December 19, 2011

The Ant and the Grasshopper

The Ant and the Grasshopper

As the most tumultuous year in memory fades into wintry darkness, we face the giant black wall of 2012—The Year It’s All Supposed to End. An Indian guru prognosticates that 2012 will usher in Kali Yuga’s postmenstrual degeneracy, space cadet Terence McKenna prophesied that 2012 would take us to “Timewave Zero,” and a popular interpretation of the Maya calendar says the curtains will forever fall at 11:11AM on December 21, 2012.

The world as we know it may end in 2012, but not for any of those stupid reasons. There’s always the lurking threat of natural catastrophes such as pandemics, earthquakes, tidal waves, droughts, asteroids, or a single existence-obliterating solar flare. Then there are the disasters due to human folly such as radioactive spills, biological terrorism, and endless war.

Heck, 2012 might even bring a deep global depression caused by unsustainable currency manipulation that ends in worldwide famine and a new Dark Age. Our loving zookeepers at the IMF have warned that rising food prices may be here to stay. Others predict eternal waves of food riots. (Some suggest the Arab Spring had more to do with high bread prices than any misguided pining for Western democracy.)

“Just as they say it’s better to be judged by twelve than carried by six, it’s preferable to be harmlessly paranoid than fatally stupid.”

So if the dollar is dying and food prices are rising, comestibles may become the stablest of currencies. As the saying goes, “You can’t eat gold, silver or lead.” True, but you can’t protect your six-gallon jugs of freeze-dried textured vegetable protein against looters if you don’t have ammo. The smartest investment you could make these days would be to trade some of your excess cash for food and bullets. If guns aren’t to your taste, at least invest your money in your own basement food bank rather than in Bank of America. But tread lightly—if you start getting too prepared, the owner of the local military-surplus store might rat you out as a potential terrorist. In a recent speech on the Senate floor, Rand Paul warned:

There are laws on the books right now that characterize who might be a terrorist….Someone who has guns, someone who has ammunition that is weatherproofed, [and] someone who has more than seven days of food in their house can be considered a potential terrorist.

In other words, the feds have designated anyone who seeks to indulge their most basic survival instincts—to eat and to defend themselves from harm—as an enemy of the state. In the ancient fable of The Ant and the Grasshopper, The Ant is now a terrorist.

Yea, how low we’ve fallen, and whoa, how low we’ve yet to fall. It’s not that I ever doubted things would unravel, it’s that I really wished they wouldn’t. So I procrastinated. Smack me in the family jewels with a ping-pong paddle if I’m wrong, but the greyish-green feeling I’ve had in my stomach since late 2007 has been that we’re lurching inexorably toward chaos. All signs point toward a collapse. I don’t think the Mayans were all that prescient—if they were, they’d still be around—but 2012 may yet be the year when Everything Finally Goes Really, Really South.

Despite my extensive Boy Scout training, it occurred to me that should the worst happen—should the balloon go up, the other shoe drop, and the shit hit the fan all at once—I’ve carefully prepared for myself and my family to survive “off the grid” for an estimated three days—a week, tops. So at the moment, Swiss Family Goad is decidedly unready for any Book of Revelation-level tribulations.


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