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


Sep 7, 2016 - 2:36am

Wasted Life

Someone gave me a lithographed copy of The Unseen Hand by Ralph Epperson in 1979. It's my understanding that at the time no publisher would touch it. Only in retrospect do I understand that The Unseen Hand destroyed my life. Having read and understood that business, banking and government were totally corrupt, I made no long term plan, acquired no degree. Why should I? From that point forward I knew that any day the whole game would collapse. Meanwhile, all my uninformed contemporaries forged ahead, totally ignorant and unaware that they were participating in an artificial matrix. While I struggled from one low paying endeavor to another, those who were ignorant of reality acquired specialized degrees, had lives, and retired with substantial property and finances. Meanwhile I cried "WOLF", was excoriated and shunned by all, including my own family. While claiming to be wise I had indeed become the fool. I have known for 37 years that the end is nigh. I have been wrong for 37 years. Will I eventually be proven correct? Perhaps, but to what end? I have missed out on a whole lifetime by having the specific knowledge which the masses ignore. Being correct at this point will provide little solace. How much gratification can be extracted from "I told you so"? Yet I cling to the hope that the day will come when I will see multiples of my meager stack of wealth. My hope is that the day I'm right is not the same day that the world goes 'Mad Max'. Lord, please let their be a day when I might feel vindicated and successful......

Sep 6, 2016 - 11:56pm

@abundance - energy efficient fridge

I did some research on efficient refrigerator set ups a few years ago and found information on a guy in Australia who modified a chest freezer with a solenoid cut off to power supply when it reached 4.C (39.F) rather than the preset -20.C (-4.F) of the freezer. Uses only 10% of the power of an upright fridge. cheers. https://mtbest.net/chest_fridge.html

Sep 6, 2016 - 9:20pm

abundance: i haven't done

abundance: i haven't done much research on it yet but i have solar fans on my roof and garage that ventilate my attic. they are sold at lowes and have worked for several years. initially my thought is to simply get some good panels, use them to charge a marine battery that is designed to be deep cycled, use a quality power inverter with little draw, and use it to power lights or small draw items. a refrigerator has a high amp draw at start up to kick in the compressor. the capacitor in the fridge would have a huge draw. i'm sure a large system could feed it, but not sure about the amount of power storage/capacitor feed you would need...i havent researched it it's out there though, there are total off grid set ups....just havent studied them yet good luck

Sep 6, 2016 - 6:56pm

tonymy9, can you share how you are going to do

limited solar...

I would like just enough solar for the refrigerator

with batteries..just thinking so far

Joseph Warren
Sep 6, 2016 - 6:11pm

Dingo: " That's my Mad Max scenario for Kununurra - lots of hard

Dingo : " That's my Mad Max scenario for Kununurra - lots of hard work and some Wild West stuff, exactly like it was 50 odd years ago. All things being relative, I'll take this scenario over living in a crumbling city. "

When I read the following article about how things aren't right in 'modern' Western societies today (particularly in the U.S.) it made me think of your statement above Dingo - -


Sep 6, 2016 - 12:40pm

Doc J, RETSPY, Dingo & numerous others...

Some good shlt goin down on this thread.

It's been getting a bit tedious lately.



Joseph Warren
Sep 6, 2016 - 12:02pm

@Dingo - thank you

for your kind invitation to all the Turdites. I love to hunt & fish, so landing a Barramundi sounds like great fun ! Yes, for me & my family, going back to the farming community where we have many personal ties was seen as the best option. I have elderly family members with health issues. Unfortunately, moving overseas isn't an alternative that they would be able undertake. But, this isn't a bad alternative for those of us who will remain in America. All the best to you & your family, - JW

Sep 6, 2016 - 11:46am

Visiting Turdites

Wow, shortest flight for me is 33 hours, longest 58 hours. Sounds like fun, but I think I will skip the invitation. Hopefully a Turdite might accept and we can hear about it.

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Sep 6, 2016 - 11:28am

Visiting turdites

Would love to host you, or any other Turdite for that matter, who is adventurous enough to get here. Joseph, I could even get you onto a big Barramundi ( fish). I think people living in little farming communities, anywhere in the world, will probably do OK in any crisis (outside of nuclear war). There's actually a small chance that life could improve ( in some respects ) for farming communities. Your description of the community that you live in reminds me of the place I grew up. You could do far worse and you're right to stay close to family and friends. I really hope we don't have require all that prepping stuff we've done in our own ways.

Joseph Warren
Sep 6, 2016 - 11:12am

@ Dingo

Kununurra sounds like a wonderful place.

Would you mind having another Yank down there as a neighbor ?

Am freedom loving, have practical hands-on skills, and know when to shut up or leave people alone when they need some space.

Kidding aside, I moved back to an area where we have many family ties and have known our neighbor families for decades. Its in rural farm country. Lots of self sufficient types out here. They have diesel tractors & combines - - but many folks have horses too. Of course, they have gardens & livestock. Most importantly, they have a good solid mindset.

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