Re: Forgetting Sarah Marshall, And Rice

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Note the "high-tech professional" posting on seekingalpha that he just bought 10 50 pound bags of rice, and that he wasn't panic-buying or anything. No, sir. What's the betting he's a Den Beste libertarian?


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 9:11 AM
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1: What a dickhead that guy sounds like.

How can we make it through tough economic times again now that the U.S. is populated by so many individualist jerks who can barely restrain their glee at the idea of screwing their neighbors? There are all these people (on both left and right) who are clearly just loving the idea of an apocalyptic collapse of civilization. I think people were better during the Depression.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 9:15 AM
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There's something very weird about "rationing! rationing" juxtaposed with "ugh, basmati rice is too heavy for every day."


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 9:17 AM
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10 x 50lbs of rice? That's about 6 years of rice, even if you eat it every day. Sheesh.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 9:19 AM
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1: I doubt guys like that even eat rice. Maybe MinuteRice. This is just allows them to become semi-engorged in a way they haven't since Y2k. Whaddaya wanna bet that dude still has cans of Pork-n-Beans left over from then?


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 9:19 AM
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he-he, i'll die off first i suppose
i did not buy flour, rice, vegetable oil last 6 months or so


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 9:19 AM
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Come to think of it, he may be Dsquared, trolling.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 9:33 AM
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Hoarding basmati rice is such a California thing to do. Are they also hoarding patchouli and herbal vinegar?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 9:34 AM
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Hoarding basmati rice is such a California thing to do. Are they also hoarding patchouli and herbal vinegar?

Backwoods Home should start offering vacuum-packed mahi-mahi and freeze-dried pesto.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 9:37 AM
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You can burn right through all that rice... if you have nothing else to eat, or you just eat it everyday. [Assumes a family.]

At any rate: What are the ethical norms of hoarding, anyway?

You should buy just enough food to drive the price up and encourage panic buying, but only when everyone else is panic buying, but you shouldn't buy enough [storable] food to get through a long, hungry period and thus reduce demand over the longer haul, that way you can run out of food and complain about how everything is ridiculously expensive.

You asked for the ethical norm, dude.

max
['We'll just drink ethanol when we run out of food, baby!']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 9:38 AM
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What are the ethical norms of hoarding, anyway?

"From each according to his ability, to each according to his need"

Hoarding? What is Capital, anyway?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 9:44 AM
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11: good point.

When there's an infinite amount of property, odd things happen to supply and demand. The economy becomes a tissue of fabrications.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 9:48 AM
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Hoarding? What is Capital, anyway?

You buy extra food so you can invest it and make more food?

Either you live on sunflower seeds and avocados or you just evidenced an extremely odd understanding of the theory behind market economies.

I'm going to go ahead and assume the latter.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 9:48 AM
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When you open a thread and find that bob has just posted the quote you were about to write, the Future According to McManus seems just a little bit closer to reality.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 9:52 AM
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The articles refers to survivalblog.com, a pretty bizarre site. Shotgun vs rifle for survivalist scenarios! How to hide your valuables from looters! The drawbacks of potatoes as a post-Event crop!


Posted by: Counterfly | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 10:31 AM
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Anti-burglary advice from that site:

If you carefully remove the label from a steel can, you can saw the can in half. Then empty it out and wash it. After drying it thoroughly, you can stuff it full of valuables and tape it shut. Glue the label back on, and voila! A can that is almost indistinguishable from any others.

Some people are obsessed with feeling threatened.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 10:36 AM
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16: And what even are "valuables" in this context?

Somewhere I recall one of the big survivalist guys arguing that bullets, cigarettes and candy would be the closest thing to currency.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 10:44 AM
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an extremely odd understanding of the theory behind market economies

Probably extremely odd.

Is the guy with the ten million dollar house "hoarding?" Is the company with large cash reserves, or the corporation that borrows for acquisition instead of net increased production?

All Marxists are Capitalists, but we I also recognize that Capital = surplus accumulation is stored & reserved labour-value. Now that constructed factory is only valuable because of its expected future earnings, so in some sense Capital = "credit." And of course, the Marxian paradox is that the increasing concentration of surplus accumulation is of necessity a "hoarding" that creates the ever-expanding suffering lumpenproletariat.

The Marx revolution happens when the last guy owns everything because Capital has become so expensive it doesn't move anymore. You just strangle him, and the managers and laborers draw their wages without noticing he is gone.

The Keynes revolution happens when Capital is so cheap, so plentiful that it doesn't move, or perhaps no one notices. Zero interest rates? Not sure what Keynes meant, but somehow I think it is identical to the Marxian end-state.

Your worse-than-vulgar Marxism for the day.

Neither Marx or Keynes imagined a world of increasing resource scarcity. Funny that the only relevant economist left standing is the Mad Parson.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 10:49 AM
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What I do is leave half the chili in the can and hide my diamonds and pearls under it.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 10:51 AM
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What I do is leave half the chili in the can and hide my diamonds and pearls under it.

After the mcpocalypse, the chili will be worth more than the diamonds and pearls.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 10:54 AM
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Forget I wrote 18. I shouldn't use this space to jot thoughts in process.

Hoarding, hoarding, rent-seeking.

The guy who owns the last undeveloped block facing Central Park, even if he doesn't build on it, has lots & lots of friends.

US in Iraq, especially when the oil isn't being pumped, is rent-seeking, hoarding.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 10:56 AM
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I've stuffed my mattress with rice and dried beans, my candy is locked securely in my gun-safe, and my ammunition is cleverly disguised as seed-corn, buried in my yard in rows two inches apart.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 10:56 AM
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18: Neither Marx or Keynes imagined a world of increasing resource scarcity.

Wikipedia on Malthus:

Modern commentators generally refer to him as Thomas Malthus, but during his lifetime he went by his middle name, Robert.

"Robert" Malthus, "bob" mcmanus. Hmmm.

There are no coincidences.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 11:06 AM
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I think Bob is right that both Marx and Keynes are what we would today call Cornucopians. They both thought of resource scarcity more as something produced by the dysfunctions of the capitalist system than as an absolute physical limit. I don't think they've been disproven, either.

The turn of the anti-capitalist left toward thinking in terms of absolute resource scarcity has deeply conservative implications that I'm not sure people have completely thought through.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 11:15 AM
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PGD, I'm not supporting the specifics of Bob's most recent posts, but many utopian and cornucopian economists flatly ignore any science that suggests limits to growth, and even the best of them tend to minimize the evidence. They often act as if all that stuff is just Chicken Little millenarianism, even though plenty of it comes from geographers, ecologists, climatologists, etc.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 11:22 AM
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re:21

I know Stiglitz, and even Newberry, and everybody everywhere says Iraq is a big economic loser for the US. But Newberry has long said "energy independence" is a loser idea, for a similar reason:

Let's posit $10 oil, which means most other production factors, including finance capital, are cheap.

How long would it be before Chindia had 50-90% of the world's industrial production?

There is some kind of economic race goin on, and I don't think we can move faster than the Chinese, under any scenario. We can only slow them down, with hoarding & rents. We are going bankrupt, while the Chinese have over a trillion in cash. Who wins the auction for developmental/energy-transition resources? Oh, and the solar R & D will be near the solar cell factories, which are going to be in China.

This is not to say I approve of the war. I am saying withdrawing from Iraq will probably hurt America more than it helps.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 11:25 AM
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The problem is, John, that people have, with good faith, suggested that continued growth will soon be impossible, and been wrong, a lot. Which suggests that there's things that we're systematically not taking into account when we think about how growth continues.


Posted by: NBarnes | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 11:37 AM
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Ogged offers two topics in the post, cock jokes and food rationing, and the comments focus exclusively on food rationing. I must therefore conclude that the true danger facing the world today is not scarcity of food, but scarcity of cock jokes. Verily, there are dark times ahead.

Time to head for my underground bunker, where I have stockpiled a five-year-supply of cock jokes.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 11:42 AM
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Lots of people have been wrong about lots of things lots of times, NBarnes. A lot of optimistic futurology has been proven wrong too. What I was saying is that economists and technological optimists just refuse to listen. They've really bracketed out the physical world, and global warming is just the most prominent of several kinds of problems. (For example, it's been proposed that the arctic rivers of Canada and Siberia be sent south. What will the environmental consequences of that be? Nobody knows, and the fact that nobody knows is often used as a reason to go ahead with it: "Nobody can prove that there will be harmful consequences".)


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 11:43 AM
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Oh, and the solar R & D will be near the solar cell factories, which are going to be in China.

Well, for values of "in China" that are consistent with Germany being the world's biggest solar cell producer and Nanosolar Inc doing the best ones in terms of dollars/watt.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 11:45 AM
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For example, it's been proposed that the arctic rivers of Canada and Siberia be sent south. What will the environmental consequences of that be? Nobody knows, and the fact that nobody knows is often used as a reason to go ahead with it: "Nobody can prove that there will be harmful consequences".

You could, like, name an economist who supports this. The only people I've ever heard of who seriously thought diverting Siberian rivers southwards was a good idea, and who had any ability to do so, were Stalinists.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 11:47 AM
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26: Chinese growth is not a zero-sum game, unless either we or they make it so. The emergence of China and India should be huge net benefit for the world economy. Trying to delay or avoid the moment where China becomes more wealthy than the U.S. risks disaster.

many utopian and cornucopian economists flatly ignore any science that suggests limits to growth, and even the best of them tend to minimize the evidence

Most who self-identify as cornucopian now are just libertarians impatient with any/all economic regulation. For a more intelligent take on it, did you see Quiggin's recent CT post?

http://crookedtimber.org/2008/04/12/the-sustainability-of-improving-living-standards/


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 11:51 AM
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There is a water shortage and people talk about it all the time. There aren't very many possible answers and that's one of them.

Because the physical universe is not included in their equations (any more than the human population is) economists don't propose specific solutions to resource shortage questions, they just assume that an solution will show up. They've stopped talking about "free goods" (I think), but no one has actually taken the golabal environment systematically into account, and that would be very hard for any of them to do.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 11:51 AM
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That Quiggin post was pretty infuriating, actually.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 11:54 AM
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There is a water shortage and people talk about it all the time.

Oh, for fuck's sake, the argumentum ad "people talk about it all the time". I mean, it's not like they've started link rationing.

Anyway, this worries me much more: dogs and cats together, it is hell on earth people!


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 11:55 AM
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Do you say that there's not a water shortage? DeLong just posted something, but I didn't think it was something controversial that had to be linked. Are you an economist?


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 11:57 AM
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I don't think you should actually need a non-fallacious argument in order to be persuaded of assertions like "The world's resources are finite".


Posted by: Auto-banned | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 11:57 AM
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They both thought of resource scarcity more as something produced by the dysfunctions of the capitalist system than as an absolute physical limit. I don't think they've been disproven, either.

You've got to be shitting me.

Capitalist vastly exacerbates an already-existing problem, namely: there exists only a finite amount of stuff. Capitalism wastes a lot more stuff than other systems would, and is far less equitable in its distribution of stuff. But the basic problem - finite amount of stuff - still exists. Humanity will not be inventing the magic genie lamp anytime soon.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:01 PM
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27: NBarnes, I'd add to 29 that there really are historical discontinuities. Krugman argues that Malthus was right for all of human history until his own time, when the underlying economics turned. There's nothing written into the basic laws of nature to suggest that underlying economic realities can't turn again.

The systematic error that you cite (but don't name) is the failure to take into account increased productivity. That increase in productivity certainly turned, in part, on the ability to exploit oil supplies that were, as a practical matter, unlimited, and that weren't damaging the environment in ways that led to immediate catastrophe.

We know that oil supplies are limited, and we have a hell of a lot of good reason to be nervous about environmental catastrophe.

On preview, I see that Auto-Banned and Emerson have covered this, but I have a Krugman link !!


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:02 PM
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Oh, no, PolFoot, I didn't say anything beyond a snarkish remark.


Posted by: Auto-banned | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:03 PM
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Krugman argues that Malthus was right for all of human history until his own time, when the underlying economics turned.

Krugman is infuriating here. The "underlying economics" didn't change. What changed was a series of major technological developments spurred on by the burning of fossil fuels that allowed humanity to do a lot of things Malthus couldn't have imagined. For the past hundred and fifty, two hundred years, we've been able to pretend that technological development was sort of a freebie - a magic end-run around gloomy old Malthus. But the cost of burning all those fossil fuels has turned out to be enormous, and now leaves us a couple decades in which to fundamentally reshape global civilization before the atmosphere is permanently fucked, and Krugman conveniently ignores those costs when he blithely assumes that the "underlying economics" suddenly changed.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:10 PM
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Krugman conveniently ignores those costs when he blithely assumes that the "underlying economics" suddenly changed.

Well, it's a blog post. Krugman fails to address this, but I think he probably recognizes the problem.

I guess I'll stake out the middle view between you and PGD/Barnes, and say that one also can't assume that the bill is about to come due, and there is no effective substitute for the oil economy.

Certainly as a policy matter, I'd be strongly biased in favor of actually looking for that alternative.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:17 PM
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What changed was a series of major technological developments

Perhaps this is too ostrich like, but why is it necessary to assume this can't happen again?


