Anti-capitalist, Anti-Imperialist, Anti-Militarist, Capitalism, Chris Hedges, Climate Change, Climate Tipping Points, Collapse of Industrial Civilization, Consumerism, Corporate State, Eco-Apocalypse, Ecological Overshoot, Environmental Collapse, Extinction of Man, Financial Elite, Fossil-Fuel Based Economy, Gross Inequality, Inverted Totalitarianism, Mass Die Off, Military Industrial Complex, Overpopulation, Peak Oil, Peak Resources, Police State, Professor David Correia, Professor Julian Cribb, Resource Wars, Runaway Climate Change, Security and Surveillance State, Technophiliacs, Wall Street Fraud, War for Profit, War on Terror
We’re approaching the one year anniversary of this website and I really have not explicitly stated my core beliefs and ideas. So let me begin by stating ten essential positions of this website:
1.) Anti-Capitalist. Capitalism has several fatal flaws which we’ve discussed here in numerous posts. It is at the root of our social and environmental ills. A system which atomizes society, turning each against the other as competitors and targeting all members of society with a nonstop stream of marketing and advertising propaganda, is the antithesis of a community-building ethos.
…cast your eyes on capitalism as a meme that effectively mutates the thinking of people, turning them into over consumers and profiteers. It is the relentless drive to grow profits that pushes us to do what we do. And that meme has metastasized globally. That is the real disease.
The original capitalism arose as a means to aggregate enough excess harvest so as to re-invest in capital equipment (before formal depreciation entered the scene) for the farm or village. It quickly led to investment in growing the capacity of a community to support more people and have more stuff and that led us, eventually, to what we have today — unbridled avarice and waste… ~ George Mobus
2.) Anti-Imperialist. Imperialism is the economic dominance and exploitation of a country, often underwritten by military force.
3.) Anti-Militarist (not the same as Pacifist). This stance goes along with 1 and 2. The Military Industrial Complex (MIC) has become a branch of government unto itself. ‘War for profit’ is big business with retiring generals becoming consultants to the weapons manufacturers. A large percentage of congressmen and senators are personally invested in the American war machine. With the War on Terror, the tail is wagging the dog.
4.) Man is part of nature, not separate from it. All life forms on Earth have intrinsic worth which cannot be accurately monetized or commodified. Economic activity by humans incurs environmental costs, but these costs are externalized. An economy which internalizes these costs is the only sustainable system able to support human societies long-term. What is the final cost of CO2 emissions, but likely the extinction of the human species along with everything else (6th Mass Extinction).
5.) Technology is not corrupt, the system is. I am not anti-technology. How a society applies a particular technology determines that technology’s social worth. Do we use it to keep vegitative patients alive at great cost? Do we use it to produce energy whose byproduct is toxic waste lingering for eons? Do we use it to annihilate each other under a mushroom cloud?
Many citizens of industrial capitalism have become technophiliacs, developing an unhealthy and unrealistic faith in the ability of technology to solve any and all problems. That’s a failure of a social system which deifies technology, promoting it as a cure-all while also using it to reproduce inequality and injustice.
Speaking on the Arab Spring and the Egyptian Revolution, Professor David Correia says:
…In the end, the particular objects and artifacts of everyday “technology” are the tools of corporations and authoritarian governments. And by now it should be clear that democracy and capitalism do not cohere and the revolution cannot be carried out via “technology.” Rather the struggle must become a struggle over the social, political and economic conditions that have made the everyday objects of technology—our digital campfires—nothing more than the tools of authoritarian despotism and capital accumulation.
6.) We live under a form of growing tyranny called inverted totalitarianism. I first read about the term inverted totalitarianism from journalist Chris Hedges who quotes from political philosopher Sheldon Wolin. Hedges has done a great job of documenting and explaining the rise of the corporate state in this country and around the world. From the Fourth Estate to higher education to all other social institutions and venues, we have literally been ‘occupied’ by corporations.
Recent chilling interview(mentions climate change):
7.) Climate Change, or more aptly ‘climate disruption’, is human-caused.
Our use of fossil fuels since the beginning of the industrial revolution has disrupted the natural carbon cycle of the planet. I have numerous links on this site to scientific findings proving that climate change is happening and is caused by human activity. The evidence is overwhelming and supported by near unanimity amongst the scientific community. The fossil fuel lobby is extremely powerful and has financed a ‘public deception’ campaign to cast doubt on the root cause of climate change.
