All things considered, this is a good time to start talking about the geopolitical big picture. As I type these words, the Russo-Ukrainian war is still under way. The assault on Kyiv seems to have been put on hold so that the Russians could focus on clearing Ukrainian defenders from the Donbass region, while pitched battles rage in the south of the country, where Russian forces are pushing north along both banks of the Dnieper River. After a month of hard fighting, Russia has seized close to thirty per cent of Ukraine’s territory and shows no signs of backing down, and sanctions from the US and its client states in Europe and the western Pacific have done nothing to dissuade the Russian government from its course.
Meanwhile blowback from those sanctions is becoming a massive economic fact worldwide, and it’s by no means certain that Russia has lost anything as a result. India, the fifth largest economy in the world, has just finished making arrangements to trade with Russia outside the SWIFT interbank system, settling deals in rupees and rubles rather than US dollars. China, the world’s second largest economy, already has such a system in place. Shortages of diesel fuel and half a dozen other Russian-sourced commodities are setting off economic crises in various corners of the world, while the specter of a global food shortage is becoming increasingly grave—Ukraine is the world’s #3 exporter of wheat, while Russia holds the top spot in that category and also supplies the world with much of its fertilizer. The US and Britain have both tapped their strategic petroleum reserves in an attempt to keep oil prices down, but it remains to be seen whether that will be more than a stopgap measure.
It’s common just now to see these events as a temporary roadbump on the route to a future of business as usual, or to blame them on the supposed personal villainy of Russia’ds President Vladimir Putin. Such evasions are as easy as they are hopelessly mistaken. They betray, among other things, a stunning ignorance of history, since this is hardly the first time that an era of economic globalization has shattered under the pressure of geopolitics. Several thoughtful writers have already noted the parallels between the present crisis and the collapse of Victorian economic globalization a century ago.
The comparison’s exact. In 1913, as John Maynard Keynes pointed out in his deservedly famous work The Economic Consequences of the Peace, a wealthy Englishman eating breakfast with the Times open before him could buy and sell assets around the globe as freely as his equivalent in the United States in 2013. The pound sterling was the indispensible global currency in those days; the Victorian era’s worldwide telegraph network filled the role of the internet, sending orders to buy and sell across seas and continents at the speed of light. Free-trade agreements far more inflexible than the current examples erased barriers to investment and exploitation. The British army and navy, backed by state-of-the-art military technology, provided the backstop for it all. The only cloud on the horizon was the rising power of Germany, which wasn’t willing to settle for second-class status in a world run primarily for Britain’s convenience and profit.
Then 1914 came, a terrorist shot the heir to the Austrian throne, and one after another, most of the nations of Europe went to war. Free trade couldn’t survive once geopolitics took center stage: every combatant nation had to slap on currency controls to keep desperately needed funds from fleeing to neutral countries, and neutral countries responded accordingly, while sanctions and countersanctions among the contending alliances shredded the trust that made global trade work. By the time the war finally wound down in 1918, the global economy of the Victorian era was shattered beyond repair. Attempts to restore some semblance of it in the 1920s helped set the stage for the global economic disaster of 1929. Once the Great Depression hit, free trade was utterly discredited in the minds of most people, and fifty years passed before the United States set out to copy Britain’s imperial strategy for its own benefit, leading to our present situation.
Britain in 1913 was the world’s richest and most powerful country. Britain in 1918 was a half-shattered economic basket case, so close to bankruptcy that it was never able to pay off its First World War debts to the United States, and so strapped for ready cash that when Ireland rose in revolt against British rule, the British government crumpled and let go of its oldest and most thoroughly looted colony. It took only four decades after 1914 for the rest of the British empire to come crashing down, reducing Britain from its previous status of global hyperpower to the ignominious role of US client state propped up mostly by money laundering operations in the City of London. That’s what happens to nations that get too dependent on economic globalism.
Could something similar happen to the United States? Of course it could. Right now, according to credible estimates, the United States extracts something like US$1 trillion a year in unearned wealth by way of the dollar’s role as global reserve currency and medium of big-ticket trade. That’s what gives the US government the ability to throw around trillions of dollars it doesn’t have on international adventurism and domestic pork-barrel projects. If that goes away—if the US government can no longer run up debt, and has to pay for its expenditures out of its own income—most of the facade of American prosperity will come crashing down, the colossal corporate-welfare programs that support big business in this country will run out of cash, and US global hegemony will be a thing of the past.
We may be seeing the opening rounds of that transition right now. Visit a grocery store here in the United States and the week-over-week price increases in many products are far higher than the official (and heavily doctored) rate of inflation. While you’re there, notice how many shelves are bare, or have had products spread out across them to conceal shortages—you know, the way things happened in the Eastern Bloc countries before they collapsed. The wheels are coming off the dollar-denominated (and -dominated) global economy as we speak, and the consequences will include drastic redistribution of wealth between nations—and between classes within nations. That wealthy Englishman Keynes imagined at his breakfast table in 1913 was a lot less wealthy in 1933, and by 1953 he was a good deal less wealthy still.
All this is worth watching, especially though not only for those of us who live in the United States. As I noted earlier, it’s beginning to see some discussion on the fringes, which is where you find straight talk about unwelcome realities these days. I’d like to take a step further back, however, and look at what’s happening in the cold light of a broader historical shift.
I mentioned the British Empire a few paragraphs back. In 1500 the idea of a British Empire would have seemed absurd, had anyone imagined it at all. In 1500 those people elsewhere who paid any attention to Europe at all thought of it as a bleak, damp, mountainous subcontinent stuck onto the western end of Asia, inhabited by a clutch of little nations mostly notable for their odd religious beliefs and their propensity for murderous internecine warfare. As it had been since ancient times, Europe was on the fringes of the civilized world: a belt of great imperial nations slicing across the southern end of Asia, through the Middle East, to West Africa.
(West Africa? Yes. West Africa had cities before Europe did, and was a major center of urban literate civilizations when most of Europe was inhabited by illiterate Germanic tribes who thought Roman ruins must have been built by giants. In 1500 West Africa was dominated by the Songhai Empire, a sprawling political entity that ruled most of the westward bulge of Africa south of the Sahara, extending from the great cities of Timbuktu and Gao west to the Atlantic. Until 1591, when the Songhai Empire broke apart after a disastrous defeat in a war with Morocco, it was larger, richer, and militarily more powerful than any nation in Europe. The fact that you’ve probably never heard of it, dear reader, says quite a bit about the essentially parochial nature of modern Western education.)
The Chinese Empire, the Mughal Empire in India, the Persian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Songhai Empire: those, and a few dozen smaller nations scattered around their flanks, from Japan in the far east to the Wolof kingdom in the far west, were the civilized world. Europe was on the periphery, and the smart money—if anyone had been placing bets—would probably have assumed that its quarrelsome little statelets would shortly be swallowed up by the burgeoning Ottoman Empire. That nearly happened, too: if European forces hadn’t won the naval battle of Lepanto in 1571 and withstood the two Ottoman sieges of Vienna in 1526 and 1683, chances are that much more of Europe, and quite possibly all of it, would have been conquered by the Turks.
One of the commonplaces of history, however, is that peoples on the periphery innovate while peoples in the core repeat the same motions. That’s what Europe did. Europeans didn’t invent gunpowder, cannons, or long-distance deepwater sailing vessels—the Chinese had all of those centuries before they trickled west to Europe—but once these technologies arrived, those bellicose European countries pushed them further than anyone else had yet gone. By 1500 tall ships capable of crossing oceans were putting out from every port on Europe’s Atlantic coast, armed with cannon superior to anything else afloat.
Trade was the first item on the agenda—trade with India and China, to get access to Asian luxury products without paying the exorbitant markups charged by Turkish and Arab middlemen—but the discovery of the Americas changed everything, especially after Old World diseases wiped out 95% of the New World’s native population and left the field wide open to European colonization and settlement. It took less than two centuries for Europe to impose a new economic structure on the planet, as European navies and merchant fleets monopolized international trade, and European colonies in the New World worked mostly by slaves imported from Africa turned out fantastically lucrative crops of tobacco and sugar for sale around the world. European armies followed in the wake of the merchant fleets, invading and seizing most of the planet in history’s most spectacular orgy of conquest.
The economic consequences of that era of slaughter and plunder are relevant for our present purpose. In 1600, India was the wealthiest nation on earth. In 1900, it was one of the poorest. That didn’t happen by accident. It happened because the British Raj stripped India to the bare walls and sent the proceeds home. The astounding wealth that financed Britain’s global military presence and littered London with so much monumental architecture came from the ruthless exploitation of India and dozens of other countries. The same thing is true of most other European countries and capitals. Most talk about the world’s undeveloped countries these days goes out of its way to avoid acknowledging that the Third World’s poverty was caused by European expropriation of every scrap of movable wealth that wasn’t nailed down.
It’s the aftermath that matters now. In 1947 India forced a bankrupt and battered Britain to grant it independence. In 1949 China threw off a weak Nationalist government dependent on Western powers. In 1979 Iran—that’s what Persia is called these days—got rid of an American puppet-shah. Turkey managed to maintain a precarious independence after the Ottoman Empire was dismembered by France and Britain in 1918, and is well on its way to recovering its historic dominance over the eastern Mediterranean. West Africa’s still a basket case, but that’s largely because French and US troops are keeping it that way. (The last thing anyone in NATO wanted, once the oil crisis of the 1970s hit, was another oil-rich region getting expansive ideas of its capacity for international influence, the way the nations of the Persian Gulf did.)
That is to say, the civilized world is recovering from the impact of Europe’s temporary rule.
The consequences can be traced easily enough in economic terms. As already noted, even given the distortions of the wildly inflated financial sectors of Europe and the United States, China today has the second largest economy on the planet. India has the fifth, and it’s the fastest growing major economy in the world. Iran’s still laboring under harsh sanctions, but it’s become a regional economic power with a booming industrial sector; once the sanctions binding it crack—and they’re cracking—expect it to become a major economic, political, and military force. The rest of the old belt of civilized nations, west from the Iranian border to the Atlantic coast of West Africa, is still a little behind the curve, but give it another hundred years and the natural economic advantages of the old civilized belt will likely win out.
And Europe? Sclerotic, fussy, entitled, clinging to the shabby dignity of an age of empire that’s fading in history’s rearview mirror, and weighed down by demographic contraction that’s been accelerating for a century, Europe is the past, not the future. William Butler Yeats saw it a century in advance: “What discords will drive Europe into that artificial unity—only dry or drying sticks can be tied into a bundle—which is the decadence of every civilization?” The European Union fulfilled his prophecy to the letter, and is proceeding to finish up Yeats’ grand historical cycle by sinking into a final incoherence out of which, in time, something wholly new—and wholly unacceptable to the conventional wisdom of Europe-as-it-is—will be born.
It’s always that way. J.R.R. Tolkien, arguably the twentieth century’s great master of mythic narrative, crafted a fine poem titled “The Hoard” that draws on ancient insights into the cycle by which empires and civilizations rise and fall. It follows a splendid treasure from one owner to another, dwarf to dragon to human king, carrying the curse of decay and doom with it. The treasure, as Tolkien knew well, is the hvarena, the treasure of sovereignty out of archaic Indo-European lore; it’s the gold of the Rhine—some rich Roman’s hoard, perhaps, in the original sequence of events—which helped drive murderous feuds in the post-Roman Rhineland, inspired the greatest of all cycles of German and Norse legend, and provided the central theme for the last truly great work of Western opera, Richard Wagner’s tetralogy The Ring of the Nibelung. Tolkien’s words make a fine epitaph for Europe in its decadence:
The swords of his thanes were dull with rust,
His glory fallen, his rule unjust,
His halls hollow, and his bowers cold,
But king he was of elvish gold.
That’s the curse of power. Every nation, like every generation, passes from a youth full of ideals and high hopes to an old age defined by the exact mathematical consequences of its actions. The old belt of high civilizations had its own burdens and its own decadence to pay for, and paid for them. Now, its strength renewed, it’s rising, while the bill for Europe’s age of dominion is being totted up patiently by old Father Time, for payment in full. It shouldn’t be surprising, after all, that the nations that dominated the world during the preindustrial era should be in line to dominate it again as the industrial age winds down.
This, finally, is the wider context in which the Russo-Ukrainian war and its attendant economic convulsions need to be understood. The great question of early twenty-first century geopolitics was whether Russia, with its immense fossil fuel, mineral, and agricultural resources, would align with Europe or with rising Asia. It would have been quite easy for Europe and the United States to have brought Russia into a pan-European structure of alliances and economic relationships. All that would have been required is a reasonable attention to Russian concerns about national security and a willingness to put long-term goals over short-term profiteering. European and American leaders turned out to be too inept to manage those simple steps, and as a result, the question has been settled: Russia is turning east, throwing its resource base and its political support to China, India, and Iran. That didn’t have to happen, but it’s too late to change it now.
And the United States? We did what peripheral powers often do in ages of decline, when the imperial center begins to fold. We grabbed the reins of empire in 1945, when Britain was too weak to hold them any longer, and tried to make the same gimmick work for us. It didn’t work very well, all things considered. Now we’ve backed ourselves into the same trap that caught Britain in 1914: lethally overcommitted to an unaffordable global empire, hopelessly dependent on a global economy that’s cracking at the seams, and unable to realize that the world has changed. The next few decades will be a rough road for us.
That said, it’s the European age that’s ending, not the American age. The American age hasn’t begun yet. The United States these days is a Third World country catapulted by a chapter of historical accidents into a temporary position as global hegemon. Its Europeanized elites, in the usual Third World fashion, are a small minority maintaining a tenuous temporary mastery over restless masses that don’t share its ideals and its interests, and are beginning to sense their potential power. America is still young, and pregnant with the future; centuries from now, long after the European veneer has been thrown off, she will give birth to something else wholly new, and it will inevitably be even more unacceptable—and indeed wholly incomprehensible—to the conventional wisdom of Europe-as-it-is.
But of course that conventional wisdom will no longer exist by then. If history follows its usual track, by the time the future high culture of eastern North America begins to emerge, the age of European global dominion will be a distant memory, and Europe itself will have spent many centuries in its pre-imperial condition: a fragmented, impoverished, bellicose region on the faraway fringe of the civilized world. Its peoples and cultures, for that matter, may not have much in common with those residing there now. Nearly all the nations of Roman Europe went out of existence in the post-Roman era, swamped by mass migrations from elsewhere. At the beginning of the Common Era, the ancestors of today’s Spaniards lived in Ukraine and the ancestors of today’s Hungarians lived closer to China than to Hungary. In the same way, a millennium from now, many of the people who live in Europe may trace their ancestry to today’s Middle East or sub-Saharan Africa, and the historic nations of Europe will be forgotten, erased by tides of migration and conquest that establish new boundaries and new polities.
History is no respecter of persons, and it has a particularly harsh way of treating those who think their sense of entitlement matters in the great scheme of things. That’s worth keeping in mind, as we move deeper into an era of convulsive change whose consequences most people haven’t yet begun to gauge. Over the months to come, we’ll talk more about that, and about the consequences that are likely to follow from it.
Dear JMG – I’ve been waiting for your comments on Ukraine. I whole heartedly agree with your words, “Russia is turning east, throwing its resource base and its political support to China, India, and Iran. That didn’t have to happen, but it’s too late to change it now.”
When the Soviet Union fell, I was in my late 20s, my last vestiges of “ideals and high hopes”. At the time, I was genuinely surprised that we did not force Europe to drag the FSU into the arms of Gorbi’s “Common European Home.” I was sure that we’d learned the German lesson – the Versailles 1919 treaty’s treatment of Germany assured the next conflict. And we, the US, were against it then. When the US triumphed in 1945 we saw that Germany was firmly anchored in the center of the next Europe. With this lesson in hand, we would have brought Russia into the West, once and for all erasing that line of demarcation from the Great Schism of 1054 and possibly even the Triumvirate divvying up the Roman Empire into East, West and Egypt.
But we blew it. Our triumphalists were too busy pointing and laughing at Russia’s suffering in the ’90s to make anything like good decisions.
As for the minutiae of the war itself, I am solidly with the Ukrainians. The war crimes committed by the Russian Army can be laid squarely at the feet not of Russian Culture but rather of their military culture – leadership, officers and the virtually non-existent corp of professional non-commissioned officers. And, if the populations of Russia’s near abroad aren’t terribly interested in claiming that honor of being part of Greater Russia, well, I think their voices should be heard. But using this conflict as a way to “finish off” Russia is a terrible idea. Besides, Russia’s own demographics (their next 40 years) will have much more to say on this matter than I ever could.
I unfortubately agree with you. I’ve been talking about this and about collapse for over a decade and I’ve been ridiculed, insulted and belitled for it. I suppose that is to be expected.
I see the Russian Ukrainian war as the last chance for my country to wake up from it’s slumber. Otherwise,in the next 20 to 25 years we will people see burned alive by religious reasons, when the North African United front will invade is.
An excellent, concise overview of our times in the context of the tides of history. Thank you!
“Come gather round people wherever you roam
and admit that the waters around you have grown
and accept it that soon you’ll be drenched to the bone,
for the times they are a ‘changin’.”
For those who can tolerate video, an intersting series on the effects of sanctions on aviation: https://www.youtube.com/c/MentourNow/videos.
Bravo, again, JMG. Since you have been beating the tar out of my past history teachers, high school and college, in posts like these for the past 16 years, I have been been regretting the “essentially parochial nature of modern Western education.” Thank you for another lesson and your continued hard work.
@JMG thx — very sublime essay — looking forward to the discussion on convulsive changes coming our way, including our natural resources, like water http://powell.uslakes.info/level.asp
(this continued drop is absolutely fascinating — and it is all internal — so we won’t be able to blame “the other” — or will we???)
It looks like Germany as a collective and a culture has a death-wish.
Currently we are having the most incompetent government ever.
On top everything is rotting: The Infrastructure, the industry, the churches.
After the C19 destructions now our regime pushed the fast-forward-button by imposing sanctions on Russia that are self-destructive.
When the gas is shut off, the country is finished.
What a time!
KevPilot, I remain convinced that the slackjawed, blank-eyed idiocy with which the US blew its chance to bring Russia into its camp as an ally and a major economic and political partner will go down as one of history’s supreme examples of political stupidity. As for the current conflict, truth is the first casualty in war, and I assume as a matter of course that neither I nor you nor anybody outside the war zone has any idea who’s actually done what to whom in Ukraine; we’ll see when the rubble stops bouncing.
Whispers, it’s to be expected, yes, but it’s also unfortunate — and being proved right is hardly a consolation. Have you considered emigrating before things get too bad?
Goldenhawk, excellent! A fine musical summary.
Yorkshire, thanks for this.
Mac, it depresses me to see how little use teachers and textbook writers have made of the abundant information about world history that’s available these days. In terms of my own training and research, I’m a historian of ideas who’s focused his work almost entirely on the history of Western occultism, and on specific sub-fields within that narrow subject; there are tens of thousands of scholars and writers out there who are better equipped to do an able summary of world history with a less parochial focus…and with a handful of exceptions, I hear crickets instead.
Jerry, that’s really getting worrisome. I suspect it’s because there’s no one else to blame that the state of the Colorado basin isn’t getting any attention.
B3rnhard, thanks for this. From my perspective across the Atlantic, the behavior of the German government looked as though it had reached truly American levels of incompetence and folly; it’s interesting to hear someone who’s there on the scene saying the same thing. I hope you’re prepared either to weather hard times or to emigrate.
I agree about Russia. Putin and his gangster regime didn’t have to happen. There was a chance in the 90s of turning Russia into an ally and friend of the United States the way Germany became after the war. The Russians wanted to join the West at that time just as Ukraine does now. Instead the West helped the oligarchs plunder the country and did nothing to help cushion the transformation back to capitalism. If the IMF had paid Russian pensions during the depression of the Yeltsin years Russian attitudes to the west would be very different. As a result Putin came to power capitalising on Russia’s sense of humiliation and has promised to make Russia great again. Many Russians have concluded that the West is hostile to them and regard NATO as an enemy military alliance which needs to be resisted.
@ #7 and #8:
Thanks to you John and other great authors from the US, I started prepping just when the C19-madness started. Boy oh boy that was just early enough.
Now the prices for land are going through the roof and you can hardly get a hand on building material for a decent price, if you get it at all.
IMO it is easier to stay in your home-country outside big cities, where you know the people and the terrain.
BTW: I wonder where the Russians will stop this time, hope not in my garden.
Being a cold-war-kid, I remember a sarcastic sticker:
“A atomic bomb can spoil your whole day!”
Another outstanding essay that helps current events become more clear. I have considered the fall of the U.S. Empire to be cheered on by the rest of the world for over a decade now, but that was in the context of the Long Descent – and overshoot. I hadn’t really considered the role of Europe in how the longer term changes will play out, but it appears there’s animosity left over for them as well. I suppose Australia, New Zealand and Japan will suffer some related blowback too, being “western” and all.
The world’s major population centers have been in south and southeast Asia for numerous millennia, so it’s part of a cycle for that area to bubble back up to the top. And with populations that are far better equipped to handle the fallout of overshoot, and less energy available to live, it seems “baked in the cake”, if you will.
As for the Ukraine, I agree that it’s difficult to tell the good guys from the bad at this point. There may be no good guys. But coming on the heels of the Covid fiasco and Great Reset, I know where my money is riding…
Store shelves here no longer look so empty but that’s because the stores are rearranging and reducing the amount of shelving, touting it as a move ‘to better serve the customer’. The local Shaws has already done it and
the local Walmart has been noisily moving stuff about. I haven’t been to Home Depot yet, but they are probably doing the same thing.
My suspicion about Kyiv is that the conscripts rounded up in Belarus and Russia were funneled here as cannon fodder for the Ukrainians to shoot at while more experienced troops busy themselves carving out chunks of Eastern Ukraine never to be returned at least for the foreseeable future. Hungary now has a pro-Putin leader, so the Kremlin is slowly rebuilding its East European client states as a buffer against the West.
It’s been absolutely stunning to watch the west shoot itself in the foot even to the point of running out of feet to shoot itself in. I doubt they could have done a better job of sinking what little remains of their own power and credibility if they’d tried. Goodness’s sake, they’ve even been alienating India by badgering it over cutting ties with Russia.
Then there’s the foiled regime change operation against Pakistan’s PM Imran Khan through a vote of no-confidence (David Lu, the US official Khan accused of helping to orchestrate it, offered an evasive answer when asked point blank in an interview with Hindustan Times if those accusations were true, all but confirming his involvement). Khan has avoided the ouster by getting the president to dissolve parliament and call for new elections (though the supreme court might yet dismiss the motion), and if Khan’s party wins those elections, Pakistan, a long-time US ally/puppet, is now bound to turn eastward as well.
The cognitive dissonance I am experiencing here in my little corner of England is blowing my mind. Almost to all intents and purposes we are back to normal. Back to work, no mask mandates, the pubs are full, people are going on holiday. Lots of handwaving about evilly evil Russians and grand arch evil Putin being evil. Also, prices are going ballistic. But still nobody I know, literally not one single person, is acting differently. When I suggested to a couple of neighbours that I was stockpiling staples and going without heating, one said that maybe she should get some bags of rice and pasta in ( the thought had not occurred to her). The other was seriously annoyed with me, for “bringing her down”. I now keep my trap shut a la Eliphas Levi, in this mundane area of my life too!
2 decades ago, I emigrated from Africa to England. I love where I am – I live in a tiny house in a working class town and my little house is surrounded by trees. My heart sank into my shoes when I read your suggestion to poster Whispers to consider emigrating. Emigration is a traumatic experience, even if done voluntarily. I know from personal experience. And also: where to? With respect, America does not seem so attractive a destination either…
Thanks again JMG, I love these excursions into the likely future and the reminder of the true nature of history. Most of all, I appreciate your ability to eviscerate the Progress Narrative.
Before their empire fell apart, the British were particularly partial to the Whig narrative of History leading to Inevitable Progress. Events proved them wrong and the more recent narrative of American Exceptionalism will also be proven wrong by events.
Fasten your seatbelts folks, we’re in for a bumpy ride!
I wrote this over at my place today
At best, I have a rough outline of just WTF is going on over in the East European Plain. There is so much ******** flying around from all sides that if you think you really know what is going on, you are in fact the bigger fool. War is hell. This is a war. There are no noble knights, the parties are all dirty.
What I do think is that Sam Huntington was right.
The “international community” that we keep referencing is the EU and the Anglophones. We are the descendents of Medieval Christendom, nothing more. We are the descendents of the Crusaders, Nothing less.
We of the west had a good run after WWII. Life was sweet and the world was our oyster. But the world has turned and our time is passing. Like a lot of old people, we still try to keep up, but the world races ahead of us and we are simply falling further behind.
We will end up losing at the fringes. We might be able to eke out some tactical victories. But we will lose in the end. Why we will lose is simple. We have bet the farm on the idea that we know what is best for everyone. The truth of the matter, the system we are trying to put in place is only good for us.
The nature of the world is that of a zero sum game. The nature of energy, the environment and economics is a zero sum game as well. Now, saying that makes me a crackpot. But it doesn’t make it wrong. The western civilization based its wealth on taking a skim off of everyone else.
Other folks now have the ability to say no to paying the vigorish.
Tying this in to your Deindustrial Reading List from TAR, can you recommend any books on the empires you mentioned that would work with the “history of a dead civilization” part?
I have considered emigrating, but so far I won’t. For the next two or three years I’ll keep doing what I do now and keep doing my best to warn my friends (the normal kind but also polytheists, animists and occultists) of what is bound to happen. After that, I’ll have to decide where to go: if one of the countries where I have friends (south of the USA, England, Finland, Belgium), a safe place (Iceland, Ascension Island, South Georgia) or if I stay put to help those I love brace for impact (and invest in fire extinguishers).
The idea that our leaders (in the west) are sane, educated, knowledgeable, and competent couldn’t be farther from the truth. How they can miss the developing trends and be so oblivious to the consequences of their actions, disqualifies them as leaders! They have managed to create a global crisis and a European tragedy from a situation that had relatively straight forward solutions.
Re: your reply to KevPilot
“As for the current conflict, truth is the first casualty in war, and I assume as a matter of course that neither I nor you nor anybody outside the war zone has any idea who’s actually done what to whom in Ukraine; we’ll see when the rubble stops bouncing.”
Truth is the first casualty of war even when we have a reasonably objective media. Today our media has it’s own objectives – instead of informing us it seeks to herd us to a conclusion. I have not paid a lot of attention to the daily news reports of the Ukraine invasion because I can’t be sure how much is fact and how much is fabrication. I’m less confident than you that we’ll learn the truth even when the rubble starts bouncing.
Another great piece on the present situation, and the implications for the future. I went on vacation to Vegas last week, and my return flight was cancelled. So, beginning Sunday night, I actually drove from Vegas to my home in the Great Lakes region. The experience was surreal, and I witnessed, firsthand, both the collapsing infrastructure of the United States and just how non-European the average American really is.
Outside of elite circles, and wannabe elites vying for the handful of openings in the elite class, European culture is already dead in America. Not much has replaced it, yet, and I wonder how well we will fare when we have no real culture to speak of. I’ve tried to recover some of the local culture that was lost as the crass consumerist culture took firm control of American society in the 20th century. But it can be quite worrisome.
I’ve also made the conscious choice to reject any identity or designation as “European-American.” All of my ancestors came from Europe (if my genealogical research and DNA test are accurate), yet I am not remotely European. No more so than today’s Spanish and Hungarians are really Ukrainian or Chinese. I don’t know where I go from here, but I hope my tamanous will guide me.
P.S. I want to thank everyone who gave me advice last week about learning sewing. I didn’t get to respond to everyone, as I got overwhelmed on vacation (there was more to it than the cancelled flight). So, thank you all.
When I think of the future of post-Industrial Europe, I’m often reminded of the Great Replacement Conspiracy video that came out on YouTube a couple years back and sees renewed interest every few months since then. The cry of “We will not be replaced!” coming from those folks about Jews, Muslims, or whatever group they’re pointing at now makes me chortle. As if history gives us a choice.
Speaking as a Latino man, I’m fully aware that the future inhabitants of America are probably going to look closer to me than my Caucasian neighbors. I’m also aware that those future Merigans won’t be anything like me in their genetic or “ethnic” make-up or share any kind of cultural heritage with me at all. Unless the cult of Cheese Doodles survives into the next few centuries, of course ;).
Let me say you again that I think that you are a genius.
Greetings from Spain.
Seconding Miow here…
Emigration sounds all nice and well, but whereto?
We did consider moving someplace else, but decided to stay put for now, because we seriously didn‘t see a better place to be in right now.
The US, with all due respect, has its own set of problems coming up (and I‘m not keen on emigrating there just to end up in your next civil war).
Canada, New Zealand, Australia (the classic „dream countries“) have gone as stark-raving bonkers as my home country Germany, and the latter two have their own set of geopolitical issues carved out.
Another European country? Maybe, but I can‘t really see one right now which would offer a better and secure enough perspective for the next few decades to be worth giving up everything we have here.
Anything else is far away, culturally very different, and also has their own respective set of issues.
So, for now, we‘ve decided that here is the best place to be for us – knowing fully well that this might change at some point.
However, I really would appreciate people‘s insights and points of view with regards to this question (i.e. not just JMG‘s, but everybody‘s).
If you could choose freely right now, where do you think would be the the best place/country to live for the next X decades, and why?
Looking forward to your thoughts!!
I think ultimately, as oil gets scarce and expensive, power will flow to those who can hold onto the land it lurks under and those who can pump it out. I think Russia just demonstrated that, with much sniveling and whining as the realization hit. Their oil, their rules.
But they’re not the only place out there. I’d look for Texas to start flexing at some point too. All the places where there’s still decent oil to be found. It wouldn’t surprise me if Europe was part of some Neo-Ottoman or Caliphate by then of this century.
Part of what made europe um, great, was all the plundering and piracy but there also was a good chunk of just absolutely stunning thinking in the STEM sector as well. You don’t see the likes of Riemann anymore. Where’s today’s Euler? Point him out to me, please. Where is he? They went from Mozart to – what? Conchita Wurst?
May I echo Mac and agree that yes, your essays have kept me coming back for about 12 years. Had history been taught this way in our country, what a different world we would live in now! It is totally possible to highlight the historical cycles and abuses of the past, without turning them into fodder for further abuses. Thank you!
I’m thinking about how the loss of the west’s hold on power is going to combine with the long descent. I agree that power is passing out of US and Europe’s hands, and the ability of these countries to continue to use much more of the Earth’s natural resources than their population would indicate is decreasing, quite rapidly at this point. But the nonrenewable resources pie is shrinking at the same time. This tells me that the powers that rise to occupy the space being given up by the US are not going to rise to the same resource intensity per person as seen in the US over the past 70 years or so.
I’m also wondering whether they’re going to be able to project power on a global scale as effectively with lower resource availability. Britain when in power had a much lower resource use per person than the US, and they managed to directly rule 1/4 of the earth at one point. This suggests that, at least in the earlier part of the downslope, very large empires should be possible.
But earth’s population was a lot smaller at that point than it is now, so the surplus left over after basic survival of human beings is likely to be smaller until well into the downslope. There’s also a lot less land and renewable resources like fish and trees per person than the british empire was dealing with, and more persistent pollutants already in the environment. And getting at the remaining nonrenewable resources is much lower return on the resources you’re investing.
Once you get into dark ages, you do tend to end up with a lot of small polities fueding with each other. So at the bottom of the cycle, I would expect very little in the way of large empires.
Good work JMG. I wonder if these current iterations of ancient Eurasian and south Asian civilizations harbour a great deal or even just a little resentment over the abuse, disenfranchisement, and severe mugging suffered at the hands of European/American (including Canadian) powers. Of course, a lot of this is just how things go: what goes up will come down… But I wonder if older civilizations with their long civilizational memory might not keep track of events and simply bide their time. Seeing how things are going, they simply know “This is it. Harness up, everyone. Let’s go.”
Robert, the thing to keep in mind is that based on observed behavior, the Russians are right about NATO and the West. The West is in fact hostile to them and NATO is an enemy alliance. That’s why Putin is so popular in Russia: many people see him as their bulwark against a return of the Yeltsin era, when Russia was plundered like a conquered province.
B3rnhard, fair enough. That’s certainly one strategy.
Drhooves, exactly. Australia’s fate rides on just how close it gets to India and just how quickly it manages to distance itself from the United States and Britain — as yet, that’s anybody’s guess. One way or another, the likelihood of mass migration from Indonesia is fairly high.
Jeanne, the Shaw’s here in East Providence hasn’t yet started reducing shelving in the main part of the store, though they’ve redone their produce department to hide the decrease there. I bet things get very, very spacious as we proceed.
Valenzuela, yes, I’ve been watching that as well. You’ll know that Pakistan has definitely left the Western camp when it signs a comprehensive peace treaty with India; I expect that within the next decade at most.
Miow, thanks for this. I know migration can be traumatic, but sometimes it’s the best option. As for the eerie calm, interestingly, that’s something a lot of people mention in historical accounts of the end of a historical era. Nobody reacts…and then the roof falls in.
Raymond, yep. We have vast amounts of Whig history on tap here in the US, doing its usual job of getting in the way of understanding.
Degringolade, exactly. Not that I expect more than a very few people in the US and Europe to realize this!
Jeff P., hmm! It’s been long enough since I last read up on any of those empires that I’ve long since lost the sources. Let me consider a new reading list.
Whispers, fair enough. As long as you know what you’re in for.
Hywel123, that’s standard in the decadence of empires. The ruling caste may be smart in an abstract sense but they’re so insulated from the consequences of their decisions and the relaities on the ground that they can’t help but be hopelessly inept in practical terms. Did you ever read about the last Tsar of Russia, completely baffled by the Revolution — “But the people love me!” It’s the same sort of thing.
Christopher, our news media is about as objective as it’s ever been — that is to say, not at all. Media is by definition a venue for propaganda. It’s in the longer term that the facts finally trickle out.
Brenainn, thanks for this. That must have been a trip, in every sense of the word.
StarNinja, exactly. A dozen generations of intermarriage and genetic drift in conditions of significant relocalization, and the peoples of the future nations of North America won’t look or talk anything like any current ethnic group, no matter what origin we’re discussing.
Anselmo, thank you, but I think I’m just fortunate to have some common sense in a time where that’s in extreme short supply.
‘China today has the second largest economy on the planet.’
A minor quibble but China arguably has the largest economy in the world today and probably has had for over a decade now. My rough estimate would be it’s somewhere between fifty per cent and a hundred per cent larger than the US economy and the gap keeps widening. US GDP figures are, alas, a complete fabrication, just like the figures for inflation, unemployment and ‘growth.’
I just took a look at the predictions/bet I made for 2035 with a friend back in January of this year. My predictions now look likely but rather tame compared to current events, and I wish I’d said more about Europe. I didn’t because I felt I didn’t know enough to make accurate predictions.
JMG, how refreshing to read your ocasional “long view” analyses of both history and potential future scenarios. Too many writers offer only shrill superficial “sermons” on how we got into–and can get out of–our current “messes” A longtime historian friend thought his task was to document details of particular events and cite contrary examples to poke holes in “over-generalizations.” He disliked the Spengler/Toynbee “big picture” perspective that I thought needful for coherence.
