10 January 2009


Recently a video has surfaced by talk-host Hal Turner who claims the U.S. is preparing to demonetize the dollar and issue a new currency called the "Amero." He claims that the U.S. has minted 900 billion of the coins and they are stored in China!

The Turner video and his claims of a new U.S. currency are as silly as they are false. The Snopes.com article
http://www.snopes.com/politics/business/amero.asp about the video should be sufficient refutation of the urban legend that Turner seeks to disseminate.

I was very disheartened by all the conspiratorial urban legends viciously created and continuously--both consciously and unconsciously--(re)circulated about Barack Obama. Seems that America has been especially prone to apocalyptic and millenarian (sell your possessions and wait on the hill) groups and thinking for a long time. It will not cease now.

In no way could the U.S. government unilaterally make such an extremely radical alteration in its currency. First, it would be a cataclysmic destabilization of not only China with whom the U.S. economy is closely articulated (and the U.S. does NOT want a destabilized China), but also of Japan, who holds approx. $880 billion, Taiwan ($260 billion), and South Korea ($230 billion) and also of the U.S. itself.

Alongside the rantings of paranoiacs, we can hold out some hope for positive human behavior during tough times. Yes, always there are people who respond well, even heroically, during adversity, but I think we are already seeing increased negative behaviors as result of financial pressure on people: suicides, crime (banks robberies have exploded in New York City recently), possibly racial/ethnic strife, family problems, drug use (could this get any worse?), and even the Hal Turner-type paranoiac-conspiratorialists.

Seems utopia is nowhere in sight; dystopia is closer to us. But, hopefully, the economic downturn will run its course within two years. In the meantime, we--the whole world--must use the interim to reorganize some critical matters: energy use, transportation, etc. It is an opportunity to rectify some fundamental human lifeways. How much do you think this will happen?

To modify how modern humans relate to the environment in which we are ontologically embedded is a radical project. It's a spiritual endeavor that cuts to the core of how humanity sees itself and its relation to Creation. Religious views necessarily will have to change; but they will not change easily.

No, I do not believe in an Apocalypse. But, now in the 21st century, I do believe in the continuity of turmoil experienced in the 20th century, but not necessarily of the same formation. World history is replete with cataclysms. If you look at 14th-century Europe (Barbara Tuchman's A Distant Mirror is about that disasterous era), it was an astounding cataclysmic time as was the 20th century. If you look at 20th-century China, it was an incredible time of upheavel and human tragedy. There's no reason to think that the world is now somehow immune from at least some of this. But, the scaremongers--the psychotic Hal Turners and dispensationalist Hal Lindsays (remember The Late Great Planet Earth and the Left Behind series? )--of the world do not help. They benefit by their scare tactics.

When many people are even more prone to being swayed by sensationalism and conspiracy theories and demogoguery and "prophecies" and religious extremism, it's a time when rational people must keep their heads straight. I remember the words of Rudyard Kipling's If:

"If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs...."

In these times, I'd say headkeeping is psychologically and spiritually tough to do.

No comments: