Individualism cannot save humanity from the crises it faces. It’s not the right tool.

There is a widespread belief that if we just eliminated all collectivist impulses within our society, we could eliminate all our problems. That the government which causes so much bloodshed and oppression wouldn’t be harmful if we can shrink it down to a minor role, or even to nonexistence, and the corporate powers which attach themselves to governments would thereby lose power over individuals. Let individuals take care of themselves however they see fit, with no collectivist power interfering in their affairs, and the world will sort itself out in a harmonious way.

This will never happen.

The most common argument for why this will never happen is that the world is full of awful people, and if you place the will of the individual over the will of the collective, the awful people will be able to do a lot more awful things. The people who are sociopathic enough to destroy the environment and exploit others for profit will be able to exert more influence over the total wellbeing of the world than those who aren’t, and there’ll be no safety nets in place protecting those who are born into under-privileged situations. Individuals like mothers who aren’t as capable of earning money would frequently find themselves dependent on the kindness of a man who may or may not be kind. Such a society would claim to be just, since it makes the same demands of everybody, but due to real circumstances could only ever be gravely unjust.

This argument is of course true, but it’s not the primary reason that individualism cannot save us.

The primary reason individualism cannot save us is that it depends upon competition. If everyone is an individual whom the collective will neither help nor hinder, we’re all going to have to compete for opportunities and resources on a shrinking world of limited opportunities and resources. A society that is pouring all of its energy and creativity into the drive of the individual to get ahead of the other individuals will never be able to overcome the fundamental problem of looming ecosystemic collapse, setting us instead on a massive rat race to be the first to destroy the environment for profit before someone else does. Which is why strict adherents to individualism must tell each other fairy tales about the ecosystem being fine in order to avoid cognitive dissonance.

In reality, we are witnessing a mass extinction the likes of which we haven’t seen since the end of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, with some 200 species going extinct forever every single day. The very ecosystemic context in which we evolved is vanishing underneath us. More than half the world’s wildlife has vanished in forty years, and the worldwide insect population has plummeted by as much as 90 percentFertile soil is vanishing, and so are forests. The oceans are choking to death, 90 percent of global fish stocks are either fully fished or overfished, the seas are full of microplastics, and phytoplankton, an indispensable foundation of earth’s food chain, have been killed off by 40 percent since 1950. Science keeps pouring in showing that global warming is occurring faster than previously predicted, and there are self-reinforcing warming effects called “feedback loops” which, once set off, can continue warming the atmosphere further and further regardless of human behavior, causing more feedback loops.

We’re never going to compete our way out of this situation. We need to turn around, all of us, together. Now. Sure, in an entirely individualist paradigm we’d see some people inventing renewable energy sources and new materials which would compete with more ecocidal existing models, but that wouldn’t suddenly make it unprofitable to keep destroying the rainforests or pouring poison into the atmosphere. If we had centuries for more environment-friendly models to rise to the top we might have a chance, but we don’t have centuries to turn this thing around, we have years. Relying on human ingenuity directed by nothing other than competition and profit will not focus our efforts with anything like the necessary urgency.

Individualists know this, which is why their ideology relies so heavily on denialism of scientific consensus regarding the disappearance of the ecosystemic context in which our species evolved. I’ve studied the arguments of this denialism closely, and personally have found nothing that couldn’t be swiftly debunked with a little research. The science showing the warming effect of man’s carbon-releasing industrial activities has been public knowledge since it was discovered in 1896 by a man named Svante Arrhenius. Nobody accused him of being a pawn in a globalist conspiracy at the time; the scientific world simply noted his discovery with an “Oh cool yeah, that makes sense.” One of his colleagues even suggested setting fire to unused coal seams in order to increase global temperature, because back then milder winters sounded like a nice idea. It wasn’t until this line of scientific inquiry became threatening to the fossil fuel industry that it turned into a radically politicized debate propelled by Koch-funded research teams and Fox News.

The door is closed to solving our problems via rugged individualism anyway. The arguments for individualism have been used by right-wing mainstream political parties to cut taxes, slash social programs, kill minimum wage hikes and roll back regulations on corporations, but never, ever actually end up shrinking government beyond that. The war machine continues to swell, as does the increasingly militarized and surveillance-happy police state and all the other aspects of government which do actual harm to actual people. The arguments for individualism are only ever used to make things more comfortable for the oligarchs, never less.

We’re never going to overcome the oligarchic oppression machine and create a healthy world without extensive, mass-scale collaboration. Individualists argue “Hey, we can collaborate too! We just don’t want to be forced to by the collective.” Okay, but you don’t. And even if you did, how much energy would you have left over to throw into extensive mass-scale collaboration after having to spend so much of it competing with your neighbors to survive? Probably very little.

So collaboration by the entire collective is the only answer. The problem is that malignant manipulators come in and hijack our healthy impulse to collaborate with each other and get us collaborating in the interests of power instead. That’s all the so-called “Resistance” to Trump is in America; it’s the herding of the populist left into support for the Democratic Party, which has no agenda other than the preservation and profit of existing power structures. All of our healthy impulses toward collectivist solutions to our problems have been thwarted by the fact that the ruling class is so adept at narrative control, which they are able to use to manipulate us into collaborating in ways that benefit them instead of collaborating to toss them out on their asses and build a healthy world.

So collectivism by itself is worthless. What we need is not just our healthy impulse to collaborate, but to collaborate in a wise and intuitive way that is not manipulated by the propaganda narratives of the powerful. We need an enlightened collectivism in which we all collaborate toward the good of the whole, not because we’ve been manipulated into it, nor even just because we’ve been convinced to by compelling arguments, but because we’ve become wise and compassionate enough to understand that that’s what’s best for everyone. This means fundamentally changing how our minds operate. It means a collective evolution into a wildly new relationship with thought.

Is that a big ask? Of course. Evolution always is. But it’s either that or extinction. We will either change from an ego-driven species that can be manipulated by fear and greed into an enlightened species that is not bound by mental narratives, or we will die. We absolutely have the freedom to pass or fail this test, but we’re necessarily going to end up taking it. In fact, we are taking it currently.

This transformation might be called “socialism” or “communism” or some other “-ism” in the future, but in reality it will be something unlike anything we’ve ever tried before. It won’t be merely a change in how power and resources are distributed, it will be a fundamental change in what humans are and how we operate, both as a collective and as individuals.

The belief that humanity can and must undergo a profound psychological transformation if we’re to survive isn’t flaky “out there” spiritualism, nor is it in fact “spiritual” at all; it’s a political position just as mundane and valid as the belief that the working class can and must rise up against the plutocracy. There isn’t actually any mechanism in place preventing us from doing this; the only thing stopping it is our not wanting it badly enough yet.

Humans were never meant to operate as individuals. We’re not descended from solo creatures like tigers or polar bears, we’re descended from monkeys, group-oriented throughout our DNA. We need each other. It’s how our brains and nervous systems are wired. There’s no getting out of this. We’re going to wake up together or not at all. We’re going to evolve together or die together.


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68 responses to “Rugged Individualism Cannot Save Us. Only Enlightened Collectivism Can.”

