Game Over

C-Realm 564: Game over, man! Game over!

My comments:

It appears that my characterization of extreme right-wing politics acting as a sort of pied piper for young men was incorrect. That’s why I asked the question, of course. We often fall into the trap of doing too much talking and not enough listening. So I got the message, and I stand corrected. I hope I caused no offense by that mischaracterization—I certainly didn’t mean to.

It’s a bit surprising to hear myself described as a member of “the Blue Tribe.” Really?

I’m not sure where the idea that I view collapse as a linear rather than a cyclical process comes from. Really, my sentiment was simply meant as more of a rejoinder to people who dismiss or downplay the seriousness of the situation we’re in. Short of a nuclear war or meteor strike, human culture, including in this country, will continue in some form. Apparently I sounded like a crazed lunatic in the way I formulated this argument. That’s too bad.

As for the predictions by George Friedman in “The Storm Before the Calm,” well, I hope he’s right. It would be the height of arrogance to say that I know what’s going to happen in the next ten years. I don’t do that. Maybe we’ve reached a Zenith when it comes to political chaos, street violence and failing institutions. Maybe what we’re seeing in the U.S. really is no big deal.

Amusingly, it was prompted to this line of thinking by some comments from Mike Duncan—author of “The Calm Before the Storm”—that got me thinking about this. He pointed out (in an interview with Patrick Wyman) that the sentiment that “things have been bad before, but we all muddled through somehow” tends to ignore the vast amounts of suffering caused by upheavals, and the fact that meany people do NOT make it through unscathed, or at all.

[1:13:12] “I think we were talking a little bit about this one type of person who is convinced that this is just how things are. Things are normal, everything’s going to be fine. Why are you worrying about it? You guys are all crazy alarmists. Everything’s fine. This won’t change that much, you guys are hysterical.”

“And then there’s this other group of people who are like, ‘well, you know, things have been bad before and we’ve always gone though tough times, but we’ve always made it out the other side. So why are you freaking out? Sure there was a Great Depression, but we made it through. Yeah, there was a Civil War, but we made it though that.”‘

“Yeah, but do you know how bad it was to live thought that?…and they look to me sometimes as a historian to back them up where they’re saying, ‘Lets talk to this historian. He knows that things have been bad and we’ve been okay.’ And I’m like, are you kidding me? That stuff was all horrible! I don’t want to live through any of that…The people who live make it through in one piece. It is the literal definition of survivor’s bias…”

I have this aphorism that I like to use: you study the past so you can make decisions in the present that will make for a better future.…Yes I’m shouting about how this could all be very bad because I don’t want it to be very very bad. People are like, ‘Oh you must be loving this.’ I’m not loving this. I don’t want any of this to be happening…

So I do want to study the past. I do want to tell you about how bad things have been before. I do want to tell you that things could be bad again, in fact they WILL be bad again. Things are going to be bad again. But if you pay attention, and if you realize that things could be bad again–we do have agency. I don’t believe that history is come crazy spiritual force that just molds us and does to us what it will…I don’t think that were just molded by forces beyond our ken. We do have agency. We can control events. We can respond to things. And I think that historical literacy and embracing that instead of tying to say aloof from it is a very good strategy.”

So, in the end, this is my legacy: a crazed, depressed loser from Minnesota? Who needs it? Let the historical podcasters be the Cassandras. Nothing I say really matters, or makes a difference. I guess now is as good a time as any to walk away. I’ve got a few things in the can, so I might as well put them up over the next few months. Otherwise, I’m done. Thanks to all who read and commented over the years. Stay safe. Take care.

17 thoughts on “Game Over

  1. Oh, please say it ain’t so! I have very much enjoyed, and been stimulated by, your posts over the past number of years. As Laureth said above, your thoughts and your way of expressing them are exceptionally valuable. Even though I don’t even know your name, I too will miss you.

  2. “Nothing I say really matters, or makes a difference.” – depends on how you look at it. It didn’t reverse the course of humanity but I’ve learned a couple of things (probably other readers too) so it does have an impact.

  3. It’d be a shame to watch you go, man. I’m relatively new here. Found the blog in the middle of reading the book it was named after.
    I haven’t read everything on here -not even close- but quite a bit, still. I quite like your stuff. You obviously have a broad spectrum of knowledge to draw from. Which is good, because you realize everything is connected. Many people tend not to.

