One of the pleasures of running a popular blog is in reading the many interesting emails my readers send me, out of the blue, asking questions, suggesting new topics, sharing their ideas, correcting my typos, and sometimes even sending in something that I can publish. And one of the least pleasant aspects of running a popular blog is in reading emails sent in by idiots. The world is full of idiots. While most of them seem to be of the quiet, unobtrusive kind, who might quietly sit in a corner eating a pot of glue, there are also quite a few belligerent, vicious, willfully ignorant idiots who spontaneously go on attack and start defecating in my in-box. Usually I ignore them.
But this is Christmas season, and Christmas is supposed to be all about peace on earth and good will toward idiots. (It also turns out to be all about idiots storming department stores and fighting each other over discounted Chinese imports, but let's ignore that for the moment.) Now, it is a sad fact of life in America that idiocy is generally ignored. It is significantly under-diagnosed, and most idiots go through life not even knowing that they are idiots and that this is why they are being ignored. There are cultures, in other parts of the world, where idiots are slapped around and told to shut up any time they say or do something stupid. I am not a fan of these cultures; I am all for the humane treatment of idiots. But when idiots are led to believe that they are normal and the problem is simply ignored, it tends to get worse, and, over time, idiocy becomes the norm. It is then allowed to spread into schools and universities, the media, the executive and the legislature, the hospitals and the corporate boardrooms. And once it becomes the norm, it becomes required, until the only people who are hired and promoted are idiots. And shortly after that happens what you get is a completely idiotic country.
And so I decided to make an exception and, for once, not ignore an idiot who defecated in my in-box last week. If any of you aspire to running a popular blog, let this be a warning to you: this is not an unusual event. You will develop a thick skin rather quickly, or you will give up in disgust. This particular idiot opened with the following:
You are so full of shit. For 7 years you have been talking about collapse and how it is all over, blah blah blah. I always knew you were a snake oil salesman just like your buddy Ruppert. So what happened? You had a kid. Now you can't be talking about that all the time and you have to actually find work to take care of it. Join the rest of us. Now you know why nobody has time for collapse and all the gloom and doom you were babbling about. But, you don't give up, eh? You came up with another scheme to milk people out of their hard earned dollars. Here is a tip, get a fucking real job and support yourself. It's mind boggling that people bought any of your bullshit, books and now this project. You were a joke then and you are a joke now. Stay in Russia you fucking idiot. I'm going to make sure to call you out on all this. You are a fraud and always have been. Engineer? No, you are a con man. A moronic one at that.
Go Fuck Yourself.
I thought that this would be it. But the flood of pleasantries continued, including this one: “Last remark, I am going to bury you on every media site possible.” I googled him, and the poor fellow just has a Twitter account, with hundreds of tweets quite consistent with what you see above. His one moment in the limelight, until now, was when he tried to tell Max Keiser that people should hoard paper money, and Max actually responded by telling him that he is “cra cra.” He has two Twitter followers, who, I suspect, are his mother and his parole officer. Oh, and here is his Twitter avatar.
But this being Christmas season, and Christmas being all about peace on earth and good will toward idiots, I decided not to ignore him. And so here is my public response:
I've been writing about collapse for seven years, and have produced a substantial body of work on the subject. It has received recognition and critical acclaim around the world. (A Chinese edition of my latest book is in the works at the moment.) I stand by everything I have written. I don't have anything significant to add on the subject at the moment, but, as events unfold, I will certainly comment on them. So, for instance, when the US dollar collapses, or when US troops start abandoning their bases around the world, or when Walmart goes out of business due to lack of cheap imports to sell to the broke American consumer, or whenever any of the other inevitable consequences of collapse play out, I will definitely have something to say beyond “told you so!” But the timing of collapse is notoriously unpredictable, and I am happy to bide my time and write on other topics in the meantime.
Since writing about collapse is a nonremunerative activity, I also work. My family is provided for, and I have the luxury to work on projects I consider significant and interesting. Right now I am starting a company to make Project Unspell a reality. It will keep me very busy for a few years at least. I am very glad that so many people have decided to help me by contributing money, but I am putting plenty of my own money into it too. The success of the crowd-funding campaign is mostly important for boosting investor confidence for the next phase. The goals of Project Unspell are consistent with my vision of the future. For now we have mobile computing and the Internet, making this project possible. Looking toward the future, I intend to make it possible for any English-speaking adult to sit down with any English-speaking child and, in a few lessons, make that child able to read and write. I also intend to use this time of relative stability to print a large number of unspelled books, on acid-free paper, for that child to read, by candlelight, even after the electric grid is no more. None of this is impossible, or even particularly difficult, and I am going to make it happen.
So long, and please get some professional help!
So long, and please get some professional help!
There, you see? Idiocy countered rather than ignored, peace and clarity restored. If only it was always this easy! Alas, it is not, because, you see, idiocy is a spectrum disorder. While many of the emails I received do not rise to the level of full stark raving idiocy as with the stool sample I presented above, they still contain an idiotic element or two. For instance, one fellow wrote to me to say that Project Unspell won't work for the same reason that introducing the metric system in the US didn't work. Yes, the fact that there are still three countries in the world that are holding out against the metric system is idiotic in its own right. (In case you don't know, they are Liberia, Burma and ’Merca.) But so is drawing an equal sign between mandating a different system of weights and measures and introducing an alternative, entirely optional writing system. Another fellow wrote to say that he doesn't see a problem with English spelling, because his sister taught him to read and write in only a couple of weeks. English has some 60,000 words, about 40% of which are spelled irregularly. So here we have a different kind of idiot: an idiot savant, who can memorize 1,700 vocabulary words a day, every day, for two weeks, no problem. But the rest of us do have a problem.
In fact, it could be said that all of us have a problem, because our world is awash with idiocy. Let him who is without idiocy cast the first stone. Idiocy is rampant, which is why the zombie meme is so popular. Zombies, you see, are idiots. Consider this: why do zombies want to eat brains? We accept this fact unquestioningly: zombies want to eat brains because... that's what zombies want to do. But why? Once you realize that zombies are idiots, the reason for this becomes clear: zombies are are working with the idiotic theory that eating the brains of non-idiots will make them smarter. Of course, real-life zombies don't eat brains—they eat burgers with fries and drink diet soda, and they don't shamble around graveyards at night either—they work jobs, go shopping, and zombify themselves by watching countless hours of television. And they are everywhere!
There are so many of them that a lot of people are expecting a zombie apocalypse to break out at any moment. Some people are even preparing for it: stocking up on shotgun shells and canned food, so that they can hole up in their fortified compound, secure the perimeter, and wait for the zombies to kill each other off and starve to death. Another plan, favored by my friends who live aboard sailboats, is to cast off at the first signs of zombie apocalypse and to lurk below the horizon or anchor in some desolate cove until the zombies kill each other off and starve to death. But I believe that it is sheer fantasy to think that the end result of zombie apocalypse is a world cleansed of zombies to which the surviving non-zombies will be able to return and build a new, zombie-free Jerusalem. For one thing, the line between zombies and non-zombies is notoriously hard to draw; you may not consider yourself particularly zombified, but I am sure that even you can point to a few zombie-like relations and acquaintances.
And so, in this season of peace on earth and good will toward zombies/idiots, let us do the only thing we can: let us bless the idiots. Let us add a line to the Beatitudes: “Blessed are the idiots, for... they shall be plentiful.” Because they surely will be.