Do it Yourself: Kunstler. Dennett: Minds, Machines

From: JOHN

I still fix my own cars, I know how to use a forge, anvil, tongs, harden and temper steel, garden, hunt, fish, reload ammo, build a complete home by myself, etc.
Still stocking up on ammo, including a case of 00 buckshot.
Repair my computer, cut wood, split firewood, fix my chainsaws, etc.


On June 12, 2017, at 9:31 AM, joe wrote:

I would probably agree with him on the problem, more than on the solution.
I am puzzled why he is writing novels and speaking instead of getting engineering training and learning how to fix some of the problems he discusses.
Many liberals seem to be complainers not doers.
I am shocked that so many Eloi Sheeple seem content to enjoy technology without understanding any part of how it works.
As Dennett said in his lecture yesterday not long ago people could actually fix their own cars.
I have spent some time moving to and studying numerous cities, suburbs, rural areas etc.
Reality will force change.
As stresses build it becomes more likely it will be catastrophic change.
He does not get that the main problem is too much energy, not too little energy.
With a risk that suddenly energy excess may plunge to zero energy as Dennett, me, and many others have warned.

James Howard Kunstler (born October 19, 1948) is an American author, social critic, public speaker, and blogger. He is best known for his books The Geography of Nowhere (1994), a history of American suburbia and urban development, The Long Emergency (2005), and most recently, Too Much Magic (2012). In The Long Emergency, he argues that declining oil production is likely to result in the end of industrialized society as we know it and force Americans to live in smaller-scale, localized, agrarian (or semi-agrarian) communities. Starting with World Made by Hand in 2008, Kunstler has written a series of science fiction novels about such a culture in the future.

Kunstler gives lectures on topics related to suburbia, urban development, and the challenges of what he calls “the global oil predicament”, and a resultant change in the “American Way of Life.” He has lectured at the TED Conference, the American Institute of Architects, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the International Council of Shopping Centers, the National Association of Science and Technology, as well as at numerous colleges and universities, including Yale, MIT, Harvard, Cornell, University of Illinois, DePaul, Texas A & M, the USMA, and Rutgers University.

As a journalist, Kunstler continues to write for The Atlantic Monthly,, RollingStone, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, and its op-ed page where he often covers environmental and economic issues. Kunstler is also a leading supporter of the movement known as “New Urbanism.”

He has lectured at Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Dartmouth, Cornell, MIT, RPI, the University of Virginia, and many other colleges, and he has appeared before many professional organizations such as the AIA, the APA, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Since the mid-1990s, he has written four non-fiction books about suburban development and diminishing global oil supplies. According to the Columbia Journalism Review, his first work on the subject, The Geography of Nowhere, discussed the effects of “cartoon architecture, junked cities, and a ravaged countryside”.[3] The book was described as a jeremiad by The Washington Post. Kunstler is critical of suburbia and urban development trends throughout the United States, and is a proponent of the New Urbanism movement. According to Scott Carlson, reporter for The Chronicle of Higher Education, Kunstler’s books on the subject have become “standard reading in architecture and urban planning courses”.[4]

He describes America as a poorly planned and “tragic landscape of highway strips, parking lots, housing tracts, mega-malls, junked cities, and ravaged countryside that makes up the everyday environment where most Americans live and work.”[5] In a 2001 op-ed for Planetizen, he wrote that in the wake of 9/11 the “age of skyscrapers is at an end”, that no new megatowers would be built, and that existing tall buildings are destined to be dismantled.[6]

In his books that followed, such as Home From Nowhere, The City in Mind, and The Long Emergency (2005), he discussed topics like a post-oil America. Kunstler says he wrote The Geography of Nowhere, “Because I believe a lot of people share my feelings about the tragic landscape of highway strips, parking lots, housing tracts, mega-malls, junked cities, and ravaged countryside that makes up the everyday environment where most Americans live and work”.[7] He was featured in the “peak oil” documentary, The End of Suburbia, widely circulated on the internet, as well as the Canadian mockumentary, Radiant City (2006).[citation needed]
In his recent science fiction novel World Made by Hand (2008), he describes a future dependent on localized production and agriculture, with little reliance on imports. Three “World Made by Hand” sequels have followed: The Witch of Hebron (2010), A History of the Future (2015), and The Harrows of Spring (scheduled for release in July 2016).[8]

In his writings and lectures, he contends that there is no other alternative energy source on the horizon that can replace relatively cheap oil. He therefore envisions a “low energy” world that will be radically different from today’s. This has contributed to his becoming an outspoken advocate for one of his solutions, a more energy-efficient rail system, and writes “we have to get cracking on the revival of the railroad system if we expect to remain a united country.”


Bill Kauffman has called Kunstler the “scourge of suburbia,” and a “slashingly witty Jeremiah.”[10] In a review of Kunstler’s weekly audio podcast, the Columbia Journalism Review described the KunstlerCast as “a weekly podcast that offers some of the smartest, most honest urban commentary around—online or off.”[3] The Albany, New York, Times Union reviewed Kunstler’s book World Made by Hand, writing that, “James Howard Kunstler is fiddling his way to the apocalypse, one jig at a time.” The paper described the book’s scenario as “grim”, with “an upside or two.”[11]

Kunstler has been called “provocative and entertaining” by The New York Times, while The Christian Science Monitor noted that “disturbing others’ sense of normality is something Kunstler does well… everyone who knows his work acknowledges his power to wake up a crowd.” In critiquing The Long Emergency, journalist Chris Hayes claims that while Kunstler makes valid points about the consequences of peak oil, he undermines his credibility with rhetoric and perceived misanthropy.[12] Joseph Romm, a climate change expert and Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, has stated his belief that accelerating shifts toward renewable energy will maintain suburban lifestyles and that, contrary to Kunstler’s arguments, “suburbia won’t be destroyed by peak oil.”[13]

Charles Bensinger, co-founder of Renewable Energy Partners of New Mexico, describes Kunstler’s views as “fashionably fear-mongering” and uninformed regarding the potential of renewable energy resources to eliminate the need for fossil fuels.[14] Conversely, Paul Salopek of The Chicago Tribune finds that, “Kunstler has plotted energy starvation to its logical extremes” and points to the US Department of Energy Hirsch report as drawing similar conclusions.[15] David Ehrenfeld, writing for American Scientist, sees Kunstler delivering a “powerful integration of science, technology, economics, finance, international politics and social change” with a “lengthy discussion of the alternatives to cheap oil.”

Ron wrote:

Read “World Made by Hand” by James Howard Kunstler. Dystopic novel set after a shtf event. What makes this book different is the author is an academic with a Progressive bent. Contrast with “One Second After” by a military historian

“Jo wrote:

Learn horse shoe black smith etc.
World can fall apart.
End dependency.
Sell it all
Turn off electricity.
Quit coffee.
Get set to flee.
Grow brain and health.
Great interview on what I knew a long time ago:



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