    I also appreciate the style. With the ample quotations, tied together by your own reasoning and theses. It seems to me you’re often very right about things, and part of that is because you have a firm foundation of established knowledge and expert opinions you build on.

    Your blog isn’t gonna change the world, probably. But it has changed how I view it. Thank you for that, if nothing else.

  4. Your writing has mattered, deeply, to me. I would be enormously sad if you stopped writing, but I understand the impulse. This blog has helped me feel sane, to know that I’m not the only one who sees the world for the way it is, and to know that there are like-minded people who also want to see a better world.

    Please–and I mean this with all sincerity–reach out to me via the email in my contact form if you need to talk to someone. I’ve struggled with chronic depression in my life too.

  5. Listened to the podcast and I disagree with First on young men, they are definitely drawn to the ideas of independence, entrepreneurship, guns, libertarianism at least that was the case a few years ago. It’s possible younger NEET types are more into the UBI screw the corporate ladder ideas but maybe that’s in the deeper recesses of 4chan/discord than I’d like to venture.

  6. Say it ain’t so! Your writing is appreciated and it makes a difference — I read through RSS, so might not count on the official stats. I read every post.

    Please keep it up.

  7. I’ve really appreciated your writing, your breadth of interests and the connections you can draw from them, and the effort that you put into documenting your thought process. Your corner of the internet has been a place worth being for me. If, after a break, you find you’d like to still write in some fashion, I would welcome your return.

    Thanks and best wishes.

  8. One reason some people might feel compelled to lump you in with “Team Blue” is your tendency to frame America’s ongoing socioeconomic crisis as a problem that is fueled primarily by Republicans and their ilk. You are very easy on the Democratic Party.

    I think anyone who isn’t beholden to one or the other of the two main parties realizes that they are both extremely culpable and unfit for purpose. IMO, anyone who still advocates lesser evil voting or claims that a Democratic president can be “pushed to the left” hasn’t been paying attention to how Democrats actually govern.

    The Democratic Party hasn’t been left-wing for many decades, and today it is the party of Wall Street and Silicon Valley driven neoliberalism. Today they are basically Reagan Republicans without the overt bigotry and hardcore social conservatism.They claim Trump is the second coming of Hitler but give him pretty much everything he wants. Most of the Democratic aligned establishment’s anti-Trump stuff is theater for the plebs. Given a choice between a mild social democrat like Bernie Sanders and a sociopathic grifter like Donald Trump, the Democratic Party’s multi-millionaire and billionaire donors would choose Trump because he lets them keep their ill gotten gains and doesn’t threaten to curtail their power.

    The Democrats are much more devious and manipulative than the Republicans because they pretend to care and sometimes talk a good line about what has to be done…but they always end up giving the billionaire class what it wants. With the Republicans what you see is what you get, they don’t bother hiding their vileness.

    Chris Hedges’ take on the duopoly is spot on and nobody can accuse him of being a secret Trump supporter. He’s been talking about this stuff for a while and I haven’t seen anyone successfully refute his arguments. I completely agree with him that American collapse is a bipartisan “project.”

    Every four years too many people who really ought to know better, e.g. Michael Moore and Noam Chomsky, still advocate voting for the Democratic presidential candidate even though this is a completely futile and discredited strategy. Peddling false hope does nobody any favors.

        1. Well then please start a newsletter. I will gladly subscribe. Or make it a pay-to-read through patreon, even for a nominal sum. I would pay it. Or write that book! Please!

  9. Hey Chad, I’ve been reading your blog on and off since I first heard of you when KMO read your blogpost on the C-Realm podcast. I used to follow a few more blogs back then but basically the only ones I still follow is yours and Ran Prieur. The reason I keep coming back is not only does your writing align with my own views but the way you are able to summarize the complexities we’re facing in a coherent way. It’s nice to feel some solidarity with you, although I do live to the north of you in Canada we are somewhat insulated but still affected by what happens in the US. If you need a break I understand, but do come back. There are no roads where you’re pointing, only pathways.

  10. If you are serious about taking a break from HC, would you be willing to compile a reading list before you go? I’m working my way through Michael Hudson, David Graeber, James Scott, and others I only discovered because of your work, but it would be fantastic to have a reference for books, authors, websites, etc, to catch up on some essentials in your absence.

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