Libertarians love to talk about an imminent economic collapse, the product of too much debt, too many years of meddling by the Federal Reserve into the financial sector, and not enough savings.
On this, I have no argument.
This does not disturb me as much as other libertarians. Having never known wealth and possessing financial expectations that would have been more fitting for the early 1900s (give me running water, electricity, plumbing, the prospect of eating plain food, wearing older clothes, and I’m fine), it would all be just an ordinary day for me.
The Inevitable Cultural Collapse
What I fear is the cultural and social collapse. We are already seeing it now in its preliminary stages. Whether it arrives before, during, or after the economic collapse, it is coming. It is inevitable. I don’t see how it is sustainable for much longer and, as I will explain later here, the pretense is maintained solely due to imaginary wealth.
In many ways, society’s decay is the outcome of Keynesian policies.
Society is based on stability. Without stability, it can’t function. It doesn’t hold up under a crisis. The definition of civilization, the extent to which a society is civilized, is determined by how well it holds up under attack either from interior or exterior assaults.
It’s easy to see why America’s society is frail. For all the horrors that befell New York City on 9/11, the 3,000 killed is a pittance compared to atrocities in other countries where millions perished. In the 13 years since the terrorist attacks, the society has only destabilized further, because it responded to the crisis by accelerating a social and political autoimmune disease that has long been there, perhaps starting as soon as the ink dried on the signatures for the newly-written Constitution in 1789.
So how is America’s society on the verge of collapse? Where are the signs?
The Family Is the Bedrock of Society, And It Is Broken
There are many places to look for signs, but the first and most vital is the family. Inasmuch as libertarianism doesn’t concern itself with moral or social issues, the nuclear family, with minor variations, is the natural state of things both biologically and sociologically. It offers a stability that other social entities do not. The nuclear family in its natural, unadulterated state is an example of libertarian anarchy.
For all intents and purposes, the nuclear family in America is an empty shell. Divorce eats up half of them, and the other half are dysfunctional. Relationships between children and their parents are, in many cases, mainly pretenses. Parents treat their children more or less like requisite offspring to be bred and then left to be educated by the state from birth until their early twenties. Entire families have replaced the father with a government paycheck.
An entire generation has grown up in a home without a father figure, and if there is one he’s usually less than admirable. Social engineering has neutered men – effeminate men don’t rebel against tyrants – while millions of women have been brainwashed into thinking a husband and a father are nice, but not necessary to raise children – which is like saying an arch doesn’t need a keystone.
All of this engenders instability. They would also not occur were it not for the state. Family courts, divorce court, life-time alimony, a rigged legal system, paternity fraud, welfare programs, state-run education, universal preschool; these subsidize behavior and choices that in a stateless society would have severe consequences.
Again, it’s social Keynesianism.
Much like how the Federal Reserve prints money and keeps interest rates artificially low to enable irresponsible financial actions, without the state irresponsible behavior destroying the family would not occur.
The problem is that civilization begins in the home, and if the home is uncivilized, neither will the society that is made up a thousand similar families.
False Prosperity Is Delaying the Coming Collapse
So if things are so bad why aren’t they more evident?
Simple. People still have money, or at least think they do. What they really have is an illusion of wealth, an artificial expansion of credit. They can buy things they shouldn’t be able to afford and spend money they don’t have.
It seems too simplistic, but it’s true. Underneath it all, Americans are quite miserable, which is why they consume alcohol, porn, and illegal drugs, or they over-consume television, movies, prescription drugs, sports, video games, and social media. They are looking for an opiate to distract them from a reality that is difficult to ignore.
They know things in society are bad, they aren’t getting better, and even if it does things will get worse first. Much worse. They pretend otherwise and feign ignorance.
It’s funny. The main reason why people don’t want to hear the truth isn’t because they think it’s a lie. It’s because they know it is the truth, and with the truth comes a responsibility. Ignorance is bliss, but when you know something’s wrong, you are morally compelled to do something about it. And you have to come to terms with just how bad things are.
As long as people have something to keep them preoccupied, they will remain placated. If you’re wondering why there wasn’t a revolt after the NSA surveillance program went public, now you know. For all the talk about freedom versus security, what Americans really love is wealth, something libertarians seldom discuss. If it comes down to being free and poor versus rich and enslaved, most will eagerly choose the latter. They will support it and those who kill to maintain it, and will gladly hand over their privacy to preserve their 401K, the mortgage on their McMansion, and promise of retirement on Social Security.
But what would happen if Americans woke up tomorrow and found out their money had become worthless due to hyperinflation? This means all savings are insignificant. Homes are repossessed en masse. The Social Security fund is declared insolvent.
Imagine if all the state intervention in culture and society was withdrawn, and all the rewards for irresponsible behavior disappeared? How stable would the culture be if left to rely on social institutions and the family? My guess is the same thing we saw economically in 2008, when market corrected itself as per the Austrian Theory of the Business Cycle.
For decades, Americans have been in an artificial cultural boom in terms of divorce, illegitimacy, dysfunctional marriages, weak ties between parent and child. But they are not sustainable forever, and finally we are beginning to see the beginnings of the bust.
This terrifies me. It would expose the raw barbarism in our culture which has been repressed or placated. It’s disguised, but if you look closely you can see it. Our moral code is based on niceness not the actual behavior. Try examining behavior based right and wrong, not how nice the person is. Being nice and being moral are not the same.
The veneer is deceitful. Notice how often when a serial killer is arrested his neighbors usually remark, in bewilderment, how nice he was.
As soon as the veneer is removed, you will find just how similar these people will behave.
It will not be pretty. And when all is said and done, the masses will turn to the government to make things right. Freedom for security. That’s when the totalitarianism simmering beneath the surface for so long will emerge and take hold.
If you want to know what that looks like, Doug Casey has a very good prediction.