There is an incident that is reputed to have occurred at the close of WWII that is attributable to Winston Churchill. It seems he was attending a social gathering of the "upper crust" near London in celebration of the conclusion of the war. Known for his fondness of good spirits, he was apparently pretty well in touch with that reality to which many of us occasionally pay homage, when an older and rather "stuffy" dowager approached him. Upon getting close enough to notice such things, she disapprovingly remarked, "My dear Mr. Churchill, you are disgustingly drunk!" Gazing at her through only dimly lit eyes he promptly replied, "And you madam are alarmingly ugly! The important difference is that in the morning I shall be sober!"

An important difference indeed. A difference that metaphorically at least, I will attempt to demonstrate is entirely relevant to the outcome of Y2K - relevant to many of the Pollies and Doomers, that in the past, as well as in the present, participate in this forum.

It is, after all, the "morning after" the Y2K rollover, and sufficient time has now elapsed to "sleep off" the effects of the prior evenings "binge." We must now face the reality from which we became distracted, and with which we will once again have to deal - however severe our Y2K "hangover."

Speaking as someone who believed that Y2K offered the potential for significant problems - to be made potentially grave by what I expected to be the political response to them, I posted my first article in April of 1999 in which I had offered my forecast for "The Coming 8 Months." Many of the expectations I articulated in that article turned out to be remarkably wrong.

As the remainder of 1999 unfolded, I continued to believe that there would be possible significant disruptions - although late in the year I began to have doubts. Nonetheless, my family and I followed our plan and awaited the rollover at our rural acreage in Northern Georgia with several like-minded friends. It is safe to say we were drunk with anticipation. When not only nothing happened, but virtually all of my expectations having to do with the stock market, commodity prices, availability of goods/services, etc., remained reasonably normal as well, I was forced to conclude that I had totally mis-judged the issue. I also had to conclude that I wrongly accepted its alleged intractability. Finally, because of these first two errors, I incorrectly forecast its potential disruptive societal consequences.

Pass me a generous helping of crow. I earned it. Though it is not a food that I would eagerly choose to eat, it is, nonetheless, one that upon determining I must eat it, I will do so with the purpose of providing my mind with obviously needed nourishment. For in this context, "eating crow" can be one of the most healthful foods one can digest.

Yes ultimately, who was right and who was wrong is indeed important. For in matters of immediate life and death, there can be no disagreement with those that demonstrate they foresee reality with the greater of clarity. CPR, Y2K Pro, Hoff, Flint, Mr. Decker, together with a number of others that have been labeled as "Pollies" were indeed "right." North, Milne, A, myself, BigDog, and an even greater number of "Doomers" were thankfully wrong. But when you go down the list of those proved right or wrong, in my mind there exists issues of far greater significance than simply who was right and who was wrong. There are spiritual brethren on both sides of the Y2K issue. Just as there were those in agreement on the outcome of Y2K, that are as alien to each other as one might imagine.

In the 20th and 21st centuries in America, matters of immediate life and death, whether caused by the simple frailties of life itself, or the malevolent machinations of politics, is now the exception not the rule. Because of this the "end" judgment of who was right and who was wrong, is most often less important than the method used to arrive at that determination. As a practical matter, the means justifies the ends, with far greater security of benefit than the reverse. For in the means is the method. In the method is the efficacy. For how one arrives at ones conclusions not only serves as the means to discover what is "right," but it also becomes the process for the correction of error. The reverse, the notion that the end justifies the means, is only in rare instances of value. For embodied in it is the justification for literally anything.

Speaking for myself, in spite of the economic glory in which we currently find ourselves, I believe that our nation - the nation that is the spiritual and actual manifestation of Aristotle, Jefferson, and Rand, is in serious trouble. In my judgment we are but one economic crisis away from political - if not actual Armageddon.

