Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Shrinking the Technosphere, Part IV

[Réduire la techno-sphère, Partie IV]

In the previous parts of this series, we started picking away at a very big subject: what a successful strategy for bringing about rapid social change would look like, such social change being necessary if we were to avoid the worst ravages of catastrophic climate change. This change must introduce “naturelike” technologies that would bring the technosphere back into balance with the biosphere.

To be effective, this strategy must rely on technology—but not in the usual sense of fancy gadgets or gewgaws, of which the following examples spring to mind:

• Smartphones and other such gadgets. (“Stupidpeople” no longer know how to get by without them.)
• Windmills that take plenty of coal and diesel to build and maintain, swat migratory birds out of the sky and produce energy in a form that cannot be stored effectively.
• Majestic sailing ships that transport fair trade chocolate, coffee and wine to delight effete foodies in “first world” countries.

No-no-no! The technology in question is political technology, designed to overcome the awesome force of social inertia and to cause society to move in a direction in which it initially doesn't want to move.

Political technology offers ways of:

1. Changing the rules of the game between participants in the political process
2. Introducing into the mass consciousness new concepts, values, opinions and convictions
3. Directly manipulating of human behavior through mass media and administrative methods

Since the term “political technology” was new to most readers, we made a detour in order to put it in context. To recap, political technologies can be used to pursue the following aims:

1. To improve everyone's welfare by pursuing the common good of the entire society, as it is understood by its best-educated, most intelligent, most decent and responsible members. Political technologies of this kind result in a virtuous cycle, building on previous successes to increase social cohesion, solidarity and setting the stage for great achievements. (These are the good kind.)

2. To enrich, empower and protect special interests at the expense of the rest of society. These kinds of political technologies either fail through internal contradiction, or result in a vicious cycle, in which those who benefit from them strive for ever-higher levels of selfish behavior at the expense of the rest, setting the stage for poor social outcomes, economic stagnation, mass violence and eventual civil war and political disintegration. (These are the bad kind.)

Alas, most of the readers have had exactly zero exposure to political technologies of the first kind, and so the last two posts in this series explained what the second kind look like, taking the case of the US as an example. In Part II explored how they are used to manipulate and coerce the population in the US. There are numerous examples, but the one that is most relevant to this series is this one:

Proponent: the fossil fuel lobby.
Objective: convince the US population that catastrophic anthropogenic climate change is not occurring.
Means: smear campaigns against climate scientists, injection of fake science, denigration of science as a whole, portrayal of the movement to stop catastrophic climate change as a conspiracy, etc.

This example alone is sufficient to illustrate how effective a political technology can be: we all know plenty of its victims. Even quite intelligent people often espouse the opinion that the observed climate change is the product of natural variability (it isn't) or that the efforts to mitigate climate change are a conspiracy of a world government (which doesn't exist). This clearly shows how effective political technologies are: they can warp the minds of both the stupid and the intelligent. Although they can also be used to unwarp that which has been warped, there are, unfortunately, no examples of political technologies within the US that have been used in pursuit of the common good. With regard to what passes for politics in the US it is best to avert your gaze until its glowing embers cool because you'd be burning your eyeballs for nothing.

And so, in Part III we delved into the methods which the US has used to undermine countries around the world, because here, in response, the rest of the world has evolved successful political technologies of its own, and is in the process of neutralizing the US on the world stage. We will look at them in the next post in this series. This global immune response to US aggression, which was able to operate virtually unopposed during the years between the collapse of the USSR, laying waste to several countries around the world, and the recent failure of the US effort to destroy Syria, is significant: to work for the common good, one must first stop evil.

But before we get too far, let us look at where we are going. What is “naturelike”? Some readers proposed biomimetics, which is a newfangled rebranding of the old process of looking at nature in search of promising mechanisms: airplanes have “wings” like birds; scuba divers and snorkelers wear “fins” like fish; chairs and tables have “legs,” walls have “ears” and so on. It all started a few million years ago when some hominid picked up a pointy rock and called it a “claw” or a “fang.” No, that's not it at all.

