Saturday, October 15, 2011

What I need, what I want and what I was led to believe I can’t live without.

Traveling to US has always been a pleasant experience to me. The best memories I have as a kid are in fact of the time I spent in Boston. Having toy stores that actually had toys you wanted and not cheapo junk that broke as soon as you opened it, good pizza, chocolate chip cookies and having snow during Christmas instead of opening your presents when the thermometer marks 105ºF. I mean, what’s not to like? The gun culture which is unique in the planet, the amount of choices you have across the country of different climates and geography, the plentitude of parks and wild life options? This time though, some of the things people had been telling me started to hit home. During the expo I joked with one of the guys telling him “The problem with Argentina is Argentines”. “Same thing here” he said, “the problem with US is Americans”. I was left there hanging you know, I wanted to tell him no, but could I?
The “mass” in general is stupid and slow no matter what country you pick. Like a pasturing cow, its world is reduced to the square foot in front of its face where it grazes. Is it that different from a two-legged “cow” who’s world is reduced to malls, TV, its latest truck or SUV (which will always look impeccable and never touch anything other than pavement), maybe its work environment and a little gossip to keep things interesting, the peak moment of the month being who slept with who from work. For most people life is a combination of corny MTV reality TV and Mexican soap opera drama. The people that actually think for themselves, especially folks like the ones found in the survival and preparedness community and a few others that don’t blindly follow the heard, those are clearly a minority world wide.
It makes you wonder how things will end up in the not so distant future when that type of lifestyle comes to an end. Many have already had nasty wakeup calls. People getting fired and not finding a job or having their salaries reduced, or people that woke up to the evil in this world through a robbery or home invasion. Yet, there’s millions that do not see it. While in Salt Lake City, I had dinner with some like-minded people, as he drove into the parking lot he had to hit the brakes to avoid hitting a child that ran in front of the vehicle, the mother who walked a few yards ahead didn’t even notice it. “OMG I’m telling you this sort of people will be the first to go when SHTF”. Indeed they are. People that can’t cope, even worse, people that don’t have a clue of what’s going on and don’t get the bare bone simple facts of life such as teaching your kid not to run in front of moving vehicles or at the very least keep an eye on them, yes, the gene pool will be cruel with those.

The Culture of Excess

I just wanted a cup of Coke. Not a liter, not a gallon, not a container big enough that some people back home would turn it over, cut a door and window and live in it, just the equivalent of a can of coke in a paper cup. “That’s the smallest one we have” said the girl pointing at a cup that would be “Large” in Argentina, maybe containing half a litter of soda. “You know, just give me the smallest one and just fill it half way through. No ice, please”. At least she got the ice part right. “Here you go! Have a nice day!” she said as she handed over the cup, so full I had to be careful not to press is too hard that it would spill. I had been at the airport all day and already had to throw over half of a cup of what Starbucks calls coffee. That’s not coffee people. Let me tell you what coffee really is. Coffee comes in porcelain or glass cups or mugs that somewhat fit a human hand, they cost under a buck fifty and actually tastes good. You know, like coffee. If those bathtub sized cups sold at Starbucks actually had coffee, you wouldn’t sleep in a week because of the caffeine overdose. Dark, Late or Faggyfrapuccino, its all the same stuff and has three things in common.1) It’s big 2) It’s expensive 3) Contains this foul tasting diluted liquid that has twice the amount of water real coffee would have. On my way back home I had a similar experience with DunkinDonuts coffee. The donuts were good, but the coffee I had to throw it away after a few sips.
The food issue is a good example because it’s so obvious and the choices you have are either throwing half of it away which is wasteful or even worse, eat it up against our will and ruin your health. There are other examples though and you see it clearly: Houses that are too big, poorly designed, just big, making poor use of space, wasting energy and needlessly increasing your AC/heating budget. Huge cars that people have no need for, with 4.0 engines when 3.0 would be more than enough for 90% of the people driving it.
Now, I’m no socialist and I know what some of you are thinking right now. Its not about NEED but WANT. America is great because of that, people following their dreams beyond what’s strictly needed. Bigger and better. Fine, but isn’t there a problem when you always want ten times more than you actually need on everything? When people are actually diagnosed with mental problems because they cannot stop themselves from buying junk? When piling junk you don’t need is becoming such a common mental illness its almost epidemic, with an estimated 1.2 million hoarders in US alone? So we’re looking at three sides of the coin here actually, what you need (which accord to commies is all you should ever want), what you really want yourself, may that be becoming rich and living in a mansion, owning a hundred gun collection, a boat or whatever, and then there’s the third side which I believe is the key to this excess problem: What you are lead to believe by others, that you either want or even need things you don’t.
People end up eating (and paying for) food they don’t need and is actually bad for them, buying crap that only makes some smart guy even richer, banksters making sure you can afford all of this even if you don’t, and in the process getting even richer themselves.
In many ways this was the cause of the economic crisis in the first place. The way people live and handle themselves will have to change. During the next decade or so people will be getting a crash course and like it or not, they will learn the difference between those three.

Join the forum discussion on this post


Anonymous said...

That house comment hit home. I used to walk to work and back in 2008 I saw a little house on a little plot get torn down. It was replaced by a house so big that distance from the foundation to the edge of the property was about the width of a van on 3 sides. And the house was built on flakeboard I-Joists the Mexican crew built in the front yard.

Anonymous said...

And it is worse than you can describe. It seems even the 'educated' can a problem as they can ligitimize the state of denial that is prevasive in the herd. The 'educated' can be aware of what the country faces and be willfully ignorant to the point they have a desire to 'shoot the messenger'. Many are angry that the fantasy of the 'good times' is coming to an end and they do not *wanna* deal with that. They will not deal with dramatic changes that are unavoidable, and they will defend their fantasy world at a ridiculous cost to themselves and others, and perhaps at some point, with violence of several varieties as well. And so it is with many who feel that they are apart of and support the establishment, the nature of which they do not understand.

Thanks for what you do. If the trend has indeed turned finally in our favor, yet it will be a long and difficult struggle to save the last bastion that houses the weak and flickering flame of freedom. a

Kuba said...

Very good post. Criticising the culture of excess does not have to lead to socialism. After all, marxism is a materialistic philosophy of history.

Maldek said...

"support the establishment, the nature of which they do not understand. "

-> The masses understand more than you would think. The problem is they do not care as long as they have enough food and the TV is working.

And when I say "do not care" I realy mean "support" - if the wars help keeping the gas price down and the food cheap; the crowd is ok with the killing.

Totalinvestor said...

This reminds me of a saying

"We spend money that we do not have, on things we do not need, to impress people we do not know."

Save your money, it's the first step in getting ahead financially.

lemmiwinks said...

Best post for ages (not that your others were bad, just that this one is a standout).

Anonymous said...

A nugget of a post. Very timely and very true.

millenniumfly said...

The sad thing is that all preppers will be labeled hoarders post-SHTF!

Anonymous said...


I love this post. Please feel free to write more postings on your observations of what you see in America compared to Argentina.

Best wishes on your travels.

Anonymous said...

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Constantly living in excess isn't biblical...