With respect to Y2K, it was therefore easy for me to conclude that Y2K was very possibly the technical/economic problem that it was claimed to be, and that it would result in the political disaster consistent with my expectations. Where my thinking was in error was in my lack of appreciation for the commitment and ability of free people with a wealth of resources at their disposal to correct known problem(s) of a technical nature. I have little doubt that as I write this essay there are Y2K induced problems occurring much in the manner predicted. However, I have come to realize that they are being dealt with by those that simply take them in stride and either correct them or find a creative "work around," while they assure our productive capacities remain intact. Capitalism (read freedom) truly brings out our best in this regard.

This brings me back to my meal. The question I leave for those of us that have earned our share of the feast is this: When we look down the list of those that would be called "Doomers" - those that have been proven unalterably wrong, with whom would you be pleased to be sharing this meal? Conversely, who would you not wish to be at your table, because you know that in spite of their grudging acceptance of the menu, they would realize little if any mental nourishment from the experience.

Perhaps more importantly, who of those that were labeled as "Pollies" would you be proud to offer a well-deserved gourmet meal - one not of crow but of the finest of delicacies? Conversely, who of those Pollies, even though they were "right" would you be equally reluctant to invite to sit at your table? For when you answer the question, you will be doing so with the knowledge that in the morning, there will be a list of both Pollies and Doomers, in spite of their apparent insight or error, that will once again be sober. With equal certainty there will also be a list that will remain endlessly ugly.

One can eat crow and become better for having done so. One can also chew and swallow it while they cast a hateful and envious glance at those, who having been proven right, do not have to partake.

The same can be said for the opposite camp where crow is not on the menu - where the nourishment comes from the reaffirming bounty of having been right. In this camp one may also devour the fruits of their justified bounty, but remain just as mal-nourished as they always were..

With respect,

-- Dave Walden (, February 11, 2000



Beautifully put. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this.

-- eve (, February 11, 2000.

Thank you Dave for sharing your wisdom. Yours is the table of choice.

Mr. Parrish, an honorable man, told me you can go to bed tired or hungry, but it makes no sense to do both.

-- Tom Beckner (, February 11, 2000.

Dear Sir,

Though I believe that you are a bit early with your sumation. I heartly disagree with you conclusions (when they include Y2K Pro and his alter ego LL; I even feel a little ill).

We are still, I see a population who collectively "see" our world from highly different angles, and myopic views. While your "Y2K" seems (to you) to be over with....I can assure you that My segiment of the problem is quite healty (an ugly but aptly discriptive word). And is growing in scope. I but wonder how much larger (and costlier motor fuel must become). Before those of you in your "other" viewpoints of this world, realize that Y2K and the embedded systems where/ and are the real Y2K problems. It shall be awhile (several months yet) before I relax my concern about the microprocessors. Mean while sir...

"As for me...I shall finish to play the Game"!


-- Shakey (in_a_bunker@forty.feet), February 11, 2000.

David, I have forgotten what your chosen field of endeavor is, but wordbending should be right up near the top of the list.

I have NEVER clicked on one of your essays without being challenged somehow, without learning something. There are few others who I can say this about, Rob Michaels (sonofdust) comes to mind, when he's not wearing his FRL Leader Hat. Beyond that, not many others present themselves.

This is another sterling jewel for your crown.


-- Chuck, a night driver (, February 11, 2000.

Thanks for your insights...

I'll have my crow made into a rice and bean casserole (I'll supply the rice and beans...). Or perhaps BBQ'd with some of the sauce I've stashed away.

And we can make it a candlelight supper!!!

-- Mad Monk (, February 11, 2000.

Crow tastes like ch-ck-n. (I'm afraid if I write that word, a 'bot will insert that long essay about contaminated ch-ck-n.)

-- (, February 11, 2000.

There are some who have posted here in such a way as to convince me never to allow them to come in the house, much less to share bread and salt with my family. Happpily these are relatively few.

-- Tom Carey (, February 11, 2000.

