Watch the video, then read the essay posted beneath.
One cannot argue with the analogy, or the conclusion. The laws of gravity, physics, economics and history cannot be placated. America is going to collapse – we just do not know when the breaking point will be reached as the nations swings from liberty to tyranny, from freedom to slavery.
73 years ago today, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington State collapsed. The way in which it collapsed was brought on by a positive-feedback situation, where the destructive force was only bounded by the structural integrity of the bridge itself.
There are some serious lessons in this collapse for the future of American society.
First, let’s get a basic understanding of why the Tacoma Narrows bridge collapsed.
|Tacoma Narrows Bridge begins to twist in the wind
The wind that fateful day was blowing strong, gusting to 42 mph, at roughly right angles to the bridge’s span. The bridge began to life, then flutter, then twist, and as more of the bridge’s structure faced the wind, capturing more energy from the wind, the the motions of the bridge got larger with each bounce, which caused the bridge to capture more energy from the wind, which caused the motions to grow larger, and so on and so forth, until the bridge could no longer resist the motion, and it broke.
Dynamic Aeroelastic Flutter is a self-feeding and potentially destructive vibration where aerodynamic forces on an object couple with a structure’s natural mode of vibration to produce rapid periodic motion. … a positive feedback occurs between the structure’s natural vibration and the aerodynamic forces. That is, the vibrational movement of the object increases an aerodynamic load, which in turn drives the object to move further. If the energy input by the aerodynamic excitation in a cycle is larger than that dissipated by the damping in the system, the amplitude of
|Tacoma Narrows Bridge Collapses (rare film capture)
vibration will increase, resulting in self-exciting oscillation.(Emphasis mine, Ol’ Backwoods.)
Once the amplitude of the oscillations becomes large enough, the structural integrity of the bridge fails, resulting in what we see at right.
II. LESSONS FOR AMERICAN SOCIETY
Let’s take the Tacoma Narrows collapse as a metaphor. What are the destructive forces pushing against American society today? What mechanisms cause these destructive forces to grow and build on themselves? And at what point does the structural integrity of American society fail, and an economic, political, and/or societal collapse occur?
The howling winds buffeting American society today come from many sources, but join to form a gale force aimed at near right-angles to our society’s span.
I will only focus on a few destructive forces here: the increasing dependence on government and systems of support; the loss of liberty and the increasing police state; the continual devaluation of money via government and big-bank debt; and the intentional attacks on morality and traditional societal norms.
THE WINDS AND THEIR EFFECTS
Destructive Force: Dependence
When I was a kid, my grandmother canned the vegetables from her garden. In my dad’s childhood in rural West Virginia, everybody did. Everybody had chickens, and many had a hog or two, rooting in the woods, that would help get them through the winter if things got tight. Folks were self-reliant.
Not anymore. One in five West Virginians have an EBT food stamp card. The country as a whole is so dependent on government that half of Americans live in a household that receives some kind of government benefit. America has 65 million low-information voters who don’t pay taxes, but keep voting to keep the free stuff train ‘a rollin’.
America is dependent. Not just on government, but on fragile systems of support than can easily be disrupted by natural disasters, like weather, or man-made disasters, like civil unrest and terrorism. Interdependent, “just-in-time” delivery and inventory systems ensure that no store has more than 3 days of food. And water? Pumped by electricity, just like sewage. A lot of people in my native West Virginia that used to be on wells, springs, and rain-catch cisterns are on county water and sewer now. Water that is pumped by electricity.
Food and supplies come to the stores on trucks, whose diesel fuel is refined, pumped, and metered by electrically-controlled and powered equipment.
All of it depends on the power grid. Thank God it’s not fully centralized; states like Texas can stand on their own, and some other states like Tennessee, Alabama, and Washington have enough hydropower to stand alone, to a certain degree. But computerized controls connected to the Internet mean that these grids are fragile, and subject to computer-based attacks. It used to be that the utility industries had their own supervistory, control, and data acquisition (SCADA) networks. Not anymore. They’re on the Internet, subject to the Chinese Army’s cyberattackers and who knows who else.
In the midst of all this dependency, as a wild card, there are all these drills that turn into real tragedies. Oklahoma City, in ’95. 9/11/01. The Boston Marathon bomber. And coming up, a week from today, NERC’s GridEx, where the drill is the power grid going down, all over the East Coast. Two weeks after a documentary on NatGeo about an “American Blackout”. How convenient.
When the power goes out nationwide, there is not a systemic way to get it back. Ever.
100 million+ would die in the first year.
And despite a large movement of “survivalism” and “preppers”, of which Ol’ Backwoods counts himself a part, it is not enough. Every day, more people get an EBT. Half of the voting population of the United States takes a government handout of one kind or another. de Toqueville’s warning applies, but we have ignored it, and now, the Free Crap Army is busy voting itself more and more benefits. On our election returns maps, whole counties are turning the color of dependence, blue, which really should be Communist Red.
