MadPx Mondays
A Brief History of Power
Argentina – Built to Suit Needs

Argentina – Built to Suit Needs

Ep 40

Dr Koontz and Rev Fisk talk about Argentina, a first world nation that fell into economic and social collapse over only a few years and the factors that lead up to it, and the book, "The Modern Survival Manual, Surviving the Economic Collapse" that details how to come out the other side of such events.

Dr Koontz - Agrarian, Egghead -  Concordia Theological Seminary Fort Wayne

Rev Fisk - Author, Fanatic - St Paul Rockford

Visit our website -  A Brief History of Power

Music thanks to Verny


[Speaker 2] (0:06 - 0:15)

Dr. Koontz, recognizing that you do not give financial advice professionally, nor are you qualified to in any way, I want to know two things. First, is the world flat?

[Speaker 1] (0:18 - 0:22)Um, no, and Tom Friedman was wrong about that, but he made a lot of money off it. [Speaker 2] (0:23 - 0:42)

I want to take that up later, but since this is true, and I'm glad to have your honest answer, I really am. In the event – remember, this is investment advice – in the event of global governmental economic collapses, is it better to be a shareholder in a surviving company or a bondholder in a falling regime?

[Speaker 1] (0:42 - 1:26)

It's better to be a shareholder because otherwise a bondholder in a falling regime basically has to turn into a speculator or you have to rely on, which is always complex. I mean, it's gambling, and gambling is inherently – doesn't necessarily have a value behind it when you're playing cards. Or you are relying on liquidity, right?

Like, you're holding crypto, for instance, which doesn't necessarily have something backing it precisely, in hopes that you can turn it into something else, which is completely fine. But it would be better if long-term you had a share in something that was of productive value, which is probably not a purely financial instrument.

[Speaker 2] (1:26 - 1:49)

So current operating advice, I think, in most investment is that government bonds are the safe haven during times of depression and collapse. And it sounds like that's the case always unless what happened everywhere else happens here. And we seem to think that it can't, right?

And that really gets us where we're going, right? I know. It does. [Speaker 1] (1:49 - 4:30)It can't happen here. It does. No, that's great.

Because if you open up any book on investment advice, you're going to find a discussion of various U.S. Treasury bonds and notes. And they're going to be understood to be almost boring in their security, their low level of consistent performance, and the full faith and credit of the United States government. So the issue is that I think a lot of people on the left and the right, but I'm generally talking to people, at least vaguely, on the right.

And one thing that many of us do or used to believe is that the United States is unique. And the meaning that we attach to that, and I understand that some listeners are already upset by this, the meaning that we attach to that ranges from some, I think, usually historically, historic inability to compare us or our history to other nations as if no other nation was ever composed of large, fresh people movements into new areas. Or it's based on an understanding of, say, maybe the Constitution, especially with people on the right, but maybe some sense of how the Declaration governs the interpretation of the Constitution.

It's a basically exegetical or theological conviction about the United States on the basis of certain documents that the United States is unique and will remain unique. And it's not that there's nothing unique about the United States. Uniquely, for the past 70 years, our currency has been the world's reserve currency, largely connected to how petrochemicals are extracted worldwide and how those markets work.

But part of the problem, I think, for a lot of people to understand what's going on or what could happen, and over the next two weeks, I'll look this week at Argentina, next week at Brazil, is our sense of what could happen is very impoverished if we think that in sort of a magical way, the United States will remain uniquely fortunate, as if that's just sort of our prerogative by virtue of being where or who we are. Rather than thinking historically, the reason for being is that if it could happen somewhere else, then it could also happen here. And if it did happen somewhere else under somewhat similar circumstances, then it almost certainly could and probably will happen here.

[Speaker 2] (4:31 - 5:14)

It sounds like the chasing of fortune as if it is not the chasing of fortune, and at a certain point that circle's got to come around. I don't know – I do know. The way that I was convinced to think this way and believe this way is the magical box of the television.

I mean it paints a pretty picture. It tells a nice story. And if you're suckled on that thing, I'm talking like from the cradle up, I mean it's God to you in a lot of ways.

And the magical thinking, well, that's what that box is all about. I mean Disney started this whole thing in one way. So if that's not enough to go on, how does one begin to tear out their own magical thinking and replace it with a more historical perspective?

[Speaker 1] (5:14 - 8:58)

Right. No, I think that's plenty to go on because I brought up genealogy last time, and part of the function of genealogy is getting a sense of who actually your ancestors were,

BHoP 040 Argentina-Built to Suit Needs 1216

like what they did on a day-to-day basis, which for at least the past 200 years in the United States is actually pretty easy to ascertain. Even if your ancestors came at some point within the past 200 years, probably the immigration record has lots of information on it.

So the point of that is because you're told that America is an experiment or a dream instead of a place. And the way that that has worked on the right is that I think it gives us a very ahistorical sense of ourselves. Like America is an economic zone.

It's a casino in which magically the house loses and everyone who plays benefits, if only given opportunity. And the problem with that is that it lends no credence to anything that's ever happened in America. And if you're unfortunate enough to have been born here, then you don't actually get to have a history because your country is just an opportunity that someone else might be able to seize one day, if given the right tax breaks.

Conversely, it also makes you unable to think about what actually occurred in the same sense that kind of not knowing who your parents or your grandparents or especially your great-grandparents or farther back were, gives you much less of a sense of it or an understanding of where you came from and why you are the way you are. For good and for ill. Historical thinking is not about romanticism.

Like, if I just go back far enough, I will find, you know, the best version of me and then I can hold on to that and kind of create my own ancestor worship, you know, Western style rather than Confucian ancestor worship. But the point is that you're not, you're not, give you an example. If you're, you know, if your ancestors were in the United States and, you know, didn't hold slaves, that's going to give you a different perspective on yourself than if you're told that you are just irredeemably evil because of your skin or your genetics that cause you to process lactose well.

You know, I think a lot of our, a lot of what comes out of the box or comes off the screen is some version of magical thinking, both on the right and on the left, right? My insistence on history is, I hope, an insistence on thinking within limits, which is what I think human beings should be doing, rather than providing you with some sort of overarching narrative of everything that you can then latch on to. Because when those happen, I am unrelentingly suspicious of people who have a comprehensive interpretation of a nation's history and its meaning or of the significance of an entire race.

This race is always, these are always great people and whenever they suffer, it's everyone else's fault or these people are always awful. And whenever they flourish, it's because they're wicked. All of those narratives are driven by historical ignorance, right?

And I don't really have any illusion that people are going to all suddenly figure out where they came from or who they actually are or something. But I have some hope that some people will and that those people will build something better, build back better in the future than we have built what is currently collapsing, right? Because, I mean, if you want magical thinking, just in the case of genealogy, I can't tell you how many people, when I talk about genealogy, tell me that they're related to such and such a king or such and such a queen or whatever.

[Speaker 2] (8:58 - 8:58)

Of course. Of course.

[Speaker 1] (8:58 - 9:08)

And it's like, okay, if that were actually true, why are you here? Why do you work at a call center in suburban Ohio? How did that happen?

