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Photo Credit: Submitted by Brandon Smith of Alt-Market blog,

 

Like most Americans, I spent the last few weeks watching the drama of events taking place following a police officer killing an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri.  On the surface this story is about race and police brutality, or perhaps it is about the militarization of the police, but these topics are not what are actually driving this story.  What if the drama we see unfolding has a root cause that goes deeper than what the pundits tell us the story is all about?  What if the events we are following on TV and social media indicate something about the nature of each of us that is leading us into a time of profound darkness.  America has always been great because America has been run by decent hard working citizens.  Today far many Americans abdicate our responsibilities to the so-called experts.  Today, our declining faith in God, our inability to even hold a debate about important topics, and our loss of trust make tragedy all but inevitable.

A few months ago the drama playing out before Americans was the stand off at the Bundy Ranch.  Before that Americans were witness to the drama of Occupy Wall Street.  Obviously, there have been similar events throughout U.S. History.  In the nineteen-sixties, I would even offer that the level of anger exhibited by citizens was as serious and wide spread as it is today.  Bill Clinton had Waco and the LA Riots surrounding the acquittal of a police officer for the beating of Rodney King.  George W. Bush had his war protests.  American history is full of strife including a civil war.  The question is how mush stress can the culture take before tragedy occurs?

Disgruntled Americans making their feelings known is part of American culture and American history, and our constitution guarantees our right to assemble and to petition the government.  It’s perhaps easy to believe that these issues today, Occupy Wall Street, the Bundy Ranch stand off, and the Rioting in Ferguson are simply more of the same and don’t indicate anything special.  Perhaps these events don’t portend anything dire awaiting America, but how sure are you that the fabric of our culture and our legal system will remain intact?  All things being equal, these events are not any worse on their own than other events in history that the nation has successfully navigated and survived to tell the tale.  On the other hand, I would like to point out that the history now taking place concurrent to these events may be of some concern.  The fabric of any culture can withstand only so much stress before it tears.  The protestors in Ferguson say they are angry at the injustice of a white cop killing an innocent, unarmed, black teenager.  What will happen if the facts determine that the teenager was the aggressor and that the officer acted appropriately?  I think most Americans would acknowledge that additional riots are possible, if not likely.  If the officer is innocent, will he receive justice, or will corrupt officials sacrifice him to maintain peace, or if you like, will he receive social justice?  If he is innocent and sacrificed for the sake of the collective, how willing will other officers be to do their jobs?  Unlike past events our nation has survived, the challenges occurring today are happening at the same time as multiple serious challenges to our way of life in the United States.

Western nations, including the United States are all but bankrupt.  The US is over seventeen trillion dollars in debt and has had to resort to relying on the Federal Reserve to create money out of thin air.  The Federal Reserve then turns around and buys US treasuries with these fictional dollars.  According to a US Border Patrol support group, over six million Illegal immigrants are flooding across the United State’s southern border every year, In the Middle East today, a well funded, well armed, Caliphate is being formed regardless of western nations spending trillions of dollars to plant the seeds of freedom in the region.  As you read this article, psychopathic fascist Jihadists are murdering, raping and torturing men, women, and children in appalling numbers.  Israel, as is so often the case in modern history, at war with an enemy who’s only real demand is that Israel not exist.  In Europe, the Russian Federation under Mr. Putin has invaded and taken over the Crimea from Ukraine, regardless of treaties guaranteeing Ukrainian sovereignty.  Russian soldiers are now firing artillery shells from Ukrainian soil at Ukrainian military units.  At home in the United States, government officials, supported by the media tell Americans not to worry about these things, while at the same the very same government officials violate existing law to promote a statist agenda seeking to make Americans dependent on government to survive.  According to the Senate Budget Committee approximately one in six Americans are now on food stamps.  The American President actually brags about this statistic as if it were a positive indicator.  The household income of Americans is falling while the cost of energy, food, education, medical care, and housing are increasing.  The federal government takeover of the health care industry now requires that Americans have medical insurance that costs dramatically more that most families can afford.  These new policies have deductibles that make the policy all but worthless to those who need it.  This insurance is of course subsidized by the government.  The truth in America is that the prices for the basics of life will continue to rise, how will Americans like those protesting in Ferguson react when they no longer afford that which they must have?

