The NBC Special Mini-Series Emergency

Kevin Drum dismisses Kunstler's book The Long Emergency on the grounds that he tries to explain most everything through entropy. Well sure, the blatant misappropriation of physics concepts is one reason to dismiss the guy's post-apocalyptic predictions, but why stop at just one? How about the fact that Kunstler really isn't an oil expert? He was a staff writer for The Rolling Stone, published a string of (self-described) bad novels, and then wrote a few books on the crushing soullessness of suburban architecture. Hearing him confidently predict the end of civilization definitely has a crazy-guy-on-Venice feel to it.

But no, you say, Rolling Stone published excerpts from the book, and if RS thinks they have merit, they probably do. Or at least they would, if Kunstler hadn't worked for RS, thus pulling that appearance into question. But maybe pseudo-physics and lack of credentials aren't enough for you. Maybe you still need one last piece of evidence that it's not quite time to head for the hills. Well, here's how Kunstler ended his piece in Rolling Stone:

These are daunting and even dreadful prospects. The Long Emergency is going to be a tremendous trauma for the human race. We will not believe that this is happening to us, that 200 years of modernity can be brought to its knees by a world-wide power shortage. The survivors will have to cultivate a religion of hope -- that is, a deep and comprehensive belief that humanity is worth carrying on. If there is any positive side to stark changes coming our way, it may be in the benefits of close communal relations, of having to really work intimately (and physically) with our neighbors, to be part of an enterprise that really matters and to be fully engaged in meaningful social enactments instead of being merely entertained to avoid boredom. Years from now, when we hear singing at all, we will hear ourselves, and we will sing with our whole hearts.

It's like a Hallmark card to a luddite. There's plenty to worry about with oil, from economic turmoil to war over resources. But anyone confidently predicting the dispersion of the human species into a set of agrarian communities that survive only through hope and the uplifting power of song, well -- you can probably find yourself some better sources...

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