I feel it is premature to "crow" about the demise of y2k problems.

Wait until sometime after the end of 1Q2001, and I may agree with you. The news seems to be that things are slowly building up. The general shape of such a curve will probably be very flat, increasing slowly at first, but increasing ever faster, until at the end the curve goes up at a sharp (perhaps vertical) angle. (The y axis is number of debilitating incidents; the x axis is time.)

If we are lucky, the curve will remain flat enough to be managable. If we are not lucky, The Great Depression may become The Mild Dip.

My present guess is that things will get worse but be manageable, but until after end-of-quarter processing 1Q2001, I will not be ready to declare victory.


-- George Valentine (, February 11, 2000.

A nicely thought out piece Dave. You write well.

As I see it many, if not all, of the doomers who I've been reading in this forum in the months that I've been here have made two of the most common mistakes that survivalists (doomers) make.

The first is being too certain that they know what the future holds in store instead of keeping in mind that their concerns are just one of a number of probabilities. Even a very high probability is not the same as a certainty. This is true for both doomers and pollies.

The other mistake is allowing yourself to become so caught up in preparing for a given scenario that when that scenario doesn't occur the non-occurence becomes a disaster or at least a disappointment in itself. The best way to survive a disaster is not to have one in the first place. It's only because something may go wrong and the disaster happens anyway that you should prepare.

The ones who actually wanted disaster are another matter altogether.

Over a long enough period of time a survivalist will likely find that one scenario after another he may have been concerned about never happens but others that he may not have anticipated did happen, possibly directly to him or very near. Eventually the idea evolves that one should just be generally prepared to cope with whatever comes your way. For many, they Y2K disaster that didn't happen still left them in a position to be able to cope with the ice storm disaster that did happen. Were it not for Y2K how many of those who found themselves prepared would not have been? Was your rural North Georgia property in the area of the ice storms that recently struck? If not Y2K or the last ice storm it'll be something else. To think you'll always be able to see a disaster coming leads you back into the problem of thinking you can prophesize the future again. When events throw you a surprise party you're either ready or you're not. Again, this applies to both doomers and pollies alike.

You do make a good point, and elegantly at that, about the behavior of some individuals in this forum both doomer and polly alike. For some, they arrrived at their convictions one way or the other, defendend them passionately, and basic civility (to say nothing of courtesy) went right out the window. That was a poor showing on the part of all of the concerned parties and speaks to the character of those involved.

This time I won't be dining on crow but only because I've eaten it in the past and learned my lessons from it. It is a rite of passage for survivalists. Many will drop out and never again prepare but some will stay. Prepared or not the world goes on and for some unfortunate relative few every year they'll find themselves in a bad way when disaster strikes. The only real question is how certain are you that you'll never be one of the few? By your action or inactions everyone in this forum now reading my words is answering that question for themselves.

No regrets.


-- A.T. Hagan (, February 11, 2000.

Won't comment on crow. But I sure am getting tired of eating spam!!!!

-- haha (, February 11, 2000.

Thank you for the message, Sir Dave of the Walden pond. well written. remember, before you decied your preparation were 'excessive" - is that, because of your efforts, you were able to be warm and safe and well-fed (even if well-fed includes a little roast crow and squirrel meat) while avoiding discomfort from the ice and storms that hurt those who did not store sufficient crow for a "five day winter storm."

Miss LL: A post well-written that contributes does not disappear.

Green eggs and "Spam" do disappear.

-- Robert A. Cook, PE (Marietta, GA) (, February 11, 2000.

David, the incident to which you refer took place between Churchill and Bessie Braddock ("Battling Bessie"), a belligerent Labour MP, and actually goes as follows. Mrs. Braddock to Churchill: "You're drunk!" Churchill to Mrs. Braddock: "And you are very ugly, but tomorrow I'll be sober." (There is a photograph of Mrs. Braddock here.) The two were on opposite sides of the political spectrum and frequently butted heads.