  1. Wonderful article, it aligns exactly with what I velieve

  2. Nothing is more dangerous than self-proclaimed enlightened ones.
    What seems impossible for collectivists to understand is that the mind of true individualists is simply incapable of collective identification. Yet only such eccentrics can truly conceive of original ideas.
    Ideas are cheap and not good enough, however. There must be some means of determining what is actually true. Only the scientific method can help here.
    An engineering approach would be to say that whatever “system” we devise to govern ourselves, should seek only to minimize harm, maximize liberty and cooperation, and provide for those who are incapable of providing for themselves (in a way that doesn’t compromise the first two goals). What’s sorely lacking in the systems tried so far is a way to do what scientists do with ideas that have been proven wrong by the results of experiment — to discard them!
    Democratic processes may perhaps be more useful in reverse. E.g., petitions and referendums to abolish bad laws, remove bad legislators, and even to abolish entire governments! E.g., by having all .gov revenue be collected by a bank, shares of which are equally held by all citizens according to Constitutional law. If the citizens want to reboot the .gov, then there is a peaceful way to do so by voting to abolish that bank or freeze all of its accounts.
    Ideology has failed us. Please, no more static systems of thought, leaders with grandiose visions for humanity, unscientific beliefs, and social or political compulsion.
    True enlightenment is closely associated with humility. None of us knows the right answer to how to run the world. Lacking a working scientific predictive model for human society, the precautionary principle should apply. First, do no harm.
    “He who governs least, governs best.”

  3. Helen Camakaris Avatar
    Helen Camakaris

    This excellent article resonates for me. I agree that democracy must change, but I fear that hoping that enough individuals will change their perspective to a collaborative one is wishful thinking. The problem I see is transition from our current entrenched system to a better one. As a first step in this direction I suggested that a politician or a party offer establishment of a Council for the Future in their platform.

  4. Ivan Inderbitzin Avatar
    Ivan Inderbitzin

    I was intrigued by the idea of a ‘collective evolution into a wildly new relationship with thought’ towards an ‘enlightened species that is not bound by mental narratives’. Hmmm… yes, you are right that we are not ‘solo creatures’ (i.e. by that you probably mean not a-social or anti-social individualistic islands). But, how are we collectively going to move into that wildly new direction without communication and without the development of some alternative motivating, guiding, orientating narratives? Maybe the very key to changing our ‘relationship to thought’ is a change in the WAY we COMMUNICATE with each other and a change in the KINDS of NARRATIVES we begin to exchange and develop together.
    The reference to ‘enlightenment’ is intriguing too: the enlightenment is an ongoing modern project (over last few centuries). Are you calling for a return to and perhaps reshaping of that project? Or does ‘wildly new’ suggest… well… something wildly new? 🙂

    1. George Kimball Avatar
      George Kimball

      At the comment “a collective evolution into a wildly new relationship with thought” I had to stop taking Caitlin Johnstone seriously. Cf. Maoist unified consciousness or Aryan master race.

      The left never seems able to grasp that their central notion of an ordered society is at its core authoritarian, irreducibly so. The prevailing paradigm that human society is ‘broken’ is predicated on a fantasy, a comparison to a ‘not broken’ society. That requires an elite to decide what is ‘broken’ – virtually a definition of totalitarian thought and the antithesis of the left’s beloved ‘diversity’.

  5. Dirck Jahsman Avatar
    Dirck Jahsman

    Oh my. That collection of references does seem to put the boot to the suggestion that global warming is suspect. Is the current “knowledge” scientifically myopic? Has global warming’s popularity created a positive affirmation loop? While I favor a wary eye on this relatively recent communal certainty on an immensely complex system, I will concede that the considered consensus appears to be overwhelmingly in confirmation. At this time. Now, as far as solar centric effects are concerned, I don’t yet read anything meaningful (other than Zharkova’s work) that weighs in on the subject. And if a Grand Solar Minimum is if fact occurring, based on the cooling reported from the Dalton minimum, earth temperatures might possibly drop significantly, or at least get a reprieve from temperature increases. BTW, thanks for posting an article regarding this subject, particularly because it might be hard to stomach that a challenge to global warming could be anything but politically motivated.

  6. We already have the comprehensive teachings and recommendations that you are searching for. They are the teachings of Billy Eduard Albert Meier. Who certainly is ahead of his time, but will be studied for the next 2000 years and beyond.

  7. SomeoneInAsia Avatar

    Don’t know about the West, but as far as the East Asian cultural milieux are concerned Confucianism has provided an excellent basis for what the above article terms ‘enlightened collectivism’. It provided a fully workable basis for sustainable, cultured and civilized living in China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam for centuries. But the advent of modern industrial ‘civilization’ turned it all upside down. It can only be hoped that the people of East Asia will remember and cherish this great tradition enough to bring it back as a guide to living and to organizing society in due course (as when enough of them see how devoid of a future our current ‘collective’ path is).

    As for all that denialism being directed against the scientific consensus regarding the dire predicament facing the biosphere, my response is always as follows: I don’t give a **** what the #@!!%& denialist wants to believe as long as he lives on another planet. If you live on a planet different from the one I live on, then sure, go ahead, believe whatever you want; I’ll fully respect your right to do so, because if you screw up your planet as a consequence of what you believe, you’re the one who will have to suffer the consequence, not I. Trouble is, my butt happens to rest on the same ball of rock as yours, and there’s no other ball of rock I can go to. So how fair to me would it be for me to suffer for what you’ve done?

  8. Stephen Morrell Avatar
    Stephen Morrell

    Meanwhile, back here on earth, down in the gutter, it’s all about power, not just the power of the rulers. And it’s about the necessary evidence-based propaganda and advocacy needed to win hearts and minds, and the necessary agitation to move those hearts and minds. In short, it’s about leadership and a concrete program that results in the overthrow of the most entrenched and blood-soaked ruling class in human history. If we don’t keep the focus on their overthrow, the dire social, economic and environmental circumstances humanity now faces will never be surmounted. It’s about the broad masses realising that inescapable necessity through hard struggle for more mundane things like proper healthcare, jobs programs, decent education and living standards that the bourgeoisie cannot and will not provide. The main lessons learnt from any meaningful struggle, struggles that have produced many conditions that people today take for granted or somehow were ‘god-given’, should be that (i) any meaningful victories won’t be won without hard, relentless and ruthless class struggle; (ii) they will never be secured without the capitalist rulers being vanquished once and for all.

    It HAS been done before, albeit in rather unfavourable circumstances — the October Russian revolution, led by the Bolshevik party of Lenin and Trotsky. With the inestimable help of bourgeois ‘education’ and indoctrination, most people, even those with supposedly ‘higher’ political consciousness and especially those with higher education, have been too quick to discount the examples of capitalism being overthrown as ‘that didn’t work, move on’– without (proudly even) ever examining properly how and why these social transformations didn’t work out as envisaged. Still wearing the blinkers provided so thoughtfully by their bourgeois masters, people will continue to resort to idealisms like ‘psychological transformation’, longterm psychic, emotional ‘evolution’ and the like because history and the real world has been too cruel.

    In practical terms, until the advent of a party of the Bolshevik type that seeks nothing less than the root-and-branch destruction of capitalism and its replacement with a centralised planned economy, there will be no doing away with all the social and environmental pathologies capitalism and imperialism has inflicted on mankind. Because the working class is the only class with the social power to smash capitalism, it needs a program that makes it conscious of its historic role, conscious of the power that it has to act in its own and in the interests of society as a whole.