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:17 PM
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no one has actually taken the golabal environment

Less superficially, John McCarthy has intelligent pages making a case for sustainability. Part of the reason that few resources have been devoted to environmental problems is that there has been plenty of oil up until now. Also, some of the most serious environmental problems people have created to date have actually been solved successfully. Cholera is something people read about rather than fear; London smog used to be worse than Beijing's is now; people found alternatives for CFCs when their effect on the ozone layer was shown.

Like everyone else, I'm not psychic, but the case for claiming doom for a sustainable future with 7B people on earth looks shaky to me.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:19 PM
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Isn't the burden of proof on the optimists, TLL?

There are quite a number of specific topics: climate change, topsoil, fresh water, and energy are the main ones. Destruction of the ocean fisheries is a rather minor example, even though it's substantially here already.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:21 PM
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41: Stras gets at what I was having trouble putting into words. Yes, the predictions of meltdown through overpopulation and resource depletion kept being wrong, yes, productivity growth and technological progress seem to allow resources to be much more utile than their sheer quantity would suggest, but still it seems like a horrible idea to start thinking "resources are effectively infinite." Because they really, truly, aren't; even if the cornucopians are right about the last few generations, we have no idea how long that pattern will keep up. No technological progress should relieve us of the responsibility to be good stewards, or of the accompanying mindset.

Thus, 24b doesn't seem right to me.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:22 PM
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LW: sustainability isn't really the question. Population growth has slowed but it hasn't stopped, and as the third world develops, it will demand more resources. So we're talking about continued growth.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:23 PM
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Shouldn't the burden of proof be on the side that assumes the inevitability of technological discovery? It's a bad plan to assume that something will turn up just as we need it. It would be a bad plan for a household economy.

I mean, maybe we find a way of generating solar power that takes care of all of our energy needs and has no pollution and requires no reduction in our standard of living. Similarly, if I win the lottery, then I don't have to worry about funding for next year.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:23 PM
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Certainly as a policy matter, I'd be strongly biased in favor of actually looking for that alternative.

The thing is, all you have to do is change some price signals through government action and then the market becomes a really powerful tool in actually looking for that alternative.

You would want to supplement the market through strong government funding of basic research.

Does anybody here really, truly, think that we are even close to exhausting the ways that we could save energy *just using existing technology*?


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:24 PM
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41

"... What changed was a series of major technological developments spurred on by the burning of fossil fuels that allowed humanity to do a lot of things Malthus couldn't have imagined. For the past hundred and fifty, two hundred years, we've been able to pretend that technological development was sort of a freebie - a magic end-run around gloomy old Malthus. ..."

The most important change, contraception, is not particularly dependent on fossil fuels.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:24 PM
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I guess I'll stake out the middle view between you and PGD/Barnes, and say that one also can't assume that the bill is about to come due, and there is no effective substitute for the oil economy.

Dude, the bill is already coming due. A good chunk of the grain crops that've been lost have been lost due to drought. Rising waters are going to completely erase countries like Tuvalu within a couple decades, to say nothing of what they'll do to places like Bangladesh. Every doomsaying projection made by every body of climate scientists to date has turned out to be too optimistic. The ice is melting faster than we thought; the planet is warming faster than we thought. James Hansen is saying that the IPCC's goal of 450 ppm is way too high, and that we need to get GHG emissions down to 350 ppm if we're going to preserve a world that resembles our own, and everyone thinks 350 ppm is impossible.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:25 PM
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It would be a bad plan for a household economy.

The household economy is a terribly misleading metaphor for how the the world economy works over time. I mean, really bad. And yet it's very intuitively compelling for people.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:25 PM
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The most important change, contraception, is not particularly dependent on fossil fuels.

Nobody would've invented the pill if there hadn't been a coal- and fuel-powered industrial revolution first.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:26 PM
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"Assuming that something will show up" is a bad plan for any economy. PGD's caution is misplaced.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:27 PM
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52: Sure, but it seems to be doing better than "we discovered fossil fuels and Malthus was wrong, so surely it will happen again just as we need it."


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:28 PM
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We are a species of animal whose numbers have increased dramatically over the last few thousand years per this graph*. Clearly during that time any number of apparent "limits" to growth have been overcome. The fun part is deciding where we are with regard to the inevitable levelling off (see graph below for data that shows that we are beginning to do it .... but although the changes are truly "historic" in the full meaning of that word, they are relatively small). I do not agree with a necessary catastrophe, but I do think that we will inevitably overshoot and the correction will be ugly, ugly, ugly, even if it "only" means levelling off at 7B. (note that the overall world population grew rapidly during WWII, the day of Hiroshima was approximately a break even day for world population, we are just now coming back down to growth rates comparable to the WWIItimeframe, but absolute numbers approach 3x higher.)


*That graph and this one on population rate over the same time period are the two fundamental datapoints the species confronts at the moment.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:28 PM
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41: Contrception is not "the most important change". The economists were talking about an explosively growing economy, not about population.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:30 PM
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33

"There is a water shortage and people talk about it all the time. There aren't very many possible answers and that's one of them."

Water (in the United States at least) is extremely cheap so there is little incentive to use it efficiently. We could get by with a lot less if we had to.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:30 PM
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No technological progress should relieve us of the responsibility to be good stewards, or of the accompanying mindset.

This is certainly uncontroversial. And The Optimists have alot of work to do, JE. Most of the items you mentioned are "public" goods, and as such need proper pricing mechanisms, which has been lacking. How and who prices these "goods" is the sticking point.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:30 PM
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59: Good luck. If this bill was coming due during an age when the international consensus was that governments should make an effort to price public goods, we'd have a chance. But no, it's happening during the time when free market utopianism is the religion of every Bilderberger.


Posted by: Auto-banned | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:33 PM
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I see no particular reason that the burden of proof should be on the optimists. While I suspect that the pessimists have been before their time but are getting closer to right now, the optimists do have a bit longer of a track record.

Regarding China and India's economic growth, if you thought commodity prices were high now, wait until three billion more people start wanting air conditioning, refrigerators, electric lights, motorized transport, and to eat something other than rice.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:33 PM
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A good way to look at this is not in terms of trends, history, political consequences, or fears about millenarianism and hippies, but in terms of water, topsoil, energy, population growth, climate change, and rising standards of living. And there are people doing that, but the economists are infinitely more influential, and they aren't really listening to the physical-reality people.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:34 PM
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The water shortage is global, not American.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:36 PM
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What are you counting as a track record?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:36 PM
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JE, you should stop implying that all techno-optimists and futurists are subsets of "economists". Most of them are engineers who don't know anything about economics except "Mainstream economists are ignorant about science, meaning they must be far too pessimistic about what science has achieved and will continue to achieve!"


Posted by: Auto-banned | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:36 PM
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I think we will get a lot more efficient and the technologies that I think hold the most "promise" are genetic engineering and digital (and that they will merge at some point), which will knock our whole conception of ourselves for a loop.

We will get to the brave new world by very messy pathways, which in and of themselves will make us reconceptualize ourselves. Do you think the US will hold onto "procedural liberalism" and "liberty" when it struggles with it after losing two measly skyscrapers?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:37 PM
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Water moccasin, you're talking like a lottery player.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:37 PM
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57

"41: Contrception is not "the most important change". The economists were talking about an explosively growing economy, not about population."

Contraception is sufficient to avoid the Malthusian world in which population is regulated by the starvation of the poorest with high birth rates balanced by high death rates.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:37 PM
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Regarding China and India's economic growth, if you thought commodity prices were high now, wait until three billion more people start wanting air conditioning, refrigerators, electric lights, motorized transport, and to eat something other than rice.

But the linked article teaches us that even after they move to America, what Chinese and Indian people want is rice, rice and more rice! And not even the fancy kind!


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:39 PM
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What are you counting as a track record?

Predictions of massive resource shortages and gigantic hundreds-of-million-person famines not coming true due to increased crop yields, new extraction technologies, more efficient usage, etc. Maybe it was all just putting off the day of reckoning, but it's been happening for a while.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:40 PM
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Fine, James, but that's not what we were talking about. And it isn't really true.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:40 PM
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70, you should have made yourself more concerned with the citation of "increased crop yields, new extraction technologies". What that means is we've gotten ourselves out of jams caused by resource exploitation by managing to enhance the rate at which we are able to extract the resources. Unsustainable by definition.


Posted by: Auto-banned | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:42 PM
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68: 57: Contraception is sufficient to avoid the Malthusian world in which population is regulated by the starvation of the poorest with high birth rates balanced by high death rates. - assuming that there is the will to use it.

And contraception defined broadly has been available forever. Recently there are ways to acheive it with less "cost", and there is some evidence that it is changing the equation. But given other "track records", do you think this will be done without massive dislocations?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:42 PM
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66: Oh Jesus. The tiny robot people.

I always want to ask the nano-groupies, when we reach The Singularity!!!!, and we're all running around as magical digitized cyborg people, what exactly is going to be powering all this pixie dust? And who's going to be paying for it? Because I can guarantee you that the magical fusion of genetics and robotics is not going to be equitably distributed among the billions of dirt-eating poor in the third world, who'd rather see humanity's resources spent on trivial stuff like "food" and "clean water."


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:44 PM
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Ooh, a thread on cornucopian economics!

Emerson and Stras are obviously right that there is a finite amount of stuff, and that something really bizarre happens when you leave the physical world out of your economic calculations.

But this can't be the end of the story either, because "stuff" is too vague. So is "stuff we need." Which stuff we need is dependent to a large extent on our investment in different technological systems. Once we lock ourselves into oil, the fact that there is a finite amount of oil becomes very, very important. Furthermore some investments are too embedded to ever change. Evolution has made us into a kind of organism that requires a lot of fresh water. This is a technological buy in, too, just one that can't be undone.

For some "stuff we need" there is reason to be cornucopian. There is a good reason to be an energy cornucopian, and its shining brightly over west Cleveland today. The Sun, Lord Ra, provides far more than we can ever use. And Lord Ra is the fundamental basis for any energy system. The energy cornucopia is there, we just need need to adapt to it.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:45 PM
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The North African famine did happen.

"Putting off the day of reckoning" is what I'm talking about. If we listen to economists, that's what we'll do indefinitely. The physical world is external to their science, and for them it's an enormous nuisance they'd just as soon ignore.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:46 PM
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Look, I do think that there will be some "positive" technological surprise that will lenghten things out beyond the current predictions of us "Gloomy Guses", aided by the historic changes in birthrates, but barring utterly disruptive-in-their-own-right biological technologies there is one ugly correction coming sometime over the next several centuries.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:46 PM
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70: That's not a prediction that should be credit to the optimists, though, unless they were making specific predictions beforehand, like 'there's a new extraction technology that seems to be very promising.' That's just hindsight and narrative creation.

Malthus turned out to be wrong, but he didn't have a variable reserved for Something New and Unexpected that would solve his problems.

I mean, no doubt we're adaptable creatures and we'll probably cobble together something should we run out of oil. But that's not exactly the optimist being proved correct.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:46 PM
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Water moccasin, you're talking like a lottery player.

I'm more talking like some of the more questionable people involved with recent finance debacle. "Everyone who said this was going to end poorly has been wrong so far, therefore it will go on forever!". The dangers of this thinking are obvious, but at the same time not everything ends poorly.

In a country where people drive themselves to work 50 miles each way in three ton vehicles, there is a lot of room to reduce resource usage.

The local paper had an article about $4 a gallon gas, and how gasoline usage in California has decreased the last two years, and how people were combining trips or parking gas guzzlers or taking mass transit.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:47 PM
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71

"Fine, James, but that's not what we were talking about. And it isn't really true."

Well, if you are talking about why Malthus was wrong, his failure to anticipate the contraception induced drop in birth rates was certainly part of it. To be sure as I recall part of his failure was due to his moral objections to contraception although if I remember correctly he did support late marriage.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:48 PM
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74: Because I can guarantee you that the magical fusion of genetics and robotics is not going to be equitably distributed among the billions of dirt-eating poor in the third world, who'd rather see humanity's resources spent on trivial stuff like "food" and "clean water."

Jesus Christ yes, stras, what the fuck do you think I mean by disruptions and the like? IT WILL BE A MESS. And do you know who I fear the most: YOU and you're ilk, the perfect fucking complement to the death capitalist maiacs in charge at the moment.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:49 PM
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A very small part, I think. Increased productivity was most of it. When the governments of India and China switched to anti-natalist policies, that was a big change, but it was a political event, not the discovery of contraception.

I think that Krugman is over-optimistic anyway.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:51 PM
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Stormcrow, don't force me to defend Stras. Please.

How about this? "YOU are the one I fear most."


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:52 PM
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"Assuming that something will show up" is a bad plan for any economy. PGD's caution is misplaced.

Since nobody to the left of libertarians argues for this, you are arguing with a straw man. And my caution is correct -- if you want to understand what is going on or what to do, analogies to a household economy are generally misleading.

Every doomsaying projection made by every body of climate scientists to date has turned out to be too optimistic. The ice is melting faster than we thought; the planet is warming faster than we thought. (etc. etc.)

And consumer society will at last be wiped from the face of the earth by the avenging hand of an angry God! And those once exiled to the wilderness of blog comment sections will watch in triumph as their prophecies are fulfilled!

Every doomsaying prediction of climate scientists has turned out to be too optimistic, and economic growth continues at the fastest pace in human history! What shall we do?

