Archive for November, 2016

Of Dunces, Fools, Drones and Heroes


Some time ago I posted three T-shirt designs, with no explanation as to why. “Here are some shirts,” I wrote, “reasonably priced, in all styles and colors, free shipping on orders over 100 USD, yadda-yadda.” Just as I expected, a few people got it, and a few of those ordered some shirts. The rest had no idea; some even confessed to that in the comments.

That was a test. It was a success. Now that all eight of the planned designs are available, I offer the full explanation and rationale behind this, my latest humanitarian intervention/fundraising effort.

Beyond attempting to mitigate against the erroneous notion, held by many of those who regularly read this blog, that high-quality web content grows on a magical content tree, and that therefore there is no need for them to pay for it, this new initiative is designed to solve a specific societal problem. Week after week hundreds of thousands of readers come to ClubOrlov and find out about some important aspect of reality, of which they would have remained unaware had they continued to just pay attention to mainstream media, to which some choose to refer as “presstitutes,” but I do not, out of respect for sex workers.

This leaves many of my readers feeling like they are stranded within a tiny minority of clueful people. That, unfortunately, is very much the case: most of the population remains clueless. Some of the readers would like to clue some people in, but where do they start? Broaching difficult subjects with family and friends often results in alienated family members and fewer friends. How do we determine whether any given person is worth trying to talk to?

Are people worth talking to at all? Some are. And you will need some of them as your allies. The lone individual is weak, but even a small group of dedicated individuals can often persevere against all odds. It is a bad idea to try to tackle the future alone. Family and friends might help—if you are lucky. And if you are not—better start looking! But you need to know how to look—for people you can not only talk to, but trust and respect. At this point in human history, you would be sneaking into a stable at night looking to steal a horse to ride bareback through enemy territory. It better not be lame, skittish or a rodeo horse.

In all my travels and conversations, I have proven to myself beyond all doubt that the decision on who to talk to should have nothing to do with race, age, class, gender, ethnicity, nationality, IQ, profession/trade, educational level, criminal record, party affiliation, gang/militia membership, religious persuasion, military training/rank, drinking/drug habits and whatever else you might try to use to categorize people. Categorizing people based on their public attributes just doesn’t work. So, in determining who is worth talking to, all we have to go on is gut feeling, first impressions and happy accidents. But is this, I ask you, in any way optimal? No, it is not!

That is why I decided to step in and help. The eight designs may have some artistic merit, but they are not exactly art; in fact, they should be regarded as precision mental calibration instruments. Each design features a simple nautical motif consisting of a circle and the 16 compass points. Around the circle is a tag line. Inside the circle is a fish. The tag line is a pun about the fish. Confused? Read on!

Each of the designs is a cognitive test. As you walk around wearing one of these shirts, looking for people worth talking to, you can apply specific methods, explained below, to interpret the way they react to your shirt. You can then make an objective determination as to whether a particular person is worth talking to. The determination is based on that staple of business consultants, Four-Quadrant Analysis. In this case, the two dimensions being mapped are:

x-axis: Did the person get it? (No | Yes)
y-axis: Did the person laugh? (No | Yes)

The only people worth talking to are the ones in the upper-right quadrant (Yes, Yes); the ones who both got it and laughed. For the sake of the Four-Quadrant Analysis, we shall call them “heroes.”

This technique will produce some number of false negatives: some people will fall into the “dunce” category simply because they aren’t paying attention, don’t want to talk to you, or both. Be that as it may; since you are looking for people who are paying attention and do want to talk to you, this source of systematic error is of little consequence. But keep in mind that “Hey, whaddaya thinkamah shirt?” is a perfectly acceptable gambit to try on those who look promising but aren’t paying attention no matter how intoxicated you are pretending to be. To avoid false positives, your tone of voice and body language should indicate that you are earnest and are posing a serious question. This is easiest done if you are in fact extremely drunk, but that is likely to generate false positives as well. It is a fine line.

The technique for determining to which of the upper two quadrants—“fool” or “hero”—a person should be assigned is somewhat involved. When a person laughs, the reason is not always clear. Some people laugh for the same reason that pigs oink: none at all. Luckily, these shirts are specifically designed to avoid this type of ambiguity. Each of the shirts contains not just any joke, but a pun (paranomasia) and not just any pun but a gratuitous one: a pun for pun’s sake. Gratuitous puns are a subtle form of audience abuse, and the chuckles they elicit are more often than not accompanied by groans, snorts and eye-rolls. These subtle cues allow you to distinguish a person who gets it—a “hero”—from just a plain old chucklehead—a “fool.”

