Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/01/09/political-rewilding.html
Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/01/09/political-rewilding.html
I really really wish I could believe this was even a remote possibility. The requirement for people to be willing to make sacrifices for the future generations is just so far from what we are seeing now. I stand willing to be shocked, though. We as a species seem to be incapable of long term thinking. Please prove me wrong.
The vision reminds me a bit of The Kid’s Whole Future Catalog.
Not gonna happen. Ever. Capitalism will eat the world. It will destroy all opposition. We’ll keep pumping out carbon as long as it makes people money. It will get hotter and hotter. Life as we know it will cease to exist. And even if we stopped it right now, it’s already too late. But we can’t stop it.
Those maniacs! They’ve blown it up! Damn them! Goddamn them all to hell!
and help permanently decentralise political power from the extractive industries that have concentrated wealth for centuries.
2021 is carrying a lot of weight here…
When the tide finally turned, the issue wasnt how hot the world had become, but how rich the world suddenly wasnt. Within the same week, the world’s major stock exchanges went down. “Flooding” was the official explaination, and in a way, that was correct. A flood of have-nots were re-adjusting their world views, as they realizes just how little their lives meant.
For centuries, “might makes right” had been a sound governing maxim. Shortsighted policies that fouled the air and water, poisoned the soil, and caused numerous avoidable accidents- each one of these policies could all somehow be justified as the lesser evil. The ones paying the price could always be seen as less deserving, darker skinned, farther away than could be helped.
Global warming wasn’t the worst of these problems, but it was the one that -in the end- couldn’t be blamed on immigrants or the poor or liberals or the minority party. It was a catastrophe that resulted from everything working perfectly, as designed.
It was not government action that halted carbon emmisions, but a massive act of civil disobedience.
Narratives of hope and change are great, but this one downplays the continuing presence and power of the greedpigs, arseholes and Know-Nothings. As much as I support the vision being discussed here, I’m also preparing for a future where the selfish jerks allow the climate emergency to spiral out of control.
And I imagine a future more along the lines of my wife and I in our fire bunker that is nestled among the seasonal scrub growing on the remains of a scorched redwood forest. Perhaps we’ll visit the nearby beaches, shoes required, where thousands of jellyfish wash onto shore every year. We’ll still have scrambled eggs for breakfast, but also again for dinner because ground beef is $45/lb.
We will begin to redefine individual actions as actions on behalf of the collective.
Understand that for some of us, we read this and we recoil in horror. It’s not that the idea we should have mutual respect for each other is a problem. But we believe that true respect for the individual as a mindful, thinking, rational being is incompatible with constraining behavior for “the collective.” And we do not believe human beings will naturally gravitate towards “collective” behavior.
If you were a rugged individualist you wouldn’t be posting here on the internet. You already participate in a society and constrain your behavior for “the collective”.
The only thing being discussed here is a redefinition of the civil contract to benefit everyone instead of a few, which you are most certainly not part of, will never be part of, and none of your descendants will be a part of.
The individualist goal is to further their own interests.
I would point out that the survival of the human race is in your best interest, but rugged individualists always believe that they’ll be the one helping ready the bodies of their neighbors for burial when they are writing their SSN# on their arm in sharpy during a storm. You will certainly live, until you die.
(What? You’ve never received the instruction to write your SSN# on your arm in sharpy so they can identify your remains from the government when the SHTF happens? Are you even living, bro? Heck, sometimes I think I just need to get it tattooed.)
But here’s the thing. Preventing Climate Change creates a LOT of chaos. Chaos is opportunity. A lot of people will make some money from it, possibly more than you currently make. Some people will make a LOT of money. If you don’t care about the survival of the human race, perhaps the concept of making a lot of money will encourage you.
I never claimed to be a “rugged individualist.”
And I’d suggest there are more ways to slice this than “rugged individualist” and “member of the collective.” (I’m thinking of, for example, the philosophies of John Locke, who saw human beings as possessing certain natural rights by our very nature, and who saw the proper role of society as protecting those rights–including the right of property; that is, the right to own the product of our own work efforts.)
I’m also not suggesting that cooperative behavior cannot exist for those of us who see kowtowing to the “collective” as… disturbing. I’m only suggesting that the vision shared in the linked article seems to relegate individuals–our desires, our dreams, our desires–to that of automatons whose existence outside of the collective as troublesome.
Take, for example, the following:
We will redefine what we mean by technology.
We do not need more gadgets, we need more connection. We do not need more entertainment, we need more empathy. We do not need virtual reality, we need reality.
Does this also apply to the 10 year old hoping for some new toy to play with on Christmas? Yes or no. And I’m not being snarky or sarcastic; I’m being quite serious.
