Submitted by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog,
The United States is a deeply unhappy place. We are a nation that is absolutely consumed by fear, stress, anger and depression. It isn't just our economy that is falling apart - the very fabric of society is starting to come apart at the seams and it is because of what is happening to us on the inside. The facts and statistics that I am going to share with you in this article are quite startling. They are clear evidence that America is a nation that is an advanced state of decline.
We are overwhelmed by fear, stress and anxiety, and much of the time the ways that we choose to deal with those emotions lead to some very self-destructive behaviors. Americans have experienced a standard of living far beyond the wildest dreams of most societies throughout human history, and yet we are an absolutely miserable people. Why is this? Why is America #1 in so many negative categories? Why are we constantly looking for ways to escape the pain of our own lives? Why are our families falling apart? There is vast material wealth all around us. So why can't we be happy?
Just look around you. Are most of the people around you teeming with happiness and joy? Sadly, the truth is that most Americans are terribly stressed out. Yeah, many of them may be able to manage to come up with a smile when they greet you, but most of the time they are consumed by internal struggles that are eating away at them like cancer.
So why is this happening? Is modern life structured in a way that is fundamentally unhealthy?
Below I have posted a short excerpt from a message that one of Charles Hugh Smith's readers named Kenneth Daigle recently sent to him. I think that it does a good job of describing the incredible stress that many people contend with on a daily basis...
Think about how our culture is now structured for the average adult: STRESS, everywhere you look--commuting in horrible traffic, as you want to scream in frustration--money stress, to pay rent/house note, tuition, utilities, gas, insurances, vacations, cable bill, rising food costs, and on and on and on--stress from family problems, divorce, delinquency, drugs, crime, infidelity, keeping up with the Jones, etc.
People have too high an expectation of what they should have out of life, and get overly stressed over it all. How does all of this manifest itself? A prescription drug culture (Zoloft, Xanax, etc.) that tricks people into thinking a pill will knock back the stress, when these drugs, in my opinion, only make things worse.
I am hearing more and more that people just want to drop out from it all, as they are reaching a breaking point, and have decided less income and dependency on entitlements will reduce their stress, and is not so humiliating, so giving up working becomes more acceptable, to KEEP ONE’S SANITY.
I know I am correct, from the feedback I hear every day, and the financial media does not see this like I hear it every day. People don't want to admit that they are too weak to deal with stress, so the financial pundits are not aware of this critical factor because they don't talk to Joe Sixpack.
Most Americans live lives of "quiet desperation" that are punctuated by moments of great crisis. We spend our prime years working for others (making them rich) in order to pay off debts that we have foolishly accumulated (thus making the banks even wealthier). When most Americans reach the end of their lives, they look back and wonder what they actually accomplished.
James Altucher published an incredible article the other day entitled "Why Do People Hate Their Jobs?" It did a great job of describing what life is like for the modern worker in America. The following are a few of the reasons that he says people tend to hate their jobs...
-Jobs are modern-day slavery. We are paid just enough to live and not more. You are punished if you ask for more.
-We are often verbally abused on the job and we take it because we think it’s normal that people would yell at us.
-The government gets up to 50% of your paycheck and then 10-20% of that goes to kill people on other parts of the planet, including our own children.
-From 7am to 7pm you are either A) going to work, B) at work, or C) coming back from work. Hence, the times when you can be most creative are garbage-compacted into your cubicle.
-When you are paranoid at a job, you are probably correct. THEY are, in fact, talking about you and backstabbing you right now.
-You realize that all the dollars you spent on degrees to get you a job that will make you happy were completely wasted. You were scammed but you can’t let the next generation know how stupid you were so now you become part of perpetuating the scam.
-Your spouse is tired of hearing about your job after six months. And you couldn’t care less about hers. Ten years later you wake up next to a total stranger. 40 years later you die next to one.
-When you were a kid you liked to draw, and read, and run, and laugh, and play, and imagine a magical world. You’re never going to do any of that again.
-Over time everyone is getting fired and being replaced by younger, cheaper, more temporary, more robotic, versions of you. You see this but are afraid to do anything about it.
And of course when we get home from work there is even more stress. In America today, we are witnessing a breakdown of the family unlike anything we have ever seen before. The United States leads the world in divorce and in single person households. We are having an increasingly difficult time relating to one another, and many of us drown our sorrows in our addictions. We are addicted to pills, to alcohol, to food, to entertainment, to sex, to gambling, to shopping and to anything else that will make us feel good and forget about our problems for a while.
The following is a collection of facts and statistics that prove that America is being absolutely consumed by fear, stress, anger and depression...
-Suicide has now actually surpassed car accidents as the number one cause of "injury death" in the United States.
-More U.S. soldiers killed themselves than were killed in combat last year.
-Nearly one out of every four women in the United States are taking antidepressants.
-The percentage of women taking antidepressants in the U.S. is higher than in any other country in the world.
-In 2010, the average teen in the U.S. was taking 1.2 central nervous system drugs. Those are the kinds of drugs which treat conditions such as ADHD and depression.
-Children in the United States are three times more likely to be prescribed antidepressants as children in Europe are.
