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Posts Tagged ‘Civilizational Collapse’

Detail from The Sack of Rome by the Visigoths by JN Sylvestre, 1890.

“At the hour of midnight, the Salerian gate was silently opened, and the inhabitants were awakened by the tremendous sound of the Gothic trumpet.  Eleven hundred and sixty-three years after the foundation of Rome, the Imperial city, which had subdued and civilized so considerable a part of mankind, was delivered to the licentious fury of the tribes of Germany and Scythia” (Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Ch. 31).

With these words the English historian Edward Gibbon captured the sacking of Rome by Alaric king of the Visigoths on August 24, A.D. 410.   Although the Western empire did not officially come to an end until A.D. 476, the sacking of Rome by Alaric was certainly an indication of the Empire’s fast approaching end. 

As something of a history buff myself, I’ve often wondered what it was like for people who witnessed the end of their civilization.  It must have been terrible and terrifying.  One wonders at the horror that must have filled the hearts of the inhabitants of Jerusalem when the Babylonian army broke through the city walls in 586 B.C. and proceeded to destroy the city and burn the temple, which at that time had stood for over 300 years.

Reflecting on the excerpt above from Gibbon, what was it like for the Romans, and even non-Romans, in A.D. 410 to hear that Rome had been taken by a barbarian Germanic king? 

At the time of the sacking of Rome, the Bishop of Hippo in North Africa found himself confronted by many angry and puzzled questioners, many of whom were refugees from Alaric’s invasion of Italy, asking how, if Christianity were true, God could allow Christian civilization – recall that Constantine had become the first, at least nominally, Christian emperor about a century earlier – to be destroyed by a pagan barbarian king and his army?        

That bishop, as you may already be aware, was none other than Aurelius Augustine, the greatest theologian of the early church.

According to one scholar,

More than any other single episode the sacking of Rome gave Augustine a reason to write the City of God. After 410 he found exiles, those escaping the disturbing events in Italy, arriving in North Africa where he was now Bishop of Hippo and asking how he could explain this collapse of a Christian Empire.  It was their angry challenge that led him to begin work on a book which was to appear in episodes stretching over many years of composition (G. R. Evans, Introduction, City of God. Penguin Books, London, 2003, ix).

It seems to me that, although our present circumstances are in certain important respects different from those faced by Augustine in his day, nevertheless there are some important similarities.  While Rome in the fifth century was sacked and burned by outside forces, America today is being sacked and burned – in some ways literally, in others figuratively – by forces from within.  In both cases – Rome in A.D. 410; America in A.D. 2021 – the civilizations were in advanced states of decay well in advance of their sacking.  One may fairly view the two events not as the beginning of their respective civilization’s collapse, but as another, more overt, step along the way to their demise. 

The comparison of Rome’s sacking in 410 to the events in America over the past year – namely, the massive civil unrest carried out by BLM and Antifa and supported by the political, business, entertainment and academic establishments; the brutal Covid lockdowns in defiance of the Constitution, medical precedent, and the teachings of Scripture; and an overtly stolen presidential election –  can be instructive to Christians today, because many of the same problems that plague America and the West today are the same problems that plagued Rome in Augustine’s day, and the answers he gave to his critics are just as applicable now as they were then. 

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Is feudalism in our future? Medieval illustration, circa 1310.

I am the vine, you are the branches.  He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.

  • John 15.5

There’s not much good news these days.  And not only is the news not good, it’s downright appalling. 

Just to give one example, consider the situation with the presidential election.  Here we are, about six weeks after the election with the nation deeply divided about the winner.  The establishment media have all proclaimed Joe Biden president-elect, yet there is substantial evidence that the election was stolen.  But in spite of what is, in my own opinion, clear evidence of election fraud, the Trump legal team has gone from defeat to defeat.  The latest loss, the refusal of the Supreme Court to hear the complaint by the Texas Attorney General against several other states for their failure to follow the constitution in their election procedures, suggests that there is little hope for Trump and his supporters to find redress for their grievances in the courts.  The bottom line: at this point it appears that, come January, Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th president of the United States. 

