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View Diary: ECSTASY: Neofeudalism, pt.2: Up close & personal. (61 comments)

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  •  thanks... more to come. (11+ / 0-)

    The case I'm building here is that the impetus for neofeudalism is the recognition of the limits to growth: the neofeudalists figured out that real growth was reaching a limit, so they went into "grab" mode: redistribution upward.  And lately have gone into "overt looter" mode.  

    It's all about their limitless appetites for power, position, and possessions.  

    For the sake of which the rest of us are being milked and impoverished.  

    Next week's installment:  "Tie-downs and ball bearings."  The new forms of serfdom.  

    •  wu ming also made some great comments to your (8+ / 0-)

      diary last week, and one of them essentially said something to the effect that he agreed with you rhetorically, but with troubadour's take from an historical perspective.  I thought that was really characterizing things in a way that I could appreciate, but still, it seems to boil down to be mostly semantics. And who really cares what's what at that point.

      You are obviously on to something powerful here, and I do appreciate your writing style.  You put your concepts in such I way that I can relate, but you also do so in a way that makes me stretch my thinking.  Not many can do that with any regularity.

      I'll being staying close to the conversation, you can be assured of that.

      •  thanks, and.... (11+ / 0-)

        .... I'm kinda surprised that this rolled right off the page with only a few comments.  I was thinking Sunday evening would be better than Saturday afternoon, but apparently not.  

        Yeah, points to Troubadour and WuMing.  

        Someone else did a diary about neofeudalism that actually made the rec list, so I'm hoping that the paradigm starts to catch hold.  The illusion of being middle class dies hard.  Maybe people will start figuring it out when families need three full-time incomes to survive (both parents and oldest kid).  

        •  Pimped on this evening's Open Thread (1+ / 0-)
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          •  oh really?! wow!, thanks majorly! (1+ / 0-)
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            I kinda' live my life with this naive assumption that if my ideas are any good, they'll go viral and fly.  Sometimes I get highly disappointed or think I'm either crazy or a bad writer or something, when an idea doesn't appear to have caught.  On the other hand, I've had a few notable successes, such as the phrase "sexual McCarthyism" for what was done to Clinton.   We'll see...

            •  Your ideas are good, and you seem to have a lot (1+ / 0-)
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              them.  Good ideas need all the exposure they can get, from whatever source.  Don't know if it helped, but it was my pleasure just the same.

              I think the Clinton case will wind up going down as one of the truly significant milestone low points of destructive partisanship.  Reprehensible.

      •  I'd have to say (5+ / 0-)

        I tend to align more with G2geek than Troubador.  Troubador seems to tend towards a static (and often ideological) interpretation of situations and language that is often frustrating for those of us who don't care to get hung up on semantics.  While the use of words in their technical meanings is necessary in the specific usage within the field, one must also recognize that words have different meanings depending upon the audience, and that insisting upon the 'correct' usage is often a waste of time for all involved.

        Am I cynical? Yes I am! - Bob the Builder's lesser known brother Pete the Politician

        by Ezekial 23 20 on Sun May 23, 2010 at 07:05:52 PM PDT

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        •  all of it is necessary though. (3+ / 0-)

          I can get pretty picky about semantics too:-) and in any case, accuracy is good.

          But what I'm going for here is to find memes that make sense to people in our current context, and become contagious.  

        •  there's room enough for both (5+ / 0-)

          good rhetoric is no small thing, and is quite capable of calling completely new paradigms and material realities to work, if done well and at the right moment. i saw it as a both-and situation, and was delighted in not having to chose.

          that being said, this anecdote makes the feudalism-as-material-reality case more compelling, IMO, and fits rather well with the sort of terrified dog-eat-dog siege mentality worldview that i have heard sneak out accidentally in conversations with wealthier relatives. while the overall power structure remains far less tenuous, decentralized and nested than the historical feudalism of middle ages england and france, the mindset of the lord of the manor and apologia for acting like a bloody feudal lord is certainly spot-on.

          semantics and terminology matters, but they needn't kill discussion and analogy. the trick is just keeping clear when one is making an analogy and when one is making a harder claim that the old situation is substantively the same setup as the present.

          surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

          by wu ming on Sun May 23, 2010 at 07:51:20 PM PDT

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          •  Bingo. The words matter, but not as much as the (1+ / 0-)
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            concepts.  Within reason, of course.  I'm liking this discussion.

            •  yes and two things... (2+ / 0-)
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              ganymeade, confitesprit

              There is literal meaning, and there is metaphoric and symbolic meaning, and there is impressionistic meaning.  

              Most people can "do both" depending on context.  A scientist may be quite precisely literal in writing a paper for peer review, and also be inspired by poetry or song lyrics that are entirely metaphorical or impressionistic.   Einstein was an interesting case in point: his scientific works defined the world in which we live, and he was also something of a mystic, and yet he had no use for conventional religion (thus both mystics and atheists claim him as kin, and both are correct).  

              Cognitive flexibility entails being able to flip back and forth between modes when needed to convey and understand meaning.  And it's a great source of enjoyment to do so.  

          •  about that siege mentality. (3+ / 0-)

            That's another upcoming installment.  

            I have a name for it, which is highly politically incorrect but none the less accurate.  

            Warning:  bad language below.

            The Crazy Nigger Factor.  

            The have-too-muches are terrified of "crazy niggers" coming to take their stuff.  This is what's behind the racism, and the paranoia about crime.  

            Go here and read:


            The author is an influential quasi-neocon.  He basically wrote up the have-too-muches' worst nightmare and tied it together between Africa today and America tomorrow.  

            What he wrote is what they are terrified of.   And what they are attempting to protect themselves from.  And, as a result, it's also what they are producing right here.  

