Hubris. Greed. Distraction. Denial.

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by James H. Kunstler via,

The wonder is that more Americans are not ticked off about the state of our country than whatever is happening ten thousand miles away. For instance, how come the US Department of Justice is not as avid to prosecute the pervasive racketeering in the US economy as the State Department is for provoking unnecessary wars in foreign lands on the other side of the planet, over matters that have little bearing on life here? This racketeering, by the way, amounts to a war against American citizens.

I’m speaking especially of the US military racket, the banking and finance rackets, the health care racket and the college loan racket, all of which have evolved insidiously and elegantly to swindle the public in order to support a claque of American oligarchs. In other civilized lands, health care and college are considered the highest priority public goods (i.e. responsibilities of government), and national resources are applied to support them under the theory that bankrupting people for an appendectomy or a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering is not in the public interest. In our land, that would be considered “socialism.” Instead, we “socialize” the costs of supporting Too Big To Fail banks — so their employees can drive Beemers to their Hamptons summer house parties — and a military machine that goes around the world wrecking one country after another to support a parasitical class of contractors, lobbyists, and bought-off politicians in their northern Virginia McMansions.

Hence, the laughable conceit pinging through the news media lately that some dynastic grifter like Jeb Bush or Hillary Clinton will slide into the White House in 2016 as easily as a watermelon seed popped into a shot glass. I don’t think it’s going to work out that way. The US political system needs to be turned upside down and inside out, and I expect that it will be. Either it happens within the bounds of electoral politics, or you’ll see it playing out in the streets and the windswept plains.

Just a glance around the USA these days ought to nauseate the casual observer. We have an infrastructure for everyday life that is failing in every way imaginable. Are you disturbed by the asteroid belts of vacant strip malls outside your town? Or the empty store fronts along your Main Streets?  What do you suppose these places will be like in ten years when the mirage of shale oil dissolves in a mist of disappointment and political grievance? How are Americans going to feel, do you suppose, when gasoline just isn’t there at a price they can pay, and they are marooned in delaminating strand-board-and-vinyl houses 23 miles away from anything? Does the sheer immersive ugliness of the human imprint on the American landscape not give you the shivers?

Look at the pathetic and disgusting appearance of our cities, which for the most part present themselves as demolition derby arenas or war zones — except the strongholds of the red-white-and-blue oligarchs: Washington, San Francisco, and especially New York, Financialization Central.

What happens at the “magic moment” when Facebook stops being a narcissistic virtual playground for “selfies” and becomes a bulletin board for political revolution? Think that can’t happen here? And what if that revolution is a kind that doesn’t appeal to you — say, a revolution of race hatred, or fascist zealotry, or Marxist gangsterism of the type that took Russia hostage for 70 years?

All this is happening, incidentally, because the supposed best minds in our nation are paying no attention whatsoever to the most important story of our lifetime: the winding down of the techno-industrial global economy. It doesn’t really matter anymore why they don’t get it. Hubris. Greed. Distraction. Denial. All that matters is that they can’t be depended on and when that happens authority loses legitimacy. And when it comes to that, all bets are off.

The disintegration of Ukraine would be best understood by Americans as a mirror of ourselves and our sclerotic republic, poised to sink into poverty and disorder. Everything we do and say rings hollow now. What used to be called The Establishment has run out of ways to even pretend to save itself. We have no idea what’s next, but it’s not going to be more of what’s been.

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IridiumRebel's picture

Are these the new catch phrases for the Democratic 2014 campaign?

Reiyuki's picture

You mean: "Vote for me or the other guy will win"?

Both parties overuse that one.

IridiumRebel's picture

This catch phrase actually works for both parties.

booboo's picture

Well James, so Zero is an example of the NON "dynastic grifter" that you voted for TWICE. So can we safely say you are a shill for DemoCrazy.

