldn’t have a well armed militia. Do you think this binary, this idea that you’re a traitor if you question any of your tribe’s commandments… if/when do you see this breaking down? How are we going to let a thousand Retrotopias bloom?

  213. Happy Panda @ 210, I once had the pleasure of hearing Frank Zappa and band perform their decidedly not safe for archdruids song about vegetables.

    JMG, thank you for the explanation about authoritarian governments. I am still not understanding the wholesale denouncing of individuals as “authoritarian”, which useage, I am afraid, does seem to me to be yet another standard brand insult, such as ‘narcissist’ or ‘manipulative’, the purpose of which is to denounce and pile opprobrium on whomever has had the effrontery to disagree with the insulter. Does the term ‘authoritarian’, when applied to individual persons, have a specific psychiatric meaning?

  214. Owen @ 166, there is getting to be quite a number of highly capable persons of sense and integrity who have been openly disrespected by the Democratic Party leadership, you should excuse the expression; Joe Sestak and Donna Edwards come immediately to mind, but there are others. I hope for and would like to see them come together to form a new party which could appeal to sane voters.

  215. CDC’s mis-steps may well lead to public health shifting (the rest of the way) to the states.
    Adding Covid vax to the pediatric recommended schedule is a serious mistake that could shift the tide rapidly. Other governments have responded to the multiple studies coming out, and have begun revising recommendations, to recommend pediatric Covid vax only for high-risk kids. The Danish have even backed off on boosters for healthy adults under 50. Just this week, a large German study showed 0.1% (10/7806) of young kids (6-60 mo) were hospitalized, due to vax side effects. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2797451

    Parents had to readjust schedules massively when schools and daycares closed for Covid. On reopening, they faced frequent isolation and quarantine periods, further influencing work schedules. Having been through this, many may promptly ditch semi-reliable public schools, rather than vax their kids. Parents (and pediatricians) know we lack knowledge of long-term vax consequences. Many parents are also quite aware of the profit-over-function problems related to privately-contracted “public” schools. I could not agree more that we could see major educational changes in short order.

    The US recently lost it’s status as polio-free, after a new case in New York. The polio vaccine really works, and is really safe. But faith in the system is cracking.

  216. I’d say forecastingintelligence #236 has it about right for the UK in terms of timescale. The Tories are not going to call an election soon as they would be obliterated, so will stagger on for two years. Labour will almost certainly win anyway as by then we will have spent most of two years in recession and probably austerity too, as one thing the chaos after Kwarteng’s mini budget showed is that the UK’s credit card is maxed out, so no more borrowing to finance spending and growth. Labour will find the same, so it will be interesting to see how they will prop up public services plus find hundreds of billions to subsidise the building of solar and wind farms for their UK-Energiewende. My expectation is this will have be tried and seen to fail with all the money and resources poured down the drain, before the idea can be discarded.
    So it might be then, 6-7 years down the line, when some sort of collapse and realignment occurs. Reasonable time to make preparations perhaps, but even now what I mostly see in people is complacency.
    The big question mark is over who might lead a realignment. The last time I saw Farage onscreen, he was touting cryptocurrency investment and I generally think his day has gone. Maybe someone will emerge from the Labour left, in the mould of a younger Corbyn who can put aside the woke, green-Marxist nonsense and lead a New-Old Labour party that prioritises working class people and puts into action some policies that will be relevant to the world we are moving into. On the other hand, maybe we will just have a couple of decades of chaos.

  217. “The whole thing is pretty sad, but what can we do but wait for what’s going to collapse to collapse so the new structure can be built? I’d prefer to reform what we’ve got, but one wonders how good an investment of energy that would be.”

    You can’t rebuild something that will last on a rotten foundation. So the question is how far down do you have to go to find something solid? Jacking up a house to replace a crumbling foundation is possible, but rarely worth while. And the house has to be simple, the super convoluted squiggly McMansion floorplans that seem to be popular would be real pains to try that with especially with the chipboard delaminating. A can of gas (or off-spec moonshine) and a match is the fate that will await them.

  218. Andy
    I had a friend in Hawaii who used to run old Mercedes diesels on straight filtered old cooking oil. It worked better mixed with about 1/4 commercial diesel or every third or fourth tank commercial. I also knew people in NZ who did that in the early 2000s. The shops were glad to get rid of it until so many people got into it; then they would sometimes charge. Worth checking availability in the UK.
    Stephen

  219. Pygmycory #31, Britain actually has an official desert near Dungeness nuclear power station (the power station is not responsible for the desert). 🙂

  220. It’s amazing how far you can stretch an electric chainsaw if you’ve got two long extension cables… 🙂

    Also for anyone getting into chainsaws, a few things not covered in the books:

    1. Get anti-vibration gloves. Mine are Silverline impact gloves. Before I started using them, I once lost the ability to clench my fists for a week.

    2. Get a pedal clamp – I use a Triton Superjaw but there are other manufacturers. It’s an order of magnitude quicker, easier, and safer than any other sawhorse or workbench.

    3. The easiest way to split logs is to pack them into an old car tyre and go at them with a splitting maul. Then you can do a few at a time and don’t have to worry about bits flying all over the place.

  221. @Luddite #227 – today’s Gainesville Sun took the words right out of your mouth. During Hurricane Ian, cell phone service went down, later than the power outages, but the last straw for at least one of the people quoted in the long article. So you are absolutely right.

  222. Mary Bennet
    #194
    “Can someone please explain, so as I can understand, just what is ‘authoritarianism”? It looks to me like just one more fashionable buzzword.”

    Authoritarianism: The enforcement or advocacy of strict obedience to authority at the expense of personal freedom.

    I am not sure what you mean by fashionable buzzword. It seems like an incredibly relevant word to me.

  223. Clay, it strikes me as a very good test!

    Joy Marie, thanks for this. I have to admit that, having been nauseated by glad-handing evangelical Christian hypocrites during the “I Found It!” charade of the late 1970s, the thought of evangelical Christian wokesters is about the most sickening notion I can conceive of.

    Aldarion, wry amusement is a very, very useful habit. I sometimes suspect the old Stoics practiced it, though they didn’t put it into their writings.

    Panda, huzzah for the lettuce! Maybe the Tories could elect it as their next prime minister — it would do a lot less harm than some. As for a good old American pumpkin, well, have you heard the don’t-mention-this-in-front-of-patients medical jargon “pumpkin factor”? A high pumpkin factor patient is one where you have reasonable grounds to think that if you stuck the business end of a flashlight in their mouth and turned it on, their eyes would light up. I’m sure you can think of an American politician or two whose pumpkin factor is off the charts…

    Pygmycory, I’m utterly delighted to hear all of this. Thank you; that’s very, very cheering news.

    River, acupressure is a very user-friendly system and there are many good books on it. As for homeopathic medicines, making them is very easy — I’ll be posting instructions from early 20th century pharmacy handbooks on how to do it.

    Rita, Frederick Crews, early in his career, wrote a hilariously funny parody volume titled The Pooh Perplex, in which he lampooned the then fashionable styles of literary criticism; one faux essay, by one Dr. Karl Anschauung, is one of the funniest takedowns of the Freudian style I know of. That he went on to level the same criticisms in a more serious manner was written in the stars, or something.

    Siliconguy, pay attention to that decline in capacity. Big wind turbines are fragile things and not all their defects cause blades to fall off.

    Ben, not yet. If the long-term side effects of the vaccine are bad enough, that could certainly do it. Meanwhile, if the pseudogreen policies being pushed by governments in North America and Europe blow up disastrously enough, that could do it, too.

    Milkyway, yep. Sorry.

    Fredrick, I keep an eye on conspiracy culture from time to time. Since almost everything imaginable gets predicted as part of the machinations of some conspiracy or other, it’s easy to cherrypick the results as you’ve done here, and say, “See? We were right about this!” without talking about all the other predictions that have failed or, shall we say, are showing no signs of coming true yet. That said, if your belief in oligarchic conspiracies leads you to pursue community and self-sufficiency, I have no quarrel with you.

    I’ve met a fair number of people who do in fact believe quite literally in David Icke’s evil shapeshifting space lizards, by the way…

    Rod, now let’s see if they’ll vote her out.

    Other Owen, yes, Owen Merrill is one of the two main characters of my epic fantasy with tentacles, The Weird of Hali (currently in transition from one publisher to another). As for our state-run enterprise, oh, I think we might see shock therapy from some other sources…

    Dormouse, I trust if that happens it won’t be the king who gets shortened by a head!

    David BTL, reform is much easier when a lot of the dysfunctional stuff has collapsed of its own weight. I notice that state governments in some cases are stepping up to the plate; since the US is a federation of states, that’s promising.

    Bridge, that’s the great mantra of the managerial classes: “nothing is changing.” The world has to be exactly what they say it is no matter what your lying eyes say!

    Blue Sun, keep your eyes wide. You may find a lot of other parents doing the same thing, and in that case you can share the work and the responsibility to some extent.

    Clay, good heavens, it’s not as though they can admit to themselves just how badly they’ve fracked up!

    Denis, that’s just it. They have no original ideas. The past is their only resource — and that’s true of our entire society. We’ve used up all our ideas. Now the wokesters are screaming at the past because it worked and the present doesn’t; we’re already starting to see other people take up the more useful habit of taking what worked from the past and putting it in place of elements of the dysfunctional present.

    Chris, that was pretty much what I was thinking. Once you had to burn coal to dig coal, net energy costs started to bite, and trouble followed. Now — well, how much highly concentrated energy goes directly and indirectly into each of our modes of generating energy?

    Forecasting, thanks for this. In that case, we can expect new faces to rise up through the chaos; nobody knew who Robespierre was before the Revolution, after all. Not that he worked out especially well…

    Brian, the divisions are already breaking down. We’ve got woke Democrats and hardcore neocons aligning with each other over Ukraine, and people from all over the spectrum making common cause over government gaslighting of victims of the Covid jabs. As we go deeper into crisis, expect that to shift into overdrive. It’ll be entertaining to watch.

    Mary, no, it has a specific political meaning. An authoritarian believes that people ought to be controlled by some single center of power; some authoritarians are egotists and think they should be that center, but that’s not even the majority.

    Gardener, yes indeed. I think that may have been the proverbial last straw for a lot of people.

    Robert, unless someone emerges from obscurity very soon, my money would be on the decades of chaos.

  224. @Fragile city, that’s one of the reasons I read Greer as well; his books give “some hope of a viable future.” Just this weekend, I was trying to talk my mom out of a panic spiral by getting her to focus on the opportunity to regain some of the things we’ve traded off for the luxuries of modern living.

    @Greer, I’d love to read more deeply on just that^^^, if you could point me to places where you’ve elaborated, or perhaps I will find them was I make my way through your books. It does seem, from what I’ve read of your work so far, that you find much to admire in pre-fossil fuel cultures.

    Also, you’re welcome, but I’m only too happy to spread the word about Limits to Growth. I gave my brother a copy for his birthday last year as well. And wow, that’s interesting about Meadows. Thanks for sharing!

  225. Andy
    Forgot to mention these were older diesels. I think the new ones are made to too fine a tolerance to work on cooking oil.
    Stephen

  226. A small quibble with regard to “authoritarian”.

    My sense is that many people who use the word are referring to attacks on personal freedoms important to them (e.g. abortion rights, gun ownership, medical autonomy, etc.), rather than using its original machine of government power consolidated in the hands of a few. Basically as the opposite of “libertarian”.

    If there is a better word to describe this “do as I say” attitude whether it is imposed by a controlling few or a democratic majority, then perhaps “authoritarian” is being abused, but nowhere near as badly as “fascist” or some of the other political buzzwords.

  227. Since the rain came early I dove into that wind power spreadsheet. It was depressing.

    At some point every month (so far this year) the windmills generated at least 85% of their nameplate output. Also every month the windmills generated nothing at all. This is a string of wind farms that covers from Ellensburg to Wallula, it’s not one small installation.

    During May, the best month, the average output was 35% of capacity. The worst monthly average was January at 14%. January is also cold.

    But it gets worse. Median power output in May was 29.5%, so half the time you had less than 30% of your rated capacity. January was also the worst by this measure at 2.3%. Yes, half the time you had less than 2.3% of your supposed capacity during the coldest month of the year, and our Green governor wants to ban gas heat and at the same time tear out four hydroelectric dams on the Snake River.

    I remember back many years ago not long after Enron that the local power company was complaining that some California law was awarding green credits there for companies that installed wind turbines here even when they didn’t make economic sense. That must be why they are here because it’s hard to see how they are making a dollar at these capacity factors.

    December is known for endless temperature inversions that bring dead calm. I’ll have to see how that works out, then update the spreadsheet next year.

    I’m soliciting input on one question, what is zero? I want to find out what percentage of the time the windmills produced nothing useful. If I look for actual zeros, there are some, but also several tiny fractions. Back in the Navy days we had ‘the point of adding heat” defined as the reactor power where the coolant temperature would actually move noticeably. It was defined as 1% reactor power. Would that be a good measure here? that would be about 28 MW on a 2827 MW system. Higher, lower?

    For a point of reference, the solar panel on a remote tank level transmitter puts out 7% of rated power on an overcast December day.

  228. JMG – I also look forward to hearing homeopathic method suggestions, home style.
    I would also be interested in book recommendation for acupressure, if you have favorites.

  229. JMG wrote:

    DFC, and it’s never occurred to them that they’re laying the groundwork for the abolition of the CDC, the removal of the law exempting vaccines from liability, and the final collapse of the US public school system. Quite a spectacle…

    This is the first thing that has given me hope in a while about the fox shale mess! Could you please say a bit more about how/why this above course of events may unfold?

    Thank you,

    Jacques

  230. Mr. Greer, I remember the “ I found it!” bumper stickers very well, and was equally nauseated by them. But one day one of my sisters was driving on the freeway and she saw a bumper sticker that said “I fondled it!”!! We still laugh about that, all these decades later. Great way to sock it to the evangelical “Christians”!!

  231. Speaking of vaccination rates, the Philippines is close to having 80% of the population vaccinated against COVID: https://reliefweb.int/report/philippines/delivering-covid-19-vaccines-last-mile-philippines.

    Note that this number doesn’t include boosters, of which there is 20% or so coverage only. This is despite the fact that there has been a HUGE propaganda push *(see note below) by the previous Duterte administration (and the current Marcos administration, but to a lesser extent) to have people boosted. There have been proposals to redefine “primary vaccinated” or “fully vaccinated” to be three doses, but none of that have really happened. Latest numbers are here: https://doh.gov.ph/covid19-vaccination-dashboard

    I suspect that vaccination rate is really closer to something like 50%. Most people I know of did take at least one dose of the vaccine, most did complete the first two; although more than a handful simply “forgot” to take the second one or did not bother with the vaccine at all. Then I know quite a few extreme vaccine enthusiasts who’ve had 5+ (!) doses; what happens is that they’d get vaccinated in one place, then a couple of months later go somewhere else, pretend they’re unvaccinated, and get another set of two doses as a “booster”. The latter will be registered in the numbers as having underwent a complete primary vax regimen, as opposed to showing up in the booster numbers. In many cases, people don’t even use a different name or even a different address when they go for their second set. This was despite the hand-wringing in mid-2021 about people cheating the system to get unauthorized vaxxes back when supply was tight. Now that supply has an overwhelming surplus, the bureaucrats both nationally and locally have all the incentives to inflate the numbers, so they don’t care.

    One funny thing is that the most extreme vaccine partisans – on either side – that I know of all happen to be doctors. They are either hardline anti-vaxxers, or vax enthusiasts who’d happily forge your papers so that you can get your sixth vax or whatever. Go figure!

    Ironically (or perhaps not), the most extreme vax enthusiasts that I know of are also the same ones panicking about the latest XBB or whatever variant. Despite the fact that they’ve already had close to half a dozen doses and/or themselves have caught the covid three times already with mild symptoms, and supposedly they are the most well protected right On that note, here’s what’s actually happening with these XBBABCXYZ variants over here: https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/1681737/ph-healthcare-utilization-rate-remains-low-despite-detection-of-omicron-xbb-xbc-subvariants

    Personally, I had three doses (two Sinovac primary, one Astrazeneca booster), completely voluntarily. That’s enough, in my book. I’ve also taken several RT-PCR and antigen tests, *all against my will* (though I didn’t care enough to push back either), and every single time came up negative. The folks who are all more paranoid than I am about masking and isolating and being up to date with the latest booster or whatever all got it several times, though fortunately they’ve always come up mild since the first Omicron surge early this year.

    *Think about that whenever you hear in the Western media about how “authoritarian” the Marcos and Duterte governments are. Filipinos have a different attitude to freedom and law and order than many first-world Westerners; as far as we’re concerned, the government can make up all the rules and we will all follow them – as well or as badly as how we think about the rules. 😉

  232. RE: Liz Truss vs a head of lettuce,

    Larry the Cat, official chief mouser of 10 Downing Street, has been trolling the PMs on twitter. A commentor pointed out that Larry has more followers on Twitter than Truss. To which Larry replied “I’d get more votes too.”

    The day before Johnson resigned Larry posted “he goes or I do” and his most recent post has announced that the king has asked him to be caretaker PM:

    https://www.rt.com/news/565055-larry-prime-minister-truss-king/

    “The King has asked me to become Prime Minister because this nonsense has gone on long enough.”

    Which is all very clever and funny, but it does bring up a serious point. Somebody pretending to be Larry is actually more popular that the head of state. And it is not because Larry is incredibly popular, but the PM is incredibly unpopular. I know that the internet is rife with cat cat memes, but it looks like a decent number of people think that a cat meme is less irrelevant than the PM. As a rough barometer for confidence in the overall system this bodes poorly.

  233. That should have been “definition” rather than “machine” in my last comment on authoritarianism. Silly autocorrect…

    @Siliconguy

    Thanks for your wind calculations. Any power source that drops to zero at random for days at a time is obviously useless as the basis for any sort of grid power or essential needs.

    To the extent that it can be balanced with another variable-output source (e.g. natural gas) while reducing the overall rate at which gas is burned, it could still ease our descent somewhat, but the fact that all installed wind capacity must be redundant with other installed capacity (i.e. the grid must be able to function with no wind) needs to be factored into EROI, which would be a complex calculation.

    We can potentially design a system around intermittent power like solar, especially in concert with something like hydro for which output can be varied on a daily schedule and is higher in the winter (at least in our climate) when solar is lower. It’s impossible to design a system around a power input that provides 3 gigawatts for two days straight and then flat zero for a week.

  234. Why we are in this hand basket #2: what happened between then and now. Detailed, factual, long form journalism.

    https://www.realclearpolitics.com/2022/10/19/how_the_diploma_divide_is_remaking_american_politics_582531.html

    Full disclosure: the author is full of “College-educated liberal values Good; blue collar values Bad. He uses the very biased OCEAN personality test as his theoretical basis. [One which I rejected forcibly because it labeled Introversion as Bad. The MBTI does not consider *any* personality type to be Bad. or Good. But then, it comes from a more nuanced era. End editorial comments.] Read it for the facts, but bring a barf bag for the values.

  235. Continuing on the CosDoc-perspective on things… I’ve got a lot on my mind in this regard but while trying to write it down I notice that I need to get my thoughts ordered first.

    In the meantime, I accidentally stumbled over a piece of music with lyrics somehow fitting to “the long decline”. For all those who like it: “Dégénération” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eF92-uSiVZQ
    (no Video, just a few images and the lyrics in French and English).

    Greetings,
    Nachtgurke

  236. JMG, I suspect your language policy prevented you from using this particular Orwellian cartoon? https://www.bobmoran.co.uk/other-work/orwell-surprise-original-artwork

    Down the road from here they used to sell bits and pieces of the old Berlin Wall to clueless tourists, making lots of mad cash in the process. Similarly, I am thinking about trying to sell bits and pieces of Nordstream to tourists if I can get hold of anything washing up along the coast. Failing that I could just smash some random gas pipe into pieces under the very plausible assumption it won’t be used anyway and sell that off. Catabolic collapse helping the souvenir industry baby!

