Marcy Wheeler on the US’ waning power, climate change, and the coming neofeudalism

This is the fifth of seven Five Questions interviews from this year’s Netroots Nation. This time I found Marcy Wheeler, of, with a few minutes to spare, and was able to capture her thoughts on the waning power of the U.S., an emerging new political order (which she calls “neofeudalism”), as well as my ever-present climate question.

This year we talked about how climate crisis plays out in the intermediate term, the next 10 years or so. I also asked her about her own future as a blogger.

Five Questions with Marcy Wheeler

We thought we had a quiet hallway for our chat, and settled down. Soon after we started, others discovered our quiet hallway as well. First the cell phones started, then the conversations started. By then it was too late for us to move. Oh well.

On the other hand, the interview is both clear (you can hear Marcy’s voice easily in the foreground) and excellent. Marcy is not only thoughtful, she’s tight in her wording and concise. This is one of the shorter interviews, as well as one of the most informative.

Please listen:

Some notes:

▪ Answering question 1, about America’s approaching “deadlines,” Marcy sees a decline of U.S. power as a big shaper of the future. At 3:14, for example, she says:

“The increasing chaos and decline of power of the Unites States is pretty much baked in at this point.”

This leads to a discussion of what might replace it, which was a natural segue to the next question.

Writer Marcy Wheeler

▪ Answering Question 2, which deadline she sees approaching first, she elaborates on her use of the term “neofeudalism” (at 3:48), a term she used in last year’s interview as well. She looks at the sources of U.S. hegemony, both pre-1975 and after, then talks about corporate rule superseding rule by nation-states. She also thinks that our national security state will be our “Chinese Wall,” serving to keep good ideas outside and thus hastening the downfall.

You’ll note her reference to Obama’s Orwellian “Insider Threat” program at 5:04. For more on that, see this piece, one of several. (And please do click; it shows Big Brother Barack in full flower. Amazing.)

▪ Like most respondents, she brings up climate early. At 6:05 she talks about the effect of climate on hunger and how destabilizing that will be.

Her broad answer to the climate question and how it plays out starts at 7:27. Interesting take, and entirely in keeping with her earlier comments. Note that she refers to people ultimately losing access to the consumer-driven lifestyle. In my opinion as well, that’s going to be a major early shock, followed down the road by loss of electricity in some regions and areas of the country.

My comment (at about 10:08) that people will realize that the government is going to take care of “people better than them” is a reference to Our Betters, who are always first in line. When people realize that Our Betters are shoving us completely out of the receiving line when disaster strikes — that won’t be a pretty day.

▪ Question 4 (11:04) was, How can the national security state be short-circuited? Her answer is very timely and also promising. She says she doesn’t have an answer, after she provided one — the inherent instability of the surveillance State itself (something I’ll have much more to say about).

▪ My fifth question was about her future as a blogger. She answers at 15:51 and talks about her own unique niche in the blogging–data analysis world. Check it out.

All Five Questions interviews

Here’s the complete list of this year’s Five Questions interviews. These will be published over the next few weeks in this order:

■ Sam Seder of
■ Dave Johnson of Campaign for America’s Future and
■ Richard (RJ) Eskow of Campaign for America’s Future and Huffington Post
■ digby of Hullabaloo
■ Marcy Wheeler of (this interview)
■ Joel Silbermanactor and media trainer — almost every good congressperson on our side, Joel has worked with them
■ GottaLaff, actress, writer, director and co-proprietress of

I’ll update this list with links as the interviews are published. Thanks for listening.


To follow or send links: @Gaius_Publius

Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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