May 03, 2006
Suicide Watch

Uh-oh...looks like someone needs to take away Bruce Gagnon's belt and shoelaces:

We all at times feel like all is lost. Global warming is overwhelming....the dolphins committing suicide by the hundreds by beaching themselves is probably happening because they are telling us the ocean is polluted and they can't stand it any longer.....humans just rush down to the beach and try to shove them back into the water thinking they are doing something noble....or maybe it is the Navy's underwater sonar that is literally blowing the minds of the dolphins.....but we need the Navy, right? We've got to have the big advanced, high tech Navy to protect us from the Chinese.......

Or how about the polar bears that are now drowning because as the icebergs melt they have to swim farther from one iceberg to the next to find their food? We are all complicit in this destruction of life and yet we just go on like nothing is happening....some feel powerless and some just don't really care anymore.

Some of us are already dead inside....we've given up feeling responsible....oh well we say, it was nice while we were here....let the cockroaches take over. And forget about getting upset that Bush is thinking of using a nuclear weapon to hit Iran....”nothing I can do about that” we say to ourselves.

This is what happens when your culture has become militarized....our minds become colonized by the militarists and we just turn everything over to them.....we just give up, the fight goes out of us, and we turn dead inside.....dead people walking around.

It always comes back to the military for Bruce, the way it's always the Joooooos for other people.

I think he's trying to say that this despair over the state of the world is a common and widespread sentiment, but it comes across as a statement of his own mental state:

What does it mean to be human? How can I be a real person again? What do I do now?

So what is the solution to the crises Bruce sees all around himself?

To be alive would require that we feel the hurt....that we actually allow the pain and suffering of drowning polar bears to reach into our insides and rip our hearts out...that it would motivate us to skip the car for just one day and hop on the bike...that we might begin to talk with others about creating community housing where we share a home with others, that we share our washing machines, our vacuum cleaners, our cars....that we begin to try to figure out a new way to live on this very fragile Earth......

Maybe by killing the illusions that we live in a democracy, that America is a free and honest country, that technology will save us from the oil crisis, maybe if we allowed those illusions to die we could live again.

Maybe we would become free again if we killed the American dream that the mental colonizers planted in our hearts and brains from our first days in school.

Kill kill kill! Such violent words from a self-professed pacifist. Must be the residual "mental colonization" from his compulsory military service and military-brat childhood leaking out.

On the other hand, maybe he just doesn't go far enough -- if things are really all that desperate, and America is to blame, why stop at killing illusions or killing the American dream if you can eliminate America itself? If everyone in America simply accepted the despair he feels believes they ought to feel and committed suicide, why...the source of all the world's ills would disappear overnight. All the citizens of the globe could breathe a sigh of relief, join hands for a round of "Kumbayaa", and build up from the ruins of the physical, ecological, and spiritual devastation wrought by America's racist colonialist fascist corporatist capitalist system a shiny new utopia, one powered by solar and wind power, where Hoovers and cars are shared with a smile, where folks gather 'round the communal washing machine for conversation in good cheer, where six billion blossoms of brotherly love bloom, freed from all oppression, inequality, and want by the passing of America and Americans from the scene. This paradise on Earth could be real, if only America weren't standing in the way -- America, the font of all things wicked in the world, which in all its history has brought the world nothing but misery and despair, and has never once done anything to justify its shameful existence.

Of course, mass suicide isn't going to happen -- thankfully, most Americans are not like Bruce's flock, foolish and persuadable (and self-loathing) enough to accept the existential guilt he preaches. Instead of "conversion" of the Military-Industrial Complex™ to the production of mass trainsit railcars and windmills and whatnot, maybe he should be crusading for its conversion into a giant Kevorkian Machine that could administer a national "assisted suicide" as an act of mercy to Gaia and the rest of humanity.

Posted by T.L. James on May 3, 2006 09:03 PM


This part caught my attention:

He wants us to give up this illusion:
"...that technology will save us from the oil crisis..."

This has confirmed my suspicions that I've had of Bruce for a while now. He's a luddite. Why shouldn't we try to use our technology to help offset the oil crisis (Which always seems to be 10-15 years down the road...)?

Technology has all but eliminated famine in the developed world. Technology has gotten rid of cholera, and the measles along with a variety of other diseases on large portions of this planet. Technology will allow our friend Bruce to live past the age of 35. Technology has eliminate pain during surgery, it's also given us more options other then amputate and move on for our doctors.

Why the hell can't technology be used to help with the oil crisis?!?

It seems like in Bruce's world-view technology can only be the cause of a problem, never the solution.

