Tuesday, February 09, 2010

End of American Empire (again)

More of a rant than Krugman's, but does point out the inconsistencies of the Right, and chides Obama for not being aggressive enough (which is where the gravity of how I feel is starting to tilt).


I'd also point out - a return to the 17th century? That's how ESCAPE FROM LA ends!! Yay us! We've recreated every 80s and 90s apocalyptic fear EXCEPT zombies!


Blogger CRwM said...

Given Kunstler's track record, if he thinks we're screwed, then we can probably breathe a sigh of relief.

From his famous declaration that 9/11 ended the drive to build bigger and bigger skyscrapers (not counting, of course, the two megascrapers erected in 2004 and 2009, or the skyscraper going up on the very site of the 9/11 New York attack); his dire Y2K predictions; his claim that we hit peak oil years ago; his prognostications that the stock market would collapse in '05, '06, and '07 (sadly, he quit guessing just a year before he could have been "proven" right - in the fortune telling game, you've got to double down when you're on a losing streak); he's been more wrong than right on nearly every major issue he's committed to paper or pixel.

If he thinks we're doomed, we'll probably be around for a long, long time.

12:57 PM  
Blogger KPaffenroth said...

it is rant-y, and I'd never heard of him til MattC directed me to his blog, but I find myself agreeing with the general direction of his comments - we're not headed in the right direction and no one seems to be taking hold of the wheel to change course.

1:05 PM  
Blogger Scott said...

CRwM's right. Kuntsler is/was a brilliant urban planner, but his odd second career as a Herald Of Doom has been pretty pathertic. I especially loved the part where he blames the housing crash on rising oil prices. WTF?

10:01 AM  
Blogger KPaffenroth said...

Hey - MattC's been known to send me links to the Washington Times op-ed page and I've chided him for it (as even non-newshound me knows not to read that rag), but this stuff resonates with me. Housing crash the result of high oil? Not in the proximate sense, but he's going on about the general phenomenon of suburbia (yes, in a rant-y, frothing at the mouth kind of way), which will end in the next couple decades as we run out of fossil fuels. And of course it's offensive when he generalizes that all americans are illiterate, chain smoking, obese morons - that doesn't change the fact that we've fallen into some bad habits that we need to change.

10:15 AM  
Blogger Matt Cardin said...

Regarding the assertion that high oil prices caused or played a part the housing crash and/or recession, Kunstler is hardly a lone voice crying out in the wilderness:

James Hamilton for The Brookings institute

The Wall Street Journal's "Environmental Capital" blog:

The Atlantic

Jeff Rubin of CIBC World Markets:

The International Energy Agency (as reported/discussed by The Financial Times):

Obviously, Kunstler's focus on this issue doesn't make him a discountable crank, unless you want to discount a host of other individuals and publications as well.

Regarding Kunstler's record as a prognosticator of doom, I personally think he's done a really suave (and, for my money, convincing) job of accounting for the failure of his (and many other people's) doomer scenarios for Y2K to materialize. Massive amounts of time, money, and effort were devoted to fixing the problem. Thus, success.

He has also candidly acknowledged his erroneous stock market predictions, while also remarking -- with patent correctness -- that it was his timing, and not the basic nature of his prediction, that was off.

He's also far from being the only one who now claims that, based on the evidence of hard production data, we've already hit a peak in conventional oil production.

As for his broad-brushed condemnations of entire swaths of the American populace, yes, they're galling. And also hilarious. The guy deliberaetly ain't playing nice. Mencken is an archetype here.

As for the fact that I'm sounding oddly like a Kunstler apologist, I, well, apologize. I have no special attachment to the guy, other than the fact that I really enjoy his writing (as much for the entertainment as the informational value). I'd be the last person to deny that he's looking at the world through doom-colored glasses. I recognize the symptoms; I've lived in the same psychic space myself. Willing comes before thinking, and all that. That said, the factual foundations of your Kunstlerian criticisms, CRwM and Scott, are extremely porous and squishy.

12:36 PM  
Blogger KPaffenroth said...

See - I got MattC to avoid the Washington Times! He "only" quotes WSJ and the Atlantic (a real trick, I might add, in general, trying to find editorial agreement between them).

I assume you all read Matt Taibbi (of Rolling Stone and probably other places too)? He's like Paul Krugman meets Eddie Murphy - all gloom and doom predictions of our present situation, with every third word starting with "F." Now THAT'S entertaining reading.

And I'm afraid I've tilted so far to the left in the last six months (and I wasn't exactly on the Right to begin with) that I'm thinking of renewing my Mother Jones subscription.

1:36 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home


Triumph of The Walking Dead