Good evening everyone – I wanted to start sharing the knowledge that I have gained, and figured a good place to begin would be about the shared delusion we as Americans call the status quo. This is in my opinion a delusion that America (and possibly other nations) suffer from, and its one we must shed. Its not a short path, nor an easy job – its taken me a year and made me ill at times, but I’m getting there slowly.
First off, it would be good to start by saying why I feel Americans in general are suffering from a serious shared delusion, and why I feel comfortable discussing this myself, so a little background is necessary. I am an American citizen, and was born and raised near and in DC. For eighteen years, I believed the USA was the best – the best economically, the greatest for furthering education, the nation where any man can be truly free to follow his dreams and actually achieve them. I believed we had a strong desire to educate and teach the next generation how to behave and act towards others with kindness and dignity, and that our nation’s schools would instill a desire for knowledge. And, perhaps most of all, I honestly believed that you would have to be mad not to want to be an American. I believed this for almost two decades.
In 2003, I moved overseas to the UK for the love of a wonderful woman, and slowly over almost another decade began to see that the world as we have been shown is wrong. I hate to shatter anyone’s dreams or expectations, but the sooner we realize we are all being lied to about how the world actually is, the sooner we can start trying to fix it.
Americans do not have the strongest economy in the world – its quite difficult to quantify an economy, but just to show a point, I’ll be going on currency exchanges alone for now. The UK has had the USA beat on this and has done at least since I was born (and I’m rapidly coming to 30 now). As of June this year, Kuwait has the strongest, the UK is 5th, and the US… is 11th. That was a bit of a blow to my world view, but it carried on surviving until I heard about sub-prime mortgages and where the crisis globally started.
A great documentary revealed the extent of the problem to me – House of Cards does a very good way of showing the effect in brief, but a year later CNBC released this version, which was far more in depth – http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=1145392808 If you have a spare couple hours, watch the CNBC one and you might just see how bad things have actually become, and who is really responsible (here is a hint, its pretty much everyone except the homeowner in some cases). In a nutshell, banks gave money to lenders who sold mortgages, not to people who found sound mortgages. It became a seller’s market, and as a result the housing crisis was born. The bubble burst, and now everyone is carrying the can. I hate to say it, but its hard to justify the concept of the US being the greatest economic power in the world when the country is swimming in debt.
We are not the greatest for furthering our education either – based on an article reporting OECD figures (http://finance.yahoo.com/news/the-10-most-educated-countries-in-the-world.html), although we at least in the top ten for higher education results, last year Canada was number one. That’s right everyone – our neighbours to the north are officially smarter than us. It gets worse, though. I’ll quote the article directly, as it can explain quicker than I can:
The rate at which the share of the population with a tertiary education is growing has slowed to an annual rate of 1.4% — the lowest among the 34 OECD countries.
We are starting to slip into ignorance, and that is perhaps the most dangerous thing a nation can do. If we cannot keep up intellectually, our demise as a nation is inevitable. People outside the US often laugh at how ignorant many of us are about basic concepts – geography, history, science and politics are all amongst the targets of ridicule, and when I hear “Like you know, like I you know, did go there” or “Paris? You’re from Texas?” as I walk by an American tourist in London now, even I am forced to cringe at it.
I myself was not educated in the public school system in the states – I went (thanks to many sacrifices from my mother) to a very good private school in DC (STA) and received quite possibly the best high school education that can be provided in the US. It gave me a jump start on my life and taught me most of what I know around history and how my country works. If more schools based their curriculum around that of my high school, maybe we could churn out the greatest minds our world has ever seen rather than a bunch of dullards that are the target of Howard Stern and Jay Leno.
“Ok so we aren’t the most economically savvy nation or the smartest nation, but we have FREEDOM!” – there are a lot of people who are probably thinking this now. I hate to tell you but a) so does most of the developed world (Belgium, England, Ireland, Japan, Australia, Canada (again), the list continues) so big deal, and b) our “freedom” is a lot more limited than people think.
With the PATRIOT act we lost the right to our privacy when on a plane. With the NDAA of 2012, we lost our right to habeas corpus – the right to know why we are arrested and the right to have a fair trial. I’ll present you with the Indefinite Detention section of the act for further reference. Our president is currently fighting to take these rights from us in court (may he never succeed, but he’s appealed an injunction to stop this atrocity), and his rival has expressed that he would also have agreed to this course of action.
So we are not the best, and we are starting to lose our freedoms. Many will say most have already been taken, but right now this is not the case in my opinion, but it will be soon. The view of what we see as normal (America is the best, everyone else isn’t free, etc), of what is the status quo for the US is nothing but a lie. Its sad when South Park has to point out we have lowered our expectations and the bar of what is acceptable in society.
I remember when stations like The Learning Channel (TLC) used to show actual quality programs that taught people. Now, they’re more a “lifestyle” channel and have brought the wonders of Honey Boo Boo and My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding into our homes. I remember when they talked about the trade deficit and the budget deficit on CNN, now its tickers broadcasting “BREAKING NEWS: Linsday Lohan in jail again” as the results of the Fast and the Furious case is revealed (I’ll update with a link if I can later, it was in my G+ stream and it will take me time to find it). Our media has lost its way, and with it so has our country.
That doesn’t mean we can’t be the best, it just means we must accept we have a lot to learn and better get cracking. We all must accept that our media is broken – its biased, and panders to political interests. They failed to report the NDAA, the NDRP, and now with the election in full swing its FOX vs pretty much everyone else to present the two sides. Instead, we all need to start doing the digging ourselves on what we need to know. Looking into what our government is doing via sources from either abroad or from an independent organisation is always a good first step when trying to break through the fog of propaganda supporting the status quo. Our media is happy to allow things to continue to degrade, and until we speak up, so will our government.
When you’ve finished seeing the present day (and all the horrors the recent past has), then start researching long term history – if this bores you to tears, there is a literal Crash Course on world history on Youtube, and a rather good presentation on biology too through the same channel. Question what you were told as a kid – question your ideas on religion, on faith, on science, on everything. And if you keep coming up with more questions, then you are on the right track. Question the results of studies, see how much real data they have. Question whatever you find, and then when you finally have a viewpoint on an issue that makes sense to you and that you can believe in, even if its wrong you at least have a valid reason to believe in it.
The only way to resolve this delusion of the status quo is to no longer accept the reality presented and instead attempt to determine your own view of what is there. I’ve personally spent some time (about a year now) looking into everything I can find in my spare time – from science to history, even into works of literature that I never considered reading before. I may only have a layman’s understanding of things at times, but at least I know I am well informed.
In closing, yes we are deluded – we dreamt such a grand dream most of us refuse to wake up. Now, however, there are people waking up from the dream, and dealing with the waking world in different ways. Some see the problems and seek to fix them, others see the inevitable end to the drama and seek to protect themselves and those they love. I seek to educate more than anything else – I propose no final solutions as I doubt there is a single cause that can be resolved. Instead, I ask you the reader to explore the Internet for information – go research your own certainties and make sure they hold up to what we know now. I ask you only to be willing to examine what you know to be true and see if it actually is. I found that is the first step to this journey and it can’t be avoided, but the results will eventually benefit us all.
Next time, I will be discussing my thoughts on silver as a way of protecting assets. I’ll try to keep it from getting too dry.