South Africa on the Precipice of Anarchy?, DEI, Race, and Schooling, Civil Strife Coming to Montana?, Canada to Fuck its Own Farmers a la Sri Lanka, Moldbug vs. The Bard
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Tibetan Freedom concert! Lilith fair! Farm aid! Burning Man! Thems were the days
In 2016 Peter Hitchens visited Northern Idaho, in a town pretty close to Montana, and wrote of "the faint but insistent sound of coming war, here in this place of sweet, small hills, rich soil and wistful, mountainous horizons."
The Montana piece reminds me of the way most universities in America are set up. Glitzy campuses with exorbitant tuitions beckoning the next generation of well-heeled, often set amidst the backdrop of neighborhoods filled with people worlds away from living that version of the American Dream. Think University of Southern California, or Yale in New Haven. More people are going to start realizing this class divide not only exists, but it’s where the true troubles could arise.
Montana piece is very interesting. Considering a huge chunk of the Jan 6th folks were from Montana it gives an insight on their whole thought process as well. And I am sure the last couple of years have galvanized them even more.
After Yarvin's last piece though I am not interested in his work. Call me filtered, but I don't like reading about elves when we live in a world of men (this is coming from a long-term D&D player too). Piece was just inconsistent as well.
Wow. I’m still trying to get caught up with the magic carpet rides on Niccolo Soldo’s last few flights across our Global Village. Like the alleged Singaporization of the UK, f’rinstance. Not to be ignored. Or Monkeypox. Already a state of emergency in San Francisco, I understand.
But now South Africa? A state of ANARCHY? Not the warm fuzzy libertarian anarchy of my youth, but, it seems, a downright Hobbesian state of nastiness, brutality, and non-longness.
Niccolo, keep up the good journalism (or whatever it’s called now to avoid being confused with the products of MSNBC.) You are doing God’s work.
Okay, maybe not THAT god, but a back-bench girl god called Nemesis. We all need Her grace right now.
Not familiar with Montana but a lot of places in Kentucky are the same. And the feeling described is noticeable and growing worse.
You just know Canada will shit on and sanction the farmers even harder when they try to do something about it. I am not looking forward to it.
The farmers have largely ruined soil fertility using that stuff so I don't know why anyone would defend the practice. The question I have is do these various governments just not want anyone farming?
Interesting to read about South Africa’s issues, especially since the people in my orbit are generally pretty convinced that it’s a good place to live with solid standards of living, tarnished only by—what else?—those nasty racist South African whites. A friend I made from SA has a similarly bleak outlook to the Unherd article, though, so I suspect that side of the argument has more merit.
I haven’t been to Montana but I have been to many different parts of rural Virginia, and the attitudes there can be similar (minus the ticking time bomb feeling, because bourgeoise libs don’t tend to move out to the VA Appalachians at the kind of rate they’re colonizing Montana.) The whole way of life out there really is an incredibly sharp contrast to the more cosmopolitan and urbanized areas, from the politics all the way down to the aesthetics. Not to mention the poverty. There are plenty of towns that have chain grocery stores, pharmacies, and car dealerships, but it’s also not hard to find towns where the term “food desert” becomes vivid. And the extent to which we as a country have largely decided that these people just don’t matter is a genuine tragedy.
I grew up in Western Montana, not far from Bozeman. We would go to Bozeman for shopping or days out.The town I lived in was the original artist-hippy colony of the Northern Californians. During the 70s the first pioneering wave of rugged artistic types and environmentalists settled there and stories of horses tied up in bars frequented by the miners and remaining mountain men while avante-garde artists fought over eco-politics and ‘poetics of nature’ were heard all over. Lots of larger than life characters, both old and new. In the 90s and early 2000s there were fissures showing but by and large the old ranching families and local gentry mixed and intermarried with the transplants.
Now, I do remember early signs if the meth epidemic and lots of what we called “ratty-faced” people ( from no reference to what was going on in) in the shadows and labor and service work, but it was far from a dominant type. There was MASSIVE poverty among many poor whites though. Some families of the emaciated poor (and often with little blackened rotten teeth from malnutrition rather than meth) would bathe their children in the Yellowstone River and I encountered several basically feral families (never seen that before!) in town. I remember fights over lumber (equivalent of oil jobs in other places) and the enviros were always trying to get the industry shut down.
