The Corner

Peering into the Gloom

So what am I anticipating, with all this gloomery? a reader wants to know. Another 1973? Another 1929? Another A.D. 410?

Hey, I’m not an expert. I just try to keep up with the experts — the gloomy ones, of course. (No offense, Larry.)

From what I read and am told, as best I can understand it, the developed world will be much poorer, grubbier, and meaner four or five years from now, its currencies ravaged by competitive inflation, its government services greatly reduced, entitlements meager.

The rest — what will follow; what the consequences for social order will be; what the consequences for international order will be; and what the path from here to there will actually look like — is guesswork. My guesses:

● What will follow? A long period of stagnation, life depressing & uncomfortable for most of us in the West (and made more so by nostalgia for the carefree, prosperous years), but not down at Dark Age standards.

● Social order? I foresee a great boost in popularity for the Second Amendment. (Because among the things government will no longer be able to afford will be law enforcement.) Multiculturalism, on the other hand, will lose market share, and ethnic disaggregation will accelerate. (Because social capital varies inversely with diversity, and with less government we shall need more social capital.) Representative government will probably survive, but there may be secessions from the U.S.A. Religion, or at least spirituality, will get a boost, following the Chinese maxim: “In normal times you don’t burn joss; when times are hard you hug Buddha’s foot.”

● International order? May actually improve. Hungry, angry people working two jobs for a handful (or wheelbarrowful) of inflated-away dollars won’t be in a mood to fuss much about the human rights of detained terrorists, or of people in unfriendly nations, or of migrants violating our borders. Nor will they bother much about global warming or spotted owls (yummy!) Smiting one’s enemies hip and thigh may even come back into fashion — a jolly good thing in my opinion.

● The path from here to there? Paved with good intentions, of course!

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