The uses of disorder

SUBHEAD: Our destination is a much re-scaled and down-scaled edition of daily life in a de-globalized economy.

By James Kunstler on 21 March 2016 for -

Image above: he 'See the U.S.A. in Your Chevrolet' campaign debuted on the 'Dinah Shore Show' in 1956. From (

Many thoughtful and patriotic citizens entering the Kubler-Ross free-fire zone of desperate bargaining with reality are at work attempting to chart an orderly course around the Godzilla-like figure of Trump looming outside the desecrated once-shining city of American democracy. I doubt there is such an orderly way through this political bad weather. When storms hit, things break up.

It can be argued endlessly whether times produce the man or vice versa, but except in the most schematic and wishful sense, is there any question that Donald Trump is unfit for the office he’s seeking? Personally, I am tortured by the question: why him? Why this vulgarian who can’t string together two sequentially coherent thoughts?

Are there in this land of 320 million-plus people no other men or women with comfortable fortunes and better minds bold enough to take on the matrix of mafias running our affairs into the ground? Apparently not.

Then there is the question — only nascently theoretical at this point — of where such an orderly course of decision and action might lead this country.

For Trump, it seems to be a restoration of the 1950s, when armies of “breadwinner” factory workers churned out cornucopias of Maytag washers and Zenith black-and-white televisions, and the less numerous Wogs of the outside world busied themselves with basket-weaving, and Atoms For Peace would make electric power “too cheap to meter,” and popular entertainment came in the chaste form of Dinah Shore urging the upward-aspiring masses to “see the USA in your Chevrolet!”

That was, of course, the time of Trump’s childhood (and my own), and if there is anything more certain than night following day, it is that America is not going back to that sunny moment. Trump and I are way past done growing up as human organisms and America is done growing as a techno-industrial political economy.

People decline and die and are replaced by new people, and political economies wither and morph into sets of new activities and relations.

The forces of history want to take us to this new disposition of things, and just about everything on the American scene these days is a manifestation of resistance to that journey.

The destination is a much re-scaled and down-scaled edition of daily life in a de-globalized economy, with far fewer luxuries and a greater demand for earnestness, purposeful work, generosity-of-spirit, and plain dealing.

These are not qualities exhibited by Trump, who represents only the poorly-articulated and grandiose wish to “make America great again.”

The institutional collapse of the Republican Party is in full swing now thanks to Trump. By the way, it could easily be matched by an equally brutal collapse of the Democratic Party if the head of the FBI makes any criminal referrals in the matter of the Clinton Foundation’s entanglements in official State Department business via an email slime trail.

 It would be an awesome and wondrous event if the nation landed on November 8 with both parties in complete disarray and more than a couple of rump factions posting candidates with dubious legitimate credentials to stand for election. In over two hundred years we have not seen a national election postponed, or canceled.

I’ll repeat my assertion that professional observers on the political scene appear oblivious to the financial shit-storm gathering out-of-sight of land, and how it might affect electoral events at landfall.

There’s a fair chance that six months from now, the USA may be in some kind economic emergency, with the banks either disabled or shuttered, and businesses unable to transact with one another, and the just-in-time supply lines to America’s Big Box merchandise depots badly interrupted, with the shelves bare.

Americans at large, lost in the their cell phone app raptures and Kardashian masturbation fantasies have no idea how fragile the systems they depend on are.

America is going to learn something about the uses of disorder before this year is out. One of these is to compel the construction of a coherent consensus as to what is actually happening in the world, apart from our wishes and fantasies.

That is, if we are not torn apart in the process of getting to that.


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