The Useful and the Useless, by Robert Gore




The battle lines are forming.

You’re standing on the prow of an ocean liner cutting through the icy waters of the North Atlantic. A huge iceberg looms dead ahead. You’ve seen it for some time, but now it’s too close, and the liner too big and fast, to avoid the collision. You quietly make your way to the lifeboats, knowing they’re the only chance for saving yourself and your loved ones. Below decks, an orchestra plays a waltz and oblivious revelers dance.

Most people don’t foresee the world’s inevitable collision with the iceberg of unsustainable fantasy. When it happens, they’ll respond predictably, with panic and cowardice. Those who’ve seen it coming and moved to the lifeboats will experience their own roiling emotions, attenuated by recognition of the logic behind the disaster. While the forewarned have dreaded impact, many will also welcome it, in the way one welcomes an unpleasant medical procedure: let’s get it over with. The motive is not malice, but conviction born of experience that actions have consequences and there’s no escaping them. After seemingly inexplicable and interminable delay, consequences shall arrive, amplified by the tawdry stratagems that promoted delay.

It will come as a surprise to many, but governments cannot suspend reality. Their arsenal, when things break down, comes down to their arsenal: the capacity to coerce. Violence or its threat enables governments to exact compliance. Proponents of government power invariably see themselves exercising it. Once the ship hits the iceberg, it will be obvious that governments’ guns are not wands, freeing citizens from the necessity of producing as much or more than they consume. They cannot compel innovators to innovate or producers to produce. While coercive power comes from one end of a gun, none of the powers that produce progress (and the gun) magically materialize at the other end.

It is said that America is a society divided. True enough, but the important question is: along what lines? Crisis and social breakdown will provide clarification: it’s governments and their beneficiaries versus producers. In other words, those who don’t do useful things versus those who do.

Huge shifts in social mood and direction are presaged. President Trump’s election presages the coming division. Among the analyses of the election, few noted an obvious dividing line. Trump’s supporters by and large do useful things, or are angry because they’re prevented from doing useful things. They build, engineer, manufacture, plant, grow, operate, maintain, repair, transport, and sell the things we find useful or essential. When we ram the iceberg, their skills, brains, and adaptability will be sorely needed.

Politicians and bureaucrats and the millions dependent on them for their fake jobs, income, food, shelter, transportation, and medical care will find little demand for their skills, such as they are. The useful may well conclude that keeping them alive is more trouble than it’s worth. There will be those who are too young, old, or infirm to produce, but whom the useful will support out of friendship or kinship. However, it would be surprising if they felt anything but contempt for the faceless hordes demanding that someone, anyone, take care of them.

Take away the undeserved from the undeserving and you get a tantrum. Steal the earned from those who earned it and you get righteous rage. One’s a firecracker, the other a volcano. The game has been to impress upon the useful a moral obligation to support the useless, but the volcano’s about to blow, burying that obscene morality in lava and ash. Given the staggering levels of accumulated debt and promises, the useful know their talents, skills, hard work, productivity and futures have been mortgaged for the useless. This is the salient and intractable social division. No reconciliation is possible between the useful and those who believe themselves entitled to their enslavement. The Trump fissure will become a yawning chasm when the Good Ship Profligate Government collides with the iceberg.

Centralization serves the needs of government and its dependents. Honest production and exchange require little government, perhaps none at all. Those who believe current arrangements should persist have to believe that the useful who support those arrangements will provide more and more while receiving less and less. The implicit premise has to be that when it all finally breaks down, the useful can be brutally subjugated—but kept producing—while receiving nothing more than their subsistence. Slavery cannot support the police state necessary to impose it, much less a modern economy. Those who believe any outcomes other than destruction and death are possible are delusional. If those are the outcomes they anticipate and desire, they’re homicidally and suicidally psychopathic.

Governments will have their surveillance apparatuses, police, militaries, prisons, torture chambers, concentration camps, killing fields, and the like. The useful will have their minds. Totalitarian accounting is daunting. All that money going out for suppression, so little coming in from a populace whose best and brightest have been imprisoned or murdered, or who produce the minimum necessary to survive. The day comes when the policeman, soldiers, and guards can’t be paid with anything of value and all hell breaks loose. Or, less colloquially, centralization gives way to decentralization.

To what depths governments will descend and how long they will survive as agents of repression is unknowable, but their dissolution is foreordained. They cannot commandeer the resources necessary to sustain the current level of tyranny. The useful will vote with their feet and if that’s not possible, bullets will be their ballots. They will establish enclaves and protect themselves from the tantrums, chaos, and depredations of the useless. (Useful in such a context may require nothing more than a willingness to work hard.) The useless depend on the useful, who of course don’t need them at all. The useful will eventually triumph, if the species survives (not a sure thing). Tragically, the butcher’s bill is likely to be exorbitant.






83 responses to “The Useful and the Useless, by Robert Gore

  1. “We can evade reality, but we cannot evade the consequences of evading reality”. – Ayn Rand

    Liked by 1 person

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  3. Centurion_Cornelius

    Glad you cut through the baloney here, Robert. It’s the classic ant versus grasshopper fable, except most of the ants that I rub shoulders with are truly productive AND have a wealth of sustainability. Our motto: “We can fix anything but a broken heart.” Been doing it for about three generations now.