    In other news I am in the process of developing an automated sanctions form to enable the EU Pact to be even more efficient. On the form I list a number of probable countries most likely to be sanctioned (Iran, Russia, North Korea and Cuba) in the enduring belief that their governments will be toppled any day now as a result of the sanctions and a box beside their names which can be ticked or not depending on the current whims of the elites.

    I leave space for EU Pact members to insert (via fancy drop-down menu) their sanctioned country of choice if not on the preselected list. A further drop-down menu will list all the types of goods to be sanctioned (chips, weapons, furniture, etc.) with a warning that sanctioning critical energy supplies (gas, oil, coal) may lead to the collapse of your government.

    Once the “send” button is clicked on the sanctions form, an automatic and threatening email will be sent to all EU Pact members warning that rejecting the proposed X sanctions against country Y will lead to said member being accused of being a (a) Putin/Trump supporter, (b) climate change denier, (c) conspiracy theorist, and/or (d) anti-vaxxer.

  237. Hi John Michael,

    Yeah, that was also my perspective. Hey, the awful thing is that even human labour is subject to the diminishing economic returns. I have a suspicion that this is part of the explanation whereby population levels will eventually decline to a number which the various local environments can support. The large scale Roman farms which kept the empire fed way back in the day probably failed due to lack of workers. For the Roman’s, conquest equalled new workers, and when the costs of further conquest exceeded the returns, or workers within the existing system became citizens, costs increased and returns declined. Have you noticed that there is a shortage of workers nowadays? The historical parallels are not lost on me. What do you reckon about that?

    Cheers

    Chris

  238. JMG, if the UK goes through a quite harsh down phase of catabolic collapse in the next few years, do you have alternatives for Aeon Books?

  239. @JMG: “huzzah for the lettuce! Maybe the Tories could elect it as their next prime minister — it would do a lot less harm than some.”

    Well, that depends: in the Brexit referendum, did the lettuce vote Leaf or Romaine?

    😉

  240. Brunette, you might like my book The Ecotechnic Future, then — it covers a lot of the upside.

    Suzanne, I’ll toss this one out to the commentariat. I just liked the meme.

    Mark L, notice how many of those attacks amount to insisting that some centralized holder of power has the right to make those decisions, and you and I don’t. Most of the applications of the word I see lately — for example, calling vaccine mandates authoritarian — are quite accurate; giving the power to decide what goes into your body to a small circle of bureaucrats, rather than leaving it in the hands of individuals, is a classic case of authoritarianism.

    Siliconguy, yep. That’s what happens whenever windpower gets a good hard honest look in terms of the real world.

    Gardener, my background in acupressure is limited — I’ve made a lot of use of one system, Do-In, especially as taught by Jacques De Langre (his theories are the crackedest of crackpottery, but his technique is sound). I’ll look around and see what else I can find.

    Pierre, it’s quite simple. The medical and educational industries have finally taken their pursuit of corruption and incompetence far enough that it’s generating blowback. Too many people have been hurt by the one, and too many people are aware of the total failure of the other — and now parents have the best of all reasons for pulling their kids out of the public schools and for supporting candidates who will gut government support for both industries. Since the US is facing national bankruptcy, the gravy train is coming to an end one way or another, but this way? The medical and educational industries may be at the head of the list to get chopped.

    Heather, ha! I hadn’t heard of that one; it’s good. I used to have a button claiming to be from the Campus Crusade for Cthulhu; its slogan, in among the tentacles, was IT FOUND ME.

    Patricia M, thanks for this.

    Carlos, many thanks for the data points! Your country and mine have more similarities than I think most people realize…

    Team10tim, yep. Remember the various posts I’ve made about the dominant class’s collapse of legitimacy? Larry’s a purring, meowing example.

    Patricia M, funny. The values are as important as the facts; they show exactly how the university-educated class backed themselves and the country into the current debacle.

    Nachtgurke, thanks for this.

    Thecrowandsheep, be sure to include in your automated sanction form a mechanism of this kind…

    …since that’s what it amounts to in practice.

    Chris, I’m going to be talking at some length about the labor shortage, which is hugely important. More on this soon!

    Anonymous, I always have a plan B. In this case, though, I don’t expect to need it — you might look up how many small publishers went through the Great Depression and the Second World War in Britain unscathed.

    Jeff, ha! Good. Rancid, but good. 😉

  241. @DavidBTL #229: If history is any indication it may be a while before the System collapses. During the Crisis of the Third Century (235-284), the Roman Empire spent decades enduring civil wars between various self-declared Augustii and any contemporary Roman might assume the barbarians were going to storm the place Any Day Now. But Aurelian and Diocletian cobbled together a system that limped on for nearly 200 more years. And even after they were gutted by Latin Crusaders in 1204 Constantinople lingered on for 250 more years as a shadow of itself before falling to the Turks.

    I could easily imagine a 23rd-century “United States of America” along the Bos-Wash corridor surrounded by a half-dozen political entities that mock their imperial pretensions. The civilizations that rise out of the ashes of old empires are generally quick to paint themselves as the New and Improved

    @Info #237: I think another big impetus for the Crusades was the conversion of Rollo and the founding of Normandy. A bunch of Vikings who went sailing every season in the hope that they would die and go to Valhalla settled down in Normandy. A century later you have Norman Crusaders invading the Holy Land in the hopes they would die and go to Heaven.

  242. Do people realize that Freud and Jung not only slept with their patients, but thought that this sort of thing was therapeutic for all concerned? (They even thought that sleeping with the *same* patient was therapeutic, because Oedipus.) They’re both fascinating to read, but they had the morals of New Age gurus. (Freud the crafty manipulative kind, Jung the crazy deluded kind)

    thecrowandsheep (no. 265), I used to tell people that “true Orwellianism has never been tried,” but Xi Jinping ruined that joke.

  243. I noticed at the pump today that E-85 was 2.90, when “regular” (what is that? 10-15% ethanol?) was 3.27. Talk about getting the bull by the wrong end…

    How does that happen? I always buy no-ethanol, have for many years, and it’s usually $1+ more than “regular.” Never mind E-85. Without losing the energy of conversion via fermentation/agricultural production/etc/usw, along the way.

    It’s bass-ackwards. No-ethanol should cost LESS than the others.

    Is it because nobody buys E-85? Or is it really that big a greenwashing program?
    It’s hard for me to understand how that keeps floating.

    I’m willing to pay the premium, on purely ideological terms if nothing else – although there are in fact other benefits, go figure – but I can certainly understand why I never have to wait in line!

    We must be talking about a ton of money being spent here, to prop up the illusion of Progress.

  244. Simply another great view through the windshield – thanks JMG

    I have a comment regarding the collapse of the USSR. It seems that the ruling elites more or less headed to the exit doors leaving a relatively optimistic and content population to fend for themselves. Then, the Harvard boys moved in for the feast.

    The Soviet elites, mostly highly trained engineers, physicists and mathematicians, lost revolutionary zest and realized that their counterparts in the West were making a hundred if not a thousand times more money, partied on Epstein’s island and equivalents, and basked in global adulation created by a media that was had societal influence beyond anything they could have conceived.

    My two-cent opinion is that the murder of JFK marked the capitulation of the American system to the Narcissistic rulers. The following excerpt from a speech made by JFK shortly after the Cuban missile crisis sealed his fate.

    “I have chosen this time and place to discuss a topic on which ignorance too often abounds and the truth is too rarely perceived – yet it is the most important topic on earth: world peace.

    What kind of peace do I mean? What kind of peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave.

    I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children – not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women – not merely peace in our time but peace for all time.”

    Narcissism, honed to sweet perfection in the West, has proven to be just another failed ideology (worship of the self, greed is good, etc.) with the main difference from other failed ideologies being the degree of ruthlessness and deception.

    FWIW, I feel a new age is coming with visible manifestations including the unmasking of the Western elites and an end to their narcissistic rule.

  245. On wokeism and evangelical Christianity, well, it plays out differently in every denomination. In Baptist circles, “evangelicals” (think Billy Graham) were traditionally more liberal (think “hate the sin, love the sinner”) than “fundamentalists,” but none of these people could be called “woke.” Non- or post-denominational mega-churches usually seem to fit somewhere on this map. Independent Fundamental Baptist Churches are..well, have you ever seen Steven Anderson or Greg Locke? (Fred Phelps was Primitive Baptist, but close enough.) US Episcopalians are traditionally divided between high-church and evangelical factions, but the conservative breakaway “Anglican” groups are primarily evangelical, while the rump Canterbury-affiliated TEC (“The Episcopal Church”–yes, that’s really what it’s called) is as woke as can be. You’d think there wouldn’t be any woke Orthodox, but conservative US Protestants have been converting / fleeing to the Russian and Antiochan churches, and complaining about certain Greeks (including the Ecumenical Patriarch) who don’t much care about hot-button issues, but are mainly interested in preserving an ethnic club–and gay Greeks are “in the family.” So Orthodox churches that don’t preach against the gays get called “wokeist” by more strident groupings.

    Emmanuel Goldstein (no. 198), I wonder if anyone has considered suing on the basis that the “homeopathic” products sold commercially do not really conform to homeopathic principles?

    Frederick (no. 220) “As for the reference to reptilian shape shifters, I’m surprised people take it literally, which does make it laughable. I would argue it is a metaphor to describe the “elites” view of the great unwashed.”

    That’s a great gloss, and fits the central conceit of John Carpenter’s “They Live,” but David Icke–the inventor of the “lizard people” theory (unless we credit fictional predecessors like the “V” miniseries, or the Skrulls* from Marvel Comics)–believes in them literally. At one point he also seemed to be putting forth himself as a messianic figure, so there’s that.I had vague memories of him being in politics, but unfortunately he was in the Green Party rather than the Tories, otherwise…

    *(renamed Chitauri for the Marvel movies, by the way, after a name used by Icke)

  246. Denis says: #233
    October 21, 2022 at 9:06 am

    “Why can’t the woke just go invent some new thing and invite people to participate in the new thing? Why do they have to go twist and destroy everything in the past?”

    I have to assume you are a youngster, because this is not a new phenomenon. JMG has talked about something I think he called “joiner-ism” or something like that. Where people radically opposed to the reality of an established organization join it with the express purpose of destroying it from within. Sometimes, alternatively, people who are simply not planning on acting within the culture of an organization join up and manage to destroy it in a parasitic manner.

    Whatever it’s called, this is something that has been going on for a VERY long time. The fraternal orders that were popular in the 19th c. were among the first to go (a lot of things tied into this, and there’s a lot of history on the topic that JMG recounts). The insurance functions of these orders were their weak point: people joined for the insurance, used the benefits, didn’t pay enough to sustain the benefits, the state insurance board got involved, and…bingo! the organization was on the skids financially and legally. People organizing among themselves to do something the government could do less efficiently was not a thing the government would permit to exist for very long. Or so I surmise.

    Or, to take the case of hostile takeovers, this has been ongoing in the RCC (Roman Catholic Church) since at least Vatican II, and the KGB in the 1950’s even had position papers on what it planned to do and how, to destroy the institution. Same thing has happened to the ECUSA (Episcopal Church of the USA) and many similar institutions. Happened in the Anglican Church in England.

    Why? I’ve asked that question for years. Decades, really. As well as I can determine, there mustn’t be any safe spaces for people to retreat into, or the people devoted to controlling other people would have no people available to control. Too many people would retreat to their churches or their fraternities or universities or whatever other unchanged institution you might care to be part of.

    Everyone must be vulnerable to the controllers’ improvement schemes (except themselves, they are exempt and above it all). There are historical precedents in Western history. Do please read Will and Ariel Durant’s works. The disintegration of Christianity has accelerated the process, as it could be said that wokester-ism, communism and so on are operating on the final wheezes of Christian ethical considerations (much decayed). Ironically, the “woke” are the people who expressly talk about safe spaces for the easily offended, an inversion of what is really going on. The Christian sects were decaying long before the cancer of modernization set to work in earnest, but prior to that there were movements afoot to keep them on track for their original missions. It was not to be, as the people who saw themselves as “change agents” determined that it must not be. I could name names but even here people might be offended if I did. However, I had a front row seat and have seen this process taking place many times in many places.

    Then there is the work of the “Frankfurt School” (sp) of the 20’s and 30’s, which aimed to have a Marxist “long march through the institutions” to destroy them. They have done a wonderful job destroying the credibility medicine and university-level education and replacing these things with a parody of their original selves.

    Admittedly, there are a lot of true-believer useful idiots who aid and abet in the destruction of these things. It would be possible without them.

    Not exactly to my point prior to this, but it is something that occurs to me and I want to talk about: as for education at the K-12 levels, it could be reasonably asserted that public schools, as enthusiastically established in the early 20th century in the light of the writings of Dewey and Mann were always intended to become parodies of educational systems, the point was to create “socialization” (a condition of being adapted to one’s current society) rather than education per se.

    Before public education, literacy rates were in the mid to high nineties and at a very high level of reading. I shudder to think what they are now. The public school replaced what had been a quite successful informal system whereby people sought out education in whatever form they could and didn’t quite know where to stop so they became surprisingly learned and wise. I’m not talking college education here, I’m talking what people did at their kitchen tables. They learned mathematics, Shakespeare and the King James Bible very thoroughly–even the non-Christian people. That couldn’t be allowed to continue! So the Prussian method of herding children together in age-limited groups was adopted not just in the US, but in many other parts of the world. The more one learns about this, the worse one’s blood pressure numbers are likely to be. Or mine, at any rate, so I will say no more at this point.

    Thanks for sending me on this rant (or whatever it is). I hope it is sufficiently germane to this week’s topic. These things are certainly part of the reason, as Yeats says: “things fall apart, the center cannot hold.” (I hope I got that right!)

  247. About the Mississippi and other rivers running low,

    What is never mentioned in the news reports is that river levels are affected not only by rain patterns but also by the health of their watersheds. Healthy watersheds act like a sponge, absorbing excess water during wet periods and releasing it slowly. Changes such as depletion of organic matter in agricultural soil, development leading to an increase of impervious surfaces, draining of wetlands, and channelization of watercourses lead to the land being unable to absorb as much of the rain that falls. The result is an increase in flooding during wet periods and lower water levels during droughts.

    Unlike global climate change, all of these other factors can be mitigated on the local/regional levels.

  248. Bei, of course they did. So? The value of a set of ideas isn’t determined by how well the creator of those ideas lived up to the moral opinions of some future generation or other.

    Grover, fascinating. As far as I can tell E85 isn’t sold in New England, nor is E15 — which is I gather what passes for “regular” where you are. Our local gas is straight gasoline, and regular’s $3.39 a gallon at the station three blocks from my place — about $2 a gallon less than in Los Angeles, for whatever that’s worth.

    Observer, hmm. That’s not really what I recall from the sources I read about the Soviet collapse at the time, or from people I talked with who were there.

    Kashtan, always an important point.

  249. About the possibility of breaking up the left/right stalemate in the US,

    There are figures with large followings that I’d consider center-populists who are trying to do just that, critiquing the establishment, the far right and the woke left. Joe Rogan is one, last I saw it’s estimated he gets over 10 million listeners for every podcast, and his popularity continued to increase through the recent attempts to cancel him. It’s just that populist-center politicians are lacking. As soon as it seems like a politician might take that route, soon they end up either going woke or turning toward conservative identity politics.

  250. JMG, I take it that an authoritarian, person who believes “that people ought to be controlled by some single center of power” is not the same animal as a person who believes that hierarchy is the natural condition of humankind.

    pennyj, I do hope you understand that “personal freedom” for you also implies, or should imply, the same for others, even when those others have tastes, interests, opinions, and spending habits which differ from yours.

  251. Jim W,

    Thank you for sharing that Orlov link! It helped crystallize what’s been nagging me about some of the thinkers on the “New Right” that keep beating the drum that democracy is dead and voting Republican won’t help anything: while it’s true that merely throwing out one set of scoundrels in favor of another is not in itself a plan, insisting that we should effectively disengage from politics entirely is escapism, using despair is an excuse for inaction.

    In that light, Curtis Yarvin aka Mencius Moldbug is something of a QAnon-like figure, feeding a shadowy, never-fully-laid-out plan for how he and his fellow “dark elves” are going to take down the current system and the “hobbits” just need to trust them and wait. Some of his disciples are less insidious but they still ultimately peddle despair porn instead of actionable plans.

    By contrast, while JMG (who can correct me if I’ve misinterpreted him) is saying that the system is likely to fall soon from indifference, I don’t interpret him as saying we need to give up on politics and wait for our betters to fix things for us — quite the contrary. The future belongs to those who are willing and able to roll up their sleeves and sort through the rubble.

  252. In the Midwest (Michigan through Iowa plus the states in between) E10 is the standard with E15 and E85 offered at the occasional gas station. Neither E15 nor E85 is offered with appropriate discounts (compared to energy levels), and I wouldn’t trust E85 fuel to be honest (tried it, messed up certain sensors).

    As for E0 gas, I saw plenty of it in Iowa. It was always at a premium over and above its energy level, but I happily bought it when I had the chance.

  253. Two interesting bits of information about our allegedly omnipotent Evil Overlords:

    The first is that before the Elon Musk bid, Twitter was planning to lay off around 25% of its workforce to keep the doors open. That suggests the Big Blue Bird was and is seriously short on cash. When you’re laying off a quarter of your company, you’re burning the furniture to keep warm. It also, at least to me, refutes the idea that Twitter is a secret CIA Mind Control operation. Or, if it is a Glow-op, it suggests the CIA didn’t find it successful enough for continued subsidies.

    https://archive.ph/Z7aUv (the original Washington Post story is behind a paywall)

    The second is that not only is Facebook also laying off employees: it has rebranded itself as Meta and gone whole-hog into virtual reality. VR was definitely a hot topic for a while and the idea sounds exciting, but there’s one little problem: most people find VR makes them nauseated and quite a few wind up projectile vomiting.

    This isn’t something new: a 1995 study using the Virtual Reality tech of their day found that 61% of 150 subjects reported nausea during a 20-minute VR session and 10 minute post-immersion session, with 5% forced to withdraw from the study.

    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF02009710

    But our VR technology has improved greatly since then, right? Let’s look at a February 2020 study of 28 people who used VR headsets to watch real estate tours. In that group

    “Seven participants did not feel dizzy or nauseous at all, four felt a little dizzy or nauseous, twelve felt somewhat dizzy or nauseous, one felt highly dizzy or nauseous, while three felt dizzy or nauseous to a great extent.”

    So 75% of the people in this study experienced at least some degree of nausea using 2020-era VR headsets.

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264275119311655

    Also amusing: the 1995 study noted that hycosine, a seasickness pill, helped against VR nausea, while the 2020 study noted

    “What could have improved the experience is phones with better screen resolution. However, resolution would still not be substantially improved because mobile based VR or other commercially available standalone VR units (e.g. Oculus Rift, GO, Quest, HTC Vive) are not yet able to display 4 K resolution. We assume that even though the resolution was not optimal, the results would not have been any different with a higher resolution. The only difference would have been the user experience, in which we can reasonably expect improvements within the near future as technology is developing rapidly.”

    I am no marketing genius, but it would appear to me that most people will be unenthusiastic about spending $500 to $1,000+ on a headset which makes them “somewhat dizzy or nauseous.” In fact, I would wager that VR would be a no-go for most of those people even with a $50 to $100 price tag. And since this nausea appears to be triggered by a disjunct between what your eyes see and what your body feels, I don’t imagine it’s going to be cured by improving the visual resolution.

    So either a whole generation is going to stock up on anti-nausea meds or we will fix the problem soon because “technology is developing rapidly.” And the geniuses at Facebook/Meta who are purportedly working overtime to control the American mind have bet the house on a technology that literally makes most people sick to their stomachs.

