Damned if you do, Damned if you don’t.

Mon, Sep 5, 2016 - 8:34pm

Back in the heady days of 2011, when I thought I knew everything about metals markets and the impending collapse and the silver moon-shot that would make me a very rich man, I decided to start “prepping” because a collapse would surely make life hard on all of us. I knew just what to do: 1) build a fence around my 5 acres, 2) begin some serious gardening and chicken ranching, 3) become buddies with all my neighbors, 4) store food and seeds, and 5)cautiously take profits from the moonshot and pay off all my debt.

I am still waiting.

I have been “damned,” metaphorically, financially, by investing in metal and other prepping needs while the economy has kept limping into a new bubble. My God! What if I had stayed in mutual funds until last fall, then, cashed out and bought metals with sub 1100 gold? I could have made a lot of fiat had I not been convinced that each month was the last one. But I might have been “damned” without metals or preparing for hard times.

I should have listened to Darth Vader, “You don’t know the power of the dark side!

The past five years feels like the opening scene in Indiana Jones where he is running out of the cave, and the large round boulder is following him, getting closer and closer, and when you thought he was about to get crushed, it just gets even closer, but doesn’t quite get him because it seems to be a bit farther away now, then it gets closer but still doesn’t quite get him, then he leaps to safety, so he thinks, holding the golden idol, only to face spears, arrows and a gun.

We are here:

Now, I am kind of hopin’ that when I dive out of that cave entrance and roll to my feet that there is not a sociopath with a gun, and a dozen armed savages waiting to take my gold. I have to have hope, or else I’ll sink into the mire of depression about all this.

To resolve my cognitive dissonance over the entire maddening situation, I have advocated that we all keep prepping AND make fiat in this economy as long as it lasts. And I hope that is what my family has been doing. I ended up selling my 5 acres, moving out west (USA) and purchasing a two acre property. But the end didn’t come yet, so we rented it out to make some fiat. We currently live in a condo near the university where I work..

Lately, we have decided , while still waiting for the end, that the land up around Cortez, Colorado, near home, where I have many relatives, has better farmland, dependable wells and a large reservoir—not to mention more distance from large cities, nuclear power plants, military bases and, well, everything—we decided that this land would be a better place to put down some long term roots.

And here we are facing a critical election that probably does not matter, with Jim Willie quoting his mysterious sources, citing seven bank failures and overnight bailouts--sources who are surprised we made it this far and don’t expect us to make it until January.

It is driving me crazy!

I cannot actually go live anywhere else yet, as long as I hold a teaching position. If I do invest in some nice land in Colorado, I may be tying up valuable resources while we wait another few years for a collapse.

But If I do not, and a collapse arrives in the meantime, we could find our family less prepared than we wanted on that fateful day.

Meanwhile (especially when I read Zerohedge), I look over my shoulder and see that boulder still approaching. My perspective is limited. I cannot tell how close it is, how large how fast it is moving, or even how fast I am running. All I can do is keep running. All I can do is keep doing everything—stacking, preparing, working at my job, planning for a future where life is stable, but also where life becomes a Mad Max world.

That boulder seems to be getting really close.

But then again, collapse seemed immanent nearly every month since 2011… Is it just an illusion?

It has driven me mad. I can’t take it anymore… but I have to.

So we are still trying to earn some fiat, hold down a career, stack more, pay off all debt, sell our last three rental properties, and find a property where we really would like to live the rest of our lives—whether in a peaceful recovered economy retirement (Ha!) or as a subsistence farmer, enjoying life in southwest Colorado the way my great grandparents did (Aaah!).

So, to earn fiat in the meantime, I am digging in at my employer, and we are buying RV travel trailers, one at a time, and renovating them. We sell and make some fiat and buy another. If things collapse we are stuck with a house on wheels that somebody could live in. Seems like a good middle ground to me.