As an erstwhile political scientist, I can rarely convince my ever-hopeful “progressive” friends that, as the first one fails, each successive step to make “policy change” is increasinly diffciult: 1) convince current leaders with facts/logic; 2) elect different leaders; 3) change voting/party systems, eliminate gerrymander, filibuster, states’ equality in Senate–long-term interests/ideology initially created.such institutions for historical reasons and will work furiously to maintain them; 4) authoritarian junta to force change; 5) finally, secession–break political community, begin anew and develop same/similar problems all over again.
To avoid Trumpism, my retired 80+-yo cousin decided to move from Palm Springs to Portugal. Covid delayed his plans for two years, and now he’s on the fringe of a Europe in turmoil-war, economic collapse, desertification moving from Sahara to southern Europe. He looks forward to human extinction so “beautiful Nature” can recover. I’ve told him about JMG’s thesis that perhaps 5% of current population might survive long-term in niche climate zones, but have yet to remind him that, with no one around to tend them, 400+ nuclear reactors globally will successively “go critical” and spew radiation over much of that recovering Nature he foresees.
I completely agree about Russia but alongside the basic chauvinism and shadenfrued, there were hundreds of billions of dollars pouring into the US military /industrial complex. Without a communist evil empire, there was no need for our ridiculous Military force or our de facto occupation of Europe in the guise of “security.”
The Middle East and South Asia are poised for some of the worst near term effects of Climate Change. That would seem to be as major complication for their resurgence, although the mega drought in our Southwest will hasten our fall, as well. Next to Ukraine and Russia, the San Juaquin valley is another major food source. One that the drought is quickly taking off line.
“Britain in 1918 was a half-shattered economic basket case, so close to bankruptcy that it was never able to pay off its First World War debts to the United States”
A fact that I didn’t know, thanks.
@JMG thanks for another thought provoking post.
My family landed in the US somewhere around 1900 and has spread fairly evenly across the continent. I would like to think that if any corner of the country became considerably unpleasant we might find refuge with family in another corner. Other countries? It’s hard to imagine but great, great… grandfather Sabastian made the trek from Europe. Only the lucky survive.
JMG – Oh, it was. I’m also quite drained right now, as I wasn’t really up for that kind of trip. But I’m glad to have the firsthand experience with what is happening throughout much of the country now. Even Vegas is a prime example. I noticed potholes and lousy roads in the sections just off the Strip. One Uber driver who also drives for Lyft was telling me all about the expenses in the city, the degrading roads, etc., and how he has to work 16 hour days so that he can provide a roof and food for his family. I also went up in the Strat and got a great view of the city, including what must be very wasteful swimming pools dotting the backyards of a desert city. But I digress. I would like to ask for everyone’s prayers and positive thoughts right now. The trip home was really, really draining. Thanks!
The amazing thing is that the US and Nato has failed in nearly every step of their grand plan to contain Russia and ultimately China. Step one have Georgia invade an area of Russian influence ( South Ossetia) and that failed. Then have a color revolution in Ukraine and take over Crimea to deprive Russia of a warm water port and that failed. Then try and turn Syria in to a failed state so they could pipe Natural gas up from the gulf to Europe and diminish Russia’s energy leverage on Europe and that failed. Then try coups in two of Russia’s closest allies and countries bordering Ukraine to make a war there easier but the coups in Bellorussia and Kazakhstan both failed and left leaders in place that had total loyalty to Russia. Then they prepared a lightening invasion of the Donbass to catch the Russians off guard but the Russians beat them to the punch and now have their invasion force encircled ready for liquidation. You would think that if they had the brains god gave a squirrel the US and Nato leaders would realize they were heading in to the big game with a broken arm and a sprained ankle and try another day. In their minds they only have a few Ukrainians to lose so why not? But I think they are too delusion to realize the massive ramifications that this giant failure of judgement will cause.
I think it was James Howard Kunstler who put a fine point on a trend I noticed: the Trump Derangement people became fanatic Covid Cultists. Now the same group has changed its mask to Putin Must Perish. All along, the Two Minutes Hate du jour being pushed by various globalist powers has captivated those who worship upper middle class living and convenience. Upper middle class perks are expensive, yet nobody riding the top of imperial wealth rackets can cope with the hidden/arbitrated costs to the poor and to the various ecosystems of the planet.
There are three or four real estate groups with a choke hold in my area of Chicagoland. One sees their signs everywhere. For whatever reason I have run into a few of these people and their spouses. They are the classic McMansion-dwelling suburbanites. As I was driving through the wasteland of empty strip malls and bald, scalped grass, I realized how fortunate I am. The desolation of the land and all its accompanying karma is not my fault, or at least mostly not my fault. At least I tried to do something with my limited resources and turned what little I controlled into a beautiful, working garden. The McMansion-dwelling lords of real estate are responsible for the current hideousness because unlike me, they have control and they could be making different decisions that benefited the people and the land. Instead, they have squandered collective resources that were never theirs to spend in the first place. When the payment of their loan comes due, and it inevitably will, the lessons will be harsh.
I have actually been seeing less in the way of empty shelves in the grocery store over the past month or so, if anything. There’s sporadic outages of various things, and a few things that are missing longer-term, like 5kg bags of brown flour – just that one size. But it’s not nearly as bad as early in the pandemic.
I keep expecting this to change as people start paying attention to the high inflation, fertilizer problems, bird flu, agricultural products no longer being exported from country x, crop failures etc, and people seek to stock up, but that hasn’t happened yet.
I’m left wondering if most people are oblivious, complacent fools, or if I’m being overly paranoid.
I fully agree with what you wrote and find little to add. I do think that most European nations are facing a cultural and ethnic collapse in the very near future. Even without future waves of mass migration. If you have ever used the trams and subways of Berlin, Paris or Geneva during rush hour, you got a feeling for this. There are so many ethnicities present in Europe and despite all efforts undertaken mostly by the left, there is no integration, no inclusion at the basic level. And it’s of course not only limited to the cities. In the rural part of Germany where I live, for example, there are strong Russian communities. At the surface, they do look very German and “integrated” into ordinary everyday society – but these clans of wider families stick very close together, they help each other, through their family networks they have access to virtually any profession and tool you can think of and they are used to get along on their own. The same applies to family clans with different nationalities and usually you can’t see behind the facade. When the wheels come off our economy in the near future, I suspect that especially in the cities, these family structures will enjoy a huge advantage. Of course there is struggle between different groups as for example the Turkish don’t get along very well with the Kurds even far away from Turkey and so on. How all this will play out when the shale hits the fan is anyone’s guess – but I am very doubtful that most “native” Europeans will do very well in all this.
There are some people in Canada dimly aware of the geopolitical shifts oncoming, and hope that this country will be able to navigate the shift from American satrapy to Chinese resource-colony as adroitly as a previous generation of leaders managed the transition out of the British Empire.
In some ways, we already are on that road– the previous government (under Stephen Harper) set up trade deals with China that aren’t in “unequal treaty” territory, but aren’t exactly biased in our favor, either. They even set up a military cooperation agreement which has since collected controversy and dust in equal measure.
It does seem to be working, at least to some degree: our store shelves remain stocked, for the most part. The gaps that do show up don’t seem to be as large or last as long as what you all have described South of the border.
At the same time, we do remain absolutely wedded to the ‘Empire of Lies’ (I do like that label, don’t you?) on everything from military procurement, COVID policy and economic sanctions, of course. Sharing the world’s longest border with a fading superpower is going to make for some… interesting diplomacy, as things move forward.
I doubt our so-called betters are up to the challenge, but, well, we’ll see! Having abundant reserves of oil, gas, fresh water, farmland, and strategic minerals does rather put the game on “easy mode” for our leadership, compared to the other country that is “So far from God and so close to the United States”.
I’ve mentioned it before, but I think in some ways the European psudomorphosis is fading here much faster. I understand that in the US, most members of the PMC want to be European; here, the members of that class whom I know all wish they were Native American. In some ways, I don’t think that’s a good thing: as that class discredits itself, I don’t think it will do what’s left of indigenous cultures any favours. OTH, the PMC runs the schools, and might be able to shove the collective culture far enough in that direction that the whole country joins the Wannabe Tribe, such that it loses its class connections. Again, we’ll see! Any bets?
(Also, thank you for the history lesson– I’d never heard of the Songhai Empire, either.)
I will have to add the Tsar of Russia to my reading list. Although the list grows longer and faster than I can shorten it.
I bought your book about Merlin as a Christmas gift to me but have not read it yet. Also have a copy “The Wealth of Nature. Economics as if Survival Mattered.” from the local library on my desk. However, with spring in the Northern Hemisphere I now spend most of my time with a shovel and hoe in hand.
As a Canadian I find our current Prime Minister an intellectual disaster. But to be honest, I have no confidence that any changes or replacement would be any better. Our political system seems to produce only bad choices and really bad choices or perhaps its is really bad choices and extremely bad choices.
With baseball season beginning beginning tomorrow I have a question that is out in left field so I will save for your “Ask me anything” edition.
Heck, Putin was and is a highly westernized KGB officer who asked Clinton if Russia could join NATO….and was rebuffed…The Russian population, however, has not forgiven the West’s looting of Russia in the ’90s, and the giving away of key assets to certain Oligarchs, several of whom have now bought major sports teams with their loot….There may be a revenge factor in some minds for the invasion…
Clearly a number of countries in Europe and the Anglosphere suffer from the delusion that fossil fuels and nuclear can be replaced by “green” energy from windmills and solar cells…Since basic physics should tell you that can’t work for an industrial country, it seems to be suicide under another name..
The Russian lineage to both the Rus Vikings setting up shop in Kiev, and the Greek influence especially seen through the Cyrillic alphabet and the Orthodox Church reminded me a lot how the creation myths of both the Vikings and Greeks involved the destruction of a father in from which the world was created. That has been on my mind a lot as the war in Ukraine has developed. Without a doubt, this war is a turning point in the relationship of how the countries of the world relate. That’s obvious from how much attention it has been getting. Russia will come out of this stronger. But an easy part to overlook is the trouble people will be dealing with as things spiral away from what we were used to and into something new. Thanks for the reminder, and thanks for the Yeats quote! I think you may have used it somewhere before, it looks familiar.
As a brazillian proletarian I yearn to see the european and american elites and cultural influence cast down and vanquished. Almost all brazillian ideas and currents are american-european: american evangelical traitors, catholic fanatic deep into political corruption, communists (both tankies and sjw pronoun people), neoliberal anarchocapitalists that think they are Jonh Galt, some white power and black power lunantics.
If Babylon falls there will crying and gnashing of teeth, and Brazil (either as a united country or as a collection of smaller political entities) will be forced to look inward for the first time, the question “what will the french/english/americans wil think of us?” will become moot.
In Adam’s Story you wrote about someone who had emigrate to better lands, what could be the red lines for doing so? You have said that small cities with local food production near them are a good choice, do you have other tips for seaching a new homeland?
Greeting from South America.
Superb article as always.
Agree that the European age is in decline. And, I also agree that Europeans need to consider their emigration plans.
Any idea on when the likely wars will erupt across Europe? I know you said recently that you didn’t think it would happen for a while, from memory a decade or so.
My plan is, once the Americans make it easier to apply for a visa, to go for it, potentially in the event that they need healthy emigrants should their own population suffer from immune suppression from the Thing that cannot be mentioned.
@Brenainn Griffudd #21, et al.
“Outside of elite circles, and wannabe elites vying for the handful of openings in the elite class, European culture is already dead in America. Not much has replaced it, yet…”
This gap is our opportunity. And there is much American culture that is worthy of being revivified, much of it specific to regions in North America.
I can hear coyotes howling into this gap & if you listen close enough there are new stories waiting to be told, bubbling up from within the dreaming Land.
With a bit of spit and elbow grease and plenty of imagination those of us who choose to can start breathing some life into the old yet new nascent Americana that lurks beneath the surface of the medicated and mediated American mind.
The elite are definitely long in the tooth as yellow bellied rats, but there are sprouts in the cracks and opportunities for things to grow. And its becoming ever more obvious that they’ve gone looney tunes, especially as the rest of the people feel the pinch of their policies.
Yet hope springs eternal, and even though we are in for some rough times, those times may be a bit of temper to the steel of Americas collective will and destiny.
I saw some bald eagles just a few weeks ago when the wife and I visited an Ohio nature preserve.
The Eagles and the Coyotes songs are in the wind.
Milkyway @24, Miow @14: As regards immigration, where to?
That question occurred to me forcefully in 2014. I don’t recall why now, but the US cultural changes that prefigured wokeness, the US sponsored coup in Ukraine and the Russian response to it, all seemed like handwriting on the wall to me, and I thought, I’d get the h*** out of Dodge in a heartbeat if I could actually do so. My ideal, indeed only, choice was Russia. My feeling was that they, with China and Iran, were the only nations truly outside of the US-dominated economic and cultural space, and that their culture appeared functional and on the rebound after a century of misdirection and dysfunction. Their culture also seems open, and akin to my culture of origin (US) in a way that the Chinese or Iranian cultures do not… and if I can’t go, maybe my daughters can…
(I’ve long been Russophilic for reasons I can’t account for. FWIW, out of the blue in 2018 I dreamed I was a hapless Red Army soldier who died in what I felt was the Second Battle of Kharkov in May, 1942… That dream lingers and often comes to mind in a way that only a very few have…)
I won’t get into a long story here, but I initiated a plan to get my daughters (oldest then 12) interested in a plan to study abroad in Russia: first a language summer camp, then a year of high-school as a foreign exchange student, then college there, then choose where to live. They loved the idea, so this plan got legs, and for 8 months we studied Russian daily together before multiple personal and family crises beset and derailed us.
I still think it was a good plan and those study sessions are among the high points of my life. I’m more sad than ever that it died on the vine.
Milkyway, fair enough. I’m simply remembering the people who got out of eastern Europe in time to avoid one or the other world wars, and found out later that they didn’t have a family back home any more.
Owen, Europe picked up the habit of innovation when it was on the periphery, and managed to keep that habit going for longer than usual once it stopped being peripheral. Now? All the innovative work is being done elsewhere. That they managed to retain so much cultural and intellectual vigor into the early 20th century is impressive, but it’s gone now.
OtterGirl, you’re most welcome.
Pygmycory, right on both counts. Resource use has passed its all time per capita peak and will be passing its all time absolute peak presently, due to the sheer pressure of depletion. Yet you can maintain a very big empire using 16th century technology — Spain managed that quite well, for example, and the term “gunpowder empires” is used by historians for Mughal India, Safavid Persia, and Ottoman Turkey — three big sprawling imperial states maintained with muskets and cavalry. Here’s a Persian musketeer from 1500 or so:
It’s by no means sure that the coming dark ages will affect the whole planet equally, so the little squabbling states of dark age North America may be contrasted with another round of huge empires in Turkestan and southeast Asia, say.
Casey, that’s certainly possible. You’d have to ask people more familiar with them, however.
AA, of course. I was using the official statistics, which rely not only on fiddled figures but on the vastly overinflated US financial sector, which is juggling immense volumes of unpayable IOUs and pretending that those count as wealth.
Pygmycory, it’s a common problem for prophets!
Downside, lots of people don’t like the big-picture thinkers because they can’t handle dissent from the mythology of progress. With regard to those nuclear reactors, however, I assume your friend thinks that everyone’s going to just drop dead at once; otherwise, what’s to keep nuclear plants, which can’t pay their own bills at the best of times, from being shuttered one at a time as the money runs out, and the fuel rods buried in locations that will cause regional but not global harm? (I expect most US fuel rode to end up being hauled to some godforsaken corner of Nevada and buried there in well-space trenches, turning that end of the Great Basin into a permanent dead zone but probably having no other effect.)
Bruce, well, there’s that! Keep in mind that global warming will turn Siberia (and also Canada) into immensely productive agricultural breadbaskets, so there’s all the more reason for India and China to cultivate friends in Moscow…
Brenainn, positive energy en route!
Clay, you’d think they’d figure that out, wouldn’t you? Yet that’s not what failing empires do. Having decided on a policy, they pursue it from failure to failure until it drags them down.
Kimberly, I’ve seen the same thing. A lot of people are frantic for someone to hate. I think it’s because the only alternative is to look in the mirror.
Pygmycory, interesting. Here it’s variable — more gaps one week, fewer the next.
Nachtgurke, thanks for this. That’s very reminiscent of conditions in the late Roman world…
Dusk Shine, fascinating. Thanks for the update. For what it’s worth, I think God lives at the North Pole — certainly a lot of people seem to mistake him for Santa — so you may be close to the United States but not quite so far from God.
Hywel123, spending that time with shovel and hoe makes much more sense just now!
Pyrrhus, exactly. If we’d welcomed Russia into NATO, it would be well integrated into the Western world system now. As for green energy, did you think our leaders pay the first attention to basic physics, or would know it if it rode past stark naked on a unicycle?
Prizm, I have indeed used the Yeats quote before. It comes to mind forcefully whenever I think of the EU.
Luciano, that’s a very common experience for peripheral countries in an imperial age. It wasn’t so long ago that Americans thought, “What will the Europeans think of us?” Change is on its way.
Quinshi, that depends immensely on your personal needs, prospects, and possibilities. It also depends on the likely problems where you are.
Forecasting, I wish I knew. It depends on when the EU starts coming apart at the seams, and that depends on the fine details of who decides what and who attempts what in the years immediately ahead.
Last summer I was sitting on the ol’ International tractor, smoking a cigarette at the end of the day, when a flaming piece of space junk streaked to the ground, probably landing somewhere in upstate NY. The summer before, I was sleeping on the pond in a wood flatbottom rowboat, waking every so often, and saw all kinds of stuff falling to Earth. East and West are even more busy throwing up even more hardware, militarizing low space orbit. One of these days, or nights, it’s gonna start raining satellites !! So my musical score for the Kessler event will be Paul Simon’s song about ” … it was the myth of fingerprints, that’s what that old army post was for.” “African Skies” iirc.
Thanks for a big picture post!
At the risk of saying “it’s different this time”, I do wonder what role nuclear deterrence will play in the future of empires. I would tend to assume it will allow economically poor nations with surplus resources to avoid having those resources commandeered by the economic superpower do jour, as Russia is currently demonstrating.
I’m not sure I would bet on the old high civilization belt from China through India and North Africa. Those regions currently have high populations relative to their resource bases, and while they might have money to buy wheat that doesn’t necessarily matter in a post-globalist world if US or Russian wheat is not for sale. Climate change is also not being kind to the large semi-arid tropical and subtropical portions of these parts of the globe.
I would tend to bet on temperate regions that have a high resource base relative to their population and that have the military might/nuclear deterrence to prevent colonization and exploitation. That looks like the US (and Canada) and Russia, at the moment.
We can’t all move where the grass looks greenest. I tend to assume that the best place for most folks is where we have a connection to the land and to family and community. Of course it’s best to emigrate before a region descends into famine or open warfare, but it’s sort of a tapestry of probability fields in that regard. Some places are safer than others, but there will be relatively untouched areas in the red zones and devastated areas in the green zones.
Do you have reasons of the kind more suitable for your other blog to encourage Europeans to emigrate to the US?
All this talk of the geopolitics of the future has made me want to talk about Australia.
I think that it is a done deal that Australia will be politically and socially part of Asia in the centuries ahead, although the details of that are unclear. I think what you suggested in “the ecotechnic future” is most likely, which is mass migration from Indonesia into Australia. Australia also already as a large Asian immigrant population at the moment and they will play a part too. I wonder whether Australia will go back to being a poor country as in pre-colonial times or if it can become a great centre of civilisation in its own right, I think that the latter is likely if the right things are done, such as large use of organic farming to build up the lands food production capabilities.
Here on the fringes of Europe, and on the fringes of European-ness as an immigrant from America, one can feel the fatigue setting in. While the men and women in Brussels scurry and shriek, all they can move is money, and often not even that. The ideals are invoked with a passion that mimics youth, but they are themselves ancient, early modern dreams, and as antique and uninspiring as a Le Corbusier tower. But yet… here in a part of Europe that does not quite think of itself as Europe, where people use phrases like “going to Europe” for, say, visits to France, I am not so sure that the future will be so grim. Different, yes. But perhaps interesting in its own right. Many of the commonplaces about Europe — e.g. its gloomy, second-rate technology companies, its lack of innovation, its sclerotic and suppressive bureaucracies — are only occasionally true in the Nordics. It is true that Sweden badly mishandled the migrant crisis, with Norway and Denmark having some of this as well, but this is still hardly France. Martin Armstrong’s Socrates model has the Nordics abandoning the European Union in ’26. The Nords are one of Europe’s only peoples who consider that bleak, damp and mountainous period as among their heydays. While I’ll be watching things very closely, and am prepared for some hard times, I am not ready to cast my lot over the Atlantic again quite yet. As Europe returns to being a fringe, I think its own fringe — its fringe that is often glad to be a fringe — might navigate a difficult era with surprising competence.
So, a dark age in Europe and N. America at minimum, with possible empires outside it, like Byzantium during the post-roman dark ages.
I’d imagine the viability of empires in various parts of the world will depend to a large extent on
1) how thoroughly they’ve damaged their own land (soil fertility, persistent toxins, radioactivity, erosion etc)
2) effect of climate change on the area especially its capacity for food production and have low enough temperatures for humans to tolerate
3) the choices of those societies during the decline
I’m not so sure China’s putting itself in a good position over the long-term, given the way they’re throwing industrial toxins everywhere right now, and the advance of the deserts.
South-east Asia has a lot of areas that are hot, low-lying or dependent on Himalayan glaciers for water. This is likely to restrict its ability to support large populations over the long-term.
Russia’s got to be having the same issues with melting permafrost as Canada, but over the long term I’d expect its carrying capacity for humans to increase. So that area has significant potential over the mid and long-term.
South America – heat is an issue in some areas, as is water, but the continent is so varied there’s bound to be some parts that do well.
Thinking about North America and Canada does much better than the USA in everything except maybe attitude. But this seems potentially more malleable because we aren’t the decaying hyperpower.
Africa – the biggest issue for them long-term is likely heat and water. Plus the fact that they have little wealth and power right now, meaning not a lot of manouvering room in terms of dealing with things on the way down.
Ooops, it’s: “All Around the World or the Myth of Fingerprints” from Graceland.
How do you think things like climate weirding, sea level rise, relentless fossil fuel depletion, biosphere degradation, pollution, depletion of natural resources, water scarcity, etc. might relate to any future trajectories outlined in your essay? Might these factors also determine who wins and who loses “the future”, or perhaps ensure that we all lose, at least for a very, very long time?
And then there’s nuclear weapons.
Goodness, what a dog’s breakfast of a world. The hand of friendship is really much more powerful than the fist in the face approach. Doesn’t give the same glow of superiority though.
Australia is already dangerously overpopulated although I seem to be the only one who knows this. Look at all the land. Yes but 3/4 of it is desert and most of the rest is under housing, especially if it is good arable land.
We have just had, and indeed are still having, some dreadful floods along the east coast. Many houses are totally destroyed. Even if the insurance companies pay up straight away where do we get the workers and materials to rebuild the equivalent of 3 cities in time for the bushfire reason?
And as a side note I prefer the wattle and daub cottages to the grand buildings. Always have. Can’t see the point in flash. Must be my barbaric British genes coming to the fore.
Thank you for the welter of different topics and points of view you present here. It all helps us to clarify our own thinking.
Hi JMG, B3rnhard, Miow, Whispers, Milkyway, Nachtgurke (and everyone else),
I, too, couldn’t agree more with this essay. I emigrated to Scotland when I was 35 in 2001, where I married an Englishwoman and returned to Germany with her in 2010 to buy an old farmhouse (which we couldn’t afford in Scotland) with a bit of land as far away from any urban center as you can get in this country. Taking JMG’s advice, I started to learn how to garden, planted coppice trees, got a flock of chicken and started to prepare (mentally as well as physically) for an uncertain future. Unfortunately, I got a slipped disc, the marriage broke after three years and I was struggling to keep the house. Now I´m living here with an old friend who is mentally ill but stable thanks to pharmaceuticals. Now the uncertain future has arrived, and I probably will soon see if my preparations were sufficient: I’m still gardening, growing trees and keeping chicken, and the larder is well stocked. I think I’m too old now and have invested too much here to emigrate again, and I really wouldn´t know where to go.
My advice to everyone who is young and skilled or wealthy enough to go to another country is: You should seriously consider it, but do not think it will be easy. It means leaving your circle of friends and your familar environment behind, and as Miow noted, that can be rather traumatic. Knowing the language of the country you’re going to enough to talk to people is crucial in my opinion, and having children (which I don’t) seriously complicates matters. Furthermore: When I left Germany I didn’t do it because of fear of hard times, but out of adventurousness and because I loved the country I was going to. I also had a German friend living in Scotland who offered me a room in her flat as long as it would take me to get my own place, and she could introduce me to some Scottish friends of hers, which made things a lot easier for me.
So if you are planning to emigrate you should have a plan B for returning home (if at all possible) in case your move doesn’t work out. When hard times arrive they will probably do so not exclusively in Germany, and people everywhere will likely be much less welcoming to strangers when they are themselves struggling to make ends meet.
As for the ever increasing stupidity of our government: I’ve been talking about the way our ‘leaders’ were and are acting against German interests by alienating Russia to people here for a decade, and the higher up the social ladder the people I was talking to were, the blanker were the looks I got in response. Working class people, on the other hand, seem to have a far better understanding of the matter, maybe because they know that they will be the first ones to be sacrified.
Incidentally I’ve been reading The Deluge by Adam Tooze (have you read it?) all about the collapse of the old world order in the wake of the first world war, and how of course this laid the groundwork for the 1930s and 40s. Its all very rich detailed, history its always so fascinating to me what it looks like ‘in action’ rather than simplified cartoon history…
My sense (I could be totally wrong of course) is this not the outright end of the American Empire/hegemony, rather another bump down the slope of decline. Certainly trade etc will continue to re-orientate itself towards Asia, and European influence will continue to decline, though I’m far from sure the outcome is quite a simple as Russia Wins, west loses, whatever happens in Ukraine from now.
The future feels rather murky, and both clear at the same time…
Milkyway – I pondered the thought of leaving Germany too, for a while. I think if I was still younger and unbound, I might have left Germany and Europe over the events of the last two years. And in that case, I’d possibly have tried my luck in some rural hinterland of the USA? It may be JMGs writing, but although I feel that the USA as a whole might go down even faster than Europe, there could still be more individual “wiggle room”. And above all, I speak the language. But that’s just daydreaming and not only I do not know if my guess is right, I am not that young anymore and above all, I have a lot of things that bind me here, first and foremost my family and children.
We live a very rooted life by now and we have put a lot of work into our roots and are still doing. I do not rule out that we might have to leave at some moment or that our children, when they are grown up might have to leave. And I pray that we do the right thing in the right moment. But for now, leaving is ultima ratio. Here’s our home. In fact it’s the home and the land of our forefathers. Generations of my wives family have lived here and tilled the ground. Many left, but they didn’t.
@ Milkyway “where do you think would be the the best place/country to live for the next X decades, and why?”
This is clearly a “divergent” question (using E. F. Schumacher’s terminology). In the same way as – “who is the best partner to have?” or “what is the best trade to train for?” there will be as many right answers as there are people, and each person’s “right” may be another person’s “wrong.” 🙂
However, since you actually put the following words at the start of your question – “I you could choose freely right now”, I will take them as read and answer divergently. That is to say, I will tell you what I think is my own “right” (which may well be every single other person’s “wrong”).
And it is this. The best place/country for me to live, in whatever decades or years remain to me, is here. Because here is where I have landed and built a life, after too many peripatetic early years. Because there are no guarantees here, and I am owed nothing at all. And yet… this home is now one that I have sworn “to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness or in health, to love and to cherish till death do us part”.
There may well be more of “worse” than “better”, more of “poorer” than “richer”, more of “sickness” than “health”, and yet, right at this moment, for me, it is the “loving” and the “cherishing” that have come to matter a very, very great deal. Whatever befalls, this I choose. Here, I take my stand.
Perhaps Africa has much potential for future civilizations, if climate change leaves enough of the continent livable.
I have followed an interesting Youtube channel and website called Endangered Alphabets on Youtube and it explains how many lesser known writing systems there are, many of these in Africa, and how some of these are in the process of being revived in their usage, or indeed are modern creations within the last century or two.
It says something about a culture that they should choose to use their own writing system, rather than adapt the Latin alphabet, that their will to be distinct is more important than making it slightly easier to use computers.
JMG – And i bet the Roman elites back then haven’t been aware of the highly skilled parallel societies that formed under their very noses. There is a famous quote in German: “Multikulti ist gescheitert.” It has been said by many politicians and they usually mean that efforts to integrate foreigners into German society have failed and that many immigrants despise “the” German culture and way of living. It’s easy to dismiss all these parallel societies as social failures (obviously quite a lot of them are social failures). But there’s a lot productive going on under the radar.
While a lot of this – especially the first waves of immigration, the Gastarbeiter – is homemade, the United States have obviously contributed in a big way to this situation by producing streams of refugees wherever they touch the ground. It’s not that the Europeans did object in any meaningful way, though.
A big piece of the story here is about how the forms of democratic government that became dominant in Europe in the last 200 years, ideas about human rights, and the ideas in science and engineering that flowered in the era of European dominance are going to fare in the era when European empire is collapsing. I still remain convinced that many people of goodwill everywhere want to emulate the best of European civilization, just like Europeans emulated Rome, Greece, and to a lesser degree other ancient civilizations. And as a result, I expect that many will assess Putin’s invasion as not ordinary geopolitics but the kind attempt to expand power that has been repeated many times in history with rarely successful long term outcomes.
One thing I have noticed, or not noticed I suppose, is any mention of S. Korea as far as sanctions are concerned. Does anyone here know what their position is? They must be in a fairly precarious balancing act. They are very dependent on western trade and US LPG imports, but are right next to N. Korea and China, which will still be right there when the Americans have tucked their tales between their legs and run off home. The same reality will also apply to Japan and Australia, though they might have a few more years to decide. Australia seems to be hedging its bets by becoming closer with India. I was thinking one reason France was excluded from the recent AUKUS alliance was that they would then have had to call it FUKUSA.
I think the coming power shift back to Asia will have to be on a much lower population base with resource depletion and soil and water degradation. JMG, do you feel that India, China, S.E. Asia will decline in population by 95% as you predict for the US. I feel that the middle east certainly will.
Although the changing climate will favor growing seasons in northern Russia and Canada, the soils are awfully thin.
One consideration with people contemplating emigration is whether countries will let them in. At least in the near term, I feel that most countries will tighten their immigration policies.
@Piper at the Gates (#35)
That‘s one of the advantages of being at home somewhere: You know not just the people, you also know people. 😉 And of course, you know the lay of the land, the unspoken rules, the language and culture, the climate, …
Emigrating means starting over without all that, just like your ancestors did.
@Lunar Apprentice (#50)
I had similar thoughts about Russia being attractive whenever I considered moving in the past two years, but now I‘m not so sure anymore.
Russia has followed the same path as most other countries (vaccinations, health passports, restrictions, whatnot), and while the Russian people seem to be a bit more immune to stuff like that (and more used to finding workarounds or simply ignoring rules), that hasn‘t filled me with much confidence.
Also, Putin isn‘t a young man anymore, and unless he manages a very well organized takeover before he is getting too old, things could be shaky for a while there, too.
So I‘ve come to the conclusion (at least for myself), that for the short to medium-term, Russia could well become quite unstable for a while. Alas.
What‘s your take on that?
Fair enough. 😉 The funny thing is that from my side of the pond, it looks like the US is in for another civil war quite soon. Or maybe a war with China on your turf.
I.e. having to weigh my chances between here and there… as B3rnhard said (#10), staying where one knows the people and the terrain, but outside of big cities, might be the best bet right now. Leaving what one thinks will become a frying pan just to jump straight into a potential fire doesn‘t sound smart to me. And I‘ve yet to identify a region of the world of which I‘m reasonably sure it won‘t be burning anytime soon. ;-(
Well. If you had told me a couple of years ago I‘d be discussing something like this (and with a Druid, nonetheless), I‘d have thought you‘re crazy… 😀
@Degringolade: I woke up one morning about a week ago with the word “degringolade” going thru my head and I couldn’t figure out where I’d read it. I had to look up the meaning. I’d been reading some Toynbee, so I figured it had to have come from there. Nope. So, thanks for teaching me a new word.
Something quite worrisome and profound hit me when thinking about the future nuclear burial dead zones. I can the mythology and lore associated with them being picked up into the existing stories of the Fall. Sorry if this slightly off-track.
I’m reminded of Thomas Merton’s ‘Seven Story Mountain’:
“How did it ever happen that, when the dregs of the world had collected in western Europe, when Goth and Frank and Norman and Lombard had mingled with the rot of old Rome to form a patchwork of hybrid races, all of them notable for ferocity, hatred, stupidity, craftiness, lust, and brutality–how did it happen that, from all of this, there should come Gregorian chant, monasteries and cathedrals, the poems of Prudentius, the commentaries and histories of Bede, the Moralia of Gregory the Great, St. Augustine’s City of God, and his Trinity, the writings of Anselm, St. Bernard’s sermons on the Canticles, the poetry of Caedmon and Cynewulf and Langland and Dante, St. Thomas’ Summa, and the Oxoniense of Duns Scotus?”
As I travel around a declining America looking for home, I find your essay a hopeful one, even if I won’t personally participate in the future cultural efflorescence. Thank you.
Mark G, a sound track for the Kessler catastrophe would be worth compiling…
Mark L, of course it depends on a lot of factors. My question is how long nuclear weapons can be kept viable in an age of accelerating decline. They aren’t easy or cheap to maintain. I’ve speculated before that at some point the world may go through a period, perhaps a lengthy one, in which the major powers all claim to have working nukes, but it’s a very good question which of them are bluffing…
Dot, not especially. As I noted to another commenter above, I’m simply remembering all the people who got out of Europe in time to escape the last round of wars, and found out after the fighting was over that their family back home weren’t around any more.
J.L.Mc12, I think it’s quite possible that Australia will become the heartland of a major civilization at some point, but probably not until the climate changes and your inland deserts become green and fertile again. Maybe during the next ice age, then…
Pingvin, it’s at least possible! The areas that strike me as most vulnerable are those that are on the East European plain, on the one hand, and those with easy access from North Africa and the Middle East, on the other.
Pygmycory, a sensible set of reflections. Much depends on what happens to the rain belts when the poles finish warming up and the planet’s climate belts settle into a new mode.
A reader, I’ve written about all these things at length in my book Dark Age America, if that’s of interest.
JillN, in the long run the hand of friendship may be more succesful, but the fist in the face does work tolerably well in certain circumstances! Yes, Australia is overpopulated, but is it as overpopulated as, say, Indonesia? And do the Indonesians see it that way?
Frank, thanks for this. The same culture of acquired stupidity varying by income is common on this side of the Atlantic as well — but don’t mention that to the well-to-do! I once pointed out that the comfortable classes generally don’t have a clue about the working classes and the poor, while the working classes and the poor are very well aware of what the comfortable classes are thinking and doing, and I had to put up with one tirade after another from well-off readers who were insisting that it just wasn’t so, and the poor couldn’t possibly be knowledgeable about them. It was funny at first, in a bleak sort of way, but it got dull very quickly.
BB, no, and I may see if the local library has it. That might be useful reading just now.
Mawkernewek, a lot depends on where the rain belts shift, but I could definitely see Africa resurgent becoming a major player in, say, 25th century geopolitics.