Posted by: RobW at May 4, 2006 05:48 AM

Mocking the "noble pamphleteer" again, are you? He may be dead wrong, but his motives are so pure. And isn't that all that really matters?

Posted by: Aaron_J at May 4, 2006 08:26 PM

At first I thought this was a parody, but my God, these guys are past parody now - you can't make this stuff up. FEEL THE PAIN OF POLAR BEARS?!?!?

Posted by: tschafer at May 5, 2006 01:11 PM

tschafer -- in his next post, he actually describes Colbert as "speaking truth to power". He is one of the few people who still use that phrase non-ironically, and doesn't seem to notice. Just like he doesn't notice that the goals or policies he "organizes" for or otherwise promotes have already been demonstrated to be failures if not catastrophes...communal living and rejection of technology advocated in the post linked above, Marxism, nationalization of resources, appeasement, unilateral disarmament, massive expansions of welfare, state-owned industries, etc., advocated elsewhere.

Posted by: T.L. James at May 5, 2006 02:45 PM

Bruce is experiencing Existencial Angst caused by his oft contradictory and dysfunctional world view. He is so wed to his fundamentalist socialist myths, he is incapable of any self-corrective change.

He believes that:

1) Nukes are bad because they can kill people.

2) The world is dying because there are too many people.

3) Oil is peaking and theire is nothing we can do.

4) Nuclear power is worse than letting civilization decay into chaos due to the lack of oil.

5) Oil will peak.

6) Global Warming will not peak and neither it nor the lack of Oil justifies the development of nuclear power which might lead to the proliferation of nuclear waste and bomb material which is bad bacause it will kill people who are overpopulating the planet and killing it who need killed off in order to save the planet.

He wants us all to lay down and die neat like for Gaia.

He is anthromprphizing his own set of mental illnesses onto the whole population of man.

Posted by: Mike Puckett at May 5, 2006 04:57 PM

A useful idiot.

Posted by: Jim Rohrich at May 5, 2006 06:23 PM

So I guess there's no point explaining to Bruce and his self-loathing friends how thorium energy can replace the terrible coal that causes global warming and asthma, petroleum that leads to mass bloodshed and neo-colonialism, conventional nuclear that makes the little children have teeth that glow in the dark, frees those bound rivers that kill the poor salmon, stops the wretched windmills that chop up the little birdies, and other maladies?

Boy, good thing he warned me that "new technology can't save us" or I might have pointed him to:

But all you future Martians enjoy--this stuff could be pretty useful when it comes time to terraform...

Posted by: thorium at May 5, 2006 06:43 PM

This guy has some emotional and mental issues. I've never lived in a place where it snow alot but one of this guys interests is 'shoveling snow". WTF?

Posted by: kaos at May 5, 2006 07:01 PM

If you really want a glimpse into his mind, get a copy of his book and read the biographical chapters (skip the rest, which consists of reprints of his whining polemics on various issues over the years). Even I don't despise him enough to tell you what I read between the lines, but it was pretty eye-opening what he revealed about himself. If you do plan to read it, read Hoffer's "True Believer" first, as it is a spot-on accurate key for understanding Bruce and what makes him tick as an "organizer".

I think Mike pretty well nails it, along the same lines as Hoffer -- like all wannabe leaders of would-be mass-movements, his efforts are motivated more by a passionate and unresolvable dislike of himself, directed outwards. His story about Wes and the fight at school is particularly illustrative of this -- his embrace of nonviolence is an overreaction to his fear of becoming like his abusive stepfather.

I'd love to see Dr. Sanity's diagnosis of Bruce. It'd be fascinating.

Posted by: T.L. James at May 5, 2006 11:21 PM

Living in a place where it does snow **alot**, I can say that shoveling snow SUCKS! Winter time is fun for a few weeks, then it just gets boring once you hit the 3 months of temperatures below freezing mark.

You track snow into the house, it's wet, it slippery, when it melts and refreezes it leaves slippery ice that you fall on. You can't go outside without 5 layers of clothing, if you don't walk really fast to get where you are going your human popsicle will most likely be discovered by the authorities come springtime.

Give me the blue skies and green grass of springtime wearing a t-shirt and some shorts any day of the week.

Posted by: RobW at May 6, 2006 08:53 AM

RobW says:

Living in a place where it does snow **alot**, I can say that shoveling snow SUCKS! Winter time is fun for a few weeks, then it just gets boring once you hit the 3 months of temperatures below freezing mark.

You'll love Mars ... less snow, more cold. ;-)

Posted by: Fred K at May 6, 2006 10:59 AM

I think this guy has a severe case of depression (and perhaps other stuff). I suspect he needs some combination of pharmaceuticals and psychological counseling.

