Sunday, December 30, 2012

Eve of 2013

We come toward the final hours of 2012, a year of vast changes for me personally (leaving a job that wasn't idea but was stable, moving to a new country, being immersed in a different culture, beginning to learn to speak a different language, and much more besides). Whether civilization moved forward is, of course, an entirely different matter. We could single out points of promising technological advance (3D printing comes to mind); but did civilization begin to move forward past its present amalgamation of Third and Fourth Stages, or is the West in a cul-de-sac that is destined to erode. As we said in the last post, despite Comte’s use of the word law for what he believed he’d observed in historical development, there is nothing inevitable in any advance forward. History is not “law governed” in that sense. It depends on what individuals do; it depends on thought leaders who emerge, if any, and what they are able to accomplish.

This past week has seen any number of predictions for 2013. These are hazardous, of course, if taken too seriously. None of us has a crystal ball. A few writers (e.g., here) have looked back on their predictions for 2012 and, to their credit, honestly noted their misses as well as the occasional direct hit. Anyone who predicted total economic collapse in 2012, however, missed it by a mile, obviously; such predictions reinforced my commitment to gradualism (the idea that if decline occurs, it will occur in slow stages, as was the case with the Roman Empire) as opposed to apocalypticism (the idea that we’ll see a relatively sudden and unstructured collapse, with cities in flames, riots in the streets, etc., etc.). My position: the latter is not impossible, of course; just not as likely as the former. The U.S.’s masses are, by and large, content as long as they have sports, reality television, hand-held gadgets, and the calming voices of mainstream media pseudo-pundits even when crises erupt.

So in that spirit, here are my predictions for 2013. Take them for what they are worth. I am not predicting revolution. My predictions are modest. I don’t consider them the product of genius. I consider them common horse sense.

(1) The standard of living in the U.S. has been dropping and will continue to drop. This both has had and will continue to have several causes. First, Ben Bernanke’s QE-to-infinity money creation machine will continue to undermine the value of the dollar; Congress will continue to approve whatever Helicopter Ben does. Only a small amount of the newly created money will enter the general economy, of course; most will go into the coffers of superelite-controlled banking leviathans. Otherwise we would already have seen waves of inflation beyond anything yet recorded. But prices of food, fuel, and other consumer goods in the U.S. have been rising steadily alongside QE’s 1 and 2, and will continue to rise. Taxes will also rise in 2013; this is a given.

(2) Real unemployment—that is, the actual figure (reported, to the best of my knowledge, only on—will continue to rise, possibly surpassing 25%. This will be the case even if the “official” (U3) figure drops. The “official” figure, after all, counts a person as unemployed only if he is out of work and has sought work within the past four weeks. Otherwise he drops off the radar. I continue to be amazed that so many Americans are so hypnotized that they repeat the “official” figure mechanically and see the U.S. economy as improving, however slightly, when the “official” figure drops from 7.9% to 7.7%. Exacerbating both unemployment and underemployment (both part-timers who cannot find full-time work and those with college degrees who are working at jobs not requiring degrees, e.g., as bartenders, bouncers, etc., because those are the only jobs they could find) will be Obama-care as more of its provisions kick in starting in January. Were I making predictions past 2013 and further down the pike, I would say that eventually we will see shortages of doctors, as those who can do so will take early retirement to escape a system controlled by the federal government (operating through Medicare and Medicaid) and the insurance and pharmaceuticals industries. Young people smart enough to read the handwriting on the wall will not go into the medical professions.

(3) Assuming Obama and/or the liberals in Congress cannot get significant gun control legislation passed, I predict we will see at least one more massacre of the Aurora, Colo. and Newtown, Conn. level. It will be a false flag, as those very likely were—I call them false flags because of specifics regarding these cases (countless links to material online on my Facebook page) that do not add up, and in some cases do not make any rational sense however we look at them. (Look here and here.) A strong anti-gun contingent will emerge within the general population. Whether this contingent will effect actual gun control remains to be seen. I will not predict that it will, only that the stage will be set for a possible violent confrontation, because there are a lot of people scattered throughout the Southwest, in the Northwest, and elsewhere, who will refuse to give up their firearms. If pressed, some will organize and prepare to shoot back if that’s what it comes to. Decisions will have to be made on who will back down. I am not any too sure it will be private gun owners, who recognize that a disarmed citizenry is at the mercy of both its own criminal class and its own government (sometimes the two are difficult to distinguish!). Behind the scenes: there are powerful people who would like to see a totally disarmed U.S. citizenry. Their variation on my Fifth Stage is World Government, not World Liberty. They realize that World Government is impossible as long as a Constitution with a Second Amendment is in force, with people willing to use force to defend the ideals represented in those documents.