Nachtgurke, the Romans had no clue. When their slaves in Gaul did a Great Resignation of their own and bailed out on the plantations to form a parallel society at war with Roman authority — look up the Bacaudae sometime — they carried on a clumsy and ineffective struggle against them, until Roman power collapsed and the Bacaudae settled down comfortably alongside the Franks.
Ganv, that’s one possibility. Another is that a great many people have come to the conclusion that the forms of European democracy are a facade over kleptocratic corporate plutocracy, and they’re ready for charismatic leaders who will end the charade and the corrupt bureaucratic system that props it up. That was certainly what Spengler expected, and I’m far from sure he’s wrong…
Stephen, funny! I’m not sure if Asian populations will drop by 95% — that’s a marker of full-on dark age conditions, of the sort we’re likely to see here in North America — but I expect a steep drop as the petroleum age ends. It may be that things work out the way the two halves of the Roman Empire did, with the eastern half losing 50% and the western half upwards of 90%. As for thin soils, wait until the permafrost thaws out and the organic matter rots. At that point you have world-class soils.
Milkyway, I’m far from sure we’re going to have a civil war over here, though we’ll see; the privileged classes control the media but they don’t exactly have much access to real power, least of all the kind that grows, in Mao’s words, out of the barrel of a gun. Watch this year’s US election for a foretaste of what we can expect. If you can find a good rural or small-city option in Germany, by all means; I suggested that people consider emigration, I didn’t insist that it was the only option.
Peter, I could see that.
Fritter, that’s always what happens. One of the things that makes me chuckle about racialist ideologies is that every great culture has its origins in a complete mongrelized mess of people who settled down and started intermarrying. In humans as in dogs, purebreds tend to be fragile, high-strung, and ultimately sterile, while mutts are the ones that turn out strong and smart.
Comparing a thatch hut with the Great Mosque of Djenné is hyperbolic and unfair. For more comparable c. tenth-century English buildings, see here:
Although most of these incorporate additions from later centuries, the same is true of the Djenné masjid (rebuilt in 1907, with some French architectural features). We might also usefully compare the level of learning which they preserved in the 10th c., this being the era just before the rise of the great English universities on one hand, and Timbuktu on the other.
For pushback against the claim that “India” was rich during the Moghul Empire, see here:
The European Age of Exploration may have been an ” era of slaughter and plunder,” but is this really so different than what the Ottomans got up to? (For centuries they took Europeans as slaves.)
Looking ahead, I understand that the Middle East will be seasonally uninhabitable at some point due to global warming. Once the extraction and distribution of fossil fuels is no longer economical (which is possibly right now), northern Europe won’t be able to support large populations either. That still leaves fairly significant areas along the coasts and rivers–especially the Mediterranean rim and Black Sea regions, which have been centers of civilization since ancient times (as long as India or China), even if die-offs do occur. Meanwhile, while much of China and India will be lost to desertification, or else rising sea levels, I expect civilizational centers to endure in what is now south China / SE Asia, parts of India, some of the larger islands (like Taiwan!), and the area around Baikal. And surely parts of the Americas will survive. Who knows what type of culture will evolve in any of these regions, though.
Fully agree with much of your argument. But having been born in that soggy, damp and belligerent corner of the world, in the interests of fairness, I would say that in much the same era that West African culture was building the amazing sites you rightly name (which I still hope to visit one day), my ancestors were also busy with beautiful and very large cathedrals, e.g. Lincoln, Durham, Mainz, Santiago de Compostela etc etc. The workers may have lived in the kind of hut you pictured, but collectively they created something extraordinary.
More important is that – barring nuclear exchanges – those cathedrals (along with those West African palaces, mosques etc.) will almost certainly still be there throughout several of the next cycles of history.
I really struggle with getting a grasp on world history, geopolitics, and geography. I’ve done a fair amount of reading about various nations and eras (I do a fair amount of reading about everything, really!), but it’s all very slippery for me. I forget much, and have a hard time slotting things into a broader context and keeping track what was happening when to whom, and how it relates to things that were happening elsewhere to others. Do you have any suggestions for developing a good, broad framework and context on this topic.
“BB, no, and I may see if the local library has it. That might be useful reading just now.”
Tooze makes the point near the start of the book that so say the US empire replaced the British empire is a bit like saying the Car replaced the Horse and Cart. Its true, but it also considerable understates the transformation that took place, since there are of course so many things a Car does that a horse and cart does not. It might sound a bit Copernican and ‘its different this time’, but to my mind this is one of the chief difficulties of replacing the US hegemony/empire, and why it likely happen in terms of a gradual reorientation of regional agreements, rather than a single global power replacing America.
Also, America emerged as a great power after the 1st world war to a large degree because it was the only country with a strong economic/ industrial base completely unaffected by the War or European colonization.
China and India, will I’m sure be strong regional players, but IMO they lack they strength/influence to fully replace the US.
Actually, my hunch is that the Ukrainian war will ultimately be mutual economic/political suicide for both Russia and the west. The west will be badly damaged, though so will Russia, and China and India will step in to fill the void and become the new ‘big’ geopolitical fault line (if they aren’t already…). India strikes me as more flexible country than China, and is thus better placed.
I wonder if Japan will be able to exploit a weakened Russia to assert its territory in Asia once again…
That’s my hope too. I’m certainly doing what I can to try and preserve the best aspects of the West (here in NZ)
@Brenainn – what books did you find re:sewing. I could have sworn there were recommendations in an old TADR comment thread but despite searching several times (like for the Necromicon!) I could not find a scrap. There was some famous book about sewing with a supposed “you must unlearn all you have learned” starting point. Where the first lesson was just pushing a needle through fabric without thread.
Well, if anyone knows what I’m talking about, please @ me 😀
Hello MilkyWay, @70.
Since the plan with my daughters went under, I haven’t been so diligent about details such as you mentioned. Certainly Covid and the vaccines weren’t in the picture.
I still pay attention to Russia. The c-vax mandates are disturbing, and it’s not clear to me how much those and the vax passport requirements are nominal as opposed to real. I have heard that covid vax’s are absolutely “required” for those over 60 (I’m 63), but again, I don’t know what that really means. Does Ksim, or anybody on the ground there know? Like you, I’d expect the Russian people, as per their history, to have worked out ways to evade vax mandates, and I understand their vax rate is much lower than the West’s.
As for stability of the Russian government, my take is that it’s not nearly as dependent on a cult of personality as many think. There is clearly an inclination in the West to assume that Putin is an absolute dictator; it’s all Putin this and Putin that, as if nobody else there had any say-so, or as if Putin had no constraints. I think this view is naive. Putin clearly is embedded in a large, complex institutional framework. There are bureaucratic networks in government that manage foreign policy, the military, the economy and so on. Putin has a collegial relationship with them, characterized by shared values and goals. Without specific knowledge, I really have the sense that the people who sit at the top of these networks have no prior connection with Putin, have deeply studied Russian history, undertaken to learn the lessons of the 20th century, and are viscerally determined not to repeat mistakes of that era. Admittedly, Russia does not have a history of doing succession well, but I can’t imagine the Russian political establishment allowing another Yeltsin, or other undependable figure. While Russia might not meet your idea of stability, I think that the US, Canada, and the European satrapies are now vastly more unstable than Russia.
Anyway, that’s my take, and I acknowledge it’s only opinion.
Hi John Michael,
It is not lost on me that your former much maligned President, wisely opened communications with Russia. Now of course, as things worked out, your opposition chose to take their position in the most literal sense: ‘to oppose’, and so here we are today. It’s idiotic. National interests should have taken a front seat to personal concerns, but that didn’t happen, and that’s probably what you get with career politicians.
I’m not sure how things will play out down here. We appear to have good reserves of stuff that other countries want. It was announced recently that a rare earth mine and processing plant was to be established somewhere over in the west of the continent (the products will be many years away as either activity is no small feat and it is a very dirty industry). And our new best overseas friends are already telling us off and making deals. We’re not all that well endowed with the heavier crude products, which is a problem. But all up, I’d rather be down here than in Europe.
History is a good guide as to the future possibilities. We’re something of a backwater down here due to infertile soils and particularly a lack of phosphate minerals not to mention an extraordinarily variable climate. It’s an old country and can’t support a huge population, without imports. But then on the other hand, the continent has been inhabited by our species for a very, very long time, so probably will into the future. I doubt it will look like it does today though.
When I was a younger bloke people used to tell me seriously that the Indigenous people were never in this area. As an older fella I still see their signs all over the place. A canoe tree here, a stone circle over there (presumably for making resins), or a bit over to the north east there’s an old indigenous quarry. I wonder how the folks of the future will view us lot of today?
Regarding wheat exports and resultant food shortages, that’s much less of a _global_ problem than one might think. Concerns over Ukraine/Russia growing large percentages of world wheat exports are misleading because their wheat exports are actually less than 1% of the global wheat crop. Most of the world’s wheat is eaten where it’s grown, and the current shortfall has already been dealt with at a global level. Specific localities (Middle East, North Africa) that get wheat from Ukraine however have serious problems because they suddenly need to switch supply chains in a hurry. Source: https://twitter.com/SarahTaber_bww/status/1507776806090584065
So uhhh, tell me there’s going to be an Ecosophia-by-telegraph group available in the future, I’d hate to lose touch with a community that I’d just found!
As for being bleak, damp and far-flung, that’s how some of us like our homelands…
Agree on the rainbelts. That’s not something we can really know for quite a while yet, either.
I just got blocked by Wordfence. What sorts of things should I not include in my posts?
I can’t see myself emigrating to another country. I think a lot of places are going to be worse off than Canada, faster, and this country is big enough there’s a lot of possibility for moving around within it. Also, trying to emigrate when you have health issues and depend on disability money from the government… I doubt there are many places that would want me. I have british citizenship as well as canadian so I could go there, but britain is looking like a worse place to be than Canada right now.
You could take that last map, and cut a large hole in the center of America and Canada, which is sort of International but mostly a space no one on the outside of that circle is watching 😉
One of the things that I’ve found funny about the Victorian era of globalization was how similar it was to my own life in the late 20th and early 21st centuries just more aesthetically pleasing in some ways. I remember talking with some PMC friends of mine shortly after the new year about tensions with China, and there was a statement to the effect of ‘since when have two countries who are the biggest trading partners ever gone to war?’. I spoiled the fun by mentioning Germany and Great Britian in 1914.
Personally, I just wish I could see those new cultures that will develop in a thousand years. In a way I will if I get reincarnated, I suppose.
For ages now, the western values you describe have been used as the west’s favorite way of justifying destructive interventions and policies across much of the rest of the world. What’s more, the people outside the west who promote such values tend to be the sort who idolize the west and would gladly sell out their societies to the west for a cut of the profits—”fifth columnists”, as you might call them, or “malinchistas” as they’d be called here in Mexico, after the Nahua woman “La Malinche” who aided Cortés in his conquest of the Aztec empire.
As such, I expect that in the short- and mid-term there will be a mass rejection of any and all such values and of the people who profess them across much of the world. Only when and where these values can be fully extracted from the context of western imperialism will they have a chance to prosper.
I have a weird theory about why the European, and Europeanized, elite absolutely HATE the Russians. They’re the one country that was never subjugated by Europe. Every other country-kingdom-territory on the planet was beaten and subjugated by the Europeans during their age of expansion.
The Russians were repeatedly beaten, but they simply refused to stay down. The closest the West came to subjugating them was after the fall of USSR where, for a few brief years, the Russian people were actually exploited by the Europeans.
What really surprises me is that even after the rule of Western supported Oligarchs, Putin and the Russian people still tried to make peace. They did this not once, but TWICE. The first time was when they offered to join NATO. If that had actually happened we would see another 100 years of western global domination, and a very different age of crisis.
The second time was when Putin voluntarily allowed Medvedev to take power. According to Indian sources Medvedev’s rise to power happened because Putin that he might be the reason why the West was unwilling to take Russia’s hand of friendship. Imagine an autocrat being that self-reflective and willing to put his people’s future above his own desire for power. Unfortunately, it turned into another great Russian tragedy, and the West betrayed Medvedev by seeking regime change in Libya.
Ain’t no tragedy like a Russian tragedy.
I would like to have seen a democratic Russia, and while I certainly respect the Russian people and their culture, I can’t help but be saddened that they are just another autocratic expansionist empire. Who knows though, as Europe and their baggage fades from the international scene, maybe the world will see a Democratic Russia somewhere down the line.
As for what happened in India last week. The Russian’s played it perfectly. Lavrov was the only foreign dignitary that actually met with Modi. Deputy NSA Daleep Singh, who is nicknamed the Sharp-shooter for his part in the sanctions against Russia, is being referred to as “the boy” in New Delhi. That I think tells you everything you need to know about how badly the US botched diplomatic effort with India.
Lunar Apprentice (no. 50), I have no idea about your circumstances, but hope that you find some way to exercise your russophilia. I suppose you must have thought about attending a Russian Orthodox church, if there is one near you…? A less likely possibility would be an Agni Yoga group (followers of Nicholas and Helena Roerich). If you find yourselves in a position to travel, but not to Russia just now (for obvious reasons), then you might consider Bulgaria, which has a similar language and culture but is in the EU.
RE: Indonesians coveting northern Australian lebensraum, probably not while there remains a coherent Commonwealth government and functioning defence force, but in the wake of a disastrous military defeat or other loss of capability, and with the withdrawal of US forces from the continent and with sufficient push factors, I can imagine a steady stream of fishing vessels ferrying people back and forth across the Arafura and Timor seas without any difficulty at all. It’s unclear how well they’d be able to make a go of it though. Some elements of their agriculture might work up there, but it is a very different environment – aged and depleted soils versus young volcanics. We’ve tried to make industrial agriculture boom up there for decades with marginal success. A lot of people living up there now have come from somewhere else, and it’s always a tall order to get internal migrants to move such a long way from family in the south and east – far less of an issue for potential future Indonesian migrants, obviously. Of course, I wouldn’t give a fig for the chances of the first nations of the north to hold on to much in this scenario.
It’s hard to see such a migration really bothering most of us down south. We’d no doubt be very occupied with other problems. It’s a terribly long way to come down here from the north without fossil-fueled transport. Even if a strong and cohesive settled culture did emerge in northern Australia from Indonesian migration, I imagine it’s reach would be pretty limited by energy availability by the time it happened.
Luciano Geronimo Lisboa (no. 46), whenever you find yourself hating the elites, remember that somewhere out there, somebody else considers *you* part of the elite!
JMG, yeah, I think the fruits of racialism (which is based on the accomplishments of a group so mongrelized as to be homogenous) appeal because the early stages of mongrelization are so ugly and dysfunctional compared to the resulting high culture. Western countries are in the ugly early stages of mongrelization, and while I have no worries about the quality of the North Americans and Europeans of 2500 AD, right now it’s a mess.
“The Age of Men is over. The Time of the Orc has come!”. Reading your blog posts often reminds me of this quote for some reason. 🙂
But where do high cultures come from? What makes Europe have one high culture and America another? It is the environment, the history, the land itself, or perhaps astrological influences? Maybe all of these things together.
P.S. For those who don’t read JMG’s other blog, there are several new podcasts starring our gracious host.
I keep a list here: https://ecosophian.dreamwidth.org/2941.html
Civilizations need food, energy, positive demographics, defensible geography, soldiers, nerds, and finally a certain cultural confidence that promotes unity and sacrifice. With enough chutzpah (i.e. conquest) a nation can overcome deficits in one area or the other, but it’s swimming upstream. All things considered, these are my bets for what parts of the world will be thriving in 2100:
– Greater Texas
– SE Asia
I have serious doubts about Russia & China, both export driven economies with terrible demographics. India is an absolute mess. West African empires were more the periphery of the Islamic Golden Age than anything groundbreaking. I hope it’s their time to shine but I don’t see any evidence to date.
JMG, Milkyway, Whispers – about emigrating.
I emigrated to US in my 20s and it was exciting and (economically) successful. It was also incredibly painful with long bouts of depression, loneliness and stress. It took me 20 years to get something close to normal – a family, a place I enjoy and a job that is not too bad.
I would not do it again, BUT I would not discourage my kids from doing it. The young have the energy and the mindset to take on great risks.
If I was living in any European country right now I would at the very least try to move in the countryside – preferably a poor undeveloped area of the country.
Unfortunately I cannot recommend moving to Eastern Europe. I do think they will fare better in the long run but right now any foreigner will be seen by the authorities as a cow to milk dry then discard – maybe as a payback for the fact that US and W. Europe are sucking their wealth dry right now.
Bei, of course it’s hyperbolic. I trust you’ve seen the equally hyperbolic framing of the Europe/East Africa distinction from the other side — if not, you might be amazed by the number of Americans who think that everyone in Africa still lives in grass huts. As for slaughter and plunder, as I pointed out, the issue is one of scale: the Europeans were the first people known to history who managed to plunder every continent on Earth except for Antarctica.
Martin, I specified the 10th century precisely because the first wave of cathedral building in England happened after the Norman Conquest in the mid-11th century. Of course medieval Europe produced some gorgeous architecture in its day, but it took a long time to start serious recovery from the collapse of the Roman world. The point of those images, of course, is that they’re meant to shock people who habitually think of Africans as primitive tribespeople and Europeans as inherently “advanced.”
Jen, I’m not at all sure what to suggest, because that kind of chronological narrative thinking comes very naturally to me. Anyone else?
BB, interesting. My take has been that the US empire is less powerful than the British empire, despite its more advanced technology — more like replacing a horse and cart with a pack mule and shoe leather. But I’ll see what he has to say.
Chris, I don’t doubt that there will be people living in Australia for a very long time to come. I’ve heard some Aussies talk, though, about a sense that there’s something in the heartland of the continent down there that feels inimical to human beings. Does that match your sense?
James, prices in an open market are always set at the margins, so a shortage that doesn’t directly affect, say, North America can still drive up prices here and cause economic dislocations. That’s the sense in which this is a global problem.
Bofur, how interested are you in ham radio?
Pygmycory, yeah, that’s one of the big ones.
Michael, I have no idea. I didn’t get a manual when my tech guy uploaded it!
William, an excellent point.
John, good for you. I saw a conversation not long ago when someone insisted that no two countries that both have McDonalds have ever gone to war — they were quoting some pundit or other. Another person spoined that conversation by noting that there were McDonalds in Serbia when the US started bombing it…
Varun, I think that’s definitely part of it!
Patrick, granted, it would take a collapse of Australia’s capacity to defend itself. Once fossil fuels and the other requirements of modern warfare run short, though, that’s likely to happen.
Justin, life in material incarnation is always a mess; you just have to deal.
Ecosophian, what makes a high culture? Spengler talks about that at quite some length, and since I use his definition, I’ll refer you to The Decline of the West.
Brian, in an age of immense overpopulation, demographics are less important than they look. As for the rest, well, we’ll see; I expect France to go under as the next age of mass migrations begins, but I won’t argue about your other possibilities. West Africa, East Africa, and the region around the River Plate in South America are among the areas I see as potential seedbeds for high cultures, but it’ll be a while in each case.
JMG, I would say we are pushing up towards being as overpopulated as Indonesia. I am quite sure the Indonesians do not see it that way. There is a reason that most Australians live on the coastal fringe. The population used to be a bit more widespread than it is. One tragedy is that most Australians have never seen the really magnificent desert regions.
I have to agree that sometimes nothing beats the fist in the face but as a long term diplomatic policy I find it a bit lacking.
JMG, you’ve not doubt heard of it, there’s a Many Worlds theory of the universe out there that sez that there are a multitude of copies of the universe, and therefore multiple copies of ourselves, each of us living out our lives oblivious of our many alternate versions. And there are likewise multiple variations of our civilization in some of these alternate universes each on their own trajectory of collapse into heaps of dirt and ruin.
Given the grandiosity of the vision as briefly outlined it sounds pathetically small and maybe even trite to say this, but in our version, as we collectively go down the drain, it does appear that Manhattan and Washington take direction from the CCP.
But why would the twin centres of the cosmos listen to guys in Beijing? The easiest explanation is this, for the sake of protecting American business investments in China. All about money, moolah, filthy lucre.
And there’s a lot of it at stake, all those factories and facilities within the easy reach of legions of Chinese police and military, all those guns commanded by a Chinese ruling caste that never had much use for such western frivolities like the rule of law, due process, presumption of innocence etc.
And it’s also because the Chinese aren’t too squeamish about making it clear as to who exactly calls the shots, especially within China but not only within China.
Meaning it’s Xi and his boys who give the orders. And not Biden or Cook or Zuck or Klaus or Bezos. Just like an old time Mafia Don, when Xi suggests that something get done, he means RUN. These Americans better listen to Xi and listen well if they value the uncountable billions in offshored assets sitting on Chinese soil.
Money talks loudly everywhere but especially on this side of the pond and Chinese money is pervasive in many facets of American society, not just in business and government but sports and media and universities, not least.
Universities have to be careful because there’s a lot of Chinese students studying in American schools who take quick offense at criticism of China, who also scream racism, having taken a page from their American-born fellow students. And their community is full of informants who diligently report back, so not only do Chinese students have to be on their toes and watch what they say but also college administrations given the bucks involved.
For the longest time, the globalist talking point was that China would liberalize and become more westernized, more democratic. You know, like the US. But, given the behavior of American intel agencies and ‘progressives’ and tech companies and the ‘woke’ cohort especially on campus and in the corporate world, I would say it’s the other way around. America is becoming an authoritarian surveillance state like China. Speaking out of turn or holding a divergent view can be life-ruining and career-ending, just like in China. Comply or else.
You have to laugh. The geniuses in economics and international politics had it all figured out. The love of money would make China – an age-old culture – change. None of them (can you think of one?) ever thought that the Chinese would use money as a club to beat the US with. The Chinese were supposed to be good compliant world citizens and listen to their globalist masters. The universe obviously has a rich sense of irony.
But it’s not just the US. Canada’s intel chief warned a long time ago about subversion in Canada. Reading between the lines he was referring to the Chinese. And anyhow that’s how most everyone took it. You know the drill, bribery, bought-and-paid-for politicians and business execs and academics, garden variety IP theft and espionage and not only that but dirtier stuff like blackmail and threats. All the usual things.
He must have hit a nerve because as soon as he opened his mouth there were howls of outrage, he was crucified in the media, he was accused of casting aspersions on newcomers, of racism, of besmirching the good reputation of politicians (which is a joke). He was called unprofessional, and predictably, the gormless weenies in federal Parliament disavowed all knowledge of such matters, all of which to my ears spoke volumes about the extent of the rot.
To many in the Canadian elite the head of CSIS was way out of line and way over his skis and had to be silenced. I mean, there’s a lot of money to be made in selling out your country and the higher up someone is in the food-chain, the more they can make, so better not rock the boat.
So nobody sees anything, nobody knows anything, or at least, they’re not supposed to, or to admit to it. And, besides, it’s always been this way. Hasn’t it? Foreign governments have always had influence here, haven’t they? This is the post-national era isn’t it?
And isn’t Canada the first post national country? So how can a post national country have national interests? It can’t. It’s a contradiction in terms. So then what’s the problem? Is there even a problem? Well, no, there is no problem. So then what are we talking about? Shut up, hand over the goods, hold your nose, accept the favours and take the money. And avert your eyes. And don’t make trouble.
The point is this, Americans aren’t uniquely bent, not by China, not by rapacity. There’s no surplus of purity up here.
And maybe when future historians try to untangle the multiple factors and trains of events that coalesced to bring down the European Age and the ruling cliques on both sides of the water, maybe they’ll point to the corrosive role of money and blind, unreasoning greed in our demise.
You have mentioned several times that cities arose in West Africa earlier than in Europe, and this piqued my curiosity, since I lived in a West African country for several years. I have now read several very interesting papers about Dhar Tichitt. It seems that agricultural settlements arose there 4000 years ago, but of course there had been agricultural settlements in Europe, especially the Balkans, several millennia earlier. Towns or cities seem to have arisen in Mauretania towards the end of the 2nd millennium BCE, earlier than in most of Europe, but later than in Greece.
Not to take away from your main point that Europe was mostly a peripheral region until 1492, and will become so again, I just wanted to mention this because I am grateful for the stimulus to search for this kind of neglected information.
Now with regard to future changes, I do want to nitpick a bit. Most ancestors of modern Spaniards did not live in Ukraine 2000 years ago, nor at any earlier point in time. The ethnic identity of the ragbag band of soldiers who called themselves Visigoths and conquered Hispania was tenuously connected with earlier Gothic polities on the Black Sea steppe, but the Visigoths did not markedly influence the genetic setup of Hispania, nor did they bring any archaeologically visible baggage, nor did they permanently change its languages. Some of the ancestors of today’s Hungarians did indeed live on the Middle Volga or even further east, and the immigrants from the Volga did imprint their language on the Pannonian grasslands, but the existing genetic evidence does not confirm that the majority of modern Hungarians’ ancestors arrived there from so far in the east – and it seems improbable anyway, given that from archaelogical evidence, Pannonia was never depopulated.
More broadly, culture can change radically, and language changed radically in some of the former Roman provinces: Britannia, Germania, Pannonia, Moesia, Thracia (it did not change so radically in Gallia, Hispania or Italia). This does not prove, and archaeological and genetical research does not suggest, that there was a massive population movement around the time of the breakup of the empire. I don’t dispute at all that the cultures and languages of Europe may change radically in the future, but if you want to suggest that the modern populations of Europe will be genetically supplanted by waves of immigrants, you will have to look elsewhere for historical analogies, or maybe you will have to affirm that “this time is different”.
And Antartica is not that safe. I noted your comment to Chris at Fernglade about some Australians feeling there is something inimical to people in the centre of Australia. I have never lived there but have travelled through quite a bit of our outback and it pulls at my heartstrings and makes my skin tingle. Of course living there with the heat and the flies might be a very different story so I try not to get too carried away. Even writing about it affects me. No idea why.
I just want to make a personal note here. Seeing many comments from people that are yet to discard the naive trust in MSM I remembered when I first started reading you.
Coming from a standard (lack of) education and a world view based on MSM, every single post I felt I have huge disagreements with your ideas and your predictions. But the originality and the fact that you welcomed disagreement kept me coming back for more.
I have to say it was an incredible education – so thank you for being able to take us step by step to a completely different picture of the world, a picture that can be painful (because it reflects reality not our wishes) but it also provides relief by seeing things philosophically.
You cannot imagine how much better I can handle work stress (for example) when I take a minute to ponder my daily problems in the context of the big picture of human history (like in this post), or even cosmic evolution!
What is a mortal?
An entity bound to death.
What is The Eternal?
An entity doomed to live.
What does a mortal dream of?
What does The Eternal long for?
And since it can’t be killed nor kill itself, The Eternal kill others, trying to relish death, and fail.
The universe is the playground where God comes to die in vain.
To endure immortality, either sound wisdom or absolute madness are required.
Moral: If madness is to be avoided, avoid wisdom first.
Moral redux: Welcome death, it will spare you the insanity.
JMG – Thank you! And thanks to anyone else who has said a prayer or sent some positive energy my way.
Justin Patrick Moore, #49 – I agree. I have no idea what elements of American culture, or her regional cultures, might be revived and, just maybe, passed along as seeds in the future high culture of America circa 2500. But I do suspect that quite a bit might get passed along, even if it undergoes significant growth and development.
Alex, # 79 – I found a Reader’s Digest book on sewing through the Internet Archive, and I just received in the mail several different editions of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Sewing.” I can’t say that “you must unlearn what you’ve learned” is a part of any of those books.
JMG your analysis and insight are wonderful and very informative/interesting. Thank you for your essay this month. I have learned a lot.
I have stated here before my more optimistic view regarding replacement of the US empire with a Chinese one, which is already underway. Advanced products will continue to be manufactured and distributed, at least in the non-American controlled portion of the world. But personal liberty and freedom seems threatened, despite the fact that China has a free market economy and is practicing capitalism, having learned the lessons of an alternative.
When it comes to business, this next hegemon seems to provide much liberty, but in politics and philosophy, liberty as we used to have in the US seems dead in the new empire, while being snuffed out in the American remnant. To me this is the biggest worry, how to provide a fair and welcoming environment to encourage and reward the best from young people starting out in the world.
I am beginning to think that personal liberty may be a characteristic of exponentially growing civilizations and that as the entire world enters stationary phase, real stasis (inability of a young person to explore the world, be all he can be, able to move up based on merit and hard work etc.) is collateral damage. America grew like a weed and had much wealth for the taking and this allowed liberty in my opinion. The established stationary cultures (Japan`s edo period comes to mind) in the past had greatly restricted social mobility and liberty. Class stratification was a main result as rich people made sure that their offspring could unfairly outcompete for a limited, non-growing economic pie. Will we endure the same thing now? Will a principal feature of the new age be the lack of social mobility and personal freedom? It seems that Team Elite in the West are working hard to destroy liberty as an enemy of their new world order dream of total control…………………. And, what can we do to address this ?
Bofur: you stated if “there’s going to be an Ecosophia-by-telegraph group available in the future, I’d hate to lose touch with a community that I’d just found!” and JMG asked you how interested you are in ham radio. In this context please note that a group of hams recently formed in response to a similar issue in the Peak Prosperity group. If you contact me I will get you in touch with them. I am off the air in China here but plan to get my rig up in the 17 meter and 30 meter bands after I return to Japan later this year.
The Peak Prosperity community seems to be shrinking due to monetization of their on line discussions (need to spend a dollar a day in order to participate in discussions) In contrast, I really appreciate what JMG has done by carving out this special corner of the internet. Many of us are on social security and cannot spend a dollar a day just to participate in one blog site and we all owe something to JMG for this.
I agree on the River Plate region having great potential for high culture. They’ve already done it (Buenos Aires). But I wonder if it’s just euro-centric wishful thinking that they’ll return to glory. Politically, it’s been 100 years of failure. Maybe de-globalization will shock them to try something new instead of keeping up the pretense that they’re European.
Ah, but Mr. Greer, haven’t you heard? We are going to the stars in a new digital realm!
No, really, Coca Cola has created soda flavors that taste like “starlight” and “pixels”, the latter of which was inspired by a drink in a video game. Just when I think the religion of progress can’t get any weirder…
But more to the topic of this post, I am wondering if you have changed your perspective on something. When I first started reading you five years ago I had the distinct impression you thought America would fold into oblivion fairly quickly and Europe still had a viable shot at decline instead of disaster. You used to frequently mention how Europeans had a higher standard of living and how the U.S. was just a few short years away from domestic insurgency. After Trump you got a lot more optimistic about U.S. prospects and if I understand you correctly have gotten a lot more pessimistic about European ones over the last couple years.
With that said, is it typical for the outskirts of a civilization (for the West that would be America/Canada/Australia and so on) to outlast the imploding center (for the West that would be Europe) or is it more common for the extremities to rot out first before destruction reaches the civilization’s core?
Whilst I agree with the broad thrust of the article, in the year 1500, Europe wasn’t only building huts. The great Gothic cathedrals had already been in existence for several centuries. Likewise, the Sistine Chapel was a generation old and would be painted only a decade later. For Michelangelo to be able to do so, he built upon an existing artistic tradition.
Also, Europe’s looting of the rest of the world hardly goes unacknowledged. Barely two years ago we witnessed hysterical levels of iconoclasm related to this. This sort of thing seems to be all that anyone ever hears coming out of Western university campuses and media these days.
More Australians! That blob at the bottom right of the ‘international community’ looks imposing until you realise it only has 25 million people, less than the population of some cities.
I agree that the place is way overpopulated, though it’s hard to see when the limiting factors are soil quality and water. The First Nations people of Tasmania kept their population to 4000 people for the entire island. Hopefully we will learn some more about how they did it to improve our own prospects.
As fossil fuels decline, I think the ‘tyranny of distance’ will kick back in and we’ll become even more isolated than Europe. The Top End with its tropical climate and monsoon rains might be attractive to immigrants, but a lot of the continent is massive, hot and dry. You could almost ‘change countries’ by moving to Perth.
I’ve got no plans to leave, I’ll get by the way my farming grandparents did – stock up and skill up during the good times, buckle down during the hard times, don’t take stupid risks, treat friends well and then call on them for help like we did during the recent flood.
“In 1500 those people elsewhere who paid any attention to Europe at all thought of it as a bleak, damp, mountainous subcontinent stuck onto the western end of Asia, inhabited by a clutch of little nations mostly notable for their odd religious beliefs and their propensity for murderous internecine warfare. As it had been since ancient times, Europe was on the fringes of the civilized world: a belt of great imperial nations slicing across the southern end of Asia, through the Middle East, to West Africa.
I suspect Wars if they manage to be restrained in their destructiveness is like a form of hormesis. Europe had ample workout when it comes to War but not overdoing it until the World Wars.
Like how controlled burns are better than in terms of long-term benefit compared to wildfires that are far more destructive.
And with their constant disunity allowed them to sharpen their claws against each other to be able to efficiently wage war on others.
Allowing Colonization to proceed apace and setting the stage alongside Industrialization to defeat China and other mighty powers around the world.
I suspect disease also played a substantial role in retarding Total War and the triumph of Leviathan in uniting all Europe. The constant plagues on all sides prevented armies from being decisive in their unification of Europe.
In the 30 years war. Bad logistics and plague whittled down armies so much that instead of any side winning. All sides had to come to the agreement at Westphalia.
Not to mention the role of the Mediterranean sea and other surrounding seas in ensuing that Europe isn’t Landlocked and substantially raising the costs of unification.
I may have a few things I’d disagree with here and there but I agree and basically came up with the overall conclusion about all this hullabaloo.
When people think of the world at large on every single level down to every living creature and thought, as a zero sum game, a war, a crisis, matters of categorization, those who subscribe to such ideas always seem to lose because they ignore all indications pointing to the contrary.
Forcing Person A pay for thing/person B is not compassion, but politics, and contrary to popular belief, writting laws and making appeals to dead gods, and lists extending over clear boundaries made by millions of minds over thousands of years condensed into the here and now, speaks more about those who do such things than those in the rest of the corpus of a given population, often causing long lasting disruptions in all environments (natural and manmade) and ultimately mass migrations. Thinking and saying such rulings and monuments of progress will remotely stay, and crowning oneself as an authority figure on any subject with a clear incentive and intent to stay that way, seriously underestimate nature’s ability to adapt, take over and shred one apart with relative ease through various horrific means via humans and other natural processes. The idea gives those of us with the more conservative and independent spiritual/political viewpoints hope, despite the fact we still acknowledge the stark reality of the human condition unlike more self congratulatory totalitarian counterparts.
Europe is dead only because historically speaking, that whole continent has an odd fetish for dictatorships and despite critisizing the US for its biggest mistakes, has a long history of passing the buck to the baby nations and colonies to avoid taking responsibility for the fact they were the ones who destroyed more nations and cultures over centuries despite several warnings from their own who said to leave people alone. Some listened, most did not.
BB (no. 78) “I wonder if Japan will be able to exploit a weakened Russia to assert its territory in Asia once again…”
Unlikely due to aging demographics.
Lunar Apprentice (no. 80), I know you can go to Armenia and Georgia without being vaxxed. You’ll need a recent negative test, though. You should be aware that all the hotels there are full (of Russians). I would not go to any other post-Soviet republic at this time (Baltics excepted).
Varun (no. 90), I think the issue was that Putin emphasized an alternative (to the EU) set of values including Orthodox Christianity, as a means of legitimizing his rule over a population which might otherwise have been attracted to “Western” values of democracy, human rights, consumerism, and so on (if not necessarily gay parades). It did not help that far-right groups have long been attracted to Russia as a “white” nation (although this overlooks the presence of large ethnic minorities).