-According to a recent article by David Kupelian, "one-third of the nation’s employees suffer chronic debilitating stress, and more than half of all 'millennials' (18 to 33 year olds) experience a level of stress that keeps them awake at night, including large numbers diagnosed with depression or anxiety disorder."
-Tens of millions of Americans use alcohol and drugs to numb the pain that they are experiencing. In the United States today, there are about 28 million Americans with a drinking problem and about 22 million Americans use illegal drugs.
-More people have been diagnosed with mental disorders in America than anywhere else on earth.
-There are also tens of millions of Americans that try to deal with anxiety and stress by eating. Of all the major industrialized nations, America is the most obese. Mexico is #2.
-Many people try to escape from the pain of reality by getting lost in entertainment. Incredibly, the United States is tied with the UK for the highest average number of hours spent watching television each week.
-The United States has the highest divorce rate in the world by a good margin.
-The United States has the highest percentage of one person households on the entire planet.
-At this point, approximately one out of every three children in America lives in a home without a father.
-For women under the age of 30 living in the United States today, more than half of all babies are being born out of wedlock.
-The United States has the highest child abuse death rate in the developed world.
-In the United States today, it is estimated that one out of every four girls is sexually abused before they become adults.
-The United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the world by a very wide margin.
-The United States produces more pornography than any other nation in the world.
-If you can believe it, there are 20 million new STD infections in the United States every single year.
-The U.S. has the highest STD infection rate in the entire industrialized world.
-It is estimated that about one out of every six Americans between the ages of 14 and 49 have genital herpes.
-Sadly, one out of every four teen girls in the U.S. has at least one sexually transmitted disease.
-The United States leads the world in eating disorder deaths.
-Nobody in the world gets more plastic surgery done than Americans do.
-Americans spend more time sitting in traffic than anyone else in the world.
Fear is one of the primary things that motivates the American people, and that is a very powerful weapon that can be used against us.
As I wrote about yesterday, those that commit acts of terror want to get attention and they want to create fear.
And that is exactly what the Boston Marathon bombing accomplished. It captured the attention of the nation for days on end, and it absolutely paralyzed the entire Boston area with fear.
When we allow ourselves to be terrorized, we actually encourage more terror attacks. When we give terrorists what they want, it just encourages more psychos to commit acts of terror. If you don't believe me, just check out the following links that I found posted on The Drudge Report on Monday...
The appropriate response to a terror attack is to refuse to be terrorized. Yes, we should also work to expose and punish the individuals, organizations and governments that are behind terror. But we should also not let terror change how we live our lives, and we should definitely not allow terror to be used as an excuse to rip our liberties and freedoms away.
Sadly, as Ron Paul has detailed, some of our politicians are already calling for "tighter security" in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing...
Sadly, I expect this week’s tragic attacks in Boston to be used to justify new restrictions on liberty. Within 48 hours of the attack in Boston, at least one Congressman was calling for increased use of surveillance cameras to expand the government’s ability to monitor our actions, while another Senator called for a federal law mandating background checks before Americans can buy “explosive powder.”
I would not be surprised if the Transportation Security Administration uses this tragedy to claim new authority to “screen” Americans before they can attend sporting or other public events. The Boston attack may also be used as another justification for creating a National ID Card tied to a federal database with “biometric” information. The only thing that will stop them is if the American people rediscover the wisdom of Benjamin Franklin that you cannot achieve security by allowing government to take their liberties.
But no matter how much liberty and freedom we give up, we will never be 100% safe. Bad people are always going to do bad things, and unfortunately we are probably going to see some pretty nightmarish things in the years ahead as the world becomes even more unstable.
If we allow the bad guys to get us so frightened that we throw out the U.S. Constitution and abandon our liberties and our freedoms, then we are the ones who lose.
Yes, the years ahead are going to be tough. The economic collapse is going to accelerate greatly, there will be tremendous natural disasters, there will be war in the Middle East and there will be other problems that we cannot even conceive of right now. At the same time, the American people will continue to become even angrier and even more frustrated. According to a recent Pew Research survey, the percentage of Americans with a favorable view of the federal government is now at an all-time low. As the economy crumbles, there will likely be great civil unrest as people demand solutions. Unfortunately, our problems took decades to develop and they will not be solved overnight even if we did have good people in office.
So why am I saying all of this?
And why am I constantly warning about the coming economic collapse?
Is it because I want to create fear?
No, just the opposite of that.
I am a watchman on the wall.
In ancient times, a watchman would warn the people when the enemy was approaching.
When you receive the warning, there are a few different ways that you can respond to it...
#1 You can become consumed with fear and run away from the enemy. Unfortunately, cowards never get the victory in the end.
#2 You can dismiss the warning and pretend that the enemy is not approaching. But then when the enemy comes you will be completely unprepared.
#3 You can do everything possible to get prepared to face the enemy that is coming with strength and courage.
And that is how I would encourage all of you to approach the coming economic collapse and the other great problems that we will soon be experiencing as a nation.
Do not be afraid.
Instead, be strong and courageous and prepare well for the storms that are coming.