Is it really too late?


Have you ever had one of those periods in your life when you weren't operating at peak efficiency, perhaps when some nasty bug had you flat on your back and you couldn't do much else but think?  I had such a period recently. 

I love to think and plan.  Normally, I am forward-looking and positive.  When I am sick, though, I tend to become somewhat introspective about life and my place in it and more critically analytical about the world around me.

I exchanged a couple of emails with Chuck Bolotin, one of the contributors here at Next!, and I recounted to him how my wife and I differ somewhat on our prognosis for the future of our world and how we will all fare in the years ahead.  My wife agrees with me that things are a mess economically and politically and that our rights to just about everything are eroding at an alarming pace.  She thinks, however, that things can still work themselves out and that although things might get messy we can avoid a flat-out 're-set' where everything starts all over again.

My opinion is somewhat different.  I think we are way past the stage where any degree of tinkering can save us.  Things are too bad.  Our governments owe too much.  We depend too much on government 'services' that are unaffordable and counter-productive.  My point of view should be no surprise to anyone who has read my writings over the decades.  There is plenty of evidence to support my prognosis.  See Canada Debt and U.S. Debt.

Chuck agrees with me.  He is a conservative and I am an anarcho-capitalist, so we might differ somewhat on how we think things will play out, but we each think that a full-on economic collapse is inevitable.

As Chuck pointed out in his recent article for Next!, we all need to get together, throw our political differences aside and talk about how to deal with this mess.  Blaming each other after a collapse will delay rebuilding and a restoration of order and sanity.  All of us share some common ground politically and philosophically and that is what my article for this issue of Next! is about. 

Read on. 

Sieg Pedde, Publisher, Next! 


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Cores and Facades -- When will we ever learn?

Written by: Sieg Pedde
Published: May 1, 2014 11:48:59 AM EST

What is wrong with us?  We, the members of the human race, have been around long enough to have tried out just about every proposed solution to every problem, real or imagined, and yet we appear to be perpetually perched on the brink of disaster.

In the recorded history of the human race, many billions of words have been written and countless, impassioned speeches have been made, both in in defense of and condemnation for everything imaginable.  Sometimes, scapegoats were blamed and persecuted.  Always, our 'leaders' have promised us everything and delivered, what? At best they have given us nothing useful and at worst the opposite of what we need.  Either way, they have bankrupted us and we have been willing accomplices. 

We never seem to be able to grasp that the more we think that each of us is some insignificant cog in the giant machine of society, the bigger our problems become and the larger are our subsequent failures. 

I am not a cog.  Neither are you. 

Our values and actions define us and make us succeed or fail.  It is the indomitable human spirit to survive that makes us get up, dust ourselves off, and try again if we fail at something.  If we are taught that nothing is ever our fault and that we 'can't help it' if we screw up, then it should be no surprise if we never get anywhere and resent anyone who is better off than we are.

When I cruise around on news and opinion sites on the internet, I read posts and articles that are sometimes touching, sometimes infuriating, sometimes hilarious, but always edifying in some way. Want to cycle through every possible emotion in thirty minutes or so? Sit down with your favorite drink and read some opinion pieces. Make it a policy not just to read posts by people who think just like you. Give yourself some variety. Even though many expressed views will be radically different from your own, be prepared to discover that at the core we are all simply human beings, doing the best we can for ourselves and our families. 

It is just that we seldom agree on how to achieve the perfect world that we all want. 

When we meet someone new, whether in person or in cyberspace, our inner, philosophical core is not immediately evident. It is the facade that we experience first, the face that we each present to the world. Our facade is the result of years of experiences, good or bad, our education, where and how we grew up and will even include some characteristics that we can justifiably blame on our genes.

Our facade is how we are judged initially.

Sometimes, we never get a second chance to be judged. Impressions based on our facade is what others carry with them, and account for how they act with us or react to us. Is this fair? Maybe not, but it is a fact.

I think that we are headed for economic disaster in North America and that we are close to the point of no return. When enough people realize that our governments can't pay our bills things will unravel, perhaps very quickly. We have expected to be taken care of, cradle to grave.  We thought that we could safely squander our personal income because ultimately, when we need help at retirement or in ill health, the state will be there to take care of us. We all know that the state has no resources of its own, and that in order to give to us it first has to take from someone else, but we don't care.

What is going to happen when the well runs dry, when it becomes evident even to the thickest and most uninformed among us, that what we have grown to expect over the decades as our just due is simply not there? The American government not only spends all of its tax revenue every year, it spends a trillion dollars more and borrows what it needs.  No money is set aside to pay for the retirement needs of its citizens, nothing is invested for the health care they will need. Instead, the national debt grows larger and larger, and the percentage of tax revenue needed to pay interest on the debt grows along with it. Soon, Americans will all be up that proverbial creek without a paddle.

Will Canadians fare any better? Nationally, we are somewhat better off, but Ontario, where I live, is in dreadful financial shape.

When the excrement hits the whirling blades of excess, as it will sooner or later, we will all be in the same boat. Our personal facades of liberal, conservative, libertarian, communist, or i-just-don't-give-a-damn-ist will all become irrelevant. We will all be scrambling to find ways to mitigate the disaster that we face. We will all be trying to pay our bills and feed our families, and will need to do so without help from anyone else, governments in particular. We will need to protect ourselves, at a time when social unrest will likely be at its worst, when municipalities will have very little money available for police protection. When all this happens, it is what we all are at the core that will matter.

Will we stop blaming everyone else and concentrate on taking care of our families, or will we still be out there demanding more slop from the government troughs that have long since run dry?

I truly hope that the values we will all need to survive cooperatively, the core values we all have, will triumph. The day of financial reckoning gets closer every year and with every year that passes the average person is even less prepared. Governments will not, cannot, be the answer. They will be broke. We will have to look to ourselves and summon our inner strength to survive. And when the worst is over, when the excesses have all been purged, we must all resolve that such a thing will never happen again.

And when we rebuild, as we will, those core values that we all have will help set us straight for a few dozen years. After that, if we have learned nothing from the dreadful experience we will all have shared, the cycle will begin all over again.

I am not a soothsayer. I have no crystal ball. I don't know when things will fall apart. I just know that it will happen, sooner or later. When it does, I am not going to be checking your political affiliation and, I suspect, you won't care about mine either. We will simply all put our minds and shoulders to the tasks at hand and we will survive. It will be what is at the core of each of us that will help us do so.

Please feel free to open a dialogue in the comments section below. 
What say you?