Sunday, October 18, 2009

Why the future looks bleak

Essay: Seven reasons why the future looks pretty bleak
Robert A. Hall

I’m an optimist by temperament, but a pessimist by outlook. That is, I’m generally upbeat and cheerful in person, but I tend to expect the worst from a large percentage of the people in the world. That lets me be both generally happy and pleasantly surprised when things turn out better than hoped.

Liberals believe that, if only we’d get the right government programs and structure, people would be perfectible. Even we backward conservatives merely needed to sing praise to Obama as children, and attend Berkeley or UW Madison as students and we’d have been cured of our depressing realism.

Conversely, conservatives think that no one can be trusted with a lot of power, thus government needs to be limited and a separation of powers maintained. We don’t believe people can be made perfect. That curmudgeonly view of the human condition tends to make us much less tingly about that hope and change opiate.

Maybe that’s why, despite my upbeat nature, I really think there are solid reasons to be very pessimistic about the future. Here are seven of them:

1. The collapse of traditional American culture. The growth of the number of people with an inner-city entitlement mentality, the explosion of children born outside two-parent families, the gangs and fear in the cities, all portend the collapse of our civilization. Liberals reading this now are screaming “racism!” But it’s not race, it’s culture. You could have a population that was 100% black and Hispanic, and if they had traditional American values revolving around family, work ethic, education, individual responsibility, and doing for themselves, and they had an ethical belief system, religious or not, America would be fine. It’s culture, and ours is going away. Illegal immigration and political correctness are hastening the demise. The percentage of voters who feel entitled to the money and benefits earned by others is growing, and may be past 50%.

On top of that, the poison of “multiculturalism” now celebrates the growth of alternate cultures in America which consider women as chattel, believes that fathers have the right to murder daughters who “dishonor” the family, that slavery is sanctioned by God, that little girls should have their genitals mutilated so they won’t enjoy sex as adults and that government should be run according to their 7th century religious law. See point three, below.

Won’t all those entitlement babies who have been taught to play the victim card to get ahead be surprised when there aren’t enough productive folks left to support them? It’s going to get ugly. But politicians keep promising them they can live off the productivity of others, and their numbers are growing. This year, 47% of Americans will pay no income tax, thus have no reason not to vote for politicians who favor ever-more government spending.

And they are making the culture uglier too. As captured here:

Ugly health debate reflects an ugly culture

2. The growth of statism. The more government grows, the more power is concentrated, the fewer checks and balances are left, and the worse it gets for individual liberty. Mark Levin does a great job of describing the threat in Liberty and Tyranny, which I recommend you read.

This is a natural tendency, especially when almost everyone, Republicans included, sees the government as the first place to turn to fix problems. Eventually, you get rebellion and collapse, as there aren’t enough folks to bleed to support the state and its worker bees and dependents.

It’s a difference in world views between those of us who believe government is a necessary evil and must be restricted by checks and balances and a separation of powers, and those who believe government is the source of all benefits. But State Power kills, as this academic’s research demonstrates:

Too often, it starts out as a benevolent effort to “help” people. As Alexander Hamilton said, “Of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people, commencing demagogues and ending tyrants.”

3. The steady Islamization of the west. Since 9/11, the prevailing instinct has been to make concessions to Islam, in hopes of encouraging the moderates. Never before has Political Islam made such progress in the West, particularly in the United States. The theory seems to be that we can keep most Muslims from killing us by meeting their demands, one by one. But, as is the nature of such things, there is always a new demand. It’s like paying a blackmailer; there is never an end to the demands for more payments

Unfortunately, Islam is a religion that preaches it must dominate, by war if necessary, and the infidels (that’s us) in the Dar al-Harb (the world of war) must become part of the Dar al-Islam (the world ruled by Islam—good explanation here:

We must convert, become second class dhimmi with limited rights, or die. And, of course, it teaches that women have almost no rights. It is also a complete political system, with no separation of mosque and state. Fully implemented, Shari’a law is as anti-freedom as anything proposed by Hitler or Stalin. Suggested reading includes Stealth Jihad and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam by Robert Spencer.

You should also subscribe to the daily digest of news stories from Spenser’s, to get an idea of how intense the demands and pressures are. The steady erosion of freedom and western civilization to Islamization is the largest threat to Freedom since the Nazis and Communists divided Poland in 1939 to start WWII.