[Speaker 2] (9:08 - 9:10)Well, they left for love, didn't you know?[Speaker 1] (9:10 - 9:10)Right.[Speaker 2] (9:10 - 9:17)I had something to say, but I lost it in the joke. So go on. [Speaker 1] (9:17 - 10:08)

No, that's fine. So the concept of magical thinking, I would say, is the way that the casino teaches you to live, to process life. Obviously, that's true on the left, where the magical thinking kind of extends more and more all the time.

But it's also true on the right, where magical thinking is about some sort of narrative, usually centered on economics, about how the way the world, quote, really works, that has nothing to do really with history. So America is, in this sense, the world's greatest nation, because it's post-historical. The rules don't even apply here.

And when they do apply, it's totally arbitrary and selective. So it'll be like, well, you should vote Republican, because the Democrat Party has always been, they're the ones that wanted to keep the slaves in slavery.

[Speaker 2] (10:09 - 10:09) Right, right, right.

[Speaker 1] (10:09 - 10:16)Just absurd, as if 1868 America was some sort of anti-racist paradise or something. [Speaker 2] (10:16 - 10:19)Well, it's ad hominems from a century ago, right?[Speaker 1] (10:19 - 10:20)Right, falsely applied.[Speaker 2] (10:21 - 10:55)

But then there's something here where being post-historical and being post-modern are kind of the same idea, I think. Yeah, yeah. And that's what we see with the deconstruction of history and the rewriting of alternate histories, not only for fiction, but now for profit in a variety of ways.

So I don't think you can untangle that idea from the concept of post-modernism. I don't know if we really want to go there right now. Maybe we can as a seg into Argentina.

So like, how modern was Argentina 125, 150 years ago?

[Speaker 1] (10:55 - 11:21)

Yeah, yeah. Argentina and the country we'll work on next week, Brazil, both have this period sort of around what Americans would describe as the Gilded Age, where their elites and something kind of important to remember. We'll talk more about it with Brazil.

But Argentina, people, I think a lot of Americans kind of squish all Latin American countries together and kind of think of Mexico, man.

[Speaker 2] (11:21 - 11:21)

It's all Mexico.

[Speaker 1] (11:21 - 12:48)

Yeah, it's kind of all Mexico. And the people are sort of all like similar and they have similar, like, tumultuous histories. This is not the case.

Argentina is very sparsely populated before about the 1880s, 1890s. But the elites have a commitment to a sort of state controlled economic development. And they have to build this because Argentina has vast open lands.

They really have to build this around agricultural exports, especially sort of most famously beef. But in order to do this, they're going to bring down a lot of people who are going to become the Anglo Argentines. So they still exist.

They have legit British accents, but they've lived in Argentina for 150 years to build things like railroads. That's why Argentina has a really good rugby team. And the writer Borges is Anglo Argentine on his mother's side.

So Argentina is not really kind of what probably Americans think of when they think of a Latin American country. It is almost entirely European. And at the point where immigration increases exponentially and kind of around the time when immigration to the United States is really, really high, very late 19th or very early 20th century.

Argentina gets so many people from Italy that the Argentine accent is actually affected by Italian, which is kind of wild if you think about it really is because it's Portuguese that they speak.

[Speaker 2] (12:48 - 12:48)Right.[Speaker 1] (12:49 - 12:53)Argentina is a Spanish speaking country. Brazil's going to be Brazil's the Portuguese. [Speaker 2] (12:53 - 12:53)

Okay.[Speaker 1] (12:53 - 14:07)Yeah. Yeah. And that has to do with a old papal treaty.

Maybe we'll talk about next week. But Argentina begins to fill up, but it especially fills up in urban, especially Buenos Aires and the province also named Buenos Aires. And they're beginning to build up industrial capacity.

And all of this is kind of under state control. It's under the rule of a group of people who have very definite ideas about what is civilized and what is barbaric. And actually certain things that maybe are actually commonalities between Argentina and say the American West like something like cowboys called Gauchos in Argentina are actually classified as barbaric like they don't want that to define Argentina forever.

They want it to be prosperous and industrialized and and for a while that actually works. So in the first couple decades of the 20th century, Argentina is actually one of the wealthiest countries on earth. If you can imagine it.

And also it's going to be harder to imagine once you hear what happens at the end of the 20th century. But at the beginning of the 20th century, Argentina is extremely prosperous and it begins to have a very first world set of political problems. [Speaker 2] (14:07 - 14:12)

First, before when you say process. And so what is 1900s early 1900s prosperity look like?

[Speaker 1] (14:12 - 14:48)

This is really interesting because you actually have you actually have film of places like this of Buenos Aires, Berlin, Paris, New York City, in like 1905, you can go find stuff like this, especially the the British Pate, P-A-T-H-E archive. Honestly, it looks like a wonderland compared to a city in 2021. Practically anywhere.

It's extremely clean. The buildings are beautiful. Honestly, things are at a relatively human scale.

You know, a skyscraper is going to be 14 stories, you know, 20 stories. [Speaker 2] (14:49 - 14:52)Right. Everything's up to date in Kansas City. There you go.[Speaker 1] (14:53 - 15:12)

But honestly, it looks extremely beautiful. And Buenos Aires was called. Now, there's a lot of places that have been called the Paris of blank like.

Right, right, right. You know, but I think Buenos Aires actually earned the title the Paris of Latin America. It actually makes sense if you if you see some of these photos.

[Speaker 2] (15:13 - 15:13) All right.[Speaker 1] (15:14 - 16:02)

So, yeah, I mean, I it was legitimately beautiful. There were in connection with this also. And this is Borges writes a lot of short stories about these sort of this like slum world of generally in the case of Argentina, Italian immigrants.

That culture or the sense that there's like there's sort of like a low, a low level of life for the working man is what is going to be extremely politically destabilizing for Argentina throughout the 20th century and down to today. But that's all predicated on bringing in tons and tons of immigrants in order to increase production and industrial capacity, something the United States also did just about the same time.

[Speaker 2] (16:02 - 16:25)

Right. So like things were going well for the population base, the society was functioning. It could continue on as was with some long term hope for for thriving.

But to make more faster, more people were brought in and that required a very clear split in caste. Right. And then this becomes the seed of a problem later.

[Speaker 1] (16:25 - 18:27) Right. Good summary. Yeah.

So, yeah. And Argentina. One reason I started here was because Argentina in 1929 on the verge of what is more or less a worldwide economic depression starting in 1929.

I mean, we think about the Wall Street crash of 1929, but other people had much the same problems in 1929. Argentina is actually a lot more like the United States in 1929. That is, it is a country with tons and tons of immigrants, but the immigrants are almost all entirely from Europe.

OK, so the antagonisms are not are not purely like as in, like, say, 2021 America. We have all these racial antagonisms and we've talked about some of that on the show and everything. The dynamics are quite similar.

That's why I started with Argentina, because what you see is an immigrant European society slide from a first world society into something that by 2001 is sort of out of control on a regular basis. And there's a couple different factors there. I think I'm just going to do two to kind of keep things simple and folks can go look up the ups and downs of this or that movement and Peronism and how that has morphed down to today.

But the two factors that I think I would look at are one, the desire to be wealthy always involves ties to out to some sort of outside funding. And that's going to be ultimately the downfall of the Argentine economy time and time again. And then simultaneously, the need to manage one's own internal political dynamics as arcane or difficult for foreigners to understand as this may be also necessitates these constant and increasingly violent levels of strife, both in words, but also in actions, sometimes violent actions within Argentine politics.