    We see what’s coming down the pike–clear as a fire-bell ringing in the dead of night.

    But–our life, our “fable” that we live each day–prepares us both for the best and the worst. Think of the ant and grasshopper tale with the ant burrowed deep underground, immune to DDT and armed with AK47s with buried mounds of ammo. Our game-book plans and executes a “goaline stand” with a curtain of hot steel in a layered defense.

    Thanks for making things so precise and clear to us!


  4. Fantastic, Robert!


  5. “Take away the undeserved from the undeserving and you get a tantrum. Steal the earned from those who earned it and you get righteous rage. One’s a firecracker, the other a volcano.”

    That’s good. Really good.



    Mr. Gore. Excellent prose stating the obvious. Now, in all seriousness and with all due respect, when do you think this will happen? I have been reading thoughtful essays from you, Richard Maybury, Don McAlvany, and others since the mid-1990’s. We have not gone upside down, yet.
    Of course we have had the debacle in 2008. My wife and I are several thousand dollars poorer, vis-a-vis our IRA. But, things are still functioning. Businesses are failing but is that due to the economy or are people just shifting to transacting more business on the internet?
    We are in serious economic trouble. But, we are a large beach ball with a tiny leak. This is a slow process. It is made even slower by the continued manipulation of the currency and digital monies created out of thin air by the criminals at the FED and the International Banksters. Do you have any thoughtful prognostications as to when the clock will strike twelve?


  7. When you think about it … a Police State is a necessary condition of every Welfare State.

    The price of Welfare is the loss of both Privacy and Property.

    Answers … I have none. Let it burn.


  8. Well,that is a hell of a way to start me morning!I feel though a Friday feels now more like a Monday after this read,a great example of reality sucks.Will say another phrase truth hurts comes to mind,hence,will enjoy the day while preparing for tomorrow.I would like to think perhaps a article like this would be a wake up call to folks,even if only one person as then tis a start.I feel though this excellent read is only for the ones who have already seen the light at the end of the tunnel,and as the song says the light at the end of the tunnel is just a freight train coming your way.


  9. When we decided that Gunsmithing was the occupational course to pursue it occurred to me that it’s a useful skillset in unsettled times.


  10. Mr. Gore,
    Fabulous essay. Too bad there are details that will be just awful. Moving to a rural, poor, already “collapsed” area in my state is a good effort…almost 5 years now. The population here will suffer as well, even if the productive protect the weak. There are the disability people and the welfare people here also…and of course the ubiquitous drug “problem”…and those issues will have to be sorted out. Nonetheless, this lifestyle won’t be as hard a fall…and it beats living in a crowded city in some high-rise with failing city “services.” We don’t fear the people around us here…we will work together… I hope anyway. Gov better not allow banks to confiscate our money!
    I have read your books, and your latest is excellent. I hope everyone reads it because it entertains, and enlightens! Please write another book because we really want another one.


  11. Since the times when I became aware, around 2003, I’ve tried to get at least a fair level of skill at many different tasks that may be needed, come the Big Change. I actually began around 1999, but my health set me back. While I’m not master of any skills, I think I can hold my own in a good cross section of basics in nearly every endeavor. I can say with confidence that I know how to train men for combat, and many associated basic skills, along with advanced ones, regarding defense, offense, preparing for these operations, and top to bottom, everything that will be required to accomplish them. I’ve emphasized in the last ten years on doing these things on a shoe string, and improvising with whatever is at hand to do it. My weather eye has been to figure little may be available to get a lot of important things done, post Mad Max, and that I had better stay loose, and be flexible. Useful? I don’t think a man of any character ever wants to be less than useful. I was useless when I was a child, and hated it. I was relieved and gratified when my father put me to work, hauling bricks, and making cement one tub at a time. Your columns have the ring of truth to them, and I’m always drawn here because of that. The reckoning that is about to happen twixt the useless whiners and the producers will be an ugly thing, but it needs to happen. Nature itself is out of balance in this way, and everyone knows it’s not nice to fool with Mother Nature.


  12. ~~~~ODE TO THE REPUBLIC~~~

    This ponzi scheme has run it’s course,
    We can no longer ride a dying horse,
    The last golden goose has been plucked,
    We as a nation are soon to be f–cked,
    All we will have left is buyers remorse.

    Upon the nipple of the republic we make our stand,
    Suckling theron is for the common man,
    Cradle to grave security is our sine qua non,
    It’s promised to us and all our spawn,
    The welfare state is our law of the land.

    A plethora of sucklers, a paucity of nipples,
    When the money runs out there will be ripples,
    The golden goose we have plucked,
    The taxpayers they have been f–ked
    We have become a nation of moral cripples.


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  24. norman franklin

    Nice job again Robert, twice in one week you’re on a roll. Read it again on you’re site and it is exceptionally well written.


  25. “undeserved” aka underserved

    Just realized howclose those words are in spelling, and why the curious choice of the latter.

