As Plato wrote over 2,300 years ago, societies tend to follow a predictable arc of decline after they are established. After being founded by philosopher-kings, states tend to degenerate as ever-greedier, stupider and baser people come to power. This essay charts the collapse of societies into six stages, each stage represented by a society from the world of 2018 A.D.
These six stages can be chunked into three larger stages when viewed on another level. In the first of these, the people help the Government and the wealthy and are helped in return. In the second two stages, the people are indifferent to the Government and the wealthy, and receive indifference in return. In the latter two stages, the people and the Government and the wealthy actively fight each other.
The initial stage of society can be called the Japan stage. South Korea is also here. In this stage, there are extremely high levels of solidarity. For a member of such a society, the entire nation might feel like one large extended family, where every new person you meet is like a cousin. Here there are no nations-within-nations made up of foreigners.
When a population is at this level, they will not vote for extremist parties, and the average citizen will hold a lot of faith in what they read in the newspapers and in the proclamations of Government. Political discussion is widely conducted without violence. People in these societies tend to walk around with smiles on their faces, unafraid of the future.
Europe was at this level until the turn of the century, when a combination of pressure from business interests looking for cheap labour and Marxist ideologues looking to destroy the nation state for the sake of a global command structure led to mass importation of Africans and Muslims. Many European states did not need minimum wage laws then, because solidarity was so high.
The first stage of collapse can be called the New Zealand stage. At this stage there are so many minorities and competing interests that social cohesion is beginning to falter. Big cities no longer feel like part of the nation but more like a patchwork of racial ghettoes. There is no longer a typical appearance for someone from this society, because in order to have typical anything you have to have common bonds, and those have been lost.
‘Solidarity’ as a concept is starting to be forgotten. People start to forget what it was that led to high levels of solidarity in the first place, and it’s simply assumed that the current levels will continue indefinitely. Europe is now at this stage. Major cities such as Paris and London are now so diverse that there are areas where natives cannot freely walk without being harassed, sometimes violently.
The population in this stage is split between those who benefit from the small amount of corruption and those who do not. Usually this split happens along generational lines, with an elderly group who were raised in good times thinking things are still good, versus a young group who are more aware of the state of decline. When this younger, more cynical group grows up to take power, this usually leads to the next stage of collapse.
The second stage of collapse is the America stage. At this stage, not only are there a lot of minorities but there is a waning sense of everybody being on the same team. People care more about money, and about making money, than about the nation. Actions that benefit the tribe, or the self, at the expense of the nation are taken without a second thought. Nations-within-nations are common, the “average American” merely a good-natured rube to be exploited.
At this stage, it’s possible for large moneyed interests to import millions of cheap labourers and to have the population accept it under the assumption that it’s “good for business”. It’s inevitable that the national myth will get changed at this point, from being a nation tied to an ethnicity to “a nation of immigrants”, or something else that suggests an extreme level of egalitarianism (and even fewer common bonds).
Here, people are aware of the lack of solidarity but feel powerless to do anything about it, because the term ‘solidarity’ has itself taken connotations of Communism and totalitarianism. The seeds for the next stage of collapse are sown when people stop even pretending that they belong to a coherent society, and it starts to become tacitly accepted that it’s every race, ethnicity or tribe for itself.
The third stage of collapse is the Brazil stage. This is where severe racial ghettoisation starts to begin, and solidarity starts breaking down completely, leading to an “urban jungle”. If life started to become cheap in some places in the America stage, by the Brazil stage this is a widespread sentiment. Robbery deaths from people being shot dead over a pair of shoes or a phone become common.
No-one thinks about the nation at this stage of collapse. Most people have degenerated so far that even the most enlightened can only think in terms of tribe. For most people it’s family at the most, and pure self-aggrandisement is standard practice. Greed is now the major motivating principle, with power and status closely following.
At this stage, pretenses to higher values are still made. People in general have long since stopped believing in God, but they still go through the motions; they still have hope. They just don’t have very much hope, because priests and policemen and politicians are happy to demonstrate every day that life has very little value. Many people are seen as superfluous at this stage, fit to be eliminated.
The fourth stage of collapse is the South Africa stage. Racial rhetoric is now openly antagonistic, with themes of revenge frequent. Things have gone well beyond the race-baiting of the America stage – here, politicians openly sing songs about killing members of the opposition. Many people talk openly of civil war, some looking forward to it.
Here there are no pretenses to higher values. It is accepted that God has forsaken the people. An atmosphere of hate pervades everyday relations, although this paradoxically can lead to increased solidarity among members of persecuted or beleaguered groups. Many people at this stage will be stocking up on guns and ammunition in preparation for some climactic final battle.
At this stage there is a pronounced exodus of the most productive and capable groups, who can see the writing on the wall. This immigration pattern – of the productive people leaving while more unproductive people join the society at the bottom – will trigger a positive feedback loop until the society ends up disintegrating entirely.
The final stage of collapse can be called the Haiti stage. At this stage the poor actively band together to destroy the wealthy. Here there is widespread violence, not for resources but simply out of savagery. Revenge or simple bloodlust are the motivating factors here. A society at this stage of collapse can be said to have utterly failed; a state at this level is a “failed state”.
The Haiti stage references the 1804 Haiti massacre, in which a slave revolt led to the slaughter of 5,000 men, women and children. In the total absence of interpersonal solidarity, murder and rape become standard. Any noticeable difference between groups is liable to trigger violence at a moment’s notice. A society that collapses this far will produce horrors that will be remembered for centuries.
This is, after all, the path that South Africa is on, and which Brazil will sooner or later fall into. One could even make the argument that America was on this path, and that collapsing in this manner may be inevitable. However, it might also be possible that collapse can be averted at any stage by a philosophical revolution that introduces a new paradigm and which leads to an increase in solidarity between groups in the society.
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