There is also some amount of technique involved in determining why a person who “got it” didn’t laugh. Having a sense of humor is essential to preserving one’s sanity when being clued into things that may cause severe mental discomfort (which are legion) and so humorless people pose a danger both to themselves and to society, and are best avoided. If a person says something like “I see, a wrasse is that fish, and ‘your wrasse’ sounds like ‘your… ass’… on a plate… Oh, I get it now! Is that a veiled threat?” and then, instead of laughing, gazes upon you like a cow at a barn door, that would be a humorless person—a “drone.” Steer clear.

There is another, much rarer cause of failure to elicit a laugh. In this case, a person looks at you and simply says: “Yes, that’s quite funny,” sometimes following up with an even funnier joke or two, all without laughing or even cracking a smile. In this case, what you have before you is a professional comedian. Comedy is serious business, and you shouldn’t expect a comedian to laugh with you any more than you should expect your anesthesiologist to pass out when you do. You should always be nice to comedians, because otherwise they will make jokes about you. But it is up to you whether you should try to clue them in, since they are more likely than not to just go on making jokes, while what is happening to the world is no laughing matter.

Once you are convinced that you have before you a hero, there is an additional safety check for you to perform. You have to somehow determine whether this person is a know-it-all. Know-it-alls are dangerous, because they often have a certain character flaw that makes it difficult, or even impossible, for them to admit to ignorance. This flaw, under certain circumstances, can lead to dangerous, reckless behavior that is indistinguishable from Level III Stupidity, which is explained below. Here, some of the designs are more helpful than others: some of the fish shown on them are quite obscure. Few people aside from those who are ichthyologically trained know what a wrasse, a plaice, a bream or a dace is. Here, you can use a simple ploy: pretend that you got the t-shirt from a second-hand or as a hand-me-down, and never wondered what it means, then innocently ask, “What’s a dace anyway?” and gauge the answer. If it starts with “Well I guess…” then you have a winner. If it starts with “Well, obviously…” then you may have before you the dreaded know-it-all. Be sure to follow up with “Are you by any chance an ichthyologist?” to avoid false positives.

One last point. There is very limited use to be made of drones and chuckleheads. Intelligence without humor is just as bad as humor without intelligence. Dunces, however, are not necessarily altogether useless. Humans are useful in any number of capacities. For example, some of them make good pack animals. To wit: your typical US Army grunt can carry 40 kg—has to, in fact, since that’s the weight of their kit. Since we are headed into an age of scarce and expensive transportation fuels, such capabilities are not to be ignored. But only some dunces are actually useful. Roughly speaking, dunces can be teased apart into three categories of stupidity:

Level I Stupid: Potentially quite useful. Takes a long time for the penny to drop, but it does eventually, often after some embarrassingly large amount of time and effort. These dunces know that they are dunces and try to compensate for their meager mental abilities through honesty, hard work and physical endurance. As long as their heads are put to purposes other than thinking—such as holding up a bucket of water while walking uphill—their intellectual failings can remain inconsequential.

Level II Stupid: Possibly useful, though not quite as good. The penny never drops, but the dunce knows this and makes no pretense of even trying. This is potentially dangerous, since the ability to comprehend and accurately execute simple orders is sometimes important. If the standard reaction to a simple enough order is to stand there, feet planted, chew cud and low mournfully, then that’s not a positive.

Level III Stupid: Shouldn’t be used at all. These dunces are so stupid that they have no idea that they are stupid. They are often convinced that they alone are right, and will do the most absurd and counterproductive things, repeatedly, blaming their failure on anyone they can think of. What’s worse, because in these Level IIIs the negative feedback loop between stupid thoughts and the results of the ensuing stupid deeds happens to be broken, they can be extremely unpredictable and capable of stunning, fantastic acts of stupidity that endanger those around them.

Here, then, are the tag lines from all eight shirt designs, in alphabetical order. Please order whichever shirts you like best, put them on, go out into the world and find people who are worth talking to and cluing in. Also, please spread the word and share the links: the success of this project depends on you.

Click on the links below to order a specific shirt, or visit the online store to see all of them.

1. Best shirt gar none!
2. Please don’t be so koi!
3. Happy dace are here again!
4. I have a bream!
5. In cod we trust
6. I like to play the bass
7. Your plaice or mine?
8. Your wrasse on a plate

Piero\'s Interview on Red Ice Radio


Lana interviews Piero San Giorgio about his book: Women on the Verge of Societal Collapse, recently published by Club Orlov Press.

Audio Link

The Technosphere Hiccups


Those who took hard Hillary Clinton’s defeat and are now going through the Kübler-Ross five stages of grief are butts of a cruel joke, though played on them by an entity quite devoid of a sense of humor. The technosphere—an artificial machine-like sentient entity that wants to control everything including you and is busy destroying the biosphere and us with it—has taken pains to align their values with its own, to make them easier to control. It has no use for humans except as technocratic servants—engineers, scientists, technicians, bureaucrats, enforcers—and the best servant material is the lonely, atomized individual, snatched away from their family at a young age, their every interaction with other humans mediated by easy-to-monitor electronic communications systems, ideally a mental patient, chemically controlled, and too fragile to leave the man-made environment and venture out into the real world. On the other hand, autonomous, separatist, tribal groups are almost impossible for the technosphere to understand or to control.