The basic features of our system -- division of labor, specialization, integrated economies over wide geographic distances, dependence on advanced technology, continued growth in overall societal wealth -- need to continue or else billions of people are going to die and civilization will collapse. There is no clear reason at all why these things should not continue. The mere fact that resources are finite is not a reason, modern civilization has been all about getting more and more wealth out of limited resources. The combination of government-set price signals mediated through free markets, publicly funded technological research, and various forms of redistribution from the gorged few to the impoverished many should get us through just fine.

As I asked above: who here thinks that we are even close to exhausting the ways that we could save energy *just using existing technology*? Can I have a fucking show of hands?


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:53 PM
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Can we get comity on this point:

Waiting for technology to save us is really dumb compared to investing money in research to actually develop such technology.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:53 PM
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84 was me, natch.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:55 PM
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Jared Diamond's Collapse is an interesting history of, well, collapse. Diamond's essential point is that human beings are entirely capable, for cultural and political reasons, of ignoring imminent collapse even in circumstances where all of the necessary information is available.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:55 PM
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31: There's always the Parsons/Larouche NAWAPA. Take water from BC, run it down the Rocky Mountain Trench, use it all over the Southwest. I think they wanted to use it to refill the Ogalalla.


Posted by: ptm | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:56 PM
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Bugs in a jar, John, shake us up and watch us fight.

Yes that was intemperate, but the extreme overstatement of the situation does not help.

The tenor of this discussion , much less the utter undiscussability of the deeper issues at the national level, are indications enough that harnessing the political will to take these considerations into account are a long, long putt.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:56 PM
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83: .. and I was not including you as part of the "ilk". (It's a different ilk I'm talking about.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:57 PM
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73

"And contraception defined broadly has been available forever. Recently there are ways to acheive it with less "cost", and there is some evidence that it is changing the equation. But given other "track records", do you think this will be done without massive dislocations?"

It is true the adoption of contraception is more than just a matter of technology. I think there will be problems as the oil runs out but I expect the parts of the world with relatively low birth rates thanks to contraception will be relatively unaffected.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:59 PM
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I while back I blogged the Parable of the Two Guys on the Train Track. It began like this

So these two guys are standing around on a train track when they hear a train in the distance. Guy one says, "Uh-oh, my foot is caught in between the rail and the ground. I should get it out, in case that train is on this track. Can you help me?"

Guy two: You know, We've been standing on railways for years now, and historically, We've always gotten out of the way before the train came. I think I'm going to sit down.There's more at the link. I still think that this accurately describes the world's energy policy.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:59 PM
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84: No, a high proportion of economists do exactly that. They don't say it explicitly; they say it by ignoring environmental questions and minimizing their importance whenever someone else brings them up.

A lot of economists still think that "the environment" is a quality-of-life nimby luxury issue, not something that needs to be addressed. And a lot of them still assume continued economic growth worldwide indefinitely into the future, without thinking much about population at all.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:59 PM
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what exactly is going to be powering all this pixie dust?

Happy thoughts, just like Peter Pan taught us.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 12:59 PM
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I while back I blogged the Parable of the Two Guys on the Train Track. It began like this

So these two guys are standing around on a train track when they hear a train in the distance. Guy one says, "Uh-oh, my foot is caught in between the rail and the ground. I should get it out, in case that train is on this track. Can you help me?"

Guy two: You know, We've been standing on railways for years now, and historically, We've always gotten out of the way before the train came. I think I'm going to sit down.

There's more at the link. I still think that this accurately describes the world's energy policy.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 1:00 PM
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81: JP, you realize that the generation of electrical power - even (relatively) eco-friendly solar power - requires tons of labor, right? Even coarse, manual labor, as done by plain old humans, whose brains have not been uploaded into swarms of flying nanobots? And if billions of these humans are dying from hunger, thirst, and disease - or, more likely, rioting, killing, and warring over it - there probably isn't going to be time, labor, or energy left over for some cozy nanotech startup to create the Singularity, merge Man and Machine, and create our beautiful new cyberpunk selves.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 1:00 PM
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Double posted, and the formatting still didn't come out right. Sorry.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 1:01 PM
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84: In fact, you yourself do exactly that. You don't seem to have considered any of the points any one else has made, but just turned on your cornucopian tape.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 1:02 PM
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We've been standing on railways for years now, and historically, We've always gotten out of the way before the train came.

I love you, Mr. Socky!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 1:02 PM
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The basic features of our system -- division of labor, specialization, integrated economies over wide geographic distances, dependence on advanced technology, continued growth in overall societal wealth -- need to continue or else billions of people are going to die and civilization will collapse.

And doesn't most of this require quite a lot of relatively inexpensive energy? I'm not actually a doomsayer (speaking of strawmen), but it's not just a matter of conservation given that it's not like the U.S. is the only place that's going to want our (or a better) standard of living.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 1:03 PM
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Yes, James, a low birth rate is an excellent energy source.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 1:03 PM
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85: yes.

I also think 84 has a lot of validity. My main bitch is that f you just sit around and wait for the Invisible Hand to show us the way you will overshoot like hell with awful results for people and other living things. A lot of economics is control theory ignoring the inherent delays in feedback mechanisms.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 1:04 PM
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84

"... or else billions of people are going to die and civilization will collapse. ..."

Billions of people could die without civilization collapsing.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 1:05 PM
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it was a political event

It was an application of a primitive existing technology ( a bureaucratic state ) to an apparently intractable collective problem. It still is a brutal policy, but it's a clear example of environmental engineering on a massive scale. It's as much a technological approach as the US business tax break for 6000 lb vehicles but not 4000 lb vehicles. Technoogy can be cheap, ubiquitous and social.

Julian Simon, an extreme optimist, has writings online. He argues, in efffect, that looking at the past suggests that infinite faith in humanity's ability to cobble a solution together is warranted; even without accepting his conclusion, his examples are interesting reading.

Population growth rate is the central point of this discussion, IMO. Voluntary outscale resource consumption (hummers from the burbs) whether here or in China can be reversed without too much pain. Wealth and education drive groth rates down, quickly in demographic terms. Again IMO, the question is what will happen in Africa. I'm hoping for teevees and light consumerism everywhere fast, as those seem to be the most energy-effective contraceptive.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 1:07 PM
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99. June 10, 2006 vs. Feb 6 2006. Hey it looks like I pwned PZ on that one!


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 1:09 PM
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Voluntary outscale resource consumption (hummers from the burbs) whether here or in China can be reversed without too much pain.

In fact, his very small moves in that direction helped destroy Jimmy Carter, and since 1980 "No Lifestyle Change" has been dogma nationally.

Simon is the guy who argued that since there are an infinite number of points on a line, we can never run out of resources. He also relies heavily on substitution, but I don't see substitutes for water and topsoil.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 1:11 PM
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Oh, wait, that's the repost. The original was 2/20/04. I wonder if I had read that before I made my post.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 1:11 PM
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I should add: Simon is not only an optimist, but (last I saw) he didn't think conservation or changes ion lifestyle would even be necessary, and I believe that he was a free-marketer who didn't want government regulation.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 1:13 PM
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An angry God

Bob Park's Voodoo Science has a really good chapter discussing this mindset, using the example of the quack who made a living from power line cancer fears.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 1:13 PM
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I'm heading out to try to get some work done, but as always I'll plug The World Without Us and Under A Green Sky for anyone who wants to read something on where humans actually stand right now, from people who actually study the environment instead of getting paid to ignore its effects.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 1:13 PM
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Here's the American people. They are not ready to give up any part of their lifestyle.


Posted by: Fatman | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 1:14 PM
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LW and PGD, as I've said, this isn't about people's thoughts and feelings, but about air, water, climate, energy, etc. I find the cornucopians more obnoxious than the Chicken Littles, but the cornucopians control American policy.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 1:15 PM
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111: There's something about cutting off your nose to spite your face in there. But someone spoke English at a drive thru!


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 1:17 PM
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I wonder if I had read that before I made my post.

I'm sure PZ wasn't the first to parablize the concept. It's worth restating every so often anyhow.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 1:18 PM
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In fact, you yourself do exactly that. You don't seem to have considered any of the points any one else has made, but just turned on your cornucopian tape.

No I don't. The problem I have here is how you elide the difference between those who say there is no problem and those who say that if we use the range of tools available to a modern society (market, government, technological research) we can address the problem while sustaining some level of growth in societal wealth (even if it is lower growth than before). It's as though you call anyone unwilling to join the doomsaying party a "Cornucopian". But the doomsayers are operating just as much by assumption as the cornucopians.

It is true that I'm tempermentally biased against people who appear to take pleasure from prophecying the collapse of their own civilization on the basis of inadequae -- aproaching non-existent -- evidence.

In fact, his very small moves in that direction helped destroy Jimmy Carter, and since 1980 "No Lifestyle Change" has been dogma nationally.

Here we agree, this has to change. Carter himself switched late in his administration from trying to reduce energy dependence to favoring military control of the Persian Gulf to maintain the oil flow. Andrew Bacevich discusses this.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 1:41 PM
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You don't seem to have considered any of the points any one else has made,

I'm not sure what points are being made. Oil will eventually run out, hence the sky is going to fall, and anyone who says otherwise is assuming away the problem....is that a point?

How quickly will oil supplies decline? How much will prices go up? What effect will that have on the rest of the economy? What conservation measures will be induced? How quickly will e.g. battery technology improve to allow nuclear and coal to be substituted? What government measures will take place?

If temperatures will go up, how much and where? How much will sea levels rise? What are the costs of adopting to that? etc.

This is all in the details, and once you get into those details you generally see a story where there are significant but manageable costs.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 1:49 PM
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Well, the financial meltdown will help curb growth in the US. The question then becomes whether China's economic growth either slows or goes negative, and the political consequences of that. In the US that will probably lead to individual changes in lifestyle, while not necessarily societal changes, which is where the big money is.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 1:51 PM
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What are you counting as a track record?

Just for the sake of completeness, this is the example that I think most directly supports the optimists position.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 1:51 PM
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So, about the movie...


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 1:52 PM
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PGD, you know the economist's joke: "First, assume a ladder." My complaint is that your argument starts out: "First, assume a rational political process."

The point is, there's a lot of evidence that people aren't prepared to deal with this in a rational fashion, and it's uncertain whether circumstances will permit a more leisurely approach without massive disruptions.

As I say in 87, Collapse is very good on this.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 1:54 PM
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As I say in 87, Collapse is very good on this.

Particularly the chapter on Greenland. It's scary.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 1:55 PM
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"No Lifestyle Change" has been dogma nationally.

There are 15k photos tagged "compost" on flickr. FWIW, I bike to work when I can and I snicker at high-ceilinged foyers. I'm worried about the risks posed by either rapid population growth or widespread cloning of Dubai- or Atlanta-like cities. But if population growth in Africa slows as it has in S America or India, and if China shows some environmental sense after a few vacation spots beloved by the elite are destroyed, it's not clear to me whether there's cause for real alarm.

Simon is an extremist, sure, but a source of both surprising facts and thought-provoking ideas.

I'm not sure that labels do more than polarize. Plus, chicken-littles have indifferently-groomed beards like unto the prophets. Whatever happened to beards trimmed to a square or to two points, anyway?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 1:55 PM
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We don't know if the costs are manageable. These are still open questions. At some level, coping mechanisms break down when lots of things are happening at once.

It may all be "in the details", but are you interested in the details? Or are you just interested in searching out silly people who disagree with you and prove that you're right?

As long as I remember, anyone who said something like "The environment cannot sustain a rising standard of living combined with population growth indefinitely into the future" has been accused of being a Luddite. (And no, population growth hasn't stopped, though it's slowed down).

But the cornucopian answer, "Yes we can!" is effectively a matter of policy.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 1:58 PM
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But the cornucopian answer, "Yes we can!"

Per mcmanus, I thought this was the authoritarian answer.



Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:00 PM
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That fucking Simon-Ehrlich wager gets trotted out in every single discussion of this, as if it settled the question for all time.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:00 PM
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I'm going to be really annoyed if the hippies are right again.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:00 PM
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Simon is the guy who argued that since there are an infinite number of points on a line, we can never run out of resources.

Simon actually used one of Xeno's paradoxes to prove infinite resources?


Posted by: Grumps | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:05 PM
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I care as much about the Simon-Erlich debate on resource economics as I would about a debate between Rush Limbaugh and Pamela Anderson on animal rights.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:05 PM
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That fucking Simon-Ehrlich wager gets trotted out in every single discussion of this, as if it settled the question for all time.

If it wasn't clear, I wasn't trying to make that argument, just figuring that it should get linked somewhere in this conversation in case anyone hadn't seen it already.

I think a major element of the debate is whether the current situation is reduceable to a diminishing suppy of a key resource (oil) in which case the argument that increasing prices will lead to substitution as well as reduced consumption or whether the current problems are best described as a systemic overuse of natural resources (oil, water, the limits of the environment to absorb polutents, etc . . ). If the latter is a more accurate description than the parallel to earlier examples of resource substitution are less convincing.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:07 PM
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I'm going to be really annoyed if the hippies are right again.

Will it be ok is Heebie is right again, or is she too much of a hippy?


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:10 PM
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121: Particularly the chapter on Greenland. It's scary.

A very good read, I highly recommend reading as a companion piece, The Greenlanders by Jane Smiley, which I think is her best work. (That said it is a slog, and reads better the 2nd time around after you've learned to keep all the Gunnar Asgeirssons and Asgeir Gunarssons straight.)

