Rod Dreher

It’s been days since a gloomy, doomy post from me, so I’ve got to make up for it by going a little nutsy referencing stuff from warfare theorist John Robb’s blog, Global Guerrillas.
For starters, here’s an interview Robb did with Boing Boing. Excerpt:

The United States is suffering both the economic decline of its industry and the ongoing dismantling of the social welfare apparatus supporting the citizenry. In your opinion, will this inevitably lead to some form of armed insurgency in America?
Yes. The establishment of a predatory and deeply unstable global economic system – beyond the control of any group of nations – is in the process of gutting developed democracies. Think in terms of the 2008 crisis, over and over again. Most of what we consider normal in the developed world, from the middle class lifestyle to government social safety nets, will be nearly gone in less than a decade. Most developed governments will be in and out of financial insolvency. Democracy, as we knew it, will wither and the nation-state bureaucracy will increasingly become an enforcer for the global bond market and kleptocratic transnational corporations. Think Argentina, Greece, Spain, Iceland, etc. As a result, the legitimacy of the developed democracies will fade and the sense of betrayal will be pervasive (think in terms of the collapse of the Soviet Union). People will begin to shift their loyalties to any local group that can provide for their daily needs. Many of these groups will be crime fueled local insurgencies and militias. In short, the developed democracies will hollow out.

Ah. So. Onward. Robb links to this piece on Vaclav Smil, the emigre thinker and confidante of Bill Gates, who has just published a book on what he believes the challenges over the next 50 years will be. Excerpt from the Globe & Mail review:

of. Smil is an expert on the history of technological innovation. He points out that the U.S. energy industry – which includes production, processing, transportation and distribution, coal and uranium mines, oil and gas fields, pipelines, refineries, fossil-fuel fired, nuclear, and hydroelectric power plants, tanker terminals, uranium enrichment facilities, and transmission and distribution lines – constitutes the world’s most massive, most indispensable, most expensive and most inertial infrastructure. Its principal features change on a time scale measured in decades, not years. That’s why “we’re going to be a fossil-fuel society for decades to come.”
A lot of us don’t want to hear that. Yet the facts don’t care whether we like them. Prof. Smil methodically sets out to show that the facts do not support either the romantics, who think we’ll be saved by wind turbines, or the techno-optimists, who think that electric cars are right around the corner. Along the way he demolishes peak oil theory, biomass for fuel, carbon sequestration, and various other energy myths. He believes that weaning ourselves away from fossil fuels would be a good thing. But we need to understand that the transition from fossil fuels will be complex, protracted and nonlinear, and will require enormous investments. “Wishful thinking,” he writes, “is no substitute for recognizing the extraordinary difficulty of the task.”

Finally, here’s a Globe & Mail report on how California is close to “systems failure” with its state budget problems — and how once again, the Golden State is arriving at the future ahead of the rest of the country. Excerpt:

None of this would matter much to anyone outside the not-so-Golden State except that California’s budget crisis is a harbinger of a grim dilemma that all Americans will soon confront. The country has built an elaborate and costly government machine, tied to a regressive tax system that can’t generate enough revenue to pay for it all.

About that, Robb writes:

Fiscal insolvency leads to an endless reduction in services.
The more you cut, the worse it gets. The worse it gets, the more you cut. Don’t cut fast enough and the financial oligarchy whacks you with higher rates and onerous dictates. In the end, there isn’t much left.
With the loss of legitimacy and stability this entails, the US could become an exceptional breeding ground for some of the world’s most aggressive global guerrillas.

The thing to know about Robb is that he’s not a simplistic sky-is-falling guy; he devotes his attention to teaching people how to build “resilient” communities that can withstand troubles he foresees. He says that standard-issue survivalist types are not going to make it.

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