Off the Keyboard of RE
Recently Diner EndIsNigh introduced a couple of additional Collapse Blogs to the Diner Blogroll, the Dark Mountain Project and Thoreau Farm. This follows directly on the heels of a Feature here on the Diner from Urban Scout Peter Bauer, a compilation of his recent efforts in Rewilding, the idea of learning the basic skills of survival practiced by neolithic and paleolithic age Homo Sapiens as means to survival in the projected post-Industrial age Apocalypse.
What is clear here is that the number of people concerning themselves with Industrial Civilization Collapse is quite rapidly on the increase, this is no longer a “Wingnut” idea in the Blogosphere, in fact it is getting downright Mainstream these days. Ph.D Academic types all weighing in with their perceptions of the oncoming DOOM. Many if not most of these Bloggers though tend to hold onto the concept that through Green Technologies and other Technofixes in the Energy and Food departments, after a period of some struggle we will reformulate the Civilization and operate with more or less the same kind of Toys we have now. If not Oil Powered Carz, we will have Electric powered ones. We’ll still use Money, we’ll still have Globalism, and in fact it will get ever worse as the Police State grows out of control and every aspect of our lives and freedoms are dictated from Above by a small cabal of the Uber Rich. That is one commonly held perspective anyhow.
The other fairly common perspective comes from the Greenies who look forward to a future of Renewable energy led by Solar, Wind, Geothermal and Hydro power while most of the population goes Back to the Land Whole Earth Catalogue style and lives pleasant bucolic lives as Modern Amish with Smart Phones.
Then of course in the Pantheon of Doomer Bloggers you have the Uber Doomers like Guy McPherson of Nature Bats Last, who are convinced we are on the cusp of an Extinction Level Event more or less the scale of the Permian Extinction. I personally find it hard to buy into that, for the simple reason it is SO HOPELESS there really is not anything left to talk about. If it is a LOCK that we have so damaged the planet or the planet is changing as a result of Cosmological factors that NOBODY will survive, about the only thing left to discuss is how best to Party Hearty here until the Sword of Damocles drops down.
There is however a smaller group of Bloggers now messing around in this mix, those who have GIVEN UP on “Green Renewable Technology”, GIVEN UP on trying to reform the Economic system we have been running through the Fossil Fuel Era and talk more and more about reverting, or REVERSE ENGINEERING back to older technlogies and ways of living, in some cases right back to Paleolithic levels. Rewilders like Urban Scout Peter Bauer take this about as far as you can currently go with the idea, but you do also have many more people who are looking back to 18th Century Farming practices and then others considering Neolithic era practices as well. The Paleolithic Doomers are overall a pretty small subset of all Doomers at the moment, but they are out there for sure.
I’ve had many discussions with Steve from Virginia of Economic Undertow on these topics, overall he seems to fit in to the category of neo-Amish Doomers who consider the 17th-19th Century idealized style of Ag living to be a sustainable one overall. In his paradigm, the H-G Lifestyle is “Obsolete”, but he clearly does not consider the Horse Drawn Plow and “self-sufficient” small town of Craftsmen like Blacksmiths and Carpenters and Weavers and Shoemakers to be AS Obsolete. Idealized as it was in the Paintings of Monet, this seems like the style of living we should Target for to Steve.
So you really do have quite a wide variety of CHOICE here once you take the leap into the world of Collapse Theory and Doom Blogs as to what Paradigm you think is most likely to occur once the current system FAILS, or in the case of some paradigms does NOT FAIL. You can find Justifications for any viewpont from a Jetsons Future; to a Fascist Techno Brave New World vision of a Boot Stamping on a Human Face FOREVER; to Placid and Bucolic neo-Amish Farmers utilizing Little Dutch Boy style Windmills; to Stone Age Hunter Gatherers making Buckskin Clothing; right up to Coming to Grips with an Inevitable Spin Downwhere the Oceans Acidify, the Phytoplankton all die and all Higher Life Forms above some Plant Life and the Tardigrades go the way of the Dinosaur in a rapid and massive Permian Style Extinction Level Event!