Remember, IF you vote you have no right to complain because you asked for it, good and hard.

thamnosma's picture

I do sometimes agree with Crazy Jim regarding suburban sprawl and his smarmy writing style can be amusing.  However, I have no doubt he is a deep "progressive" who yearns for an "enlightened" government run by a "vanguard", all in the people's interests.

IridiumRebel's picture

Your vote counts. It is who is counting that makes the difference. Diebold loves you.

SAT 800's picture

I've always felt that the Ukraine had some value inside the Beltway as a "Tail wags the Dog" item.

sunny's picture

Kunstler is always the optimist.


813kml's picture

I think he's just tired of waiting for the inevitable.

paddy0761's picture
Vote up!

Vote down!

I think he's just tired of waiting for the inevitable.


Aren't we all?

Chupacabra-322's picture

I literally posted the following this morning in the Biden thread.

Complete Hubris. These Psycopathic / Sociopathic Criminals aren't even trying to hide their Criminality anymore.

It's all out in the open for all the world to see.

fencejumper's picture

Here I'd say he's being a realist.

McMolotov's picture

This is probably a bit petty, but I'm kind of unable to take him as seriously as I once did since he admitted voting for Barry twice.

cougar_w's picture

However he regularly cuts himself for having done it.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

My first out loud laugh of the day. Thank you. :)

cougar_w's picture

Are you ready for this? I don't think you are ready for this:

Diamond in a cameo role. Watch for the point when she's entirely lost it. Epic!


Cognitive Dissonance's picture

But...but....but you promised me video. :)

cougar_w's picture

The audience gets the DVD, google around you can probably snag one cheap off ebay at some point.

thamnosma's picture

I can forgive once.  Any educated person who follows politics and voted for him the second time is untrustworthy in my book.

Greenskeeper_Carl's picture

i feel the exact same way about taking him seriously, and i do sometimes wonder if i (and you, and many others on here) are being a little petty for thinking this way, but I just can't help it. He saw 4 years of it, and voted for 4 more. He kinda lost the right to complain, IMO. Its not like there werent other options. He could have voted for Romeny, not that he would have been any better. Or course, Its not like you had to vote for obama or romney. personally, I supported RP through the whole election cycle, but voted for gary johnson rather than writing in RP due to some peculiarities of what happens with write ins in my state. Mostly becuase I thought just maybe the liberty movement would be taken a little more seriously if we got over 1 mil of the voting population to say NO to both parties. But he had either of those options. Or, if he is a die hard lefty, he could vote for the green party, which has much of the 'progressive' parts of the dem party without the warfare and TBTF coddling of the dems (not endorsing that, just saying it was an option). Yet he decided not to take any of those options, and asked for 4 more years of the same. So ya, rather its petty or not, I also hae trouble taking him seriously. Which is a shame, since I really do like his writing style

Edit: the other option, which I am kinda leaning towards, at least with presidential elections, is DON'T VOTE. Then you REALLY have a right to complain

StychoKiller's picture

The soapbox has not worked, the jury box has not worked, the ballot box is a joke...that leaves only one box left...

Carl Popper's picture

Robert Frost A Semi-Revolution


I advocate a semi-revolution.

The trouble with a total revolution

(Ask any reputable Rosicrucian)

Is that it brings the same class up on top.

Executives of skillful execution

Will therefore plan to go halfway and stop.

Yes, revolutions are the only salves,

But they're the one thing best done by halves.

Lore's picture

Fair point. Kuntsler writes good collapse porn - it helps his credibility when he doesn't parrot Agenda 21 tripe - but he shouldn't allow his flock to presume that all these things are "just happening" (e.g., through some intrinsic flaw in human nature).  This is a deliberate program executed by psychopaths.

cougar_w's picture

"This is a deliberate program executed by psychopaths."

It is deliberate, but only because they are stupid rich. Collapse will take them totally by surprize. Many of the current playa'z will end up dead.