As if this weren’t bad enough, there are several other pressing problems facing this nation, any one of which threatens serious destruction on its own.  Taken together, the threats seem overwhelming. 

For starters, we have the abject failure of many mayors, governors, district attorneys and police chiefs to do government’s most basic job:  punish those who practice evil.  For months we have witnessed destructive riots in some of our largest cities.  Not only have those who have deliberately destroyed and stolen property and caused bodily harm to peaceful citizens not been punished, but those who have sought to defend themselves and their property from the aggressors have found themselves in legal trouble.  In 2020 America, good is evil, and evil good. 

The state of our nation’s finances continues to deteriorate.  But the economic pain is not equally shared.  In fact, while many ordinary Americans are struggling financially as a result of losing their jobs and business from government imposed Covid lockdowns, the wealth of billionaires has soared

Wall Street is hitting records highs while Main Street struggles to pay the grocery bill.  This is not the result of capitalism, as many socialists like to point out, but the result of the oceans of printed money by the Fed.  Some observers have noted that about 23 percent of all US dollars were created just this year, 2020!

If all this weren’t bad enough, the federal budget deficit for 2020 hit a record $3.1 trillion.  This means that the federal government overspent its tax revenues by over $3 trillion. 

I doubt our culture has ever been more vulgar.  Sexual deviants are celebrated and those who oppose them are silenced.  Vulgar language and fornication are openly celebrated.  Internet pornography runs rampant. Oh, and did I mention that transgenderism has attained sacred status and that even the mildest criticism of homosexuality is taken for blasphemy? If you don’t think men who claim they are women are awesome, and women who claim they are men must be believed and have praise heaped upon them, then you, my friend, are the one who has the problem. On the other hand, the man in the dress screaming at you for making the mistake of “misgendering” him? He is above criticism. 

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Ebed-Melech resuces Jeremiah, Jan Luyken (1649-1712), 1712.

“For I will surely deliver you, and you shall not fall by the sword; but your life shall be as a prize to you, because you have put your trust in Me,” says the LORD.

  • Jeremiah 39:18

Jerusalem was in trouble.  The powerful Babylonian army that had been besieging the city had temporarily left to fight the Egyptians but would soon return with a vengeance.  Many false prophets (false teachers) had been telling the people that Jerusalem would be spared, but Jeremiah knew better and was not afraid to say so.

This made the prophet a very unpopular fellow, especially with the ruling class. 

“Do not deceive yourselves, saying, ‘The Chaldeans will surely depart from us,’ for they will not depart.  For though you had defeated the whole army of the Chaldeans who fight against you, and there remained only wounded men among them, they would rise up, every man in his tent, and burn the city with fire.” Such was a typical rebuke Jeremiah would deliver to those optimists in Jerusalem who thought that somehow everything was going to work out just fine in the end. 

Perhaps even more disturbing, at least from the perspective of the ruling class, was that Jeremiah was telling the people of Jerusalem to defect to the Babylonians, the very nation then destroying the land of Judah.  “Now you shall say to this people, ‘Thus says the LORD: “Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death.  He who remains in this city shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence; but he who goes out and defects to the Chaldeans who besiege you, he shall live, and his life shall be as a prize to him.  For I have set My face against this city for adversity and not for good,” says the LORD.  “It shall be given into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire.”’

Indeed, it was suspicion that Jeremiah himself was defecting to the Babylonians that landed him in prison.  And now that Jeremiah was in prison, his enemies in king Zedekiah’s court decided to move in for the kill.

In Jeremiah 38 we read, “Now Shephatiah the son of Mattan, Gedeliah the son of Pashhur, Jucal the son of Shelemiah, and Pashhur the son of Malchiah heard the words that Jeremiah had spoken to all the people, saying, “Thus says the LORD: He who remains in this city shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence: but he who goes over to the Chaldeans shall live; his life shall be as a prize to him, and he shall live.’ Thus says the LORD:  ‘This city shall surely be given into the hand of the king of Babylon’s army, which shall take it.’” 

