"The Center Didn't Hold"

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

The Purpose of Decadence and the Pleasures of Coercion

I guess you’ve noticed by now that the center didn’t hold. Instead of a secure platform for political premises like tradition, precedent, rationality, and cultural norms, you see a fiery maw of sheer emotion between the camps of the so-called Left and the so-called Right.

I say so-called because the campus Left and the Trump Right have escaped the categorical corrals they formerly occupied. And they may have left their customary official parties stranded and dying too. It may be fatuous to say whether that is a good or bad thing; it just is, for the moment. They are two halves of a polity so broken and so far apart that it is also hard to see how they might ever come back together into a consensus about how a society might operate successfully.

Not having a consensus — some substantial overlap between circles of perspective — it’s not surprising that America can’t construct a coherent view of what is happening, or make a plan for what to do about it. Mainly what’s happening is the running down of fossil fuel based techno-industrial economies, and the main symptom is falling standards of living, with fading prospects for future happiness and security.

As I’ve said before, our economic picture is basically untenable due to the falling energy-return-on-investment of the crucial oil supply (shout-out to Steve St. Angelo). At the high point of 1920s oil production the ratio was around 100-1. The shale oil “miracle” is good for about 5-1. The aggregate of all oil these days is under 30-1. Below that number, you’ve got to shed some activities in our complex economy (or they just get too expensive to support) — things like high-paying labor jobs, medical care, tourism, college, commuting, heating 2500 square foot homes…). Oddly the way it’s actually working out is that America is simply shedding its whole middle class and all its accustomed habits and luxuries. At least that’s how it adds up in effect. Naturally, that produces a lot of bad feeling.

President Trump is unlikely to be able to fix that essential problem, unless he can pilot the whole political-economy into a glide-path leading toward neo-medievalism — what I call the World Made By Hand. Trump’s call for restoring the factory economy of 1962 is a low-percentage prospect. Instead, he’ll be saddled with the collateral damage caused by the dishonest effort of his recent predecessors to borrow from the future to pay for the way we live now — that is, racking up debt. This mighty debt-load, never before seen in history, and the accounting fraud that enables it, has helped produce all kinds of distortions, perversities, and fragilities in our money system (finance and banking) which can easily slip into collapse if a crucial prop fails here or there, and that is exactly what I think will happen under Trump. It will not be his fault, but he’ll get blamed for it. And when it happens, he won’t be able to give his attention to anything but that.

In the meantime, society shows all the symptoms of this literal economic disease in the political and cultural fissures of the day. The political Right failed in its role as prudent conservator of values, resources, and practical custom; the political Left has taken refuge in sentimental fantasy, using the semantic ploys of the graduate school seminars to pretend that reality is whatever they wish it to be. Uncomfortable with the age-old tensions of sexuality? Then pretend that you can opt out of the dynamics of biology by declaring yourself “non-binary,” a term with a pleasing science-y flavor. Tensions gone? Not really. You’ve only made them worse as, for instance, expressed in “non-binary” suicide rates. The perversities of transsexual triumphalism are related directly to the falsehoods of Federal Reserve trans-monetarist triumphalism, and all parties are subject to the matrix of racketeering that has taken the place of plain dealing in goods, money, and ideas in this society — especially ideas grounded in reality.

Societies may not exactly be organisms with intentions, but they move in a particular direction because they are emergent phenomena. That is, they are self-organizing according to the circumstances and forces they are subject to at a certain time and place in history. Decadence is specifically the decay of social and cultural boundaries, a process that is manifestly accelerating now. Both sides of the political spectrum are acting out this dynamic, with the vacuum in the middle sucking vitality out of each side. The Left has become a kind of pagan religion of sacred victims and victimhood, collecting sacred injuries and martyrs. Its dark secret, though, is that these sacred things are only straw-dogs and wicker-men. The real animating motive for the Left these days is simply the pleasure of coercion, of exercising the power to punish their adversaries and watch them suffer.