  254. @Jim W
    @Oilman2
    @Kerry Nitz

    Thanks for linking and reopsting Orlov’S article (https://www.permaculturenews.org/2010/12/14/post-soviet-lessons-for-a-post-american-century/)

    I find the article thoroughly interesting, yes, prescient and balanced.
    Surprisingly balanced, considering the way Orlov expresses himself nowadays- well life IS hard.
    Similarily to James Kunstler Orlov has taken to mere diatribes and an endless stream of vitriolic ranting today.
    It shows that an author isn’t necessarily a good author for his whole career, sometimes only for a time.

    I liked Orlov’s “5 stages of collapse” as well, where he discusses several societies (gypsies, pashtuns, Ik, ..) and several examples of downturn in history.
    Even though in the foreword, his angry and frustrated tone already shows a little.

    Citing from Orlov’s aritcle from way back:

    “So what has become of these Soviet mavericks, some of whom foretold the coming collapse with some accuracy? To be brief, they faded from view. Both tragically and ironically, those who become experts in explaining the faults of the system and in predicting the course of its demise are very much part of the system. When the system disappears, so does their area of expertise, and their audience. People stop intellectualizing their predicament and start trying to escape it – through drink or drugs or creativity or cunning – but they have no time for pondering the larger context.”

    That got me. As much as I have loved to read, discuss and at times (like here) write, and as much as I would have appreciated to pass my intellectual endeavour on while growing old, I don’t see it happening.
    Currently I am busy with preparations both for a punctual crisis (black-out) as well as for a prolonged predicament. Whether or not in the end this will prove useful – as a spiritually inclined man, I see value in doing one’s best anyways, even if I died today.

    However, I am not so blind as not to see the massive gaps in my skills at anything non-academic. My own imagination cannot bring forward any useful task or function for my person in this upcoming future, other than supporting those in my closer circle – so as I can.

    @Sardaukar

    “Quietly quitting…” (https://www.oftwominds.com/blogoct22/quiet-quitting10-22.html)
    Yes quietly quitting is certainly a phenomenon. Not among most of my IT colleagues in the software company though. They all believe in a career and discuess their corporate prospects into the future.

    As of 2022 I am more than convinced the story will turn out much different from what they can imagine.
    Yes their imagination is insufficient!

    @Dave McArthur

    Thanks for your spiritual contribution as well!

    ———————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

    Meanwhile in Austria, Herbert Saurugg, officer of the army formerly in charge of cyber security and since a decade invested in electric grid security, tries to inform viewers in his videos,
    he has a precise language and does little in the way of politicizing, but it has to be said, the “details” he gives about the fragility of our economy are horrifying.

    He also notices most people when asked expect both support from state institutions in an emergency case as well as expertise and a plan ready to take into action.
    He says, as an insider, that absolutely none of this is even remotely there. Furthermore he mentiones that other societies more used to grid instability and catastrophy naturally are
    much better at reacting to such crises than our formerly premium security society.

    For Austria, he asserts a slightly better situation than for Germany, if only slightly so. Austria has two massive water storage dams in the mountains that may buffer 30% of Austria’s electricity
    needs. That may help.

    However, against the lack of AdBlue no weed has grown here – a shortage most of us haven’t heard of until recently, yet possibly the worst lynchpin of all in the near future!

    Meanwhile “Darius”, a talking man from Germany (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVSMxiK-0TSIOv1c3uRlZiQ) presumes the US to plan an attack on Iran as a last desperate move – when
    Saudi Arabia threatens to cut them off. Joe Biden and his administration’s approach to the Saudi’s really seems like sheer stupidity, not like a grand plan of perfectly knowledgeable
    conspirators. Trump was smarter!

    Interesting times, in the end all of us will ask ourselves the one question anyways: what all this business of embodied living is good for in the first place.
    I am maybe a little less nervous about the upcoming turbulence, partly because I have done my best, to another part because I’ve truly stopped caring.

  255. Stephen #252

    I thought for many years that the original Diesel engine had been designed to run on vegetable oil but I recently heard that in fact the original design was actually entirely based on a mineral oil fuel. Diesel was demonstrating the engine at one of the big European exhibitions of the era and someone in the crowd asked him about using a plant oil instead. He tried it more or less on the spot and found that plant oils worked too. But it cokes up the engine and I suppose a modern engine with finer tolerances would suffer more from that.

    If I do end up with a diesel (shudders slightly) I will try to get something with a lowish mileage so it will be recent I should think. So no veg oil unless I’ve processed it first.

  256. Re: ethanol

    This is actually a bit complicated (Oilman2 correct me if I’m wrong…).

    Ethanol has a lower energy content than gasoline, so E85 delivers about 20% fewer miles per gallon. Therefore it has to be cheaper to be competitive on a per-mile basis. E-85 at $2.90 is actually more expensive per mile than E-15 at $3.27. Obviously it shouldn’t be that cheap based on the 1:1 or thereabouts EROEI – that’s a function of heavy subsidies.

    As for why ethanol-free premium costs so much, that’s in part because it is a specialty product distributed in smaller volumes and in part because it is “premium” gasoline refined to a higher octane rating without additives.

    JMG, I would be surprised if the regular gas at your local station contains no ethanol. Most gasoline available nationwide is E-10 (though there may be exceptions in some regions, and there are sometimes blending waivers issued when the ethanol supply is limiting). Adding 10% ethanol to the nation’s gasoline supply was a huge subsidy to the agribusiness industry, but it also functions as a fuel-oxygenation additive that raises the octane rating and reduces engine knocking for otherwise-lower-grade gasoline. In this role it replaced MTBE (methyl tert-butyl ether), a petroleum-derived chemical which was getting a bad rap for its tendency to contaminate groundwater. MTBE itself replaced tetraethyl lead in 1979 when the latter was banned as an anti-knock additive.

  257. Rod #159, on the Y2K computer bug, I was a computer network administrator at the time. The reason it turned out to be a nothingburger is that we saw the problem coming, and we did something about it.

    We tested our systems for Y2K compliance with programs that were freely available. We replaced hardware as necessary, or just in case. I had to modify a program I was maintaining that assumed all double-digit years were in the 1900s. And on 1 January 2000 I let myself into the empty offices and ran all the computers to check they were okay, then locked up again and enjoyed the Christmas break. I’m sure many other IT peeps did the same.

    Global warming, however, requires everyone to modify their lifestyles to use less energy and stuff, but most of us just carry on and hope someone else will do what is necessary. We’re going to hit the wall at 100 MPH. The only question is, what limit are we going to hit first — temperature, fresh water, energy, firewood, fossil fuel, essential minerals, radiation, food, etc etc?

  258. There was some talk upthread of the USSR’s apparatchiks retaining their elite positions during and after the collapse, grabbing resources and becoming the new oligarchy. I observed one case of this during my time in Russia and believe it was widespread. I met the persons involved on my first trip to Russia. They’d set themselves up as liaisons for concerned environmental groups overseas, accepting and pocketing donated funds. My Russian friends steered me clear of them, and I learned they could really be quite dangerous. During the ’90s they had free reign. Putin, as I understand only managed to deal with the most egregious cases, and as far as I know, this married couple still maintains their position, and have used false accusations and public concern over CIA spying to get rid of one highly principled rival.
    One thing that occurs to me, though, is that while the USSR collapsed, it also basically lost the Cold War, and in the chaos, there was a lot of involvement by Western economic and intelligence agents. One thing the West has done with its satrapies and colonies is to find and use highly corrupted individuals from the old regime, keeping the general power structure intact, and using these ruthless individuals to suppress any kind of uprising. The example I can think of most immediately was Japan’s Emperor post war, but aside from noting that Hirohito himself was anything but ruthless and that I believe Japan benefited from this, that is still a highly controversial case I don’t want to get into. There was a power structure in Japan prior to the war that remained intact, and though Japan was given the trappings of democracy, the people quickly discovered that it was skin deep.
    What I am wondering is whether you or anyone here (some of whom know Russia better than I) thinks Russia would basically do the same thing to the US in an analogous collapse. Or perhaps China would?
    I could easily see Russia propping up key persons in Ukraine or its other near neighbors, where chaos or civil war would affect it negatively. Overseas, though, wouldn’t they just let us duke it out? I note that we wisely used up nearly all of our natural resources while we could.

  259. Really? All you have in New England is straight gas??
    I had no idea.

    Where I’ve been in corn country straight gas is hard to come by at all, and E85 is all the rage. Perhaps somebody involved at least recognizes an unacceptable decline in net energy due to long-distance shipping. Use it where you make it. That’s semi-promising.

    Here the straight version is ~$4.60/gal instead of $3.30-ish, but its availability has spread since we moved here a decade ago.

    Regardless of the benefits (the gas I buy is 97 octane for starters, versus 87), it requires a certain commitment to spring that much extra fundage. Most people here only buy it for power equipment.

    Hmmm!

  260. Kashtan,

    Well said. IIRC, an increase of one percentage point in soil organic matter content raises the soil’s ability to hold water by something like 200,000 gallons an acre. Not exactly a trivial point, is it? Especially when we’ve been burning off our soil’s organic matter content steadily since the dawn of chemical farming.

    I also believe this is the major reason Americans are so fat: declining mineral density in the foodstuffs produced on burnt-out soil. The human body WANTS those minerals, but now has to eat twice as much shaley food to get them!

    This really is the perfect storm, isn’t it? It’s darkly fascinating watching it all unfold.

  261. JMG (no. 277), it wasn’t just set of ideas–they founded a profession and subculture infused with their values.

  262. >I noticed at the pump today that E-85 was 2.90, when “regular” (what is that? 10-15% ethanol?) was 3.27. Talk about getting the bull by the wrong end…

    >How does that happen?

    E85 is usually a bit “cheaper” mainly due to subsidies, I think. And those subsidies are mainly meant to buy votes in midwestern states. What you’ll find with E85, is that your fuel economy will go down and go down by a bit more than the papers and the interwebs will tell you. What I saw, you’re looking at a minimum 25% drop in fuel economy. And you could see 30%. Pencil it all out and E85 is more expensive, even though it’s cheaper. And that’s with the subsidies.

    What you do gain from E85 is extra power and torque. It’s enough to notice. So if you’re racing (street or drag or track), you want E85. Otherwise, it’s a waste of money and time – right now.

    I do think because E85 is more or less a drop-in replacement in combustion engines (or an engine that can’t run it can be made to run it with a kit) that at some point, even without subsidies the lines will cross with fossil fuels and it will be cheaper to burn it. Of course that price point could be $20 or $30/gal. I suspect in 2070, that’s what you’ll see most cars still on the road using for fuel.

    And 500 years from now, when the genetically engineered Booze Tree is perfected, that’s what they’ll use to power their civilization. Groves of engineered fruit trees that make ethanol straight from the sun. FL will be the new TX and orange juice will be hard to come by.

  263. Hi John Michael,

    I look forward to reading your thoughts in this matter. It has been something which has puzzled me greatly for the last year. The err, authoritarian (and it’s true too. Having to regularly travel through military and police checkpoints and display my papers and ID is an experience I would not have predicted and don’t recommend) diktats have resulted in bizarre consequences, and the labour shortage is one such. It wasn’t always this way.

    As an additional thought in that matter, is something I’ve been contemplating of late: The housing shortage combined with inflation (not to mention the recent heavy handed authoritarian response) means that this destination is not as favoured as it once was. And if people can’t make a buck, they’ll go elsewhere on the planet where they might do better.

    Cheers

    Chris

  264. @Eric in MD

    I can understand how you feel about other people and the impossibility of presenting ideas out of the norm.

    Recently I had a distant friend rage at me, suddenly, due to the Ukraine topic he himself brought on the table, and that only because I put forward cautious
    dissent. This was full hysteria mode on somebody I hadn’t seen in this state of mind (mindless) before. That definitely caught me by surprise, in this case.
    A contrary example would be a work colleague I sometimes go forest rambling with, aged 26 (I am 34 1/2).

    His opinions are certainly different from mine on topics such as energy and politics – however both of us have been careful not to tread on each others shoe, and I cherish the man’s endless curiosity.

    That’s it: curiosity. The important ingredient. But there is another vital ingredient as I have found: a will to do things different in spite of everyone around doing the same thing.
    That guy for example does not do drugs, is not interested in clubs hedonism, partying, but he is rather traditional from the countryside, he likes to modify cars, is part of the voluntary fire fighters (an important social factor on the country side) and is interested in health and outdoors activities.

    In general the more “invested” people are, with mortgage, career prospects, social status, and the like, the less they are willing to think of anything counter their hopes.
    It’s human, we don’t like to invest our time and energy for nothing. Who would bear the thought of abandoning a house construction almost finished?

    That’s where the good old “know thyself” comes in – I am not an advanced mage or sage, but I got better at understanding where my own feelings come from, what are my fears, what are my needs – and so my conscious mind sometimes allows me a sort of meta view over my own motives and feelings. For example when I am angry but understand that my anger isn’t just, or my spite isn’t warranted.

    Rational epistemology is also difficult: to understand how one draws one’s own conclusions, where they come from, what are the experiences behind it, which habitual thinking has been established and why.
    Going with our hosts definition of “rational” – established as working out, over a longer period of time.

    To make things short:

    I understand you chose football as a topic so as not to get into situations with family and friends. I on my behalf also talk about whatever when talking to work colleagues. I am good at chatting.

    Otherwise I have abandoned going out to bars or clubs. The conversations are tepid at best, my peer society is busy investing all their energy in hedonism, vanity and pipe dreams of the future.

    Luckily I have a few friends with whom I can talk in earnest – I go on to meet those. I guess there’s no simple way to straddle being social and honest in times like these.

    I wish you a good time anyways, good nerves and good spirit!

    regards, Curt

  265. TJandtheBear re:the young man who wants farmers to stop farming because “climate change”.

    Are you joking? Is he joking? It’s so hard to tell these days. Anyway, it reminded me of a bumper sticker that used to be popular around here years ago. It advertised a local restaurant (The Halfway House) with this saying:

    “Don’t complain about farmers with your mouth full”.

    What does this fellow think he is going to eat without farmers to feed him? Does he plan to stop eating because “climate change”?

  266. Dear JMG – I had limited contact with Russians during that era and they appeared patriotic and looking forward to a slow but never the less steady improvement in living conditions. More telling, the Soviet population voted in favor of maintaining the Soviet Union as a single state by a wide margin and in every region including the Ukraine.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1991_Soviet_Union_referendum

    The vote was taken at Gorbachev’s request toward the end of his time in office. Public opinion polls showed a similar level of confidence in their future. No doubt the well-earned cynicism in the Russia population was still in play but tempered by tangible improvements. The Moscow Times (a pro-Western news outlet) had this to say:

    https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2020/03/24/75-of-russians-say-soviet-era-was-greatest-time-in-countrys-history-poll-a69735

    The article made it clear though that Russians are now looking forward to a new path. My take is the path would be free of ideology and a return to traditional values. To me, this means the Russian journey is well in advance of the US journey towards freedom to live the way we (the “common” person) want free of corporate social programming.

    The US population would greatly benefit from a higher level of cynicism as well and that cynicism/rejection of the party line is indeed growing as you eloquently described.

    My main point however was the fate of JFK who dared to speak out against the Western Empire. To a lesser degree, Nixon and Trump tried to make peace with Russia and we know how that ended.

  267. Hi pygmycory, I have played bass recorder at times and wanted to take a look at your music channel, but couldn’t find it!

  268. The following link provides a level-headed and informative analysis of the Covid pandemic and the effects of Covid vaccine on public health. The presenter is an MD and takes a fact-based approach to understand the growing public health catastrophe (and it is a catastrophe).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HnSnQor8zDY

    One of the remarkable facts is that public health officials seem to refuse to investigate a link between Covid vaccinations and unexpected deaths to spare families of the anguish of choosing to be vaccinated (my interpretations).

    Again, the good doctor’s analysis is compelling.

  269. Great essay. Thank you.

    When you mention “popcorn,” where do you picture you are sitting? With a book? — that sounds so anti-climactic.

    The logical place is while watching TV, but you don’t watch TV, so it can’t be that. Sitting in front of computer screen watching news? Listening to radio? In either case, what channel?

    Or popcorn-meditation — “imagining” with eyes closed while sitting in a comfy chair while doing nothing else — opening eyes long enough to pick a popcorn and pop it into mouth, then close eyes again? (Yum, tastes good!)

    Or Oliver-Twist-style-bowl-in-hand, “Please ma’am, I want some more popcorn.”

    💨Northwind Grandma😳
    Dane County, Wisconsin, USA

  270. >And if people can’t make a buck, they’ll go elsewhere on the planet where they might do better.

    Only if they have skills and abilities that are rare enough and can hit the ground running. The Soviet Union emptied out all its laboratories and design bureaus as they all went running to the West to work for peanuts. And they were grateful for those peanuts. At least for a while.

    Although there were a few people who didn’t have any marketable skills but just plugged away at learning English and managed to find physical labor jobs in Murica and managed to make a life for themselves doing nothing but hard work.

    A lot more just stayed put and drank themselves to death though.

    I suppose learning a foreign language is not a bad idea in these times. It may not pay off but then again, it might. The old warning I would give is be careful what you let on that you know how to do – because you just might be made to do it, whether you want to or not.

  271. @ Kenaz re #282

    I’m not surprised about the vomiting. Getting car-sick when I was little was so predictable my mother would take a small basin with her when we went on family outings or trips to visit relatives. At some point in the journey, I’d start whimpering “Mommy, I don’t feel good…” and out would come the basin. I thought I had long outgrown that until I began watching YouTube videos. Any with herky-jerky movements would have me wishing for that basin again.

    VR amplifies that mis-match between what we see and what we feel. Our eyes say we’re moving but our butts say we’re sitting still. Not only that, VR doesn’t give you odors, temperature changes or tactile sensations such as soft, hard, fuzzy, prickly, etc. No wonder people are heaving. I personally don’t see VR really taking hold except among the elite who can afford the tech and the anti-nausea meds to go with it. The rest of us will just have to continue living in the real world, a burden I happily accept.

  272. @JMG – I’ll be going down to Gainesville’s PrideFest in a little while, and intend to keep my eyes open and see what I see. And will report back.
    It strikes me that there’s something very Plutonian about all these itty-bitty subcategories they’re dividing queer folk into – in the name of inclusiveness.
    Question #1 – is there a carnival atmosphere to it?
    Question #2 – is it dominated by the people themselves? Or by politicians and people trying to sell something to the people? (Albuquerque’s was that way, the last one I attended.)
    Question #3 – is it dominated by heavy-handed wokeness? and/or to what extent?

    Finally, “Did I have fun?” And “did the vendors have anything – very much including books – that I wanted?” (and were there enough portable outhouses provided?)

  273. @Kenaz Filan #270 – I consider “Rome” to be the Latin West, and its spinoff, Constantinople, to be a very Magian daughter culture, very like unto the British Empire being spun off onto the United States of America.

  274. >The future belongs to those who are willing and able to roll up their sleeves and sort through the rubble.

    Not to rain on your parade, but ask Gorbachev and Yeltsin how that worked out for them, rolling up their sleeves and sorting through the rubble. So far it has worked out for Putin but who knows, maybe he has developed a drinking problem too, to cope with the stress. I wouldn’t blame him if it has.

    Not that I don’t think there are going to be opportunities, there were people who did manage to make a new life in the new Russia but for most people, well, go ask a Russian how it went. They might have a thing or two to say.

  275. Fantastic essay this week…thank you! In your response on authoritarianism you write: “An authoritarian believes that people ought to be controlled by some single center of power; some authoritarians are egotists and think they should be that center, but that’s not even the majority.”
    I find our current version of “the System”, run by the PMC clerisy of experts, leans strongly authoritarian. More so all the time as they sense the big squeeze closing in.

    This leadership class has proved to be an utter, abject failure in the West for the last 50 years and this is becoming more and more obvious. I had an intense moment of insight while viewing Jupiter and Saturn conjoined on the twilight western horizon in December 2020…hit me like a ton of bricks: “We’re getting a new elite!” I realize these things take time but the writing on the wall couldn’t be any clearer. That, along with other astrological events in 2020 (Saturn, Pluto, Jupiter) have certainly set us up for The Roaring Twenties 2.0. Your consistent Buckle Up admonitions couldn’t be more appropriate. Thank you for helping us prepare.

