When the empire falls

When American Empire completes its fall, we will not have the ability to sacrifice one big bank just to rescue an even larger corporate entity along with an ill-devised government program. Instead, we’ll be focused on the only economic system too big to fail: Earth.


When American Empire completes its fall, it will take all the banks with it. So we won’t be worrying about cleaning up “toxic assets.” Instead, we’ll concern ourselves with storing the harvest and saving seeds.
When American Empire completes its fall, political parties will be unable to carry out desperate, ugly, and dangerous attacks on American voters. Instead, we’ll focus on helping our neighbors and building our communities.
As American Empire is completing its fall, the American government might find itself at war with its own people. As long as we have American Idol and high fructose corn syrup, I doubt the people are willing to rebel. But if they are, perhaps this time the people will win.
When American Empire completes its fall, we will leave behind arcane philosophers and their irrelevant, unworldly philosophy. Instead, we will return to a philosophy as rooted in the Earth as we are.
When American Empire completes its fall, we will not have agents of the federal government planning to invade and divide countries and sacrificing the lives of “we the people” for a few bucks (in this case, neocon leaders Feith, Wolfowitz, and Perle were discussing with the Turkish ambassador how to divide Iraq in the summer of 2001, four months before 9/11). Instead, we’ll honor the lives of humans and other animals in the region we occupy.
When American Empire completes its fall, humans will be unable to cause erosion comparable to the world’s largest rivers and glaciers. They — we — will be unable to cause destruction so severe it threatens our very existence. Instead, we’ll revere the ecosystems that provide us with water, food, clothing, protection from the elements, and all the philosophy we’ll ever need.
When American Empire completes its fall, the federal government will be unable to control what you eat, much less encourage you to eat materials that are toxic, or that make us fat, stupid, and lazy. We will not rely on two percent of our population, bound to cheap fossil fuels and corporate indenture, to feed the rest of us. Instead, we will harvest what we sow and eat what we harvest, paying careful attention to what we feed our children.
When American Empire completes its fall, the federal government will not trot out lies about medical care (while in truly Orwellian fashion, calling it “health care”). Instead, we will learn to care for the planet that sustains us all, and we will accept death as we celebrate life.
When American Empire completes its fall, governments around the world will not encourage their citizens to produce more consumers (i.e., babies) in the name of economic growth. Instead, we will cherish our (human) communities while relying on them for care, just as we will care for others. Instead of being slaves to the economy and its government, we will be partners with our neighbors and the landbase.
I used to think it took a child to raze a village, but now I know any effective politician can do it. When American Empire completes its fall, the federal government will be unable to bail out companies while ignoring the individuals who work for those companies. The governmental arsonists who started and stoked the fire will be unable to show up in fire trucks claiming they can extinguish the blaze. And then they’ll be unable to lie about it. When the empire completes its fall, neighbors will bail out each other, and expect the same in return.
When American Empire completes its fall, the myriad crises we have created will no longer outpace our ability to deal with them. The situation has become so dire, even mainstream scientists have noticed. And although these scientists admit nations and corporations cannot effectively deal with the messes we’ve generated, the solutions they propose all involve institutional reforms (i.e., government). When the empire completes its fall, communication between neighbors will account for all the reforms we need.
When American Empire completes its fall, globalization falls with it (perhaps it already has). Globalization has tricked us into ignoring matters important to our health, and to the health of other species, in the name of enriching a few wealthy (mostly) white men who serve corporations. We have abandoned work on extinction, child labor, working conditions, taxation, child labor, health, and pollution, while allowing a billion people to starve. We’ve done all this damage while allowing — and even encouraging — the few to loot the coffers of the many, even while the many are starving in numbers unimaginably large. When the empire completes its fall, localization comes back in style. We’ll know all the non-human neighbors by name, and we will nurture them as they take care of us.
When American Empire completes its fall, we will not focus on the politically lost cause of global climate change at the expense of the thousands of other insults we are visiting on the planet. We won’t need to focus on politically hopeless causes such as saving the planet and our non-human brethren. Instead, we will conduct the difficult and meaningful work associated with stewardship of the lands, waters, and communities that support us.
When American Empire completes its fall, the majority will not capitulate to the noisy minority in the echo chamber who claim that helping others is socialism, and therefore un-American. The notion that “all politics is local” will ring loudly as we all work toward governance that serves the people.
When American Empire completes its fall, we will not be forced to listen to the “patriotic” tune of the mainstream media as they continue to deny the roles of the governments of Israel and the United States in the events of September 11, 2001. And we won’t be praying for more oil from Iraq. Or Mexico. Or Canada. Or, for that matter, thinking natural gas will save western civilization. When the empire completes its fall, we’ll be concerned about legitimate wealth: food and water supplied by healthy landbases and the company of friends supplied by healthy communities.
When American Empire completes its fall, Congress will not spend your money propping up the world’s most powerful military force (although by simultaneously losing two wars, the U.S. military is rapidly exposing its declining influence). We will not continue to torture people without charging them. We will not use the world’s most lethal organization and weapons to continue killing citizens of Afghanistan in the name of our freedom. As a side effect, we’ll need not hide the pictures and bury the stories when our own children die in the process of killing Afghans. When the empire completes its fall, we will know the faces of those who threaten us and we will face reality regardless how tragic it is.
When American Empire completes its fall, we can thank our investment in military supremacy, at least in part.
When American Empire completes its fall, we’ll finally give up on the renewable-energy “savior” and, more importantly, we’ll witness the end of the seemingly endless wars for energy. We’ll live as part of the Earth, rather than apart from it.
When American Empire completes its fall, a few people will recall the warnings — dating as far back as Marcus Aurelius, and probably further — launched by a very few thoughtful voices and ignored by those in power. With respect to energy decline, they’ll recall M. King Hubbert and a few of the people listed here.
When American Empire completes its fall, people will once again wrest control of their individual and collective destinies and live in the world, thus causing superstition to fade.
If American Empire completes its fall soon enough, perhaps James Lovelock will be proven wrong: maybe, just maybe, we haven’t reached a global-climate-change tipping point. One thing is clear: There are no politically viable solutions to global climate change. But when the empire completes its fall, we will ignore the gods of economic growth who demand we destroy the planet in their name.
Why are we trying to sustain this empire?