    Kinda like bums going upscale, now known as homeless persons.


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  27. Clinton assembled a coalition of the Privileged, the Perverts and the Parasites and proceeded to rub the faces of the Productive into it.
    The response to the rotting hag running the worst campaign since Michael (Beware of Greeks wearing Lifts) Dukakis was to declare war.

    I think there’s a good possibility that you are right: it could explode this year, I think there’s a fairly high probability that it will before Trump’s first term is up. If it were not for the spastic reaction from the left I’d have held out some hope that the flow of funds to the Hive could be constricted by the Republicans having absolute control in 25 States where State funding for Mexican Lesbian Dwarf Tossing Studies could be abolished.
    I think it’s too late.


  28. Brilliant, insightful, concisely and precisely expressed.
    Well done, and linked.

    And the prognosis is, if anything, perhaps a tad too optimistic.


  29. Good but disheartening article. I liked the part about the guy who powers his vehicles with pig manure. Washington D.C. could power the entire planet.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Actually, I thought it was heartening (is that a word?) as an example of the useful overcoming those “prevent[ing them] from doing useful things”. It’s also heartening to see your article getting so much attention. Maybe (let’s hope) it will be the next Big Viral Thing on the internet.


      • Yes, I liked that so many tractor owners took things into their own hands. I don’t know about going viral, though. There’s hardly anything that I cherish more than my obscurity.


        • It’s good that the farmers took things into their own hands, but to me the really remarkable thing was the infrastructure (so to speak) that spontaneously arose, enabling them to do so.

          I can certainly sympathize with cherishing obscurity. I was thinking more in terms of the ideas going viral than you personally. It’d give your book sales a nice boost, though.

          Somewhat more OT, an excellent (and ominous) article by Alasdair Macleod: Why free trade is officially dead.


  30. Nice work. Nailed it as usual.
    Saw you on Lew Rockwell.
    You are smokin’ !!


  31. Reblogged this on The zombie apocalypse survival homestead and commented:
    Drawing the lines. Robert hits a home run.


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  36. Wow, excellent essay. That’s where we are today.

    I was born in the 40s. I use to say that I don’t have ‘quit’ in me. Well for me, that (and our Founders’ Republic) ended on New Years Eve 2011 when Obama signed McCain’s NDAA into law.

    With great effort my family moved to the Redoubt. Here we am surrounded with God-fearing families who home-school their children. We are hopeful and praying for what arises from the ashes of this once-great country. Honestly, the Socialists and their masses of useful idiots cowering in cities can go to hell.


  37. Robert, I was thunderstruck by the logical and rhetorical power of your essay. Truly outstanding. I hope you don’t mind–I linked to it and read it verbatim on my podcast (at the 55:30 mark).


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  39. Late to the party via LRC.

    I live in Uselesstown in the heart of P.C.ville where trans is the rage and we’re all snug in our pussy hats. But something sublte is going on among some of the teens and twenties who’ve begun to grasp where this is leading, a turning away from the schools they’ve attended toward vocational training and community supported agriculture and other potentially sustainable activities. It’s a small number and may be too little too late, but tiny cracks have begun to appear in the concrete foundation of the still dominant identity politics of entitlement. If you have thoughts about ways in which us useless seniors (useful in the old paradigm though not in the new one) may become useful, do share!


    • Imbroglio,

      Widen the crack. If you have access to those young people who are questioning the dominant ideology, talk with them, ask questions, answer questions; above all else, address their minds. If you don’t currently have access, find a way to gain it. The battle, as Ayn Rand noted, is first and foremost a battle for minds, and it must be fought one mind at a time. You can’t bludgeon or berate, but you can discuss, especially with the young, what is on their minds, and by talking with them, you can impart the wisdom learned over the span of your life. Never underestimate the power of a question, or the power of rational discussion. Doing this will be unquestionably useful, not just for those with whom you talk, but for you. Go for it!


  40. Nice conservative post, but not very honest. We saw what deregulating did during the bush years, and now we are going right back as if it didn’t happen. So you are right about a crash coming, but it’s not because of old used up people, kids, or the disabled, it will be because of the greedy. The same people who supported trump, They get their entitlements, and would like nothing more than to strip younger people from theirs. The investors and people who play the stock market, about everyone with money, will make out well until it collapses. But nice try at beating the hatred of poor people drums, the usual conservative talking points. Keep in mind those worthless people spend money and keep things going while the rich offer little.


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  42. somethinghappeninghere

    Exactly–thanks for pointing out exactly who constitutes the “useless eaters,” and I don’t just mean welfare queens, I especially mean those who consider all of us productive folks as “useless eaters”–the criminal psychopathic elites!


  43. Robert, I know that I am late to the party, but I still wanted to add my well done.
    This post is, in essence, what I have been telling people for several years now. That is, when the SHTF, the best part will be that the bureaucrats and all of their minions will be the first to go, because, in the real world, they have no skills that will allow them to survive. Good riddance, I say.
    However, you have said all of that in a much more eloquent, concise, and pleasure to read manner. Brilliant! In the future I will just point people to this post.


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