Imagine living in a country with no working plumbing or water services, electricity, telephone or cell phone service, no food or fuel distribution, no functioning medical centers, hospitals, experimental medications or even basic medications such as aspirin.
There are no autos, pharmacies or grocery stores, no cable or radio, and the best you can do to stay cool is open a door or window, and if it is winter use a fireplace or wood-burning stove to stay warm.
Is this a tale of America in the 18th or 19th century? It could be America by 2010 or 2011, according to two authors who fear for the future based on what they perceive as our greatest threats.
"One Second After" was written by Dr. William R Forstchen, a faculty fellow and professor of history at Montreat College in North Carolina, and gives us a frightening view of a nation changed in a matter of seconds as the result of an electromagnetic pulse weapon. A couple of nuclear weapons detonated just a few miles above the mid-section of the United States are strong enough to burn out and collapse the electronic grid of the nation.
We are a nation dependent on every region of the country and world for our food, medicines, fuel and just about anything else that may come to mind. Our economy is geared to quick delivery systems with nearly every town and city functioning with merely two or three days worth of food on its grocery shelves as well as minimal fuel storage.
If you want an idea of how badly things could get in this country in a matter of days after an EMP incident, you only need to go back to 2005 and remember the collapse of a major American city after Hurricane Katrina. In the case of New Orleans, it was underestimating the destructive power of the hurricane by every level of government, from the city right on up to the federal. Incompetent behavior on the part of government and law enforcement was exposed at a frightening rate, with anarchy and death the end result.
An EMP would make the functioning of any government, law enforcement or military entity non-existent and a population of 300 million would be left to fend for themselves.
"One Second After" allow us to see how this nation descends into a dark age no one thought possible, and the utter waste of human life as a result of a people who became smug and indifferent to the threats around them and the unprepared nature of their existence. We are not the rural people of our great grandparents, but the urban masses who think meat is born prepackaged.
"Patriots" is a book written in 1998 and published in 1999 by a former Army Intelligence officer. It offers a glimpse into a nation that experiences a major calamity as a result of an economic collapse. James Wesley Rawles' novel was once found only for order in the back pages of survivalist magazines or for sale at gun shows, but is now selling like hot cakes off the shelves of main stream bookstores like Barnes and Noble.
The premise is pretty straight forward. The economic "crunch" came when government spending so outstripped tax revenue that world leaders and their nations' central banks no longer believed it possible for the United States to repay its debt obligations. In the book the national debt is merely $5 trillion and unfunded obligations approaching $19 trillion. As we know the numerical reality is actually much more frightening.
What sets off the dominoes is when governments demand an end to the US dollar as a reserve currency and then the word "default" comes into play. In a matter of hours every nation and individual holding Treasury debt starts dumping T-bills like so much confetti. Even with the government offering interest at 85 percent there are no takers, but the increased rates set off an inflation no other nation has know but Germany in the early 1920s and Zimbabwe in Africa.
At first, the economy experiences a leap in GDP as everyone is dumping their dollars purchasing whatever they can, but eventually the shelves are bare and the dollar is toast and with the collapsing economy comes the ultimate irony of a formerly great nation, the faltering rule of law. As civil unrest spreads throughout the country, civilian authority loses control and military rule attempts to calm the waters. But even this fails to stop the spread of fear through millions upon millions, and all authority eventually collapses.
Granted, there is a survivalist message in both these books, particularly the second, but "Patriots" seems to be striking a nerve because its premise is becoming such an obvious reality. We believe that all we need do to end our debt-induced recession / depression is to throw more money at it and keep burrowing these funds from Asia. What household economy ever spent its way to riches? More debt does not equal a strong economy or even a healthy balance sheet in the home, it merely weakens it more.
For those who mock the Tea Parties, perhaps you would do well to heed their message while you still can. And for the record, the Tea Parties were starting up before the current administration took power, just ask a Ron Paul supporter who may have been present at one in Santa Monica in 2007.
And if we must spend gobs of money, let's do it hardening our electric grid and not to continue bailing out "Zombie banks and other industries."