Comments 49

  • confession — I have not even read Guy’s new essay yet, but just saw an very astute commentary by comedian Bill Maher that said “America does not need more efficient cars. We need something to replace cars”.
    Now that is right on the mark and I think J.H. Kunstler wishes he had found that choice of words. I am working on an essay under a title like “Obama is as cynical as his supporters are gullible” for later.
    All can read Maher at the following link and I will read Guy soon.
    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/09/25-8
    Stan Moore

  • Dear Guy —
    A magnificent analysis of reality! If one looks at photos of the American workforce just prior to World War II, the celebration photos of rejoicing in the streets at the end of that war, one sees a very different America, even 64+ years ago. We went from lean, hardworking, clear-eyed, ambitious citizens of the world to fat, decadent, me-first slobs.
    Our health (one by one) has suffered. Our lands have been degraded. Our wildlife is diminished. Our stamina is gone and our work ethic is shameful.
    All the things you identified.
    And there are far too many of us now.
    America is the symbol and synthesis of the human experience rolled up into a couple of hundred years and a few hundred million people. It represents the best of human potential and the worst of human decadence. It represents the faltering of the human race, but some of the survivors will represent the best of resilience and a hope for a re-emergence of what once was, was then lost, and can ultimately be restored.
    I agree with you 100% Guy!
    Stan Moore

  • on buddhism
    As the DL often says dont listen to him/dont take his word for it,
    meditate and see for yourself. Buddhism is about you and
    understanding your ‘true nature and the nature of existence’, yes it is a cliche, but it is true. Contrary to what is often said
    here, at our core we are altruistic.
    Ironically the perception of meditation is one of individual indulgence, however the experience gives you the realization that
    ultimately your role in life is to help others. There is nothing
    else. This experience is quite common. I used to meditate
    20 years ago, and remember the experience, whether it is a simple
    pyschological state/trick, I dont know, but the experience was
    profound. But see for yourself, the ‘Three Pillars of Zen’ is an
    excellent place to start. It predominately records peoples
    experiences.
    The philosophy is without question quite profound. To my mind
    if this philosophy was lost to the world, this would
    be the greatest tragedy of all. If you had to select one philosophy/book to carry through time this would be it.
    ‘meditate, meditate, meditate, there is no time to waste,
    death could strike you at any moment!’ zen saying