Who do YOU want to Line Up with here, what is YOUR preferred Doom Scenario? This appears to me to be divided primarily by Personality Type, with generally Optimistic People falling either into the Techno-Jetsons camp or the Greeny Renewable Energy Camp while generally Pessimistic People fall into either the Stone Age Camp or Extinction Camp. Fence sitters seem to go with the the Neo-Amish Permaculture Farming idea settling on the 17th-19th Century living paradigm as a sustainable one to shoot for here.
There are many Variations to these general Categories of course, with all sorts of Political and Economic Organizations that go anywhere from total Globalist Illuminati Control in a Neo Feudal paradigm to complete Anarchists who favor no Goobermint whatsoever and then Economic ideas which go anywhere from using GOLD as Money to concepts of using non-Debt Fiat which might have a Demurrage attached to pure Barter. On a Macro-Economic level, you have a LARGE contingent of people (pretty much the entire Zero Hedge Commentariat of Piglets) who figure if we go to some mythical “Free Market Capitalism” where Goobermint stops Regulating and TAXING Entrepreneurs and cancels ALL Social Welfare Bennies and Fires EVERY Goobermint Worker we can get out of DEBT, right up to Full-On Socialist and Commie Reds who would like to se Da Goobermint Nationalize just about everything. Of course also, let us not forget the non-stop and perpetual debate between the Inflationistas and Deflationatos on which way the Currency Collapse is going to play itself out.
Then on a Geopolitical Level you have your Neo-Con Militarists who figure the best Solution is to Glaze Over all of MENA with Nukes and follow the “Powell Doctrine” of OVERWHELMING FORCE, to Pacificist/Isolationists who figure we should close every Military Base outside the contiguous borders of the FSoA while of course ALSO enforcing Posse Comitas to prevent any Military we DO have stationed in Bases here from engaging Actions to repress dissent here inside the FSofA. At this point of course if you actually are Maintaining an Army, these guys are all sitting around twiddling their thumbs on the Taxpayer Dime since they really are doing NOTHING except accassionally burning up a lot of Jet Fuel doing Test Flights of the latest Hardware from McDonnell-Douglas and General Electric.
As if all that was not enough, you have an AMAZING pantheon of Religious and Philosophical Theories and Belief Structures underpinning anybody’s Global Take on the Big Picture on ALL of this. This goes from Fundamentalist Christian ideas that all of this is related to the battle between God & Satan; to UFO Alien Conspiracy Theorists who attribute this to Reptilian Aliens; to Tao Zen Masters who are sure the problem is related to the fact nobody grasps the Meaning of Koans and are just too SLOW to Snatch the Pebble from the Grasshopper’s Hand; to Josey Walesists who figure if we just BLOW AWAY all the Bad Guys things will be just FINE! LOL.
Now,if you have any sense whatsoever of Mathematics and Permutations and realize any given Individual can mix up ALL of these ideas (and many more, I left out a LOT here for the sake of brevity), the number of Combinations exceeds all the current population of Planet Earth, and probably exceeds the number of ALL Sentient Beings who ever conptemplated these question EVER to walk the Earth right back to the Day After Toba went Ballistic 75,000 Years Ago!
You think any 2 people will ever manage to AGREE on EVERYTHING here? This will NEVER happen of course, and this leads us to the Problem of finding your “Home” on the Internet to hash out all these problems with other Sentient Beings like yourself. Some quite a bit less Sentient than others of course. LOL. Just about no matter what Blog or Forum you travel to as you Surf the Web in Search of the Truth about Collapse, you will find some Blogger who agrees with your perspective on some Core Issues, but anytime you dig deep enough with anybody else, you will find Areas of Disagreement. This is not just limited to the Blogger Hosting the Website, it extends into the Commentariat of the Website also.