    Along the way, working class organisation and the trade unions must be revived, through a leadership committed to overthrowing capitalism, as the fighting organisations they were originally forged to be. The working class needs to organise to use its social power to lead the fight for all the oppressed.

    The working class will only learn how to struggle and win through waging class warfare effectively. It’s defensive organisations must also be animated by a program that takes today’s struggles over concrete issues and, at all times, directs them toward the conquest of power. Becoming ‘wise and compassionate to understand that’s what’s best for everyone’ doesn’t come out of thin air. It comes from hard lessons learnt, from history, from past struggles, from learning the lessons of history.

    Have no doubt, the bourgeoisie and its MSM mouthpieces will frequently use the term ‘economic terrorism’ when the working class finally does begin to flex its industrial muscle in its own interests, through strikes, occupations, hot-cargoing and the like. And have no doubt that capitalism’s social democratic helpers and handmaidens will denounce the ‘extremism’ and ‘violence’ and all the rest when the existing order is truly threatened.

    While not being a Maoist, the following quote from Mao Tse Tung nevertheless is apt: “A revolution is not a dinner party, or writing an essay, or painting a picture, or doing embroidery. It cannot be so refined, so leisurely and gentle, so temperate, kind, courteous, restrained and magnanimous. A revolution is an insurrection, an act of violence by which one class overthrows another.”

    And the time after the revolution won’t be particularly pleasant either. There will follow dictatorship, civil war and terror, as bourgeois resistance to the revolutionary regime that has overthrown it inevitably will organise to thwart, neutralise, frustrate, sabotage and outright attack it. The French and Russian revolutions are textbook examples for what to expect, and those thinking seriously of the need to overthrow capitalism would do well to carefully study these two key historic turning points. Until it’s understood and accepted that no ruling class in history gives up its power peacefully, that sharp social transformations occur through often bloody and violent struggle with ‘nasty’ consequences, then there will be no social transformation. “A revolution is not a dinner party….”

    It’s not about competition verses collectivism. It’s about class combat and warfare, about organising for power, so that production and society can be reorganised on a planned, collectivised basis. And there will be competition, fierce competition, for power. It won’t just be revolutionaries pitted against the bourgeoisie. Competition for the hearts and minds of the working class, between the revolutionaries and the last defenders of capitalism inside the working class — the social democrats and reformists — will also be fierce. AOC, Sanders, Corbyn et al., and similarly minded trade union leaderships, will be the second-last resort for the bourgeoisie before their last resort, fascism. And these last ‘progressive’ defenders of capitalism no doubt will advocate ‘collectivism’ to defend ‘civilisation’ from the communist hordes.

    1. what America is experiencing today is not, i repeat not capitalism. America is experiencing socialism , and socialism’s goal is to become a communist. Once America returns to a true capitalist framework and only then will Americans experiencing anything close to freedom. to begin with , return to the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, eliminate 90% of all laws since 1863 and America would be on it’s way to Freedom for all mankind, regardless of color , all Communist should be drug into the streets and hung like Mussolini. Starting with Stephen Morrell.

  9. You write: “There isn’t actually any mechanism in place preventing us from doing this;”
    Oh yes there is… mainstream media and the ‘security’ forces.
    To change things we will have to take over every TV and radio station, every social media outlet, every print works and mass media producers, and ban all programmes apart from news presenting a constant barrage of facts about the dire straits we are in. At the same time we must take total control of the police and army and be prepared to kill all dissenters.
    Anything less will fail. It is far too late for any ‘niceties’.

    1. I was with you 100% until you got to ‘kill all dissenters’. At that point we part company but your main point is spot on – as long as the war-mongering corporates control the media the causes of peace and justice have NO hope. Now they’re censoring anti-war and similar sites so we’re getting even further away from defeating the bastards.

  10. I’ve had almost zero result from trying to gently nudge people towards reading an article here or there to start them on the road to seeing there’s more to what’s happening in the world than the MSM. Reactions fall into roughly three categories:

    yes but we can’t do anything about it
    I’m too busy to research that stuff
    I like and trust my Murdoch press.

    I think we need charismatic leaders because, looking at history, I can’t see any uprisings or booting out of dictators or tyrants or murderous monarchies which weren’t led by someone who articulated a different way and appealed to people who had been pushed into abject misery and poverty by the rulers. That said, all leaders who see off the tyrants and win power should have limited terms because, as we know, power corrupts.

  11. Caitlin, I love your stuff, but this piece made me crazy. You see through the nonsense narratives in so many other ways, but IMHO you are missing the boat here.

    Without really defining “individualism” and “collectivism”, you kind of come to the right definition at various places in the article: collectivism is when people are coerced or forced to work in a certain way, while individualism is when they are left to pursue their own aims without force. At least that’s the definition I’ll use; perhaps you meant it some other way.

    You, like so many others, state that individualism is all about competition and being “rugged” and independent of others. I cannot for the life of me fathom how you (and others) believe this. The fact that we are posting on WordPress right now is a miracle. Who wrote WordPress? Who made your computer? Who made the server that is running WordPress? Who laid the fiber optic cables that carry the network traffic? Who is working right now to keep all this tech working? Who grew your food? Who made your clothes? Did you grow and roast that coffee you are drinking in the cup you made on your home-built pottery wheel? The answer is other people did it. Why? Why did they make all this stuff for you? Were they coerced? Did a socialist collective forcefully demand that they do these things for you or get a bullet in the head? Of course not. All of this action is voluntary. Every day, I enjoy the fruits of cooperation with millions of other people. We all work to keep each other alive and happy. Modern society is a freaking miracle of cooperation, astonishing and beautiful in its intricacy. To say that without collectivism there would be no cooperation is like saying there is no air on the earth (until maybe government passes a law).

    You also make the tired old statements like without collectivism (i.e., coercive redistribution – give money to the poor or die) “there will be no social safety net” and “the poor will be left to die”. People love to say stuff like this, but again, take a look at reality. Charity has existed, and been revered, since the dawn of civilization. Family, church, community, organized charities, the list goes on. There must be tens of thousands, maybe millions, of ways to help the poor that don’t involve threatening people with violence. So many good people, like yourself, have an urge to help those less fortunate. Are you saying that you would never help the disadvantaged unless you are forced? I’m tired of the “my friends and I would help, of course, but everyone else is a nasty greedy pig” argument. Yes, the Other is nasty. And to assume that the only way to help the poor is through coercive, mandatory, centrally-administered programs that hand out cash to the poor is simply counterfactual. There are reams of research showing that this approach is woefully inadequate, and even harmful. In fact, even the poor say (through polls) that the welfare state hurts the poor more than it helps. How anyone who cares about the poor would insist on this continuing beggars the imagination.

    And then, in an individualist society, “sociopaths would run rampant”. How so? There would be no massive coercive power structures for them to control. How would John Bolton kill tens of millions of people in a society where he could not obtain control over a trillion-dollar defense budget? Maybe he and his buddies would go beat up some Iranians, but there’s no way he could start a nuclear war. And an individualist society would still have law and order, and enforcers of law and order, just not a centralized monopoly with unaccountable power like we have now. What kind of lunatic would want to live in a society with no law enforcement or redress of grievances?