[Speaker 2] (18:28 - 18:30)Can you put some meat on that? Like, give us a story here. [Speaker 1] (18:30 - 20:02)

So at the beginning of the century, right, you have both immense prosperity, like we talked about, but you also have immigrant movements very similar, honestly, to our own at the time that are openly communist, right? Whereas in the United States, that's really not supported by the non-immigrant population in the beginning of the 20th century and gets suppressed very forcefully after the First World War. In Argentina, it's both supported by a proportionately larger immigrant population where, you know, being an anarchist or a communist in certain parts of Italy and then in Argentina is not a big deal.

It's kind of normal. And so they can't deport everybody. And so they have to manage this problem.

OK, so there's a constant instability and extremity to their politics, right? We're only, I think, beginning to get here on a nationwide scale in the United States. And it's part of what we talked about with red state, blue state, right?

Ferociously ideological and nationalized politics in America is not actually historically normal for us. With Argentina, with a much more concentrated population and sort of a different political spectrum, it is. When things become that ideologically fraught, you begin to get things that we think of when we think of the term Banana Republic.

So this guy's assassinated and then this guy is deposed and then this guy comes to power. But then he's deposed by the military junta that brought him to power.

[Speaker 2] (20:05 - 20:37)

Banana Republic now just kind of means a show though, right? So it's all those things you're describing can take place in one. But the idea of a Banana Republic is that whatever the government is saying it's doing isn't really what it's doing.

And everyone kind of knows that and goes along with it because you can do about it. It's just kind of what it is. And so it says it's a republic, but a republic would never have a tyrant dictator, which is what most most of these cases end up with in one way or another.

Right. The fight for the power. That's why one guy's in for a while and then he gets knocked off.

And it's everyone's trying to get to be the dictator.

[Speaker 1] (20:37 - 22:29)

Right. And so that's going to go back and forth and around. And one thing that will generally increase over time, regardless of the stated ideology of the force in power at that time, will be government capacities and government wherewithal to do what it wants.

Right. So the government, regardless of its ideology, just whoever is operating the machinery, the machinery will get more powerful over time. Right.

BHoP 040 Argentina-Built to Suit Needs 1223

So Juan Perón had a formerly almost fascistic ideology when he came to power the first time he had less capacity to affect your daily life than Fernandez does today in 2021. Right. So combination of growth and technology, growth and communication, lots of factors are going to increase government power, regardless of the ideology of who is who is actually possessing that power at any given time.

However, right, whereas I guess theoretically that could be benevolent if the government is debating super mundane things like we used to do in like 2002 in America, like how high should the inheritance tax be? You know, right. I remember when like that possessed the American Senate.

Right. Instead, with ideological polarization, potentially the government is killing people or people are killing people in the government or everyone is opportunistically killing everyone else at various times. You can often find out a lot about Latin America from like leftist websites and podcasts because it's part of sort of a leftist narrative that the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States is both like militantly fascistic and somehow in control of the entire world.

OK, which is kind of hilarious.[Speaker 2] (22:29 - 22:32)That was an alt-right narrative. That's amazing. [Speaker 1] (22:32 - 22:36)I know that. No, no, no. I think the rainbow is a circle. [Speaker 2] (22:37 - 22:38)The rainbow is a circle at the end of the day. [Speaker 1] (22:38 - 23:06)

So, yeah. Yeah. But what what you're not going to hear from, you know, sort of a Noam Chomsky take on Latin American history is that the left does the same things in power that the right does when it's in power in Latin America.

The goals are often different, but the methods are the same. And the desire to exercise ferocious and often destructive force upon its enemies is the same.

[Speaker 2] (23:07 - 23:39)

So what matters to us, I think, in this is we're going to try to be not the enemies of the fascist state that that will come to be at some point, possibly because we're not that special here in America. The thing then is less about how any of us are going to be directly in his eyesight immediately, as in this is my the US's last week or just tell me privately, you know, how do I navigate streets where the potholes are so big? I have to swerve and I'm already there, by the way, in Rockford with that one.

[Speaker 1] (23:40 - 23:40)


[Speaker 2] (23:40 - 23:53)

While also being aware that someone could steal my car with me in it, you know, pull out a gun for whatever reason. We're not there yet. We're not there yet.

So like but that seems to be some of the advice in this book. We're going to be talking about here a little bit.

[Speaker 1] (23:53 - 24:12)

Yeah, yeah. Because Aguirre, who writes this book, Surviving the Economic Collapse, I think you can still get on an Amazon. It was self-printed and his English is good enough.

I think he works actually as a essentially like a telemarketer or something, honestly, like talking to America. Maybe you've talked to him about your credit card or your car warranty.

[Speaker 2] (24:12 - 24:12) I don't know.[Speaker 1] (24:13 - 27:16)

He's not he obviously he has what you could classify as sort of right wing views, especially about things like guns or the family. OK, but something to notice is that when public life becomes consistently chaotic. Right.

And the other factor here that we didn't because I kind of talked about the political dynamic and how violence is related to that, the real kicker is that when your economy is intimately tied to foreign both consumption of your products, beef, whatever it is that you're producing, but also foreigners being willing to hold your sovereign debt, you are not really a sovereign country. And the Argentines know that, which is why periodically, especially in the past 25 years, they will simply default on much or or have threatened in some cases to default on all their sovereign debt, because the notion that the government is ultimately reliable is premised both on the trust of its citizens and its political processes, which somebody like Aguirre doesn't have. OK.

And his grandparents, interestingly, fled the Spanish Civil War to come to Argentina. So he's got kind of a multigenerational governmental problems perspective. So you need both your citizens trust in your political processes.

Very hard to obtain in a violent, ideologically polarized society. You also need foreigners to want to buy your things, to be able to get your things, and then also to help you make capital investments that would allow you to develop things. And access to capital markets that unless you are an enormous, potentially self-sufficient country like, I don't know, the United States of America, you can't really do on your own.

And even the United States of America needed both Britain's relative economic decline and then two world wars to take the economic position that we've held since the Second World War. So you need a combination of luck and the misfortune of others. Argentina never had that.

They were always dependent on outsiders. And for a while it worked. When the 1929 Great Depression hit, it stopped working.

And since those economically destructive factors have kind of spiraled and connected with the ideological kind of polarization and at times violence of Argentine politics. And so what you have is a place where public life is consistently dysfunctional. Not consistently ugly aesthetically as it is often like if you try to go to your city hall in America and it's just some horrendous building with a flat roof.

It's not ugly necessarily the way ours is or totally anonymous, but it is consistently dysfunctional in a big way.

[Speaker 2] (27:17 - 27:20)So what kind of dysfunction are you talking about? How does a citizen experience that? [Speaker 1] (27:20 - 29:03)

Yeah, so this gets worse over time, right? Whereas in, say, the 1970s, which is going to be called in Argentine history, especially if you look at leftist narratives about this, the Dirty War, where people are just disappearing, it's a whole sort of political constituency, the desaparecidos. Over time, it's going to get worse because when economic factors go south, things that are sort of functioning, if not, let's say, fully functional, become fully dysfunctional for a much broader swath of the population.

