blog " There aint no escape from collapse"

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Tango3, Jul 6, 2010.

  1. Tango3

    Tango3 Aimless wanderer

    blog post by Joe bageant:

    There ain't no escape from collapse

    In response to a letter from a reader (Joe, why did you crap out on us?), you wrote: "Places like Ecuador, northern California -- all sorts of places -- creating little spots of sustainability as best as possible."
    Since the US is the nexus of all the fraud, empire, control, and will thus be the center of the pain in the upcoming financial collapse (AND contains a huge percentage of "useless eaters", i.e. superfluous workers) have you given any thought as to where the best places/countries in the world will be to "hang out" while the Collective Madness and Economic Collapse take over?

    Well, I don't think it's possible to "hang out" until the collapse is over. For starters, it could take 50 years. Or it could take five years. If we knew, more people would probably get off their asses, even in America. But I don't think it will be all at once, or even recognizable at any given moment to techno-hybridized Americans on the ground. For example, most Americans STILL do not recognize the irreversible ecological collapse so well underway. More aware thinkers are calling this "denial," but it is not. They are simply experiencing the world they see before them, as honestly as their senses and experience permit. And that ain't much.
    Thanks to technology and layers upon layers of mediation by TV, movies, the Internet, etc., gadgets and manufactured imagery, we all live many steps removed from reality. Collapse is symbolized to each of us in different ways. To some it would be the sustained malfunction and lack of access of the Internet, which is surely coming.

    Incidentally, this will be capitalized upon by privatizing the net and selling access at a much higher price, just as with oil. Of course they will experience it as "the consumers" they have been reduced to. So they will see it as bad guys charging money for things that used to be free. Given that their consciousness is a product of technology and its false promise of solutions and endless plentitude, they can never understand that everything is a finite resource and that technology itself can reach such a point of complexity as to be unsustainable. Even your laptop and router is made of petroleum and both eat oil or coal.

    Others might perceive collapse as banking failure, given their absolute belief that money is the blood of society -- a capitalist hallucination if ever there was one. My point is that many will not even understand that collapse is going on because capitalism will provide excuses and more fake solutions at ever higher prices -- mainly at the expense of the world's poor and defenseless of course -- until it can no longer extract from them through banking, military force, or other means. This slows down the inevitable and helps the western world maintain its disastrous belief systems. None of which answers your question, but I just had to say it.

    There is really no "safe place" to run. For instance, the banking system may utterly fail; actually, it already has, yet no one is calling for an entirely new system. This shows you both the thoroughness of indoctrination of the American people, and the astuteness of the overlords who profit from the masses. Gasoline for cars can become nearly unavailable, and energy prices can become exorbitant, as they are becoming in the UK. And again, people will slowly learn to suck it up, and the system will roll on for a while longer. The more perceptive among them will dream, and are now dreaming, of escape.

    Escape as they conceive it does not exist. The ongoing collapse manifests itself in the least developed world too, and even harsher terms: hunger, lack of water, warfare, government corruption, infrastructure collapse, crime. It's a planetary problem and no one escapes that. They just experience it in different ways.

    The question is not so much where to do it as how to do it. The question is not "Where can I run to to escape?" It is "What sorts of problems can I best deal with?" To my mind, you cannot deal with them alone, despite the romantic imagery of being "off the grid" on some homestead growing your own food. Yes, there are people doing that successfully. But it has been my experience that they are people who've wanted to do that for a long time, and that they are the kind of people suited to deal with the problems that come with that life. I've done it and believe me, it's not for the average American, who is, quite frankly speaking, incompetent in the ways of the earth. It's a very long learning curve, even if you grew up on a farm. You don't just stick seeds in the ground and wait for your food. Every spot on the earth is unique and you have to come to understand the place you are, which takes time, error and dedication.

    Not to be a smart ass or snide, but let me ask: How much do you love your fellow man? Or do you merely want to save your own ass? By now you must know the answer. From what I've seen, a person can be honest with himself on this matter, then pursue either route more effectively.

