In addition to the terms collapse and revolution, another word has entered public discourse and that is unsustainable. When people talk of unsustainability now they may refer to one or more among several things today:
Localization contrasted against globalization is a move back in the direction of sustainability on many levels. The concept has two aspects. The ideal aspect deals in terms of the right thing to do for long term maintenance. For example, Western shrimping industries would not, without in balance creating benefit for the local ecology and inhabitants alike, relocate their operations to southeast Asia.
This activity as a globalization and free market enterprise ideal sets aside that remote ecology and people as secondary to economic benefit. The resulting overharvesting, brought on now by the demands of both some billion people in the West and the local traditional shrimpers has turned destructive. The local shrimp stock, although once abundant, is strained to replenish its numbers, which of course also impacts the non-human creatures also relying on this source of sustenance.
Due to the resource depletion and lower level of technology and funding, the local Asian harvesters cannot compete with the higher tech Western fishing fleets. Many are then forced to abandon their traditional way of life to go work in some cannery or other urban industrial job, if any are available.
This one example is but one among hundreds illustrating the way globalism tramples local traditional settings all over the world, using mass production and the demands of many to bring unsustainable ruin to environment and from our point of view, out-of-sight, out-of-mind distant locals alike. Globalism can therefore manifest as another method of imperial aggression, but wearing the Trojan Horse mask of progress and opportunity rather than showing itself as a hostile invader with pillage in mind.
But lately, in the wake of failing economies, what seemed inevitable only a few years ago is showing signs of becoming impossible and inhuman. More and more people are questioning their alliances, wondering why their neighbors are selling them out to make a quick buck as they struggle, wondering where their food and resources would come from if the trucks and the boats and the planes stopped coming. Localism and tribalism start with the question “what will happen to us.”
Although it can be a catalyst, capitalism is not necessarily the culprit. It is just another tool in the arsenal of human capability. Capitalism is like the hotrod economic machine in our garage. Sure, it will get us where we need to for accumulating wealth.
But, it is the driver’s ability to control the machine, not the machine itself that requires our attention. We should not put a clumsy, or vision impaired person behind the wheel of our hotrod. Nor should we put a powerful economic design under the command of reckless and short-sighted ideology:
At the same time, the brief heyday of the global economy was only made possible by a glut of petroleum that made transportation costs negligible. That glut is ending as world oil production begins to slip down the far side of Hubbertâ€™s curve, while the Third World nations that profited most by globalization cash in their newfound wealth for a larger share of the worldâ€™s energy resources, putting further pressure on a balance of power that is already tipping against the United States and its allies. As this process continues, the tribute economy will be an early casualty. The implications for the lifestyles of most Americans will not be welcome.
Now, another part of localization in the ideal relates to not having all our eggs in one basket. A global liberal democracy under one monetary and economic system, should it fail, as the bust cycle recurrences indicate, will affect everyone to some extent. What sane working or middle class person desires cycles of world recession teetering on the edge of global depression for themselves or their families?
A hundred thousand distinct autonomous societies bring resilience to the whole of world civilization. One micro-state or society screws up and for the most part, only they suffer the consequences, not everyone in the world. In addition to sustainability maintenance, localization autonomy is therefore superior to centralized global systems as a civilization design ideal for the whole, for the long term.
With rumors of resource scarcity growing in volume, we come then to the second aspect of localization more concrete than the ideal one.
Necessity begins to surface and enter public space in the form of budding collective movements toward localized communities favoring as much autonomy from our drunk driver centralized control as they can attain. This drunk driver, seated at the wheel on our left, is not going to give up the keys without getting belligerent:
Mr. Woods, who has a Ph.D. in history, and has written widely on statesâ€™ rights and nullification â€” the argument that says states can sometimes trump or disregard federal law â€” said he was not sure where the dots between statesâ€™ rights and politics connected. But he and others say that whatever it is, something politically powerful is brewing under the statehouse domes.
Other scholars say the state efforts, if pursued in the courts, would face formidable roadblocks. Article 6 of the Constitution says federal authority outranks state authority, and on that bedrock of federalist principle rests centuries of back and forth that states have mostly lost, notably the desegregation of schools in the 1950s and â€™60s.
Localization movements today have little to do with the woefully antiquated, 19th Century definition of right wing that we have been stuck with for far too long. In reality, right wing has always meant those who prefer to stick with what works best for the long term for our species. This is the evolution wing.
Left wing is the impulse control challenged side. It demands separation from accountability for its impulses and calls this freedom. The left wing dies off when the fat from the body is consumed and the body must return to a lean, mean, disciplined condition in order to hunt and feed again, or perish.
Thus, the best adaptive, most realistic segment of the left breaks away from the consistently, imminently failing one worlders. The fantasy is not going to happen because the energy required is not available to force it in place. So this break away faction instead acknowledges collective action and localized control – survivalism – thereby by default crossing over to New Right, though these scattered few as yet know it not.
We are living in an age of unprecedented change, with a number of crises converging. Climate change, global economic instability, overpopulation, erosion of community, declining biodiversity, and resource wars, have all stemmed from the availability of cheap, non-renewable fossil fuels. Global oil, gas and coal production is predicted to irreversibly decline in the next 10 to 20 years, and severe climate changes are already taking effect around the world. The coming shocks are likely to be catastrophic if we do not prepare. As Richard Heinberg states:
â€œOur central survival task for the decades ahead, as individuals and as a species, must be to make a transition away from the use of fossil fuels â€“ and to do this as peacefully, equitably, and intelligently as possibleâ€.
Part One in the Why New Right? series attempts to distinguish some New Right understanding from all the others and point to its unapologetic Darwinian basis.