So what happens is that in the 1990s, in order to kind of salvage their economy, Argentina pegs the Argentine peso to the U.S. dollar, which for a while provides lots of relief for people who otherwise have trouble getting access to cash. The crunch that the average person feels is always a liquidity crunch. I can't turn what I have into something someone else would accept so I can get other things fast enough.

That's like my basic problem, right? That's how you get bank runs during our Great Depression. Over time, that's fine.

The Argentines can keep dollars flowing into Argentina by privatizing things that used to be public services. A process you probably have noticed in different parts of America, too. And the role of that is that you get both the person who is sort of buying that up or getting that concession or whatever is going to become wealthy in a sort of a sustainable way.

But the government who gets to sell it, local, state, federal, gets some sort of cash infusion.

[Speaker 2] (29:03 - 29:06)And they get to avoid solving their problems, too.[Speaker 1] (29:06 - 29:21)Yeah. And they also absolve themselves of responsibility. That's right.

So what's also interesting is privatization doesn't actually, it may still be something that the public has to use, but now the person operating it is no longer accountable to the public.

[Speaker 2] (29:22 - 29:33)

That is what Illinois services feel like. I can tell you. There's reasons to move here and start a new world, but they are not your internet service.

Nope, they are not.

[Speaker 1] (29:34 - 30:55)

Yeah. So the problem is there's only so much you can privatize anywhere. And so by the end of the 90s, Argentina is suffering from really just a lack of U.S. dollars systemically. Both the government, also their corporations. So this begins to create a liquidity crunch for the entirety of the economy. People cannot get anything, they cannot get what they own in a way that is valuable.

And finally, in 2001, I mean, there's other factors going on, but what sparks riots just before Christmas in 2001. So that's actually the beginning of summer, right, because we're talking a southern hemisphere country. So it's beginning of summer, things are just beginning to get hot.

You get riots just before Christmas, partly sparked by something called the Little Corral, the corralito. And the corralito is when the government limits your capacity to withdraw your cash from banks. This drives people insane because they're not even asking at this point for the government to provide coherent functional services that maybe their parents had been able to expect.

They're just asking to get what is theirs and they can't get it. So you get limitations, you get lines that make it impossible to actually get up to the window, all kinds of problems.

[Speaker 2] (30:55 - 31:03)

But, you know, if you try to jump off a bridge afterwards, an angel will stop you and it'll all turn out nice. And then you can bring yourself to sleep at Christmas Eve.

[Speaker 1] (31:04 - 31:33)

Yeah, yeah, yeah. One thing in researching for this episode that I learned that I had no concept of was a sort of there are parallels to cryptocurrency in economic crises before our current one. That is that you get these sort of these sort of impromptu currencies.

And I don't mean like people say like pigs are currency. I mean like actual printing of bills and notes by different institutions.

[Speaker 2] (31:33 - 31:34)Just become a bank because you have to. [Speaker 1] (31:35 - 31:55)

Exactly. Yeah. And you have that and you have people doing in Argentina in like 2000 and 2001 exactly what people are doing with Bitcoin and Ethereum and stuff like that right now.

Where they are parking assets in non U.S. dollar currencies. Yeah, right. In order to escape the consequences of not being able to get enough U.S. dollars.

[Speaker 2] (31:56 - 32:03)

Bitcoin was sitting about $6,000 three years ago. It's at 54 right now.

[Speaker 1] (32:03 - 32:03)


[Speaker 2] (32:04 - 33:21)

There's a reason for that. It's still not a safe thing to invest in by any stretch nor any of the competitors. They get less safe the further you go from the big mama.

But I've said it elsewhere. I mean, I think if you're not getting into Bitcoin in any way, if you're not looking at it or listening to it, you're missing the boat on the great transfer of wealth out of the American dollar because the American dollar is being looted. And it's before our very eyes and it's a generation of happening.

But the crypto could still be broken. I mean, I think this is a problem with crypto. If quantum computing does what they promise quantum computing will do, and I'm skeptical, but if it does what they promise it will do, crypto, if I understand it right, should not survive that.

Because they'll be able to undo the blockchain. Crypto might say otherwise. Right.

It's an undoable thing. You can't have a computer that is fast enough to do that. But like we're talking about retaining your liquidity in the midst of a crisis.

And I'm advocating diversifying all your assets and recognizing that a digital currency that is able to not only hold its value against the dollar, but in fact, in three years, golly, 100, 500 fold, something like that. I mean, it's just and that's been continuing. If you look at the scale from its beginning, it's on a very, very level and regular path with spikes inside the middle of it.

But it's something that you really ought to pay attention to.

[Speaker 1] (33:22 - 34:09)

Yeah. Yeah, it's I mean, even if you don't invest in crypto, this is maybe kind of a good way to get into Aguirre's book in the sense that Aguirre talks about the use of currencies and really like is extremely just opportunistic about currency. One of the jobs that he recommends, and if you don't know how to do it, that you know somebody who does, is someone who can easily gain possession of and allow you to exchange different kinds of currencies.

And he mentions everything from euros to rubles to yen to U.S. dollars, in addition to whatever sort of worthless paper Argentina had at the time, precisely because you just need to maintain some form of liquidity for the purpose of exchange.

[Speaker 2] (34:09 - 35:24)

I remember hearing a story about Weimar, Germany, and I can't believe it. It had to be hyperbole, but it talked about how you would need to use a wheelbarrow to buy a cup of coffee with the cash that it just had gotten that bad. And so when you're at that point, how do you buy your supper?

What do you use? And if you have foreign currencies, that would make a lot of sense, especially if they're stable. I mean, to imagine the day that the ruble is going to outdo the dollar, that's a fun thing.

But before we go too far past it, you mentioned earlier government capacity, and you kind of spoke in a positive sense about Argentina's ability to grow in its capacity with technology. But I couldn't help but thinking a little bit about the surprise post-'80s as far as Russia's technological maintenance within communism, how poor their tech had been maintained, how much of it was a facade. And I begin to wonder, what are we really actually doing outside of Apple and Tesla?

Do we have a real capacity as a country at all, or are we just facading our greatness so far as military strength, so far as technological development and maintenance and whatnot? And the stories I hear from military guys is like, yeah, this is not going well. So what are your thoughts on that?

[Speaker 1] (35:24 - 37:10)

Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, these are not entirely anecdotal. I mean, I see and hear anecdotes.

I also have read a couple generally by some, you know, hi, I'm an anonymous guy that works inside a defense contractor that builds whatever, you know, so maybe they're totally making it up. That disclaimer aside is that even the concept of maintenance on certain things simply is not possible anymore for things that were built in the 1960s by people using slide rules. So I think that we're dealing we're dealing with, you know, you can find these sort of these very poignant, you know, drawings by people that study the ancient world of like, you know, here's the Roman Forum in, you know, AD 600.

And there's like, you know, cattle camping and stalls that used to hold, you know, voluminous numbers of books. I feel we're getting there a lot faster, right? We're getting there a lot faster than Rome did, because within like people's lifetimes, you're moving from slide rules can get you to the moon, along with some computers that occupy an entire room to we have vastly increased capacity, but are unable to maintain certain things.

