Declinists Not-So-Anonymous: Join the Club

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I
have a confession to make and it seems appropriate to make it just
now because it has suddenly become deja-vu all over again in the
matter of TEOTWAWKI. For those of you who have been sitting it out
in La-La Land for the last decade or so, or rip-van-winkling it,
as one LRC writer has put it, TEOTWAWKI stands for The End Of The
World As We Know It. It follows hard upon the moment WTSHTF (When
The S— Hits The Fan).

My
confession is this: I bought into Y2K as a big disaster we were
not going to be able to miss. I had one article printed in a (small)
national magazine and so had to offer an apology in a post-01/01/00
issue, and wrote that I realized post-Y2K that I had been a sort
of lifelong "declinist" and thus was ready and willing
to believe the Big One was at hand. I said in a sort of defense
that I was unable to see that as a result of my article and other
strenuous proselytizing I had done, that a single person had converted
to my view or been willing to pull up stakes and move to a safer
area, as I and my wife had. (We moved to Colorado for close to three
years.) But still I had tried hard to convince a great many.

I
never felt inclined to blame anybody for my mistake. What for? It
was an entirely rational theory, and it certainly fit the conviction
that I have had ever since reading Spengler's Decline
of the West
way back in the early 40s, that this civilizational
show is not going to have a perpetual run. It is no "South
Pacific" or "My Fair Lady." The moral foundations
are sapped, and the "system of systems" of our infrastructure
is terribly vulnerable, as Roberto Vacca said in his 1973 book,
The
Coming Dark Age
.

Since
those college days I have mourned for the declining arts (I was
E.A. Robinson's Miniver Cheevy to the life, pining for "Romance,
now on the town, and Art, a vagrant . . . ); I mourned our devilish
money system (I got onto it via Ezra Pound back in the early 50s);
and most recently and in an overall sense I mourned for our frightful
betrayal of the wonderful Constitutional Republic the Founders tried
to give us ("if you can keep it," as Ben Franklin is reported
to have said).

So
I have not wanted for grist for my declinist mill. And now fresh
grist appears. It seems that, in addition to the present Permanent
War called the War on Terrorism, we are also back in the Doomsday
business. NewsMax has reported that the Federal Emergency Management
Agency (FEMA) has been given instructions . . . well, let me quote
from a NewsMax "Insiders Report"; it's pithy:

FEMA
Preparing for Mass Destruction Attacks on Cities

FEMA,
the federal agency charged with disaster preparedness, is engaged
in a crash effort to prepare for multiple mass destruction attacks
on U.S. cities, NewsMax has learned.

FEMA
is already preparing for nuclear, biological and chemical attacks
against U.S. cities, including the possibility of multiple attacks
with mass destruction weapons.

The
agency has already notified vendors, contractors and consultants
that it needs to be prepared to handle the logistics of aiding
millions of displaced Americans from urban areas that may be
attacked.

The
agency plans to create emergency, makeshift cities that could
house hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Americans who
may have to flee their urban homes if their cities are attacked.

Ominously,
FEMA has been given a deadline of having the cities ready to
go by January 2003 – in about six months.

A
source familiar with the deadline believes the effort is related
to making the U.S. prepared for counterattacks if the U.S. invades
Iraq sometime next year.

Could
a declinist ask for anything more in the way of evidence that bad
days lie ahead? Is FEMA mad? No, I'd say FEMA's actions are quite
rational as a response to a threat that we all know is now in the
air and indeed even in the planning stages. But why has not the
government been open with the citizens about it? Why do we get this
kind of desperate news in such a roundabout way?

Or
are we declinists at our usual business of overstating our case?
I don't think so. When government is coolly taking into consideration
the apparently imminent possibility of disaster here at home while
at the same time resolutely refusing to review, reconsider, and
change what we are doing abroad, we have to ask, Are the loonies
in charge of the federal show? Don't answer that question. The Very
Walls Have Ears.

I
mourn the fact that this great nation, a virtual Titanic among history's
major political constellations, nears an iceberg; the Captain is
dancing in the salon; the passengers are all watching Sunday football,
and the crew is shooting dice in the engine room.

What
in the name of heaven are we to do? Well, go on complaining for
one thing and talking against the "present system."

You
say that isn't much? It's a lot more than the Sunday footballers
and the engine room gamblers are doing. Beyond that I suggest prayer,
and I am not kidding. It seems to me that bad. And this time I don't
have a year's supply of well-stored food or a source of solar energy
or a water system rigged up against failure of the local supply.
I am unprepared and unable to get prepared again. Once is enough
on that undertaking. I live now in an area where you can't grow
so much as a tomato without water brought from 100 miles away and
where out of a quarter million people I doubt that one family in
a hundred has food beyond the week ahead, especially if the power
fails and the freezers all melt.

And
the people who rule think this is a gamble worth taking? For what
purpose?

July
16, 2002

Tom
White [send him mail] writes
from Odessa, Texas.

Tom
White Archives

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