Other readers chimed in to say that perhaps this is about permaculture. Now, permaculture is actually quite interesting. The term spans the range from general design principles to specific ways of dealing with the landscape, specifically to grow food. Most of the technology this involves is nonindustrial, and is thought-heavy rather than energy-heavy, which is a good combination. Permaculture probably has a role to play, if a way can be found to teach it to people who are too busy simply surviving to attend pricey courses in exotic locales.

To be “naturelike,” technologies must “restore the balance between the biosphere and the technosphere” (as Putin put it at the UN). Why is this necessary? Well, human populations that fail to do so exhibit a marked tendency to go extinct. This is something that has happened quite a lot. The Greenland Norse are often held up as a particularly stark example of such failure: they settled Greenland during a relatively short climatic period when it was green rather than white, and when it anticlimactically reverted to a barren wasteland they died out. This was unnecessary: they were survived by the native tribes, which continued to fish and hunt on the ice. But the Norse wanted to eat pork and beef, refusing to go native, for such was their culture and sense of identity.

Cultural change, of the sort that was expected of the Greenland Norse were they to survive, is very difficult. It does occur, but on its own it tends to proceed far too slowly to make a difference in a crisis. Changes that force people to change their lifestyles in ways that contradict their physical habits and their sense of identity are particularly difficult, and are often met with resentment or hostility.

For example, it would make perfect sense to introduce a few small changes in the US that would serve to substantially lessen the impact on the environment. Here are three simple examples:

1. Ban lawns. Grass can only be mowed once it has gone to seed and must be used to make hay.

2. Ban beef and pork. No more hamburgers—rabbitburgers! Everyone eats locally raised, grass-fed rabbits.

3. Mandate hitchhiking. If there is a free seat, you must stop for hitchhikers, or face a steep fine.

Of course, people would be up in arms about such measures. They would feel that their rights are being violated and their “culture” destroyed. This brings up another small but important measure:

4. Confiscate all the arms.

Note, however, that people are not the least bit up in arms about the following quite successful initiatives:

1. Force people to constantly mow their lawns, damaging their health with the very considerable air pollution from the dirty two-stroke lawn mowers, water pollution from runoff of chemical fertilizers and exposure to toxic herbicides such as Monsanto's carcinogenic glyphosphate (Roundup).

2. Force people to eat factory-farmed beef and pork, which is laced with growth hormones, antibiotics and other chemicals, by depriving them of any other affordable source of animal protein. Also, be sure to lace all their food and drink with high-fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners, so that they get as fat as pigs and can't walk any great distance, but have to drive everywhere.

3. Force everybody to own their own car in order to be able to get around, even though most cars sit idle most of the time, and even though there is plenty of unemployed people who would be only too happy to give them lifts for a tiny fraction of what it costs to own, insure and operate a car.

These measures create a social environment that is so alienated, riddled with hostility and unhealthy that nobody feels particularly safe within it. This brings up another small but important measure:

4. Force everyone to think that they need to own a firearm (or two or three) in order to keep themselves and their families safe; then step back and watch the fireworks. Arrest those who run afoul of the many contradictory firearms laws, and sell them as slaves to private prisons—while everyone cheers, because they have been told that this makes them safer.

What is the difference between these two sets of initiatives? Both seem like they should be quite unpopular. The first set would be beneficial, in terms of its impact on both public health and the environment, while the second is manifestly harmful. But the first is politically a nonstarter, while the second sells rather well.

The difference is that while the former set of initiatives has no political technology to back it up, the latter does, being supported by a set of laws and a quasi-religious civic ritual. The laws fine people for failing to mow their lawns, keep people from producing and distributing meat unless they own a farm, and so on. The quasi-religious civic ritual, heavily supported through advertising, involves standing on a lawn around a smoking barbecue (the altar on which rest burnt offerings of factory-farmed beef and pork) while bragging about your cars and your guns. To complete the scene, there is usually a US flag somewhere within sight, because this is what it means to be an American: to stand on a lawn, to take communion of factory-farmed meat and HFCS or aspartame-laced water, and to brag about your cars and your guns. Anything else would be un-American and is politically a nonstarter.

