Once in a while, I tune into KJSL, a St. Louis Christian talk radio station. I do this as part of a conscious effort to make myself listen to people with views that are dramatically different from my own. Perhaps I will understand those views better if I take the time to listen more.
While I was driving last week, the station featured a show called “News and Views,” hosted by a man named “Dr. Larry Bates.” The host repeatedly painted the future of the US as bleak, thanks to irresponsible financial policies by the federal government. Because I have some sympathy with that general conclusion, I continued to listen. It turned out that Bates was predicting the imminent financial collapse of the United States. Although I doubted that conclusion, I continued to listen.
Bates then indicated that he is also a big proponent of religious “End Times.” In short, he believes that Jesus will soon be returning to Earth in order to sort things out. I have no sympathy for this religious view. In fact, I find End Times beliefs to be irresponsible and destructive for the numerous reasons. For example, I do not hold the Bible to be inerrant. Based on my study of the Bible, although it offers some good stories and some reasonable moral instruction, it is also rife with bad advice, contradictions and senseless violence.
“Dr. Larry Bates” wears many hats. He claims to be an economist, publisher, editor, former member of the Tennessee House of Representatives, former bank CEO and a “nationally recognized expert on political systems and the Federal Reserve.” Bates is also the President of First American Monetary Consultants, Inc. (FAMC), an organization that allegedly does “economic and market forecasting, in addition to offering a wide variety of other End Times services. “News and Views” is a syndicated radio show, available dozens of radio stations across the U.S. Larry Bates is thus well known in some circles.
After listening to Bates for only a few minutes, I learned that the United States needs to immediately and mercilessly bomb Iran because of what “those people” have done to “support terrorism.” I also learned that we need to support Israel without question, based upon what the Bible says. I persevered to the end of the show, saddened by and frustrated with the flimsy manner in which Bates attempted to support his conclusions.
At the end of the show, it was announced that Bates was going to be featured at a half-day conference in St. Louis, I took the bait. I thought it would be interesting to better understand the basis for the views of End Times (both economic End Times and religious End Times) proponents. The conference was called “Perilous Times: Significant End Time Events.” I paid $20 and showed up at the Crystal Ballroom of the Renaissance St. Louis Grand and Suites Hotel in downtown St. Louis. Here’s my ticket:
At the registration desk, I received a folder full of information. One of the pamphlets advised me that legalized gay marriage is a major obstacle to democracy:
When the US Supreme Court ruled in Lawrence v. Texas last year that sodomy is a constitutional ‘right,’ the director of the lambda legal fund-a radical homosexual-agenda of pressure group-gleefully explained that this marks the beginning of the end to traditional marriage.
Another pamphlet advised that the United States is officially a Judeo-Christian nation. It quoted William Penn: “Those people who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants.” This pamphlet, printed by FAMC, “proves” that the United States is a Christian nation based upon the fact that the Constitutions of many of the states mention “God,” or “the Creator.” As though non-Christian religions don’t believe in a “God” or a “Creator.”
There were numerous products displayed and advertised at the conference. These products are the sorts of things you’ll need to have if you are going to be prepared for the economic and religious End Times. If you want to prevent cancer, you need to load up on Glutathione. The pamphlet says “your life depends on Glutathione.” To buy it, contact FAMC, according to the pamphlet.
What if you just want to make sure that you have access to “the most universal antibiotic” known to man, colloidal silver? It’s a “tasteless, odorless, non-toxic, purer, natural substance consisting of submicroscopic clusters of silver particles suspended by a tiny electric charge placed on each particle.” According to the pamphlet, you drink it. It kills all those pesky pathogens and protects all your good cells. According to the pamphlet, it is useful for treating allergies, boils, herpes, stomach flu, lime disease, gonorrhea, bladder irritations and chickenpox. The list goes on and on. Colloidal silver can be used vaginally, anally or dropped into the eyes.” You can even make your own colloidal silver out of silver wire, using the $189 generator you can buy from FAMC.
