The US Is Crossing The Frontier Of Criticality

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by James H. Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

Anybody truly interested in government, and therefore politics, should be cognizant above all that ours have already entered systemic failure. The management of societal affairs is on an arc to become more inept and ineffectual, no matter how either of the current major parties pretends to control things. Instead of Big Brother, government in our time turns out to be Autistic Brother. It makes weird noises and flaps its appendages, but can barely tie its own shoelaces.

The one thing it does exceedingly well is drain the remaining capital from endeavors that might contribute to the greater good. This includes intellectual capital, by the way, which, under better circumstances, might gird the political will to reform the sub-systems that civilized life depends on. These include: food production (industrial agri-business), commerce (the WalMart model), transportation (Happy Motoring), school (a matrix of rackets), medicine (ditto with the patient as hostage), and banking (a matrix of fraud and swindling).

All of these systems have something in common: they’ve exceeded their fragility threshold and crossed into the frontier of criticality. They have nowhere to go except failure. It would be nice if we could construct leaner and more local systems to replace these monsters, but there is too much vested interest in them. For instance, the voters slapped down virtually every major ballot proposition to invest in light rail and public transit around the country. The likely explanation is that they’ve bought the story that shale oil will allow them to drive to WalMart forever.

That story is false, by the way. The politicos put it over because they believe the Wall Street fraudsters who are pimping a junk finance racket in shale oil for short-term, high-yield returns. The politicos want desperately to believe the story because the background reality is too difficult to contemplate: an American living arrangement with no future.

The public, of course, is eager to believe the same story for the same reasons, but at some point they’ll flip and blame the story-tellers, and their wrath could truly wreck what remains of this polity. When it is really too late to fix any of these things, they’ll beg someone to tell them what to do, and the job-description for that position is dictator.

It’s certainly remarkable that the years since the troubles of 2008 have been so seemingly placid and uneventful, at least here in the USA — not so much if you live in the Middle East or Ukraine, or in the decaying economies of southern Euroland, or the septic failed states of Africa. The many formerly-middle-class Americans living in economic ruin apparently blame themselves when, for instance, they’re billed tens of thousands of dollars for some routine surgery performed “out of network” by a bureaucratic happenstance. They must be punch-drunk with cable news, or over-medicated. Don’t expect this national mood of paralysis and surrender to last indefinitely.

What troubles me at the moment is that when that mood snaps, it will be for a bad reason in the wrong way. Ferguson, Mo., is still sitting there like an unattended back-pack on the courthouse steps. Before Christmas, some kind of grand jury decision is going to come down. All the reality-based chatter points to the probable exoneration of Darren Wilson, the policeman who shot teenager Michael Brown. I expect the trouble arising out of that to be a lot worse than most people currently suppose, and then we’ll literally be off to the races. If that happens, it will be a huge and tragic diversion from the things that really matter to keep the project of civilized life going. In a way, it will be the true beginning of the end. The end of what? Of pretending that the people in authority know what they are doing.

If you think that President Obama is lonely and bereft now, just wait. Some excuse will be found to try an impeach him and then the nation will spend another two years conducting a three-ring circus while the shale oil “miracle” crashes and burns and the banking system melts away to nothing. It’s been fun watching Mitch McConnell get ready to preside over all of this. History could not have found a less sympathetic patsy.

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anachronism's picture

This is a pointless rant!

fightthepower's picture

Your whole life is pointless.

Headbanger's picture

You got a point there anachronism

But if you comb your hair differently, nobody will notice.

Ta ta.

HardlyZero's picture

Completely verified...

IT'S A FLIPPING TIPPING POINT !

It is "all good" until we get smacked in the face.

espirit's picture

All failing empires face the 'sunk costs dilemma', only this time it's a global empire doomed to failure.

 

Enjoy good times while you can.

Vampyroteuthis infernalis's picture

For instance, the voters slapped down virtually every major ballot proposition to invest in light rail and public transit around the country.

Yeah, you know why? Because most light rail and other public transit are FRAUDS.

KnuckleDragger-X's picture

Anybody truly interested in government, and therefore politics, should be cognizant above all that ours have already entered systemic failure.

 

 

In chaos theory there is always a trigger point. I'm kind of leaning toward Japan being the trigger but there are so many fuck ups happening so often that i'll probably be wrong and the black swan will sneak in the back door.

BigJim's picture

The Fed will bail out Japan, propping up the value of the yen with freshly minted clownbux; and thereby export Japan's hyperinflation onto the world at large via the USD.

When it blows, it'll blow worldwide. It could take fucking years, by which time the police state will be even more police-statey.

BuddyEffed's picture

Light rail in it's current form might be close to being in a happy motoring position with questionable tenability.  Too much technology, and too many resources needed, trying to cover too many bases at once, and too little clearly discernable ROI in the coming 5 years.  Railroad travel was efficient in it's basic form 100 or so years ago.  The bloat of the rest of society and the current downsqueeze may even make it difficult to transition back to something that was once the best thing since sliced bread.  And without it and happy motoring, and a dearth of horses, shoe leather might be the option of reluctant choice. 