My point, you ask? America has always faced challenges and there have even been times of great strife in our history, but rarely have we faced this great a number of threats at the same time.  In the 1860’s and a hundred years later in the 1960’s the country faced simultaneous challenges that threatened our way of life in the US.  The country survived the Civil War, but at what cost?  The conflict caused the cultural fabric of the country to tear resulting in hundreds of thousands of American casualties.  How willing are Americans today to endure that high cost.  Even during the 1960’s America came uncomfortably close to disaster.  One might make the argument that we are still seeing the results of that conflict today as many of the same leaders still agitate for their collectivist and anti-American agenda.

60s RiotsThe riots in Ferguson paled in comparison to riots taking place in the 1960’s, but the underlying tension and division in the country is clearly in place for a disaster to occur.  Recent elections reflect this division.  The vitriol in the country continues to increase.  Political leaders will say and do almost anything to win an election.  I postulate that our governmental institutions are becoming more and more illegitimate every day.  Man on the street interviews reflect citizen’s apathy.  Many Americans are simply ignorant about key issues today.  Far too many of our country men and women are in fact emotionally detached from the country.  In a word, they simply don’t care.  Many Americans no longer believe in the great experiment that is the American Republic and they seem to no longer have a stake in defending their own freedom.  Our leaders know how easy it is to manipulate a witless population into promoting their agenda, so more and more, they put out propaganda that sounds good but resolves nothing.  The corporate – political elites know that the truth is irrelevant.

In an environment where trust is steadily being destroyed by the unreported stories, misrepresentations, and blatant lies of the media, government, and various civic leaders, low information citizens who only know that things are messed up, react badly when agitated by their media puppet masters.  They can see for themselves that their government violates its own laws with impunity.  They can see some citizens getting special privileges.  Americans know we are being lied to, but far too many of us still blame those the puppet masters tell us to blame.  We see the lies, but we dismiss them as routine.  We just don’t yet realize that leaders we identify with are part of the problem.  The risk present in today’s environment is that unlike previous times of great tension.  Americans no longer believe or trust anyone, and fewer and fewer Americans have faith in God.  We don’t trust the government or the police, we don’t trust business, we don’t trust the media, and we don’t trust each other.  This is a real problem because where there is no trust, and we have no faith that even our government will keep its word, how can we work together to resolve our differences?  When opposing sides in a debate cannot communicate, pressure builds and conflict becomes inevitable.  The problems we face in today’s world are not new, but they are serious. As Alexis De Tocqueville said, “America is great because she is good.  If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.”  Today, American’s declining faith in God, and our loss of trust are like gasoline.  The only question is which of the many sparks will ignite a conflagration.  The only way to avoid tragedy is to care enough to look past the agendas and talking points, not only of our opponents but past the agendas and talking points of those we support also.  We must regain our faith in a creator and we must find ways to love each other before all is lost.

Alexis_de_tocqueville

Zero Hedge’s article, “When ‘Anti-Government’ Violence Erupts, Who Is Really At Fault?” really is a must-read. If we are to avoid the dystopian future I wrote about in Phoenix Republic from becoming fact instead of fiction.  We must understand where we are on the road to some really dark outcomes.

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Christian child

(AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

People occasionally tell me that what I describe as an upside down crazy world is nothing more than me overreacting to everyday events.  Maybe so…  I am passionate about what I believe and about caring for others.  My thought however is that if news stories were puzzle pieces that fit together to form a larger picture, that picture would not be a pleasant one.

My problem in today’s upside down crazy world is that too many of the normal stresses and strains on the cultural fabric that makes up our civilization have been exacerbated by corporate greed and government malfeasance as is exhibited by the reckless borrowing, foolish spending, and cultural degradation of today’s world.

