How Societies Are Destroyed

Discussion in 'Education' started by PoliticalChic, Sep 23, 2010.

  1. PoliticalChic
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    PoliticalChic Diamond Member

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    Victor Davis Hanson encapsulates the mostly internal processes that destroy societies:

    "1. Juxtapose pictures of Frankfurt and Liverpool in 1945, and then again in 2010 (or for that matter Hiroshima and Detroit). Something seems awry. Perhaps one can see, even in these superficial images, that something other than military defeat more often erodes societies.

    2. …why are some civilizations more vulnerable to foreign occupation or more incapable of reacting to sudden catastrophe — such as the pyramidal Mycenaeans rather than the decentralized Greek city-states? In three wars, Republican Rome managed to end sea-faring Carthage — in part through the building ex nihilo of a bigger and better navy — and in a dynamic fashion not repeated 600 years later when 1 million-square-mile, 70 million-person imperial Rome — now top-heavy, pyramidal, highly taxed — could not keep out barbarians from across the Danube and Rhine.

    3. At the end of the Second World War, the industrial centers of western and eastern Europe were flattened. Russia was wrecked. China and India were pre-capitalist. Germany and Japan themselves were in cinders. The factories of the United Kingdom (despite the 1940 blitz and the later V-1 and V-2 attacks) were largely untouched, and the United States pristine. Both countries had incurred massive debt. Yet Britain in the late 1940s and 1950s socialized, increased vastly the public sector, and became the impoverished nation of the 1960s and 1970s. In contrast, America began to return to its entrepreneurial freedoms, and geared up to supply a wrecked world with industrial and commercial goods, paying down its massive debt through an expanding economy. We thrived; yet socialist Britain did not become a West Germany, Japan, or Singapore.

    4. [Most] important still is the nature of politics and the economy. As a general rule, the more freedom of the individual and flexibility of markets — with lower taxes, less bureaucracy, constitutional government, more transparency, and the rule of law — the more likely a society is to create wealth and rebound from either war or natural disasters.

    5. We, in turn, can easily outdistance any country should we remain the most free, law-abiding, and economically open society as in our past. A race-gender-ethnic-blind meritocracy, equal application of the law, low taxes, small government, and a transparent political and legal system are at the heart of that renewal. America could within a decade become a creditor nation again, with a trade balance and budget surplus, drawing in the world’s talent and capital in a way not possible in the more inflexible or less meritocratic China, Japan, or Germany. Again that is our choice, not a superimposed destiny from someone else.

    6. [Sadly, we evince] a new peasant notion of the limited good. Anything produced is seen to come at the expense of others. Absolute wealth is imaginary, relative wealth is not. We would rather be equal and unexceptional than collectively better off with a few more better off still.

    a. The better off may or may not have “at a certain point … made enough money,” to quote the president, but I have no idea where that certain point is (or whether it includes vacations to Costa del Sol), only that once our technocracy starts determining it, there is a greater chance that my town will not have as hot water as the rich and Hondas that run as well as their luxury cars.

    7. “Spread the wealth” and “redistributive change” only occur when the enterprising, gifted, lucky, or audacious among us feel that they have a good chance to gain something for themselves (and keep most of it), or to extend to others that something they earned — or more often both motives, self-interested and collective. Deny all that, shoot their bigger cow so to speak, or burn down their towering grain, and we will end up as peasants and serfs fighting over a shrinking pie."
    (emphasis mine throughout)
    VDH's Private Papers:: Decline Is in the Mind
     
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  2. Jeremy
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    Jeremy TRANSFER!!!

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    Good read. Thanks. :)
     
  3. JBeukema
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    JBeukema BANNED

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    And to attract the barbarian hordes...
    Like ending the aristocracy and serfdom?
     
  4. Trajan
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    Trajan conscientia mille testes

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    wow we had an aristocracy? who knew?
     
  5. midcan5
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    midcan5 liberal / progressive

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    Communism collapsed in 1987, free market capitalism collapsed years later in 2008, so what is next? Obviously neither of these ideological frameworks took notice of the most obvious human characteristics: greed and stupidity. So what's next folks?

    Stages of Civilization

    From bondage to spiritual faith
    * From spiritual faith to great courage
    * From great courage to liberty
    * From liberty to abundance
    * From abundance to selfishness <<<<< we are here.
    * From selfishness to complacency
    * From complacency to apathy
    * From apathy to dependence
    * From dependence back to bondage

    Source: In the early 1700s, Professor Alexander Tyler wrote this about the fall of the Athenian republic over a thousand years ago.

    This is excellent.

    Jared Diamond on why societies collapse | Video on TED.com

    Or for an interesting timeline of America's near collapse in the 30's.

    Timeline of the Great Depression


    "Globalization creates interlocking fragility, while reducing volatility and giving the appearance of stability....We have never lived before under the threat of a global collapse. Financial Institutions have been merging into a smaller number of very large banks. Almost all banks are interrelated. So the financial ecology is swelling into gigantic, incestuous, bureaucratic banks &#8211; when one fails, they all fall. The increased concentration among banks seems to have the effect of making financial crises less likely, but when they happen they are more global in scale and hit us very hard. We have moved from a diversified ecology of small banks, with varied lending policies, to a more homogeneous framework of firms that all resemble one another. True, we now have fewer failures, but when they occur...I shiver at the thought." Nassim Nicholas Taleb
     
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  6. Charles_Main
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    Charles_Main AR15 Owner

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    I love that you think the economic hiccup we had in 2008 in any way compares to the complete economic collapse of the Soviet union in 1987. Cute! wholly inaccurate, but cute non the less.
     
