Saturday, July 10, 2010

What Kind Of Depression Is This?

Not your 1930s DepressionExclusive: Patrice Lewis explains why next collapse will be much harder to survive

The news headlines have been screaming lately:
Market forecaster sees Dow plunge to 1000
Dow repeats Great Depression pattern
7.9 million jobs lost, many never to return

If you're self-employed like we are, headlines like these make us nervous. So we've gotten caught up in the "preparedness" movement purely out of anxiety.
You see, if our country is heading toward a 1930s-style depression or worse, I fear it won't be "just" an economic depression. We are missing some key elements that were present during the 1930s that will make that decade-long economic disaster a relative walk in the park compared to today.
Those key factors are a work ethic, independence, civility and a religious foundation.
Remember the old stories of how someone would knock at your grandmother's back door and offer to split some firewood in exchange for a meal? Does anyone honestly think hungry people will do this any more? We're so used to entitlements that the idea of lowering ourselves to exchange labor for food is outrageous. No, today a person who is hard up on their luck and not getting a government handout is much more likely to kick in the back door, tie grandma up, pistol whip her (or worse) and clean the house of any usable items before departing for the next victim. In their minds this is because grandma has no "right" to have food when they don't.

The elders in our society often recall with fondness some of the good elements that came out of the horrible Great Depression. They remember the sense of community that sprang up, born of common hardships. They remember how hard the indigent would work to maintain their dignity and not sink to accepting charitable handouts without offering something else in exchange (such as splitting firewood).
But no more.
After decades of government entitlements, many people no longer have a work ethic. My concern is if we encounter the economic depression analysts predict, it will result in societal turmoil – because far too many people haven't the slightest clue how to work, how to exchange labor for food, or how to restrain their most vicious and animalistic desires in order to keep civilization civil.
If it weren't so tragic, it would be laughable to hear people spouting on and on about their "rights." Criminey, folks, most people wouldn't recognize a real "right" if it bit them on the butt. Rights are a gift from God. They do NOT come from the government. All those entitlements – subsidized housing, food stamps, free medical care – are not "rights."
We have the right to life. We have the right to liberty. And we have the right to the pursuit (not the achievement) of happiness. These rights derive from our Creator, not from the fools in Washington.
You do NOT have the "right" to food. It's up to you to get that for yourself or, if you can't, to look to private individuals or organizations to voluntarily provide it. You do NOT have the right to housing, medical care, transportation, unemployment checks, or anything else people bleat about when they want something but don't want to work for it.
Only when we struggle to be as independent as possible are the chains of slavery seen so clearly.
Because we have been so caught up with false "rights" for the last 50 years, we've gotten to the point where we are helpless and dependent and no longer able or willing to achieve anything on our own. And only someone pathetically caught up in a liberal mentality can argue that entitlements help people achieve independence.
This mentality has set the stage for a modern collapse to be worse than any throughout the annals of history.
Right now there are economic forces at work that are beyond our control. We can go from homeowner to homeless in the blink of an eye. It can happen to anyone, no matter how prepared or unprepared they believe themselves to be.
But a work ethic, an independent spirit and a moral foundation are entirely within our control and can be acquired just as quickly. To their ultimate loss, most people choose not to acquire them.
So if we're heading for a depression in this country, we need to brace ourselves for much, much more than financial hardship. We need to brace ourselves against millions of lawless people demanding "entitlements" they have not earned and for which they have no intention of offering anything in exchange.
What does the future hold for America? There are two possibilities – a loss of freedom, or a return of freedom. Sadly, most people don't like freedom. They want someone to rescue them if things go wrong, which means they only like the "freedom" of an extra-long chain.
(Column continues below)
We have allowed independence to slip into dependence. We have allowed a work ethic to descend into an entitlement mentality.
Our country can survive an economic depression. We've done it before and we can do it again. It won't be easy, but we can do it.
But I fear we cannot survive an economic depression when it's coupled with an unwillingness to embrace a work ethic, independence, civility and religious foundation. Once the artificial props of government entitlements are removed, it will be every man for himself. The results may be anarchy and chaos. And it will give the government a clear opportunity to take advantage of the "crisis" and put in place a government such as we could never imagine.
It was Thomas Jefferson who said, "I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them."
Freedom is hard work, and it isn't free. But too many of our fellow citizens are unwilling to pay the price. Since they get what they pay for, freedom will not be in their future.

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