It appears at times as if the end of the world is an increasingly popular topic. There were, unfortunately, many people frightened by the end of one of the Mayan calendars, even though the meaning was that the calendar was supposed to start over at the beginning. Many others were scared back in 1999 over the year 2000 being an ending, and there was also the Heaven’s Gate suicide cult that happened when the Hale Bopp comet was passing close to the earth. Meanwhile there are many jokes circulating about the Zombie Apocalypse.
Although one can point out various doomsday movements that have occurred throughout history, there seems to be a particular frequency of them as well as an underlying dread that these movements feed upon. Why then are people so concerned with doomsday? The answer is that the average person is not well versed in politics or in economics.
In terms of foreign policy, the most that many people is that the USA is at war because some "terrorists" attacked on 9/11/2001. Any analysis of underlying causes immediately results in the accusation that the analyst wants to blame the USA for the many problems around the world. A full analysis shows that the United States is an empire in decline, following the path recently trod by the British Empire, or possibly by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. In either case it is clear that the United States has far less influence than in the past and that the only real remaining influence of the United States is a far overstretched military.
Domestically the people of the United States are losing civil liberties at an accelerating rate. It is quite clear to the informed observer that the United States is a police state, where the law givers and law enforcers are basically above the laws that they are supposed to protect and enforce. The law is instead a weapon to be used against ones enemies when one has power.
Finally the economy of the United States is in a tailspin only partially disguised by repeated and ever increasing doses of various types and modes of stimulus. Great Depression II started in 2007, and ever since the election of Barack Obama the press has been reporting recovery. There has been no recovery. The debate over the Fiscal Cliff shows that either those in congress don’t know how to fix the problem or don’t care to since they are not having a real debate.
None of this is new to someone who follows the issues. Yet all of this is new to those who don't, and most of it is new to those who mistakenly think they are following the issues because they pay attention to what the leader of their major party tells them. Since people are told one thing, but the evidence points in another direction, this causes a certain unease. Since the evidence points to a severe and major decline - economically, politically, and internationally - this causes even more unease.
Nobody wants to face the ugly truth of decline, those who do so only do because of a devotion to the truth overcoming a desire for false comfort. Yet the knowledge, if not appreciated consciously, is still there that there is something fundamentally wrong with the United States and the direction it is going, and much of the rest of the world as well. This creates the feeling of impending doom among those who do not study the issues, and that feeling is what the various doomsday cults feed into. The mess made by the political leaders of the United States and various other countries created this mess as well.