The Trump Right also enjoys the writhings and sufferings of its adversaries, squashed bug style, as it goes forth in the quixotic battle to bring back 1962 at all costs. Both the Left and the right show not a little sadism in their methods. In the background of these histrionics, the great groaning machine of Modernity lurches toward collapse — not the end-of-the-world as many foolishly imagine, but the end of a phase of history when things that used to work, don’t. At a certain point, we’ll have to try other ways of being with each other on this planet, and then for a while things will come together again.

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ebworthen's picture

The "Center" has held for much too long.

TBT or not TBT's picture

Andrew Breitbart:  Fuck you.  War.   

J S Bach's picture

The same thing happened in Weimar Germany.  You had the jew-supported communists on one side and the Freikorps/National Socialists on the other.  There is no meeting of the minds between these two ideologies.  As in Germany, the factions in the West today (especially the U.S.) will eventually come to busting heads in the streets until one side stands alone.  As of this point, the Right hasn't lifted a finger against the hysterically immature Left.  But, rest assured, when they DO... it will be serious business.  No sucker punching and running like the cowardly commies... rather - organized militaristic strategems - much like the Brownshirts.

TBT or not TBT's picture

That was in a culture with just about zero experience of non-authoritarian regimes.   Our stuff descends from old traditions of individual freedom.  Our Constitution is older than that of the top five continental EU countries' COMBINED.   The kids in Europe should pipe down, entirely.   

xythras's picture
xythras (not verified) TBT or not TBT Feb 4, 2017 2:02 AM

The Left LOST it ! Just watch this sick propaganda from Sweden (and guess WHAT: JEWS ARE BEHIND IT):



Even ordinary American folk don't fall for the Left's narative anymore:

Texas Cowboy has ENOUGH, Humiliates Nancy Pelosi on National TV


wildbad's picture

The left has moved the Overton Window so far since the '50s that what the "right" represents only SEEMS radical or extreme. The standard conservative stance of trump and most sane people are claiming normal rights and are only seen as extreme when contrased with the huge manufactured shift since WWII.

The ideology that America was fighting in the '40s is the same ideology we are fighting right now.

Central planning, power concentrated in an elite, reduction of rules and regulations hemming in liberty.

The communists have honed their methods and used schooling and media propaganda to great effect in the past half century and so they don't appear to be as radical as the NAZIs or Italian Fascisti or the Soviet Communists but their ideals, goals and objectives are the same.

American Conservatives are simply right and honest and are reclaiming their birthright ,not trying to oppress anyone and that is the difference.

The extremism we are seeing on the streets is Soros astroturf sowed in a non-rational sea of indoctrinated ninnys.

The extremeism we see from lefty politicians is manufactured because their fat oxen are being gored and the same goes for all of the opposition that are seeing their fat cash cows being slaughtered.


Nemontel's picture

Yes, our culture has heavily degenerated over the last couple decades. Something that is utterly abnormal.


But the course can be reversed.

otschelnik's picture

This discussion brings to mind the philosopher Hegel's dialectic or synthesis of opposites.  Considering how a new meme is being applied to both sides fascist and communist are becoming interchangeable. 

If you look at communist and fascist social ideology, both glorify the worker above all other elements. 

If you look at economic policy, both rely on nationalization of strategic industry and statist management of productive resources.

If you look at political tactics, both rely on party organization in cells, ruthless suppression of opposition, and strive for absolute control of media.  

HippieHaulers's picture

So let me get this straight. Cultural Marxism randomly springs up because oil extraction requires new technology? Have you seen the price of gas? It's not bad. Are we on the verge of running out of oil? Sure doesn't seem to be the case. To the author: 1970 called and it wants its "peak oil" theory back. 

Edit: Oh, it's Cuntstler. No wonder it makes no sense. 

Crush the cube's picture

Absolute BS, Herr Goebbels won Berlin and a place for himself by swinging the mass of Berlin's Communist thugs directly into the National Socialist camp.  Nobody made better Nazis than the politically driven, even if they were communists.  Mussolini made his name and rise to power as a communist.  These guys will switch on a dime, pepsi to coke, GM to Ford, it don't matter the board you sit on. 

