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As the saying goes: First things fall apart slowly, then all at once. I see more and more discussion about food shortages here on Ricochet. pResident Biden has made mention of it. Tucker has noted the uptick in accidents at food processing plants. California is restricting water for agriculture. Major sources of supply for fertilizer have been disrupted.
Independent journalist Michael Yon keeps banging his drum about PanFamWar (pandemic, famine, war). And the surging migration unchecked through the southern border from all over the world — estimated at 2 million since Biden took power — adds pressure on our food supply as well. In truth, regardless of the estimated “excess deaths” during the pandemic, depopulation did not occur at a rate to pace the decreases in food production capacity. Or so it is being suggested.
If true, what does the future look like? Scott Adams has a theory about “slow moving disasters”: If it is moving slowly enough, then humans do a pretty good job of adapting and/or solving the problem. This is why Adams, while professing to believe in man-enhanced climate change, is unconcerned whether we will create solutions in time to prevent the worse fears of climatistas from coming about. But there are two conditions that must be met: (1) the disaster must be slow moving, and (2) people must be alert to it.
It is not heartening that the default condition for the people in charge now is to manage scarcity rather than freeing up the people to pursue abundance. From energy policy, to monetary policy, to border policy, to foreign relations, to central planning, the Biden Administration and their allies are seemingly doing everything to make the food supply more fragile and less abundant. If undeterred things will get worse before they get better. Is this then a “slow moving disaster”?
If not, how is this going to play out? How much of our infrastructure and basic civilizational elements can operate without well-fed people, or people at all? Can the elite run it all? Are we facing a Soylent Green future?
As I write this I am sitting in a comfortable home in a beautiful place. A lifetime of working and saving have brought me to a very satisfying point where I might have been expected to have a decade or two (G-d willing) of good living, pursuing my interests and diversions, before having a serious discussion with the Grim Reaper or his nastier brother, The Debilitator. But with these people (I am tempted to say “clowns” but that doesn’t capture their combination of incompetence and malignity) in charge, my expectations are being severely challenged.
Are we all on board that our current course is leading to disaster? There is a lot of building going on in my neck of the woods. Unemployment is about as low as the working capability of my region permits. The boats speeding by on the lake by my house are still fueled, the fish are still there to be caught, the thrill of wind and waves remain. But when will the fuel supplies start to dry up, when will rationing begin and why? Just two years ago this was unimaginable.
Did we learn anything from the pandemic as to what workforce is truly essential to a functioning civilization? Or will food rationing decisions be arbitrary and capricious, with a thriving black market? And, if so, who is to be most advantaged — long time residents of this country or more recent arrivals from societies where barter, bargaining, and food uncertainty is already familiar?
I cannot attribute this quote (or probably more accurately a paraphrase): “The Civil War was fought over whether we were to be known as ‘these United States’ or ‘this United States’.” Similarly we are facing the question of the correct current formulation of the following: “The American Experiment is a triumph of the Enlightenment” or “The American Experiment was a triumph of the Enlightenment.”
Hard times are coming unless we gain an urgency about the hard work necessary to preserve the future we expected.Published in