Another pamphlet advised me of my right to participate in jury nullification whenever anyone is being prosecuted for a gun crime. That is because “corrupted, anti-gun prosecutors and judges are common.” This information is distributed by the Fully Informed Jury Association.
After the economic collapse, you’ll need to make better use of all that expensive gasoline that all of us are going to need. Therefore, make sure you buy the “Power Plus Mpg” additive. Using this Power Plus, you can save 25 to $.50 per gallon. During his talk (which I’ll discuss in detail further down), Larry Bates bragged that his 5 mpg SUV improved its mileage 50% (to 7.5 mpg) after he started using this Power Plus. Those attending the conference were even invited to sign up as Power Plus distributors.
Additional Pamphlets were available advising how to support efforts to find those “30,000 POWs [who] were known to be behind alive after WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Persian Gulf and War on Terror.” There was also a table full of conservative-message bumper stickers.
The nice old fellow minding that table offered me a chance to take any one of those bumper stickers for free. I really struggled to find anything that didn’t offend my politics (maybe I am a liberal). After searching for a full minute, I picked up Smoke – Choke – Stroke – Croak.
I wasn’t really at the conference to dwell on the End Times products, however. I was there to listen to “Dr. Larry Bates,” just like the 200 other people who attended. Although the crowd included a handful of young adults, most of those attending were in their 60s or 70s. As is often the case with groups of conservative Christians, this was an extremely polite and orderly group. People held doors for each other and took time to exchange pleasantries.
Dr. Larry Bates introduced himself and then introduced a local preacher who opened the meeting with a prayer. Almost everyone bowed their heads respectfully. Then it was time to offer a few door prizes. The winners had a choice of two books: The Coming Financial Wipeout or America’s Christian Heritage.
Then it was time for four-hours of lecture. Bates bemoaned the lack of pastors in the audience. He complained that too many church leaders were “eating the sheep rather than feeding the sheep.” He asked for a show of hands of those who believe that we were in the last days, and perhaps a third of the audience raised their hand. When he asked whether we were in the very last days, 15% raised their hands.
Bates informed the audience that their job was to “raise up wisdom.” This has to be done by taking back the media, he explained, although “Fox news is one of our best news channels.”
He explained that the next election is the most important one ever. It will be about “class warfare.” The election whether we’ll have less government and bigger government. It’s between monopolistic versus competitive capitalism. Although the Republicans are imperfect, according to a distressed Bates, the only real choice in this upcoming election is Republican. More on this further down.
The United States is under attack by economic and political elitists who want to keep the middle class trapped as pawns and serfs in this elitist version of a caste system. These are desperate times, because “There are only two countries in the entire world where the middle class runs the government or has the opportunity to run the government: the United States and Israel.”
The elitists are “One World Socialists” according to Bates. They want to level everyone out to make everyone equally poor, except for themselves. A repeated target of Bates was the Federal Reserve, which “only looks federal and has no reserves.” Bates could barely contain his scorn for the Federal Reserve, which, he repeatedly emphasized, was totally owned by private bankers.
Bates is highly suspicious of George W. Bush’s “New World order.” It is a conspiracy against the people of the United States, and it amounts to “one world socialism,” an attempt to make everyone poor except for an elite ruling class. He exhorted that the creation of the Federal Reserve was a conspiracy to rob the American middle class. The Federal Reserve is a “criminal syndicate.” According to Bates, the head of the Federal Reserve is more powerful than the president of the United States. In all earnestness, he told the crowd that the 1938 panic-provoking radio adaptation of “War of the Worlds” was not entertainment. It was a test by the government elite to see if the federal government could maintain control over the New World Order.
What are the elitists trying to do? They are trying to create a North American Union. They want to merge the United States, Mexico and Canada and to destroy the sovereignty of the United States. That’s why we have a lax immigration policy, he warned. What’s the solution? “Build a fence and keep them out.” If the rate of immigration exceeds your rate of assimilation, “you lose your country.” Throughout his talk, Bates insinuated that the impending economic collapse will coincide with the religious Second Coming.