So, there was still at this time lots of Patagonia, lots of outdoorsy yuppie types seemingly coming in from the PNW. I remember when we first visited Missoula in the far West, I was absolutely amazed: it was as crunchy as Boulder/Portland and filled with dreadlocked white people in ‘97-98 and the aroma of weed was everywhere. Very 90s hippy revival which may have taken a few years to filter Westward so maybe the tail end of the trend.
I personally loved growing up there; powerful and palpable natural wonder, very interesting and eccentric people and a great sense of community cohesion. Every couple of weeks there were community events and festivals (maybe half attached to the schools) where nearly every single family in the town was involved or in attendance. Now, being a young autistic bibliomaniac and curious about the world, I ended up becoming either an accessory, a project, but in a few cases I think, a genuine friend of several of these literary and Hollywood expats and spent most of my time with them. While they were Democrats and furious about Bush and Iraq, they were libertarian in spirit. They were often rugged despite being wealthy and would, for example, camp in arctic conditions, live off hunted elk, work on their properties building fences, feeding goats, etc...they modeled themselves on the locals and if you read for instance the Jim Harrison books of the time, the admiration and love of the place was extended to those pioneers, mountain men AND the fierce Indians who harbor its spirit. They sometimes mocked the local sanctimonies or rolled their eyes at big trucks with antlers and gun racks saying ‘what have they got to prove?’...but nothing really contemptuous.
I haven’t been back since mid 00s (though I’d love to) but all of my friends talk about the gentrification getting worse and of prices being exorbitant (esp in Bozeman) and with the general decline of rural life and family agriculture in the US, I can see the elements needed to brew the tornado in a teacup described in that awesome article.
I have been to Aspen, Big Sky, Bozeman and Telluride. I caveat this statement by noting I have only been there during ski season.
The Montana article is a bit hyperbolic but not that much. The key has always been the persistence of the economic divide. No society will ever be equal but in America, there was the promise of social mobility. The contrast can be seen with the Old World. I have seen numbers that in pre 1789 France, the top 1% held 60% of the national wealth. That top 1%, like the hacienda owners in Latin America, would never relinquish their chokehold. Ergo, the French Revolution.
I was in Colorado this March. The array of streets before the ski-lift is quite nice -- no doubt, the brainchild of a P/E shop and their marketing consultants. There was a juice shop that sold smoothies. Good ones, but $9 per smoothie. That's the reality of the KKR impact on America -a $9 smoothie which no blue collar person can afford. You would probably have to go a few miles to get anything cheaper.
We need a town with options for the wealthy and not so wealthy, and ways for the wealthy and the non wealthy to switch places. The cultural wars are only a diversion. Follow the Money. The destruction of safety nets, the massive amounts sucked in by our so called non profit educational entities, political hacks and charity consultants, the ESG scam, the financial intermediaries that rake in fees for mediocre performance - it is no wonder that people are angry. And they should be.
The sad thing is that you don't need yoga pants, $9 dollar smoothies, and artisinial beer to enjoy a ski trip. The mountain has always been there. America does not need this type of inequality but when the government gets involved, things fall apart. Healthcare, education - primary and college, military spending, the COVID debacle - etc.
For the record, the people I have met in Montana are great and welcoming. But this system of raising prices because the rich can afford it, and the poor be damned - well that just sucks all around.
"But the Masters just don’t care."
No. They care. They are acting intentionally. They take Action A. It leads to result B. Result B is a disaster for normal people. They do it again. And again. There is no course correction because this is the course they want. Sri Lanka has led to no calls to change course. It has led to expansion of the plan to destroy the farming sector and the world's food supply. it is a small scale first step down the road they have chosen for others, not themselves. They will not starve, they will not eat bugs. They will fly on private jets and eat well. None of this is an accident. They know what they are doing. The destruction is intentional. There is no other way to read the facts. We resist that because we don't want to sound like conspiracy theorists. We resist it because it is very terrible and we wish it were otherwise. Sometimes conspiracies are real. The best ones are never discovered. Sometimes reading lots of stray signs to mean that some hidden force actually means to kill you is getting the message correctly. Hate very much to have to reach this conclusion. But I am not seeing any other way to read it.
thanks for the share and the writeup niccolo!
I was recently in the Olympic National Park area for hiking and a guided fishing trip. After the trip, over a beer the guide let loose on the challenges / frustrations of the local non-Indians and how the powers that be are purposely driving them to poverty by flagrantly abusing fishing data. General anger through out rural Washington state at Seattle and Portland types.