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Uncle Sam is broke

“You give me a piece of ground and a sword and I am going to take back this country with your help and the help of all the homeless Democrats and Republicans who are Americans first.” — Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

It has already happened. Maybe you don’t know it.

The business model is broken. We’re a shadow of the industrial economy that won a great war and enjoyed a boisterous peace. You can’t replace ball bearing factories with theme parks and hedge funds. Sorry. The full faith and credit of the USA is not embodied in those frivolities, so our money is losing its mojo fast.

But get this: we will go on. This is not the end of the world or the end of history. It is the end of an era. Believe it or not, the economy will fix itself, it just won’t be what it was in 1957. It won’t be what the techno-supremacists think, either. (You need a dependable electric grid to run all those server farms and the apps they serve, and the AI supposedly looming.) It will fix itself because when things fail, as they are doing now, a lot of opportunities will open up to do things differently, even very differently.

When the chain stores fail along with their twelve-thousand-mile supply lines, Americans will figure out how to find stuff, make stuff, move stuff, and sell stuff at a smaller scale, maybe back on your Main Street (if it’s still there). There will be a lot less stuff, of course. But it may be enough stuff, and some of you will be busy making stuff of some kind. Imagine an economy where practically everybody has a useful role to play. Do you know how much more important it is to lead a purposeful, acrtive life of than to be lost in leisure and anomie with more stuff than you know what to do with? Which is where we’re at now, even for many who are statistically “poor.”

When the Happy Motoring colossus tweaks out, we’ll spend less time moving around and more time doing useful things, staying put around the places where we live. We’d be lucky if we could keep some railroads going, but the prospects are not great for that now. Sorry, we blew it. Should have re-started that project in 1970 when the handwriting was on the wall. (We made a lot of bad choices.) Cars and trains require elaborate networks of many interdependent technologies all integrated smoothly at the giant scale — oil, steel, plastics, electronics — and all of that is disintegrating. Pretty soon, you can forget about airplanes, too. That leaves… what? Yes, boats and horses. I know… it sounds inconceivable. Wait for it.

When our grotesque medical racketeering matrix fails, doctors will practice medicine at smaller scale, probably without advanced pharmaceuticals and techno-diagnostics. They’ll open small local clinics while zombies squat in the broken mega-hospitals. You’ll have to pay in cash, whatever form that comes in. You’ll have to take care of yourself, too, but there will be a whole lot less enticing, engineered, toxic crap available to stuff into your body — Froot Loops, Hot Pockets — and the food markets won’t be all that super. There will certainly be less food altogether, but there will be fewer of us to feed, and more of that fewer-of-us will be busy producing that food, one way or another.

That’s the reality I see coming. As you’ve seen vividly, the journey from where we were in, say, the year 2000, to where we’re going has been psychologically disordering at the mass scale. These days, people who ought to know better express ideas that would have gotten them laughed out the room in 1999. The catch is that few of you know that this mass disordering grew out of fear of the journey. It was a phenomenon of infectious mass anxiety over something only dimly apprehended. You just thought it was about bad people.

You’re now faced with the question: how to avoid committing suicide, directly or inadvertently, personally or as a whole society, slowly or quickly? — and its corollary, how to get through the madness in the meantime? Politics happen whether you pay attention to it or not. Politics is concerned with how a society navigates through history. Today, it seems that either A) somebody is steering badly; B) Nobody is steering; or C) some outside force has commandeered the ship’s wheel and is steering for us.

Any way you look at that, we need somebody to steer. Mr. Trump has volunteered to try doing it again. The first time, forces in every quarter of American power set out to bushwhack, sandbag, harass, hector, and hound him. In the process, they just about destroyed the rule of law. Then they simply dis-elected him surreptitiously, something you’re not supposed to say, but there it is, like so much meat on the table. Now they’re trying to hoo-rah him into jail. Whatever you think of his, er, complex personality, you must admire his perseverance through adversity. If he somehow manages to wriggle through the present obstacle course of Lawfare chicanery, his next term would be an extravaganza of retribution. The spectacle would provide much satisfaction but, in the end, it would just be a sideshow, and it is not the same thing as taking care of business.

“Joe Biden,” of course, the man who is not really even there, is only pretending to run for reelection, or at least a coterie around the Oval Office is pretending for him while they try to figure out what to do. They’re in an awful quandary. They hold all the levers of power and they have no other credible candidate, not a living soul, in their own official hatchery.

Outside of that ghastly edifice, Robert F. Kennedy is making a determined flanking move, an end-run near the sidelines. The Democratic Party in all its florid and mendacious lunacy is pretending to not notice him, especially their praetorian news media that is the vector for America’s mass mental illness. Mr. Kennedy put it so simply in April when he announced a run to preside over the stupendous mess that is our government. He said his mission is an experiment to see what happens when you tell Americans the truth. Hold that thought. How long has it been since you thought anything like that was possible?

There’s a broad-based assumption across the land, derived from our fading prime artform, the movies, that Americans can’t handle the truth. Like so much else in our national life, that is probably erroneous… fake truth. And what is so striking in Mr. Kennedy’s performance so far is an absence of fakery. It’s more than refreshing, it’s… startling. Makes you blink, a little bit. Makes you remember what it’s like to not be lied-to incessantly. Makes you want to see more of it because it gives you strength when you thought you were finished. Get this now: our world is changing, and deeply, but we’re not finished.


“James Howard Kunstler is the author of The Long Emergency, Too Much Magic, The Geography of Nowhere, the World Made By Hand novels, and more than a dozen other books. He lives in Washington County, New York," so says his website, Kunstler.com. He is, however, much more. During the past two decades, he has remained at the forefront of the alternative press, both online and in print, advocating against "Happy Motoring" and suburban lifestyles in favor of simpler, community-based living where people learn to rely on themselves and each other rather than corporations, government and our phony-baloney economy. His Monday and Friday Clusterfuck Nation blog gets the week off to a good beginning and closes it on a high note. He is also an accomplished painter who obviously enjoys the rural beauties of upstate New York where he has settled and detests contemporary culture's many eyesores.  If this piece is your introduction to his work, check out his blog.  If you know him well, support him at Patreon.

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