  • There probably is truth to what Matt says about Buddhism. It still strikes me as an artifact of a reaction to dense human population, lack of privacy, prevalence of noise and distraction, and a desire to sort things out. It reminds me of the old television mini-series “Shogun” (based on the book series) where the Japanese lady showed Blackthorn how he could create his own mental sense of privacy in a physical situation where he had none.
    I am also reminded of an old book by the American Sioux Indian Oyihessa, (named Dr. Charles Eastman by the whites) called “The Soul of the Indian”, which is a fantastic synposis of the philosophy and lifestyle of the indigenous America oral tradition in his memory before whites came. One of the areas of his discussion that impressed me was the importance of silence in nature in keeping a spiritual perspective. Before whites came along with their numbers and their gadgets, American Indians could go alone into the wilderness to contemplate things. I am not sure they meditated as Buddhists did, because they did not necessarily need to shift their mental state to achieve mental isolation. They could get it physically. Come to think of it, American Indians did have cultural practices that enhanced their isolation, such as sweat lodges, “vision quests”, etc. as described in books such as biographies of Lakota men like Fools Crow.
    Americans and Europeans and others living in an industrial setting with high densities (though often lower than in the Orient) can find benefit it Buddhist practices, and are attracted to them, even as some Americans and Germans and people of other nationalities are attracted to American Indian practices, and other cultural traditions that take one away from the madness of “normal” industrial/consumer lifestyles. Even within Christianity one can find such traditions and practices, but not at your retail church in most local communities.
    Stan Moore

  • Matt and Stan, I’m not criticizing Buddhism for individuals. In fact, here’s my second sentence: “Balance is a superb notion and I strongly support, for individuals at least, balance, moderation, and many other principles of Buddhism.”
    I am criticizing the notion that balance and moderation can get us through the ongoing collapse, as a society. At this point in the post-peak-oil world, half measures are not going to “save” us (whatever that means to anybody).

  • Just getting acquainted with this blog. Impressive, courageous stuff here, to be certain. However, the iteration of Utopian values to be achieved after the fall strikes me as not very honest. The fall will most likely not be a toggle switch, nor will the following reorganization be painless or ideal. There is a world of woe ahead of us, not balance or joy.

  • Stan,
    Forgive me for reposting this from the previous discussion of Buddhism but “there you go again.” Again you discussed Buddhism based on your movie-going experiences and a misunderstanding of the population densities of various parts of the planet.
    Here’s the repost for your enjoyment.
    Maybe you should check the population per square kilometer of Tibet prior to the Chinese takeover. You may be confusing Hong Kong with the homeland of the DL.
    To use the ideas expressed by one actor in one film to judge a religious philosophy is lame at best. So is the idea that a better response to the world is “just let me bang around bumping off other people and kicking ass if necessary and, oh and by the way, I want everyone else out of my wilderness.” Lame.
    Of course, maybe you have some insight I don’t have. I guess “knowing” there is an afterlife makes mistakes in this life subject to a do-over. Buddhists agree about a do-over but seem pretty concerned about what level the do-over starts from. Hence, it is important to be mindful of what you do in the here-and-now.
    Sorry about your ruffled feathers.
    Mike

  • Michael Irving —
    I am not sure what “ruffled feathers” you are talking about, nor do your arguments make much sense to me at all. I was certainly never trying to portray a comprehensive view of Buddhism, Tibet, or anything else. Somehow I seem to have struck a nerve of yours, yet you have not described why your feathers are so ruffled, but mine are not and have not been. And since I know nothing about you, your background, or the basis for your animus, I find it hard to be concerned at all about your rant. I would advise you to take a deep breath, calm down, and meditate before you vent again.
    Stan Moore

  • Hi Guy —
    I don’t understand how you are interpreting my comments on Buddhism, but am not concerned about it. I am not the least bit concerned about whether anyone in the world is a Buddhist or not. I don’t think Buddhism has made the world a better place, or necessarily a worse place. I don’t think it is for me, and that is what I was trying to describe in my comments. But I understand the appeal of it to some, and that is also what I was trying to convey.
    In other words, I don’t think Buddhism will be a safe haven from the die-off to come, and if I thought it offered such I might be more interested in pursuing it.
    Stan

  • Brutus – if you look at all of the predictions Guy is making they are basically looking up from the bottom of the pit. We are currently at the top of the mountain and staring into the abyss of the pit. I don’t think that Guy has any illusions about the devastating effect the end of the American Empire will have on the civilized world. It will be bad for many, many will die, and it will change everything. I don’t think that there is much chance of this being prevented anymore. We’ve driven to the top of the mountain full steam ahead on gears lubricated with the blood of the innocent on tracks made from the bones of the wise. But we’ve had stars in our eyes and the mists of greed hid the precipice. It’s not the first time this has happened – just the first time it will have happened globally. He’s actually looking on the bright side of things by seeing past the pain to the possibility of freedom for all and a renewed desire for self determination.