Another factor that seems to me that should be involved in a choice of where to locate is a bit more intangible than resources, climate, lack of conflict, language, family, etc. It is sense of rightness for you about the place you go or stay. This depends so much on the individual and isn’t always the logical choice. It can be almost a spiritual dimension. One can be in a very chaotic place and be fine, or the most logical place and step out in front of a bus. Maybe it is partly a matter of knowing the hill you are willing to die on. Of course all the other factors are important, but sometimes what seems like it should be the perfect place just isn’t right. Perhaps, especially if there is reincarnation, it can be more important to die in the right place than live in the wrong one. I don’t know, and welcome anyone’s input. I think part of it is a matter of trusting your inner knowing. That can of course still tell you to go to or stay at the most logical place.
It is a surreal feeling that things seems pretty normal at the moment (or people pretending their normal, but by say this coming Fall, society could be completely transformed in not such good ways.
I’ve been into learning about / preparation for collapse / decline starting with Y2k, peak oil, ’08 economic crunch, and lastly covid disruptions. This time feels like the real deal, but I’ve felt that before, so I could be wrong again (one reason I don’t stick-my-neck-out).
As usual everyone around me and my family think everything is fine, and things are going back to how they were in 2019.
I’m glad I’ve had this community over the years for my sanity, and now on Telegram you can find intelligent people on the dissident right that aren’t censored by the global elites or the MSM, and they see the writing on the wall.
As always, hope for the best and prep for the worst.
p.s. I suggest people that want to prepare for worst case scenarios, go look on-line for A Failure of Civility by Mike Garand. It’s out of print, but free pdfs are available. He gives lots of advice for forming neighborhood watch groups if tshtf (he advises staying where you are), and other advice besides, storing up lots of ammo like in most prepper books. He has the credentials to back-up his advice and the pdf is free, I’ll be printing sections of it.
That “international community” meme at the end of your essay has also been tweeted by Lijian Zhao, spokeman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In fact, he keeps it pinned to the top of his Twitter feed: https://twitter.com/zlj517
Few people outside the pictured “international community” realize just how small and increasingly irrelevant it is.
Mark at #52:
Are you sure what you were seeing wasn’t just a meteor shower?
Indeed, I think it was just a week ago that Putin stopped calling us “our partners” and started calling us “our former partners.” (Darn! Only link I have is in Russian. A translation of his March 31 speech: “I suggest to accept that in near future there will be no interactions as there used to be with our former partners [с бывшими партнёрами].)” I suppose he’s still holding out hope that we might yet come to our collective senses. I doubt it however. The people making these decisions are mostly focused on their personal pride issues and will not be among those suffering for it, at least in the short term.
The Japanese, and in particular, the liberal-minded ones express gratitude for the decades of peace and prosperity under American rule. This is a good habit of theirs, but they all realize they benefited from the relationship. Still, there are old wounds that the conservatives remember in particular, from real discrimination and the forceful treatment starting from the latter half of the 19th century. I sometimes think Japan is testing the waters, for example by continuing with an oil development project in Sakhalin while paying constant lip service to the selective outrage in the West toward whatever it is that is happening on the ground in Ukraine. The day after they announced they would continue the project they aired a one-sided documentary on Russian propaganda, and while noting that there is disagreement over what actually took place in Bucha, in the next sentence they demand that Russia be punished for this war crime.
As usual, you point out interesting things about the historical context. But I don’t know, I think some of the connections you are making feel a bit off this time.
For me, the band of former Soviet Union satellites in Central and Eastern Europe is quite distinct from the sclerotic Europe that you talk about, and really are the potential source of energy and innovation in the region. Certainly now, after Brexit, the center of gravity in Europe was already moving east.
For reasons of recent history, there was no way Russia would ever be trusted by the majority of these countries to play nice, even with the odd Orban Hungary (possibly astutely) looking to benefit from both sides. The more history under Russia the European countries have, the more hostile they are – this is the reason even incompetent American intelligence services are able to “turn against Russia” (as Russia seems to view any rejection of their charms).
And now the imperial bear has shown its claws again. An actual large scale war in Europe, with its associated atrocities, turns the opinion on a dime (also: effective propaganda is so much easier when the opposing side is actually doing horrible things). The opinions in Poland etc are suddenly taken more seriously by Western Europe.
So Russia seems to have started an imperial adventure, and surprisingly enough the natives are actually hostile. Who could have known? What to do now? Ah, take a page from the USA standard operating procedure: declare victory, go home, and leave an unholy mess behind. As a starting point, scale back the original ambition and say that that was always the plan. Instead of democracy accomplished, say de-nazification achieved. Hopefully the new plan does not include any more mass killings of “saboteurs/fascists”.
Europe and Russia go together like a car and a petrol pump, but Europe spurned Russia’s offer and settled for the USA. Possibly they wanted the steady infusion of dollars from American troops stationed in Europe (450,000 at the height of the Cold War, currently about 100,000).
I chatted with a woman who married for money. She said her husband was very good to her. She got a generous allowance. But he never allowed her to forget where the money came from. If he brought business associates home at any time, she had to spark and entertain them. No complaints allowed.
One thing that few people in the West know about Vladimir Putin is that he was selected by our side to replace Yeltsin because he was a quiet, obedient nobody, a mild-mannered bureaucrat. He did have a reputation in his work as uncorruptible, which is where we made our mistake in selecting him (I am speaking sarcastically, of course). Lesson learned: you put in a booby who loves money and needs his ego stroked constantly, and then he’ll do what you want. A year or two later, I went to Russia expecting to hear horror stories about his regime, especially from the environmental NGOs, because the western press had nothing but terrible things to say about him. Instead, Jennifer Sutton of Baikal Ecological Wave told me “He’s doing fine, but we wish he would hurry up with anti-corruption reforms.”
I’ve paid close attention to him since then (2002), and have not seen verification of any of the thousands of terrible things he is said to have done, but because no dissent is heard through normal channels I understand why nearly everyone thinks these are established facts. Every day I pray for both him and Zelensky, who I think stumbled into a really miserable set up.
John Michael I’m from Australia and I have felt that “sense that there’s something in the heartland of the continent down there that feels inimical to human beings.” There is a movie Picnic at Hanging Rock from the 1970’s that captures that feeling well. Not sure whether being of Scottish/Irish ancestry means not being adapted to being here. Out of cities and towns there is lots of barren dry land with gum trees, and in nature there is a risk of snakes, spiders, sharks, and crocodiles are up north. Even in the city of Sydney you need to keep an eye out for funnel web spiders and red back spiders round the house when it rains, and I have a shark watch app on my phone to check for tagged sharks
@Mark L (#53)
That has been my conclusion in the end, too (or rather: ours).
Still, I was and am very interested in getting other perspectives. And you know, as much as I feel here is the right place for us to stay right now, there are kids to consider and their future… *sigh*
I was asking partially out of the wish to get other perspectives, partially because I thought this would be an interesting question/discussion for everybody, and partially (don‘t laugh!) for recon – if certain things should hit the fan here in a few years, I‘d have a better grasp of what other parts of the world might look like.
(Also, I have to admit that on certain days, the temptation to pack up and run as far away from this madness here as I can is almost overwhelming. I suppose there‘s a lesson for me somewhere in there… 😉 )
Plus, the grass always looks greener on the other side, doesn‘t it? 😀
@Frank from Germany (#61)
I like the aspect about emigrating out of fear vs. emigrating out of love.
JMG, I hope this doesn‘t lead too far away, and Frank, I hope you don‘t mind me asking, but which trees worked well for coppicing for you?
My grandpa planted the trees we harvest from, and I always intended to plant the ones my grandkids would harvest from…
That‘s a very powerful statement, and much food for thought. Thanks for that!
@Lunar Apprentice (#80)
True, and a welcome reminder. Since „Putin“ is so overrepresented in our media, I might have made him out to be more important than he is. Something to look into.
About the vaccine mandates, passports, etc in Russia, I‘ve done my best to read varied accounts of people actually living there. There seems to be the „Russia is best“ faction which insists that there are such passports, but only locally introduced, it‘s not Putin‘s fault, he was against them, this won‘t have any future etc – and there is the critical faction which describes just the same totalitarian mechanisms of control being implemented in Russia that I see in the West, including ties of certain influential people (not Putin) to the WEF.
Both of them seem to agree, though, that the average Russian is a tad more resilient and resourceful when it comes to totalitarian control and how to avoid it than the average German. 😉
I forgot to say: This is an amazing discussion here in the comments, in all its aspects and facets. Thanks to everybody for contributing, and a big thanks to JMG for hosting it!
This post reminds me of how I felt back in 1989 to 1991, when Communism collapsed. Like most people (I was in my mid-thirties at the time), I was euphoric. At last, I thought, the world can get back to some semblance of normality.
On the other hand, I was concerned, even then, about one thing. I remember having a conversations with friends of mine, and posing the question of whether or not the United States, as currently constituted, could exist without an enemy? I knew that the country had been on a war footing since December 7, 1941, and that a disproportionate share of so-called middle class jobs were dependent, either directly or otherwise, on the Military Industrial Complex. I forget which pundit remarked that the success of McDonalds depended upon McDonnell-Douglas, but I knew that this was the case.
Well, we all got our answer in 1991 with Operation Desert Storm (the first Gulf War). The chance for sane, realistic geopolitics was squandered, and went whistling down the wind. I think this was the biggest political disappointment in my life.
Things are coming to a crunch now, aren’t they? Some thoughts before I get on with a busy day…
– Regarding the Turks getting as far as Vienna: if Ögedei Khan had lived just a few years longer, his general Sübügätäi would probably have added most of Europe to the Golden Horde two centuries before the Turks even took Constantinople. So many might-have-beens!
– On Russia: this is, I think, a time to be optimistic (from a Russian point of view). Many of my friends there were opposed to Operation Z at first. Even so, they thought it was hilarious when the oligarchs’ assets (stolen from the people of Russia) started to be expropriated by western governments. Payback! Since then, the rampant and vicious Russophobia demonstrated by western societies first horrified them, then united them behind Putin. There’s a sorting going on: the Russians who cannot imagine not being part of the West are leaving, while the remainder – the majority – are becoming more unified and confident in their Russian identity. As the west’s economic collapse accelerates, I would expect many of those Russians who have left to return home. Economically, the sanctions in place since 2014 allowed local industries to grow and thrive, and I expect that to continue, with more and more wealth being retained within the country. As the value and international use of the rouble continues to increase, Asian products will become more affordable for ordinary Russians, something that will be accelerated by the large numbers of free trade agreements Russia is signing with countries around the global East and South. Growing confidence, and growing prosperity may well yet turn around the demographic decline – particularly if victory in Ukraine establishes Russian national security, enabling the government to redirect funds from defence to social programmes.
– Here in Wales… well. I am keeping my head down. I was at one point considering migrating to Russia, but I think the moment has passed, and it’s better to hunker down in my own nation. Pretty much everyone I know in the PMC is passionately parroting the official line over Ukraine; once that falls apart, I expect a witch hunt for anyone who dissented, and a contemporary form of Weimar Germany’s “stab in the back” psychosis. As previous comments about the US have noted, the PMC need to find someone to blame, because they can’t accept that it’s them. There are shortages in the shops – bottled water and other beverages in plastic bottles being a notable one recently – so I’m stocking up on basics and things like spices that might be tradeable Everyone I speak to is worried about the rising costs of domestic energy and fuel. My fear is that Russia might announce that since the UK has been in the lead in the attack upon Russia, they will refuse to trade with us in any way, making an example of us to warn the EU (“killing the chicken to scare the monkeys”, as the Chinese say). Anyway, as the economy and narratives we’ve lived by for decades evaporate, I’m hoping that there is space opening up for a resurgence in Welsh culture. Maybe even for Druidry, who knows?
J.L.Mc12 – you wondered “if Australia will go back to being a poor country as in pre-colonial times”. May I ask on what basis you consider Australia to have been a poor country in pre-colonial times?
@JillN – “And as a side note I prefer the wattle and daub cottages to the grand buildings. Always have. Can’t see the point in flash. Must be my barbaric British genes coming to the fore.”
I’m with you. There are times in which it is easier to identify the barbarians who perpetually lurk even in the midst of what purports to be civilised “greatness”. And, I have realised that I, also, am surely one of them. 😉
Many thanks for this fascinating article.
I have just noticed how our worldview has been conveniently misshaped by the widespread Mercator-projection world map. If one uses a Peters projection map for example, the ‘International community” you mentioned above is even more peripheral and isolated. Especially, Europe looks like a tiny and crowded tinderbox .
Since you have mentioned emigration, is Russia and the Volga basin in particular an option ?
I think that you presented a fine argument. Your historic overview gives credibility to your analysis of present global society and makes your predictions seem solid.
However, this time around it seems that the human future won’t be shaped only by humans but also by other agents, i.e. natural forces of the climate change coupled with the stunning loss of biodiversity i.e. the sixth mass extinction.
The climate, like avalanche, has been whacked out of equilibrium and has started to rapidly transition toward a new steady state. The conditions are going to change from those the very best for humans to another much less favourable set. Gaia (as Lovelock named the biocenosis of Earth) won’t be obliged to care for needs and wishes of its single biological species, i.e. homo sapiens, the laws of physics even less so, while the humans won’t have another option but to deal with the new world (and/)or perish.
Thus the knowledge and application of another history is needed, a history much more vast and basic then the human history – the geological history of the planet Earth. Since the ruling classes obviously aren’t able to stop the business as usual before the collapse of civilization stops it, we could suppose that the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere will plateau around 500 ppm (and then stay there for thousands of years). In order to predict the future it would be usefull to know what were conditions like in the history of Earth previously under such concentration. My knowledge of that is very superficial but I guess that the large geographical area on both sides of the equator might become next to uninhabitable and this might limit the ability of the old belt of high civilizations to rise to prominence again.
Excellent essay and you’ve made a solid case. Looking forward to the comments spluttering “But it’s different this time!” (waves iPhone). For me the sign that Europe was doomed was when Notre Dame burned and the reaction from leaders there was a shoulder shrug. I saw a news story that they were going to rebuild it make it “equitable” and “diverse”. Not sure how true it is but it wouldn’t surprise me. Ten years ago that would have been an Onion story “Notre Dame Modernized to 21st Century Tastes”.
So I do have to ask about this creepy unanimity of Building Back Better and the movement of the West towards digital ID, vax passes, etc…..it looks like the momentum of getting every human into that system has died. In the last couple months it looks like it will be implemented among the PMC. It would certainly keep the deplorables separated from them. I’ve seen it explicitly stated at two cultural venues that they are leaving their goo mandate in place because their patrons have told them they are more comfortable that way. I snickered because now they are telling on themselves that it has nothing to do with science or health.
great piece, thanks.
There’s a question I’ve always meant to ask you, and now is as good a time as any, so, here I go.
Why are you so fixated on the idea of Europe being overrun by the south… but do not think that as a very likely possibility for the US? The US/Mexico border is just a line in the sand whereas Europe has a sea, warbands are slowly taking over central American countries, and the abbottian/trumpian border wall projects, which you seem to support, will likely prove completely ineffectual when push comes to shove.
Anyway, juste wondering.
You said that the European colonists took “every scrap of movable wealth that wasn’t nailed down”. Erm, that’s a tad understating things, I say. In the 1820s, an enterprising officer of the British East India Company came up with a proposal to demolish the Taj Mahal and ship the marble stones to London!
And then they were to be auctioned off to adorn the manors of the English Aristocracy. But the plan was abandoned when a trial auction conducted with stones from a different Mughal era building did not fetch much interest. Lucky Taj Mahal! 😀
On the topic of emigration, I am actually considering seriously the idea of migrating to the US myself.
I’m a regular reader and occasional commenter here from Singapore.
Singapore is not where I personally would want to spend the rest of my life in the long collapse.
Its fortunes are closely tied to that of the Anglo-American globalist world order. While we try to maintain friendly relations with China, when push comes to shove, the alliance with the West remains stronger.
There was a recent discussion in the comments on the merits and demerits of the Singapore model so I won’t go into too much detail, but the following points are strikes against it in the coming decades:
1. No agricultural base, almost all food products are imported. “Vertical farming” depends largely on fossil fuel inputs and will not be sustainable.
2. Economy is closely tied to global trade, and especially to the Anglo-American world order.
3. Besides global trade, Singapore is also a place to store funds/avoid taxes, but is losing ground to other tax havens like Dubai.
4. Culturally dead. There are some remnants of local culture on life support, but young people largely ape fashions from the West, and to a smaller extent those from Japan, South Korea, and China. The most common phrase to describe local culture is “kiasu”, a word meaning “afraid to lose”. It takes the form of being risk-averse, compliance with authority, sticking with the status quo etc.
If any of the internet neoreactionaries who often talk about Singapore as an ideal actually lived here, I bet they would hate it. I agree completely with Melissa from Burundi who commented on one of Moldbug’s posts: https://graymirror.substack.com/p/uncle-yarv-10-singapore-edition
Anyway the plus points for America IMO:
1. Farmland is quite affordable and available in plots that can support medium-sized family farms. I’ve compared prices of farmland across the world, in countries where foreign ownership is allowed. USA farmland prices per acre are actually cheaper on average than places like Malaysia. Much of the third world has either tiny plots that you maybe could do some homesteading on if you work a lot on it, or large plots for plantation use, there is not much in the 100-acre range, where a family could not only grow its own food and also sell its produce for a living on a wholesale basis.
2. Democratic structures and civil involvement in place. Maybe it’s seen better days, but my impression is that political life in the US, whether in urban areas or in rural areas still exists, and regular citizens do play a part in it.
3. The right to bear arms. In a long collapse scenario, some kind of ability to arm and defend oneself would be crucial.
Anyway, those are my points in favour of migrating to America. I have also considered other countries, but in the end, as an ex-British colony, and given these factors, America seems like the best choice in my view.
I am curious what are the factors people here are considering in their decision to migrate or not?
@Brian, if I may ask, what makes you conclude “india is a mess”? Because from my perspective living in the country. I am seeing a dramatic improvement in the quality of life. Perhaps I am missing something?
@JMG “how interested are you in ham radio?”
Interested enough that I bought a Baofeng a couple of months ago and my son and I are gonna do the HAM course.
See, I got u fam, I knew this was a community where great minds think alike!
@Mark L #53
I agree with this completely, but especially the last paragraph, and I’ve thought about this a LOT. Many, many are the times I’ve looked southward (to the US) envying the culture of freedom and so forth, and given my skillset I understand it would be fairly easy for me to get there.
But, ultimately I’ve concluded the same as you: there’s something to be said for what one might call “home field advantage”, that is, understanding the nuances of the place you’re familiar with and having family nearby.
Moreover, there is an idea out there, which I don’t agree with, which is that in the future, as there’s less cultural homogeneity and more regionalism, that what in the US are called “blue” and “red” areas will get bluer and redder, respectively.
I don’t agree with this. I would expect that future constraints will force every place to be more sane (read: limited by reality), even if they have their own regional flavours.
I think emigrating from North America or Europe is unwise because I expect foreigners to increasingly be treated with suspicion and probably violence. I take this pessimistic view because I think the world is entering a period of profound instability (as many have predicted, such as Robert D. Kaplan in the early 1990s). Times of profound instability are characterized by violence and a return to primary loyalties (those you can trust when your survival is at stake). Those who cannot form deep group bonds in such circumstances will face tremendous hardship. Since it is difficult for emigres to form these bonds emigration is not a good option.
Though it saddens me greatly, I expect a sharp rise in the level of violence. We already see it happening in the US. Economic hardship will increase it. It is easy for us to dismiss the idea of violence because we have lived so long with an exceptional level of physical security. Europeans are not immune either. When the catalyst is present they will revert to the older ways.
As for the war in the Ukraine, an under-appreciated fact about is that it is also a civil war. Maybe it is primarily a civil war, one in which an external party has intervened on one side. I don’t know but history has many such examples. Much of the apparent nastiness can be traced to civil war nature of the conflict.
Yesterday I got hit by very personal evidence of the incompetence of the PMC. Seems the rental office of my apartment has this computer program that spits out this pages long screed if they don’t have your rent by 9 am on the 6th. Yesterday their system “glitches” and spits out a bunch of these things, which they dutifully walked around the complex. Without verifying. Id paid my rent on the 2nd and had a receipt. They were very blasé about it, “Oh we had a glitch, we have your rent, don’t worry about it” I told them I wanted a written, signed and dated correction to this” Was told they were “working on it” They also mentioned they had an inordinate amount of these notices spew out of the computer, yet didn’t think anything was wrong until people began calling. That would have clued me into “lets verify this before we take the time to hand deliver these.” But no, the “system” spit them out, no need to verify. Trust the tech. This reminded me of a few years ago when my companion/housekeeper took the rent by on the 3rd, the check was dated the 1st. They wouldn’t accept it because they had been told to not to take pre dated checks. She explained to them, it was good on the day it was dated for. They asked her to alter the date, which is illegal for anyone but the writer to do. I wont even go into how, especially in the last 5 or so years, the lease has sprouted more pages every year. I rarely see management, when I do they are always furtively bustling about, while the maintenance staff, which I see all the time are friendly and ready to help. Typical PMC vs. those who do the real work
I realize this is highly tangential to the point of this week’s post, but I thought I would just toss out there the observation that one fascinating aspect of the Russia-Ukraine War, is the way it has exposed just how thoroughly the US mainstream media has abandoned any pretense of journalistic objectivity in favor of shrieking Pravda-like propaganda.
Continuing the evocation of Hitler, World War II, and the United States’ glory days…
Is it just me, or are we that guy sitting at the end of the bar, wallowing in our beer, reminiscing about that state championship we won our senior year in high school?
My take on this (as a Brit abroad) has been to prepare for the coming storm of famine and perhaps mass immigration from north Africa into Europe by choosing to live in one of the more underpopulated, rural parts of France (added bonus being that house prices here are about 10% of London prices; we paid less than the cost of the building materials, I think, for the house we bought here around 4 years ago), buying a piece of land and then doing everything we can to get that land into food production. This process has been very difficult even with abundant access to oil, as it transpires that the soil on our land is among the worst in France (I struggle to call it soil, even, these days, as it is more or less pure clay), and our climate is rather unforgiving, as we can see -20C in winters and +40s in summer (indeed 46 centigrade 2 years ago), and months without rain during those summers. But difficult is not impossible; I have learnt to minimise my expectations as to what we can grow and looked to what I see growing locally, and learnt that the entire rose family (pear/peach/apple/quince trees, to name a few) cope with our local soil and weather, and have gotten 30 or so of them into the ground over the past couple of years (JMG, I saw some mistletoe growing in an oak here recently and thought of you, as downy oak is another of the few species that cope with our rather demanding climate/soil nexus), and that the grass family copes with baked clay, too. So rye in the winter, wheat in the summer, with some experiments on more drought-resistant grasses like millet and amaranth (pigweed, aka red-rooted amaranth, grows locally as a weed) to boot, plus all of the green matter I can carry in our car each time we travel the 30km from our house to our little meadow. Lately we discovered a source of free, organic horse manure, so my weekends now consist of digging a cubic metre of that in the back of our (fragrant!) car, digging a cubic metre of baked clay out of our meadow into a demilune (an African tree planting technique I discovered while looking into how to increase the water storage capacity of our land, and learning that trees, as ever, are the answer to most of our collective problems) and tranferring the horse manure (and some green waste from our local rubbish tip, as the manure is too rich to plant into directly) and a year old sapling to the newly dug hole. Pretty much all the trees are liking their new homes so far, and we’re hoping for our first fruit (peaches) this year, as some of our neighbours saw my stash of saplings growing outside our house (no garden at the house, so they’re on the street) and kindly donated some 2 year trees to us.
Even with a fair bit of experience of permaculture growing from previous years, this has been a challenge, but we have the advantage that because the land is so unforgiving, the population is very low, something like 5-10 people per square km. I’m growing stuff like firethorn and blackthorn along the edges of our land as a way to keep prying eyes away from our garden and provide a source of food that most won’t even recognise as food (firethorn fruit is good straight off the tree, yet most resources regard it as poisonous, in an impressive show of ignorance of, again, the rose family), and letting any tree or shrub grow (downy oaks, blackthorns, dogwoods and dog roses are all volunteering) as a way to increase shade and hence improve water retention.
So, rural, unpopulated regions of Europe, move there, perhaps to a small town on a river surrounded by agriculture as John has suggested in the past, and find yourself a small patch of land even more rural than that for your emergency garden, is my suggestion. The fastest way to improve poor quality soil is to keep animals on it; we haven’t done that as we only spend weekends there, but if it comes to having to live there because food production has all but stopped, rabbits and chickens are my intended livestock. Rabbits you can even get away without feeding, if you give them access to enough land; check out a system called the coney garth on youtube.
great essay this week. This is the time frame one has to keep in mind when trying to gauge the dimensions of this present era of conflict. Interesting times!
There’s one remark I have to make about two of your pictures, though, in which you’re comparing apples to oranges: Instead of an English hovel and an African mosque, you could just aswell have shown an English Cathedral and an African clay hut (which would have looked much the same as the English one), and made the opposite point. Granted, gothic architecture only started in the 11th century, but my point stands: The Europeans had some insane building skills way before the colonial era, and that comparison of yours is, although funny, misleading.
And here’s a question related to last week’s post, but just as on topic this week: A German reader doubted that Germany’s military would invade anyone in the near future, given the state of our national character right now, which didn’t convince you.
I think you’re on the right track, the forces at work here are probably deeper and more powerful than petty domestic questions of politics and culture. I was wondering, though, since our demographics are rapidly changing, wether you think a German army that’s predominantly composed of soldiers of Arab and Turkish heritage would aim for the same targets in a European war as its more ethnically German predecessors?
In other words, is it the geographic location of a country, or its memory and history, that plays the biggest role in such questions?
Thanks, and all the best for you and Sara! May you never run out of lentils 🙂
@Chris at Fernglade & other speculative /SF fiction readers:
Have you read Rynosseros by your countryman Terry Dowling? It looks very interesting, and I got a copy of one of the older hardback collections of the stories. I haven’t read it yet myself, but its in the stack. I just thought of it now again with your comment above about the future of your continent.
PS Publishing put out a very fancy slipcased three volume edition of the complete stories, but I wasn’t ready to spring for that, not having read any of them before, but I was intrigued enough to hunt down another book that had a bunch of them in there. They put out ebooks of them too, and a cheaper trade paperback version of each.
“It’s no surprise that The Adventures of Tom Rynosseros has been called “The best and most ambitious Australian science fiction series ever written, and one of the best, ever, period” or that Locus magazine in the US saw it as placing its author “among the masters of the field.”
Only seven Nationals have won Hero Colours and fine sandships from the rival tribes that rule Australia a thousand years from now. We join the Blue Captain, Tom Tyson, and his crew aboard the magnificent kite-drawn charvolant Rynosseros as he strives to discover his true identity in a world of strange and dangerous desert states, orbiting battle stations, mind war and the most bizarre terraforming and genetic experiments imaginable. We travel with Tom to the islands of the Inland Sea, to the great fighting ground of the Air, to deserted carnivals, haunted artists’ colonies, fire-chess contests and the abandoned arcologies of the interior, all while searching for clues to the meaning of the three signs he carries with him from his time in the Madhouse.
For that is the great mystery here, and Tom’s search to discover who he is, and why he has come to be in this place at this time is one of the most memorable journeys in modern fantastic fiction.
volume 2… The Adventure Continues
Events are fast nearing crisis point for the seven Coloured Captains. While Tom strives to learn the meaning of his three signs from the Madhouse, he continues to test the patience and goodwill of the tribes who rule this amazing Australia of the future.
As he roams the dream-ridden streets of Twilight Beach, travels the strange wind river called the Soul, wanders the shores of the Inland Sea and visits the desert wastes of Totem Rule and Pentecost, his very existence cannot help but provoke the tribal Princes and their powerful allies.
Going walkabout doesn’t help either, for Tom cannot be other than the man he is. By aiding outcasts, travellers, fellow captains, even rogue belltrees in his search for his forgotten past, the point is finally reached where something must be done and a deadly plan is put in place that will deal with the Captains once and for all.
The question is: will Tom find answers before it’s too late.
This second landmark volume of The Complete Rynosseros presents the much-prized third and fourth collections in the adventures of the Blue Captain, Twilight Beach and Rynemonn, adding the previously uncollected story “Down Flowers” to the line-up, and featuring “Calling Down the Sun,” a brand-new Tom adventure written exclusively for this special milestone edition.”
The third volume seems to be more filler and related stuff for the true completist… but perhaps other editions of Dowling’s are more easy to come by down in your neck of the woods.
Anyway, I know you like some fantastical fiction, and thought others here might like to hear about this too if they haven’t before.
They also put out the anthology New Maps of Dream… a great title and a great premise…
“Once, the guardians of the Cavern of Flame admitted sleeping seekers to the Dreamlands, an endless realm of sublime horrors and unspeakable beauty. Some questers returned with wisdom and otherworldly inspiration to brighten the dreary waking world, while others remained forever where beggars could become emperors, mortals could cavort with gods, and ardent dreamers could cheat even death.
Once said to be more real than our own mundane reality, the Dreamlands now lie seemingly beyond our reach, the arcane art of dreaming all but forgotten. Were we exiled from it? Or has it simply changed as we have
changed, since the old maps were mistaken for fantastic forgeries?
To reopen the Dreamlands for a new era, Cody Goodfellow and Shirley Jackson Award-Winning editor Joseph S. Pulver, Sr. dispatched nineteen modern oneironauts to survey the feral territories of the collective unconscious, and their reports will haunt your waking hours and invade your sleep. With New Maps Of Dream, H.P.Lovecraft’s oft-overlooked other mythos is reawakened in a unique fusion of horror and fantasy, where inner and outerworlds uneasily couple and stir strangevisions fromthe elusive planewe only touch in the depths of slumber.”
Happy Dreaming in Dreamtime etc.
I wonder if we are talking about the same war. You write JMG that Russia shows “no signs of backing down”, despite…. that it is backing down from the North and controls less territory today than it did a month ago. For comparison, a map from March 15 and a few days ago.
I would also like to point out that saying that Russia controls 30% of Ukraine is stretching reality, because moist of it is Crimea 8 and two separatist republics annexed 8 years ago If you look at how much new territory Russia has gained since the beginning of the war, it is maybe a dozen or so percent at most. For a supposedly second world army fighting a 22nd army it is nothing impressive.
Hi John Michael,
That’s the most interesting question that I’ve been asked for a very long time. Kudos and respect! 🙂
Inimical to whom, is how I’d interpret that observation. I have it on good authority, that the old ones are still around and part of the land, and see no reason to doubt that. Are they friendly, unfriendly or indifferent? Well, I’d have to suggest that they fall into the indifferent category. The land here is old and fragile and should be treated with care. As a civilisation, and when viewed on the whole, we aren’t doing that, so there will be consequences. My understanding is that the old ones don’t care on the basis that whatever human arrangements arise from the dust, they will have to take better care of the ecosystem and everything within it, and so the old ones don’t have to do anything other than wait. The land will heal and adapt given enough time.
Now of course if you want to live like what is expected from a normal western lifestyle, the old ones might seem inimical. My gut feeling suggests that they’re giving the current eruption of our species enough rope with which to hang ourselves.
Do you see that in your part of the world?
My sense is that this might be overestimating that European “unity” of dried old sticks by a fair amount. Hungary has already said they will pay for Russian gas in rubles from now on, and they are both a EU and a NATO member. This has caused much predictable consternation among the right here in Sweden, but that’s very much to be expected.
I strongly suspect the “unity” we are seeing now represents the swan song of Atlanticism. Everyone is extremely eager for Germany to just deindustrialize itself and crash its economy and labor market “for the cause”; everyone except for the Germans themselves, that is. In the short term, it looks like it might very well be time for US to go through something fairly similar to the collapse of the Soviet Union (note that the US has responded to being snubbed by India and China in its efforts to isolate Russia by announcing that it is going to expand NATO to Asia), and when the cat’s away, the mice will play, as the saying goes. Germany in particular is very likely to try to mend fences with Russia at the earliest feasible opportunity, which is very likely to be successful, because Russia, like any great power, needs a fair bit of strategic depth.
But that being said, I think Europe going back to doing what it does best – being a small continent whose primary preoccupation is fighting constant internal wars – is right on the money. But I tend to think that if a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing well; in another 500 years, no other continent will be able to take us Europeans lightly when it comes to being small, damp, and engaged in constant internecine warfare!
Another incredible post! Thanks for all you do.
Re the end of the European Age
Admittedly, the headline is what caught my eye:
Navdeep Singh and his wife Gurpreet Kaur came to Kashmir from Australia, saying they were mesmerised by its beauty.
“I have travelled all over Europe but this place is more beautiful. People are warm and friendly and we didn’t see any kind of trouble here,” he said.
You neglected the actual people who produce the culture. Different ethnic groups (‘populations’ to use the currently politically correct euphemism) are of course different genetically. As with individuals, those groups therefore will also have differences that are genetic in origin in the distribution of behavioural traits. That’s one of the sources of cultural variation. It’s the one that’s consistently neglected by a current western culture that has a psychological issue or three with the biological realities of human life.
One of the sources of difference between European and American cultures then (whether high or not so high), will be that migrations are almost always genetic selection events. Migrants are not a cross-section of their home societies. On average, those Europeans who migrated to the US were more likely to be individualistic, risk-taking, eccentric, industrious, open-minded and disagreeable, for example. Since all such personality traits have a partly genetic basis, over time that genetic variation alone will continue to produce cultures that diverge from the origin cultures.
It is indeed an eerie feeling to watch history happen around in its typical slowly dragging pace. It is odd to live in many worlds at the same time. On the other hand there are all these grand cycles playing out predictably, but then there is the everyday hustle and bustle, the popular narratives, the business as usual. It seems that for many people here in Finland the recent war in Ukraine is something that threatens their very emotional psychological well-being. I can sympathize with that, as we share a 1700+km land border with Russia and are not a member of NATO.
We have a long and a complicated history with Russia. First conquered from the Swedes in 1808, we were an autonomous province of the Russian Empire until the turmoils of 1917 gave us an opportunity to declare independence – a declaration that was challenged in WW2, and for which my grandfathers fought fiercely. But even then, the pressure never really left. Only when the Soviet Union came apart was there a brief sigh of relief, even though much of the trade collapsed, which launched a very traumatic era of depression in Finland in the 90’s. Then for some time things seemed to be improving. “Perhaps we could live peacefully as neighbors, to remain neutral and independent” was the sentiment.
That sentiment is gone.
The sanctions will hit us hard, though not many people here seem to be realizing that yet. There is a newly found urgency to prepare for the worst. A NATO membership seems likely. Ending up in a portable crematorium is not a prospect that many cherish. An absurd notion not long ago, it now is a concern to be taken seriously. In the Winter war in 1939 we were quite alone. We do not want to find ourselves in that situation.
It is an odd arrangement we find ourselves in. It is as if Shire was situated right next to Mordor. This country is actually quite idyllic in many ways. A population of little over five million, plenty of space, beautiful nature, most of which is turned into basically farming trees, or “forest industry” as they call it. Not many natural resources beside that. A somewhat functioning political system, decent level of education, good health care, and again nominated “the happiest country in the world” in some contest or other. The taxes are high, but the ordinary citizen gets quite a bit back in return. Across the eastern border things are quite different. I have visited it a number of times in the past, but that will not be happening ever again, I suppose, at least not willingly.
