1. Is it possible to read the words of someone like Theodore Kaczynski and be convinced by the case he makes, even as you reject what he did with the knowledge? Is it possible to look at human cultural evolution as a series of progress traps, the latest of which you are caught in like a fly on a sundew, with no means of escape? Is it possible to observe the unfolding human attack on nature with horror, be determined to do whatever you can to stop it, and at the same time know that much of it cannot be stopped, whatever you do? Is it possible to see the future as dark and darkening further; to reject false hope and desperate pseudo-optimism without collapsing into despair?

    It’s going to have to be, because it’s where I am right now. But where do I go next? What do I do? Between Kaczynski and Kareiva, what can I find to alight on that will still hold my weight?

    I’m not sure I know the answer. But I know there is no going back to anything. And I know that we are not headed, now, toward convivial tools. We are not headed toward human-scale development. This culture is about superstores, not little shops; synthetic biology, not intentional community; brushcutters, not scythes. This is a culture that develops new life forms first and asks questions later; a species that is in the process of, in the words of the poet Robinson Jeffers, “break[ing] its legs on its own cleverness.”

    What does the near future look like? I’d put my bets on a strange and unworldly combination of ongoing collapse, which will continue to fragment both nature and culture, and a new wave of techno-green “solutions” being unveiled in a doomed attempt to prevent it. I don’t believe now that anything can break this cycle, barring some kind of reset: the kind that we have seen many times before in human history. Some kind of fall back down to a lower level of civilizational complexity. Something like the storm that is now visibly brewing all around us.

     

  2. "And in his soul fight, fight, fight to preserve that which is life in him from the ghastly kisses and poison — bites of the myriad evil ones. Retreat to the desert, and fight. But in his soul adhere to that which is life itself, creatively destroying as it goes: destroying the stiff old thing to let the new bud come through. The one passionate principle of creative being, which recognizes the natural good, and has a sword for the swarms of evil. Fights, fights, fights to protect itself. But with itself, is strong and at peace."
    — D.H. Lawrence, “St. Mawr”
     

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  4. "It was a period when writers besought the deep blue sea ‘to roll.’"
    — Henry James, via Ezra Pound
     
  5. hoodbypussy:

    Évolution inversée

    (via cottonteeeth)

     
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  7. "…[General] Sherman playin’ stinky with Rothschild, and betraying the American people."
    — particularly funny line from "Aristotle and Adams", one of Ezra Pound’s crazy radio broadcasts (via jjladouceur)
     

  8. Jeffrey Tucker used to be something of a ‘libertarian brutalist’

    Here’s his 2012 paean to the Property and Freedom Society:

    The meeting is the annual gathering of the Property and Freedom Society, as founded and headed by the famed radical intellectual Hans-Hermann Hoppe, a man who has become a legend in his own time. He makes his home in Istanbul, but comes here once a year to run this little adventure. His newest book, The Great Fiction, has been published by Laissez Faire Books. The book is on display here and is the talk of the conference.

    The PFS has this line in its 2006 declaration:

    As culturally conservative libertarians, we are convinced that the process of de-civilization has again reached a crisis point and that it is our moral and intellectual duty to once again undertake a serious effort to rebuild a free, prosperous, and moral society.

    There’s also “The Cultural Thought of Ludwig von Mises,” cowritten with Lew Rockwell, which is a great read.

    The split Tucker sketches out is nonspecific, as if he’s trying to avoid naming names, between the ones who are nasty and racist and the ones who turn every visit to the convenience store into an encomium to spontaneous order. In fact, the split is this: On the one hand you have the euphoric, liberationist libertarians who equate gender norms with state oppression, encourage things like prostitution and drug use, and aren’t too concerned about the long-term trajectory of society writ large — why worry when we can’t centrally plan it? On the other side are the more conservative ones who see liberty as the space in which civil society flourishes, which must be jealously protected, especially from the left.

    In other words, it’s not “brutalists” and “humanists,” it’s libertarians intent on abetting that “process of de-civilization,” through sucking up to the left on a conceptual and political level, and the ones who refuse to.

     

  9. "

    Now, O’Hare Airport in Chicago, the busiest airport in the world, is Mayor Daley’s pride and joy, both his personal toy and the visible symbol of his city’s status and importance. If the least little thing went wrong at O’Hare and Daley heard about it, he was furious and would burn up the phone lines to his commissioners until the situation was corrected. So we knew that was the place to get at him. But how? Even if we massed huge numbers of pickets, they’d be virtually lost in the thousands of passengers swarming through O’Hare’s terminals. So we devised a new tactic. Picture yourself for a moment on a typical jet flight. The stewardess has served you your drinks and lunch or dinner, and afterwards the odds are you’ll feel like going to the john. But this is usually awkward because your seat and those of the people sitting next to you are blocked by trays, so you wait until they’re removed. But by then the people closest to the lavatories have got up and the OCCUPIED signs are on. So you wait a few more minutes and, more often than not, by the time the johns are vacant, the FASTEN SEAT BELTS signs are on, so you decide to wait until landing and then use one of the terminal restrooms. You can see this process in action if you watch the passenger gate at any landing airplane. It looks like almost half the debarking passengers make a beeline for the lavatories.

    Here’s where we came in. Some of our people went out to the airport and made a comprehensive intelligence study of how many sit-down pay toilets and stand-up urinals there were in the whole O’Hare complex and how many men and women we’d need for the country’s first “shit-in.” It turned out we’d require about 2500 people, which was no problem for TWO. For the sit-down toilets, our people would just put in their dimes and prepare to wait it out; we arranged for them to bring box lunches and reading material along to help pass the time. What were desperate passengers going to do — knock the cubicle door down and demand evidence of legitimate occupancy? This meant that the ladies’ lavatories could be completely occupied; in the men’s, we’d take care of the pay toilets and then have floating groups moving from one urinal to another, positioning themselves four or five deep and standing there for five minutes before being relieved by a co-conspirator, at which time they would pass on to another rest room. Once again, what’s some poor sap at the end of the line going to say: “Hey, pal, you’re taking too long to piss”?

    "
     

  10. "If to rid ourselves of the present rule of Massachusetts and Connecticut, we break the Union, will the evil stop there? Suppose the New England states alone cut off, will our nature be changed? Are we not men still to the south of that, and with all the passions of men? Immediately, we shall see a Pennsylvania and a Virginia party arise in the residuary confederacy, and the public mind will be distracted with the same party spirit. What a game too will the one party in their hands, by eternally threatening the other that unless they do so and so, they will join their northern neighbors. If we reduce our Union to Virginia and North Carolina, immediately the conflict will be established between the representatives of these two States, and they will end by breaking into their simple units. Seeing, therefore, that an association of men who will not quarrel with one another is a thing which never yet existed, from the greatest confederacy of nations down to a town meeting or a vestry; seeing that we must have somebody to quarrel with, I had rather keep our New England associates for that purpose, than to see our bickerings transferred to others. They are circumscribed within such narrow limits, and their population so full, that their numbers will ever be the minority, and they are marked, like the Jews, with such a perversity of character, as to constitute, from that circumstance, the natural division of our parties. A little patience, and we shall see the reign of witches pass over, their spells dissolved, and the people recovering their true sight, restoring their government to its true principles. It is true, that in the meantime, we are suffering deeply in spirit, and incurring the horrors of a war, and long oppressions of enormous public debt. But who can say what would be the evils of a scission, and when and where they would end?"