    Caitlin, you are such a bright star in the fight against our current insanity. You see right through idiotic arguments like “if we don’t bomb the Middle East, then we just have to do nothing” but you are still caught up in such evidence-free assertions like “if we don’t have a massive central government, all the poor would die in the streets”. Break through these Hobson’s Dillemas! And keep up the great work!

    1. SomeoneInAsia Avatar

      QUOTE: ***At least that’s the definition I’ll use; perhaps you meant it some other way.***

      I’m sure she meant it some other way. Your use of the word ‘cooperation’ may well correspond to her use of the word ‘collectivism’.

    2. I agree with Ken in many respects.

    3. George Kimball Avatar
      George Kimball

      You didn’t mention the spectacular failures of public (government) charity, which are now just wallpaper. The biggest block of money in human history by far, US social spending, aims at eradicating poverty – the bottom 10% of the US population that has somehow never decreases. Look at public education, a disguised sinecure for vote-buying and the dissemination of collectivism that produces generations of sheep. Look at the explosion of street people, addicts covering major cities with needles and human waste which creates medieval health hazards.

    4. “All of this action is voluntary. Every day, I enjoy the fruits of cooperation with millions of other people. We all work to keep each other alive and happy. Modern society is a freaking miracle of cooperation, astonishing and beautiful in its intricacy. ”

      Voluntary?!? Seriously?
      How about considering the fact that the architecture of your glorious vista requires that the vast majority submit their will and their effort across a vast proportion of their life to menial and/or uncomfortable tasks, without any say in the process, in exchange for a relative pittance that enables them and their family to subsist in the face of outrageous rental and food. Or they don’t submit, or they mentally collapse in the process of submission, and then generally spend their lives in a cardboard box under a bridge or within an equivalent margin.

      An ‘individualist’ society at a ‘civilised’ scale is a conceptual nonsense and at a small scale would be a nightmare lived in discord and contempt of the most basic of evolved human needs and behaviours. Small scale, autonomous social collectives are the only sustainable form of human function. The road back to that essential state is now an inevitable imperative however its passage is a fraught and difficult one. It is by no means an assured journey.

  12. WOW … my mind was truly enriched with all of the dialog here today ! Thank you all.

  13. Hi Caitlin,

    To me, you are the epitome of a rugged individualist. Not a collectivist.

    Love you for your honesty and your courage to expose evil.

    I am surprised that you don’t value your own beingess as a rugged individual as being more positive.

    I think we need more people like you… Don’t you?

  14. Peter Bartoli Avatar
    Peter Bartoli

    LOL. Love your takedowns of the press, but “enlightened collectivism” is oxymoron. All power structures just need to be smashed every so often to shake out the crap and corruption, and a lot of the governments in place are long, long overdue to be shaken up.

  15. Humanity is sorely in need of an upgrade. We are still operating with the version that came out of the savannas. How about Humans 2.0?

  16. Eliot’s title “The Wasteland” is echoed by Tom Lehrer’s “An Evening Wasted” —and by Caitlin’s “On the Beach” blog today. A last verse as good as any:

    And we will all go together when we go
    Ev’ry Hottenhot an’ ev’ry Eskimo
    When the air becomes uranious
    And we will all go simultaneous
    Yes we all will go together
    When we all go together
    Yes, we all will go together when we go

  17. Of course we MUST work together to deal with this massive problem but crapitalism has made this SO difficult. Our efforts to date, when 100% of the worlds peer reviewed climate scientists agree on the problem , have been woefully inadequate.
    “we don’t have centuries to turn this thing around, we have years.” If we were to stop burning fossil fuels today climate warming would continue for decades. We must actually reduce global CO2 to 300 ppm along with massive methane (natural gas) emission reductions.
    Fortunately we have a FREE, totally SAFE, nuclear fusion plant that is powerful enough to meet all our global energy needs. It has to power everything NOW, if not sooner!!!

    1. I’m a retired laboratory technician who worked in fossil as well as nuclear power plants. If there’s an operating, electric-power-producing, power plant out there, I’ve missed that earth-shattering news. Just exactly WHERE is this nuclear “fusion” plant located?

      1. He means the Sun. Solar power. ….

  18. Are you being played? The name of the game if you haven’t noticed is divide and Rule. The left wing is rightfully concerned about the destruction of Environmental Protections, the rights of minorities and sharing of wealth etc. The right wing is rightfully concerned about erosion of constitutional principles such as free speech, individual liberty and private property and not being mooched off of by freeloaders etc.
    The rich and powerful are best understood not only as a class but as a culture. This culture is more or less unbroken since at least Roman times. Their first commandment is always divide and rule. Bottom line, if you are not looking to find commonality with your opponents on the left or right, you are owned by them. You have lost the war while thinking you’re still engaged in a fierce battle to win it. But its already gone. No matter how many righteous arguments you make, and certainly you will make many, if you don’t find commonality with those on the opposite side of the spectrum, if you insist on demonizing, or in the very least disrespecting them because of the perversities of a subset of that group, than you are owned.
    It is long past due that the left and right gets hip to the fact as we are being played against each other, and take our energy, and make the effort to find common ground with our supposed enemies on the opposite side of the political spectrum.
    Anything less than that is political masturbation. It is self-indulgent self-destruction. I suggest that we begin to find the commonality with the opposition that actually does exist, and work together to defeat the ruling class, then work out our differences in a calm manner with our political opposites, whether it’s regional succession or mere compromise.
    Yes we will find many of their attitudes and point-of-view repulsive and wrong. Both sides feel this way about each other and not without some reason. This must be tolerated. It is more important to understand and then gain control of our servitude, than to try and win interminable arguments on particular issues. That kind of polarized tussle never ends.
    Confounding this requirement is the fact that this planet is ruled by a malignant stellar civilization with technology beyond, not only the reach of, but the imagination of even well-educated people.
    With the Awakening aforementioned by everyone (including me) it will fail without dealing with this matter. Fortunately there are positive Steller civilizations reportedly hard at work in dismantling the mind control systems that controls the masses, and to a large degree, the educated class. My apologies if the inclusion of this radical element stands outside the accepted purview of the audience.

    1. Please detail your evidence for the intervention of the steller civilization. If true, is it a good thing or a bad thing? Should it be aided or resisted?

    2. Very, very, very well said !

    3. Your argument is valid. Interestingly this is the stance that Marianne Williamson takes in her run at the presidency, and in her book The Politics of Love. Whether she will gain enough support to win the top position is another question, dependent on the level of consciousness of the voting public. But her ideas about this even handed approach are nevertheless valid.

  19. Michel Bélisle Avatar
    Michel Bélisle

    Collectivism means a lot of things that the ruling elites have Always been against like a universal income for everybody, nationalization of the main industries of a country, natalistic measures etc…

    It seems that if you go against the will of the ruling elites, you will find collectivism on every level.

    Again, a lot of measures for a collectivist society are there in Sir Thomas More masterpiece book “Utopia”.

    But, as Thomas More, I know collectivism will never prevail sadly because of the sinful nature of man.

    We have to wait for the return of Jesus, which return is very near according to many prophecies. He will come as the Supreme Judge and I pray the Rosary to hasten His Glorious return because I have seen enough.

