Comments on Kunstler
Here’s what I had to say about my interview with James Howard Kunstler after it aired:
I think Kunstler is a very interesting and entertaining fellow to listen to. I still have some serious problems with his perspective. I didn’t edit out the ums and pauses in his answer to my question about a population die-off because I wanted to make clear the anxiety that a lot of people of his persuasion feel on the topic; my guess is that a lot of them just don’t like large agglomerations of people very much, and would be, if not happy, then satisfied to see them culled. He didn’t really answer the question on nativism and the lack of diversity at all. And New York City is, despite his bleepable assertion to the contrary, highly energy efficient. We emit more than 70% less the U.S. average of greenhouse gasses, which are a good proxy for fossil fuel consumption—and almost 40% less than those eco-freaks in San Francisco. My own feeling is that the best approach to maintaining a comfortable material standard of living compatible with avoiding ecological catastrophe is to reurbanize the population and create greenbelts around our cities. I agree with Kunstler that suburbs are alienating and ecocidal, but his small towns are far less energy efficient than more densely populated regions, because density makes walking and mass transit possible. But our visions of the future often do embody our personal preferences, don’t they?