In verse 4 of Jeremiah chapter 38 we read, “Therefore the princes said to the king, ‘Please, let this man (Jeremiah) be put to death, for thus he weakens the hands of  the men of war who remain in this city, and the hands of all the people, by speaking such words to them.  For this man does not seek the welfare of this people, but their harm.”    

To this demand King Zedekiah replied, “Look, he is in your hand.  For the king can do nothing against you.” 

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Another week, another American city torched by “mostly peaceful protesters.” Police in riot gear clear a park during clashes with protesters outside the Kenosha County Courthouse late Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020, in Kenosha, Wis. | David Goldman/AP Photo

“In the second century of the Christian Era, the empire of Rome comprehended the fairest part of the earth, and the most civilized portion of mankind.” With this sentence did Edward Gibbon open his famous Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.  Gibbon’s work, first published in 1776, is a sweeping work of history, following the fortunes of the Roman Empire from its height in the second century AD to the fall of Constantinople in 1453.  

It may come as a surprise to some people to find that the Roman Empire lasted into the 15th century.  When we think about the fall of Rome, we tend to focus on the collapse of the Western Empire in AD 476 and forget that Rome had a vibrant eastern portion that did not fall until its capital, Constantinople, fell to the Turks nearly seven hundred years later.  We call this eastern empire Byzantium, but the Byzantines did not call themselves Byzantines.  The term “Byzantine Empire” did not come into use until well after the fall of Constantinople.  No, the people we call Byzantines did not use this term.  They called themselves Romans.   

After the spilling of much ink, Gibbon concludes his work with a chapter in which he discusses what he believes to be the four main causes of the fall of Rome.  He lists them as: 1) The injuries of nature, 2) the hostile attacks of the Barbarians and Christians, 3) the use and the abuse of the materials, and 4) the domestic quarrels of the Romans.  Was Gibbon right in his assessment?  That is for another time to discuss.

Although Gibbon’s work is likely the first to come to mind when people think about decline and fall histories, his was not the first work to describe the chain of events leading from civilizational greatness to civilizational collapse.  As this author has mentioned before in this space, the Old Testament can be viewed, at least in part, as the history of the decline and fall of ancient Israel, or the Hebrew Republic as the 19th century American Presbyterian writer E.C. Wines called it. 

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Black Lives Matter protesters march through Portland, Oregon on Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire: your land, strangers devour it in your presence, and it is desolate, as overthrown by strangers.

  • Isaiah 1:7

Is America under the judgment of God?  Many Christians think so, this author among them. 

Some of our largest, most prosperous and best-known cities are literally burned with fire and will take years to recover, if they ever do. Minneapolis, Portland, Seattle, Chicago and New York have seen massive riots and property destruction on a level that few Americans could have imagined just six months ago.  On the internet one can view the daily, destructive handiwork of Antifa in Portland and Seattle.  The Portland riots have been going on for three months now and show no sigh of abating.  In fact, the riots may be spreading, as there are reports just today (8/23/2020) that the sort of disturbances that have been going in the Portland have spread to Denver.       

Our political system is a mess.  The Democrats have veered off in a radical socialist/social justice direction.  So overt is their radicalism that it has caused concern even among some of the older, mainstream liberals in the party.  The Republicans, relatively speaking a saner bunch, have nevertheless lost their moorings in many ways.  There was a time, not all that long ago, when Republicans at least pretended to be the party of fiscal restraint.  Yet under President Trump debts and deficits have exploded and almost no one says a word.  When Representative Thomas Massie (R-KY) objected to the house passing the budget busting $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill without a vote, he was denounced by President Trump as a, “third rate Grandstander.”  Trump went on to say that Massie should be thrown out of the Republican party.  That was Massie’s reward for standing up for the Constitution.

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Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire; strangers devour your land in your presence; and it is desolate as overthrown by strangers. Isaiah 1:7

“…because of Western civilization’s love of material comforts, there is an unwillingness to face unpleasant realities.”

