Situation: In the United States we are influenced by a “normalcy bias,” and this hampers our recognition of the ‘red flags’ which warn us of disaster. These warning signs of the times are usually present before major disasters and emergencies strike, so we need to look for them. Plus, we need to properly evaluate what we see. For those of us who want to do what we can to prepare for the future, including disasters and emergency situations, it is imperative that we recognize the key indicators.
This might include simple activities such as monitoring weather reports, or more complex such as seeking-out news reports on economic and social conditions. When we are armed with this information, we have the opportunity to make informed decisions. We can formulate a plan and incisively prepare for the future. At the very least, we can generally avoid the full impact of a disaster.
Since most of our news media is useless for this type of news monitoring, consider using a news consolidator website such as Drudge Report www.DrudgeReport.com, and trusted independent news sources such as World Net Daily http://www.WND.com. Using sources such as these, it is a quicker and simpler task to find relevant news stories and track developments.
But first, we must learn to recognize the signs of the times. (Below you will find a sampling of topics to watch). Then, we need to have the will and determination to skillfully prepare, remembering that knowledge without effective action is useless.
The heart of the U.S. problem:
A vast majority of the U.S. population has never faced serious adversity. This absence of adversity, coupled with the physiological condition of “normalcy bias,” encourages most people to think that life will continue as it always has, with relatively minor ups and downs but without major change. We need to recognize this natural tendency, and then overcome it.
We need to look for, and evaluate the signs.
“But He [Jesus] replied to them, ‘When it is evening, you say, It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?”
Matthew 16:2-4, NASB
What are our signs of the times? Consider a few of the indicators…
In the U.S. we have out-of-control government spending. Plus, we have accumulated a staggering national debt which now exceeds our entire annual Gross Domestic Product. (GDP is $15.5 vs. our national debt of $16+ trillion). This costs taxpayers $3.9 trillion each year just in interest on this debt. Inconceivably, despite our financial predicament, the federal government is expanding its spending binge.
The U.S. government now spends more than $3.5 trillion each year on government programs and services, despite the fact that our Income Tax revenue is only $2.4 trillion. And this total does not include State debt, which adds another $1 trillion to our national deficit. Consider this—the total assets of all U.S. companies combined, adds up to $25 trillion; while the unfunded liabilities of our government exceed $121 trillion.
The United States is bankrupt—and there’s no one to bail us out.
The magnitude of our problem is epic. To better understand the scope of our situation, consider this illustration: If you had established a business the day Jesus was born (two thousand years ago), and you lost $1 Million each day since then, you would not accumulate $1 trillion in debt until the year 2737.
Unfortunately, along with our astronomical financial debt, we suffer under a pervasive public attitude of entitlement, too. This now controls who is elected to public office. Political candidates who stress austerity and the need to cut spending are not elected.
Despite the financial precipice which is before us, half of all Americans are still demanding more government-funded freebies. As these people seek unreasonable benefits, they disregard both their own future and the survival of our nation. “Tax the rich” and other painless solutions have no basis in reality, yet placebo cures continue to be touted. Head-in-the-sand delusional thinking with self-centeredness reigns, so our ‘normalcy bias’ has become increasingly dangerous.
When serious adversity arrives, it will be a surprise for most people. They have ignored the signs of the times, and they will be totally unprepared.
We can expect that when the government finally starts to respond, the first baby-steps of belt tightening will result in rioting. This can quickly escalate into serious widespread lawlessness, so the government will likely back-off and fail to implement the essential spending cuts.
Less than 1% of the population is prepared to handle the adversity which now seems unavoidable. For those who are not already prepared, time is short. Preparation needs to become a priority.
“Compromise” is considered to be the art of politics, but this becomes difficult or impossible when the individual’s foundational principles and basic beliefs are at stake. With a number of contemporary issues, compromise is literally impossible. For example, if a Pro Life person believes that abortion is the murder of children, how can that individual ever come to a position of compromise with a Pro Choice advocate? An agreement to murder fewer children will not pacify either side in this conflict.
