Update III: Survival On The Road To Serfdom

Barely A Blog,Business,Economy,Ilana Mercer,IlanaMercer.com,Intelligence,Israel,Socialism,Taxation,The State


At this time on our road to serfdom, reader Michel Cloutier requests a little less platonic theorizing. He writes:

I’d like to read discussions about what we can do on the individual, or maybe local, level to help weather the storm. And please, let’s stay off the usual ’stockpiling of ammo and canned food’ thread.

Well, I’m glad “stockpiling of ammo and canned food” is what Michel has come to expect from BAB contributors. That’s a good start. A Mormon worth his salt will second that.

Seriously, we’re all doing the best we can to try and protect what is becoming harder by the day to protect: our livelihoods and property. So I’m game. Let’s discuss this. (And consider helping your host defray the costs associated with providing what she hopes is a helpful; supportive, instructive; educational, and prescient forum, for like-minded freedom lovers–a community.)

Update I: I’d like to thank you all for your very generous support in these hard times. Centuries ago, artists—among other creative folks—relied on discerning patrons to keep their work alive. Nothing has changed.

Mainstream intelligentsia is dishing out dirt, as usual. It is not only festooned with arrogant liars, but, worse: intellectual sloths; idiots bereft of the slightest affinity for reality, much less the natural laws of justice. Our side can begin to gain a rightful market share in the miasma that is the market place of ideas. But we need to work overtime at supporting and disseminating the truth and dissociating from the dreck. Out of chaos, some new, not-necessarily bad order may just emerge.

I know I nag, but if you have not yet signed up for the Mercer weekly e-newsletter, you can do so HERE.

Back to Surviving On The Road To Serfdom: I personally have quite a bit of faith in Peter Schiff, an investment adviser who follows the Austrian school of economics. What you have to understand is that, while Austrians are the only analysts to have both predicted and explained the meltdown, they cannot provide a timeline. For example, before house prices began to fall, my husband wanted to know when they would plummet. All could say was that prices would go down, although I could not say when, given that the crooks who’ve usurped the power of the purse would keep trying to re-inflate the bubble and keep prices high.

If you can, plan on surviving for two years without employment.

Update II (March 30): We spoke of understanding how easy Federal-Reserve credit leads to violent cycles of malinvestiment. Or as the inimical Peter Schiff puts it “The Government Liquored Them Up”:

Update II (March 31): TO SUM, here are some of your and my thoughts. (This is not investment advice; I do not, and am not qualified to dispense it):

• Gold

• Frugality

• Debt free

• Savings

• Refinancing mortgage at lower interest rates now on offer to those with good credit.

• Self-defense: if you dislike fire arms, consider an alarm system. It’s a deterrent. Mr. Van Wijk’s comment about not relying on The Powers is demonstrated daily. Residents of an old-age home in North Carolina are slaughtered by a gunman. The cop who did his professional duty and barged in, instead of waiting for backup, is hailed a hero. Yes, the default position is not to defend the folks. Also, remember that you don’t have the right de jure to self-defense in most states; if you defend yourself in your home you’re the one needing to justify your actions.

• Self-employment: our heroic South African readers have shown the way on this front. Also: chaos often leads to a reordering and to new opportunities. For example: my column is drawing more people now than during the halcyon years of free credit.

• Emergency supplies

• Tax revolt; I especially would like to see the property tax shakedown exposed in an organized, methodical way, resulting in repeal, preferably— but if not, a reduction of such taxes commensurate with the steep drop in the value of property. Property prices are going down; property taxes up.

• Educate others about liberty: ilanamercer.com is a great resource to turn people onto freedom. I’m doing the work; all you need to do is spread it.

• Keep fit; it helps with stress.

On a personal note: when we first arrived on this continent, and especially when we migrated from Canada to the US, we were convinced we were vastly poorer than the locals. We lived so much more modestly. In Canada, we were able to afford an apartment only. We clipped coupons and ate out for the first time two years after arriving in our new home. Until 2007, we had never owned a new car.

Things improved in the US. We purchased a home.

I had read a Fraser Institute paper that said immigrants took ten years to catch up to the locals. I put down our modest circumstances to that fact: we were still playing “catch up.” Now I know that this research, at least in our case, was bogus. The locals were living in Hog Central. We had practiced the frugality my in-laws (depression babies) had taught my husband.

Cars were bought cash (and hence; second hand, or used). The locals’ penchant for entering exorbitant leasing arrangements was a mystery to us. The credit card was treated as nothing more than a convenience, to be paid off in full every month (interest is horrendous if this is not done).

We’ve discovered that the locals are not that much wealthier, but, rather, more wasteful and credit happy.