Monty Burns's picture

This is the Great Question.  Maybe you're right and they will be taken by surprise but it's also possible that instead they know exactly what they're doing.  Item: The militarization of local police - in fact the whole security apparatus, plus the systematic removal of Constitutional freedoms.  These actions seem to indicate that maybe they know what's coming. 

pods's picture

I'd rather be marooned 23 miles away from anything than in a city when the free shit stops flowing.



MuleRider's picture

Bingo.  If you can't get completely "off the grid," just getting rural is a decent backup plan.  Yeah, I prefer to be away from it all with my garden, few goats, cows, and chickens, and ample storage, than smack dab in the middle of "civilization" when things start turning less than civil. 

thamnosma's picture

Agree completely.   Most of us simply cannot afford or arrange being completely isolated.  There are many degrees between total vulnerability and complete independence, if that's even really possible.  Just being rural or sem-rural is a huge leg up.  After that, it's a matter of prioritizing survival needs.

fencejumper's picture

I think the only revolution that could work against overwhelming firepower is a massive tax strike: a huge proportion of the country simply refusing to file and pay their income taxes one year. Who knows, perhaps a one day work and shopping strike on April 15th as well. This would take huge organizing skills AND it would require Americans to unite beyond their political/idealogical differences.

MrPalladium's picture

All that Americans need do is for one third of them to lock up their credit cards for three months, and the system would collapse. But first, we need a vision of what would replace the current regime and a path to get there that does not involve much destruction and bloodshed before a large plurality will go on a spending strike, and therein lies the problem.

CrimsonAvenger's picture

YES - A vision is exactly what's missing. We can whine and bitch with great precision all day here at ZH, and even out across this country of the mostly uninformed, they know something is wrong, something's not working. But you cannot create a movement against something - it has to be for something. Until we paint a vision of what life could be like - something that most people can realistically achieve for themselves - we'll never get this party started.

Polymarkos's picture

"In every revolution, there is ONE MAN with a VISION." --James T. Kirk to the Spock twin in the alternate universe where the Federation was honest.

kurt's picture

You think they were rough on the Black Panthers, the KKK, Communists?

Ignatius's picture

The answer, Jim, is that we are drowning in conspiracies that form the rackets you acknowledge, but you just can't bring yourself to call it by its proper name.  Maybe your filter can't get past some cartoon image of a mustache grooming Snidely Whiplash characterization, I don't know.  I'm sure you see how surface agendas will line up with the crime because it suits their interests (i.e., increases their power), but you gotta dig deeper.  Geezus, man, pick an event or two of significance and start drilling down into the details and research it as completely as possible and then you'll begin to see how dishonest and corrupted the 'official version' is from the evidence you've accumulated.

Jim's a funny guy, but he's content to float on the surface and mock the obvious inanities and goes no further.

nowhereman's picture

Just like the rest of you

Ignatius's picture

An opaque, cryptic comment with a near instantaneous upvote.  Hmmm.

Care to elaborate?

Cognitive Dissonance's picture


".....a near instantaneous upvote" is ZH's version of a selfie. :)

<aka virtual masturbation.>

pods's picture

Like going trick or treating as a kid and taking one from your house to "start yourself off."


Cognitive Dissonance's picture

I don't know what you're talking about. :)

Ignatius's picture

Pods is insane.  Why I've never heard of such a thing....

toady's picture

I don't upvote myself right away. If I come back later and see a single upvote I add one so it doesn't look like I gave myself a"selfie". 

StychoKiller's picture

So, who's behind it all?  Lizard people, Illuminati, Gnostics, da joos?

Youri Carma's picture

Hitlary Clinton will be elected, the elections will be rigged and she will unleash WOIII.

Hillary Clinton Tops in 2016 Race, Would Topple Top Republicans

MuleRider's picture

Hillary Clinton is dying of cancer or some other advanced, degenerative disease.  She will most likely be dead by November 2016. 

wmbz's picture

That would be a bonus. She could go down and hang out with Teddy and the boyz at the big BBQ.