Peter Zeihan on Joe Rogan; Brian Wang Responds

The business world’s turn away from China is gathering momentum. Even Apple is now preparing to shift its manufacturing away from China, bringing with it the firm’s enormous productive and engineering power. The ‘China Dream’ is rapidly fading as the country becomes ever more unequal, lacking in opportunities for both its vast working class and even for the educated. President Xi Jinping – like Mao, his authoritarian role model – has sacrificed China’s long-term prosperity in order to consolidate total political control.


In a recent Joe Rogan Experience podcast, Peter Zeihan repeats his prediction that China will collapse sometime in approximately ten years time. Prolific blogger and futurist Brian Wang takes issue with Zeihan’s assertions about China’s future, and devotes an extended blog posting toward refuting it.

My approach when confronted with contradictory viewpoints and opinions is to extract the factual material that can be documented, from both sides. While suspending final judgment, I continue to accumulate the supportable facts while keeping a close eye on contradictions among the supportable facts which are certain to arise.

All Predictions are Wrong if Examined Closely Enough

Peter Zeihan makes a lot of predictions in his books, podcasts, presentations, and interviews. Anyone with a historical perspective and a basic knowledge of how the world works, understands that categorical predictions about the future are almost certain to be wrong in many respects. Nevertheless, informed predictions can be highly educational even if the outcome proves the prediction wrong in some aspects. All meaningful predictions are made using imperfect knowledge.

Brian Wang has spent decades predicting a bright future for China, and has only recently begun to temper his China optimism with a moderate dash of pessimism. But he is not prepared to accept Peter Zeihan’s “China Collapsism” without a fight. It is shaping up to be an interesting debate.

In other news:

79 Year Old Man Followed Home, Stabbed in Face, Shoots Attacker

In the teeming metropolis of Elderon, Wisconsin (pop. 159), a 79-year-old man was accosted outside his home at 2:30 a.m. as he stepped out of his car. It seems his attacker followed him home intent on robbing the older man.

Unbeknownst to the attacker, the homeowner carried a pistol. Police say that Mr. Homeowner, after being stabbed in the face, shot Alexander T. Watters once in the chest.

Don’t Mess With Wisconsin

The alleged attacker had reportedly seen the elderly man drinking in a bar, and decided to follow the old geezer home for an easy home invasion robbery. But sometimes easy targets are not so easy. Now, alleged attacker Alexander Watters is dead from a gunshot wound, and the old geezer with a facial stab wound is recovering in a local Wisconsin hospital.

That is America, where carrying a firearm is still widely legal. Tens of millions of Americans have firearms experience and training, whether from the military, from law enforcement, or simply from private firearms training organizations. They may look old sometimes, but if they are adequately armed they can sometimes fend off a younger and more violent attacker who is not as well equipped. Mr. Watters may not have known he was bringing a knife to a gun fight.

Space Mining Startups: An Expansive and Abundant Future

Space mining has matured to the point where there are dozens of startup companies, even larger firms, addressing aspects of what’s called the “space resources value chain,” Abbud-Madrid said…

… Joel Sercel is founder and CEO of TransAstra, a California-based firm that’s aimed at sustainably harvesting resources from the moon and asteroids to change the course of history.

“Several breakthroughs need to take place technically to enable asteroid mining. We feel we’ve put all those to bed,” Sercel told TransAstra has blueprinted the transportation and equipment to get the job done, “to actually process the asteroid in a meaningful way,” he said.

… “We go into space to solve the problems here on the Earth,” Sercel concluded. “Nobody wants to think about a future in which humans don’t thrive. So it’s time for us to go into space.”

An Organic Growth Process

In order to create an abundant and expansive future, it is necessary to create large numbers of innovative startups which may never succeed — or if they do succeed, it may not happen for decades. This is true for a wide range of worthy goals, most of which grow out of the infrastructure needs of present and future societies.

Most left-leaning individuals I have known, do not possess any deep understanding of critical infrastructures and how they mesh together in a smoothly working economy that is allowed to function organically. That failing is one of many important reasons why modern leftism is doomed to fail. The question is how much of the world will be destroyed and sent back into the stone age before that failure is a historical fact. Remember: Communism Killed 100 Million in the 20th Century. What could it hurt to give recycled leftist extremism (Postmodern NeoMarxist Nihilism) another chance?

American Exceptionalism Without Leadership

America enjoys an enormous expanse of arable land, the largest in the world, bigger than that of Russia and Ukraine combined, and nearly 100million acres more than China. It is not only by far the largest food exporter in the world, but it also leads all countries, including Russia and Saudi Arabia, in the production of fossil fuels, which are now being consumed more than ever. And not to be overlooked are America’s vast reserves of fresh water, the third largest on the planet.

These assets separate America from its largest rivals. Neither China nor Europe has adequate domestic energy supplies, making both ever reliant, like Tennessee Williams’ Blanche DuBois, on the ‘kindness of strangers’. Shortages and high prices are already hammering Germany’s industrial economy, from its dynamic mid-sized firms to the giants of its chemicals industry, despite the German government spending a massive half-a-trillion dollars on energy subsidies. Europe is now desperately firing up coal plants and reconsidering nuclear energy, but in the near-term its energy salvation will most likely lie in the oil fields of the Permian basin and other hotbeds of US energy production.

These geographic advantages, as well as the growing global suspicion about China, are turning America once again into the world’s primary destination for foreign investment, particularly in energy-intensive sectors like manufacturing. Japan, Germany and Canada are the top investors. German car giant Volkswagen sees the US as its best bet for ‘strategic growth’, especially given the business and political pressure against investment in China.

