Are we ready? (A Baker’s Dozen ™ ways society can collapse)

As we ponder such modern societal memes as “May the Fourth” and “Cinco de Mayo” and even May Day itself, we may contemplate the idea that all societies, all civilizations, have a shelf-life. It isn’t conveniently printed on the label: No “Use by 31 DEC 2021” or “Sell by 25 December 2022” but still, no society has lasted all that long, compared to human history.

The more complex the society, the more fragile it might be. Despite (or because of) our great technological advancements, damage the network and it will go down. A complex system of interlocking, interdependent parts can become a spider web, trapping the hapless inhabitants. Leaving us unable to obtain (and provide) what we need. An entire civilization, or major society, may not collapse completely, but an entire urban area, or an entire (sometimes vast) rural area, CAN drop into chaos.

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Here are some thoughts on what can cause a society – over a large area, generally – can collapse. Perhaps we’ve even seen some in the last few decades that this has happened to. The first few are natural disasters – NOT manmade, but perhaps man-augmented by choices individuals in the society have made. Then we get to the nastier, manmade disasters.

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Primitive – and why? America in space

The recent business concerning the reentry of the Chinese Long March 5B booster over the weekend (no deaths, no known damage) triggers some further thoughts about space. (Especially since I failed to comment on the 60th Anniversary of Gagarin’s magnificent flight on 12 April 1961.)

When it comes to space exploration and the final frontier, government STINKS.

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The bizarre Chinese rocket mystery

Chicken Little is famous for racing around screaming “We’re all gonna die,” because “The sky is falling.” Because a leaf fell on her.

She has nothing on modern media outlets, writers and the twittersphere.

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A fair warning? Or panic screamed out?

We always must judge the source, as well as the content, of political writings, especially those that seek to warn us of threats. It is far too easy to exaggerate the danger, AND the probability, of something coming after us or those whom we cherish.

But at the same time, just because it hasn’t happened yet is no reason to completely ignore warnings of danger. We always face hazards, and must act (just to live our lives) while taking risks to us and others into account.

This is true, as we know, in everyday life: do I travel in this snow on icy, windy roads? Do I risk tearing off that old roof to replace it despite the forecast? Do I burn that pile of weeds today or hope the wind will be less tomorrow? Do I go ahead and get that shot, with its risks, or NOT get the vaccine and risk something differently?

But when it comes to political threats and threats of violence and other aggression against us because of our skin color, our heritage, or our political views? We find it much harder to accurately assess the risks, to clearly identify the hazards.

James Bovard has recently penned a warning that the Feds are after libertarians.

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Biden the showman? or the godfather?

It is even more common today than before the 2020 Election to portray Joe Biden as Sleepy Joe, rapidly descending into the abyss of dementia, and nothing but a tool and front of a cabal of uber-leftists and enemies of liberty.

Biden about to throw rubber chicken into the ring ...
Clown or….

His recent guest performance (basically a cameo appearance) on the reality show “FedGov Today” as a speechgiver emphasizes that perception.

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Political correctness gone rancid

Let’s face the truth. All of us practice political correctness to some degree. For example, we generally are smart enough to “not tick off the doc” (paraphrasing Tom Knapp’s recent comment). We don’t tell the M.D. that the chiropractors and holistic medicine people have it right and the MDs are a bunch of egotistical money-hogs. Even if we think they are. And I am constantly amazed at the number of people who call us “native Americans” instead of by our tribal affiliation and ancestry (or just by our NAMES). Even though they know better.

But political correctness is one of the banes of modern life – especially here in the Fifty States. We’ve put up with an ever more virulent strain of it for decades. And it is not just the “progressives” (regressives) and liberals and social justice warriors that demand it, promote it, and try to enforce it in various ways. Political Libertarians have increasingly been infected by it.

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Starvation and famine in our future?

To listen to and read many pundits, you might think so. Although I disagree, there are serious problems with the food supply around that world.

Deutche Welle had an article a few months back, about the rise in food prices, worldwide. They are the highest in six years, with six months of steady increases (and more since then). DW, like the governments (and no doubt other media), says this is due to the coronavirus pandemic.

They are wrong. The root problem is government actions.

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Worshipping the “State”

Peter stood up with the others and told the Sanhedrin, “We must obey God rather than man.”

Joshua ben Nun addressed the entire assembly of Israel, and told them, “Choose you this day whom you will serve. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

Yes, these two statements are from that horrible publication, the Bible. For me, they are the basis of why I am a lover of liberty, a “libertarian” and a “Libertarian,” a free-market anarchist. I am far from alone in this, although many so-called libertarians spurn those of us who are religious – especially those of us who are followers of the Messiah.

Many of those non-religious libertarians (including some who truly are lovers and liberty and not just some sort of limited-government advocate) are disgusted by “believers” who support the “State” and often advocate government mandates of morality and other issues.

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Passports, papers, yellow stars and “(health) Nazis”

We have some interesting times – as always.

Libertarians are at odds with one another concerning “vaccination passports” (VPP) for COVID-19. The issues are government and private business powers and rights, privacy, and efficacy. Let’s look at this in more detail.