    1. Sadly, you are waiting for a mythical event which will never happen in real time, regardless of your belief in it.

      1. Michel Bélisle Avatar
        Michel Bélisle

        If it was not of Jesus and Mary, I would have also seen wreckages of airplanes in the Pentagone and in a field in Pennsylvania on 9-11 like a multitude of people who have seen it despite there were none to be seen.

        I thank Jesus and Mary for that and I am still believing the Glorious return of Jesus is near.

        And I must add that I have seen enough of our present “bullshit era”.

        Keeping my Rosary close

  20. Here is a college lecture on The Ethics of Buddhism. The first 5 minutes covers the causes of suffering pretty well. Selfish desires, really, and selfish expectations, unmet… There is always sickness and death. There is a path to suffering less. Helping the people around you find it helps, too.

  21. Dear Caitlin,
    As a life-long “individualist”, I’ve found the “20/80 principle” to be pretty much accurate across the board, with regard to people, their will to work, and in particular, will to learn. That principle has been established for centuries, observing “20% of any workforce, produces 80% of the output”, because on average, 20% drive themselves and find ways to be productive, while the 80 work at their own pace, injecting such energy, enthusiasm, and will to learn and do better, as they find necessary, and no more.
    I’ve worked, earning money to tool up, since I was six, knowing I’d be a mechanic since age one, and shocked to discover, one can’t go to a shop, without tools, and begin work, one must bring one’s own tools.
    I’ve earned my living through high school, enlisted in the Marines, expecting to go to Vietnam, but got to miss out on that one, fortunately. I was put in aviation electronics, because it was much harder to recruit for, and I happen to be good at it, Blessed, or lucky, for those who don’t believe in God. As a junior tech, I worked on any piece of gear that came in the shop, and wasn’t jumped on, because everyone “cherry picked”, all the electronics was older than we. The “20/80 principle” was clearly proved out, one in five was able to diagnose, to consider the symptoms, postulate a cause, based on understanding the proper workings, and find a broken or bad component, the rest could easily tune and align a radio, or radar, if supervised, and kept on track, helped through rough patches.
    “Rugged Individualism” has been the means of moving exponentially, from one level of quality of life to the next, from our far back ancestors, to the present. The real problem is the fact we’ve always put our technological advances to war first, and to post war life, only afterward. We are survival oriented, it’s in our genes, and we see threats where none exist, because in the millions of years of moving forward, only a century or so exists where the individual has been able to secure the whole of the family, alone.
    I learned to read before entering school, because I’m severely dyslexic, and my elder sister hated starting the “bed time story” where we left off the night before, having read ahead in the day. She realized at four, I didn’t see things as others, particularly letters, I sang the alphabet song perfectly, every time, but my “alphabet” ran from 13 figures, to 37, some actual letters, many from Greek, Latin, and Aramaic, as well as mere scribbles. Betsy taught me to see words like hieroglyphs, pictographs, and memorize their features, and shortly after, to see word parts, the same.
    I read all my father’s childhood books while living in Spain, two years, then Italy, a “navy brat”, before entering kindergarten, our mom being a librarian, life-long focus on adult literacy, and taking us everywhere public transportation could, around the Med. I learned western history from the stones, inscriptions, literally walking through it, and Mom didn’t lie, ever, that I know of, in my own lifetime.
    I have loved our declaration of Independence since first reading it, our Constitution is the most brilliant form and format of a subject government, ever conceived, yet even with the best start ever, we refused to accept the challenge of becoming “truly, fully educated and keeping it as a standard”, necessary for any “a People” to be able to control their destiny, by cooperative plans, practice, and outcome.
    We were truly established as a “federated Republic”, with truly representational government, yet we were utterly unable to keep greed from over-running perhaps the greatest experiment in self-government, and we utterly failed.
    John Adams was among the least positive of the members of the Constitution Convention, and when asked, stated, “this form of government is suitable only for a moral, and a religious people. Any other form, require a tyrant, to drive them to do their duties”. He saw, at the time, with the greatest future possible ahead, the one aspect of human weakness that would be our downfall, our unwillingness to know the truth, if it informs us of necessary labor, in particular, peculiar labor, to set a problem to right.
    People, in their nature, are more inclined to let “someone else do it”, while they may believe such will happen, except if they are of that 20 percentile, who have always known someone has to get up and do, no one else seems inclined.
    I’ve worked perhaps thirty jobs in my sixty one years, many short, because factory jobs in Chicago, lasted through contracts, bankrupted, closed, two weeks later, opened new business, new capital, new contract, that would last three months, or six, but would end in bankruptcy.
    I own a machine shop, well equipped, because I’ve bought my tools since I was six, tools instead of candy, gum, toys, games, I saved my money for tools, and I own tools far older than myself. I was a center in my community, since I retired from the Marines, because my shop is made of machinery as old or older than I, and can repair almost anything metal, I can weld anything, machine almost anything, and the “family farms” are dominated by farm equipment needing repairs, maintenance, and parts made, that can’t be bought. I get to watch the impact of “sanctions” on family farms, here in North Carolina, as they scramble for some crop that puts nitrogen into the soil, because soybean isn’t to be sold to China, who bought 65% of our total produce in that market, until last year.
    We truly must learn to work together, and we must work hard on merely “speaking our true minds to one another”, because we’ve acclimated to always competing, and only a small portion of society is truly willing and morally able to work, “hand in hand”. One thing I’ve noted my whole life; every proclivity noted for people, in the Bible, is well demonstrated by every people, the world over, and we have all appearances of being of “a fallen nature”, something so many would so eagerly deny.
    There is an old saying, don’t know when it came, but it is apropo: “there is so much bad in the best of us, and so much good in the worst of us, it hardly behooves, any of the rest of us, to talk about any of us”.
    It has seemed, we all have the propensity for good in us, even some of the most demented, hate-filled people, and yet even the best of people we know, will invariably show an ugly side, that “simply doesn’t fit”, yet it’s there. I was raised to be atheist, but I’ve never been able to shake the knowledge of God, accept rational, reasoned outcomes from pure randomness, and randomness theory can’t account for anything specific, for its nature.
    We always have to choose to be good, to end up actually accomplishing good, in any “long run”, and this means overcoming the nature of falling into “ease”, and reluctance to rise up to work. We are not all equal, we are all born equal, but we choose how much we will put out, in order to pursue our fantasies, our imaginary future, and for all our history, family, extended family, tribe, and Nation, have been our culture guide, which has kept us free, as much as we’ve been, and kept us moving forward, bettering ourselves, our outcome, always at the expense of lower life, because of the “circle of life”.
    Throughout human history, we’ve managed to get together, and form cultures, communities, even nations, but greed, envy, sloth and energy, have always kept us at odds, never able to fully “pull together”, I don’t believe we shall see different, while we rule ourselves.
    Semper Fidelis,
    John McClain
    GySgt, USMC, ret.
    Vanceboro, NC, USA


    1. Thank You, John! If humanity is able to survive and overcome itself we just might have a future.

    2. Hi John. We have a lot in common. I grew up on USMC and Navy bases, probably a few months younger than you. Dad was last stationed at “Swamp Latrine”, and I know you know what base that is. I played in the woods and dug tunnels and stuff.
      I always had the feeling that “God” was inside my mind, and that there was nothing I could hide, and that people at church acted like “God” was somewhere watching, but not experiencing every thought and feeling, suffering and joy with them. It was almost impossible to talk about.
      God is not a dude with a long beard, loving heart and bad temper.
      God is not separate. If there is some “original sin”, it’s “separateness”. I’m separate from you, so I can rape you and take your stuff and be happy. Universal consciousness makes us “all equal in the eyes of God”. We all experience and co-create life/reality. All contribute to God’s experience of this dream-in-the-mind-of-God.
      I got into vacuum tube electronics, designing & building hi fi, speakers, and now I grow vegetables. You describe being a blacksmith, also. I answer blog comments. Here’s the garden, brother-man.