Yet perhaps even more than nature’s gifts, America’s greatest asset may lie in its centuries-old constitutional order. This is very different to the much ballyhooed, bureaucratic ‘rules-based’ system so attractive to Eurocrats and their American admirers. In Europe, decisions are based on the political fashions of the moment. Only a bureaucracy in thrall to green ideology, for instance, could have ignored all the warning signs of the current energy crisis and placed ever more bets on unreliable wind and solar in the name of stopping climate change – even while China, by far the world’s biggest emitter of CO2, is building more coal plants to power its homes and industries. Today, coal is now being consumed more than at any time in history.

Joel Kotkin

The US is led and controlled by corrupt and duplicitous elites, both inside and outside of government. The de facto coup emerged over a 50-60 year timescale out of universities, salons, media conglomerates, and other centers where wealth controls fashionable thought. As the Twitter Files are showing us, when the government colludes with private media companies to censor and distort the information flows to society, even a constitutional republic is in danger of tipping over into a quasi-totalitarian society of the lobotomized.

Americans can be slow to comprehend what has been done to them, but many of them will eventually wake up to the sordid reality, and will react in as efficacious a manner as they can.

The solution to left-wing cultural dominance is neither to embrace any celebrity who casts a glance rightward nor to mimic the artistic production of the cultural Left. It is to go deeper—to rebuild the structures that provide the basis for healthy, integrated human development: families, schools, churches, neighborhoods.

Though few have noticed, this is already happening. A “Quiet Right” is patiently, and nearly invisibly, building a viable counterculture.

The main locus of this movement is in education, where conservative families have created robust alternatives to the secular and predominantly left-wing public education system. Many have turned to homeschooling, which has seen double-digit growth in recent years. Others have enrolled their children in a fast-growing network of “classical schools,” which have returned to the traditional liberal arts curriculum of logic, rhetoric, grammar, mathematics, Latin, and music. And the small but influential network of traditional, faith-based colleges, such as Hillsdale, Benedictine, Thomas Aquinas, and University of Dallas, have seen record-breaking enrollment.

In the cultural domain, the Quiet Right has broken significant new ground. In the arts, right-wing pseudonymous authors have created new magazines, publishing houses, and literary prizes. More mainstream companies, such as the Daily Wire, have sought to create conservative media institutions at industrial scale. Figurative painting and neo-classical architecture have gained appreciation. At the grassroots level, faith-based and family-oriented social media content have seen rapid growth, with “mom bloggers” revalorizing family and motherhood and a “back-to-the-land” movement appealing to classic Americana imagery and offering an alternative to millennial aesthetics.

The Quiet Right is also reshaping America’s social geography. The past decade has seen a movement to repopulate small towns and create culturally moderate communities that offer an alternative to misgoverned coastal enclaves.

Where Alternatives Can Still Be Created

The radical left built its current clout by infiltrating university faculties and staff, turning places which should have been centers for helping students to think for themselves, into de facto indoctrination centers. This culture of leftist propaganda, censorship, and cancel culture has moved steadily into all levels of education, media, government, corporations, and social institutions.

It remains up to the people to decide how far they will go in countering this designed and well-planned sabotage of thought, speech, education, work, and governance in the world’s only superpower.

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4 Responses to Peter Zeihan on Joe Rogan; Brian Wang Responds

  1. DJOlds says:

    I have only one question for Brian Wang – is Zeihan’s analysis that the Mainland Chinese population will drop by HALF by 2050 correct? Zeihan is predicting a population crash for Mainland China from 1.3 billion to 650 million over the next 27 YEARS. Compared to that, all other factors are gilding the lilly. I see no mention by Mr. Wang of the Chinese census overcount by 100 million – Mainland population was 1.3 billion as of mid 2021, not 1.4 billion. And Mr. Wang himself admits to a 1-2% per annum reduction in Mainland Chinese population, which equates to a population of 75-56% the mid 2021 population by 2050. And Zeihan has been quoting the “half” number since mid 2021. Wang isn’t even contesting Zeihan’s most lethal argument, he’s agreeing with it. The Mainland’s population is already 1.26 billion and dropping.

    • alfin2101 says:

      Best not to get too caught up in the specifics of whether China’s population will fall to 80% of 2020 levels or to 50% instead. It is the makeup of the resulting population — and what it is capable of doing — that matters.

      Brian thinks that Zeihan is going too far, and to the extent that Zeihan is acting as a provocateur, Brian is right. But there is more than a kernel of truth in Zeihan’s analysis. Better to look for what is meaningful than to object to specific numbers.

      • DJOlds says:

        IF the Mainland Chinese population is going to drop by almost one-half in only one generation, there IS nothing else meaningful to consider. A state that top-loaded with geezers and suffering from that radical a drop in population – people who do not exist as labor to fuel an economy – is finished as “the wave of the future.” Literally nothing else matters. That’s Black Death level mortality over a SLIGHTLY more forgiving timeframe. Anything in the 75-56% population reduction range is Black Death scale losses. Beyond that, Mr. Wang indicts Zeihan’s flawed predictions of the 2005-’10 range (granted), and indulges in guilt by association ad hominem attacks on George Friedman (pathetic). Not overly impressive.

        • alfin2101 says:

          I agree that from our 2023 perspective a drop of 50% from China’s current population should leave the country reeling and vulnerable. But anything that takes place over a 25 to 30 year time span (while technological development is potentially disruptive in countries around the world), offers the potential of being partially mitigated or compensated for by a clever adoption of disruptive technologies.

          If China dumps the corrupt CCP and moves to a freer and looser model of governance, the latent energy of the Chinese peoples might be unleashed to an unpredictable outcome.

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