It has a great/disturbing last line:

And then he saw what he was, an old man, ready to die, pressed against the Greenland earth, as small as an ash berry on the face of the mountain, and he did the only thing that men can do when they know themselves, which was to weep and weep and weep.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:10 PM
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119: And Sifu Tweety (not to mention Ogged) is banned for terminal unseriousness. Don't you understand? We are all going to die!!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:12 PM
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Big deal with your parables. The Simpsons summed up this mindset in one line.

"That can't be true, honey! If it were, I'd be terrified!"


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:14 PM
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Re population. The UN is predicting that the human population will peak in 2075 at 9.22 billion and decline after that. The main force behind the change will be the declining birthrates that accompany industrialization.

I recommend planning for a world of 9.22 billion people in 2075. The two more popular alternatives seem to be (1) trying to change the population curve and (2) not doing any planning at all. I don't think (1) will work and (2) is a recipe for disaster.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:18 PM
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We're all probably going to die. I rely on the innate human incomprehension of risk to guide me.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:18 PM
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To be more serious (what? why?) sure, there are an enormous number of tremendously difficult problems facing humanity, and, sure, if we do not address them things look grim.

Okay, there's the situation. Let's try and solve those problems! Who gives a fuck how likely it is that we'll succeed?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:20 PM
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Solving problems implies change, which is never popular among those who are doing well in the status quo.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:23 PM
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if the hippies are right again.

Have they been right before?


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:24 PM
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138: well, there was the whole war thing you might have heard about.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:25 PM
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That it's bad? Way to go hippies!


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:26 PM
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137: yeah. Fuck them, then.

The cool thing about change is that, if you rig it right, it can be lucrative (for some people). The trick is to have those people outshout the other people. Not electing the people you're trying to outshout is a big one, obviously, but a confluence of events and shifting power centers can -- until things ossify, and with a lot of prompting -- create even market-driven agitation for positive change.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:27 PM
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baa, Tweety is talking about this particular war, which we dirty hippies said would be another Vietnam, while everyone else thought was going to be a cakewalk.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:28 PM
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140: if you could encourage everybody to say that five years and two months ago, that would be swell.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:28 PM
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Other things dirty hippies have been right about:

Ending segregation
Giving women the vote
Social security


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:29 PM
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142: Except you're not really a hippie, and either is Scowcroft. I'm not even sure the hippies are now hippies.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:30 PM
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Other things hippies have been right about:

Pot being awesome.
Sex being really fun.
Guitar amplification.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:32 PM
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Will it be ok is Heebie is right again, or is she too much of a hippy?

I believe the Unfogged Consensus is that heebie is perfectly hippy - not too little, not too much.



Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:33 PM
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Other things hippies have been right about:
...
Guitar amplification.

Does that make Lester Paul a hippie?


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:34 PM
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148: he was on the right track. Jim Marshall: total hippie.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:36 PM
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Guitar amplification

I'm pretty sure the hippies were actually pissed at Dylan for going along with this.


Posted by: Grumps | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:37 PM
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150: Those were folkies. They're a little older and more annoying.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:38 PM
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I'm not sure I can go along with "more annoying". Hippies are pretty fucking annoying, even (especially?) when right.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:39 PM
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They're a little older and more annoying.

The folkies are ok; guitar amplification sucks (not always, but generally). And sex is not "fun." God, I really do hate the hippies.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:40 PM
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guitar amplification sucks (not always, but generally)

Uh-oh. Don't listen to the mix I posted, then.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:43 PM
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guitar amplification sucks

This may be the wrongest thing you've ever written on this blog.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:43 PM
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Those were folkies. They're a little older and more annoying.

Wait . . . what. Why are the folkies more annoying?


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:43 PM
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Those were folkies.

Huh? Next you'll try to tell me that Blowin' in the Wind wasn't a hippie antham.


Posted by: Grumps | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:44 PM
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The folkies are ok; guitar amplification sucks (not always, but generally). And sex is not "fun." God, I really do hate the hippies.

This comment is just so totally fabulous I wanted to see it again. I can't even come up with anything to say; it's just beautiful in its wholeness.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:44 PM
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153: Sayyid Qutb has hijacked Ogged's account. Again.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:45 PM
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Other things hippies have been right congratulated themselves on being the first people in history to be right about: ...


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:45 PM
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This may be the wrongest thing you've ever written on this blog.

I'm not sure how far I can defend it. I enjoy a lot of amplified guitar music. But my conservative nature tells me that it would be a better world, with a lot less totally annoying music, if there were no guitar amplification. That is to say, an amplified guitar can be so much more annoying than one that is not.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:45 PM
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161: okay, now defend "sex is not fun".


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:46 PM
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162- You have obviously not had sex with ogged


Posted by: Bass playing Lifeguard | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:47 PM
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folkies being annoying


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:49 PM
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Other things hippies have been right about:

1. That acid is groovy.
2. That acid can transform the Grateful Dead from a bunch of old guys playing songs you've heard a million times into mystics.
3. That shaving is a drag.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:50 PM
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"sex is not fun"

I think we've had this discussion before. Merry-go-rounds and dodgeball are "fun;" sex is not "fun." I have a boring, old-fashioned view of this. I'm not sure there's anything to discuss.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:50 PM
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And sex is not "fun."

UR DOIN IT WRONG


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:51 PM
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Without guitar amplification, genital warts probably wouldn't even exist.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:51 PM
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What 160 said. For example, I'm pretty sure the hippies had very little to do with various 19th- and early 20th-century struggles to secure the right to vote.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:52 PM
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There were hippies in the early 1900s?


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:52 PM
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Close your eyes and think of England.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:53 PM
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The hippies can still be right on something even if other people were there before them.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:54 PM
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sex is not "fun."

SEX IS DEADLY SERIOUS.

It's 3 am and your children are sleeping. When the booty call comes, who do you want answering the phone?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:54 PM
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Dodgeball and merry-go-rounds are not fun.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:54 PM
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Dammit, Mary Kate.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:55 PM
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169: nobody is saying the hippies are uniquely right, except perhaps the hippies, wherever they are.

I, for instance, ain't no damn hippie, and I am similarly right about almost everything here ascribed to them


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:55 PM
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173: I'm Ogged, and I approved this message.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:55 PM
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I will confess that at this point I'm using "hippie" and "progressive" and even "liberal" interchangeability. I didn't want to, but the media said I had to.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:56 PM
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I'm Ogged, and I approved this message.

Indeed. Call me. Laydeez.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:56 PM
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neither is Scowcroft

One never knows...

Seriously, though, I'm kind of interested in what we take to be foundational or central hippie beliefs. I'm not sure "drugs/sex are fun" really counts. That's up there with "food required for human life." I'd offer:

a) There's not much inherent difference between socially approved "mind altering substances" (nicotine, alcohol) and the others (THC, LSD)
b) Cultural norms of behavior and dress are largely pointless and limiting
c) Participation in a large-scale capitalist economy (esp. industrial production) is deleterious to human happiness and fulfillment, and closer-to-nature, more craft-based production enhances human happiness
d) Sexual restraint is over-rated

Seem about right?


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:57 PM
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177: perhaps he simply means that sex is a morass of fear and uncertainty which must be avoided lest its deadly goo become permanently affixed to your soul?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:58 PM
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e) Patchouli does not fucking stink, either.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:59 PM
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I'm not sure "drugs/sex are fun" really counts. That's up there with "food required for human life."

Nice try, but no way are you gonna just gloss over that one. There's entirely too much of our culture based on the notion that sex and drugs are dangerous and frightening to get a free pass here.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 2:59 PM
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180: I'd say you missed the big one:

e) indulging the government in its warmaking whims is wrong


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 3:00 PM
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I'm not sure "drugs/sex are fun" really counts. That's up there with "food required for human life."

Even baa abandons me.

This is how Megan From The Archives described hippiedom a few months ago:

They're right. We should be gentle pacifists. We should care very deeply about the environment; we should be alert to its beauties and hurt by its destruction. We should eat consciously and low on the food chain. There is no harm in bounded recreational drug use and what does it matter how people choose to look and people's bodies are beautiful and we should live close in connected communities. We should even sit around a fire and sit along to a guitar. That way of living feels good and imposes fewer costs on other people.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 3:00 PM
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d) Sexual restraint is over-rated

This is too ambiguous. It really depends on what you are restraining yourself from.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 3:01 PM
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Let me guess, hippies are against face raping?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 3:02 PM
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Will it be ok is Heebie is right again...?

OK, I've come around. Whatever Heebie says, I'm ok with.

Heebie, please come and tell me what to think about resource scarcity and/or mainstream movies that show cock.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 3:03 PM
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161: Ogged is R. Crumb!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 3:03 PM
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Let me guess, hippies are against face raping?

Certainly not the ones I went camping with.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 3:04 PM
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Baa is also ignoring the important question of whether Breatharians are hippies or not.

Megan, in 185, is shamefully hypocritical in her defense of purely recreational carbon emission.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 3:04 PM
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Not that I've read the entirety of this thread yet, but as far as resource usage and sustainability of civilization goes, y'all could do a lot worse than going through the results of this Google search. (The links in which will come as no surprise to at least one person who's commented on this thread.) And stras and Emerson, I'll save you the time right now and point out that in no way can the author be categorized as either an economist or a libertarian.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 3:06 PM
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Ogged, I'm more with you than you know. I should have been more careful about the word "fun." What's granted is: sex and drugs are enjoyable. In this, the hippies are correct. In this, they are also affirming what is obvious. What is not right -- or certainly not obviously right -- is the drawing the implication from "is enjoyable" to "is not *also* serious, frightening, dangerous." An even more tenuous inference is from "is enjoyable" to "should be pursued in a light-minded, carefree way." (what I take to be your objection to "fun").


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 3:06 PM
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We should be gentle pacifists.

Christ.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 3:08 PM
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Y'all ever read The Eden Express, by Kurt Vonnegut's son, Mark? Pretty amazing in-real-time document of the cliched hippie progression - student drops out of Swarthmore, moves to commune in rural Brit Columbia, sexual confusion and drug hysteria follow. TBH, though, the guy was a genuine schizo, and it seems from the reading that, barring that, things would have gone more or less as fantasized.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 3:10 PM
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Yes?


Posted by: Christ, the gentle pacifist | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 3:11 PM
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We should be gentle pacifists.


Christ.

Well, he's one example.

Too obvious?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 3:11 PM
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Ah, too slow.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 3:12 PM
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184:Critically, at the time your e) was considered a subset and consequence of 180's c).


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 3:12 PM
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There's not much inherent difference between socially approved "mind altering substances" (nicotine, alcohol) and the others (THC, LSD)

Unless "inherent difference" means something entirely different to you than it does to me, I'd say this is crazy talk.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 3:14 PM
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200: You would, 'cause you're squaresville, pops.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 3:18 PM
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Huh, Googling the Mark Vonnegut book revealed this interview with Kurt, which includes a brief bit on resource scarcity:

Isaac Asimov's dead. But I was on a panel with him, this must have been 20 years ago, and someone asked him, 'How much longer have we got to go?' He got out a pad and said, 'Water, topsoil, air. Pick out a number for each one as to how much longer we can go on like this.' No, obviously the weather is all going to hell right now. I was just with an astronomer named Michael Schwartz, who has his own telescope in Arizona. And, of course, he's looking through the atmosphere all the time. And he said, 'You know, it's about over.' He said, 'Global warming is really going to be something.' "
So there you go.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 3:20 PM
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200: THC and alcohol? I don't actually see how you can make the argument that there is and inherent difference stand up. I mean, they're not literally identical, but I don't see how you can draw a line between them that doesn't rely almost entirely on "socially approved."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 3:22 PM
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...We should be gentle pacifists. We should care very deeply about the environment; we should be alert to its beauties and hurt by its destruction. We should eat consciously and low on the food chain. There is no harm in bounded recreational drug use and what does it matter how people choose to look and people's bodies are beautiful and we should live close in connected communities. We should even sit around a fire and sit along to a guitar....

Arioch. Arioch. Blood and souls for my lord Arioch.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 3:23 PM
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I read a book awhile back that explained one reason why these problems are hard to discuss: for economists long-term-planning 20 years, and for environmentalists the short term is 100 years. So you can rightly say "People have been talking about X for 20 years, and it hasn't happened yet", without it meaning what you think it does.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 3:25 PM
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201, 203: All I'm sayin' is, based on my experiences with the socially-approved substances and with the "others," there is a very real inherent difference between them, and the latter are infinitely preferable to the former.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 3:28 PM
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195: Worth a read today as a period piece if nothing else. But certainly there were a lot of other sub-currents than just the mental illness (controversial whether it really was clinical schizophrenia, the guy's a doctor now) that looked to torpedo their little trust fund venture. (I am being too harsh.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 3:28 PM
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Ogged fits better as Crumb than Qutb, because Qutb would never hate on hippies while using the phrase "face raping", and Crumb does shit like that every day.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 3:30 PM
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Everybody's talking about commodities today, like everywhere. I worry less about the long term survivability of human civilization, and more about immediate geopolitical pressures of scarcity. IIRC, Germany, Italy, and Japan were partly motivated by resource constraints and control...oil.
....
This is from stormy at angrybear:

In 2003, for every 1000 people, China consumed 4.96 barrels of oil each day. By 2005, it was consuming 5.009 barrels for every 1000 people. For a country of 1.3 billion, that is a significant rise in the demand for oil.

