“I expect the crowd in power to destroy everything…”

Over at Instapundit, Glenn Reynolds posts, amid a wall of discouraging stuff, two especially grim bits:


I just wanted to weigh in on the food inflation issue with a local data point. I live in Southern Iowa and have a small flock of sheep (12) that I use for weed control in my vineyard. I feed grass/alfalfa hay in the winter months (roughly early November through mid-March), and typically start planning in early summer . . .People are scrambling everywhere to get hay lined up for this winter, and not just cattle operators. Craigslist is loaded with horses for sale at fire sale prices because people are having trouble lining up enough hay for this winter, at a price they can afford.

Read the whole thing. Back in the day, my parents had a freezer and would go in with a friend on buying half or a quarter of cow, depending on the finances. Stocking up sounds a good idea.

Except of course, you need electricity (or at least a generator) to see to all of that. Another Insty post from another reader:

GOING JEAN GALT? Patrick Carroll writes:

I decided to take six months off this year. I sold stock and did what I wanted for a blissful six months. I read books, drank good wine, watched my garden, got out my high-powered binocs and looked at the planets, hiked, cooked, ate well, just lived. I did so because I expect the crowd in power to destroy everything, so I thought I’d take a break before the deluge…I also bought guns (rifle, shotgun, pistol each for the wife and I), and have contracted with a local landscaping company to build a highly-defensible, nice-looking (fence/hedge combination) perimeter for my property.

Oh, and I bought water barrels. And a propane tank. And a generator.

What’s interesting is that I am hearing similarly discomfited talk around me, and seeing it in my emails. In the past few weeks I’ve heard some surprising people admit they’ve been arming themselves and purchasing ammunition — one such discussion happened all around me at the hairdresser’s while I sat and listened. The stylist and his boss, they’re storing food and arming themselves. The chiropractor who popped in to say hello while taking his afternoon stroll said he is armed, too: “never in my life thought I’d have a gun in the house, now we have two.”

They’re arming, they say, because they “see it all going bad.” These same folks who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 were now asserting an idea the far-left had floated around before that election, but instead of “Bush is going to install martial law and suspend elections.” they’re saying it of Obama. “He paid off his friends and did nothing to create jobs and he wants it all to go bad, because then he can stay in power and dictate.”

Yeah, it seems as paranoid and nuts as it did when it was said about Bush, but this stuff is not being said in an extremist corner of the internet — it’s being said in a middle-class suburban salon in an area where 30% (or more) of the businesses are now shuttered, and houses are being foreclosed upon and then re-occupied seemingly overnight, creating what the stylist called “a neighborhood full of changes and no hope. Forget about new small businesses,” he said, gesturing across the street, where a small food shop’s “opening soon” banner had become sun-faded and worn, even as the door remained locked. “That guy is never going to open.”

“I can’t get a loan,” the woman in the next chair told me. “I want to consolidate my kid’s college loans into one loan, and the credit union says they don’t give loans to consolidate student loans. I told them, I have job-security and excellent credit — what if I just want a loan for myself, a personal loan?” She was in high dudgeon and her voice grew louder in a perfect arc of Long Island umbrage-taking. “They said they’d need to know what it was for. I said, ‘it’s my personal business what the loan is for! Maybe I want to go on vacation, throw a wedding, pay off college loans, why do you have to know?’, and they said, no, they had to know what the money was for, because they’d be paying it out for me — like I’m a child who can’t be trusted with money! So, I figure, okay, it’s a credit union, I’ll try my bank. They said they don’t make personal loans anymore! It shook me up. I felt like maybe I didn’t realize how bad things are.”

There is an absolute collapse of faith in our systems and in the guy they helped put into office. These folks who were so quick to believe the press in ’08 and to believe in “hope and change” are now willfully believing the absolute worst. While I was getting my grey washed away I heard about local goings-on that I won’t write about here until I check it out for myself, because I don’t know what is real and what is paranoid fantasy or conspiracy theory. But the thing is, the anxiety is real, the doubt is real, as is the willingness to believe the absolute worst of all of our institutions — the press, the churches, the government. These folks are utterly convinced that the only thing that is going to be installed come next January is chaos and oppression. They’ll vote for Romney (“assuming there is an election and we’re allowed to vote and the vote is actually counted…”) simply because he’s not Obama, but they’re convinced that America’s best days are over.

“Soon, it’s going to be every man for himself, mark my words” said the salon owner. “I’m telling you, get a gun. Get a generator, now, because in six months you won’t be able to. Stock up.”

Honestly, what I thought was, “I need to get a new salon…” Because that was a miserable way to spend 90 minutes and my hard-earned cash.

When I met up with some friends later that weekend, one announced that her husband is talking about getting a gun, too. “I told him, over my dead body. He says he wants a rifle to go hunting! Please. This man doesn’t like to be outside, where there is dirt, now he wants to go hunting? Baloney. He thinks there is going to be some kind of revolution, and I’m saying, ‘what, you’re going to fend off revolution with a rifle you don’t know how to shoot and your barbecue grill?’ Everything is going to be fine. People need to calm down.”

So, let me ask you, readers — do you also “expect the crowd in power to destroy everything”? Are you arming yourselves, stocking up on food and buying generators? Or do you think everything is going to be fine, and we all need to take a breath?

Or are you, like me, just a tad wary but still hoping that the nation can pull itself together?

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About Elizabeth Scalia