December 16, 2010
Peace & Security
Image by Getty Images via @daylife"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both." -- Benjamin Franklin
The consensus view is that we are now gradually starting to emerge from the recession and that a further slide down the precipice was only averted through a concerted effort by leading economies worldwide to shore up the financial system by means of a series of mega bailouts. However it will soon become apparent that such measures (though well-intentioned) have only served to partially re-inflate a bubble system. This system of bubbles which now permeates the world economy has arisen from the long-term effects of the ill-conceived attempts at price-fixing over the past 100 years or so by the world's central banks led by the Federal Reserve. Allied with the advent of Fiat Money and endemic deficits (to support serial wars & unsustainable entitlements) we have managed to concoct a deadly cocktail for economic disaster. The grand fiat currency experiment is now almost 40 years old and arose through a series of events, starting with the Bretton Woods Agreement following World War II, whereby most countries abandoned their linkages to gold or silver, opting instead to link their currencies to the US dollar, which promised to continue being easily convertible to gold at a fixed rate. However in 1971, faced with the strain of the Vietnam War alongside persistent balance-of-payments deficits the Dollar was abruptly removed from backing by the gold standard. Rather than reestablish their historical linkages to a precious-metals standard, the world's currencies then reposed their total faith in the greenback.
The nature of a bubble is such that it always has a limited lifespan which must inevitably end by bursting. Indeed, whether it is composed of soapy water, chewing gum, or a bloated financial system, there is no technology within man's current sphere of knowledge that will allow it to exist forever. And bringing out the air pressure pump will only exacerbate the situation, leading to an even more powerful pop in the end. So to those who insist that today's situation bears no comparison to that of the so-called Great Depression of 80 years ago or even the still-ongoing deflation of the Japanese economy some 20 years on, I wholeheartedly agree. In the 1930's the world's currencies were still backed by precious metals and global economies were nowhere close to being as interlinked and interdependent as today. Meanwhile the Japanese, known for their thrifty culture (quite alien to other countries) were able to use their considerable savings as a buffer to ride out the last two deflationary decades. For the remainder of the world the coming deflationary depression will prove to be far more unpleasant than either of those two examples. After the deflation has fully run its course, it is possible - quite likely even, that there will be a period of hyperinflation as the economy starts the long road to recovery.
Economic chaos on such a grand scale as has not been experienced in modern times will increase the likelihood of wars between nations. Faced with ongoing wars and severe economic circumstances the masses will yearn for a savior who can deliver them from these tough times and restore Peace & Security. This will create the perfect backdrop for powerful interests who have insisted for some time that the only way forward is through a New World Order, another term for One-World Government. In 1 Thessalonians 5:3 such a time is foretold: "Whenever it is they are saying 'Peace and security!' then sudden destruction is to be instantly upon them...they will by no means escape." The Book of Revelation foretells other events that will befall the world during these end-times, including the appearance of a world ruler, the Antichrist, as well as a 42-month period during which no person will be able to buy or sell without accepting The Mark of the Beast. People everywhere, it seems, have a desperate, even pathological need to believe whatever they are told by their government. It is almost as if they are afraid to fully open their eyes for fear of what they might discover. Governments continue to rely on such reluctance to question the status quo as they go about pushing through whatever their agenda happens to be. The time will come however, when this will no longer be the case - as the Good Book cautioned "there is nothing hidden that will not be made known". Eventually the masses will awaken and find - to their dismay, that the new suit donned by their beloved 'emperor' is but a figment of their collective imagination.
There are many differing points of view or interpretations on what we can expect as the events foretold in the Books of Revelation, Daniel and others come to fruition during these end-times. Opinions regarding the possible identity of the Antichrist run the gamut from the pope to both US presidents since the turn of the century, with a long laundry list in-between. During my ongoing research I happened on one site that elicited a loud 'steups' from my lips & teeth due to how unlikely the candidate was and dismissed it as another crackpot point of view. A few hours and numerous searches later I clicked on the umpteenth site only to discover that I was now going around in circles as the same web-page made an encore appearance. Frustrated with the lack of coherence in the arguments I had seen elsewhere and on the brink of exiting this ridiculous site, I decided to quickly scan the first few lines. Suffice it to say that, by the end some 80 paragraphs later I could find very little to dispute with the writer's arguments. So come to your own conclusions but please do yourself the favor of reading to the end - Antichrist Identified From 666 and Revelation 13?
During the time of 'great tribulation' that still lies ahead of us the words of Benjamin Franklin quoted at the start of this article will prove to be quite prophetic, as "men become faint out of fear and expectation of the things coming upon the inhabited earth" (Luke 21:26). This period of human history is so unique that the Good Book must be referenced more than usual in order to gain a proper perspective over the events transpiring around us. In Matthew 10:21, the Savior ministers to his flock by saying of this time that “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death." The attachment on Authoritarianism shows that during times of severe downturn increasingly authoritarian regimes gain power. At the individual level views become polarized as some segments battle against the 'boot', while others (often through fear) not only willingly give up their freedoms but become tools of the state in coercing their neighbors into doing so - even to the point of betrayal and death. This was widespread during the Nazi years as ordinary Germans turned in their neighbors to the Gestapo and more recently in Afghanistan, where innocent tribesmen were shipped out to Guantanamo either for reward or to settle old tribal grudges. According to that publication we are only now starting down the road of a mega-trend toward authoritarianism.
If nothing else I hope that this series of articles has caused you to think. We all (myself included) hold onto long-cherished beliefs that can cause us to look past the thing that is staring us directly in the face or to ignore verifiable facts that are not in line with our view of things. Whether we retain the belief systems we were given during childhood or if we have instead arrived at a different set of beliefs through choice later in life, we would do well to heed the advice offered in 1 Thessalonians 5:21 to "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." The events that are ahead of us will test our belief systems to their core - in the end a relatively small basket of wheat will be kept while a huge mountain of weeds will be burned. By the way, for those who may not know how this epic ends please look up Revelation 19:19-21. When forced to choose between their immediate safety from the awesome power of modern-day Rome and a promise of future salvation, the overwhelming majority of humankind will go with the here and now as they always have and forget about tomorrow. Only the most firmly-rooted in their belief-systems will be able (with His help) to overcome their fears and remain steadfast. Choose wisely!