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Guest Post: (Un)Paving Our Way To The Future

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by James H. Kunstler via Peak Prosperity blog,

You can’t overstate the baleful effects for Americans of living in the tortured landscapes and townscapes we created for ourselves in the past century. This fiasco of cartoon suburbia, overgrown metroplexes, trashed small cities and abandoned small towns, and the gruesome connective tissue of roadways, commercial smarm, and free parking is the toxic medium of everyday life in this country. Its corrosive omnipresence induces a general failure of conscious awareness that it works implacably at every moment to diminish our lives. It is both the expression of our collapsed values and a self-reinforcing malady collapsing our values further. The worse it gets, the worse we become.

The citizens who do recognize their own discomfort in this geography of nowhere generally articulate it as a response to “ugliness.” This is only part of the story. The effects actually run much deeper. The aggressive and immersive ugliness of the built landscape is entropy made visible. It is composed of elements that move us in the direction of death, and the apprehension of this dynamic is what really makes people uncomfortable. It spreads a vacuum of lost meaning and purpose wherever it reaches. It is worse than nothing, worse than if it had never existed. As such, it qualifies under St. Augustine’s conception of “evil” in the sense that it represents antagonism to the forces of life.

We find ourselves now in a strange slough of history. Circumstances gathering in the home economics of mankind ought to inform us that we can’t keep living this way and need to make plans for living differently. But our sunk costs in this infrastructure for daily life with no future prevent us from making better choices. At least for the moment. In large part this is because the “development” of all this ghastly crap — the vinyl-and-strandboard housing subdivisions, the highway strips, malls, and “lifestyle centers,” the “Darth Vader” office parks, the infinity of asphalt pavements — became, for a while, our replacement for an economy of ecological sanity. The housing bubble was all about building more stuff with no future, and that is why the attempt to re-start it is evil.

Sooner rather than later we’ll have to make better choices. We’ll have to redesign the human habitat in America because our current environs will become uninhabitable. The means and modes for doing this are already understood. They do not require heroic “innovation” or great leaps of “new technology.” Mostly they require a decent respect for easily referenced history and a readjustment of our values in the general direction of promoting life over death. This means for accomplishing this will be the subject of Part II of this essay, but it is necessary to review a pathology report of the damage done.

Launching Nirvana

I have a new theory of history: things happen in human affairs because they seem like a good idea at the time. This helps explain events that otherwise defy understanding, for example the causes of the First World War. England, France, Russia, Germany, and Italy joined that war because it seemed like a good idea at the time, namely August of 1914. There hadn’t been a real good dust-up on the continent since Waterloo in 1814. Old grievances were stewing. Empires were both rising and falling, contracting and reaching out. The “players” seemed to go into the war thinking it would be a short,  redemptive, and rather glorious adventure, complete with cavalry charges and evenings in ballrooms. The “deciders” failed to take into account the effects of newly mechanized warfare. The result was the staggering industrial slaughter of the trenches. Poison gas attacks did not inspire picturesque heroism. And what started the whole thing? Ostensibly the assassination of an unpopular Hapsburg prince in Serbia. Was Franz Ferdinand an important figure? Not really. Was Austria a threat to France and England? It was in steep decline, a sclerotic empire held together with whipped cream and waltz music. Did Russia really care about little Serbia? Was Germany insane to attack on two fronts? Starting the fight seemed like a good idea at the time — and then, of course, the unintended consequences bit back like a mad dog from hell.

Likewise America’s war against its own landscape, which got underway in earnest just as the First World War ended (1918). The preceding years had seen Henry Ford perfect, first, the Model T (1908), and then the assembly line method of production (1915), and when WW I was out of the way, America embarked on its romance with democratic motoring. First, the cities were retrofitted for cars. This seemed like a good idea at the time, but the streets were soon overwhelmed by them. By the mid-1920s the temptation to motorize the countryside beyond the cities was irresistible, as were the potential profits to be reaped. What’s more, automobilizing the cities made them more unpleasant places to live, and reinforced the established American animus against city life in general, while supporting and enabling the fantasy that everyone ought to live in some approximation to a country squire, preferably in some kind of frontier.

The urban hinterlands presented just such a simulacrum of a frontier. It wasn’t a true frontier anymore in the sense of civilization meeting wilderness, but it was a real estate frontier and that was good enough for the moment. Developing it with houses seemed like a good idea. Indeed, it proved to be an excellent way to make money. The first iteration of 1920s car suburbs bloomed in the rural ring around every city in the land. An expanding middle class could “move to the country” but still have easy access to the city, with all its business and cultural amenities. What a wonderful thing! And so suburban real estate development became embedded in the national economic psychology as a pillar of “progress” and “growth.”

This activity contributed hugely to the fabled boom of the 1920s.  Alas, the financial shenanigans arising out of all this new wealth, along with other disorders of capital, such as the saturation of markets, blew up the banking system and the Great Depression was on. The construction industry was hardest it. Very little private real estate development happened in the 1930s. And as that decade segued right into the Second World War, the dearth continued.

When the soldiers came home, the economic climate had shifted. America was the only industrial economy left standing, with all the advantages implied by that, plus military control over the loser lands. We already possessed the world’s biggest oil industry. But after two decades of depression, war, and neglect, American cities were less appealing than ever. The dominant image of city life in 1952 was Ralph Kramden’s apartment in The Honeymooners TV show. Yccchhh. America was a large nation, with a lot of agricultural land just beyond the city limits. Hence, the mushrooming middle class, including now well-paid factory workers, could easily be sold on “country living.” The suburban project, languishing since 1930, resumed with a vengeance. The interstate highway program accelerated it.

The Broken Promises of Suburbia

It seemed like a good idea at the time. Country life for everybody in the world’s savior democracy! Fresh air! Light! Play space for the little ones! Nothing in world history had been easier to sell. Interestingly, in a nation newly-addicted to television viewing, the suburban expansion of the 1950s took on a cartoon flavor. It was soon apparent that the emergent “product” was not “country living” but rather a cartoon of a country house in a cartoon of the country. Yet it still sold. Americans were quite satisfied to live in a cartoon environment. It was uncomplicated. It could be purchased on installment loans. We had plenty of cheap energy to run it.

It took decades of accreting suburbia for its more insidious deficiencies to become apparent. Most noticeable was the disappearance of the rural edge as the subdivisions quickly fanned outward, dissolving the adjacent pastures, cornfields, and forests that served as reminder of the original promise of “country living.” Next was the parallel problem of accreting car traffic. Soon, that negated the promise of spacious country living in other ways. The hated urban “congestion” of living among too many people became an even more obnoxious congestion of cars. That problem was aggravated by the idiocies of single-use zoning, which mandated the strictest possible separation of activities and forced every denizen of the suburbs into driving for every little task. Under those codes (no mixed use!), the corner store was outlawed, as well as the café, the bistro, indeed any sort of gathering place within a short walk that is normal in one form or another in virtually every other culture.

This lack of public amenity drove the movement to make every household a self-contained, hermetically-sealed social unit. Instead of mixing with other people outside the family on a regular basis, Americans had TV and developed more meaningful relations with the characters on it than with the real people around them. Television was also the perfect medium for selling redundant “consumer” products: every house had to have its own lawnmower, washing machine, and pretty soon a separate TV for each family member.  The result of all that was the corrosion of civic life (a.k.a “community”) until just about every civic association except for school oversight (the fabled PTA) dwindled and faded. And the net effect of all that was the stupendous loneliness, monotony, atomization, superficiality, and boredom of suburbia’s social vacuum. It was especially hard on the supposed greatest beneficiaries, children, who, having outgrown the play space of the yard by age eight, could not easily navigate the matrix of freeways and highways outside the subdivision without the aid of the “family chauffeur,” (i.e. Mom).

Cutting Our Losses & Moving On

A couple of  points about the current situation in suburbia ought to be self-evident. One is that our predicament vis-à-vis oil, along with cratering middle class incomes, suggests that we won’t be able to run this arrangement of things on the landscape a whole lot longer. The circulatory system of suburbia depends on cars which run on liquid hydrocarbon fuels. Despite the current propaganda (“drill, baby drill”), we have poor prospects of continuing an affordable supply of those things, and poorer prospects of running the US motor vehicle fleet by other means, despite the share price of Tesla, Inc. The second point is how poorly all suburbia’s components are aging — the vinyl-clad houses, the tilt-up strip malls, the countless chicken shacks, burger stands, and muffler shops, all the generic accessories and furnishings that litter the terrain from sea to shining sea. There are a lot of reasons these things now look bad (and lose value) but the chief one is that most of them are things nobody really cares about.