The political technologies that make these indefensible practices popular and even required are supported by powerful special interests: the lawn care industry, industrial agribusiness, the automotive industry, the weapons manufacturers and the prison-industrial complex. These are the parasites that are feasting on the prostrate, bloated body of the US, eating the country hollow from the inside. And there are absolutely no political technologies to oppose them, or to support initiatives that are necessary and beneficial. To find out what these look like we will again have to look outside the US, and this is what we will do next.


NowhereMan said...

Wow! You're really firing on all cylinders today, Dmitry! The paragraph about the "quasi-religious civic ritual" reminds me of the 60's lyric by the fittingly named The Monkees:

Another Pleasant Valley Sunday

Another Pleasant Valley Sunday
Charcoal burnin' everywhere
Rows of houses that are all the same
And no one seems to care

See Mrs. Gray she's proud today
Because her roses are in bloom
And Mr. Green he's so serene
He's got a TV in every room

Another Pleasant Valley Sunday
Here in status symbol land
Mothers complain about how hard life is
And the kids just don't understand

Creature comfort goals they only numb my soul
And make it hard for me to see
My thoughts all seem to stray to places far away
I need a change of scenery

Another Pleasant Valley Sunday
Charcoal burning everywhere
Another Pleasant Valley Sunday
Here in status symbol land
Another Pleasant Valley Sunday


My donkey said...

"no examples of political technologies within the US that have been used in pursuit of the common good"

I think Victory Gardens would qualify, even though their "official" purpose at the time was to support the war efforts in WW1 and WW2. There were many public and private vegetable gardens whose harvest benefitted the general populace.

Robert Magill said...

Looking forward to 2020 when the two billionth motor vehicle is due to hit the road somewhere on the planet. In 2010 the one billionth motor vehicle, one half being cars, was recorded (this dies not include off-road vehicles). We're right on schedule.

Ronald Thomas West said...

In any democracy, ethics, self restraint, tolerance and honesty will always take a second seat to narcissism, avarice, bigotry & persecution, if only because people who play by the rules in any democracy are at a disadvantage to those who easily subvert the rules to their own advantage (Ronald’s Maxim)

Then, when it comes to western science, there is Einstein's formidable problem to overcome: “No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it”

Therefore it would seem to "force" all of that good political technology into play would require some system other than 'democracy' ... for instance a wise ruler with a very good wizard. We could call it the political technology of positive regression ; )

Dmitry Orlov said...


Since it has been demonstrated that the US is not a democracy, your comment doesn't seem to be relevant. I am using the US for didactic purposes only; there is nothing to be done about it.

Island Poet said...

"...no examples of political technologies within the US that have been used in pursuit of the common good."

While this is generally true in the last 30-40 years, prior to the collective burying of heads in the sand that was the "Reagan Revolution", there were several very successful deliberate manipulations of public behavior via "political technologies". The anti-littering campaign in particular, with it's iconic image of Iron Eyes Cody (a Native American) sitting on his horse looking across the great American garbage dump while a tear rolled down his cheek. And it worked. When I was a boy EVERYBODY just tossed their trash out the window of the car, now there is a little Indian sitting on everyone's shoulder telling them how they shouldn't... Also in the late 60's and early 70's there were a series of educational video shorts that were forcibly inserted into any TV programming that was focused on children, with an amazing breadth of topics: the concept of zero, how a bill becomes a law, base 12 mathematics, basic grammar (a noun is a person, place or thing), etc. All these educational pieces were animated and had catchy songs, doubtlessly similar to the same kinds of programming on Soviet television that you must have seen as a boy. So America is not completely bereft of positive political technologies, just mostly!

Pentrus said...

