February 25, 2019

Civilizational Collapse and Willful Ignorance

Timothy Birdnow

I found this linked at the Drudge Report today. It is an analysis of how our civilization may be on the verge of collapse. Sadly, it is running in the BBC, which means it misses the point entirely.

Author Luke Kemp (no relation to our East Coast editor) is a " researcher based at the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk at the University of Cambridge". Not sure how you get such a job, but it apparently is what appears on the man's resume'.

At any rate, Kemp argues:

I would argue that they are. Societies of the past and present are just complex systems composed of people and technology. The theory of "normal accidents” suggests that complex technological systems regularly give way to failure. So collapse may be a normal phenomenon for civilisations, regardless of their size and stage.

We may be more technologically advanced now. But this gives little ground to believe that we are immune to the threats that undid our ancestors. Our newfound technological abilities even bring new, unprecedented challenges to the mix.

And while our scale may now be global, collapse appears to happen to both sprawling empires and fledgling kingdoms alike. There is no reason to believe that greater size is armour against societal dissolution. Our tightly-coupled, globalised economic system is, if anything, more likely to make crisis spread.

View image of Building falling into sea

If the fate of previous civilisations can be a roadmap to our future, what does it say? One method is to examine the trends that preceded historic collapses and see how they are unfolding today

Dr. Kemp lists the following as causes of societal collapse:
1.CLIMATIC CHANGE
2.ENVIRONMENTAL DEGRADATION
3.INEQUALITY AND OLIGARCHY
4.COMPLEXITY
5.EXTERNAL SHOCKS
6.Randomness/bad luck

First, notice how he places climate change as the top cause, something one would expect coming out of British academia. But notice, too, the completely materialistic explanations; Kemp misses entirely the spiritual/moral/philosophical reasons civilizations collapse. This is an example of the very problem which Mr. Kemp is trying vainly to address.

It is rather like saying someone died because his heart stopped beating. Yes, but WHY?

First, he weights climate change and environmental degradation as the top two causes, when in fact they are but two physical events that could be overcome by a more vigorous society. My proof? Take a look at Britain. Britain cut down large swatches of forests, and yet went on to do smashingly well as civilizations go. Sherwood Forest was cut down to make way for farmland and communities, for example. But what did the British do? They created the coal industry, and went abroad in search of things they needed. In the end deforestation was a boon to British society.

There are plenty of other examples. North America does not resemble the continent as it was found by the first pioneers, for example. We have large swatch of farmland in what was once a depressing grassland (the prairies and Great Plains), we have MORE forest land than we had at the time of settlement courtesy of human planting, etc. Ours was a vigorous culture. We endured our share of climate change; remember the Dust Bowl, or the deep freezes during the Revolutionary War, for example. And then there was Europe, which "enjoyed" the Little Ice Age but emerged the stronger for it. The cold weather spurred innovation as people tried to find new ways to do things, to keep warm in the cold.

And what of inequality and oligarchy? Egypt, for instance, was hardly a society of equals. Few Bronze or Iron Age civilizations were.. I think placing this as third is dubious.

The last three are clearly true and require no special discussion here.

But where is the number one killer of Rome? The "barbarian invasions" were an immigration of peoples into the Empire, peoples with little or no cultural affinity with the Romans and no great love for her. Just as today we are witness to a massive influx of alien peoples into Europe and the United States (and Oceania) so too the Romans struggled with a series of alien invasions, driven by events occurring in central Asia (and the Huns). The Germans first entered the Empire in the late fourth century. By the Fifth Rome was officially considered "fallen". Kemp mentions this, but primarily as an aside; he clearly doesn't want to rock the multiculturalism boat. But multiculturalism is a societal killer, and history is replete with many a collapsed entity that was once thriving, courtesy of immigration and an unwillingness to impose cultural norms on the immigrants.

Kemp doesn't seem to understand the role of spiritual and cultural beliefs in his exegesis. I link those together because they are linked in a fundamental way. A nation's religion is vital to a national identity, and a national identity is vital to a society. Forgetting one's national identity begins with forgetting a nation's religious identity.. One of the things that wrecked Rome was the adoption of skepticism among the upper crust. Agnosticism helped to kill Rome, by making the average Roman forget his culture in favor of the faddishness of alien ideas. Many Eastern religious invaded the Empire in the latter days, and even more a spirit of skepticism overcame the Empire. People became more interested in pleasure and frivolity than in doing the hard work their forbearers endured. That is an inevitable outgrowth of a successful civilization; prosperity and plenty lead people to seek a life of leisure and enjoyment. The more prosperous the more likely a people are to move away from the very things which gave them that prosperity. The Israelites were warned of this when they first came into the Promised Land; the ease and enjoyment of living would make them reject the God who gave them their success. It happened that way, too.

