The Future - One Person's Opinion

  • Posted on: 14 October 2021
  • By: David Trammel

I was going to post a couple of pieces that I hadn't gotten done because of the recent software problem here this week. As I was doing that, this amazing article was put up on Facebook. It's authored by a well known writer in the prepping community. Most of you would know them but they've taken a step back from the issues in the last few years, and I'm going to post this without mentioning their name in respect for their privacy. It is still a clear look at what we can expect over the next few decades, and worth the read.

One Big Note: While I try very hard to keep politics out of Green Wizardry, politics is in our country to a strong degree. As such, its hard if not impossible to discuss the coming Collapse without running into people who have strong opinions about it on both sides of the issues. The author is not a supporter of Trump or the Republicans. Some of this post is political and I'm going to leave that in. If you disagree with their opinions, that's fine and understandable. I disagree with some of it myself BUT their core points about the way things related to non-political actions is very good, and worth the read.

WE as a country and a society must get back to the point that we can listen to opposing view points that we disagree with, without dismissing their non-political opinions completely too. Please let's not devolve this post into an argument on politics with the comments.

With that warning, enjoy.


A Short History of How It Started and How It is Going

A long, long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I wrote an essay where I argued that the most likely thing that will happen is that we will experience collapse not as a single global crisis, like most fiction and film postulates, but as a concatenation of large and small crises that just gradually become too overwhelming for us to respond to, so we stop doing anything other than making the most superficial responses.

When collapse comes for any given person depends a lot on who you are. Lucky people don't notice for a while, because the crises don't hit them too badly or because they have extra resources to devote to personal mitigation, or because they were prepared in some way. Unlucky people get hit hard, and harder and over and over and wait for help and eventually, it doesn't come.

I pointed out a decade ago that there are multiple reasons for this - not only does the larger system become less resilient as more stresses hit it, but also that a lot of the stresses are interconnected. This is, of course, not my idea, but Joseph Tainter's, and a lot of historians have pointed out similar things.

For example, I noted that if one were to spend one's time lying around a stream, drinking beer and pissing in the stream, you might run out of beer to drink at around the same time you'd no longer want to drink the water. That kind of connection is simple, and simplistic compared to what we're actual seeing, but it does give you the sense that we are facing not "climate crisis" or "economic crisis" or "political crisis" or "covid crisis" or "natural disaster crisis" but a collective crisis that contains elements of all of the above, each being exacerbated and fed by the others.

For example, our current energy crisis arose in part because of covid, in part because of population and economic growth we've known about for many years, and in part because of conservation. Those who follow energy issues know this story - first we extract the cheap, low hanging fruit energy. Then we go for the harder to get stuff, at the point that prices rise enough to make it financially viable.

The difficulty is that if you have a sudden reduction in need for energy, oh, because the world isn't travelling as much or building as many things due to a global pandemic, and the price falls, those high cost energy resources are no longer economically viable. But because it takes a long time to put them on and offline, when the price spikes back up, those offline resources can't be put immediately back into play. And the cheap, easy resources were used up a long time ago.

Most of us are used to dramatic post-apocalyptic novels and movies where A SINGLE DISASTROUS THING hits the earth and we all crash. But while there are big things that would cause such a crash, it turns out that in history, it is much more common for a lot of little and mid-sized things to cause one. Less asteroid, more pecked to death by ducks.

This is interesting (in a horrible way, but still interesting) because the system that we've built is hugely resilient in some ways (some admirable, some not.) People who are interested in collapse, not excluding me, often jumped the gun because we underestimated system resilience, and its ability to bounce back. And it is impressive as hell in some ways. But that resilience also leads people to miss the fact that there are points from which we cannot bounce back. If you keep bouncing back, we are liable to assume that always happens, even when history and scientific data say no way.

When big things have hit us, we've relied on systemic resilience, and papered over the signs of collapse. The problem of putting off facing the limits, however, is that if you wait until the crisis, the problem is unfixable and the collapse feels very sudden to most people. There are just too many things falling apart at once. And that's where we are right now. In fact, a lot of things we've seen that feel like they've hit us "suddenly" have been building for a very long way, and were warned about, but because they were not immediately urgent, we passed the problem forward.

I will admit, even people like me who spent a lot of time on this stuff had the bad habit of overprioritizing one pet stressor or another, be it energy issues, or climate change, political strife or economic issues, pandemics, or what have you (generally whichever thing the person is most expert upon) and see that as the final straw that breaks the camel's back.
The camel, however, has been piling more and more on for decades, which worries the minority of folks who see problems coming, but leads most other thinkers to assume that the camel has infinite load capacity. Both are errors, but not equally consequential ones.

The actual truth is that several camel's backs have been broken and the camels have collapsed, but underneath were camels (or turtles) part of the way down. People who pointed out that things were not headed to collapse, but actually collapsing (like the 1970s club of Rome whose predictions have been sadly accurate) were simply correct, but the additional stacks and layers of camels have prevented many people from experiencing something that meets their full expectations of collapse, built mostly by fiction. If you live in Flint, Michigan or Port Charles, you are experiencing them. If you live in Boston or San Diego, maybe not yet.

Again, long ago and far away, I and other people tried to transform those expectations, warning people that collapse was unlikely to be rapid, universal and visible. Only in movies does one get to identify with the person who sees it first, and outrun the blast of whatever renders the world uninhabitable, kills billions, and sets you, with your foresight, on top of the new power structure. Unfortunately, many people really did believe that was going to happen and enjoyed that fantasy a little too much.

Historically, most of the time, collapse takes a long time and looks different to different people. Consider the Roman who was among the first to meet the Barbarians at the gates and who believed Rome would go on forever as he was cut down, and the Roman suburbanite who 60 years later was still saying this wasn't too bad, that no, Rome wasn't equal to its former glory, but the barbarians rarely sacked THEIR particular neighborhood, so how bad could it be.

And yet, for decades we've been expecting collapse, if it does come, to arrive in the form of aliens, asteroids and supervolcanoes. The only real narrative understanding we have of what's coming is based on a lot of wrong assumptions (don't get me wrong, we could have one of those things, but they aren't as likely as what we've got.)
There are a lot of difficulties with our failure to accurately predict and describe collapse, and the failure of unfun narratives to out play fun narratives (meteors are way cooler than political strife and gradual die-down due to a bat virus.) The biggest one for America is political.

Right now, we are watching our inability to accurately DESCRIBE what is happening and predict what may happen, cause the end of any political resilience. We can see this happening in the US, but not just in the US. Rightist leaders of many nations, who offer a coherent description, with false solutions, are out competing moderate and leftists that often don't even accurately describe collapse.

It is important to remember that quietly, beginning in the late and 80s and 90s with mostly pop cultural phenomena, the idea of America as ALREADY collapsed and post-apocalyptic began to enter the lexicon in a lot of different ways. It wasn't an accident or MERELY racism (it was racism too) that led people to buy up so many guns when Obama got elected and re-elected. They had been trained to see that event in the context of a larger description of collapse that was not inaccurate, even if the causes and solutions were wrong.

While post-apocalyptic visions and literature have existed for a long time, the rate of recent increase has been astonishing. It is worth noting that when I was young, post-apocalyptic literature for children was an extant but very small category of literature. Now it is the norm in a huge proportion of new titles, and that isn't an accident.

We have been preparing our children for decades for the world to fall apart, and we should see that as significant. The literature you grow up surrounded by helps you navigate the world you are entering. On both right and left, we taught our kids things were coming apart. We were more right than we wanted to be.

Those fantasies were common enough on the left as well, tending to end in bucolic communal solutions. In both the collapse served functions as well as destroying things - opening up possibilities for social mobility, offering the prepared person the chance to have a measure of control, and erasing non-essential, bureaucratic functions. The texts mourn the lost world, but also revel in the new freedom of sudden destruction.

If you take a look at conservative publishing, film and television, you'll find, mostly descended from the Left Behind books, a long set of narratives about this. They are deeply similar, and they appeal strongly to both men and women with narratives about protecting offspring, and with the implied promise that the disaster will create space for independent flourishing.
It isn't surprising that poor people, working for large corporations and spending their weekends hunting and hanging with family develop fantasies in which the world is emptied out and their credit scores and obligations disappear leaving them with simpler requirements at which they are very good.

But it had play on the left and center too, particularly with ecological issues, and that is problematic because both moderate corporate Democrats and Republicans had as their central premise that COLLAPSE WAS NOT HAPPENING. That is, with a few moderate tweaks to the system and fair minded change (they disagreed on what kind of change, but the basic assumptions were the same) the system could keep going infinitely through technology and probably God's blessing on America.

Now most Democrats would acknowledge that climate change was going to be strain and a challenge and few would acknowledge energy and resources as such, but they were certain that technology would provide solutions. And it does. Technology provides tons of solutions, and always has - the Black Death was a period of tremendous technological advance, fyi - but they aren't necessarily solutions to the central problem, the reduced return on our investments, and the reduced systemic capacity to deal with it. And as I've written many times in the last year, technological solutions at least sometimes come with both unintended consequences and perverse outcomes.

It is also important, however, to think about how the messages were different for right and left leaners. On both sides, there is a fantasy of collapse, in which you and a select few are survivors who control the landscape due to your preparation and far-sightedness, had become standard narrative on the right, joining with a conservative Christianity that reinforced most of those messages as well.

Right now, we are watching our inability to accurately DESCRIBE what is happening and predict what may happen, cause the end of any political resilience. We can see this happening in the US, but not just in the US. Rightist leaders of many nations, who offer a coherent description, with false solutions, are out competing moderate and leftists that often don't even accurately describe collapse.

The collapse-consciousness gap between moderate Democrats and Republicans and the Right was so great that by 2016, the right basically ceded corporate moderate Republicanism to Trump and to apocalypticism. The right worked with white women and men afraid of where we were headed to elect a president whose central message was that America HAD ALREADY COLLAPSED. A heartily disliked candidate who claimed it hadn't, wasn't and wouldn't was defeated.

In 2017, Trump laid out that vision in his inaugural address, which is straight out collapse porn from right wing collapse novels. It centered on attacks from outside the border and violent collapse in cities. That these things were not happening didn't particularly matter.

I will admit that before Trump was elected I didn't credit the man or his minions with any particularly coherent vision of America - I thought he was pure opportunist. But I was incorrect - and we got Trump because even people who were not in denial about collapse underestimated how much the collapse that had already happened was feeding our political and social divisions.
Trump's vision of burning cities and already fallen America is one that played really straight into the narrative beliefs of a lot of Americans - not just those in love with Right wing gun porn and rapture novels, but people who looked at America and said it isn't great anymore, something is wrong, and in the absence of someone else who will tell us what is wrong and give us a solution, went with the (monstrous) man who had some kind of plan for fixing it and could at least name it. That's where we were before covid.

Covid has been another step down the collapse ladder. More importantly, not only did it bring us lower, but it made explicity EXACTLY how far collapsed we already were were. I don't think there are many people who can deny that - that within weeks of Covid hitting, the basic injustices, fundamental inequities and what we can and cannot do, and will and will not do with our increasingly limited resources became painfully obvious. And it happened when most people believed covid was going to be a very short term crisis, when were still talking about weeks to flatten curves, hammers and dances, and just hang on for the vaccine that will make it go away. Even when covid seemed to be a temporary setback, it functioned to make the problem of collapse immediately real and present to everyone who had been in denial (which is almost everyone, on almost every side.)