In 2003, India was consuming 2.18 barrels per 1000 people; by 2004, it was consuming 2.269.

In 2003, the U.S. consumed 68.87 barrels/1000 people.

Considering the relative sizes, 300 million US vs 3 billion Chindia; and considering the relative lifestyles, 30 fold "better" in America...I think Chindia development can only come at the expense of America.

And the numbers make a joke out of American conservation and efficiency. Every barrel we save will be consumed in Asia.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 3:32 PM
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Crumb has mellowed in his old age. 1986 recording is nice.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 3:33 PM
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"Chindia"?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 3:37 PM
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134: The UN is predicting that the human population will peak in 2075 at 9.22 billion and decline after that

Great report and especially great graphs that show some of the scenarios. everyone should at least take a look at them. However, I do wish they had show the historical trends for a much longer period of time than back to 1950 for a better perspective on where we are as a "species" (this is why I like the graphs I linked in 56). This is also related to JE's point in 205 on relative time frames.

Remember this, Hiroshima was about a break even day for world population, one of the few humanity has had since the 15th century. There are two variables.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 3:38 PM
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"Chindia"?

He meant "Over There."


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 3:43 PM
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Crumb does shit like that every day.

Face-rape hippies?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 3:43 PM
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a break even day for world population, one of the few humanity has had since the 15th century.

What were the other ones?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 3:48 PM
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215: Some Bay of Bengal cyclones, a few earthquakes in China (like Tangshan in 1976), the tsunami in 2004 may have come close.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 3:54 PM
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I will confess that at this point I'm using "hippie" and "progressive" and even "liberal" interchangeability. I didn't want to, but the media said I had to.

Actually, I suspect it was Atrios, who I think conceded way, way too much to make a (good) point.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 3:58 PM
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211,213:Just encountered the word last week, I think. Possibly Newberry.

Recollections of the hippies were one of the reasons this current war so depresses me. They posited a direct & personal connection between the capitalist consumerist lifestyle and the Vietnam War, to the obnoxious point of telling ya that buying the New Car or anti-perspirant killed a Vietnamese child.

I really miss that & find it's absence discouraging. Much of the anti-war politics appears and is even defended as a protection of consumerism and prosperity. "We want Peace and Empire, and we want it now!"

Course, the military Keynesian was more understood at the time.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 4:01 PM
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218 cont...also about 50 years closer to the Luxemburg/Lenin/etc analysis of late-Capitalist Imperialism, and in the middle of Colonialism Analysis Fanon.

Where the fuck did the Left go, anyway?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 4:07 PM
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The turn of the anti-capitalist left toward thinking in terms of absolute resource scarcity has deeply conservative implications that I'm not sure people have completely thought through.

I don't think this has had as fair a hearing as it deserves. Yes, we do have to not use up the earth; at the same time, PGD's right that scarcity is a conservative idea, and liberation politics don't come to it naturally.

The Alex Gourevitch forum at n+1 has had an extensive consideration of how environmental politics of fear resemble war on terror politics of fear.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 4:12 PM
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220: I call Godwin.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 4:28 PM
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Huh? What are you talking about, John?


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 4:51 PM
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The discussions of R. Crumb as the archetypal anti-hippie beloved by hippie-types would never be happening if Frank Zappa were still alive.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 5:11 PM
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"As any internet discussion continues, the odds that a reference will be made to a tiny literary magazine approach one."


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 5:13 PM
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The War on Terror is the new Hitler, PGD. I won't read that bullshit. Anti-environmentalists should make their points directly by talking about the environment, rather than by finding things to dislike about environmentalists.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 5:15 PM
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Crumb Zappa.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 5:16 PM
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People still read N+1?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 5:19 PM
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Anti-environmentalists should make their points directly by talking about the environment, rather than by finding things to dislike about environmentalists.

So much for "Good ideas do not need lots of lies told about them in order to gain public acceptance."


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 5:20 PM
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Jeepers, hippie-hating, huh? I'll never understand.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 5:21 PM
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Anti-environmentalists should make their points directly by talking about the environment, rather than by finding things to dislike about environmentalists.

"Red Dawn II: Man vs. Nature"


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 5:21 PM
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I disagree, John. I think you can't engender progressive change without building a social movement, that the rhetoric of social movements is worth paying attention to, and that Gourevitch is far from a stalking horse for Exxon.

The emerging mass environmental consciousness has two poles: 1. the polar bears are first and then come us; 2. buy more shit but this time "green".

It hardly seems beyond the pale of discussion to suggest that liberal movements may need more sustaining fodder than this.

Also, John? HITLER HITLER HITLER HITLER madja look.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 5:29 PM
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Hey hey, I thought this might interest all of you people arguing in this thread, but especially PGD since he's been asking whether we've already implemented every possible negative-cost carbon-footprint-reduction strategy. And though he knows the answer is no, I'm not sure if he's seen these specifics:

Vattenfall (yes, a power company, but a decent one that's split betwen fossil fuel plants, hydroelectric, nuclear, and very limited wind/biofuel) did a pretty wide-ranging study of the areas for potential carbon abatement using today's technology. They worked out the approximate amount of annual carbon emissions that could be saved with each strategy, the approximate cost to make them worthwhile in euros per tonne even today, and where these savings would come from geographically. Check out the pdf report here, or the fancy-pants flash mega-animation of the results here.

Even if you check nothing else out, look at the graph on page 21 of the pdf. It gives negative-cost strategies to cut about 6 gigatonnes per year of carbon emissions, including insulation improvements; energy-efficient lighting; fuel-efficient commercial fleets; fuel-efficient passenger cars; and especially using new, energy-efficient water heaters. Nuclear power is estimated as cost-neutral, though that probably depends on the regulatory regime and their assumptions about plant life and design. It's probably true of the current generation being built, but certainly wasn't about the plants from the 60s and 70s.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 5:53 PM
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Po-mo po: that report does look good. It is certainly the kind of thing we need to see more of.

The question is, since these savings are right there for the picking, why aren't we picking them?

The biggest problem is obviously that some people are doing quite well in the status quo. Another part of the problem, though, is binary, apocalypse or cornucopia thinking.

Michael Pollan has a nice article in last sunday's NYT magazine about convincing yourself to actually do something.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 6:35 PM
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The question is, since these savings are right there for the picking, why aren't we picking them?

There's an answer in Natural Capitalism (a great book for anyone who wants to be encouraged by just how much energy savings could be possible without reducing consumption): corporate culture.

I can't find the quote, but it says that in many corporations "efficiency" projects have to pay for themselves in 3-5 years, which is much higher ROI than is demanded for outside investment. It also says that big corporations that in most corporations there's a skepticism about making changes to reduce the inputs, and that skepticism makes it harder to get changes approved than they should be based on cost/benefit analysis.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 7:16 PM
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Man, this thread sure has been an eye opener. I mean, I used to be pretty bearish on our collective ability to clean up the environmental mess we've made, but faced with good, cogent, hard-science-based arguments backed like "magical technology will come out of nowhere to save us all" and "dirty fearmongering eco-hippies just hate capitalism," I realize the error of my ways. Fill up the tank and crank the AC!


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 7:18 PM
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The hope is to find a way to convert dirty fearmongering eco-hippies to gas. Soylent Green is Exxon!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 7:20 PM
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Nuclear power is estimated as cost-neutral

Based on what? Putting aside issues of resources spent on waste containment, disposal, and security issues, nuclear power plants are enormous water hogs, worse than you get with any other energy option. Wasting huge amounts of water on nuclear plants at a time when we're rather quickly running out of it would be a catastrophic mistake. I've never read anything on nuclear power from anyone I trust that doesn't list nuclear as a net negative.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 7:30 PM
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Jeepers, hippie-hating, huh? I'll never understand.

I almost hesitate (almost, she says, and then goes right ahead...) to express my lack of warm and cuddly feelings toward hippies, given the "dirty fucking hippies" label that is still deployed against anyone on the left, and especially, and most recently, against anti-war activists.

But all that stuff about "dropping out" and "free love" and living free of societal restraints and etc...yeah, I guess I really do hate that. I find the 60s hippie movement dangerously naive and even a little bit creepy. A certain (mostly, if not wholly, quite justified) criticism of and hostility toward actually existing authority structures was broadened into a utopian belief that people could live outside of authority structures altogether (including, e.g., the authority of the law), inhabiting perfect little societies as pre-social beings. Since that's not ever going to happen, it seems like a recipe for chaotic and troubled lives; and since, like it or not, power is going to circulate, the rejection of traditional/conventional power exchanges (including the liberal-procedural solution to the problem of power imbalances, which I believe is much despised by many at this site), opens the door, I believe, things being what they are, for a new form of "strong man" rule under a new name (though the goal, of course, is a perfect egalitarian sharing of a power which isn't even power anymore).


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 7:40 PM
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I'm linking James Hansen's latest paper (pdf) before I head out for the night. I really urge people to read it. There's already been plenty of response to it, and there's bound to be plenty more, and who knows, maybe things aren't this bad - but I don't see any reason to think they aren't so far. The objections I've heard to Hansen so far aren't that he's got the science wrong, but that the target he's calling for is one no one will ever agree to. Well, if he's right, and that's the target that matters, we're pretty much fucked if no one will agree to it.

I don't get a kick out of sounding dire; I like all the same consumerist, bourgeois comforts everyone else does, and I'm not thrilled that I have to give them up. But the stakes here are a lot higher than most liberals are willing to admit, and the task at hand is a whole lot harder than it's been sold as, and I think we need to recognize that if we're going to succeed at this. If we can't recognize this crisis for what it is, we're not going to be prepared for it.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 7:42 PM
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238: Since that's not ever going to happen

So you've looked into your crystal ball and decided that it's going to be a boot stomping on a human face forever, even after the sun goes red giant and scorches all life off the surface of the earth, huh?

Our species lived for hundreds of thousands of years without centralized authority. Small groups still live that way, or in social situations where the need for, and presence of, domination and hierarchy is minimized to trivial levels. I'm not advocating a return to the Pleistocene, but rather the recognition that we do make our own society. Civilization isn't something that happened naturally -- it is the outgrowth of 10 or 15 thousand years of specific decisions made by individuals and groups of human beings. We have their experience to learn from, and a catalog of their mistakes to avoid as we create new forms and practices for the communities we've inherited.

But back to your contentions about "a new form of 'strong man' rule". Can you tell me precisely why you are more comfortable, given your pessimistic view of human nature and social interaction, with supporting the very forms of hierarchy and domination that have concentrated unthinkable amounts of power into the hands of a very few 'strong men'? If I'm going to contend with some power-hungry individual who wants to subjugate me to his or her will, I'd much prefer to do so from the starting point of a community that rejects hierarchy and domination, rather than one that worships those terrible patterns.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 7:53 PM
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including the liberal-procedural solution to the problem of power imbalances, which I believe is much despised by many at this site

I'm on the other side (that is, pro-procedure) for the most part, but I think the claim is that "solution" should be in quotation marks above, not that there is something pernicious itself in liberal-proceduralism beyond the fact that it often functions as mere cover.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 7:53 PM
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240

"Our species lived for hundreds of thousands of years without centralized authority. Small groups still live that way, or in social situations where the need for, and presence of, domination and hierarchy is minimized to trivial levels. ..."

You have some authority for this? I am under the impression that small bands of humans tend to have ruling cliques which dominate the group. As with Jonestown for example.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 8:20 PM
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But back to your contentions about "a new form of 'strong man' rule". Can you tell me precisely why you are more comfortable, given your pessimistic view of human nature and social interaction, with supporting the very forms of hierarchy and domination that have concentrated unthinkable amounts of power into the hands of a very few 'strong men'?

Utter nonsense, and/or a deliberate misreading of my post. My suspicion of new forms of 'strong man' rule in no way implies an endorsement of more traditional 'strong man' forms. My thing is to get away from 'strong man' rule altogether, insofar as this is possible (which I sincerely hope it is, but sometimes, I'll admit, I'm not overly optimistic), in which case, what set of attitudes and priorities will best further this goal? And in terms of this, and other related, goals, that set of attitudes and priorities which is commonly associated with the 60s hippie movement does not answer my expectations.

And for God's sake, I'm hardly the first person to point to the rather problematic gender politics of this movement. "Take her off the stage and fuck her!" Remember that? Well, I don't, actually, remember, not having been there to later recall and recollect, but I do remember reading about it at some point in my callow youth (yeah, I'm all jaded now, and read Donald Rumsfeld soundbytes as poetry), and I have to say I was more than a little bit shocked, and it made me stop and think.

Sorry, but I'm not going to grant you a monopoly on moral outrage here.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 8:31 PM
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What I liked in the story Ogged link is the woman who's all, "you should be able to buy rice! This is ridiculous!"

It's just, so, unfair that her constitutional right to buy however much she wants of something has been momentarily impeded.

(Also, isn't it actually kind of normal for stores to occasionally have "only X per customer" on certain things?)


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 8:50 PM
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I'm with Parsimon on hippies.

all that stuff about "dropping out" and "free love" and living free of societal restraints and etc...yeah, I guess I really do hate that.