The technosphere certainly wanted Clinton—the person at the epicenter of a large number of political technologies (some would call them “rackets”) contrived to control the populace and suck the life’s blood out of it: the financial racket, the medical racket, the defense and security racket, the prison-industrial racket, the higher education racket… She and her husband are as close as one ever gets to pure ectoplasmic emanations of the technosphere—special interest brokers and propagandists par excellence. Bernie Sanders was no challenge to this machine, and was knocked out of the running through purely bureaucratic means. But then there arose a more difficult problem: to select and promote a Repubican candidate who was strong enough to win the primary but too weak to win against Clinton in the general election. This situation is represented by the following Venn diagram.

As you see, the intersection of “able to win Republican nomination” and “unable to win against Hillary Clinton” is a null set. Thus, Trump’s electoral victory can be viewed as a purely technical glitch, caused by the problem of the Missing Candidate.

Back to those grieving Clinton’s loss: ironically, they are clustered in the larger cities, and would be the first to be killed by a Russian nuclear strike if Clinton’s relentless warmongering and Russia-baiting succeeded in triggering World War III. Thus, for them, voting for Clinton was symptomatic of a suppressed instinct of self-preservation. But this is not entirely their fault: they have been manipulated into thinking that anyone who supports Trump is automatically stupid, ignorant, racist, sexist and a xenophobe—and that simply isn’t true. The reason they are clustered in the big cities is simple: those are the places that the technosphere controls most fully. City dwellers tend to be oversocialized, eager to strive for ever greater inclusive fitness within a large and anonymous social realm, and that makes them easy to control. The technosphere’s reach is not infinite, and being a rational and machine-like intelligence, it applies cost-benefit analysis to its resource allocation decisions. This is why the electoral map looks like a handful of oversized blue blobs surrounded by a sea of red. Look at Pennsylvania: Pittsburg and Philadelphia voted Blue, but everyone else voted Red. Case in point: the technosphere can gain no purchase among the Amish.

And so it would appear that the technosphere has suffered a setback. But it will not give up so easily, and the next step for it is to deploy political technologies to, if at all possible, invalidate and nullify the results of its electoral defeat. Indeed, this has already started: Bill and Hillary Clinton have recently shown up for a meeting with another ectoplasmic emanation of the technosphere, the predatory billionaire George Soros, clad in accents of Roman imperial purple. The rationale they gave for displaying the colors of the emperor’s toga is that it is a mixture of red and blue, and thus represents compromise. However, compromise, in their case, would be to exit from public life, for both of them are too old to ever run for any office again. No, this display of imperial colors is just that: a signal that the empire is getting ready to strike back: we should look forward to another attempt at a Color Revolution—the Purple Revolution—this time in the United States, financed by the very same George Soros. This mixed-up signaling is typical: after the Russian election, in which Putin was again elected president, the same Color Revolution syndicate organized and financed protests there, featuring little white ribbons—which, as it happens, were worn by Nazi collaborators during World War II. This nuance was not lost on the Russians, and the protests came to naught.

The technosphere is powerful, but is not all-powerful or infallible, and the world is developing effective antibodies against it generally, and against its political technologies, and the technology of the Color Revolution Syndicate in particular. Here’s an example: the US spent some $5 billion on destabilizing the Ukraine politically and turning it into an enemy of Russia. For a while people in Kiev could earn more in a day by protesting than in a month by working a job. End result: in a recent opinion survey, 84% (34,900) Ukrainians said that the person they want to be the president of the Ukraine is… Vladimir Putin, with the current president, hand-picked by the US State Department, lost somewhere in the margin of error.

Given the horrible suffering that has been inflicted on the Ukraine, which went through not one but two Color Revolutions, one would hope that the Purple Revolution in the US is somehow strangled in its crib. This, I believe, is not impossible: there now exists an anti-technology for dealing with the technology of Color Revolution, and all it takes to put it into action is a few groups of patriots. To remind: patriots are not nationalists; nationalists are people who hate other nations; patriots are people who love their land, and their people, more than any other, and are willing to lay down their lives in defense of it.

When the time comes to push back against and neutralize the actions of the Color Revolution Syndicate, patriots can form groups of partisans. The following is an extended excerpt from my forthcoming book, Shrinking the Technosphere (currently available for pre-order at a 20% discount) which has an entire chapter devoted to political technologies and their corresponding anti-technologies.

