47 Social Quotes of James Howard Kunstler

” Our twenty-first century economy may focus on agriculture, not information. “
” The newspaper headlines may shout about global warming, extinctions of living species, the devastation of rain forests, and other worldwide catastrophes, but Americans evince a striking complacency when it comes to their everyday environment and the growing calamity that it represents. “
” Everything we do these days – our lust for ever more comfort, pleasure, and distraction, our refusal to engage with the mandates of reality, our fidelity to cults of technology and limitless growth, our narcissistic national exceptionalism – all of this propels us toward the realm where souls abandon all hope. “
” History is moving the furniture around in the house of mankind just about everywhere but the U.S.A. Things have changed, except here, where people come and go through the rooms of state, and everything looks shabbier by the day, and lethargy eats away at the upholstery like an acid fog, and the walls reverberate with meaningless oratory. “
” I do all I can to maintain good health. I eat mostly plants, as Michael Pollan would say. I get a lot of exercise. I lead a purposeful daily life. I stay current with the dentist. I made the formative decision of where to live over thirty years ago when I settled in a ‘main street’ small town in upstate New York. “
” Ahead now, I think you’ll see the big nations shrink back into their own corners of the world. I’m not saying we’ll see no international trade, but it will be nothing like the conveyer belt from China to Wal-Mart that we’ve known the last few decades. And the prospects for conflict are very, very high. “
” I’m very optimistic about the future. I’m just not optimistic about the skyscraper as a building typology that is suited for the future. “
” The model of the human habitat dictated by zoning is a formless, soul-less, centerless, demoralizing mess. It bankrupts families and townships. It disables whole classes of decent, normal citizens. It ruins the air we breathe. It corrupts and deadens our spirit. “
” Neurologically, people have a need to feel oriented, to know where they are, not just in terms of a compass and not just in terms of geography, but in terms of their culture and history. To be informed about where they’re coming from and to have some glimpse towards a hopeful future. “
” Human settlements are like living organisms. They must grow, and they will change. But we can decide on the nature of that growth – on the quality and the character of it – and where it ought to go. We don’t have to scatter the building blocks of our civic life all over the countryside, destroying our towns and ruining farmland. “
” I’m convinced that the Great Lakes region will be at the center of an internally-focused North American economy when the hallucination of oil-powered globalism dissolves. Places like Buffalo, Cleveland, and Detroit will have a new life, but not at the scale of the twentieth century. “
” If the Internet exists at all in the future, it will be on a much-reduced scale from what we enjoy today, and all the activities of everyday life are not going to reside on it. “
” Black America surely faces an existential crisis, but not the one imagined in the condescending news media – of somehow getting non-black America to be more just and generous. The truth is, we’ve already been through that, and there is nothing left to do. We’re out of ‘affirmative actions’ of all kinds. “
” The popular story is that America was built by immigrants and that, therefore, everything about immigration is good and leads to a more successful society. This narrative is so devoid of historical context that it should embarrass anyone beyond a second-grade education. “
” Life in the mid-21st century is going to be about living locally. Be prepared to be good neighbors. Be prepared to find vocations that make you useful to your neighbors and to your fellow citizens. “
” Parallel parking is desirable for two reasons: parked cars create a physical barrier and psychological buffer that protects pedestrians on the sidewalk from moving vehicles; and a rich supply of parallel parking can eliminate the need for parking lots, which are extremely destructive of the civic fabric. “
” I don’t like talking about ‘solutions.’ I prefer talking about intelligent responses. “
” I’m serenely convinced that we are heading into what will amount to a ‘time out’ from technological progress as we know it. “
” Despite the obvious damage now visible in the entropic desolation of every American home town, Wal-Mart managed to install itself in the pantheon of American Dream icons, along with apple pie, motherhood, and Coca Cola. “
” On top of the insult of destroying the geographic places we call home, the chain stores also destroyed people’s place in the order of daily life, including the duties, responsibilities, obligations, and ceremonies that prompt citizens to care for each other. “
” When a society is stressed, when it comes up against things that are hard to understand, you get a lot of delusional thinking. “
” Suburbia is not going to run on biodiesel. The easy-motoring tourist industry is not going to run on biodiesel, wind power and solar fuel. “
” My beef with the alt-fuel people is not the renewable or alt-fuel ideas themselves. Sooner or later, there’s no question we’re going to have to rely on them. For me, it’s an issue of scale. “