With Covid and 2020, the Democrats had no choice but to acknowledge that collapse was happening, but they made a critical mistake - they assumed that since Covid and Trump had accelerated and exposed collapse, that they CAUSED collapse, and that fixing them would fix collapse.

Now covid was and is absolutely the biggest problem in the country, and Trump's instability was the most urgent political need to address, but the one thing that isn't true about covid and Trump is that they are the root cause of our collapse. That honor lies elsewhere. They rapidly and painfully exacerbated it, they revealed it, but they did not start it (I'm not going to give a point of origin today, I'll get to it another day.)

You cannot fix things without knowing what is broken. To be fair to Biden, covid is currently unfixable, and Trump's supporters may be as well. But misdiagnosing the problem leads you to fixing things that won't stay fixed, rather than the root cause.

This time the Democrats (wisely) ran on a platform of "let us fix it, and get some measure of normal back" but the underlying assumption was that the problems weren't as big and deep as they are and that normal was achievable. To his eternal credit, Biden did a SUPERB job of providing and distributing technological solutions to covid (ie, the vaccines) and making the enormous appeal of having actual adults in charge evident, but he's still mired in the many other deep crises that are ongoing, without the ability to fully see them as largely a piece.
Biden essentially ran on the platform of "I will fix covid and Trump-style governance, and make it go away so you can live normal lives." That's a tough promise to fufill these days, and he is at fault for making it.

The Republicans, who want to retake the government in the mid-terms are very, very aware that if Biden succeeded in vaccinating the country and ending covid, it would probably put off the crisis. And some (not all) Republicans have chosen to ensure that covid will not go away. That's why vaccinated Republican Senators and Governors have doubled into anti-vaccination policies. They know the vaccine works.

Now, unfortunately, the vaccine can't make covid go away. It didn't have that power, but it is important to recognize that a lot of the central battlegrounds between left and right now are about covid - vaccines and vaccine mandates. And it is important to recognize that it was a choice to make promise that implied that the vaccine would resolve the issue - it was not just optimism.

Covid is breaking the country apart. This week, Greg Abbott of Texas issued an executive order claiming he had the right to override the Federal vaccine mandate, and is relying on the Supreme Court to affirm Texas's status as an anti-vax haven. But he's not unaware that what he's really saying is that Texas is a place where US Federal law does not apply.

You cannot fix things without knowing what is broken. To be fair to Biden, covid is currently unfixable, and Trump's supporters may be as well. But misdiagnosing the problem leads you to fixing things that won't stay fixed, rather than the root cause.

Meanwhile, Ron DeSantis has been wholly successful in spreading covid and denying any mitigation mechanisms - and despite the death rates, serving Republican interests. He too has bucked federal law and policies in his desire to spread covid as widely as possible.

In Alabama, Kay Ivey is using her state's covid relief funds to build more prisons in direct opposition to their appropriations. And a non-trivial number people are actively happy about this. I see this all the time in the facebook parenting groups I follow - they want to move to Texas and Florida for the freedom, which to most of them means that kids sports won't be cancelled and they won't miss work because their kids are quarantined for covid.

Biden has done a lot of right things (and some hideously wrong ones) in this he has failed, because he has not fundamentally acknowledged the reality of collapse as a central predicament to be mitigated, rather than as a smaller function of covid and political mismanagement that can be solved. Biden hasn't got any plans on the necessary scale to slow things (with the sole exception of the refundable monthly payment of the child tax credit, which is probably the single most important thing he's done to reduce poverty, give workers political power and help children - and if he manages to get it made permanent (until the next election) it will be his greatest accomplishment.

Even his infrastructure bill, for example, is still framed for an America that is getting better, rather than falling apart, and contains almost no funds to enable people to live long term with covid and climate change. He lacks the vision of a Roosevelt, but then again, we were quite a few years into the Depression before we elected Roosevelt. In this case, I think the candidate with a vision may come horribly from the right, as it did before. That's a disaster.

This week, two very different commentators, both of them moderate conservatives of similar stripes posted their post-apocalyptic visions for the coming few years.

Thomas Friedman wrote that low income Americans will freeze to death in their homes due to rising energy prices, and that a right wing backlash against green policies that reduce coal usage and emissions will arise, making the Green movement the bad guy. He's absolutely right, little as I like Friedman generally. Indeed, back around the same time I wrote my collapse essay I also liked to remind people that environmentalism among white Americans is in large part a product of comfort and consumerism, and that the vast majority of Americans (and probably Canadians as well) would shovel live baby harp seals into their furnaces if they were cold in the winter, and convince themselves baby harp seals enjoy the warmth.
Meanwhile Bill Mahr anticipates that the 2024 election will go, if not actually to Trump, it will end with two people claiming the presidency. Much as there were once two Popes in Rome and Avignon, only this time I suspect we'll have one in Washington and one in Florida.

I think both are probably at least mostly right - Trump is busy ensuring he can get just enough legitimacy to steal the election (not at all the same as enough legitimacy to win it.) I doubt he'd object to establishing his primary beachhead in Florida or Texas and declaring a new confederacy if he can't get the Supreme Court to hand him the national presidency. And I'm not convinced that some Governors wouldn't see it as a road to power.

And with electrical costs rising slower than oil and natural gas (not slowly, though) a lot of people are going to think about moving to a warmer climate this winter. In the long run, that's a very, very bad idea. In the short run, migration to Florida and Texas by families avoiding the vaccination mandate and looking for consistent schooling and lower costs for heating overall (perhaps not in Texas with its very special grid, though) may delay an economic crash in the south that is going to hit the whole US very, very hard.

