In Wednesday’s episode, you might recall, we asked, in a nutshell…
“Given the current state of the country, are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future?”
Well, you and your fellow LFT readers responded. Big time.
In today’s mailbag bonanza, we’ve chosen eleven letters from your fellow Laissez Faire Today patrons.
We have much to cover… let’s get to it. Here’s today’s line-up:
1. Everything is a Lie. Everything. — by Douglas K.
2. The “Just-in-Time” Catastrophes — with Gordon F.
3. One Hopes to Vomit When the Stomach Sours — with Dan B.
4. The Only Thing We Have to Sacrifice is Sacrifice Itself — with Gene L.
5. The Cleanest Needle in the Sandbox — with John C.
6. A Yugoslavian Slow-Motion Trainwreck — by Tony R.
7. Merlin G’s Terrifying Twelve — with Merlin G.
8. The Libertarian Warrior: Little Room for Optimism — with Robert Miller
9. John’s “Sensational Six” For a New America — by John D.
10. America’s Next “Bluelight Special” — by Roger McKinney
11. The Biggest, Most Controversial Optimist in the Room — by E.E. Charles
Everything is a Lie. Everything.
“Our current malaise,” Douglas K. writes, “is due in large part to our loss of confidence and respect for our government and for those who govern.
“There exists a nearly a total loss of confidence in our government, and the average person is angry — mad as hell, and isn't going to take it anymore.
“But sadly it's an unfocused anger because it's very difficult for a social order or a society to function that has no vision, no confidence and have learned that nothing in governing is as it seems. Government itself is unfocused.
“Everything is a lie. Everything.
“What could be more tragic for the fabric of society and culture? Maybe as Bill Bonner says, the fabric could use a good scrubbing. I think he’s right. We must begin the scrubbing by ridding ourselves of the liars and pretenders. For all intents and purposes, that would be the established order — society in all its manifestations.
“It will be a worldwide phenomenon the likes of which has never been done. But I am optimistic that it can be done, eventually. Our lives and those of our children and their children and their children and on and on depend on our doing something right now.
“How will we ever explain to our grandchildren that we let this happen, even though we had the means to prevent it?”
The “Just-in-Time” Catastrophes
“While there is no doubt that our standard of living has advanced dramatically over the last century,” Gordon F. writes, “and has the potential to continue that progress, my biggest concern is that the system we have built is very fragile. As long as all the parts keep working, more or less, it will keep advancing, but a lot of parts are involved, and if any one of them really goes down, the whole system goes.
“And why is it fragile? One reason is because we have been working diligently to remove redundancy from the system in the name of efficiency. Just-in-time manufacturing, just-in-time grocery deliveries, just-in-time nearly everything, means that anything that disrupts the system, for even a few days, causes shockwaves, and if it goes on for a week or more, catastrophe.
“If most people don’t have more than $1,000 in savings, neither do they have more than a few day’s food in their house, or any water stored against the day when none comes out of their tap, so loss of transportation and delivery of these things turn into a disaster almost immediately. And this is equally true for electricity, gasoline, and a host of other necessities.
“And the list of things that could trigger such a collapse is quite long as well. Another big earthquake along the New Madrid fault line, EMP, a serious cyber-attack on our infrastructure, a major pandemic, infecting and killing millions (bio-warfare probably, but not necessarily), are a few I can think of offhand.
“So yes, as long as nothing goes seriously wrong, I expect things will continue to improve, but when (and it is when,not if) something eventually does go wrong, we will find that we no longer have a fall-back position from which to recover, and the bottom is a long way down.”
One Hopes to Vomit When the Stomach Sours
“I am a realist/pessimist in the short term,” another reader, Dan B., writes; “time horizon, 20 years at most.
“There will be, must be, a reset of the global economic system for the same reason one hopes to vomit when the stomach sours even though one dreads the experience.”
LFT: We were just struck, upon reading that last paragraph, with a terribly strange mental picture.