  276. The discussion of post soviet officials becoming capitalists reminds me of the the other end of the soviet experience in the movie Dr Zhivago where the wealthy businessman turns up a few years later as a party official. Some people seem to have a nose for navigating these transitions and remaining in power or wealth.
    Stephen

  277. Kashtan, of course. Politics is another trailing indicator; the Joe Rogans are blazing a trail that politicians will follow in due time.

    Mary, they’re overlapping sets but not identical.

    Kenaz, yep — it’s fun to watch. I understand Musk is talking about laying off about 75% of Twitter employees, which sounds like a good start. With regard to vicial reality — my term for it; vicial is to vice as virtual is to virtue — I note the latest failure along those lines:

    https://www.zerohedge.com/military/wouldve-gotten-us-killed-us-army-soldiers-head-sick-after-using-microsofts-ar-goggles

    Curt, thanks again for the update from Österreich!

    Mark L, it’s quite possible that there’s some ethanol in the mix, but it’s certainly not advertised, and E-15 and E-85 are apparently not for sale anywhere in New England, according to the website https://e85prices.com/.

    Martin (if I may), I was facing problems with Y2K on a much smaller scale, as my desk computer at the time was noncompliant. I changed the date setting so it thought it was 1949, and went through the rollover to January 1, 1950 with no trouble at all. 😉 I heard from other people who did equally simple kluges to keep their obsolete but fully functional computers running.

    Grover, well, that’s what https://e85prices.com/ says, and I have yet to see a sign for E85 anywhere in my usual walking routes, which take me past several gas stations.

    Bei, by your logic representative democracy is bad, because every example founded before the twentieth century was created by men who denied women the right to vote. If you want to propose reforms for the psychoanalytic profession today, I won’t argue at all, but condemning the past for failing to live up to the moral beliefs of the present is arrogant chronocentrism: one more way that people hide from the task of understanding history.

    Chris, and of course that’s part of what’s happening — but not all. More as we proceed!

    Observer, interesting. So noted. Thank you for the link.

    Northwind, with a book, of course, or maybe an old-fashioned print newspaper.

    Patricia M, I’ll look forward to the report.

    Jim, you’re most welcome, and you’re right about the authoritarian character of the clerisy. As power slips from their hands, they’re frantically trying to cling to it. Yes, we’re seeing a process of elite replacement, and it’s just as chaotic and colorful as always.

  278. patriciaormsby@287, For what it might be worth, I think a victorious Russia would likely content itself with taking back Alaska and thereby denying the USA access to the warming Arctic. As for the Chinese, we or our descendants may yet live to be grateful for the 2nd Amendment. Ask yourself, how many PMC low level functionaries among your acquaintance would be happy to transition to the role of special commissar in charge of enforcing social conformity in their neighborhoods?

  279. It seems to me that one of the greatest dangers to the ruling class is that once one of their big current deceptions finally blows up and becomes widely known and accepted then that opens up many past “controlled narratives” to be split wide open for all too see. There are many of these and it will only take a few or the big one a couple of decades ago to really turn up the heat as the bulk of the citizens are awakened and lose the final shreds of belief in the establishment and the news media.

  280. Ok… so, here is a much more sane-making podcast (the link contains a full transcript as well). (To follow on the previous Radiance-style drivel)

    Jim Thomas of ETC Group (Action Group on Erosion, Technology and Concentration) is interviewed by Paris Marx of podcast “Tech Won’t Save Us”.

    https://techwontsave.us/episode/137_how_tech_is_remaking_the_food_system_w_jim_thomas

    The ETC, which I know from the past as the organisation that fully documented its central talking point, which is that the “Peasant Food Web” (their words), even yet, still feeds 70% of the human population, while the “Industrial Food System”, despite 100 years of effort, still feeds only 30%* WHILE using 70% of the resources, producing around the same proportion of the pollution, and a driving a great deal more of the environmental degradation which threatens us all.

    Here, Thomas is being interviewed about their recent report entitled “Food Barons 2022” (which can be downloaded from this link), which addresses the current digital encroachment into the food sector that is underway, in great detail.

    We ourselves are currently dealing with a Dept of Agriculture that wishes us, as farmers, to engage with them digitally, begin to tag and document everything living on this farm (not only the livestock), and pushing farmers to sign up to new environmental programs. We are looking into one right now, very carefully. A neighbour has mentioned a concern that is doing the rounds – that farmers are being asked to “sign away their carbon rights” in the small print of these programs. I have not yet gotten to the bottom of this concern, but I will be reading the small print quite diligently to see what it might entail.

    In the meantime, the foot we ourselves have planted in the “Peasant Food Web” is growing, while the foot we have in the “Industrial Food System” is shrinking. Still, the sooner people begin to take an “informed consent” approach to their food, as well as their medicine, the better.

    The future is not yet written, but it is important not to sit back while others write it for us. 😉

    * In their own terms, the industrialists would probably phrase this, if they were being honest, as a “failure to capture more than 30% of the food market”

  281. @Aldarion,
    the link is https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCK9jXTAdBH0XKXcT_DZhISQ
    but you should also be able to find it by searching youtube for Lizzie’s Music Making. It won’t be at the top of the page of results because it is such a small and new channel, but it should be findable that way.

    Thus far there are three videos. One soprano recorder, one alto recorder, and one harp and voice. But there will be more coming along as I make and post them.

    The tech and video end of being a youtube content creator has quite a steep learning curve, as I’m finding out. But I already can do things I couldn’t when I put up the first video, so I figure so long as I keep working at it, it will come.

  282. To rectify my previous comment about having stopped going to bars-there will be an exception today. I will meet my brazilian friend, who has lived here for long as waiter and bartender.

    At home in Sao Paolo, he has nearly paid of two apartments, yet back there he cannot live easily as a waiter, he has no better education to have a premium job allowing for a first world life style – behind wire fence.

    I understand his difficult situation; to him I can talk openly and earnestly, he himself a highly social guy, but not inclined to ignore warning signs of trouble in society.
    Only hindered by his broken German alas, but it will do.

    Last time I met him by he asked me: ” About the crisis – you said it is going to be hell! I am afraid, almost booked a ticket back to Brazil. What is your assessment of the situation..?”

    Well, I will today recommend to get the hell out of here and soon, as sad as it is.

  283. @kashtan

    “It’s just that populist-center politicians are lacking. As soon as it seems like a politician might take that route, soon they end up either going woke or turning toward conservative identity politics.”

    Tulsi Gabbard has seriously disappointed me in this regard with her transition from opposing US imperialist policy to focusing on gender issues from a conservative lens.

    Certainly I think the conservative response to woke gender politics has merit, but overall I feel that any attempts to intervene in this arena through legislation (in either direction) are ham-fisted and fail to see people as complex individuals situated in social contexts that are better served by solutions negotiated within community than imposed from outside.

    Oh well, maybe the next populist-center politician will do better…

  284. I remember doing some back-of-the-envelope calculations on Ethanol levels and energy and figured that, for every 5% increase in Ethanol volume you lost around 2% of your energy content. That translates to a 30% loss of energy going from E-10 to E-85.

    Prices at present are set up to favor E-10 fuel, I’ve noticed. The E-0 I saw (and used) was priced at Premium prices, much higher than the Regular E-10 was.

  285. Wer here
    Well I has been a rough ride here. problems with the power grid are multipling like rabbits right now. It turns out the polish energy grid is so dependent on outside factors that it is not even funny.
    You are not going to belive this: Poland was importing energy from Ukraine at an elevated price ( not considering all the weapons we send there already) but right now that supply is gone and the Ukrainians are demanding that we import energy to them, from what exactly?
    Polish power plants are on the brink and some had already shut down, Tauron is talking more about energy lockdowns. The whole system was so bad that it relied on energy imports from a war torn country….. Meanwhile both sides in the conflict are preparing rumors fly that both sides ordered evacuations from cities on the south ( khaerson on the Russian controled side and Nikolayev on the Ukrainian site something big might be brewing.) Meanwhile some people are semiofficialy talking that the artillery that Poland and NATO send did not work like advertised like our Krab’s and are in repair (before the power was cut anyway). The Russians are mobilizing like crazy all the time and the Russian society is preparing for a mini “Second Patriotic War” whatever that means? Russians are holding the line and relentlessly shelling everything, iranian drones are apparently destroying Ukrainian infrastructure now.
    Meanwile did the Western politics become an unsolvable mess or something? Liz Truss went bye bye and ultra left people in Poland are screaming about a mid terms ending in a civil war in America. You know the standart Trump Putin’s agent thing. What if they try something really bad like messing with dominion system? As one American MAGA voter said “if they try to steal the midterms riots will begin”
    Cheap stuff is gone folks and it ain’t coming back but people don’t want to listen. Everybody is in trance right now, I really can’t understand some people that I know who had gone into depresion or even dellirium here It is bewildering to watch. Some are waking up and going like a deer in highlights…..

  286. @Clarke aka Gwydion I’m so glad that your assumption of my age and knowledge sent you into a rant that you found cathartic. I’m not sure what else you expect me to say in response to all it.

    I will add that archival managers around the country have been in discussions for years now about altering historical documents so that they are no longer offensive. They have acted on it yet, but I imagine it won’t take much to tip them into action.

  287. @ Mark L RE: ethanol

    You’re good. What isn’t generally discussed are the pitfalls and cost of ethanol being hydrophilic. At our farm, we had to switch to buying ethanol-free gas (I reckon that’s E0, but not sure). One cannot let chainsaws, mowers, weedwackers, etc. sit for more than a rain storm or two without the humidity lousing up the gas. Then you have to drain every tank to dump the water, since it is heavier than the ethanol.

    Same issue with larger engines – cannot let a truck sit with ethanol gas in it any longer. Diesel never fails, and ethanol-free may be more expensive, but you can crank it up as long as the battery is good.

    The time the above issues waste is considerable. There is also the case where things built in places where ethanol is not used are problematic – had a weedwacker where the fuel line literally melted over one winter…

    You cannot store ethanol gas – it continuously waters up and becomes useless in a couple of months – even with stabilizer. I can store diesel and ethanol-free for a year or more…

    YMMV, but we prefer ethanol in drinkable format…

  288. JMG,

    I don’t doubt you on this. I was actually fascinated by the regional variation in what kind of gas is available. I honestly had no idea that was the case.

  289. Jean #300: One thing I note is that improving the visual image increased the VR nausea reports from 61% using 1990 tech to 75% with 2020 tech. It would seem (and common sense would suggest) that the sharper the image, the wider the disjunct between the visual and somatic information your brain receives. And yet the 2020 researcher blithely suggested that perhaps the nausea problem would subside if we used 4k instead of 1080p screens.

    Patricia Matthews #302: the Byzantine Empire was certainly very different than the Roman Empire. But it could trace its roots back to Roman emperors and took those roots very seriously. I would certainly agree that Western culture was much closer to Late Antiquity Roman culture, but though the barbarian lords that ruled afterwards fancied themselves Holy Roman Emperors, they didn’t have a clear lineage linking back to Rome the way the Byzantines did.

    I can imagine a 23rd century American President being sworn in as the 114th President of a United States that consists of the Bos-Wash Corridor and which is a sea power reliant on the coastline for its wealth and on mercenaries from Appalachia and the New Confederacy for its land defense. I can also imagine politiicans preaching how the US was going to reclaim its territory and return to greatness Any Day Now.

    JMG #306: Just what every soldier wants — bulky, fragile equipment that their command center uses to provide mission-critical information.

  290. Maybe a bit OT, but I just read in the local paper that we now have a pet food-pantry in our community. The stated goal being to “help keep dogs and cats fed and”…ahem…”at home.”

    Not sure why “Bicycleman Sakhile and the Cell Tower” just popped into my head…

    Thank you, Kieran O’Neill, for that particular tale (in the 1st ‘After Oil’ anthology).

  291. >Mark L, it’s quite possible that there’s some ethanol in the mix, but it’s certainly not advertised

    It’s kinda like GMO, well, before they were mandated to tell you about it. I’m surprised that got passed. Ethanol-free gasoline commands a price premium, so they will always tell you if it is, just like they will always let you know that the food is GMO-free, because they can charge more for it. And if they aren’t saying anything, it has ethanol, just like it has GMO, er, “bioengineered food ingredients”.

    For the most part modern cars have hardened fuel plumbing that can handle the ethanol, it’s not really an issue for most cars, but for lawnmowers, if you take the time to read the manual, you will often see “ethanol free gasoline strongly recommended”, and that’s generally the main market for it.

  292. Siliconguy: observing that wind generation is at it’s maximum in May, you have noted one of the ironies of wind power in the Pacific Northwest. The freshet also occures typically in May or very early June, hydropower is also at max generation, with every available turbine fully loaded, and plenty of spill on top of that. All regional load is met, and all interviews out bound are fully loaded. The wind power is entirely unneeded in May, and in fact is detrimental to the market because of tax credits that allow the wind producers to still profit while bidding power prices negative! The hydro system cannot just spill more and reduce generation, as this would increase Total Disolved Gas (TDG) and harm endangered fish species, so BPA rate payers get to shoulder even more burden for wind energy, beyond the systematic deoptimization of the hydro system that is required to hold reserves for the unreliable wind energy. A significant minority portion of the wind generation would have been generated by the hydro system, were it not required to increase reserves for wind energy. Wind energy is a Potomkin farce in the PNW.

  293. Hi John Michael,

    🙂 No worries. I shall retire from the field and patiently wait to hear what you have to say in the matter. It certainly is a very curious problem to have developed from almost ‘out of the blue’. That would be a great title for the essay don’t you reckon? Most certainly the situation is impacting upon what people eat, and if I’m any judge in the matter, the quality of that produce has dropped in parallel to the labour issue. Anyway, enough from me. 🙂

    Ah, far out! It continues to just rain and rain down here. I’ve had to significantly alter my plans so as to accommodate this continual rain. And last week, the soil just began to dry out to a nice consistency, but then the rains returned. I’d have to suggest that too much rain is as bad as too little rain. And there are advantages to residing in an area with excellent drainage and porous loams in such weather, not that people think about such matters – they can’t seem to see the trees for the forest.

    Cheers

    Chris

  294. To the E85 folks in the audience,

    That fuel was briefly sold down under. From what I understand, engines have to be specially modified to run the stuff, and that adds additional expense to the motors. Most ordinary vehicles won’t run properly with it. And incidentally ethanol is a right nuisance in small engines. It gums up the fuel lines and carburettor and I’m not a fan. Fuel blends of late have become such a problem that I now add a very expensive fuel stabiliser to the fuel I use for the small engines. It improves storage time for the fuel, keeps the fuel systems cleaner and makes the engines easier to start. And each of those engines has to be run for about five minutes every two months or so, or else. The stuff is a problem, but you know…

    I’m often reminded of Stephen Kings book ‘The Stand’. The characters were all happily wandering around the country side using fuel from here, there and everywhere. Fuels go off so quickly now that I doubt that would be possible.

    Ethanol takes an inordinate amount of energy to produce. First you have to grow, harvest then ferment the grains. Then you’ve gotta distil the fermented product. Best if you used that distilled product for drinking or cleaning. Burning it in an engine makes little economic sense to me, but if people want to do that, it isn’t my issue.

    Cheers

    Chris

  295. Report of Gainesville Pride here, and yes, it was a lot of fun. It had a carnival atmosphere from beginning to end. Now, most of the booths were either Democratic Party candidates for office, or other good causes; the Unitarian Church my daughter attends had one, which won me a seat in the shade behind the booth, and on request, a pin reading “She/Her.” Nice ladies.

    Did the politicians dominate? Booth-wise, yes. But the whole scene was a plaza full of people, a good many in some sort of costume, though most not, having fun, walking their dogs, shopping, listening to the music, which had a good dance beat – I’m reminded that Gainesville is a party town, among other things. Was anybody pushing anything, preaching, being strident, ranting, or any of those other things? Not on your life. I enjoyed myself immensely.

    Wokeness quotient? At each stand there was the most amazing variety of flags, each one standing for a different mix of categories, and yes, traditional rainbow flags and accessories with the traditional flag on it were very much available. And yes, the designs on some of them were to shake your head over; others were simply very busy. I picked up the pride Center brochure, whose theme was apparently being all things to all people. Ans also one from the Alachua County Labor Coalition, which you’ll be getting in the Samhain bundle & check, almost all ready to go. The Labor Coalition had a great big Bernie Sanders sign in back.

    Regional data – as we drove through the historically black district, what political signs were out were for the Democratic Party candidates, just as they were in 2020. The general feeling is that the Republican Party is not the friend of either the black community nor of the working folk, and certainly, not of anybody gay.

    My daughter picked up a button reading “Different =! Dangerous.” With which I totally agree.

    But – data point – on the way from my place to hers, and on the way back, she was listening to a prolonged discussion of Herschel Walker. One telling statement: that they didn’t choose him for his qualifications for Senate, but for his ability to carry Georgia, for whom he is a home-state hero and (per the reporter) almost a demigod. What were you saying about this being a time of Personalities rather than ability? At any rate, my daughter spent a lot of time taking seriously this material better suited to a low-rent version of People Magazine. And not even in her state. But I do wonder if Walker knows he was meant to be a sock puppet for the Georgia GOP. I understand his repeated issues with mental health were very well known.

    Data point #2 – my youngest grandson, who to the best of my knowledge is straight and not very political, came to Pride with us. His older brother, who is gay (and is painfully shy) did not. I also had to listen to a prolonged phone call between him and his mother, whose theme was “Did you do this? Did you get that done? You didn’t know you had to? I told you at least twice…”

    Data Point #3 – when I was dog-tired, we went to lunch at a cafe next to the parking structure – one of many – which was one of their favorites. Haute cuisine, brunch style. You don’t want to know. On the patio (nice), with metal chairs perforated with designs, every edge of which I could feel. Shakes head. Is this obsession with hard and uncomfortable seating a woke thing? Or just a generational thing? Oh, and the flatware, non-plastic, of course, was the latest thing in Cheap: take a flat sheet of pot metal and stamp out a flat knife. And a formerly flat fork whose times completely lacked points, bent into fork shape. The Village’s newest eatery, lately remodeled to be fresh and hip, has more of that flatware. However, they also have the high quality set inherited from the white tablecloth restaurant which will reopen any day now.

    Well, I fully enjoyed the outing and the festival, and apologized for being a party pooper at the end. She was very understanding.

  296. Deborah Bender – Just a slight correction: Berlin was partially under US, French, and English control, and surrounded by East Germany. The way to remember this is that there was a “Berlin Airlift”. After the Communists that surrounded Berlin tried to block all access to it, including supplies, the West managed to fly in all of the supplies that would otherwise have moved by train or truck. The Berlin Wall was to prevent East Germans from fleeing into West Berlin, from which they could fly to West Germany.

  297. “One cannot let chainsaws, mowers, weedwackers, etc. sit for more than a rain storm or two without the humidity lousing up the gas”

    Odd, I’ve had trouble with a lawnmower with a vented tank that is stored in a carport, but nothing else has given me any trouble. Not chainsaws, rototillers, outboards, the motorcycle, etc. And the lawnmower was only cranky twice in 21 years.

    It must be an unexpected benefit of living in a desert.

  298. I suspect many or most of the “clerisy PMC’s” are salary-class worker bees, whose paycheck only persists when they adequately serve the money/power elite. The “yes man” versions develop professional-sounding rationalizations to support the relevant industrial/military/financial complex, and have mastered (or learned to live with) gaming of the system. Many were pushed there as systems were restructured repeatedly, to restrict independent thought and action.

    With gradual loss of real power/productivity, we are seeing more shrill attempts by elites, to retain power, coupled with serious pearl clutching. The more functional worker-bees eventually get shortchanged, over-stressed, or find an alternative, so they quietly become more resistant (quiet quitting) or drop out entirely. We are left with the anything-goes-and nothing-matters types. Sound familiar anyone?

  299. Clay, we may be facing that in the fairly near future, as there are several such narratives that are very close to the breaking point.

