Sunday, August 1, 2010

Collapse? or Will Americans Hear the Fire Bell in the Night?

To borrow from Thomas Jeffersons reference to the slavery, "A Fire Bell In The Night" the posts this week look to the crisis in direction and leadership that seem to threaten America's future.

This week, top billing is awarded to two posts that seem to channel the 2012, End of the World phenomenon.

Leading off is this from Mark of zenpundit who linked a provocative post from Dr. Paul Craig Roberts who in Mark's words.
...penned a short but intriguing American ”collapse” scenario set in the near future. Some of what Roberts writes fits neatly with the thesis in Joseph Tainter’s The Collapse of Complex Societies:

Mark goes on to expand on his comments.
Several interesting things here. First, the demagogic front men who are currently engaging in op-ed tirades against public pensions in order to loot them to ostensibly plug state budget deficits will, if successful, use that precedent to go after private pensions, IRAs, 401(k), mutual funds, Social Security, Medicare, Home mortgage interest deduction - any remaining big pot of money in the hands of the middle-class has a big target on it. Secondly, food shortages historically were the spark that set off the French and Russian Revolutions.
So far, this post has sparked a healthy set of comments that expand on the original thesis.
Read the whole post.
An Interesting "Collaspe' Hypothetical
Channeling many of the same scenario is this post by the intrepid naval centric blogger Cdr Salamander who posted this review of an article by historian and author Niall Ferguson. Ferguson foresees the possiblilty of a sudden collaspe of America's fortunes if we continue down the path of un-controlled spending.
I will invite the readers to visit the good Commander's site and read the main points he highlights. I will tease you with the CDR's final words.
The view from the outside is often needed.
Things are fixable - but time is money, and we are running out of time to stop this run to the cliff's edge.
Read the whole review and then visit the link for more from Ferguson.
Such is the end of Empires

Scary stuff, that invites more pondering of the situation faced by Americans, used to overcoming huge challenges before. In this next post, also from Zenpundit who gets a major hat/tip for introducing a post by Joseph Fouche of the Commitee of Public Safety.
A wise man once told me that a weakness of our Constitutional system was that the Framers implicitly presumed that people of a truly dangerous character, from bullies to bandits to political menaces to the community, would primarily be dealt with in age-old fashion by outraged neighbors whose rights had been trespassed and persons abused one time too many. They did not prepare for a time when communities would be prohibited from doing so by a government that also, as a whole, had slipped the leash. Indeed, having read Locke, Montesquieu, Cicero, Polybius, Aristotle and Plato, they expected that such a state of affairs was “corruption” of the sort that plagued the Old World and might happen here in time. A sign of cultural decadence and political decay. They gave Americans, in the words of Benjamin Franklin, “A republic, if you can keep it”. It remains so only with our vigilance.
It is happening now.
We have forgotten - or rather, deliberately been taught and encouraged to forget - the meaning of citizenship.
We have let things slip.
Joseph Fouche superbly captures this implicit element, the consequences of the loss of fear of informal but very real community sanction, in his most recent post:
Marks superb introduction, is equaled by Joseph's razor sharp observations.

The Mob of Virtue

Finally comes this example of how an informed  mob can effect change. Read this story of the citizens of a small city in California took back their town.

A True Populist Revolt

In contrast to the dire posts above. This last two show that an engaged and informed citizenery can effect change by peacefully voicing their outrage, or at the ballot box. Time will tell if enough care to put their feeling of entitlement aside and vote as if their childrens future mattered.

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