And there's a sense in which that way of building technology and making it increasingly more complex is actually destructive of general capacity, right? So, I mean, if you're driving a vehicle from the 1990s, you might actually be able to do something with it as a normal person without thousands of dollars of equipment. If you're driving a vehicle from last year, it kind of wants to drive for you a lot of the time.

[Speaker 2] (37:10 - 37:11)That's right. That's right.[Speaker 1] (37:11 - 37:27)So, that's something to consider. I mean, that's kind of, that's a little bit of a different point, but that technological capacity, I don't actually think is something that's being maintained systemically for all the things that make the way that we live possible.

[Speaker 2] (37:27 - 38:50)

And as you point out that it's us as well as the technology. So, they had a slide rule and they went to the moon. In theory, that was a question I didn't ask you today.

That one's still coming in deep dive at some point. I got to know, is the world flat and did we go to the moon? I got a supercomputer in my pocket and all I can do is whine, right?

So, something's flipped on its head in this regard. And again, how much of that is an already existent illiquidity of assets? Debt not being an asset.

How much of it is already the privatization of what used to be expected in public? How much of it is it the fact that the currency is just a form of opportunism from our government? All of those things kind of leading to really shelter, clothing, defense.

If I've got to prioritize my survival, I mean those things seem pretty clear. The question is, I don't even know where to begin starting those things without my iPhone and to help me. Maybe that's still part of the future, right?

I don't think either you or I are saying that internet delivery is done or no one's ever going to buy anything again ever. But inflation and money's tightness and things like that is going to make shelter, clothing, defense priorities. Right.

[Speaker 1] (38:50 - 39:08)

Well, and in order to buy something from Amazon in a couple years, you'll probably have to watch essentially a propaganda video about a transgender seven-year-old who eats Impossible Burgers only and has nonetheless won a powerlifting competition.

[Speaker 2] (39:08 - 39:42)

There'll be a loophole or a latch or a way in which you must serve the gods to do it, which is where comparing this all to a world religion can be helpful. I mean, the reason that they killed Christians was because they wouldn't burn to Caesar. And it seems to me that whenever the state sets itself up as a god, which it always does in godless places, that's why state religions are kind of helpful because they keep the gods over in the corner.

Whenever it does that, it tends to put people to death who don't agree with that religion. And so in this case, it doesn't matter if you're a Christian or not. Right.

If you're not on board with with the big train mainstream, like you're you're in the way. So again, shelter, clothing, defense, we need the real deal.

[Speaker 1] (39:42 - 43:18)

Well, I think I think that if you pick up a book, I'm not going to go through like all his recommendations about like what kind of a knife you should buy. Like, it's an extremely practical book in a certain sense. The sort of philosophical approach to some of these things is what I'm interested in for our purposes today.

And then you can pick up the book and go find out what kind of knife you should get or what breed dog you should get to defend your home. When you're thinking about things like shelter, clothing and self-defense, you are now personally doing something that you begin to realize as things fall apart, you had for your entire life outsourced. Right.

You're outsourcing the immediate provision of shelter to the existence of the home construction industry and the National Association of Realtors, etc, etc, etc. This is, you know, that's fine. That's not like evil.

But if you get an increasingly dysfunctional society in every way, politically, economically, all the rest of it, then you begin to have to be the person who, if not builds each of the things that you occupy or use, at least can find the person who does or find the people who do. And when so when he talks about things like, OK, you need to build your home so that it's defensible. You need to wear clothing that does not call attention to you.

You need to be competent and physically fit so that you can defend yourself. If you read history again, this is kind of like the knowledge of ancestors thing I talked about last week. If you read history, the stuff that Aguirre says, hey, I had to do this in 2001 and 2002 and even later in Argentina because our society fell apart and our government wasn't even able to go to work because it was terrified of protesters.

OK, let alone was it like protecting me. OK, so I can't like call the police. So he has recommendations about what kind of, you know, on a daily basis, actually carrying guns, he thinks is a is a bad idea because it escalates things too much and is often overkill for the daily situations he found people facing.

He talks about guns mainly in connection with home defense and protecting against looting. But like for daily travel in an insecure location, he doesn't believe that guns are actually all that helpful and saw them misused too often. In addition to that, I guess one more thing on the self-defense thing is that he had sort of an interesting insight.

It's a little counterintuitive based on a lot of what you read. If you read if you get into American survivalist stuff, which is usually very kind of militantly rural, which, you know, I'm totally in sympathy with. This is his observation from Argentina, is that living on isolated homesteads was generally bad for people because it left them open to attack.

Right. So unless the homestead was effectively a fortified compound and had multiple families living together, you're basically just waiting to be picked off. Now, it's not going to happen all the time because somebody has to like probably walk or get enough gas to put in a motorcycle to ride out there or something.

And there's shortages of most things like shortage would then be economically normal rather than usual. But he actually found the most defensible places were suburbs. Because people are close enough to defend one another and put up a couple of fences, you've got a wall around a block and you're good.

[Speaker 2] (43:18 - 43:24)I mean, you get big city in the middle. Town starts up. Keep the zombies outside. I mean, it works.[Speaker 1] (43:24 - 44:04)

Sometimes, sometimes that was that's that was kind of an interesting observation. I mean, I think everyone kind of realizes that that cities are extremely insecure places, apart from lots of, you know, daily realities like the New York Police Department. Right.

But when you have economic collapse, you have not only rioting and looting in cities, also in Argentina in 2001. But you I mean, there's just there's no way to defend yourself. Where are you going to go?

Right. If you have enough private space that you can raise some raise a little bit of food, but also that you can be near people that can work with you. That was the most defensible position.

He's always speaking for the average person. Right. [Speaker 2] (44:05 - 44:05)Right.[Speaker 1] (44:05 - 44:15)

Like the wealthy who who can continue to hire security guards are going to be fine. If you don't have the wherewithal to do that, your best bet is to be near other people whom you can trust.

[Speaker 2] (44:16 - 44:17) Right. Right. Good neighborhood. [Speaker 1] (44:18 - 45:35)

Yeah. So I think I'll talk about that and then maybe talk about jobs and finances and stuff kind of towards the end is that it is sort of notable that even in a firmly Latin American country and Latin very broadly here, with most people being somewhat Italian, some mix of Italian and Spanish in Argentina, even there where you have, you know, theoretically an attachment to larger family groups that say in a, you know, in an Anglo Saxon descended society. Still, the nuclear family is kind of the basic unit on which people fell back, even when they had to move in like multiple nuclear families under maybe a grandfather and a grandmother.

Even when that happened, that might just increase fighting. It's some of his observations, especially about psychology or some of the most valuable parts of the book, apart from like the really specific, like, get this kind of knife, not that kind of knife, because the psychology is really the ultimately decisive factor in a lot of the problems that he talks about from how am I going to provide to how do I figure out how to drive like quickly but also defensively. And not destructively, because I don't really need to obey traffic laws, but I need to get through certain neighborhoods.

[Speaker 2] (45:35 - 45:35) Right.[Speaker 1] (45:35 - 46:04)

All of that can sort of be managed if you can maintain some basic modicum of calm. If you're moving a bunch of people together that haven't lived together or don't know how to live together or have never had to share all the things that they have to share because shortage defines everyday life, psychology and kind of group functioning is vastly more important than like, do I have the right kind of knife right now?

