I've been reading him casually for a number of years, I check his weekly screed more to take the temperature than get any actual information because I'm already right on board with his perspective. But this week has two special points.
One is that his usual colourful rant has the darkest tone I have ever seen him use and two is this section.
The most striking feature of the current scene is the absence of a coherent vision of our multiple related predicaments and how they add up to a valid picture of reality. To be precise, I mean our predicaments of 1.) energy resources, 2.) vanishing capital, and 3.) ecocide. This inability to decode the clear and present dangers to civilized life is a failure of leadership and authority without precedent in the American story.
On the eve of the only other comparable national convulsion -- the lead-up to the Civil War - a strenuous public debate was able to focus on the salient question of the day, namely whether human slavery would continue in this country. Lincoln and Douglas parried for hours in the hot sun, arguing unscripted in complete sentences without the aid of teleprompters or offstage spin doctors. Yet no one above age of nine failed to understand what was at issue.
Note the diminishing returns of technology at work in our time, making it impossible for us to think straight, despite the proliferation of snazzy devices, programs, networks, blog-clouds, and the pervasive, non-stop spewage of so-called information all intended to enhance communication. What did Lincoln have to work with? A pencil.
The issue is not how cool are our tools, the issue is what we use them for and I have long said that ICT is a huge accerlerator. It wont change who you are or how you or your organisation wporks at first, but it will massively amplify everything about the information environment you inhabit.
I'm pretty sure we have all, always, been about as deluded and ignorant and resistant to change as we are now. But with the advent of these technologies we are being exposed to both the best and the worst in us at very speed; whatever and whoever we are is laid out in an instant for the world to see in all its icky, mindless detail.
As well as its massive positives, electronic communications of all kinds have enabled the publication of our anger, hatreds and perversions and my view is that the good has outweighed the bad by a long way.
But, as Kunstler suggests in this piece, it is now amplifying our fear, ignorance, confusion, desperation and panic.
18 months ago I watched one Saturday morning as my old dog trotted up the garden path, cast around the hedges and the shed, under the Pururi tree and flopped down under the cool shadow of the worm farm, panting as he tried to escape the pain inside. I said to my wife then what I am feeling now as I read Kunstler's piece, "that's not good". In three days my old dog was dead.
Got that feeling again.