Not much good has ever come to us across the border. We have known all the imaginable atrocities. We avoided the awful fate of the Eastern Europe, the epidemic rape, the oppression, the destruction of cultures and institutions, the raw robbing of raw materials and resources. Finland was never invaded, even though parts of the land were occupied and taken. Many would want to ensure it will not happen in the future either, at least not without a hefty price tag.
I love this country. I love these stubborn, quiet and timid people. I love the culture, the nature, the land of my ancestors, who can be tracked down to the 16th century. Even though the conscription based army will have no use for me anymore, I am not leaving. This is home. Come what may. Today I dance and sing (and stock the pantry).
Would you be willing to sketch out what you see of China’s future? Your views have changed a few times over the past few years, I believe.
How come you don’t consider the possibility of global thermonuclear war in your analyses?
Hi John and friends,
You know, its funny that you all brought up in the comments about mixing and racialism because I have been thinking about this the other day actually. I had a vision about a future humanity that sort of looked European with some members having blonde hair, blue eyes, red hair and freckles etc but the skin tone was sort of a mixture of caramel and golden. It was weird.
But then it got me thinking more about our current tracjetory and I realised something. Absolutes are never a good thing in the long term. I will explain.
From a spiritual perspective, too much purity is never a good thing. But the same can be said about too much mixing as well. For example, spiritual forces stopped the Third Reich from achieving its objectives down to two simple reasons: the first is that it would have destroyed the balance and the second is that it would have led to a very unhealthy and sickly group in the long run without the mental capacity to keep things going.
The same is true of a completely globalised mesh of humanity. It is an absolute and will lead to the same results.
To get to a better mix of people, they have to go through wars, famines, diseases etc until as a commentator pointed out, a high culture is born. Or as I will, I am afraid unpopularly refer to it as, a high ethno-culture. This is in itself natural selection but this is how things are done. We are only here as a result of the past trials of our ancestors and so it will be done for future generations too. To get the best result.
Regarding the future of Europe – it really does depend at this stage on how serious the Europeans become on protecting their borders. I have noticed an awakening in Western European states as fears of votes going to the nationalist right along with too much immigration from Africa and the Middle East is causing concerns.
I know that a friend of mine has been telling me that Germany is sort of “waking up”. After 2015, there really isn’t the will to stomach another mass migration event.
Notice how during the Polish-Belarusian border crisis, the EU fully supported Poland defending the borders. The few who did get in were granted access to EU refugee status but the majority got turned back. The EU didn’t complain.
The big question right now is if the EU still has the stomach to deport and turn the boats around. Can they resist mass immigration due to climate change and future wars? If they can successfully do so, they will in essence try to maintain a sort of weird hybrid of European multiculturalism…maybe it will survive and blossom into something else…
But this itself would put a huge damper in the future Russian Sobornost culture. See, regarding Sobornost, its roots itself will be founded in white Westerners fleeing East if they start to lose control of the West. If the situation does not improve by 2050 and when Eastern Europe has the better quality of life, they will be going East.
The East does not like change. At all. We discussed this before. If the East pushes 1 gear forward for change, it pushes 3 gears back in reverse for tradition. So I am, without a shadow of a doubt, fully believe that if Western Europe cannot make its global project work, then by 2200, the vast majority of white faces are going to be seen East, not West.
Another key fact to remember is that when a group becomes a minority, it becomes very conservative and nationalistic. The Afrikaners, Circassians, Armenians, Chechens, even Israelis, they always become group orientated, a huge dislike for mixing and preferring to keep it as traditional as much as possible.
I suspect future white people, wherever they are, will follow the same pattern. It is inevitable.
As for America, I do not forsee it going Latino. It has too many divergent ethno-groups for that. No , I see it going into a new root race (to quote Blavatsky) entirely. Different looking faces, some paler then others, taking shape but a new high root race altogether.
The same will be of Sobornost. Which itself leads to something.
The future of Humanity will not be one huge global led movement. It will be of new cultures being fashioned, new ethno groups emerging and new ideas being formed. That is the way of the future and that is what produces the best results for Humanity.
@BB Thanks for the book rec. My thinking has been similar to yours, and I find myself questioning whether I’m exhibiting a lack of imagination, or am seeing what may actually happen. Only time will tell!
Using the replacement of the US dollar as the global reserve currency for an example: I find myself struck by the fact that there isn’t a clear replacement. There are definitely scary moves that are happening: Saudis accepting yuan for some of their oil, etc, but there seem to be challenges with all of these replacements. The part of me that wonders if I’m just not imaginative enough is the part that wonders if these “challenges” are really just biases that I have as an American against the real strengths of a Chinese led international order.
To use another example: Putting aside the geopolitics of payments systems, there’s a reason we’re still using systems that were written in outdated programming languages that younger engineers have never even heard of, let alone know how to update if a new bug is ever found. These systems replaced the telegram based systems that JMG explained in his essay. Any bank CTO who gives serious thought to what is actually involved in fully replacing these systems will run screaming to the nearest open window.
We’re used to thinking of technical solutions as a complete overhaul of “the way we do things.” In reality it’s just an incremental part of an organic technological evolutionary process that’s been going on since the middle ages.
I think your comment and mine represent the core conflict in the world of ideas over the next century…in some ways they have been underneath the past century as well. I emphasized the good that has occurred during the European era and seek ways to preserve and rebuild with the good as the age of colonial empire collapses. You see the bad and view the good as essentially disappearing under the weight of the hostility created by the empire. We live in an age dominated by loud and frankly silly voices on both sides of this divide. Donald Trump and right wing populists in Europe claim to ‘make Eurocentrism great again’ and keep the benefits of empire streaming in to support extravagant lifestyles disconnected from ecological reality. But they have essentially no plan to achieve this. They have a correct observation that they can enhance personal power by bashing opponents on the left who think their identity politics and big government/socialist solutions are going keep western empire running. These extremists keep everyone from thinking straight.
Underneath this shallow minded shouting match is a real debate. You think the ideas of human rights, democracy and science based technology that have flowered in the ‘west’ will be submerged in a wave of resentment and collapse. I think that societies that correctly assess which aspects of the European experiment have been successful and unite in maintaining them will outcompete those that throw out the lessons of the era of European empire. In the case at hand, Putin is gambling that democracy and human rights will disappear in a renewal of military conflict that is best managed by authoritarian regimes. I suspect he loses that gamble. Maybe not in Ukraine and many not this decade, but over the next century, I suspect that democracy, human rights, and scientific technology will be understood by enough people that even in an era of more warfare and a less unipolar world, the Putins of the world will find themselves marginalized and ultimately grasping for control of weak totalitarian states more like North Korea than like Rome. The question will be about what kind of conflicts will engage the democracies and what kind of ecological arrangements they can find. But the core lessons of western empire that democracy, respect for human rights, and embrace of scientific technology produce societies that outcompete others is not going to be lost to history.
Hi JMG, very interesting essay.
General Milley said yesterday that the fighting in Ukraine will continue for maybe years. It’s already been going on since 2014. The shocks of this war are already worsening global instability, look at what’s going on in Sri Lanka and Peru. The inflation is also affecting the US military budget to respond to Russia and China. This is a relevant read:
As for the European Union direction, I think the French elections in a few days will give us a good idea, as the second biggest economy in EU. Personally, I think if Le Pen focuses on cost of living, and appealing to the French working class, which she is, she wins. But it’s a toss up.
I know you mentioned earlier the “Putin is going insane!” Camp shows a ignorance of history. It’s weird how a modern leader is thought of as crazy when a lot of the rulers that conquered vast amounts of territory were referred to as “the great” ( Alexander the Great, Frederick the great, or the founder of Mughal India that you wrote about, Babur the great) so it wasn’t limited to Europe. I took an interest in other cultures in world history after reading about The Mali empire under Mansa Musa and his gold on his hajj to Mecca. Another good book was Leo Africanus by Amin Maalouf.
Good read. Puts things into perspective. I sense we often get myopic about our own era.
I’m guessing the reference to “Father Time” is doing some work here on the spiritual side of things..
As a fun coincidence, I just this morning published a blog post arguing that this war in Ukraine may trigger the collapse of the current system of international standardization and certification that global trade relies on. This is a very small piece of the very much larger picture being addressed by our host and the other commenters, but it is along the same lines. (Nor do I claim any originality for my idea — I’d already been reading Ecosophia for many months before the argument occurred to me!)
If anyone is interested in the vicissitudes of (for example) ISO 9001 certification, you can find my post here: Will this be the end of global certification? Feedback is always welcome. If the topic seems just too precious and obscure to be taken seriously, OK that’s fine too. (smile) As noted, it’s a small part of a very big picture.
I am hopeful for a level of European cultural survival around the hinterlands of Europe, and across the Atlantic in the north-east of America and Canada. As JMG has pointed out, that latter region has been under European influence for a long time, and if there is an influx of refugees from Europe, I do wonder if it could play the role for Europeans in general what the north-western peninsula of Gaul provided to Romano-Britons during the Dark Ages; the number of refugees fleeing the Saxon advance led to the region taking the name of Petit Bretagne (Little Britain or Brittany), bringing their culture and language with them, fusing it with those of the the local Gauls (which would have been very similar), and the result was the beautifully rich culture of the Bretons. If you have not heard any Breton folk music, it is a very vibrant musical tradition – YouTube has many lovely examples, see here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dkhVEIoUNsI
or here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eS42bBYgdok
The far northern fringe of Europe could also be a refuge point, so perhaps Scandinavia will become a melting point of various European ethnic groups? A lot depends on what happens with the climate, demographics and other variables.
All that being said, being faced with the prospect of Europe’s decline and death is daunting. The nativists, as one poster has already pointed out, seem insistent that they can somehow reverse the inevitable, while the mainstream liberals and leftists are in complete denial that such a thing could even happen. “It’s just a racist conspiracy theory!” or, among the further left, “We deserve to be colonised!”
As if saying such things now will somehow ensure the preservation of one’s privileged status in the topsy-turvy world of tomorrow. Common to both of these tendencies is, of course, a kind of European exceptionalism.
Further ahead, it would be fascinating to see how and which elements of Faustian culture are adapted and repurposed by future civilizations, as elements of Apollonian culture were in the European Renaissance.
@Not a morning person (#119)
Whether you believe that the Russians are failing or succeeding in their war efforts, it is outright wrong to state that they have scaled anything back. What the Russians have said, which is very different from what the msm presents them as having said, is only that, for the moment, they are going to be focusing on liberating the donbass. They have not stated that the donbass is their only goal, nor that the “liberation” of the donbass will mark the end of the war.
If you can recall to the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, liberating the donbass was, in fact, the main justification given by Putin to the Russian people for the “special military operation”. By saying that this is what they’re going to focus on they are reaffirming exactly what they were saying from the start, and the only way you can take this as a “scaling back” is if you accept the wholly speculative msm assertions that the real goal has always been regime change or the total conquest of Ukraine.
What’s more, in the ongoing negotiations with Ukraine, the Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov has stated that Russia has not and will not backtrack on a single one of its original demands, on which they have remained fully consistent since the start of the invasion. In fact, everything I’m seeing from the Russians is indicating that they are perfectly confident in their ability to win the war and get everything they ever said they wanted, even if it ends up being a bit costlier than originally anticipated.
I think your image of Putin is a bit divorced from the facts on the ground. The simple reality is that, in the time that Putin has been in power, the west has caused a couple orders of magnitude more death and suffering across the world than Russia has.
Furthermore, I’m far from as confident as you that the western values you mention will be as viable on the long decline as they were in the preceding ascent, nor do I agree that any of them short of “the embrace of scientific technology” can be counted as significant factors in the west temporarily outcompeting its rivals. I think it’s no coincidence that “scientific technology” is the only one of the values you mention which China, the west’s biggest challenger who is already outcompeting the west in a number of areas, is actually on board with.
Willows are my no.1 choice for coppicing, but since there are roughly 200 varieties of willows you need to know which ones to use for which purpose. Best for firewood are white willow (salix alba, Silberweide in german) or golden willow (Salix alba ‘Vitellina’, Dotterweide). Eared willow (salix aurita, Ohr-Weide) is good for hedgerows, basket willow (salix viminalis, Korb-Weide) is good for..well, the name says it all. Weeping willow (Salix babylonica, Trauerweide) is very decorative and gives you a nice shady place to sit under on hot summer days, but it’s not very suitable for coppicing. Almost all willows are very easy to multiply: from late autumn to early spring, just stick a human-sized branch about 30-50 cm deep into the ground and 8 or 9 times out of 10 it will grow into a tree (or shrub), and that even works on unprepared grassland.
Poplars (aspen) grow as fast as willows (maybe even faster) and spread by means of root suckers, a bit like bamboo or brambles, so they do need controlling.
Alder trees don’t grow quite as fast but give very good firewood and additionally do in your woodland What peas, beans and lentils do in your garden: they fix nitrogen. Quote from wikipedia:
“Alder is particularly noted for its important symbiotic relationship with Frankia alni, an actinomycete, filamentous, nitrogen-fixing bacterium. This bacterium is found in root nodules, which may be as large as a human fist, with many small lobes, and light brown in colour. The bacterium absorbs nitrogen from the air and makes it available to the tree. Alder, in turn, provides the bacterium with sugars, which it produces through photosynthesis. As a result of this mutually beneficial relationship, alder improves the fertility of the soil where it grows, and as a pioneer species, it helps provide additional nitrogen for the successional species to follow.” They are also suitable for coppicing.
Birch trees also give good firewood and grow very fast, but are not suitable for coppicing; instead they prolifically seed themselves, and once you’ve got half a dozen in your woodland, they pop up everywhere and you can just let them grow.
Hazel, of course, gives you tasty nuts, but also very straight stems that can be used for all kinds of purposes like beanstalks, fencing, wattle and daub, roof constructions for small buildings and many more. It’s as suitable for coppicing as willows are.
One caveat: the trees I’ve listed here (maybe except hazel an alder) like their soil moist, and you probably know how dry it was in Germany over the last few years, but I suppose that’s part of an uncertain future. I live in a rather moist spot, and my little woodland gets (normally) partly flooded in late winter/ealy spring; so far my trees managed to survive.
My recommendation is to plant a mix of many species (unless you want to harvest their wood industrially), because it’s of course much more resilient than a monoculture. I also suggest not to neglect aesthetics: that way a woodland can also serve your needs for relaxation, recreation and, indeed, slackening 🙂 I spent countless hours in mine, having a nice Schwarzbier and just appreciating the beauty of it.
Wer here you never dissapoint with how accurate everything is.
The maddness is still going here is n Poland but cracks are showing.
The polish goverment is starting to realize that NATO might not be be so strong. I mentioned not long ago that a lion’s share of Polish high tech munitions were given to Ukraine, people are starting to notice things” like how do we millitarize the country when we can’t pay the food bills? germany is witholding it’s weapons for itself. German Buisnessman openly said to Scholtz that Germany can’t replace it’s fossil fuels dependency from Russia and just a”minor” hickup in supply may cause entire production lines to shut down and massive layoffs.
How to you millitarize in a instant when your population is ready to rise hell over a small gas price increase and heavy industry cannot function without Russia mineral ores? (I am looking at you Rheinmetal)
If The United States suffers a hypperinflation or Texas angry over Biden presidency declares that they no longer want to take orders from the woke people, it will cause an instant lack of US gas supply (the couple of ships that Poland carried gas much more expensive that Russian gas.)
And people in The Peak Oil scene can already tell you how the shale industry is living off denominated dollar and money printing by the FED gimmicks
Good Lord think about it: Russian gas banned from Europe, US has massive problems on it’s own no gas from there, The Arabs demand to be paid in yuan or rubles (which the Polish goverment has very little).
Europe and it’s consumer culture and energy intensive industry will shut down quickly in this scenario, and European Army will have little fuel for the few tanks we have….
A hyppersonic missle hit here and there and there won’t be any electricity…..
On aside note I am now convinced that the mainstream narrative in the Polish media about ( weak Russia and strong Ukraine is completely bogus, Even anti Russian people are now saying that the Ukrainian army has lost majority of it’s tanks and planes), thay send a few tanks there but they lost apparently thousands of vehicles (tanks, APC, jeeps etc.)
Ukrainian infrastructure must be falling appart, people say the there is no power in some regions the roads, bridges, railroads are destroyed and the factories that were producing munitions are a pile of rubble.
(this information comes from the anti Russian Polish media BTW, I can’t read Russian and all Russian media was banned on day one in Poland)
What a mess take care everyone Wer
@ JMG , et al… – Whelp. It finally happened. The Onion crossed the comedy event horizon, and now just writes cogent commentary and accurately reports what’s going on in the world around us. Yet another thing I love ruing by this stupid decade. Bring on the 2030s, ’cause I’m over the ’20s…
(Please excuse the naughty language)
“a sound track for the Kessler catastrophe would be worth compiling…” Puts me in mind of a very funny NPR piece a decade ago, a compilation of symphonic crescendos. I went to look for it one time but it was gone. Too bad, I was splitting my sides — it just went on and on …
@ Jack # 154 – fascinating point i had not considered. Thanks for this!
One thing I forgot to mention in my comment #114 is astrocartography. The person who is doing it will give you a world map with lines running through it and how they affect you based on your own astrological chart. It is very interesting as a consideration in where you might move to or stay in. I am certainly not suggesting that you wholly base your decision on it, but it has been interesting to me to compare my my reactions to different places to the information it gives: one more tool for looking at things.
@ Ksim # 153 – This is a truly stirring vision of the future. And I think will prove quite accurate.
As for Sobornost, if Europe gets it’s act together, and defends it’s borders, could a wave of immigrants from China or India contribute to the culture in the way you see Europeans contributing?
On a related note, I have a sneaking suspicion that Germany will wrap up re-arming, around the time southern Europe collapses under the weight of mass migration from the MENA countries, say fifteen or twenty years from now. When that happens, I could easily see the German government turning to the children off all those Syrian, and now Ukrainian, refugees and saying something along the lines of; “we sheltered you, so here’s a rifle, there’s the Alps. Time to start shooting the invaders.”
As for the Tamanous culture that will emerge in North America, I’m in the process of writing a trilogy set about 1200 years from now. My thinking so far, on the topic of race and ethnicity, actually mirrors much of what you wrote. I see North America (especially the former USA and Canada), becoming a hodgepodge of skin colors, hair colors, and eye colors. Kind of like it is now, only more so. I doubt any one group immigrating here over the centuries, even during the coming dark age, will totally dominate the landscape. Even Mexico, which is due to birth a high culture in a few centuries, will look ethnically different than today, as Caribbean people escape the rising seas, and settle where they can.
In the end, I think ‘race’ as we currently think of it, will just not be that important to the people of future North America. In my novel, people put much more importance on tribe, clan, family and city of origin than they do on race or even religion.
@Ksim ” I had a vision about a future humanity that sort of looked European with some members having blonde hair, blue eyes, red hair and freckles etc but the skin tone was sort of a mixture of caramel and golden. ” Mark Twain wrote, “Puddinhead Wilson” that had such a woman character. She looked white, but was born a black slave, because she was born to a slave, and she had a son born on the same day as the masters wife, and she switched the infants and raised the masters son as a slave. Very melodramatic writing for Twain; her son, raised by the masters wife, ended up selling her down the river, after she had been freed, by the masters son, who she had raised, and who had obtained his own freedom, and bought her from her master. The hero of the book, a lawyer named Wilson was an early adopter of fingerprints, and people in that small town therefor called him “Puddenhead” He went ahead a took hand and footprints of all the newborns anyway, and eventually proved the babies had been switched. I don’t recommend the book, not his best by about 500 yards. Besides after the watermellon, according to Paul Simon, people figured out fingerprints were a myth, used to justify the old army base.
I saw a conversation not long ago when someone insisted that no two countries that both have McDonalds have ever gone to war — they were quoting some pundit or other.
This was Tom Friedman, according to Matt Taibbi.
Ah, Tom Friedman, beloved of middle managers everywhere. What would we do without his mustached widom.
Mark L. and others talking about alternative places to live:
I haven’t made it through all the comments yet to know if this has been mentioned or not, but Jack Alpert (who takes a rather extreme view, and therefore controversial, for rapid population decline on his SKIL website, http://skil.org/ suggests that significant regions of water power sites are ultimately the beneficial areas to seek. At least if the goal is also to sustain a modest industry and commerce along the lines of an early “European standard” as he also described.
So in his prognostications, he suggests civilizations will circle around three (or four depending on how you count them) general locations in the world where you can have sufficient water-powered resources to sustain civilization with sufficient head (water height and dropping distance) and volume to generate significant levels of physical and electrical energy. Jack’s suggested locations are: Two in North America, one along the Cascades in the Pacific Northwest (and stretching south along the Sierra Nevada range), followed by a second one of smaller size along the historic slopes of the northern Appalachians Mountains and toward the Great Lakes; one large area in South America in southern Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, and Paraguay; and the an area in the western parts of China, east off the slopes of the highlands of Tibet, Mongolia, and the Himalayas. (I found these locations buried in one of Jack’s many videos with Powerpoint-type slides, in particular this one:
, buried about three-and-a-half minutes in, although I know I’ve also seen them in his many pages of text and notes). Europe did not make Jack’s list, although clearly there are many more areas, much smaller in size and capability, that will be able to sustain populations as well.
Only time will tell. Obviously there are other useful factors, like growing seasons, access to water transportation and coastal regions, and so on.
I don’t know that I think Australia was actually poor in pre-colonial times. I know it was in colonial times. I joke that my ancestors here were too poor to have second names. When I look back at how my forebears lived I am grateful to them for the hard work they did to make my life so much easier than theirs. One started as a gold miner, then a farmer, then a labourer. Another was a labourer at 76 years old with a family to support. I try not to make things too much worse for my descendants but of course don’t know what will happen.
As for Europe becoming a backwater. I have lived in a backwater all my life and have always liked it.
But Europe outcompeted the rest of the world long before it became even remotely democratic or elevated the abstract concept of human rights to its current status. Those are phenomena of the Age of Reason, that’s why they happen to coincide with the height of western power. Spain wasn’t exactly a democracy babbling about human rights when the conquistadors walked all over central and south America.
Since concern for nuclear war is running high, do you have a reasoned assessment of what the outcome of a large-scale nuclear exchange (say 1,000-5,000 bombs) would actually be?
There is a prevailing assumption that it means game over, we all die and so does everything else on Earth, but I haven’t seen that firmly substantiated.
I did once calculate that detonating all ~15,000 warheads in existence would still release 100,000 times less energy than the Chicxulub meteor impact, so energetically and climatically speaking I would expect a full-scale nuclear exchange to be several orders of magnitude below the “kill all humans” threshold. I have less of a sense of what the average ambient radiation level would be and whether it would be sufficient to cause mass death across the globe or just, say, a quadrupling of the cancer rate for a generation or two.
Do you see “mutually assured destruction” as truly apocalyptic or has it been the subject of too many apocalyptic fantasies? Might it be more along the lines of the Black Death in terms of population impact?
First off, thank you for the frisson of pleasure at your mention of the Songhai Empire. I suppose it’s no small co-incidence or irony that it collapsed due to an internal power struggle between two irreconcilable power blocs.
News item: “The mounting evidence of widespread civilian deaths in the city just northwest of Kyiv [sic] has incited global outrage and harsher sanctions against Russia.”
The global outrage part is certainly wishful thinking on the part of western news media.
It is universally condemned in the western mainstream press, to be sure, but not universally by most of the U.N.
Your essay touches this point, and a talk by the British historian David Starkey recently on his recent YouTube channel makes clear that, while in the ‘west’ we are outraged, across much of the rest of the world’s vehement condemnation is distinctly lacking.
He cites two points that coincide with yours, first that Russia has been setting this up for over a decade with talk about a multi-polar world, one where sovereign territory should be ‘sacrosanct’, which is both a direct jab at the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq and the fact of so many U.S. military bases around the world. (Which is why he makes his absurd claim that Ukraine isn’t a ‘real’ country. The multi-polar world is willing to accept that fiction because it is in their interest, the same way so many “democracies” paid lip-service to the U.S. led U.N.) Talk about such a world allows ambitious men to dominate locally in different parts of the world instead of having to always defer back to the mono-polar West and our domination of all things economic and cultural. They like this idea. These countries are not democracies and the fact is the majority of humans do not live in democracies, means Fukuyama was wrong.
Second, most of Africa and Asia are not eagerly joining in condemnation because in their view they have been on the receiving end of exactly this kind of treatment from the supposedly moral West for centuries now and for them, there is not much difference between us. Exploited by Western Capitalist IMF bankers, or offered “help” by Chinese industrialists, or offered “support” by a Russia quite willing to use whatever degree of violence needed to suppress unrest and restore order, as shown in Syria and Mali. They can now pick and choose their new overlords and they don’t see any reason why either of the others is not better for them or worse than our colonial rule has been. In fact, they believe they will be more prosperous for it, even if it does mean more active war.
Fukuyama was wrong, but I think he was also right, since refugees don’t flee to China or to the next strongman state next door, they try to come here, to countries with a high degree of freedom, in their millions. I believe the majority of people do want ‘democracy’ and freedom, but are cowed into submission by threat of violence. They don’t choose to be Nathan Hale. The vast majority would rather live on their knees than die on their feet, or cut and run if they get the chance, and so, much of the world is run by bullies, as it always has been.
Thus we see, as a mirror, the wider world is breaking up into different power blocks, even as the western culture breaks up internally, to the anguished dismay of the culture warriors who are seeing their shining city of absolute fairness and prosperous equity becoming nothing more than the mirage it always was. Universal rights was only ever a western notion and now while we are squabbling internally about who gets to use which bathroom, the high degree of liberty which is so attractive to so many is eroded from within as our own power blocs increasingly refuse to accept co-existence with each other. Even the social justice movement is fragmenting from within as each hard-done-by group discovers that other hard-done-by groups aren’t wholly compatible. Out in the world, “democracy” is “under attack” by “backward” men who simply enjoy the thrill of pushing others around more than they value fairness and who value their own comfort even at the expense of others pain.
I find that while I do enjoy irony and satire, it’s a nectar to sip at, not something that should be drunk from a fire-hose.
A serious question for JMG. This afternoon, while walking, the phrase “American Civilization” – (“American” as understood in this country as meaning “Of the U.S.A.”) popped into my mind and felt like a well-worn coin in my hands. I immediately wondered if the term actually had any meaning, and if it ever did.
Hello Bei Dawei
International travel is not an option if for no other reason than my divorce, my younger daughter being 11, and we all can’t obtain/renew passports as we are not vaxed. We can’t even cross the border into Canada, 20 minutes away. I accept my Russophilic pipe dreams as just that.
There are no Russian Orthodox churches within reach.
My daughters still have a friendly stance to things Russian, and now and then will play this super-patriotic video featuring singer Oleg Gazmanov (Олег Газманов), as they like the music:
I’m rather taken by Russia’s counterpart to Lady Gaga: Pelageya (Пелагея)—
though my favorite is expatriate guitarist Igor Presnyakov, eg–
A few years ago, I was looking at learning Systema, the indigenous Russian martial art. There had been a Systema ‘dojo’ 60 minutes from my home that I was looking at joining, but when anti-Russian publicity started cranking up after the 2014 Maidan coup, they closed shop. (In a weird coincidence, that very space is now occupied by one of my chief medical competitors in the state).
But Agni Yoga? I’ve never heard of it, and will have to check it out. Thanks for that. There potentially could be be something, as there is a Russian emigre community where I live. Their church is a “Slavic Baptist” church, a Protestant church which I understand is not too kindly regarded by the Orthodox majority in Russia, and which has some connection as to why these people emigrated. (Protestantism is neither Russian nor my cup of tea)
The middle Miocene around 15 million years ago would be the last time CO2 levels were around 500 parts per million. Working out the exact level of CO2 is a matter of interpretation of proxy indicators.
The impact of Miocene atmospheric carbon dioxide fluctuations on climate and the evolution of terrestrial ecosystems Kürschner et al. 2008
A 40-million-year history of atmospheric CO2 Yi Ge Zhang et al. 2013
The Miocene is discussed at length as a future climate analogy in The Miocene: The Future of the Past M. Steinthorsdottir et al 2020
As far as future civilisations go in such a world, there are some potential hazards, sea levels will carry on rising for centuries after the warming pulse from our fossil fuel extraction has ended, since the continental ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica will take many centuries to melt out, to reach their far smaller extents that would be their stable size in a world as warm as the 15Ma middle Miocene climate optimum.
This means that until the oceans stop rising, it will be difficult to build port infrastructures of a rising civilisation in say 500 years time to replace the port cities of our world which will lie underwater.
Another issue is the possibility of 35 deg Celsius ‘wet bulb’ heatwave temperatures, which could leave parts of the tropics uninhabitable torrid zones.
Thirdly obviously the changes in rainfall patterns affecting how different regions can feed themselves, though this is less certain. It may be that the ‘foreseeable’ trend could be increasing aridity in SW Europe and North Africa, with increasing temperature, but it is also possible that at a certain point it tips over into the Green Sahara state.
Speaking of the fog of propaganda surrounding the Russo-Ukrainian War, there are reports that there has been a concerted effort by social media companies and other Western media sources to suppress and censor information that is seen as being unfavorable to Ukraine:
Sol also points out that there is plenty of evidence of war crimes by both sides. So why are we only hearing about the alleged war crimes committed by Russian forces, but not those committed by the Ukrainians?
I think most Americans understand that this sort of biased and slanted coverage has become par for the course in both the mainstream and alternative media. But what I think a lot of people in the media and the rest of the establishment fail to understand is this sort of thing is steadily eroding what little credibility they have left, to the point where huge numbers of people around the world automatically assume that when a politician, government official or media talking head opens their mouth, they are lying. Its like the little boy who cried wolf: if you get caught lying to and deceiving people enough times, no one will believe a word you say. It’s also paving the way for the downfall of democracy and the rise of Caesarism, as Spengler predicted.
This week on Green Wizard we take a dive into the books and discuss the process of crisis and collapse. “Inflection Points and The Long Descent” looks at the way that periods of positive growth will often undergo quick and sharp downturns during a crisis. Understanding how you can protect yourself before this happens will be important for your survival.
Over on the Green Wizards forums, we look first at ways to grow carrots in “Soil Composition For Root Veggies”. Things that grow underground require a different density of soil and we look at a method of combining sand with small patches of fine composted soil. (lots of pictures)
Next, we discuss the dangers and advantages that choosing the right location to live can have for you and your family in the Long Descent in “Earthquakes and tsunamis and climate change, Oh My!”
And finally, we have a quick and easy treat you can make. “A Different Way To Make Pie” is a recipe for those of us who suck at the fine art of pie-making and still want to enjoy dessert. (more pictures too.)
As always, reading the posts and comments on Green Wizards is open to the public. To add your thoughts though requires a free membership. Contact me via email (green wizard dtrammel at gmail dot com) or on Facebook Messenger and I’ll get you set up.
Well, this post definitely kicked the hornet’s nest a bit, didn’t it? It may take me a while to get to everyone’s comment because, er, I have books to write. 😉
JillN, overpopulation is in large part a matter of how much of a footprint you and your family require; too crowded for Americans, for example, is practically spacious by the standards of most undeveloped countries. As for the fist in the face, the point of effective violence is that it settles conflicts for a while, so that you have an interval of relative peace where hands of friendship can be extended without being chopped off.
Roger, that’s an interesting hypothesis, but it seems to me that it doesn’t explain, say, the US saber rattling over Taiwan, or the fact that the trade barriers Trump slapped on China still haven’t been taken down. That is to say, it’s only an honest politician who stays bought.
Aldarion, last I heard, historians were saying that the Visigoths who conquered Spain still had a lot of, well, Visigoths on board. I suspect part of the problem here is that many genetic studies focus entirely on maternal DNA, and as I’m sure you’re aware, in ancient times the women didn’t get massacred in the aftermath of conquest, though their fate wasn’t always much more pleasant. But I know it’s been fashionable in academic circles recently to avoid such things — Bryan Ward-Perkins talks about that in one of his books.
JillN, interesting. Thanks for this.
NomadicBeer, I’m glad to hear this!
Mots, that’s a point worth sustained reflection. Let me think about that, and consider a post on the subject.
Bryan, a mere century of failure is hardly enough time to warm up! Most great cultures are born in areas scarred by a long bitter history of failure — that’s what’s required to force people to think in the kind of radically new way that births another great culture.
Stephen, funny. In my misspent youth I read a lot of bad fantasy fiction in which the decadent aristocrats in dying empires drug themselves into hallucinatory excess to avoid thinking about what’s happening. The decadent aristocrats of our dying empire seem to want to do the same thing electronically. As for my change of views, yes, I’ve changed my views. Whether peripheries or imperial cores implode first seems to vary from case to case — I suspect, for what it’s worth, that this depends on Incident rather than Destiny, to put things in Spenglerian terms.
Franklin, now reread the captions on those pictures and figure out your mistake.
Info, I’m far from sure I agree with you. How much do you know about the Thirty Years War? How about the Hundred Years War? “Restrained” is not a good label for either one…
Copper, nah, Europe is dying — like the guy in the Monty Python scene, it’s not dead yet! — because it fell into the invariable trap of empires, and became dependent on unsustainable extraction of plunder from its conquests. It’ll go through the usual aftermath, and then new societies will rise on its ruins.
Stephen, sure. Again, I said “consider.”
Karl, I know the feeling. When the store shelves started showing big gaps here in Rhode Island, that was my “oh shale, here we go” moment — but of course Rome wasn’t sacked in a day, and the fall of an empire is a long ragged process in which most people insist to the last that everything’s fine.
Troy, yep. That’s where I got it. It impresses me that the Chinese Foreign Ministry has learned how to meme!
Patricia O, interesting. Thanks for the data points.
Person, of course the former Eastern Bloc countries don’t trust the Russians. I wonder what they’ll do if Germany makes good on its pledge to rearm, and they get to decide — as so often in the past — which of the two they want to have on their doorstep…
Lou, people in America joke about how Australia is the continent where every living thing wants to kill you. I gather that’s not entirely wrong!
Michael, I remember the collapse of the Soviet Union well. The triumphalism rang very hollow to me, and I wondered how long it would take the US to follow its erstwhile enemy down the same trajectory. Dmitry Orlov and I talked about that a couple of times, later on! I suspect I’m about to have my question answered.
Bogatyr, one of the things that entertains me most about the current sanctions is that Russia’s profiting as a result of them. The ruble has recovered its losses, and Russia is doing very well in terms of balance of trade, making back on volume what it loses in discounted price. It would not surprise me to learn that Putin and his advisers are brainstorming ways they can get more sanctions slapped on them, so that the Russian economy can benefit even further.
Foxhands, yes, I’ve noticed that. The Armadillo projection and Fuller’s Dymaxion projection are other good ways of seeing the relative size of the continents with less distortion. As for Russia, you’ll have to talk to someone who’s been there; provided that you’re willing to learn the language and get fluent with the culture, I’d think it would be an option, but I’m not well informed on the subject.
Goran, the human future is always shaped by natural forces. The collapse of the Mayan empire was driven in large part by droughts, which turned a worsening problem with soil depletion into catastrophe, and the historians of an earlier generation argued that severe droughts on the Eurasian steppes were what launched the movements of peoples that eventually overwhelmed the Roman Empire. As it happens, I’ve looked into what conditions were like the last couple of times the Earth’s climate was much warmer than it is now, and th equator isn’t that strongly affected — increase the heat in the system and you increase the efficiency of the heat pump that moves warm air to the poles. So the equator stays a little above the current range but the poles warm dramatically. That’s why 15 million years ago, crocodiles sunned themselves on the beaches of the Arctic Ocean — it had a Mediterranean climate in those days.