  • Gordon H. Clark, A Christian View of Men and Things, p.53

“‘How did you go bankrupt?’ Bill asked.  ‘Two ways,’ Mike said.  ‘Gradually and then suddenly.’“ So wrote Ernest Hemmingway in his novel The Sun Also Rises

Although Hemmingway’s book was a work fiction, what he said about bankruptcy is a phenomenon many of us have seen in real life.  Individuals and organizations that appear to be in robust financial health experience sudden financial collapse. 

Perhaps the poster child for sudden financial ruin is Lehman Brothers, a famous 150-year-old Wall Street investment bank.  Having earned record profits during the height of the real estate bubble from 2005-2007, early in the morning on Monday, September 15,2008, Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy.   

The collapse of Lehman Brothers to this day is still the largest bankruptcy in American history. 

Gradually, then suddenly.  That same pattern can be seen in the Scriptures as well.  In Deuteronomy 32:35 we read, “Their foot shall slide in due time.”   Some will recognize this as the text on which Jonathan Edwards based his famous sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” Wrote Edwards,

It [the saying “their foot shall slide in due time”] implies, that they were always exposed to sudden unexpected destruction.  As he that walks in slippery places is every moment liable to fall, he cannot foresee one moment whether he shall stand or fall the next; and when he does fall, he falls at once without warning: Which is also expressed in ‘Surely thou didst set them in slippery places; thou castedst them down into destruction:  How are they brought into desolation as in a moment? (Psalm 73:18-19).

Sodom and Gomorrah met with destruction in a single day. 

After centuries of rebellion against God, Jerusalem was sacked in a single day. 

In Daniel’s time, the mighty city of Babylon was overthrown in a single day. 

In Revelation, the voice from heaven prophesies that the destruction of Babylon the Great will come in a single day.  The kings of the earth are said to lament her destruction, crying out, “Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city!  For in one hour your judgment has come” (Revelation 18:10).  

In all of these cases, the sudden final destruction was really the end result of a process that had been going on for many years.   

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Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire; strangers devour your land in your presence; and it is desolate as overthrown by strangers, Isaiah 1:7

“…because of Western civilization’s love of material comforts, there is an unwillingness to face unpleasant realities.”

  • Gordon H. Clark, A Christian View of Men and Things, p.53

Just yesterday, we celebrated the 244th anniversary of America’s independence from Great Britain, while, ironically enough, a substantial portion of the country found itself under house arrest due to dictates from various government officials.  It’s almost as if we’ve come full circle.

Actually, it seems as if we’ve come more than full circle.  Government was much smaller, and the tax and regulatory burdens were much less, under British colonial rule than they are now under own home-grown government.  This is not to suggest that it was wrong to have fought the Revolutionary War, but it does say something about how far America has drifted from its limited government roots.   

What has been the cause of this political sea change?

In his Forward to Gordon Clark’s A Cristian View of Men and Things, John Robbins explained it this way, “A Christian View of Men and Things presents the argument that the West is disappearing because Christianity, on which Western civilization was built, has already virtually disappeared in the West.” 

It needs to be pointed out there that when Clark and Robbins speak of “Christianity,” they are talking about the plain statements and logical implications of the 66 Books of the Bible, the centerpiece of which is the doctrine of Justification by Faith (Belief) Alone.  That is to say, they are talking about the Biblical Christianity of the Protestant Reformation. 

There are other systems of thought that claim to be Christianity, Roman Catholicism for example, but which are not Christian, because they teach that sinful man in some sense is able to put God in his debt, as if salvation were the rightful wages of the sinner’s good works.  These other systems are, in fact, not Christian at all, and their growing presence in the United States and elsewhere in the West are the collapse of the West. 

Western Civilization is rapidly disappearing from the face of the Earth, yet almost no one, even among those who lament its disappearance, understand, as did Gordon Clark and John Robbins, the connection between the disappearance of Christianity and that of Western Civilization. 

