From: Mr. X
Sent: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 10:16
Subject: Thank you
In the last few
weeks I've read The Twilight of
American Culture and the first half of Dark Ages America, and I feel compelled to write and thank you.
I'm 56 years old,
and for most of my life I've been haunted by the sense that, between the
world I grew up in and the world I ended up in, something went terribly
wrong. Don't misunderstand - I'm not a nut. I'm a management consultant
working with large arts organizations around issues of strategy and
innovation, and pretty successful at it by the standards of an economically
oriented world. But I have been haunted (it's the only word that works) by a
bone deep sense that something very fundamental went amiss in my lifetime.
Your work has helped me to understand the source of my disquiet.
I think there must
be millions like me facing a terrible choice. On one hand we can face the
triumph in our time of a global consumer culture, and the soul sickness it
creates and depends on, and live with the misery that nothing we can do can
turn that historic tide. On the other, we can indulge in the delusion that if
we just recycle enough, or embrace our inner child, or save the white tigers,
or indulge in any number of anodynes, that we can change the world and redeem
It's really a
choice of miseries - the misery of seeing a terrible truth, or the misery of
denial. I have envied people who could do the latter, and tried to myself,
but with no success. Your work has helped me realize that, for me anyway, the
misery of denial is the greater of the two. Thank you.
Dear Mr. X,
does summarize the choice, n'est-ce pas? A few things to check out, after you
sequel, Why America Failed.
2. The 1st
half of A Question of Values.
essay, buried somewhere in the archives of my blog (late 2011?), called
"La longue duree."
the way out is thru. We can't reverse this corporate-consumerist tide. Nothing
can. It has to play out to its full self-destruction. But while this is going
on, there are independent alternatives that are sprouting (including, in the
US, secessionist movements), experiments in nonprofit and steady-state types of
economy, that will become increasingly attractive as the colossus we live in
cracks up. This is 30-40 yrs away, but they are, I believe, a viable
future--simply because we shall have no other choice than decentralization and
eco-sustainability (accompanied by significant austerity). We are fast
approaching a world of limits, in short.
my blog thought I was kidding re: my enthusiasm for a Palin presidency (for
example); but the fact is that Obama's destruction of the US has been ad hoc
and desultory. With a full-fledged nut like Palin or Bachmann in the White
House, the whole process would be greatly accelerated. The notion that the ills
of the US might be cured via the ballot box is quite mad, in my view. Hence,
might as well have a Herman Cain or Rick Perry at the helm, to get the job over
with. Romney will move in this direction, of course, but as in the case of the
late Roman Empire, better to have a completely mindless buffoon in charge. In
the meantime, there are only two options for the aware American (all 453 of
them) that I can see: emigrate (my solution, in part), or take the NMI option
outlined in the Twilight book (the
other part of my solution).
helps. Thanks for writing.