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  • The Pickled Prepper

The Future that Withered on the Vine


I remember when I was a kid and I would look ahead to the year 2000 and do the math to figure out how old I would be. Wow! Well over 30. That seemed old.


Then we celebrated the bicentennial in 1976 and I wondered, how old would I be when the country was 250 years old? I did the math. Over 60? Wow, that’s grandparent old. Yet here we are, two years away from the country’s sestercentennial, and I am already a grandparent. I guess I am getting old.

I started reading science fiction in high school. Books that would be considered “classic” science fiction today. Authors like Jules Verne, Isaac Asimov, Frank Herbert (Today’s young fans forget or ignore that Dune was published in 1965), Harry Harrison, and Robert Heinlein. Throw in watching the Apollo missions and Star Trek on TV, and I thought my future would include space travel. I expected we would be pioneering other planets, not running out of resources on ours. When we had problems with aliens, I expected them to be from other star systems, not South and Central America. Boy, was I ever wrong.


Now that my future is the present, it’s pretty disappointing compared to what I had expected. Our government took what at the time was a pretty great country and slowly ruined it. Sadly, I don’t see it getting any better.


Domestic Problems

I didn’t expect my future to include living in a country where the party in power used the courts to prosecute the opposition. Likewise, I didn’t expect the FBI would sink from being the premier law enforcement agency in the country to being one that affects elections and carried out politically motivated investigations. Aren’t secret police and midnight raids things from the Nazi era or the Soviet Union rather than the United States?


It was the behavior of Federal agencies at Waco when the ATF raided the Branch Davidians that caused Timothy McVeigh to bomb the Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The government needs to be careful that its overreach doesn’t create more of what they call “home grown terrorists.” They won’t grow unless a government agency or agencies plants the seed and waters it with unfairness and the blood of patriots.


I never imagined states would pass laws that directly oppose recent Supreme Court rulings or that politicians who swore an oath to uphold the Constitution would undermine the Second Amendment and many of our other rights. Nor did I foresee a future where non-elected bureaucrats set policy, made regulations, and had their armed thugs arrest, or sometimes kill, people who did not follow rules that take 400 pages to explain yet were never passed into law by Congress.


Sure, we had Nixon and Watergate 50 years ago, so politicians weren’t all that great, but they didn’t seem to be in it solely to enrich themselves. They at least paid lip service to wanting the best for the country. Now they want the best for their party and screw the other guy and the other half of the voting public. Today the pandering is far worse than it was in my memory.


International Problems

When I was a kid, the United States was the clear winner of just about everything except Vietnam. The U.S. beat the Russians to the moon. We won lots of Olympic medals. We were the economic engine of the world. Even when the Iranians took hostages while Jimmy Carter was president, they let them go as soon as Ronald Reagan was elected. Why? Because Regan was stronger than Carter and Iran knew it, just like they know Joe Biden is a weak appeaser. If we are already in the early stages of World War III, Biden will be recognized by history as the Neville Chamberlain of our times, times in which we need a Winston Churchill.


Sure, there were two super powers back in the 1960s and ‘70s, but we made the Soviets back down in the Cuban Missile Crisis, and eventually our actions contributed to the collapse of the USSR. We were stronger, and we emerged on top. Today, our international standing is floundering while China is rising. We are a super power, but we are a fading super power. We grew complacent, and it has hurt us.


What does the Next 50 Years Hold?

I imagine granddaughter calculating how old she will be when the country reaches its 300th birthday. Of course, this assumes that the USA can hold it together another 50 years. What will she see when she looks ahead? Will flying cars finally be reality, or will everyone live in 15-minute cities where commuting in your personal vehicle is outlawed because it consumes too much energy? Will she own nothing and be happy?


When my children visit in fifteen years, will they show up with bottles and 5-gallon jugs to fill up with our free spring water because water is so expensive where they live? Will they marvel when we burn firewood for heat because it is outlawed elsewhere to prevent global warming?


Already our wars are being fought by drones; will the next ones be fought by robots? And will those robots turn against us? If so, I don’t think my 9mm is going to be sufficient. Hell, my .308 might not be.

All this, of course, assumes we make it 20 more years, not to mention 30 or 50. I question the likelihood of survival of the United States as a single country. We may tear ourselves apart, we may be attacked by outsiders, or we may be undermined by outsiders among us. We may collapse, like the Soviet Union did, or we may break into red states and blue states, with Texas going independent.


Maybe I am a pessimist, but I was far more optimistic 50 years ago than I am today. And judging from what we hear about this latest generation, they don’t think they have anything to which they can look forward. Perhaps they will change the world, or perhaps they will simply oversee its demise. Either way, I’m not very excited about our future.

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