We live in extraordinary times. Having entered a period of current and impending crises, Americans are challenged to pull together as a people, to safeguard the constitutional order of the nation, and to find our way together to a future we can depend on.
We face a broad range of crises, all emerging into view at virtually the same time. We have discussed several here briefly, and others at greater depth.
Some, like the continuing debt crisis, have major current implications. Others, like the unrecognized instability of complexity in today’s digitized world, remain hidden, but may well provide the trigger that sends everything into a tailspin.
I have placed emphasis on the coming financial storm because it hangs over us now, waiting for a trigger.
The too-big-to-fail banks are now bigger than they were before they helped bring down the economy in 2008. Federal and corporate debt have expanded enormously since that time, further devaluing the US dollar.
Millions who lost their jobs and homes in the 2008 crisis remain mired in poverty.
Respectable higher-paying employment has been lost overseas or to robotics and mechanized production. Experts predict that 30% of current jobs will disappear in the next 10 years.
The stock market has shot upward with no foundation in economic reality. It has now reached irrational valuations not seen since just before the 1929 panic and the dotcom crash of 2000.
The Bank for International Settlements (BIS), which is the central banker to the world’s central banks, has stated openly that central bankers will be out of options when the next crisis hits.
The BIS suggests that the major central banks have mismanaged the situation to a large extent because they don’t understand it. Previously “unthinkable risks,” the BIS said, are coming to be “perceived as the new normal.”
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) also released a report stating that “key fault lines” are growing across the US financial landscape, and that “new pockets of vulnerabilities have emerged.” The largest and most interconnected banks “dominate the system even more than before.”
As imposing as the financial drama appears, in my view there is a deeper and more dangerous crisis. And, it is clearly visible behind all the others.
I have written here of the profound loss of personal integrity – honesty, trustworthiness, responsibility – we have witnessed in recent years.
A profound collapse of moral standards has taken place on a societal scale. It has infected many personal relationships and virtually all institutions.
This is the deeper crisis, and it may ultimately be responsible for the general deterioration that appears to be dragging civilization to its knees.
Dependability, trust, and responsibility are the basis for the sound functioning of all human affairs, and lack of them has led to crippling disorientation and disorder.
Why has this happened to such a stunning extent? Certainly, we have lost the ethical foundations that have contributed to stability in the past. But, why? We are intelligent people. What happened to good judgment? Where is common sense?
Have we walked away from responsibility believing that honesty and fairness limit our freedom? Or have we just become thoughtless, undisciplined, sloppy?
Has the daily bludgeoning from mass media stunted our ability to think for ourselves?
Whatever the reasons, we are now reaping the whirlwind.
For a world where many young people have grown up with little or no effective parenting, and where many of their elders have lost any meaningful grounding in values or virtues, there will be no valid guidance available in the chaotic upheavals that lie ahead.
Dealing specifically with impending or potential dangers is very important, but is beyond the scope of this blog. Rather, I seek to gather Americans around a focus on safety, common needs, and constructive purpose in our local communities.
This is essential regardless of the nature of unpredictable events.
We have entered a time of severe testing.
Such testing requires us to rise to our full personal potential – patiently working together in our communities despite our differences.
This degree of patriotic loyalty is the only antidote to the toxic cocktail of partisan negativity that is poisoning the American soul.
You may watch for the next post on or about January 15.
Note to regular readers: Two new drafts have been posted at the top of the home page (see above). They are Chapter 6: Freedom and Individuality, and Chapter 9: Confronted by the Past. In addition, Chapter 1: American Crucible has been revised. I look forward to your feedback.