You hate it when people take risks to experiment with lifestyles that can be more joyful? Hate is a strong word, why such a powerful reaction? Is it possible that we are invested in the personality deformations you have experienced from the social constraints you grew up under, and resent those who claim that the pain we experienced in our own socialization is not necessary? Everyone has to experience the same fraternity hazing we did in the patriarchal family, the authoritarian high school, the corporate workplace?

I find the 60s hippie movement dangerously naive and even a little bit creepy. A certain (mostly, if not wholly, quite justified) criticism of and hostility toward actually existing authority structures was broadened into a utopian belief that people could live outside of authority structures altogether (including, e.g., the authority of the law), inhabiting perfect little societies as pre-social beings.

Many hippies are naive, but the existing power structure is also naive about the damage it creates. The law, for example, tends to be serenely oblivious to the damage it creates.

Also, hippie communities were not pre-social. Small voluntary communities develop their own forms of authority, and these do not have to be cults. They could be even more successful in experimenting with and developing these new forms of authority if they met with support from the wider society instead of resentment, judgement, and expulsion from the wider society.

like it or not, power is going to circulate, the rejection of traditional/conventional power exchanges (including the liberal-procedural solution to the problem of power imbalances, which I believe is much despised by many at this site), opens the door, I believe, things being what they are, for a new form of "strong man" rule under a new name (though the goal, of course, is a perfect egalitarian sharing of a power which isn't even power anymore).

Is the record of tightly organized societies in Europe or America really that much better in avoiding "strong man" rule? Isn't is possible that the numerous scars and resentments created by growing up in authoritarian bourgeois societies lead to supporting leaders who can vent those resentments for you by scapegoating "hippies", gays, foreign enemies, etc.? The Nazis were not hippies, nor were they supported by hippies. The dangerous authoritarian threat in this society comes from the reactionary backlash against hippies.

I am under the impression that small bands of humans tend to have ruling cliques which dominate the group. As with Jonestown for example.

Ugh. A totally pathological case, citing it is indicative of your own insecurity. Try reading some anthropology. Primitive hunter-gatherer bands are highly egalitarian.

There does appear to be a fairly high rate of homicide driven by individual conflicts, though, because of no legal system. But it's not clear that the overall violent death rates exceed what modernity creates with its periodic massive wars.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 9:22 PM
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Is it possible that we are invested in the personality deformations you we have experienced from the social constraints


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 9:23 PM
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245

"Ugh. A totally pathological case, citing it is indicative of your own insecurity. Try reading some anthropology. Primitive hunter-gatherer bands are highly egalitarian. "

How about chimps?

"Age is a deciding factor in male dominance hierarchies. The alpha male is usually between the age of twenty and twenty-six. Other factors that determine dominance are physical fitness, aggressiveness, skill at fighting, ability to form coalitions, intelligence, and other personality factors ..."

Doesn't look very egalitarian to me.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 10:05 PM
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I can imagine a world of love, peace, and no wars. Then I imagine myself attacking that place because they would never expect it.

Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 10:09 PM
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247: The alpha male is usually between the age of twenty and twenty-six. Other factors that determine dominance are physical fitness, aggressiveness, skill at fighting, ability to form coalitions, intelligence, and other personality factors ... such as a ruthless decisiveness when it is time to break out the Kool-Aid.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 10:11 PM
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Yes, how about chimps?

[T]here is one creature that stands out from the chest-thumping masses as an example of amicability, sensitivity and, well, humaneness: a little-known ape called the bonobo, or, less accurately, the pygmy chimpanzee. Before bonobos can be fully appreciated, however, two human prejudices must be overcome. The first is, fellows, the female bonobo is the dominant sex, though the dominance is so mild and unobnoxious that some researchers view bonobo society as a matter of "co-dominance," or equality between the sexes.

Go figure!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 10:15 PM
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Shearer is a chimp!

Sifu is a bonobo!

makes total sense.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 10:27 PM
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Hippies make good food.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 10:34 PM
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"It's a cookbook!"


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 10:42 PM
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238,243:Jeepers

1) The Stanford entry on John Rawls is pretty recent, and I thought pretty good. At least it helped me.

2) Just finished reading about the responses of Grosz and Heartfield/Herzfelde in reaction to the murders of Leibknecht and Luxemburg by SPD Defense Minister Gustav Noske. What has this to do with hippies? Da-fucking-da.

3) not that there is something pernicious itself in liberal-proceduralism beyond the fact that it often functions as mere cover.>/i>

Yes there is. It is fetishization, a reification, an attempt to put humans into the service of abstractions. Liberal proceduralism is still an attempt to rule, rather than letting the people rule themselves. The people can be so unruly

An authoritarianism without responsibility, like the Mellonist cold equation type of economists. But the anti-Mellonists like Krugman are required themselves to prove by algebra that the poor don't need to starve.

We have followed all the correct procedures, and with the benefit of modern science, have determined thru an impartial democratic process that Iraq must die. Dada.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 10:45 PM
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In the very first issue of La Révolution Surréaliste, for instance, they had placed photographic mug shots of themselves around a photograph of Germaine Berton, an anarchist who had assassinated Marius Plateau, leader of an ultra right-wing organization.

Ignorant peasant that I am, as I am reading about the Surrealists I remember my recent readings on fascism. Most fascist movements, for instance Romania, centered around charismatic aggressive individuals. Did Berton save France?

Consider this an oblique reference to liberal proceduralism, anarchism, and alternative responses to 9/11.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 10:55 PM
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God this pisses me off. I really do believe that handed the gun, people like...oh never mind names...and told that pulling the trigger would save a million lives, would tell me that the rules are worth a million, 5 million, 100 million lives. And I am the unrational one.

Now I know the liberals have had only 250 years and multiple fucking massacres to fine-tune their project. What I guess we have to do, in the best tradition of the Enlightenment & Rousseau, is to re-engineer the human psychology to fit their system. So that people stop bringing Jesus into Rawls public reason and stuff.

Humans are just not good enough yet for procedural liberalism. Gotta fix 'em.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 11:15 PM
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Who are you talking to, Bob?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 11:16 PM
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257: Who are you talking to, ... Bob?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 11:30 PM
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258: Who are you? Talking to Bob.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 11:35 PM
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Who? Are you talking? To Bob?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 11:38 PM
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Weak bigot to honourably.

Hi, everybody!


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 11:43 PM
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Also, I would like to hate on hippie-hating, in a "look, let's put the fucking business in perspective" vein.

Hippies were one in a succession of (mostly America-driven) pop-culture movements that go back to flappers in the Roaring Twenties. Over-the-top hatred of them seems to attach to their having failed to perfect their professed liberatory ideals and to have attracted a certain cohort of creeps and quacks, but let's face it: all such pop-culture movements attract creeps and quacks, and damned of them ever bothered to profess liberatory ideals. The hippies achieved far more, politically, than any comparable group of misbehaving youngsters and their creepy predatorial elders managed in the entire span of twentieth century popular music. No, they didn't actually usher in the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth, but STFW?


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 11:55 PM
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"and damned of them" s/b "and damned few of them"


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 04-21-08 11:56 PM
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The turn of the anti-capitalist left toward thinking in terms of absolute resource scarcity has deeply conservative implications that I'm not sure people have completely thought through.

Yes, Malthus formulated his theories to justify not helping the poor, to justify a much more cruel and harsh society in which the great mass of people were desperately poor and being made poorer not out of some inherent property of the world but by deliberate policies implemented by the up and coming capitalist classes and aristocracy of England.

There is a kernel of truth in there, in that obviously the world's resources are not inexhaustible and that we cannot grow indefinately, but be very careful in relying on Malthus to explain why we're in the mess we're in.



Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 1:38 AM
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252-3 was very well done.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 1:38 AM
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251: No, no. Shearer is a baboon, Mary Catherine is a chimp, Sifu is a bonobo, mcmanus is a gorilla, apo is an orangutan and I'm a galago.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 5:31 AM
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I've seen the light: let's don't have rules. Let's just kill whoever the any old raving lunatic says we ought to kill.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 5:35 AM
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None of you has ever seen a dead donkey.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 5:37 AM
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243: I'm hardly the first person to point to the rather problematic gender politics of this movement.

Oh, don't even start with me about gender. You're the one with the crap gender politics. I have gone to jail to defend reproductive freedom -- can you say as much? I don't think I've defended the SDS/Weatherman, and especially not their lousy record on gender. I was reading about that stuff when I was 16 and I knew it was messed up then, just like I know that a querulous defense of bourgeois liberalism is messed up now.

Your complaints are the ones liberals always make right before they stab you in the back and take all the credit. They're the same complaints that followed Tom Paine and Mary Wollstonecraft and Louise Michel and John Brown and Emma Goldman and W.E.B. DuBois. Every time some people are trying to really get to the root of the problem, along comes a liberal to say "Oh no citizen, we don't want to do anything drastic. Think of all the privileges we enjoy now, and how much we'd miss them if your revolution doesn't succeed." And then those same people do everything they can to make sure the revolution doesn't succeed, whether it's collaborating with the slaveocracy or selling out their feminist friends in the 1980 elections.

If all we can look forward to is year after year of capitalism and the state, then we might as well just capitulate and pretend everything's okay. Isn't that right? Well I won't do it.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 6:17 AM
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I hate it when the rhetorical temperature starts to rise just as the thread is being pushed down the page into oblivion. I dream of switching to one of those forum systems that ranks threads based on number of recent comment postings? This site is more a forum more than a blog. POWER TO THE PEOPLE!


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 6:39 AM
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The question mark in there totally robbed the last line of its power.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 6:40 AM
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Let's just kill whoever the any old raving lunatic says we ought to kill.

Don't follow leaders. But don't listen to me about following leaders. I don't know jow to end this.

DaDa


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 7:17 AM
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i never could understand people's fascination with 1. nudity, it's just anatomy, everybody has similarly structured body, what's so exciting about it? or sex, it's physiology, like eating or sleeping, just bodily function if not fun 2. diamonds and other precious stones, sure those are pretty but why it should be millions worth? 3. chili in apocalypse being worth diamonds i also can't get, half a can or barrels, you'd eat it and it'd keep you satisfied for half a day or a yr, what's the difference? you'll die anyway
i mean nothing matters that much, one just have to try may be to live in the present moment and to not worry much, that's all, hippies are right
so i can't worry about apocalypses, what will happen will happen no matter what, what won't happen also won't happen and it all does not depend at least on me, coz my environmental or other impacts are minimal and i try to keep it that
i know that this thinking may be very wrong if multiplied billion times, but it's also relative
for example, in order to enjoy life fully and now, you have to work on making it enjoyable, so any science or technological progress is not hindered, it just develops that, chaotically


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 7:42 AM
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minneapolitan appears to be confusing pessimism with endorsement.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 7:46 AM
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read's views in 273 frighten me. I've worried for a while that if I reflect too long on life, I will come to share them, and then this perspective will destroy all my joy in beauty, sex, etc.

They seem rather Buddhist views to me. I've always vaguely thought Buddhism was correct but not the right path to follow until you became old.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 7:54 AM
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The Nazis were not hippies

Recent scholarship by Jonah Goldberg has debunked this bit of conventional wisdom. For example, did you know Hitler was a vegetarian?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 8:04 AM
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Also, organic honey!


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 8:06 AM
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buddhist about minimal impact?
but i'm too selfish to be a true buddhist
hopefully i'll become one someday


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 8:06 AM
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278: you have plenty of time.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 8:21 AM
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Hitler was organic honey?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 8:23 AM
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Funny, you don't look organic honey!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 8:23 AM
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Hitler was organic, honey. You're thinking of Robohitler.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 8:26 AM
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||

Through a sequence of thoughts too embarrassing to recount, I now find myself imagining a roshambo variant called "Bear, Robot, Hitler".

|>


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 8:28 AM
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282: You're thinking of Robohitler.

After the Singularity we'll all get to be Hitler.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 8:36 AM
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Buddha named his son Obstacle.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 8:45 AM
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269 is great.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 9:52 AM
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256
God this pisses me off. I really do believe that handed the gun, people like...oh never mind names...and told that pulling the trigger would save a million lives, would tell me that the rules are worth a million, 5 million, 100 million lives. And I am the unrational one.

I think the biggest problem with this is the word "told." By whom? God? Your C.O.? Dad? Someone whose perspective you generally value and you think has reached that conclusion after careful thought? In any of these cases, why, not counting whatever incidental practical problems might seem to be in place, are they telling you to do it rather than doing it themselves?

OK, replace "told" with "knowing." In a hypothetical situation it's one thing, but in the real world I'm rarely certain about things I'm not directly looking at to give the non-procedural answer.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 10:29 AM
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You're the one with the crap gender politics.

What is this supposed to mean?

Am I going to be sorry I asked?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 10:35 AM
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288: he's been to jail, ogged. Jail.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 10:36 AM
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The slow ones always get caught.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 10:38 AM
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My internet connection has been crappy lately.

Regarding the hippie-hating, I can take two lines:

- I can state that on behalf on those of my dearly loved ones who are hippies, over-the-top hippie-hating is returned by "God, I really fucking hate the self-satisfied yuppie scum." But that's as out of line as the original sentiment, which did make me very angry.

