Why I am Optimistic (February 16, 2010)
I am optimistic about the future because the status quo is doomed and better options abound.
One of the characteristics readers seem to like about oftwominds.com is that fundamentally I am an optimist about the future, even as I trace out the inevitability of the status quo's devolution and implosion.
The two are inextricably bound in a yin-yang, electron/proton field: I am hopeful for the very reason that the status quo is doomed. Instead of being terrified of its devolution, I say "good riddance." We all know it is unsustainable, rapacious and based on an interlocking net of lies; why should we mourn the passing of debt-serfdom and the dominance of interlocking webs of deceit, corruption and exploitation?
I am optimistic for the reasons laid out in Survival+: voluntary, transparent, non-privileged parallel organizations and productive structures are self-assembling under the leadership-by-example of The Remnant. Once 20% of the populace is permanently unemployed and permanently lost to the consumerist corporatocracy/Savior State status quo, then the Pareto principle suggests The Remant's influence will grow rapidly.
Many people expect some sort of rapid implosion of social order into violent chaos. While anything is possible, my research into the devolution of the Roman Empire persuaded me that the Roman Empire remains the best available the model for our future: a slow decline and unwinding of Empire and the Savior State.
Why might it be slow? As I have explained at length in Survival+, various feedback loops are actively resisting collapse. History is not a vector so much as a slowly orbiting mass of complex feedback loops.
Devolution is not a chaotic mob of armed thugs rampaging. Such a concentration is relatively easy to control or simply liquidate by force. The State excels at violence and control, so rampaging mobs would be the State's preferred "domestic enemy."
Devolution is this: half the toilets in the Chemistry building no longer work, and they aren't being fixed nor will they be fixed. The city/county/state can't print money, and as the public unions demand higher taxes to fund their Protected Fiefdoms, then the compliant State and its parallel shadow structures of privilege will comply, raising junk fees and taxes on the dwindling class of still-productive citizenry.
This feedback loop has a consequence the Status Quo fails to understand: rather than toil ever longer to pay exploitative taxes, the productive can choose to opt out. As I have ceaselessly explained here, the Protected Fiefdoms of the Savior State simply cannot grasp that entrepreneurs and small business owners have a choice: they do not have to work long hours and endure hardships just to support the Savior State and its numerous Protected Fiefdoms. They can simply call it quits, close the doors and opt for a simpler lifestyle which generates no taxes and much less stress.
Many people moan that the U.S. is becoming a "Third World country." I say, good; life is better in a well-ordered Third World country than in a debt-serf Empire. Not all Third World countries are equal; those hobbled by corruption, dictatorship, poor infrastructure and education, etc. are truly wretched. But those "developing nations" with lesser shares of these burdens can actually be better places to live than crumbling empires based on killing commutes, endlessly higher debts and a mindlessly self-destructive culture seeking ever-higher doses of self-medication.
Maintaining or improving the infrastructure of the U.S. requires a mere slice of the GDP. Maintaining or improving sewage, water, rail/transport electrical and Internet systems requires very little money compared to the trillions squandered on Empire, bailing out various Financial/Power Elites and the 70% of the GDP squandered on "consumerist paradise."
Were priorities to be re-ordered, a Third World GDP would be more than adequate to fund a functioning, efficient infrastructure. The money wasted on Empire and sickcare alone could rebuild the entire nation's critical infrastructure.
No one is forcing us to be debt-serfs. That is a voluntary choice. Nobody has to work two jobs to pay the bloated mortgage on a house which is high in cost due to large-scale financial manipulations by the Savior State to benefit various financial Elites. Nobody has to agree to buy a bloated house and take on a bloated mortgage, or pay $3,000 per month for a crummy studio apartment in Manhattan to toil for a parasitic financial corporation.
Interestingly, much of the Counterculture of the late 1960s and early 1970s was founded on the understanding that a "Third World country" lifestyle was inherently more humane and worthy than the commuter-debt-serf model of Empire.
