Haterizing Degrowth(tm): A Rant

4 mins read

One cannot long tarry long amongst preppers without discovering that they come in three distinct types.  There’s the anti-government preppers to whom everything is a conspiracy of hyper-competent elites dedicated to throwing us all in FEMA camps for some reason. Alex Jones would be a prime example of this brand. For lack of a more offensive word, let’s call them conservatives.

We’re sorry for living, Mother Earth.

Then there’s those theorists and treehuggers of the left side, including the organized Degrowth movement.  Some of them are organic-fanatics who eschew chemicals and corporations* as a snail avoids salt.  Others of them seem convinced that the survival of humanity is not the issue, but the problem, and spend their lives flying to exotic places to warn their fellow flyers of the planetary dangers of human flight. All of them love to hear themselves and maybe even others talk about social justice and to call for a feminist or people-of-color or GLBTQIWTF understanding of how straight white guys are the root of the problem. Call them liberals.
Then there’s those I consider “normal” preppers – if that’s not a contradiction in terms.  Like six of us it seems sometimes.
I like the conservatives.  They are genuinely good people who care deeply for their families and communities. If they have a shortcoming, it is that they believe that everyone else is as competent as they are. This leads them to conclude that, rather than things falling as they do because of pride, laziness, ass-covering, and taking-advantage-of-circumstances, they fall that way because of 400 banking families with a multi-generational plan to destroy what they already rule.  But given my choice, these are the folks I really want to be surrounded by in SHTF, bad tattoos and all.  Because guns.
I like everyone else, especially those with toes dipped daintily in both camps, like myself.
I really try to like the liberals.  Really, I do. And I like those who actually do farm and raise small livestock and get out of debt and improve the land and stock up.  Being a liberal doesn’t always mean you have to be a fool. The problem is that that’s exactly what it means most of the time.
If the preppers are correct, we are for one or more of many reasons entering a period of stagnation and maybe even permanent economic contraction. Charles Hugh Smith has described a rational response to the resulting “degrowth” as:

…Use the thing until it cannot be repaired… Buy local rather than than global-corporate whenever feasible. Crave less, need less, want less, resist the brainwashing of 24/7 marketing. Learn to become a person who does not need corporate-status signifiers for a sense of identity.”

And that’s all good advice that we ought to heed even if America becomes again the manufacturing and trade center of a wealthy and growing world economic dreamland. You don’t have to be Amish, but you don’t need a $100 Nike swoosh on your shoe, either. It used to be called “Frugality” and it was an integral part of the Protestant Work Ethic. And we need to recover that because it forms one of the bases of Western Civilization.
But the problem is that for a certain class of liberals, they can’t Just Do It! just do it. They need to make a secular religion out of maths, complete with high priests and devils and salvation.
And untold volumes of blatherous Degrowth scripture:

“Bodies, interdependence, and caring relations are not the whole story, however, for ecological subjects. Places, the locations of human habitation, also have to meet certain conditions if ecological subjects are to survive, much less realize justice. We are located beings, a matter that proves integral to our possibilities…
We can think about our embeddedness, what we might also call our emplacement, in at least two ways: geographical and social. We have evolved as corporeal creatures within relations of care…
Other salient features of social context involve the dense web of social and institutional structures and processes within which we navigate as embodied beings. Social norms and economic structures and relations significantly shape bodies and subjectivities. These social structures and relations generate injustice to the extent that they expand possibilities for some and contract them for others.”

I’m pretty sure the FEMA camp fearers are going to be just fine when FEMA never shows up at their door.  And I’m pretty sure that liberal organic farmers are going to be just fine – in fact, they may finally learn that if you want to truly help people, the absolute worst way to do it is to create a government program to help them. Besides, there’s likely not going to be much of a government to do anything, much less anything nice.
But the blathering liberals, the campus liberals, the feminist theorists and the tree-hugging sobbers with PhDs in anything with “Studies” in the title, these people are going to be even more of a menace to society than the poor and dependent-upon-government masses.
And the reason is that while the welfare mom knows she’s dependent, the blathering, over-educated nitwit who talks about emplacement with a straight face has not the faintest idea how dependent she is on a wasteful and bloated system that tolerates and even rewards nonsense and foolishness. She gets to live pretty freaking well while providing nothing but a cacophony of subjectivities to other noise merchants who nod at, smile at, and publish this drivel in glossy, taxpayer-supported journals.
In the actual degrowth upon which they pontificate but do not comprehend, when we don’t have so much and when it doesn’t come to us so easily, those who rattled on the most about the social justice aspects of degrowth will quickly learn that there remains no market for subjectivities. There will sit in permanent economic contraction no audience before which the offended or the entitled or the trendy jabberer can preen. No one is going to sacrifice to fly them to Madagascar every winter for conferences on embeddedness.  No one is going to care very much that they even exist.
Everything upon which they have invested their futile lives will be revealed as of less value than 8 cubic feet of good compost.  These clueless wonders are going to come abso-freaking-lutely unglued** when they have to earn their daily bread or starve. Yet they will face the choice anyway, as will we all.
In a world without economic bloat, three things will be valued: wisdom, hard labor, and force. And anyone who has ever uttered the sentence “We are located beings”*** is likely unfamiliar with any of them.
* Other than Apple, obviously.
** I’m glad they hate guns so much.
*** unless standing next to a signal fire and staring up at a search plane.

El Borak is an historian by training, an IT Director by vocation, and a writer when the mood strikes him. He lives in rural Kansas with his wife of thirty years, where he works to fix the little things.


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