Delusions of a Risk Free World
By Todd Strandberg
Life is a series of calculated risks. Because we live in a world full of danger, it has long been important to keep tabs of the risks we face. For most of human history—war, disease, natural disasters and economic perils have been major risks to our human existence. The threat of danger made us take preventive action that helped lower the risk of unfortunate events.
In 2017, we seem to have developed a carefree attitude about risks. People look at the chance of various calamities and just shrug with little or no reaction.
Reports have been circulating over the past few weeks that the ground under Yellowstone Park has been rumbling. Between June 12 and June 27, Yellowstone experienced an earthquake swarm of 900 events, the majority of which were magnitude 1 or below. This was the highest number of earthquakes at Yellowstone within a single week in the past seven years.
Since Yellowstone is a super-volcano—if it were to erupt—a vast area of the U.S. could be devastated by the massive ash fallout. As these tremors continue, the amount of concern should rise at an exponential rate.
The folks at the U.S. Geological Survey say there is no reason for concern about the quakes. For three weeks now this government agency has issued a steady stream of soothing propaganda. It even said if Yellowstone were to blow, “the eruption produced would probably be fairly inconsequential.”
I don’t see what is inconsequential about 100 cubic miles of ash covering half of the continental U.S. The USGS alert scale should go directly from “No need to worry” to “We’re all going to die.”
For the past few years, the U.S. and Russia have been playing a game of cat and mouse with each other’s aircrafts. Russian jets would fly dangerously close to our jets and we would occasionally buzz them back. The day will eventually come when the jets will crash into each other. During the Cold War, our military kept a respectable distance from each other to prevent World War III. The current general view seems to be that there is an invisible force that will prevent a collision.
The lack of concern about risk can be seen on Wall Street. I remember when you could detect international incidents by a sudden drop in the Dow Jones average. Today, the stock traders are generally oblivious to news events. Last week, an America fighter jet shot down a Syrian aircraft, and the Dow didn’t even fling. In fact, it went on to close at a record high that day.
There is an index on Wall Street designed to track financial risk; the Volatility Index (VIX) is a complex fear gauge that is based on the price of options place against S&P 500 stocks. During the crash of 1987 it went up to 150. During the Great Recession of 2008, it went up to 80. The VIX is currently at 9, which is right near its lowest reading in the history of this index.
Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen only sees blue skies for the financial markets. She thinks the changes to the architecture of the monetary system have made it unlikely for us to “see a financial crisis in our lifetime.” History shows that these types of comments typically occur right before a crash.
The optimistic attitude toward risk could be attributed to our strange odds in avoiding calamity. We’ve had a series of major bankruptcies with Detroit, Puerto Rico, and various banks in Europe. Each time there were fears these events might trigger a 1929 style crash, but nothing happened. With the state of Illinois teetering on the edge of insolvency, people are indifferent to the likelihood of the first U.S. state to have its debt downgraded to junk status. People just assume the financial fairies with fix their coming bankruptcy.
We can’t point to good fortune to explain the lack of concern over terrorism. The risk of being killed by an Islamist is growing by the day. We should be using basic logic to assess Islam as a dangerous risk, and then take protective action. The more people that are killed by Muslim terrorists, the more determined our leaders are at labeling this religion as “risk free.”
I think the lack of concern over risk is the result of Satan gaining a stronger foothold in this world. As nations become overrun by wickedness, people are losing the ability to measure risk. The profound level of blindness that we see all around us is a strong indication that the Rapture must be very near.
“The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4).