I have been casually following your blog for a couple years now and genuinely appreciate your real world experiance an logical, practical advice .
Your entry of the 24th of march concerning the survival of the AMERICAN middle class prompted me to contact you to suggest you might be under estimating the AMERICAN people.
We have come to the brink several times through out our brief history and managed, at least so far, to pull ourselves back and still save most of the civilized world in between saving ourselves.
AMERICA is singularly unique to the world in that we have a rock solid Constitution and Bill of Rights that has been so brilliantly designed that all the liberal wienie philosiphers and communist and socialists and nazis and neo-cons can not destroy.
They all make inroads from time to time. Our national mood ebbs and flows, bends and sways.
But ultimately, our Constitution will not break. And this means the American people, ultimatly, will not break.
We are free, there for we are tolerant. But only to a point.
When it comes down to our way of life being threatened, either from without or within, the AMERICAN people will only bend so far.
Just look at our last election.
The true, patriotic AMERICANS rose up and put the brakes on the current threat that we face to our way of life.
It will take another election cycle or 2 to really beat this threat back down and fix the damage that has been done, but the AMERICAN people will, as always, do what needs to be done to protect and safe guard our way of life, for ourselves, and future generations.
The brillance of our founding fathers has given us the freedom, the right, the means, and the will to defend, propagate, and pass on the AMERICAN way of life to future generations.
The AMERICAN constitution and AMERICAN way of life will not bow to tyrants either from out, or from in.
AMERICA, ultimately, through ingenuity,spirit,and the drive to succeed, aka, freedom, will never succum to tyrants and just give up and except the loss of the AMERICAN way of life.
With all due respect, you are, in my opinion, very much underestimating the AMERICAN people, and we are most definatley NOT going to allow our way of life to be destroyed.
We will have ups and downs, close calls, near misses but AMERICAN will always right herself and lead the world in showing what freedom brings to all.
Hi Brian, thanks for your email. With similar respect I’d suggest that its hard to form an opinion about someone if you just “casually” read what he says. If you read more of my blog you’ll notice that I think highly of Americans and USA. My frequent readers know I believe it to be the best country, crisis or not, precisely because of the reasons you underline, the US Constitution and Bill of Rights, especially the 1st and 2nd Amendment. That’s why I recommend people staying there in spite of the crisis, rather than moving away like some fear mongering realtors that buy land in South America recommend. Nowhere else will you enjoy the rights you have in USA, and I believe it’s the best place to be in as the world economic crisis continues.
The post you mentioned explains some of the things people are already going through, I simply commented on how these current events will probably (hopefully!) force some positive changes, mostly future urbanization that isn’t so fuel dependent and more efficient home design.
In most places around the world you can get up and walk to a store or market of some sort to buy groceries, you don’t need fuel for buying some bread or a milk jug. You have that alternative.
For the past decades, US home developments are generally planned for maximum home building (and profit of the developer) but lack a few essential stores within the community. Its always expected that you will jump into your car and drive a few miles, even if its just to buy a candy bad. If you had a small “mom and pop´s” grocery and general store, maybe a Coffeehouse (please make it something better than Starbucks!) and a Drugstore and diner for the kids and adults near by, that tends to make things easier in that regard. You have the option of going to a Walmart and buying everything you need, but you also have the option of walking a few blocks down the street a nice summer day with your wife and kids and buying that popcorn you forgot for watching that movie tonight. You have more options. This is a given in most Latin America were a significant percentage of the population doesn’t have a vehicle. It’s also common in many parts in Europe and it’s the way it used to be in USA as well. The advantage of this is that if gas prices are too high you have the option of buying locally, it also promotes the revival of the small “Mom and Pop” stores destroyed by the giant chains stores.
As for houses, you generally don’t need gigantic bedrooms and three “bonus” rooms in a home. Then there’s the design. Its mind numbingly stupid from the Architectural point of view to have the same house being made in New Mexico than the one made in Vermont. Instead of having cleaver design, according to the regional climate and way of life, developers make the exact same box that kind of looks good and has that McMansion feel to it, and put heating in one and AC in the other. They don’t care, you’re the one that’s getting stuck for life with a larger that needed power bill to keep that place hot or warm. They don’t even take into consideration the house orientation or how much light you get in that latitude. Its got to the point in some cases where rooms are so big you just need to find ways of filling them up with junk (usually bought from China stores).
I like a large house as much as anyone else but as long as it´s well designed. I do know the difference between a comfortable one and one that is just big because the 400 ones next to it are as well. There’s a proportion for rooms, halls and other living spaces, if you go beyond that you just have a huge room that is not only a waste of money, its not fulfilling its purpose as well either. The “bonus” space that even the designer didn’t know what to do with it, it doesn’t even have a name, that’s space you’re still paying for to be built, space that has to be heated or will suck up heat from other rooms and you’re paying taxes on it as well. Of course its cheaper to do the McMansion thing and build a hundred similar homes, even if not two families are alike.
The crisis is affecting the US middle class as we speak, we might like it or not but its happening. I don’t think that the American society will collapse but some changes are inevitable because otherwise we’d still be doing the same things that cause the problem in the first place. A couple changes like the ones mentioned above, I think that they would in fact improve the quality of life of Americans and would only be regretted by the big oil companies, China wanting to sell you more stuff to fill your big house up and then throw away and the Wall Street mercenaries looking for maximum profit through excessive debt of the American middle class.