” Americans are suffering so much from being in unrewarding environments that it has made us very cynical. I think that American suburbia has become a powerful generator of anxiety and depression. “
” I think that Obama’s failure to reestablish the rule of law in money matters is the most damaging thing that he’s done – and perhaps the most damaging thing that has happened in American politics in my lifetime. Because once the rule of law is absent in money matters, then anything really goes in politics. “
” I think a lot of things will be self-correcting, even in America. After all, human societies are essentially self-organizing emergent systems. The catch is, how much disorder will we have to endure while this re-self-organizing process occurs. “
” The faltering of our suburban living arrangement is probably certain. The response of suburbanites is not. Will they elect maniacs who promise to make America just like it was in 1997? Will there be a desperate attempt to sustain the unsustainable by authoritarian measures? Will the institutions of order and justice fail in the process? “
” Phoenix and Las Vegas have grim long-term prospects. On top of oil-and-gas problems, they will have terrible problems with water and the ability to produce food locally. I suppose it shows how delusional the public is, and how our institutional controls have decayed – for instance, lending standards. “
” I think water transport will see a revival. However, we’re not going to replay the 20th century. The industrial city of that era will not be revived. Our cities are going to contract. Many of them will contract as a whole but densify at their core. “
” It’s self-evident that we are going to have permanent problems with oil and gasoline and the prime resources that are needed to run the American suburbs. And we’re just not going to be able to run them. You know, it’s just unfortunate, it’s tragic, but it’s the truth. “
” American cities are not scaled to the energy diet of the future. They have become too large. They’re over-scaled. “
” One of the problems with the fiasco of suburbia is that it destroyed our understanding of the distinction between the country and the town, between the urban and the rural. They’re not the same thing. “
” Please, please, stop referring to yourselves as ‘consumers.’ OK? Consumers are different than citizens. Consumers do not have obligations, responsibilities and duties to their fellow human beings. “
” The quality of life of European cities and towns of almost any size make life in America look not just like a joke, but a sick joke, a horror movie. But I’d rather stay involved and do what I can to make this a better place than move to the south of France and enjoy the good life. “
” The human race needs a time out from all this techno-magic-mischief, a period to reflect on what we’ve done and how we ought to behave with this stuff. “
” The Hamas organization is explicitly dedicated to the destruction of Israel. That is not a rhetorical gimmick; it is its declared unwavering primary goal. “
” The claim that Israel seeks to annihilate the Palestinians is simply a lie. Israel seeks to stop rocket attacks and tunnel invasions, and as long as Hamas is dedicated to those actions, they can expect a forceful Israeli reaction. “
” Saudi Arabia is, of course, the keystone of OPEC. Saudi Arabia has had the distinction of remaining stable through all the escalating tumult of recent decades, reliably pumping out its roughly 10 million barrels a day like Bossy the cow in America’s oil import barn. “
” As a long-time registered Democrat who started voting in the year of Watergate, I resent being taken for a ride to the place where anything goes and nothing matters. And especially where nothing matters less than clear thinking and straight talk. “
” White America is tortured by black America’s failure to thrive, and all that guilt and anxiety has only gotten worse as a substantial quota of white America loses its own footing in the middle class and plunges into the rough country of joblessness, hopelessness, and government dependency. “
” We have created thousands and thousands of places in America that aren’t worth caring about, and when we have enough of them, we’re going to have a country that’s not worth defending. “
” History is merciless. History doesn’t care if we pound our society down a rat hole. It’s up to us to make more intelligent choices about how we live! “
” In short, chronological connectivity puts us in touch with the holy. It is at once humbling and exhilarating. I say this as someone who has never followed any formal religious practice. Connection with the past and the future is a pathway that charms us in the direction of sanity and grace. “
” The earth is a fickle place for all life, not least the human project of civilization. “
” Generations will soon come into their power feeling differently about themselves than we do now, and in their re-enchanted world, they will wonder about us and what we did to their world, and what we thought we were doing. “
” Ever-busy, ever-building, ever-in-motion, ever-throwing-out the old for the new, we have hardly paused to think about what we are so busy building, and what we have thrown away. Meanwhile, the everyday landscape becomes more nightmarish and unmanageable each year. “
” The sentimental view of anything is apt to be ridiculous, but I feel that I have been unusually sensitive to the issue of place since I was a little boy. “