    If you have the temperament and character to readily love other people around you, and the willingness to labor solely for sustenance, community and friendship, then there are countless options. Because that's what most of the rest of world's people do every day, if allowed to. So you could do that in any number of places on the planet, especially here in the New World south of the US. You can do it in literally thousands of places, some of which are in the US. I get emails from all over. But I don't give out contacts anymore because I learned the hard way in Belize that human chemistry is a complex thing. And most Americans do not come into approximately sustainable situations with either the social skills or the willingness to sacrifice for the group. Hell, some Americans starting up such communities don't have those qualities.

    Yet, believe me, just being in a place where life is more fundamental and simple, if hard, goes a long way toward peace of mind and discovering human normalcy. It's the learning ground. And usually one learns that people who escape at least some of the ravages of our slow collapse, always seem to do it in cooperation with a community of some sort. Either an already existing one, or an intentional one they create between themselves.

    There's nothing new in this, of course. Latin America and the world have countless communities hundreds of year old. Governments come and go, rivers dry up, but the people always have tortillas, one way or another. Americans and Europeans usually see these people as poor, thanks to our heavy social conditioning, industrialization and commoditized consciousness -- not to mention the denial of the effects of colonialism by Euro-American culture. We see no connection between our iPods, high speed wireless, and, say, the present condition of the Haitian or Dominican people.
    Anyway, to me, this is the bottom line:

    There is no escape in the sense Americans and European culture thinks of escape. Which is mainly running away to a place where you will get something for nothing in a new and different way -- in this case, security and safety from the storm -- and also keep some or most of the stuff and gadgetry and ease that has come to represent "quality of life."

    Unless you are rich, this is impossible. And rich these days, including here in Mexico, means so ****ing well heeled that even a 90% devaluation cannot hurt you. Oh, there are retirees still living down here on the last shreds of the glory days of the empire. They will tell you there is nothing wrong up there, because they are still getting their checks. But I'm not seeing many newcomers join their ranks. Not at that level. Beyond that, the empire never goes away. It always claims you as its "citizen," which is to say its property. And lately the empire has been extending its tentacles toward expats, in order to extract new money for its failed system.

    The rest of us, the non-rich who would prefer to take a shot at some different life -- and just about anything will do in the dark of the night when it is gnawing at your guts -- must choose another way to cross the border (the "gringo wetbacks"). But always we run up against the same barrier, the same closed gateway to what we suspect is greater satisfaction and peace of mind, but increasingly cannot afford the price of admission, if we play the same old brainwashed money game.

    I have come to think the price of admission anywhere in the world, (except in America and Europe, where enough dough will get your ass kissed in any circles) is service to others. We have been indoctrinated by an earth devouring capitalist system to believe otherwise. Believe that giving only depletes. And that mankind and civilization came about through kings and warriors and "great men." But the essential glue of man the social animal has always been on cooperation and sharing. That an endless stream of elite thieves have always managed to steal the fruits of that cooperation does not matter. And the best that is in man still rests on the same fundamentals -- cooperation for the greater good of all.

    So I would suggest that in planning for the future, you first spend many days pondering the question: How can I best go about giving up the world as I have known it -- which, after all, is the root of our pain and of our catastrophe -- and serve others every day and in as many ways large and small as possible. In other words, sacrifice. In truth, the sacrifice will not be sacrifice, but liberation, because Americans are buried under so much material **** and petty notions as to entitlement, that shedding such things is a blessing. A gift.

    From that vantage point you can "watch the collapse" while you help put up a pole barn in Oregon or make love in a Patagonian mountain shack after a hard day of well digging, or smoke a joint in utter relaxation after rescuing orphans from the streets of Guadalajara. And chances are that the collapse of the empire will not much cross your mind.

    There is no escape, but there is freedom. And if our fellow Americans long ago forgot that, well, one can still get there alone.
    But it's not for the faint of heart.
    In art and labor,
    Paragraph line breaks added by T3...

    Joe Bageant: There ain't no escape from collapse
  2. fortunateson

    fortunateson I hate Illinois Nazis!

    Thanks for that.
    That was genius.

    And it echoes a lot of what I've been thinking. Any collapse is not really a collapse if your ready and willing to live in (relative) poverty. What I mean by that is if you find wealth in basic sustenance, rest and friendships then the worst situations won't be bad at all. If you are going to lose sleep over your lawn, your car, your electronic gadgets, you'll do anything you can to keep them, including selling your soul to the system.