    Scotlyn, thanks for this! Very good to hear this being discussed.

    Wer, thanks for another update. I hope you’re ready to deal with a world-class mess, because it really does look like Europe is in for that.

    Grover, thanks for this. I didn’t think you were doubting me, btw — just thought you’d be interested in my sources.

    Kenaz, doesn’t that describe most of the equipment issued to the US military at this point?

    Grover, that was a great story! That anthology series had a lot of very good tales in it.

    Chris, if my climate hypothesis is right, I hope you don’t mind living in a rain forest…

    Patricia M, many thanks for the data points.

    Gardener, yep. And here we are.

  300. Referring back to my spreadsheet project, I used the 1% of nameplate capacity (2827 MW) to define “doing nothing useful”, so if the total wind power generated is less than 28.3 MW it got classified as zero.

    The worst month (so far) was January again at 40.1% of the time at zero. No wonder the median was so low. The best month was April at 4.4% at zero. Also in April the maximum output was 2552 MW, average was 883 MW for a capacity factor of 31.2% of nameplate capacity, and median was 571 MW, or 20.2%.

    If you tried to depend on wind power to run your heat pump in January you would be dead. You’ll have a little trouble charging the Tesla too, not that dead people need to go anywhere.

    One other note, if the wind turbine is not running it still draws power. The jacking gear has to keep the blades turning so they don’t get a droop from staying in one position too long, and the control system has to stay running, the nacelles has to stay somewhat warm to keep the lubricating oil happy, or the nacelle might have to be dehumidified, depending on the climate. The only hard number I found for this is 6 kw per nacelle. Of course if you have to run the deicing heaters in the blades, that will be a lot more that 6 kw.

    Last winter I also did the math for pure solar to run my house during a temperature inversion with the PV panels generating 7% of rated capacity for a day with 8 hours of sunlight. Not counting battery losses or inverter efficiency I came up with 280 panels. It’s a good thing I have a big yard 😉

    This is a 1400 sg ft all-electric house with a heat pump. I would also need three Tesla Powerwalls, (13 kw-h each) to get through the night, and they would recharge during the day from the PV array.

  301. Reading Zeihan book right now.

    He forecasts that due to demographics, ageing society, soaring costs of healthcare and pensions, shrinking tax base, skyrocketing debt burden and energy costs the ability of most developed world countries to sustain a modern welfare state will unravel over the next 20 years or so.

    He predicts that by the end of this process most government services outside North America will be at a 1850s level.

    Ignoring his inevitable rose tinted glasses about America, its a fascinating comment.

    https://www.theguardian.com/education/2022/oct/22/exclusive-90-of-uk-schools-will-go-bust-next-year-heads-warn

    Guess what i read in the Guardian today. Vast majority of schools facing bankruptcy due to soaring energy costs.

    And with the gilts crisis in the UK we can’t afford to borrow on the bond markets anymore.

    Same thing is happening to hospitals, care homes, nurseries and so on.

    The UK state infrastructure is staring at bankruptcy.

  302. Wer here
    well i ncan’t say that I am completely ready here and there is a lot of folks openly not prepared at all. The prevailing mentality is that soon really soon all of this mess is going away and then the good ol days will return. We here in rural Poland were never super rich or anything so people are used to use until you use it and sharing. My main concern is the out of touch crazy blue haired pro EU wokesters populating large cities espacially thoose near the german border, they are beyond clueless and seem like the ones that will go crazy, violent when really bad stuff hits. They had shown disregard and often contempt for us normies here . Like the waste of space I encountered a few years ago in the train I think i mentioned that somewhere in the comments. They are like the woke people in the US living in a bubble but because they have eurocratic friends in high places they might try to do something really stupid and even proveke folks here into violence. The MSM will never mention this but there are so many fault lines in Poland right now, the one with extreme liberal pro EU vs traditional folks here in the countryside the largest but not the only one.
    The problem is now growing in Poland with the extreme free marketers here in Poland aregaining trackin here like crazy, they openly claim that inflation is a problem but they propose privatising everything and daydreaming about hydrogen cars everywhere…..
    JMG and the commentariat I don’t thing I have to mention why daydreaming about hydrogen cars is idiocy at the same time when inflation is consuming the nation and our power grid is near cardiac arrest and the infrastruture is failing. Bridges in Ujście had been declared a hazard due their bad condition and one of the war hawks in the Polish media expresed concerns that if war broke between Poland and Russia our old infrastructure could collapse after a few hits from missles in old rusted bridges that required reapir 20 years ago and is incapable of supporting the war effort too little capacity and facilities…

  303. JMG,

    You said “the massive winter offensive Russia is all too clearly preparing” in this post. And while I agree, I am curious what your reasoning is. I’m curious because only a few English speaking, pro-Russian bloggers are talking about it.

    To save time I’ll explain why I think a winter offensive is coming and you can comment on any differences.

    We all know that Putin called up 300,000 reserves. The combination of Nord Stream, Dugin’s daughter, the Ukrainian counteroffensive, and annexing the oblasts created enough public support for the war effort to make calling up reserves a popular move. Where as it would have been an unpopular move at the beginning in February. The Kerch bridge bomb only increased that support.

    There have been *reports that tons of military hardware have been flowing into Crimea over that bridge, but none of it seems to be going to the frontlines. *Take this with a grain of salt because the reports are from pro-Russian bloggers. It could be accurate or it could be wishful thinking, fog of war makes it hard to tell.

    The Ukrainian counteroffensive has gained territory, but taken losses. Again, fog of war, we don’t really know the numbers, but it looks like Russia is trading troops for territory. The Russians could contest the Ukrainian advances, but it looks like they are putting up limited resistance and using artillery to make the gains costly.

    A couple of months ago there were several news articles speculating that Ukraine had to make gains or deliver some kind of win or it risked losing western backing. It looks to me like Russia read those articles and decided to exploit the situation by delivering some Pyrrhic victories.

    So, all in all, the Ukrainian counteroffensive has been very costly and is about to run out of steam. Russia is about to more than double the available troops to the Ukraine war. Russia is historically very capable of winter warfare and the ground is about to freeze which will allow for much greater armor mobility and maneuvers. And Russian popular support for mobilization and escalation is at hand avoiding any political restrictions.

    I’m expecting Russia to go for Odessa for a couple of reasons. Chief amongst them to cut off Ukraine’s access to the sea. But also to deliver a major setback to the western war effort during the European winter of economic hardships and no gas. Which has a real chance of causing defections in NATO and the EU along the lines of Bill Clinton’s successful “it’s the economy, stupid” campaign.

    So, are we just reading the same three blogs:

    https://imetatronink.substack.com/

    https://bigserge.substack.com/

    https://www.moonofalabama.org/

    Or did you have other reasons for predicting a winter offensive? Because you did say “all to clearly” and I feel like I had to sift through a bunch of irrelevant garbage to find enough threads to put this together, and as far as I can tell I am in a vanishingly small minority that expect a winter offensive.

    So, I would like to hear your thoughts on the matter.

  304. I’m commenting late, but better late than never I suppose:

    JMG, you stated “Not long ago it was still fashionable to give lip service to thinking for yourself and doing your own research…”

    I’ll vouch for that. In the medical field, we have the explicit, formal methodology of “Evidence Based Medicine”. That involves a review, performed by YOU, the doctor, of the pertinent scientific literature pertaining to your question regarding your patient. There’s a literature on how to do this. I’m writing this comment in my clinic, so I just pulled out these 4 titles from my book-shelves: “Evidence Based Medicine: How to Practice and Teach EBM”, “Studying a Study and Testing a Test: How to Read the Medical Evidence, 5th Ed”, “Evidence-Based Medicine. A Framework for Clinical Practice”, and “Clinical Evidence Concise, vol 14, winter 2005”. These sources detail how a doctor may use evidence as documented in the scientific literature to arrive at a best-possible assessment or treatment.

    Nowadays, Evidence-Based Medicine is whatever Fauci says it is. If you utilize the above process for the C-19 vax’s, you’re guilty of “misinformation”.

    —Lunar Apprentice

  305. Kenaz Filan #282, 3D games have been giving me motion sickness since they first came out in the 90s. When I got a new game I’d take Stugeron travel sickness pills before playing it for the first time. Then after a few hours of playing without feeling sick, my brain would get used to it and I’d be fine without pills from then on. The only ones that were so bad they could override the pills were Wolfenstein 3D on the SNES and Delta Force: Black Hawk Down on PC. Even today just hearing the Wolfenstein music would probably make me queasy.

  306. Wer here
    A quick post if I cannot return for some time. Don’t know when i can respond again, things are getting bad here.
    This just came in: Germany is downscaling it’s remilitarisation program because of high inflation and lack of new industrial capacity. Remember all of thoose posts ago when people were speculating whatever Germany and Poland can become rising military powers? Apparently some industrial moguls in germany went to whine to Scholtz that because of recesion, high inflation and lack of cheap natgas from Russia they cannot meet the quota for rearming the nation .upps. Just like Poland declared that it will build a 300 thousand strong army only to realize that there is a problem .. demographics let me tell you this there is a lack of young healthy people in my country, 60 procent of teenagers are overweight and developing health problems, not to mention addiction and depression and everything. I remember that 3 years ago when the goverment declared that it will create a National Guard of 300 thousand but downsaled to 150 thousand because the majority of candidates failed basic fitness tests and 26 procent where substance and alcohol addicts…
    LTG again How do you rebuild the army when energy and resources are running short?
    How do you build an army when the demographics in Europe are an disaster?
    For the love of God don’t tell me that you will recruit migrants (you know the people who despise our culture and religion and want to openly harm us) yea let’s give the lethal weapons it is not like they will use them agains us? ahem Taliban.

  307. >We ourselves are currently dealing with a Dept of Agriculture that wishes us, as farmers, to engage with them digitally, begin to tag and document everything

    And GOSPLAN began to go insane. Sigh. If you want a job done at all, do it yourself. That’s probably going to be the motto for the rest of this century.

  308. “Neither Dickinson nor any traditional Presbyterian would have supported… social justice”

    Well it’s good to see this particular church getting back to Christ’s teachings. Just one of many obvious passages from the Bible…

    “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, “I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

    “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” (NIV)”

    There’s also something about rich people, needles and camels!

    If Christ came back today I’m sure he’d be on a Pride March!

  309. > increased the VR nausea reports from 61% using 1990 tech to 75% with 2020 tech

    I remember how VR was going to be the Next Big Thing back in the 90s and then – silence. You asked people about it in 2001 and it was like talking about the pile the dog left in the middle of the living room. I don’t know if there’s a word for an object that people only get fascinated with around inflection points. It used to be scent players back in the Old Era. I noticed people were fascinated with those right around 1987.

    And with hard work and diligence in another 30 years they can increase that number by another 14% so that 89% are tossing their cookies after using it?

  310. Mary @194, JMG @202
    “Can someone please explain, so as I can understand, just what is ‘authoritarianism’? It looks to me like just one more fashionable buzzword.””

    I have to disagree with JMG on this one. ‘Authoritarianism’ is a modern term with modern assumptions about politics. I see it used primarily as a smear. A richer perspective and terminology can, in my view, be found in Aristotle’s Politics. Aristotle wrote that there are 3 forms of government: rule by the one, rule by the few, and rule by the many. Each of these 3 has a good form (focus on the common good) and a corrupt form (focus on private interest).

    Maybe we could link “authoritarianism” with tyranny (corruption of the rule by one) but I see no need for that. Aristotle’s concept is already rich in insight and has stood the test of time.

    Moderns tend to see things in terms of the forms themselves (x form is better than y). Aristotle, in contrast, compared good forms to corrupt ones. It seems obvious to me which perspective has proven correct.

  311. Hi JMG,
    You may have spotted this already, but here is a link to an absurd article defending the Van Gogh vandals by your friend Mr Monbiot:
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/oct/19/van-gogh-sunflowers-just-stop-oil-tactics
    The painting is apparently valued at £85million. I have no doubt he would have been apoplectic if pro-fossil fuel counter-demonstrators had symbolically poured a can of paint – or even soup – over a 100W solar panel, value £85.
    I have to say that an acquaintance of mine – I would not quite call him a friend – is heavily involved with the similar organisation Extinction Rebellion and I can only describe him as a kind and gentle man, though rather obsessed. So it may be that most of the members of such organisations are merely deluded, as are most people, albeit in a different and more passive fashion.

  312. To Andy and others interested in diesels:

    Stephen is correct about older vehicles. I have run my vehicles on waste oil for quite a few years. Much older engines, say 1990 or earlier, are generally pretty willing to run on oil right in the main tank, as long as the weather is fairly warm. Below about 70 degrees F, depending on your type of oil, they will not run as well and will be hard start. Much cooler and you have to at least mix it with diesel. Below 40 degrees or so, you need a heated fuel system.

    Newer diesels, up to maybe 2010 or so, really need the heated fuel system to work properly at any temperature.

    After about 2010, most cars in the US will not run well on waste oil without significant modification.

    Greasecar is one company making heated fuel systems. There may be a few others. You can also run a generator or any other diesel powered vehicle on waste oil. We heated a building with it for many years by modifying the heating oil burner. Surprisingly, this is considerably more complicated than modifying a car.

  313. Mark L is correct – almost all gasoline sold in New England is E10, though it isn’t advertised that way. It is possible to buy pure gasoline, usually marketed as racing or aviation (that is the only gas airports sell) for a much higher price. Very few stations carry this.

  314. One thing that impresses me with our 21st-Century entertainment industry PMCs is their constant whining about how the audience is too stupid and bigoted to understand their genius.

    *Bros*, a gay male Romantic Comedy, flopped in its theatrical release. This was not surprising, as Rom-Coms are a hard sell in theaters. But according to its creator (formerly most famous for YouTube videos and a brief stint on Parks and Recreation), the movie was killed by homophobia because “straight people didn’t want to come out and see it.”

    *House of the Dragon* gets complaints over an episode that was so dark it could not be reproduced properly on anything less than a TOTL television in a dedicated dark room. HBO Max’s advice is to get a new television set to enjoy the director’s artistic vision. Because everybody watching a cable release has several thousand dollars to spare on a screen when their current one is fine for 99%+ of their needs.

    Amazon spends over $700m on *Rings of Power*, only to produce a pretty but largely static flop that is generally ignored by its target audience. Amazon claims this is because bigots who didn’t want to see Black dwarves and elves “review-bombed” sites with unfair negative comments.

    “They aren’t sophisticated enough to get it” is the sort of comment one expects from an amateur filmmaker augmenting his trust fund income with a Starbucks gig. But this kind of sniffy, entitled dismissal has become the go-to response among the clerisy in every industry even as their world comes crashing around their ears.

  315. Re: Evidence-based medicine

    (@ Lunar Apprentice #336)

    If you don’t mind the Twitter-thread structure, this seemed like a good compilation of the many problems with EBM, as described from within the scientific community.

    https://doyourownresearch.substack.com/p/deconstructing-evidence-based-medicine

    “Simulations show that for most study designs and settings, it is more likely for a research claim to be false than true. Moreover, for many current scientific fields, claimed research findings may often be simply accurate measures of the prevailing bias.”

    “A “science” that is named after the lie that all prior medicine was “not-evidence-based” is a discipline that lives by lies.”

  316. @team10tim #335

    It appears that the latest round of missile & drone strikes have destroyed a major portion of the Western Ukraine electrical infrastructure. Since most of their rail lines use pure electric locomotives this effectively cripples their ability to transport US/EU-supplied weapons and munitions to the front.

    As noted by a vlogger the other day, this is beginning to look like Ukraine’s “Battle of the Bulge”.

  317. @ Clay Dennis #308: re “one of the greatest dangers to the ruling class is that once one of their big current deceptions finally blows up and becomes widely known and accepted then that opens up many past “controlled narratives” to be split wide open for all too see.”

    I would so love to subscribe to this view. Unfortunately, the resistance of a large percentage of the population to facts that contradict the current set of narratives is not encouraging. Nor is the ostracism that has been sown against those who dare to present such facts.

    My best guess is that this is the logical result of our public education system. Once the envy of the world, they have become institutions for the inculcation of liberal social values, while bona-fide education has been sidelined. I remember vividly the day I examined my daughter’s high school geometry text book. She had been complaining that she having trouble ferreting out the geometry. To my dismay, I could not find the notions of “point” and “line” covered anywhere in the first 20 pages! Nor were the ideas of axioms, theorems, and proofs! It was all pablum!

    Geometry was traditionally the subject used to teach rigorous thinking. My daughter’s textbook was woefully short of that, but very heavy on Why-Do-We-Study-Geometry, Geometry-And-Society, Careers-In-Geometry, and Rock-Stars-Of-Geometry. I never knew that any of these topics required more than few paragraphs to cover. Oh! But there were LOTS of glossy pictures. And “the area of a circle is pi-r-squared, but we’re not going to give you even an intuitive reason why”. I never checked the price on these textbooks, but it must have been in the hundreds of dollars, even in 2007. And by the way, book covers were no longer required, and it showed.

    Beyond that, my impression was and is that what was mainly being taught in school is obedience to authority and sedentary lifestyle. You can learn the material or not, but the one absolute requirement is to sit down and shut up.

    So all things considered, I’m a bit gloomy about our prospects of overcoming the acquiescence to — or even vehement championing of! — the current narratives via presenting facts and logical arguments.

  318. Team10Tim
    One thing that you didn’t mention is that the Russians are waiting for the ground to freeze solid. It is still muddy, which is terrible for armored warfare. Another month will be a different story.
    Wer
    Interesting about the low percentage of youth who can pass the army physicals. I think it is pretty much the same everywhere. When i went into the army in 1958 probably over 90 0/0 could pass the physical. Now it seems that a small percentage of youth are extreme athletes, and the rest unfit. Interesting times.
    Stephen

  319. Maybe not “waiting for the fall” much longer.

    From a Wall Street Journal article about how the backlog at US ports has suddenly disappeared:

    “The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach together handled 686,133 loaded import containers in September, down 18% from a year earlier and the lowest level since June 2020, according to port figures. August imports fell 12% from last year, a steep drop during the traditional peak shipping season.

    Ports including Savannah, Ga., Houston and New York and New Jersey have coped with backups triggered by the diverted cargo. But in recent months, big-box retailers have canceled many orders after a rush of orders earlier in the year and shifting consumer buying patterns left the merchants overstocked.

    Descartes Datamyne, a data analysis group owned by supply-chain software company Descartes Systems Group Inc., says container imports to the U.S. in September declined by 11% from a year earlier and by 12.4% from August.

    With demand slowing, shipping lines have canceled between 26% to 31% of their sailings across the Pacific over the coming weeks, according to Sea-Intelligence, a Denmark-based shipping data group, signaling that carriers are preparing for a continued drop in bookings.”

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/southern-californias-notorious-container-ship-backup-ends-11666344603

  320. As near as I can tell, somewhere between a third and a half of the unpayable education loans are owed by blue-collar workers that fell for scams like Trump University that proliferated when Reagan and the Republicans did away with the truth in advertising laws. These people didn’t get anything useful for the money they owe. Why isn’t this mentioned in any of the stories about the loan forgiveness program? I suppose it’s because it doesn’t fit the propaganda aims of the right, but I don’t understand why it isn’t brought up by the left.

  321. Siliconguy, I wonder — would you be willing to write all this up in essay form? It strikes me as very important and I’d like to see it published somewhere online — if nowhere else, I’ll host it as a guest essay on my blogs-essays-and-FAQs page here.

    Forecasting, now if Zeihan would only pull his head out from between his nether cheeks and notice that the US is in very bad shape too!

    Wer, ouch. Your infrastructure sounds like it’s as bad as ours.

    Team10tim, no, I’m not following those blogs closely, though I glance at them from time to time. I base my estimate of the situation on a knowledge of eastern European military history and a certain sense of the realities of modern warfare. First, winter campaigns have been a Russian specialty since the Middle Ages — they’re very good at them, and drill winter war techniques relentlessly. Second, once the ground freezes up the flat plains of eastern Europe becomes a winter wonderland for armored divisions, and Russia has many, many more of those than Ukraine does.