All those things are not unlikely, but we have a lot of years to get through before 2024, and while that election is probably going to be a horror show, the coming year or two is probably going to bring into play some things that people HAVE NOT thought much about. One of the ugliest surprises is likely that the economic and medical bills come due.

Most of us haven't thought too much about what it will be like when it really, really is obvious that you can't go back to some kinds of economic activity without spreading covid beyond hospital capacity during periodic outbreaks. Or about what's going to happen to the millions of new disabled created by covid. Fewer still have thought about the ways that covid has raced through unvaccinated older men - which is pretty much the largest part of the US's large farmer population.

I don't have crystal ball, and I don't know what is coming. Still, if I had to place bets, I'd put IN ADDITION to the regular things (climate crisis, economic crisis, new covid variant, supply chain disruptions, water shortages, people quitting all the jobs) that we can expect there to be a food crisis, as harvests are already being disrupted by lack of things like tractor tires and harvesting equipment, and I'd expect an escalation of our conflicts with China and their allies. I hope I'm wrong, but both these things are already percolating, the way the energy crisis was last year under covid's surface.

But mostly I'd expect life to involve being pecked to death by ducks ALL THE TIME, and a couple of yearly occasions where the ducks evolve back into Velociraptors and do heavy damage.
What the hell should you do about this? Well, histories of collapse show some answers to that as well. First of all, avoid being unlucky. What do I mean? Well, there's luck and there is luck. You can count on getting lucky about where the hurricanes and Noreasters hit, and where sea level rise affects, or you can move back away from the ocean.

Obviously, some people can't do this - most of us have reasons for where we live, but the lucky folks will be the ones that can, and do so before everyone else needs to do it too at the same time.

You can hope you get lucky on natural gas prices or you can, if you have the resources and the power make your house warmer with lots of insulation, heavy curtains, alternative heat sources, etc.... Luck favors the prepared, and unfortunately, those with financial options.

The central personal strategy I think that works the best is to shore up global and institutional resilience with personal resilience, on the assumption that it is going to be thrown back in your lap anyway. So think about the things you rely on others for - corporate others, job others, school others, institutional others, government others, and then think about how you and your community can step up and provide them.

For example, just as covid threw schooling, childcare and other family supports back into the lap of families, there were some ways to be luckier than others. For example, families that had already consolidated households with parents and extended family members and needed someone to supervise the children's education now had more bodies to call upon. Families that already homeschooled had resources and skills that were useful. Parents that joined together to formulate programming for themselves and their neighbors had an advantage over those who were alone.

You can think about what is likely to get dumped into your lap and take it back, or ensure you have the ability to take it back. Will you need to have food? Heat? Cooling? Water purification? Support for elderly relatives? Medical assistance?

For example, you can grow a garden on any ground you have access to, so that if food access is reduced, you can produce some of your own. You can move your Mom in with you so that if her nursing facility closes because of lack of staff or because it is too risky to live there due to covid, you don't have to do it in a crisis. You can store food and have an evacuation plan so that in a disaster you can provide for yourself if disaster relief is delayed or absent. Note, I am not saying this is fun or easy. I am observing that this is a thing you can, however, do that does work for many people.

This trick is known in prep circles as "collapse now, avoid the rush." It has a lot to recommend it, other than the fact that it often involves doing things people don't particularly want to do or find easy. Recognizing that disasters that range from wildfires to the loss of childcare subsidies to school closings are going to come more often, and be more severe, and strapped governments are going to be slower to respond and offer less aid means making sure you have a plan.

I am not saying everyone can do all, or most of these things. It isn't easy. It is expensive. Unless you are one of the lucky rich folks who can have it both ways, usually the only way most of us folks can afford to do this is by doing without the other alternative - ie, you can't afford to build on a tiny home for Mom to live in if she can't stay in her assisted living AND bring her home, so you bring her home first, with all the challenges that accompany that. You can't afford to build up food storage and not eat it, so you change your diet to match the things you are buying.

It isn't easy even for those of us who have been doing it for years. I recognize that there are people who cannot do any of these things, and that's the other part of this - we need one another.

The right-wing, only the strong survive narrative isn't just gross and anti-human, it is bullshit. In fact, the people who survive hard times are those with the strongest social networks and the best ability to share resources. It is MORALLY INCUMBENT on everyone reading this who has a spare buck or a spare room or a basement full of spare stuff to make a plan to SHARE, and reach out to those who cannot do more.

Covid also laid bare that what affects your neighbor affects you. If we don't control the disease in one place, it isn't controlled elsewhere. If we don't give everyone vaccines, whether they can pay or not, we get more variants that evade the vaccines. If we don't meet the needs of everyone, we risk those people taking what they need. If we piss upon folks, their rage will create fires we can't put out by pissing.

What all of us want, of course, is more time. Another ten years, or five or a least two. I don't think we have them. I don't mean that I think we're headed to cannibalism and starvation in a matter of weeks, but I think the slow and painful grind down has startd, and it won't stop for a while. I think eventually we'll emerge and do the work of rising up again, but it won't take us back to where we were before. And I don't think it will be for a few years at least.

We could absolutely get lucky. Delta could be the last bad variant. New energy resources and technologies could have very few costs and lots of returns. A few strategic volcanoes could cool the planet a good bit. Supply chain issues could be minor. The recession could be a small one.

But none of those things will change the fact that we are no longer where were, and we aren't climbing back. We are only slowing the rate of descent. Even if all those things were true, we are still collapsing. And that has real and tangible consequences. But until we tell this story differently, until our leadership can say to the American public, "we have fallen, we will try to get you up, but it won't be the same" we can't even begin. Because the strategies for moving forward in a new world are completely different from hanging on by our fingernails to the lost old one.


I'll never dispute that Covid-19 has caused significant problems and the various responses to it caused more, but really.
It's not the Black Death.
One third of the population doesn't die within 24 hours of getting exposed.
Covid-19 looks terrible at a nursing home. After that, well. It's .... more nuanced.