Even if one wants to reject the idea that God punishes such things, the argument can be made that an indolent lifestyle leads to societal decay. Kemp ignores this precisely because he is a product of the modern era and believes absolutely in the materialism that is the bane of highly successful cultures.

The greater control a civilization has over its environment, be it militarily or otherwise, the more arrogant the citizenry become, believing they are somehow better than those who came before and thus immune to historical realities. The West has that arrogance in spades.

And so all manner of experimenting is done, with "new" ideas that are, in fact, old and rejected as failures. It's why socialism is being tried again despite a long and venerable history as a society killer. It's why sexual immorality is "liberation". It's why societies inevitably suffer from fiscal problems; there is a sense that the society can do whatever it pleases, and it pleases to live beyond its means. Rome suffered from deficit spending and inflation in precisely the same way we do today. The cause was the same, as was the solution. Romans added base metals to their coins and created confiscatory taxation. We simply create digital money to pay our bills and tax heavily almost all aspects of life. We, like the Romans, can't get enough money to do what we please.

But this all goes back to a spiritual failure. The Good Lord said "thou shalt not steal" and was ignored by the Ruling Class - in all civilizations that have fallen.

And so many collapsing civilizations find that special interests become more important than the overall civilization. Aristotle observed this in the Classical period, and he was right. A narcissistic culture is too busy navel gazing to consider the need to surrender something for the common good. What Kemp calls inequality and oligarchy is actually MULTICULTURALISM and rule by the self-styled Intelligentsia. Call it what you will, but it is always the triumph of self-congratulatory arrogance. The society splinters as some seek to impose their will on others. It is where we are now, as the Progressive project seeks to impose their will on the "country class", the old time Americans who don't want to join their Ivy-League driven Borg collective.

Furthermore, people have lost confidence in the society which has given them so very much. Everybody hates a benefactor, because it reminds them of how impoverished they truly are, be it in terms of money or wisdom. Our society has eschewed wisdom. We have a lot of knowledge, but it is all by rote, and wisdom is disdained as "old man's thinking". Time was the elderly ran the world, precisely because they had the experience to have attained wisdom. It was always understood that the young were bright, but they didn't know enough to avoid the traps and pitfalls and were reckless. But now we have flipped this on its head, with the young being celebrated because they innovate. Well, a great deal of innovation is a second try at old, failed ideas. The cult of youth in America mirrors in many ways the same problems that dying civilizations faced. People who didn't have good sense wound up running things in many of these dead civilizations.

Kemp misses most of this, which is not just a shame but shameful. He may personally understand it but, being a prisoner of academia, he simply cannot make this case because it is verboten. He would ruin his career if he were to mention any of this. And so he has to give half an answer.

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, they say. Western Civilization is in mortal peril precisely because of a little knowledge.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at 01:02 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
Post contains 1609 words, total size 10 kb.

1  Say, "Let me make sure I understand. I hear you saying that you’re upset that I didn’t tell you what time I would be home, and you wish I would have said something earlier because you were concerned.”
https://dltutuapp.com/tutuapp-download/ https://showbox.run/ https://kodi.software/

Posted by: Smith Sloth at June 07, 2020 03:30 AM (XDeuo)

Hide Comments | Add Comment




What colour is a green orange?




25kb generated in CPU 0.01, elapsed 0.3015 seconds.
37 queries taking 0.289 seconds, 114 records returned.
Powered by Minx 1.1.6c-pink.
Always on Watch
The American Thinker
Bird`s Articles
Old Birdblog
Birdblog`s Literary Corner
Canada Free Press
Christian Daily Reporter
Climatescepticsparty,,a>
_+
Daren Jonescu
Dana and Martha Music On my Mind Conservative Victory
Eco-Imperialism
Gelbspan Files Infidel Bloggers Alliance
The Reform Club
FTP Student Action
Veritas PAC
FunMurphys
The Galileo Movement
Intellectual Conservative
br /> Liberty Unboound
One Jerusalem
Powerline
Publius Forum
The Gateway Pundit
The Jeffersonian Ideal
Thinking Democrat
Ultima Thule
Young Craig Music
Contact Tim at bgocciaatoutlook.com

Monthly Traffic

  • Pages: 6998
  • Files: 1998
  • Bytes: 158.9M
  • CPU Time: 50:39
  • Queries: 292246

Content

  • Posts: 19806
  • Comments: 62141

Feeds


RSS 2.0 Atom 1.0