Don’t get too excited about our society’s (or societies’) ability to survive all that much longer – at least as measured by history. Yes, it is amazing that we have gone this far, but it probably won’t last. Let’s see what we’ve survived so far, and then why we COULD go downhill quickly.
Rome did not collapse in a single day. Nor did the Ancient Regime of France, nor Czarist Russia. They didn’t even collapse in a month – no matter what the high school history books say. Indeed, it was a rather long drawn-out process that took years.
On the other hand, the more socialist and repressive regimes (and societies) seem to have far faster death spirals. Sometimes measured in mere weeks or days: Soviet Russia comes to mind, but so does both the Kaiserreich (Imperial Germany) and National Socialist Germany and Communist (East) Germany. History is filled with examples, both ancient and modern. From the neo-Chaldean (Babylonian, falling to Medo-Persian Empire) to several “modern” Third World systems in the last decade.
(I am not saying that Rome (in various forms), royal France, and czarist Russia were NOT repressive. Just that the more socialist regimes were MORE repressive. And yes, Bismarck’s and Wilhelm II’s Germany WAS socialist. Just as was the Dritte Reich and Venezuela of today.)
But that is all history: water under the bridge. How does this relate to August of 2021?
Let us look at the Fifty States. Still styled as these “United States of America.” The current (hardly “modern”) democracy and not the original republic. When we consider all the stresses, we realize that both republics and democracies can and do collapse. True republics appear to go through a relatively slow decay and deterioration in their sociopolitical and economic systems. Democracies (Even if NOT a decay product of a republic) can collapse more quickly, but usually, it takes years, even decades. Or so it seems. Except to the oblivious observer and poor student of history, who sees just the very last scene of the very last act and thinks that is all there is to it.
But it is just the climax: the last dozen pages of a thousand-page novel. The system grows more evil; the citizens more corrupt, the noose tighter. And finally, everything comes to a head. The proverbial straw is placed on the back of the poor camel. Wham!
Still, the more benign in origins and early history, the more stress a social and political and economic system can withstand. I think that there is generally more resiliency than not in a true republic. Perhaps a Jeffersonian republic. Consider the Venetian Republic. Or the Swiss. Or even (beware, white supremacists!) the Iroquois Confederacy.
I think the origins and early versions of the American Union, its society, economy, and political environment, created a rather robust system that has withstood a LOT of stress. And continues to do so, however horrific a monster we have become today. Surprisingly, with the pressures of a true Annus Horribilis (AD 2020) and one nearly as bad for the first six months of 2021, we Americans seem to be hanging in here. We have not yet collapsed and joined the bones of past societies, past empires, past political systems. For now, the stresses, the pressures, which have destroyed so many states, nations, and empires, have not yet collapsed us. (As in US.)
What pressures? What stresses?
X EXTREME WEATHER CONDITIONS – heat waves and drought, combined with wildfires and the “benefits” of lockdowns and government efforts to combat “global climate change” already resulting in food and energy impacts.
X PRESENT FEDGOV DOMESTIC POLICIES AND ACTIONS – more than just rolling back the evil Trump actions, but pushing for more and more destructive actions and requirements, and due to its overwhelming power, hitting hard on every part of society and the economy. Even while overextending its reach to the breaking point.
X PRESENT FEDGOV “HEALTH” POLICIES AND ACTIONS – AKA the Pandemic Panic and all its mandates and fearmongering, especially pushing the vaccines and again resorting to masks and lockdowns to combat their interpretation of the numbers; ultimately using “health” as an excuse for tyranny.
X PRESENT FEDGOV FOREIGN POLICIES AND ACTIONS – Seemingly designed to irritate American opponents AND allies, and to push for more instability and uncertainty, while at the same time demonstrating it has greatly exceeded its abilities, resoluteness, and resources. Inevitably
X ECONOMIC HAZARDS – A combination of the results of the Pandemic Panic, increasing regulation and encouragement of unemployment, together with attacks on various elements of the American and world economies. Tens of thousands of American businesses have taken a double or triple blow: the lockdowns closing businesses, the reduced income of customers AND the shortage of employees – all tied by many people to the governments’ response to the Pandemic.
X MASSIVE INFLATIONARY PRESSURES – Mostly the result of trillions of dollars of government printing (“digitizing”) to combat their own actions (the economic hazards listed above). While the reduced demand due to lack of income relieved some of this pressure in 2020, now it is roaring loudly, making the dollar increasingly worthless.
So again, count our blessings that somehow, someway, our States, our lives (mostly), and our society and economy have not just completely caved in. We are not suffering what has been seen in recent years and decades in Venezuela, Libya, Syria, Mesopotamia, the Balkans, or even Haiti and Cuba.
But… read the next commentary. (To be published on 4 AUG 2021.)