Millennium excuses and the quest for truth
By Dave Duffy
December 31, 1999
Reprinted from Backwoods Home Magazine Issue #60 – Nov/Dec, 1999
It’s time to roll out the millennium excuses to explain why society hasn’t collapsed as the result of the Y2K computer bug. I know I’m a couple of months early, but January 1 will be too late to make predictions of why we haven’t succumbed to Y2K doom. So here’s my list of what the excuses will be. Take your choice:
Predictions for Jan. 1:
- Society has collapsed, but the government is covering it up. Thousands are dead or starving, but it’s such a clever coverup, it’ll be years before we know the staggering toll.
- We calculated the date wrong so the collapse has been postponed six months to a year. Lucky for us because we’ve still got a lot of food storage supplies we need to sell.
- What are you talking about? I never said society would collapse. I knew all along that nothing would happen.
- And, of course, as the usual day-to-day disasters around the world do occur, the Y2K diehards will claim that every little disaster that makes the newspaper is due to Y2K.
Predictions for Jan. 2:
- Most doomsayers will find a new horse to ride, such as the planets lining up in one quadrant in the sky, or the impending visit by a close-encounter asteroid in 2028.
- Some government bureaucrat, maybe even Clinton, will take credit for averting the Y2K crisis, saying the government needs broad new power over computer technology to continue averting such crises in the future.
- Russia will ask the U.S. and the I.M.F. for big new loans because they’ll claim Y2K devastated their already devastated economy. They’ll get the money.
Predictions for Jan. 3:
- People who drew some money out of their bank “just in case” will begin putting it back, denying they ever thought there’d be a problem.
- The U.S. stock market will go up 250 points.
- At your local coffee bar, there will be very little talk of Y2K. It will be an embarrassing subject.
But all the concern about Y2K during the last year hasn’t been a total waste of time. It’s caused a mini boom in many sectors of the American economy. My subscriptions are up nicely, and once we get subscribers here we keep them with all kinds of incentives such as inexpensive anthologies and a magazine that is just too good, accurate, and honest to put down. A lot of other self-reliant businesses who have experienced significantly increased sales will have to put up with slow sales for awhile due to a glut on the market. I’m sure they are having sales meetings right now trying to identify a new doomsday scenario that needs promoting.
Have people learned anything from all the Y2K hysteria? The promoters of doom have, that’s for sure. Never again will they ride a doomsday horse that has too many dates that were supposed to trigger the beginning of chaos. April 1, April 9, July 1, September 9, and October 1 were all trigger dates that came and went without Y2K incident. But I’m not sure the rest of the public has learned much. It’s too much fun to get worked up about impending doom, making plans to avert it, and scaring your neighbors.
The whole experience has been dismaying to me. In an industry dominated by people who value American traditional values such as those embodied in the United States Constitution, it has been too easy for people to get distracted by phony “doom and gloom” scenarios such as this Y2K bug. Instead of zeroing in on what America’s real problem is, namely, the declining state of freedom in this country, too many people spent all their energy on a phony Y2K crisis. Instead of concentrating on saving America, they concentrated on saving themselves from an imaginary enemy. If I had been an emerging tyrannical government trying to dissipate the angry passions of a people growing increasingly less free, I might have invented the Y2K crisis and would consider inventing many others just like it.
So being the Libertarian I am, and cherishing the freedoms enshrined in the U.S. Constitution the way I do, I thought I’d try my best to persuade people that Y2K-type crises are not our real enemies. And since you can only persuade people through knowledge, I thought the best way to persuade is by increasing people’s knowledge about real things, such as real science, not the pseudoscience that accompanied the Y2K predictions of doom. So, starting with this issue, we are launching expanded homeschooling articles in the areas of science, mathematics, history, and economics in hopes of giving people a better framework from which to consider future doom and gloom scenarios like the Y2K crisis. If people can ward off bogus monsters, they’ll have more time to battle the real monsters, like our emerging tyrannical government.
Self-reliant people, such as those who read this magazine, are the main soldiers in the battle to retain and restore America’s constitutional freedoms. America needs these people, undistracted by phony crises, to help save America and her wonderful institutions of freedom and individual liberty. If our expanded homeschooling articles can help self-reliant people tell the difference between fiction and fact, we’ll feel part of the huge battle that lies ahead.
For although this country was never on the edge of a Y2K doomsday, it is on the edge of a political doomsday. And if more of us don’t get our heads straight and concentrate on the real enemy at hand, namely, our own government, America is going to become a 200-year bleap of freedom in the long history of tyranny that has reigned over people for all past millenniums.