8.) Peak Oil is real and happening. It’s all about Energy Return on Investment (EROEI), and it’s a liquid fuel crisis. Despite the rampant self-deception of carbon man and the ‘public deception’ campaign by the fossil fuel industry, America is not and will not become energy self-sufficient in its current configuration of ‘urban sprawl to nowhere’ and its capitalist cornerstone of the automobile industry (individualized transportation).
Despite increased efforts to get more drivers to adopt fuel-efficient vehicles, U.S. households spent the highest percentage of their income on gasoline in 2012 than they did in any other year in nearly three decades except for 2008, according to new estimates.
The Energy Information Administration reported that the average household spent $2,912 on gasoline in 2012, or nearly four percent of their pre-tax income. – source
9.) Peak everything is happening. From industrial minerals which serve as the building blocks for modern civilization to the seafood that we eat, humans are eating the planet out of house and home. The energy bonanza of fossil fuels enabled the human population to spread far and wide, becoming a force of nature which now has the dubious distinction of having a geologic era named after it – The Anthropocene – and which has spurred one Professor to start a campaign in order to rename Homo sapiens to something other than ‘wise’. The Four Horsemen of Industrial Civilization (Climate Change, Peak Net Energy, Ocean Acidification, and Peak Water) are converging to bring Homo sapiens reign to an end.
10.) With business-as-usual, humans will likely become extinct by the end of this century or shortly thereafter. Multiple tipping points have already been triggered which will have non-linear and self-reinforcing feedback effects. We have covered many of these feedback loops on this site. Suffice it to say, only the timing of the final consequences is debatable at this point. Massive and radical changes to our society could always be started to lessen the final impacts, but such a proposal is like telling a nicotine addict, who smokes through their tracheostomy, that “it’s never too late to quit.” Ugghh!
So I think we can all agree on most if not all of the above statements. If there are any questions on my core beliefs or if there are ideas which you think should have been included, then let me know. By the way, none of the above positions makes me a “Doomer”. I hate that title. I’m a realist.
Humans are the premier practitioners of hype.
At this very moment, brave conservationists are risking their lives to protect dwindling groups of existing African forest elephants from heavily armed poachers. And here we are in this safe auditorium talking about bringing back the Woolly Mammoth. Think about it… Hype can come back to bite you.
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Congratulations on your first year xraymike79!
IMHO you have a wonderful website to visit to educate ones-self, comment on, link to and ponder. You have the envious ability to create interesting, readable, factual and artistic posts on the great range of collapse manifestation and it’s a regular stop for me now. Keep up the hard work, and enjoy it!
i’ve been meaning to suggest a topic i think you might enjoy, but then again maybe not, so it’s just a suggestion (and you may have covered it before i discovered you).
The topic is abandonment. Old institutions that are completely gone, crumbling into oblivion, whole towns (like Centralia and worse), old factories, schools and churches, empty streets, deserted shacks, large delapidated mansions, derelict warehouses and wastelands left behind due to whatever reason. Even the Chinese ghost mall fits in to this category, but doesn’t show the neglect yet (it’s hard to depict smell through a picture).
i’m raising a glass of my homemade wine in your honor! Cheers!
Yes that is an interest of mine… the detritus of civilization. That’ll be a topic for future posts.
not much there i can find to disagree with, so i may as well share something cool.
my favorite, go ahead click it
but it’s sold, didn’t have enough money anyway.
this next is a learned painting
that’s right, they learn, and they even practice on their own.
my point? we are not alone.
whales talk, dogs are smarter than we think, so we may be killing the next occupants as well as ourselves. everything evolves, be a shame to stop it all in it’s tracks.
great site mike.
There was a strange setting in my ‘discussions’ tools which flags comments with 3 or more links. I’ve changed that now.
My bet would be on the dolphins if man was not such a threat to them.
This reminds me of a comment I made here:
a 2 degree rise in the average means the extremes will be worse. read an article today about glaciers melting in the Himalayas, the water supply for the region of the world they were talking about.
Kevin Moore said:
As previously stated, a great site. Keep up the good work.
I do disagree with you on one thing though. Near Term Extinction is almost certain to occur between 2030 and 2080, with every day that passes bringing it forward. I know ‘by the end of this century’ covers that but it puts it into the distant future, where people can ignore it. 2030 is harder to ignore.
Emeritus professor Guy McPherson is speculating that the central region of the Us will become largely uninhabitable within 5 years (perhaps 3), and that NTE for the Northern Hemisphere is likely around 2030. Much depends of the self-reinforcement and mutual reinforcement of positive feedbacks. (There appear to be no negative feedbacks, and removal of atmospheric CO2 (once the oceans become saturated) takes hundreds of years.
Where I am (North Island, NZ), we have recently experienced the greatest drought ever [in recorded history], and this month has been extraordinarily warm.
