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Things Take a Turn

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Published : March 09th, 2020
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Category : Editorials

Around the same time that most Americans set their clocks ahead this weekend, something more momentous shoved the world into an epic phase-change, and the modern era, with all its mighty baggage, was finally swept away, along with that single lost hour of darkness. We’re in a new world, and one night later, out on the freeway of history, the engine of the global economy threw a rod. The chauffeur is still standing alongside the stricken vehicle in the breakdown lane, scratching his head while sour-smelling smoke wafts up from the hood.

You’d think that truly earthshaking events like that might change the so-called narrative, but The New York Times was at it again this morning with this front-page op-ed purporting to explain all the sorrows of our times:

That’s how out-of-it the narrators are, even while a thuggish reality whapped them repeatedly upside the head with a two-by-four for weeks leading up to this. No, Dean Baquet (NYT ed-in-chief), transphobia does not explain the quandaries of our time, any more than sorcery or the wickedness of black cats explained the plagues of the 1300s that put a chapter of the human story to rest and started a new one. That elaborate machine of globalism just never figured on a situation when so many people in all corners of the world would have to hunker down in place to wait out one of Gaia’s super-weapons — though it is still not known if corona virus was actually created by Gaia’s wards, Homo sapiens, themselves, who are suddenly feeling the blowback.

Lots of things are blowing back on us now, especially from the patches, tweaks, and work-arounds we applied to the shuddering system while the “check engine” light was flashing the past twelve years. After the awesome skid of 2008, you’d think the world’s money managers might have learned something about the hazards of stepping on the gas when those lights were flashing. Sadly, the tens of thousands of PhD economists in the back seat couldn’t think of anything else to do. And history will regard them as no better than the hooded priests of the 1300s who swung their smoking censors in the dark streets while the stricken town folk bundled their dead.

The new disposition of things is upon us, and the sooner we get with the program, the better. Welcome to The Long Emergency and its aftermath, a world made by hand. Expect that a lot of things crashing, grinding to a halt, and falling to pieces will not get patched back together and restarted. When the dust settles from all that, we’ll discover one of the primary conditions of the new era: we’re poorer — a lot of what we took to be money, or things that represented money, were figments. “Money” itself, as manifested in currencies, may become a slippery concept, with low credibility. If that’s the case, people ought to ask themselves: how can I be useful or helpful to the others around me in a way that will raise my own social capital and accumulate, at least, the good will of these other people, and perhaps some of their help or service in return for mine? That is the beginning of building a local community — people bound together by mutual obligations, responsibilities, duties, and rewards.

We’re lucky for one thing: this crisis of advanced civilization is striking at the very start of the planting season. If you’re prudent, you can begin at once to organize serious gardening efforts, if you live in a part of the country where that is possible. I’d go heavy on the potatoes, cabbages, winter squashes, and beans, because they’re all keepers over winter. Baby chicks sell at the local ag stores for a few bucks each now and you’ll be very grateful for the eggs. Get a rooster — even though they can be a pain-in-the-ass — and you won’t have to buy anymore chicks.

If you live in a part of the country where the terrain is rugged and well-watered — as I do — start scoping out local hydro sites that might potentially generate electricity or drive machinery directly from water power. We will probably need more of that. Around here many of those sites are signified by the ruins of decommissioned factories and hydro-stations from not much more than a century ago. They were originally built with a lot less machine power than we would use today, and a lot more power of men working in groups. We’ve forgotten how effective men can be working together with pretty simple tools. We were too busy devaluing men in recent decades for the sake of a moral crusade to erase “gender” differences. Well, that will be bygone so fast your head will spin.

The big cities won’t do well if supply chains stay down for a month or longer. This ought to be self-evident. If you have friends or relatives in places where food can be grown, or in the small towns favorably located near productive land and running water, maybe this is a good time to start negotiating some new arrangements and making a move, if you can. Nobody knows yet just how deeply the effects of corona virus will cut through daily life in the weeks ahead. The potential for disorder isn’t tiny, looking at the current situation, at least in terms of broken business relationships and the flow of vital goods. We’ve apparently entered the hunkering-in-place stage of the crisis. Be prepared for plenty of action when the hunkering ends and the hungering begins.

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James Howard Kunstler has worked as a reporter and feature writer for a number of newspapers, and finally as a staff writer for Rolling Stone Magazine. In 1975, he dropped out to write books on a full-time basis. His nonfiction book, "The Long Emergency," describes the changes that American society faces in the 21st century. Discerning an imminent future of protracted socioeconomic crisis, Kunstler foresees the progressive dilapidation of subdivisions and strip malls, the depopulation of the American Southwest, and, amid a world at war over oil, military invasions of the West Coast; when the convulsion subsides, Americans will live in smaller places and eat locally grown food.
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JHK may be correct as far as the world of finance goes. but to say that will bring about a world made by hand, is a bit of a stretch.
However, if he is correct, and supply chains collapse and food production becomes a 19tth Century cottage industry, then we will likewise back track to a 19th Century population.
That means digging about 6 billion graves, by hand.

Gypsy, in addition to the tractor and plow, you better have the ability to defend it. A tide of human locusts of biblical proportions will be emanating from the cities, if JHK is correct.

The "potential for disorder" is the understatement of the millennium.
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Step Back Non-Believers ~ you folks are gonna see The Predictions of James come true. I still have my tractor, my plow, my disk, my roto-tiller, my seeds and my land with the creek running through it. I feel like all those gardens I've been planting, year-after-year, were just "practice".

I'm not happy, even though I've got The Demo down to a science. Food Production is a LOT of work ! ! I was gonna go on a Long Deserved Vacation ~ ALL SUMMER ! ! James: we're gettin' too old (6 AUG 48 -I'm 71) for this shit.
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JHK may be correct as far as the world of finance goes. but to say that will bring about a world made by hand, is a bit of a stretch. However, if he is correct, and supply chains collapse and food production becomes a 19tth Century cottage industry, then  Read more
J. - 3/9/2020 at 8:10 PM GMT
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