Thursday, February 01, 2007

Kunstler Mentions Quinn

Here is James Howard Kunstler's latest article in Orion Magazine.

He actually mentions Daniel Quinn: "We have to do better. We have to start right away making those other arrangements. We have to begin the transition to some mode of living that will allow us to carry on the project of civilization—and I would argue against the notion advanced by Daniel Quinn and others that civilization itself is our enemy and should not be continued. The agenda for facing our problems squarely can, in fact, be described with some precision. We have to make other arrangements for the basic activities of everyday life."

I really don't think JHK truly understands what Daniel Quinn is saying in his work. Heres page 90 out of Beyond Civilization that clearly shows that Quinn doesn't hate civilization:
"People who dislike what I'm saying will often try to reassure themselves with the thought that I'm just someone who hates civilization and would rather live "close to nature." This will bring a smile to the face of anyone who knows me, for I'm a great lover of civilization and live happily in the heart of the fourth largest U.S. city, in easy walking distance to drugstores, supermarkets, video rental shops, art galleries, restaurants, bookstores, museums, pool halls, universities, and tattoo parlors. (And I live "close to nature" every second of every day, 365 days a year, since "nature" is something no one can escape living close to, no matter where you happen to live.)

"Or they challenge me to say how I'd like living without air conditioning, central heating, indoor plumbing, refrigerators, telephones, computers, and so on. They think I'm an apostle of poverty, though they can't point to a single word in any of my writings to support such a notion.

"I'm not a Luddite or a Unabomber. I don't regard civilization as a curse but as a blessing that people (including me) should be free to walk away from--for something better. And something better is what I'm after; and nothing less. Those who are looking for something worse definately need to consult a different book." Pg. 90


Willem said...

Curt! Thanks for writing that mini-rebuttal.

Sigh. When will folks learn to read, I ask you?

Curt said...


You wrote: "Thanks for writing that mini-rebuttal."

You're welcome!

You wrote: "When will folks learn to read, I ask you?"

That's a really good question. I'm still learning how, so it's a tough one for me to answer. I think people need to be damn sure as to what they're talking about before saying it. In Kunstler's case he clearly didn't spend enough trying to understand what Quinn's work and the movement behind it is all about. He should've just left the comments about Quinn out of it.

Thank you,


P.S. I've been trying to sign into your blog for the past six months, Willem. I've opened up 3 different accounts with WordPress and still hasn't worked. What do you suggest I do? I'm having the same problem with UrbanScout's blog too.