Denis, I’m remembering science fiction stories from my youth in which the future world was divided into a privileged minority living in domed cities with lots of high tech, and a half-barbarian majority living on the land and ignoring their supposed betters. Those never ended well for the domed cities. I’ve begun to think that those may have been more prophetic than I thought…
Quos Ego, I see you haven’t been reading me for very long. I’ve been blogging about the failure of the US settlement of the dryland west and the demographic shift from Anglo-American to Hispanic society there for more than fifteen years now.
Ramaraj, correction duly accepted! I didn’t happen to know that, but I’m not surprised.
Alvin, in your place, I’d definitely head somewhere else, and the US is certainly an option. You might want to aim for somewhere east of the Mississippi River, because further west there’s a real and growing risk of catastrophic permanent drought.
Bofur, excellent. One of my long term plans involves exploring the possibility of a radio-based BBS to link the Ecosophian community once the internet unravels.
Starfish, that’s a valid point.
Marlena13, no surprises there. The managerial elite these days seems increasingly unable to wipe its own collective bottom.
Mister N, well, there’s that!
I’d like to get in touch with Alvin, what would be the best way to do that?
Don’t post this if you don’t want to.
Kevin Anderson, K9IUA (no. 170), “an area in the western parts of China, east off the slopes of the highlands of Tibet, Mongolia, and the Himalayas”
I am intrigued by this line of speculation, but confused by the intended geography (the Himalayas form the southern border of the Tibetan Plateau; Mongolia lies far to the north; six major rivers fan outwards from the Tibetan Plateau across China, India, and SE Asia; the lines on the map in the video do not really match China’s electrical grid). One would think that a population of 20 million or so (down from 1.5 billion today) would have to exist in a fairly compact area, or else devolve into networks of tribes living at subsistence level (the alternative which the video hopes to avoid). I speculate that your informant may have in mind the mountainous areas of Yunnan and Sichuan provinces, although the line on his map describes an arc across much of western China, all the way up to he Gansu region.
a kullervo (no. 104), was this from that Marvel movie?
David BTL, funny, I was thinking something very similar!
Eike, I commented above that the hut was deliberate hyperbole. As for a future German army, that’s one of the wild cards. Certainly the political and military leadership might choose to aim it in the usual direction — but what would the rank and file do? I could see any number of colorful results, though unfortunately most of them have blood red as a predominant hue.
Mieczysław, if you follow one set of media, the Ukrainian forces are advancing victoriously on all fronts, If you follow a different set, the Russians are doing the same thing. Maps vary with equal enthusiasm. We’ll have to see how things settle out once the rubble, and the propaganda, stops bouncing.
Chris, fair enough. That doesn’t surprise me at all. North America — well, it really varies by region. New England and some parts of the middle Atlantic seaboard feel very much like Europe to me — comfortable with farms and towns, though not too happy about the post-1920s features. Go further west, across the Appalachians, and there’s a potent sense of a land pregnant with the future, waiting for its time. Further still, past the Missouri, and there’s something profoundly unhuman and utterly indifferent to human life in the mountains and deserts and vast plains; our presence there is a temporary annoyance, soon to be brushed aside.
Malcom, Yeats would have agreed with you — that’s why he specified that it’s an artificial unity, and it’s also why I noted that the next round of catastrophic European wars is on the horizon. As for small, damp, and bellicose, hey, if you’re going to do it, do it with pride! 😉
Blue Sun, you’re welcome and thank you!
David BTL, interesting that this is what followed the end of Kashmir’s “special status” period.
Oskari, I’m glad to hear that. Unfashionable though it may be, love of one’s country is as valid and praiseworthy as love of one’s family — and it can coexist with a honest recognition of the loved one’s flaws.
SMJ, that’s a topic for a post of its own. I’ll consider that as an option.
Trustycanteen, I turn sixty this year. All through my life there’s been an endless drumbeat of people insisting that we’ll surely all die in a thermonuclear holocaust any day now. When I was a teenager it was a commonplace that there would be a nuclear war before 1980. Once Reagan was elected, the left insisted that he was sure to get us into a nuclear war. On and on it went, and you know what? It’s become clear to me that fantasies about nuclear war are one of the most common ways people avoid thinking about the future. There are very good reasons why that’s a vanishingly unlikely turn of events, and I’ve talked about those reasons repeatedly here and elsewhere, but the mushroom cloud fetishists keep clinging to the fantasy. These days I just shrug and let them keep daydreaming — and one year follows another without a nuclear war in sight, you know.
Ksim, there will never be a homogeneous world population — and once transport starts becoming more difficult as fossil fuels run short, I expect genetic drift to strike up its usual music and start creating new ethnic groups to replace the old ones. Then those will mingle and swap genes in turn. That is to say, it’s no different this time!
Sean, keep in mind that the managerial caste in the industrial world literally can’t imagine any way of seeing the world that differs from theirs. That’s why anyone who goes against their preferences gets labeled “insane.” It’s quite possible that centuries from now historians in the Volga basin will refer to Putin as Vladimir the Great, since they won’t be subject to the same bizarre astigmatism of the imagination.
Fra’ Lupo, ssshhh! 😉
Michael, hmm! That wasn’t an issue that occurred to me, but of course it’s a valid one, and important. Thank you!
Luke, that makes sense. Hey, maybe we’ll come up with an analogue to the Breton bagpipe, which sounds as though it was invented for the purpose of getting on the nerves of the French! 😉
Wer, thank you for the updates. Stay safe!
Ben, oof. Okay, reality just won.
Mark, hmm. I’d like to hear that.
Stephen, you can also cast your natal chart as though you were born at the same moment, but in whatever place you want to move — the change in location moves the planets into different houses, and so you can get difficult malefics away from the angles and put benefics on the midheaven or the ascendant. I’ve used that method for my relocations, with very good effect.
Cliff, that sounds like Friedman. He seems to have decided to make it his life mission to be wrong even more reliably than an economist.
Mark L, since I don’t consider that to be likely at all, no, I haven’t looked into it.
Renaissance, of course. “Global” means the same thing as “the international community” in the sarcastic map I posted.
Patricia M, to borrow a line from Gandhi, I think that American civilization would be a very good idea! We don’t have one yet. Give it a millennium or so…
Sardaukar, of course. “Truth is the first casualty in wartime.”
David T, thanks for this.
SMJ, either you or he can post an email address or some other means of contact — say, a Dreamwidth journal or what have you. I don’t really have another ready option.
@ jmg and Nachtgurke (#40), with regards to the German left-wingers’ attempts at integrating the immigrants: I used to live in a very diverse part of Hamburg, where the woke German students are busy writing marxist slogans on the walls and plastering rainbow-colored posters everywhere which say “diversity, tolerance, respect”, while the very numerous Turkish community is a known hotbed of the grey wolves movement – that is, far-right Turkish ultranationalists who’d like to annex Greece and Arabia and think Erdogan isn’t enough of a chauvinist.
Both groups never clash. The woke German kids buy their döner from the Turkish Nazis. Other than that, they might aswell live in different countries.
I have, but why only the West? What would stop those migratory waves from engulfing, say, New England and Canada? You clearly envision some bleaker consequences to migration in Europe than in North America, and I’m just curious as to why.
That is brilliant. We read this tonight at the dinner table. Makes us all want to be druids – derwydd – the people of the oak. Thank you Michael! Evan and Hazel and Family
On the sense of hostility that Australia has to human life, it’s a bit complex. Humans have lived here for a very long time, though they seem to have had to live very close to the earth for most of the time that we have any idea about. Ecologically, it’s been a difficult place for large mammals for a while. The first nations people here lived in every part of it though. It’s just that the ways of life that allow that are generally very far removed from what most of us can relate to.
Personally, I have travelled across a lot of the continent, and worked in and studied a range of environments. Parts of the central deserts and arid regions are stunningly beautiful in intense and eerie ways, but no, they did not feel friendly. Even when I was a kid, I had a sense that without the indigenous knowledge of how to survive out there, we were completely reliant on the vehicles and supplies we brought with us. Plenty of evidence of precarity is out there – ruined settlements abandoned to the sands, wrecked vehicles and other evidence that the civilisation of those regions is tenuous and ephemeral at best. Even in the relatively hospitable wetter eastern regions, there are places that just feel wrong. I don’t rule out that aboriginal elders, faced with annihilation and dispossession, passed on very terse and specific requests to the land spirits (which I am told that us recent arrivals can’t communicate with) about how to treat the colonists.
I have a great appreciation for the ecology of this continent, and I can draw nourishment from being out in parts of it, but I honestly feel more at home in the pine plantations that we have in some places. My heart really wants to be somewhere back in my ancestral country, around Wales, Northern England or Ireland. Not a practical option for me, though. Just got to learn to live here as best I can.
You really have a deluge of comments to deal with, and I don’t want to burden you anymore, since we have already disagreed several times about demographic replacement. These are the links to some studies I read, in case somebody else is interested:
Earliest settlements in West Africa:
Holl 2009 https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.crte.2009.04.005 (focusing on the earliest settlements)
Kea 2004 https://dx.doi.org/10.5195/jwsr.2004.286 (wider overview of Niger and Senegal civilizations)
Heredity of Hungarians:
Czösz 2016 https://www.nature.com/articles/srep33446 (maternal)
Post 2019 https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-44272-6 (4% of paternal lineages may come from Urals region)
Heredity of Spaniards:
https://www.eupedia.com/genetics/spain_portugal_dna.shtml (a very detailed description of both maternal and paternal DNA; I disagree with much of the interpretation of older history, but the author is unequivocal that the Goths had hardly any genetic impact on Spain).
Bycroft 2019 https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-08272-w (whole genome data; Fig. 6 attempts, surely very imperfectly, to estimate where people’s ancestors came from)
Has anyone read Bull[unDruidly word] Jobs by David Graeber? It talks about pointless jobs being a form of conspicuous consumption. “I can afford to pay this person to do nothing!” I wonder if we have now reached the point of entire governments being Bull[unDruidly word] governments? The point where said useless governments are a form of conspicuous consumption by the actual rulers?
Great article, which however, in its hypotheses about the shape the future world will take, suffers from what we could call a Euro-asiacentrism that, with the exception of West Africa, makes no reference to the rest of the world.
I wonder what the author thinks about the role that Latin America will play in this future world, a region that is as big and rich in natural resources and population as Asia and Africa, as well as having enclaves of industrial development and wealth in Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Chile and Venezuela, among other nations. It is true that these countries are now subordinate to the empire of the United States, which has replaced the European colonial powers since the 19th century, but this situation, as has been happening in Asia and Africa, will not be perpetual.
Will the US try to recover in the Americas once its decadent empire is expelled from the Eurasian masses, Africa and Oceania? The way things are going, maybe that will be its last option, but it is likely to have another opinion by then Brazil, the only country with the population and the potential to challenge its hegemony in South America. As for my country, Mexico, I believe that unfortunately its fate is already decided on the side of the US, due to geographical proximity and the growing social, economic and cultural ties that “free trade” has accelerated since the 1980s.
I’m Singaporean too! Currently living in London, UK though. Glad to see another Singaporean reading JMG! I’ll (hopefully) next be in Singapore in Aug, and would very much like to get in touch with you. Do you have a Dreamwidth account?
SMJ, if you have Telegram you can send me a message at @monsterslayer
Otherwise let me know how to reach you, thanks!
Lunar Apprentice (no. 176), it’s true that the Orthodox Church doesn’t like Protestants, but that’s nothing unusual–they don’t like *anybody*, not even other Orthodox! Ordinary Russians go to church maybe twice a year, and won’t be surprised if foreigners belong to some other religion. Atheism is not rare. There are also a fair number of neo-pagans, New Agers, etc. The Hare Krishna dance past Red Square every day, just as prophesied by one of their authorities way back when.
Agni Yoga is one of many post-Theosophical groups, and a major component of the New Age in Russia (where AU groups are as fractious as the Orthodox!). Basically Nicholas and Helena Roerich joined the Theosophical Society, then as it splintered, started getting their own revelations from the Masters–who told them to travel to Central Asia and found their own country. (It didn’t work.) I am aware of groups in Manhattan, Toronto, Prescott, Arizona, and Upland, California. There are probably others. Check out Nicholas Roerich’s paintings sometime (just google, there are thousands). His Himalayan landscapes are famous.
Eike, fascinating. Thanks for the data point!
Quos Ego, it’s a matter of demographics. Most of Europe has a reproductive rate so low that even modest amounts of immigration will lead to near-complete replacement in a fairly modest amount of time. The US population is also contracting, but not so much, and there’s quite a bit more cultural assimilation of immigrants in the US than in Europe — see Eike’s comment just above yours for one example out of many! Then there’s the flipside, which is the demographics of the source. Latin America’s reproductive rates have dropped below replacement level; Africa’s is still booming. Thus I expect the dryland West to become wholly Hispanic over the next century, the Mississippi watershed to become the seedbed of a series of hybrid cultures, and eastern Canada and the Atlantic seaboard from Virginia north to remain more or less Anglo-American in culture, especially if (as I expect) we get a lot of refugees from Europe once the shale starts hitting the fan there.
Evan, thank you!
Patrick, thanks for this. One of the things I find fascinating about this is that H.P. Lovecraft must have talked to someone from Australia — his story “The Shadow out of Time” does a good job of evoking a sense of vast prehuman presences in the Outback deserts, with a typically Lovecraftian lack of interest in human concerns.
Aldarion, thanks for this.
Your Kittenship, that’s spelled “bullshale” here!
Guy, this is a blog post, not a book, so it can’t cover the entire planet. It’s also written by someone who’s lived all his life in the United States and doesn’t presume to talk about countries he doesn’t know well. I think it would be great if someone with a good background in Latin American issues were to launch a blog talking about the issues confronting the rest of the Americas in the deindustrial world. Perhaps you’ll consider it.
It’s not just empty shelves and high prices, there are limits to the quantity you can buy of a given item. It’s not easy to buy a large amount of rice, beans, and canned veggies.
Interesting discussion over Australia – I’ve always wondered what might have been if NZ had joined in the Australian federation, what with the combination of Australia being resource rich (most minerals, including Uranium – perhaps this is part of the ‘something in the heartland of the continent down there that feels inimical to human beings’) and NZ having the fertile soils and the climate for producing food in abundance.
The notion of NZ being part of the west may be on its way out too – 29% of NZers at the last census were not born in NZ, and I suspect the majority of them were born in India or China. One of the most common surnames (if not most common) for newborns in NZ now is Singh. These foreign-born populations are very concentrated in one city, effectively creating almost two nations demographically. How this will impact on the future of NZ culture and politics is anybody’s guess.
I saw Bullshale open for the Police in 1987.
JMG, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you spell “that “ as “bullshale.” ❓😄
“I’m far from sure I agree with you. How much do you know about the Thirty Years War? How about the Hundred Years War? “Restrained” is not a good label for either one…”
Indeed. I read about those kinds of Wars in the book “War in Early Modern Europe 1400-1700” I don’t quite recall the exact name.
And I do know that the “restraint” wasn’t necessarily done by voluntary self-control in many cases but that plagues and starvation forces restraints on the scale of war. By eating away at troop numbers outside of outright bloodshed.
General Typhus, General Bubonic plague and others played a huge role in retarding the growth of Leviathan that would result in European Unification.
European armies are for whatever reason uniquely prone to attrition by disease. On the other hand when I read about Asian Armies. Diseases play a lesser role.
The Swedes lost so many men to attrition. And the War dragged so long. That they simply lost the will and means to win against the Hapsburgs reigning from Vienna. By the time the Peace of Westphalia was signed.
Lou, Let us not forget the close and ignoble contacts some of the local humans have with backpackers.
JMG, rock strata at the surface in some parts of this country are up to 3.6 billion years old. I don’t imagine us hominids have been around anywhere near long enough to impress land that old. The most fertile and settled areas are much younger with relatively recent volcanic influences, but it’s still not a country that holds human hands in most places. The first nations people here used very complex systems of kinship and taboo to spread the ecological footprint of their populations as widely across food webs in space and time as possible. There has been a place for humans here who do that for a long time, and there may be one in future if us recent arrivals learn how to tread more lightly, but we’ve eroded the margin of survival a long way through degradation and general plunder of the land. We’ll need to wise up pretty quick, I think.
For anybody wanting more information about the Russian-Ukrainian conflict if you haven’t been following it until recently, I just found this article written by a Ukrainian peace activist, now living outside of Ukraine. I have followed events there for the past eight years and nothing in what the author writes contradicts what my impressions have been. https://multipolarista.com/2022/03/14/ukrainian-leftist-war-russia-us/ This, of course, doesn’t tell us what is happening on the ground right now, as the author is not in Ukraine, but she describes how a violent right-wing cabal was empowered and has continued to overrule anyone who has been elected with peace in mind. It makes clear why I pray for both Putin’s and Zelensky’s well-being. I believe Russia was facing belligerence and had to take action.
Pepe Escobar reports that he contacted a retired deep state insider with questions and was told “the whole Ukraine issue is over hypersonic missiles that can reach Moscow in less than four minutes. The US wants them there, in Poland, Romania, Baltic States, Sweden, Finland. This is in direct violation of the agreements in 1991 that NATO will not expand in Eastern Europe. The US does not have hypersonic missiles now but should – in a year or two. This is an existential threat to Russia. So they had to go into the Ukraine to stop this. Next will be Poland and Romania where launchers have been built in Romania and are being built in Poland.”
So I think we are likely at least to see missile attacks on those facilities in those two countries, though Russia has hesitated thus far to undertake any action beyond Ukraine.
Hi, being from Pakistan and in on its politics I have to say that on this case the US has no role. The Khan government is drowning under the weight of it’s own incompetence. The economy is an inflationary mess, like Sri Lanka and Turkey.
In Pakistan when you mess up, it s typical to resort to “CIA Mossad Indian ” conspiracies to dodge responsibility.
Without any proof, he branded the entire opposition in parliament as traitors and used this conspiracy to cancel the no confidence which was about to remove him from power. (Just last night the Supreme Court has stopped this and ruled that the vote of no confidence go through on Saturday)
Khan is deeply unpopular right now, and has already used all sorts of unconstitutional tricks to put the entire opposition in jail without trial and put his cronies in charge.
He and his team are extremely good using social media trolls and online propaganda. In this and his desire to eliminate the opposition reminds me of Ukraine President Zelensky
JMG I am intrigued by your earlier reply to Valenzuela about Pakistan.
I am deeply desirous of peace with India, though I don’t see how that means we’ve left the western camp . Could you elaborate?
For the foreseeable future, Pakistan is beholden to IMF loans and exports to the EU and US.
Peace with India will definitely give Pakistan more options than submitting to either US or China, as seems the case right now.
One thing is for sure, as US power declines and no comparable power comes up for Pakistan to become her client state, even Pakistani warhawks will have to go for the geographically sensible option, that is, be friendly with the big neighbour to the east with whom you share practically every aspect of your culture and ecology.
JMG: I try to analyse the situation mostly on maps because Ukrainian propaganda is very strong. I am aware that Russian withdraw it’s not an effect of Ukrainian counterattacks but an effect of not being ably to break the defence. Now they control less territory than few weeks ago, and if you subtract Crimea and separatists republics, taken years before, it won’t add up to 1/3 of the country. The “mysterious disappearance” of Minister Shoygu, the person who planned this campaign, is a good sign that not “everything is going according to the plan.” It turns out that the Siberian Tiger has broken teeth. Mr. Putin, a former KGB agent, should be well aware that entourage in Russia tells the head of the state what it wants to hear, and that the power of the military in an insatiably corrupt country is largely “maskirovka”. It remains to be seen whether this conflict will not become for Russia what the “small, victorious war” was for Tsar Nicholas II.
“Have you considered emigrating before things get too bad?”
To where? (Curious French resident).
It’s worth remembering that today’s Russia didn’t develop in a vacuum. Part of the reason for the trajectory that transpired is because western elites were terrified of a genuinely democratic solution emerging from a very fluid situation, so they sent in the neoliberal economists etc, that had been given power and influence by Thatcher and Reagan’s reign of terror (modeled on Thatcher’s friend, the mass murderer’s, test case in Chile), who proceeded to plunder the country, and led to a plummeting of life expectancy in the USSR, unprecedented in modern times.
Are you tracking the French election?
Latest polls show Macron’s 1st round lead shrinking and in the crucial 2nd round polling, latest polls show Le Pen consolidating around the late 40’s versus Macron.
It reminds me of the aggregated polling on the run-up to the Brexit referendum, showing a slender but persistent lead for Remain which was overturned on referendum night due to a huge working class surge in support for Leave and a complacent turnout from the Remain camp.
Of course, France is different from the UK and the polling is probably, for complicated reasons, broadly right that, so far, Macron has the edge. But it is within the margin of error now.
A Le Pen win will shatter the EU and potentially accelerate the end of the European age you refer to in your post.
“The Middle East and South Asia are poised for some of the worst near term effects of Climate Change.”
I have to suspect this is untrue. It’s now snows in Saudi Arabia and greening so sharply in East Africa that old lakes are reforming. Marco Polo’s Silk Road is greening. In the weather cycle those places RE-green. They’re already at their dry extreme. Heat causes sea evaporation too. Also do we have a drought in the West? Wasn’t a big dam breaking there for too much water last year?
Question: if everyone’s working so hard in Vegas, why do the roads have potholes? Where’s the money and effort going?
People comment on the US civil war, but for some reason it seems to be quieting not rising right now. Not sure why.
Since Christianity is dead, especially in Europe, I can’t see the 10th c cathedrals being preserved. That takes an internal impulse. What would that be? The passionate, give-my-life love of historical museums?
@ ganv “I suspect that democracy, human rights, and scientific technology will be understood by enough people…”
You speak of these three as if they naturally go together. Do you have a reason for thinking that they do?
Also, if each separately, or all three together are “understood”, do you mean “understood to confer visible benefits to people”? And if that is the case, I wonder what current benefits we enjoy today you ascribe to:
2) human rights
3) scientific technology
that would not be enjoyed without them?
@ Michael Mills – thank you for that blog post.
I have a great personal interest in the theme of standards and certifications, since I worked for many years as compliance officer for a local fish processing company. That is to say, I was the person in the company that interfaced with the global standards and certification industry. By the time I left my job I was convinced of these things:
1) that the relationship between certified standards and actual quality is fictional. Making the product is one domain that is stubbornly incomensurate with the quite separate domain of documenting, and monitoring compliance with product standards. (in almost exactly the same way as the Tao Te Ching states that the names we can give a thing is not THE THING). The standards will never be the products, nor ever be able to satisfactorily describe them.
2) that the relationship between certified standards and the actual economy is parasitic, in that the more jobs that are created to certify, to inspect, to manage, to comply, to produce documentation (including my own entirely NON-productive job), the more that productive jobs (the making, transporting of goods, and the providing of services) are destroyed.
3) that, because of (2), the global standards and certification industry would eventually eat production and the economy, and bring the whole thing to a collapse from too much top-heaviness, and too little bottom sturdiness. Out of which, small, light, and fast non-compliant producers and purveyors who can stay below the radar and out of the limelight, will emerge and begin to create whatever comes next.
I have to tell you that the prospect of a set back to the global certification industry would not cost me a hair’s worry. It contains enough of its own contradictions and unstable weight to collapse without help. Although, to be sure, those employed in its giant documentation fabricating enterprises will resist being made redundant. And it will make thunderous noise as it falls.
I forgot to add 4). Although this may belong more as 2) with the rest renumbered accordingly.
Simply this: Because of 1), it follows that the more standards, the less quality. Standardisation is, in fact, an essential component of the “crapification of things”.
Hi John Michael,
Thanks for the perspective from your country. Fascinating. And your prediction in relation to the future climate matches that perspective. I recall vividly the recollection from your novel Stars Reach.
So much talk about Australia this week, you’ve kicked the hive for sure! 🙂 Just for a different perspective on Indonesia, the good folks from that part of the world have had many millennia to invade, and yet they have not done so. I’ve visited Indonesia, and it’s a different country and environment. Being on the ring of fire and at the equator, the islands there are fertile as – here not so much. It really is hard to get across just how infertile the land here is. The land mass is big, but it won’t support a huge population. And there is also the not insignificant lack of water issue. The original settlement where I am today was abandoned due to water shortage. I take the issue of water very seriously, and you’d be amazed at how little additional water the crops and trees here receive and how I manage that issue day to day.
Historically, the Indonesians have long traded with the folks of Australia. Even Blind Freddy might notice the similarities between a Bali street dog and a pure bred dingo. I’d read tales of trading with the Indigenous folks in the north west of the continent way back before European settlement, and there were apparently also reciprocal recorded visits to Indonesia. Folks are folks.
I’ve never been to your country, and would not recognise or understand it as it is today. However, I have travelled across a huge section of this continent, and unlike how you described your country, the vibe is very homogeneous. It doesn’t matter where you go, it’s the same. And no matter what environment you find yourself in – there are risks to life and limb. The forest is every bit as dangerous as the desert, and the grasslands aren’t much better. It is only the city dwellers who pretend that life is all sweetness and risk free on this continent.
Oh, as to dome sci-fi I read an excellent Jack Vance book recently with that as a backdrop. The book was titled Clarges or also titled by the publisher as How to Live Forever. The author did not apparently enjoy the title change.
Hope you are doing well.
Thanks for the book recommendation as I’d not heard of it or the author before.
You’re probably blissfully unaware, but it is my fate to dodge book recommendations, and even then I am often unsuccessful. Far out, the shelves groan, the to-read list is longer than I have time available, and today my hoped for quiet lunch with a book in hand, was louder than your average circus! Mustn’t complain though as I’m currently reading Margaret Atwood’s series of essays: Burning Questions. And I could only just blot out the background noise and colour out. Tis a fine thing to read a book.
Thanks for your perspective on the outback.
At the turn of the century I worked with a lady who has family near to where I currently reside. The lady confided to me one day that she felt very uncomfortable about the tall trees near to where my farm is, and candidly her description of her emotional reaction matches your excellent description. It is no small feat to describe how a person feels about a place, and the English language is not well equipped for that task.
Heh! There are some decent Breton folk musicians coming out of Quebec, so maybe the New Englanders won’t have to travel too far for bagpipes-inspiration. 😉
Talking of which, does anyone have a sense of how Quebec will fare going into the Long Descent? I love the idea of a surviving bastion of French culture, and if the political situation in Canada wasn’t so almightily fracked, I’d even be contemplating moving there sooner.
Scathological news: The war in Ukraine is making the manure’s demand grow, the price of cow s**t is going up, too. The end of cheap manure, I suppose…(in French)
@JMG – “Wholly Hispanic…” Add in a lot of Indian influence. The Pueblos have been doing dryland farming time out of mind; the Dine have a largely sheep-herding cultures, and speaking of which, let’s throw in the Basque sheep herders up around Nevada. I can’t speak for what the Apache would do, nor other tribes in the West, but for decades, there’s been a strong movement in Indian Country to reclaim traditional ways and diets etc. (ref: “Native America Calling,” Kohwanic Broadcasting Co, out of Albuquerque; broadcast, when I was there, on KUMN-FM 11-12 MDT (or MST in winter.) A very valuable resource on what the tribes are thinking and doing.
At any rate, they’d be a resource for survivors of the great Long Descent’s blows and shocks, as the Amish would be further east. Not that they’re not as modern as anybody else, with a lot of emphasis on college and the usual pro-tech and pro-progress stuff as anybody else, but filtered through centuries of their own experience.
I’m curious to know your thinking about the future fate of western Canada, in particular, Alberta?
You noted that eastern Canada will remain Anglo-American in nature but didn’t talk about the West.
p.s. the French elections get more interesting by the day.
First poll that puts MLP ahead (just) in the 2nd round versus Macron.
@Quos Ego, JMG, if I may:
The demographic replacement scenarios are certainly based on reasonable projections of current trends. I would just add the caveat that I don’t know any historical examples for the demographic replacement of a society with traditions of literacy and state organization by immigrants. The nearest example I can think of is Southern China in the first millennium CE, but the indigenous populations of Southern China weren’t literate nor states AFAIK. It may not matter all that much, since Britannia in the 5th century CE is there to show that culture and language can be entirely replaced by <10 % immigrants if the conditions are right.
One additional caveat is that we don't know if rising global temperatures will bring back the Green Sahara as it was during the hypsotherm. It really seems that nobody even dares making a prediction. A fertile Northern Africa would surely reduce or even invert migration into Europe.
If you wouldn’t mind sharing your thoughts on India’s future as well, that would also be very much appreciated. I think China and India’s destinies are quite closely linked anyway.
@Mohsin Javed (#203)
Thanks for this. It goes against what I’ve heard about Khan from certain sources, but it’s in line with what I’ve heard from others.
I’m sure there’s more to his troubles than a US plot, but at the same time, Donald Lu (not David Lu as I mistakenly called him) dodging the question of his involvement does all but confirm to me that the US has a hand in it, even if they’re not the only faction looking to remove Khan.
@Princess Cutekitten , thanks for pointing out the Bullshale article by Mr. Graeber. I’ve often contemplated how little actual work is done at the places I’ve worked. I haven’t previously contemplated why I have so much time to contemplate.
There is now on netflix a wondrous documentary about the Andes Mountains. If I were a younger person looking for a place in which living lean is the norm and work and craft are respected and honored, I would consider settling there. The mountains are tall and the valleys deep, so it is perhaps not a pace for those who suffer from claustrophobia.
Aldarion @ 220. do you know very much about the Balkans under Ottoman rule? Turks won the battles, at first, and seized the land, but indigenous religions, both Catholic and Orthodox, persisted.
@Michael @Scotlyn re: standards and certifications
I’m with Scotlyn on this one with the sense that this is largely a parasitic industry that a) doesn’t actually prevent shoddy products from getting through and b) can be wholly replaced by businesses performing their own quality assessments of suppliers’ products when necessary.
The sort of interoperability that enables global trade (standard shipping container sizes and weights, units of measure, etc.) will probably not be going away any time soon, since all countries are now set up to work with the standards. I can even imagine a time in a far distant future when local and regional languages have diverged and most humans have forgotten the existence of other continents, but a peculiar similarity in weights and measures (and the words for them) leads anthropologists to suggest that there was once a coordinated system of global trade…
@JMG Indeed, one must search his/her own path, and be nimble as you said.
@Guy Morsen #190
I think Venezuela is the kind the future for Latin-America, a poor country with nostalgia of past times and everyone living day-to-day, Brazil is a sleepy powder keg, USA is and will be too weak for another Operation Condor.
Hello Wer here
Did i say something inappropriate because i seemed to be blocked. Anyway i hope this one gets throught
I have a question what is everybody’s opinion on this whole Great Reset thing?
I mean I have been hearing about it scarcely recently and i want to know what chances are that someone in the West will attempt to do this.
Personaly It sounds really stupid to me, like how can the measure what somebody needs? Not to mention that the infrastructure to do this thing doesn’t exist (what good is a digital currency when you have problems with internet conection and delivery system have enormous problems)
regarding demographics in southern BC: we are not getting many latin american immigrants so far. We’ve got lots of east and south asian immigrants: China, Japan, India, Pakistan, Iran and other middle east, Phillipines.
So I think there’s going to be a big impact of asia on this area that goes a long way beyond Chinese New Year celebrations, sushi joints, the occasional mosque, lots of yoga classes, tai chi in local parks, and real estate purchases that jack up prices.
I’m looking over the pacific at China with a bit of nervousness, honestly, because of their government. It’s become pretty obvious that the Chinese government and corporations want more control over BC and Canada’s resources and resource policies, and that makes me nervous. Just how much control are they likely to try to exert here, and over what things?
while it is necessary if you want to survive in some circumstances, I think that for many, it’s more a case of ‘stop the world, I want to get off!’ because there isn’t anywhere you can go that’s going to be completely unaffected by the predicament humanity is in, and the grass on the other side of the fence is usually less green that it looks from a distance.
Masterfully written again your piece, simple and clear and straight forward.
Thanks also to all these other commenters here and also esp to those who bring counterpoints to our host, so as to keep discussion lively! I learn so much around here that I spend time on my computer at home in a way I usually don’t do. It just interests me too much.
Somehow reading here on Ecosophia is also, I feel, a call on my destiny.
An anecdotal data point of today: the printer man at work told me repairing printers comes too costly for companies, BUT now there is a shortage of printers and one company ordered it in September and hasn’t got it since then. Also the repairing parts are either out of stock or out of production.
Just as to expect.
A question about emigration:
1) Do you have a feeling JMG for how long will middle class Europeans have that possibility to just board the plane to America like they do now?
This economic downslide seems rather steep to me: as many commented, major producers of fertilizer, aluminium, paper etc reducing production by a third, a half in those ranges. Even the official news are admitting to shortages and price surges.
Ive been wrong many times on the doomerish end to not bad on long term trends, this one seems to me just the beginning of some heavgy shift, all during only this year;
2) I have wondered about the possibility of going to Cumberland though it seems unreal to me at best. Not very original to pick Cumberland some could say, but at least our host has certified it as “walkable” and it has many merits to me, like low mountains, humane size, proximity to PA with its Amish farmers and abundant forests, abundant forests around the town and so on and so forth.
This is a place where a traditional approach to agriculture could sprout again, it seems.
At least at this time, the jobs I have seen on its board might be ones where I could be considered a candidate.
The calm in the beginning of the crisis…I cannot help but to think that major, major breakdown in our Western airplane vacation lifestyles are really just around the corner this time. I have the feeling, this could go fast now.
Once reserves of many kinds of stored raw materials have been depleted…and the Emperors nakedness
arrives on stage.
I remember in 2010 in Dubai, boarding for the Philippines: I saw the confidence in the young Chinese travellers, their disdain for Europeans, and I thought: “Somewhere down the years, a privileged status for EU/US passports like mine will be history, and there[the young Chinese men’s attitude] is the future”
The overhead of inspection and certification is visible where I work, a minor IT support job for the financial industry.
In reference to your last comment about migration and the sentiment against it (I think it was you):
As a man of the middle class I have to say, that in many ways you see the weak side you are part of that is only temporarily “strong”, just well fed and sheltered. There’s the “other” with their strong core communities often revolving around a central place like a mosque where everyone has their fixed sociall access.
Here then is the secular society, atomized, “flexible” with many temporary clubs and fads and hobby venues, but none of it is like that, a fixed social structure that really includes your private life ranging from marriage to profession to politics.
Living as a man esp in such an atomizing structure goes several ways: many “play the game” and hope for social success in their superficial society, others try to get confortable and then there’s those who seek the weakness in all of our secular leisure society arrangement with its endless
clubs, and bars and yoga sessions.
Seeing the strong workers and builders and the crafty technicians and plumbers, mostly from Eastern EU or the Balkans.
Also migration has tipped the pop < 25 years old towards the male end.
Now that your own society is not down to earth and shuns you for every thought astray of that while the other communities are sacrosanct and hold
high all those qualities you are forbidden aspiring too – a game of dividae et impera simply.
It is said that also in late Roman times, the core residents of the empire started to envy the barbarians for their strength, resilience and utter determination.
Oh my gosh, what a wonderful reply. Thank you! I am grateful for the detail and thought behind everything you say.