While these trends are not new and have been out of control for decades, the ever increasing rate of deterioration is increasing at an increasing rate.  We are literally witness to a nexus in history, I think.  Americans have been blessed and live comfortable controlled lives, largely protected from the worst tragedies in life.  My concern is that we have surpassed a breaking point and our comfortable existence is now at risk.  None of us care to acknowledge just how serious things like the national debt, an uncontrolled border, corporate theft, or a lawless government are.  We just go on with our lives and hope that things will get better.  Even my family continues to go to work and pay the mortgage.  I am still even contributing to my 401K regardless that I have very little faith that 401Ks will survive what may be coming.

I guess, like many people, I hope I can make it the five and a half more years I need so that I can get my money out of the system and use it to set up the economy I will depend on in retirement.  Sure, I have taken steps to mitigate the risk, but as my characters Catherine, Megan and Annie learned in Phoenix Republic when their comfortable world simply ceased to exist, collapse builds for a long time but takes place in the blink of an eye.

Consider, if you will just a sample of news stories from the past week.  A caliphate now exists in the heart of the Middle East.  Syria, Iraq, and Now Israel are embroiled in fighting.  If you don’t believe that this is a battle for civilization you are living in denial.  Again today another story talks about Christian’s being threatened with the worst possible fates.   ISIS Has a Deadly Ultimatum for Christians

Gov. Rick Perry Says Texas May Soon Take Steps to Secure the Border — With or Without the Federal Government’s Help

(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

Tens of thousands of desperate people are flooding across the US southern border all but unchecked.  The United States government not only refuses to enforce the law, but is actually encouraging the situation.  States like Texas are now forced not only to careg for the illegal immigrants, but to take extraordinary steps to try to stem the flow by guarding their borders on their own.

Gov. Rick Perry Says Texas May Soon Take Steps to Secure the Border — With or Without the Federal Government’s Help

We have The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) talking about the increase in income disparity between investment holders and wage earners.  As most of us earn and live off of wages in the USA and in Europe the vast majority of citizens are finding it more and more difficult to maintain their standard of living.  The problem is an increasingly out of touch elite class continue to talk about taxing their citizens while ignoring the other half of the equation which means reducing the cost of government.  All the while, the economy continues to decline which also puts pressure on average citizens.  As the article points out there is a point where civil unrest is unavoidable.  The only question is where is that redline?

When life is too broken in too many places it is easy to just give up, but my thought is that even now one must prepare and try to be a blessing for others.  Life will go on even if the current paradigm fails.  All that giving up means is that one will be more dependent and more at risk than otherwise they might have been when that time comes.  Even in a crazy upside down world there are things to live for.  We have family and loved ones to cling to and to protect.  We have faith and we have hope.

What will your world look like in a year, or two, or five?

 

Resources:

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/07/19/isis-to-christians-convert-to-islam-pay-us-leave-or-die/

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/07/17/gov-rick-perry-says-texas-may-soon-take-steps-to-secure-the-border-with-or-without-the-federal-governments-help/

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-07-18/oecd-fears-middle-class-civil-unrest-coming

Justina Rally

(Photo credit: Keith Mason/Personhood USA)

The interesting thing about writing a blog is that it documents your thoughts, view of life and the world around you from a historical perspective.   In looking back over the past few months, it’s apparent that my outlook is pretty pessimistic.  The truth is there are stories every week about the innate goodness of people.  Americans are standing up for people they don’t even know all the time simply because it is the right thing to do.

Last week thousands of people got involved in the case of Justina Pelletier, a fifteen year-old girl who was essentially kidnapped by Boston’s Children’s hospital because doctors at Children’s disagreed with the doctors at Tufts Medical Center about the girl’s diagnosis.  Regardless that both hospitals are renowned medical institutions Boston’s Children’s Hospital violated the parents’ rights to make decisions for their child.  In an incestuous arrangement with the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families, custody of the girl was given to Children’s.  Only when thousands of Americans began calling state representatives and the hospital did the Children’s back away.  The world is a dangerous place, but when we stand together we can make miracles happen.