  • Bingo, Chris, in your response to Brutus. In fact, in another piece I wrote, “I’m not romantic enough to believe this transition will be easy, for me or my community. Indeed, as I leave the cruise ship of empire for a lifeboat, all I see are dark, choppy seas. But if our species is to survive in the years ahead—and even thrive—we must embrace a reality different from the suburbanized, globalized system that landed us squarely in the massive dilemmas of energy decline and runaway greenhouse effects.”
    Stan, sorry to sweep you up in my comment about Buddhism. My comment was intended for Matt, and I misinterpreted your comment.

  • “Stop Driving, Start Thriving.”
    There is a reason they were called the Dark Ages, but as Guy has indicated before, the Renaissance and the Enlightenment were the beginning of the end.
    Maybe we should just turn the lights off. They don’t shine very far into the abyss anyhow.
    And why do we call Iran out in front of the UN about nukes, when Israel has had a secret nuclear program longer than anyone else in the Middle East?
    Mordechai Vanunu, anyone? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mordechai_Vanunu
    The New Ages + Nukes might be just delightful indeed.

  • Guy
    my response on Buddhism was to no one in particular,
    I did not interpret what you said as criticism.
    A little misunderstanding all round. Just thought
    I would share my limited experiences with the ‘listeners’.
    Been thinking about sustainability. I think the word
    is code for BAU. Hanson suggests ‘sustainability’ is an
    ‘approximation to an equilibrium’.
    Since the population grows at 1.3% per year
    then the overall use of resources should be 1.3%
    less per individual per year ad infinitum. Assuming
    that resources are evenly distributed.
    That is to create a sustained ‘steady state’ in the use of the resources/capital.
    Clearly, sustainability has not been happening, the word is a complete con. The word makes me cringe everytime I hear it.
    Our prime minister recently used the phrase ‘sustainable growth’. ish!
    I know nothing new here, been reading EF Schumacher ‘Small is beautiful’. He incidentally has a chapter on ‘Buddhist Economics’.
    The book is 35 years old, well worth a read. Very clever man.
    Particularly on the discussion regarding how we treat the capital ie oil and other non renewable resources as income.
    Nice post by way.

  • Sorry Stan.
    I was trying to be gentle rather than just “throwing my shoe” or “flipping you off.” I’ll try again.
    Buddhism was developed in a time and place with relatively small population density exactly the conditions where you suggest “humanity is at its best.”
    Tibetan Buddhism was developed in Tibet (high desert, small villages, one small city). The DL is the religious leader of Tibetan Buddhists.
    Some movies are questionable as sources for comparative religion studies.
    The “low density agrarian life-styles” which you favor, and were the norm when the Buddha was alive, will require cooperation and consensus more than “profound disagreement and heated exchanges” if they are going to function. Or maybe you think a feudal structure would be a good idea (low-density and agrarian).
    Many Buddhists are vegetarians because they believe all sentient beings have intrinsic value. How is that “anthropocentric?”
    As far as Asia being “super-civilized” you said, “His (DL) people are in bondage to a great power and neither he nor they can do much about it.” Doesn’t sound too “civilized.” Neither did Cambodia under Pol Pot. Perhaps might makes right for you.
    As to the ruffled feathers, I think your condescending response speaks for itself.
    Mike

  • Memo to Our Stan:
    This is a test for you.Stop–think–and don’t write what you are thinking about.
    Everyone gets peeved now and then,so just forget it and go on.
    OK?
    Double D

  • Frank,
    I think I owe the “Nature Bats Last” community an apology for any upset I’ve caused. I was just Trolling along seeking answers and forgot the troll rule about keeping your mouth shut.
    I do greatly enjoy both Guy’s essays and the comments (usually) and much of what I am doing is parallel to the general flow of the site. The answers I’m seeking emanate from the question, “What else can I do to get my grandkids through what’s coming?”
    Well, back out to the compost pile.
    Sincerely,
    Mike

  • Mike,
    Thanks for your comment.No apology needed.Sometimes very intelligent people,probably all very intelligent people,get
    a little too touchy sometimes,Our Stan included.You and he are valued assets here.I just wanted to cool things down.
    Frank