The need for partisans

A situation where the legitimate authorities are politically weak (because of outside pressure) but morally strong and have the truth on their side allows groups of locals to come together and form cells of partisans. While united by a common strategic goal— to defend their communities, thwart the outside forces, uphold legitimate authority—they are completely free to choose their tactics. Because they are spontaneously, anarchically organized, such partisan groups can be far more nimble than the government. Nor do they need to constrain themselves to tactics that are strictly legal. Here are some of the tactics that the partisans can add to their arsenal:

• Use multiple methods, from face-to-face communication with small, local groups at the neighborhood level to the use of social media, to get the truth out: that this is a foreign-organized, foreign-funded campaign based on lies. Detail what these lies are, present the evidence, and let the people draw their own conclusions. Since these local groups do not pretend to be an official source of information, they are invincible against the charge of spreading propaganda. The most the foreign puppet-masters can do is claim that they are “trolls” paid for by the other side—a story that other locals who have a good sense of who is who are unlikely to swallow.

• The puppet-masters behind Color Revolutions like to remain anonymous and “lead from behind,” and the goal of the partisans is to strip them of their anonymity. Suddenly faced with a cryptically hostile, disingenuous “fan club” that monitors their every movement and picks them out in every crowd demanding a “selfie,” making their whereabouts known at all times and generally hassling them with effusive, faux-friendly familiarity at every turn, the puppet masters are easily outed and neutralized. By making the outsiders’ identity known, the partisans provide a valuable service to the local security services, saving them the trouble of spying on or infiltrating the protest movement.

• Co-opt demonstrations by injecting specific issues and slogans that resonate with the local population. During Color Revolutions there are usually organizers lurking in the background who are “leading from behind” by quietly telling people what to shout based on a pre-approved script. The slogans are generally about nothing—“freedom” and “democracy” and other such nonsense— because they can’t very well be about the real goal of overthrowing the legitimate government through nefarious means. By injecting slogans in pursuit of specific, locally significant demands—“Lower bus fares!” “Freeze tuitions!”—the partisans can make the protest be about something legitimate that is potentially a win-win. The government can then step forward, announce that it has heard the voice of the people and negotiate in good faith. The protest movement then dissolves in jubilation—“We won!”—the government takes credit for a successful exercise in direct democracy, and the puppet-masters go home with nothing.

• Splinter the protest movement by creating a large number of social organizations. When the Color Revolution organizers try to hold a meeting, the partisans can try to inject a different agenda, claim that the real venue is elsewhere, show up in numbers and put forward a different leadership, stage a protest against those running the meeting and walk out, taking some number of others with them and so on. If written instructions are handed out, or props such as ribbons and placards, inject different instructions and different props that pursue a legitimate, local agenda.

• Liaise with state security services and local authorities, and trade detailed, real-time intelligence in exchange for specific small favors. Make these favors available to members of the protest movement in exchange for some behavioral changes or compromises. This can often be presented as the work of protest sympathizers within the government to be taken as a sign that it is about to collapse and can bolster the partisans’ standing among the protesters.

• Provide the security services with legitimate targets. Much of the work of the Color Revolution organizers involves gradually eroding the boundaries of permissible behavior until anything goes and the security forces, having allowed numerous minor transgressions, have become demoralized and are unable to mobilize against major ones. The organizers try to use human shields in the form of “children”—young, innocent, naïve, chanting about freedom and democracy—who then violate public order in minor ways. “But they’re just children!” and so the police do nothing. But if among these “children” there are some partisans who resort to a bit of staged violence here and there, with some pushing and shoving and a few punches thrown, providing the authorities with the excuse they need to intervene, then this pierces the veil of “nonviolence.” Remember, blocking streets and hindering public access to public buildings are not, by any stretch of the imagination, nonviolent acts. “Nonviolence” is nothing more than a tactic. It can even be used to promote violence by rendering a population defenseless in the face of aggression, in order to provoke a massacre and then use it for political aims, as was done by Gandhi, who preached nonviolence to Hindus, profiting politically when they were then massacred by Moslems.

• Organize local self-defense units. Patrol neighborhoods to prevent looting. Intervene in demonstrations to keep the protesters in line, helping the security services accomplish things that they may otherwise find difficult to justify. If the government can demonstrate that it’s just having a bit of trouble reigning in some patriotic-minded elements within the local population who rose up in spontaneous opposition to the protests, then claims of government heavy-handedness begin to ring rather hollow.

