February 26, 2008 – An ominous, not too distant future hangs over our heads. I find myself holding my breath, waiting for the shoes to drop, unable to move.
By The Cerebral Aesthetic Vagabond
I’m not normally someone who becomes incapacitated by fear. Whenever I have to address something that frightens me, I do so without hesitation and usually discover that the object of my fright is not as frightening as I feared.
For the last few years, however, I’ve been increasingly incapacitated by my growing fear about the rapidly approaching future. What scares the hell out of me? Total economic collapse, for one, which will make the Great Depression of the 1930s seem like a picnic in the park.
The Great Depression was largely a psychological crisis. It began as a financial crisis, borne of shattered confidence in the system. Fundamentally, the economy was strong, the nation was rich in natural resources, it possessed a vibrant and skilled workforce and a strong industrial and agricultural base. All that was needed to overcome the malaise of the 1930s was a strong leader who could constructively direct peoples’ energy. While I don’t care for most of FDR’s policies, he did successfully direct people toward constructive endeavors that eventually pulled the nation out of its slump. Unfortunately, part of that economic revival came at the expense of World War II, a lesson that may enjoy a nefarious reprise.
Today, however, we are facing nearly the opposite type of crisis from that of the 1930s. Our economy today is a sham, a Potemkin economy. Our industrial base is nearly gone – percentage-wise we’ve lost two-thirds of our manufacturing jobs since 1960 alone; our agricultural base is not doing much better; our ability to put food on the table is in serious jeopardy; fisheries are depleted; two of our most important natural resources, oil and natural gas, are severely depleted and we import more than half of the oil we use; our workforce is unskilled at anything useful – what good are lawyers, real estate agents, and retail clerks in a crisis that threatens our very survival?; all our financial systems and markets are thoroughly corrupt, and so are all our political systems; and we’ve destroyed all the goodwill that the rest of the world once harbored for us. Yet, despite the underlying rot that has eaten away the entire foundation of our society, the powers-that-be have successfully created a facade of prosperity and normalcy, and most worrisome of all, the populace – at least 95% of them – are eager to lap up such pablum. The crisis we face today is real, not psychological, and once the coming economic collapse is forthrightly acknowledged, we won’t have the means to recover from it.
I’ve seen this coming for years and as my apprehension has grown, I’ve made more and more radical adjustments to my lifestyle in an attempt to weather the coming storm. I sold my expensive and indebted suburban house and bought a cheap house in a distant rural area; I liquidated all my assets that are likely to depreciate; I paid off all my debts; I even eliminated my dependence on a high-paying job by cutting my cost of living to the bone. But despite being better prepared than 95% of Americans, I fear it’s not enough.
What I fear more than anything is that the powers-that-be have allowed the problems to fester for so long while looting the economy and maintaining this facade of normalcy, that when the collapse comes, it’s going to come swiftly and crushingly, and the powers-that-be will react crazily, but with the full support of a bewildered, desperate populace that didn’t appreciate the magnitude of what was coming. The likely reactions of the powers-that-be will include the imposition of martial law, rationing of food and energy, confiscation of assets, banking restrictions, forced labor, and perhaps a phony terrorist attack and World War III, the latter two serving mainly to divert peoples’ attention away from the various economic crises. None of these measures will get the nation out of the depression – these are coping mechanisms that the powers-that-be will probably attempt to maintain indefinitely, which is a pretty grim thought. The only sensible way to get out of the next depression will be to free people to find their own solutions in smaller, autonomous, sustainable communities, but the powers-that-be will fight like crazy to prevent that because it would mean a loss of their control over the social hierarchy.
The rest of the world will suffer the same crises, though most nations will not suffer as severely as will the United States. For varying reasons, the rest of the world is in a better position to recover from the crises than the United States, and it will. The rest of the world will recover more quickly and will more or less abandon the United States, which will steadily devolve in the years following the onset of collapse, until it eventually starts breaking up into autonomous regions. Of course, such a breakup will be violently resisted by those in power.
I feel like a passenger on a ship that’s just slammed into an iceberg, in the middle of the ocean, and has only enough lifeboats for the rich first class passengers to escape in. No matter how well prepared one is in such a situation – short of having their own lifeboat – they’re doomed. Such a realization certainly takes the zest out of life. What’s the point of working, saving money, and planning for the future when the future will largely be reduced to eking out a basic subsistence amid government oppression and civilian chaos? One might as well enjoy life now, while they still can. Perhaps that explains why people don’t seem to be concerned about spending tons of money they don’t have. Maybe their subconscious minds have recognized the pointlessness of being responsible and have thus directed their bodies to live it up before the big collapse.
We face a grim future here in the United States, yet the vast majority of Americans can’t or won’t see it. They seem almost willfully ignorant, content to absorb their mind numbing doses of pharmaceuticals and television, stuff their faces with junk food, wash it down with gasoline for their ever higher horsepower cars, displace their own meaningful thoughts with government propaganda, and be treated like children or sheep by the government when the time comes. When will this dire future arrive? All too soon – probably in a matter of months. For me it’s as if while gazing at the heavens through my telescope one night I spotted a huge asteroid in space, hurtling toward the planet, and realized that in mere months it would collide with devastating consequences.
Myself, I am at a loss for what to do. There is really no answer. I’ve made all the preparations I can make, which I repeat, is more than what 95% of the people have done, but I now fear my efforts won’t make any difference. Today I find myself paralyzed with fear.