[Speaker 2] (46:04 - 47:14)

Right. My point about whining earlier, I think, is still pretty important. And I mean, I mean, and I don't want to I don't want to hurt any feelings here either.

A conversation, though, in the household recently with regard to post 2020 America and things that are completely out of everybody's control and are just the way they are now. And a child saying, I don't like it and getting loud about that, refusing to accept that reality is reality. And I can imagine that enough stress and duress in a group of people that are living together under the same close roof in a more dangerous situation where even noise is trouble.

Right. What do you do with a teenager? This won't be quiet.

What do you do when she storms about and yells and you're trying to hide from the mob that's outside the psychology of where we are, how we are prepared to handle problems and where we would want to be. You know, if we could kind of look back and roll this as a role playing game, they're far removed. And it is very much that, you know, I got a I got a supercomputer in my pocket and I'm really good at complaining and that ain't good for much.

[Speaker 1] (47:15 - 48:41)

Right, right. Yeah, let me let me just read you two sentences, because this is kind of towards the end of the book. And he's talking about he's been talking about something I'll talk about in a second, which is what you can expect from government in such a situation.

But this is under a heading called new mentality. There are certain things in life that change you forever. You simply never forget them.

And you can tell exactly what caused such a profound change in you. I've been through some bad situations in my life. Some of them were pretty unusual things.

Most people will never suffer. Others are much more common and just as bad or even worse. And then he talks about how his son got sick and how when you don't have good and by public, we don't just mean like publicly owned.

We mean like you can go to a hospital and you will be served like that will happen. Like, no one will just let you sit there. Right.

Surviving anything, living through an economic collapse or just living life to its fullest is mostly about learning to cope with the problems life throws your way. And I think I think that's pretty profound. He has a fairly colloquial style.

It's not fancy or anything. But I think it's pretty profound because what he's saying is that regardless of what the circumstances are, the strength that you actually need is, as it were, a kind of a spiritual strength. It is not simply like a capacity to buy enough like canned goods, even though that might be helpful.

Right. I'm not I'm not mocking that. So what? [Speaker 2] (48:41 - 49:52)

Let me see why I laugh because because like you're right. There's a point at which that's important. But like that's you playing the tabletop game where you're trying to amass.

You know, I need so many little widgets of this size and some little cardboard cutouts of this size so I can have the game. I'll work the way I wanted to when the problem comes. And that's not the way this works ever, ever.

It's not a role playing game. You cannot account for all the potential problems. What is far more important than all the potential problems is your desire and belief to problem solve them as what life is about.

And that mentality change that you're talking about is essential here. Essential. And it's why just talking about what knife to buy.

Cool as that is right. It doesn't help you because the knife's not going to help you. The gun's not going to help you.

You have to help you. And that choice, America straight up, LCMS straight up. I'm talking to myself here, too.

That's a choice we got to start making. We just have to start making it that we're going to be prepared. And that doesn't mean all the right stuff in the right order.

It means mentally I'm ready. I want to be. I want to be the one who faces the problem, the overcomer rather than the one who's hiding from it.

Hiding from it.

[Speaker 1] (49:53 - 51:49)

Yeah. And he part of part of the reason to highlight this book and why I would recommend getting it, you know, even if you don't you don't feel that you're going to be like dodging potholes right now because you live in Arizona or something is because you are dealing with a radical change. And the thing that I that I see around me that is absolutely worst is a sort of just black despair or lying to yourself about how this or that will survive.

You don't actually know that. And the difficulty that we have is that unlike a country like Argentina, where they've had basically everyone who's living right now's lifetime to handle things like insecurity, instability, unreliable services, unreliable economic provision, Americans have not. And so we I mean, we're still fighting over piles of money as if they're real.

Right. Or as if they're like they're actually going to be there or something. Right.

So I mean, the whole a lot of the game of diversity, inclusion and equity die is a game about securing resources that that presumes that they're there. The thing that you realize is that you can go relatively quickly from relative comfort to to to pretty much absolute poverty fairly fast. Right.

So you can get you can find lots of very mainstream news. I mean, I'm talking MSNBC, mainstream CNN, mainstream about how Americans don't have, you know, most Americans don't have anything more than like X hundred hundreds of dollars in their bank account. So when you're talking about, OK, well, I'm I'm trying to get my money out of the bank.

I can't get out of the bank. There's not even anything. We're not going to have a bank run because nobody's going to be able to.

There's nothing to take out. [Speaker 2] (51:49 - 51:49) Right. Right.[Speaker 1] (51:50 - 53:00)

So that's very different from, you know, 1931 America, where most of us are savers. OK. And so when you're looking at what's coming, I don't see anything as particularly predictable.

It's also probably why I feel less depressed than a lot of people I know, because I don't I don't see the future as like actually determined by really anything, because in order for something to be determined by something else, that's something else needs to be like predictable or real. Right. Like the height at which I observe the world is determined by my actual physical height.

OK. Unless I stand on a chair, that's predictable. If I stand on a chair, I'm going to see more.

If you're going to tell me that this is how America is going to be in 2024. But you're also saying like, you know, that X percentage of our military flunks their physical fitness tests and then the generation coming up that's supposed to go into our military is how obese as a percentage. Don't tell me what the American military is going to do in 2025.

You don't know. I mean, my guess is it's going to be doing something worse. Maybe a lot of things worse.

[Speaker 2] (53:00 - 53:17)

I don't know. I mean, the robot dogs might be cool, but we'll see. I'm with you, though, that I think I think this is the same idea, which is that we cannot in any way predict a macro change in the sense of everyone's going to have it be like this.

[Speaker 1] (53:17 - 53:18)Right.[Speaker 2] (53:18 - 54:57)That's the lie that's breaking. That's that's the story that we're all like, wait a minute. It's not working.

So we can't say that we can say there's going to be thematic echoes of history. And you mentioned some really good ones today. Hold on.

Let me get my little list. This is only a really good list I got today. Right.

I mean, I've said before, I think we're going to we're going to fracture, but no one can really see what's coming. That's just it. But you said this is a reason for hope.

So let me try this on and see if your hope is like my hope here. So where I see that as a reason for hope is it means that of all of the bajillion things I've imagined going wrong and I mean, I've got them all the way down to like zombies and vampires and stuff. Right.

And I'm a Christian and that's weird. But you know what? In my imagination, things go nuts.

So I've got all the scenarios imagined. And here's my hope. Not all of that can possibly happen.

In fact, it's probably going to be a lot more normal than I expect because that's the way all my fears up to this point in life have been. Even the ones that have been true traumatic events are not the things I imagine them to be. You know, a big scare is a big scare.

And then it is over. It is not forever. And I can imagine that if I if I die, that also will be that moment so far as my experience of it is concerned.

You know, I think everyone can agree with that. [Speaker 1] (54:58 - 54:58)Yeah.[Speaker 2] (54:58 - 55:01)

Yeah. So yeah. Can you take it from there?

[Speaker 1] (55:02 - 55:24)

Yeah. So I think I think that maybe the biggest comprehensive way to say what effect in addition to kind of the specifics of of what to do and and how a home should be built so that it's not just it doesn't just like look nice, but it's actually like it's not just a castle according to the castle doctrine. It's actually can be defended.

