It’s Time to Get Real: Trump’s a Symptom, Not the Problem

I’ve lost patience with the widespread whining about Trump.

Trump’s a symptom, not the problem.

Unless we acknowledge and respond to reality there will be many more and worse Trumps to follow.

Lower and middle class citizens around the world are angry for good reasons:

  • Their incomes have been stagnant or falling despite governments telling them the economy is strong.
  • Their cost of living for things that matter has been rising despite governments telling them inflation is low.
  • They see the upper class getting richer and not being punished for crimes.
  • They carry a high debt load and see that interest rates have nowhere to go but up.
  • For the first time in a long time they worry that the future may be worse than the present.
  • They sense that something is broken and that leaders are not speaking the truth.

Their anger has resulted in:

  • Brexit
  • Trump
  • blame of others
  • extreme parties gaining power around the world
  • social unrest in many countries
  • war drums

The economic stresses experienced by many citizens (and by most countries) are real and have been caused by the depletion of low-cost oil.

The tricks of increasing debt and lowering interest rates have reached their limits and no longer work to mask the depletion of low-cost oil.

Governments have responded with reckless financial policies that guarantee a high-speed crash into a brick wall.

There is no solution to the depletion of low-cost oil.  It is not possible to operate our civilization as currently configured without low-cost oil. There is no substitute for oil.

We need to understand and accept that there will be much less of everything in the future.

We were lucky to witness the peak of human prosperity, and unlucky to witness the beginning of its decline.

No one is to blame. It’s reality.

We need a new story to unite us.

We need new government priorities focused on ensuring the necessities of life are available in the future.

We need to slow down as we approach the brick wall.

We need to stop wasting the precious oil that remains.

We need to get real and vote for wise people who understand what is going on.

We need to break through our inherited denial of reality.

9 thoughts on “It’s Time to Get Real: Trump’s a Symptom, Not the Problem”

  1. As usual you are a beacon of light in the fog Rob.

    Well said & written.

    I agree with everything you wrote but would also like to add we need to, as a species renew our love of the earth. This won’t happen as we are indoctrinated as children in industrial/civilized culture to believe in the never ending progress & superiority of humanity.

    It all comes down to what you constantly write about & that’s denial.
    We are in total denial that we are just another species & a species on the brink of extinction & taking so many others with it…………………………………………


    1. Thanks for the encouraging words Brendon.

      I’m not optimistic that enough people will break through their inherited denial in time, but nevertheless the truth has to be spoken.

      I just checked in with Alex Smith of Radio Ecoshock to discuss the listener stats on the episode with Varki discussing his denial of reality theory. I predicted poor listener comprehension and support of the theory. The stats are even worse than I predicted.

      It seems denial of denial is even stronger than denial of reality. I’ll be writing about it soon.


      1. On my first read of your comment above I was astounded that the Varki episode was not well received by the Radio Ecoshock audience. However we do live in a culture of false beliefs and false narratives and most people are largely disconnected from reality so I shouldn’t have been surprised. Very few even attempt to find their way out of the morass of lies, distortions and mythologies.

        On the interview, I would like to say it is one of the most profound insights into the human mind and our humanity that I have ever heard. I have listened to the segment three times now and recently ordered the book so that I can fully understand how Varki/Brower articulate the theory. Thank you Rob for your role in introducing me to this work. (A new hardcopy on Amazon goes for $3.78 plus $3.98 shipping so clearly no one is ordering the book.)

        I am also glad that as a result of listening to that interview I found your website. It feels like an intellectual shelter in the storm. Not only is there so much consistent with my thinking and knowledge, but I am seeing some new ideas that resonate.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hi Rich, thanks for stopping by.

          I have worked hard for 3 years trying to raise awareness of Varki’s theory. I have approached hundreds of people, some of whom study overshoot and the behaviors that created our predicament. Without exception every person either ignores the theory, thinks the theory is insignificant, or disagrees with the theory. Of the latter group, not one person has presented any facts or data that conflicts with Varki’s theory. Nor have they presented a different theory that better explains the open questions.

          So Rich Elmendorf, it appears you may be the 3rd person on the planet, after Varki and myself, to appreciate the significance of Varki’s theory. Welcome.


  2. “The leader of the anti-immigration French National Front party Marine Le Pen kicked off her presidential campaign on Saturday by echoing many of the same vows that brought Trump to power in the US, hoping promises to shield voters from globalization, promote protectionism, leave the Eurozone, slap taxes on imports and on the job contracts of foreigners, lower the retirement age, increasing welfare benefits and boost defense spending push her above her competitors at a time of sweeping political turmoil in France. ”


  3. Kunstler nicely elaborates here.

    Don’t be fooled by the idiotic exertions of the Red team and the Blue team. They’re just playing a game of “Capture the Flag” on the deck of the Titanic. The ship is the techno-industrial economy. It’s going down because it has taken on too much water (debt), and the bilge pump (the oil industry) is losing its mojo.

    Neither faction understands what is happening, though they each have an elaborate delusional narrative to spin in the absence of any credible plan for adapting the life of our nation to the precipitating realities. The Blues and Reds are mirrors of each other’s illusions, and rage follows when illusions die, so watch out. Both factions are ready to blow up the country before they come to terms with what is coming down.

    What’s coming down is the fruit of the gross mismanagement of our society since it became clear in the 1970s that we couldn’t keep living the way we do indefinitely — that is, in a 24/7 blue-light-special demolition derby. It’s amazing what you can accomplish with accounting fraud, but in the end it is an affront to reality, and reality has a way of dealing with punks like us. Reality has a magic trick of its own: it can make the mirage of false prosperity evaporate.

    That’s exactly what’s going to happen and it will happen because finance is the least grounded, most abstract, of the many systems we depend on. It runs on the sheer faith that parties can trust each other to meet obligations. When that conceit crumbles, and banks can’t trust other banks, credit relations seize up, money vanishes, and stuff stops working. You can’t get any cash out of the ATM. The trucker with a load of avocados won’t make delivery to the supermarket because he knows he won’t be paid. The avocado grower will have to watch the rest of his crop rot. The supermarket shelves empty out. And you won’t have any guacamole.


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