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  7. lizzie
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    lizzie Zen Warrior Supporting Member

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    We haven't had free market capitalism for around 80-100 years.
     
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  8. psikeyhackr
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    psikeyhackr VIP Member

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    Let's face it, television has been a new way to brainwash kids into being stupid since 1950.

    Maybe it didn't start getting really bad until about 1970 but all comparisons ot societies from before that technology appeared may not make much sense.

    Now we get to see how the internet joins the fray. It has both advantages and disadvantages. Plenty of internet content providers don't have a vested economic interest in pushing crap information. But it allows access to more people producing junk for whatever reason that may have nothing to do with economic interests.

    Follow Twitter. Learn when someone takes their dog for a walk or gets a beer out of the fridge. At least they aren't trying to make money letting us know about that. LOL

    psik
     
  9. PoliticalChic
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    PoliticalChic Diamond Member

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    I've used the Tytler quote before, and, actually, love it...

    But you are, of course, dead wrong when you compare- in any way- communism and capitalism.

    " Marxism rested on the assumption that the condition of the working classes would grow ever worse under capitalism, that there would be but two classes: one small and rich, the other vast and increasingly impoverished, and revolution would be the anodyne that would result in the &#8220;common good.&#8221; But by the early 20th century, it was clear that this assumption was completely wrong! Under capitalism, the standard of living of all was improving: prices falling, incomes rising, health and sanitation improving, lengthening of life spans, diets becoming more varied, the new jobs created in industry paid more than most could make in agriculture, housing improved, and middle class industrialists and business owners displaced nobility and gentry as heroes.

    These economic advances continued throughout the period of the rise of socialist ideology. The poor didn&#8217;t get poorer because the rich were getting richer (a familiar socialist refrain even today) as the socialists had predicted. Instead, the underlying reality was that capitalism had created the first societies in history in which living standards were rising in all sectors of society."
    From a speech by Rev. Robert A. Sirico, President, Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty.
    Delivered at Hillsdale College, October 27, 2006
    https://www.hillsdale.edu/news/imprimis/archive/issue.asp?year=2007&month=05

    I always appreciate your use of supporting documentation. I wish more folks would incorporate same. It might be interesting, if you like, to begin a thread telling your objectins to globalization...

    May I humbly suggest that you give up your subscription to the latest incarnation of Pravda, 'Sojourners," and switch over to reading the Philadelphia Trumpet...subscription is totally free.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2010
  10. PoliticalChic
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    PoliticalChic Diamond Member

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    I think you give TV far too much credit.

    While there is plenty of blame to go around- and not much of an argument that society has been dumbed down, one can document how unionism has changed the way we see teachers' roles, and, in fact, how teachers see themselves.

    And the politicization of college and university staffs and curricular has edged real scholarship from the scene...

    But unless you see the change in society beginning far earlier, one will have a difficult time seeing the big picture.

    1. The real impetus for disintegration appears post-WWII. One interesting explanation involves the numbers of individual coming of age at the time, who must be civilized by their families, schools, and churches. A particularly large wave may swamp the institutions responsible for teaching traditions and standards.

    a. “Rathenau called [this] ‘the vertical invasion of the barbarians.’” Jose Ortega y Gasset, “The Revolt of the Masses,” p. 53. The baby boomers were a generation so large that they formed their own culture. The generation from 1922-1947 numbered 43.6 million, while that of 1946-1964 had 79 million. Would it surprise anyone if this culture was opposed to that of their parents?

    2. The human attempt for self-gratification is usually kept in check, within bounds, by religion, morality, law, and, by the necessity to work hard based on the fear of want. Much of the former was removed by the French Revolution, and in modern America, and another restriction was removed by the rising affluence of the last century; suppressed by WWI, and then by the Depression, but released by the 9-year expansion of the 1960’s. The effect of affluence was increased, multiplied, by the fact that parents, who had known the hardships of the Depression, and WWII, were determined to give their children every comfort that they could.

    a. A leader of SDS wrote :” Without thinking about it, we all took the fat of the land for granted.” Todd Gitlin, “The Sixties: Years of Hope, Days of Rage,” p. 104

    3.Not to be underestimated, the severe criticism of American propounded by liberal-to-left professors.

    a. The wave of vilification of bourgeois culture received impetus from “The Authoritarian Personality,” by Adorno, et. al., “The Authoritarian Personality,” which identified antidemocratic indicia such as obedience and respect for authority. Conservatism, of course, was another name for fascism, and represented personal pathology. In another work, they blame the Enlightenment itself and reason for the rise of fascism, but fail to see the repudiation of religion as a major factor.

    b. Daniel Bell described in “The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism” as the rejection of traditional bourgeois qualities by late-nineteenth-century European artists and intellectuals who sought “to substitute for religion or morality an aesthetic justification of life.” By the 1960s, that modernist tendency had evolved into a credo of self-fulfillment in which “nothing is forbidden, all is to be explored,” Bell wrote."
    Whatever Happened to the Work Ethic? by Steven Malanga, City Journal Summer 2009
     

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