  22. So, we have to convince the collective monkey to simply let go of that coconut in order to get its hand out of the trap? Good luck with that. To digress, have we tried herding cats lately? On the other hand, it is said to be difficult to keep your mind on the task of draining the swamp when you’re up to your ass in alligators. A certain story started with a lone Jedi who didn’t even know what a Jedi was, but seems to end with young Jedi knights popping up everywhere in response to a simple symbol reminding them of that option. “I AM your father, join me and together we can rule the universe” says the Sith monkey who just cut off his son’s coconut grabbing hand. “NOOOO!” Screams the falling Jedi monkey who later exiled himself to reflect upon his navel while living his remaining days alone on some rock surrounded by ocean until he acts virtually to swing the tide of the battle and allow the last remaining hope (or so we thought) to escape destruction. Moral: The collective needs its heroes but the force always seeks balance regardless.

  23. I am more and more impressed by the depth and quality of the comments to Caitlin’s essays. She has become a strange attractor to some very perceptive people. Being a catalyst to quicken other’s thought processes is an important role. Being open to amendments and corrections to one’s own thoughts is a valuable benefit of sharing one’s insights. Thanks to everyone for making this such an interesting and informative site!

    1. The process happening on this site is a model for how we should collaborate to foster changes in our society. We need to brainstorm our situation from many angles to find what will actually work.

  24. Well, there was that one great individual; a lumberjack by the name of Paul Bunyon, whose boot prints created the great lakes here in North America; wouldn’t take but a few men like him to turn things around, at least here in the U.S. and Canada.

  25. You’d be talking about the cancerous dogma of Neoliberalism then Caitlin. Collectivism, solidarity, empathy, unity, society, etc are all anathema to the functioning of this massive socialism for the rich con job. Even Thatcher herself said “there is no such thing as society”. Really excellent site to check out is ‘Neoliberalism Softpanorama’. A huge site with everything you ever wanted to know about all the grisly effects of Neoliberalism; with literally dozens of subsections, thousands of pages, and many hundreds of linked articles. As I said, its a huge site, but a treasure trove of information. Check it out people.

  26. Thank you for this essay, and for all your others. You really are an independent thinker who sees beyond the controlling narratives.

    As a great believer in the sanctity of the individual, I think what a new social system requires is a way for every individual to voluntarily co-operate in ways that protect us all from the coercers in the world.

    There is a yin and yang, harmony of opposites, between the sanctity of the individual and the co-operative power of the collective. It’s not either/or.

    I wrote a book about this concept and how it would operate in a new, non-coercive social system that can protect 8 billion people simultaneously.

    Thanks again, please keep doing what you’re doing.

  27. Joseph Mirzoeff Avatar
    Joseph Mirzoeff

    As CO2 and warmth have increased the world has greened – 2.3% per decade for two decades. The places increasing the most (China 10%, India 6% per decade) have the largest carbon footprints. CO2 is a fertilizer, not a pollutant. Warmth creates more land for agriculture, photosynthesis needs CO2. The green new deal is a tax-the middle-class international scam. – as war finally winds down government wants to manufacture consent for more money and power While it smothers plants, it will smother us, and increase food costs, starve us as well, creating more artificial scarcity. Methane is a different issue. God is great, and we know not what we do. We need a balance of individualism and collective, as we have. We need to balance fairer and more compassionately in the USA.

  28. Isn’t this a false choice fallacy? Our survival depends on having great individuals and great organizations,like a violin concerto. It doesn’t have to be a choice. That argument is for suckers. How obvious can it get? Imagine a world without cooperation. That’s insane. That’s Ayn Rand lunacy, The reason the oligarchs want to idealize individualism is that it makes it harder for the people to organize opposition to them. They are surely organized in collaboration with each other behind the scenes. That is the thing they fear the most because it threatens their power, atomizing divide and conquer right down to the individual

    1. Suggestion to Caitlin, arrange to allow editing features sometime soon so we can correct formatting and grammar mistakes like this after posting.

    2. Isn’t your summation of that choice an incorrect interpretation of it? Caitlin explicitly cites ‘rugged individualism’. This is the type that decries collectivism in almost any form as some sort of shackle upon the human spirit. Indeed that does evoke the Ayn Rand standard of ‘reality’ at the extreme. However it also relates strongly to the neo-liberal world view generally which seeks to dismantle all overt structures of social collectivism in favour of ‘user pays’, every person for themselves conditions.

      Also do not forget that no ‘great individual’ has developed the attributes of that greatness alone and without enormous derivation from the life-force around them and from broader humanity as a part of that life-force. Thence no such individual deserves or should be able to wring enormous personal benefits from that ‘greatness’.

      There is no such thing as an ‘individual’. Without about 10kg of bacteria in and around you working in close collective symmetry with ‘you’, you are dead meat. And that is just a thin sliver of the matrix you are embedded within. Closely examine all presumed notions of ‘reality’. So much of such belief is merely familiar and psychologically convenient narrative and not in any way real.

  29. Great problems need great solutions. Great solutions come from great ideas. Great ideas come from…individuals. But one of the great problems is what happens to great ideas. Are they made freely available on a global basis to be developed for the benefit of everyone, or are they ‘corralled’ by special interest groups, taken ‘dark’ , and out of reach of the collective ? I’d suggest the latter, more often than not. Mr Tesla would agree. In an electric universe why don’t we all have access to free, totally clean energy ? Imagine the difference that would make !
    And that’s just one revolutionary idea that was never offered up for the enlightenment of the collective. There are so many others it would take a long book to lay them out.
    I’m of the view that our struggling 21st Century civilisation need not be struggling. Unfortunately the means of enlightenment , peace, prosperity for all, and liberation from misery, have been hijacked.
    We need to identify and oust the hijackers. This takes inquiry, self development, study, vigilance, optimism, resilience, imagination, and revolutionary zeal… the level of the individual. Individuals of this type exist and they are coming together. Watch this space.

  30. Ah, the Buddha Ms Caitlin speaks the truth! One of the enjoyments of my old age is to read Ms Johnstone’s great articles on the Internet. She is a 1000 percent correct here; but I must add that ” the masters and the owners ” view things extremely differently! To them the only problem is that there are ” too many poor people “! To them a great many of the 99 percent of humanity needs to be quickly eliminated. A world wide nuclear war would imperil them; so that will most likely not be the route that they take. An economic collapse however would set the ” masses ” at each others throats and eliminate most of the ” undesirables ” from the planet.