In Part II: A Better Human Habitat for the Next Economy, we explore the necessary behaviors we'll need to adopt if we hope to have any prosperity in the years ahead. What seemed like a good idea at the time — through the 20th century and a little beyond — is looking more like an experiment that failed. Our sunk costs in it promote a tendency to agonize over it. I propose that we just give up the hand-wringing and prepare to cut our losses and move on. The reality of the situation is that the response to all this will arise emergently as circumstances compel us to change our behavior and make different (and we should hope) better choices. That is to say, don’t expect programmatic political action to change this, especially from remote authorities like federal or state governments. We will reorganize life on the ground because we will have to.

Click here to read Part II of this report (free executive summary; enrollment required for full access).


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Fri, 11/29/2013 - 20:53 | 4200876 nmewn
nmewn's picture

What this country needs is more ADA ramps & concrete sidewalks in our national parks! ;-)

Fri, 11/29/2013 - 21:19 | 4200927 Skateboarder
Skateboarder's picture

<-- Taco Bell in Yosemite Valley

<-- Taco Bell in Yosemite Valley

Fri, 11/29/2013 - 21:33 | 4200948 kaiserhoff
kaiserhoff's picture

What central planning Debbie Downer perpetrated this POS?

Enough about New Joisy and yes it is that ugly.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 10:34 | 4201726 Atlas_shrugging
Atlas_shrugging's picture

shorting Free Parking as soon as possible.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 12:13 | 4201843 gmrpeabody
gmrpeabody's picture

Does this mean you won't be taking that road trip with us next summer...?

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 12:57 | 4201894 NOZZLE
NOZZLE's picture

No kidding,  30 clams a night to park my sled at a hotel in the Keys.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 11:42 | 4201812 jwoop66
jwoop66's picture

Exactly.  I love it when I hear people rag on suburbia.  Whats the alternative?  European(asian) apartment complexes?  South american or Indian shantytowns?   The people are there.  The people need shelter.   The American suburbs are truly one of the most amazing creations for human habitation yet.   The problem with this country is not suburbs; its our government, who would like to pack us all into apartments like cattle, and their media and education system that are turning us into degenerates.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 15:55 | 4202232 tarsubil
tarsubil's picture

Most American cities could be made beautiful simply by planting some seeds.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 16:01 | 4202247 mkhs
mkhs's picture

Or maybe the manor lords in Connecticut want the countryside green and the serfs corralled in the cities.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 18:22 | 4202488 Jumbotron
Jumbotron's picture

Are you on crack jwoop66 ??

The suburbs was part and parcel of the Big Lie of the American Dream.  It was the utopian vision that you could have a little piece of a more rural life.... (rural as defined as being away enough from the city but not necessarily in the boonies with the yahoos and the rednecks in their trailor homes) .....and yet have relatively easy and cheap access to the city with your automobile which was propagandized by the auto industry as a symbol of freedom, youth and vitality.

And you seemed to buy that bullshit hook, line and sinker.  Well.....I can't be too hard on you I guess.  I bought it too.  But at mind is still pliable enough to learn and to see through the bullshit and in fact CALL bullshit when I see bullshit.

Unfortunately for you still like your fantasies topped with a heaping helping of bullshit flavored Kool-Whip.

Enjoy while you can.  Reality is at your doorstep.  She's a bitch.....and she's ready and willing to slap you in the face.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 22:06 | 4202819 jwoop66
jwoop66's picture

I think maybe it is you that is drinking from the big smiling pitcher. 

I own my own house in the suburbs.  Yes, I pay property taxes, which can be construed as permanent rental, but aside from that I made a mutual agreement with the bank for them to finance me to eventually own my own property.   I have the deed and the property rights. It is my little chunk of the earth.  If anyone infringes on that(govt is the only one who might[govt always seems to be close to the root of the problem]) I have legal recourse and natural right to protect both myself and my property.   I am responsible for the upkeep.   I can let it go to shit or put up the proverbial white picket fence.  It is my choice on my property.  I can choose to sell it at any time and profit from the sale.  Yes, I know- then the govt would want a chunk of the profits, but that is a different problem that surely needs to be addressed.

If I lived in the big apartment complex, I would truly be a slave to not only the govt, but my landlord. If I decided I would like more living space I would be shit out of luck; or at the mercy of the landlord.   In my house, if I decide to make improvements, I just need to grab the wallet and go to Home Depot. Since I am knowledgeable in the arts of home improvement, I just need to get the materials and start swinging a hammer.  

THAT is my reality. 

The cities are sewers of groupthink and parasitism.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 23:00 | 4202890 Jumbotron
Jumbotron's picture

And the suburbs are not sewers as well for groupthink ?

Holy shit.....the suburbs since the 50's has been nothing but a groupthink fantasy.   Along with the whole concept of the middle class.  Both of which are coming to an end.  Just like a huge aircraft will take awhile for the input controls to translate to actual action and turnaround.....but that turn has already begun.  It began when we reached peak output of oil in the 70's.  Now we are reaching peak cheap energy of any sort as evidenced by the scraping of the toilet bowl known as shale oil and fracking.  Not to mention Global Wage Arbitrage being utilized by Multinational Corporations to find the cheapest labor damn to all their workers here at home. least you did stumble onto the truth....even though you did fumble the ball at the end.   You pay property tax.....therefore you are a renter.  That's ALL you ever will be.  The government owns your land and will take it away and force you off that property with the implicit understanding that force can and will be used, if necessary, if you ever fail to pay your property taxes for a certain length of time.  I has happened to me.

I too have A....not mine....A piece of earth.  A 5 acre farm out in the boonies.  Can't even call it the exurbs, much less the suburbs.   It is not mine in two different ways.  I pay property tax therefore it is the governments.  Secondly.....I did not create the earth underneath me.  God did.  Therefore it is not mine a second way.  And I could make a hand waving argument that it is not mine in a THIRD way seeing as how this land used to be Native American which was stolen without due compensation.

Sorry to bust your fantasy......but you don't own shit.  Never have....never will.   By the way.....there is no Santa Claus and there are no Unicorns.  And even if there were.....they would not shit Skittles either.

Sun, 12/01/2013 - 00:44 | 4203037 jwoop66
jwoop66's picture

you're angry.  That is understandable. So am I.  LIMITED GOVERNMENT is the answer.  And a return to the US Constitution of course.  Hopefully that can be achieved through the ballot box.   I don't know...

Sun, 12/01/2013 - 03:43 | 4203149 starfcker
starfcker's picture

Jwoop, where do people get these ideas? you pay property taxes so that mesns you never own anything? i thought you did a pretty good job explaining things. seems to be a huge influx of kids on here in the last month or so, who i am just realizing are the first generation of politically correct, brainwashed regurgobots we have ever seen. lord help us. truly scary how much they think they know, and how much they hate the system that would have allowed them to live prosperous lives. keep up the good work. and i do think house elections can fix this. 

Sun, 12/01/2013 - 12:32 | 4203523 Jumbotron
Jumbotron's picture

starfcker......I am not a kid.....not at 50.

I cannot be politcally correct because I do not participate at all in the political process at all since the 90's.  You guys can have fun with that.

And do not own shit.  If you pay property tax the government CAN and WILL by means of deadly force if necessary come and take your house and/or property away and sell it to the highest bidder.

You would truly own if you had the right and the choice of paying for government services or the right and choice of NOT paying for government services such as schools, fire and police protection, trash pick up and sewer....etc.

I live in the boonies.  I am 1/2 mile from the dump.  I homeschool my kids.  I have my own deepwater well and a huge septic system.  I am off-grid.  I help our neighbors grade our dirt road.  There is even a sheriff that lives a couple of houses down.

Yet I pay for all the above......and none of which I need.  Even trash....I can haul my own.

Yet I do not have the Freedom nor the Liberty to refuse payment of taxes to support services I do not need.  Yet if I REFUSE payment of services I do not need I will have my house and property taken from me.

Because you don't own shit.....if it can be taken away from you by the power of State through deadly force if need be.

What do you NOT understand about this?

Sun, 12/01/2013 - 13:25 | 4203649 starfcker
starfcker's picture

jumbo, sorry there, not particularly aiming at you. you've been posting for quite a while and i enjoy your posts. i'm no fan of the politically correct myself. if this were a newer thread i would be glad to discuss a few things with you, we will have plenty of other opportunities. i"m going to pay closer attention to who else is in a thread before letting loose. you just got mowed down by friendly fire. "i thought they was bad guys". catch you next time

Sun, 12/01/2013 - 12:32 | 4203497 Jumbotron
Jumbotron's picture seem a decent fellow......but you either don't know your history very well.....or you have forgotten it.