Chris Dakota's picture
Chris Dakota (not verified) Crush the cube Feb 4, 2017 1:09 AM

There were 150 black blockers in Berkeley and the cops stood down for the show.

the other protesters were kids who go to school there.

This is a show, its all bullshit.

The police can use live ammo and there is nobody but the dead on the ground in 3 minutes.

But they don't, they allow it because the cops are controlled by the Mayor because he appoints the chief of police.

FBI is investigating the 30 yr old fat Hispanic mayor of Berkeley now and he said on twitter "it wasn't me who told them to stand down it was the chief of police"

Shift For Brains's picture

Wait until the White Bloc figures out you can wade into that crowd dressed all in black with a throw down handgun and starts fixing things and the chaos would cover the deed. Take a look at that seething mass of sub-humanity and tell me a guy with .357 in the middle of it couldn't make a dent.

Jubal Early's picture

And don't forget that Janet Napolitano is head of the UC system.  Many of those who graduated in the last 8 years are not only brainless, they are are mind controlled useful idiots.  Who else would take a hormone soup or have their dicks chopped off in order to "change" their sex.

I think it is also worth noting that many of these black bloc protesters seem to be excessively tattooed.  Aside from reaffirming my hatred of this mutilation of ths skin of the body, it is a mutilation of the soul.  Also in a youtube clip I watched recently it was pointed out how pale the black bloc protesters seem to be, a further indication that they are satanists.

Bendromeda Strain's picture

Absolute BS, Herr Goebbels won Berlin and a place for himself by swinging the mass of Berlin's Communist thugs directly into the National Socialist camp.

No it is not absolute BS. The commies were street fighting up until the moment they knew they had lost. Persuasion had little to do with it, more like survival. When Rosa Luxembourg was killed, that is when a whole shit ton of them decided to permanently lay low. Part of the "Jewish problem" was the communists still in society. Hitler in his paranoia saw them as a sleeper cell. The others, like the Frankfurt radicals, fled to fertile ground in the UK and US.

Chris Dakota's picture
Chris Dakota (not verified) J S Bach Feb 4, 2017 1:14 PM
Turning and turning in the widening gyre    The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere    The ceremony of innocence is drowned; The best lack all conviction, while the worst   

Are full of passionate intensity.

William Butler Yeats-The Second Coming 


The anarchists are perverted Satanist. They live underground, they only emerge to foster chaos.

They are living in the warehouses in Oakland and San Francisco pretending to be "artists" and protected by the left and kept on retainer by Soros.

I noticed many have fake names, they have abandon their normal birth names and chose wierd ones.  One Tranny was named Ferrel Pines and her friends fought the parents to keep this fake name in death.

The Satanic burn up at the Ghost Ship Oakland tore the veil and I went digging. They are basically Goths. One from the burn up said "Goths never ended, it went underground after those kids shot up the school at Columbine. Now they are moving around, living in safe houses sometimes in the country or mountains.

Follow the twitters and facebooks of them and their friends. They are loaded with tattoos and piercings when you see them without the black bloc covering.  None have jobs, all have dogs. They are basically actors, the police could crush them in a minute. Its why they perform in places like Oakland/Berkeley where the Bolshevik city government protects them. They don't do this in San Francisco anymore the Chinese mayor won't allow it, he is pro growth due to Tech money there.

Go do some research and you will see, I did.

Chris Dakota's picture
Chris Dakota (not verified) J S Bach Feb 4, 2017 1:03 AM

i watch all the youtubes on this.

Now seeing a few on the right, getting attacked by skinny black blockers in skinny jeans.

They attack these big white guys, separate one guy from his 2 buddies and chase him down, knock him out.

Next time it won't be 3 it will be 20, then 80, then 200 and these fags (and they are really fags) are going down.

But really, just fucking kill Soros and his son Alex.