We’ve all seen the effects. When a country has a sufficient number of people who hold strenuously to a different bedrock viewpoint, these factions will become increasingly hostile to each other. If people with the same viewpoint congregate in the same geographic area, this leads to natural division. But when people from one area take resources from the other group to advance the abhorred cause, it is perceived as theft. When one group seeks to impose their agenda or subvert the beliefs on the other, this is seen as something akin to guerrilla warfare. This conflict is not diminished even if these actions are accomplished under the color of law.
Similarly, when one group sees the Constitution and Bill of Rights as inviolate, and yet another sees them as a “living document” and malleable, and subject to modification when expedient, this is another conflict which can’t be solved by compromise. It requires the laborious Constitutional amendment solution, a process which those who disrespect the Constitution are unwilling to accept. For the former the Constitution is the cornerstone for all other laws of the land, while the latter group sees it as an inconvenient obstacle to overcome. Again, there is no compromise position.
Today, many Constitutionalists recognize that they do not have an obligation to obey any law which is clearly out of step with the original intent of the Constitution. At the same time, the other group continues to use sympathetic activist judges to pass unconstitutional laws which facilitate their social agenda. This leads to disrespect for the law, a condition which is intensified when the U.S. Attorney General and Justice Department openly refuse to enforce the laws they don’t like. This puts the bedrock principle of justice and the rule of law at risk.
Developments such as these are more than divisive, they involve different foundational principles on which to build the nation and society.
Widespread disputes such as these which have their basis in core beliefs, are indicators of coming hostilities. The incidents and clashes rooted in these foundational differences are spreading seeds of division into the U.S. population. Once planted in the hearts of fellow countrymen, they will either produce healthy social transformation and reform, or destructive resistance and rebellion.
When opposing factions become frustrated, they often work to manipulate the law to their own advantage. This is seen as subversion by the other camp, and these laws or regulations become signs of oppression. When a group’s sense of justice is offended, open hostility and civil disobedience is not far behind.
We are now seeing the development of both real and perceived oppression, but the tipping point may be reached by economic crisis, not an escalating trend of social dysfunction. Patience and tolerance will become brittle, perhaps to the breaking point, once adversity surfaces. Hardship and affliction seem unavoidable, and open hostilities are becoming increasingly likely.
Signs of the times which lead to social upheaval are often not the result of one factor such as an economic meltdown. It is a combination of factors which produce the perfect storm in a society. And, this confluence of events can produce disaster quickly.
Like a watchman on the wall, we need to monitor our growing financial crisis, the growing Constitutional discord, issues which are perceived as relating to justice and justice denied, and any new incident which might quickly fan these glowing embers in the tinderbox of social discontent.
This smoldering tinderbox may be fanned into fire by an unrelated problem. When combined, overnight these can “tip” our frail economy into disaster. Here are some unrelated issues which have this disruptive “tipping” potential:
We are suffering under a dramatic decrease in the value of the dollar. Salaries are stagnant, and the buying power of most Americans is diminishing. The cost of food, fuel, and other essentials is increasing, requiring changes in lifestyle. Some people will resist these changes. Additionally, at some point a large number will have insufficient resources to meet their basic life-sustaining needs. During this period, family debt may rise to unsupportable levels, and bankruptcies will become a far larger problem than mortgage foreclosures. Consumers will eventually riot once a sufficient number of people are adversely effected, or the added burden of a massive number of debt defaults will accelerate into widespread corporate financial default.
The role of government is expanding; personal liberty and privacy diminishing. Politicians are using race and class warfare to manipulate voters. Historically, this technique easily spirals out of control and produces unintended consequences. The activities of our elected officials are no longer transparent and visible to the citizenry. Special interest groups have inordinate influence. We have conflicting laws, and overbearing government agencies. This makes it difficult and costly to engage in routine business. This creates an environment of uncertainty, instability, and distrust which inhibits business growth and economic recovery.
Disruption in shipping systems will adversely affect the availability of goods. Whether instigated by union strikes which lock-down our ports or trucking companies, or by skyrocketing fuels costs or fuel shortages which make transportation unprofitable, the reduction and delay of shipments to our stores may create a buying panic. Combined with other “fear” factors, this may initiate a domino effect.
