Episode 20: David Miller
David Miller is a state representative and mineral explorer in Wyoming. Rep. Miller was the architect of Wyoming’s House Bill 85, the so-called “Doomsday Bill,” which created a committee to study Wyoming’s response to a collapse of the US Federal Government. He is also the CEO of Strathmore Minerals, a uranium exploration and development company. Our conversation spans themes from across the entire project, from the transhumanism of Max More to the primitivism of John Zerzan to the scientific optimism of Ariel Waldman. This conversation also grows naturally out of the previous conversation with Joseph Tainter. Similar themes of debt and complexity arise and Rome makes another appearance, but the context is different this time. The episode concludes with Micah and Aengus discussing the role of facts in the project and if one can be a technological positivist without opening the door to transhumanism.
Artwork by Eleanor Davis.
David Miller, pleasant and successful, seems to be the disconnected man. He watches the rest of the nation struggle and, dissatisfied with the lack of attention to his remedies, secedes. None of these problems, he seems to think, are his doing, or that of other right-thinking people. Wyoming (his Wyoming) will be separate and sensible, will sit back on its fat haunches, sip a Coke and watch on TV as the nation collapses. He imagines he is disconnected from all the wrong-headedness elsewhere, and that Wyoming, too, is disconnected and that national collapse will, somehow, magically, not touch them.
David Miller has a seen frog, so species are not endangered. He has felt a cool day, so the climate is not warming. Species went extinct in the past, so there is no need to do anything about the species we are killing now. He knows of lemonade stands being closed by bureaucrats, so all regulation and rules are unnecessary. David Miller is disconnected from the environment, the climate, and even those bake-sale killers, the Wyoming bureaucrats, that work for him; he is a Wyoming politician, ostensibly part of the loathed government, but he seems to think he is disconnected from that, too.
David Miller is an optimist and that is commendable. He sees the world as an unlimited storehouse of materials, which is fine, if you don’t mind living in a slagheap.
I’m going to jump in on the conversation out of queue with a plug for facts as a necessary part of an informed and intelligent discourse. Is the conversation—the one serving as premise to this project—actually happening? Not among those who deny well-established scientific facts regarding anthropogenic climate change or anything else that demands collective political action between nations. Rep. David Miller, as an elected official, shows a culpable level of ignorance in flippantly dismissing scientific consensus regarding anthropogenic climate change. I think it is okay, and is indeed a necessary part of the conversation, to press public figures when they blatantly contradict well established facts on issues of global importance. Willful ignorance and disingenuous ideological grandstanding are the real conversation stoppers. In my opinion, Aengus does a splendid job provoking and handling his interviewees, and I enjoy very much Aengus’s and Micah’s post-interview analyses—I just want to say that it’d also be “ok” with this listener to push a bit harder when you catch someone making obviously counterfactual assertions. I’m going to leave it here without more detailed comments on the contradictions, conflations, and cognitive dissonance displayed by Representative Miller, and I’d rather hear more from others who are following the project. I very much appreciate Flout’s comment above.
I’ve come to this party about 3 years late, but I agree with what you guys say, and much would apply to the previous interviewee, Mr Tainter. Historian? ! The so-called “dark” ages are long in process of reassessment. Rome’s “collapse” must’ve been best thing for many. My main criticism so far is the overweighting of males, and white males at that. It’s not that I dislike them, I live with one, but they do tend to lack modesty whatever their angle, because they are white males, which is not their fault, but…I’m really enjoying this series, laid up with bad shoulder and cant do much but read and listen so its a godsend to me. But too many more like the last two could lose me. But I was over the moon when John Zerzan described Zizek as a ‘Stalinist shit’. I’ve only been introduced to Morton, Zizek and others in last 6 months but that was my instant take on this “hero of modern young thinkers”, one of whom, of course, introduced me.