I do agree that we all need to pay more attention to our own neighborhoods and our own gardens.
Community is getting along with the jerk next door.

David Trammel's picture

Sorry I missed these comments dealing with the software problems.

Teresa, I'm not sure of your comment. Could you clarify your anger?

There's bits of that post I do disagree with but over all I felt it had valid points about the coming future. Its why I posted it.

I'm not sure what you mean.
Ms. Astyk's not wrong about us needing community.

I do think that claiming Covid-19 was and is the next coming of the Black Death and we're dropping like flies is a bit much, but her experience has been different from mine.

My best friend has two close cousins.
Cousin A works in a nursing home and she talks all the time about Covid-19 being the next coming of the Black Death.
Cousin B works in a dry cleaners and firmly believes Covid-19 is a Chinese plot and it's the flu, mislabeled so pharmaceutical companies and doctors can extract more money.

Neither of my best friend's cousins are correct.

kma's picture

Do we give out gold stars here? I'd like to nominate Teresa for "Community is getting along with the jerk next door."

Sweet Tatorman's picture

> I noted that if one were to spend one's time lying around a stream, drinking beer<
In my case it is sitting rather than lying. Even though he/she seems to be dissing one of my favorite pastimes, this is a good read nonetheless.

mountainmoma's picture

sounds a bit like something sharon astyk would write currently she did go over a bit to TDS

David Trammel's picture

Yes, I went back and forth several times on whether to post this because it would be very hard to remove the politics from the post. I'm still not happy with it here BUT it does offer a view as seen from the Left of what we could be seeing over the next few years.

I'm quite open to posting something similar from a source on the Right if you can find one. Or if you want to write something up yourself. I do read quite a few sources on that side too, but I don't see any which believe in de-growth and doing with less like we do here. Its a shame too because I think the Progressive are a bit dangerous too, with their ideas of forcing everyone into their planned future. Conservativism has a lot to go for it, if it could drop the love of fossil fuels and infinite growth.

mountainmoma's picture

for sure

David Trammel's picture

Are you agreeing that we need the voice of people on the Right, OR are you volunteering to be that voice?

Contrary to what some might feel here, I am not a Liberal. I'm what Greer would call a "Burkeian Conservative". Like he is. As such I think we should take things slow were social and political change is concerned. I just grown tied of the Nationalists who have taken over the Republican Party and done nothing but obstruct people trying to address the big problems we have now. We can't have a two party government if one party won't govern.

That said, I'd appreciate someone who leans true Right, as I believe you do, to take a crack at how you think the next decade will play out.

mountainmoma's picture

around here, "for sure" means "I agree with you". Sorry for the regional slang.

I dont know what "true right" means to you. I hate labels and love that this area of the interwebs is not political. It is interesting to see how what someone I dont know well might label me over the years, seems I have stood still and the label keeps changing, has made a circle thru the options. I guess maybe like the blind man and the elephant and it depends which part of me you happen to discern at that moment

Wish I was a quicker/smoother writer myself, so many others on this forum have that desire/background.
I know why you want people to see they need to "wake up" over these issues, and certainly Sharon is a passionate writer. As she is so politically biased in that piece of writing, and even more so her views on COVID and the vaccine, I would have chosen to not run anything on the topic than use it. But, I know why you want people to think about the larger issue and that it is hard to find balanced inspiration

I own Sharons book Making Home, and was inspired by the thoughts of having resources to collapse in place and be able to help others if needed. I am part of The Riot For Austerity from the early days....

But, and back to COVID, I may be showing my age when I say that ALL political leanings used to agree about the importance of the bill of rights. So, the TDS is blase at this point, the biggest issue is that she doesnt see the danger of ignoring our natural rights to bodily autonomy and the bill of rights. I re-upped my Notary this summer, and that means I went to the county building and raised my right hand and swore to uphold the constitution -- and so did the President, and the Governors, etc.... this is what we have that is NOT Australia, for example. And the throwing that away should be one of her points, but instead she welcomes the unconstitutional COVID measures and puts down the State governments that are doing their job ( I like to think for the right reason, but maybe she is right and they dont care and it is politics, it is likely both, do the right thing and benefit politically) by standing up for peoples rights. Anyway, there is a huge hypocracy to her point when it comes to COVID measures. This ignoring of our rights should be an example of the breakdown we are in

David Trammel's picture

The few times we've butted heads on politics, I've gotten the impression you are a supporter of Trump, mountainmomma. That puts you for me on the Right, though I agree, labels are confusing and never really describe a person. I don't think you would be comfortable if I called you liberal, would you? What label would you prefer.

You also used the term "our natural rights to bodily autonomy" which most say puts you on the Right of the commonly accepted definitions of politics in America.

I really wish I hadn't gotten distracted from keeping up here during the early part of the pandemic. I think we should have had ongoing conversations here, within the context of Green Wizards about the issues, especially on the health measures and the vaccine.

To clarify, yes I got the vaccine back in June. I still think its a wise decision. That said, I'm read enough on the many issues surrounding it to understand if a person doesn't feel its right for them.

I was lucky in that one of the websites I'm a paid member of,, started covering it in late 2019, after Chinese and Asian members started alerting the forum there of a problem. PP is a stock investing site with a prepper slant. It also has a large slice of health care professionals and biological scientists as members. The owner has a doctorate in virology. So a lot of science discussion I could barely understand went on.

We came to the conclusion early on it was probably a lab leak. We identified vitamins that seemed to help, as well as looked at ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine, both of which showed promise then and still do. The owner's Youtube videos got banned more than a few times during the crisis because he wasn't toeing the CDC line.