We only received the Consitution AFTER we said FUCK YOU to our government in England and we KILLED more of them than they of us.  The ballot did not give us freedom......the bullet did.  Bloodshed did.

That's the way freedom has ALWAYS been ultimately achieved.......and nothing.....even to this day.......has changed.

Fri, 11/29/2013 - 22:22 | 4201030 nmewn
nmewn's picture

Dammit, its sooo hard to choose!

Ok, I'll go for Taco Bell in Yosemite Valley ;-)

Fri, 11/29/2013 - 23:57 | 4201209 0b1knob
0b1knob's picture

"free parking is the toxic medium of everyday life in this country"

Yeah sure, just as soon as we start to charge for parking everything wil become hunky dory

What a crock of central planning socialist bullshit.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 00:10 | 4201232 cape_royds
cape_royds's picture

If you had bothered to read the article, you would have found a very strong criticism of central planning. Examples:

--over-rigid centrally planned zoning rules

--vast centrally planned superhighway system

Suburban sprawl would not exist, without the constant help of top-down anti-market over-centralized decision making.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 00:47 | 4201299 JohnG
JohnG's picture

Part II <----------------

Part II <----------------


We know full well how far gone it is.  And it is bad.

Trying to "SELL" us a better future are you?

Fuck You.


Sat, 11/30/2013 - 09:49 | 4201688 smlbizman
smlbizman's picture

as long as we have man involved it will never is not the ideas or the system per say, but the corrupt fucks that hi-jack the system and ideas...

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 12:59 | 4201877 Manthong
Manthong's picture

"If you had bothered to read the article, you would have found a very strong criticism of central planning." --  +1

Don't forget "single-use zoning"

The whole F'n thing is ANTI-Central Planning and this guy is all about local communities, local sustainability and local control.

..and for crissakes, he did not advocate for parking space extortion, he just implied what a motivator it was for the urban planners and auto industry (which, by the way brought you all of those kind folks at the UAW whose pensions are now FULLY FUNDED by YOU.)

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 01:44 | 4201374 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

"vast centrally planned superhighway system"

Yeah, fuck the interstate highway system.  Everyone knows that has been a killer to free commerce.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 11:48 | 4201723 hedgeless_horseman
hedgeless_horseman's picture



I have read all of Kunstler's books, my favorite being, The Geography of Nowhere, which I have recommended on ZH in the past.  As with most issues, it is important to keep separate the quality of the author's description of the problem (excellent) with his proposal/prediction of a solution/future.  Both are very interesting and informative, but his views of the future do not necessarily follow from his review of the past and present.  Kunstler is intellectually honest about his lack of predictive powers, although still adamant in his arguments. 

Keep the fiction separate from the non-fiction and enjoy the reading. 
You will likely not agree with everything he writes, but should agree that
it is good that people are writing and actually published on these issues.

The sad thing is, I fear, in the direction we are all heading there may be no good social solutions, only good personal responses.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 12:09 | 4201833 MrPalladium
MrPalladium's picture

Whenever I read Kunstler I cannot help but conclude that he yearns for the "meaning" of life in the Sthetl back in the Pale of The Settlement in Eastern Europe. That isn't going to work for those of us who are basically two or three generations removed from the farm and unused to the intense social control of the crowded (and many would argue, oppressive) life in the ethnic village of traders and merchants ever fearful of rural mobs either withholding grain or attacking over what the villagers assume to be imagined grievances. The driver behind Kunstler's discontent is primitive and atavistic. 

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 23:03 | 4202905 Jumbotron
Jumbotron's picture

Then you don't really understand Kunstler.  He understands that primitive is the true nature of mankind's existence.  We will go back there.  We already have made the turn.  He just isn't going to bullshit anyone about the matter.

He'll let you do that on your own.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 08:28 | 4201643 ZH Snob
ZH Snob's picture

I'm bullish on Jesus.

Fri, 11/29/2013 - 21:37 | 4200956 Anusocracy
Anusocracy's picture

The development of a tree occurs in order to create more trees.

Sufficiently advanced technology could design 'trees' that function as dwellings and provide electrical power.

Just design it to provide what is needed for habitation.

Fri, 11/29/2013 - 22:26 | 4201040 nmewn
nmewn's picture


Like BitTree ;-)

(Sorry, I really can't help myself sometimes)

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 12:21 | 4201854 gmrpeabody
gmrpeabody's picture

Genetically modified trees now...?

That's progressive, and will also establish a whole new subculture of demonstrators as well.

France will be beside herself.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 10:47 | 4201740 hoos bin pharteen
hoos bin pharteen's picture

Works for the elves in Lothlorien!

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 20:52 | 4202691 Parrotile
Parrotile's picture

OK as long as these "trees" are not as invasive as Eric Drexler's view of his nanotechnologically-based artificial plant life (which essentially out-competed the "natural" plants in a relatively few generations).

How about promoting an alternative architecture: How about the "Traditional Dutch Windmill" for starters. Visually appealing, accommodation space (for residence or employment), and the potential to harvest at least some wind power.

Probably not as "efficient" as the current visually un-appealing "Wind Turbines" popping up everywhere, but far, far less intrusive, and possibly a far more useful (as in multi-use) structure.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 01:58 | 4201395 buttmint
buttmint's picture

nmewn +10 for spot-on observation about the stupid and overbuilt American sidewalks. American sidewalks are a Pantheon to Lawyers and Lawsuit America. I personally have yet to see anyone in a wheelchair or RoboScooter use American sidewalks.

For a treat, head to SE Asia, specifically Bangkok or other large Thai city. The sidewalks look as if they were intentionally bombed and strafed, yet the sidewalks are teeming with food carts, people, hotties, fortune tellers and all sorts of commerce taking place. Asian sidewalks also double as a nifty "relief route" if one is on their scooter and needs to bypass a horrific traffic jam. Imagine riding any motorcycle on an American sidewalk?

The difference? No road rage in Asia, no one gets tweaked, no lawsuits. You step off a kerb and twist your ankle, the prevailing rule of law is thus: "...som nam naaaaaaah"---which means "serves your right."

Take your pick where you wish to live.


Sat, 11/30/2013 - 06:08 | 4201580 Serenity Now
Serenity Now's picture

Yeah, Bangkok is definitely the best third world shit hole that I have visited.  I was in the cutest little sidewalk market, with children trying to scam me for money, and adult scammers trying to scam me for money, and some guy hocked a loogie (sp?), and another guy kicked him in the neck and dropped him right on the sidewalk.  Wow.  There is nothing wrong with the sidewalks, by the way.  Most of Bangkok has no indoor plumbing, however....

Oh, and there was a coup a few weeks after that. More of that third world charm!

And I've been to South Korea, where yes indeed, they drive mopeds on the sidewalk.  You'll choke to death if you stay there more than a week, so keep that in mind.  That's not SK's fault, mind's the smog and dust from China (and some of it is from SK).  

I've also lived in Japan, where it is in fact a criminal offense if you cause a car accident.  No lawsuits in Asia?  You're crazy.  

"the stupid and overbuilt American sidewalks. American sidewalks are a Pantheon to Lawyers and Lawsuit America."

What's a stupid sidewalk?

What's an overbuilt sidewalk?  Examples, please!  The vast majority of America does not have sidewalks.  A Pantheon to lawyers?  Name the top five lawsuits in the nation regarding sidewalks.  Go ahead.  

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 10:16 | 4201711 nmewn
nmewn's picture

Mine was more of a tweaking of faux green noses.

Like the Prius & Volvo drivers with Save the Planet stickers plastered all over the back of their cars complaining about accessability to what is supposed to be remote & almost inaccessible to all but the hardiest...bitching that there are mosquitoes, bugs and not enough sidewalks, signage, security, lodging, parking and wheelchair accessible bathrooms.

We now have these cancerous arteries all over the country.

Every new off ramp at some nondescript county road junction to make their life easier is an invitation to lay some more asphalt for a new gas station and Burger be followed by a Target and a Walmart.

To give them something else to bitch about.

Fri, 11/29/2013 - 20:58 | 4200884 starfcker
starfcker's picture

what kind of bullshit is this? i ain't gonna read part 2, but i bet i know where this is headed. we should all live in 80 story towers next to a light rail station clustered around a walmart with lots of bike paths. when our (EBT) ration card gets charged we can splurge at the walmart before taking the light rail to get our nads snipped. hey kunstler, you could save everyone a lot of time and just paraphrase. "AGENDA 21!!!!"