19 thoughts on “Update III: Survival On The Road To Serfdom

  1. Myron Pauli

    I feel a little safer owning my house outright but one can never tell what happens with property taxes. I would be good if this country would learn not to live beyond their means or, better yet, try to be debt-free. I’ve wondered about stuff like overseas property in Switzerland, Belize, or some place to escape to – but how does one supervise owning overseas property when busy? There’s always gold and jewelry which already may be overpriced but will never be worthless.

  2. Tom

    Stockpiling food and ammo is a good idea on the individual or family level, but resistance against Government tyranny requires community communication, community organization, community meetings, community training. Like the Revolutionary war Patriot committees of communication which developed into Patriot militia groups and Patriot armies of soldiers, many of whom sacrificed their fortunes and their lives for freedom and liberty.

  3. Steve Hogan

    It might be beneficial for Michel to educate himself as to the cause of this calamity. Everyone knows that we’re in for some hard times; few know why or what to do about it. That would be a good start, as he would be less likely to trust the crooks in Washington to fix the problems they created.

  4. michel_clMichel Cloutier

    Steve, I’m Canadian, so it’s even scarier to have to watch impotently that runaway train in Washington. Joining trade/bartering networks in our respective communities would be a start, as currencies might be the first to ‘go’. Investing in durable, locally repairable goods. Starting communal gardens. Actually, some of this may be enjoyable, and bring us toward a healthier way of life. Maybe ’embracing change’ would be a better perspective on what’s coming than ‘preparing for the worst’

  5. Frank Brady

    Most regimes fail ultimately, not because of violent revolution, but because the people withdraw their grant of moral authority–which even the worst tyrannies need to survive for any length of time.

    There is no doubt that Washington and New York are filled with incipient tyrants, lusting for total control in order to protect their power. Unfortunately for them, the monstrous Welfare State and the layered Ponzi schemes that sustain it are in the process of total collapse–and there is absolutely nothing they can do to reverse the process. The forces that have been unleashed are too powerful and the damage that has been done to the Welfare State’s structures is irrepairable.

    The greatest danger we face, I believe, comes not so much from an all powerful centralized government as from complete social, political, and economic disintegration.

    If I am correct, we should:

    1. Take all necessary steps to protect those around us. That includes stockpiling food, ammunition, aspirin, garden seeds, etc.; and

    2. Begin to plan the long and arduous process of rebuilding our society.

  6. Myron Pauli

    About Tom’s comment – a few hundred guys in a self-annointed militia are NOT going to prevail against F-22’s and nukes. Now, it might make sense to be armed because if this country becomes bankrupt, it might turn out like a scaled up version of Washington DC ghetto – an infinite set of rules yet no real public safety, sporadic government protection, and sporadic law enforcement. Be prepared to defend yourself in gated communities. However, violent revolution against the Leviathan state is not an answer because for every George Washington that leads a successful armed rebellion, there are 10 benign dictator Bonapartes and 100 malignant Lenins.

  7. Van Wijk

    Behind every weapon is a man who must use it. We’re not using F-22’s or nukes in Iraq because we are not willing to do so. I don’t think that our armed services, which are still something like 70% white and male, are going to be willing to use these same weapons against their own countrymen.

    In fact, in six years our army has not been able to root out a few thousand mujaheddin from an area smaller than Texas. Assuming for the sake of argument that there aren’t mass desertions, how will that super-army fare against a few million (not a few hundred) armed Americans fighting on their own soil?

    I had conversations like this one while I still wore the uniform. It’s on more peoples’ radars than you might think. They don’t talk about it because they don’t want to be lumped in with the modern “militia movement.”

    Current trends will not last forever. I don’t think that the archetypal crazed militiaman will have much relevance in the future. But the legacy of the minutemen will. And those who refuse to arm themselves must rely on others for protection. The era of “letting the professionals handle it” is over. You see where the professionals have led us.

  8. H Engelbrecht

    I would say people have to stop being dependent on government or anyone else for that matter. A while ago I was quite surprised to read the statistics for for the highest earners (in SA), which turned out to be white males (unfortunately I cannot remember where I saw the stats, but will post it if I find it). The reason for my surprise is that I thought affirmative action has had a much bigger effect on the employment rate of white males. The next stat however put things in perspective. White males also had the highest rate of self-employment. Affirmative action forced them to “think out of the box”. Similarly I believe that if Americans want to weather the storm they have to be innovative and see to their own employment, where of course they would need to run their business on sound economic principles. Yes, I am self-employed and have been for most of my working life, but you also have an advantage if you have been an employee up to now. While being employed valuable skills have been transferred to you for free which may come in handy in your own enterprise.

  9. JP Strauss

    There is a town called Orania in the middle of nowhere in South Africa who have made it their goal to be as self-sufficient as possible, even going so far as to adopt their own local currency to encourage buying local goods. It is still a minuscule town, but every citizen is a patriot.