    My granddad taught this to my dad and uncles as the fascists were marching across Europe. New uniforms looked awful good to young peasant boys in rags, but my Grandpa (with his iron fist) told his boys to pay no attention for it would soon pass away - and it did.

    From the missionary stories I've read, it's often hard to be accepted in a native community as a gringo newcomer. It takes years before of work before they truly let you in. If you haven't got a leg up, then you're probably better off finding like minded folks right here to build that pole barn in Oregon.
    Folks like that are hard to find with all the brainwashing going on, but I have a feeling that as more people fall hard in the tough times, more attitudes will soften up.
  3. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    If the tribe is not already established, gaining acceptance will not be an easy thing.
  4. UGRev

    UGRev Get on with it!

    That question and statement says it all. 99% of us CAN'T do it alone. We didn't evolve into loners and recluses; as in any animal world, straying from the pack meant the possibility of you dying sooner rather than later just increased exponentially.

    This is sort of why I scratch my head at some of the "I'm going solo" remarks encountered over the net. I'm of the sound opinion that reorganizing a community is of the utmost importance and that we can't just leave people to die horrendous deaths. Of course, they need to be able to contribute and if they fail to do so, they should seek other communities; but we can't judge them like the cover of a book.

    Of course this is worst case scenario type of stuff where a devastating collapse has occurred a la "mad max". I don't see that happening as much as I see a Great(er) Depression type of scenario and people did their best to help others back then too. We weren't cold bastards by any means.

    The darker side of the story is that we need to be "situationally aware". There ARE people who are just plain evil and will take advantage of the good natured ones. It's a delicate act for sure. But the bottom line is that rebuilding is the goal that we should seek to undertake, not staying in a cave for 50 years. If everyone did that, we'd never be the "alpha male" country ever again.

    I also plainly understand the drive for self preservation and the preservation of ones own family. Don't get me wrong. I'm taking necessary steps to ensure this as well. There are no illusions here on that note. There is definitely a me before you connotation to all of this. It's a natural position. Thank god we have higher level cognitive functions and we're not just a pack of wild animals.
  5. Tango3

    Tango3 Aimless wanderer

    Just as a thought.[stirpot][peep]
    Coming out of the caves with a clean slate..I wonder whether living out your life in a small, peaceful, agrarian, localized; "Shire" like" community ( to use a book/movie reference) life wouldn't be far more sustainable and superior to "rebuilding to be the Alpha-male of the planet ? I think that would lead us back into the power and control seeking system we have today.:D
    I'm not Amish,but it really doesn't sound so bad to me; eh "Yoder"? All I really want any more is to be "warm, dry and fed..." Not to rule the world or squeeze the resources out from under anybody else.
  6. fortunateson

    fortunateson I hate Illinois Nazis!

    Some interesting thoughts here.

    I for one am going solo. Not that it's my first choice, but trying to find like minded folks is getting all the more frustrating.
    I don't know ANYONE who is the least bit survival minded. I know some who give lip service but where the rubber hits the road, they're living in Disney just like everyone else.

    BTW, I disagree with the idea of having an "obligation" to charity a la Rawles. That is not survival. It is a sure way of inviting looters, and sponges. Cooperation is something else. If you'll till the fields, I'll pump the water and we have a deal. Anything less will get you killed. Charity is for NOW, when we have the opportunity to share information and help in the only way that is truly effective - teaching men to fish.

    People are a whole lot meaner and more selfish now.

    That is MOST people nowadays. I hate to say it , but we live among a bunch of wolves in sheeps clothing.
    Please don't take this as criticism of those who have made mistakes and are hurting, but take a hard look at the attitudes of a lot of people nowadays:
    Most people are in a bad way nowadays not because of circumstances or luck or evil corporations, or mistakes. Most people knowingly tried to cheat life. They tried to make 2 + 2 equal 5. They wanted that 40k truck and 600k house on their 30k salary. They lied to themselves so that they would buy into the con (what is it the old con men said? You can't con an honest man?). They have the heart of a cheat. I know that sounds hard and they seem like nice people but it's true. These are the people that will sign on to citizens patrols when martial law is implemented because "I have to survive". They are the people who will jump on the bandwagon of re-distribution schemes when you have something and they are left with nothing. They are your neighbors and friends.
    The true heart of a survivalist is that of a realist. One who understands that he must exchange value for value. He must rely on himself and things won't be handed to him.