(4) Foreign wars will continue on scales small enough to remain manageable, as in Syria. We will see continued skirmishes in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, and probably on the African continent with U.S. troops moving in down there now. All this continued ill-advised interventionism will cost money, of course, and will drive the U.S. national debt still higher. It will probably surpass $17 trillion by December 31, 2013. (Real indebtedness is, of course, much, much higher.) I am not going to predict a head-on confrontation with Iran, although an incident in the Strait of Hormuz that could precipitate such a confrontation is not impossible. I don’t think the global superelite wants such a confrontation; it’s simply too dangerous, given that Iran would likely have the backing of both Russia and China. The global superelite is not going to authorize any confrontation or event that could cause them to lose control over the situation, resulting in the sort of all-out war that could have them presiding over a radioactive wasteland!

(5) The Liberty Movement will still be around, but with Ron Paul’s retirement from Congress (his Farewell Address deserves to be listened to and read over and over again), it is ever in danger of being increasingly marginalized in 2013 if it does not develop some new strategies. The present ones have not been working. The libertarian wing within the GOP was ineffective against the brazen power-playing of the neocons—probably because they still believe that such decisions as who receives a presidential nomination are made rationally, in response to reasoned arguments, instead of based on lines of authority supported by habit and emotion. I wish I could predict that the Liberty Movement will learn to adopt a strategy not unlike that used successfully by the Fabians over 100 years ago: penetrate and permeate. I cannot. For starters, the Liberty Movement is fundamentally too honest for that, and in societies permeated by corruption, honesty works against you consistently. I do predict that some will take a cue from the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus who advised his followers to withdraw from politics as a condition of achieving a tranquil life. The number of Liberty supporters who are moving to Chile is definitely on the increase, little by little. I have met several, three of which have already moved here and an entire family considering making the move, in just this past month. One may bemoan the fact that Liberty minded people are abandoning the U.S. If more and more such people come here, that leaves fewer and fewer to fight the good fight back home. But these people are thinking of their families, and looking at a society that may not be perfect but is well behind the rest of the West on the curve, with the hope of beginning new and better lives—historically the reasons people have always emigrated to new lands. Many people, of course, cannot afford a relocation of that magnitude. Having realized long ago that government is not their friend at any level, they will withdraw into themselves and their enclave-like communities, dealing only with each other as much as possible and having as little to do with the larger society as possible.

Where does all this leave the idea of a Fifth Stage of Civilization? I obviously will not predict that the West will discover, all at once, any Fifth Stage in 2013. The Third and Fourth Stages will continue to prevail, as so many still locked into the relevant worldviews (materialism, for example) are yet unable to conceive of the possibilities of anything higher.

But in future writings both here and hopefully elsewhere we will continue to examine the possibility of moving forward (we cannot move back, at least not systematically): away from the scientistic materialism of Stage Three and the postmodernist skepticism of Stage Four to the perspective of what would be Stage Five, based on Global Liberty (not Global Government). What might this mean? Were such a society to come to fruition, it would be characterized by freedom for the individual who wants it, who is willing to work to achieve it, and who can assume the responsibilities, moral and economic, that go along with maintaining it. On a larger scale, such a society also recognizes the Creator of all of spatiotemporal physical reality as the real Power behind the scenes. Its people would urge peace instead of war, with problems solved through careful dissection, discussion, and ongoing cooperation instead of by force. Genuine community with any hope of lasting can only be based on such premises. The Fifth Stage of Civilization may involve both the highest and most advanced technology in some of its aspects, if 3D printing indeed catches on and begins to live up to its potential; and it should also involve the “low” technology of, e.g., industrial hemp farming (most recently defended here). Hemp, after all, is one of the most versatile crops ever cultivated, and can be used to make very durable clothing as well as fuel that is environment-friendly in the sense that it burns clean and should provide the sincerely environmentally conscious with all that they need.

To be sure, however and finally, what Christians call sin will probably ever stand in our way, which only means that the struggle to create and maintain the good life, within even the highest civilization, is never complete and never to be taken for granted. The struggle never ends, in other words. My final prediction is that it will continue in 2013. I dare say this one is impossible to get wrong! The struggle for Liberty must continue! Moreover, it must be as global as the struggle to impose Authority has been. After all, all peoples deserve a chance at freedom, not just those of us fortunate enough to have been born in the U.S. In defense of these goals, and the ideals motivating them, the last thing we should ever do is give up!