DeadFred's picture

Don't we already have a dictator?

Ghordius's picture

deleted comment about wife. I forgot that "dictator" is the word often used for US presidents ruling by decree. so strange, this American political vocabulary. I mean, nobody in the US seems to like the presidential system - at least half of the times - but nobody ever asks for a different system. in the EU, we have exactly two presidential republics: France and Romania. all the others refrain from electing so much power on one person. why? well, bad experiences with... dictators

BigJim's picture

I don't think the founding fathers intended the POTUS to have anything like this amount of power.

His unpopularity matches that of the legislature, and for the same, paradoxical reason: the electorate granted all branches of government more and more power, and then are suprised when that power gets abused.

KnuckleDragger-X's picture

Not yet but we do have a politboro....

Ghordius's picture

If I read the comment section of ZH correctly, many here are already at the stage where a dictator would be a relief. A small word of caution: dictators are government, too, and historically not always the best kind. I prefer government types where you can retire the bloke in charge, preferably asap, and "no gov whatsoever" is still an untested premise

Winston Churchill's picture

I haven't got that from the threads at all.Warning, not longing.

I am expecting some type of attempted military coup d'etat in the very near future.

EKM is not too far off in his musings.The bankers need to remove the MIC, if the SDR is to

go forward.Soon, very soon.

Everything is coming to a head, either just before Xmas, or right after.That timing

has worked for the bankers before.

kowalli's picture

timing is a end of the summer of 2015

Winston Churchill's picture

I will stick with my timescale.

Better early, than a day late.Survival depends on it, not just money.

Coldcall's picture

I think thats more likley to happen in the EU first. Americans have guns, which gives them quite a bit more leverage in deterring a true dictator. 

Ghordius's picture

Americans have plenty of guns, legally. Now, interestingly, Europeans have plenty of guns, too, and more then half of them... illegally. Now tell me which bunch is more dangerous. Or which bunch had more revolutions. Remind me, when was your last one? Violent or not violent?

Headbanger's picture

It's the DRUNK bunch that's way moar dangerous!

And we is them!

Ghordius's picture

our supply of Irish Whiskey, French wine and German beer is bigger. we can be longer dangerous

Headbanger's picture

Yeah but we got a LOT moar TEQUILAAAAAAA!!!!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVKsd8z6scw

Besides, French wine is WAY over rated.

Ghordius's picture

tequila makes you blind or for sure not shoot straight! meanwhile, French wine is not for everybody, I admit, but we have Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and... if we really want to become nasty... Greek wine

BigJim's picture

 Besides, French wine is WAY over rated.

The French make the finest wines on the planet, but you do require a mature and sophisticated (ie, educated) palate to appreciate them. Few people - relatively speaking - have dedicated the time and money to achieve this *hicc*

French wine isn't over rated - it's just over-priced.

Coldcall's picture

There´s not a gun culture in most of Western Europe as there is across the US. There also are not militia type groups, or armed folks (not law enforcement) heading to the border as vigilantes against illegal immigrants. If we look at Europe´s past history it is far more susceptible to totalitarian type regimes. 

Ghordius's picture

you mean because we had them we are more keen on having them... back? I don't think so. look, I do not want to sound snappish, but things are happening in America which would not be possible in Europe... even during dictatorships, in certain cases

Coldcall's picture

No i would not use the word "keen", but perhaps "indifference". The EU installs pro-EU technocrat governments without any demcoratic mandate to do so. Really US has its problems and flaws but no way is EU more dmoecratic than US. And i live in Europe, and view myself as European. We have slept walk into a totalitarian nightmare with the EU. It shall end in tears. 

Anusocracy's picture

You know it's a lost cause when people judge their wellbeing by type of government rather than level of freedom.

I'd rather have a benevolent dictatorship that metastatic democracy.

Lea's picture

"No i would not use the word "keen", but perhaps "indifference". The EU installs pro-EU technocrat governments without any demcoratic mandate to do so."

Yes, that's what happened, but that's only half of the story. In the EU, each country leader has been hiding that the EU was behind every local country legislation. If you go to any of our European countries, you'll see that they keep strictly "local" appearances. You have to dig to know that this or that law was not the brainchild of a local MP, or of the President of the country, but an EU mandate the leaders/Parliament have to bow to at all costs. Right these days, a lot of Europeans still haven't understood how much they have been colonized. The medias keep mum about the EU and constanly redirect the attention of their readers to interior politics issues - when there are no more interior politics. The polarization of the political debate into a phony local left-right opposition is very useful in this respect.

I remember I was myself very surprised when I found out the same law was passed in Spain, France, Italy, Portugal, the UK and other European countries at the same time, and no news outlet mentioned that strange "coincidence". It's all been very a sneaky, undemocratic process, but the people are gradually perking up. And those that already have are not liking what they're seeing.