Fri, 11/29/2013 - 21:19 | 4200925 Sockeye
Sockeye's picture

JHK needs to be debunked.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 09:32 | 4201679 Normalcy Bias
Normalcy Bias's picture

I have a new theory of history: things happen in human affairs because they seem like a good idea at the time.

No shit, Sherlock. EVERYTHING happens because it seems like a good idea at the time...

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 17:58 | 4202457 rtalcott
rtalcott's picture

i was really drunk at the time

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 23:08 | 4202914 Jumbotron
Jumbotron's picture a world of magnets and miracles.


Fri, 11/29/2013 - 21:38 | 4200949 joego1
joego1's picture

Yes it certainly smells like agenda 21 to me. If you wipe out the middle class everyone will be walking.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 09:31 | 4201676 Normalcy Bias
Normalcy Bias's picture

Bingo. Thread winner.

Fri, 11/29/2013 - 21:55 | 4200983 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

Collectivism requires, no, demands that we surrender all individual identity, in how and WHERE we live. As we see today, cost is the almighty, and the efficiency of a centrally controlled becomes mandatory. Living like rats is the most efficient and effective way of controlling cost but primarily controlling us. Local government funding shortfalls will require less infrastructure spending as well as law enforcement...for criminals that is. For you and I who may be sitting in our living room, we may well discover that we have broken some unheard of law to which a special division of law enforcement will find extremely prejudiced to enforce. Conformity is the goal and ensures their agenda will be followed. Arbitrary enforcement of obscure laws will be the lever to move us "forward".

So...we have a choice. Resist and likely suffer or fall in line, embrace the agenda and who knows, maybe achieve a position of power or influence.

Personally, I say fuckem.

Fri, 11/29/2013 - 22:18 | 4201020 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

For fuck's sake, Oldwood, even in the frontier they had towns and pooled resources.  It's not an either or.  You are starting to sound like W (you're either with us or ....).  How about a rational conversation about limits?  Nevermind.  

Fri, 11/29/2013 - 22:42 | 4201084 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

How about voluntary cooperation and transparency rather than constant manipulation, lying and corruption being to used to advance an agenda that they try to act like does not exist?

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 01:38 | 4201358 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

That's a start.  But whenever you get two or more people together, there is manipulation, lying and corruption.   The answer is checks and balances.   Get over your unicorn theory of free markets and everyone getting along.  Or just have a freshman class discussion of a new world, if you prefer.  

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 02:01 | 4201400 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Is this hyperbole or are you just jaded. I live in a 75+ member community and we have helped each other out voluntarily for many years. This includes wildfires, roads washed out, people flipping their trucks and getting stuck in the mud ( me), wells going dry, picking each others kids from school, taking care of livestock when people went on vacation and scraping the road with tractors when it becomes unpassable. There are no checks and balances. No one charges anyone for services rendered. Large capital expenses are shared. Unfortunately, some among us are of limited means and cannot contribute. Mr and I often pay double or more to cover them because we are able. No one has asked us or demanded we do so. This is not a unicorn world but reality. I don't think we are unique. I trust my neighbors far more than government provided services which have failed us numerous times.


Sat, 11/30/2013 - 02:12 | 4201405 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

And who provides the electricity for your internet?  Did you go out and reconnect the lines after the floods?  And whose roads do the fuel trucks use to deliver the fuel for your truck?  And who are you waiting for to rebuild the washed out roads?  Normalcy bias.  Kudos for helping your neighbors.  Shame on you for forgetting the role of your more distant neighbors who will do the other things for you.  

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 03:04 | 4201469 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

Virtually all electrical generation and power distribution was done by private companies prior the the depression. As a matter of fact those companies were but the few that survived the depression without government help. At least until FDR got a hold of them. He used taxpayer money to construct hydro dans in the Tennesse valley and then undercut their prices forcing them out of business. So very similar to today where in the middle of a financial collapse our healthiest industries, energy and healthcare come under government pressure. Funny how that works and all the sudden we are dependent on government services, corrupt and unquestionable.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 03:05 | 4201473 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Yeah, and my electrical grid is constantly failing.  Not.  So another example of how government can actually do good.  Post when your electricity is back up.  Oh, nevermind.  It just works.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 03:09 | 4201478 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

"So another example of how government can actually do good"

You're such a nanny state fag I want to vomit.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 03:11 | 4201481 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Nanny internet electrical grid.  

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 03:17 | 4201493 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

Yes it does fail. Thats why i spent hard earned money to install a backup generator. For everything "good" that government provides we pay at least double for the priviledge and the corruption.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 03:25 | 4201503 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

I'm glad it's working tonight.  On one of those rare occasions.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 03:38 | 4201515 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Most of us have solar with generator back up. Some are using wind power but admit it is not as good. Yes, we know we are not a self sustaining economy in the modern sense. To suggest that this is forgotten by us is disingenuous. However, I believe if things were to go truly bad in this country, we would last longer than urban Metrosexuals that can't change a tire without calling triple A.

Several people actually rebuilt the road using 2 backhoes, 2 tractors and a Bobcat that people in our community owned. Our problem was we needed a large cement culvert for flood control. Someone knew a public works employee in the city that connected us with an individual that had a used culvert that would suit us. We pooled our money to buy it. Our total cost for the road repair came out to be 15K. The county after surveying the damage estimated the cost at 75K. Sometimes individuals can work more efficiently and cost effectively than government bureaucrats. I'm sure we broke a million OSHA rules in its construction.


Sat, 11/30/2013 - 02:20 | 4201421 Lednbrass
Lednbrass's picture

My experience in life leads me to think that those who have spent the majority of their existences in large urban areas do not understand what a community is and have never experienced it.  They often bandy the word about but have no personal experience with what you describe and as a result are befuddled by it.  The anonymity and not knowing who you live next to and among has so permeated their thinking that they assume it to be a constant in the human condition.

A small town near me (2500 people) had a series of fundraisers last year for a guy who needed an operation but had no insurance. After 3 or 4 months of raffles, $10 a plate hot dog/burger and slaw lunches, and things of that nature he had the 30K he needed.  Where I work we are always passing the hat for guys who have one issue or another- the man who had to take his wife across the state for a brain tumor removal got $1K to cover hotel and travel costs, the man whose house burnt down got about $1500 to rent something and get by while he sorts things out with the insurance company, right now another man's wife is going through cancer treatment and he is missing time so one of the boys put up a nice shotgun to raffle off with 100 tickets at $20 per.

This is all voluntary, just folks who don't have alot helping out their friends and neighbors and all done entirely without compulsion or guidance from above.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 02:23 | 4201425 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Who built the local hospital?

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 02:42 | 4201440 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

Probably private money, imagine that?  Much of what you're describing is or should be private sector.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 02:46 | 4201444 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Probably?   Let's hear the town and then deal with facts, though I know those are inconvient to you.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 02:56 | 4201459 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

Most hospitals in the US were funded with private money and charitable donations.  Many Utilites are private enterprises.  Many roads and transit systems are privatized.  Why is it impossible for you to imagine life without a govt program?

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 03:01 | 4201468 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Surely the original poster has a story from local news that he can point to.  Or are facts scary to you?


Sat, 11/30/2013 - 03:06 | 4201474 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

He's going to search local news archives for a stroy about who funded the Hospital?  Be a little open minded Lola.  The gov is not the not the end all be all.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 03:08 | 4201477 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

No, about his local survivor that was saved by community (collective) contribution story genius.  Or he could just name the guy and the hospital and I will look it up if he's too lazy.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 10:13 | 4201706 Lost My Shorts
Lost My Shorts's picture

If you want the truth, not the fantasay about small town "community" see this:

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 12:06 | 4201830 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

People are shitty everywhere. Get a clue.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 08:12 | 4201622 daemon
daemon's picture

" There are no checks and balances.No one charges anyone for services rendered. "

But there is (affective)memory and reciprocity . An other type of intangible, more subtle and complex system of checks and balances .

By the way, it's really interesting, because your comment tends to show some kind of spontaneous collectivisation (to some point) of your community .

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 12:11 | 4201836 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Please dont confuse human beings looking after each other with collectivism.

The former is driven by individual decisions, with no force involved. It used to be called charity, goodwill, good samaritanism, or simply loving your neighbor.

