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Bill Hicks


Great to see you endorse Joe Bageant so prominently on your site. He is truly a great American sage, and his latest book, Rainbow Pie (not even publsihed in the U.S., unfortunately), is another keeper.

Joe is currently in a VA hospital undergoing cancer treatment, and deserves all of our best wishes.


Thanks for a very thought provoking essay, on a myriad of topics.

Your observations about Daily Kos are quite apt. I learned much about climate change and collapse by reading books, but that was after exploring those topics on the intertubes and becoming enlightened. But in the end, most people aren't doing either, and so I suppose we who blog and read each other's blogs are tolerated by the truly powerful, much like I tolerate my errant pet flying squirrel for the intermittent commotion and amusement he provides. I suppose if/when the dissenters on the internet are perceived as a real threat, it will simply be shut down and that will be the end of that.

Actually the "in the box" mentality underlies my constant and unwelcome criticism of the major activists in climate change. They are pursuing an ineffective strategy, but continue because their supporters have convinced them that they are making progress, when by all objective measures, they are not!

How anyone can ignore the "manifest destiny" and "go west" aspect that has pervaded American culture leading to our failing empire, I do not understand! And that Reagan meme of how he brought down the Soviet Union makes me want to vomit. Losing that bogeyman demon was the worst nightmare for the armchair warrior crowd. Their favorite project, Star Wars, had to be abandoned - so they turned their attention to discrediting the science of climate change, for lack of anything better to do. Thanks to that the entire planet is going to fry (think Moscow last summer) and/or drown (Australia today).

I have no idea who mulga mumblebrain is, but lately he has been posting great comments at Climate Progress. Here's a recent one, which I love most for the last sentence, with its casual but stinging reference to the Fermi paradox:

"Mulga Mumblebrain says:
January 11, 2011 at 10:27 pm
Wit’s End #3, I saw that typically sneaking bit of Guardian denialism, too. Typically all the denialist verbiage is packed into the beginning and middle, and the rationality left to the end. An old trick, as a certain percentage never read through to the end. Thanks too, for increasingly my now habitual gloom with the stuff on tropospheric ozone. Looking it up I even recognised a 1984 New Scientist article on the same subject, which I’d forgotten.
Andy#5, a moderately successful Rightwing German politician of the 1930s recommended the Big Lie as a good tactic because the common folk, being honest, would not believe that anyone would have the audacity to confect such a lie. Nowadays it is a prime ideological tool, and one of the Marks of the Beast, of the Right.
connor #11, Flannery said that, and he is being proved correct, as Perth, on the opposite side of the continent to Brisbane, dries out more and more every year, as precipitation falls and temperatures rise, a process that began in the 1970s.
Berbalang #21, there is of course a lot of work on the Rightwing authoritarian personality, but little, alas, on how to keep them from seizing power. Unfortunately, market capitalism, which they largely created (civilization in contradistinction, was created by working people, scientific progress and cultural cross-fertilisation)empowers them yet further, a truly vicious circle. This may be the point where advanced societies destroy themselves, when the pathological take over, hence the mysterious silence of the cosmos."

Now I will have to go to amazon and get a book by Bageant.

Luane Todd

Deer Hunting with Jesus is one of the best descriptions I've read of what motivates so many Amercans and how they got that way. Joe's current book, not available stateside, is _Rainbow Pie, memoirs of a redneck_.
It is possible this will be Joe's last book as he is very ill. I suspect, after reading Rainbow Pie, that it will not be published in the US because it names truths too uncomfortable for most Americans...certainly for the movers and shakers.
The book is available in Australia now, and possibly in Canada.
Get a copy...it is remarkable.
The website Coldtype offers a large selection of Joe's essays in easy to read format.



I've been reading your work for years, and agree with your analysis

Question: What is the quickest and most effective means to exit the box?

You have been peak oil aware for some time, as have I. You observe
that empire is likely collapsing due to energy decline. It didn't occur to me until several years after 2001 the lengths that "our"
leaders would go to ensure access to the remaining oil, gas and
mineral reserves.

Here is the surest means to wake up, exit the box, and save the Republic:


Some will never allow themselves to consider the evidence. As you
said above:
"Such are the lengths to which people inside the box will go to avoid the Awful Truth about the society they're vested in."

Tony Weddle

Yes, but the American box is inside a bigger global box. That box is described quite well in Daniel Quinn's book, Ishmael. In short, the box is created by all of the messages you mentioned, and more, that drums into us that humans are the pinnacle of creation or evolution (depending on you religious beliefs) and have the right, or even purpose, to subdue nature. The box tells us that humans can solve any problem, that technology can conquer physical laws, that food comes from supermarket shelves, that you are measured by your consumption levels, and on and on.

Once you've extricated yourself from the American box, you still need to extricate yourself from the larger one. And very few people, indeed, manage that.

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