Writing about the Northern Kingdom in his day, the prophet Hosea commented, “Aliens have devoured his [Ephraim’s] strength, but he does not know it; yes, gray hairs are here and there on him, yet he does not know it.  The kings and rulers of the Northern Kingdom, for which Ephraim was another name, lacked the discernment to realize the precarious position of the nation and to see that its collapse was nigh.  Some scholars believe Hosea wrote from about 750 BC until just a few years before the dissolution of the Northern Kingdom in 722 BC, when the Assyrians conquered the capital city of Samaria and took the inhabitants of the nation into captivity. 

So why did the Northern Kingdom fall to Assyria?  That is a very simple question to answer, one requiring no speculation: “[T]hey left all the commandments of the LORD their God” (2 Kings 17:16).  It was because of this that “the LORD was very angry with Israel, and removed them from His sight” (2 Kings 17:18).

It is this author’s contention that we in the West, the heirs of the Reformation, are in a position not entirely different from that of ancient Israel.  We have forsaken the Lord our God, his law and his gospel, and have followed after strange gods, which are not gods at all, but the work of the vain imaginations of men’s sinful hearts.  John Robbins put it like this, “the collapse of the West can be viewed as the collapse of the of the attempted Thomistic (Roman Catholic) synthesis of human philosophy and Christ, and the West’s fatal choosing of non-Christian philosophy, not Christ” (A Christian View of Men and Things, 12).   

It’s one thing to read about the collapse of the Hebrew Republic as documented in the pages of the Old Testament, or even about the collapse of the Roman Empire as recounted by Edward Gibbon.  It’s altogether another thing when the civilization in collapse is your own and you have the opportunity to watch it live streamed in high definition.

In the opinion of this author, it is high time that American Christians, and Christians in other nations of the West, face the reality of the situation we are in, as unpleasant as it is, and prepare themselves for the likely further collapse of the West. 

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An Auto Zone burns in Minneapolis early Thursday, May 28, 2020. (Nick Woltman / Pioneer Press)

Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire.

  • Isaiah 1:7

Writing late in the history of Judah, the prophet Isaiah’s work has long struck this author as having special application to our own time.  In his long career, Isaiah witnessed much, including the final destruction of the Northern Kingdom by Assyria in 721 B.C. and a remarkable restoration of the Southern Kingdom under King Hezekiah. 

In the opening chapter of the book named for him, Isaiah painted a stark and unflattering picture of the current state of Judah and Jerusalem in his day.  Although they had a Godly heritage, the people of the Southern Kingdom had not only abandoned that heritage but were acting in ways that were the exact opposite of what had been laid down for them in the Law of Moses.  Speaking through Isaiah, the Lord called them “children who are corruptors.”  Not only were they themselves corrupt, but they corrupted others.  Further, the Lord said of them that, “They have turned away backward.’  The inhabitants of Jerusalem and Judah not only were off course but were going 180 degrees away from the direction God had called them to go. 

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The Black Lives Matter street mural recently painted right next to Cincinnati City Hall. The Mainstreaming of this Marxist organization is all but complete.

“I have heard many such things; Miserable comforters are you all!”

  • Job 16:2

An old saying among military men is that generals are always ready to fight the last war.  Perhaps the classic example of this is the French military leaders, who, having learned by experience in World War I that trench warfare and fixed fortifications were the way to fight, built the Maginot Line to defend the nation against a future attack from Germany. 

From all accounts it was a well-built defensive line.  A very impressive military installation it was. And not only that, according to Encyclopædia Britannica, the 800,000-man strong French army, “was thought at the time to be the most powerful in Europe.” 

Unfortunately, as the French general staff again learned by experience in the Spring of 1940, in the intervening twenty of so years since the last war Germany had developed a new form of warfare, Blitzkrieg (lightning war).  Blitzkrieg, sometimes called third generation warfare by military historians, is based on speed and movement.     Instead of slugging it out toe to toe with the French in the trenches, the German army simply went around the Maginot Line through Belgium and down into the heart of France.

The Germans began their attack through Belgium on May 10, 1940.  France surrendered just six weeks later on June 22.  If it were a boxing match, you’d call it a first-round knockout.

The French generals, who were wonderfully prepared to fight World War I-style trench warfare, did not anticipate Germany’s new tactics and thus failed to defend their people.  In France’s hour of need, they were miserable comforters. 