- I can mention that Mary Catherine's understanding upthread in terms of 60s hippies shows a lack of familiarity with actual, current hippie communities, which do not at all eschew rules, structures, and procedures. Straw man. Go ahead and hate constructed enemies if you like. You don't know what you're talking about.

p.s. I have no idea what the reference in 243 to "Take her off the stage and fuck her!" is. I don't see what relevance it has, given that yuppie culture is equally guilty of such attitudes.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 11:55 AM
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I reject the entire hippie/yuppie dichotomy!

Anybody who can be described as belonging to a sociological niche named anything-"pp"-anything is wrong, wrong, wrong, and should be hated on.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 12:02 PM
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Anybody who can be described as belonging to a sociological niche named anything-"pp"-anything is wrong, wrong, wrong, and should be hated on.

Muppet hater.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 12:06 PM
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FUCK THE RAPPERS!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 12:07 PM
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What is this supposed to mean?

You do tend to give off a certain cranky old-country you-painted-hussies vibe when it comes to the womenfolk, ogged.


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 12:09 PM
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Rappers, coppers, hoppers, buppies, sappers: all so, so wrong.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 12:09 PM
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You do tend to give off a certain cranky old-country you-painted-hussies vibe when it comes to the womenfolk, ogged.

Yes, but minne was responding to Mary Catherine, not to me.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 12:11 PM
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Mary Catherine is an old-country painted hussy.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 12:13 PM
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I like Lapp-landers. They have reindeer and cute sweaters.
Sifu just resents them because they are whiter than he is.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 12:18 PM
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The reference in 243 is to the hostility met by women trying to speak at some of the protest rallies in the late 60s or early 70s. It's cited in various accounts of the 60s/70s (I don't remember exactly when the incident I read about took place). You can google the exact phrase.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 12:19 PM
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old-country painted hussy

I thought that was henna too, but it's not.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 12:22 PM
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291: "Take her off the stage and fuck her!"

Here is some context. It became a generic catchphrase for the continuing sexist attitudes of the young antiwar/hippies and later back and forths on the linkages of the Women's Movement and the Anti-war and "hippie" movements.

There is a whole long boring discussion that could be had on all of the abuses of the term "hippie" through the years. Even back in the day there was a pretty significant spectrum ranging from the pure "Turn On, Tune In and Drop Out" crowd (which spawned many of the rural (and some urban) counter-societies) to the more militant activst anti-war crowd. A lot of overlap of course but not united by much other than their common "opposition" to the established political and cultural mores of the day. And to "the establishment" they were all "hippies", including any high school kid who grew his hair, smoked dope, or listened to "hard rock".

I don't have a single great reference that really captures all of it. Best that I know of is Whatever Happened to Timothy Leary (for the mileu, there is better on Leary himself) and other writings by John Bryan. Some of Joan Didion's stuff captures the nuance (after you deconvolve her hostility) as does some of HST's stuff (Hell's Angels is good for some early history and overlaps a bit with Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.)

Don't know if there is any decent assemblage*, maybe since so much of the primary material is so entertaining and available. Any recs for a survey of the era.

*Other than The Big Chill of course.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 12:23 PM
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Old Country Painted Hussy is the worst chain whorehouse in America. Sure, the portions are great, but is that really all you care about?


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 12:24 PM
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Sure, the portions are great

Awesome.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 12:25 PM
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Also to hell with trappers, trappists, apparitions, and the opposition.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 12:25 PM
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Old Country Painted Hussy is the worst chain whorehouse in America.

I think you're forgetting Crackwhore Barrel.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 12:26 PM
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303: also what's with all those people going in there for steak and blowjobs at 5:30PM?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 12:27 PM
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Right a lot, pwned a lot, this time by Kobe in 300.
But I kicked a puppy on the way to work today.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 12:27 PM
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308: "Write" a lot, I quit.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 12:28 PM
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292: Whoo hoo! Safety for hipsters!

It's the tight jeans that give them/us sanctuary, right?


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 12:31 PM
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actual, current hippie communities

Yeah, I've mostly stayed away from the hippie-hating/hippie-defining part of the discussion for this very reason. I know a few tee-totalling, monogamous hippies, but if you saw them on the street, you wouldn't mistake them for not-hippies. Aside from certain aesthetic commonalities, just about the only common threads among the many hippies I know are gardening, organic food, and composting.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 12:31 PM
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the only common threads among the many hippies I know are gardening, organic food, and composting.

Wait, does that make me a hippie?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 12:37 PM
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Coppolas can suck an egg.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 12:39 PM
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I've always thought of "hippie" as a historically bounded term. But I guess if people self-identify as hippies there are still hippies. Growing up in and around Berkeley, I can't remember meeting a single one in my generation (though maybe some are hippies now, or they weren't at the public high school). I tend to associate the idea of hippieness with words like "aging" and "former."


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 12:39 PM
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I think the problem everybody's struggling with here is that even in the 60s the term "hippie" was an almost totally useless catchall for a variety of youth cultures, but that by virtue of that initial confusion, anybody who is still using the term as a self-description today is hopelessly in the grip of a particularly wanky version of nostalgia, and thus annoying.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 12:41 PM
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315: even in the 60s the term "hippie" was an almost totally useless catchall for a variety of youth cultures

Yeah, what Sifu said (or what I thought I said in 302.2).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 12:43 PM
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316: you did. I restated to make the second part of my comment more clear.

You know who else I hate? Shoppers.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 12:44 PM
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Wait, does that make me a hippie?

Send me a picture and I'll let you know.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 12:45 PM
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My most recent near-hippie experience: A friend of mine went to the roller derby in San Francisco to celebrate her birthday. In front of us was an older couple, with an 8 year old-ish possibly half-black girl. Now pro roller derby is much more Globetrotter/WWF-esque than the amateur stuff, and like many of the fans, this girl had a homemade sign that she would hold up in the air on occasion, her expression changing from carefree smiling to the sort of grim seriousness only an 8-year-old can muster. This being San Francisco, the occasions were mainly the "vicious hits" or "fights" that would break out on the track, and the sign, in crude block lettering, read "Violence Is NOT The Answer."


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 12:45 PM
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The other problem is the confusion of radicalism, in its many varieties, with hippieness (in its varieties).


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 12:45 PM
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in the grip of a particularly wanky version of nostalgia, and thus annoying.

That and there was a lot of free riding. The word now is "trustafarians". You want to live in a yurt, move to Mongolia. Talk about not paying the cost of the externalities.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 12:46 PM
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317: I restated to make the second part of my comment more clear.

And I should not complain, since you also made my comment much more clear.

I hate tippers, flippers and zippers, why limit the hatred to people. The whole quasi-onomotopaeic "pp" genre should be deprecated.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 12:52 PM
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Ppower to the Ppeopple!


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 12:54 PM
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322: I can find no hatred in my heart for sippy cups, tripping or happiness.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 12:55 PM
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Zeppo was the lamest of the Marx Brothers.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 12:55 PM
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anybody who is still using the term as a self-description today is hopelessly in the grip of a particularly wanky version of nostalgia, and thus annoying.

You've lived in CA and I haven't, but I'm not sure I buy it. Doesn't Megan from the Archives self-describe that way? She certainly treats hippies as "her people," and I can't peg her as a nostalgist.

I was actually right with you on that comment until you got to that point. Where I thought you were going was:

I think the problem everybody's struggling with here is that even in the 60s the term "hippie" was an almost totally useless catchall for a variety of youth cultures, but its usage today as a self-description is primarily limited to people with a communal bent and an earth-centric view, as embodied in "gardening, organic food, and composting."

This is probably why I can't get on board with hippie-hating; while there are aspects of (what I identify as) hippiedom that I find absurd (viz. placenta-eating), and trustafarians are a pretty nauseating lot, I find almost nothing wrong - and a lot right - with (what I identify as) the hippie lifestyle.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 1:08 PM
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its usage today as a self-description is primarily limited to people with a communal bent and an earth-centric view, as embodied in "gardening, organic food, and composting."

This isn't really true. First of all, there are huge numbers of people with those characteristics who don't describe themselves as hippies, and there are a huge number of people who do describe themselves as hippies where it's tied to a lot of other ideas about music, personal style, what might be fun things to do, the value of mysticism and so on that I think of as basically nostalgic.

Which is to say that there's a certain pop-cultural viewpoint embedded in calling oneself a "hippie" (see e.g. playing guitar around a fire) that doesn't really have anything to do with environmentalism or an interest in sustainability or whatever. In fact, I think it's kind of problematic that people (included self-described "hippies") think of self-described hippies as having a monopoly on those beliefs which either are or should be perfectly mainstream, in a deep-blue-state kind of a way.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 1:14 PM
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Ah, I hadn't even seen TLL's evocation of trustafarians. The sight of able-bodied young white males begging on the streets of Berkeley was pretty infuriating, especially as I, myself, had run out of money on my way out, and ended up having to basically sprint back across the country, leaping from friend's house (and table) to friend's house.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 1:15 PM
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I find almost nothing wrong - and a lot right - with (what I identify as) the hippie lifestyle

Being addressed as "friends" by a waiter annoys the fuck outta me. Also, being happy all the time gets old. I *like* my irritation, thankyouverymuch.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 1:15 PM
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325: Gummo.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 1:17 PM
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330: Fuck Harmony Korine.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 1:18 PM
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Being addressed as "friends" by a waiter

How about by the Republican nominee for president?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 1:18 PM
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327: I think "communal bent" excludes the vast majority, even in deep-blue states. I mean, I see your point about hippie-inflected wankerdom - I know exactly whom you're evoking. But I guess I feel like squatting/living in a co-op/farming are essential to the hippie conception, and that those people are moved by more than just nostalgia and cultural markers. A yuppie with a guitar and tie-dye is no more a hippie than a yuppie with a leather jacket and Harley is a biker.

Complicating all this is the punk/DIY thing, which overlaps a lot with what I'm claiming is the hippie model.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 1:21 PM
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It's a caricature, but earnestness and hopefulness seem as important as fertilizer policy. There's no one stance to take on those-- infuriating in concentrated doses, but for most sound-minded American media-saturated, airport-plug seeking citizens more of each of these would be great. No one needs hackysacking weathermen apologists.

Self-portraiture and emerging artistic consciousness in Dafen


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 1:22 PM
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333: Complicating all this is the punk/DIY thing, which overlaps a lot with what I'm claiming is the hippie model.

Well, right. I associate (tenuously, since I never liked the music) more with this strand of things than the post-60s hippie strand, but really, I think both of them emerged fundamentally from the 60s and 70s and have since metastasized into whole ecosystems of different approaches to life, with some barely tenuous continuities mostly centered around trying to give a fuck and be a little nontraditional. So in that sense, to use either term as a self-description is really to be tied to the past for your self-understanding in a way I find kind of tiresome. Live in the future, baby! Communes for everybody!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 1:26 PM
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Believe me, Josh, the hippies find sources of irritation as well.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 1:29 PM
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Live in the future, baby!

Burn your non-electronic instruments!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 1:34 PM
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earnestness and hopefulness seem as important as fertilizer policy

Yeah, I'd been meaning to say something about that. "Cynical hippie" seems like an oxymoron, although you'd assume that any hippie worth his beads would be cynical about, say, the industrial-military complex.

Seems to me that at least half of hippie-hatred derives from earnestness-hatred.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 1:38 PM
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Believe me, Josh, the hippies find sources of irritation as well.

Like ringworm.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 1:43 PM
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the sign, in crude block lettering, read "Violence Is NOT The Answer."

Completely awesome.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 1:44 PM
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So in that sense, to use either term as a self-description is really to be tied to the past for your self-understanding in a way I find kind of tiresome

Well, I've lost track of which two terms you refer to. Probably half the hippies I know don't self-identify as such (I don't - but feel forced to when some of my people are hated, so there you go).

Separately and distinctly, the temptation to scoff at a nostalgic self-understanding is strong in our day, but I don't see any independent reason to reject anything that might be labelled as such.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 1:45 PM
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I can't hate on hippies because they usually know where to score the really good weed. And for that, I regard them as True American Heroes.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 1:47 PM
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"Cynical hippie" seems like an oxymoron

I don't think so. I thought about posting about Megan's hippie post a while back along these lines: what's infuriating about hippies is their mixture of naive cynicism and naive hopefulness. No, not everyone in a position of power is craven, and sometimes there's injustice because any arrangement is going to be unjust for someone, and no, things wouldn't be better if only we could all learn to do such-and-such, because while we're happily doing such-and-such, someone is going to come and slit our throats and take our stuff. But I just know some hippies, not anything about the latest in hippie thought, so if there's a manifesto somewhere that someone wants to point me toward, go ahead.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 1:49 PM
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338.2: Or IOW, it mostly derives from an unearned sense of superiority based on trivialities.

As subcultures go, it's really not like hippie-dom has a lot to be ashamed of in the big picture (except insofar as it overlaps with yuppie-dom, which has plenty to be ashamed of, but most subcultures overlap with yuppie-dom). And it has a lot more to proud of than, say, the beats, the mods, the punks (much as I love the punks), the metalheads, the hip-hoppers (much as I love the hip-hoppers), and so on.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 1:53 PM
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the temptation to scoff at a nostalgic self-understanding is strong in our day

As, indeed, it was strong in the sixties, and therein lies the problem: if you take a set of ideas that were fundamentally about finding new ways to do things and let them ossify and settle for thirty or forty years, you end up with a culture as stale and unthinkingly conformist as the one you intended to replace. The magic of youth culture is not that it was able, in one messianic era, to replace the broken society heretofore existent. The magic of youth culture is that it provides a continuous engine of creative destruction, that pours forth new ideas and new ways of doing things. To take a youth culture and treat it as a settled, unchanging lifestyle strikes me as perverse.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 1:54 PM
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Sifu is *this* close to realizing he's old.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 1:55 PM
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Sifu! Totally wrong, dude! If a subculture has anything substantial to recommend it, it becomes viable as something more than a "youth culture." This is precisely why old hippies look natural but old ravers look pathetic.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 1:58 PM
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347: heh!

