Are We Awake Yet?

     Until they [the proles] become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious. — George Orwell

     New York writer James Howard Kunstler has an impressive piece up today whose title – “Normies Awake!” – somewhat belies its actual content. That’s not a criticism, mind you; I do it a lot. The whole piece is worth your time, though I’ll pull-quote one paragraph to give you a taste: his eagle’s-eye look at what’s being done to money in these United States:

     Eventually, the official perversion of money — especially of borrowing an awesome lot of it with no intention of ever repaying — leads to the unhappy circumstance of money disappearing until nobody has any money. And by such, the broke-ness of the government transmogrifies to a whole land full of broke people. Many banks go broke as well. Even the high-fliers who hoarded things that purport to represent money go broke. Then, nobody has the means to buy anything. Businesses that can’t sell anything stop being businesses. After a while, no activity is meaningful except grubbing in the soil to grow some food, or stealing it from those who grubbed and grew it. By then, you can barely even call it a society.

     While Kunstler’s description is partly metaphorical rather than minutely circumstantial, what he describes above is a real process in progress as we speak. It’s not only happening; it’s accelerating toward a Weimar-style climax. You can feel it whenever you buy gasoline or your Significant Other goes out for groceries. But the rumblings in America’s financial webs don’t appear to have awakened the great majority to what’s being done to them.

     The rest of the essay covers matters of minor importance, such as the Biden family’s sales of influence to foreign satraps, the impending world war, and the federal government’s campaign of genocide against its own citizens. Kunstler notes these in sequence, in each case with a barely audible murmur of “Are we awake yet?” It’s the question of the hour. As of this moment, the answer is “Uh, not quite.” Indeed, the evidence suggests that most of us have merely shouted “Go away” and pulled the covers over our heads.

     Robert Ringer’s fine book How You Can Find Happiness During the Collapse of Western Civilization made a piercing observation about this:

     The majority of fiscal conservatives and free-market advocates were blinded by the glare of false hopes when Ronald Reagan took office. They naively believed that President Reagan’s victory demonstrated a shift in people’s attitudes toward a cut-back in both government benefits and the size of government.
     Unfortunately, they completely missed the point of the election. What most Reagan voters were really saying was “All I know is that I’m a lot worse off than before that idiot Carter took office. I don’t understand supply-side economics, or any other kind of economics—and I don’t want to understand. I just want my free slice of pie—make that pie a la mode—and I want it now.”
     Not one voter in a thousand understood that the collapse of Western Civilization had already entered its latter stages before Ronald Reagan even took office.

     Ringer wrote that in 1982, Gentle Reader. Forty-one years ago. And virtually no one was listening. Will anyone take heed of the mileposts James Howard Kunstler and I have serially noted? Anyone who isn’t already awake, that is?


     Some people will seize on any hopeful glimmer as the sign that the dawn is upon us. As long as there’s anything they can interpret as a sign that “things are turning around,” they will cling to the belief that Real Soon Now we’ll all be singing “Happy Days Are Here Again.” (Was that a WPA song?) And I refuse to dismiss them as unreachable idiots, for a simple reason: Nothing is truly inevitable.

     I’ve lost the link, but not long ago I encountered a bit of wisdom that deserves wide distribution: The history of the universe is nothing but a series of improbable events. It’s still possible, however unlikely, that “things” will “turn around.” But as bridge expert Terence Reese once wrote, “The race may not always be to the swift, nor the battle to the strong…but that’s the way to bet.” Alternately put: “hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.” And that will be the end of the platitudes for the nonce.

     One development – admittedly, a very unlikely one – that could “turn things around” is if enough ordinary people were to awaken, especially to what’s being done to the American dollar. That other countries are gradually abandoning the dollar as the “reserve currency” upon which international finance should be based is hopeful in itself…but few Americans have taken note of that development, and even fewer have treated it with the significance it deserves.

     The problem is that the dollar is the well-established, nationwide medium of exchange. Virtually no one is willing to stake his future, or the future of his business, on anything else at this time. “If not dollars, then what?” is a question for which we lack a near-term answer. Given the extreme specialization of the American economy, a general reversion to barter is unimaginable.

     But the other mileposts we’ve passed have little to do with the lives of ordinary Americans. They don’t affect us personally enough – yet – to compel an alteration in our routines. “An impending world war? I’ll worry about it when it gets here. The COVID vaccines were revealed as far worse than the disease? I’m still feeling okay. The president of the United States has been proved to be utterly corrupt? Maybe I’ll watch the trial, if it’s televised.”

     The way to bet, in Terence Reese’s formulation, is on the great majority, perhaps nine out of ten Americans, remaining undisturbed in their slumbers. Which puts the whole burden of preparing for any of half a dozen equally likely cataclysms on you and me.

     Perhaps I’ll read the Ringer book again this afternoon.


1 ping

    • Steve on August 10, 2023 at 11:20 AM

    Is that the Ringer the Spoonerites  refer to?

    • Phil on August 10, 2023 at 6:47 PM

    I stopped by a local McDonalds a week ago Saturday after working and not eating all day.

    One Big Mac, no fries, no drink, is now $9.50.

    Same with all of their “sandwiches”, minus the Spicy Chicken.

    Can you spell insanity?

    I can.


  1. […] not directly related, but close enough that I can feel the pain in the words. Francis has his say HERE. Sarah has her say HERE. I would toss BCE on that but his eyes are swole shut and he isn’t […]

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