Collectivism is driven by force, and involves theft, envy, and redistribution by a self-appointed governing elite that always seems to look after itself first, and anyone else a very distant second.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 15:31 | 4202182 daemon
daemon's picture

" Collectivism is driven by force, ... "

I'm not sure collectivism necessarily imply "driven by force" the way you mean it . Anyway, that's why I used "collectivisation" , to avoid any ideological consideration.


" Please dont confuse human beings looking after each other with collectivism.

The former is driven by individual decisions, with no force involved. It used to be called charity, goodwill, good samaritanism, or simply loving your neighbor. "

Well, I'm sorry to tell you that, but there is no free lunch . You seem to imply that human beings looking after each other, do so, absolutely gratuitously, by pure love. Even though there can be some truth in this, it is clearly not the entire picture. There can be "force" involved, a subtle one; it's called reciprocity . People are not that free to choose to "play the game" or not , and there may often be consequences (costs) choosing not to .


Sat, 11/30/2013 - 17:56 | 4202453 Tulpa
Tulpa's picture

If you define "force" broadly enough to cover that situation, then every interaction between human beings is coercive.

The OP's point (correct me if I'm wrong) was that people can and do take care of each other's problems independently of the government.  Statists hate and fear state-independent communities far more intensely than isolated rugged individuals precisely because they are more stable.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 02:04 | 4201404 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

Who or what morally superior entity is going to provide these checks and balances? I would contend that our lies and corruption have increased at least linearly if not greater with the ever increasing size and scope of our "checks and balances" government. Will there ever come a time when you will admit that government is the point of the spear when it comes to corruption? It may not always be the source but it always becomes the focal point of its power.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 15:56 | 4202235 akak
akak's picture


Will there ever come a time when you will admit that government is the point of the spear when it comes to corruption? It may not always be the source but it always becomes the focal point of its power.

Nicely stated!

I am going to remember, and use, this.

Fri, 11/29/2013 - 23:00 | 4201119 nmewn
nmewn's picture

Can't a family member just help another family member over a curb this too much of an inconvience to the family that society must be forced to do this for them?

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 00:32 | 4201277 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

Yes we must be forced in order for so many to feel good about themselves. You know the ones. They are always responding to every hardship or perceived injustice with "there ought to be a law!"

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 01:58 | 4201359 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

And there has never been force applied when people didn't collect together to fight off Kings and tyrants, right?  Normalcy bias isn't just for the EBT crowd.  It's also for the Old Wood for Rand crowd.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 02:08 | 4201407 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

So there is no difference to you between the force used to throw off the shackles of tyranny and that used to impose them?

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 02:10 | 4201408 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

A lot of good men and women died to throw off the shackles of tyranny that you don't think exist.  What do you think this Republic was born from?   The current system is corrupt.  The answer is not platitudes and Rush Limbaugh bullshit.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 02:33 | 4201429 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

The comment was about force used to effectively enforce tyranny and you equated that to the force to throw off such tryanny. Don't speak to me of fucking platitudes, when you have no idea of anyones sacrifices beyond your own, as you are obviously willing to impose your will on others through your collective checks and balances. You are not paying any attention if you believe for a moment that my first and foremost concern IS NOT the current imposition of tyranny by people such as yourself, who are convinced they are doing it for my own good. 

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 02:37 | 4201435 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Thanks, Rush.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 03:01 | 4201467 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

Rush? You have issues to the point that facts don't matter.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 03:04 | 4201470 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Is your pussy wet or is there some other reason you feel the need to post in response to me?  It's kind of creepy.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 03:16 | 4201491 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

I'm amused by your knee-jerk responses when someone challeges your view of the Nanny state.  It makes me horny.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 03:26 | 4201497 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Circular motion.  Check.  Reagan poster.  Check.  Go to town.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 10:41 | 4201731 rwe2late
rwe2late's picture


Look in the mirror.

The initial act of tyranny over others arguably occurs when one asserts the right of individual 'ownership', control, and use of resources outside the well-being of others.

Humans are social beings. Like it or not, the community may and will restrain the actions of individuals deemed harmful.

Like it or not, the real questions revolve around how issues of harm will be decided, and for what purpose.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 17:40 | 4202434 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

Great! No one owns anything. Give me all of your crap, I need it and further it makes feel inferior that you should have more than me. If you don't like it I will send over "friends" with guns that will forcibly remove it from you (for society's good of course) but do not concern yourself because they will be properly badged and identified agents of the State.

Who do you think you or anyone else is that should have the power to my life and labor? Some unidentifiable cloud entity that speaks from behind some curtain, proclaiming the Great and Mighty OZ says so because a group of enlightened souls from on high proclaimed it as such. Can you be so blind and hypocritical as to believe that the hordes of uneducated and absolutely self interested masses can intelligently vote with regard to "others" rights to property? Do you support the commerce clause's interpretation from the 30's that defined a farmers right to grow 30 acres of wheat as interfering with interstate commerce and therefore to be regulated by the Federal government? Where will YOU draw the line? Or is it as simple as a surrender to a higher power, and accepting any and all declarations as irrefutable law, like stone tablets from the mountain top?

The constitution has been abandoned because it is perceived by the left to not adequately protect the poor, while those very policies the progressives have promoted (and stretched every seam of the constitution) have only made things worse.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 01:38 | 4201364 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

The sad truth for most is its just so much more simple to force another to provide a service or spend other peoples money. After sitting on 4 juries, I'm shocked how people quickly proposed millions for pain and suffering without one thought where that money was coming from. Once I just lost it when these crazy idiots wanted to give millions to a victim of a car crash because she stated it had ruined her potential as a singer. No evidence was presented that she could even sing. I flat out refused and suggested they should collectively write her personal checks. They hadn't a clue what I was talking about.


Sat, 11/30/2013 - 01:44 | 4201367 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

So the system worked, then.  You were there to stop the train as you perceived it.   Jury of our peers.  One of the great things about living in a Constitutional Republic where oligarchs don't get to make these decisions for us.  Or are you just making this up?

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 02:07 | 4201406 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

I fabricate nothing. However when the event is 11 vs 1, it is disheartening to realize how much a minority one is in.


Sat, 11/30/2013 - 02:16 | 4201412 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

What State do you live in? 

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 02:33 | 4201432 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

San Diego,CA which is relatively conservative. I don't think my observations can be explained solely by location.


Sat, 11/30/2013 - 02:54 | 4201441 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Sorry, but you made up your story then.  In CA, only 9 of 12 jurors need decide to render a verdict in a civil trial.

And by the way, did it occur to you how fucked it would be if you could veto 11 other jurors of your peers?   In a system that was designed by those who fought tyranny and who developed a system that was supposed to work against tyranny?   Sounds like someone wants to be Queen.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 03:09 | 4201479 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

Sounds to me like you are the only Queen here.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 03:13 | 4201482 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

When all else fails, call him a fag.  Good to know who I'm arguing with.  Enjoy the 75+ trailer.  I mean manufactured home.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 03:25 | 4201504 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

You are not a queen because you are a fag. You are a queen because you behave as an upity little bitch when confronted with sound opinions. I have no idea of your sex or sexual identification beyond that. And as far as where and how I live, you have no idea, ideals that are based on hard work and personal responsibilty virtually guarantee that I enjoy a higher standard of living then you, unless you are exceptionally lucky or on parol for grand theft.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 03:26 | 4201508 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Back peddle much?  And I'm sure your manufactured home is nice.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 03:38 | 4201513 Harbanger
Harbanger's picture

Careful, Socialist Lola is using the Class warfare card.  We can't all be rich like her living in the Floridian Riviera.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 03:38 | 4201514 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

And you have nothing at all.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 03:46 | 4201519 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Funny how it always comes down to a contest of how much we own, Randite.   I would tell you to think about what that says about you and your ideology, but it would fall on deaf ears. 

Hope you don't have a hurricane, though I hear you can tie those super nice manufactured homes down. :)

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 04:01 | 4201523 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

Nothing at so far as an argument. Concentrate less on personal attacks and you might make a valid point.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 03:17 | 4201496 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

I did not. The case had already completed the criminal phase. The perpetrator was serving time causing the accident being high on Meth. Ours was the civil case against the State for not having a median barrier which may have prevented the accident. Obviously the state had more money to shell out than a drug addict.