I await your defense of old metalheads.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 2:01 PM
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Since hippies aren't stupid, cynical and intelligent hippies abound.

343: There's no manifesto. To recap what's been said in this thread: hippies are not a unified species. There are a number of varieties.

As for what you find infuriating, "naive cynicism and naive hopefulness," it's the naivete that's the problem? Again, you're constructing a straw man: no, not everyone in power is craven, not all basket-weaving will save worlds. Duh. Why you would patronize those you construct as hippies in this way is beyond me.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 2:01 PM
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Someone name me a hippie so I can make non-strawmanish arguments.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 2:03 PM
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347: I beg to differ. The only old hippies I know who look unridiculous are those who just dress like old people of modest means. If you keep trying to dress like a youngish hippie in old age (especially the ponytail-on-a-guy look), you just look kind of sad and saggy.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 2:03 PM
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I await your defense of old metalheads.

All those black, sleeveless t-shirts aren't going to wear themselves, Tweety.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 2:03 PM
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Oh. 348 was pre-pwned.

Old Burners are kind of awesome, but they overlap in a worrisome way with hippies.

The truth is I really don't mind much about hippies -- I just think dreadlocks are stupid and would rather slit my wrists than sit around a fire listening to some idiot play acoustic guitar. Everything else is fine.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 2:04 PM
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I'm agnostic on old metalheads. Old ex-roadies or minor sessional musicians from the eighties seem to often suck, though.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 2:04 PM
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Actually, you know, I was at a club recently with a bunch of old club kids -- househeads from New York -- and I'll be damned if they weren't all awesome, stylish middle aged people who just dug the music.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 2:06 PM
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And, y'know, there's holding on to your core beliefs, and there's enjoying the same recreational pursuits; I know plenty of aging ravers who have aged out of wearing baggy pants but still like going to the occasional dance party in the desert.

In general, I appreciate people who have the good sense to move on when they age out of youth culture, and the creative energy to create their own scene rather than dumbly latching on to what came before.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 2:08 PM
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I just think dreadlocks are stupid


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 2:08 PM
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355: If they're not still trying to rock the old school raver gear, that's of course different.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 2:08 PM
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Crap. The rest of that comment should have been: "On white people, absolutely. Though, I maintain, marginally less stupid than mohawks."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 2:09 PM
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This seems appropriate.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 2:12 PM
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360: it is very important to stop taking pictures before that third e kicks in.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 2:14 PM
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Someone name me a hippie so I can make non-strawmanish arguments.

Abbie Hoffman.

Also, I feel compelled to fix this one for you:

what's infuriating about hippies Obama supporters is their mixture of naive cynicism and naive hopefulness.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 2:20 PM
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362: a living hippie, pf.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 2:24 PM
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if you take a set of ideas that were fundamentally about finding new ways to do things and let them ossify and settle for thirty or forty years, you end up with a culture as stale and unthinkingly conformist as the one you intended to replace.

This has surface plausibility, but underneath I think it's bullshit. The stuff that ossifies are the stylistic moves and countermoves that were used to package and sell the lifestyle as a commodity in the culture industry. The fundamental questions "hippies" were trying to take on are just as vital as they ever were, and trying to live in a way that addresses them will keep you plenty fresh and vital.

I dislike punks, but not because the 70s are just so old and long ago, man, it's lame now. I dislike them because they indulge rage and aggression in a way I disapprove of. I do them the credit of taking them seriously.

The magic of youth culture is not that it was able, in one messianic era, to replace the broken society heretofore existent. The magic of youth culture is that it provides a continuous engine of creative destruction, that pours forth new ideas and new ways of doing things.

The magic of youth culture is that it provides a steady stream of new attitudinal moves and associated props that corporations can sell to credulous high schoolers. No culture worth its while is just a "youth culture".


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 2:29 PM
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363: Jesus.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 2:29 PM
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350: My internet connection is tenuous, so I can't look this up myself, but someone recently linked on this site to an actual "manifesto" on reworking contemporary conceptions of green living. Something like that. I thought I'd bookmarked it but I cannot click around at the moment to identify it. Since I can't really look at it, I'm not sure I'd call it the work of a quintessential hippie, but whatever. You are missing the point. It's like being asked to name a yuppie.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 2:29 PM
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It's like being asked to name a yuppie.

Ogged.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 2:30 PM
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Now was that so hard?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 2:35 PM
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363: Damn. That also disqualifies my other obvious choice, Jerry Garcia.

And anyway, why is living a reasonable criterion here? Are we disqualified from assessing the thoughts of Gnostics, U.S. Whigs, and libertarians who believe in civil liberties? Just because a school of thought is largely extinct doesn't mean we can't reflect on it.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 2:36 PM
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There is sort of a question about what trend-names it is weird to still insist on identifying yourself with, even if the trend itself is still alive and well. The Flappers in the 20s were the first appearance of the "Sex and The City" single woman on the cultural scene, but it would be utterly bizarre to identify as a flapper today.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 2:37 PM
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OT: "Anal sex is negotiable, although Tania will cease the performance immediately if any form of 'surprise buttsex' occurs"


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 2:37 PM
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it would be utterly bizarre to identify as a flapper today.

Well.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 2:38 PM
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369: because we're talking about hippies in the present moment, pf. Being a hippie in 1968 and being a hippie now is as different as being a flapper in the 20s and a flapper in 1968 were.

Pwned, mystifyingly, on bringing flappers into the discussion.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 2:39 PM
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356: In general, I appreciate people who have the good sense to move on when they age out of youth culture, and the creative energy to create their own scene rather than dumbly latching on to what came before.

Dude! This is what proper hippies and anyone else does! Get off the 'hippies are stuck in the past' thing -- not true! They remain hippies but they might cut their hair or expand the garden or buy a house. They will still barter dope or zucchini or a fancy backrub for veterinary care (if that's of mutual interest).

Man, you people are stubborn.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 2:39 PM
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I would totally tend an urban infill garden with you, parsimon, and trade turnips and bok choy for killer weed.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 2:41 PM
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...it would be utterly bizarre to identify as a flapper today.

Because the word is archaic, but the idea of the young, unattached, emancipated woman, thirty to forty pounds thinner than the other women in the room (cf. the drawings of John Held) and trailing clouds of party glory wherever she goes, is stille pretty current.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 2:41 PM
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Applicant agrees that in the event of the applicant infringing upon Terms of Service during the process of the act, Tania is not responsible for any genital injury that the applicant may suffer.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 2:45 PM
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362: Abbie Hoffman was a yippie, not a hippie.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 2:46 PM
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Abbie Hoffman

I know that the discussion is now focused on the use of the term in the present, but I will just point out that Hoffman was pretty far towards one extreme of the "dropout/back to the land" vs. "anti-establishment activist" spectrum of hippiedom back then. This is perhaps best illustrated from the incident where he got booed (and literally booted) off the stage during Woodstock when he grabbed the mike from The Who to agitate for the release of a jailed White Panther Party member.

Garcia, much more of a "mainstream hippie", to coin a phrase.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 2:50 PM
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376: pre-pwned, that was exactly my point. The idea is clearly current, the label is archaic, is the same true of hippies in some sense?


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 2:56 PM
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but someone recently linked on this site to an actual "manifesto" on reworking contemporary conceptions of green living

That was me and, you are correct, it isn't a hippie manifesto at all (Bruce Sterling, the author, is usually identified as a cyberpunk) but it's well worth reading, so here is the link.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 2:56 PM
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Oh, and here is Stewart Brand explaining in 1995 (in Time magazine) how:

WE OWE IT ALL TO THE HIPPIES
Forget antiwar protests, Woodstock, even long hair.
The real legacy of the sixties generation is the computer revolution

And the guy who posted it is a pretty good candidate for a "continuing hippie", and his website a possible guide to current hippiedom.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 2:57 PM
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Question for historians- were the madcap Jazz age flappers a response to The Great War, or a response to the sense of foreboding about the war that was about to be?


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 2:57 PM
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It's like being asked to name a yuppie.

Ogged.

Dude. Young is right there in the acronym. Ogged doesn't count as precociously old for his age anymore; he's right where a professional person should be.

I hate to say it, but I may be the closest thing to a true yuppie we have.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 2:57 PM
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Being thirtysomething still counts for yuppiehood, surely, all enshrined in television titledom as it was?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 3:00 PM
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383: I think the Jazz Age flappers were a response to the introduction of the automobile, the growth of mass consumer prosperity in the 20s boom, and the breakdown of Victorian norms. I don't think the war made much if any cultural difference in the U.S., although Fitzgerald made some vague passes at tapping it for greater meaning.

They will still barter dope or zucchini or a fancy backrub for veterinary care (if that's of mutual interest).

Wrong! It is not voluntary at all! They will force dope on you! Make you eat zucchini! Sneak up on you and rub your back! This is precisely why ordinary Americans resent them.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 3:00 PM
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381: Thanks, Nick. Bruce Sterling, of course, and yes, probably not what people call a hippie.

I decline to name a hippie; someone upthread said Garcia? (as in Jerry?) Please, no. A lot of hippies I know really don't like the Dead.

The invitation to name a hippie is a set-up. Ogged already probably knows who I might name, and it'd be in for a raking over the coals, and I'm not willing.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 3:08 PM
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Bruce Sterling, of course, and yes, probably not what people call a hippie.

Not so much, no.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 3:12 PM
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Thinking about existing positive examples of hippie ideals, Puget Sound Guitar Workshop isn't a bad example.

I'm not sure what to make of it as an example. It isn't explicitly hippie, but it attempts to create an intense, shared, communal learning environment for a one-week camp. From what I hear from the people who attend it succeeds admirably.

Does that count?


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 3:14 PM
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I'll name a hippie for you. Starhawk. They don't come any hippier than Starhawk.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 3:15 PM
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...an intense, shared, communal learning environment....

Unless you're learning Brazilian jiujitsu at the Gracie family compound or "combat pistolcraft" at Gunsite, it counts.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 3:16 PM
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I may be the closest thing to a true yuppie we have.

You may have to fight baa for that.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 3:20 PM
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386.last is making me laugh.

Apo weirdly thought in 375 that I would trade turnips and bok choy for killer weed. But one is not stupid, and knows the relative value of these things. Now, lettuce, I would go for lettuce, fresh; also various melons, which grow in the long term. And shit man, if you have fruit trees, I am all over that. I can't really reproduce that myself.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 3:30 PM
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You may have to fight baa for that.

Oh, hey, I didn't realize he was younger than mid-30s. He wins it hands down then.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 3:34 PM
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Does that count?

To answer my question, look at the 2004 brochure (not a .pdf, but might as well be) and tell me that it doesn't count.

But, seriously, all the people that I know that have attended can't recommend it highly enough.

I think that it's important, when asking the "name a hippie" question, to remember Sturgeon's Law. Most hippies will be annoying, but most examples of any random category will be annoying.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 3:44 PM
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Sorry, had to go meet with a client (IANAH); 347 is right on. Also 364.

While there's a certain... tiredness to seeing a 60-y.o. man with tie-dye and long ponytail, I actually don't find it ridiculous. There's nothing inherently wrong with those things, and if the guy is still serious/sincere about the actual concepts signified by those surface manifestations, then rock on, Grandpa.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 3:52 PM
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Sturgeon's Law

More bitter variation:
Life is a Goddamned, stinking, treacherous game and nine hundred and ninety-nine men out of a thousand are bastards. -Theodore Dreiser


Also, I think "cynical" and "skeptical" got conflated up above. To observe that the US is basically a big Ponzi scheme isn't cynicism. To think that nothing we do can improve the situation - eat drink and be merry - is cynicism.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 4:02 PM
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the relative value of these things

I may value turnips and bok choy more than you do.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 4:17 PM
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I'm considering adding the Puget Sound guitar workshop on to my life list. Thanks to all who posted it. And for the hippie-haters, fuck you man, I'm converting!


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 4:39 PM
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You absolutely should. I'm serious when I say that the descriptions I've heard have ranged from "very good" to "life changing".


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 4:51 PM
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Flappers: The most faous flapper, Anita Loos ("Gentlemen Prefer Blondes") was married to the film director John Emerson, who was gay. Fact.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 5:01 PM
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It must have been hard to identify the most fatuous flapper.


Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 5:07 PM
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what i disagree with hippies is drug usage
i'd hate to loose my self-control in any way
people sure are welcome to our fair country to live in our gers, the thing is not everybody can be tough enough for that, so i feel myself pretty superior in that sense :)
i mean if you can live decently, and by decency i mean not just material riches which is very relative, it's a normal family, health, education, job etc. in our pretty tough, climatically and economically, conditions, you can survive everywhere


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 04-22-08 6:33 PM
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