  31. Caitlin nails it yet again. The great issues of our times cannot be overcome without a fundamental shift in who we see ourselves as being. This IS a spiritual matter! I could say much more on these things but, instead, refer interested people to a booklet titled “Not-Two Is Peace.”

  32. Ralph Seymour Avatar
    Ralph Seymour

    Good article. Doug Casey has written about this. He believes that governments will ultimately fail and people will form associations called phyles.

    Phyles are groups of people that get together with others, bound by whatever is important to them.

    1. That binding common interest has to be landscape and the energy gradients that run through it. Anything less does not address the fundaments of their survival and simply replicates the core deficiency of the current predicament.

      Also each ‘phyle’ has to have sovereignty over, and of course adequate knowledge of, the management of their land/energy domain, otherwise again the project becomes a disastrous mess.

    2. yes, and fortunately, we already have these voluntary associations which can and do thrive in an existing framework. The name of this framework is pronounced capital-ism. Capital-ism is just a label we use to describe what humans do voluntarily, and naturally….if left alone. They are motivated by enlighten self-interest which includes the fundamental understanding that they must co-operate with each other if the wish to achieve their own prosperity. Collectivism is the opposite of this. Collectivism always descends into a totalitarian dictatorship of the collective because it must be imposed. Collectivism is the superhighway to Marxism and genocide. Others can disagree.

      1. You are assigning meaning to words to suit your argument. Collectivism at its heart simply provides commons for people to access and utilise within the constructs of their ‘voluntary cooperation. Capitalism, in its essence, seeks to privatise these commons. There is the fundamental difference and the major obstruction within capitalism toward truly effective cooperation. You can draw as many long bows as you wish to try make it seem otherwise but it’s not.

  33. Great article, but one error worth noting; we are not descended from monkeys. Monkeys and us have a common ancestor, going back something like 5-10 million years. So that’s an awful lot of time (between our common ancestor with monkeys and today) to consider, and to perhaps wonder what models our ancestors adopted to survive. That is, we don’t have to refer to or rely on our “monkey DNA”; we have tens of thousands of years of successful human history bursting with lessons for us moderns to learn from. It’s also worth remembering that monkeys operate in a brutal hierarchical society that relies on a lot of inter-group and intra-group violence.

    One of the best windows onto this that we have/had is the Aboriginal civilization that – made up of over 120 languages – survived for 65k years in Australia. Makes every hierarchical civilisation since look like amateurs right (Not to mention the monkeys!)?

    Many of the answers to the question you pose in this article can be found in the extraordinary success of what we would probably inaccurately call the “egalitarian” civilization of Australia, and those that we have only paleontological evidence of in Africa and the Middle East.

    But there is zero chance of our species reverting to that model without a monumental crisis similar to that which all previous hierarchical civilisations have fallen to.

  34. Absent an immediate world-wide, humongous shift in consciousness, which is not going to happen, it’s over. One of four things will put the final nail in the coffin: Nuclear war (possible, given the right circumstances likely), financial collapse/chaos (guaranteed), environmental catastrophe (happening now), and if one of these doesn’t do us in iwithn the next 5-10 years, AI will be the end of humanity.
    This is Kali Yuga and it ain’t gonna end easily. The best anyone can do is to work your spiritual program, pray for Mother Earth, and vow never to come back.

  35. I fundamentally and wholeheartedly agree with all of that except the notion that we need to ‘evolve’ to this new plane of non-ego driven mass collectivism. Whilst we may ‘apparently’ need to, we simply can’t do that. We are not evolutionally wired for that and it’s not going to happen. Its contemplation extends from the mythology of progress toward utopia inculcated into us by the values, motivations and over-arching beliefs spawned by The Enlightenment.

    Instead we ‘simply’ (a technical calibration, not a practical one) need to restore the natural collectivism of pre-neolithic society, and with that work out how to federate the many local and regional collectives into landscape wide collaborative forms. Pre-European Australian indigenous society provides a perfect template for the feasibility and the function of such structure and the worth of a transformation toward it. The critical challenge is in collapsing the sheer scale now extant globally across society, including the immense scale of abysmal ignorance toward real human needs and alternatives to the status quo, that depends upon hierarchy and remote control for its maintenance.

    1. My comment above failed to mention the critical point that the human ego needs to be controlled by way of its willing submission to a forceful entity more profound and significant than itself. In pre-neolithic society this forceful entity was the landscape and the flow-energy systems that enlivened that landscape. Notwithstanding allegory and allusion within the mythologies employed to explain and communicate the nature of this entity to the social members, this entity was a real and genuinely overriding thing upon their lives. Inasmuch the mythologies were real. Moreover these myths and stories were derived and owned by the people that shared them. They were not handed down to them from above by elites seeking to exploit them. It the stories were in accord with real truth, the society endured. Prevailing for around 100,000 years or more upon a landscape is a fairly good indicator of the essential truth within that social narrative. And then they all got cancer from an alien invasion.

      The growth of Neolithic societies replaced a real dominant entity with contrived images of ‘god’ that could be described and manipulated by elites as necessary to maintain social control. We have now evolved past ‘god’ to the invisible hand of the market and, essentially, are ruled by the financial and commercial elites who claim to know its arcane rules and imperatives. The military and ‘intelligence’ sectors are just malignant arms of that elite.

  36. Michel Bélisle Avatar
    Michel Bélisle

    Yes, of course you are right.

    Sir Thomas More’s masterpiece book “Utopia” is worth reading to see how we could live harmoniously and it was written 500 years ago.

    But Sir Thomas More is not confident that the perfect society exposed in his book is really possible and he explains why:

    “…if pride, that plague of human nature, that source of so much misery, did not hinder it; for this vice does not measure happiness so much by its own conveniences, as by the miseries of others; and would not be satisfied with being thought a goddess, if none were left that were miserable, over whom she might insult. Pride thinks its own happiness shines the brighter, by comparing it with the misfortunes of other persons; that by displaying its own wealth they may feel their poverty the more sensibly. This is that infernal serpent that creeps into the breasts of mortals, and possesses them too much to be easily drawn out.”

    There you have it! This is pride that will push somebody to be of bad faith, that will push somebody to say that he has clearly seen wreckages of airplanes in the Pentagone and in a field in Pennsylvania on 9-11 even if there were none at all to be seen. It is pride again that will make somebody say that Julian Assange is not a real journalist etc…

    Overcoming pride, as Sir Thomas More says, is very difficult. And in our days, which are the return of the days of Noah just before the Second Coming of Christ, it is twice as difficult.

    I pray the Rosary to hasten the return of Jesus, which return is very near according to many prophecies, because I have really really seen enough.

    1. Pride in and of itself is not evil. Pride inspires confidence, in achievement, in accomplishments greater than oneself, necessary to imagine a greater future. Confidence in achieving an environmental solution by individual creativeness and invention is what is needed most. If we all get too depressed by visions of apocalypse, we are truly doomed. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, expecting and ever watching for The End. Dystopian visions tend to become handbooks because what we imagine in our consciousnesses we create. Even more evil than pride is shame because it incapacitates us as visionaries. Pride in one’s service to mankind is good.