We were presented with 10 contingencies that had to be satisfied to award money to the victim. The first was " does the state have some responsibility for this accident" I alone said no. The state showed that having a median barrier in this area would actually increase the number of accidents and it clearly fell with in the law where median barriers are required. Because I was out voted we moved to the next requirement. " was the state willfully negligent not providing reasonable safety for the public?" I was out voted again but the numbers were better in my favor. Finally at the fourth requirement we got 9 of 12 to conclude the case. The accident was 100% the fault of the drug addict and the State had no liability. It would have been hung if a unanimous decision was required because 3 people said they were going to give an award no matter what the law said, in essence nulification. Yes, the other nine were eventually convinced but that was through 1 week of grueling deliberation and I know most were not pleased with their choice. They complained bitterly about it after the case was ended. I did not intend to misrepresent my experience but I was the only one on that jury that that was comfortable with my decision.


Sat, 11/30/2013 - 03:40 | 4201510 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

What happened to 1 of 11?   

I call bullshit.  

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 04:05 | 4201525 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

I never stated the verdict was 1 to 11. It was 9 of 12. What I stated was 11 people disagreed with me from the start and were very forceful telling me so during deliberations and after the trial.

There is no bull shit coming from me. What I see from you is a desparate grasp to hold on to a comfortable world that you can't live without. The mere mention of a crack in its facade causes you to wildly attack any who causes it to be questioned. Your just a frightened little person grasping for safety knowing intuitively there is none. You are to be pitied. If society were to crumble, no one will come to your aid and you have no skills but argument and debate which are of no use in that scenario.


Sat, 11/30/2013 - 07:23 | 4201610 artless
artless's picture

"One of the great things about living in a Constitutional Republic where oligarchs don't get to make these decisions for us."

I've been reading LTER posts for a while and now I know he/she.whatever IS the new MillionDollarBonus.

Best sarcastic line on ZH in a while. Oligarchs don't get to make decisions! Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Good one.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 10:43 | 4201734 bunnyswanson
bunnyswanson's picture

Jury Nullification.   The new law of the land.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 10:06 | 4201695 rwe2late
rwe2late's picture

 Oldwood -

Your straw man and reductio ad absurdum arguments are unconvincing.

The fact is there should be laws regarding sweatshops, child labor, unsafe working conditions, polluting the environment, and poisoned foods ---and enforced. But that would require other than the undemocratic business community and their fake "free market" apologists controlling and limiting government.

And the fact is that many of the worst problems arise from self-serving businesses left free to pursue profits without regard for the consequences or social costs.


Sat, 11/30/2013 - 17:48 | 4202446 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

My straw man contests everything you said. I would challenge you to show me one case of corruption of any size or significance that does not have government's fingerprints all over it. This very economic disaster we are experiencing is the direct result of countless failures and corrupt self serving policies of our government. The answer is definitely to give them more power and unaccountable minions to lord over us, while sacking our pockets in the process. But to protest would be unpatriotic if not downright terroristic.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 00:27 | 4201268 wisehiney
wisehiney's picture

Study how TN was really won. Lot's of untold stories. Those old frontiers were not won by feminist comittees(sp?). Strive to learn the difference. You will enjoy it.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 10:03 | 4201698 rwe2late
rwe2late's picture

 If one enjoys genocide, slavery, and despoiling the environment.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 12:19 | 4201852 Buckaroo Banzai
Buckaroo Banzai's picture

Genocide? Try reading the historical novel, "The Frontiersmen". Based on facts. The Indians were, largely speaking, unimaginably bloodthirsty savages who reacted extremely poorly to white settlers. They got wiped out for a reason.

Sorry to burst your PC bubble. Don't believe the bullshit Hollywood sells you about the Indians.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 06:25 | 4201588 Serenity Now
Serenity Now's picture

They didn't have towns!  They didn't have resources.  They found and invented those things.  

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 09:01 | 4201659 brettd
brettd's picture

Or change the agenda.

What YOU want counts too, you know.

Rules: In family relationships, towns and politics are just 

baselines for how we treat one another----and can be changed most anytime.

Bostonians live by different rules than Houstonians....

It's not a binary experience.

Fri, 11/29/2013 - 23:43 | 4201190 Ocean22
Ocean22's picture

Agenda 21 is not getting enough attention. It's everywhere. It's happening.

Fri, 11/29/2013 - 23:50 | 4201197 joego1
joego1's picture

Yes, I live in the country and you can see them making it harder to build and they are not fixing the roads so it's just a matter of time before it becomes impossible to live out here. The local hospital is on the brink of closing down and local businesses are drying up. I just realized if the UPS guy gets shut down we will be really screwed out here. I guess I should feel happy I'm here for now. On a long enough timeline...

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 02:00 | 4201398 Wahooo
Wahooo's picture

It will make it more difficult for them to come to you.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 09:57 | 4201694 laomei
laomei's picture

Living in a highrise has some pretty awesome benefits.  Everything is convenient for starters.  And yes, when it's located near light rail, sure, you can have a car, but you don't really need one.  Having a house in the countryside is entirely possible as well, but you won't be living in it, it's more of a vacation/weekend thing, because once you get used to the convenience of the city, it's very difficult to trade down.  What spurred the exodus from the cities in the first place was the fact that most didn't own anything, and the loans were cheaper than renting in the cities, well that and black people, who seemed to think they deserved to be treated like humans.


Density means better access to better public facilities as well.  Out in the countryside, or us suburbia, going to the hospital results in a choice of maybe 1 or 2, none of them very close at all.  Within a 10 mile radius here, I have my choice of about 30 publics and another 20 or so privates.  How many places in the US can claim walking distance to major supermarkets?  No, not by bus or subway, just walking, as in you'll be there in 15 minutes.  I can't think of many at all.  Back in my hometown, a rundown stripmall supermarket is still some 3 miles away, anything else is a 20 minute drive or a 3 hour series of buses.  

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 16:26 | 4202304 scrappy
scrappy's picture

Enjoy your crowded camera everywhere lemming fantasy WTSHTF.

Sun, 12/01/2013 - 01:21 | 4203050 laomei
laomei's picture

The only cameras in our complex area are the ones that we, the homeowners, had installed for our own security.  And of course the subway/light rail station has cameras, you'd have to be stupid to ride on one that didn't.

And as for "WTSHTF" fantasies. It's very different here.  Most food staples are local and there are food depots that were setup in case of supply emergencies.  No problems here and people tend to not kill each other over saving a few bucks on useless shit.


The truth about sales is this: There is no real savings.  Those door-buster specials are either worthless shit to begin with or phantom specials which can be beat any day of the week if you have even an ounce of functioning grey matter.  For China, fff, we buy most of our shit online now in the cities.

Fri, 11/29/2013 - 21:02 | 4200889 augustusgloop
augustusgloop's picture

Ahh--another "world made by hand(job)". JHK played to fear during the peak of the commodity spec. bubble/peak oil "world made by hand" and "the long emergency." totally missed tight oil & shale (or why WTI sells at a discount to Brent and WCS at a discount to WTI). Tesla quip is pathetic. How about the urban renaissance in New York? And guess what JHK, atomic family has been nuked and you have many generations living under one roof again thanks to the 2008-9 blow up. Can't believe the Tylers are publishing this.

Fri, 11/29/2013 - 21:13 | 4200911 Flammonde
Flammonde's picture

Hundertwasser is an architect whose ideas have arrived.  However, we can I think go back to William Morris and JohnRuskin, and Thomas Carlyle to start this critque of the hideous.

Fri, 11/29/2013 - 21:31 | 4200943 Iam_Silverman
Iam_Silverman's picture

Kunt-stler can kiss my ass.  I like the road in front of my place.  It takes me places.  Then, when I am done being "someplace", I can retire to my private 45 acres of extra rural bliss and drink beer, walk among the cattle and play with the dogs.  Growing up we had dirt paths in some areas.  When it rained you stayed at home.  I love pavement, even if it is the cheap, noisy chip seal they use around here.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 00:25 | 4201258 wisehiney
wisehiney's picture

You should see the look on the fine young mothers faces when I tell the them that I remember when they used to spray that street down every week with used oil to keep the dust down.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 22:36 | 4202861 Iam_Silverman
Iam_Silverman's picture

Ahhh, used oil - the very fabric of our roads here in the beautiful rural world of Central Texas!  A little tar, a little used oi, some pebbles - and voila', "chip seal".

Fri, 11/29/2013 - 21:32 | 4200947 TrustWho
TrustWho's picture

You forgot the impact of air conditioners. People use to cool themselves on their porches so at least the neighbors had to visit and get to know each other. Your summary history is spot on.