  • Max Keiser
    Remember that name.You’ll all love this guy.Get his videos now.He’s even better than Matt Taibbi in his vitriolic attacks on Goldman Sachs.Taibbi’s piece on Goldman Sachs in July issue of Rolling Stone
    is a must read.
    Google Max Keiser and Matt Taibbi for raw red meat that will make your day.
    Double D

  • Another pretty good one, you delightfully sane, cranky bastard – still not without a tinge of optimism!
    Otherwise – AYE, BRUTUS!
    Beetle

  • Matt, I’m with you on the word “sustainability”. I don’t understand it. To me, sustainability makes about as much sense as infinite growth in a finite world.
    How can you sustain, or make something constant when the whole world is built to constantly change?
    How can you grow infinitely on a resource base that has limits?
    Maybe I’m just crazy and I make too much out of the words we use. Maybe I’m an idiot. Maybe both. Probably both.
    Seems like everyone wants to rewrite the laws of nature, abolish entropy and tell death it doesn’t apply to them anymore. Good luck with that is all I’ve got to say.

  • reply to Michael Irving —
    Thanks for your informative comments on history of Buddhism. I do not mind at all being corrected, and your points are well taken. I hope you don’t mind obvious joking (if you took the stuff about “The Dude” as the American Dalai Lama seriously). I also thought about the guy in the movie “Malibu’s Most Wanted” saying “Don’t be hating”. You would probably have had a stroke over that one.
    Please keep commenting and throw in a lot of facts.
    Stan Moore

  • My essay on “Obama is as Cynical as his Supporters are Gullible” is at http://www.mediamonitors.net today

  • Stan,
    I guess I’m getting old and cranky (as well as creaky). Thanks for the movie tips, I’ll give them a try. I could use any humor I can get, including “The Dude.”
    Keep plugging away with that good brain of yours.
    Mike

  • Further reply to Michael Irving —
    I was at a public library computer a little while ago with only about two minutes left, so I had to be super brief. I don’t want to take up too much time on this because I certainly have less to teach than to learn on many subjects.
    My statements on Buddhism were general impressions and not the result of any real research. So, your criticism would have been useful right off the bat for me if it had been more specific and less vague. After our little spat, I was driving around trying to think about which movie or movies had offended you. I thought maybe it was my irreverance (which is typical of me in all things). After I read your comments today I wondered if it was the Shogun reference.
    Specificity helps me, because when I do get clued in on a subject, I like to have a good idea of the comments I am taking into account.
    So, please do feel free to criticize me and be as specific and as detailed as you can stand to be:) Lord knows, this is how I would tend to treat you or anyone else I am having a serious conversation with.
    The Buddhism thing is really not a real life concern of mine. I suspect it is a VERY important thing to you. My experience in life is that religion or philosophy can have tremendous value to one person or one group, but not another. If Buddhism adds great value to your life and works for you — I am happy for you and urge you to pursue it with all seriousness and vigor, as I expect you are doing.
    When I was young I was trained as a Jehovah’s Witness and was ultra-serious, ultra-dedicated, and ultra-active in that religion. I made converts, was a full time minister for years, served at the world headquarters of the faith for four years right out of high school, and believed fervently in the tenets of the faith. That was then, and now I am formally disconnected from the religion by my own choice and formal declaration to church headquarters. However, my family and old friends remain in the faith and I feel that if they benefit from it, who am I to challenge them. I believe that if a philosophy of faith benefits you and does not harm me, you should pursue it to your heart’s content. Maybe I have an indirect benefit I am unaware of. And I don’t mind your telling me about it.
    So, I will try to leave Buddhism to the Buddhists. I apologize for my irreverence, and that was not intended to be taken personally. I really did not expect to be heard by anyone on the list who would challenge me 🙂 But I am glad you did and welcome challenges from anyone on any subject matter. I want to be forced to think more and probably speak less (if that is possible).
    Thanks Guy for facilitating such diverse discussions, too. As I told Guy privately, “no worries” is my mantra in this area.
    Cheers!
    Stan Moore

  • a very interesting (seeming) and relevant (seeming) essay by Arundhati Roy can be read at:
    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/09/28-0
    I need to digest it further before embarassing myself with any commentary… I have always been impressed with the intellect and communication ability of Ms. Roy
    Stan moore

  • Guy, thank you for writing your thoughts and beliefs in such a forceful and clear manner. I too am watching the American Empire as it is falling, all you have to do is look closely. It’s a very scary reality.
    I’m like Mike, I just want to know how I can help my one grandson through the fall.( I did find some interesting ideas on cluborlov.com.)
    To Frank: I really like your sense of diplomacy. You know how to defuse a situation. The world will need more people like you- what am I saying? we need you now.
    Oh well, I would be interested in how your homesteading ventures are working out Guy. I am just beginning mine and there is so much to do.
    thanks, Carol(from LA-lower Alabama!)

