Let me begin by saying that in my sixty-something years on the planet, I've seen and done a lot - far more than most people, relatively speaking. (I've written about some of my experiences on this blog from time to time.) That wasn't of my choice; it was forced on me by an accident of birth (location and time) and a series of circumstances far beyond my control. I wish I hadn't experienced many of those things/places/people, but nobody asked me for my input! I learned a great deal the hard way, and learned also that the same issues very often result in the same flashpoints and areas of conflict in different parts of the world. Humans are very predictable in the mass. It's individuals who can change things by providing inspired leadership - not the "great unwashed" as a collective. In the latter sense, it seems to me that humans have a lot in common with lemmings!
It's natural (and wise) for us to want to safeguard our futures, individually and collectively, to the greatest possible extent. However, the inputs to our thinking are so muddled by extraneous factors such as partisan politics, and often so flawed in their presentation (think ideologically biased news media, just for a start), that it's very difficult to see the wood for the trees - to look past the individual factors affecting our future, to get a broad perspective that takes all or most of them into account. When I say "difficult", I mean, of course, that a lot of people simply don't bother to take the long view, and content themselves with looking only at what's immediately in front of them. They prefer not to put themselves to the trouble of amassing information, weighing up factors, and making decisions.
That can be a fatal mistake. Consider:
- What would a middle-class, well-educated businessman in Venezuela have thought about his future, and that of his country, twenty years ago? Ten years ago? Five years ago? At each stage, he almost certainly would never have envisaged the situation there right now, where the national currency is worthless, the economy is in ruins, and mere survival can no longer be guaranteed. If he had, he'd have left long ago!
- What about those who blindly accept "conventional wisdom", and base their lives around it, when in fact that "wisdom" is seriously misguided? Think of the "population bomb", the "resource crisis", theories of "ecological collapse", and so on. None of these dire predictions have come true - yet. Will they do so in future? We don't know. Their proponents argue that they will, but can't prove it. Others deny their likelihood, but can't offer any more rigorously defined and defensible alternatives.
- In the mid-2000's, how many American families would have predicted that educating their children would become the single greatest financial burden on their families for generations to come? Yet, after the passage of student loan legislation and regulations a decade ago, that sector of the economy has exploded, and US students and graduates now owe over $1.6 trillion to loan providers - almost 8% of US national income! It's crippling their financial future. Who saw that coming?
I could cite many more examples, but those will do for now. They illustrate why it's so important for us to analyze likely future scenarios that may affect us, as individuals, as families, as groups of like-minded people, and as a nation. If we aren't looking far down the road, we can't see events as they approach, and we can't take measures to prepare for (or avoid) them. The light at the end of the tunnel may be a sign that it's about to end, or it may be an oncoming train - but how can we know unless we find out before we reach it - or it reaches us?
In that context, and in the light of the present political instability and dissent in this country, I recommend to you a series of videos by Samuel Culper, who blogs at Forward Observer. I highly recommend reading his blog daily; for an illustration of why, see his article "Is Socialism America’s Future?". It's short, pithy and to the point. I don't agree with all he says - in fact, I profoundly disagree with some of his analysis - but I admire and respect his thoroughness in outlining the difficulties associated with planning, his emphasis on gathering intelligence (i.e. reliable information) on which to base your decisions, and his task- and goal-oriented perspective. We can learn a lot from him.
In particular, I'd like to suggest his video series on "Civil War 2.0" as worthy of your attention. There are three videos (so far - more to come) in the collection. In them, he analyzes the present condition of our somewhat dis-United States, and offers scenarios for what he thinks are likely outcomes. As I said, I don't necessarily agree with him, but he offers cogent reasons for his arguments. You'll find the videos at these links: Part One, Part Two and Part Three. You can look for Part Four and subsequent additions on his YouTube channel.
I also suggest that if his arguments make you think, you should read and view other perspectives in an attempt to verify what he's proposing, and/or to develop your own ideas. For example, if you (as I do) suspect that what is effectively a civil war is already being waged in this country (at present politically, culturally and socially, but in some areas frighteningly close to actual hostilities), consider this Heritage Foundation perspective on the matter. To look more widely, consider George Friedman's authoritative perspective on what's happening in Europe at present, and consider parallels between events there and in the United States. Look beyond the headlines, and consider as many authoritative, proven-reliable inputs as possible, whether or not you agree with the politics and views of their sources. The more you know, the more you can take into account in your analysis of what's confronting you, the more accurately you can plan ahead.
Over to you, dear readers!