Empire’s end? Civilization’s end?
April 20, 2023 | Tags: Empire, PRICE OF LIBERTY, Society
Some time ago, we discussed the history of civilization and empires, and how that impacted in the past (and today) on human liberty. As we have pointed out, and especially in the last few weeks, we hear more and more people – of many political stripes – claiming that America (and perhaps the entire world) has tipped over and is rapidly sliding into complete collapse.
Not just Ukraine or Taiwan touching off a nuclear war. Not just inner city collapse in Europe or the States. Not just demographic collapse of Russia or Japan or China. Not just overt and ever-expanding tyranny in Canada or California. Collapse: the end of empires, the end of civilization: complete failure of the electrical grid over most of North America or Europe. A REAL dangerous pandemic in which tens of millions die. An asteroid creating a new Gulf of Mexico or Hudson’s Bay.
If indeed two or all three of the current significant empires (Chinese, Russian, American) are to fall sometime in the near future, what remains? In particular, what about civilization?
Is civilization doomed?
There are many christians (we here at TPOL are not among them) who believe that Armageddon is rapidly approaching: that the end of the world is upon us, and the earth is going to be destroyed. But it is not just premillennialists and other conventional religious types that do that. We have the global warming fanatics, sure that rising sea levels will not only drown billions along the coasts but apparently (in various ways) condemn the rest of us to death as well. (They don’t really explain how.) It is more than just the rise in sea level, of course. Other effects will doom us by 2050: less than 30 years from now. We also have the population fanatics: you know, the Paul Erlichs and the like with their “Population Bomb.” They have a new twist: now that people are predicting that “peak population” will take place in the next 30-50 years, the newest version of the population catastrophe is that declining populations will cause the collapse of civilization. And recently, the specter of Artificial Intelligence, Terminator or Borg style, is getting a lot of airtime.
Earlier this month, the panic-mongering Science News published a top ten list of what will bring on the Apocalypses (and it does not include victory or loss of the Indochina II Phase of the Great Asian War).
Hmmm. We here at TPOL are willing to murmur a soft, even apologetic “‘Taint necessarily so” to these claims. We recognize that these are evil times, and that we have an incredibly complex “civilization” but also one which has more opportunities and advantages than any past (known) human civilization. And we have faith: not just in the Creator but in enough people that will be able to muddle through and keep the flame of liberty and society alight.
We are NOT so confident about this American empire of DC. We again note that in a generally unfree world, there are still many other empires: even though we speak of nation-states as being the “default condition” in the last three or four centuries, that is a concept of western thinking. It doesn’t have to be that way. Many nation-states today are still imperial: where there are large and small groups of people who are part of the nation-state against their will. Whether it is a tribe of nomad or semi-nomadic people in Yukon Territory, Alaska State, the Far Eastern Federal District of Russia, or Amazonas State in Brazil. Or a half-dozen counties of NE Colorado or a dozen of eastern Oregon. Or Catalonia. Or Brittany.
Historians, and people in general, tend to associate civilizations with empires, and vice versa. However, civilizations have existed without having an empire – or being associated with an empire.
In the same way, we see historians assuming that civilization can only exist if there are “cities” – a definition which always seems to be based on modern standards. But it does not take metropoli of a million, or five or ten million, for a civilization to survive. Indeed, it does not seem to require a city or town of even a few dozen thousand to survive – and thrive. It is not difficult to argue that cities – especially the rats’ warrens of modern core urban areas – are the bane of true civilized behavior and of liberty and the fundamental building blocks of society and civilization: the family, the voluntary and beneficial communities like religious communities (congregations) and fraternal organizations and cooperative endeavors for education, distribution, manufacturing and production of what either has to be grown, raised, or mined.
When a “civilization” becomes destructive of these things – just as when a government becomes evil, corrupt, and dismissive – even wrecking these things, it is past time for that civilization AND government to be put down. Just as we do with a rabid dog or madman killer, rapist, or horsethief. (Or should.)