Holiday Doings and Undoings

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Holiday Doings and Undoings by James Howard Kunstler

Somehow I doubt that this Christmas will win the Bing Crosby star of approval. Rather, we see the financial markets breaking under the strain of sustained institutionalized fraud, and the social fabric tearing from persistent systemic political dishonesty. It adds up to a nation that can’t navigate through reality, a nation too dependent on sure things, safe spaces, and happy outcomes. Every few decades a message comes from the Universe that faking it is not good enough.

The main message from the financials is that the global debt barge has run aground, and with it, the global economy. That mighty engine has been chugging along on promises-to-pay and now the faith that sustained those promises is dissolving. China, Euroland, and the USA can’t possibly meet their tangled obligations, and are running out of tricks for rigging, gaming, and jacking the bond markets, where all those promises are vested. It boils down to a whole lot of people not getting paid, one way or the other — and it’s really bad for business.

Our President has taken full credit for the bubblicious markets, of course, and will be Hooverized as they gurgle around the drain. Given his chimerical personality, he may try to put on an FDR mask — perhaps even sit in a wheelchair — and try a few grand-scale policy tricks to escape the vortex. But the net effect will surely be to make matters worse — for instance, if he can hector the Federal Reserve to buy every bond that isn’t nailed to some deadly derivative booby-trap. But then he’ll only succeed in crashing the dollar. Remember, there are two main ways you can go broke: You can run out of money; or you can have plenty of worthless money.

On the social and political scene, I sense that some things have run their course. Is a critical mass of supposedly educated people not fatigued and nauseated by the regime of “social justice” good-think, and the massive mendacity it stands for, starting with the idea that “diversity and inclusion” require the shut-down of free speech? The obvious hypocrisies and violations of reason emanating from the campuses — a lot, but not all of it, in response to the Golden Golem of Greatness — have made enough smart people stupid to endanger the country’s political future. A lot of these formerly-non-stupid people work in the news media. It’s not to late for some institutions like The New York Times and CNN to change out their editors and producers, and go back to reporting the reality-du-jour instead of functioning as agit-prop mills for every unsound idea ginned through the Yale humanities departments.

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James Howard Kunstler

James Howard Kunstler says he wrote The Geography of Nowhere, “Because I believe a lot of people share my feelings about the tragic landscape of highway strips, parking lots, housing tracts, mega-malls, junked cities, and ravaged countryside that makes up the everyday environment where most Americans live and work.” Home From Nowhere was a continuation of that discussion with an emphasis on the remedies. A portion of it appeared as the cover story in the September 1996 Atlantic Monthly. His next book in the series, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, published by Simon & Schuster / Free Press, is a look a wide-ranging look at cities here and abroad, an inquiry into what makes them great (or miserable), and in particular what America is going to do with it’s mutilated cities.