• Out of the stronger self-defense units, organize commando units and train them for special missions. These can be deployed if the Color Revolution proceeds through the stage of massacre and all the way through to regime change. At that point, the hand-picked puppets are about to be ensconced in official buildings, granted official titles, given fawning press coverage by the Western-controlled press and swiftly granted diplomatic recognition by Western governments. But before this can be accomplished, they have to be briefly trotted out before the public to create the illusion that they are “of the people.” It is at this point that they are at their most vulnerable, and all the previous efforts to splinter, co-opt and destabilize the protest movement can be brought to fruition to neutralize the would-be puppet government through a few decisive actions. Since by this point the puppets are being guarded by foreign mercenaries who are professionals, the commando units should likewise be composed of people who have professional discipline, training and experience. The installation of a puppet government is a political exercise which, in order to succeed, has to be successfully misrepresented as a popular triumph and as such can be derailed by a public embarrassment or a panic. Also, it helps to remember that the puppets are being installed by mercenaries, who, by their nature, are allergic to the idea of dying, since being dead gets in the way of collecting their pay. If their work environment becomes sufficiently dangerous, they reliably run away.

• Finally, if all else fails, the ultimate recourse is an armed uprising based on a guerrilla movement. If the movement has local public support, it can sustain itself for many years. In order to win, a guerrilla movement simply has to persist. After a few years of being unable to control its own territory, the state headed up by the puppets comes to be regarded as a failed state and an embarrassment for the puppet-masters, who are then forced to cut their losses and pretend that the problem doesn’t exist. The state can later be resurrected minus the puppets, or fission into several smaller statelets. By the way, this is precisely what is happening in the Ukraine as I write this: the armed uprising in the east (the industrialized, educated, Russian-speaking, densely populated part of the territory) has left the central authority in Kiev circling around in an ever-expanding void, unable to either crush the rebellion in the east or to accede to internationally agreed-upon terms for granting that region autonomy, since this would undermine its raison d’être of building a monolithic ethnically pure Ukrainian state. As the void deepens, it is becoming an ever-greater embarrassment to its masters in Washington.

P.S. Just to make sure you understand where I am coming from: I haven\’t liked any of the previous US Presidents, and I see no reason to like this one either. But he can be interesting to listen to. Please judge for yourself, and try to keep an open mind. When was the last time you heard a presidential candidate spell things out this clearly? Ever?

Please note: the subject of this post is the political dimension of the technosphere, not the election. The first handful of comments were off-topic and so a disappointment. I don\’t have the time to waste on moderating election commentary, so I turned off comments for this post.

Interview with Guadalajara Geopolitics Institute


Teenager summoned to court for feeding McDonald\'s chip to pigeon


A teenager has been summoned to court for feeding a pigeon a McDonald\’s chip.

Lauren-Paige Smith, 19, was tucking into lunch when she gave the bird a chip, which it wolfed down.

But moments later, the customer services advisor was handed a £25 fine for littering.

Miss Smith told the official that the bird had finished the chip and there was no \’litter\’ left, but she was still fined.

\”It\’s madness. Lauren has never been in trouble in her life and they\’re summoning her to court for feeding some birds,\” said Lauren\’s grandfather.

The rest of this story, from The Telegraph, is here.

If you think that such events are isolated incidents, think again: they are symptoms of a rampant psychiatric condition which is described in detail in Sean Kerrigan\’s excellent book Bureaucratic Insanity. They are by no means limited to annoyances such as a fine for feeding the birds; they also destroy families and ruin lives. Don\’t be victimized by insane bureaucracies! Read this book and learn some countermeasures.

Distracting ourselves


My latest book, Shrinking the Technosphere, is currently being printed. And although I could, if I wanted to, write a new essay for today, I find this to be unnecessary, because there is a section in the book that specifically discusses what is happening today in the US: a federal distraction.

Not that there isn\’t any difference between the candidates: one of them is quite likely to end up in jail or, failing that, start World War III in a fit of rage; the other seems hell-bent to put the word \”Т Р А М П\” in large gilded letters atop a skyscraper in Moscow City but, failing that, would probably not start World War III in a fit of pique, to avoid damaging his considerable real estate holdings. One of them promises to continue coddling all the corrupt incompetents that have ensconced themselves in Washington and have been busy destroying countries around the world; the other promises to fire them all and replace them with the next crop of incompetents who will cause damage yet unknown. On the other hand, he seems likely to molest all the beauty queens he can get his hands on. But even if he molested every one of them, plus every drag queen from Provincetown to South Beach, plus the Queen Mother, that would still be a good trade-off for a lower chance of nuclear annihilation, because why would you care who is president if you are dead?

But all of that is irrelevant—to you—because, even if you vote (and many of you won\’t) your votes will be filtered and manipulated in various ways to make sure that they don\’t count. And what that means, in turn, is that by thinking about these matters you would be accomplishing just one thing: distracting yourselves. And distracted people aren\’t good at too many things. Specifically, I suspect that they wouldn\’t be any good at shrinking the technosphere:

It is quite difficult to get much of anything accomplished if you are constantly being distracted. No matter what it is you set your mind to, you won’t get far unless you stay focused, and being distracted is the opposite of being focused. But most people go through their daily lives being constantly distracted by images, words and activities that are specifically designed to ruin their concentration. What’s more, many people absolutely need to be distracted on a regular basis in order to avoid going insane. Conditioned by life in a world of nonstop background music, omnipresent television screens and round-the-clock news feeds, they go into severe withdrawal the moment all of this artificial stimulation is taken away.