The Counterculture was voluntary and incremental. You could pick and choose which parts of it to join. You could be a "straight" and buy your food at the co-op. It existed in parallel with the status quo, which quickly co-opted whatever features gained widespread appeal. ("Natural" products appeared as if by magic on the shelves of supermarkets.)
Nobody has to change agribusiness dependence on growing corn and producing high-fructose corn syrup to inject in essentially every packaged and fast food; as the Savior State founders, its subsidies of agribusiness will decline, rendering growing corn for sugar unprofitable. Those pursuing that model of "farming" will either go bankrupt or they will pursue some other model of growing food that is not mandated by subsidies for Protected Fiefdoms.
When people become ill from self-destructive diets and lifestyles, and the Savior State no longer pays for sickcare treatments of these lifestyle ills, then they will choose other lifestyles. Choice isn't capitalist or "free market;" it is human. We all have choices, and when the trade-offs and subsidies and incentives change, so will the choices.
When opting out of the work-harder-to-pay-more-taxes rat race becomes recognized not as "failure" but as freedom and blessed relief, then more people will opt out to do something else with their lives.
"Failure" is what we have now. "Success" is what lies ahead as the status quo loses its revenue stream and the Protected Fiefdoms of the Savior State engage in internecine conflict over the remaining spoils. The parallel shadow structures of privilege will continue buying influence within the Savior State, but as the State itself devolves, so too will the power of the Financial Power Elites.
We are not crippled or beholden to the financial Plutocracy. There are other options at every step of the way. Consider this article from Scientific American: A Plan to Power 100 Percent of the Planet with Renewables by 2030: Wind, water and solar technologies can provide 100 percent of the world's energy, eliminating all fossil fuels. Here's how.
You will have to visit your library to read the entire article, but the gist of it is this: from a physics point of view, it is a straightforward project to harvest a large enough slice of the renewable power sources which exist in abundance to power the planet.
Will such a project be cost-free or free of problems? Of course not. But you need only look at the desperate and unceasing propaganda issued by Big Oil and its well-compensated partner, the Savior State, to sense that the status quo is terrified of losing control of the revenue stream of global energy.
If they control the transition to renewables, then Big Oil is very keen on the project. But if alternative structures arise which are not dependent on Big Oil, then renewable energy will be "death by decentralization" to at least that slice of the financial Power Elite.
We are not enslaved or crippled; voluntary, transparent, non-privileged, parallel
organizations and productive structures are possible. We choose what we support with
every purchase and every decision, just as we choose our lifestyle by what electronic
devices we turn off or
on every day and by what we put in our mouths three times a day.
Since ordering the books costs $34.94 on amazon, and since I have some small affection for the days of vinyl albums, the price has been arbitrarily set at $33.33, shipping included.
Will signed copies have any value? That is unknown, but I can guarantee that Survival+ will eventually be issued in a 3rd edition at a higher price, so this 2nd edition is a limited run. I have signed about 60 copies as a token of my appreciation for those contributors and subscribers who have been outrageously generous ($40 or more). As it stands, that's the only way to get a signed copy, other than this little special offer.
In other news: Luke, the proprietor of the always provocative blog
recently interrogated me at length--the results are posted on his blog. Thank you,
Luke, for the opportunity to spout off even more absurdly than I do here....
is now open for aggregating our collective intelligence.
Of Two Minds is now available via Kindle: Of Two Minds blog-Kindle
"This guy is THE leading visionary on reality.
He routinely discusses things which no one else has talked about, yet,
turn out to be quite relevant months later."
NOTE: contributions are acknowledged in the order received. Your name and email remain confidential and will not be given to any other individual, company or agency.
Or send him coins, stamps or quatloos via mail--please request P.O. Box address.
Your readership is greatly appreciated with or without a donation.
For more on this subject and a wide array of other topics, please visit
All content, HTML coding, format design, design elements and images copyright © 2010 Charles Hugh Smith, All rights reserved in all media, unless otherwise credited or noted.
I would be honored if you linked this wEssay to your site, or printed a copy for your own use.
|consulting||blog fiction/novels articles my hidden history books/films what's for dinner||home email me|