  • Carol, we do indeed face terrifying times. A group of my students put together a report a while back, and it’s posted here. My post-carbon preparations are ongoing, and I quit my tenured gig at the university to pursue them full time. The latest update is posted here. Also, I’m available just about any time via email or telephone (send me a message to schedule the latter). And, if you’ll buy my plane ticket, I’ll gladly visit to provide on-the-ground advice.

  • Carol,
    You might find Sharon Astyk a good source too, if you haven’t already. http://sharonastyk.com/
    (I would have made that a clickable link if I could have figured out how to do it.)
    Mike

  • Looking up from the abyss, huh? I get the metaphor, but I don’t see the cause for such optimism. I can’t see that far over the horizon. As I scanned the subject post again, most of the statements are in the form
    “we will no longer have this very bad thing; instead, we will have that very good thing.” I guess the formulation cessation leads to renewal isn’t so obvious to me. Further, if humanity has been through this cycle numerous times in the past, its global scale this time around, including all the mischief one can anticipate in the final hurrah, stands a very good chance of ensuring that any recovery (to what?) takes longer than, say, the interval between the fall of the Roman Empire and the Enlightenment. Sorry if my attitude is unremittingly dour.

  • This past sunday in the Arizona Republic was a front page article on the plans of the maricopa association of governments planning for future growth in the state. They assume a population of 14-16 million people in 2050 or three times what there is now while building hundreds of miles of new roads and rail lines. I assume california would jump from 38 million to 100 million plus at the same time. They have reached the point of madness. The leader of MAG says he is excited,Excited by what? The complete destruction of the state,the impossibility of jobs for all these people,the lack of water,the paving over of the desert,the lack of fuel. Government everywhere is hopeless because they just will not learn that unchecked population is a fast trip into the abyss.

  • Speaking of the end of the world…I’m reading a terribly good book by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett called Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch.
    A quote, if you’ll humor me:
    “The whole business with the fossilized dinosaur skeletons was a joke the paleontologists haven’t seen yet.
    This proves two things:
    Firstly, that God moves in extremely mysterious, not to say, circuitous ways. God does not play dice with the universe; He plays an ineffable game of His own devising, which might be compared from the perspective of any of the other players, to being involved in an obscure and complex version of poker in a pitch-dark room, with blank cards, for infinite stakes, with a Dealer who smiles ALL THE TIME.
    ……
    Can’t say I necessarily share that outlook, but I will say this bit had me laughing so hard I was in tears. Either that, or I was in tears for another reason.
    Just wanted to share.
    You know, they’re trying to sell the state capitol so they can rent it to save the budget, right? Again Voltaire is right. God is a comedian. Must be. Too bad the audience is to scared to laugh too loud, too long, or in some cases…at all.

  • I can’t believe what I’m reading, Dr. McPherson: “And, if you’ll buy my plane ticket, I’ll gladly visit to provide on-the-ground advice.”
    You’re now migrating to jet setting? Maybe you’re having a mid-life crisis or something. To be responsible at this point is to encourage everybody to relocalize their efforts, which means to find local advice for whatever ails someone with their preparation for collapse AND to become involved in local community work.
    Please spare me the excuse that flying will help bring down the Empire quicker. I think you’re still wanting your piece of the cake while attempting to feel useful. Isn’t there something you can do closer to home?
    You know what they say, if we’re not part of the solution,…..
    Passing through.
    Carlotta

  • Carlotta, to be fair, Kunstler, Heinberg and most of the rest of the crew seem to get around quite a bit.
    You’ll note that in October alone Mr. Heinberg will be speaking in Colorado and Washington, DC. It’s safe to assume he won’t be taking a cart and buggy or walking to these events.
    http://www.richardheinberg.com/Speaking.html
    All I can say is 1) you can’t blame Professor McPherson for the deliciously nonsensical nature of life 2) if you live in Arizona, the last thing you want to do is stay here. The place is a dusty pit of infinite despair serving only two identifiable purposes: as Satan’s very own lab for perfecting the nightmares of a damned afterlife and/or to give the Mars rover some place to practice.
    No worries.
    Now, I’m going to bed because I have no idea why I’m still awake.