  10. Myron Pauli

    A revolution needs IDEAS more than it needs guns. Right now, among the non-apathetic, roughly 35% are Democratic statists, 35% Republican statists, 20% independent statists, and 10% scattered among anarchists, Constitutionalists, communists, Islamists, etc. At some future date, should things really get bad (we still have an $ 8 Trillion private sector which is rather prosperous) and public opinion shifts…. – THEN massive, organized, principled, non-violent civil disobedience such as 20% of small business owners refusing to withhold taxes and 10% of the people willing to stop filling out 1040’s – filling up the courthouses and jails with principled non-violent protest until the system breaks down – would slay the beast. However, a handful of rednecks shooting up a Post Office will NOT do and will, in fact, rally popular opinion behind the government.

  11. Van Wijk

    Non-violent civil disobedience depends entirely upon the nature of the enemy. Ghandi succeeded because he was up against the British. If he’d been born a Soviet subject, he’d be in a mass grave in Siberia somewhere and no one would know his name. This country already has detention camps which would be perfect for housing enemies of the state. If you wish to put yourself into their power, be my guest; all you can do is hope that you’re treated humanely. We’ll see how far civil disobedience gets you when the government ceases to care about any law but its own power. Forgive me if I don’t join you.

    Also, there are some 250 million privately owned firearms in this country. Purchases of what the gov’t calls “assault weapons” has skyrocketed in recent months, and I don’t think it’s all gangsters and thugs doing the buying. I take exception to your characterization of the armed citizenry as “a handful of rednecks.” Shame on you.

  12. Leonard

    Don’t forget gold. Gold should be an important part of everyone’s toolkit for worst case scenarios.

    I don’t think it’s going down the toilet this time. But if I did… in addition to ammo and canned food, I’d have gold in my possession. Because preceding any serious collapse of the state, it will thrash and trash its currency.

    You think $1000/oz is high? (So do I; can’t bring myself to buy; can’t it go down to ‘just’ $800?) But if Ben Bernanke is cornered and fires up the helicopters, and the dollar collapses from kilo-inflation, and no other fiat currency can fill the slack as the world’s money…. we can expect gold prices of perhaps $100000/oz. (Some thoughts and calcs on that here.)

  13. Mari Tyers

    Most Americans are lazy and apathetic, and are used to following those in authority. Remember, most Americans spent their formative years in thrall to the educrats that have discouraged critical thought. Before any type of armed revolution has a hope of succeeding, the majority of people must believe in the ideas behind the revolution. I don’t think the American people currently have the resolve to stand up to Federal tyranny.

    Mr. Pauli- Last time I checked, rednecks didn’t shoot up the local Post Office. That grisly task got left to the disgruntled employee fed up schilling for the Federal Government.

  14. Myron Pauli

    If there is sufficient public opinion to back a popular tax rebellion, several million non-compliances and hundreds of thousands of small business non-complicances can do a lot – the US is like the British and people like Bush and Obama have no real convictions and are made of straw – but the time is not ripe. Sporadic violence (like Oklahoma City or Ruby Ridge) will be used to justify repression. Massive civil war is likely to result in repression by the victors over the losers (see Francisco Franco vs. the Spanish commie/socialists). I somewhat doubt the US is going to get far throwing 25% of small business owners and its most productive people in camps at public expense when the government has gone bankrupt.

  15. H Engelbrecht

    I agree with Myron Pauli, sporadic rebellion will not get you anywhere but jail. Don’t for one moment think that I’m a hippie, I did my National Service and I will act to defend myself and my family. But when I end up in jail who will take care of my family?

    Myron’s idea of withholding taxes has more merit. In SA a National Taxpayers Union has been formed. The citizens of certain towns are withholding their property taxes due to poor service delivery, and I believe they use these taxes (which are paid into a trust-fund instead) to provided these services themselves. You can read about it here: http://www.mg.co.za/organisation/national-taxpayers-union .
    Obviously they are making use of loopholes in the relevant legislation, and you may not necessarily get away with it, but perhaps it is worthwhile getting your lawyers to look into. Of course this only relates to property taxes but there may be possible ways of expanding the scope thereof.
    Good luck with any which way to decide on.

  16. Michel Cloutier

    Leonard, I don’t think the price of gold would shoot that high. Throughout the 20th century, what an ounce of gold could buy remained fairly constant, and this would be the case for any relatively ‘functional’ society. If things were really go down the drain, a good pair of boots or a slaughtered pig would be as useful as ‘coin’. But I sincerely don’t think we’ll get there

  17. Robert Glisson

    Aw Heck, everyone else is jabbering, I might as well throw in my two cents worth. The question was, what do we do to survive in this mess. Revolution is not going to work, even if we did, we’d get something worse. The US is copying all the history of the old USSR, and will eventually fail the same way.