Taking a step back, consider what your life would be like if it were perfect. You’d only engage in activities you found useful or pleasant, preferably both, and only for as long as you wanted. Each day would be yours to decide what to do and how to do it. You would happily isolate yourself from anyone you found unpleasant, tiresome or simply unnecessary to your life and surround your- self with your loving, supportive extended family and a circle of close, true friends. You would have no need to do anything special to maintain appearances and would always be able to act in accordance with your true nature. You would look upon your past life with a deep sense of satisfaction and upon your future with anticipation of even greater satisfaction, and just a bit of wonder to keep things interesting. You would solve problems as they surfaced while not caring a whit about anything that did not concern you. At the end of each day you would feel tired—from having accomplished the few essential things you set out to accomplish that day—and simply relax. Perhaps you’d watch the sunset refracted in ripples on the water, or watch children play, or meditate. Would you feel the need to constantly distract yourself from such a life? I don’t think so. In fact, it would be very difficult for anyone to distract you from it.

Now consider what your life is actually like. Do you have to rush about from place to place, constantly dealing with complete strangers and people you know but don’t necessarily like? Is the time you can allot to your family and friends woefully short—because everyone else is also too busy rushing about from place to place and dealing with complete strangers and people they don’t necessarily like? Do you have to obey a fixed schedule, execute arbitrary tasks that others have assigned to you and follow rules you had no role in establishing? Do you have to maintain certain appearances for the sake of pleasing strangers and people you don’t like? Are you being made to feel responsible for things over which you have no control? Does all of this cause a great deal of stress? And to alleviate this stress and to make your life tolerable, do you find the need to constantly distract yourself—with idle gossip, antics of cats on the internet, professional team sports, political mudslinging, daydreams, alcohol and drugs? If so, then you may find yourself unable to maintain the level of focus that would be necessary to transform your life and bring it closer to the ideal sketched out above.

Part of the problem is deciding what is a distraction and what isn’t. For example, take electoral politics in the US: is paying attention to politicians in order to decide how to vote an important part of being a citizen, or is it just a distraction? A 2014 Princeton University study by sociologists Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page argued persuasively that the US is not a democracy: their statistical analysis showed that in the US public policy decisions are not correlated with preferences of the electorate; instead, they are correlated with the preferences of a tiny part of the electorate composed of business lobbies and the very rich.

This study provides an objective standard by which to determine whether paying attention to electoral politics in the US and spending time deciding how to vote is or is not a distraction in your specific case. All you need to do is ask yourself a question: “Am I a multimillionaire or a business tycoon?” If the answer is “Yes,” then, by all means, do pay attention. If the answer is “No,” then your participation is guaranteed to be utterly inconsequential and is just another distraction. Once you take these facts on board, blocking out electoral politics may not be too difficult. You may still have some difficulty with all of the people who insist on distracting themselves with it, perhaps yourself included, despite the fact that you are neither multimillionaires nor business tycoons.

This is not to say that it is altogether safe to ignore the unraveling of the entire political and economic realm within the US. There is no longer the rule of law; there is now a caste of untouchables who can break laws with impunity and mass imprisonment for everyone else. There is no longer a political center either; instead, the battle lines are clearly drawn. On one side is the oligarchy and the salaried elites that serve it; on the other are all those in the wage-earning class, whom they deprived of decent work for decent pay by enriching themselves at their expense. In what will probably be remembered as her Marie-Antoinette \”let them eat cake\” moment, one of the presidential candidates referred to them as \”a basket of deplorables.\” This is not a safe thing to say in this election year, which some might say is starting to resemble France in 1788. Large groups of well-armed men, many of them with a military or a law enforcement background, who no longer believe in the legitimacy of the federal government, will not soon forget this slight. The other presidential candidate had the audacity to commit what is in the eyes of the oligarchy and the elites a mortal sin: instead of promising to continue feeding his fellow-citizens into globalization\’s maw, he promised to put their interests first. They will not soon forget this either. All those who have tried putting the interests of regular Americans first before have been swiftly eliminated or neutralized; but at this late stage this would not solve the problem but exacerbate it.

The problem is political collapse. As I wrote in my previous book, The Five Stages of Collapse, it is rather different from other stages:

Financial and commercial collapses are already potentially lethal. People lose their bearings and their sense of purpose, or decide to take advantage of those in distress, or fail simply through an inability to adapt to radically altered circumstances, and when that happens people get hurt. Financial and commercial collapses tend to be hard on those who failed to prepare, by putting aside objects that hold their value when the national currency hyperinflates and banks close and by stockpiling the necessary supplies to tide them over during the uncertain transition period, when the old ways of doing things no longer work but the new ones have not yet evolved. Both of these causes of potentially lethal circumstances can be avoided: first, by choosing the right kind of community; second, by laying in supplies or securing independent access to food, water and energy; and third, by generally finding a way to bide your time and ignore the world at large until times get better.