  • Oh please… do you really think the american “empire” will fail that easily?

  • Carlotta, I’ll keep trying to bring down Empirus horribilus. Along the way, I’ll gladly help the few people in the entire industrial world who are dedicated to making other arrangements — those are the people I’d like to have around, keeping their genes in the gene pool. You keep right on saving fuel for the military, acting as if personal responsibility makes a difference. As I’ve indicated before, I know better. Although I hadn’t read this piece at the time, others know better, too. And please don’t accuse me of not furthering local efforts at localization: You really have no idea what steps I’m taking on the local front, or how those steps might be enhanced by visiting somebody in another part of the world.
    Charlene, at the recommendation of one my undergraduate advisees I read several of Pratchett’s books, including Good Omens. It’s the best of the lot from the Discworld series, although they’re all pretty humorous and insightful. Unlike your dusty patch of desert, my world at the mud hut is beautifully delightful. With reluctance, I will leave for a good cause such as Carol’s. And I’m en route to northern Idaho now, to visit my dad. He’s recovering from major surgery. Seems if you spend most of your adult life as a carnivorous, chain-smoking alcoholic, you might encounter a little heart disease by the time you’re 72 or so. Who knew?
    James, I think you have no idea how complex and therefore how fragile, American Empire has become. It nearly collapsed five times within the last year, at least that I know about (and I don’t know much).

  • Guy,
    Sorry to hear you are coming up to my neck of the woods because your father is not well. Hope you remember to bring your jacket and some long pants because summer left right on time and it just got mighty nippy.
    Mike

  • Sorry, I’ve never been a fan of Arizona. Hearing that someone likes it just adds evidence to that whole “different strokes for different folks” idea. I’ve been trying to get out of here for years and have yet to be successful. I like green, pastoral places and never had a fondness for cacti. Also, having the complexion of a redhead, tons of bright, sunny days don’t exactly mesh with me so well. In short, I’m not built for this climate.
    Hope he feels better. Yes, chain smoking and alcohol are a bad mix, but I’ve got relatives that nearly made it to 100 with similar habits and no heart trouble–almost the sort of people you’d like to search the attic of to see if there are any portraits up there of them in a sickly state. Then others who crapped out in their 60’s because they wore every consequence of their bad decision-making on their face and internal organs. Guess that’s the way it works. Your dad’s about the same age as mine from the sound of it. His problem is/always has been skin cancer (guess who I take after).
    Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams, Neil Gaiman, etc. I love all of them. Beats the hell out of reading Cormac McCarthy…ever ever anyone was in dire need of a funny bone…that guy could make Pollyanna, herself, suicidal.
    I’ve got no problem with travel. Get while the getting’s good. It’s a little ironic, but I don’t fault you for that. I personally hate cell phones, but they can come in handy sometimes. Of course, since I smashed mine with a hammer the other day, I’ve been reminded more than once how useful the stupid thing was.
    I may even have a cell phone again, at some point, but it won’t change the fact that I hate them. So, I understand.

  • Guy, you must be already up on the Camas Prairie as we speak. I hope your dad is doing well. I had forgotten that he smoked…but now that I think of it I do remember that you were pretty determined to do neither. Best wishes to him.
    Mike, I’m not sure where you live, but you weren’t kidding about the cold weather here in north Idaho. Highs and lows both plummeted 30 degrees from one day to the next, and I had to scramble to pull in the rest of my green tomatoes and squash.
    Charlene, I read Good Omens last year, and actually laughed out loud in several places.

  • I just had to laugh at the comment that came after Guy offered to fly down heah and give me a helping hand. I understand where Carlotta is coming from.However,I do wish I could afford to fly him down here and maybe if I go to one of the casinos around here and get lucky I might just do that.
    I’m glad to see that most everyone has a sense of humor because people, we are all going to need one. Speaking of funny stories, I heard on NPR today about Levi’s(jeans) selling their pants on installment plans in India. The price for a pair of jeans is $50-average income about $100/month. This makes you really wake up- how far do we have to fall?
    Guy, thanks for the offer, but most of all thanks for your insights, efforts and intelligence. I am learning so much from your blog, links, and contributors comments.( I am still waiting for The Prisoner dvd from my library.
    Carol

  • What if you spend most of your adult life as a Pop-Tartorous, emailing workaholic? 72 ain’t half-bad.

