An Idle Class That Can Only Dream

Wednesday, January 20th, 2016

Within the context of how life is lived in this country these days, we’re not going to stop massacres from happening, James Howard Kunstler argues:

And what is that context? A nation physically arranged on-the-ground to produce maximum loneliness, arranged economically to produce maximum anxiety, and disposed socially to produce maximum alienation. Really, everything in the once vaunted American way of life slouches in the direction of depression, rage, violence, and death.

This begs the question about guns. I believe it should be harder to buy guns. I believe certain weapons-of-war, such as assault rifles, should not be sold in the civilian market. But I also believe that the evolution of our Deep State — the collusion of a corrupt corporate oligarchy with an overbearing police and surveillance apparatus — is such a threat to liberty and decency that the public needs to be armed in defense of it. The Deep State needs to worry about the citizens it is fucking with.

The laws on gun sales range from ridiculously lax in many states to onerous in a few. Yet the most stringent, Connecticut, (rated “A” by the Brady Campaign org), was the site of the most horrific massacre of recent times so far, the 2012 Sandy Hook School shooting. The handgun law in New York City is the most extreme in the nation — limiting possession only to police and a few other very special categories of citizens. But it took the “stop-and-frisk” policy to really shake the weapons out of the gang-banging demographic. And now that Mayor Bill deBlasio has deemed that “racist,” gang-banging murders are going up again.

Which leads to a consideration that there is already such a fantastic arsenal of weapons loose in this country that attempts to regulate them would be an exercise in futility — it would only stimulate brisker underground trafficking in the existing supply.

What concerns me more than the gun issue per se is the extraordinary violence-saturated, pornified culture of young men driven crazy by failure, loneliness, grievance, and anger. More and more, there are no parameters for the normal expression of masculine behavior in America — for instance, taking pride in doing something well, or becoming a good candidate for marriage. The lower classes have almost no vocational domain for the normal enactments of manhood, and one of the few left is the army, where they are overtly trained to be killers.

Much of what used to be the working class is now an idle class that can only dream of what it means to be a man and they are bombarded with the most sordid pre-packaged media dreams in the form of video games based on homicide, the narcissistic power fantasies of movies, TV, and professional sports, and the frustrating tauntings of free porn. The last thing they’re able to do is form families. All of this operates in conditions where there are no normal models of male authority, especially fathers and bosses, to regulate the impulse control of young men — and teach them to regulate it themselves.

The physical setting of American life composed of a failing suburban sprawl pattern for daily living — the perfect set-up for making community impossible — obliterates the secondary layer of socialization beyond the family. This is life in the strip-mall wilderness of our country, which has gotten to be mostly of where people live. Imagine a society without families and real communities and wave your flag over that.


  1. Slovenian Guest says:

    I like his a priori signaling stance on guns. Someone should tell him that despite multiple surges in gun purchases, the homicide rate declined by nearly half since 1992. Or was the article about black America specifically? Because whitey isn’t any more violent than his European counterpart. The weapons-of-war, assault-rifles thing is also funny. Who does he think soldiers fear more, the Kalashnikov- or the Lee-Enfield-wielding Taliban? More people are killed by cows in the US than by full autos.

    Definitely NOT Isegoria worthy, Kunstler a #NewYorkValues liberal theater major…

    James LaFond said it better:

    “It is a brutal thing; the suffering of the man who has been denied a test of his merits or a rite of passage; the suffering that no primitive society — no matter how cruel and dedicated to the torture, and even the eating, of its enemies — would ever consider inflicting on one of its own.”

  2. Dan Kurt says:

    Regarding Slovenian Guest’s evisceration of Kunstler:

    Yes it is a problem of the American Negro and increasingly Mexican/Latinos but it stems IMHO from two factors:

    1) Johnson’s Great Society which married the lower classes to Single Mother Welfare with fathers not included, and
    2) Mean IQ of Blacks at 80-85 and Mexicans/Latinos 85-90.

  3. Lately, whenever I need a good chuckle I go and read some of his peak oil stuff. Getting funnier every day!

  4. Average Annual Gas Prices Adjusted for Inflation.

    Gas just hit $1.62 in VA.

    Looking at the chart above, it occurs to me that a lot of historical time-series data charts have the same look — steady on a trend from the distant past, then freaking out somewhere around 1972.

  5. Alrenous says:

    Children of the revolution, Gustav.

    1945. Massachusetts finally finishes conquering the world. Institutes its changes, such as bringing all American science under state control.

    However, institutions have inertia. Prewar-trained professionals continue to work. Until 1970 or so, when they retire, passing the torch to postwar professionals.

    At the same time, 1965: children of the revolution are turning twenty. The children of the devil always try to eat their parents.

    We’re now going through the second stage. The first set of postwar professionals were trained by prewar professionals. They are now retiring, being replaced by professionals with no prewar roots at all, and the grandchildren of the revolution are eating the children of the revolution.

  6. Redan says:

    Stephen Gustav says, in part: “…freaking out somewhere around 1972.”

    From the Richmond Fed FAQ on Gold and Silver:

    If, however, one considers the gold standard as a monetary system in which the unit of money is backed by gold even if the monetary unit cannot be converted into gold, one could argue that the United States went off of the gold standard on August 15, 1971 when President Nixon announced that the U.S. dollar would no longer be convertible into gold in the international markets. The President was able to suspend the ability to convert the dollar into gold because there was no legal requirement that the United States exchange gold for dollars. On December 18, 1971 the President devalued the dollar, and even though the devaluation was effective immediately, only Congress could officially change the gold value of the dollar. Early in 1972, Congress passed Public Law 92- 268, which gave formal approval to the December 1971 devaluation.

  7. Peter Blood says:

    Kunstler never has gotten around to why everyone fled the cities for the suburbs in the first place.

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