I wish this country and its politicians had had an honest conversation about the issues, the pros and cons and the dangers of what was going on. Unfortunately people on both sides, the Left and the Right, didn't trust the voters enough, or just thought they could use the crisis for gain. There's too much misinformation and hardened opinions to have that conversations now.

The reason I wish we had had those conversations is that we're going to face the same types of decisions in the future as the Collapse continues.

It boils down to your body autonomy and Rights, versus the question when do Rights have to give way to your responsibility to the society around you.

Or to give an example, I'm a firm gun rights advocate. I've owned guns all my life. I believe we as American citizens have a right to won them. And yet, I understand that with that Right comes some responsibility to minimize the harm those same guns could do. I accept that we as a society can impose certain restrictions on that right.

There's going to come a time real soon I'm afraid that we as a society must decide similar issues of Rights vs Responsibilities.

Does business have a right to continue emitting CO2 and affecting the climate in a way that harms us all? Renewable vs Fossil Fuel.

Does a business have a responsibility to take respect the right of citizens to privacy and not be under private surveillance? Google, Facebook.

There's more examples but you get my point.

Its clear to me that if a person contracts Covid, whether vaccinated or not, then they will expose others to the virus. I think even someone who is against vaccines can agree to this fact.

You may have a right to decide what goes into your body, and I have some serious reservations about the whole CDC capture by the Pharma companies, and the lengths that they have gone to push everyone to get the vaccine (and so give them a fat profit) BUT I also don't think you can claim your right to that control without recognizing exercising that right can seriously affect another person. Possibly enough they lose their lives. If you stand on your right to not get vaccinated then to me you can not say you won't take health protective measures like wearing a mask, measure effective and used for over a century. Or be tested on a regular basis.

With all the ecological damage and issue coming up as the Collapse continues and gets worse, we need to decide where to draw the line. Just as doctors decide who lives and who dies in a MASH hospital in war, I'd like to be able to have my say in the decision and not leave it to so called "experts".

Until we all decide that we can't get own way 100% and that we all have to learn to compromise, we're going to see more and more of these kind of loggerheads.

I would say a few things about the Federal government and the States right but this post is long enough.

David Trammel's picture

I wanted to just add, while I tried to keep topics that I thought would provoke highly emotional discussion on the site here, I'm leaning towards allowing more of these kinds of posts.

The reason is twofold. One I think we here are adult enough to discuss contentious issues with some courtesy and civility. The other is I really think you can not have a well informed opinion if you don't understand the person who opposes that opinion well.

I sometime spend an hour or more just watching youtube videos or reading online sources I know I'll be shaking my head in disagreement with. OAN is what I watch during lunch at my sisters when I'm working over there. They never disappoint my outrage meter. I suggest everyone do that too.

Posts like this won't be that often, but it probably will happen. Maybe I can get someone just as far fringe on the other side now that the Green Wizardry FB page is up. I'll keep my eyes out.

mountainmoma's picture

what was once common hippy/new age is now being called right wing ( bodily autonomy regarding medical decisions, like what kind of birth experience we want and demand, not filling our bodies full of poisons ( standard western meds, vaccines with questionable adjuvants that suppress natural immunity, etc....), looking for less invasive outside of mainstream medicine treatments, or better yet prophylactics to keep from getting sick that can be done at home cheaply and easily and in line with nature. To trust our bodies and to trust the.. the "real" system, spirituality/interconnectedness that we acnowledge being part of ) ..... it is curious all right. I do not want a label. I do not want to be associated with a particular political camp. ---- Likely you are reading the ecosophia threads regarding Tamanous civilization future where an individual has their individual true path.... (we are reading the (at least a few) exact same major blog sites, including peak prosperity)

The left or right -- binary, you must be this one or that one - designation is not helpful. Why must you call me liberal or right, one or the other ?

Trump is not the anti-christ or source of all problems. COVID is not EBOLA, it is just not that dangerous. Both have been overblown, that is my position. This position is not much different, if at all, from JMG, and I doubt he would like to be pigeonholed into one or the other label either, I do know that I dont.

I can leave right now. I am here to be a resource in what I know and to learn from others from their experience and expertise on what they know and do that help us all to have a smoother transition and to preserve knowledge that will be needed as the world moves forward.

TO one of your points, and I dont know why you are doing it here instead of one the weekly COVID post on Ecosophia If you want the other opinions, there is the weekly ecosophia and Peak prosperity places to do this ! I thought this was supposed to be a place for knowledge in teh circles to help us on our way to de-growth -- But, since you insist --

You contradicted yourself -- you said vaccinated and unvaccinated both spread the virus. Then you said the unvaccinated if they refuse to vaccinate must then mask and test. Why should they be treated differently ?

Basically, you should consider how you are falling back on and stating the truth, both vaxed and un will spread this virus, but then cannot see that this leads to a different conclusion, you are not changing your conclusion ( unvaxxed only must mask and test) after acknowledging the facts

David Trammel's picture

I should have clarified that, yes at this time I think both the vaccinated and unvaccinated should wear a mask. I do when ever I'm out in public and around anyone whose status I don't know.

If I've misunderstood your political leanings and given you a label you don't want, then my apology. I'll stop. I do feel like when I said I'd appreciate a view from the Right, you felt it was directed just at you. It was and it wasn't. I'm aware of my biases enough to know I see thing from a certain point of view. That's why I try and listen to opinions opposite of mine. If that's not you, then ok. Thanks for reminding me not to pigeon hole people into binary identities in the future

If your opposition to vaccines predates the pandemic then perhaps I understand your opinions better. Yes, Covid isn't Ebola but its not the common cold either. 4-5 million dead from it makes it significant. Its effects, especially if you got the long haul after effects like I did make it a big deal. At this point though positions have hardened and you or I aren't going to change our minds. But I'm not going to suddenly turn Green Wizards into another place that discusses Covid 24/7.

