by Doug Casey, Casey Research:
Everybody gets hurt in a serious depression, but if you understand what’s going on and prepare for it, you can do well enough. Of course, political and social change always follow economic and financial upheaval, but I think it’s going to be much more drastic this time because the U.S. has been on the road to becoming a police state for quite a while. The trend was supercharged by the so-called War on Terror, starting in 2001. And it’s likely to go into hyperdrive in the months to come as the economy emerges from the eye of the storm. I know it seems asynchronous to think of a police state in a suburban country dotted with shopping malls. But not really.
Think in terms of science fiction, a genre that has far more predictive value than the work of any futurist or think tank.
Reality is mimicking art. In 1932, Aldous Huxley described a highly controlled utopia in Brave New World, where drugs made everybody think (actually feel, because thinking could only make you unhappy) that they were happy. The U.S. has pretty much done that drill, consuming massive quantities of everything on credit, watching American Idol and its clones in every spare moment, and using plenty of Ritalin and Prozac along the way.
Sixteen years later, George Orwell described an even more tightly controlled dystopia in 1984. Everybody knows that story, even if they haven’t read the book.
Interestingly, like good sci-fi writers, both authors were just a generation or so ahead of events. What we’re likely to see in the next few years is elements of both their worlds.
Actually, we’re seeing it right now, or at least a preview. Whenever I return to the U.S., dealing with Immigration and Customs makes my skin crawl. And they’re no longer just at airports and the border; they now range many miles inland and make random stops to see if your papers are in order.
They’re almost as objectionable as the TSA, which has developed a highly dangerous corporate culture, even as it’s grown in numbers and power, now reaching into buses, trains, and soon the highways. The FBI, the CIA, the DEA, the ATF, the Secret Service, the Federal Marshals, FEMA, and literally scores of other national law enforcement agencies are all expanding rapidly.
They’ve long constituted a veritable Praetorian Guard, but now truly have lives of their own. Homeland Security is completing its new 400-acre campus in Washington, D.C. Police forces all over the country are increasingly militarized in both equipment and attitude. And the military itself, bloated on a budget of hundreds of billions a year, has come a long way from the slapstick world of Beetle Bailey, full of steroid-pumped Black Ops wannabes who’ve picked up plenty of bad habits in the government’s numerous undeclared wars. All these types endorse the dozens of “fusion centers” that have been created across the U.S. to collect and correlate information from every source imaginable, for some purpose.
All these organizations are bureaucracies. They serve themselves first. Their prime impulse is to grow and increase their budgets. They tend to attract the wrong kind of person and drive out people of good will. And it’s reached a stage where even if John Galt were elected president, he’d find them not just impossible to uproot but dangerous to confront.
So, here’s another prediction. Riding the economic and social disorder, these new Praetorians, oriented as they are toward professional paranoia and the “national security” state, are going to become truly virulent. They’re going to use the continuing economic crisis to increase their power, like it or not. The American people will demand it, since they are so degraded that they really do prefer the appearance of security to the prospect of having to take personal responsibility.
If I’m right (and I feel as sure about this as I ever have about anything), then it’s not going to go well for libertarians, classical liberals, old-line conservatives, individualists, freethinkers, non-conformists, people who subscribe to letters like this or cruise suspicious websites, or gamma rats, generally. It was a dangerous environment for these types (not to mention those of Japanese or German descent and members of various religious groups) during America’s past crises. When the chimpanzees are hooting and panting, you’d better join them, or they’ll start wondering why not.
I expect what we’re looking at is going to be much more serious than any past crisis, partly because America has already evaporated, like the morning haze on a hot summer’s day. You’re not in Kansas anymore. Kansas isn’t in Kansas anymore.
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