You have a coupleof choices here once you find yourself in Conflict with the Blogger or the Group Think of the Commentariat on any Blog of Forum. One choice is to Muzzle Yourself when you find yourself in too much conflict with the Host or the Group Think. That is the most Common Choice, followed closely by those in the Commentariat who might venture one or two Contrarian posts but who then retreat into Lurkerville on the website once Bombarded either by the Blogger running the show or the Commentariat immersed in the Groupthink of that Blog. The least common choice but the one which Bugs most Bloggers the most is the Persistent “Troll”, a Commenter who repeatedly shows up in the discussion thread followinganyBlog Article to pursue his Own Agenda which often is in Direct Conflict with the spin the Blogger is trying to pursue on his Blog. Trolls aren’t all that common, but the few there are always annoy the heck out of a Blogger, and the common choice there is to BAN the Troll for his Trolling.
The effect of this of course is to further Homogenize any Blog and the commentary to such a point the Commentariat become Yes-Men of the Blogger, all FANS who hold very similar POVs to the Blogger, though of course never precisely identical but these Commenters never pursue ideas deeply enough to get into conflict with the Blogger in the first place.
Possibly the BEST example of Group Think and how Homogenous it all gets comes from the pages of Zero Hedge, one of the BIGGEST Doomer Blogs if not the outright biggest of all. How many times have you read the One Line Comment on ZH, “Gold, Bitchez!”? If you don’t Buy the Concept that Possessible Gold is the BEST Hedge against losing all your “Wealth” in a Monetary System Collapse on ZH, you will just get HAMMERRED by dozens of “Gold Bitchez” from every Quasi-Sentient Commenter who frequents Zero Hedge. Similarly, if you don’t Buy the Concept that “Free Market Capitalism” is the Cat’s Pajamas of Economic Systems, you will ALSO get Hammered by the vast number of Piglets inhabiting the Cesspool of the Zero Hedge Commentariat.
ZH of course is still one of the best Informational Blogs on the Economic End out there in the Collapse Blogosphere, compiling many articles from across the Web as well as those of the Tyler Durdens.In fact, I have used it as a Model for the Diner in this regard, in addition to Featuring the Native Diner Bloggers (including myself), I Cross Post numerous articles from other Bloggers on the Web as well. However, you absolutely can get NOWHERE in the Commentary of ZH, as a Reader,a typical Commenter or even a Troll. The Half-Life on any comment you make is simply too short over there because so many articles are posted each day, and besides that every thread is so SWAMPED with commentary anything you write gets lost so fast even YOU will have trouble finding it a day later unless you Boomark it. So I do not Comment on ZH too often, though I have been a member there since my Peak Oil years, nearly from the beginning of ZH when Marla was still around and Robot Trader put all the Girly Pics up all the time. My Handle there is Rogue Economist, the first “RE” Handle I used on Peak Oil. For the reason I hardly ever post up there, I have never been BANNED from ZH for Trolling. LOL.
Not true of course on numerous other smaller Blogs and Forums, where before we Openned the Diner for Bizness I could best be described as a “Troll on Steroids”. Not running my OWN Blog in those years, I would drop into the Commentary of different Bloggers and often make Comments quite near the length of this Article. LOL. Arguments and ATTACKS from other members of the Commentariat or the Host Blogger just got me MORE motivated to write still MORE stuff. This Behavior in the end resulted of course in my being BANNED from numerous Collapse Blogs and Forums.
Anyhow, I am drifting a bit off topic, and besides I have covered my history of being Banned and Censored from OPBs in quite a few other articles here already. In setting up this article, what I tried to do was demonstrate the extreme variation in perspectives you get when looking at Civilization Collapse. Once you WAKE UP and become AWARE this is underway, any THINKING person wants to KNOW MORE because obviously the more you know and the better you understand what is going on, the better chance you have to Prep Up for it and possibly be able to negotiate it somehow.
You CAN get a variety of Perspectives by dropping a variety of different Collapse Blogs into your Bookmarks and reading them all Daily, but in terms of trying to get DISCUSSION going where a variety of perspectives are all represented with Fair & Equitable Treatment in the Blogosphere is concerned, it happens just about as Often in the Blogsphere as it happens on 60 Minutes or Oprah or Faux Newz, which is about Next to NEVER. I have personal experience with the Producers of Oprah’s show editing material from a program I was running to cast the worst possible spin on it, going way back in time here but it infuses my DISGUST with all people in the Newz and Information Dissemination Bizness who will Edit, Censor and Reformat what other people do, write or say in order to Pitch their Own Agenda.
