The economic crisis has most of us worried about a lot of things. How will I retire? How will I pay the mortgage? Will I have enough ammo and MREs to outlast crazed “urban” hordes marauding the countryside?
I’m especially worried about the last one after seeing Glenn Beck’s show on Fox News raising apocalyptic free-for-all as a very real possibility. With ominous music and images of swarthy people burning American flags, refugees, rioters, and military on the move, it was the very definition of public-service reporting, if by “public service” you mean “losing your mind.”
Beck is the happy face of the fever swamps, just recently departed from CNN’s Headline News (or HNN—who cares?) and finding a home at News Corp., publisher, among other things, of The Wall Street Journal and the Sunday Tasmanian.
For his grim duty to prepare the American people, Beck even has the help of The Wall Street Journal editorial board (Fox News’s corporate cousin) in the guise of Stephen Moore, who proffers a more pecuniary paranoia.
The Journal edit page shares the spotlight with Gerald Celente, last seen being a paranoid creep in a fun New Yorker article in January:
The convention’s opening speaker was a trend forecaster named Gerald Celente, who registered the domain name panicof08.com in the fall of 2007, anticipating what he called “an economic 9/11”…
Privately, Celente stressed to me that he’s “very optimistic,” because out of chaos comes greatness (“When you look at the Renaissance, it happened after the last Dark Age”), at least for those who are prepared. On the morning of the actual 9/11, in 2001, Celente had called his girlfriend in New York and told her to withdraw all her money and meet him at his house upstate, in Rhinebeck. She said, “Oh, Gerald, you’re kidding.” He wasn’t kidding. He called his bank and asked them to wire all his money to Rhinebeck. They said, “Sorry, Mr. Celente, we can’t. Wall Street is closed.” He felt fortunate to have some gold. He thought of Indian Point, the nuclear power plant fifty miles down the Hudson, as another potential target, and immediately filled up both of his cars with gas, bought bags of dried figs, dates, and raisins, and readied his Chinese SKS rifle. (“It’s accurate, it’s light, it’s simple: knock it down, put it back together in no time.”) He figured he could be in Canada in four hours. “So when it happened, I was ready to move,” he said. “Same thing with this. My money’s out of the banks. I’m only interested in gold.”
So, perhaps it’s not surprising that in response to Beck’s scenario that in five years unemployment is at 12 percent, the Dow is at 2,800, U.S. credit is no longer AAA, and, hilariously: “Government and unions control most of the business,” Celente says this:
BECK: OK. What is life like — under that scenario — what is life like in 2014 for America?
CELENTE: New York City looks like Mexico City. If you have money or they think you’re going to have money, you’re going to be a target for a kidnapping. We’re going to see major cities look like Calcutta. There is going to be the homeless, panhandlers, hookers… It’s going to be serious. It’s going to be — we are going to see petty thieves and we’re going to see pick-pockets.
Oy! Petty thieves and pick-pockets?
But Celente thinks it will get much worse than that. See if you can untangle the subtext of the remarks that follow a nutty interlude from an Ayn Rand Institute official and a nudge from the Journal edit-board’s Moore:
BECK: What — tell me what life is like for the average person… Are we still living in our homes? (Ryan here: Because our biggest problem right now is a shortage of homes. Genius.)
MOORE: Think gated communities. I mean, you were talking about this before. You know, those countries you were talking about like cities like Mexico City. Those are — the rich people live in fortresses, right? With armed guards and the masses are — as you said, people get kidnapped when they go outside the fortress, and you essentially privatize security and all the other kind of government functions because government breaks down. Isn’t that what happens.
CELENTE: And the other thing, even these — even these gated communities won’t be safe, because you’re going to see criminality — you’re going to see gangs like you’ve never seen before… I mean, you look at high school graduation rates — you have under 50 percent in major cities. So, now you have all these people — I’m not a classist, I’m a guy that was born in the Bronx, you know…