Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Looking Ahead to 2014 — and a Brighter Future

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The latest Rasmussen poll shows 41 percent of American adults expecting the year 2014 to be a good year “at the very minimum” while just 23 percent expect the year to turn out poorly. Even the briefest look back at a few of the momentous events of 2013 bodes well for the future.

There’s the catastrophe called ObamaCare which reflects poorly, as Lew Rockwell noted, on the Obama “regime, which hates nothing more than looking ridiculous and incompetent, and being the butt of the people’s jokes.”

There’s the continuing rollout of secrets from Edward Snowden which not only keeps the surveillance state on the defensive but has exposed it as untruthful and sinister.

There’s the fact that the Benghazi attack simply will not go away, as evidenced by the loud condemnation of a New York Times report that tried to deflect responsibility away from the Obama administration by repeating provable lies.

While each of these can be looked at as advances in the cause of freedom, a look ahead provides great encouragement as well. The home-schooling movement continues to thrive and has been enhanced by the employment of the new technology, which makes resources easily accessible and can bring the classroom into the home. Consider, for example, the online school Freedom Project Education (FPE), which offers “a classical education for students ... rooted firmly in Judeo-Christian values ... similar to that received by America’s Founding Fathers, promoting liberty, citizenship, and independent thinking.”

The fracking revolution, resulting in what economist Mark Perry calls the “Great American Energy Boom,” has the increasingly likely potential to wean the United States off most if not all foreign suppliers of energy, perhaps as soon as 2030. The impact of such an event can scarcely be guessed, ranging all the way from removing a primary excuse for continuing foreign military entanglements to a vastly more robust economy. At present Midland, Texas, has the third-highest per capita income of any city in the country, while the unemployment rate in North Dakota is the lowest of any state.

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Favorable fracking news continues to roll in on nearly a daily basis. A study from the University of Texas at Austin last week showed that as coal-fired plants are converted to natural gas, the need for water drops precipitously: "The researchers estimate that water saved by shifting a power plant from coal to natural gas is 25 to 50 times as great as the amount of water used in hydraulic fracturing to extract the natural gas."

This is good news on two fronts: Texas is in its third year of serious drought conditions, and the greenies have pointed to the amount of water used in fracking as an argument against it. Such good news reduces the impact of that drought on the state while defanging such attacks by environmentalists.

Across the world remarkable improvements in living conditions are increasingly being enjoyed as advances in medicine and technology are reducing mortality and improving literacy while decreasing poverty and hunger. According to Chris Higgins, writing for Mental Floss:

We are making tremendous advances in life expectancy, disease prevention, poverty and hunger…

Every single country in the world has lower mortality rates overall than they had in 1950…

Global literacy rates are rising … with youth aged 15 and younger doing especially well…

We’re on track … to halve world hunger [compared to its 1990 rate] by 2015…

[Since the year] 2000, over 600 million people have been pulled out of extreme poverty. This represents the fastest decline in global poverty in all of human history. [Emphasis added.]

Freedom is advancing on the micro level as well. The U.S. Postal Service continues its downward spiral into irrelevance thanks to the Internet and some are expecting it to disappear altogether within a decade. Cartels that protect taxi companies are being challenged by apps such as UberLyft, and Sidecar that provide transportation services by connecting travelers with drivers over the Internet.

The alternative cryptocurrency, the Bitcoin, continues to gain momentum even as competitors such as Zerocoin enter the digital currency arena offering the advantage of secure anonymity of transactions. There is also growing interest in making gold and silver legal tender — at least as an alternative to, if not replacement for, today's fiat (unbacked) currency.

Free market options to the heavy-handed federal mandates of ObamaCare are becoming increasingly available, including cost-sharing ministries and doctors outside the system accepting cash-only patients along with monthly packages of services provided for a modest ($50 to $100) monthly fee. There are an increasing number of retail cash-only health care clinics opening in big box stores such as Walmart and pharmacies such as Walgreen’s.

There’s crowdfunding that’s allowing small investors to join with eager entrepreneurs offering inventive, creative alternative products and services. There’s 3-D printing. There’s Bitmessage poised to replace today’s fully-surveilled e-mail with encryption tools. There’s TOR which, coupled with the Deep Web, will allow anonymous websurfing once again. The list goes on.

The Internet, of course, makes it possible to reach a much larger audience than otherwise would be be case. TheNewAmerican.com received more than 600,000 unique visitors during December, according to editor Gary Benoit. The parent of this website, The John Birch Society, has led the way in the freedom fight for over 50 years. In an e-mail to members, it reminded them that:

One highly effective attribute of the JBS is its focused coordination of efforts…

In 2013, JBS members worked on stopping Agenda 21, exposing Common Core, opposing gun control, blocking con-con calls, nullifying ObamaCare, and educating others on the free trade agenda.

JBS CEO Art Thompson looked ahead to 2014:

Based on the knowledge we have at hand, the JBS and all of our affiliated efforts reach approximately 20 million people in our first layer of influence…

Increasing what we are capable of doing by doubling our size would give the JBS a geometric growth in influence. In other words, doubling in size would more than double our effectiveness.

After that, by again doubling our numbers we could impact a third of all the adults in America. And this does not take into consideration the accompanying indirect influence within a second and third layer of the population.

In 2013 the battle for freedom saw significant victories, even beyond those outlined briefly here. There’s nothing to show that momentum slowing in 2014.

 

A graduate of Cornell University and a former investment advisor, Bob is a regular contributor to The New American magazine and blogs frequently at www.LightFromTheRight.com, primarily on economics and politics. He can be reached at

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