    2. Think about what you are saying carefully, Michel. That is a popular but extremely dangerous myth, the “return of Jesus to rule the world” myth. That means a religious autocracy. Nobody would put up with that for an instant. That is the easy way out. We need to find a way to rule ourselves, not count on some mythical being to come down from a cloud to do it for us. Jesus returning to rule the world is truly an apocalyptic vision. Jesus as Big Brother? Lots of people, probably two-thirds of the world, would surely object. Jesus would have to eliminate them. That sounds like a great culling being necessary. The Malthusians would love that. That is crazy thinking.

      1. Malthus is everywhere in capitalism. Social Darwinism’s survival of the economically fittest is the rule that capitalism depends on for its legitimacy. Neoliberalism doesn’t recognize that human intelligence is capable of overcoming scarcity of natural resources.

        Rugged individualism is the narcissistic self image of a people who are indoctrinated to believe that we live in a Malthusian world. If these Marlboro men and women ever came face to face with reality, they would be forced to rationalize the fact that they have been feeding the ruling class their own flesh, instead of winning a competition forced upon them by nature or god.

        Our Malthusian economics assumes that diminishing returns is inescapable and axiomatic. Once established, this axiom forever hangs over our heads as an oppressive limit that is forever lowering, forcing us to work more hours to fight the lowering limit. It’s hogwash. The fact is that we have the ability to produce enormous abundance and have so much free time as we do it. Education and social activities would replace entertainment as things to look forward to everyday. No more need to escape, as Caitlin has written about in an earlier piece. The leisure class would seem like a deformity, instead of something to aspire to.

        The only scarcity the human race is bound to is the amount of money in the money supply. Capitalism is a monetary system, not a productive system. Capitalism is about monopoly control of currency, its system of payments (banking), military monopolization of trade routes/terms of trade, and monopoly of land.

        Since commercial banks create the money supply when they lend, our economic and social landscape is determined by banks. They lend only to make a profit, not for the benefit of their communities, as they do in Germany. This means our entire culture is created by bank lending. No wonder “culture” is really just a commodity for consumption.

        Our money supply, created by bank loans, contains only principal. The loan interest is not in the money supply in the aggregate. This means that we, the little people have to compete for principal. Bankruptcies and defaults are a feature, not a bug. Banks take the collateral in defaults, so they win regardless.

        Approximately 80% of bank loans are for real estate (mortgages). Approximately 80% of those loans are for homes that are already in existence. This means that the loan does not generate employment and therefore adds nothing to the productivity of the economy. The loans are purely for speculation. The bank lends because they know the price of the home will go up over time.

        The eventual selling price of a home is not determined by which prospective home owner is willing to bid the highest, but rather which bank is willing to lend the most. In other words, the price (and future appreciation in price) is determined by the banks, not people. People are an externality.

        Laissez-faire capitalism is a finance controlled capitalism. Productivity occurs in the periphery of the empire with low labor and commodity prices and consumption takes place at the center, with its debt fueled purchasing power. There must always be 2 levels of inflation: high asset inflation that ensures speculative gains for financial securities and real estate and low consumer inflation so that employers can pay as little wages as possible to the majority of the consumers, I mean citizens who make a living through earned income.

        This is just one very important window into understanding the sham of scarcity that Malthusian economics normalizes in our society. It’s just a lie that has taken hold of our entire world, with the fiercest advocates always being the working class in the culture where the lie was invented.

        The Liberal conjugates to the rugged individual stooges are the agents of catharsis that purge the society of its build up of sadism that the individualist express in their hatred for those below them economically. Once purged, the sadistic emotions build up again in a seeming endless cycle of insanity. The back and forth between Liberal and Conservative seems to behave like a negative feedback loop, but over time is actually a positive feedback loop. Basically a jagged line that moves up and down in the short run, but over time the upwards movements are greater in aggregate than the downwards movements.

        The only way this positive feedback loop has reset itself in history is world war. I’m not saying its inevitable, but it is what has happened before.

        The Archie Bunker/Meathead duality serves the elites. Sadistic self righteous culture wars divert all of our attention away from politics and fool us into thinking we are participating in something meaningful.

        Imagine living in a world where 100% of your productive energy were utilized by you and your community, without any “rent” paid to middlemen.

        To live in a society whose culture is created by its members, not banks who create vulgar money out of thin air to inflate bubbles in assets and fund the military that forces cheap production abroad and low consumer inflation at home.

        The obvious answer is socialism.

  37. The useful idiots of the elites are the Archie Bunkers and Meatheads of America: knee jerk “capitalists” who are really just sadists looking to rationalize their desires. These are the sick people who make up over 50% of the commenters on Zero Hedge.

    The Meatheads of America are what give the Archie Bunkers fuel. The Meatheads are the Liberals who voted for Hillary. They read the New York Times, Washington Post, watch MSNBC, CNN, and are college educated. These are the subject of Thomas Frank’s book, “Listen, Liberal, or Whatever Happened to the Party of the People.”

    Both groups are the stooges of the elites. These are the people who not only have what Marx called false consciousness, but are used successfully because of it. They both are the NPC’s of America.

    The media is their cultivators. The media grows false consciousness. The entertainment/information industry is so central to the lives of all of us. Only those who know that the media is toxic can remain free and sane.

    I think there needs to be a movement to make labor unions truly international. Capital can move freely. People should be able to as well. The purchasing power of a person’s labor should be the same all around the planet. Capitalism is predicated on monopoly power of currency, land, and military. Trade, under these conditions, is hardly free. I read recently that if the international poverty level were raised from its current $1.50/day (give or take) to $10/day, then 80% of the global population would be under the poverty line.

    Capitalism is a sham. It is time to change to real socialism/communism. Don’t be fooled by the crap propaganda we have been force fed. No more private control of the means of production. No more shareholder absentee landlords and their media shills.

    1. Peter, you are absolutely correct. The problem is that the Elite owners of LARGE SCALE capital equipment will do everything in their power to prevent “their” capital equipment from being, essentially, nationalized. An other problem is that people who have been sitting on their asses their entire lives, either pushing paper, or doing things even less productive, like making WMDs, do not want to lose their jobs.
      Unless and until all of those diverse groups can come together and “imagine”, in great detail, a better way for human beings to “make a living” on planet earth, they are all doomed to either an environmental or nuclear disaster.

      1. Howdy ISHKABIBBLE,

        I imagine there are a few conditions that must be present at the same time in order for real change to begin. One of them is waking people up to the fact that political economy is what democracy is about. Americans have been slowly brainwashed into thinking that any deviation away from free markets is an act against nature and god.

        We all who rely on earned income are the majority. We can dictate terms of change if we want to. It’s like going skydiving for the first time, I imagine. You say to yourself no way, until one day you decide to do it. Once you do it, you can’t imagine being the old you.

        1. I forgot to say that the American way of divorcing social issues from political economy has worked brilliantly for the elites so far. Democracy for America is like voting for what you want to decide for a person on Dr. Phil or Jerry Springer. Lots of self-righteous morality and finger wagging about social issues, but complete stupidity and ignorance of land, labor, and capital.

          The average American has no idea how our economic system works. They can only talk about it in terms that a Sunday school kid talks about adults in their community. It’s beyond pathetic.

          The good thing is the internet is making a difference, slowly. Caitlin is part of that and hats off to her.

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