Sunday, August 07, 2011

Kloorbait

Clueless Kloorbait

Unless you believe in the Great Sky Fairy, the questions are what kind of world you want to live in and what would you be willing to do to make it so. This stupid book proposes a world nobody would want to live in – therefore it doesn’t matter what their “solution” is.
What can you say?

23 comments:

Michael Tobis said...

Derrick Jensen makes nice people upset and confused and angry and paranoid and possessed by destructive attitudes. He is no different in this regard from Glenn Beck. It used to be a matter of degree when Beck was on TV; now they're pretty much two of a kind.

Neven said...

Derrick Jensen has a way with words that are very much in your face. However much I like that, I'm not really a big fan of neoprimitivism. Going back is impossible.

I read a book by one of his co-authors called The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability which was a bit of a mindblower and eyeopener. I like that too, but there were some flaws in the book, especially in the research, which looked a bit like cherry picking to me. Still, a very good and honest book.

Of course, Jensen and co can be used to ridicule the entire movement who wants to change things. Is that why this post's title is Kloorbait?

Do I get extra points in the Cryptic Bunny game?

Neven said...

This quote from the interview reminded me a bit of good old KK:

I think one of the basic insights of radicalism is that oppression is not a misunderstanding. It doesn't end because someone has a personal epiphany or some kind of spiritual enlightenment. It happens when you take power away from the powerful and redistribute it to the dispossessed. With the militant thing, we're always told, "Oh, you're going to alienate people. You can't do this." It's not true, and the suffragists in Britain proved that. When you have somebody actually saying the truth and approaching the problem with some kind of program that matches the scale of the horrors of what is happening, people respond well.

Neven said...

Here, this is typical Derrick Jensen:

I know that every prediction about global warming is that they underestimate it on the previous one, and I know that those in power are looking with what can only be described as lust at the melting of the Arctic ice caps. They are not looking with horror. They are not looking with shame. They are not looking with sorrow. They are not looking to change things. They are looking with lust at the access to resources. Anyone who thinks that they are going to stop before every living being on this planet has been killed is not paying any attention.

But goddamn it, he is right.

Good interview! Thanks for linking, Eli. I think I'll buy the book, just for thrills.

EliRabett said...

Neven wins the Eli Rabett Cryptic Merit Badge. OTOH, it is spinich.

Tell the bunny how long your would survive in Jensen World. Not very. Vaccination, clean water, toilets, kiss em goodbye and go shit in the ocean. Oh yes, southern Somalia everywhere.

frank -- Decoding SwiftHack said...

Neven,

I'll say this: Criticizing the existing order is one thing; coming up with a good, workable alternative order is another.

Karl Marx was good at diagnosing the problems of capitalism, but his proposed solution of a "dictatorship of the proletariat" followed by "communist utopia" was just a lot of hand-waving which in practice turned out to be very oppressive and murderous.

Likewise McBay, Keith, and Jensen. They may be right in their diagnosis of the current problems (and even that's in doubt), but the solution they propose is bullshit. They want to rewind mankind, not just past the industrial revolution, but also past the Renaissance, the Middle Ages, the Roman Republic, and even the empire of Alexander the Great, all the way back to some mythical age of primitivism.

And all this to what end? Merely to satisfy the authors' penchant for 'radical radicalism'?

If they propose a solution that's not completely crazy, then we can have a conversation.

-- frank

Neven said...

Spinich, yay!

Tell the bunny how long your would survive in Jensen World. Not very. Vaccination, clean water, toilets, kiss em goodbye and go shit in the ocean. Oh yes, southern Somalia everywhere.

Like I said, I'm not into anarcho-primitivism or neoprimitivism or however you want to call it. But I don't like technofix cornutopia either. The idea that we combine yesterday's world with today's knowledge appeals to me most. How to get there? No idea, except that we ditch the economic concept of infinite growth as a first step.

You know, there are alternatives to vaccination, (how to get) clean water and toilets, that wouldn't necessarily mean reverting back to the Dark Ages. That's what I mean with today's knowledge.

Criticizing the existing order is one thing; coming up with a good, workable alternative order is another.

Agreed, which is why I'm not on Jensen's team. But I like to listen to what they have to say, nevertheless. Because it's in your face, and it's honest. Even if I don't agree with their proposed solutions.

frank -- Decoding SwiftHack said...

Neven:

"But I like to listen to what they have to say, nevertheless. Because it's in your face, and it's honest. Even if I don't agree with their proposed solutions."

