8 Replies to “Huxley’s Near Misses”

  1. Eh, wtf? I stopped reading as soon as he started yammering about overpopulation (a favorite elite cover story to boot).

    [Earth’s population will stabilize at about 11-12 bln by the middle of the century, and will remain constant in perpetuity; there are plenty of resources and know how to maintain it in comfort, assuming of course that capitalism as we know it is challenged]

  2. Of course, he is right about the broad trends, but extrapolates the present too much, and neglects the multiple sources of instability that give some hope (population’s final spurt of growth and then stabilization being one of them)

  3. He always seemed to me to be somebody who was too tied to his fiction and the idea that destruction requires the emergence of some kind of new monster, when all the powers-that-be require is simply distraction and compliance. Even here, he implies that marketing would take its revenge via warped children becoming adult beasts. That’s too exaggerated. Normalcy is the problem.

  4. “Normalcy is the problem”

    Indeed. The status quo is so overwhelming that even I, after spending so much time reading, figuring stuff out, getting enraged, etc. way too often fall into comfortable complicity –> “Eh, things are not so bad”. Gruesome pictures of dead children / bangladeshi laborers penetrate this fog harder and harder.

    It is really hard to pursue any semblance of reality when the whole socio-economic structure, backed with enormous resources, is dependent on no such thing leaking through…

  5. Come on, Marla, the Green Shadow Cabinet Green Team Green Police will come to the rescue!
    1. As the TCT is an official Chomsky Alliance project, I do commend an affordable book by spectacularly controversial Bob Black, Defacing the Currency, that contains a thesis-like rant-denunciation of Chomsky. A great cure for boredom, and a surefire party starter!
    2. Religions and “higher education” have always tried to break the will o’ the people. There is the supersystem, see, and it is not the product of either you, me, or a few bad men, but a fully licensed product of history and myth-based social tradition, so I reject any “complicity” attack from on high. All of us live our lives in this social reality nearly completely unable to do anything about anything substantive – hence skepticism about Huxley, comments sections, anarchism, steroids, etc.

  6. Lol, this did perk me up.
    I’ll check out Bob Black. I love Chomsky, but I can see how criticisms of him can be both fair and unfair. Unfair, because he has gone through systematic efforts to explain and document wrongness in very accessible ways. Fair, because, for all his radicalism, I can hardly think of a more *harmless* person. One may argue it is not his job to be an actual firebreathing radical, but if that is the case how can not become a sort of MSNBC for “true lefties”? Satisfying yet also pacifying (Maybe I am the one being unfair now, but way too often he concludes his overview of how ‘evil’ relentlessly advances with “oh, and by the way, I’d vote democrat because the alternative is so much worse”)

    As for history etc., you should read this article by a prominent russian physicist/demographer (Sergey Kapitsa, “Global population blow up and after”; even better, I think the larger book is also available in english, not sure; i’ve only read the russian version).


    Anyhow, the text is remarkable, because through quite a believeable quantitative analysis, one of the implications is that history does have a destination. Not in some deterministic sense, but rather that population and knowledge-wise humanity has been developing as a unified system since day zero and that all accepted history periodizations coincide exactly with demographic transitions, suggesting that population development constraints are far more important influence on historical development than we usually think.

    And now, the ultimate demographic transition – the moment when global population growth will simply cease, is happening before our eyes and the implications will be apparent within our lifetime.

    Obviously he doesn’t suggest that history has a goal, but simply that demography will challenge every single existing system and institution. His prognosis is implicitly the same as Rosa Luxemburg’s – “socialism or barbarism”.

  7. Great take, Marla – you’ll find the Blackean takedown of the our plain eminence in line with your points. Chomsky is no anarchist in the slightest, according to Black, though he announces himself as one, and thus is no much of anything beyond a one-man political events clearinghouse, which Black does not give him enough credit for.
    Thanks for the Russian article – looks Dilworthian.
    You know another worthy book? – Victor Grossman’s Crossing the River.

  8. Holy s**t! I’m just stopping by to report that I thoroughly enjoy Bob Black – just read his essay “Technophilia as an infantile disorder”.

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