[Speaker 2] (55:24 - 55:25)


[Speaker 1] (55:25 - 57:17)

In addition to all that kind of stuff from Gary, the biggest takeaway is that your life is actually your life to defend and preserve and extend and maximize because what you realize when your society that is supposed to sustain you and they're supposed to be nice public spaces for this and and public provision of that and everything that that might have been awesome. And sometimes I wish I was alive for one of those societies. I mean, when I see these films that I referenced earlier from, you know, 1905 in France or Argentina or something, I'm like, it's amazing that that it was beautiful, right?

You don't get that right. You don't have those public things. So you need to make the life that you do have as beautiful and long and worthwhile and fruitful as you possibly can, because no one else is going to do it for you now.

Right. And talking about how someone else doesn't have your best interests at heart or doesn't like you or whatever only goes so far. Right.

On on on any level. Right. They don't like me.

I was discriminated against because, you know, I was a white male. I went, sure, I believe I I believe you. It doesn't matter in some sense, though, because you need to do something else with your life if that public space is closed.

And don't worry, it's going to be wildly dysfunctional soon enough. I think one of the big differences between America and Argentina is that Argentina, although it was ideologically polarized, was not, as it were, going so rapidly. I mean, it was wealthy, but it wasn't like the world power.

It's not going from being the world superpower as of, say, like spring 1992 to, you know, not even quite 20 years later.

[Speaker 2] (57:17 - 57:17) Yeah.[Speaker 1] (57:18 - 58:36)

Three years later, 30 years later, not even a couple of decades later, falling in on itself with its cities falling apart, tons of violence. So we're going really fast. That just means that you need to kind of ramp up faster.

And I think this book will be helpful if you haven't started. I think it'll be helpful even if you have or if you've been working on a lot of these things for a long time. And also to give you some perspective that books like it for and by Americans don't have, because they're always looking forward and saying, OK, what's going to happen?

What's what's it going to be like? Or how is it going to be? Let me draw on this or that experience.

Aguirre has a personal in his own adult life experience of his society in which he grew up falling apart totally, at least for a time. And then when it reconstitutes, especially his discussion of government, he says, expect more censorship because they can't handle criticism anymore. Expect less freedom.

Expect fewer services. Expect a smaller police force. You know, we're already going there.

So you can see. I mean, one thing that I haven't quite suggested yet, but maybe I'm there. One thing you see is that when you read this book, you kind of wonder, like, did we already collapse and we just don't know it?

[Speaker 2] (58:37 - 59:29)That's where I've been. It's like it's all a game. It's as long as the story holds right now.

The TV keeps saying we haven't collapsed and there's a whole pile. They're like, OK, OK. That's going to go until the food stops being here.

And I don't know when that is. You said quickly. You also said we can't say anything before 2024.

And I'm not going to say when. Right. But like we've as you list the problems that happened to Argentina, we're already having them happen.

And as you note, we are at an expedited speed. I would say that the pace of communication in the Internet has something to do with the speed of lies convulsing and collapsing in on themselves over time. Do you want to say something to that?

You got a couple of bubble points I still want to bring up. Yeah, no, go ahead. So, like, I mean, recession proof jobs is sort of just a bullet point idea.

But still, I think it's a good one.

[Speaker 1] (59:29 - 59:54)

If you got anything off top your head to throw out there, he doesn't recommend a lot of things that I kind of thought he would recommend or Americans talk about when they talk about trades and stuff. He talks mainly about medical provision of any kind. So a doctor is great and EMT is good.

And then he talks about physical security. So a security guard is the absolute most recession proof job, especially in a dangerous place. [Speaker 2] (59:54 - 59:55)That makes a lot of sense.[Speaker 1] (59:56 - 1:01:04)

Yeah. And that's that's mainly what he talks about, because a lot of other things people either begin to do for themselves, which I think if you especially if you're from a rural area, you kind of have seen that because there are things that exist in more like urbanized or wealthier areas that don't like in a rural area. There are very few handymen.

Right. So the idea that you would do more things for yourself and so there are actually fewer tradesmen sort of makes sense. And so he doesn't really talk about that.

But he talks about security guards, doctors, EMTs. And he also talks about lawyers and accountants. So that sounds really strange.

But the issue here is that collapse doesn't mean like everything is gone. Like there is no more U.S. government. There is no more Argentine government.

Even when their government falls and they have a somewhat like France, sort of a combination presidential parliamentary system. Even when their government falls, there are still governmental functionaries or there are openly criminal gangs that run certain other facets of life.

[Speaker 2] (1:01:05 - 1:01:07) Right. It's all tribal pay to play. [Speaker 1] (1:01:07 - 1:01:35)

Correct. And so what I said earlier about currency traders is it's really the same thing with lawyers or accountants. It's someone who helps you navigate rules that are not publicly available and make no sense and are not to your benefit.

And the existence of such a person is actually necessary for your continued flourishing, if only to keep other more malicious parties off your back.

[Speaker 2] (1:01:35 - 1:01:36) Right.[Speaker 1] (1:01:36 - 1:02:04)

So I thought that was pretty interesting because it's not like, OK, everything collapsed. We don't have stuff. Now we're all like hunting in, you know, the rainforest.

That's not what happened. Instead, you go down to life simply works differently. But there still are rules.

There still are bureaucratic things that happen. It's just that they happen in different and maybe less predictable and understandable ways. And somebody has to know how to navigate that stuff.

[Speaker 2] (1:02:04 - 1:02:49) Right. Right. Right.

Yeah. I mean, economies are always going to arise where there are people as we try to survive. Right.

And the rich are always going to be the ones paying the cash for the higher level profession. The thing like the medical and the EMT that strikes me about that is how much Covid's changed that game for probably quite a few people, you know, as whether or not you can do that. You know, how often do you want things stuck up your nose?

How often are you going to be injected with what? You know, and religiously some people have questions about all that stuff. Hmm.

I want to say more about it, but let's let's move on to the family issue so that the connection to people outside your family will change. And then also, yeah, that's the main idea. So, yeah.

Talk about that rather than just have me ramble about the question.

[Speaker 1] (1:02:49 - 1:03:29)

Yeah. I mean, you saw this in miniature and with fairly low stakes in hordes of people leaving Brooklyn in about April, March and April of 2020 and retreating back to the Zanesville, Ohio's and the West Des Moines, Iowa's whence they originally came. That is that when there is crisis, people fall back on their families because it's a form of belonging that is not nearly so affected by governmental regulation or all kinds of other facets of life that become suddenly unpredictable.

[Speaker 2] (1:03:29 - 1:03:40)

So trusting the bloodline. Right. Although isn't it true that in truly fascist, terrorizing countries, blood versus blood becomes a real problem, doesn't it?

[Speaker 1] (1:03:41 - 1:03:44)

Well, I think I mean, are you are making. [Speaker 2] (1:03:45 - 1:04:36)

I'm saying that. So like on the one hand, you know, you retreat because you have to, because you got to survive in the city shutting down. And so you go home.

On the other hand, North Korea, if you say anything in the house, they turn you in and you know, you're you're flogged or whatever. So like your relationship with your bloodline is going to increase your need to trust them is going to increase whether or not you trust each other is very important then. Right.