Agreeing with tactics while disagreeing with the goal is like ordering a fish burger without the fish. Discussions on tactics only make sense in the light of an overall goal. If there's no shared goal -- heck, if you aren't even clear what your goal is -- how can you meaningfully speak of tactics? To me, it all simply makes no sense!

"Because it's in your face, and it's honest."

I beg to differ. It's 'in your face' only because the authors are consciously going out of their way to look extremist and sound extremist.

As far as I can tell, the authors are arguing that everything about human civilization -- not just industrial civilization -- is "unsustainable", and the only 'evidence' they've given for their claims is to keep shouting loudly and whining that nobody's listening to them.

LOLWUT?!?!?!?!?!?

Until they provide hard evidence for their wild claims, they're no better than the right-wing shock jocks spouting racist / homophobic / kleptocratic rhetoric under the pretext of 'political incorrectness'.

-- frank

Hank Roberts said...

> evidence
Fermi paradox may constitute sufficient evidence.
Nothing these guys are saying is new or surprising.

"... nature must, in the not far distant future, institute bankruptcy proceedings against industrial civilization, and perhaps against the standing crop of human flesh, just as nature had done many times to other detritus-consuming species following their exuberant expansion .... mankind was destined not merely for succession, but for crash."
—Catton, OVERSHOOT

"... when a wandering female wasp chances upon the right kind of mushroom in the forest, she deposits her eggs within it. Almost immediately, the eggs hatch and the tiny grubs begin literally to eat themselves out of house and home. The little maggots grow rapidly, but soon something very odd happens. The eggs in the larvaes' own ovaries hatch while still inside their immature mothers. This second generation of parthenogenic grubs quickly consumes its parents from within, then breaks out of the empty shells to continue feeding on the mushroom. This seemingly gruesome process may repeat itself for another generation. It doesn't take long before the entire mushroom is over-filled by squirming maggots and fouled by their bodily wastes. The exploding population of juvenile wasps consumes virtually its entire habitat which is the signal for the largest and most mature of the larvae to pupate. The few individuals that manage to emerge as mature adults then abandon their mouldering birthplace, flying off to begin the whole process over again.

We wrote this book in the belief that the bizarre life-cycle of the mushroom wasps may offer a lesson to humankind. The tiny wasps' weird reproductive strategy has apparently evolved under extreme competitive pressure. Good mushrooms—like good planets—are hard to find. Natural selection therefore favored those individual wasps and reproductive traits that were most successful in appropriating the available supply of essential resources (the mushroom) before the competition had arrived or became established...."
INVESTING IN NATURAL CAPITAL:
THE ECOLOGICAL APPROACH TO SUSTAINABILITY
International Society for Ecological Economics and Island Press, 1994.

both as quoted at
http://dieoff.org/page13.htm


("... mature adults then abandon their mouldering birthplace, flying off to begin the whole process over again." is the great technological tooth fairy space travel notion -- the idea that we are going to be the first known exception to the Fermi Paradox. Time will tell.)

Neven said...

Blogger isn't accepting the whole damn thing, so I'll do it in two parts:

Frank,

Agreeing with tactics while disagreeing with the goal is like ordering a fish burger without the fish. Discussions on tactics only make sense in the light of an overall goal. If there's no shared goal -- heck, if you aren't even clear what your goal is -- how can you meaningfully speak of tactics? To me, it all simply makes no sense!

Obviously there is a shared goal. These people aren't as far removed from you as the denialists are. They also want to prevent runaway climate change. They just think that much more is needed than even we are prepared to sacrifice, namely all of industrialism.

I really think that these people are sorely needed to shift the Overton window, because the meek leftist BS that lets the debate get framed by libertarian think tanks is not going to shift anything. And if you're afraid that the Kloorians will jump on this and ridicule you because you have the same goal as Derrick and co, well f*ck that. If people prefer middle-of-the-road, cowardly/politically correctness to preserve their wasteful lifestyles, then so be it.

And what about tactics? Did you read the interview?

Given a realistic assessment of what we do have, the only strategy that matches the scale of the problem in the time frame that we have left to us, which is maybe 50 years, is direct attacks on infrastructure, so that's the strategy we are proposing. If you can show me a million people who are willing to blockade oil depots day after day and willing to block roads into West Virginia to stop mountaintop removal day after day after day, we can talk about using nonviolence, because I think it's a very elegant political technique.

