Thursday September 8, 2022
Allow me to say at the outset how pleased and not a little surprised I was to be invited to address this seminar for the second year in a row. Pleased, because I can’t think of a better place than the Ron Paul Scholars Seminar to encounter bright young people who can afford even the most cranky old Boomer like myself grounds for hope. Surprised, because as I recall following last year’s presentation the organizers were constrained to confiscate your predecessors’ belts and shoelaces and place them under 24-hour protective watch. As I asked them last year: “How do I tell you that, in the layman’s terms, your lives will probably suck? At least in the near future. But there is hope. I will return to that.”
My talk last year was called “It’s Later than you Think,” and of course now it’s even later still. On the off-chance that none of you has memorized that text, I will give a brief summary of what I said then – which as I noted even then ended with a dim glimmer of sunlight – and then review how the past year has, I believe, confirmed my assessment then and, somewhat paradoxically, made that glimmer shine just a bit brighter. All in all, I think we have grounds to be cautiously pessimistic.
In brief, my thesis last year was that the gathering clouds were not just those of a political crisis (presumably one that would be amenable to change through political means – “Vote harder next time! Vote harder, boy!") or just an economic and financial crisis (is two quarters of negative GDP growth by definition really a recession, or not – ah, the rollercoaster of the business cycle!). No, it was something more fundamental. Rather, the America we oldsters had grown up with, and which had been declining for decades, had fundamentally ceased to exist.