The solution's principle must be bult on "doing" is more important than "having" foundation. We need to go back in time and create local economies that connect people in the community. Based on local university resources, local intellectual property, historic assets and the comparative advantage of local resources, the community can build competitive industries for trade. I am trying to get my county to assess these assets to support their strategic plan. Being in the country, we have some great hard working skill sets, but we have had significant losses due to the economies of scale in farming with the petroleum based technology. 

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 00:21 | 4201253 wisehiney
wisehiney's picture

Funny how the best/happiest outcomes/responses come from acknowledging the unspeakable.

Fri, 11/29/2013 - 21:33 | 4200952 grunk
grunk's picture

I live near some small towns, 2,000-4,000 people.

The property tax rates, the water and sewer rates are unsustainable when you see that homes outside the muncipal boundaries are wells and septic vs. town water and sewer.

These towns are employee-heavy, especially the popo with their cars and training and pensions.

One town has an assistant town manager making 149,000/year in a town of 3,500 people. 

You'd think that these small towns would be a magent, an alternative to the traffic, crime, and expense of living in a larger city.

They aren't. Little fiefdoms of people living there since the 50's.



Fri, 11/29/2013 - 22:07 | 4201002 Iam_Silverman
Iam_Silverman's picture

"I live near some small towns, 2,000-4,000 people."

Wow, those seem like pretty good sized towns to me.  The closest one to me just passed 700 people last census.  May be time to move......

Fri, 11/29/2013 - 22:16 | 4201016 Professorlocknload
Professorlocknload's picture


  Insatiable Government, all the way down to the Dog Catcher. The nature of communal organization. What belongs to everyone, belongs to no one in particular, so nobody gives a shit.

 Empire builders, all, until it topples. Then it's the individual that has to put it back together again, a brick at a time.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 09:08 | 4201666 brettd
brettd's picture

Won't get better 'till it gets worse.

Look at Vermont vs. New Hampshire.

Almost identialcal in resources, size, location, climate etc.

Vermont is in atrophy.  NH Thriving.

All because of government policies.

Fri, 11/29/2013 - 21:39 | 4200959 q99x2
q99x2's picture

Look. It is not that bad. Fuck I grew up in Pittsburgh. Now I live in Southern California. I jogged in the rain today and the experience was so beautiful that two joggers passing the opposite direction proclaimed to me how wonderful it was. I go to college with kids young enough to be my grandaughters.

WTF why you complaining. This is the Holiday season. Buy some BitCoin why don't you.

Be Happy.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 16:29 | 4202310 scrappy
scrappy's picture

You jogged in radioactive rain - how wonderful!

Fri, 11/29/2013 - 21:42 | 4200963 Trampy
Trampy's picture



Is the current Panopticon now so powerful that it can prevent one inmate from being contacted by others? I never imagined that an open-air prison such as the present day could be the virtual equivalent of solitary confinement, but if nobody here will reply to me “knocking on the pipes” with the Morse code international call of distress, then yes, it sure does seem so.

Are the people here afraid to answer, or is it that maybe they're just indifferent, like the crowd of New Yorkers who stood by as Kitty Genovese was murdered in broad daylight?

Under maritime law, it is a serious offense to ignore an SOS. Likewise, it is a serious, but lesser, offense to abuse the SOS protocol. Does everything here think that someone else will do the right thing, as with Ms. Genovese? Or does everyone here think that this is just a prank, or worse?

Very sadly, not one person has replied. I don't bite and always try to be a good person. And I love cats and I don't lie. Yes, it's very difficult living in this world surrounded by zombies. All of these here highly-educated, high-income males who live alone, and not one of them has answered my plea. WTF! Have all the decent people of the world been killed or made too scared to email a decent stranger who is clearly in need?

It's really not that difficult to extract my email from the PGP key posted here. And it's OK if you can't or don't want to use PGP. I've been told previously that plenty of people here actually do know how to use PGP and could do so, but that it seemed senseless, and off-putting, for me to be using it for something so “harmless.” Really! This person, who will of course remain nameless because I don't gossip, told me it seemed silly. Astounding! Don't people realize that the world would be a much safer and more private place if all the non-zombies of the world again used PGP for the most trivial of correspondence, as was the case with me and my peers in late 1990s? Or, has what may be a limited hangout from Snowden served to scare even the cognoscenti from “drawing attention of the authorities”?

And I really don't care what your handle here is, because I'd like to move a discussion out and away from the overt hostility and braggartry that rules ZH. Try wait, maybe some think that it's me who is doing the intimidating because I, like almost everyone else, shows off my knowledge. But that's the whole Fight Club meme, and ZH has always been very uncollegial, or, as they say, “Fight Club” per the eponymous movie, from the very beginning. So that is a very good reason to not tell me your ZH handle.

Let's try this again, please. And I'll keep at it until I get at least one genuine response. I'm not just repeating the exact same post over and over again. This urgent plea will keep changing and it will be continually reposted until I get at least a few civil answers so that the hoped-for discussion could be taken off-line from here. Mahalo!

Inmate of open-air prison run by lunatics and populated almost entirely by zombies is desperately seeking a pen-pal ... because Aldous Huxley gave someone to Winston Smith.

For mutual support in these trying times, am seeking fellow non-zombie intelligent, open-minded, and well-informed inmate for discussing topics of mutual interest, such as:

  1. Both actual and notional nuclear accidents, and nuclear technology of all sorts. Is nuclear safety always an oxymoron? I'd love to find a fellow atomic scientist here, as in Bull. Atom. Sci.;

  2. Same as it ever was. “Kill the man, kill the problem,” Joe Stalin. Change is a process, not an event. And the Hunt brothers truly believed in the inflation-wracked 1970s that the only way to preserve their wealth against monetary inflation was to buy silver. The Hunts did not foresee Paul Volcker. Today's stackers are no different. And George Orwell's intended title for his most famous book was originally “Nineteen Forty-Eight,” its year of completion, but that was too incendiary a title. Strange as it may seem to those too young to remember the 1960s and 1970s, it was probably more common to see the intelligent writers back then saying that we were (back then) living in the new “Nineteen Eighty-Four” world system than is seen in today's writings, when it's so much more obvious than it was back then when we didn't yet have the technology to do all the things described, but the mechanics of the social control system required time to brainwash multiple generations of us. Only time will tell what the future will bring;

  3. Same as it ever was. Bankers v. The People is nothing new. In 1833 Andrew Jackson took on and succeeded in killing the Second Bank of the United States. In 1963 JFK took on the Fed and was killed. The bankers will do “whatever it takes” to keep it going as long as possible;

  4. Same as it ever was. Historical Revisionism of WW1 and WW2 as a battle of valiant truth-telling historians versus the plush OSS/CIA myth-telling “historians” as waged notably by the largely, and very sadly, forgotten Harry Elmer Barnes, 1889–1968, the author of the 1935 big-selling college textbook History of Western Civilization. Many brave souls such as he have seen history through the lens of Historical Truth is First Casualty of War and lived to tell the tale, or at least published before their death. Big Mahalo to the CIA for renaming the quaint (and hifalutin) pre-JFK historical revisionism into the much more catchy (and contempo) conspiracy theory.

    I've never seen it mentioned anywhere, and am familiar with all the “usual suspect” websites, but there is a most fantastic book in my hands now which might very well be the single most enlightening book I have ever had the pleasure to read. This slim paperback explains, in the post-WW2 period going up to Viet Nam, how an entire generation (and now three?) of historians since 1937 have been brainwashed into mindlessly repeating statist propaganda that is patently false, in order to justify what is usually called The Good War. Barnes explains why WW2 was entirely unnecessary and could have been avoided if Churchill had not succeeded in conniving with FDR to wage war against Hitler on provocation and false pretenses, just as Hiroshima and Nagasaki were unnecessary to win peace with Japan, and just as Wilson's entrance in WW1 was unnecessary … where, in all three cases the U.S. war-making was done even though there was no threat to the domestic national security. Barnes is the most powerful advocate for peace I have ever beheld, yet outside of university history departments seems to be totally unknown, and yet for very good reason, because he exposes most of them as hacks, frauds, and overall tools of interventionist state propaganda. His books and those of the other “revisionists” he summarizes have been suppressed very effectively by what he calls “powerful minority advocacy groups,” which is an obvious reference to the Anti-Defamation League, which he seems afraid to name. Honest academic historians have been denigrated as kooks or worse in what he calls the blackout and then the smearout. Historical revisionism has been totally suppressed per what Barnes called The Bible of his then [1950s and 1960s] current times: Nineteen Eighty-Four. Get the below book while you still can! It is well worth any price. Forces of Evil wish it could be eradicated:

    Harry Elmer Barnes, Historical Revisionism: A Key to Peace, and Other Essays, With a Foreword by James J. Martin, CATO Paper No. 12, CATO Institute, San Francisco, CA, 1980.