The primary point of writing these articles has been to relate current events to my novel.  Phoenix Republic is economic collapse story and thus it does have some dark moments.  It also has its share of hopeful elements, however.  While I wouldn’t try to make the case that I am Mary Sunshine, I really don’t think of myself as a pessimist either.  I think it’s important to talk about what current events might mean to every day Americans.  Yes, I am very concerned about Americans holding onto our freedom.  I lament that our form of government is being fundamentally transformed.  What was designed as a republic is rapidly morphing into something that resembles an Oligarchy, ruled by elitists, who are quite certain they know what is best for all of us.  Yes, I believe that the United States, as Republic of free men and women is in danger, but I also believe in Divine Providence.  I also believe that more Americans are waking up and standing up every day.  While the present disaster that is our current state of affairs in America is disconcerting and the country is in trouble, Americans are an amazing people.  If we can win enough hearts and minds to embrace freedom over collective coercion, we can once again reestablish America as a free country.

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This week I watched Frank Crapra’s  Meet John Doe.  Watching this wonderful old black and white film, made me realize how there is nothing new under the sun.  The movie is set in the Great Depression.   It is about an elitist progressive class working to corrupt a freedom movement that sprang up out of a newspaper stunt.  What’s wild is that I realized that I was really watching a current events movie.  While the times are dire, Americans, pulling together realize that they can make a difference, regardless of overwhelming odds.

We may be have two distinct cultures as I wrote about in A Tale of Two Americas, but even the approximately forty percent of progressive America still have our traditions in common with those of us who are inclined to be self-reliant and want to be free of government overreach.  The vast majority of us desire the same things.  We want an equitable country where everyone has a chance at living a good life.  Americans differ on how to achieve these goals, but at least the fundamental underpinnings of American life is something with which we can all agree.  My belief is that Americans are basically good, regardless of the superficial arguments made in Washington DC and in the media.  There may be progressives in the establishment political parties that wish to keep Americans at each other’s throats so that they can hold onto power, but I believe the truth will prevail in the end.  The whole reason for writing Phoenix Republic is to remind readers that each of us has it within us to achieve greatness.  Working together, even a small minority of committed men and women, determined to live free, can impact the hearts and minds of a nation.

The issue we run into in the United States is that we are all human, and we all have human weaknesses.   Progressives believe that citizens must be collectively forced to behave in a way that is beneficial to society while the freedom movement is about believing in individuals to make those decisions based on individual morals.  I often mention that the country is too broken in too many places to fix and that the social contract has been shattered.  While I believe this is true I also think that where there is life there is hope.  Over the past few months I have posted and pontificated at length about any number of gloomy news stories.   What I am thinking today is that while Phoenix Republicis about a dark economic future, but it is also about family and pulling together.  It is about standing on principle for what is right.  It is about faith and loving one’s neighbor.  To prevail over really bad outcomes, we must all find common ground and find ways to live and let live.  The good news is that there are stories every week about the innate goodness of people which show that there people doing what’s right for people they don’t even know.

Additional Resources

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/03/03/good-news-in-the-justina-pelletier-case/

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/03/04/the-8-year-old-boy-who-did-something-incredible-for-a-soldier-now-wants-to-help-other-military-families/

In Phoenix Republic the novel explores responsibility and decision ownership.  A disaster befalls the United States and Western Europe, and the question of how to cope is thrust on to the stage.  My goal in writing Phoenix Republic was to encourage readers to think about the world we live in and what may be coming.  Communism cannot tolerate any other master other than an all-powerful state.  When you consume the news every day, where do you think decision ownership lies in the stories you are viewing?  Is it with the individual or some so-called expert or leader?  Are Americans free or are we to fall into line with what our masters dictate?

