By David Tulis
An important element of preparing yourself for the sequence of debacles ahead is separating yourself from dependence on those whom I like to call the good people.
The federal republic is in its 238th year, a mere 12 years away from the 250 year limit on the life of any great nation or empire, as explored by Sir John Glubb in his many works, including the classic essay, “The Fate of Empires and Search for Survival” (1978). The U.S. as a corporation will function after this unofficial expiry date, no doubt, but “U.S. persons” should be aware of the impasse to which its finances have come, the pit into which its morale has fallen and the minefield of resentment scattered before its steps domestically and internationally.
Must we face the end with hands thrown up in despair? One remedy in the “return to local economy” scheme is for that populous party whose members work in government to find their way out from it. Government lifelines in benefits or wages are becoming less certain. We should trust networks, affiliations, families and communities, not the state, not the corporation. “Centralized systems such as the government and global corporations are either bankrupt and don’t yet know it or are bankrupt and are well aware of it but loathe to let the rest of the world catch on,” Charles Hugh Smith says in summarizing practical steps.
Government service is often a soul-killing commitment, and bureaucrats who are involved in squeezing life out of some hapless businessman, factory owner or farmer are imperiling their powers of compassion and the means of God’s grace. Do you work for an agency or service with a record of intervention or oppression? At least start thinking about getting out.
Heartless explanations by bureaucrats
The necessity to separate ourselves from police power is clear in an accounting by Chris Butler, a Nashville journalist who exemplifies the entrepreneurial spirit of new journalism on the Internet. A staffer at Watchdog.org, ‡ Mr. Butler is a remarkable source of news and analysis about public affairs in Tennessee as the state’s official media — whether the Tennessean or the Chattanooga Times Free Press — languish on the sidelines.
Of primary importance in recent weeks is his coverage of judicial elections in Tennessee.
In the shadow of this coverage is another set of stories, these out of his native Louisiana. The EPA is shutting down a peach orchard in Ruston, La., by refusing the use of methyl bromide to save its 12,000 trees. The widely noted story of beleaguered farmer Joe Mitcham sparks “fierce passion” in everyone who reads it, Mr. Butler says. “Contrast that with what I got from the EPA. EPA officials received my questions long before my deadline. When they finally answered my questions, via email, and only after my deadline, they followed the same dispassionate pattern as other federal agencies. Not all questions were answered and, for the ones that were, EPA officials essentially copied and pasted text from its own website.” The answer contained a pile of technical information fitting for a scientific journal. The agency had no response fitting a human situation, a human disaster its decrees are causing.
Mr. Butler recounts cold-heartedness on other fronts. When Kathleen Sebelius, the Yankee secretary of health and human services, was in Memphis in 2013, Mr. Butler asked for comment about those people whose insurance premiums are soaring under Obamacare. She “had a deer-in-the-headlights look and said nothing.” But U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, a Memphis Democrat, courageously took the gentleman’s part and took the blow. He took the mike: “Change is hard. Get over it. Barack Obama is president, and the Affordable Care Act is the law.”
More recently, Mr. Butler asked TVA officials about EPA’s orders to reduce carbon dioxide emissions 30 percent, “TVA officials, in their initial response, ignored my question and responded with a very dispassionate email about the need to reduce carbon emissions.”
Get thee far from them
The idea of local economy, the claims of heartfelt Christianity, call us to separate ourselves from any profit from this perspective, from agencies and corporations who deny human feeling in the imposition of their schemes or product. One cannot really expect an agency spokeswoman to empathize with farmer Mitcham, or to say he is being wronged. Still, a government agency should have people in them, and there should be some way to diplomatically admit their rules bring about disaster.
How might we prosper as national economy and the federal empire continue on the skids? Warns Mr. Smith, “Be trustworthy. Don’t be morally corrupt or work for corrupt/self-serving institutions. Many initially idealistic people think they can retain their integrity while working for morally bankrupt, self-serving bureaucracies, agencies and corporations; they are all eventually brought down to the level of the institution.”
Source: Chris Butler, “EPA seems coldly detached about real-life consequences of its policies,” July 11, 2014, Watchdog.org, Nashville
‡ Watchdog.org is a group of independent journalists covering state-specific and local government activity. The program began in September 2009, a project of Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity, a non-profit organization. “Our established investigative journalists and capitol news reporters across the country are doing what legacy journalism outlets prove unable to do: share information, dive deep into investigations, and provide the fourth estate that has begun to fade in recent decades. By enhancing communication between reporters and providing a forum for published journalism, Watchdog.org promotes a vibrant, well-informed electorate and a more transparent government.”