The entirety of that old saying is this:

You can and you can’t,

you will and you won’t,

you’re damned if you do, and

you’re damned if you don’t.

It was minister Lorenzo Dow’s reply when he was publicly challenged in 1815 to explain what Calvinism was—Calvinism: that predestination theology that offered hope only to the few, the elect--but you could never know if you were one of them. (Alas that I have good friends waiting for me to agree with them on this theology. They will have to wait a while)

I don't accept "either-or" arguments. They are a logical fallacy.

Conversely, I argue that we all have a high degree of choice, reaching far beyond religion. My family can survive; my family will survive. And we are not damned, regardless of how things unfold. Though we may face hard times either way, we plan to face them on our terms, inasmuch as that is possible.

I went for a long walk in the woods today with my daughter and our feisty dog.

Choose wisely. Above all, choose your future. Stack, prep, trade, start a yogurt shop, and keep living life.

About the Author


Fred Hayek
Sep 5, 2016 - 8:39pm


typo in first line. Dampness seldom visits.

Ned Braden
Sep 5, 2016 - 8:42pm

Well said, Dr J,

The past 5+ years have taken a tremendous toll on stackers and truth-seekers alike. Ultimately, we need good health as much as honest money. Time for Ned B to strike a balance.....

Sep 5, 2016 - 8:48pm


I still cannot see the typo, and that also driving me crazy.

Sep 5, 2016 - 8:54pm

Shared Sentiments

Thanks for this Dr. J .. I believe the sentiments in this piece are shared by many of us here in T-ville. As I read your article, I found myself nodding in agreement, having felt and experienced many of the same things.

Great article - thanks again.

Edit to Add: I see no typo in the first line .. but there is one in the line that begins "So, to earn fiat in the meantime .."

boomer sooner
Sep 5, 2016 - 9:02pm


Wow, just sat down to watch a little football. Pleasant surprise! Thanks Dr Jerome

Add, agree with much of what you wrote. Cortez, Co. beautiful area, but may be a bit far to travel in a shtf, IMHO. I have thought that same, purchasing property in an area that would be the perfect bug out area, but the travel when zombies are cruising the highway maybe a huge issue. I guess that's what the big 50 on the roof is for, lol.

As for investing in things which don't moonshot after purchasing, I can sympathize. I have learned to not get involved with any investment unless time is on my side. I am beginning to believe time is getting shorter. The snub of Obama by China at the airport, the photo op, the Philippine presidents rant, Syria pivoting to Russia, are things that would not have happened a few short years ago. The shine (fear) of the US seems to be thinning.

Hopefully you get your properties sold, that would be a pia so far way.

Grey Mare
Sep 5, 2016 - 9:03pm

not the first line of the post

But in the intro on the home page: When the must visits, one must start writing. GM The muse is not interested in good spelling...

Sep 5, 2016 - 9:05pm

I hate typos!

Aaargh! Creativity and perfection do not mix. I'll go with creativity... typos be damned.

I see it now Fred! Thanks Gray Mare.

Dr. P. Metals
Sep 5, 2016 - 9:06pm

Nice Article

I can relate for sure. I'd only like to add: "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." - Philippians 4:6-7 "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren." - Romans 8:28-29 "For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil." - 1 Peter 3:12 And of course: Psalm 23 The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. 3 He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. You should be memorizing verses like these...

Sep 5, 2016 - 9:13pm

Waiting for the Apocalypse

This is not a personal shot. I think a certain level of preparation is appropriate for these times but living in constant fear is counter productive. Several years ago I knew that things were breaking down and I told all my friends and I was prepared. That was 1979 or 37 years ago. I eventually figured out that the Banksters had the ability to keep the scam going for many years. Perhaps the time for the system to break down is near but my bet is that we muddle through this for several more years. I am happy yet prepared.

Sep 5, 2016 - 9:20pm


I am increasingly leaning your direction in all this.

Dr P--excellent perspective and apropos quotes.

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