The Democrats are the party of big government, militant homosexual “rights and domination.” The Democrats are Socialists, from the party of Karl Marx, where the government owns and controls everything, including all means of distribution and production. “Liberals hate property rights.” Bates drew numerous parallels to the Soviet Union, where people had to wait in long lines for everything. That’s what the Democrats would bring us, he urged.
He warned that you can’t overlook the Republicans just because are imperfect. He understands that “Jesus Christ is not on the ballot.” If you hurt the Republicans, “you hurt yourself.” “Dingy Harry Reid “is corrupt and Nancy Pelosi is “a disaster.” Whenever you have a strong economy, you’ve got limited government. “It’s that simple.” Are there any litmus test for politicians? Absolutely. Don’t vote for anybody who believes in any right to abortion. “Nothing tells you more about politicians that sanctity of life. If they don’t get this right, they get nothing right.”
What else did he think about some the candidates? There was no holding back. Hillary Clinton shouldn’t be president because God has a natural order for things. Bates paused to caution the audience, “I’m not a chauvinist.” Then he forged on: “God is the head of man and man is the head of women. A two-headed family is a freak.” He offered this evidence of his position: Indonesia is struggling because it is a matriarchy. To allow women to run the country is to violate God’s order. God says there should not be a woman president. It is as aberrant as “letting children run a household.”
According to Bates, “Barack Hussein Obama” (he repeated this full name several times) is a radical muslim who was educated in a radical muslim school. His Church is full of people who, according to Bates, hate white people. [For those who are concerned about Obama based on Bates' outrageous claims, check out this and this].
Are there some good Republican candidates? You bet, according to Bates. For instance, Tom Tancredo got it right when he recently got tough with Muslims. Bates described it like this: “if you use a nuclear device in the United States, then we will use a nuke to take out Mecca and Medina . . . [applause] . . . Brutal force is the only thing these birds understand.” Upon hearing and seeing this, I was stunned. Though I tried, I couldn’t recall the particular verse of the Bible where Jesus said, “If someone shits on you, shit on them.”
But Bates wasn’t done with the Muslims. According to Bates, the goal of Islam is “world domination under sharia law.” There are three types of followers of Islam, according to Bates. Type 1 is a revolutionary who sets off bombs. These people are terrorists. The second type is an evolutionary follower, distributing propaganda and prolifically “breeding.” The third type is a westernized Muslim who probably hasn’t even read the Koran. Nonetheless, those westernized Muslims will fall right in line, especially when those other Muslims threaten to cut off their heads or attack members of their families. The Koran “tells you “to kill and who to kill,” according to Bates. It tells you to kill Christians and Jews.
According to Bates, Sam Brownback of Kansas is misguided (too liberal) on immigration, perhaps because of his Catholic conversion. He doesn’t understand that we’ve simply got to keep those immigrants out.
What are some of the big issues of the upcoming election? National health insurance is a big issue. If we have national health insurance, it will “ruin the country. The country ends when we enact national health insurance.” What’s the evidence for this dramatic prediction? Tennessee has free government medical care, yet (according to Bates) nobody signs up for it. Therefore, there’s no need for national health insurance. Under national health insurance, Bill Clinton would have had to wait six weeks to get an appointment and six months to get his necessary surgery. National health insurance involves the “efficiency of the post office and the compassion of the IRS.” Furthermore, it will “drive the cost of health care way up.” National healthcare will bankrupt the country: “The government that can give you everything you want must, by definition, take everything you’ve got.”
Bates warns that people need to quit concerning themselves with the healthcare establishment. In fact, he’s suspicious of the healthcare system. People need to focus on preventing disease rather than treating it. They need a laugh more. “Laughter is better medicine.” People would “rather be victims-our diseases are other people’s faults.” People need to take responsibility for their own good health, said Bates, who looks to be a few pounds overweight. It all starts “with what you put in your body.” Bates then spent a serious chunk of time touting the healthcare products displayed on the tables in the lobby.
Bates explained that churches will need to get more into the healthcare business, because they have more to offer than the healthcare establishment. Churches have the courage to “tell the bums that they are bums” (I wondered what the bum lobby would think of this statement.
