Chris’ note: Chris Reilly here, managing editor for Casey Daily Dispatch.
A couple of weeks ago, I flew out to Aspen, Colorado to catch up with legendary speculator and bestselling author Doug Casey.
It was a fantastic trip. I asked Doug about everything from technology… to the economy… and the resurgence of gold.
Doug also shared his thoughts on President Trump… and more importantly, what could be in store for America.
Like usual, Doug didn’t hold anything back. Today, I want to share our discussion with you…
Read on for this week’s special Conversations With Casey…
Chris: Doug, you predicted that Trump would win the election long before most people even thought he had a chance. Now, almost three years in, how would you rate his presidency?
Doug: Well, on the one hand Trump is a good thing simply because he’s not one of the lunatic fringe Democrats. He’s a cultural traditionalist at heart; he wants to see the US return to the “Leave It to Beaver” days of the 1950s. That’s essentially why he was elected, and why he’s still so popular. Despite the fact he’s culturally conservative, he has no core values. He runs strictly on gut feeling. He has no central philosophy or intellectual beliefs. It’s just whatever seems like a good idea at the time. He knows a lot about real estate speculation on high leverage. But he knows absolutely nothing about economics.
Let’s look at the good and the bad things about Trump.
Cultural conservative. That’s good in a time when the US is in a state of cultural turmoil, where the old order is being overthrown – which it is. Not so long ago, the country that was composed of white Christian people of European origin; it was quite homogeneous. And if you’re going to have a country, it’s good to be homogeneous.
Since the late ‘60s, however, the US has been inundated with migrants from all over the world; it’s no longer homogeneous. It no longer has real cultural traditions, and the remaining ones are being abolished, like Columbus Day recently. Columbus is no longer the discoverer of America so much as the oppressor of native peoples.
One major change is that Americans no longer share a common religious tradition. Say what you want about Christianity – and I’m not a religious person – but it was something Americans could share, that they had in common. But it’s no longer a major element; the US is becoming like Europe that way. That’s important because Christianity provided a broad moral framework. Now there’s a vacuum. It may be filled by Mohammedanism, especially since so many migrants take that creed seriously. Churches will be replaced by mosques in many places.
There’s no longer any kind of trust in the culture in general. And certainly not in the government. The only thing that Americans still trust – the only institution they still have any respect for – is the military. And that’s extremely dangerous because as Edward Gibbon said, regarding the Roman Empire and their military, “any order of men accustomed to slavery and violence make for very poor guardians of a civil constitution.” Nonetheless, I don’t doubt one or both parties will put up a general as the Greater Depression reaches a climax.
Of course Trump loves the military, which is natural for a statist. But the good news about Trump is that he also apparently sees all the pointless foreign wars are just making lots of enemies while they bankrupt the country. He’s trying to get the troops out of the Middle East quagmire; better late than never, although he’s been very, very slow about this. If he finishes that, maybe he’ll get them out of the new quagmires that are building up in Africa, and then start closing the 800 bases around the world, which serve no useful purpose besides feeding the Deep State. I don’t believe he’ll succeed, however. Warmongers are in total control in Washington.
So let’s put it this way. Trump has some real pluses, but no philosophical center. Politically he’s a statist. Economically, he doesn’t have a clue. In fact, he’s looking for more money creation, and lower or negative interest rates. Which is going to add flames to an absolutely catastrophic depression.
I appreciate his trying to stem mass migration, so what’s left of America can retain its cultural core. But his efforts are like building a sand castle on the sea shore. The waves are going to wash it away for all kinds of reasons. A pity, really. Minneapolis will resemble Mogadishu, Miami might resemble Port au Prince more than even Havana, El Paso will be like Juarez, and Cleveland like Karachi. But things change. The colors of the map on the wall are running more than has been the case since the barbarian invasions of the 5th century.
Chris: What do you have to say about the political landscape right now as we head into the 2020 election season?
Doug: Trump’s acting as a catalyst for something resembling an actual civil war in this country. And I’ll draw your attention to the fact that the unpleasantness of 1861 to 1865 was not, in fact, a civil war. It was a war of secession, which is very different from a civil war. In a war of secession, one group simply wants to part company from another – not rule them. In a civil war, on the other hand, you’ve got two or more groups that are fighting for control of one government. That wasn’t the case in the War Between the States.
The American Revolution, of 1775-1783, by comparison, was both a war of secession and a civil war. About 1/3rd of Americans wanted to secede from the ruling British political power, 1/3rd were loyal to the Crown and fighting against secessionists, and 1/3rd really didn’t care. The Revolution was much more complex, and nastier, than is generally understood.