Throughout the 19th century Communist, or if you will, collectivist movements have arisen in all parts of the world.  The Soviet Union in 1917, The Chinese 1949, Cuba 1953, and any number of Socialist or Communist take overs in since then.  What this typically boils down to is a simple question of who should decide how best to manage affairs of a nation.  Socialists believe in a collectivist approach – that a nation’s assets should be shared equally amongst all citizens.  In contrast, Capitalists believe in the individual, thus each person makes decisions regarding how their personal assets should be managed.  You’re thinking, “No Kidding.” Right?  This is patently obvious, but yet news story after news story in today’s media cycle boil down to the question of who decides.  Today’s culture is replete the attitude that so-called experts should decide everything and that common citizens are just not qualified to make judgments.  We see these stories related to medical decisions, to home schooling, and to government.  How often do you hear someone you are speaking with take the position that our political leaders are justified in their various actions because they are somehow considered to be more informed than we are?  The point I am trying to make is the tendency to let other have ultimate responsibility for your live or for the lives of your children is lazy and dangerous to a freedom loving republic.  Our republic is designed for free men and women to actively take a part in governance.  When this responsibility is outsourced the outcomes are often terrible.

justina pelletierThere is a case going on right now where a hospital, Boston’s Children’s Hospital decided they knew better than the parents and the girl’s primary doctors at another prestigious hospital, Tufts University.  The physicians at Tufts diagnosed the girl as having mitochondrial disease.  Unbelievably, Children’s Hospital managed to convince a judge that they knew what was best for the child.  This judge proceeded to terminate the parental rights of the girl’s mother and father, giving her care to the Children’s Hospital.  Understand that this is not a case where parents are denying a child medical care for religious reasons.  This is a case where parents sought out qualified medical help.  In fact, not only did they seek assistance from one hospital, Tufts, but they took their daughter to Children’s for a second opinion.   Then after deciding the best care for their child was to stay with Tufts, an all-powerful state was able to override their parental prerogative and kidnap the child.  Today the young woman is imprisoned in a psych ward at Children’s, where she has lived in captivity and in constant pain from her condition for almost a year.  She has gotten a couple of notes out to her parents to ask for rescue, and the parents have been allowed heavily supervised visits of like an hour a week, but that is the only contact that is now being permitted.  Unbelievably, it isn’t just the parents that are being denied contact with this young woman.  In addition to the mom and dad, Children’s is also denying her the ability to see officials from her school, her friends, and even her doctors from Tufts University Medical Center.

In another current story a German family legally moved to the United States for the right to freely educate their kids in accordance with their religious beliefs.  They had to leave Germany because a progressive law, initiated by Adolph Hitler, is still in force there that requires that all children must be educated by the state.  There are no exceptions.  The family sought asylum here in the US and it was granted.  Now however, the Obama Administration has decided that this family should be expelled from the country because in their collective wisdom, religious persecution, (which this nation was founded on by people who wanted to escape exactly the same thing) is not sufficient for them to remain here.  The other aspect of the story is that parents are not deemed worthy to “homeschool” their kids because so-called experts with a degree and state approved credentials must be given that responsibility.  Watch the accompanying video and tell me that this family should be broken up so that the state can prove its Orwellian power.

I think that the truth behind politics today, or if you will, the root cause of America’s trouble is that in any totalitarian regime the state must be the supreme authority on everything.  It isn’t acceptable for a family or the individual, or even God to be allowed to trump the all-consuming power of the state.  In all forms, tyranny must be complete because even the slight deviation from state authority leads to another.

When Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union began trying to have a little capitalism to compete with the west, my partner and I looked at each other wide-eyed.  You see, we had learned in college just a few year before that tyranny must be complete to seize or remain in power.  By relaxing control so that the Soviet Union could compete with the West, people who had no freedom experienced a taste of it.  Collapse was inevitable.  In our case, people here, who are not accustomed to the boot of tyranny on their necks don’t recognize central authority for what it is and blindly allow it happen to avoid the responsibility of self-determination.

Additional Resources:

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/12/06/glenn-beck-explodes-over-latest-developments-in-case-of-boston-hospital-holding-teen-against-parents-will/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2012/10/25/european-socialism-why-america-doesnt-want-it/