The dependence is growing, and is feeding itself, a destructive force bounded only by resources and the remaining strength of American society.
Destructive Force: The Police State
There is, it seems, an intentional push by the police to get people to react. The police-military-industrial complex seems to want a civil war. The Feds are paying for local police forces to have equipment and training in tactics that no oath-keeping officer should be using against Americans. And you know: if they have the gear and tactics, they WILL use them. To justify the budget, a police chief will send a SWAT team to take out a petty thief. And do it over and over again.
These “all cops to the scene” response to crimes seem directed toward getting people to believe that the Secret Police are everywhere and know everything, and will beat you down if you resist. In Boston, a whole city was locked down for ONE teenage ‘terrorist’. But it is a sham, a Potemkin village. If 200 ‘youths’ caused the Austin TX police to “swarm” on the location of the Haunted House riot, and the police could not respond anywhere else, what if a major crime or terrorist event occurred in the rest of the city? Chaos, that’s what.
The police may put up a show of totalitarian force, but they cannot react fast enough. As Matt Bracken says, a flash-mob operates on a 4-minute form-act-disperse loop, and the police have a loop about ten times as long, on average. It’s Col. John Boyd’s OODA loop, and the mob is inside the police OODA loop. Only armed citizens can react fast enough, because they are already there.
Besides, as the Supreme Court has ruled half a dozen times, the police have no duty to protect you, the individual. They only have a duty to reduce crime generally. And their increasing use of Gestapo tactics does not help.
The armed citizen is the only bright spot in this police-state scenario we Americans find ourselves in. All 50 states have some way for the citizen to carry a gun; in some, it’s virtually impossible to get a permit (New Jersey, New York), and in others (Arizona, Alaska, Vermont, Montana), no permit is required at all. The rest are mostly shall-issue. But everywhere you look, the armed citizen is blamed by the media and politicians every single time there is a mass shooting. And 9 times out of 10, those happen in so-called ‘gun-free zones.’ There’s guns, all right, just not in the right hands.
And then, there are the “the people are the enemy” and “submit to me, I am a cop” attitudes.
Example: the lunacy in New Mexico. Anal rape of one Mr. Ecker by the police. They found a judge who ordered this done! Only one doctor stood up and said, “No, I will not participate.” But Leviathan cannot be stopped. The cops found a hospital that would search this man’s rectum, though he had demonstrably done NOTHING wrong. And these cops have done it before to another man.
The ‘war on drugs’ has been the single most important factor in causing the police to act like tyrants instead of their original mission: protect and defend the constitution against its enemies, and keeping the peace. Police now can use the possession of any kind of controlled substance as an excuse to do almost anything now.
Police know they will NOT lose a paycheck if they gun somebody down 4 seconds after contact, or taser a woman for not showing the cop her boobs. And the dirty cops blackmail the dirtier cops, with mutual guilty knowledge, and the so-called “thin blue line” protecting the thug cops.
What about the trained submissiveness exercises for the kiddos? They all teach the same lesson: kiss the boot of tyranny, or die. Kids frog-marched out of class by the police for the tiniest infractions, for biting a Pop-Tart ‘in the shape of a gun’ and the like. Kids in schoolyards, ‘proned out’ by the cops, yelling at them to get down, with barking drug dogs baring their teeth.
Cops used to swear an oath to the Constitution, to a set of ideals. These Feds and these rogue cops don’t care about that anymore. There isn’t a moral set of brakes anymore. They WILL go full Gestapo. It has already happened.
The police state is growing, and is feeding on itself, a destructive force bounded only by the remaining moral strength of American society.
Destructive Force: Debt
Every year, Federal, state, and local governments spend more than they did the year before, far in excess of the inflation rate. Government is the only sector where “zero-based budgeting” does not exist; more, more, more is just the way it’s done.
Every year, more debt is piled on, and the Federal Reserve buys trillions of dollars in bad paper, stocks and bonds, to keep the bubble inflated. Banks make loans at ever-higher fractional reserve leverages, ensuring they could not possibly give out as much cash as they have deposits. Credit-default swaps (CDS’s), collateralized-debt obligations (CDO’s), and other obscure financial beasts pile debt higher and higher.
There is now more debt in America than there is money in the world. It cannot possibly be paid back.
And soon, the United States Treasury will spend quarter of annual tax returns on interest alone.
What if interest rates go up to a mere 5%? Chaos. Complete loss of faith in the dollar.
The debt mountain is growing, and groans under its own weight. How long before it gives way?
In our bridge metaphor, American society is swaying, twisting, and bucking, and every time it catches more wind, the amplitude of the oscillations increase.
Where is the breaking point?
I wish I knew.
But we, as individuals, families, and communities, had better be preparing for it. Because it’s going to happen whether we like it, or not