First, the passports themselves: these are NOT a new idea, just now generally known to the public. For decades (at least a half-century), military personnel and others have generally carried a “shot card”, actually a form PHS-731, a folder as shown in the pictures below. This was always kept with your government-issue passport and updated constantly. It showed ALL your vaccines from childhood immunizations to tetanus such now outdated things as smallpox vaccination.

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City = Doom

Be prepared, this is a very nasty, critical commentary. The so-called “modern” city is doomed. Not just here in the Fifty States, but in many other places on this planet of ours. (Although American cities seem to be leading the way to destruction and death – not damnation: that is already a reality.)

Don’t get me wrong: there are many, many good things about cities. But the downside rules. Cities are bad for people: their health, their attitude, their futures. And especially for their liberties, their freedoms, and their success. More and more Americans seem to realize this, and are fleeing the cities. Not just as they have done for decades, to the suburbs. But to truly rural areas, and even more to frontier areas.

Sadly, such massive migration often brings all the troubles and attitudes of the Big City to the rural areas. Ultimately, such might destroy them as well – and civilization along with it. But the less massively-populated areas have (literally) the room and the resources (and the courage and brains) to rebuild and create a new civilization. Maybe even a better one!

Why do I come down so hard on cities? The last 50 years of events demonstrate the severe disadvantages that come with living cheek-to-jowl in the human anthills of modern megalopoli. And even more the smaller cities: I draw the line even at as few as 100,000 denizens at a density as low as a thousand people per square mile. (Doing the math, that is 100,000 people living in an area 10 miles by 10 miles.)

It is not just the physical stench, the air pollution and water pollution. The trash and crime and noise and such. It is the MENTAL stench: the fear that permeates the cities, the anger that is constantly right below the surface, the violence that can (and does) blow up any time.

It is nothing new: the problem has been there since the days of Jerusalem, Rome, Alexandria, and Corinth. Although we can’t know, I suspect it was no different in Cahokia (Illinois, 1200s-1300s) and certainly was the situation in Tenochtitlan (ancient Ciudad Mexico) and probably Bekan and Caracol (Mayan).

I’m writing from my own experience, as well as that of history. I’ve lived a fair number of years in a fair variety of urban areas, from the Ruhrgebeit on the Rhein in Germany, to Northern Virginia around DC, to the Front Range of Colorado (Metro Denver and Northern Colorado) to San Francisco itself.

I think the old classic song from Chess has it right. One Night in Bangkok has the words, “Whattaya mean? You’ve seen one crowded, polluted, stinking town…”

Cities are indeed full of opportunity, without doubt. But they are also full of danger. Not just physical danger, although that is very important, and usually much greater than in rural and frontier areas. This was not always the case, of course, and still is not in much of the world. But in the First World, at least, there is much less crime in rural areas than either suburban and urban areas. And very much less in true frontier areas. Not nonexistent, but very low by both modern and old-time standards.

But the greatest opportunities seem to be grifters of all sorts. On all levels, from the “big government/big business” end of things right down to the permanent underclass. Not just the criminals, but the welfare parasites, whether they live off of high-end government contracts (Beltway Bandits and their kin) right down to the food-stamp, Section 108 rental subsidy people. I am not saying that ALL those (either end of the wealth chart) are criminals as we usually define them. But there seems to have a higher percentage of “evildoers” in urban than rural areas.

All of which indirectly touches on the Doom of the Cities. Widespread criminal behavior erodes trust in society: you are constantly on the lookout for those trying to rip you off. And the example (remember that old Bible thing about “shun evil companions?”) can be corrupting. The less trust people have of each others, the more likely for panic to set in. And the more likely, it seems, to demand more and more control of those they fear- which is just about everyone. So when things go wrong, the potential is high that they will go really wrong, with reaction, overreaction, and with the criminal class (both private and public) eager to seize the opportunity.

When that happens, chaos spreads to far more than just the quaint little Autonomous Zones OR the various “ethnic communities” (including so-called ghettos, whether black or Jewish), chinatowns and japantowns and little Italys, etc.), and the cry goes out even more loudly for a strong man, a savior on a white horse, to restore order and prosperity. One invariably rises, takes control, steals MORE liberty, steals MORE taxes, and finally there comes a point where it all just … crashes. Doom.

Now, eventually, something takes that city’s place, usually at least nearby if not on the actual location. Jerusalem, destroyed by the Babylonians, is reestablished by Ezra and Nehemiah under the Persians. Thebes is ultimately replaced by Cairo. Babylon itself by Baghdad. Rome is trashed and virtually wiped out (reduced to a pitiful town of priests) but makes a comeback. DItto for bombed-out and subdivided Berlin. Ciudad Mexico replaces the destroyed Tenochtitlan.

But some cities are never replaced. Carthage, Tyre, Ur, Nineveh come to mind. As do most of the Inca’s and Maya cities. And certainly nothing modern replaced ancient Cahokia: St. Louis is totally unlike the ancient Mississippian Culture metropolis, larger than London or Rome at its collapse and abandonment. Same for Cliff Palace and the rest of Mesa Verde – and for that matter all of that ancient urban area: Montezuma County and Cortez are not successors except in bare geography.

But with modern technology and liberty, there is no need for these megalopoli to create and sustain civilization. And that is a discussion for another time.

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