I was a little kid during Vietnam. Communism was supposed to take over the world. Turns out Communism never existed. Socialism, yes, but it creaked and groaned and only "worked" because it had to allow a certain amount of the free market to support it.
Vietnam was supposed to be an example of "the domino theory." The country was supposed to fall to Communism, then the rest of Southeast Asia. Then the world! So the US had to kill one million to two million Vietnamese to save Vietnam. Fifty-eight thousand American soldiers died. Then we left, and now, the Vietnamese are semi-capitalist, and the U.S. is negoiating with them to use their harbors for our Navy. We might as well not even have had a war.
Vietnam was the main reason I no longer believe anything the government says. But there are others.
I was a teenager during the '70s. Now let's see...what were the mortal threats back then? Oh, yes, here's one (and I kid you not) – global cooling. I swear, that's what we were told. We were all going to freeze to death from global cooling. Paul Newman was in a now-forgotten movie called Quintet, about how the Earth had frozen as solid as a Popsicle on the North Pole.
Now the threat is supposed to be global warming. I don't believe that in the slightest, either. And I believe in the shrinking ozone layer about as much as I believe in aliens kidnapping people and performing "those" probes that are so annoying.
During the '70's we were all supposed to starve to death. Paul Ehrlich predicted it. He was wrong, yet today some people still take this knucklehead seriously, even though he's never been right in his life! There was a famous movie about starvation, called Soylent Green, which was people recycled into not-so-yummy vittles.
Ehrlich also predicted massive die-offs from overpopulation, in a famous but goofy book called The Population Bomb. That didn't happen either, but Ehrlich was so self-deluded he had his own nuts cut (thank you! thank you!). The Earth isn't overpopulated -- we just waste a lot of stuff. P.J. O'Rourke has pointed out you could take everyone in the world and stick them into an area the size of the former Yugoslavia. It'd be pretty crowded, but no worse than a big city.
We were also supposed to run out of oil during the '70's. Jimmuh Cartuh told us to turn down our thermostats. Maybe we were supposed to wear nightcaps to bed, like in a Charles Dickens novel. I don't exactly remember.
We were also supposed to poison ourselves from pesticides and suchlike stuff. There was a hilarious movie called Prophecy in which chemically-mutated monsters came out of a lake and bit peoples' heads off like lollipops. It was pretty funny, especially because of the cheesy special effects which included a trout the size of a dolphin.
Yep, that was the '70's. Chemicals, ice ages, starvation and overpopulation. Oh, yeah, and disco.
And what was the threat during the '80's? Har har! Japan! Japan was supposed to take over the world because of its powerhouse economy! BWHAHAHA! I can barely type this I'm laughing so hard!
Nowadays Japan has been in a recession for the last ten years, with no sign of it ending soon. Its government is even more stupid than ours. The evil ghost of Keynes lives on, haunting not only the governments of Japan and the US, but also American economics departments.
Oops – I forgot nuclear power plants. They were supposed to melt down and come out in China. There was even a movie called The China Syndrome, with Michael Douglas and Jane Fonda. Neither seems to talk much about that movie these days.
And that was the '80's.
There weren't really too many threats during the '90s because it was so go-go, what with Alan Greenspan pumping a couple of gazillion dollars into the economy.
Nope, I'm wrong. There was one threat – Iraq. Iraq invaded Kuwait (which has always been part of Iraq back when it was called Mesopotamia). Saddam Hussein was the new Hitler; Iraq was the new Nazi Germany! It was going to take over Saudi Arabia. The world would go up in flames, just like World War II.
Never mind the fact Iraq has an economy about the size of South Carolina -- one percent of the U.S.'s. Never mind the fact that Kuwait was slanting its drilling into Iraq. Never mind the fact that Hussein basically asked permission from the US to invade. We still had to stop him. No, sir, we had to put a stop to the New Hitler.
And why is every "threat" supposed to be Hitler? Stalin and Mao Tse-Tung – not to mention Pol Pot – were lots worse. Always with the Hitler.
What threats do we have today? Exactly one day after 9/11 we decided Islam was going to conquer the world. Here we have people who can't even manufacture their own toilet paper, and now they're going to conquer the world. On 9/10 we barely give Muslims a thought; on 9/12 they suddenly became – you guessed it – the new Hitler.
And not just them, either. Iraq is also the new Nazi Germany (again), evilly attempting to A-bomb us, or poison us, or whatever. But if Islam is the new Hitler, how can Hussein be the new Hitler also? He's an atheist who believes only in himself, one who runs a secular regime. Which is the new Hitler? The new mortal threat to us? Is it a foreign religion, or a foreign secular dictator?
And what about North Korea? Is it the new Nazi Germany, too? I guess it is. After all, as soon as it can, it's going to lob nukes across the Pacific at us. No, wait, that's China that's going to nuke us! Damn, I can barely keep all these new Hitlers and Nazi Germanys straight!
Could it be the people in the US administration don't know what they're talking about, just like always?
Don't think I believe we don't have problems. We do. We always have, and we always will. We even have threats. Always have and always will. But we should assess them accurately, which the US government is not doing.
But do we have mortal threats that are going to wipe us out unless we get hysterical and give up our freedoms for a fake security?
I've been down that road too many times before to believe that.