“Beyond that marker,” Dan writes, “when the foundation for the global economy is based on something more stable than a pile of interlocking promises, I see a much better future for the human race.
“The development in which I have the greatest hope is the successful exploitation of fusion electrical generation. That would be a more important catalyst than the discovery of petroleum because it would free the world from the stranglehold of the terminally dysfunctional Middle East.”
The Only Thing We Have to Sacrifice is Sacrifice Itself
“I am hopeful for the cause of liberty,” Gene L. writes, “and thus for the economy, although at almost 80 I will not live to see the new day.
“At long last the contradictions of mysticism and unfettered altruism are coming to a head.
“Sacrifice is losing its hold on people, whether it’s promoted by the church or by swarms of secular meddlers. The ruling elites never did the sacrificing, and the new media is exposing that reality.
“I see a new non-sacrificial, but life-affirming, philosophy struggling to form. The world is ripe for it, and on that basis I am optimistic.”
LFT: Ripe indeed. Thanks, Gene.
The Cleanest Needle in the Sandbox
“What is keeping this country afloat,” John C. writes, “is the fact that China, Japan and most of Europe is in worst shape.
“So, compared to them, we are doing great. I guess that’s something!”
LFT: It’s something, alright.
The Yugoslavian Slow-Motion Train Wreck
“It (future in the U.S.),” Tony R. writes, “is hanging in the fine balance, with the scale tipping more towards Bleak than Bright.
“It is a lot like the situation in my native Yugoslavia.
“I knew for 20 years that crash was imminent, but everything was a slow, slow motion train wreck.
“Just look at what are our options in politics, and if that does not depress you, please leave your body to pharmaceutical industry to make antidepressants of it.”
LFT: Once more, quite the mental picture. Thanks, Tony.
Merlin G.’s Terrifying Twelve
“Does the future excite or scare me?” Merlin G. writes.
“I’m terrified when I look at everything on balance.
“You name it…
1. “Financial security (ability of myself as well as my kids to earn a living)
2. “National debt and what that means for our future taxes
3. “Corrupt politicians
4. “Real unemployment
5. “Phony recovery
6. “Debasing the currency
7. “Lies about 9/11
8. “The continuous theft of our constitutional rights
9. “Using taxpayer funds to engage in never-ending unconstitutional wars in the middle east which is causing anti-american sentiment and the mass exodus from the region
10. “Using taxpayer funds (4.5 billion) to arm ISIS (mercenaries) and then extort even more money from taxpayers to fight them
11. “Federal government fear mongering us into spending money that we don’t have in the name of “Security” and then simultaneously attempting to shame us into taking Syrian refugees which we know from experience the government won’t properly screen
12. “I could go on and on, but I’m sure you’ll no doubt get countless more from other folks”
The Libertarian Warrior: Little Room For Optimism
“On an economic and political level,” Robert Meyer, LFT patron and author of Conquering Life’s Illusions, writes, “I believe there is little reason for optimism.
“First, government intervention has within it the seeds of its own destruction. Ludwig von Mises pointed out that interventionism is an inherently unstable policy because it creates new dislocations that would seem to cry out for further interventions, which, in turn, do not solve the problem.
“The end of interventionism is socialism, a fate which can be logically avoided only by a sharp turn towards free markets. Have you noticed the spectacle of Bernie Sanders on the horizon? Does anyone see any influential defenders of the free market in the political arena?
“Second, the Fed’s monetary scams create the illusion of prosperity. It’s so late in the game that its crazy monetary policies mainly benefit the parasitic elite. We know how it’s going to end. All artificial booms end in bust — and the longer the life of an illusion, the harder reality hits back. The piper demands immediate payment plus interest.
“Now, there are reasons for individuals to remain optimistic. A person who acts from rational self-interest and works diligently to achieve his goals and desires — he has more tools at his disposal than any time in history.