Shift For Brains's picture

100% correct and what I wrote the other day. Anyone who knows a bit of this history has to see some stunning parallels with the brown shirt/bolshevik running battles. I see nothing on the horizon that indicates this is not where it's heading.

SWRichmond's picture

If you want to understand modern political violence, study interwar Germany.  Is the left actually trying to get the right to form up and fight back?  Or do they think it won't happen?  Crazy or stupid, I cant see any other option.  Yes, I get that only from Chaos can arise a new order.  But once you unleash that genie you have no idea what it's going to look like.  Anyone who thinks they can guide a revolution is nuts.

But once the battle is joined, win or die.

charlie303's picture
charlie303 (not verified) J S Bach Feb 4, 2017 4:44 AM

There is no meeting of the minds between these two ideologies

I agree.

I find it fascinating how Progressive Liberals still do not get how and why a Trump (or Brexit) could happen.

They are 'doubling down' on their beliefs instead of questioning and debating them.

The far right sees the election of Trump as proof of their beliefs and values.

The center has been eroded and is not the 'stabilizing' force it used to be.

Are we in for 4 years of attrition politics?


SWRichmond's picture

Eight years of Obama, and the left goes insanely before Trump was even inaugurated, then becomes increasingly violent.  Yelling and carrying signs about "love" while burning shit down.  Recognize it for what it is.  They abandoned words when words became ineffective for achieving their goals.  What are their goals?  Domination.  Period.

GUS100CORRINA's picture

I remain totally surprised that we have so much unrest with Markets at elevated levels.

Every politcal pundit knows: "It's the economy stupid!"

Maybe, just maybe the economy is in a deep depression and everyone has been lied to by "FAKE ANALYSIS" provided on "FAKE NEWS".

What a mess OBAMA has left TRUMP/PENCE team with after his departure from office!!!

By the way, anyone listen to "Berkeley Alumni, Dr  Michael Savage, Compares Anti Trump Protesters to Communist Anarchists Pre Nazi" on youTube. What an interesting perspective on what we are seeing.

Also, there was another presentation where a young lady reported that the DOD cannot account for 6.5 TRILLION dollars. UNBELIEVABLE!!! None of us should ever have to pay taxes again.


TBT or not TBT's picture

Bad news is good news(for equities) because Fed. 

froze25's picture

There was a story about the DOD losing 1 trillion something dollars right before 9/11 happened too. So not the first time.

Bubba Rum Das's picture

"There was a story about the DOD losing 1 trillion something dollars right before 9/11 happened too. So not the first time."

More like 5 trillion...If I remember right, Casper Weinberger reported it as a fact; the Friday afternoon before 9/11; you can still find the video of it on Youtube; SO FUCK YOU TO ALL THE THUMBS DOWN; YOU NEED TO LOOK AT HISTORICAL TRUTH FIRST.

delacroix's picture

pentagon,2.3 trillion, and it was donald rumsfeld.

Shift For Brains's picture

And the term used was "unable to account for it." Don't know if that is the same as losing it or whether it's all in there and they just can't put their finger on it.

Bendromeda Strain's picture

Oh, they put their fingers on it. And the vault under WTC 1 made it all better.

Trogdor's picture

I think it was 2.3 trillion and Rummy reported it on Sept 10 ... and that crazy muzzy turrurist who couldn't fly a Cessna 172 managed to crash a Boeing 757 into the very office where they were investigating that missing fortune.  Imagine the odds.

Since that time, the DoD has come out and had at least one other report of a huge amount of money just "missing" ... and all we get in response are shoulder shrugs and "Hyuk, hyuk, hyuk" from the Department of Douchebags.

brianshell's picture

Communism has been around a long long time. The quest for power even longer.