Of course in the big picture you are right that the relationship between certified standards and the rest of the economy is, … well for professional reasons I might not commit myself to saying “fictional” or “parasitic” but it’s certainly safe to say “non-deterministic.” (grin) In fact I already argued in an earlier post that “no company anywhere ever earned a dime by following a documented process.” So why do I stay in the field? Partly because I’m good at it. But also, as long as these requirements still exist in the world, companies are better off having them carried out as simply and pragmatically as possible; and that’s a service I can offer.
Can I ask a favor? Can you please copy your remarks (or some version of them) and paste them as comments on my blog itself? I don’t think that we in the Quality profession spend enough time thinking about these topics. Also then I can use them as a prompt to discuss the question on the blog. And I think the challenge would be good for us.
On your comment #65, which I somehow missed before: Yes, I agree with you on this one too. Where I am right now isn’t perfect, and there are risks. But I think I know what those risks are, I’m not far from my family, and I like my neighbors. If I moved far away I wouldn’t know anybody, my new neighbors would have no motive to help me out, and there would still be risks but I wouldn’t know anything about them.
I am a longtime reader of JMG (> 15 years), although rarely reply. I listen to what he says. JMG, please let me know if this is too long. I am trying to be thorough, NOT wordy.
I have read through people’s replies this week who ask “if move to USA, where?”
State of WISCONSIN is a good destination/location. My husband and I cashed out of Northern California in Spring 2020, and moved to southern Wisconsin. Do I recommend it? Yes.
Full disclosure: Wisconsin does get the occasional tornado, although nowhere near in frequency or strength as our next-door neighbors Illinois and Iowa, much less states further south. One does need a 4-wheel drive vehicle.
But—for the most part, Wisconsin DOESN’T have:
* Drought, life-threatening, where people are running out of water.
* Heat-waves, live-threatening.
* Environmental pollution/toxic waste going back to 1700s, like New England’s former mills and its rivers.
* Wildfires and Santa Ana-like winds.
* Drinking water, plenty, being next to two of the five Great Lakes (Lake Superior; Lake Michigan). Lake Superior, as is, is potable water.
* Mini oceans with waves (Lake Superior; Lake Michigan), as harsh and hazardous as the Atlantic ocean on eastern seaboard.
* 15,000 lakes.
* Four seasons.
* Winter snow. Rain. Wind. I am obsessive about wind.
* Global warming is not an issue here. It is cold.
* Rather bland building architecture. Not nearly as pretty as New England’s.
* Relatively cheap real estate prices. Don’t move to a flood plain. There is a lot of empty space.
* World-class, very large, medical system, if within driving distance of Madison, Milwaukee, Green Bay, or Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. For the most part, move to near these places.
* Clean and fresh. Relatively few environmental toxic areas.
* Wetlands. Wildlife.
* Zillions of parks. Outdoor sports, including winter.
* Lots of trails for bicycling, hiking, walking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing.
* Sports. Most everyone is into some kind of sport, either on TV or in real life, or both. We asked, “What are ‘Badgers’?” We finally had to ask a stranger.
* Beer. Zillions of micro-breweries.
* Cheese. Yum.
* Bratwurst/brats/sausages. Brats rhymes with dots. Replaces hot dogs. What’s not to love?
* Supper clubs. Family-owned for generations; de facto diners. Family-friendly.
* Family-owned farms.
* Freedom of religion. Most people don’t care one way or another.
* Low population of only six-million people. When I see airplanes flying overhead from California to New York (and vice versa), I say, “Thank you for ‘flying over.’ We don’t want you here. We appreciate that you have a preconceived notion that we are uneducated hicks!” Wisconsin is the USA’s best kept secret. If anyone says something ‘negative’ about Wisconsin,—to keep people from moving here—I say, “yeah, that’s right.”
Madison, Wisconsin (south of)
About the American civil war being on hold, some straws in the wind:
The Senate voted 100-0 to suspend trade relations with Russia, ban the importation of Russian oil, liquefied natural gas, and coal. “the bill…paves the way for Biden to enact higher tariffs on various imports, such as certain steel and aluminum products.” And “House action (420-3 for the first, 413-9 for the second) came after the Senate approved the two bills with 100-0 votes. ”
This from a Congress that for the last – how many years? – were so deep in partisan gridlock that if one side was in favor of anything, the other would automatically oppose it, usually with a flood of political insults as well.
Note: they were also that close on the bill to go to permanent Daylight Saving Time, for which I cheered a Florida senator I wouldn’t have agreed with about the time of day! (No, Senator, it should be permanent Standard Time!) But cheered the measure whole-heartedly, and him as well, for doing away with the messy nonsense.
It was an old Cold War cliche, and the subject of a fair amount of s/f and one notable movie, that the way to unite incurably hostile opponents was to give them a common enemy to fight. So, here’s to you, Mister Vladimir….
To Pygmycory: British Columbia isn’t the Dryland West, as far as my map goes, any more than Oregon’s Willamette Valley is. There’s the West. And then there’s the West Coast. Two different nations entirely.
Glasshammer, ouch! We haven’t had that here yet.
Kerry, NZ may have to choose between India and China as its next imperial overlord. Alternatively, it may not get the chance to choose.
Your Kittenship, no doubt. 😉
Info, a deliberate French policy of attrition also had quite a bit to do with that — “Spengler” over at the Asian Times had a timely piece about that recently.
JillN, well, there’s that!
Patrick, is it up to 3.6 billion years now? Cool.
Patricia O, thanks for this.
Mohsin, my take is that the US global hegemony is collapsing and its instruments of rule, such as the IMF, will become irrelevant as that process completes. It is to the immense advantage of Russia and China alike to see a big and potentially rich country like Pakistan at peace with its neighbors and integrated into a Eurasian economic sphere, and so my guess is that in the near future Russia will broker some kind of deal between India and Pakistan, which will involve various economic benefits to Pakistan and get the fingers of the IMF off your nation’s throat.
Mieczysław, maps are just as subject to propagandistic distortion as anything else — maps available here in the US, for example, differ by a factor of 2 in how much territory they claim Russia has taken. Certainly Russian troops have withdrawn in the north; they appear to be clearing the Donbass and maintaining a substantial land bridge connecting the Donbass and Crimea. Of course it remains to be seen how this will work out, but my main point — that we’re seeing Russia reorient toward Asia — seems so far to be quite accurate.
Michael, that depends on your talents, interests, job skills, and a galaxy of other factors. My point, again, is simply that the last couple of times that Europe descended into carnage, emigrating as soon as possible was one of the few options that reliably saved lives.
Forecasting, according to our alternative media Le Pen has pulled ahead of Macron in the polls. It’ll be fascinating to see if that pans out!
Jasper, fascinating — can you point me to a link or two on the East African lakes? I was expecting that, but not quite so soon. We do have a drought in the US west, because rainfall is becoming sparser overall even as it becomes concentrated in localized downpours. As for the civil war here, why, there’s a simple reason for that — a huge number of people on the right have gotten involved in local and state politics, from school boards on up, and they believe that they’re winning. Why go to war when you can vote the scoundrels out?
Chris, interesting. Do you happen to know how overcrowded Indonesia was before European colonization/ That may have had a thing or two to do with it. Still, that’s a valid point. And I’ll keep my eye out for Clarges — I don’t believe I read that back in the day!
Luke, that’s a fascinating question to which I have no least scrap of answer. I’ve never been to Quebec and I understand it’s very distinct culturally and economically from the rest of Canada.
Chuaquin, what you’re saying is that s***’s getting real!
Patricia M, that’s another good point.
Forecasting, the destiny of western Canada is complex and I don’t think it’s been settled yet. As the North Pole warms, the Mackenzie River watershed is likely to become a huge new agricultural region; the question is whether it becomes a refuge for Anglosphere culture or is resettled and absorbed by the Hispanic migrations. As for popcorn, you bet!
Aldarion, thanks for this. Let me make sure I’m understanding you here. You seem to be agreeing with me that nations, cultures, and languages can be erased and replaced in an era of Volkerwanderung; the point of our disagreement is whether that’s paralleled by a genetic replacement. Do I follow you correctly?
SMJ, I’ll certainly consider that.
Wer, nope — some of the blocking happens automatically; DDOS attacks have become so common online that my tech guy has had to upload a defensive program, and sometimes it screens things out for reasons I don’t pretend to know. As for the Not-so-great Reset, my take is that it’s a brain fart emanating from a handful of privileged rich people who have never had to notice the absence of the infrastructure they’re counting on. They saw it in a PowerPoint presentation, after all!
Pygmycory, as you doubtless know, I’ve predicted for years that northwestern North America will be inhabited mostly by people of Asian descent in a couple of centuries, so this comes as no surprise.
Curt, thank you. In terms of immigration to the US, good question — that’s one of the reasons I encourage people to think about it sooner rather than later. As for Cumberland MD, my wife and I left for Rhode Island five years ago for a range of reasons, some of which may not be applicable to you. It’s got a lot of potential but we couldn’t count on getting certain needs of ours met there.
I would say that genuine love requires honest acceptance of the flaws in the one being loved. This is not a perfect place, a paradise or any such thing, but for me it is the best place in the world. All things come to and end, and if my end should come here, rather sooner than later elsewhere, then so be it. A major obstacle to living a life is the fear of losing it. Once you start running away, when do you know it is the right time to stop?
NATO membership looks like a more or less done deal at this point. There are options, of course, but the empire next door seems to be eager to make sure none of them are very appealing. Today the web pages of the ministry of the defense got taken down. There are also some other cyber attacks with very a very likely cause behind them. These seem like warning shots. But many feel that since the total annihilation of a national identity is in the cards anyway, there is little point in trying to come up with any other kind of an arrangement. If it will all end badly anyway, why not at least give it a fighting chance, if it ever comes to that?
Patriotism seems to be higher than usual. Participation in voluntary defensive courses is so high that there are long queues. We will never start a war, but this little country will not shy away from it either. Whatever the result of such an escalation would be, one thing is for sure. It would be **** expensive for the invader.
Hi JMG, just started to read the blog regularly. I find your work fascinating.
I agree with many, if not most, of your points.
What I wanted to comment on was what I see as the US + Russia (the non-European) powers trying to destroy Europe. I believed that most wars and government policies have been for profit but this war doesn’t fit that trend. It does however accelerate the death of Europe started with mass immigration and the cultural diseases of the West. A continuing escalation will lead to the destruction of Europe either financially or militarily or both unless sense prevails.
My personal feeling is that the latent Soul of Europe longs for the Imperium of the ceasars before it can finish its life. Presently, it is in hands of an alien mindset that will inevitably be relinquished as the apathy and nihilism of post/hyper modernity hits the wall of reality. For me all it will take is the galvanising power of a vision/ a destiny (made virtually illegal post WW II) to reawaken Europe. The ridiculous pretence of democracy, plutocratic plunder and the lies of the media (all.of which act like the self dialogue of a insane man scaled up to the proportions of culture), will be thrown aside for the uniting vision.
In essence I believe that Europe has a destiny to fulfil. A post US, irresistible destiny. It just needs the spark to ignite the slumbering giant (to mix metaphors)! As per the ideas of Spengler and Parker-Yokey.
Just some instincts I have. I’ve been wrong and I’ve been right before but it’s a certainty that Europe is in a steep decline.
Really enjoying your work,
Re: Great Reset
Believers in Progress have been trying to “reset” the world for at least a century, ever since Le Corbusier planned to demolish and “reset” central Paris.
The WEF plans might be unique in their global scope, but this sort of project has a long track record of failure. I recommend reading Seeing Like A State by James C Scott for plenty of relevant analysis and examples.
Shh! “Low population” won’t remain a selling point if Wisconsin becomes a favored immigration destination :-).
So says someone born in Minnesota, presently in Oregon, and considering an eventual move back to the Upper Midwest. The bleak and bare months of February and March are the biggest hurdle for me; I can deal with the cold but the length of winter really gets to me.
When do you think the Europeans will awaken from their complacent, mercantile slumber? I propose that we immediately end the war in Ukraine by giving the Russians Gotland. Obviously Gotland is their real goal so we can save much bloodshed by this small act of generosity.
“as the Amish would be further east”. I suppose it depends on how bad things get. The Amish have always struck me as hothouse flowers. They depend on non-Amish society for their physical security. A band of 20 men armed with modern weapons could probably impose themselves as feudal lords over them.
Yes, exactly. Cultures and languages change radically (not sure I would use the word “erased”) even if the number of newcomers is relatively low – just look at Ireland, Wales and the Scottish Highlands in recent centuries, and England itself in 400-600 CE. The Romanization of Gaul and Iberia themselves is another example, as is the Arabization of Syria and Iraq, and the Sinization of China south of the Yangtse.
On the other hand, this doesn’t necessarily happen – Mary Bennett brought up the example of the Balkans under Ottoman rule. I also thought of Spain under Moorish rule, and even Egypt took more than three centuries to start becoming Muslim and Arabic. The resistance of indigenous languages in Bolivia, Peru and Mexico is a more recent example, as is (in another vein) the revival of Hebrew.
So I see quite a lot of leeway for better and for worse, and a huge role for cultural memory, prestige, cohesion, and other factors. These factors are worth investigating and meditating on if one looks at demographic trends in Europe right now and wants to preserve the traditions of Virgil, Michelangelo, Shakespeare and J.S. Bach, and the existing cathedrals and other monuments.
It seems to me that head counts of immigrants are misleading. If people consider their old culture failed, they may switch over to a different one even when there are few newcomers, as in post-Roman Britannia. And if people are proud of their old culture, they can preserve it, as the Chinese have done under numerous waves of Northern invaders, most recently the Manchu, and the Greek have done under Ottoman rule. The English-speaking culture of the USA has assimilated a severalfold bigger number of non-English-speaking immigrants, just as the Latin-speaking culture in Italy assimilated huge numbers of people from all over the empire.
I think a state-organized population losing its empire and with dropping fertility has never before in history been “swamped” or “flooded” by a larger number of immigrants. You think that might happen even though it has never before, and you might be right – we now have paved roads and railroads and cell phones that all facilitate migration. In that case, we would be on new ground. I have my doubts about this swamping or flooding. In any case, I think the cultural factors still are more important than mere numbers.
Sorry for having gone on. This is a topic we have debated several times in the past, and I wanted to make my position clear at least once.
JMG, I know on your podcast you stated it appeared they chose an auspicious and favorable astrological moment to launch the Ukrainian invasion. Given that they are no slouches, apparently, or at least know to look and avail of help in that arena (the alternative is that the gods and the God really “are on their side”, and a little bird whispered to Putin when to do this), and given the rich history of both white and dark magic in Silver Age Russia and then as it survived or was corrupted with the Bolsheviks (see Konstantine Burmistrov’s work – https://www.academia.edu/32970333/The_History_of_Esotericism_in_Soviet_Russia_in_the_1920s_1930s), what are the odds that the rise of Russia as a Great Culture just go that much more unstoppable, and meteoric? I speculate that the “Great Cultures” (then) are cultures that have considerable esoteric background and experience and hard work behind them, and not just a function of size…. Celadon
On the subject of Australia, even the sun is against you here. I remember when I first travelled to Europe being amazed that I could walk around in the daytime in mid-summer without a hat or sunscreen and not get sunburnt. What luxury.
Back when people had to deal with the land more directly, the harsh conditions here once gave rise to several famously tough generations. Rommel fought against in the Australians in North Africa and afterwards said “if I had to invade hell, I take the Australians with me.”
Of course, modern Australians are soft as butter but that may have to change in the years ahead.
I could very easily see Putin, backed by Xi, engaging in the sort of brutal but effective realpolitik that “Spengler” outlines. It would certainly help make sense of Russia’s actions in Ukraine.
Also, the FBI/DOJ case in the alleged plot to kidnap Gretchen “Half Whitmer” (as the Orange Julius aptly dubbed her) just fell apart after it became clear to the jury that the supposed conspirators were set up as part of a classic entrapment scheme, one that the Deep State and the corporate mass media used as a propaganda tool to undermine the King in Orange’s presidency and ensure “Joe Biden’s” election.
After all, they had to make sure the election was properly “fortified” to ensure that the puppet on a stick and his cackling moron sidekick got “elected” (with a little help from 4 am ballot dumps, cheat-by-mail ballot fraud, ballot harvesting and other assorted shenanigans), you see.
My, my, my the PMC is getting desperate, isn’t it…
@Chris @ Fernglade:
I’ve dodged many a book recommendation myself! No worries on that front. I read in part by themes / subjects of research interest, ongoing or otherwise, and whim… so I hear you. A book is a lovely thing.
Occasionally I do a read recommendation, but often only when I’ve circled back around to it to it later on my own 😉
Hope you all are well in your corner of the globe.
Johnny Appleseed might be a good place to start looking for the future seeds of America. Check out JMG’s posts on the subject here:
Also, the Foxfire books, retrovation of regional cultures in general. I’m sure it all will morph in different ways, but also, have something of these apple infused flavors. Native American tales are other places to listen.
JMGs other essay series here, on the history of Occultism in America (which he postponed at present) is good background in this vein as well, as are many of the other essays on this blog by him about the effect of the land upon consciousness.
I don’t have the time to dig them all up now, but those are places you might get a hint of what I was speaking to, if you are new to this blog, and its community.
All the best to you & wishing you continued peace & recovery from the Las Vegas trip.
Peace to all. I’ve enjoyed reading so many of your comments.
Thanks for the links!
Hi John Michael,
An interesting point. Specifics aren’t known, but an estimate of Indonesia’s population in 1800 gives a number of around 16 million. Today that number is around the 280 million mark. That’s a multiplier of 17.5x
European settlement of this continent officially kicked off in 1788, which is around the same year. Again, no hard data is available, but I’ve heard estimates of the Indigenous population at the time of around 1 million. Today, we’re at 26 million which is a multiplier of 26x
It’s not hard to see the influence of fossil fuels on populations.
You’ve said before that a difference in scale is not the same thing as a difference in kind – or words to those effect, and I believe that this may apply here. My gut feeling is that the Indonesian’s would head east into Papua New Guinea, which they’re already more or less moving towards. And the basis for that belief is similarity with climate and soils. Interestingly those folks have I believe only recently aligned themselves with the land of stuff which is seeking arrangements in the Pacific.
And all the while, decline rolls along: Fertiliser prices soar, leaving farmers struggling with cost of production
That food issue was predicted in the Limits to Growth standard run chart. What the chart won’t show you is that the food produced during the decline period will be lower in both minerals and nutrients (vitamins, proteins etc.) and this will directly impact upon a populations health.
I am simply astonished at the confidence here in not only global warming, but to know the exact time, places, and effects it will have, region by region, state by state. Given we don’t know anything else very certainly, where does this amazing, for-granted certainty come from? And why is global warming the single ill wind that blows nobody any good.
A single twist in the narrative, for instance Russia warming and growing as much as Nebraska, to say nothing of all Canada, throws all the certainties totally to the winds. Simply having polar shipping and therefore oil exploration, including Antarctica could find a new Gawar, to say nothing of all Iran being untapped.
Are you all absolutely certain, staking your life, that the warming and desertification will unfold exactly the way you believe?
How about this: we can reduce our energy and resource use with nearly no downside if we want to. That is how the upstart cultures will have an edge on us. It’s very easy to do this as we have so much to work with, so much lead time, and so much waste we can avoid, and such unified good intentions across society.
I don’t expect it, but I’m just saying it’s not hard. A series of simple, possible actions.
I can add nothing to your sweeping and compelling analysis. I will address some of the other comments. One is blaming the Russian military for alleged war crimes in the Ukraine with lurid stories conveyed by the MSM. Really? Just as the WMD story fell apart, the alleged crimes by Russian forces do not survive even cursory scrutiny.
The US and NATO cultivated neo-Neo forces to do the dirty work which they have done with gusto. Anyone seen the videos of the Ukrainian military torturing Russian POWs in ways too gruesome to discuss here? I believe the the current war in the Ukraine is the final battle of the frozen conflict called WW II. Germany and Western Europe will crumble and there will be no Marshall plan, no realigning/retooling for another go against Russia.
However, the US did prevent an absorption of Western Europe into the Eurasian economic zone. It had to destroy Europe in the process, like an amputation of a limb that is no longer functional.
I will quibble regard the size of the Chinese economy. Many maintain that the physical economy is the ultimate measure of a nation’s power and influence. By such a standard, China’s economy is easily three times the size of the US and Russia twice the size of Germany.
Even though there will be much hardship in the US, the end its gluttony and narcissism will be welcomed by humanity at large.
Thank you again for a masterful and powerful analysis.
There’s a great many possible trains of events. And I think that most momentous events that come to pass are totally unexpected by people alive at the time.
From the perspective of the 1960s the Iron Curtain really looked like it was made of iron, or so it seemed to me, and the regimes running things on the other side of it as immoveable as a mountain range. And then look at what happened.
If you had a time travel device and you were to go back to the year 1900 and tell a room full of German townsfolk what the next half century had in store, that Germany would lose a catastrophic war, that the Kaiser would abdicate, that a lowly gefreiter of Austrian birth would come to rule Germany and lead it and bring Europe to absolute wrack and ruin, they would laugh. If you were to tell them that the Czar and his family would be shot, and the country taken over by communists, they would never believe it.
It seems to me that too many Americans and especially the American ruling class, look down on the people coming across the southern border as being fit to pick lettuce and eviscerate chickens but not much else. Big mistake IMO. Look at what the not so distant ancestors of those semi-literate campesinos accomplished.
The class of people currently in charge in the US have got way too high an opinion of themselves. They would never admit it today but they privately consider themselves racially a cut above, for sure above people from the Mediterranean basin, and especially above non-White peoples. I’ll bet you’ve seen the attitude. I sure have.
But they should compare the material condition of their northern European ancestors from a couple of thousand years ago to that of people in central / south America who were then busy building spectacular cities and pyramids. If someone alive at the time were to make that comparison, who would they assess as superior? Ever see the remains of Teotihuacan?
Can you imagine a not so distant descendant of one of these humble farm workers sitting at the pinnacle of American power in Washington? Unlikely?
How about this then, an Andean Indian, hardened by an early life of poverty, finding his way in the world by means of the knife and the gun, carving out a fortune in narcotics, coming to Washington to argue his case as to why he should lead the USA. How unlikely does that sound?
But why not? If the objection is on moral grounds, because he’s a low-down murderer and drug dealer, who are we kidding? And why pray tell is his position inferior to that of a Wall Street banker, a spreader of chaos and misery, whose business is fraud, whose method is skimming billions from ludicrous ponzi schemes? How many tens of millions of American lives were wrecked by the American business class in pursuit of their own fortunes? Which are the worse criminals? Is there a scale that measures such things?
If the objection is on constitutional grounds, my bet is that money and guns would outweigh any legal quibbles. You have to be US born? Who sez? And what if this Andean presents himself as the man with the plan and the helping hand, who pledges to restore order and some semblance of justice, and some way forward for a long-suffering American working class? If the impoverished have nothing to lose and if they identify with such a man, maybe they place their bets on the scarred, brown-skinned fellow with the thick accent.
Maybe it’s unlikely but is it any more unlikely than the career of Adolf Hitler? The point is that the seemingly way-out-there impossible has a way of coming to pass and the way there is seemingly greased by ruling classes that greatly over-estimate themselves and greatly under-estimate people they consider inferior.
Oskari, you’ll get no argument from me.
Steve, an imperial state in Europe is one possibility, but at this point I’m not sure it’s the most likely outcome, for demographic reasons. Continued decline and dissolution are also potential futures.
Aldarion, when nations, borders, languages, and cultures go away forever in a fairly short time, and the ones that rise in their place are radically different, I think “erased” is a less evasive label. Be that as it may, thanks for the clarification.
Celadon, nothing in the real world is unstoppable. My guess, though it’s only a guess, is that the new Russian culture will begin to arise toward the end of this century, after a period of confusion and trouble; that’s usually the way such things happen.
Simon, ha! So really, truly, everything in Australia wants to kill you.
Sardaukar, and by gimmicking the election, they simply guaranteed that the Democrats would be left holding the bag. Not bright…
Chris, fair enough. As for the food issue — well, yes. Yikes.
Jasper, you haven’t been reading my posts very long, have you? Au contraire, I don’t suggest that global warming blows nobody any good; it’s going to be rough for some regions, including the American West, but beneficial for others. As for the source of my ideas, you may find it amusing to know that the mainstream corporate global-warming types are just as unwilling to listen to that as I gather you are. The secret is paleoclimatology. If you look at what’s happened every time in the past the Earth’s climate has warmed suddenly — and it does that quite often; it also cools suddenly quite often — there are repeating patterns that appear to be hardwired into the structure of the atmosphere. There’s every reason to think that those patterns will repeat again, and no reason to think that they won’t. That’s why the corporate global-warming brigade doesn’t want to hear about paleoclimatology,because it shows beyond a shadow of a doubt that we’re not all going to fry. Human beings existed and thrived when the Earth was quite a bit warmer than it is now, and also when it was quite a bit cooler; there were significant changes, to be sure, ranging from steep rises and falls in sea level to dramatic shifts in rain belts to changes in the temperature of the polar regions, but it’s not the end of the world.
Your comments about Russia and Canada are quite sensible, as it happens. If we get the midrange warming I expect, the Mackenzie river watershed in northwestern Canada and the Ob-Irtysh, Yenisei, and Lena watersheds in Siberia will become huge new agricultural regions in a century or two, once enough of the buried organic matter now locked in permafrost has time to rot into soil. New oilfields, even if Ghawar-sized, are a stopgap at most, but agriculture is quite another matter in the long run.
Observer, that’s an interesting perspective; we’ll see how it plays out.
Roger, good. Do you recall what Spengler has to say about Caesarism? Your comments suggest so — and I don’t think either you or he are mistaken.
Thanks for the link. Although I will have to quibble about the Clausewitz quote:
“I understood this, and Putin has learned his lesson well. Clausewitz was in general correct when he said that war was the continuation of policy by other means”
The real quotation is War “with” other means:
“We all know, don’t we, that strategic grand master Carl von Clausewitz defines war as “the continuation of policy by other means” (italics in original). Except he doesn’t. Read in the original German (insert favorite Hitler joke here), Clausewitz’s masterwork On War proclaims — uniformly — that war is a mere continuation of policy “with other means” (mit anderen Mitteln), or sometimes “with the addition of other means” (mit Einmischung anderer Mitteln). Nowhere in On War or his prefatory notes does the Prussian write “by” other means”.
“We maintain…that war is simply a continuation of political intercourse, with the addition of other means. We deliberately use the phrase ‘with the addition of other means’ because we also want to make it clear that war in itself does not suspend political intercourse or change it into something entirely different [my italics]. In essentials that intercourse continues, irrespective of the means it employs.”
This misquotation of Clausewitz is why America has been bombing 3rd world countries into the Stone Age rather than the Cauldron Strategy that is done by Russia:
Including the use of Negotiations and Humanitarian corridors to limit civilian casualties. As well as encouraging enemy soldiers to surrender:
Hence all the recent stories about Russians being deliberately hostile towards civilians don’t make strategic sense. In the same way the Chemical Weapons story that Assad apparently did on his own population didn’t make sense.
“I had a vision about a future humanity that sort of looked European with some members having blonde hair, blue eyes, red hair and freckles etc but the skin tone was sort of a mixture of caramel and golden. It was weird.”
Having naturally tanned skin I think is a good thing for Europeans to have. Skin cancer rates are disproportionately European unfortunately especially in more sunny areas.
It seems quite likely to me that some hard-nosed Ukrainian fighters, for example, the quasi-Nazis of the Azov Battalion, are responsible for some of the high-profile, well-publicized atrocities against their fellow Ukrainians (especially those against women and children, which have the highest propaganda value). They know that naive, ignorant Westerners will be outraged and will blame the Russians for those atrocities, thus hardening Western anger against all things Russian. Modern war can be unbelievably ruthless, and Ukraine has its factions, like any other nation at war. It’s never simple. (This is not to say that Russian troops have not also perpetrated some atrocities in Ukraine, too.) Take every news item from the Ukrainian front(s) with an enormous helping of salt.
Jasper (no. 248), I’m sure that many (possibly most) of my ideas about the future will turn out to be wrong.
“Can you imagine a not so distant descendant of one of these humble farm workers sitting at the pinnacle of American power in Washington? Unlikely?
How about this then, an Andean Indian, hardened by an early life of poverty, finding his way in the world by means of the knife and the gun, carving out a fortune in narcotics, coming to Washington to argue his case as to why he should lead the USA. How unlikely does that sound?”
Possible. If he has the right connections. Zhu Yuanzhang was a Peasant. But joined Red Turban Insurgent Band. Rising through the ranks because of his skill in Leadership, attracting the best talent he could and appointing them in the right positions and his personal Charisma.
And then defeating other Warlords contending for power and becoming Emperor of all China.
What should the nickname be the privileged minority trying to fence themselves off with high tech? I’ve been calling them “privileged wankers” in conversations with friends, but it really doesn’t have a ring to it.
What I notice about this group is constant striving and angst about everything. The obsess over productivity, the latest clothes/gadgets, appearing well-read, and fitting in. The last two years has had them double down on it all. “Look I’m handing this sooooo well no need to talk about it but let’s follow every rule and yeah triple vax and let’s plan a vacation from it all, shall we?” I’ve popped onto Instagram to see what some of these people are doing and its a whole new level of flaunting their privilege. I mean it was always flaunting, but in a world where people are being shoved into poverty with inflation, its just comes off as incredibly cruel.
A discussion about European civilization that ignores Greece and Rome and chooses the 10th century for comparison is something the equivalent of which I never see being done for any other civilization. If I engaged in a similar exercise for west African civilizations it would get quite a different reaction.
Greece and Rome were not on the fringes of any civilized world. They were their own civilizations, at their own centres. You could as easily claim ancient China was on the fringes of the ancient civilized world simply because, based on geography, it’s at the other end of Eurasia. Or that the Mughal Empire was at the fringe of some other civilized world simply because India is geographically a bleak, sweltering peninsula stuck onto the bottom end of Asia inhabited by a clutch of castes notable for their propensity to vicious caste-based discrimination and inter-religious violence.
And what people in the rest of the world thought of Europe in 1500 is not a reliable guide to what Europe actually was. By 1500 Europeans had built Stonehenge and Newgrange, been the home of Minoan, Mycenaean, Greek and Roman civilizations, sailed to India and America, had the Renaissance and printed millions of volumes of books. They were 20 years from the circumnavigation of the globe and Notre Dame was already a couple of hundred years old. Those tall ships putting out from every Atlantic port didn’t exist in a vacuum. An extremely complex society and culture was necessary to produce them. If the educated class of other civilizations were unaware of all this, that reflects on them rather than on reality.
I’ve never seen any reliable evidence that Europeans are more prone to internecine violence than any other group of people. In fact from the anthropology I’ve read most tribal societies were equally violent, and that’s not even starting on central Americans. Maybe ours is simply better documented because most of those societies were illiterate, or we happened to kill more because we had better technology, or this is simply a continuation of Roman/Christian propaganda about the barbarism of European pagans. It’s not a cultural difference in proneness to violence.
There wasn’t one ‘civilized world’ in 1500 that united civilizations as different as China and the Ottomans, there were several civilized worlds, and Europe was one of them. It wasn’t merely an accident of history that Europeans won at Lepanto, or at Vienna. These weren’t half naked barbarian tribes fending off the forces of civilization.
I have no difficulty accepting that European civilization is dying, but this strikes me as an unnecessary downplaying of what it is that’s being lost. Not only lost, but deliberately destroyed by those in power, justified by similar claims about the exceptionalism only of European tendencies to violence, greed and theft and the downplaying of any positive exceptionalism as ‘white supremacy’.
Roger said “Can you imagine a not so distant descendant of one of these humble farm workers sitting at the pinnacle of American power in Washington? Unlikely? ”
Unlikely? Roger, I’m from New Mexico, and we’ve had a number of Hispanic congresscritters; having one in the White House doesn’t seem at all unlikely to me. Now, whether they were from the proud Northern New Mexico “WE have been here for 500 years!” descendants of the Conquistadores, or the humbler modern Mexican immigrants – and for that past 500 years, the border was quite open for a long, long time – depends on what part of New Mexico they’re from.
Insert a great big shrug here: hit any search engine for a list of the current state government and Congressional delegations.
When the guy torturing your teeth and gums is Henry Espinosa, DDS, and your car dealership is Garcia Honda, and your insurance agent used to be Manuel Lujan Insurance Agency, and your election-year ballot is chock-full of Spanish surnames, it’s hard to remember that the other 49 states are totally different.
Can you imagine a not so distant descendant of “one of these humble farm workers” sitting on the Supreme Court of the United States? I can. Easily.
People’s panic over Le Pens popularity already started a circus here.
In my personal opinion it is not that Le Pen is so good it’s that Macron is so weak and disliked by his own countrymen
(raising the taxes, bringing in millions of emigrants, scoffing and then shooting the “Yellow vests” protesters and then COVID with masks, permits to drink coffe from a bar, treating unvaccinated like criminals and terrorists coughTurdeaucough).
There is a rumor flying in the 4chan and european comment sections (don’t know if it is true) that the siege of Marinpol had something to do with foregin high ups from NATO.
Private company and what’s left of the Ukrainian airforce was trying desperately to evacuate someone from there over the few days, someone not from Azov,
at the same time the French Indetelligence Comanding officer took and earfull and was kicked out of Office by Macron (at the same time some people noticed that more than a few members of the Frances Foregin legion went missing somewhere… you CANNOT go AWOL from that formation which means they were send there to fight Russians without a formal declaration of war) a disater like that on the verge of election will doom what’s left of macron hopes from being reelected.
So it is very likely that le Pen will pull out (especially since England didn’t collapse economically after the brexit like many talking heads had been screaming about)
As to the war crimes in ukraine in my opinion both sides commited them.
There was a video clip of Ukrainian soldiers torturing a bound Russia artillery spotter, which was taken out and never mentioned by the media, just like the don’t mention the rising problems with Ukrainian emigrants here.
I want to say something I do not hate the Ukrainian people and this is not an attack on them, (Many people in poland were forced to migrate to other nations in search for employment to support their famillies here like me and my brother, and we heard a lot of insults from “liberal” german about our nation when we were there),
Poland is in a horrible shape economically (two years of lockdowns and struggles with COVID did that) and we are not in position to help anybody here espacially now with prices going straight up everywhere.
That is the truth with a bad situation going south there won’t be a lot of sharing, as a familly man myself I have an obligation to keep my kid safe and my relatives (I understand being broke and problems but I am not in position to look out for foreign emigrants, and thoose folks in Piła…shiver)
stay safe everyone Wer
Speaking of future demographics, would you consider a native resurgence in the McKenzie Valley? Though coming up from behind, the fastest-growing demographic group in northern Canada is the indigenous peoples. They’re only partially assimilated to Anglo culture, and increasingly less so as they reclaim their heritage. As the European psudomorphosis fades, I can easily imagine a polity claiming continuity with one or more of the old tribes. (As a matter of fact, I can easily see such a claim happening regardless of its truth–but in the Yukon I can it having more than a kernel of truth.)
Makes for a picturesque continent, really. Asian-derived culture to the far west, indigenous to the far north, spanish-speaking in the middle, with Quebec and the Anglo remnants in the East. Plus room for gods-know-what in between! Much more interesting than the great American melting pot, if perhaps less peaceful.
Not that long ago, it would have been called a conspiracy theory. Now, it’s out there, in the open:
This is what Russia, China and the Global South are fighting – demented narcissists that rule the Western empire.
just another thought here.