  • Wendy,
    I’m a few miles west of you in northeastern Washington. It’s been hard to adjust to the weather the last few days. We were down to 24°F Wednesday and that about did it for the garden. But there is rain today, finally, so I can finish hauling the wood in. My wife just made a bunch of green tomato pickles, and green tomato marmalade (I’d never heard of it before either).
    Speaking of the weather, this is the first year (out of 36) that we have not had frost in August; or June either, for that matter. Wow, more than a 90 day growing season. Why is everyone complaining about catastrophic global climate collapse?
    Mike

  • Memo to Carol:
    When you get The Prisoner dvd,you might find it interesting to look at my posts regarding same.I’ve stayed in the Village(Portmeirion,Wales}and am a big fan of the series.
    Frank

  • the ongoing demonization of Iran
    I think James Howard Kunstler made some shrewd as well as some reckless observations in today’s posting on WWIII. I want to focus on Iran, which I see being demonized steadily, just as Iraq and Saddam Hussein were demonized to prepare public opinion for a war of aggression by the US in Iraq in pursuit of oil.
    Iran’s leaders have never threatened to wipe Israel or any other nation from the face of the earth. Iran has no history of aggressive warfare at all, and Iran’s religious leaders, which control the country, have forbade such a military doctrine. Iran’s leader has publicly longed for Israel’s Zionist regime and mindset to “vanish from the pages of history”, which happens to be an opinion shared by many Jews in Israel and around the world, as well as many persons of conscience of all religions.
    The demonization of Iran is a pretext. It is a part of psy-ops (psychological warfare operations) to prepare Americans and others for aggressive warfare to punish Iran for its lack of cooperation with the US and the Europeans who are seeking control of Iran’s own energy and geographic relevance to world energy pathways, such as the Straits of Hormuz.
    The problem is that attacking and successfully throttling Iran is a very high risk endeavor. In fact, military experts feel that Iran could go down in flames while it destroys the world’s economy and perhaps kills hundreds of thousands or more of its enemies in so doing. Attacking Iran would likely be an act of self-destruction, or great self-harm, even for the United States of America.
    So, the bamboozling Barack Obama has to make some calculations. He knows the US economy is doomed anyways. He knows that his own actions have condemned millions of Americans to serf status, and Americans are not born to serf, even if a few are born to surf. Americans, once they realize that Obama has sold their interests and welfare to the Powers that Be, will begrudge him forever.
    The answer? It may very well be to attack Iran, knowing it will start an international inferno that will hasten the collapse of our society. The upside for Obama is that he will be able to attempt to blame the (already demonized) Iranians and to shift blame from himself. He will claim he attacked Iran out of necessity, just like he claims to be expanding the war in Afghanistan out of necessity. And when it all comes crashing down, Obama will say that he tried, even if he failed.
    Make no doubt about it — Obama’s presidency will be a failed one, and a catastrophic one. He holds the bitter position of being the man in the White House when the walls crumbled. George W. Bush had a very similar problem caused by Peak Oil, and his solution was military force to grab remaining oil in the Persian Gulf. Bush thought it would be a cakewalk, and it his use of military force would have been as easy as he expected, he would be a national hero and a Republican would be in power right now.
    Obama is continuing the Bush mindset and has not repudiated most of the Bush mechanisms for control of the world’s oil, the “terrorists” victimized by our pursuit of their resources, or the American people, for that matter. Obama is the successor of George W. Bush, not the antidote.
    Iran is in Obama’s crosshairs, just like Iraq was in Bush’ crosshairs. I suspect it is just a matter of time before Obama pulls the trigger and the fireworks begin. If somehow Obama does pull back from the brink of war against Iran, America will collapse by another route. Our goose is cooked, but we just don’t know which burner is providing the flame yet.
    Stan Moore

  • Mike, someone gave me a jar of zucchini pickles today. Just when I thought I’d seen everything you could do with zucchini…

  • Stan
    ‘the dude abides!’
    as descent as the guy is/was, he is a politican afterall

  • Well… civil war? In fact, a civil war in USA will be the death sentence for the empire, which is bad for the average american, but good for the rest of mankind. Clear enough?