Bigern's picture

The Earth has plenty of larger problems headed this way than 6.5 Trillion missing dollars. These are actually a function of why money is missing. Anyone wonder why very deep earthquakes continue to pang underneath the Pacific basin, and why it is barely discussed openly? One of the most recent located in the Phillipines, 10Jan2017 was the deepest ever measured with a focus at about 610 km below the surface. Eight days earlier on the 2nd, another quake had hit south of Fiji that was over 500 km deep. Massive changes are taking place within the planet. The .gov is furiously digging into mountains and zoning off no-go areas around the globe. The US isn't alone. The Vatican knows about this, and has for awhile. They didn't buy the telescopes that they have, and keep the data secretive without reason. Confirmation was the goal. Global warming and sea level rise fear mongering in the last two decades has all been a psy op to prep the public for what is coming. It will make people wish Al Gore was right in his estimates. And forget what is supposed to happen by 2100, these events are beginning to manifest now. What is happening under sea floor plate boundaries is indicative. Magma is breaking things as it wells up under the oceanic plates. As it does so, the crust above is melted. Of course, energization of the core is only a symptom of increased flow into the magnetic poles from space. Another problem.

TBT or not TBT's picture

2012 was entertaining enough, but we are not in that movie.   

Bigern's picture

Never saw it. Regardless, the planet is heating up on the inside. Extreme depth earthquakes are significant. They confirm highly unusual activity, and the media silence on the matter only makes it more damning. 

As an aside, the Phlegraean Fields are on the move under Naples. Probably nothing. 

Shift For Brains's picture

You sound like the lone scientist in all the 50s sci-fi movies who was thought to be crazy when he discovered some existential threat...and everyone laughed.

It's a little nerve wracking to note he was always the guy who had the story right as the existential threat materialized. Hope you're not like that.

Bendromeda Strain's picture

That scientist exists. He told foolish Japan that their earthquake models were not robust enough and a major Fuku was in the offing. They shooed him off the stage - of course.

TBT or not TBT's picture

Those crazy scientist guys can hear the ominous soundtrack of the movie they are in.  That's how they know.   BTW the 2012 movie had the core of the earth heating too much by absorption of neutrinos from the sun, or something.    This detached the continents from the mantle so they could slide around dramatically enough to drive the CGI driven plot.    You sure you did not see the movie?


Kirk2NCC1701's picture

Kunstler, you lost your touch.

Giant Meteor's picture

I was thinking the same thing. Apparently he too is a casualty of the times, and oh boy, are they a changin ...

American Gorbachev's picture

on the contrary, having read JHK for years, i've seen quite an evolution in his work

this one, by far, is the most eloquent, accurate, and concise

i suspect that, sans more war in the ME or escalation of hostilities with Russia, JHK will soon concentrate his fire upon the Left, due to their unabating lurch into fascist lunacy/disruption (thus an unstated support for Trump)

JHK and Pat Buchanan have far more in common than either of them would care to admit

MK13's picture

It's easy for all to paint pictures of Germany 1930s, but I think Spain 1930s or Italy 1920s are more correct. Germany of that day was an incredible ideological jump. Spainish and Italian conservative lurches were either bloodier (first one) or more fluffy (second one) - but with limited ideological overtones. Guess who won all? Yes, conservatives.

If libs think that with Trump controlling military, police, parts of deep state, guys with guns libs have a chance - good luck with that;

American Gorbachev's picture

another curious parallel, i wonder if those members of the deep state that engineered Trump's (s)election ever said to themselves

"We can control him" (as those did in 1933)


Giant Meteor's picture

Dammit, you are forcing me to go back and re-read more carefully. I'll get back to ya ....

American Gorbachev's picture

my sincere apologies


i did vote for you last year

: )

Duc888's picture

Trump needs to command Gov (or Corporations) to uncork ZPE.

Son of Loki's picture
Chelsea Clinton takes to Twitter to knock the new White House




The snowflake thinks she has a crack at the wh is my guess or Senatorship to help her crooked parents out.

boattrash's picture

That bitch'd be a good cellmate for her father-in-law.

WTFUD's picture

Chelsea reminds me of a young Princess Anne, 10 shades of ugly! Whenever she's poorly she calls in a vet.