The Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions." --American Statesman Daniel Webster (1782-1852)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Culture changes

I got this from American Mercenaryhttp://randomthoughtsandguns.blogspot.com/

I had a little sidebar conversation with FeminizedWesternMale in the comments of my previous post.  He thought that I was talking about something more than just "white privilege" in that post.  I was not, but now I am taking the time to go over with broad strokes some bigger issues.  I'm not going to talk about race (there is a huge difference in the culture of Russians, French, and Canadians even though they are all "white" races), I am going to talk about culture and civilization.  It takes time for a culture to change, adopting new ways and abandoning old mannerisms.  Culture is what makes a civilization flourish or flounder. 

It is important to remember that everyone is descended from barbarians, and everyone is only three generations away from becoming barbarians again.  But culture and civilization go hand in hand.  The Celts no longer paint themselves blue and rush into battle naked.  The Norse don't get into long boats and go viking across the North Atlantic.  Slavery exists only in the darkest parts of the world.  The Chinese empires outlasted the Roman Empire by centuries even with a rigid caste system.  Freedom as an ideal has little to do with the success of a civilization, but everything to do with the success of individuals therein.  Culture has everything to do with how long a civilization lasts.  Great Zimbabwe was a flash in the pan.  The Aztecs and Mayans sacrificed themselves to death (an extreme oversimplification but very likely).

So in the culture wars you have to take a long view.  But you also have to accept that everything changes.  If I had to pinpoint what is an asset and what is a detriment to culture it would consist of the following.

Bribery must not be an accepted practice.
Honesty as an honored public virtue.
Rule of Law enforced impartially, giving an equal protection under the law.
Hard work is viewed as admirable.
Success is celebrated, not punished.

If you have those things as a part of your culture then you will likely prosper.  Every successful modern civilization has these things.  If you don't mind living in a bronze or iron age civilization you can screw with a few.

On the opposite side of things you see the fall of empires.  The Roman empire became corrupt and rotted from within.  A corrupt Senate unable to control the finances, the continual degrading of the currency, eventually the Empire tried to contract itself and cut expenses.  By then it was too late.  You see the British Empire fade into the dustbin of history due to over extension of military expenses and "rule from afar".  A stratified society doesn't do well in the modern world.

But the lasting effects of the Roman Empire, and the British Empire, have given the world all the building blocks necessary for success. The Chinese were able to maintain a stable society for centuries by instilling the teaching of Confucius into each public administrator to maintain harmony.

It is too late for the American Empire to stop the decline.  In less than five years our debt payments to China will pay for 100% of their current military spending.  It took our ancestors two hundred years to create the greatest lending nation on earth.  In 1980 the US was the largest lending nation on the planet.  By 1990 the US was the greatest debtor nation on the planet.  Two hundred years of progress, a civil war, two world wars, and then ironically a decade of peace happened to sow the seeds of decline.

We can argue about the policies of the Reagan administration, but in the end the balanced budget passed in 1986 failed to stop deficit spending and as a result the national debt increased to where we are today.  The Democrats under Tip O'Neill became addicted to spending, and the "Republican Revolution" of 1994 only provided a temporary reprieve from an ever growing debt.  When the Democrats took over Congress in 2006 they spent like the Republican interlude had never happened.  Like Rome before us the continual devaluation of the currency to provide bread and circuses heralds the decline of the American Empire.

I alternate between despair and hope for this nation.  The lessons of history are merciless.  The best you can do now is fight for reform, prepare for collapse, and network with like minded individuals.  Unfortunately I must remember that the decline of an empire may last for generations before the fall.   And out of chaos a singular leader can found an empire.  Shaka Zulu, Ghengis Khan, Alexander, and of course their empires crumbled when they were no longer around to hold them together by cult of personality.

How would you like to live in a world where,

Bribery is just the cost of getting things done.
Honesty is a quaint notion, something for the little people.
The Law is used as a club to beat those who aren't properly connected.
Hard work is for suckers.
Success is punished, so hide your success away from the eyes of others and the taxman.

Places where this is the norm are not fun places to live, unless you happen to be one of the well connected elite.  And it is true that civilizations that follow this model can last for thousands of years, such as Egypt.  Egypt was able to keep it up for so long because their civilization offered a better alternative to what else was out there so the people put up with it.  Except for those Hebrews who decided it was better to follow a stuttering prophet out into the wilderness.

I hope that I've made a better link between culture and civilization, and how neither culture nor civilization are about race.  I could get into the genetics of it much deeper to prove my point, but I do not believe that this is necessary.

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