  5. Cognitive Dissonance, Optimism Bias, Normalcy Bias, Denial as first stage of Grief, Herding, Societal Psychosis, Mob Rule, Kangaroo Courts, Blame the Victim, etc. And has anyone noticed that when their formerly “aware” friends have children for the first time they will always zombie-like start to shun their former acquaintances in order to protect their children from the “dangerous ideas” that they used to discuss dispassionately. Are they trying to protect those young minds or do they feel guilty about bringing them into this world?;

  6. as an island of sanity, albeit very sadly wholly lacking in collegiality; and, most importantly,

  7. weaknesses in the open-air prison system which might allow its escape and/or subversion, because a mind is a terrible thing to waste.


Fri, 11/29/2013 - 22:46 | 4201096 Papasmurf
Papasmurf's picture

I'm not sure what your message was;  I'll install PGP and try again.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 00:50 | 4201308 jon dough
jon dough's picture

It was just after 3AM, not broad daylight.

Other than that, I got nothin'...

Fri, 11/29/2013 - 22:07 | 4201000 Eeyores Enigma
Eeyores Enigma's picture

Absolutely nothing makes me more pessimistic about our future than reading the comments on a JHK post

Fri, 11/29/2013 - 23:11 | 4201013 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

Future....what future? Pessimism and the future are the same thing now. They have taken our future by creating a financial debt that can never be paid and a social deficit that prevents any future prosperity. Our remaining sole national "right" is to take anything we want from anyone we that perceive to have more than they need. Some future....Soylent green looks more probable than ever.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 00:17 | 4201246 wisehiney
wisehiney's picture

Sadly for me and (many?) of them, probably not.

Fri, 11/29/2013 - 22:38 | 4201071 Moe Hamhead
Moe Hamhead's picture

Fact:  More people died from influenza during WWI than from battles.

And JHK wants us to move in together ?  Live next to Rodney King "could't we all just get along?"

Right!  You might be contagious.  I don't like crowds, and don't take buses.  Sorry!  Cough, cough!

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 00:28 | 4201251 garypaul
garypaul's picture

Fact: More people died from influenza during WWI than from battles, but the war couldn't have helped (damage that left them vulnerable). 

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 01:56 | 4201383 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Fact:  More people will start dying from influenza in the coming years due to Big Pharm (private corporations) pushing their antibiotics into every orifice of man, cattle, fowl and pig for the last 50 years, leading to antibiotic resistant strains that will make going to the hospital dangerous like it was 50 years ago.   

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 10:15 | 4201709 laomei
laomei's picture

No, it'll be even more dangerous than it was 50 years ago.  Back then, shit was still pretty tame, sure, people died all the time, but old remedies were still somewhat effective (not praying though, that bullshit never worked).  The notion of quarantine was also accepted.  Nowadays, when a quarantine policy is put into effect (as it was done in China over swine flu), the west goes apeshit over it.  The superbugs have been primed for quick kills after incubation, treating symptoms to get through has a narrow window of opportunity.  Furthermore, the old culture, following the discovery of germ theory, was quarantine when sick.  Currently, it's "i'll go to the hospital to get it checked out when it becomes serious".  How do you know if you have a light strain that can still be treated or a superbug that will kill you and all those around you?  You don't.  In the new normal, you might get sick days, but like vacation days, daring to use them will result in your termination.  In rational societies, people save money, big piles of money for rainy days, not so much in the US where 76% live hand to mouth with no savings to speak of.


Also, hospitals are already prime vectors for horrid diseases and superbugs.  Anti-bacterial soaps are a marketing scam, killing 99.9% of bacteria only results in the 0.1% surviving and being resistant.  Having ultra-clean hospitals is oddly enough, just about the dumbest idea possible.  Mankind didn't survive all this time by being ultra-sanitary, quite the opposite in fact.

Fri, 11/29/2013 - 23:10 | 4201140 aquarian1
aquarian1's picture

I'm not sure where the article is/was heading but on on and about the destruction of the environment is to state- understate the obvious.


WHy humans want to trash the enviroment for profit or squeeze too many hmans on the planet is beyond me. Start with one-child families unitl we get back to 1.5 billion from 9 billion. Re-plant the worlds forests. Stop the destruction.


It doesn't need to be difficult we just need a vision of healed unpolluted planet and then start to work towards it.

Fri, 11/29/2013 - 23:23 | 4201159 Oldwood
Oldwood's picture

If you can educate me, or other wise convince me to the point of  agreement, then I am yours. But when you think you must manipulate me, lie to me and force me to go along, you never will. We have no real debates anymore. Be it any social policy or even global warming, debate is verboten. Any disagreement with the progressive position is shunned, discredited or destroyed, not by fact or debate but by personal attack. We be "deniers" or "haters" or just palin ignorant. Of course we can be shills for big business too. Science presented by an oil or coal company is tainted and not to be even considered, while research by government funded groups, who's survival depends upon favorable review (think of paid rating agencies evaluating mortgage backed securities for issuing banks) are to be accepted at face value, even if their data is not available for review by anyone.

No, I will not let the "progressive" agenda tell me that I want dirty air and water and unemployed people dying from hunger and lack of healthcare in the streets, just because I say "prove it" or "how much will this cost?"

We all want a better and cleaner world, we just don't all want to have to eliminate the human race to do it.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 00:14 | 4201240 starfcker
starfcker's picture

oldwood, here is how i handle the climate change crowd. i tell them, let's not argue about it. i am willing to concede everything, whether i believe it or not, as long as their solution does not involve taxing me in any way. find any other way to deal with it, and i will support it.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 00:17 | 4201243 wisehiney
wisehiney's picture

Wanna hear some TG, Fri nite, moonlit, hardwood forest Wild Turkey shiot. Big old hardwoods hold all the easy truth.

Fri, 11/29/2013 - 23:14 | 4201148 Cabreado
Cabreado's picture

JHK has a job description, and he made it up himself, which is fine and admirable.

But he is stuck now, his reputation depends on it...

And he is yet another intelligent, passionate man in self-preservation who refuses to acknowledge control, even when control stands in the way of his beliefs.

That is exactly how we are going down.

Focus, Mr. Kunstler; all of you, who have chosen to neglect points of control, even to the point of watching your righteous dreams be destroyed.

Fri, 11/29/2013 - 23:25 | 4201163 Frostfan1
Frostfan1's picture

Got it..... We should all move to the cities so people like you can control our lives . Sounds like you have some great ides to tax us too.

Fri, 11/29/2013 - 23:51 | 4201195 Cabreado
Cabreado's picture

To you, and all of the above similar sentiments, you miss Kunstler's point entirely.

In this context, that is the most frightening part.

You are exposing your paranoia first, and that comes from a place that Kunstler can't help with.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 03:41 | 4201518 bunnyswanson
bunnyswanson's picture

Sounds like Agenda 21 and Agenda 21 will turn America inside out.  This program is provided to you by the UN.  Sustainability is the theme.  Free up 40% of the US land mass from habitation, no entry zones.  Cyclone fence everything and charge entry fees.  Pile up the people close to a train depot and factories or docks.  Everything will be sized up and analyzed for efficiency. 

But what it really is no one will say.  It's just too unbelievable. Social engineering In the Land of the Free and Home of the Brave - corral the herd and do assessments.  Fines, fees, penalties, taxes, and eminent domain them into slavery.  "Oh, you conspiracy theorist!" you say.   But this is not the only country this is happening in. Main stream media has the eyes and ears of the globe and they are telling them the wrong news, even at a local level.  Money is flowing but behind closed doors and under tables.  Nonbinding, you say.  Not quite, there is money involved, money is offered, tax dollar money but just the same, cities and towns need to keep the bills paid. - Australia - Agenda for the 21st Century - Comprehensive Plan of Action to be taken Globally, Nationally and Locally.  Precautionary Principle - holding people responsible for ravaging the planet until they can prove otherwise. - Rosa Koire of The Green Mask (real estate attorney specializing in Eminent Domain. 




Sat, 11/30/2013 - 16:41 | 4202330 scrappy
scrappy's picture

Get smart about Control.

Now where's agent 99?\

She's a hottie.

Sat, 11/30/2013 - 00:06 | 4201226 Questan1913
Questan1913's picture

The man has a way with prose, but all of it, ultimately, comes off as empty drivel, and certainly not worth actually paying for another helping thank you.

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