I don't want anyone to leave, even you, so I'll try and explain again on why I am bringing all of these points up.

You know the term "triage" I'm sure, the procedure where when medical care is limited, like in wartime, that a person sorts injured and decides who gets treatment and who doesn't. Depending on how you get sorted, literally means life or death.

We as a society are going to be facing similar situations soon. The government can't just keep printing money and handing it out. When they stop people will be angry and loud and demand that their "rights" to a bail out or relocation money or any other type of assistance is the most important thing. Those of us who aren't affected though, and who are going to have to foot the bill for it are going to say "No, you can't have it". If we're going to be fair and honest in making those decisions, then we first must understand both sides of the issue and be willing to discuss them. Not fall back on rhetoric or to just ignore it.

There's a reason I put a circle in the forums for Critical Thinking. I feel like that's important. Critical Thinking means sometimes talking about subjects people would rather not. And sometimes it means listening to positions you don't agree with and that might make you angry. I think its ok to get angry as long as you don't let the anger control you. No one has to agree with every position I state. I do ask that people at least hear me out though. And I'm fine if people ultimately say they don't agree.

There are probably going to be times that you and I end up on the same side. I too grew up at the end of the hippy times and probably have similar opinions as you on more things than we disagree. We just disagree on this. I've seen people disagree on Ecosophia and still talk. I'd like to see the same here. This thread and the comments is about all the discussion on Covid I intend. Honestly its more than I wanted at this time and we're probably at the point we should drop it.

If that cause you to leave and not participate, I'll be sad to see you go but I do have a vision of where I want to guide Green Wizards, and now have the time to work towards that. Green Wizards isn't going to be just another quiet prepper site. Greer wanted us to be a force for long term change and someplace that can really affect people's lives. I hope that can happen.

Sometimes that may include discussions like this.

Perhaps I will talk about just what and how I think we should go forward soon.

mountainmoma's picture

You do not understand my issue here. It is not with the article, it is with how you have addressed me and Teresa. You told her that she was angry. She never said she was angry and her post did not show anger. You did not want to say who wrote the article you re-posted here, I do not know why, when it is obvious it is Sharon Astyk, so I said it was Sharon Astyk that. Then I showed you understanding in a way that socially is used to also show not wanting to further the conversation, by saying "for sure" and not elaborating further, that signals agreement or at least understanding of the other person and is not a sign of wanting to go further. I get why you would run the article, I wouldnt, and you would, I support people having different outlooks and opinions. That would not make me leave this forum, it is the way that I have been called out personally in the comment section and drawn in to be defensive or explain myself that I am not comfortable with. You practically yelled at me in demanding if I was for sure or FOR SURE, which has been edited out. You told me I was a Trump supporter who butted heads with you. Realy ? That is quite a label and judgement from the forum moderator. You went off then on the past presidental elections, which you did delete when I reminded you that - you were the only one wanting to bring election politics into - it was unrelated to the topic at hand - it would be devisive. ANd now, I am o.k. with you, or my opinions on COVID treatment are, if they are long held and not based on new knowledge ! What difference would that make ? If I had felt that way for 50 years or 1 year that would somehow color my sincerity of my beliefs ? My issue is how you are labeling people here and ascribing emotions and thoughts to them of your own devicing and being judgmental. While not trying to tell you how you feel, I notice that you did not want to identify the author of the article and immediatelly jumped on 2 commentors

Yes. Sadly, conservatives don't seem to conserve.
I don't know why.

David Trammel's picture

I don't think its conservative as a group which don't walk their talk. I know quite a few people here in the more rural parts of Missouri who are very active in wildlife conservation and ecological work. They often spend a weekend cleaning a creek of trash or debris. And they lean predominately Republican and conservative in their politics.

Many pro-business and anti-government people have found a home in the Republican party over the decades. They wear the mantle of conservative while not holding to any principles but "that means I get to do what I want".

Though its not just on the Right. The Left has its share of tight minded people.

I'm positive it's Sharon Astyk. I used to read her way back in the Riot for Austerity days.

I remember quite clearly her talking about nice, well-meaning people throwing live baby harp seals into the fiery furnace to keep from freezing and convincing themselves the baby harp seals would be okay with it. She was correct then and she's correct now.

None of us really know what we'll do -- things we claim we abhor -- when we're under severe duress. That said, I don't believe people would actually throw baby harp seals into a furnace to keep warm.
That wouldn't happen.
They'd EAT the baby harp seals rather than starve! And then wear their pelts rather than freeze! And then they'd burn the bones to provide some warmth (after eating the marrow out).

Anyone else feeling alienated by politics lately? As in, used to have a home on one side of the spectrum but it has shifted under you into something you feel you can't support, and the other side of the spectrum does stuff you still hate? Don't fit anywhere now...

mountainmoma's picture

yes. I feel like I stood still and it shifted away and then I get lumped in variously with one group or another that do not fit

I don't think I've changed that much but the world around me certainly has.

I will say this: we would all do better if we cared more about our own gardens rather than someone else's halfway around the world.

What do I mean by this? When I talk to my mother, she knows more about what's happening in California or China than what's happening in her own state, county, town. Yet her town's governance affects her daily life. I, on the other hand, know more about my township than I do about what's happening in California.

To make it worse, what she knows about California or China is always the dramatic stuff with dramatic imagery but that's network news for you: if it bleeds, it leads.

The way the news media is set up does make it easier to learn about big events far away rather than smaller ones closer to home. I have to specifically go looking for local stuff, and I'm probably not as well up on it as I am on world events.

David Trammel's picture

I'm in the same boat. I don't have cable tv and so don't have any of the local stations available. National and International news comes right in from my home page news feed. Local I have to go hunting for.