Churchill also said, "I have never developed indigestion from eating my words." He was often wrong and freely admitted it--but he was also sometimes right in his long and colorful life and, as events proved, he was right at the right time. Who is to say that some of us "doomers" will not be right at the right time?

I too, of course, thought there might be problems arising from Y2K and wished to be prepared--Just In Case (as opposed to Just In Time). Did I cause myself unnecessary Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt? No, absolutely not. I have been through some rather severe times, starting with being born into an England cruelly decimated by the Nazis. I couldn't imagine deprivations worse than those I survived and Y2K didn't scare me. I looked upon it as merely another obstacle to be overcome. C'est la vie.

Did I create FUD in others? I hope not. On the contrary, I sought to ease people's fears by providing practical and useful information and making suggestions for preparing for ANY emergency on a budget. Besides, by the time people reached Timebomb 2000, they were already worried about Y2K and looking for ameliorative information. Yes, there were forumites who were extremists--but they had their equally unpleasant counterparts on the debunking forums too. It has been noted that there were more extremists on these pages than a certain debunker forum. For heaven's sake--that is because there have always been so many more participants on this forum! If anyone could do a study and come up with percentages, I wouldn't be at all surprised to find the extremist percentages are about the same for both groups.

Did I act wrongly and waste precious resources on unnecessary purchases? It's true I probably won't need the brand-new chemical toilet I found at a thrift shop for $20--but I can handle that financial loss and recover part of it as a tax deduction if I decide to donate it. I already had a good supply of emergency items, thanks to experience with hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms and the like. I merely stopped procrastinating and rounded out those supplies as I had always wished. We invested in some solar panels, something else we procrastinated about--and now supplement our grid usage with solar power. Nothing wrong with that.

The food? We didn't buy anything we won't eat. And, looking at increasing prices on some commodities I stashed in somewhat heavier quantities, such as Twining's tea and Campbell's tomato soup, I find there have been roughly 20% price increases in the sale prices of those items since December. It is rare that food prices decrease so I cannot see where I was wrong to stockpile some food. By the time we consume it all, our income will have grown to compensate for new purchases and we shall be ahead of the game for a change.

For many of us, Y2K was the catalyst that prompted us to stop procrastinating and build a pantry of food and supplies, as our ancestors did for so many centuries (when they were able). Look at older houses--even as late as around 1950 there were still large pantries and more capacious kitchen storage in their design. It was only the increased mechanization and efficiency of prepared food production during World War II that caused builders to start building houses without pantries. In Britain and Europe the trend has not so greatly changed because those nations are subject to wildcat strikes--and there are too many memories of the food and commodities rationing that lasted until 1957.

Your overall point about the personalities involved on both sides of the Y2K issue is one with which I am well familiar. As a foreigner in this country, I have long known that people are not necessarily better or worse--just different. But mount a concerted attack on my differentness (which does not encroach on other people's rights and freedoms and does not harm anyone, least of all myself) and I fight back tooth and nail. I would rather not; I am much more content working on my garden or house or reading a good book.

The issue for me was never if I was right or wrong about Y2K. It was more like: thank goodness--here at last is a deadline by which I must do what I have long wanted to do. And, judging from many previous posts, I hazard a guess that I am by no means alone in my philosophy.

-- Old Git (, February 11, 2000.

Dave -- I am certainly lowering my Y2K expectations steadily (and delightedly). I take exception to a few of your comments, though it is well-stated as always.

First, the idea of Y2K as a game to be scored is something I steadfastly opposed all last year on BOTH sides (it isn't Monday morning quarterbacking on results). The reason for this is that the inadequacy of the data made any serious, quantifiable predictions guesses. That was always one of the prime reasons behind my intense preparations.

Second, I found (and continue to find) the reasons cited by many of the "pollies" in 1999 as to why/how they reached their conclusions to be largely faulty. I still find that to be the case. While it is wonderful that their faulty premises (seem to have) resulted in a positive outcome, this doesn't instruct me to a great degree on the subject itself.

