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Notes from the Blogroll: Does Mickey Dee Trump Community?

Mickey Dees trumps AmericaI’d like to break away from the arms-length satire for a moment and ask, are we heading for trouble?

(Damn, even when I’m not trying to be sarcastic, it comes out that way.) A quick mine of The Skwib blogroll found some grist for the depressing notion that our consumer lifestyle is untenable, both in terms of what its doing to the planet and what it does to us as human beings.

First off, via the Rev., we read this long piece from Joe Bageant, which is a dispatch from the American Class war. Bageant quotes Charles Eisenstein’s The Ascent of Humanity:

It is a mistake to think that we live ultra-specialized lives and somehow add another ingredient called “community” on top of it all. What is there really to share? Not much that matters, to the extent that we are independent of neighbors and dependent on faceless institutions and distant strangers. Real communities are interdependent. Never in all history has there been such a lonely, inauthentic civilization.

Essentially, this is a meditation on the destruction of the American middle class as an incubator for community. And lest the Canadians reading this feel smug, we have enough in common in terms of our consumer culture that you will feel uncomfortable, perhaps even sad. Not that I live entirely without a community, but I certainly recognize the syndrome that Baegent’s piece outlines:

After all, what can we really do together? Consume. Drink. Consume. Talk. Consume tickets to entertainment. Consume. There is little else to do with other human beings in America than consume. So most of our primary life activity is solitary. We drive, do housework, pay bills, watch television… When we do “get together with friends,” there is little to talk about, other than one form or another of consumption, consuming music, or movies or whatever. We can not tell each other anything new because we all get the same news and information from the same monolithic sources. At the same time we try to fill the loneliness for a real human community that we have never experienced by calling any group of people who come together in any way a “community.” Online community. Planned community.

(Hat tip to the Rev. at Less People Less Idiots for bringing it to my attention.)

I guess the obvious question — is it intentional, or have we just kind of sleepwalked into this state. Well, Archer at Lawyerworldland has found evidence that it is not an accident in his Anthony Burgess-inspired GOP and Droogs. And at Jesus’ General, the Patriotboy has found even more to support the idea.

The iconic photo is by Carmi, over at Written Inc. Yes, I agree it’s brilliant.


  1. I have a wife and three kids. We live in Toronto in an apartment of at most 900 sq. ft. We do not own a car and walk and TTC everywhere. We do not vacation. We recycle what we can. In short, we have a below-average ecological footprint for Canadians (Canadians are the worst water and energy pigs in the world, by the way). Still, if the entire world was to have my standard of living, no more, no less, the world would have to increase resource extraction by two to three times what it is now.

    Nine out of ten people in this world have a quality of life lower than mine.

    The population clock just hit 6.5 billion. It is increasing and is expected to level off at around 8-9 billion by 2050.

    We are heavily taxing non-renewable resource extration. Being non-renewables, that’s a problem.

    It is immoral to do what we do. We use up what can’t be replaced largely for frivolous use. If 500 years from now there’s a powerful need for cheap energy like oil or natural gas in order to, oh, I don’t know, save the human race or something, our obssession with motor vehicles and disposable plastic thingamajigs will seem rather unimportant in comparison.

    Answers like converting to ethanol help, but come with their own problems. Ethanol required a lot of arable land to make. To keep our fleet of vehicles moving, we’d run out of arable land. Don’t we have food to grow too? Aren’t our vehicles made up of a lot of non-renewable resources like metals?

    The hydrogen economy is also a joke. Since there’s no such thing as free hydrogen on Earth, to get hydrogen we have to apply energy to create it, which make the hydrogen economy nothing but a n electrical economy. Imagine replacing all that gasoline with electricity. We’d need to increase our electrical production by a huge amount. Current plans in Ontario call for more nuclear. Alberta wants to burn more coal. Both use — ta da! — non-renewables.

    We have to radically reorganize how our economy functions, now!

    Many people have figured out that it is immoral to leave debt for future generations to pay back. They need to realize that there are also other forms of debt: environmental, social and resource.

    Check out the rules for the new world :


    An article on the move to shift Green and the illogic of our economic systems:


    I’ll end my pimp for the Greens here. 😉

  2. Mark — you’re doing better than me!

  3. thanks Dad for the props. and I was thrilled to get this story out in front of people. Joe does a better job in one post, saying what I do in 30. I will take issue with one thing Mark section 15 said. if we don’t straighten ourselves up worldwide real fast, we haven’t got 500 years, we don’t even have 100 years.
    sorry for being humorless, but Monday, through Wednesday’s post at least, should allow you to bust your gut, laughing while the clock winds down.

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