Thursday, June 09, 2005

James Howard Kunstler

I just heard Kunstler speak for his book tour for The Long Emergency. He is a very intense guy with a funny and sarcastic wit. He has an energy that tends to fly pretty wildly. I have not read his books, so I am just giving my impressions. The Long Emergency is on my reading list, however. He gave an amusing characterization of the USA of the near future, when rapid inflations floods our economy. He said the America will be like NASCAR Nation meets the Weimar Republic. But then he said we should not be too worried about what the federal goverment might do, because they will hardly be able to answer the phone.

I find this odd. I would not underestimate the capacity for a bankrupt nations to become authoritarian. Look at North Korea, although they always were authoritarian. But famine and energy shortages didn't change that. And the Weimar Republic, which led to Nazism. We may find the Republican party installing John Bolton as president some day. He would be our own Saddam.


Matt said...

I'm one of the bigger Kunstler supporters on the peak oil webring, but I also thought the Don't Worry about the government line was a bit odd. However, it does make some sense. I think Kunstler's point is that the US is so big and population so spread out that the Empire of the United States might break-up into smaller republics. He also is making the point that there is no way that the big computerized information networks that we now use to spy on people will be operable. The US Gov will have to spy on us the old fashioned way in the peak oil future. In no way do I mean to suggest, however, that the government won't go down fighting.

Chris said...

Someone recently told me he thought that population control by the US gov't would be an effortless by-product of pop-Christianity: that the passive morality of its adherants would be the only cattle-prod needed to keep the masses in line. More stringy, stubborn folks in the Northwest bioregion, say, would probably be left to themselves to go build yerts and worship trees, or whatever it is we do over here.

His point was that the currently presiding administration's agenda is to ensure its own wealth over and against We The People; controlling us is secondary to wealth.

I suppose I wonder if in fact this administration is darker than that, and that when push comes to shove, they really do have an agenda of absolute power. Only time will tell.

Thanks for your thoughtful words.

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