I hope that weapons confiscation includes the police. The militarization of the police, including arming them with heavy weapons, armored vehicles, etc is an over reaction to the perceived threat of crime in this country. It feels as though such things are being done more for the purpose of keeping the general public under control than it is for stopping crime. I believe the police need to protect themselves, but somehow I think it can be accomplished by having more beat cops in neighborhoods, better training, community involvement, and constituting police forces with personnel that more closely mirror the communities they serve. For many years police were armed well enough with a .38 special revolver and a shotgun. I guess scaling back weapons in society might allow the police to scale back accordingly. Although I'd miss my muzzle loading guns. Do you think we might get to keep those for hunting and recreational shooting (reenactments, etc)?

TH in SoC said...

I would agree with Dmitry's statement that there are no examples of political technologies within the US that have been used in pursuit of the common good. Instead, there has been the construction of a false identity of the US as a virtuous nation founded on virtuous principles and a simultaneous construction of a huge willful blindness to all of the behaviors (wars, oppression, slavery and genocide) which have contradicted this false identity. So we hear people say that the US needs to return to its original principles as if that would make it better. What these people don't realize is that this nation's current condition is a direct outgrowth of its founding principles. That condition shows that this nation never had virtuous principles. Otherwise, its history would have been entirely different, and a lot of the victims of its narcissism would have lived to a ripe old age unmolested by the US.

Alex said...

Island Poet - everyone over 40 remembers those, the series was called Schoolhouse Rock. They were great! The schools I went to were designed to keep us from being out on the street and stealing things, until we turned 18 and could go into the army or onto welfare or into prison. I learned more from Schoolhouse Rock than I did in school.

I'm also old enough to remember litter everywhere. Then that Indian and Woodsy Owl corrected our ways. I love Soviet style PSA stuff.

Dmitry Orlov said...

A lot of commenters fell straight into my little trap of considering the merits of gun control, as if this article has anything to do with that. It just shows how subject they are to the mind control tactics of that particular bit of political technology. If they weren't, they wouldn't care.

Howard Skillington said...

In my Boomer generation lifetime Madison Avenue, as the marketing instrument of what many now recognize as the Deep State, managed to transform American citizens into American consumers. This changed an individual’s role in society from having responsibilities to their nation (“Ask not...”) to being units of consumption . (“Buy now!)” One might hope for a citizen to feel a shared responsibility for avoiding catastrophic climate change; consumers can ignore that perhaps-unfortunate concomitant of their all-important consumption.

To a consumer, Fashion Is Everything – from clothing and music to diet and sexual orientation. (Americans polled recently believe that between a quarter and a third of the population is something other than heterosexual. Only a little more than five per cent of Americans self-identify as gay or bisexual.)

The same technology that has driven American fashion modes from skinny guys wearing bell bottom pants to fat men wearing dresses could, if effectively marshalled and deployed, persuade Americans that it would be a really great idea to save the atmosphere and the oceans from destruction, and save humanity in the process, but the Deep State obviously does not regard that goal as being on its agenda.

The question is: how to take control of the instruments of marketing that tell Americans what to think, want, and do. Since merely saving the world from destruction would not generate short-term profits, it’s difficult to see how that could be done.

Thinner Buddha said...

This isn't a failure of any political body; it is the inevitable demise of a failed ideology. This is the certain conclusion of materialism. When the material is valued over that which is not material (faith, wisdom, trust, kindness... virtues of all kinds), society will be forced to revisit its values. We are at that point now.

Social studies demonstrate that excessive wealth leads to poor health and decreased happiness. Life is expended obtaining goods (yes, you trade life hours for money, which you buy goods with). You expend additional life maintaining goods, obtaining consumables for the goods, and retaining the storage required for said goods. Trading life for excess stuff is a poor bargain. We all need enough to comfortably sustain, after which life should simply be lived - embraced and enjoyed. That's where I see this transition leading.