Finally, if Y2K winds down with a whimper (likely but still not certain), the reasons for this are still quite difficult to determine. Note, I say "difficult", not necessarily impossible.

This said, in a subject filled with such passion, everyone said things that were fallacious and/or malicious at times. I never took anyone's statements as seriously as some did - frankly, I think our culture would do better if we had more passions about subjects that mattered, not less. So-called "toleration" these days is a cover for dulled souls who care about nothing, and is only rarely a positive virtue. Alas. The Internet is a medium that "hots" things up in any case and this should be factored in at all times.

I still haven't the slightest objection to being wrong about my expectations (call me in May-June) and aren't fudging that at all. I am also eager to have reasonable conversations about appropriate points about the why's and wherefore's of Y2K results, so far as they can be discerned.

But "crow" isn't on my personal menu.

-- BigDog (, February 11, 2000.

Allow me to add a few words...

Old Git, if I could borrow your statement:

"The issue for me was never if I was right or wrong about Y2K."

I can't possibly overemphasize how important it is to understand this.

Most of the people I have been privileged to know on this forum, as well as others, simply tried to research and reason their way through the absolutely massive amounts of conflicting information that were available at the time. And this goes both ways -- throughout this issue, I have had nothing but the purest respect for both the "pollies" and "doomers" who tried to think and act or not act in accordance with their conclusions.

And I was equally ashamed and saddened to see those who relied on a kind of mental sloth to get through this. And by this I refer to those who in blind faith relied on Gary North as well as those who followed John Koskinen as infallible "voices of authority" in the matter. And here I have to add my extreme disappointment regarding many of my friends, family members and neighbors, who were simply indifferent.

As human beings we are the only creatures who have to survive by relying on a process of reason; we're given minds and we use them to attempt to think our way through difficult situations -- really any situation. At least this is what we should be doing. And this quality sets us apart from the lower creatures who deal only in brute force. For this reason, all of us who used our minds to try and understand this thing were really showing our distinguishing trait -- our humanity.

Our reinvestment deisions were ones of insurance risk. And to the extent that we (either explicitly or implicitly) assessed the risk of things going bad at less than 50% (assuming things are now ok), in a way, we weren't even "wrong". But, you know, that's really far less important than whether or not we made the mental effort to understand this. And to the extent that we did, we can stand proud.

-- eve (, February 11, 2000.

The issue for me was never if I was right or wrong about Y2K. It was more like: thank goodness--here at last is a deadline by which I must do what I have long wanted to do. And, judging from many previous posts, I hazard a guess that I am by no means alone in my philosophy.

-- Old Git (, February 11, 2000.

Dead on. Many of us used Y2K to do just that. I've been preparing for many years. Nevertheless, like a lot of survivalists, there was always some piece of gear or gear upgrade we never got around to acquiring. The date roll over was a set in concrete date that gave us a definite deadline to finally get off the dime and get the job done.

Every bit of that gear was stuff that I wanted before I ever heard the term Y2K or the Millennium Bug but just hadn't gotten around to yet. Now we have it. The date roll over was uneventful, the whole Y2K problem may turn out to be of only minor importance but that gear will still be there for all of the other concerns that we have and will still be just as useful. Not much left now but to keep perishable supplies rotated and start working on the really big long-term self-reliance projects which are going to take years. It's a nice feeling to be able to stop concentrating on the short term stuff and get back to the long term projects.


-- A.T. Hagan (, February 11, 2000.

Alan, I like your longer reply above, it echoes my feelings.

Aside from the fact that it is not even mid-February and I was giving myself until the end of March at a minimum, we've still got some intense weather ahead with the solar maximum.

And we're not eating any dead crows in this neighborhood, a number have been diagnosed with West Nile virus.

-- Firemouse (, February 11, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