Political collapse is a different animal altogether, because it makes the world at large difficult to ignore. e potential for chaos is still there, but so is the potential for organized action of a very damaging sort, because the ruling class and the classes that serve them (the police, the military, the bureaucrats) generally refuse to go softly into the night and allow the people to self-organize, experiment and come together as autonomous new groups adapted to the new environment in their composition and patterns of self-governance. Instead, they are likely to spontaneously hatch a harebrained new plan: an initiative to restore national unity, in the sense of restoring the status quo ante, at least with regard to preserving their own power and privilege, at others’ expense. In a situation where every person and every neighborhood should be experimenting on their own to find out what works and what doesn’t, the politicians and the officials are apt to introduce new draconian crime-fighting measures, curfews and detentions, allowing only certain activities—ones that benefit them—while mercilessly putting down any sign of insubordination. To deflect the blame for their failure, the ruling elite usually also does its best to find an internal or external enemy. Those who are the weakest and the least politically connected—the poor, the minorities and the immigrants—are accused of dragging everyone down and singled out for the harshest treatment. is is conducive to creating a climate of fear and suppressing free speech. But nothing causes people to band together like an external threat, and, for the sake of preserving national unity, a failing nation-state often looks for an external enemy to attack, preferably a weak, defenseless one, so that it poses no risk of reprisal. Putting the nation on a war footing makes it possible for the government to commandeer resources and reallocate them to the benefit of the ruling class, further restrict movements and activities, round up troublesome youths and ship them o to battle and lock up undesirables.

Financial and commercial collapse creates an opening for those inclined toward the most miserable despotism. Once a despotic regime is established, the weak, demoralized, disoriented population almost inevitably finds itself incapable of rising in opposition to it, and the new despotism may become entrenched and quite durable, lasting for an extended period of time, during which the country is hollowed out and traumatized before collapsing through internecine strife or a battle of succession, or through increasing weakness that causes it to succumb to foreign occupation. The spectrum of possible responses to financial and commercial collapse stretches from despotism to chaos. There is a sweet spot of autonomous, anarchic social cooperation, with many small skirmishes and stand-offs but well short of all-out armed conflict.

It is hard to predict how the process of political collapse will proceed, or how long it will take. But it is possible to predict the end result: there will no longer be an entity called “USA” on the political map and the term “America” will revert to being the name of a continent—the contiguous landmass linked together by American Cordillera, which is a single mountain range that runs from Alaska to Tierra Del Fuego. I made this prediction a decade ago, and I will stand by it for as long as it takes for it to come true. Whether it comes to pass before or after I die, I will die a happy man, secure in the knowledge that I called it correctly.

It floats!


The 1:12 scale model is now complete except for the sails and the radio control componentry, which are in the works. The maiden voyage went uneventfully: QUIDNON sat quietly on its lines. The first and most important requirement for a boat, and especially a houseboat, is that it has to float really well. And it seems that this hurdle has been passed. More to come soon; in the meantime, feast your eyes.

All the information about this project can be found here.

Flotsam on a Fetid Tide


I have been too busy designing a houseboat that sails to write a blog post this week, and so instead I encourage you to read the following. (Link to the original.)

More fun in the Indispensable Nation: As we have all heard by now, according to Hillary, ardent of becoming National Basilisk, half of Trump’s supporters are evil and the other half losers, deplorables all. That is, she holds half of Americans in contempt. Unsurprisingly she said this in New York, which is barely America, and to a convention of sexual curiosities.

I frankly think her admirable. As she coughs, staggers, convulses, lies, pilfers, sells favors and lapses into intermittent confusion, she still has the courage to tell America that she loathes half of it. That´s candor.

Give her credit for consistency. She is always mendacious, firmly in the pockets of Wall Street, Israel, the Neocon hawks, and the arms industry, never having accomplished anything on her own, always riding Bill’s coattails, having a disastrous record as SecState, always for sale. With her, we know what we will get. With Trump, it’s a roll of very weird dice.

Ah, the Donald. While he unmistakably displays various presidential qualities–he can walk up stairs by himself, and his eyes usually point in the same direction–there is indeed a certain aleatory quality to the man. God knows what he might do. He shoots from the hip, saying all sorts of loopy but interesting things. Interesting if you live somewhere else. He talks unflatteringly about the other sex near open mikes, instead of away from them like everybody else.

The Donald merely makes me nervous, while Hillary makes me want to take poison. It is the difference between an acid trip and death by sinus drainage. His truly great strength is that he is not Hillary. The election is really a contest between placeholders for conflicting interests, for different views of the world. Few would want either if there were another choice.