The race of materialism is damned by a flawed foundation. New rules won't restore materialism to glory because it is not glorious. A resurgence of values, ethics, morals, and decency is the only true option. When I depart this earth, I should think my legacy will be in who I was and how I bettered this world; the purpose for the material is simply to sustain me while I achieve said legacy.

James said...

FBI Pleads "Stop Filming Police! It's Making Them Look Bad!"


Goon Thug Fired By Sheriff
October 28, 2015 | Categories: Announcements | Tags:

Believe it or not, I received emails from 3 males defending the goon thug who slammed around the female student in the classroom. These 3 apologists for police violence must be very ashamed of themselves, as it turns out that the goon thug nazi was too much for the Sheriff who fired the thug.

Here is the report: https://www.rt.com/usa/319983-deputy-slammed-student-fired/

The Goon Thug Nazis Who “Serve and Protect”

Note that the male students just sat there. They could easily have overpowered the criminal
cop, handcuffed him, called the police and reported the goon thug’s assault on a female student. Assault is a felony even when cops do it.

The public should demand that state and local governments stop hiring psychopaths as police officers.


Howard Skillington said...

A classmate reported that the girl was using her cell phone in class. Her teacher asked her to put the phone away. She refused. An administrator was called in, who asked the girl to relinquish her phone. She refused. The police officer was called in, who asked her to come with him. She refused.

Tell us, please, how this situation might best have been handled. Should schools across the country perhaps officially allow as much phone use in class as students might like?

Please suggest also how authorities might best handle students who refuse to conform to accepted standards of behavior or to acknowledge any authority at all.

I'm sure the Goon Thug Nazi Policemen of America will be grateful for your solution to this intractable problem.

NowhereMan said...

Note that the male students just sat there. They could easily have overpowered the criminal
cop, handcuffed him, called the police and reported the goon thug’s assault on a female student. Assault is a felony even when cops do it.

@ james: I was thinking the same thing as I watched it. But of course the inability/unwillingness of people in small crowds to be the first to lend aid during crises or confrontations has been much studied and commented on. Respect for authority, even when illegitimate, seems to epidemic here in the US these days.

beetleswamp said...

Were you unproductively trolling half your audience with the gun confiscation remarks, or did you accidentally uncover another political technology known as the fourth/fifth rail?

Proponent: professional politicians: left, right, and center

Objective: look like they are doing something without actually doing anything

Means: avoid upsetting powerful entrenched lobbying interests who will destroy your career and possibly have you assassinated by focusing on emotionally charged cultural divisions (high volt/low amp) like God, Gays, and Guns. Channel collective rage into the vitriolic and pointless Facebook debates as long as possible so that people don't start talking about more universal concerns like heart disease, cancer, car crashes, prescription drug deaths, WW3, and near term extinction.

kulturcritic said...

Great Dima... LMAO!!! How sad as well - Sandy

DeVaul said...

Opening Scene: DeVaul walking down a seemingly well-worn path, but notices that part of the path is covered with grass and banana leaves. Thinks to himself: "Hmm... looks like a Gilligan style island trap, but it can't be. This is a respectable blog trail, who would put such a thing here?" Continues on and... whoa!!!! (thud)

Cut to DeVaul mumbling to himself in a muddy pit: "So, I bought my first firearm back in 2007 -- a Ruger 10/22 rifle. Why? Because my son kept asking for a "real gun", and I was afraid my ex-wife would give him one without proper training, so I attended a rifle class and learned quite a bit about rifles as well as the kind of people who go to a rifle range. Because I was Deaf, the range officers put me down at one end with the men armed with machine guns and army style rifles (assault rifles?). I could not hear the noise, but the constant rain of blazing hot shells landing on my head and rolling over my rifle barrel made it difficult to concentrate on aiming and firing. I also laid flat on a red-hot machine gun shell after reloading and now have a permanent scar on my chest from that."