Here on the Diner, I am making an effort which at the moment is marginally successful at trying to overcome this problem. It is successful from my end because to Date I have yet to BAN or CENSOR anyone who posts on the Diner Forum or who pursues their Own Agenda, be it Christian Fundamentalism, Reptilian Alien Conspiracy or Hitler Revisionism. I don’t even censor people who call me out as an arrogant and bombastic ASSHOLE either! LOL.
Where the Philosophy appears to be UNSUCCESSFUL is in trying to get other Bloggers who have Contrarian Viewpoints to my own to actually engage in DISCUSSION of the ideas! In fact, even trying to get the average Commenter here to discuss issues sorta goes in Fits & Starts.
For a Contrarian like myself with an EXTREME case of Keyboard Diahreah, this is VERY frustrating. I read something somebody else writes, I wanna explore it. I wanna hash it out from my perspective. However, as soon as I begin to challenge in detail any concept the Blog Author holds dear or the Commentariat accept as Group Think, I end up getting BANNED or Censored. Most recent occurences of this phenomenon for me were on The Automatic Earth run by Ilargi and the Economic Undertow run by Steve from Virginia. To be honest, insofar as I know in neither case have I been BANNED from either Blog, I have simply chosen to stop participating in the Commentary because both Bloggers CENSORED one of my comments. If I persisted as I have done many times in the past, I would eventually get the Axe anyhow, so I now QUIT before I can be FIRED from the Commentariat. LOL.
As I wrote in a Cacophony of Pundits and Commentariat, while there is much Information being disseminated across Cyberspace in the Blogosphere, there is little real DEBATE of the ideas that goes on. Everybody, Bloggers and Commenters alike talk AT each other or PAST each other rather than TO each other. While perhaps we all are successful to some degree in getting Information OUT that the MSM does not, there still is no real good SYNTHESIS of all these vast difference in ideas about Economics, Geopolitics, Energy, Environment, Conspiracy, Religion or any of the other Main Topics you run across on every Collapse Blog you Surf to. The commentariat evolves to a point where it just represents people who have the same general spin as the Blogger who Admins the site within only a few Degrees of Freedom around Core Ideas. Veer too far off the Beaten Path inside the Commentariat of ANY Blog or Forum at all, eventually you meet the Fate RE met so many times already, you get BANNED.
Individual Bloggers like Steve from Virginia who runs Economic Undertow or Ilargi who runs The Automatic Earth maintain it is their RIGHT as the Proprietor of their Blog to Edit,Censor or BAN anyone in the commentariat they deem as a “Troll” counteproductive to the SPIN they are trying to send out across Cyberpace. How is that DIFFERENT from Rupert Murdoch making sure only Stories HE wants promoted on the pages of Global Mail or Faux Newz? The ONLY difference is one of Scale, the Automatic Earth and Economic Undertow don’t have the Readership Rup’s Rags have, but they both do essentially the same thing. They only present opposing opinions insofar as they have answers for them. Beyond that, they simply never get Published or they get Censored.
Here on the Diner, I have tried to avoid this problem and promote real debate of ideas with the NO BAN, NO CENSORSHIP Policy, but I cannot claim it to be a Real Success Story so far .It works in Fits & Starts, but overall so far what I see is that despite the fact I do not Censor or Ban, Commenters and even other Moderators tend to retreat into Lurkerville after a while if their general Spin and take on the Collapse does not match my own within a few Degrees of Freedom. Really, of the Original 14 Founding Fathers & Mothers of the Doomstead Diner who came from the Reverse Engineering Yahoo Group only Surly maintains a continued Active and Strong Presence on the board here. One by One since we moved to the Mansion that Peter Built, those 14 Founding Fathers & Mothers have dropped into Lurkerville. These were all people who were highyl ACTIVE inside the small Yahoo Group of Reverse Engineering ,but once we made the move to the Doomstead Diner onebyone they descended into Lurkerville, or disappeared altogether.