And we all have pitchforks in our cellars. This is going to end in tears.

Ghordius's picture

This is a way more nuanced reproach. I know of "same laws" popping up in the US, do you have an example for europe?

Jstanley011's picture

What are you talking about?

buyingsterling's picture

Future dictators will have limited options for further socializing the state. There's no money, and the productive aren't going to support a dictator if they are asked to do more so that more people can loaf. That entire scheme is at the root of our problems because of the division it generates. A future dictator will have to focus on TRIAGE, now that the LEFT has created tens of millions of people with ZERO work and social SKILLS. The FEMA camps aren't for taxpayers unless the elites want to squat over a mad max scenario.

If they go underground and leave a harsh military dictatorship on the surface, after we deal with their lackeys we're going to drill down into their bunkers and flood them with ebola diahhrea.

Seer's picture

And yet, they seem to rise up against their governments on a far greater frequency than people here in the US do.

Disclaimer: "Past history" is no guarantee of future performance.

BigJim's picture

 There´s not a gun culture in most of Western Europe as there is across the US. There also are not militia type groups, or armed folks (not law enforcement) heading to the border as vigilantes against illegal immigrants. If we look at Europe´s past history it is far more susceptible to totalitarian type regimes.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again - guns aren't Americans' defence against their government becoming tyrannous; guns are Americans' teddy bears, to be held tight while being raped by their Uncle Sam.

Did gun-totin' America rise up against conscription in WWI, Korea, or Viet Nam? Or when the Fed was instituted? Or when FDR nationalised everyone's gold and then devalued their money 40%? Americans are no more likely to defend themselves against their government than anyone else is. Remember Egypt? The fucking Muzzies have more balls than Americans do, and they didn't even have guns.

gdiamond22's picture

Any time Kuntsler speaks of Obama, I have to laugh since this chode voted for him twice. I can't take anything he says seriously. How is he a contributor to this site? HOW?

Dr. Engali's picture

Two words....... Click bait.

j0nx's picture

Agreed. Kunstler voted for these commies twice and loved it. He has exactly ZERO right to say anything about them now. Sit down and shutup KUNTsler. Don't you have a flight to take to Denmark to give a speech about how we cretins should be burning less fossil fuels or something?

Seer's picture

And once someone makes a mistake they're forever more a demon?  Didn't Christ have something to say about that?

I became a fan of Wlalter Jones after once wishing to see him run over by a bus.  Walter finally had an epiphany that supporting the wars over in Iraq was a huge mistake: Walter was the flag-waver that coined the phrase "Freedom Fries" (of which I'm sure there are people here that gobbled it up, yet won't admit it- casting the first stone and all).

Not in defense of Kunstler (whom I have issues with), but of LOGIC (and your lack of using it here).

dirtscratcher's picture

Kuntsler's idiocy is exceeded by his hipocracy. First he says: "Instead of Big Brother, government in our time turns out to be Autistic Brother. It makes weird noises and flaps its appendages, but can barely tie its own shoelaces."  Then he goes on to lambaste voters for voting down light rail and public transportation. Who does he think is going to implement his pet projects? It's the same Autistic Government that he scorns! He's a typical liberal: He's all for using government to mold society in his own image, but howls when things don't turn out as planned. 

JustObserving's picture

government in our time turns out to be Autistic Brother

How accurate.  Professor Don Huber of Purdue maintains that Glyphosate in our GMO foods has increased autism rates from 1 or 2 per 100,000 in 1960s and 1970s to 1 in 88 in 2011 and 1 in 50 in 2013 and to be 1 in 2 by 2020 (last 2 minutes of video)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yx4UVhJcnpo


Seer's picture

All in line with the worst human undertaking of all time: the Green Revolution.  To be fair, it was either that or come clean that we're NOT going to be able to keep growing in perpetuity.  Either accept wars to cull the herd or eat slow poison...

Disclaimer: I don't like GMOs or WAR.  Even without these we're still going to die...

toady's picture

If you think that President Obama is lonely and bereft now, just wait. Some excuse will be found to try an impeach him and then the nation will spend another two years conducting a three-ring circus while the shale oil “miracle” crashes and burns and the banking system melts away to nothing. It’s been fun watching Mitch McConnell get ready to preside over all of this. History could not have found a less sympathetic patsy.

Exactly.

Baphod Zeeblebrox's picture

The empire will be greeted by thunderous applause.    da da..... da da da da.... da

NoDebt's picture

Absolutely nothing wrong with a dictatorship.  It's just that it always seems to be the wrong guy getting picked for the job.

BigJim's picture

But I'm sure this time will be different!

Madcow's picture

We're not going to have "Big Brother" or "Autistic Brother" - 

What we get instead is "Big Creepy Uncle" and a nation of prisons, predator drones and panty-cams - 

 

Dr. Engali's picture

There was two minutes of my life I'll never get back for bothering to read a whole lot of nothing.