    Third, Russia has just carried out a large-scale mobilization, so it has another 300,000 soldiers to carry out large-scale activities; the Duma passed bills a while back shifting large sections of Russian industry into military-production mode, and persistent reports claim that Russia’s now importing surface-to-surface missiles as well as attack drones from Iran’s large and efficient armaments industry. These are not things a country does if it’s planning on settling down to a long stalemate. Fourth, Russian troops are moving into Belarus and taking up positions along with Belarusian troops on the border of Ukraine, just north of the western Ukrainian oblasts that are getting especially plastered with missiles and drones right now.

    Fifth, the Russian missile and drone assault is very clearly aimed at crippling Ukraine’s transport network, which relies on electric railways, and making it impossible for the Ukrainian army to move forces in a hurry from the battlefields in the east to other potential targets. Put these together and I think the most likely interpretation is a very large Russian assault on Ukraine as soon as the ground freezes. Odessa’s a plausible target, but it’s not the one I’d choose. If I were commanding the Russian forces I’d launch a frontal assault on the Donbass front to pin down as many Ukrainian troops as possible, wait a week to get Kyiv to commit everything to that front, and then send armored columns south from Belarus into the far west of the country to threaten Lviv and attempt to cut off Ukraine from its sources of supply. If that succeeds, it’s a war-ending move, and even if the Ukrainian forces manage to stop it, they’ll have to weaken their remaining forces in the Donbass and the southern front so badly that the Russian forces there can finish taking the four oblasts Russia now claims, and build defensive lines Ukraine can’t penetrate.

    But we’ll see what happens, of course.

    Lunar Apprentice, thanks for this! “Evidence-based medicine” gets horse laughs in the alternative healing community, since it’s an open secret that most of that “evidence” can’t be replicated experimentally. You’re right, though, that things have gotten much worse since “the science” turned into “the dogma.”

    Wer, ha! I wondered how soon the Germans would discover that. I’m really starting to wonder how much of Europe is going to be left five years from now.

    Robert, yes, I saw that. The thing I’m waiting to hear is what that stupid stunt is supposed to have done about the climate. Yes, we already know that there are activists who are really, really upset about climate change, and will throw tantrums in public about the subject. That’s not news. Other than reinforcing that point, what did it accomplish?

    Kenaz, that’s the eternal whine of the creative failure. It’s not the job of the audience to recognize and applaud whatever you think you’ve put into your work, it’s your job to communicate with them, and if you don’t, you’re the one responsible. Yeah, I know that incompetent artists, writers, etc. have been insisting otherwise for a couple of centuries now; it’s much easier to blame the audience than it is to rise to the challenge of communicating with them.

    Mark L, we’ve clearly tipped over into a serious stagflationary contraction, and the collapse of trans-Pacific freight is partly a result of that, though a lot of shipping is going to Gulf and east coast ports instead — that 12% decrease at LA in August was matched by a 12% increase in eastern and southern ports:

    https://www.freightwaves.com/news/west-coast-ports-sink-to-lowest-share-of-us-imports-since-early-1980s

    Honyocker, the left doesn’t want to talk about that either, because the academic industry depends these days on forcing predatory loans onto desperate people. It’s not just fraudulent universities — the state colleges depend just as much on that. If people finally grasp the fact (and of course it is a fact) that most people who go to college these days will never recover from the financial impact of the loans, something like half of US universities will have to shut their doors, and — well, which party do most academics consistently support?

  322. Hi JMG,

    The mad scientists strike again (no, it is not the name of a heavy rock band), and they are conducting some “very interesting” experiment close to you, in a BLS3 lab inside Boston city.

    The conclusions of the research is the following:

    “We generated chimeric recombinant SARS-CoV-2 encoding the S gene of Omicron in the backbone of an ancestral SARS-CoV-2 isolate and compared this virus with the naturally circulating Omicron variant. The Omicron S-bearing virus robustly escapes vaccine-induced humoral immunity, mainly due to mutations in the receptor binding motif (RBM), yet unlike naturally occurring Omicron, efficiently replicates in cell lines and primary-like distal lung cells. In K18-hACE2 mice, while Omicron causes mild, non-fatal infection, the Omicron S-carrying virus inflicts severe disease with a mortality rate of 80%.”

    https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2022.10.13.512134v1.full.pdf

    Very good piece of job, well done guys!, they have built a chimeric virus that can kill 80% of humanised mice (their lungs), what a service to Humanity and Micenity!, and all made in a city inside a BSL3 lab!

    This civilization needs to end quickly because our Science is in the phase of huge negative returns to our species.

    I think the main risk of extermination came from the Faustian Science, the main challenge of the Homo Sapiens will be to survive Science (thermonuclear war, fusion cores of dozens of reactors posioning the oceans and the atmosphere, the 6ª exctinction, the man-made epidemics, etc….)

    Cheers
    David

  323. @JMG

    Thanks for the FreightWaves article. I recognize that there has been a shift toward east coast ports as a result of congestion, but the fact that the backlog has suddenly been processed and 26-31% of trans-Pacific sailings are cancelled over the next weeks suggests to me that we might be seeing a sharp economic drop-off that has not yet appeared on store shelves or in economic indices. That caught my attention more than the 12% year-on-year decline figure.

  324. Mark L @ 347, and JMG

    Oh no question, the “Evidence” used in Western Evidence-Based Medicine makes a house of cards look like a fortress.

    Indeed, I can point you to an excellent critique here “The illusion of Evidence Based Medicine”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZlZIXHT0yA

    Having said that, there is indeed a baby in that bath water, and that is the analytical process by which you assess and apply your, ahem, *trust-worthy* evidence. I have a favorite textbook on this topic: “Medical Decision Making” by Sox, Blatt, Higgins & Martin, 1988. Here’s some of the contents:

    Ch 3: Probability: Quantifying Uncertainty
    A. Uncertainty and Probability in Medicine
    B. Use of Personal Experience to Estimate Probability
    C. Use of Published Experience to Estimate Probability
    D. Consideration of the Special Characteristics of the Patient When Estimating Probability

    Ch 4: Understanding New Information: Bayes’ Theorem
    B. Conditional Probability Defined
    C. Bayes’ Theorem
    D. The Odd’s Ratio From Bayes’ Theorem
    E. Alternative Forms of Bayes’ Theorem: The Tree and the 2X2 Table
    F. Lessons to be Learned From Bayes’ Theorem
    G. The Assumption of Bayes’ Theorem
    H. Interpreting a Sequence of Tests
    I. Using Bayes’ Theorem When Many Diseases are Under Consideration [LA: e.g. when testing for covid, it’s logically mandatory to also test for other diseases that covid resembles, such as the flu… Say what? You have NO symptoms? And you need to know the probability of the test generating a false positive; do we know that for ANY covid tests? Don’t get me started…]

    Ch 5: Measuring the Accuracy of Clinical Data
    A. How Test Results can be Expressed as “Normal” and “Abnormal”
    B. Measures of How Well a Test Discriminates between a Disease and all Other Conditions [LA: this and C and E are hugely relevant to Covid testing]
    C. How Test Performance is Measured: A Hypothetical Case
    D. Pitfalls of Predictive Value
    E. Why Measures of Test Performance May Not Apply to Your Patient
    F. Combining Data From Several Studies
    G. Expressing Test Results as Continuous Variables

    Ch 6: Expected Value Decision Making
    A. Basic Concepts of Expected Value Decision Making
    B. Decision Analysis: An Introductory Example

    Ch 7: Measuring the Outcome of Care
    A. Measuring the Patient’s Preferences: Utility Assessment
    B. Estimating the Expected Length of Life
    C. Measuring How Well the Patient is Expected to Function
    D. Satisfaction With Ones’s State of Health
    E. Using a Linear Scale to Express Strength of Preference

    Ch 8: Decision Making When the Outcomes have Several Dimensions
    A. Assessing the Patient’s Preferences for Outcomes With Several Dimensions
    B. Measuring the Patient’s Utility for a Period of Time in Ill Health
    C. Assessing Preferences for the Length of Life
    D. The Time Trade-Off Method
    E. Measuring Preferences for Any Period of Time in Ill Health
    F. Another Method for Adjusting Life Expectancy for the Quality of Life
    G. Sources of Error in Utility Assessment

    Ch 9: Selection and Interpretation of Diagnostic Tests:
    A. Taking Action When the Consequences are Uncertain: Principles and Definitions
    B. Could a Diagnostic Test Change the Treatment of the Patient [LA: covid testing anyone?…]
    C. The Treatment Threshold Probability
    D. The Decision to Obtain a Diagnostic Test
    E. Setting the Treatment Threshold Probability
    F. Taking Account of the Costs and Risks of a Test
    G. A Clinical Case: Test Selection for Suspected Brain Tumor
    H. Sensitivity Analysis
    I. Choosing Among Diagnostic Tests
    J. Choosing the Best Combination of Diagnostic Tests

    Ch 10. Bedside Decision Analysis
    A. …
    B. …
    C. …

    Ch 11: Cost Effective Analysis and Cost-Benefit Analysis
    A. …
    B. …
    C. …
    D. …

    Now, does it appear to you that the CDC has employed anything even remotely approaching the thought process outlined above regarding covid testing or the C-vax’s? It was abundantly clear to me that no such thing was taking place, and it was accordingly clear that public health was not the driving factor behind the CDC’s (and Dr. Fauci’s) pronouncements. This, and the lack of ANY evidence regarding long term risks, is why I was 100% convinced that the ENTIRE medical profession would Just Say No to the EUA vax mandates, and the whole thing would hit a brick wall. (In hindsight, I see that was my Asperger’s talking. Dear G**, what a fool I was).

    Again, using the above thought process for anything covid will get you accused of ‘misinformation’ or worse.

    —Lunar Apprentice

  325. @JMG
    regarding Russia and a likely winter offensive: I think you are likely correct that there is one planned. I’d put together parts of what you had, but not all of it. Thank you.

    I don’t quite get the people who are insisting that Russia will collapse any day now. They’ve been saying that since the invasion started, it hasn’t happened, and I’m not seeing evidence it’s about to.

    What I wonder is how people will react if Russia wins outright. How will ordinary Europeans react if all the sacrifices forced on them by their leaders don’t save Ukraine while leaving them with a wrecked economy and not enough energy to go around? That sort of thing tends to lead to the fall of governments.

    I also wonder how ordinary Ukrainians will react if that happens. They’ve been basically used as canon fodder, and it feels like it was NATO doing the using. If they then get discarded…

    I’m not saying that Russia will have an outright victory, full-stop. Some sort of negotiated settlement might happen, or the Ukrainians and NATO might win, or you could get a grinding mess with no clear victor that ends in a barbed wire fence with guns pointed at each other until the next outbreak of violence. If the last happens I feel sorry for the Ukrainians. There could even be a change in Russian government. But if the people in power in NATO countries don’t have a plan C in case of Russian victory, they aren’t doing their jobs.

  326. JMG – Even the “history” of two years ago has already been adapted to meet what narrative, I don’t know –

    “How quickly we lost the memory battle over 2020. For over a year now, when my students write about covid it’s about how no one was allowed to leave their homes due to government mandates infringing on our individual liberties.

    That never happened, and they’re so certain it did.”

    https://twitter.com/BrentRuswick/status/1583847251507834881

    It’s going viral on twitter among the college professor community and I am so appalled. What occurred then?

    But three cheers for the students who clearly know what happened. They all lost their high school graduations and had to do school online because every educator wanted to stay home.

    Is it Covid Derangement Syndrome? Salary Class Syndrome? Or just regular gaslighting?

    How long do they really expect to keep playing make-believe over what we all experienced?

  327. Kenaz and others, on “homophobia.” The many newly-coined phobias have interested me for a while. I noticed recently that Wikipedia makes a distinction between clinical phobias such as the fears of heights or spiders or open spaces — as distinguished from other phobias that as yet have no name, at least according to Wikipedia. I took the liberty of coming up with a name for the newly-coined phobias: I call them “rhetorical phobias.” The distinction is that rhetorical phobias, unlike clinical phobias, serve somebody or other’s agenda, whatever it may be.

  328. Grover, you are right. Boris mouravieff in Gnosis says that perturbations in microcosmos of biosphere lead to wars famine plague etc. Gurdjieff called them tranapalnian perturbations. Couple this w our knowledge of topsoil conditions and the practice of Petro fertilizers and one suspects strongly that land that is in healthy condition has a tendency to not spawn war famine disease etc whereas the opposite can occur and is occurring. The microcosmos evolution doesnt wait for us to get our act in order. We conform and meet our duties of husbandry or pay the price.

  329. DFC, yes, that’s been getting a lot of hostile attention over here, to the extent that the perps are busy blaming one another. If this keeps up the possibility of mob violence against research scientists is a real one.

    Mark, as I said, we’re in a very sharp stagflationary contraction. That said, the shift from west to east coast ports is also an important harbinger, and the decline in trans-Pacific shipping may not be a good proxy for imports in general. Yes, LA no longer has a backlog; did you know that the port of Savannah, GA has one now?

    https://maritime-executive.com/article/moderating-growth-to-help-savannah-clear-vessel-backlog

    Apprentice, oh, no question, the scientific method is a good approach. Pity it’s used by so few scientists these days.

    Pygmycory, I doubt the NATO governments have a plan C at all. They seem incapable of conceiving that they might lose — and that’s a disastrous failure of planning.

    Denis, of course. “Reality is what we say it is!” That’s the battle cry of the managerial class. I hope people are posting screen shots of articles from the shutdowns.

  330. @pygmycory #358

    “or the Ukrainians and NATO might win”

    Or pigs fly. 😉

    Sorry, couldn’t help it. IMHO Ukraine never had a chance; NATO’s just delayed the inevitable. Sure, NATO could join the fight directly, but that’s WWIII and let’s pray nobody really wants to go there. Nobody wins. Nukes flying, China waltzes into Taiwan, Iran & North Korea make moves… It would get very ugly everywhere in short order.

    Not exactly encouraging that the 101st Airborne just started training exercises near Ukraine.

  331. Curt 293

    > I am 34 1/2

    You are absolutely adorable😍. The “1/2” had me cracking up.😅👍🏼

    Humor will help get us through hard times.

    🎭Northwind Grandma💨
    Dane County, Wisconsin, USA

  332. On fitness: I did my national service in 1965, and I can’t think of anyone who didn’t pass the physical, even me, a bookish non-athlete. Those first few weeks were gruelling, but at the end of my training I used to run for pleasure, in army boots. It’s amazing what military discipline can accomplish.

    There was one guy who left early. Allegedly because of flat feet, but it was generally believed that he told the medics he was gay.

    Then there was a German guy. He was so fat that when we were on maneuvers and had our one bath per week in a tanker truck, he got stuck in the access hatch on top of the tank, and a couple of instructors had to pull him loose like a cork from a bottle. But he made it to the end, and in much better shape too.

  333. Sadly JMG the comments were all in support of the professors viewpoint. Many saying that people were brainwashed into believing things actually shut down. It was 3.5 thousand likes last night when I posted it and now its 15.5 thousand.

    Scrolling the replies this morning I am actually frightened a bit. I don’t think this professor or the others are trying to pull one over on people. It looks like they actually believe that there were no government mandates, no closures, no police arresting people for covid violations.

    All this time I had they they were choosing to spin a narrative so they could get what they want or make themselves look good. That isn’t what’s happening at all with the PMC cubicle class – they are really and truly living in a different reality and can’t see what is right in front of them. It’s like dementia sufferers living in a time loop.

    No wonder when I try to have a reasoned conversation with them, I get such weird looks!

    And since this guy is a history professor, I can imagine so much more outright lies in books now.

  334. #359 About the COVID lockdowns, of course as in the tweet in the post above and its responses people can argue about the semantics and say that to use the word lockdown that has to be nothing short of a complete curfew at home, and by a straw man argument deny that the COVID lockdowns ever happened. They can’t however deny there weren’t some very silly restrictions put forward – there were some local councils in the UK that taped off park benches because people were allowed out for exercise but they interpreted it that the moment they lingered anywhere people were breaking the law.
    I also noticed that many of the supportive replies to the original tweet had gone all in for Ukrainian flags in their profile image or Twitter name. Perhaps those people who are bandwagon jumping with Ukraine are also doing so for this. Of course, they might have a personal connection to Ukraine or deeply held convictions about the matter, but this kind of social media messaging seems to me to be a broad but shallow bandwagoning going on, and one that I feared back at the start of all this earlier this year would then be somehow harnessed for other goals than promoting peace in Ukraine.

  335. >What I wonder is how people will react if Russia wins outright.

    I think what you’re likely to see is something like the Korean War. Nobody loses, nobody wins, they just glare at each other after signing some grudging armistice.

    I dunno, to me the most disturbing thing that perked my ears and made them swivel in all of this war talk was when I heard they were sending “advisors” over to Ukraine. Does anyone remember Vietnam at all and how that got started? First it was “advisors”. Then it was “Special Forces”. Then it was the regular Army. And at some point in all of that they started drafting people.

    Of course, these days, like Wer pointed out, the populace in the West is not exactly in the best health due to reasons. So this could turn into something that’s both really sad and really funny at the same time, as the military struggles with drafting people who are in bad shape.

    All I’ll say is this. If you are a young man, in better physical condition than your peers, with practical skills, you have a bullseye painted on your back.

  336. >the decline in trans-Pacific shipping may not be a good proxy for imports in general.

    As I understand it, California has some rather business-hostile regulations that make importing through their ports so painful that even though it takes longer and is more expensive to sail to Georgia, Texas and Florida, well, they’re doing so.

    I get the feeling with California in general of what I call “fractal dysfunction”, whatever level you care to look at, whatever piece you care to look at – it’s dysfunctional.

  337. Hi John Michael,

    At this stage all that needs doing is just look out the window and see what’s going on outside. We have some very interesting dry adapted rainforest species, and it’s not like they’re not lurking around this forest. I see them. Interestingly, the Eucalyptus species which dominate the forest canopy here have the ability to readily alter their progeny to new conditions in something short like three generations. Think about the environmental challenges those trees faced over the years to have developed that ability!

    Anyway, it could get worse: Hybrid cyclone to drench parts of NSW, Vic this week. The maps suggest that here the weather will be wet, but mostly mild. Further east nearer to the south east coast, all bets are perhaps off.

    Cheers

    Chris

  338. JMG #353
    “Ukraine’s transport network, which relies on electric railways”

    I’m surprised by this Ukrainian reality, I thought they had a lot of diesel engines in their railways. Thank you for your information. The Ukies are really screwed now without full electric power. It’s a incredibly stupid measure electrifing all their rail network in war time!
    I question myself if Ukrie government could have done something for de-electrifiy their railways network, but I think this is a rhetoric question now…Diesel engines nowadays in Ukrainw must be valued by their weigh in gold!

  339. “If I were commanding the Russian forces I’d launch a frontal assault on the Donbass front to pin down as many Ukrainian troops as possible, wait a week to get Kyiv to commit everything to that front, and then send armored columns south from Belarus into the far west of the country to threaten Lviv and attempt to cut off Ukraine from its sources of supply.”
    JMG #353:
    I’m now in the “devil’s advocate” role, so I think that would be a very smart Russkie move. However, I wonder how many antitatnk weapons have gathered the Ukries thanks to “gentle” NATO governments, and how much suffering could do these weapons to Russian tanks…

  340. I found myself in a in one of the big chain bookstores for the first time since the pandemic this weekend. After I had grabbed what I came for, I decided to peruse the current affairs, social science and biography section to get the gist of what is being pushed by the publishing establishment. Now, I don’t expect much but this is that same store where I purchased your original collapse book a decade and a half ago along with Chalmers Johnson, Ward Churchill and Michael Ruppert so it used to be less censored and watered down than it is now. But now there are zero books on the critical side of the Vax, at least 12 on the ” insurrection”, more than I can count on Wokester topics like ” structural racism” and no less than 9 new biographies of minor members of the black panthers ( minus the one guy who is still in prison because the establishment still sees him as some kind of threat). Along with three new sham-biographies of Zelensky. So, all in all, worse than I was expecting.