We have too much Blue Cross and Blue Shield. We depend too much on man and not enough on God. We’ve replaced God on the throne with government on the throne. We look to Jehovah government instead of God.
Bates announced that if anyone gets sick, it’s that person’s own fault. There are plenty of things you can do so that you don’t get sick, according to Bates. You can take regular doses of that colloidal silver I first learned about from the handouts. He announced that colloidal silver kills all bacteria. Someone in the back of the room then announced “Amen!” Gee, Larry, I wondered. Are you sure you want to kill all the bacteria in your body, including the beneficial bacteria that reside in your gut? He marched on, undeterred. Bates claims that he puts silver in his milk to keep it from spoiling. It will never spoil as long as you put silver in your carton of milk. He urged the audience to buy the colloidal silver generating kit, so they can make their own colloidal silver. He warned the audience that the FDA does not want people to know about the amazing healing powers of silver. The FDA doesn’t want the competition—it would put some big pharmaceutical companies out of business. In fact, the FDA is about to try to outlaw the use of silver as a medicine. Modern pharmaceuticals are “witchcraft.”
What else can you do to stay healthy? If you’ve got cancer, make sure you consider getting vitamin C injections. These have been phenomenally successful, according to Bates. This new knowledge about the healing powers of vitamin C reminded him that the Bible predicted “God’s plan of healing.” This kind of “new important knowledge” is another sign of “the last days.” We need to be the “salt” (disinfectant of the evil people) and the “light” (spreading wisdom). Bates warned that many believers are going to have to do God’s work on their own because churches “have been corrupted by world government.”
What would you do if you’re laid-off in the impending economic collapse? You need to get a trade. You need to do something with your hands, such as plumbing or electrical work. “The time will come when you have to barter your skills for someone else’s skills.” The End Times are apparently not going to be pretty.
The last section of the presentation was an indictment of US monetary policy. Bates pointed out that the United States now has $25 trillion in domestic debt which must be serviced, whereas the M2 money supply is only $7 trillion. This sets the stage for the economic End Times. The government can either go into default work or print fake money to dilute real wealth. He warns that the U.S. is busy printing lots of fake money. That’s what the recent $300 billion injection of “new money” was. It was used to allegedly stabilize the stock market. He warns that it would take a 7.1% added payroll tax to service our current debt, an amount that would break the backs of most families. Bates sees a massive restructuring of the social security system forthcoming, including raised taxes and reduced benefits, as well as means tests.
What can we do about the impending economic collapse? One thing is that we can make sure that no one takes away our guns, said Bates.
There will be no total economic collapse until there is total gun control. The tyrants don’t want to deal with an armed populace. The enemies of liberty hate your guns. The Second Amendment protects the First Amendment.
Here’s what else you can do, according to Bates. Elect people who will build fences to keep out the immigrants. Hone your communications skills, because the upcoming wars will be wars of world views. According to the Bible, “when you see the enemy, you’ll need to warn the city.”
As far as protecting your assets, Bates gives this advice: Stay away from “Loanership” assets, such as Money Market funds, T-bills and CD’s. They are “pieces of paper: IOU’s. Beware of real estate, in this age when the government is taxing it heavily and abusing eminent domain. Instead, load up on precious metals, such as gold and silver coins. This is especially important, given that the U.S. has long been off the gold standard, which has invited the dollar’s slide versus most currencies. He claims that you should not get gold or silver bullion because federal law gives the government the right to confiscate these in times of economic emergency.
Who’s going to buy your precious metal coins in the time of economic collapse? Bates is convincing to me when he answers that question with another question: “Who is going to buy your paper dollars?” He characterizes gold and silver as “money.” Everything else is only “credit.”
So Bates’ program includes both saving and eating silver! Where are you going to get all of those precious metals? From a reputable company like FAMC, of course. Bates tells you to buy precious coins and his company is happy to sell them to you. He told the crowd that precious metal coins are “real money” and that they will be exchangeable until the absolute end of time. Didn’t the Bible say that people will throw their gold and silver into the street? Absolutely, says Bates. But that will be toward the end, when we’ll see a “large scale transfer of wealth from the wicked to the righteous.” It’s all in the Bible, according to Bates. Up until those End Times, then, rely on precious metals, says Bates, citing Ezekiel 7:19 (“Precious metals very valuable until the time that God’s wrath is poured out”) and Haggai 2:6-9 (End time transfer of wealth using precious metals”).