    In the meanwhile, the normal citizen has two choices, become a dependent of the government or learn to work within the system, like Harry Browne advised in his book, ‘How to live free in a repressive society’ (I may have the title slightly off, can’t find my copy right now, but it’s a good read) The full repercussion of the present mess won’t hit for years, in the meantime, learn and teach your kids independence, navigation of red tape, because more and more regulations are coming, learn barter and its related functions. Like my computer is locally built, same case, third motherboard, third hard drive, never outdated. If you go into business, consider developing a second similar business, rather than expanding the one you have, so that you stay under the Federal radar. Since interest rates are artificially low, use credit to your advantage, but carefully. Invest in hard goods, the socialist jungle just requires more planning and CYA (Cover your you know what) Otherwise support the free thinkers like Ilana, so that our kids will have a reference to rebuild on, when the house of cards tumbles.

  18. David Tatosian

    You expect several million individuals and “hundreds of thousands of small business” to engage in “a popular tax rebellion”?
    Who? Which Americans?
    The ones participating in these charming little tea parties? but those are the same ones who sat on their ever widening butts while showing no interest in the illegal alien invasion, the disastrous consequences of civil rights laws’ infringements on property, and the slow creep of sharia aren’t they?
    The time was never ripe enough to stop any of that?
    Will the time be more ripe when the state makes an example of those few, those happy few tax rebels, or will those millions you refer to simply recommit themselves to their vow of silence and slink away? mumbling about the ripeness of time of course.
    Experience indicates the latter.
    As to Bush and Obama being made of straw…so what?
    Their plans for the country proceed apace don’t they?
    And just to be clear, the “Sporadic violence” of Oklahoma City is vastly different from the state initiated violence that occurred at Ruby Ridge.
    And not for nothing but that repression you refer to is already here. Take a look at some youtube videos of cops and national guardsmen taking weapons away from law abiding citizens in the aftermath of Katrina.
    Finally, no offense sir, I’m with those rednecks you disparaged rather than those pencil necks who did nothing but blubber over their handful of dimes while this nation
    Have a good day.

  19. John Danforth

    If the dollar crashes, most people will lose their jobs. Self-employed people in heavily specialized fields that depend on other businesses probably will, too (me). When the division-of-labor economy crashes, most people that live in cities will be helpless. With income cut off, no way to get employment, and savings wiped out, then food, fuel, electricity, and heat will become the most important subjects on people’s minds.

    If the government imposes price controls and/or starts passing out ration coupons, then the suppliers will balk at producing for a loss; the people will demand that the goods be seized, and after they are seized, only government will remain to produce them. Price-controlled goods will disappear off shelves; bread at the real price will be contraband. At least that’s the pattern from the past. A tax revolt has no meaning when the currency crumbles – there’s nothing to tax and government turns to just printing as fast as it can.

    If all this happens then an escape plan to get out of the city is a very good idea. There could be widespread rioting, burning, looting, bloodshed and mayhem. This is just starting in other countries already. Don’t overlook the possibility of government using any event as an excuse to declare martial law. Don’t forget about agent-provocateurs inciting idiotic actions by zealous but under-endowed enthusiasts in order to smoke out sympathizers. If things look like a powder keg, I’m taking my survival stuff and heading out away from the big city, before gasoline gets cut off. (I do have a place to run away to, and at least I’ll have water.)

    Most people don’t know how to value gold or silver coins, it will take awhile for them to get used to the idea. These will probably be declared to be contraband. I can’t afford to buy gold anyway, so I buy silver quarters. But people will trade for bullets, rifles, cigarettes, chocolate, fuel, and other staples. Having a stash of these might come in very handy in bargaining your way out of a hot spot.

    I am suspicious that the one-world-government types can see this coming as well as we can, and I worry that their contingency plan is to give the people what they want if everything collapses — total government takeover of everything (temporary measure for your own good, of course). Current policy seems bent on destroying our division-of-labor economy and the ability of the people to resist right along with it. Test balloons are being floated daily in the press about a new currency. The question before us is how we can stop them from knocking the country over like a straw man and then riding in to the rescue with a fascist make-over. If we can stop it before they reduce us to total subsistence, that would be the best outcome. If we can’t, I’d rather trade with farmers for food than depend on centrally distributed food, water, electricity, and heat. I hope I’m wrong, I hope it never comes to that. But I’m not going to be caught unprepared. And that means well-armed, too.

    The only restraint on any government is its estimation of what it can get away with without being deposed. As long as it has the moral sanction of a majority of its subjects, it is safe doing whatever it wants. The trick is in which way the anger of the mob will be manipulated when the current plan ruins their lives.

Comments are closed.