Our welfare and education programs don’t work. Young people graduating from school are unable to find the jobs and salaries they expected. Nationally, unemployment and those who have become discouraged and given-up looking for work, is a predicament for more than 23 million Americans. Last year the number of families on food stamps grew from 17 million to 47 million. A seventh of the nation apparently can’t feed itself, and this number is growing rapidly.
Our borders are porous, acts of terrorism are on the increase, and there is a worldwide resurgence of al Qaeda; militant Islam is expanding rapidly. Iran will soon have nuclear weapons, and they state their intention to annihilate Israel, Jews, Sunnis, and Americans. U.S. and Western governments have failed foreign policies of appeasement which project decadence, weakness and vulnerability. The number of radicalized Muslims is growing exponentially as a result of the Madrasa school movement, which actively teaches students to hate all non-Muslim people. The world is becoming increasing unstable, additionally so as these radicalized Muslims believe it is their duty to conquer the world.
At this same time, we are experiencing an increase in the number and severity of natural disasters. We are also facing a growing risk of pandemics.
Christians are denigrated, anti-Semitism is increasing, and the biblical principles on which our nation was founded are intentionally hidden. More Christians have been martyred in our lifetime, and more people now live in slavery, than in all prior history.
The institution of marriage and family are under attack, and we sacrifice unborn children on the altar of convenience. Moral and spiritual decay is rampant, and those who extol virtue are publicly ridiculed.
Our news media suppresses truth, and mainline churches embrace political correctness at the expense of biblical truth. And, we have a citizenry which Madison Avenue has coerced into mind-numbing busyness and trivial priorities.
These problems of the U.S. are mirrored throughout the world. We are all facing an increase in economic and social instability, and the collapse of nations.
Can we continue down this path and maintain normalcy? Absent divine intervention, collapse or major change is inevitable. This may occur in a few months, or in a few years, but absent revival and painful austerity, we are quickly progressing down a path which leads to crisis and social unrest.
How will this play out? What will happen? No one knows.
What we do know is that we can’t depend on our government to solve our problems. For example, even after our recent experience with hurricane Katrina, we still weren’t prepared for hurricane Sandy. In both cases, we had warning, but still our government and fellow citizens failed to adequately prepare. These are powerful reminders that we can’t depend on our government to solve our problems.
The United States government is preparing for major upheaval. Here are two of the many documents which illustrate this effort which is unprecedented in scope: US Army manual on emergency internment camps for US: FM_3-39dot40-USArmy-InternmentResettlement , also just one of the many Executive Orders issued by the U.S. president: National_Defense-Authorization_Act-March16-2012-ExecutiveOrder-PresidentObama. Yet, despite the billions of dollars now being spend by the government on preparations, FEMA, Homeland Security and the other agencies that are preparing, will not be able to cope with a major incident.
It’s up to us. We must become self-sufficient and self-reliant.
Since we have the ability to recognize the signs of the times, we have the opportunity to get ready. To get ready, we must embrace each aspect of preparedness. We must prepare financially, prepare with provisions, and we need to prepare to defend ourselves and our family.
Are you equipped and ready? Are you self-sufficient and self-reliant? Do you have a plan? Are you ready for an extended period without being able to shop for what you need, without the protection of the police and fire department, and without any government assistance?
What are you going to do? Will you delay, effectively putting your head in the sand? Will you bemoan our state of affairs and complain to your friends, and wring your hands and fret about it? Or, will you actually prepare, and help others become prepared?
Are you sufficiently prepared? Are you ready to be the hands and feet of Jesus in a future which is unlike our past?
— Sig Swanstrom
Prayer of George Washington, New York, June 8, 1783
“I now make it my earnest prayer, that God would have you, and the State over which you preside, in his holy protection, that he would incline the hearts of the Citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to Government, to entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another, for their fellow Citizens of the United States at large, and particularly for their brethren who have served in the Field, and finally, that he would most graciously be pleased to dispose us all, to do Justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that Charity, humility and pacific temper of mind, which were the Characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed Religion, and without an humble imitation of whose example in these things, we can never hope to be a happy Nation.”
The above prayer was sent by Washington as a “Circular to the States.” It was delivered to each State governor for distribution to the people of the United States.