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Two Forces and Three Bears

     In these climax years of industrial technocratic society, two opposing forces shape the destiny of government: the desperate effort to control everything versus the decline of the ability to carry out that effort. The result will be the loss of legitimacy and the collapse of government from the highest levels, moving downward until the real power to make anything work re-sets at a feasible and appropriate level — probably very local. This dynamic is seen very clearly in three spectacles du jour: the “national security” (spying) mess, government-sponsored accounting fraud in finance, and the ObamaCare rollout.

     As history develops, people do things for the simple reason that it seems like a good idea at the time. Computer tech made it possible for bureaucrats and military apparatchiks to invade the privacy of everybody, but in the end it only had the effect of embarrassing the perpetrators and eroding a big chunk of the US government’s legitimacy. The attempt at maximum control will eventually lead to maximum resistance and, quite possibly, some sort of political revolution, perhaps starting with the death of the two dominant political parties. When political disruption finally occurs, it will manifest quickly, as criticality thresholds are breached. It has the potential of taking this society in very undesirable directions including civil war, theocracy, and war against other peoples.

     The diminishing returns of computer technology applied to intelligence gathering are that it produces more mountains of data than any team of professionals can make sense of, and it prompts said professionals to make mischief with the information that is easiest to sort out: the financial records of ordinary citizens. Nothing will create political resistance more surely than messing with people’s money. The NSA apparatus is now a self-reinforcing monster that will strive for ever more control ineffectively, creating a debris path of ever more embarrassment and resentment. A lone true patriot like Snowden does more to oppose this monster than all the “freedom” and “liberty” spouting, flag-lapel-pin-wearing cowards in either political party.

     The pervasive accounting fraud in the attempt to prop up an unsound banking system is even closer to criticality. A society that produces tradable goods needs sound money which functions as 1) a medium of exchange, 2) a store of value 3) a unit of account for establishing prices. The combined accounting frauds in Federal Reserve policy, private banking and securities markets, and government fiscal management is destroying all these functions. The more abstracted finance gets from real productive activity, the more fragile the system becomes. We are doing nothing now except adding more complexity and abstraction to it, causing the system to become more detached from reality. In effect, we’re opting to forego an economy based on goods in favor of one based on empty promises and paper swindles. The potential and probable consequent destruction of nominal wealth would be an event that advanced technocratic society likely will not recover from — in the sense that today’s standard of living could be preserved for billions of people worldwide. That destruction would herald a new dark age, this time without any prospect of recovery via the exploitation of natural resources, which will have been depleted.

     The ObamaCare piece of the picture is a mere pathetic soap opera compared to the first two quandaries. The 2000-page law did nothing to address the core tragedy of medicine in America — namely, that it has evolved into a hideous hostage racket. You go to a hospital with a terrifying illness and you are susceptible to fleecing by the so-called “care-givers” for the promise that you may get to live. No prices for treatment are ever discussed. They are presumed to be astronomical — but who cares if you end up dead, and if you do get to live, you’ll figure that out later. If you hold an insurance policy, these charges will be subject to a fake negotiation between grifting insurance companies and grifting hospitals, physicians, and drug companies. The price “settlements” are only slightly less a joke than the actual charges, and are obfuscated in documents designed to bewilder even well-educated policy-holders.

     Even if you are insured, the charges may bankrupt you. A typical one-day charge for “room and board” in a non-specialized hospital in-patient bed runs $23,000 at my local hospital. For what? Half a dozen blood-pressure checks and three bad meals? You can be sure that ever-fewer families will be able to fork over $12,000-a-year for basic coverage. The ObamaCare legislation and its laughable rollout of a useless website is just a punctuation mark at the end of the soap opera script. The result eventually will be the complete implosion of the medical racket and a return to a very primitive clinic system, with payment in chickens or cords of stove-wood. The smaller number of surviving humans will surely enjoy better health, and greater piece of mind, when this monster racket expires of inertia, bad faith, and deceit.

    These efforts to manage runaway hyper-complexity with more complexity are guaranteed to fail. Our prime task at this moment in history is managing contraction, and the means for doing that would be simplifying, not adding layers of complication larded with fraud, pretense, and mendacity.

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About James Howard Kunstler

View all posts by James Howard Kunstler
James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency, and Too Much Magic: Wishful Thinking, Technology and the Fate of the Nation. His novels include World Made By Hand, The Witch of Hebron, Maggie Darling — A Modern Romance, The Halloween Ball, an Embarrassment of Riches, and many others. He has published three novellas with Water Street Press: Manhattan Gothic, A Christmas Orphan, and The Flight of Mehetabel.

417 Responses to “Two Forces and Three Bears” Subscribe

  1. progress4what November 3, 2013 at 8:32 pm #

    “you old fart” …..ufia….

