- The village is in an advanced state of sclerosis. The storefronts on Main Street are half empty. Most of the rest are second-hand shops with a couple of eateries. The several factories along the Battenkill River (a tributary of the Hudson) all shut down in the 1970s. Many of the village denizens are on some kind of government support. There’s a heroin problem. Yet it is exactly the kind of place that I believe will have a future in the next economy. The county was too far away for the city weekenders to buy up and ruin.
- I think gay marriage represents a certain kind of cultural mischief that derives from the misguided crypto-gnostic wish in liberal America to transform human nature in the name of “progress.” I was in favor of so-called civil unions that would regularize property issues for same-sex couples who formed households, but calling it “marriage” was a sentimental error that would further damage a struggling institution in a culture that can’t withstand much more institutional failure. For me, it’s not a religious issue; I don’t practice any so-called “faith.” I believe in behavioral boundaries and I regard the campaign to abolish sexual categories—or endlessly expand them into meaninglessness—as unhelpful to the human project.
- At the moment, we can’t construct a coherent story about what is happening to us; and therefore we can’t make any coherent plans to act in the face of it. Our current politics reflect this sad state of affairs.
- I find a lot of the debate about capitalism these days to be rather specious. Capitalism is not a belief system, and I’d argue that it’s not really a concocted program for running an economy per se. It is a set of laws governing the behavior of surplus wealth, that’s all … Probably what many of the complainers-against-capitalism really detest are the abstract financial games that we have developed only in the last century or so, and really refined in the past quarter-century—especially the shenanigans in the securities markets.
- Shale oil was financed by “junk” lending thanks to supernaturally low interest rate policy, and the shale producers haven’t made a net dime since they ramped up in 2005. It costs too much to get the stuff out of the ground, with all those horizontal bore lines, millions of tons of sand, and great gouts of water to flush it out.
James Howard Kunstler
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