Through art, music, memes, and methods-yet-to-be-invented, we will laugh and love and interpret what it means to be a part of a thriving global civilisation in the middle of the most transcendent decade in human history.
What if I don’t wish to be a part of this “transcendent” civilization? What if I want to be left alone, a curmudgeon left to my devices? Will I even have a place in this brand new world?
If you think AOC is coming for your kid’s only toy on Christmas day… you need a lot more empathy and reality than most.
I’ll be honest. I’m an old man, tilting at windmills… but I look at the LOL dolls and blind bags and stuff for kids and I really think that like 90% of it is wastefully packaged crap that won’t hold the kid’s attention for more than a few moments and will be disposed of without a second thought before New Year’s day, or go into a bucket or on a shelf. Sometimes less is more. Sometimes recognizing that spending more time with your kids and helping them get experiences that they will remember for the rest of their lives is way more important than things.
What did you get for your 10th Christmas? I got a bike. It was silver, with a banana seat and big tires and ape hanger handlebars. It was uncharacteristically warm- we lived on a hill, so we went to the road at the top and I got to ride it with my mom and dad and younger brother (he got a smaller, yellow bike). We were out in just light jackets. I missed a turn and hit a grate and a stop sign and it hurt so bad; I scuffed up my knee and tore my pants. I didn’t ride the bike again until that summer; mostly because there was too much snow… but some because of the knee.
And I got a ton of other stuff, none of which I really remember. Can you remember all the “other stuff”? For me, it’s been over 30 years. But most years, no, I can only remember one or two gifts. The year we got the Atari. The year we got the NES system. The year we got the VCR.
I would imagine that those who wish to not be a part of the transcendent civilization will probably be treated more nicely than our society treats those who don’t want to be part of the greedy, materialistic civilization. After all, we’re transcendent. You are a human, not a resource that we harvest value from to increase our wealth.
The only bit of plastic on the bike was the reflectors. It was made in Ohio, by American workers. American Steel. Completely recyclable; and it survived the teenage years of two rambunctious boys.
My parents gave the bike to the church, fully functional, although it required new tires and such. My guess is it survived the teenage years of at least another generation.
Now, it’s hard to buy a bike made in Ohio, or the United States. A few high-end brands offering a few high-end bikes.
If you think AOC is coming for your kid’s only toy on Christmas day…
And I never said any such thing. You’re projecting.
If you’re talking about gadgets, then it does apply if you’re talking to an executive or senior manager at or investor in a firm that makes the gadgets. They keep a tight rein on their kids’ screen time because they understand the value of reality vs virtual reality when it comes to their future prospects. The toys they buy their kids for Xmas are either non-electronic or (if they are) have restrictions and responsibilities attached.
The schools they send their children to reflect the priorities discussed here: connection, empathy, interaction with the real world. In this regard, their approach to technology in their kids’ lives is borderline Amish.
I’d add that a lot of 10-year-olds these days exhibit a lot more maturity than people 5x their age when it comes to prioritising what matters to the future. And young people in general increasingly value experiences over material possessions (in part due to necessity as imposed by late-stage capitalism, but with virtuous effect none-the-less).
There’s nothing stated here that demands that you be a part of it – if anything this vision allows for opting out because it’s not the totalitarian society that Libertarians and Anarkiddies equate with collectivism in their simple-minded way. One can always go live in the woods or sequester oneself otaku-style in mom’s basement and refuse to avail oneself of the “horrible” benefits of an even more equitable and environmentally sustainable society.
As long as one obeys the law and as long as one pays taxes, that society will generally allow one to indulge oneself in the illusion* of rugged individualism, just as is the case now.
[* because, hate to break it to you, there is no “away”, especially when climate change is involved]
How so? You bought New Zealand real estate? Or, ?
I’m not taking the Peter Thiel feudal warlord route, at least not until someone invents a more efficient means than shock collars to control my personal brute squad.
In the end, it’s all about risk mitigation, so finding a place where “free” market fundamentalism doesn’t reign quite so supreme as it does in the U.S. in 2020 will be about as important as finding a place that’s less likely to end up underwater or on fire or choked by dust storms. Being an urban type, I tend to lean toward progressive alpha or beta cities, which are more sustainable and are inclined toward resiliency via community co-operation.
Most already do don’t they though? For instance for family etc? It seems more like human nature to form teams/groups/collectives and work with them including self-sacrifice of some sort to me. But then… I’ve never recoiled in horror from anything that won’t materially harm me before so eh… YMMV.
When faced with disaster, definitely. Libertarians fantasise about the aftermaths of these situations being “every man for himself”, but in reality humans tend to co-operate.