Fast Forward -- still in pit: "My son loved his new rifle, but it kind of scared me because it was so easy to load and fire, unlike the flintlock rifles that I had taken a liking to and now used for hunting and shooting during my free time. The muzzle loading range had a different group of people there -- mostly laid back older folks who were happy to see a young fella join them and learn from them about black powder weapons and so forth. I keep my son's two modern firearms locked up and the ammo locked up separately, which makes me wonder how useful they would be if someone broke into my home. The flintlocks are hanging on the wall, but can only be used as clubs in an emergency situation, so my main weapon of choice for personal defense is a dog and a hatchet. Why is there no National Association of Hatchet Owners to lobby for our needs in Washington?"

Later -- still in pit trying to figure things out, like how did I get here?

possumqueensa said...

Yes, but there are other countries in the world besides the United States. I'm with you on the grass, biggest waste of water ever, not to mention that horrible noise of weed eaters and lawn movers. I would never pick up a hitchhiker (single female, violent country), and I can't give up my car, as I live in a remote town where there is no public transport, no veterinary services, no dentist, no supermarket and my leeks aren't ready yet. I don't need a gun yet, but I have an asseghai and pepper spray, you will wrench those two things out of my cold, dead hand.

234567 said...

@ Howard Skillington
In reply as to what to do with the girl refusing every option, it is simple. She is expelled from the school system. End of problem. Those wishing to continue using that system can stay or go as well. Lack of consequences in America is part of the problem. Another part is that it requires meetings and forms to be filled out and lawyers to be consulted before expelling - when clearly the girl was little interested in whatever the class was doing by virtue of her phone being at issue.

A concatenation of silly rules and procedures designed to protect everybody from any harm, emotional or social or even physical, is the root cause of much of this. There is no way to dismantle it, as the government itself put it in place and lawyers want it to remain in place. Thus my point is, that while there IS a simple solution to the girl (teacher has freedom to expel students from classrooms), the system put in place to insure no person can be harmed or damaged is devoid of common sense. Hypercomplexity at work...

@ beetleswamp
Misdirection and distraction are political tools. Always have been, but more so in the age of television and soundbites; it was more difficult when writing was the method of communication. The mere act of writing allows, if not forces, people to think and condense their feelings and reactions to valid arguments. With the media colluding in the charade, every step in a direction that might unite people is derailed onto a track leading to a social 'hot' button where they stay divided. You have defined the gutter into which any attempt at civil discourse in America is directed.

@ Dmitry
Most people looking in on America can do the math - guns are not going to be confiscated without a civil war or a multiple deadly insurrections - the gun-cow has been long out of the barn. Gun laws in America, while overtly complex, are very similar to Russia. Futzing with gun laws is another canard. Most Americans do not know that.

With the black market growing rapidly in America these days, more laws on the books than a man can read in a lifetime and the impracticality of enforcement, most of the arguments about making things legal or not come from CORPORATE sources in America, not from government...

Pentrus said...

I no longer believe that the current system will make any fundamental changes that will help people preserve the resources needed to support life on the plant. At this point I am trying to learn things and acquire a few basic tools and skills, since I think such things will be needed as things go from bad to worse. Will I be successful? I give myself about a one in ten chance (being very optimistic), since I'm kind of old and not as able to work as hard as I used to. My family is unlikely to sell out and move to a harbor where we can have a sailboat to escape, making our future even more cloudy. We are lucky to live in a small city in the midst of an agricultural region that has lots of water, but a major city is just 45 miles up the road and that is a concern. Lots of folks around here have started having a garden the past few years, and there are more and more farmers willing to work with city types to sell them produce,meat, eggs, and the like. My wife and I have worked with several of them to arrange for Any breakdown, however, will cause even those things to be more difficult to produce due to the nature of the modern seed industry and the continued reliance on fossil fuels for so many things. I don't think you can actually store enough food to get by for very long; my bet is that it would be confiscated by government agencies once people started to go hungry. I try to keep below the radar and never do anything to interact with the authorities except to scrupulously obey all laws and pay all fees on time. I am not giving up, but I would not be surprise on any morning to wake up to find ourselves in a whole new world. We are debt free, but that is a false security as governments in their dying throes can tax you out of your property in an attempt to maintain control I have not given up, but it is sure going to be tough going hungry much of the time and being cold in our Midwest winters.

