When I started the blog Chickens of Mass Destruction, the title was mostly whimsical, a play, in case you haven't figured it out, on the phrase "weapons of mass destruction." (That phrase itself turned out to be the biggest WMD, leading as it did to a great deal of destruction over the last 8 years.)
My whimsical twist
on the phrase encompassed the interests I wanted to write about: food
and agriculture, ecology, and politics. There was contained therein the
idea that a simple thing like backyard chickens, and the local food
movement in general, could also constitute a threat, albeit a gentle and
ethical one, to the industrial capitalist system.
With this post I inaugurate a spin-off blog, Graceful Decline.
Here I hope to explore the broader political, social, and ecological
questions around the decline and fall of the American empire. I'll
reserve CMD for food and agriculture issues. Of course these things are
all related, so there may be some more cross-posting between the two.
At least some of the time, I will be using John Michael Greer's excellent blog, the Archdruid Report,
as a launching point. For the last 6 years he has been laying out a
feast for the cerebral cortex, making a strong case that peak oil will
spell the end of our civilization, and presenting a sober projection of
life after cheap energy.
For Greer it is neither zombie
apocalypse nor utopian deliverance, but a middle road of hard choices,
hard work, and muddling through as the gargantuan system of complexity
we all depend on crumbles. His ideas are steeped in the physical
sciences, particularly the limits imposed by ecology and the laws of
thermodynamics. He also has a large following of commentators, with
interesting insights of their own. Anyone who wants to understand what I
am attempting to do here should definitely read the ADR archives, or
pick up one of Greer's books. Those that deal with peak oil-related issues are like a distillation of his blog.
looking at the nature of the empire that the US has built I am also
informed by the thinking of Howard Zinn, especially his alternative
history classic A People's History of the United States. It has
its limitations to be sure, but for understanding the dynamics of power
in a capitalist democracy it is compelling and useful. Demagogy,
distraction, and divide-and-conquer were favorite tools of the founders,
and they are still the mainstays of American politics on all fronts.
look around and see a system that is committed to growth on a planet of
limited capacity. It's like watching a runaway locomotive headed for a
sheer drop, and all I can offer is my tiny voice. Please join the
discussion, link, share. Add to my voice or try to neutralize it as you