Bates is not embarrassed about having money. “God doesn’t mind if you have nice things.” You should use and enjoy your money, he stresses. Have as much of it as you need, even if you use it to buy expensive houses, cars and vacations. No problem. It’s only the “love of money” that is the root of all evil. His literature cites Proverbs 28:20 (“Eager to get rich; will not go unpunished”), Ecclesiastes 2:26 (“One who pleases Him receives wealth”) and Genesis 2:11-12 (“God put gold in the earth for a reason”).
It’s hard to know how to sum up this Perilous Times Conference. The lessons taught by Bates are laced with radical conservative values, that is true. His characterizations of both Republicans and Democrats are cartoonish. His xenophobia and racism (especially toward women and people from the Middle East) are intense. His plan to capitalize upon the fears he drums up, both economic and religious, is predictable and obvious.
Bates has a ready and willing audience, because his targets are big and fat. Anyone with energy and creativity can vigorously hack away at pharmaceutical companies, drug companies, bankers, politicians and bureaucrats. If you can convince your audience that it might lose much of what it has worked for, you could readily stir up their deep fears about out-groups such as gays, women, atheists and immigrants.
Bates is playing a game that is played by many people who have some legitimate credentials. During the final portion of this conference Bates sometimes sounded like someone who was giving some reasonable economic advice based on sophisticated training. He sometimes spoke as person who relied on his training and experience in economics and banking. I am not an economist or a banker, and I have not read nearly enough to know the extent to which Bates is giving decent economic advice, though what I have read about United States fiscal policy also concerns me greatly. I’ve seen similar admonitions regarding the United States fiscal policy on “liberal” shows such as Bill Moyers. I think it is this part of the show that gives Bates the foot in the door with his audience.
Nonetheless, it is a standard trick to parlay one’s legitimate credentials far beyond the realm of one’s expertise. When Bates talks with ultra-assurance of the alleged Second Coming of Christ or when he touts the medical quackery he is so happy to peddle, he looks both naïve and devious. Shame on his audience members, though, if they really step up to buy that little bottle of fuel additive that will allegedly make their humongous SUVs get 50% better gas mileage. Shame on the people who think that the FDA is trying to outlaw silver potions because drinkable silver is so incredibly good that it would put pharmaceutical companies out of business. Shame on people who trust people who sell snake oil.
I couldn’t help but conclude that there is much in common among the sorts of people that listen to Bates and the sorts of people with whom I more commonly associate. We are all worried about our corrupt government, our poisoned food and water, our shortsighted fiscal policies, our many failing schools, our own deaths, about numerous people illegally pouring over our borders, about the many people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol and about a media with an agenda secretly dictated by those who hold disproportionate power. Many Believers and non-Believers are downright suspicious of organized religions. We differ profoundly, however, in the ways in which we would address these threats. What Bates offers is a bomb-shelter mentality. He relentlessly warns his audience of the need to hunker down and protect one’s own and let everyone else be damned.
As I left Perilous Times Conference, I wondered whether it would be an impossible task to convince the people in that audience to put down their Bibles and roll up their sleeves when they discuss politics. I wondered whether these people would ever be willing to open their minds to diverse ideas from people who might look and act differently than they do. I wondered whether Bates’ fans would ever be willing to look at their own cherished ideas as skeptically as they look at the ideas of others. I wondered whether they would ever be capable of pretending, even for a moment, that they were not under attack by all of those people of the world who they don’t know well. I wondered whether they could ever be convinced to consider that strangers are, for the most part, people with hopes, dreams and fears much like their own.
After mega-doses of Larry Bates, is it even possible for people to consider that there is a vast commonality all people share and that this could really be a starting point for a functional world view, one that is not based on paranoia?