I’m Sorry, I Really Am

It bothers me a lot that I have very little good to say about the state of the world.  And, I’m sorry about that.  I really am.

I don’t like telling my friends and family that “the sky is falling”.  I really don’t.  I’d much rather focus on the positive developments in my life.  There are many plenty of those that I could recite.  We have a pretty good life – not without its challenges, of course – but, I think we’ve been blessed.  God is good.

The dour countenance that often I take here, really, isn’t about me at all.  I don’t even have much in the way of personal fear over the state of the world.  That’s one of the benefits of my Christian faith, you see, although many of my friends would consider that to be rather delusional.  So be it, it still brings me peace. 

When it’s all said and done, the reason that I continue to point to so many tragic calamities (that are cropping up like fleas on a dog) is that it will affect you and your loved ones.  Oh, I know, it’s simply a matter of opinion…and, since humankind has tended to muddle through so often before (not always, of course), its easy to disregard such gloomy expectations.

Still, I feel a duty to make sure that you, whoever might read this, are aware that a pretty big train is bearing down on you while you walk down the tracks, very possibly with your MP3 player blaring in your ears. 

But, I’m afraid that most of you won’t prepare in any meaningful way, even if you’re warned.  My warning, heeded or not, relieves me of some measure of my obligation to you.   Not all of it, I suspect, but some.  You are free to ignore that warning and take your chances.  What then?

I guess that we’ll just have to see how bad things really get.  And, for the record, I remain convinced that things are likely to get very bad indeed.  It is my belief that never before in human history has the world been in such extreme danger.   Never before have the margins of safety and survival been so narrow for so many.

I’ve only been speaking out in this (or the ARL) forum for the past year or so.  Over that period of time, the situation has continued to worsen….not dramatically, but steadily.  Like most, I have held out some bit of hope that we might muddle through and, as it happens, there are data points that could be viewed with some degree of optimism. 

The Tea Party movement, for one, demonstrates that some good number of our fellow citizens are willing to work very hard to restore some semblance of fiscal and constitutional sanity to our nation.  Sadly, this is all likely to be “too little, too late” for a culture that has become utterly mired in a bog of entitlements, wealth disparity, and reactionary political tendencies.    

It seems too late, also, due to the very nature of today’s global connectivity and economic interdependence.  This global system has a down side….something that others have called “mutually assured economic destruction”.  It is nigh unto impossibility that any nation can even function, let alone thrive, in isolation.  For a nation like ours, which is now 70% dependent on foreign oil resources, it is nothing more than a pipe dream.  

Of course, even as we continue to slide towards calamity, some will muddle through.  Here in the USA, we may or may not only be talking about “hard times”; perhaps, a sort of belt-tightening experience.  Unless you’re unemployed, become homeless, get drafted (huh?), or get sick and can’t afford health care, your struggle may simply be one of hamburger over steak and keeping your old car on the road a bit longer. 

However, the segment of our American population facing more dire consequences is growing by the day.  At present, we may be talking about somewhere between 1/4 and  1/3 of us all told.  And, we’re about to see this population squeezed harder still as food and energy costs escalate and as our ability to provide publicly funded assistance wanes.   

This unfortunate equation, if you haven’t noticed, has been the fuel behind all of the social unrest cropping up around the world.  To the extent that it has been somewhat limited here in the US tells us only that the American people have been, thus far, a bit more patient, a bit less affected, a bit more hopeful…. conditions that are now beginning to change.

Knee-jerk socialism, as I’ve been warning, has now moved to full-on conflagration mode, here and abroad.  Even as the cause of “constitutional sanity” is temporarily advanced here, we might take note that the medicine it offers will only make things worse in the short-run. 

And, in the end, there are, probably, no real solutions to the sorts of problems for which the only known “cures” are just as likely to kill the patient.  As I said, “too little, too late”.  All recent attempts to avoid bankruptcy, you’ll note, have begun to produce our own social(ist) unrest.  This process, as it continues, is likely to tear us apart, politically, socially, and practically speaking.

What has become the all-too-American habit of excusing its own decadence is, sadly, only partially excused by the petty hatreds and self-destructive tendencies fostered throughout the rest of the world.  Yes, we’ve thrived, but not, in my opinion, at the expense of those poorer nations.  Rather, our success has been the brightest counterpoint to all of the useless tyranny and destructive corruption that is and has always been the common thread to poverty.     

So, again, you might ask, “why so glum, chum?”  Well, in a nutshell, I’m just not seeing much evidence of the sort of character that would ensure our survival in the conditions that are steadily approaching.  Rather than rely on the traditionally successful institutions of faith and charity, of personal and economic liberty, of self-sufficiency and resilience, and of frugality and temperance, we are turning inexorably toward the failed models of each and every dead or dying culture on the planet. 

Along with the rest of the world, we are turning increasingly towards the concentration of power, hostility to liberty, and petty vengeance.  Desperate people, in a culture devoid of principle, will simply take by force whatever it is they feel they need, from whomever they choose.  

This is the essence of “might is right”, even where legitimized under the guise of “democracy”.  Such sentiment is purely suicidal wherever it chooses, even by “popular acclaim”, to ensconce tyranny in the place of individual liberty.      

By stepping away from those higher order principles, we are choosing to step into the very same trap that has doomed so many others throughout history.  

What we are now witnessing is the process of unintended consequences breeding unintended consequences….a snow-balling, if you will, of one bad choice after another.  We could stop it, of course, by employing something as simple as the “golden rule” (you know, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”).  But, there is precious little of that going around.

Finally, I might add that the nature of man is demonstrably corrupt.   The lines of division that we see all around us depend solely on how we respond to that fact. 

Don’t believe it?  Do you believe, as JFK said, “Our problems are man-made, therefore they may be solved by man“?  If so, then you assuredly also believe that you must simple force people to believe and do the right thing; that if left to their own devices, we are surely doomed.  As if forcing people to “believe and do the right thing” isn’t doom enough.

OK, well, here’s the other side of the coin:  “Our problems are man-made, therefore they may be solved only with God’s help.”  It really doesn’t take much imagination to understand that, in the end, what we believe is the core of the issue.  Man vs. God.  This problem has been with us for all time.  How we choose to resolve it, especially today, tells us all we need to know about the road ahead.  As always, our fate – personally and collectively – rests on our individual choice in the matter.

Harry Tuttle     

 

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