In the view of this author, Republican and Evangelical leaders are making a similar mistake today.  Thinking that the country is still fighting the civil rights battles of the 1950’s and 1960’s, they seem to think that white racism is the root of all evil in America today.  They can’t wait to denounce white racism, as if there were a Klansman waiting behind every bush, when the truth of the matter is that it is white people, who, more often than not, are the victims of racist rhetoric, racist polices and racially motivated violence, not the perpetrators of it.

And yet, if you listen to leading Republican and Evangelical voices, one could easily believe they’ve all internalized the accusation Hillary Clinton leveled at Trump voters 2016 and really truly believe that their party and their congregations are made up of nothing but a bunch of irredeemably deplorable racists, sexists and homophobes, who, not only are being justly punished by the righteous and terrible swift swords of Black Lives Matter and Antifa, but that they have not yet received from the Lord’s hands double for all their sins.  The beatings will continue until moral improves.  This seems to be the motto of those in positions of authority, both in the state and in the church. 

Not only do Republican and conservative Protestant spokesmen fail to defend their own people who are being subjected to the most vicious psychological, spiritual and even physical attacks I’ve ever seen in this country, not only do they fail to stand up and speak up and refute the slanders of the Marxist mobs howling for the destruction of the country, the very country that was principally built by the people they claim to represent, but these same Republican and Evangelical leaders actually pile on, joining with the enemies of their own people in beating down their congregations and political base.

Miserable comforters are they all. Miserable! Inexcusably, utterly miserable.

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Financial Crisis

A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself, but the simple pass on and are punished.

Proverbs 22:3

When I began writing this series back in early August, I did so as a response to a hard selloff in the stock market that followed the Fed’s decision at the end of July to lower interest rates.  As I noted in that first post in this series, I decided on the title “The Ongoing Financial Crisis of 2008” because it is my view that the market melt down that began in earnest in the fall of that year has never really gone away.

What occurred was that central banks took money printing into hyper-drive in late 2008 and early 2009 and managed to reflate the stock market bubble that had popped earlier in 2008.  I likened their actions to what the prophet Ezekiel called plastering walls with untempered mortar.  In other words, the Fed addressed the symptoms of the financial crisis, but not the cause of the crisis itself.

Eleven years later, this is still the case.  Nothing has been fixed.  Nothing has improved.  In fact, not only have things not improved, they have gotten far worse.

The 2008 crisis, what is sometimes called the Global Financial Crisis or the GFC, was a debt crisis.  There was simply more debt in the financial system than could be repaid.  So what was the response of the Fed and the federal government?  They conspired to create even more debt to solve a crisis caused by too much debt, as if somehow more of the same thing that caused the problem in the first place was also the solution!

To borrow an English proverb, this was the financial equivalent of bringing coals to Newcastle.

If a man is an alcoholic, you don’t cure hm by giving him another bottle of whiskey.  While another bottle may make him feel better for the moment, in the long run it will kill him.  Yet this is not so very different from what governments and central banks all over the world did in 2008.  They went on a spending and money printing spree, which managed to kick the can down the road but did nothing to solve the underlying problem.

As a result, while the economies of the United States and other Western nations have appeared to recover their health, the underlying fundamentals of those economies have grown steadily worse.  Just in America, our national debt has more than doubled since 2008 and now sits at $23 trillion.

Just to give you as sense of how fast debt is now piling up, it took the federal government from the founding of our country until 1982 to compile $1 trillion in debt.  Now, even mainstream sources are predicting that the annual deficit for fiscal year 2020 – this is the federal government’s fiscal year which began on October 1, 2019 and ends on September 30, 2020 – will be in excess of $1 trillion.  In other words, the federal government is adding the same nominal amount of debt in a single year that it previously took about 200 years to accrue.

Oddly, no one in Washington seems the least bit concerned about this.  Not the Democrats.  Not the Republicans.  No one except an odd fellow here and there such as Senator Rand Paul.

The Bible teaches us that debt is a burden.  At best, it is something that is to be used prudently and paid off timely.

