Thursday, August 2, 2007

The most consistently depressing blog

Whenever I'm feeling just too damn happy, I cruise over to Clusterfuck Nation, James Howard Kunstler's blog. He's the author of The Long Emergency, an uber-terrifying look at how western dependence on oil will be our collective undoing. To a certain degree he's a proto-Hobbesian, in the sense that he's constantly forecasting a breakdown of society so profound that the only rational response would seem to be a return to the primeval state of nature, wherein life as we knew it was nasty, brutish, and short. (Just like Paul Wolfowitz! Zing!) Today's post is no exception. It's almost hilarious to witness the way that Jim can churn out mindbogglingly depressing and scary prose week after week. What must it be like to live with the guy? Observe:

The launching of this new oil export crisis is coinciding with the crisis in confidence in the financial sector. In fact, the oil export crisis is the un-recognized reality test that is challenging the habitual falsification of reality in finance. This oil export crisis will also have a palpable effect on the reality of everyday life in America. It will bring our system of extreme car dependency closer to failure every day, with each upward one-penny click. Whether the public ever comes to recognize what this means, it will still affect millions of individual decisions. Among these decisions will be a refusal to consider buying a new house 27 miles outside Minneapolis (or Dallas, or Atlanta....). At the same time this is occurring, and the anchovy barrels stashed around Wall Street start exploding from the gases of putrefaction within, there will be no more mortgages available for new houses anyway. And so the only real activity still driving the US economy -- the building of ever more suburban sprawl -- will come closer to a complete shut-down. I don't think the financial markets will survive that.
Yay! Tra la la la! In a certain sense I feel that he's probably right, but in another sense--that part of me that doesn't want to camp out under my dining room table with a tube of cheeze-whiz and a shotgun for five years--I hope he's wrong. Or, if not wrong, I hope he's at least misguided about the opportunity we have to reverse this trend.