Hillary’s attitude toward America has for years been implicit in our ruling class in New York. Having little in common with the rest of the country, they speak of most of it as Flyover Land, a realm of intellectual darkness and barbarism separating Manhattan and Hollywood. So far as I know, this is the first time the elites have had the confidence, if not necessarily the judgement, to say it plainly.

Let’s not delude ourselves. America is ruled by the Five Cities, Boston, New York, Washington, Tel Aviv, and Hollywood. The rest of us just pay taxes. The heart of the beast is New York, the Ivies being its nursery and Washington its storefront.

To a practicing curmudgeon, the presidential contest is amusing but unimportant. Hillary will win, whether she wins or not. She is just the wave front of deep and fast-flowing currents of decay that cannot be stopped. Trump may try, but he cannot succeed. We live in a dying culture and, soon, a diminished country. It cannot be saved.

Not true? Add up the bits and pieces. We laugh in horror, some of us, primarily the older, at the decline of schooling, the courses like Batman and the Struggle for Gender Equity. Comic, yes. Yet in aggregate these constitute an academic and civilizational collapse both profound and irreversible. Enstupidation does not happen in a healthy country. Who even wants to reverse this onrushing night? Not the universities, nor the teachers unions, nor a professoriat gone as daft as the “students,” nor the banks battening on student loans.

It is over. Hillary may start wars in her six months before going into a sanatorium. Trump may build walls. But the rot will go on. Tell me why it won’t.

American culture now drinks deeply from the ghetto, and there is no turning this around either. The country has achieved the dictatorship of the sub-proletariat. Someone said that when the lower orders found that they could vote themselves the treasury, they would. They can also vote themselves the culture, and have.

There is no solution. Complaining about degraded music, semi-literacy, and barnyard taste accomplishes nothing. Soon there will be none left who remember what has been lost. Once broken, the chain cannot be repaired.

It is over. Putrefaction is irreversible, either by Ronald or Lucretia.

The shift to the economic pattern of the Third World, the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few, proceeds apace and there is nothing to do about it. Impunity, normal in Guatemala, allows corruption to go unpunished. Think sub-prime. Hillary is as crooked as any president in Latin America, everyone knows it, and nothing happens to her. The extremely rich, the famous one percent, control Wall Street, the media, Congress, banking, the social media. The well-being of all but the rich declines. It will go on. There is no way to change it. Who will do it? How?

It is over. Ronald can’t stop it. Lucretia doesn’t want to.

It goes rapidly now. Perhaps worst, because it paralyzes resolution, in a few short decades the country has lost all cohesion, whether cultural, racial, linguistic, or religious. In 1955, America was overwhelmingly white, Anglophone, Christian, and European, which provided enough unity to hold it together, and poor communications provided enough separation to maintain peace among groups that detested each other: Massachusetts and Alabama, West Virginia and California.

The US, once a nation, is now a group of angry minorities in the same place. Things that seem insane to half the country, such as making girls of twelve years share public bathrooms with any man interested in girls of twelve, are promoted by the other half as requisite for equality. Blacks are in open insurrection. The borders barely exist. The government cannot or will not enforce the laws. How can this change, other than to worsen?

Further, America is rapidly becoming a hive of narcissistic milquetoasts in extended adolescence, of delicates and Fauntleroys unable to care for themselves. Those who read speak with reason of Eloi and Morlocks, but few read. We elders read agape of the microaggressions and safe spaces, of cry-baby co-eds who sob in fear at seeing a mouse. Snowflakes they are called, and snowflakes they are.

The potential consequences of this are not easily grasped by those under fifty. The United States has been remarkably protected for decades. America’s wars are fought in other people’s countries. Except for 9/11 the public has never been subjected to the horrors routinely inflicted by America in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and so on. Ever fewer Americans have been in a schoolyard fight, baited a hook, fired a gun, or lived a week in the woods. We are a coddled nation.

My saying this will bring forth much squeaking and gibbering to the effect that I am insecure and fantasizing about Marlboro Man, remembering a macho world that never was, a latent transgender, and that I hate everybody. Only the last comes close.

But America is more fragile than it looks. Its people cannot feed themselves. The economy really can collapse. If civil unrest broke the link from farm to cities, in two weeks New Yorkers would be eating each other. Soft white urbanites eeeeking and squealing about guns cannot defend themselves.

It is over. Watch. Trump if elected will be more interesting, Hillary a boring but more certain civilizational mortician, but both are chips floating on a fetid tide.

KunstlerCast on Shrinking the Technosphere


Jim Kunstler and I discuss my new book, Shrinking the Technosphere: Getting a Grip on the Technologies that Limit our Autonomy, Self-Sufficiency and Freedom, which is now available for pre-order at a 20% discount.