But I don't see the numbers


I know you a bit, Frank. You know as well as I do that there will not be a political decision to do something serious about AGW (and all of the other stuff). It will remain lip service until people take civil disobedience as a route. Like those protesters did at Kingsnorth, or Tim DeChristopher did and took two years in prison for.

So tactics don't differ that much either, albeit that they would justify violence to hurt infrastructure, and you probably wouldn't (I might, have to think more about it). And the goal differs in that they want to take it much further than you or I do.

Neven said...

Until they provide hard evidence for their wild claims, they're no better than the right-wing shock jocks spouting racist / homophobic / kleptocratic rhetoric under the pretext of 'political incorrectness'.

No, you've got them wrong. You clearly should read more about what they stand for than shooting from the hip like that. Putting them at the same level of right-wing shock jocks is taking it too far in my view. They're much too intelligent and well-meaning for that. Read Lierre Keith's The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice and Sustainability for instance. You might not agree with everything in the book, but you'll definitely not compare her with Ann Coulter.

Why is it that denialists are embraced and cuddled by right wing politicians all over the world, but as soon as someone speaks out at the far end of the other side of the spectrum we have to go out and denounce them asap? Òut of fear of being associated with them? Because it's Kloorbait?

Well, I for one would rather be associated with them than with the lefty, greenwash, electric vehicle driving, lightbulb changing compromisers that are supposed to be the core of the AGW movement. Because it might not take as much as Derrick Jensen and co think, but it will take a hell of a lot more than 9 out of 10 AGW believers it will take.

John said...

Worry about something meaningful, for example:

http://mediamatters.org/research/201108080030#1428256

The same radical reich media that has been successfully battering climate change in particular and science in general is more concerned with "sponge bob square pants" than Jensen.

John Puma

frank -- Decoding SwiftHack said...

John Puma:

Is that good or bad?

* * *

Neven:

'We must stop runaway climate change!' is not a goal. It says we need to work against something, but the deeper question is, why do we need to work against it? Why do we want to stop runaway climate change? Is it not so that we can preserve, as far as physically possible, our existing ways of life? If their method entails destroying the very ways of life that justify the climate movement in the first place, then what exactly are they fighting for?

Now, if they can show that the degree of sacrifice they claim is needed is, indeed, actually needed for a sustainable future, then I'll go along with them (even if reluctantly). But they've simply not shown this.

* * *

"Why is it that denialists are embraced and cuddled by right wing politicians all over the world, but as soon as someone speaks out at the far end of the other side of the spectrum we have to go out and denounce them asap? Òut of fear of being associated with them?"

Neven, climate change isn't about left and right. It's not about some political "spectrum". It's about the laws of physics, about logic, about facts, about evidence. Jensen et al. need to back up their militant rantings with evidence and logic.

-- frank

Michael Tobis said...

Interesting conversation.

I just want to add a +1 for "cornutopia" for now.

Neven said...

Frank:

Why do we want to stop runaway climate change? Is it not so that we can preserve, as far as physically possible, our existing ways of life?

The irony being of course that climate change is caused by our ways of life.

I'm not really a numbers guy, but I believe that if we want to go back and stay at 350 ppm CO2e we'd have to reduce carbon emissions by 90% or something along that line, right? What will that do to our ways of life, Frank? I think it'll be a lot closer to what Derrick Jensen and co are projecting than to the lifestyles we currently have and will have a very hard time letting go of.

Either AGW is serious and Derrick Jensen and co aren't as nutty and extreme as we depict them, or AGW isn't that serious and why the hell are we having these conversations.

Neven, climate change isn't about left and right. It's not about some political "spectrum".

Definitely true. I just meant that on the other side of the AGW frontline every form of denier extremism is embraced and heralded (from hacking computers to lawsuits against climate scientists), but on this side - 'our' side - something that even has a hint of radicalism about it, is frantically ridiculed and disassociated from. No matter how intelligent and well-spoken and honest that 'something radical' may be. No matter how useful it might be to broaden the Overton Window.

I agree with Derrick Jensen and co that something has to be done to infrastructure (preferably by civil disobedience) if nothing else works, but first I'd like to see the economic concept of infinite growth seriously getting under attack. Because that is the engine that drives infrastructure, and it is the means whereby the elite gets to amass that of which there will never be enough.

Neven said...

