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There are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One is by the sword. The other is by debt.

– attributed to John Adams, 1826

There is an elderly lady whom I love dearly who simply cannot understand the “prepper” movement. It bothers her that my family and I are so involved in it. While she can hardly object to our full pantry or our self-sufficiency efforts, they puzzle her. Why work so hard to grow, raise, or produce wheat, milk, meat and vegetables when grocery stores are close by and well-stocked? She doesn’t get it.

As puzzling as our attitude toward prepping is to her, I find myself just as puzzled by her lack of interest. I mean, the signs of an impending economic collapse are – to us – blatantly obvious. Some people even say it’s a mathematical certainty. If people would pay attention to irrefutable facts and figures (did you know the government spends $11 for every $7 it brings in?), it seems highly probable that the situation is unsustainable and can only lead to financial chaos at some future point. That’s why we “prep.” We think of it as insurance.

I spend a lot of time in my columns and on my blog yammering about the unsustainable nature of our national debt and urging people to prepare themselves for an economic system that cannot continue on its present course. Yet the reception to these warnings is often skeptical at best and hostile at worst. I suspect it’s because few people quite grasp the true implications of the term “unsustainable.” Fewer still are prepared to accept the ramifications of how different life would be in the face of an economic collapse. To such people, grocery stores are always abundant and well-stocked, money will always have value, and nothing outside their control could alter or destroy their well-ordered, comfortable lives.

The incontrovertible fact of the matter is our nation is enslaved to debt. Slavery is an unfair and unjust system that spares no one in its cruelty except for the few top dogs who control the slaves.

So what does an economic collapse mean? And how can it impact the common ordinary person? It’s not just the inconvenience of empty ATMs or difficulties in paying one’s mortgage. A collapse will spread to every single facet of our world and impact everything in our lives – our physical safety, how we get food, medical care and drinking water … in short, everything.

There is a man named Fernando Ferfal Aguirre who experienced the collapse of the Argentinean economy in 2001. He writes eloquently and horrifyingly about the repercussions of a country with no money – the rampant crime, murders, rapes, theft, starvation, poverty and other chaos. This is the end result of an unsustainable debt level. This is why we’re preppers.

My elderly friend refuses to hear to this. She absolutely shuts down at the thought that anything similar could ever happen in America. For her, it simply “does not compute.”

A passing familiarity with my friend’s history makes her attitude understandable. She was born in 1931 in the midst of the Great Depression. Her father was a fisherman on the bayous of Louisiana and a brutal alcoholic to boot. As a child she was starved and beaten. In fact, she starved so much that she still only weighed 87 pounds when she got married at age 26.

So as you can see, as a child my friend was enslaved in a cruel, capricious, unfair, unjust system that stunted her physical growth even as it strengthened her resolve to escape it.

This lady has spent her adult life making sure she never repeated the horrors of her childhood. She married a good man and raised good children. She and her husband worked hard, saved diligently and have spent the last 50-plus years being responsible and upright citizens. As a result, she spared her family (and herself) from a repeat of the chaos of her own youth.

Therefore the thought that something beyond her control could strip her and her husband of their modest and comfortable lives and thrust them into a repeat of the starvation, misery and poverty of her childhood is, literally, unthinkable. Unimaginable. She absolutely refuses to contemplate the possibility. She shuts down. Won’t talk about it. Won’t see it.

This lady, I might add, is my mother.

How did America get to this point? How did we morph from a nation of fiercely independent and hard-working citizens into debt slaves? There is a short YouTube clip that explains things fairly succinctly and bluntly. It puts the blame on the Federal Reserve and privately owned central banks, and the Ponzi scheme of debt-based fiat currency that has built up in the last hundred years. “And like all Ponzi schemes,” it says, “[it] can only work for so long. … Eventually the debt will reach such astronomical proportions that it will become impossible to service that debt” – which is why this video concludes that the collapse of the dollar and the euro is a mathematical certainty.

The video maintains that this Ponzi scheme exists to benefit a select few who become phenomenally rich and who then use those riches to buy tangible assets before the Ponzi scheme fails.

The key words here are “tangible assets.” Every banker knows fiat currency won’t last, whereas tangible assets will.

We can all take a page from this book and turn our fiat currency into tangible assets as well. It’s about the only strategy I can think of that will help us escape the enslavement that comes with having no food, no assets and no means of obtaining them. I’m not saying it will make us immune to hard times; I’m only saying it will help us cope.

This knowledge – that tangible assets can forestall the enslavement that comes with an economic collapse – is what I wish my parents would consider. A bank account may dry up, but a deep larder won’t. Retirement savings may disappear, but a garden or livestock or canned food won’t.

Look, I don’t know what’s going to happen to our country. I only know that I don’t trust our fiat currency. I’d far rather have tangible assets such as cows, chickens and canning jars.

Should my parents’ assets disappear, our door will always be open for them. That’s what families do. But for many, this won’t be an option. If you’re not ready when a crash comes, who will open the door for you?

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