Lord knows, it worked for me...


Posted by: MG at May 7, 2006 03:51 AM

Bruce Gagnon is holding up a mirror. Most people are looking away, and blaming Bruce for holding up the mirror.

Posted by: Beth at May 8, 2006 04:59 AM

Came here from the Transterrestrial's place. Beth, I was going to say this Gagnon bird's a g&ddam nut, but I changed my mind.

He strikes me as a bully, one who makes use of emotional appeal in an attempt to coerce others to do his bidding. This is one of the least effective forms of bullying when committed by a man, as it is feminine in its' nature, thus most likely to elicit contempt, rather than the desired result.

"Mirror", my aching butt.

Posted by: Mike James at May 8, 2006 09:27 AM

Why not critique the content of Gagnon's message, rather than tear him down personally?

Posted by: Beth at May 8, 2006 02:39 PM

I do critique his content, Beth. Apparently you haven't looked through the archives here.

As for holding up the mirror -- would that work both ways? Bruce doesn't seem to benefit from the mirror that others hold up to him...he makes the same erroneous statements and engages in the same ignorant scaremongering again and again, despite being corrected by myself and others. On points of fact, I should note, not merely opinion. Indeed, he has so little interest in seeing himself in this mirror you're talking about that he would not deign to reply to substantive comments on his own blog, and ultimately disabled comments rather than be 'critiqued on the content of his message'.

Posted by: T.L. James at May 8, 2006 07:26 PM

OK, T.L., I read through some of your archives and I see that you do indeed critique Bruce's vision of keeping nuclear energy out of space.

I agree that nuclear energy is here to stay, and that if it is used properly, it can be safe and efficient. And, like you, I think that it is part of our heritage (and DNA and spiritual thirst ...) to explore the heavens.

Where I side with Bruce is in his understanding that the energy/money behind space exporation is NOT pure discovery, but the insecure need to OWN space, put weapons out there, so that one group of people can Lord over the rest. War mentality.

There is something very freak-y about the way these 2 agendas are so intertwined.

We need both voices, yours and Bruce's.

From the sampling of comments on this particular entry to your blog, I can sort of understand why Bruce doesn't allow comments on his.

Posted by: Beth at May 9, 2006 06:18 AM

I was surprised that only one person in this whole post of comments was able to focus on the message and the importance to care about things other than ourselves. I was surprised because it was all personal attacks and nothing of substance regarding what Bruce was trying to communicate. TL's 'examples' didn't make any sense as the seemed only to be angrily motivated attacks. From what I've seen in deed has worried me; is this a perfect example of 'But what happens when we find a situation in which it is the crowd which has no clothes on, and even the child thinks, as children often do, that it really is wearing its 'pretend' clothes?'

Please explain why he's held in such contempt because I haven't seen a single argument on this page that proves why Bruce is considered such a despicable fellow. I took the time, as Beth did, to read his site and I am wondering where all of the mocking, sneering, and vituperative behaviour is coming from. I would prefer clear examples of why he is or isn't a hypocrite rather than see a group of well-read posters slag someone off who has made some insightful comments.

Bruce talks about learning to feel the pain of polar bears. Why is he suddenly so attacked for that? Why is it that his suggestion to learn to have compassion and understanding of others, including the rest of the beings on the planet, is so horrible.

Any takers?

Posted by: Ziggizmund Cold at May 16, 2006 07:03 PM

I previously tried to get some answers out of Bruce himself, but he has a problem with his viewpoints and *facts* being challenged. After failing to reply to comments on his own website (unlike Mr. James and others who make a good effort to reply), Bruce simply disabled the comments feature. Brave guy. He leaves it up to people like you to shill for him.

Posted by: Aaron_J at May 16, 2006 09:52 PM

You're late to the game, Ziggizmund -- I suspect the contempt expressed here by others here has a similar genesis to mine, namely frustration that Bruce not only makes foolish and factually incorrect statements concerning space exploration and related topics (not to mention economics, politics, the military, etc.), but that he does so over and over even after being called on it. Indeed, as Aaron_J notes (and Brian Dunbar has described elsewhere), he hides from criticism and discussion of his assertions and opinions in the bell jar of the like-minded (globenet, for example). That's intellectual cowardice, and so I see little reason to afford him the courtesy of a strictly serious rebuttal.

If you see "insightful comments" in his writings, well then, bully for you. I see scientific and technological ignorance, an ardent devotion to failed economic and political theories, and a none-too-subtle taint of misanthropy.

Posted by: T.L. James at May 17, 2006 08:22 PM