A bunch of angry cranks sitting around the tavern…

“America is at that awkward stage. It’s too late to work within the system, and too early to shoot the bastards.
– Claire Wolfe


There’s an interesting discussion going on at Improved Clinch, titled “Running Out of Options.” Billy Beck brought the beer. My comment there:

I’ve watched all this coming since I was a boy, and now I’m a grizzled old fart.

The sort of armed revolt I see the threepers fantasize about – that I fantasized about when I was young – won’t work here. It has only ever worked against regimes like the Czars or the French monarchy, who were already so hollow and rotten that only the appearance remained. And even they had so hardened their enemies against them that by the time they noticed they were in trouble they faced a mighty foe.

Sorry guys – we are not a mighty foe. We are not bringing this or any other regime down with force of arms.

Massive civil disobedience? I see this as a more plausible approach, because for all our beloved hyperbole Mordor-by-the-Potomac isn’t Moscow or Beijing. They don’t have the stomach for gulags. Yet. Massive civil disobedience could turn the state governments our way, and the state governments are the key to our release if release is possible.

I say plausible rather than possible because “Massive civil disobedience” requires massive numbers. Where are ours? Sigh – home watching football, or sitting in their cubicles at work wondering how they’re going to pay for Johnnie’s new shoes.

Face it, guys. Right now we’re in the “bunch of angry cranks sitting around the tavern” stage of the Third American Revolution. As far as I can tell we’ve been stuck there for the past forty years or so.

Somebody calling him- or herself Deep Rainforest made a comment that, though I’d love to disagree with it, reflects my own approach for the last several years:

No need to fight or reform. Global idiocracy is not sustainable. It will self-destruct.

Possibly via nuclear weapons. Do you have a fallout shelter?

Possibly via a coronal mass ejection on the fragile electrical grid. Are you able to go Amish?

In an endarkenment, it is foolish to expend energy on enlightenment. So build your monastery, gather books, and break on through to the other side.

Be a wizened old owl, scorned by most of society. A few will find you when the time comes.

Like Yoda you will be.

I agree and disagree. I don’t really believe that “gobal idiocracy is not sustainable.” I’m afraid it’s all too sustainable, and I’ll tell you why.

Let’s look at Japan. In 1988 we were all afraid we’d be working for the Japanese. In 1990 we were wondering if there was still going to be a Japan. Japan’s burst real estate bubble and the failure of its resulting “stimulus” are eerily similar to what’s been going on here for the past few years, except Japan’s deficit numbers (I can’t find them, and am tired of looking: If somebody could chime in here I’d appreciate it) were horrifying by comparison. Seriously, though of course America’s numbers are simply mind-boggling, in terms of ratios of deficit-to-GDP Japan’s problems made America’s look benign by comparison. Yet there’s Japan, still there, still (somewhat) a player.

In the oughts, Zimbabwe suffered what from a distance looks like comical hyperinflation. I own a piece of paper, a gift from a friend, issued by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in 2008. It’s good for one hundred trillion dollars, and it’s not a gag gift – it’s actual Zimbabwean currency, or was. The hyperinflation came about as a direct result of Mugabe’s goofy racist policies, and in any rational universe Mugabe should have joined Idi Amin in the dustbin of history. Yet he still rules. I’ve asked myself a thousand times: If that sort of thing couldn’t bring Robert forgodsake Mugabe down, what hope is there for us?

Then of course there’s the inconvenient truth that even successful violent revolutions are almost always subverted by counter-coups that turn the revolutionaries’ aims on their heads. Think Nicaragua, or for that matter the first American revolution. In my heart of hearts I’ve spent my life wishing for revolution, but my saner self says it isn’t going to happen or if it does it will bring far worse.

Personally, unless I see better than I see now I’m sitting this one out. I’ve spent my whole adult life trying to keep my epitaph from reading “Lone Nut.” I would be willing to die for a cause if I saw some hope that the cause can succeed. But I really don’t.

I’m headed toward old, and never was much of an activist. Moving far off into the desert doesn’t make you proof against Leviathan, and laying low isn’t going to solve anything in the short or long run – unless the “starve the beast” model has some validity, and the examples I gave above don’t give much hope for that.

The truth is, I just don’t know what to do about it. We’re stuck in the Awkward Stage.

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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2 Responses to A bunch of angry cranks sitting around the tavern…

  1. I’ve got one of the hundred trillion Z notes as well. Pretty amazing.

    The examples you gave are of isolated countries having problems. Japan, Zimbabwe, Nicaragua, and you could throw Argentina into the mix as well. Outside influence (economies) were able to help them somewhat recover – or at least to survive.

    What I think is different now is that we’re all heading for the dung heap together. The ability for the healthy economies to trickle-down doesn’t/won’t exist.

    I’ve got to agree with you, though, that I don’t think a Call To Arms would be listened to – at least on a grand scale.

    There will absolutely be individuals, and even small groups, that will go off, but they’ll be easily squashed, then ridiculed.

    I think our only chance of ever getting out of this mess is if there is a total, worldwide economic collapse. As horrible as it sounds, it’s what I’m hoping for. Our government will not change its ways (at any level of government). It has to be taken from them by the force of economics, not guns.

  2. Trey says:

    What I don’t think is sustainable is the idiocy in its current global (almost monolithic) form. Whether the united states remains whole throughout the decline, I don’t know.

    We see some regions falling faster than others – think Texas vs. California – and this could cause fatal stress to the union. The tyrant’s solution is to bring us all down to Detroit levels as quickly as possible.

To the stake with the heretic!