As you know from previous posts, we sojourned in the mountains of Tennessee a couple of weeks ago. It was fun (mostly) and relaxing (mostly). I didn’t get to go on a zip line or horseback riding. Mrs. Freeholder is, unfortunately, a stick in the mud on such things. We did, however, ride the Ferris Wheel. Ever adventurous, she is. Still, 8 out of 10, would visit again.

Night view from atop the Ferris Wheel at The Island.

I noticed some things that I’ve been trying to puzzle through. First, Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg appear to be pretty much racially homogenous but even more attitudinally homogeneous. This seems to be equally as true with the visitors. Everyone seemed to be there for the same reasons-to do touristy things and allow the locals to separate us from as many Federal Reserve Notes as we could stand, with the locals there to assist in that separation in every way possible, usually with a smile on their face and often appearing to enjoy their work. I went less armed than is usual for me. I felt comfortable doing so. I saw zero, heard of zero, festivities involving law enforcement, other than traffic-related ones. No drunks. No violence. No shoplifting, no cars broken into. No protests. No one tried to burn anything down or remove a statue. No one tried to cancel anyone. Men held doors for women. You could interact with someone’s kid and no one screamed for the police because you must be a pedo. People were polite, friendly and mostly well-mannered. Strangers actually talked to each other. They waited in lines, even crazy long ones (by my standards) patiently and with good humor. It was like a throwback to 50 years ago. I think there is a lesson in there, somewhere.

The problem is that that feeling lasted about until we got to I-40 on the return trip. Then it was back into the stew. I lost that vacation afterglow in the first half of the trip home.

Pigeon Forge was a big difference from one of my nearby metros or even, unfortunately, the Bitty Burg that I reside in. Here, I am never unarmed and when I’m away from home, I’m heavier armed with more ammo on my person. Law enforcement has encrypted all their radio traffic, so you can get very little feel for what’s up out there, but EMS is staying busy, busy, busy. I would no sooner talk, uninvited, to someone’s kid than I would slap a big, burley biker dude. People are still polite, usually, because it pays to be. Being polite generally doesn’t start a fight, and we all know fights degenerate into something worse easily. Some folks will still hold a door for others, but that’s getting a bit thin as well. On a daily basis people still deal with each other fairly well, but you can see the lines beginning, along race and economics. Tribes are forming.

Our American society isn’t healthy. We’ve been on the equivalent of a junk food diet for decades, and it shows. Like the fat guy sitting on the sofa with his chips and beer while smoking a cigarette, the question about “poor outcome” isn’t a matter if if so much as when.

Globally, things are no better. South Africa is finally imploding. China is belligerent and bellicose and the Pacific nations are worried. South America is still in the throes of plandemic and it doesn’t appear to be improving. Europe is falling into the trap being laid by Russia and China with their eyes wide open.

I’ve been trying to come up with a Grand Unified Field Theory of Why Things Are Going To Hell In A Handbasket and failing. This is the umpteenth version of this post in something like 8 days. I can see the parts, but things keep moving about. I can’t keep up with the constant change in the US, let alone the entire world. I can’t keep the parts connected for very long. The information churns and is frothy and never settles down for a moment.

I ran across a James Howard Kunstler interview with Dr. David Martin. Dr. Martin seems to have a fair picture of how the pieces fit together, but I believe there are far more pieces and parts than are mentioned in this podcast, Lothario. I’m going to be paying more attention to Dr. Martin going forward to determine if he sees farther than I do.

I have recently subscribed to a couple of information services. They’re not in the traditional media line, but more along the lines of services I subscribed to back when I was working. These are giving me the news stories our media has long since stopped reporting, or at least has stopped reporting truthfully. Some also have a serving of informed commentary as well. Yes, they cost, but forewarned is forearmed. They also save me from trying to winnow the last few grains of wheat from the mountain of chafe.

Perhaps I’m following the human tendency toward seeing monsters just beyond the reach of the firelight. But the vast majority of data points I see point to a time where things are going to come unglued. I’m convinced that time is sooner rather than latter, but whether it’s a week, a month, a year or even more I won’t hazard a guess. I also can’t know what things will be like, but I figure something worse than the Great Depression and lasting longer than the 70s and the Malaise Era. I don’t see Mad Max happening, but there is a non-zero chance of that. It’s hard to know how far a civilization can fall when we have no experience with global collapse. And I do expect this collapse to be global in nature.

We are in a short period of “normalcy”. The PTB are already ginning up the next wave of Wuflu mania. The news they put out is deliberately confusing. There are new calls for masks here, there, everywhere. Vaxx or die-or at least be blamed for the problem, you damnable Science Deniers. OMG, the Delta Variant (or Lambda Variant or some other variant) is going to kill us all! Who knows, maybe we get the Delta Tau Chi variant, and at least we can have a few good laughs on our way out. But it’s clear that our time, and perhaps more importantly, our ability, to get ready for dark days is running out.

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