“His optimism helps him overcome blocks and obstacles to success. Should he meet with temporary defeat he applies the wisdom of Napoleon Hill: ‘Adversity has within it the seeds of an equivalent or greater benefit.’
“Most of all his positive attitude allows him to experience the joy of his existence. Of course, as an impeccable warrior, he continues to conquer illusions — personal and social.”
LFT: As always, appreciate the note, Robert.
John D.’s Sensational Six for a New America
“We were warned by Alexis de Tocqueville in his Democracy in America, that this would happen when the populace learned it could vote themselves a largesse out of the public treasury.
“Sadly, we as a nation have a poor track record of learning from history. Realistically, I don’t know if I will be around to see those noble souls of the future that will hitch up their shirt sleeves and begin the long arduous task of rebuilding.
“I would hope that a few of the repairs that would be done to our government would be:
ONE: “A return to a representative government i.e. one representative per 30,000 Citizens vs the one in roughly 700,000 we have today (2016) that was originally stipulated in the Constitution. I mean, really!
“Congress voted in 1910 to freeze the representation at 435 members because the building was too small! We need the Representative manpower to oversee the bureaucratic mess that we have created.
TWO: “A return to sound money.
THREE: “A Smaller Government that forgets it ever heard about social engineering.
FOUR: “A return to the States the power to appoint Senators so as to reinstate the Nation-States oversight over the Congressional rule making body.
FIVE: “A return to States rights and individual freedoms. It is not government’s obligation to keep individuals or capitalism from failing (A truly free market corrects itself with little intervention).
SIX: “Stop government, Federal and State, from trying to legislate the people’s morality.
“It did not work for Moses and it surely does not work for United States Government.”
America’s Next “Bluelight Special”
“Based on the Austrian Business Cycle Theory,” Roger McKinney, LFT reader and ABCT Investing blogger writes, “I think this year will unveil another recession, but for those of us with the foresight to see it coming, and who still have a job, it will produce a blue light special in the stock market, oil, gold, silver, housing and many other items.
“Recessions are hard on those that they take by surprise and those who lose their income, and I feel bad for them.
“But for those of us who have been hoarding cash in anticipation of the coming garage sale in assets, it will be a great opportunity!”
The Biggest, Most Controversial Optimist in the Room
“The quick answer: Definitely optimistic,” says E.E. Charles.
“Initial comments before the whys and wherefores.
“LFB is generally better informed than many. However, LFB still refers to the ‘public debt’ when the debt is not the public debt but is the debt of the United States corporation, which has already declared bankruptcy trustees.
“You refer to the terrorists who destroyed the World Trade towers and a third building without clarifying that VP Cheney was the master of ceremonies directing the destruction which was not caused by airplanes, but was destroyed by explosives placed internally in the buildings top to bottom by Mossad agents over a period of weeks prior to the event. That is already widely known general public information.
“You have ignored the Burns, Oregon, situation as a terrorist act. That incident was the ‘shot across the bow’ of the cabal agents in the FBI acting as paid mercenaries. Neither the BLM nor the Forest Service (nor any other Federal govt organization) own any property in the 50 states outside of ‘forts, magazines, ports and post office properties.’ These organizations are “hired caretakers’ only. The real estate belongs to the states and humans living in the states.
“The cabal has been fighting for its life. It has been surrounded and the noose is tightening daily. The cabal will be checkmated before this year is out. The government in Washington D.C. will be reduced probably by something like 90% and will do only the few specific duties assigned to it by the constitution — and supervising commerce is not one of them.
“The Republic government will run the 47 states. Texas, Hawaii and Alaska will no longer be part of the Republic. Not sure what will happen to the 7 states of the District of Columbia and the island states it owns.
“The republic will be under common law, not under maritime law as Washington D.C. is to perform its duties as interfacing with other countries.
“Keep up the good work. Please try to become better informed. Your help is much needed.”
LFT: Thanks for writing in all. And keep it coming.
Managing editor, Laissez Faire Today
P.S. Have something to say? Say it! Chris@lfb.org.