So to come back to the comment that Eli quoted:

Unless you believe in the Great Sky Fairy, the questions are what kind of world you want to live in and what would you be willing to do to make it so. This stupid book proposes a world nobody would want to live in – therefore it doesn’t matter what their “solution” is.

It isn't about what we want, it's about what we need, what we can handle, what we are willing to sacrifice.

Question (hypothetical): If what Derrick Jensen and co propose as the only way to keep this planet viable for humankind, would you be willing and able? Or would you say: 'F*ck it, I don't wan to live in a world like that. Après moi la deluge.'

EliRabett said...

What they need to do is to leave. Quietly would be best.

Anonymous said...

-The bridge won't carry this truck.
-But it has medicine in it. And food.
-The bridge won't carry it.
-Well, you're condemning the people who need the medicine to death.

Repeat ad nauseam.

Jeffrey Davis

frank -- Decoding SwiftHack said...

Jeffrey Davis:

Jensen et al. are more like saying the only way for people to cross the bridge is to walk across it completely naked.

* * *

Neven:

If you consider that Al Gore decreased his electricity bills by 40% mainly by switching to geothermal, and that renewables can provide energy without an associated carbon footprint, perhaps a 90% reduction isn't as unachievable as you and Jensen et al. think it is.

"Question (hypothetical): If what Derrick Jensen and co propose as the only way to keep this planet viable for humankind, would you be willing and able?"

As I've said, that I will be willing to do.

"on this side - 'our' side - something that even has a hint of radicalism about it, is frantically ridiculed and disassociated from. No matter how intelligent and well-spoken and honest that 'something radical' may be."

My point's that it's not intelligent, it's not well-spoken, even if it's honest.

To which I'd like to add. Where were Jensen et al. when James Hansen was being dragged away from before the White House? Where were they when Tim DeChristopher was sentenced to 2 years in prison? Where were they when the Ratcliffe coal protesters were arrested? Think about that.

-- frank

EliRabett said...

Get the stuff out of the truck, walk it across, then drive the empty truck across or get a light technical and do it.

Neven said...

I'm not going to take the Gorebait.

I just want to conclude by saying that listening to or reading Derrick Jensen might help in evaporating some of the blatant naivete that is keeping us in this deadlock as much as denialism is.

And after concluding, we of course go right back to the start:

Derrick Jensen makes nice people upset and confused and angry and paranoid and possessed by destructive attitudes. He is no different in this regard from Glenn Beck. It used to be a matter of degree when Beck was on TV; now they're pretty much two of a kind.

MT, do you have concrete examples? I have never delved very deeply into Jensen's writings, but I knew him from documentaries and that book by Lierre Keith covers much of his philosophy I believe. I have been reading and watching some more due to Eli's here post. And frankly, to compare him to Glenn Beck, I find a bit offensive really. How well do you actually know Derrick Jensen and his philosophy?

Brian said...

Embracing and welcoming a reduction in consumption of resources is one strategy that can help. There's even an interesting, obviously much less radical, and mostly lost anti-materialist ideology on the right that I've wondered about as a potential ally.

But to say everyone has to do it their way, now, doesn't work. Especially when their way doesn't work.

And there's this: "My friend Gail Dines has a lot of students that work at places like Old Navy and the Gap, and they regularly find, when they're unpacking the jeans and the T-shirts, little notes stuffed into the pockets that say 'Please help us.'" I believe this has happened, but saying it happens regularly is twisting the world into the way they choose to see it.

J Bowers said...

Brian -- "I believe this has happened, but saying it happens regularly is twisting the world into the way they choose to see it. "

Hmmm. I wouldn't be at all surprised if it happened a lot.

Business and Human Rights Resource Center: Old Navy (part of Gap)

"The 1,500 mostly women workers at Ocean Sky are locked in a Free Zone, surrounded by barbed wire and patrolled by guards armed with shotguns. Ocean Sky also produces garments for Reebok, Puma, Old Navy (GAP), Columbia, Talbots and Penguin (Munsingwear). The clothing enters the U.S. duty-free, despite the fact that El Salvador is in blatant violation of the labor rights standards in the U.S.-Central America Free Trade Agreement. Workers report being drenched in their own sweat, since afternoon factory temperatures reach 98 degrees Fahrenheit. Workers are constantly cursed at and humiliated...Factory drinking water is filthy and contaminated with fecal coli which can cause diarrhea, intestinal illness and infections. Six workers were fired for daring to alert their colleagues that the factory water was unsafe to drink."