234567 said...

@ Pentrus -

While much of what you are thinking is accurate, some is not. Let me point out a few things:

Dying governments do not normally expand their territory, but rather contract. Have a read on what happened to Rome, Britain. The reason for that is that the means to expand (energy) is too scarce or costly. Excess energy allows expansion of populations and governments. The confiscation of money is too labor intensive - debasing it as they have been doing for a hundred years is far easier and more efficient. Gun confiscation will not work due to the extreme difficulty in enforcing it outside of the left and right coasts.

This contraction means that governments need to rule efficiently, and in collapse, this means reducing territory incrementally to correspond with their inability to pay or provide security. Rome is a good source for history on this. Joseph Tainter has written of collapse in steps or waves - and it appears this is the most likely way. It takes war or physical disaster to make it a very rapid descent. In our case, an oil embargo would cause awful disruption, but primarily it would cause contraction. The US is large enough that a supervolcano eruption is survivable depending on where you live in the country.

When things get bad, it is normal for people to pool resources and defense. An all male group will be more inclined to violence and to reacting wrongly. Women and children, families, will temper reactions and put a different focus on any group.

Greenhouses - take the weather variable out for the midwest and increase your yields. Rabbit is a great protein source and easy to raise in any climate (very Russian). Stay off the radar, but build or join a group of practical and like minded people. Contribute to helping those in the group - especially any single women or older people.

Enjoy each day, because what is coming is like glacial melting - it happens in little bits most of the time, and occasionally big chunks crash but it is always happening in motion too slow for a normal man to watch every day. Always remember that you are not the first or the only one - many, many generations and many, many people have walked versions of this trail. In every case, the collapse did not reset the knowledge back to zero. That is possible only if people are around to carry it forward.

Get positive and learn to enjoy things one day at a time while you are preparing. Learn skills, try new things, meet new people - meeting bad people now is a good thing because we will need to help one another. Hope this helps you get your perspective - just not being in the city is likely to be a very big help.

jetstove said...

Well Dmitri, I agree with you insofar as we need to change the metric by which success is measured. We live empty lives far from those who should matter most and in communities where we don't know anyone.

We can attain better lives by living in local economies with small and sustainable agriculture. How can we achieve these ends though. The deck is stacked against us with petty laws, bureaucracy, and social stigma. We see very isolated instances where death or injury occur and people clamor for the governments to enact laws to make us safer. Political correctness has gotten to the point where free speech is outlawed (even on this blog!) or the speaker is made to feel marginalized. Some municipalities have by-laws that forbid growing vegetables on your front lawn and living off the grid is against the law. Each day the noose tightens. In most cases, people don't seem to realize that they are not free but are a part of a collective that punishes those who do not conform to the rigid path set out by others "for their own good".

Everyone seems to think the government should take care of them and are deeply offended when they are told that they must work for a living. What happens when the government has no money, food, or lodging for the countless millions that have been kept on the public purse? Anarchy?

Your exercise in redirecting humanity can only be just that...no one is going to follow a new set of draconian laws outlawing what people desire. No beef or pork...well there will soon be a black market in that. No guns...well...we will shoot you if we find you have one. There is only one thing to do and that is to westernize the whole of the world and watch as the birth rate plummets and we head to extinction...that is the future of mankind. Not sudden cataclysmic demise but a slow march to a self imposed specific death. We can never go back because technology is, at this point, self sustaining and confers a distinct advantage to the technological civilization.

There is always hope that we will evolve socially through education though. Just be careful what you teach and how much power you decide to give the new generation since we don't need a student revolution like they had in China.

As for me? I would be happy to just live free from all the false gods that people follow these days...I am a libertarian at heart.