    Hope it doesn't sound like I'm getting all over you 'Rev. I've read your posts and agree with almost all of them. You just pointed out somethings that were brewing in me for a while ;)
  7. fortunateson

    fortunateson I hate Illinois Nazis!

    Hear Hear!

    That's why I wish I was Amish!
  8. UGRev

    UGRev Get on with it!

    No offense what so ever. We ALL need to brew about these thoughts in order to come down with a proper set of guidelines for "after the crash". I think it's important to see your views.

    I completely agree that people lied to themselves to rationalize that 40k car and the 600k house on a 50k/year salary. But there's two sides to that coin. The bankers were extremely predatory and did assist in facilitating that rationalization. I think a lot of people just thought, "hey, the jones' have debt, I guess it's ok for me too". Big mistake. I ALMOST got sucked into it myself. Most of my debt, however, is school loans. I'm almost done with my CC's, but that's besides the point.

    Personally, I prefer a free country. If we cease to strive for alpha male status as the most free country on the planet, we WILL be eaten alive and we WILL end up just like the rest of the commie countries either through dilution (which is happening now) or invasion while we are in a weakened state.

    As far as obligation to charity goes, I think I wasn't very clear. I was hoping to convey a general sense of "We'll help you out if you can contribute and if you don't, see ya". I wasn't trying to say 'give your **** to them for a thank you and a pat on the back'. I think we'll ALL have to pull weight to get help. But if someone is flat out dying.. that's hard to do. Kids? you going to let them starve? I can't do that.. but that's me. Would I put them to work? no, but I would their parents if/when they were able. But you know.. there's so many IF/THEN/WHATIF/ELSE type of stuff involved with scenarios like that, that it's hard to properly explain what I think one should or shouldn't do. Go with your gut, I guess.

    But do come out of your cave once in a while to see how well we're doing. Sometime an "outside" look can re-focus the rest of the group.
  9. fortunateson

    fortunateson I hate Illinois Nazis!

    Yeah. Agreed. It's just that when I read Rawles and his "give until it hurts" philosophy, it sends up a red flag in me.
    So if TSHTF in a real bad way, then every morsel I give to someone else literally comes out of my kids mouths. I have a problem with that.
    Then with limited resources how do you choose? Who's life is worth more than anothers ?
    In that time, we'll all be wanting in some way. We'll have to trade for value with no giveaways - no way around it. I'm learning that I suck at farming. I'll gladly give gobs of ammo to someone who can help me in that area. If I "give until it hurts" to someone who can't help me out - I'll be the one who hurts.

    Like I said, it's an argument against Rawles' charity philosophy which I've seen echoed here.

    Now the other side of that coin is the spiritual one. I suppose that the Christian version of Karma says to "give and it will be given unto you". Though I'm a Christian, I wrestle with that at this point in my life. But that's my personal deal.
  10. UGRev

    UGRev Get on with it!

    In times like this, if both parties are able, I think it's more of a "Hey, look.. I can't give you anything, but we can BOTH go out and get stuff because together we have a better chance of getting food".. possibly.. maybe.. again, highly situational.
  11. Tango3

    Tango3 Aimless wanderer

    from bison :
    so much for my" sustainable,"shire like" communitity:

    Overpopulation isn’t just about bulking up your infantry ( Combat Techniques: An Elite Forces Guide to Modern Infantry Tactics[​IMG] ) forces. It is more about having a labor force that can mitigate the effects of overexploitation. You must have population to fight, you must have population to feed the fighters, and you must have extra workers to build the infrastructure to both fight and feed.

    If you don’t, if you husband your resources, live sustainably, you will be killed and overrun by the neighbor tribe that doesn’t. It isn’t that sustainability is a bad idea, but that when you choose a lower level of energy, someone else will maximize the energy available and you will be in the way ( I believe that was from Greer [ The Long Descent: A User's Guide to the End of the Industrial Age[​IMG] ] ). A labor force that irrigates both maximizes farm size but also can survive low level weather disruptions. Of course, the price is eventually sudden die-off when the large infrastructure can’t be sustained.
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