Even with those events happening at 2100, that’s near term to me. Humans have such an abbreviated perception of time. Nonetheless, we’re seeing the real-world effects right now.
Of course i don’t “know” when the collapse will go steep on us, but i’ve speculated that no one alive today will get through the 2020’s due to all the feedbacks ramping up and influencing each other: from the Arctic ice melt to massive methane release (as well as other noxious gases like hydrogen sulfide which is pluming out of the dead zones in the oceans and also from all water sources like ponds, streams and rivers now too, and ozone – which, as Gail points out at Wit’s End, is now having a noticeable detrimental effect on trees and vegetation worldwide), to food becoming scarce, a global economic implosion, resource scarcity (like water and oil), infrastructure neglect and decay, wars, solar activity, earthquakes and volcanic action, social upheaval (including martial law), and the deterioration of (and failure to decommission in time the worlds) nuclear plants (among many other interconnected factors).
Just my 2 cents.
John Michael Greer’s response to Near Term Extinction:
I have not read it yet, but I may do a post on it after reading it.
I’m not a fan of Greer’s. His writing and ideas are good enough, but his self-regard comes through too clearly. That’s typical of many who are in some circles referred to as doomerati: the gurus and pundits on the topic of collapse in its various manifestations. Almost everyone who achieves doomer notariety and a readership succumbs, then they start selling stuff (including books).
I scanned the first few paragraphs of his post, and he’s dismissing NTE as doomer porn: some sort of emotional salve (pleasures?) pessimists and true believers latch onto for meaning even if it’s the reverse of transcendence (meaning, we’re all going down, down into the ground …). The psychology of belief in NTE is something quite apart from the indicators pointing to NTE, so I’m distinctly unimpressed with his waiving the issue away because, well, we’re too hip and ironic to be wowed by something a few people have been fulminating about for decades already.
Whether various prophesiers get the actual dates correct means little to me; the trends are of great significance. I can’t foretell the future any better than the next, but if I’m honest with myself about what current trends portend, well, we’re facing the biggest threat in our species’ entire history, until, at last, we won’t be anymore. Instead, it will be a fait accompli with no one around to observe. The little bit of hipster irony that can be enjoyed sneering at honest folks’ real fear of what appears to be inevitable in the near term (but still a slow enough process to laugh at, like a steamroller bearing down on you) does no credit to Greer.
I just read his piece – not impressed at all.
I thought he was going to counter the argument of near-term human extinction, but all he did was to ramble on about the history of fanatical religious movements and lunatic fringe groups. The facts on the ground are not the exaggerated imaginings of a crackpot, but a growing and disturbing reality which Greer should spend some time studying before framing it all as some sort of passing cultural fad.
I’ll have to rip him to shreds in my next post.
John Christian said:
Don’t mention earthquakes and volcanoes in the same sentence as anything human caused. People generally will view you as a loony then. Surely if they hit in the midst of a economic and social collapse, there will be no rescue operation – but its important to focus on the stuff that we as humans influence and not natural disasters we have no control over.
Near Term Extinction is interesting to discuss but I guess most of them will be in the form of rapid heating from reduced albedo and then massive methane release. However I have not read any papers on the likeliness of those massive releases although I am sure there will be a lot more methane released. Guy McPherson has lost me a bit there as I cant see the serious studies into this. Generally within climate change we are really trying to get people to at least understand that we control the thermostat of the planet with CO2 emissions – and most after that agree that the ice loss in the Arctic will surely heat up the air and seas way quicker. The methane thing is still a wildcard – so I guess Guy is really betting on that its a full house.
looks to me that we are dealing with what i term “competing imperatives”, over-population up against the natural desire to reproduce, there’s one right there, many more are more or less apparent.
take socialism, if we didn’t have the free market keeping people down? maybe they would just have even more children, maybe less, who knows?
human behavior, a slippery subject.
socialist thought has been systematically suppressed in this country for 100 years, no one is pushing true socialist solutions, the progressives are a sick joke imho.
Hedges is great, the canary in the coal mine, a product of the very same Ivy League schools so many of our faux leaders come from, if they won’t listen to him they won’t listen to anybody. i suspect Hedges gets away with what he does because of his background.
the indoctrination and propaganda of the MIC controls the discourse, we live in a deep state of denial about our economy, our neo-imperialist empire, all sorts of things, the mass neurosis verges on a mass psychosis, this is why we will not change our ways. the status quo serves the wealthy ruling class, having the population essentially ignorant of existential and philosophical questions allows them to maintain their power, and that’s the way they like it.
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