I Blame Myself for this problem mostly, I think it occurs because in this environment I dominate it too much. On Reverse Engineering, it was just a small message board and even though I ran it everyone had equal Access to express their thoughts. That is not so TRUE on the Diner for a few reasons. First of course because there is the Split between the Blog and the Forum. Because of that, not ALL Posting is Equal, stuff that goes on the Blog is MORE Equal.
I do WANT people to write more Blog Articles, but mostly they do not do that. They don’t Keyboard so fast as I do; they don’t really want to spend their time doing that. They have families and other priorities I do not have. So nobody really will do that except a few others like myself. Certainly as far as the original 14 members from Reverse Engineering are concerned, I would publish anything the wrote onthe Blog if they asked me to, but overall they do not do that. They are not Bloggers, never wanted to be a Blogger. In all Honesty, I never wanted to be a Blogger EITHER, but I AM one nonetheless. I write endlessly, and that is what makesa person a Blogger. If you cannot STOP YOURSELF from writing and you have access to the Internet, you Blog It.
In anuy event, the whole dynamic has overall succeeded insofar as Delivering the Message of DOOM is concerned to more people, the Diner is nothing if not a Raging Success in terms of increasing page Hits and increasing membership over the last 6 months of its Infancy.
At the same time though, I worry about Core Members who disappear from the pages of the Diner, and Reverse Engineering before that. One from Reverse Engineering I have lost contact with is Toby, a Briliant Brit I had many long discussions with on Resource Based Economies and Demurrage Money.
Then more recently is Nobody, a regular on Reverse Engineering and one of the few Females who would drop in with the Testosterone Crowd who made a couple of Brief Appearances here on the Diner after we got it going, but who now is somewhere Out There in Lurkerville doing who KNOWS What?
Ross also has disappeared, Karpatok has disappeared and Jb makes only Brief Cameo Appearances here on the Diner these days. Ashvin aka Watson who for a couple of months was ALL OVER the pages of the Diner as well as his Home The Automatic Earth is also MIA here. Ashvin actually exceeded my own hours logged on to DD, but he no longer surfs this way anymore, at least not signed in anyhow.
Finally, most troubling for me personally is my Co-Founder of the Doomstead Diner, Peter. I have known Peter for a long time on the Net, since we first met up on Market Ticker in around 2009 I think it was. Peter and I spent many hours at the keyboard on Reverse Engineering discussing Conspiracy Theories, Hydroponics and Philosophy of Life in general. Far as the Net goes, I consider him one of my closest Cyber Friends, the only one in the same category is Surly, who Thank God so far remains a very Active Presence here on the Diner.
I ask myself the Question of WHY some folks will participate Actively on a Forum like the Diner, and then after a while Drift Away? Sometimes after just a couple of months of heavy participation like Watson, sometimes after YEARS of time hashing out Collapse with me on the net like Peter.
In part I suppose it is because feel they gain all they can gain from such participation after a while, and no longer wish to put in the time involved in staying Active on a board. I think also at least in Peter’s case that he became frustrated by the negative reactions to someof his Conspiracy Theory, and also became disenchanted with the entire idea of trying to make any impact over the Internet. I imagine him these days focused on building his Hydroponics system out further, and perhaps moving to his Hermitage in Wallace Bay as well. No time really for him to be on the net , no reason for it either. People don’t seem to LISTEN anyhow, so what’s the POINT?
In the end though, I blame myself for this. I am not an easy guy to hang around with for long, I am very Confrontational and besides that I have some very extreme POVs. Besides that, I am all over the pages of the Diner all the time letting an Ego Bigger than the Known Universe LOOSE all the time and this likely gets on people’s NERVES after a while, if it doesn’t right from the Get-Go.
So at the moment it appears to me that besides being DOOMED by everything surrounding me, I am DOOMING MYSELF at the same time, driving off the people I care about because I am just such a big fucking ASSHOLE! A sad situation indeed, because I just AM this way, I can’t help but confront people all the time and I can’t help but keep writing about what I see as a very UGLY outcome for the Collapse of Industrial Civilization.
So it Goes I Suppose, when you Write what Everybody Knows.