4. The declining birth rate in the civilized world. In college, my liberal professors gave me the Population Bomb as received wisdom. Being young and idealistic (read: stupid), I believed it, and decided not to have kids of my own.

It turned out the Population Bomb was completely wrong, and the birthrate in the civilized world is now below replacement rate, probably below recovery in many countries. That the conventional wisdom on population was so far off is the main reason I’m skeptical about the current liberal catechism on global warming. To be both entertained and frightened, read Mark Steyn’s America Alone.

Not only does this play to the quiet Jihad, but also to the next point.

5. The coming fiscal and economic collapse. When Social Security was passed, the idea of a large elderly population due to longevity from our great healthcare system combined with a declining birthrate, with far fewer younger workers to support the retirees, wasn’t envisioned as a possibility. Currently the United States has the longest life expectancy in the world, if you factor out murder and car accidents, which aren’t the fault of the healthcare system. It was a little more visible when Medicare was passed. Now it’s right around the corner. The welfare state in the US is maybe sustainably for another 20 years. Lucky me, on the leading edge of the baby boomers. But every new entitlement, from prescriptions for seniors to government healthcare, always costs far more than predicted and hastens the day of fiscal reckoning. Even liberals joke about deducting Social Security on their taxes as a charitable contribution. Currently, the US debt takes about 40 cents of every income tax dollar to pay the interest.

Because of the collapsed birth rate in Europe and Japan, and their larger entitlement systems, they are much closer to financial disaster (but we are catching up!). And the world’s economy, as we have learned, is now a unitary system. The entire west is a giant Ponzi scheme.

See this recent warning to Britain:

Britain must charge for health care and raise retiring age to escape debt crisis, says IMF

6. Nuclear Strikes in the US. Pakistan has the bomb and a large, aggressive Islamist movement. North Korea has at least a primitive bomb and a nut job leadership. Iran is working hard on a bomb, talks about destroying the “Zionist Entity” and the “Great Satan”—and no one has a good plan to stop them.

Delivery is their problem. So how about in containers in ships with a couple of Jihadist ultimate suicide bombers on board? Think of them docking in LA and NYC about the same time, and all the guy has to do to get the 72 best virgins in paradise is to remove a panel and throw a switch. Think about not only millions dead and the massive damage, but the complete collapse of our governmental and economic system. It’ll make the folks who bought canned food and ammo look pretty smart, not that their lives will be particularly rosy.

The question is probably “when,” not “if.”

Of course, a well-carried-out conventional attack is even more likely and has the potential power to do equal damage to our governmental/economic infrastructure. See my predictions on this, here:

7. Climate change. No. I’m not talking about the Global Warming hysteria that has made Al Gore a multi-millionaire, with a carbon footprint a hundred times larger than mine. My skepticism about The Gospel of Gore is perfectly captured here by a meteorologist for the Washington Post in “A Skeptical Take on Global Warming” (You have to scroll down to read the article)

I’m talking about the much scarier threat of Global Cooling, caused by either a large meteor strike such as may have killed the big lizards or a super-eruption of a volcano like Yellowstone. In cosmic terms we are overdue, and either could wipe out all, or at least a large part of human life and civilization. Might not happen for 2,000 years, of course, or it might be next week, but it will happen. Three of the seven known super volcanoes are in the United States—lucky us. Not to worry, Yellowstone only erupts about every 600,000 years and the last one was only, ah, 640,000 years ago. Either event could create a decades-long “permanent winter” that would do for most of us frail humans. The cockroaches will inherit the earth.

So if you are feeling too cheery, you can bring your mood down by reading:

A good size meteor strike could have the same effect on global weather, crops and human survival as a super-eruption—even if it doesn’t hit your house.

Any one of these factors, all highly likely to come about at some point, could make for a tough future. If two or three of them hit, it will really be harsh. I’m just sorry that, being 63, I’ll miss most of the fun. Even sorrier for my nine-year-old granddaughter who probably won’t.

Yes, the world’s in a hell of a mess—but then, it always has been!


  1. It must be your dour Scottish outlook on life! You did leave out one important issue that keeps me awake at night.. our ridiculous energy policy (or lack thereof). If our foreign sources are somehow cut off or curtailed, we are out of luck... and BO2 is doing NOTHING to alleviate our problem.. no drilling, no nukes, no coal... but we can send Brazil 2 billion for them to drill off THEIR shores!! GREAT!!