  341. @JMG

    “I have yet to meet Evangelical Christian wokesters. If they’re running around in your area, we’re moving into stranger territory than I thought.”

    I don’t think its so much the beliefs. But the pattern of thought and habits formed. Before their apostasy.

    People’s personalities don’t change when they leave the religion. The Church Lady becomes the annoying wokester Karen.

    The Fundamentalist who likes to beat people over the head with the Bible now beats people over the Head with Atheism and other Atheist dogmas.

    That means the real problem all along is those kinds of behaviors and patterns and habits that likely don’t lead to good results and conclusions.

  342. @Michael

    “If Christ came back today I’m sure he’d be on a Pride March!”

    He actually wouldn’t be. Since he is the God of the Old Testament. So since Jesus is alive. And he inspired the Apostles by the Holy Spirit. Jude wrote this:

    “5Although you are fully aware of this, I want to remind you that after Jesus had delivered His people out of the land of Egypt, He destroyed those who did not believe. 6And the angels who did not stay within their own domain but abandoned their proper dwelling—these He has kept in eternal chains under darkness, bound for judgment on that great day. 7In like manner, Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, who indulged in sexual immorality and pursued strange flesh, are on display as an example of those who sustain the punishment of eternal fire.”

    Instead of joining them if Jesus did come back. Those marching in the Pride parade will likely die. And if the Old Testament was Jesus’ Scriptures. And he used the Scriptures to show that he is the Christ alongside his miracles. Then you know the rest.

  343. @Northwind Grandma

    Well, thank you 🙂
    It’s true, humor is vital support in life!

    All the best to you too,
    Curt

  344. Speaking of Ukrainian railways, they are all built to the Soviet gauge of 1520 mm (a hair shy of 5′). European railways are the same as the US: 4′ 8 1/2″. According to a 2020 accounting Ukraine has 301 diesel locomotives and 1627 electrics. Any diesels that other EU countries might wish to send won’t operate on Ukrainian tracks without a new, wider set of wheels (and the ability to lift them and perform the work at the border).

    It is interesting to me the way that empires and historical decisions can lay down uite literal “tracks in space” that have major implications for the future – even if it’s just a matter of a hand’s width difference in rail spacing.

  345. @ Info, JMG and the rest of the commentariat:

    I recall that Eric Hoffer talked quite a bit about how certain movements and belief systems (what he called “mass movements”) tend to attract a certain kind of personality in his book The True Believer. He also noted that people with that type of personality often jump from one mass movement to another, even if the movements in question have diametrically opposed doctrines. It’s the personality type and the need to have something to believe in that one can commit to wholeheartedly that matters, not the specific dogma. Such movements and patterns of behavior tend to become much more prevalent in times of social stress and rapid change.

    So it’s no surprise that some people who are fundamentalist Christians end up becoming angry atheists or Muslim fundamentalists or Wokesters. As the Woke movement collapses (the far left is already well into the circular firing squad stage), I expect that many of those people will either come back to conservative and/or fundamentalist Christianity, or migrate to other extremist movements like Marxism, Islamic radicalism or even neo-Nazism.

  346. Wer here
    There is light in the afternoon here, it might sound horrifing but in recent times there is an increasing amount of blackouts in the area.
    Well responding to my comment and other people in the discusion. I would like to share a personal story my grandfather who was always in good shape even after his 60. was working on beekepaping,walkiing 2 kilometers every day and waking up at 6 am every day.
    He always smiled taught me how to play soccer when dad was away, always remeber him fondly
    A lot of peole now gone were active in their 60 eis because they had been in the army for 2 years and was living a healthy and mostly poor livestyle (never had a lot of luxuries in the countryside). Now here we have people that weight 130kg + have blue hair and struggle to move two blocks to the nearest Mcdonnalds here in Polish cities not in America.
    When I came to germany to work there to support my familly I had a strange belief that Germans were this slim , strick efficient people after arriving I had the shock of my life. The man in which house we were renting a small room had a son (green hair , barelly moved at all, WoW 24/7 not a joke) and that was his only heir…
    I think to myself my grandfather in his 60 could beat young”men” like that withn a one hand…
    I would be a freakshow if children of entiltlement like thoose “men” would had to confront the horrors of a real battle. People who belive in MSM propaganda are regrugitating things like: thoose Russian recruits never seen a mobile phone in their lives and think freeways are magic. Nonsense like that is insane Russian recruits are people who had been in the army already many of them had wielded guns and klnow who to work with artillery and know discipline, they are not troglodytets MSM is potraing them.
    My biggest concern is that the midterms will end in some kind of a calamity, far left woke people in Poland are losing their minds right now that the Dems have a really bad chances (earned of course) and they might try some kind of scams to stay with power but this time a lot of Americans seem to be so wary of this that they will immediately recognize what is happening and get angry…
    JMG is trying to say that a lot of presumptions of the eariel era are going missing in the chaos that is arasing, BUT THIS NOT AN APOCALYPSE.
    One more thing I am not taking sides in this war or anything, the only side I am on is my familly and my freinds/neighbours.

  347. @Clay Dennis #374

    So, all in all, worse than I was expecting.

    Not unsurprising, the publishers are part of the MSM. That’s why every time a new Dem star comes along they get a “book deal”. The publisher cuts them a big signing check, a ghost writer throws something together, and then big money Dem donors buy thousands of books that never see the shelves. Shazam! Instant bestseller, front row on the bookstore racks, and yet very few actually get read. But that’s okay, since the point is simply a means for the donors to buy the new politicos without bad optics or legal issues. Afterward they all engage in insider trading to build their wealth from there.

    If you look back you’ll find that most Rep & Independent candidates made their money prior to getting into politics, whereas most Dems somehow get ridiculously rich afterwards.

  348. @Lazy Gardener, #256

    I recommend Peter Deadman’s excellent book. The explanation of each point includes a number of time-tested recipes included from the Classics. It will be quite the workout to figure out how they work from first principles, but as a novice you can use those “as-is” for common ailments.

    The only drawback is that Deadman assumes you will be using needles. However, you may use the same points for acupressure. As a personal recommendation: if you read the indication to “tonify”, you may use a small seed of a hot plant to increase the effect of the massage (the standard plant of these case is mustard, but you may use any hot pepper’s as well). On the other hand, if the indication is to “disperse”, you use a steel ball-bearing.

  349. @JMG,
    I’ve noticed that a lot of the people talking about Ukraine and spouting the government’s talking points seem to consider any questioning of the war or ‘what if’ scenarios as vaguely treasonous. Even though we are supposedly not at war.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if this is true a lot further up the hierarchy. I’m still of hoping at least a few people in high positions have considered the ‘what if NATO and Ukraine loses soundly’ scenario and have plans in their brain if not on paper. I would, if I were, say a general or a head of government. Although I’m sure a lot of people all through the ranks would end up behaving like goldfish. (big staring eyes, mouth opens and closes but nothing that makes sense comes out)

    As an ordinary citizen, my plan C is basically ‘try and stay out of the way of large falling objects from the collapsing stuff on high, minimize expenses that can’t be cut in a hurry, and make sure I have the necessities of life available as much as I can ahead of time. Try not to be too shocked at some of the explosions, and be prepared to endure. And don’t be too loud. I’ll just tick off people whose friendship I value, and not change their mind.’

    I’d normally get involved in the antiwar movement and make some noise, but… what antiwar movement? The only posters I’ve seen are from the communist party, and I don’t like communism or think they have enough traction to do anything useful. And nada from my friends, if they talk about Ukraine at all. Most don’t, or mention it only in passing. It’s sure different from the start of the Iraq war.

  350. DFC,
    I agree that this piece of research was stupidly dangerous, and personally think the lab should be closed and everyone involved should lose their jobs. Whoever okayed the research I’d like to see get jail time, too.

    However, the results are somewhat less terrifying than they seem at first. There’s a good discussion of this over on JMG’s other blog. The mice in question are very susceptible to covid. As in, the wuhan strain killed 100%. So this is less deadly than the wuhan strain, if still more deadly than omicron.

  351. TJandTheBear,
    I agree with you that Ukraine is unlikely to win this one without things moving into WW3 territory. Unfortunately some people do seem to want to go there, and others seem willing if less eager, so I can’t rule out a widening war. It’s already escalated substantially since the start.

    As for what happens if you do get open war between NATO and Russia… I sure hope not. I also have hope that a nuclear holocaust would not occur even if that happened.

    I don’t know what would happen, other than the world afterwards would never be the same again, and most of the major participants would be permanently damaged by it and unable to rebuild much of what was lost. Big wars on the downslope of a civilization tend to be a matter of who loses less, not who won. I bet that’s just more true as the technology involved gets more complex.

    I suspect there is a lot to lose and little to gain from warfare in the modern time. With maybe two exceptions: 1) modern barbarian-equivalents looting stuff
    and 2) short campaigns that win fast with little destruction of infrastructure.

    Long wars of attrition mean disaster. There will be no Marshall plan. The victors have giant debts, and the losers are ruined. And you don’t, ever, want to be the country the war is fought in. Because your infrastructure will be rubble and you can’t afford to rebuild.

  352. @JMG, @Ecosophia readership

    Denis (#367) said:

    All this time I had they they were choosing to spin a narrative so they could get what they want or make themselves look good. That isn’t what’s happening at all with the PMC cubicle class – they are really and truly living in a different reality and can’t see what is right in front of them. It’s like dementia sufferers living in a time loop.

    I’ve been doing some mundane divination into this. Specifically the levels 2-3x removed from the topmost 1% of the following three regions – North America, Western Europe and China.

    I got interested due to an essay explaining the flow of Chi/Prana in all the human sheaths and why Sri Arya after extensive years of field testing chose to go with the Marseilles ordering for his deck rather than the newer and more popular Rider-Waite ordering.

    His essay said he, his students and fellow testers discovered the older ordering of the pip cards better follows the soul’s evolution throughout people’s subtle organs, nadis and chakras. Which I presume is itself manifestation of the stage of evolution of each of the various sheaths.

    Example: 8 cards of all the suits always end up being some kind of ‘end of karma’ cards with regards to the question asked. Starting with the 9’s and 10s the prana has two possibilities that start showing up because these are the two pips that reap what earlier actions sowed.

    Anyway…to get back to my musing on Denis’ comment…my mundane divinations of this subset of PMC class/caste in all 3 regions is right now having their prana being precariously directed primarily by the mental sheath. In all 3 regions it’s manifesting (and reaping) in highly unbalanced ways – an indicator of closer-to-Malkuth-sheaths also still being imbalanced themselves. Anyway, Sri Arya agrees with JMG on this – the mental sheath is the most unbalanced and least developed of all the sheaths. But all my assorted mundane divinations of all 3 continents say this is where the PMC-supporters’ prana is manifesting from right now. This can last quite a while too (many, many years even) but once it exhausts it will plummet. It won’t just fall back a little bit. Typically, he says, it will plummet.

    It’s prana trying to find a stable place. Think of how water seeks the lowest stable point it can when actively moving and you get the idea of what’s going on with this caste of PMC.

    Anyway…if Sri Arya’s many appendices essays and charts are correct…there’s going to be a lot of walking wounded among this layer of PMC of all 3 regions and it can and probably will take a long time for them to re-balance…if they do so at all. If they do it well they’ll rebalance the lower sheaths first and heal from there. But desires often force pranic focus on higher level sheaths and make them blind to lower levels within themselves that need work first for any hope of their higher sheath directed desires to manifest in a beneficial manner.

    So there is non-trivial danger they will morph into an obstinate, finger-pointing-other-blaming, walking wounded ‘Old Guard’ who will be a (not without some power remaining) thorn-in-the-side of everyone around them who’s trying to move on. I suspect this is one source of the old saw about the only way knowledge advances is for the Old Guard to die so the so-called iconoclasts can finally breathe free.

    Example: I turned over the King of Wands R (the first card in the spread) for a question specifically about the trajectory of the retiree class of France for the next 10 years. King of Wands R is the card of someone who holds high standards solely for everyone else, never for themselves. This card R is also the card of domineering others (in their case probably attempting to assert ideological dominance at the expense of others…and it will be argued it’s for those other’s own good, mind you to take the hit, not themselves of course).

    That is to say, this is card R is of a domineering, dictatorial, hypocrite par excellence. Later cards in the spread I interpreted as indicating them being ticked off like crazy (to put it nicely) at the indignity of (most likely) having to go back to work again (lots of pentacle cards indicating work…especially ‘heavy’ work – ie…real wealth…not fake paper wealth) instead of being able to stay retired like they feel their entitled to. And my read of the later cards say they will absolutely blame everyone else, never their own personal decisions as a contributor, for this result. Something is about to be removed from a lot of French retirees I suspect they will be incredibly angry at losing. I turned over 7 R cards for French retirees for the next 10 years in a 10 card spread. Unbalanced, walking-wounded prana in action I suppose.

    Sri Arya has several fascinating and detailed appendices in his book that discuss how the Marseilles tarot is really a hidden map to the subtle body prana, nadis and chakras and if you learn that it can become an accurate barometer of the ‘weather’ or cycles coming up for the person asking the question. I suspect astrology works underneath on a similar principle. He said used skillfully you can use it to aid in your own spiritual growth both in the here and now and eventually to ascend to Gwyneffyd (or however it’s spelled).

  353. Re: “If Christ came back today I’m sure he’d be on a Pride March!”

    The idea that the leader of a small sect of Jews living in the Roman Empire two thousand years ago would support every PMC value one cares to name simply because those values are somehow imbued with intrinsic virtue and truth, transcending culturally and temporally specific norms, is an excellent example of why our culture is currently in such a imaginative cul-de-sac.

    Thank you to info for bringing some sense to this topic.

  354. Slight amendation to the following sentence in how I read the 10 Year French Retiree spread:

    I said:

    in their case probably attempting to assert ideological dominance at the expense of others…and it will be argued it’s for those other’s own good, mind you to take the hit, not themselves of course

    What I mean to say is that this card says they will be domineering, thorn-in-the-side over the next 10 years to the government’s budgets and that they should be given first preference when it comes to directing strained finances – even though doing so will mean other French citizens will take an even worse hit.

    As I see it they will most likely fight hard for this clearly preferential and prioritized funding as also being good for all those other groups who are suffering…because, hey…eventually they’ll join our caste too (which I remember JMG saying the PMC did a similar kind of thing to grow their own college-degreed ranks and political-economic class power while shoving working class workers out in the cold for the past 40 years).

    That younger French may not get any such future budgeted preferential treatment once they’re senior citizens (because there won’t be much left to be preferential with after many millions of Euros boondoggles year after year) will likely not enter their minds.

  355. re Jesus and pride parades,
    I suspect that Jesus would not attend the pride parade. When people from the pride parade and conservatives with an agenda came looking for him to demand his opinion, they would most likely find him sitting in a homeless encampment, healing people and teaching them. When asked why he was not at the pride parade, he’d probably tell his questioners a parable that made the people trying to catch him in a verbal trap go away arguing with each other.

    I’m basing this on how Jesus reacted to the religious authorities during his lifetime. He really confused and annoyed them, and kept not doing what they expected, acting on a different set of priorities than theirs.

    I also can’t help but notice that of the references to homosexual activities in the bible, none of them were spoken by Jesus. I don’t think sexual orientation was or is at the top of his priority list.

  356. It occurred to me that if my read of that French Retiree spread is even a little bit true it will effect the rest of the EU too.

    If you don’t think so I have a kherson bridge I’d like to sell you. 😛

  357. oops…want to clarify something. The pips and court cards for the Marseilles and Rider-Waite deck are the same order. My earlier sentence makes it sound like they’re not. It’s the order of the Major Arcana that Sri Arya’s essay says better follows the flow of active soul evolution from the anchor point of all of the human sheaths from his field testing. How or whether that maps to the Kabbalah he doesn’t mention.

    It’s the ordering of the Major Arcana that’s slightly different. Marseilles puts Justice at no. 8. Rider-Waite swaps in Strength for that place instead and puts Justice as no. 11. I read somewhere Waite decided to do this to align the deck more with his understanding of the Kabbalah.

  358. @Greer,

    Thank you for the book recommendation. The Ecotechnic Future is on our bookshelf already, so I’ll plan to read it next.

    Also, thanks to the quality commentariat here for links to Dmitry Orlov’s essay and other great finds.

  359. Okay, we open at a furry convention, full of the stereotypical debauchery…and then Jesus comes back. The furries mount a doomed defense against giant angels who, like, float around zapping sinners with their laser vision. I’d pay to see this movie. Why can’t this be a movie? We could call it “Fur Will Fly.”

    Tag line: “Be not deceived: neither yiff-pilers, nor cloppers, nor furverts, nor zoo-busers of themselves with non-mankind, nor cub fetishists, nor diaper crinklers, nor skritchers, nor NaziFurs, shall inherit the kingdom of heaven.”

  360. The Other Owen 369

    > when I heard they were sending “advisors” over to Ukraine. Does anyone remember Vietnam at all and how that got started?

    Oh yeah. “Advisors” is burned into my brain.

    > First it was “advisors”. Then it was “Special Forces”. Then it was the regular Army. And at some point in all of that they started drafting people.

    Yep. Bingo.

    I don’t know if it was (1) Robert Strange McNamara (early 1960s U.S. Secretary of Defense) (affiliated President John Fitzgerald Kennedy) (JFK) who started (2) “sending advisors to Vietnam,” but in my mind, there is a one-to-one relationship between advisors, McNamara, and Vietnam. After JFK was assassinated, President Lyndon Baines Johnson (LBJ) continued on that trajectory and got the USA hugely embroiled in the debacle of the “Vietnam war,” which to this day, we have not recovered from, not to mention the horrible things Americans did to the Vietnamese people.

    I was an anti-Vietnam protestor who, incidentally, only attended a couple 1970 protests because my friends went and, for a time, it was fun — fun until police started arresting people, then I scrammed (aka scarpered).

    McNamara was a villain in disguise.

    Anyway, to stay on subject, yes, USA sending advisors into a foreign country was/is (how shall I emphasize this?) VERY, VERY, VERY, VERY, VERY, VERY, VERY, VERY, VERY, VERY, VERY, VERY, VERY, VERY, VERY, VERY, VERY, VERY, VERY, VERY, a thousand times, BAD‼️💣

    If I am remembering correctly, the USA sent advisors to Afghanistan, and we know how that ended for the USA.🤫

    If “USA advisors” get entrenched in Ukraine, add NATO, the world is doomed.😱Not exaggerating.

    💨Northwind Grandma😫
    Dane County, Wisconsin, USA

  361. I was looking at an interesting post on Andrei Martynov’s blog quoting Pepe Escobar. i realize they are both very partisan in their beliefs However the point that interested me is that, with people conjecturing Russian timing and scenarios in Ukraine, Ukraine is not their main focus. They are focused on breaking the American/Western unipolar hegemony long term and Ukraine is just one front to them. Dragging the Ukraine conflict out is doing more harm to the west than to them and may suit them fine. I am not privy to high level Russian strategy or anyone else’s, but it does make sense. I suspect much shall be revealed this winter.
    Stephen

  362. Hello, reading between the lines a little bit to relate the following question to this post… Do you have any good resource on the current state of the underground economy in Western Europe (France, Spain, England, Italy…)?

  363. @Waiting for the Worms #382

    In re this: ” Eric Hoffer talked quite a bit about how certain movements and belief systems (what he called “mass movements”) tend to attract a certain kind of personality in his book The True Believer. He also noted that people with that type of personality often jump from one mass movement to another.”

    Your recall is very, very close, but I would add this nuance… it was not so much a “certain kind of personality” he spoke of but a person with a certain type of experience and outlook on that experience… in other words, a person who experiences everything they were taught to believe in, and everything they were encouraged to aspire to as “ruined” or “wrecked”, and who, as a result, experiences *frustration* particularly intensely, and this, together with a real sense of “nothing left to lose” is energised into a “mass movement joiner” – a mass movement with an uplifting vision to which to devote all of their energy (which would otherwise be useless to themselves or anyone else), and to hold higher than their own life and well-beling, ANY vision will do. Its power to catch up and direct their “loose cannonball” energy, and end their tremendous sense of frustration and futility, is what matters.

