What If You're Wrong?

April 28, 2018
2 mins read

JQ wonders via email if I’m talking my book:

What if you’re wrong? You say certain trends can’t continue much longer but what if they do? What if the dollar keeps getting stronger and oil keeps getting cheaper and more plentiful? What if interest rates really can be held at zero? How long until you go broke betting wrong?

It goes on, but you get the idea. While I’m tempted to show my math and reiterate why such things can’t go on forever, it’s actually a good question, for two reasons.
Firstly, there are lot of people on the internet who just talk their book. Hard to believe, right? They sell stock, so they assert stocks will always go up.* Others bought tons and tons of gold and desperately promote any sign of hyperinflation. Their talk often seems an attempt to convince others (and themselves) that they made wise investment choices even as the market goes against them. Others have made a very public bet and their reputation (and income) demands they stick with it. I might be one of them, or all three.

Can it last forever? Maybe.

Secondly, I’ve been wrong about so many things and over so long a period** that the idea that I’m wrong about present trends is not outside the realm of possibility. Maybe not even outside the realm of probability.
So here’s my answer: if I’m wrong about the need to be prepared, and if everything is awesome forever, I’ll

  • Continue to live a life of luxury enjoyed by fewer than 1% of people who have ever lived.
  • Drive my car anywhere I want to go and not give the cost a second thought.
  • Buy foreign wines for pennies a bottle. I’m rather fond of Chilean cabernets, but I like Beaujolais Villages Bordeaux as well.
  • Work a job I love for 15 more years and retire on a fully-funded pension that will last me 30 more years, until I die of old age.
  • Make my kids rich the next day.
  • Continue to do what I like to do. I’ll make jellies and fruit wines and grow a garden and pour bullets. I’ll continue working on this idea of toy molded zinc soldiers I’ve been kicking around. I’ll refurbish handloading dies and I’ll plant some nut trees.

In short, if nothing bad ever happens again, I’ll continue to live a blissfully happy life. While I think many things are going wrong and are about to go more wronger***, I have not bet the farm on that happening. Instead I have paid off the farm and am perfectly content to live on it the rest of my days. I have no need to bet at all.
Lots of people make the assumption that the prepper wants all the bad things he warns about to happen. Maybe some do, I don’t know.
But in most cases that’s as silly an accusation as saying the proof your daughter wants you to get lung cancer is that she warns you about your smoking. She warns you about smoking because she wants you to live, not because she looks forward to the day that, while you gasp for breath between dirty sheets in some forlorn VA hospital, she can say “I told you so.”
* They may or may not own stocks, but they profit from the fact of stocks going up anyway.
** After all, I’ve been married 30 years. And to the same woman at that.
***  it was a word on Veggie Tales, anyway.

El Borak is an historian by training, an IT Director by vocation, and a writer when the mood strikes him. He lives in rural Kansas with his wife of thirty years, where he works to fix the little things.


  1. If I’m wrong, then nothing happens! We go to jail; peacefully, quietly. We’ll enjoy it! But if I’m right, and we can stop this thing… Lenny, you will have saved the lives of millions of registered voters.

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