Keeping in mind the difference between a civil war and a war of secession, I think it’s possible that the US could have both – like we did in the Revolution. Why? Because people in the red counties and the blue counties really hate each other. They should, therefore, be politically separate. And that could be peaceable. But they’ll likely try to keep the union together, which means one group has to suppress the other group. They can’t have a civil conversation. Members of the same family can’t even talk politics or economics anymore. They’ve come to disrespect, even despise each other on a visceral level.
Trump is acting as a lightning rod for both groups.
Chris: I agree. It seems like we’re going to reach a boiling point here soon.
Doug: Yeah, that’s what happens before a civil war. They really want to kill each other. Neither group thinks rationally, just emotionally. And it’s essentially a moral divide, which doesn’t lend itself to calm intellectual resolution.
It’s worse than during the ‘60s, which was the last cultural revolution that we had here in the US. It’s much worse this time, even if so far it hasn’t been as violent. Recall that during the late ‘60s and early ‘70s the US had several thousand bombings. But things eventually calmed down.
Back then, however, we just had three major TV networks and some newspapers. Today there are thousands of channels of social media around to aggravate and abet discontent. With the old mass media everybody heard more or less the same thing – the hoi polloi just heard what the mass media told them. Today not nearly as many people watch or read mass media, and nobody really trusts it. Today it’s all about Facebook, social media, and the Internet. Much more unpredictable, and potentially explosive. They allow the public to communicate across the country and form groups… That was very hard to do in the 1850s. It makes a conflagration much more likely today.
But on the other hand, people are very comfortable today. Most people don’t have any guns today, and few know how to use them. You’ve got a whole generation that are financially burdened with student debt, everlasting car loans, credit card debt, no assets, and no marketable skills. A generation of people living in their parents’ basements who’ve been indoctrinated with collectivist ideas. Maybe they’re up for a revolution…
On the other hand, the whole country is getting older. We’re closing in on 25% of the country over 60 years old. When you’re over 60, you generally don’t want to go out and be a street fighting man anymore.
It’s hard to say if we’re even capable of a real civil war anymore.
Chris: Is there another possible outcome?
Doug: In my opinion the best option is for the US to break up into new countries, new regions – as outlandish as that sounds. Young chicanos in LA have zero in common with old white women in the Northeast. And they’ll have less than zero desire to pay 20% of their income to finance the old ladies’ Social Security and Medicare. The situation is similar across many groups and regions in the US today. They have very little in common any more.
Many are shocked when I say I’m against the constitution of 1789. We would likely have been much better off economically and every other way if the original colonies had just stayed in a somewhat improved confederation – which was all that was supposed to have happened in Philadelphia in 1789. They all shared a more or less common culture. They didn’t need to centralize all their power in Washington DC.
Eventually the US will break up. Nothing lasts forever, and that includes the US. People who think this country is going to be even remotely the same in 50 years – forget about 100 years – aren’t thinking clearly. They certainly don’t have a grasp of the way history flows. The very fact that whites of European extraction will soon be a minority – both in Europe and the US – tells you something big is afoot. The new majority don’t share language, religion, race, religion, values, or traditions with the old culture, or among each other. In fact they hold it in contempt – as do many whites.
The US could easily break up.
People say, “Well, what about our military, our defense?” The point I’d make is that the military is the second biggest thing, after welfare, that’s bankrupting the country. That’s number one.
Number two, they’re not defending the country. They’re actually drawing in outside attacks by going out and making enemies all over the world. The natives don’t like our soldiers in their countries any more than we’d like their soldiers in the US.
Number three, all our expensive high-tech weapons – F35s, B2s, aircraft carriers, and the rest of it… are basically junk. They’re going to be almost worthless in what resembles World War III, whatever that might look like. New technologies are going to totally obviate this crap, much more seriously than cavalry in World War I, which turned out to be worthless, or battleships in World War II.
When the military fails, it’s going to be a big disuniting influence for the US. Only a teeny-weeny portion of the American population knows anything about the military anymore. They’re isolated from it, even though they’ve been programmed to love and respect it. The military have, at the same time, become like a separate culture within the culture. Military guys hang out just with each other, not with civilians. Just like cops hang out just with each other, not with the people that they police. Most cops today, incidentally, are also ex-military. Another bad trend.
There’s a great deal more to be said about all this, but the purpose of this interview was just to touch on a few high points.
Bottom line? Trump has his hands full.
Chris: Good talk, Doug. Appreciate the time.
Doug: You’re welcome.