As much as social media sucks, I have found that the city specific FB group gives me a ton of local information, along with a hefty slice of people bitching about fast food and too many speeders on the local streets, lol.

There were a couple of things in the essay which seem like non-sequiturs to me, which we hear parroted in the media a lot.
" If we don't give everyone vaccines...we get more variants that evade the vaccines."
From what I read, the Delta variant has evolved with a modification to the spike protein which allows it to evade the vaccines, because the vaccines work by getting our bodies to produce the spike protein and then our immune systems to react to the spike protein. However, those who have natural immunity from having had Covid have been exposed to the entire virus (not just the spike protein) and thus have more comprehensive immunity, including immunity to variants. And we are seeing that people who've had the vaccine have high infection rates from the Delta variant (including members of my own family). Thus it seems like vaccination is responsible for creating and spreading the variant, not unvaccination. And in the future we will require unlimited numbers of vaccines to deal with unlimited numbers of variants, similar to what we have with the flu.

Also, from the essay:
" And some (not all) Republicans have chosen to ensure that covid will not go away. That's why vaccinated Republican Senators and Governors have doubled into anti-vaccination policies. They know the vaccine works.
Now, unfortunately, the vaccine can't make covid go away."
The first statement says that the vaccine will make Covid go away but the Republicans are blocking the vaccine.
The second statement says that the vaccine will not make Covid go away.
Please explain?

David Trammel's picture

I primarily reposted that article because of the author's predictions post Covid, not to re-argue Covid "facts" or politics.

As for Covid and natural immunity, the author has spent considerable time researching the issues and I'm sure she has as many links to experts as you do. So who is right? At this point I think we just won't know. Personally the issue isn't something that matters to me because I've been both vaccinated and had a mild case of covid.

Its the same as the discussion Greer is having on his Dreamwidth blog about antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE). I was made aware of the possibility of that problem early in the discovery phase of the pandemic. The people who were going over the medical data in the Spring of 2020, discussed it at length. There was no real decision one way or the other then, so I got the vaccine. Now that the issue has come back up, there isn't much I can do. Either it happens or it doesn't.

I will say the one time I did visit the discussion there I wasn't pleased with what I read. Too many were almost glad that it might be an issue, that those who got the vaccine might be "going to get theirs". It mimics the attitude too many who have gotten the vaccine, have when the numbers for non-vaccinated hospitalizations was going up. People were saying the same thing only in reverse, that the non-vaccinated were getting their's too.

The Pandemic could have been a great lesson in critical thinking and been used to help people look at a complicated issue, weigh the various facts, fictions and things that just weren't known for sure, then make an educated decision on what to do. Unfortunately too many people with agendas decided they could use the crisis to further those agendas.

I would suggest this experiment. Next time you decide that you agree with something you read on the Internet, take a couple of hours and do research as if you completely disagreed with it. See what the other side is saying. See what facts they use to support their decisions on the issue. If at the end of a couple of hours, you still feel your original way, then you can have some confidence you made the right call. If you now have doubts then maybe its not as clear cut as the people you first agreed with said.

Ultimately the Pandemic is just a short speed bump on the road of the Long Descent. A decade from now I'm sure we'll all go, "Oh yeah that year we all stayed home", just like we do with the crisis of 2008 now.

If you take a look at how the red team votes and how the blue team votes - that curtain gets peeled back rapidly. This particular division/delusion needs to be understood. We have no vaccine - we have several experimental vaccines of decreasing efficacy - which we are using to try and slow a virus with a very high survival rate. Also interesting to me is that in these last 2 years of Covid, Influenza A and Influenza B have been completely eradicated per published statistics.

I have not been vaccinated. I do have the antibodies, and so was infected and asymptomatic or else it was so mild I simply shrugged it off as a 'cold'. I am 64 years old and free of diabetes and other such complicating factors. The numbers do not add up to pandemic levels from what I have read. This is the first time that government has forced anything like this on their people, and I trust government at every level to be corrupt and easily bought. It's what I have watched my entire life, on both red and blue teams. And yet somehow the red and blue teams manage to vote more taxes each year and vote themselves raises often - while arguing about everything else in front of cameras.

Until people wake up and see that Trump and Biden are from the same elite class and share in things - it is useless. Trump did more to hurt 2A rights than Biden has; Trump started the whole experimental vaccine push, and he is still pushing these experimentals on everyone. If people would just make a list or two, the blue and red teams are both bad for citizens, and vote the way they are paid to vote by our corporate overlords.

So no - I don't think blaming red or blue is valid when both are complicit.
I think that things are so complex (laws, regulations, etc.) that they have become both unmanageable and unenforceable.
Supply chains designed for JIT (just-in-time) inventories fail when they are not fed their monthly allotment - and this is nearly every current big business.

The list of weak links is too long to print and even harder to write code for ERP systems when the delivery of parts is in limbo. There is no simple fix to complex systems that are interlinked across the globe - when they break, they rarely break in a single point.

People will need to adjust their expectations as we slide into the coming descent.
People will need to decide to trust their government or themselves - I trust myself and my family and close friends, because trusting people that are regularly bought is foolish.

I encourage people to do their wn thinking and research - and avoid the red/blue dialog entirely.

David Trammel's picture

Thank you for that comment. I completely agree we need to get away from the simplistic Left/Right labels. It would be easier if every one filled out the GW survey when signing up and specified their opinion on every issue we discuss, then let the algorithm generate a cute name of their leanings, but I've never gotten that part of the software to work properly.

Joking aside (and that was a joke) I would like it if we could discuss complicated subjects here without some of the silliness I see over on FB or other forums.

since left and right isn't working so well any more. But then we'd have to determine what exactly up and down are first...

David Trammel's picture

The old 9 alignments of good/evil and lawful/chaotic might be useful, lol