James Howard Kunstler

Still Standing Amid the Wreckage

     The New Urbanists held their big annual meet-up for four days last week and I stomped a big carbon footprint flying down to West Palm Beach for the doings. I don’t know who exactly picked West Palm, but it was at once peculiar, disheartening, instructive, and exhausting.   The Congress for the New Urbanism has been throwing this yearly fandango since its founding in 1993 as a fire-eating reform movement dedicated to transforming the…

Elegy – Clusterfuck Nation

Reposted with the kind permission of James Howard Kunstler A few weeks ago I flew to Chicago, hopped into a rent-a-car, and navigated my way on the tangle of interstate highways to the now mostly former industrial region in the northwest corner of Indiana just off lowest Lake Michigan between the towns of Whiting and…

As If Nothing Matters

     The world gave the appearance of doing nothing and going nowhere over the past month – apart from the sensational liaison of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, which, some believe, augurs a dazzling speed-up of the much prayed-for economic recovery, return to full employment, $2.50 gasoline by summer, and the selection of Jesus Christ as VP running mate by Mitt Romney – but, in fact, so much trouble is roiling under the surface…

Strange Jubilee

Is there a Baby Boomer so dim in this land of rackets and swindles who thinks that he or she will escape the wrath of the Millennials rising? The developing story is so obvious that only an academic economist could fail to notice. Here’s how it will go: some months from now, as the financial unwind worsens, and the mirage of gainful employment shimmers away to nothing, and the technocrats of Europe meet…

Unthinkable

In the drunken, drug-crazed twilight of its run as Leader of the Free World, America’s collective imagination swerves from one breakdown lane to the other while the highway patrol throws a donuts-and-porn party down at headquarters and the news media searches the gutter on hands-and-knees looking for the spot where it dropped its brains.

Juked by Medicine

This still moment on the verge of spring equinox, industrial civilization is taking a rest from its travails of finance and economy. The creaking and groaning vehicle of world banking lurches forward with its latest patch, the Greek fix, but the explosive resignation last week of a Goldman Sachs executive director Greg Smith, posted as an op-ed essay in no less than the New York Times, afforded a glimpse into the dark place where…

A Fog of Mendacity

Those frightening sounds, sights, and odors on the wind this foreboding snowless winter – like emanations from some back ward of a global psychiatric hospital – are the signs of a nation going completely mad. The traumatic rise of oil prices above the $100 level is one irritant, prompting a range of people-who-oughta-know-better to gibber and fulminate as though they’d been locked in the nation’s attic since Thanksgiving with nothing to do but…

The Choices We Make

     The misalignment of politics and reality threatens to scuttle both major parties, but it’s especially gratifying to see the Republicans sail off the edge of their own flat earth on the winds of religious idiocy. For forty years it has not been enough for them to just be a conservative party. They had to enlist the worst elements of ignorance and reaction, and they found an endless supply of it in the…

The John Brown Moment

     When Gaia gets pissed off enough at the antics of humanity, she sends in her hit-man, Reality, to settle accounts. Reality is blessed with a cloak of invisibility. The human race is so busy concocting stories about what it is doing, that Reality steals onto the scene unnoticed – until bodies start to fall over, and the sort of bad political weather known as a shit-storm fills the skies, the streets, and the…

All Screaming Id, No Brains, No Honor

     A Martian psychoanalyst observing the US Superbowl on TV would be shocked by the vicious animal spirits emanating from that spectacle, starting with the triumphal trumpet blasts borrowed straight from the old 1950s Hollywood epic movies echoing the prideful mis-steps of ancient Rome, along with the by-now clichéd CGI trick in the opening credits of gleaming metallic heraldic insignia spun into a military cordon of stars so as to protect the tender collective…