    So, one of your reasons for choosing to disrespect me is my age?

    I choose to disrespect you for your homophobic insults.

    And, with reasonable luck, someday you’ll be even older than me, btw.

  2. Pucker November 3, 2013 at 8:54 pm #

    Below is a copy of the recommendation letter written by the then Republican Governor of the State of Washington in support of Ted Bundy’s law school application. At the time, Ted Bundy was engaged to a “nice girl” named Meg from Morman Utah. According to Meg’s testimony, when they “made love”, Ted would tie Meg to the bed, twist a nylon stocking tight around Meg’s neck and anally sodomize her. She said that she “didn’t like it.” Nevertheless, Ted Bundy and Meg were engaged to be married. At the time, Ted Bundy was an “up-and-coming” star in the Republican Party.

    “College of Law University of Utah Salt Lake City, Utah 84112

    Dear Dean:

    I write to you in support of the application of Theodore Bundy to your law school. Ted has expressed a desire to attend the University of Utah . It is my pleasure to support him with this letter of recommendation. I first met Ted after he had been selected to join my campaign staff in 1972. It was the consensus among those of us who directed the operation that Ted’s performance was outstanding. Given a key role in the issues, research , and strategy section, he demonstrated an ability to define and organize his own projects, to effectively synthesize and clearly communicate factual information, and to tolerate uncertain and sometimes critical situations. In the end, it was probably his composure and discretion that allowed him to successfully carry out his assignments. These qualities made his contributions to strategy and policy dependable and productive. If, however, you are concerned that a political campaign is not the measure of a prospective law student, then I am sure you will look, as I have, at Ted’s other achievements and activities. Look at his academic record in his last two years of college. Look at his impressive community involvements. And look at the several law-related positions he has held since graduation. I believe he is qualified to and intent upon pursuing a career in law. I strongly recommend the admission of Ted Bundy to your law school. You would be accepting an exceptional student. Sincerely, Daniel J. Evans”

    Rule, Ann (2012-11-28). The Stranger Beside Me (Kindle Locations 1996-2001). Planet Ann Rule. Kindle Edition.

  3. Pucker November 3, 2013 at 9:08 pm #

    That’s basically the way that dogs or wolves make love—not much tenderness….

    According to Ann Rule, Ted Bundy’s murders took place in cycles with the first killing taking place in the lunar period of Taurus, with the remainder of the murders occurring during the alternating periods of Scorpio and Pisces. Ted probably didn’t know that his behavior may have been affected by the Moon.

    • Janos Skorenzy November 3, 2013 at 9:37 pm #

      You’d probably like the Zodiac Killer who sent astrological code to reporters.

  4. Pucker November 3, 2013 at 10:06 pm #

    Most people don’t know who they really are. They think that they’re what society tells them that they are. They mistake the Illusion for Reality. Our “Leaders” know this and use it against us.

    The Native Americans believed that a particular black spot in the night sky devoid of stars was a portal to another dimension. The Native Americans were a shamanic culture. In his interview, when Ted Bundy described his mental state during his savage murders, he said that it was “like falling into a black void” from which he’d later “wake up.”

    Ted Bundy may not have known who he really was? Bundy may have been a vehicle, vessel, or conduit for something else? “Leaders’ like Governor Evans may have seen this?

  5. K-Dog November 4, 2013 at 2:11 am #

    All right all right; its a bad thing to do. Spying that is; but something good does come of it.

    Angela Merkel’s recipies:

    German Sausages with Apples, Sauerkraut, and Onion!

    #1

    Ingredients

    11/2 tbsps vegetable oil
    12 cooked german sausages (links assorted fully)
    1 white onion (thinly sliced)
    2 apples (crisp red, gala or braeburn cored and cut into 12 inch slices)
    1/4 cup apple cider
    1 lb sauerkraut
    3 sour pickle (quartered for serving)
    1 kirby cucumber (peeled and sliced lengthwise into eighths for serving)
    mustards (assorted, serving)

    Steps:

    [1]

    Heat a 12-inch skillet over medium heat, and add 1 tablespoon oil. Halve sausages lengthwise if desired. Cook until browned and heated through, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate, and cover to keep warm.

    [2]

    Add remaining tablespoon of oil to skillet if necessary. Add onion, and cook for 3 minutes. Add apples, stir, and cook until softened, 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in cider, and cook for 1 minute. Add sauerkraut, and heat until warmed through, about 2 minutes.

    [3]

    Transfer sauerkraut to a warm serving platter, and top with the sausages. Serve with pickles, cucumber, and mustards. (Sausages and sauerkraut can be kept warm, covered, in a 250-degree oven for up to an hour.)

    mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

    Woof

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