And so if in fact you're on very diverse sides of things right now, particularly this kind of black, white political spectrum that we're on, that can throw a real wrench in the gears of what would otherwise be natural allies. And that goes for your neighbor across the fence next door to right. You know, if you and your neighbor are closely aligned for local reasons, but you can't figure that out because you're so busy fighting over Trump and Biden, it doesn't help either of you.

Does that make sense?

[Speaker 1] (1:04:37 - 1:07:19)

Yeah. Yeah. I just I mean, his his experience is that these a lot of the things that we talked about last week with the ideological nature of American politics, you know, moving from kind of clear, sectional, more practical, let's say, interests than represented in politics to here's a hot button issue.

Where do you stand? And everyone knows about it and has a stance that that way of thinking about the world declines when problems are much less abstract that you're dealing with in daily life. So it's it's almost like the highly ideological nature of 2021 America is a function of the fact that we are still we are still functioning at a basic level of subsistence for the vast majority of the population.

If that comes into question, then abstractions like you are a cisgender white male Republican become less important than whether you can provide me with physical security. So, yeah. Yeah.

And so I think that I think that one of the things that you're looking at in this book is what is actually of primary importance, not just to like have, but also spiritually speaking, what do human beings actually need, need, need? And one thing that they don't need, need, need is to reprimand grandma for her views on race. But currently you can do that on Twitter and you can report or make up a story either way about how you reprimanded grandma Thanksgiving.

And the reason you can do that is because you sort of have a certain luxury that life is still being provided for. I do think that's why things like universal basic income are where a government wants to go, because I don't think they're so stupid that they that they don't realize that if you you stop being able to provide things, you have a wildly unpredictable situation on your hands. Which is what Aguirre observes is that this stuff about, you know, OK, I mean, in his case, like my grandma is a communist and I'm not a communist.

Well, that doesn't really matter if grandma is cooking for me right now. It doesn't matter. We're not having that debate.

Doesn't she doesn't care. I kept the lights on. I have a generator.

I get the generator started up. I got the gasoline today. It doesn't we don't care, you know.

So there your perspective on life changes in much the same way that when he talks about his son's sickness at this time, he said, I really care about anything except my like nothing in life except my son getting better, which I think anybody with a child can understand.

[Speaker 2] (1:07:19 - 1:07:20)


[Speaker 1] (1:07:20 - 1:07:31)

Similarly, when your life gets different, differently sized, different problems are now coming up. A lot of other stuff really fades in importance.

[Speaker 2] (1:07:31 - 1:07:32) What matters is the real. [Speaker 1] (1:07:33 - 1:07:33) Yeah.

[Speaker 2] (1:07:33 - 1:07:48)

As much as ideas about communism and capitalism do have real consequences at the end of the day, they are just words until they're done. And what's done is usually not what's done in the kitchen between you and grandma. Right.

Yeah. Far away. You have no power over whatsoever. [Speaker 1] (1:07:49 - 1:07:52)

Yeah, she's she's making the pasta. I'm eating the pasta. Everything's good.

[Speaker 2] (1:07:53 - 1:08:18)

Well, not if you understand the problem we cause for the human gut. But let's just move on to I mean, I want to talk about people, the reliability of people outside of your family. You say this didn't change as an overly distrusting human.

That's not good news for me. I want people to get more trusting. I'm expecting them to get less trusting.

But you're saying it's gonna be kind of the same like a stranger to stranger and you don't just shoot on first sight.

[Speaker 1] (1:08:19 - 1:09:42)

No, no. I mean, this pertains also to the thing I said earlier about suburbs, is that when you need when you realize that you actually need somebody else, your desire to know them and then also therefore to justifiably trust them grows. And so I think that there is going to be in a case like this much greater investment in the other person.

The similarities here would be certain things about small town America still, but also especially about the American frontier. It's significantly less. I probably just should do a show on that.

Significantly less violent. I mean, that's really just a projection by the east on the west. But it's also a place where trust is actually required for survival, right?

Correct. Right. And so in this situation, the reason that the suburbs function relatively well was both because you can block off large parts, if not the entirety of a development from from outsiders.

You can also develop relationships with the people who are there. This is very different from how the suburbs are often structured in modern America, where they are just vast tracts of anonymity, maybe entirely. So he and he doesn't say that life was like idyllic before the collapse.

But he does say that those those those relationships had to deepen if survival was going to occur.

[Speaker 2] (1:09:43 - 1:10:14)

So you're saying that. Yeah. So then local neighborly relationships by by by fiat, really, you know, they have to be there because you need each other to survive.

Yeah, I guess I was thinking this question in terms of like you when you're seeing people and you don't know who they are and who's going to be able to protect that. I'm too caught in Walking Dead and Fallout, man. I really am.

And that's where, like, I take hope that it just can't pay. It can't be that bad. It just can't be that bad.

It'll be bad, but it can't be as bad as either of those things were. Those things are bad. [Speaker 1] (1:10:15 - 1:10:20)

Yeah, I don't know. I don't know as much about zombies as I do about Latin America. So I wish I could.

[Speaker 2] (1:10:20 - 1:10:25)

I think you're better off. I think you're more well-prepared. Although let's let's circle back on that point to close it today here.

[Speaker 1] (1:10:26 - 1:10:26) Yeah, sure.[Speaker 2] (1:10:26 - 1:11:36)

I mean, I said it for my sake really well once. And then you came back and pointed out it again that the new mentality here is the thing that must be ready is not anything but you. It's not the stuff you buy.

It's not the generator you have. It's not the gun you've got. It's your mental desire to live because it's worth it straight up.

No other reason. That's it. Life is good.

Life was made to be good. And fallen, broken, thorns, zombies, political crises, bad TV. You have the audacity to decide to survive it.

And that means walking away. That means changing what you're doing. That means picking up a book.

Right. But all of it is about not you having a prepared, perfect plan for when it all goes down, you're going to pull lever and be safe. It's more about how, you know, there is no safety.

That's kind of thrilling, actually. Embrace that and seek to be one who can bring safety to others who can't figure that out for themselves. And that is why you listen to the show.

A Brief History of Power with two white guys. You know where to find us or we wouldn't be here. We wouldn't be here.

You wouldn't be here. Did you want to say anything else today, Dr. Koontz?

[Speaker 1] (1:11:36 - 1:12:26)

Yeah, I would just say, I mean, beans, bullets and band-aids are great. Generators are great. Knives and guns are fantastic.

You want to be the kind of person for whom they are tools and not symbols. Because if you're thinking historically rather than magically, you understand that since you're human manipulation of symbols has its limits. And what you don't have the capacity to actually change everything just by how you think or how you self present.

You need to be and not to seem. And so you need to become the kind of person who can use all those things, however much of them you have as tools rather than symbols of preparedness, because the preparedness is finally about your own preparation, who you are, rather than the things that you have sitting around you.

MadPx Mondays
A Brief History of Power
Every week Dr. Adam Koontz and Rev. Jonathan Fisk check their privilege against the backdrop of the wide and varied annals of history. You don‘t have to believe the Babel about the sons of Noah being a rosetta for understanding the postmodern global politic to agree that an intellectual dark web exists because history always rhymes, no matter what you try to do about it. You might not save the world by listening, citizen, but that doesn‘t mean you won‘t save someone. Because knowing is only the first half of the battle.