Yet we all live with a debt-based financial system that, not only encourages debt, but actually requires debt to increase at a faster and faster pace just to keep the system from imploding.  This debt-based system of financial perdition was put in place in the United States with the passing of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913.  The Fed has been destroying not only the financial fabric of the nation, but its moral fabric as well, for over 100 years.

What is true of America is also the case with all other Western nations.

We have become enslaved by debt, and all the more with each passing year.

But just as untempered mortar quickly shows itself when exposed to a little rain, so too are the phony fixes put in place in 2008 beginning to come unglued.  In fact, this author has been amazed by how badly the financial system has deteriorated in the past three months he has been writing this series.

In just that short time, the Fed has, apparently on a permanent basis, started baling out the overnight repo market, twice cut interest rates and resumed Quantitative Easing (QE).  These are all various forms of money printing, which have the long-run effect of weakening the dollar resulting in higher prices and a lower standard of living.

And these are just the activities they openly acknowledge.  In the opinion of this author, the Fed rigs all financial markets 24/7 to provide the appearance of normalcy.  Stocks, bonds, real estate and oil are propped up, while precious metals – gold and silver – and crypto currencies are suppressed.

Bet even as the Fed rigs all markets and the government statisticians put out phony economic numbers designed to understate unemployment and inflation while overstating economic growth, there are some stats that cannot be rigged.

If one looks closely at the economic numbers that are put out, he will see that, all the economic cheer leading from the administration aside, there is almost no good economic news to be found.  Here is just a sample of recent headlines showing just how serious things are getting:

 

I could easily produce many more such headlines, but I trust the reader gets the point that, economically speaking, things aren’t all that great out there.  What’s even more remarkable is that these headlines are showing up at a time when the Fed has put the money printing pedal to the metal, intervening more aggressively in the market than at any time since the height of the 2008 crisis.

But while all that money printing has, apparently, not turned around the economy, the stock market is hitting new record highs.

So which is it?  Are we to believe, the stock market, the politicians and the Wall Street cheer leaders, who tell us everything is awesome, or the economic statistics which point to an oncoming recession?

For my part, I’ll trust the economic statistics.  Not, mind you, because I think economic statistics furnish us with knowledge.  Only the 66 books of the Bible do that.  No, it’s not that economic statistics are true that causes me to trust them.  Rather, it is that the monetary and fiscal policies pursued by central banks and Western governments – that is to say, money printing and deficit spending – are morally bankrupt and will, in the long-run, inevitably lead to financial bankruptcy as well.

All this naturally leads to the question, when will the next economic crisis hit?  My answer:  I don’t know.

In my opinion, the entire world economic system should have collapsed in 2008, but extraordinary action by the world’s central banks managed to resuscitate the system.  The financial system could easily have collapsed any time since then, but for the ongoing interventions – both public and secret – of central banks and governments ever since.

In short, we’ve all been living on borrowed time.

So how much more time are the masters of the universe able, or even willing, to buy?  I don’t know.

In my opinion, the apparent quickening pace of the slide into recession seems to indicate that the time before the next major financial crisis is relatively short.  That said, this author has been amazed at the ability of the establishment to maintain order as long as they have, so I would caution against any predictions that the wheels are definitely going to come off in the short-term.  Quite obviously, the Trump administration is doing everything in its power to maintain normalcy until after the November 2020 elections, which are just under a year away.  Can they hold things together until then?  We’ll see.

But regardless of the timing, it is my thesis that a major financial crisis is coming.  This will not be a garden variety recession.  It will be like the 2008 crisis, only worse, for the simple reason that the debt crisis has gotten worse.  Instead of dealing honestly with things in 2008, all we did was double down on the debt and kicked the can down the road.

But the point is coming when the can is no longer kickable.

That’s when things will get interesting.

And that’s the reason I’ve written this series on prepping.  The bill for our debts is coming due, and I have a great burden to alert my fellow Christians to this, so that they may, as the prudent man in Proverbs 22:3, foresee trouble coming and hide themselves.

(more…)

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