  364. @Waiting for the Worms

    “As the Woke movement collapses (the far left is already well into the circular firing squad stage), I expect that many of those people will either come back to conservative and/or fundamentalist Christianity, or migrate to other extremist movements like Marxism, Islamic radicalism or even neo-Nazism.”

    The best indication of Salvation in regards to those people. Is that those people mellow down.

    In fact God will have to really put them through hard trials so as to melt those habits and thought processes away from them. In conjunction with Gods inner work through the Holy Spirit. And reshape them towards better people that aren’t those annoying types.

    When the Scriptures talk about being made Righteous in God’s sight its not only the washing away of sins by Christ’s Blood. But also the rewriting of a personality of an evil person that makes them more and more good whilst respecting their free will. Like Jesus Christ.

    Jesus was a perfectly balanced Man. In perfect virtue and proportion in all that he does.

    Run-away holiness spirals isn’t actually proper Christianity. But I suppose the Monasteries exist so as to contain those “Fundamentalists and extremists” away from society.

    Be a Pharisee there. Be a radical there.

  365. @Teresa (#395)

    That flag design doesn’t just speak volumes, it says it all. What it reminds me of most is the swirling design patterns used in cartoons to show when the villains are hypnotizing their victims. Kinda gets straight to the point, eh?

  366. @pygmycory

    “I also can’t help but notice that of the references to homosexual activities in the bible, none of them were spoken by Jesus. I don’t think sexual orientation was or is at the top of his priority list.”

    Jesus claimed to be the God of the Old Testament. When he once claimed:
    “57Then the Jews said to Him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and You have seen Abraham?” 58“Truly, truly, I tell you,” Jesus declared, “before Abraham was born, I am!”

    https://www.biblehub.com/bsb/john/8.htm

    As God once said to Moses:
    “13Then Moses asked God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is His name?’ What should I tell them?” 14God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” 15God also told Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’ This is My name forever, and this is how I am to be remembered in every generation”

    And as I posted before. Jude the Brother of Jesus claimed that Jesus was the one who destroyed Sodom with fire and brimstone.

    The Pelagian notion that Jesus didn’t believe himself to be the God of the Old Testament is false.

  367. Michael #340: I find it fascinating how many people are convinced that, were Christ here today, he would certainly be a strong proponent of their favored causes. I’ve seen Jesus stand up in hypothetical support of everything from COVID vaccinations to resisting COVID vaccinations. Jesus is riding in a tank with the brave freedom fighters of Ukraine, or the Orthodox Christian nation of Russia. Were he here today Jesus would be a socialist, a Libertarian, a monarchist, a Republican, or a Democrat who would either fly a Pride flag outside a church or drive the sodomites out with a whip like they were money-changers.

    Dion Fortune warned of the dangers of getting stuck in Yesod. I suspect the reason Jesus supports all these different causes is because most people never get past looking at Jesus as an idealized image of themselves in Yesod’s magic mirror.

    Pygmycory #392: We have known what sodomy is since the time of Sodom. For most of Christian history homosexuality was treated like drunkenness, gambling, whoring, brawling, or any other social faux pas. It was considered a flaw and nothing one should be proud of, but we were aware that the world is a sinful place and that we all are sinners.

    Leonardo da Vinci was arrested and fined when he got caught cruising in a known pick-up spot. (Yes, they had those in Renaissance Italy). It didn’t stop him from going on to a long career as an artist and polymath. Michelangelo’s homosexuality was an open secret, but he still got contracts to paint the Sistine Chapel and carve the Pieta. And there was always a fair bit of same-sex hanky-panky going on in monasteries, just as there was/is in British public schools.

    For most of history homosexuality was something you did, not something you were. There were words for those fond of homosexual acts, just as there were words for those who were overfond of whorehouses or taverns. But the idea of “Gay Pride” would have been as ludicrous as “Drunkard Pride.”

    Bel Dawel #399: I had a very interesting discussion on another forum with some unnamed fans of loli and shota. (Drawings of childlike girls and boys in sexual situations, respectively).

    At the present time loli and shota are legal in the US, but most people will think less of you if they know you collect those drawings. Lolicons and shotacons can fill their hard drives with drawings at home, and there’s no way the world will ever know unless they broadcast their proclivities in public. But what really bothered these collectors is that they could not talk publicly about their fetish with friends, neighbors, and co-workers, and thus they felt shamed and marginalized.

    The problem is that somewhere along the line the quest for gay rights like “stop beating us up” and “do something about this disease that is killing us” turned into a quest for universal acclamation. It’s not enough that we leave you alone to do as you see fit with your private life. We’re supposed to celebrate all of your fetishes and pat you on the back for your choices in pornography. And the right to free speech became an obligation to provide everybody with a cheering section.

  368. Concerning the new Microscum Pride flag:

    Someone commented that the fragmentation effect portrayed in the flag portends the schism of the LGBT movement into more and more microconstituencies, with the end result being individualism. I tend to see movements like religious fundamentalism and Wokism as a sort of last gasp of the Neptunian instincts of the Piscean Age, with their emphasis on otherworldly utopianism, mass conformity, dualistic thinking and the idea that there is One True Way that everyone must be forced to conform to.

    By contrast, as we have discussed before, the Aquarian Age will be Uranian, with an emphasis on individualism and eccentricity, with lots of individual cultures, communities and small groups going their own way and finding their own solutions. So perhaps the Microscum Pride flag is yet another sign of the Piscean Age fading out and being gradually displaced by the rising Aquarian Age, much like the Classical Culture was gradually displaced by the rising Magian Culture during the Roman era (yes, I am a huge fan of Oswald Spengler and his theories).

  369. @ Northwind Grandma #400

    Re “advisors”

    Could not agree more.

    I like to reference George Washington’s warning to “avoid foreign entanglements,” but few care to hear that these days.

  370. @info,
    I am not a pelagian, nor do I argue that Jesus is not the Word of God and very much part of the old testament God along with the Holy Spirit and the Father. However, when I see someone picking homosexuality out of a long list of sexual sins and making a big fuss about just that one thing, I tend to take it with a grain of salt.

    Because adultery, fornication (sex outside marriage), coveting someone else’s wife, divorce and remarriage etc etc etc are on those lists too, are mentioned far more often than homosexuality, are extremely common in our society, and there’s a fair chance at least one of them has been committed by the person insisting all homosexuals will go to hell. It’s hard to never look at a married person and notice that so-and-so is hot. I’d imagine most of us have had to quash unethical impulses on occasion.

    It should also be noted that the incident in Sodom referred to by Jude involved threatened gang rape of a guest who happened to be angel in disguise, which would have been a) rape, b) breaking the sacred rules of hospitality towards guests, and c) attacking an angel in disguise. That’s quite the list of nastiness without even mentioning the gender of the people involved.

    I’m basing my guess on what Jesus did in life, according to the Bible. He spent a lot of time ministering to those who were outcast and actually were willing to admit they needed help and accept it, and a fair amount arguing and avoiding arguing with the authorities. He was quite good at avoiding verbal traps. Still, it’s a guess. Since He never stated an opinion in His life as Jesus, and the words of the prophets have been filtered through the minds of humans in a specific culture, I have to assume the issue is not at the top of Jesus’ priority list.

  371. About the sonnet: I don’t have much social media or internet presence beyond what I post here, but I’ll keep it in my pocket for when it would be useful to post somewhere relevant. Thanks again!

  372. Rod, nah, that’s an example of what I call “apocalonanism,” the masturbatory stroking of fantasies of doom. You’ll find that the people who engage in it aren’t acting as though they think we’re all doomed — they’re going about their lives as usual, planning for the future, etc. I knew people in the peak oil end of that who claimed to expect industrial civilization to end in mass death by 2010, and were still socking money into their 401k accounts…

    Denis, that is to say, they know they were on the wrong side and are frantically trying to pretend that it never happened. Have you ever seen a cat trying to cover up after making a mess on a linoleum floor? I’m reminded of that just now.

    Other Owen, that’s certainly part of what’s happening as well. California is well on its way to becoming the 21st century’s Rust Belt: the population’s fleeing, businesses are bailing out, and in due time tax revenues will crash and it’ll become impossible to keep the state government running in its current mode (though all kinds of gimmicks will be tried). As with the Rust Belt states of the last century, political and social dysfunction play a large role in that.

    Chris, fascinating. I get the impression the eucalypts will be getting a workout this time around!

    Chuaquin, that’s what I’ve read, at least. No doubt they’ve got some diesel engines, but enough? Not based on the information available to me. As for antitank weapons, of course — that’s been a major issue in land warfare since about 1944. The question is whether the Ukrainians have enough troops in the area of the eventual Russian assault to make adequate use of them. If most of the Ukrainian army is in the east, fighting on the Donbass front, and the rail and road network has been crippled by Russian missile and drone strikes, it doesn’t matter how many antitank weapons they’ve got, since you can’t hit a tank outside of Lviv with a bazooka in Kharkiv.

    Clay, thanks for the data point. Admittedly, that’s what I’d expect in an Oregon bookstore.

    Info, granted, but there are shadings to the personality types that are religion-specific. Many American evangelical Christians adopt a fake happy-all-the-time pose and a smarmy style of interaction that makes my gorge rise. Wokester Karens have a different affect, shrill, angry, and entitled, which is irritating but not actively nauseating, at least to me. Thus the thought of evangelical Christian wokesters, troweling on a thick coating of fake joy over the usual arrogant nastiness of the personality type, is thus especially repellent to me.

    Patricia M, oog.

    Mark, an excellent point. A similar point has been made about the mismatches between the mostly Soviet-era armaments of the Ukrainian army and the very different items with which NATO is supplying them now.

    Mary, ah, but think of the subtext. If we start making chips here, then we have to pay American wage scales for them, and that means (a) our tech trinkets will cost more, and (b) our labor force will be able to use its additional clout to get a larger share of the value of its own labor — oh, the horror!

    Waiting, and of course that’s also a major issue. I’ve been suggesting for some time now that I expect to see a lot of today’s liberal Neopagans converting to one of the more conservative sacramental Christian sects in the near future, for much the same reason.

    Wer, thanks for this. It’s going to be a couple of very colorful years over here, especially if the midterms turn out the way they seem to be heading.

    Pygmycory, I think you’re quite correct. We are at war, for all practical purposes; the survival of what’s left of the Pax Americana is at stake. When Russia showed that threats of economic sanctions from NATO powers are toothless bluster, they kicked away one of the few remaining props of US global hegemony. If they can now proceed to enforce their will on the battlefield and impose a peace of their own choosing on Ukraine, the weakness of the US in international affairs will be impossible for anyone to ignore. That means the end of the tribute economy that’s kept the NATO nations living high on the hog, and that in turn means a very steep decline in standards of living in the US and its allies, especially among the managerial class that’s profited most from our hegemony. That’s why there’s no antiwar movement worth speaking of, and why oh-so-liberal Democrats are shrieking for war: they know that their lifestyles are on the line.

    Panda, thanks for this.

    Teresa, yep. To call it stunningly ugly is to understate things considerably:

    It looks like what happens when you throw a rock through a painted window. If it becomes at all widespread, the whole movement will dissolve in bitter internal quarrels.

    Brunette, you’re most welcome.

    Blue Sun, I saw that, and thought the same thing!

    Stephen, I’d have agreed with that until the latest bombardment started. Putin was clearly comfortable with a glacially slow pace, aiming at bankrupting Europe and outlasting the legendarily short attention span of US politics. He has to keep his allies and the electorate behind him, though, and that was starting to become difficult. Now that Surovikin is in charge of the Russian side of the war, it looks to me as though the Russians have decided to crank up the tempo considerably.

    Neaj, I’m sorry to say I don’t. Anyone else?

    Chuaquin, hmm. Yeah, that makes sense.

    Waiting, I note that at this point the GOP challenger to Illinois’ incumbent Democrat governor is within 2% in the polls. The Dems may have basically entered into a political suicide pact. With regard to the flag, that has occurred to me as well.

  373. @info and Kenaz,
    you’ll notice I didn’t suggest he’d be at the pride parade. The fact that I suggested He’d be found somewhere else, doing what He typically did when He was here on earth, says something right there. From my reading of the bible, I assume that acting on homosexual impulses is not what God wanted when He created humanity. Not his ideal, and quite probably a sin. But so is coveting thy neighbor’s wife, sex outside marriage, adultery, divorce and remarriage and assorted other things.

    Does it really make a difference if you are attracted someone’s husband or to their wife, when they’re off-limits either way? And I really don’t see why people fuss so much about homosexual acts while accepting divorce and remarriage as completely a-okay, and treating sex outside of marriage and even cheating with less seriousness than a gay kiss, when all those other sins are mentioned far more frequently and with much less ambiguity in the bible. Doing so strikes me as shadow projection.

    Insisting that people who are exclusively attracted to their own gender be 100% celibate or go to hell is a bar that they aren’t applying to everyone else, and the double-standard is not fair. I really think more attention should be paid to heterosexual sin and getting the logs out of our own eyes.

    As to gay marriage, it may be the best people can manage in a fallen world, same as divorce after an abusive marriage with an eventual remarriage that is much happier and healthier. Not God’s ideal, but the best that can be managed by the people involved.

    We live in a fallen world, and ALL of us have sinned. That’s why Jesus came. It’s absolutely true that faith in Him can and should change us. But picking on a specific group while ignoring, minimizing or not mentioning the sins of the majority is bullying.

  374. @info (#376):

    In your quote from the Epistle of Jude (1:5), the Greek text reads “Kyrios” rather than “Iēsous.” That Greek word means “Lord,” and is used for God the Father as well as for Jesus. Your translation of it as Jesus is overly specific, thus leading even rthose eaders astray who share your form of Christian theology. (Of course, many of us do not share it.)

  375. Cast my ballot in early (in-person absentee) voting at lunch today. Felt good.

    All over the place, including some third-party candidates for things like state treasurer and state secretary. Most importantly, voted on the local school bond referendum and for Not-Tony-Evers.

  376. Here are some links of interest:

    Andrei Martyanov and Pepe Escobar on Russia’s long term strategy.

    https://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2022/10/pepe-encapsulated-it-really-well.html

    Supplies of diesel fuel are getting dangerously low in the US and elsewhere. It’s getting bad enough that the US is diverting tankers loaded with diesel that were bound for Europe to America. That’s going to do wonders for EU-US relations.

    https://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/Diesel-Crisis-Deepens-As-Inventories-Fall-To-Dangerous-Levels.html

    Russia has made it clear that they will cut off supplies to anyone complying with the price cap.

    https://oilprice.com/Energy/Energy-General/Russia-Warns-Europe-Natural-Gas-Price-Cap-Means-Full-Supply-Cut-Off.html

    Price cap is likely to fail miserably even if it goes ahead;

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/daneberhart/2022/09/28/russian-price-cap-could-be-bidens-biggest-energy-folly-yet/?sh=30134a7d6eb4

    https://www.msn.com/en-ca/money/topstories/russia-poised-to-largely-skirt-new-g7-oil-price-cap/ar-AA13dg3y

    The Biden administration continues to drain the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to dangerously low levels in a desperate attempt to buy votes for the Democrats in the midterm elections. So what happens if the crisis gets worse and there isn’t enough oil left in the reserve? That seems to me to be entirely possible, especially after next round of sanctions against Russia takes effect in early December (which you will note is a month after the midterm elections).

    https://www.currentargus.com/story/opinion/columnists/2022/10/21/bidens-strategic-petroleum-reserve-announcement-another-example-of-failed-energy-policies/69580324007/

    https://www.foxbusiness.com/energy/biden-put-us-very-precarious-position-another-sale-reserve-oil-ceo-warns

    Incidentally, as Escobar and Martyanov also point out, December is when the contingent of Russian reservists who were called up is expected to complete its training and be committed to battle. The Russians are reported to be bringing in massive numbers of troops, combat vehicles, munitions and other gear from the Central and Eastern military districts and some sources say that by early December, the Russians will have a reserve army of 700,000 ready to go. I’m sure we all remember what happened to the mighty Wehrmacht in December 1941.

    It might be of interest to note that the Soviet counteroffensive at the Battle of Moscow kicked off on December 5, 1941, exactly 81 years before the next round of G-7/EU sanctions is due to go effect. Back then, the Soviets allowed the Germans to exhaust and overextend themselves before turning a huge reserve army that included dozens of elite Siberian divisions loose on them. Is history about repeat itself?

  377. JMG@414, that “flag” is a real snicker-inducer. It’s definitely “Cleanup on Aisle Five”, but which department is that?
    * Ties?
    * Paint?
    * Food Coloring?
    * Stained Glass?

    The Wokies are certainly fitting in well to their new role – laughingstocks!

    Maybe just calling it the “Cleanup on Aisle Five” flag is the best…

    And for the Francophones: “Nettoyage dans l’allée quatre-vingts.” (they LOVE saying eighty.) 😃

  378. @ pygmycory # 387

    Ok the research didn’t build a virus that could kill 80% of people infected (probably not), but what they have done is made a chimeric virus that maintain the pathogenic capacity of one variant, and adding the infectious capacity of another one that allow the virus to spread at a much faster rate; if this is not a GoF work….

    On the other hand, not far away from Boston, in Marylan, another group of mad scientist are planning to make the same kind of research but with monkeypox:

    https://www.science.org/content/article/u-s-weighs-crackdown-experiments-could-make-viruses-more-dangerous#:~:text=In%20a%20U.S.%20government%20lab,that%20causes%20more%20serious%20illness.

    What could go wrong?

    Cheers
    David

  379. >Okay, we open at a furry convention

    Let’s not. No. Stay in the car. Keep driving. Don’t make eye contact. What are you doing?

    But since you opened the door, I’d point out that if you’re an actual animal with real fur, you are truly in about the most danger you can be in at one of those places. There are horrors in the human world your puny animal mind can’t comprehend. Run, run away.

    Makes me wonder, if higher order beings participate Monkie conventions, with a subset being into playing as Hoomans. Makes me wonder if entities that obsessed with hoomans create horrors that our relatively small hooman minds can’t comprehend either. The things I wonder about.

    I sense a Lovecraft short story out there. Told you to stay in the car.

  380. “Investigation reveals Just Stop Oil – and linked organisations Extinction Rebellion, Insulate Britain and others – is backed by billionaires, tax-exempt charities and international corporations. […] Just Stop Oil states it is partially funded by the Climate Emergency Fund (CEF), founded by Aileen Getty, granddaughter of oil tycoon John Paul Getty. The Getty Family, collectively, has an estimated wealth of around £3.9B. Getty personally put a foundational sum of £900,000 into CEF. CEF acts as an umbrella organisation which distributes funds to eco-activist groups worldwide.”

    https://whynow.co.uk/read/who-is-funding-just-stop-oil-the-billionaires-backing-the-art-vandals

    What do you think of the theory that these rent-a-mob eco-protestors (paid for with inherited oil money) are being paid to annoy the public so much that governments will be able to bring in draconian anti-protest legislation that will effectively end all protest?

  381. Neaj-Neiviv says:
    October 25, 2022 at 3:58 am
    Hello, reading between the lines a little bit to relate the following question to this post… Do you have any good resource on the current state of the underground economy in Western Europe (France, Spain, England, Italy…)?

    Is not new that In Spain the underground economy is a Big part of the economy . is part of the cultural heritage (in the shool we dont read Shakespeare we read El Lazarillo de Tormes or don Quijote de la mancha https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Picaresque_novel

  382. For JMG:

    I’m planning to get the last three months of data then do a year-end summary of the results. I’ll post that on one of your columns not related to magic.

  383. @Bridge,
    regardless of their funding, insulating Britain would actually be an excellent idea.

    If billionaires volunteered to fund insulating everyone’s homes, I might have a few fewer nasty things to say about billionaires.