            •  fear of a slave rebellion is older than the USA (3+ / 0-)
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              ganymeade, G2geek, confitesprit

              that kaplan piece would be hilarious in its campy fear of a black planet were it not in as privileged a position as it is. really lays it out there, dunnit?

              surf putah, your friendly neighborhood central valley samizdat

              by wu ming on Mon May 24, 2010 at 04:25:09 AM PDT

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              •  yep, it sure does, and interestingly... (3+ / 0-)

                .... his piece found some welcome on the left also, as it is predicated on the results of ecological overshoot and collapse.  

                What the left got from that is the need for sustainability.  What the right got from it is the need to keep the Crazy N-----s down.  

                So as you said, he really lays it out there.

                And people who engage in slavery damn well ought to be afraid of slave rebellions, just as people who engage in robbery as their livelihood ought to be afraid of shopkeepers with pistols behind the counter.  

            •  I thought it was interesting that in (1+ / 0-)
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              1994 the author of "The Coming Anarchy" clearly accepted the truthfulness of Global Climate Change.  If he tried to warn today's neocons about that danger, they would reject him with enthusiasm.

              Renewable energy brings national security.

              by Calamity Jean on Mon May 24, 2010 at 11:50:14 AM PDT

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              •  in @ 1984, when the first EPA report.... (0+ / 0-)

                .... on climate change came out, my first thoughts were:

                1.  This is happening so fast we're going to need nuclear power in the mix.
                1.  US midwest goes dry, major agricultural zones in the world shift upward into Canada and the northern central region of the (then) USSR.  Scary geopolitical implications.  

                Global security issues are a possible motivator for the neocons to get real about climate change.   Particularly considering that some of the risks/threats are getting serious attention from the military.  

                •  I hope you're right about this. (1+ / 0-)
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                  Global security issues are a possible motivator for the neocons to get real about climate change.   Particularly considering that some of the risks/threats are getting serious attention from the military.

                  Considering that it's now ~25 years later do you still think we need/can use more nuclear power?  IMHO, starting from where we are now, new nuclear plants can't be completed in time to prevent dire consequences.  We need to start a crash program of building up wind and solar, because those are two things that might get built fast enough to ward off catastrophy.

                  Renewable energy brings national security.

                  by Calamity Jean on Tue May 25, 2010 at 02:07:11 AM PDT

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                  •  all of the above. (0+ / 0-)

                    All of the following assume that the permitting, paperwork, and financing can occur within a 1-year timeframe under emergency conditions intended to speed up the process.  (Otherwise 5 - 10 years, which is deadly.)  

                    From experience in wind, the completion time for a 250 MW wind farm would be a minimum of three years, assuming that wind survey occurs during year 1, financing and government permitting occurs during year 2, and the build occurs during year 3.

                    You need a full year of wind survey to determine how seasonal variations will affect output.  There's no shortcut on this one.  

                    In reality it often takes as long as a nuclear plant, see also Cape Wind.

                    For that reason, the ideal case is to build 2 - 3 gigawatts on one site or spread over a bunch of nearby sites, which will produce about 1 gigawatt of usable power.   This would make wind time-competitive with nuclear.  

                    The construction logistics costs for a single large wind turbine are about the same as for hundreds: you still need a very large crane on the site, you need high-volume concrete production, and of course permitting to erect something that's about 300' tall.  That crane costs $5 million, which I know because I priced them out.  

                    The best way to do onesies & twosies on agricultural land (farmers like this: income source, doesn't interfere with crops) is to get a bunch of farmers rounded up in an area to do it all at once (thus the crane sticks around to install all of them).  

                    Utility-scale solar: I have no idea.

                    Nuclear:  The actual build can take 5 - 6 years, add one year for permitting and call it 7 years.  That gets you a gigawatt of baseload power anywhere you want it, particularly to replace large coal plants in areas where there aren't sufficient wind or solar resources.   The concrete production needed for nuclear is similar to that for wind, but with much tighter quality control, which today is easily achieved.  The crane situation is somewhat different, and of course the trades & technical skills involved are more complex.

                    Yes we need nuclear in the mix: there are places where solar & wind are insufficient, or where coal plants can be retrofitted easily with modular reactors.  Use the power sources that work for each area.  

                    Rooftop solar is interesting because permitting is not an issue, and it can go up very quickly.  I would say that the solar industry in the US is worth about 2 gigawatts per year at most, which is the equivalent of two nuclear reactors per year.  

                    Rooftop solar thermal is a no-brainer in most places because it's inexpensive even compared to photovoltaics.  Hard to quantify and mostly replaces natural gas, which is the "cleanest" of the fossil fuels.

                    And of course, maximum conservation and efficiency.  Thermal insulation standards for new buildings should be federal law, and financial support available to insulate old buildings.  Detroit can produce high-mpg vehicles if they choose: the old Chevy Chevette and Geo Metro were good for 50 mpg at 65 mph on the freeway.  Buses can be put into service for instant public transit nearly anywhere, sized to the passenger demand on the routes.  

                    The bottom line is, we are so tight for time at this point, that we have to get on this like building tanks & aircraft for WW2:  an emergency program to build all types of climate-clean power as quickly as possible within the limits of safe design & construction.  

                    The biggest obstacle is NIMBYism, and NIMBYs should basically be told that the choice is to accept the project or have their electricity cut off.  That's hardly as harsh as what's going to happen to them if we don't.  

                    We can do this if we try.  Think WW2 and Apollo.  

                    •  Yeah, but... (0+ / 0-)

                      We can do this if we try.  Think WW2 and Apollo.

                      Getting the nation to try is the hard part.  

                      I waiver between "We'll pull it off" and "We're screwed".

                      Renewable energy brings national security.

                      by Calamity Jean on Tue May 25, 2010 at 11:10:22 AM PDT

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