I was always fascinated by your book “Twilights Last Gleaming”.
Gist was that the Chines found out that the only thing that the US was capable go was to double down in case they were not successful.
We are currently witnessing the behavior.
What if we are seeing this scenario is currently played out by different figures?
Meaning in this reality the Russians could be playing the role of the Chinese is the book.
Today I found the following on RT
” Moscow warns of ‘direct military confrontation’ with US
The Russian ambassador accused the West of inciting “further bloodshed” in Ukraine ”
“They can lead the US and the Russian Federation onto the path of direct military confrontation. Any supply of weapons and military equipment from the West, performed by transport convoys through the territory of Ukraine, is a legitimate military target for our Armed Forces.”
That together with the warning of Putin to go after the command-centers in case of a war with NATO and the fact that the Russian fleet left the ports already in January makes me wonder, whether this conflict will end up going on a very different path soon.
Just a thought,
The forecasts of civilization (as we know it) collapse caused by depletion of natural resources is highly probable. However, the collapse may not be global and may span many centuries. Recent geopolitical events suggest a partitioning of global trading blocks – East and South versus the West per the map in JMG’s post.
Those with ample resources, their own technology and already largely separated from the global economy (thinking Russia) can carry on for a very long time. China and India will need to make adaptions and I like to think that the deep-seated experience accumulated over millennia will help them find a sustainable path. It’s Africa and Latin American that may hold the most promise for a sustainable future. I like to think so.
Info, you know, that’s probably the longest quibble over a single preposition I’ve yet fielded on this blog — which is saying something.
Denis, I tend to call them “the comfortable classes,” but you’re right, a different moniker would be helpful. Anyone have a suggestion?
Dot, for the last few centuries the world has been awash in accounts of history that portray the little subcontinent on the western end of Asia as the be-all and end-all of world history, and treat (for example) Greece and Rome as the only ancient civilizations that mattered. In fact, of course, Greece and Rome were on one periphery of the great belt of civilizations that extended from China west to the Atlantic, and their achievements — real as those were — weren’t anything like as exceptional as Eurocentric historians have tried to pretend. There was indeed one civilized world in classical times — did you know, for example, that there were Buddhist missionaries in Alexandria by 200 BC? Or that trade links connecting the Roman world via the Indian ocean to India and China were a major economic force all through the classical era? You’re right that I deliberately exaggerated the contrast between Europe and the civilized world in 1000 and 1500, for effect — how often has the same sort of exaggeration been done the other way around? — and the fact that you flew off the handle like this shows me that the arrow was well aimed.
Wer, I’m not surprised about the circus — and yes, I’ve heard the rumors that a US major general and a bunch of other NATO personnel were caught in Mariupol, though we’ll have to see whether that turns out to be true or not. Thanks for the data points!
Dusk Shine, fascinating. I didn’t know that the demographics were shifting that way toward the First Nations. Here in the US, the native peoples have an outmarriage rate of 33%, which pretty much guarantees that they will cease to exist as an ethnic and cultural presence within another century or so. A thriving Native-descended culture in the postwarming Mackenzie basin would be worth seeing.
B3rnhard, oddly enough, I’ve been thinking of that novel too in recent weeks.
Observer, er, I’ve been saying for the last sixteen years on my blogs that the decline (not “collapse”) of industrial civilization would take centuries and would vary drastically in its impacts by region, so this isn’t exactly news here…
By the way, I’ve fielded a steady stream of comments quibbling about the juxtaposition of the West African mosque and the English hut. I put through, and responded to, the first two of them, and but all further quibbles have been (and will be) deleted. As I’ve noted rather more than once in this comment thread, an embarrassingly large number of people in Europe and North America like to believe that Africans have always been primitive tribespeople living in grass huts; I chose the pair of images to challenge that false belief in the most in-your-face way I could. To gather from the shrill tone of some of the responses, I clearly succeeded! The point remains: West Africa had thriving cities when London was a village of mud huts (look up the phrase “wattle and daub” sometime), and it will be an immense help in making sense of the deindustrial future if more people get a less wildly distorted image of the preindustrial past.
“What should the nickname be the privileged minority trying to fence themselves off with high tech? I’ve been calling them “privileged wankers” in conversations with friends, but it really doesn’t have a ring to it. ”
Peggy Noonan coined the phrase “Protected Class” several years ago. I’m not sure that is exactly the same group you are talking about though.
I use Sneering Class myself, or even Coastal Sneering Class. If I’m really annoyed at their latest power grab they get demoted to Neo-Slavers because they are convinced they can run my life better than I can.
Aldarion and JMG about the erasing of civilization.
Aldarion gave good examples of people that managed to preserve their culture despite invasions and conquests.
I agree with a caveat and the best way to explain is through an example. After the Roman empire fell, a lot of its area preserved the language (which evolved into romance languages). That sounds straightforward but if you read any good book on that you will find out that the “language” preserved did not include any abstractions. By that I mean all the “civilized” words related to cities, governments, art, philosophy. Basically all those words had to be reintroduced later from the medieval latin (this is called the re-romanization of romance languages).
By the same token, genetic and historical studies show that even in Italy, most of the population was replaced by newcomers.
If we combine the extreme simplification of language with the population replacement, I think the word “erasure” is perfectly appropriate.
It seems to me that the late Giovanni Arrighi predicted and explained all this a generation ago. His books are definitely worth reading, the best being the one he wrote with Beverly Silver. He became a bit too much of a China booster for my tastes at the end of his life, much as the otherwise wonderful Pepe Escobar is too sanguine regarding Russian military capabilities.
JMG and Dot,
about European civilizations.
As a proud student of Roman and Greek culture, I have to agree completely with JMG.
I am part of this culture so I can appreciate it, but from the little I know there are other cultures out there just as (or more) impressive. Unfortunately I don’t have the time in this life to learn about all of them so all I can do is stay humble.
Dot, you mention “white supremacy”. I understand your anger (I am too) at this maoist concept that is used to destroy any culture not part of the woke cultural revolution, but I think that anger is not helpful here, since JMG is the opposite of a woke revolutionary.
JMG, I had this idea of civilizations growing like “fairy rings” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairy_ring) as they exhaust resources (soil, forest etc).
In this post you seem to suggest that enough time has passed that civilization can return to previously “exhausted” areas. I am not so certain. I actually think that your predictions for new civilizations in Siberia and Canada are far more certain. It will probably take a new ice age for the soil to reform in the Middle East for example.
The precarious moaning class?
This is a late response to Ellen from the prior week’s post ‘Slack! An Irreverent Proposal’. Please accept my apologies for not noticing it in a timely manner.
Ellen, you asked which wood-burning tent stove I bought: It was the Winnerwell “Nomad-View Medium”.
I chose Winnerwell because their products are stainless steel, and they offer a large assortment of accessories (e.g. ovens, water tanks, insulated flashings) and extra parts, some of which I bought.
Their web-site is here:
A couple of observations and thoughts, for what they might be worth:
First, a data point: My daughter the LPN works in a long term care facility which offers expensive care and rehabilitation for wealthy patients. Recently, a director of nursing was forced to resign, and two other more senior administrators were literally walked out the door. This was all a result of spectacular malfeasance (on the part of administration) which has resulted in an extremely serious lawsuit. For once, the wage earning workers were not blamed and PMC status and high salaries were no protection. I might add that the facility has become seriously understaffed, even to the point that wages have been increased.
Next: Here in the USA the expected false flag incident has shown up on schedule, and no one believes it outside the ranks of those who mouth whatever lies they are told to say. The entire apparatus of ginning up war fever is being deployed, very much including demonization of some designated villain–“Saddam” has become “Putin”–and war fever has not taken hold, even among those who were gung-ho to take out the evil “Saddam” two decades ago. I live in a working class white neighborhood, where flags wave, Trump is regarded with affection and Reagan as almost a saint, and I am not seeing it.
A personal opinion: I remain convinced that the vote to elect Trump was, in addition to the factors JMG has pointed out, an anti-war vote. I am, now, equally convinced that the 100 to 0 vote in the Senate for limiting trade with Russia is, among other things to be sure, a reflection of rising isolationism. I suspect that reports, including photos and videos, of Ukranian so-called refugees being waved past immigration check points on our southern border, while persons from our own hemisphere are forced to wait, were a last, last straw for many. How, exactly, do people who left their homes in Ukraine just ahead of those evil Russkies with only what they could carry manage to arrive in Eagle Pass or Tijuana weeks later??? I do not believe that the Senate vote had anything to do with the Republicans giving up on “authoritarianism”, whatever that means.
Nothing to add, really, except for my hearty thanks as always, JMG. I feel I found this blog just in the nick of time – sometimes I feel like I came too late, but it could always have been later and karma, as this essay hints, is mathematically precise. I found it precisely when it was time for me to. Thank you again for being here and for writing.
JMG yes quite right and unstoppable was an exaggeration. Just curious about their occult scene and if it is Dions kind of crowd or not. Given events perhaps so. Celadon
# 254 – Robert Mathiesen
Agreed! It appears that the MSM gives a nod and a wink – Azov does the killing and the MSM immediately blames the Russians. By the time evidence shows the contrary, the MSM has moved on to the next “atrocity”. One can fairly say that the MSM is complicit in these atrocities.
Dear JMG – I should have noted that you have been saying such forever. My point is that the form of the decline/collapse is coming into focus. The West, no longer able to rape and pillage, will be the first to suffer from resource decline.
I think the polemical parts of the original essay are polemical specifically against Europe north of the Alps – mediterranean Europe is not damp, and had some of the largest and richest cities in the world in the 10th century, Constantinople and Sevilla leading the pack. And of course classical civilization had been centered in the Mediterranean. However, since countless Whig histories have been written about the moral, cognitive, political and economical qualities of Northwestern Europe that predestined these countries to rule the world, it seems appropriate to direct the polemic to this quarter. I can live with that polemic. If somebody feels upset, then they can just substitute “Northwestern Europe” instead of Europe all through the essay.
With regard to the, um ..’emplacement of radioactive stuff’.. into trenches, caverns, or what have you within the Great Basin, one might consider that the crust encompassing that very region is ‘stretching’ – being quite thin compared to it’s mountaine conglomeration of terranes either side .. point being, is that such a ‘solution’ to radioactive ‘outta sight outta mind’ would most likely come back to haunt one way or another, at least regionally..
Of course, on a long enough time .. mutation can be our friend ….sometimes at least anyway. ‘;]
Hi John, many thanks for the timely post
One of the thing more surprising for me in the current anti-russian campaign is the ferocity of the scope, because in this case the hate and cancellation is not only directed to Putin or the russian “regime”, as have been in all the other cases (in Irak, Libya, Syria, Serbia, etc…) the US imperial regime and their western vassals now direct the cancellation to anything russian, from Tchaikovsky concerts (in Wales or Italy) to russian athletes and artists, to russian musics, to Dostoyevsky (the Milan university has cancelled a course about this author), similar fate has “suffered” the music of Sostakovich, Rasmaninoff, Rimsky Korsakov, etc… and the rest of the pleiade of russian authors.
I have never heard of such a phenomenon. Even in the worst nightmare of the nazi holocaust I have nor heard about the “cancellation” of Beethoven or Kant or Goethe due to the fact they were germans, and nor in the time of the USSR power this bullying of the russian culture and people never happened (as fas as I know), when I was a child (still existing the Soviet state) the teachers in the schools recommended to read Tosltoy, Chejov, Gogol, Turgenev or Dostoyevsky, even Hollywood made some not bad films based in the works of these authors in the years of the Cold War. But what is happening now is something new.
This is a real total cultural war against russia and russian culture, and for example in the treatment of the western MSM news and the people about the torture and death of russian POW by the ukrainian nationalists and soldiers, I think we are seeing against the “untermenschism” directed against the russian people, recovering the old tradition from the Baltics Crusades, the Drang Nach Osten or the Lebensraum of the western civilization. The level of hate to all what is “russian” is the more alarming event for me, and we are approaching blindly to WWIII.
As Rudolf Steiner said in is notebook in 1918: “Ukraine is the Anglo-Saxon battlefield for the russian cultural germ”. And as Rudolph Steiner thought probably the fear of the western elites is something unconscious about a cultural rivalry from the steppes, and also the perception that the huge landmass of Russia will be where the main resources of the World will reside (soil, minerals, energy, lumber, land, water, etc….) when the nested crisis start to bite seriously and the western “masters of the universe” do not and cannot manage them, so their frustration and hate.
I hope this does not degenerate in WWIII, because the Russians know perfectly well what is at stake and it seems they will not back down under threats from the empire.
While the English were fighting a dynastic war (the Wars of the Roses), Indians, East Africans and Chinese were engaged in brisk international trade. The following article shows how Indian merchants came to be “richer than the gods”. Why is a dragon carved on Jain temple in Mangalore? Medieval Africa-China trade holds answer
Wer here I won’t be in town for some time something had came up.
Well what could I say, the times that we are living in are becoming too interesting.
It seems that the news media are gaslighting everybody. Everybody is getting angry at Orban now it is getting out of hand, they want to regime change France if Le Pen wins and Hungary (because Orban is light on Russia and didn’t took in a lot of the refugges).
I just have a question what do you thing are the chances of a nuclear exchange (An EU “diplomat” suggested solving the Ukraine matter on the battlefield, he is of course a clueless bureaucrat who has never been to battlefield or had to work for a living like folks like me and others) And if this goes south for the EU (like it already is) do you think this will end in something really horrible?
One guy an astrologist claim that he saw a great strife (Thanks Captain Obvious everybody in the Peak Oil forums knew this since 2005) EU on it’s current course will not last long.
I know the MAD scenario, but these are the same politicians who belived that Russia will be defeated after a week, and that Putin will be kicked out of office after two days of sanctions.
Is there a chance that thoose people realizing that they are losing control (hyperinflation, great reset being a flash in a pan) will choose the logical extreme??
Someone like Biden or the White House secretary are really clueless about everything will they start WW 3 after ealizing that the things they are doing are not working ( In a desperate insane hope this will work??)
With the European Age ending, I get the impression that people in the USA have been rejecting European culture through the Great Resignation. That makes me wonder a lot how the future economy will be shaped. Obviously, the rejection involves less corporate power. Your post from a few weeks back about different ways to do political economies are probably a few suggestions of what may become more common in the future? In some ways it’s hard to wrap my head around things being different, but it is becoming more and more obvious that people are tired of following through on ways that just aren’t working anymore.
I’m looking at Europe and thinking that for all they use a lot less energy per capita than North America, they’re being hit much harder than North America right now because so much of their energy comes from elsewhere, most especially a single country they have a history of quarreling with.
It seems simply using less energy isn’t much of a defense if you still need to buy most of that energy from somewhere that can cut that supply off.
I would have expected Western Europe to do better in the early stages of the long descent because they’re less wasteful of energy, but that’s not what’s happening at all. There seems to be a large impact of chance in who gets hit hardest when.
It’s a little like a game of musical chairs with energy and resources as the music.
The Great Reset and the Ukraine war and related economic dislocations –
I’m really wondering how the WEF’s plans for assorted types of control and their other priorities are going to fare. There’s certainly plenty of damage being done to the world economy etc for them to use as an opportunity even if covid hasn’t panned out as well for them as they would have liked.
Given that China seems to be one of the models for the Great Reset, damage to the West and its economy and self-confidence from, say the end of the US dollar as a reserve currency and a dramatic decline in european wealth, influence and living standards, might seem to encourage the imitation of some of China’s more dracononian policies in the west. At the same time, there’s likely to be a backlash against them from the many people who stand to lose out.
On the other site you (JMG) suggested that such policies were likely to be limited in geographical extent, with richer urban areas under such controls and rural areas not. I’ve been thinking about this idea, and would love to hear an expansion on your ideas of how this might play out.
As to what I’d been thinking, I’ve been considering the role of the poor and working classes in urban areas in such a system. There’s a lot of work that needs doing in cities that is poorly-paid and nonglamorous, often done by ‘deplorables’ and assorted disadvantaged groups. The WEF may talk a good line about wanting to help the poor and disadvantaged, but given their list of industrial partners I simply don’t believe them. In a lower-energy and resources environment, they aren’t going to be able to get robots to do all this, and people commuting for hours a day from outside the city isn’t going to work either.
But large groups of poor people tends to be messy and spoil property values etc. I think we might see an increase in deeply divided cities, with substantial areas being no-go zones for the comfortable classes and many Great Reset policies not being implemented there. What policies are implemented in such areas would likely be mostly 1) repressive and controlling to prevent riot and revolution 2) maybe a very basic income, also to prevent riot and revolution, as services of all kinds become harder to access and less functional in those areas.
Or they could try removing the current inhabitants to less expensive areas outside their chosen cities, especially those residents who are unemployed, retired or disabled. There’s been some of that in Britain for people on social assistance being forced to move from London to Manchester or other centers. And by forced, I don’t just mean people choosing to leave because they can’t afford to stay. In Britain the government often provides subsidized housing to people on social assistance, and they can decide to provide that housing in another city in a building of their choice. Of course, this completely shreds the social fabric of neighborhoods, and removes social supports the people with disabilities, the elderly or single parents whom they forced to move were depending on.
Some places in the world, like Singapore or many richer Middle-Eastern nations use large numbers of temporary foreign workers to do low-status, low-pay jobs. During the pandemic, temporary foreign workers in Singapore spent large periods locked in their overcrowded dormitories.
So the powers-that-be could try to force out the working populations from cities and replace them with heavily technologically-controlled foreign workers from the most desperate places on earth. I think if they tried that, though, they’d get rioting of a level that would topple governments. They’d have to do it very gradually, using the sort of techniques Britain is using.
Siliconguy, “sneering class” certainly has a certain panache to it! Thank you.
NomadicBeer, that’s exactly the kind of study that I was thinking of. Aldarion has studies that claim to disprove this in some cases; I’ll be interested to see how that sorts itself out in the decades ahead.
B-school, interesting. I don’t think I’ve encountered Arrighi — I tend mostly to read dead people, though I gather from your comments that he now qualifies. I’ll put him on the look-at list.
NomadicBeer, depends on what part of the Middle East you have in mind, Did you know that until the recent US-manufactured wars began, Syria was still a net exporter of grain? In the same way, China’s had cities supported by agriculture for a very long time, and once it gets over the current round of ecological stupidity — which will admittedly involve some rough going — I expect it to continue for millennia more.
Andy, that also works! Thank you.
Mary, thanks for these. I’m not sure which of them is the more tectonic shift — that a bunch of managerial class thieves are actually having to face consequences, or that the US cannon-fodder class has quietly gone AWOL and isn’t coming back.
IVN, you’re welcome and thank you.
Celadon, that’s a very interesting question to which I have no scrap of answer. It’s been a while since we’ve had a regular commenter who’s living in Russia, so I can’t ask them. Er, if any of the folks from the FSB’s internet arm who check out the US blogosphere care to venture an opinion, we’d love to hear from you. 😉
Observer, and your point is quite accurate. It astounds me that the US and its client states are flinging around sanctions as though those are going to hurt anyone but the US and its client states. It’s weirdly reminiscent of the scene in Blazing Saddles where Cleavon Little holds himself at gunpoint and threatens to shoot.
Aldarion, years ago I knew a guy who fought in the Italian campaign in the Second World War, and he liked to make very edgy jokes about “sunny Italy”! That said, your point stands; though this is utterly politically incorrect to mention these days, it hasn’t been that long, all things considered, since people from the Mediterranean side of Europe weren’t considered white in the United States…
Polecat, hmm! Can you point me to a source on that? It would be just our luck for North America to split apart due to a new cycle of tectonic shifts, resulting in the kind of vast volcanic releases that created the Deccan Traps and the like…
DFC, nah, in the Second World War here in the US, hamburgers got renamed “victory sandwiches” and symphonies stopped playing music by German composers. Many people aren’t aware that German nationals got interned here, too. It’s a very American sort of hysteria.
Asdf, thanks for this. That’s exactly the sort of thing I had in mind.
Wer, I trust nobody in Europe who actually has charge of nuclear weapons thinks that launching them is a good idea, since I’m sure Russia would be perfectly happy to incinerate a few hundred European cities with a small fraction of its arsenal. That said, let me guess: the EU diplomat is from one of the European countries that doesn’t have nukes or a military of any size, and is basically saying, “Let’s you and him fight.” As for Biden et al., the US leaders, with drool puddling in their laps, have just puked up another round of sanctions against Russia, even though the last round succeeded only in increasing Russia’s favorable balance of trade and may have fatally wounded the petrodollar. I don’t think at this point they’re capable of realizing that the world will not do whatever they tell it.
Prizm, I think that’s a very important point. It’s not just Europe that’s waning, it’s the entire Faustian model of human existence, and it’s being chucked aside by individuals as well as by nations.
Pygmycory, me too. I expected Europe to handle this stage of the decline much more intelligently than they have. At this point only a drastic change in political leadership and a whole series of very sharp policy swerves can save them from a very, very messy future. With regard to the WEF’s wet dreams, I honestly don’t think it ever occurred to them that people wouldn’t simply do what their soi-disant betters told them. One of my great concerns at this point is that as the Davos crowd continues to pursue its fantasy of a society reshaped to funnel all the benefits to the top and all the costs to everyone else, the blowback will lead to a full-on resurgence of European fascism of the classic variety. If, for example, the Russians decide to shrug and shut off Europe’s supplies of gas, oil, and raw materials, plunging the subcontinent into permanent depression and constant rolling blackouts, demagogues who promise to fix that will have an easy time taking over, and then it’s game on for the next round of European wars.
Hi John Michael,
Had a visit yesterday from a very old friend, whom I hadn’t seen for many years. Of interest was that my old friend was wiser than the person I’d remembered from years ago. It was a nice catch up, although the news from far and wide was traumatic to receive, and in one particular case, the story rang false, although he was recounting someone else’s interpretation of events which he was not involved in.
The thing which interested me was that in order to gain wisdom, my old friend had to travel through a world of hurt over the past few years.
I’m of the opinion that the current mess which you’ve written about this week has to travel a similar path, but with an uncertain ending – there is no guarantee that an individual, or group of people, or even a nation gets to employ the benefits of hard won wisdom. After all, history suggests the most likely outcome for that part of the world. Once we were giants!
And I was fascinated by carefully constructed false story which my friend recounted in that it was crafted in such a way as to place blame elsewhere. It didn’t take too much later observation to get a bit closer to reality. I had wondered why people seek comfort in trying to control the narrative? I dunno, I guess changing direction or acting upon uncomfortable information makes for discomfiture? I’d be curious as to your thoughts in this matter.
As to further sanctions, which candidly seem ineffective whilst also being counter productive, I did mention at the start of all this current mess that a little whisper of intuition suggested that it was known beforehand that the SWIFT system was being abandoned. Even before there was any action in that mess, this outcome was being casually discussed in the media. The rest as they say, is posturing. I don’t really know, and it is pure speculation, but it is not as if lines in the sand had not be drawn, consequences advised beforehand, and then here we are today. Crazy stuff.
What is tragic, and what is idiotic? Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference.
Any suggestions on things individuals and small groups can do to render the WEF’s plans inoperable at an early stage so people both in Europe and North America have alternatives that are neither Great Reset nor fascism?
I’m thinking stuff like leaving my cellphone at home when I go out, refusing to get the vaccine passport (though that’s now over, thankfully, long may it remain dead), paying cash, growing food/buying at farmer’s markets, taking things out of the waste stream, supporting anyone I can find politically who I can stomach who isn’t schilling for the WEF’s plans…
The ironic thing is that some of the things the Great Reset claims to be for I actually really want. Like an effective response to climate change that actually drops carbon emissions, or a reduction in inequality. It’s a shame I can’t trust that they will do either of these things. I suspect their policies will actually wreck freedom and democracy, and that any reductions in global inequality would come from impoverishing the poorer half of the developed world’s populations.
And if you look at what the WEF’s political and business types are currently doing, it looks likely to cause increased improverishment for the non-wealthy in the less developed world too, via high inflation.
Patricia Mathews, what you say is really interesting.
In this particular place we’ve had successive 20th and 21st century influxes, variously of Italian (such that at one point one third of the city was either Italian immigrant or of Italian descent) and then Portuguese, Chinese, Indian, Caribbean, Filipino and then a lot of eastern European after the 1990s Warsaw Pact collapse. Only recently have I started to hear a fair bit of Spanish in the streets.
I think my former work compadres in Texas would see it your way. An aside; a while back I visited corporate HQ in Texas on a Friday and had to stay the weekend and what I learned is that Friday night without Mexican food isn’t Friday night. We went out that night, had a Mexican feast, got very drunk, pledged our undying love and respect for each other’s countries. I even drank a bucket of tequila which I hate, but after a certain point, you stop tasting it. The meetings the next day weren’t much fun but we survived. As for me and my wife in Toronto, Friday night without takeout Jamaican mon just isn’t Friday. I love Jamaican, stew beef, oxtail, rice and peas, curry goat, mmmmm. My wife loves the fish dishes, especially kingfish. And plantain. It goes really well with beer or Ting. Our late mayor Rob Ford (RIP) was fluent in Jamaican English.
Anyway, I understand what you’re saying. In this place our oligarch elite, whether financial or political, make a big show of ‘tolerance’ and quack a great deal about ‘diversity’, while meaning not a word of it, the price of admission to their exclusive society and neighbourhoods exceedingly high. And I guess it wouldn’t surprise you one whit that their focus is on their own power and wealth which they mean to keep for themselves and their cronies.
And Rob Ford was assuredly not one of them because as soon as he won the mayoralty, his elite opponents did everything they could to undercut him. Why? Because he promised to ‘stop the gravy-train’ ie corruption and favouritism at City Hall. And we just can’t have that can we, even if it’s just rhetorical, because the lower-downs might get the idea that the game is rigged against them. Ford was Trump before Trump IOW.
You and I can maybe well imagine one such as the hypothetical hard-bitten Andean making a bid for power at the highest levels. But I suspect that those at the highest levels can’t, even in their wildest dreams, so smug and self-assured are they of their innate superiority and hold on power. That goes for both our respective societies.
Our idiot Prime Minister derided the participants in the recent Ottawa trucker’s strike as racists and White supremacists. Maybe he didn’t know that one of the two main organizers was a Metis woman, the other a Jewish fellow, and that a large proportion of the truckers weren’t even White. I remember one Black woman who was part of the convoy asking a TV reporter if she looked like a White supremacist. Those people were fighting for their livelihoods, nothing more, and knucklehead politicos and their lackey media friends make the Andean scenario all the more likely with every idiot speech and every idiot news report.
My nomination is the “smug” class with individuals called a “smug” and as a group “smugs”. I do like the “sneering” class as well.
If there is a desire to have a first-person account of what is happening in Russia, there is a commenter who goes by the name of “Moscow Exile” who provides exactly that information. He is from England but ended up in Russia where he married and has raised several children. He has a broad grasp of history, writes with passion and clarity and provides a deeply personal view of life in Russia. Not sugar coated but with warmth and love for his new land. He was a coal miner who refused to cross picket lines and spent time in jail as a result. I can not say enough good things about him. He posts on another blog but I will not mention the name here unless JMG says its OK.
Well, I own a score of books by John McPhee .. four/five of which center around North American Geology, Geophysics, and the Geologists to try to suss that stuff out. I can’t think off-hand, of other scorces to pro-offer .. maybe older issues of Science, or Scientific American .. but the above author’s book “Basin and Range” is, I believe the one which eludes to a possible proto-spreading center making itself established – as like a zipper opening .. from the Gulf of Mexico on upward into the continent roughly east of the Sierran Scarp, if I remember that correctly: Imperial Valley, Salton Sea area, Owen’s Valley, Death Valley – all as part of the rupture in the makings of a new ocean .. that kind of trend. Whether it an eruptive (earthquakes, volcanics, ect.) sequence in near time, or far – I no not!
But, as we all know, the Planet bats last .. every single time.
Apologies if I’ve faltered off-thread.
Esteemed Host, I think the push back you are getting is because while the dominant culture has been celebrating itself as dominant cultures do for several centuries, for the last several decades there has been a push back against Euro centered histories of the world. The switching point might be approximately when our friend Francis Fukuyama presented his thesis. You could argue that because it is mostly in academia that “western” civilization achievements have been denigrated in recent decades in a similar manner as the achievements of “non-western” civilizations were in previous centuries, it doesn’t really matter as long as the elites of the world still wear suits. You might call it a distinction without a difference if the classical Whig view of progress driven by the English and hangers on has been replaced by the rainbow Whig version of progress driven by the “United Colors of Benetton” who coincidentally are expected to act just like English progressives, but on the ground it is not ok to put up signs that say “It’s OK to be white.”
@Nomadicbeer 268: Thank you for engaging on this subject thoughtfully!
I completely agree about the deep chasm between the abstract book culture of Antiquity (preserved even up to the 6th century CE in Boethius) and what flowered anew, beginning with the 11th century troubadours and lais. This is why I prefer to follow Spengler and Toynbee in delimiting two different cultures on (partially) the same soil, and not a continuous “Western civilization” that stretches from the Iliad to San Francisco.
Would you call it an erasure when an old apple tree dies and a new sapling grows up?
What I don’t like about the word erasure is its transitive nature: there is an eraser and something that is erased. Last week, JMG brought up the mythological inhabitants of Ireland who were eradicated by floods and plagues. I see a use for the word erasure in such cases.
The Canadian and Australians governments tried to forbid the use of indigenous languages (at least among the young). The Prussian government tried to forbid the use of Polish at the end of the 19th century. The Brazilian government in the 1940s forbade the use of German. In all these cases I would agree with speaking about (attempted) erasure. In many other cases, I don’t think subject and object were so distinct.
The Romano-Britons of the 5th and 6th centuries dropped the use of their mother language(s). Latin or Brythonic? The fact that we aren’t sure points to one reason for why they dropped it – they were suspended between a departed colonizer and a half-forgotten origin. Instead, they took on the language of the not very numerous Germanic newcomers. Speaking the new language may have brought with it social advantages, but the newcomers were hardly in a position to force adoption of their language, as modern nation-states are. The Romano-Britons could have taken a page from the Basques, the Quechua or the Mozarabs. They didn’t, for their own reasons. I don’t see here a clear distinction between an eraser and an erased, but rather a population that stopped to uphold its former culture and language.
With regard to Italy, all I have ever read on historical grounds states that the Gothic (“Ostrogothic”) and Langobard invaders were rather small minorities. I am not familiar with genetic research on the ancestry of modern Italians, though I would be surprised to see results very different from those I posted above for Iberia. I am interested in seeing the sources you are speaking of.
While an erasure of European culture in the future is not out of the picture as long as there are fossil fuels to transport huge numbers of people, and nation-states powerful enough to alphabetize all children, personally I don’t think that is what will happen. I do see the possibility that Europeans will lose the will to preserve their culture, if it ends up associated with too many dark consequences, but there is much more agency and leeway here. I am reminded of Scotlyn last week defending her descendants’ freedom to choose, though I would prefer to conserve as much of European literature, music, architecture and arts as possible.
“Info, you know, that’s probably the longest quibble over a single preposition I’ve yet fielded on this blog — which is saying something.”
Indeed. Because of such huge implications. I must ensure that this misquote is thoroughly disproven and hence through the dissemination of such memetics. Minimize future brutality and innocent civilian deaths and injuries.
I want to prove that the Military Genius that the Military uses as one of their operating systems is thoroughly corrected in his input as a result of the proper quotation from its source.
If Wars can be made cleaner in this fashion. I will be satisfied.
Also once I start an idea. I have the compulsion to complete it. I have to make it thoroughly comprehensive.
I suppose I do display features of Aspergers syndrome as my Psychologist diagnosed me with.
You know about a hundred thousand civilians of Japanese origin, many of whom were US citizens, were thrown into “relocation camps” following Pearl Harbour. Most spent the whole rest of the war in the camps. Y’know, just in case.
Chris, controlling the narrative is what people do when they can no longer control the facts. It’s one of the most pervasive signs of decadence in a nation or an organization of any kind, and a symptom of the “barbarism of reflection” that Giambattista Vico wrote about — the point at which reasoning detaches itself from reality and goes zooming off into La-la Land.
Pygmycory, that’s a worthwhile question, which deserves a more detailed answer than I have time to give it right now. Let me consider it and see about a post on the subject.
Observer, another good label! Thank you. And thank you for the reference; you can certainly mention the other blog here if you like, as that’s something other people do all the time.
Polecat, thanks for this. I’ll see if I can find something in McPhee’s work.
Drew C, the fascinating thing to me is that the supposedly rainbow Whig version is still largely white, supplemented by a modest number of people with other skin colors who have duly shed every trace of their own cultures and adopted the standard European progressive culture. That’s why I talk about Europe rather than about skin colors — at this point it’s not about race (to the extent that the word “race” means anything at all), it’s about culture and class — especially class.
Info, you know, I’d wondered if you were a fellow Aspie. No worries, then. I have my own obsessive quibbles, after all.
As Europe-as-it-is comes apart, the aid that flows to the countries of the Global South from the West will also likely start coming down. I am sure that those countries, especially the African ones will be mighty pleased that to get rid of the “aid”, and the associated petty NGO tyrants. Indeed, getting free of these handouts might actually spur the growth and development of Africa in the future.
The incompetence of the Western leaders we see today always reminds me of operas by Gilbert & Sullivan – between Major General Stanley from Pirates of Penzance and Sir Joseph Porter, the First Lord of the Admiralty from HMS Pinafore, there’s not a single competent man in the British army or navy. And these were written in the 1880s, well before WW1 happened and the British Empire collapsed.
I wonder if anyone will make fun of our generals on the same way.
@polecat @JMG re: Basin and Range tectonics
Crustal extension started ~17 million years ago, at the same time the Columbia River flood basalts covered much of the Pacific Northwest – a small cousin of the Deccan Traps. This seems to have corresponded with the complete subduction of the southern portion of the Farallon Plate and associated spreading ridge (the northern portion remains as the Juan de Fuca Plate offshore of the Cascade Range), which resulted in a subduction zone transitioning to the strike-slip San Andreas Fault. In some areas the crust has expanded 100% – i.e. the east-west distance between two points has doubled since the extension started. This has resulted in tilting blocks of crust which have created the characteristic parallel basins and ranges.
Extension has slowed over time. It is possible that it will eventually cause the Gulf of California to extend northward creating an inland sea.
Nuclear waste is only a significant hazard for 100,000 years or less, and this tectonic extension is occurring on the scale of millions of years. The chance that the waste will be melted and erupted during the time of significant hazard should be minuscule. That said, the Basin and Range is a geologically active zone, with many faults, deep groundwater intrusion, and relatively frequent rock movement/earthquakes that could potentially compromise storage sites within the 100,000 year worry window. Geologically it would make more sense to bury nuclear waste within the continental “craton” – the region between the Rockies and the Appalachians from the latitude of Missouri north to Hudson Bay underlain by billion-plus-year-old rock that has not changed or deformed significantly for hundreds of millions of years. Such options have occasionally been explored, but there is significantly more population opposition then in the Nevada desert.
What is interesting in this discussion is that it is at the same familiar and completely alien to me in its perspectives. I know the neighbor over there and know the history we have had over the decades. I have visited it several times, read about it, read their literature, getting me some understanding about the mentality. I even gave it a shot to learn a little bit of Russian. I have visited and volunteered on their summer camps and done some other volunteer work over there as well, though that is some time ago.
The thing is, it is an empire of lies, deception and tragedy, where generations after generations have suffered. You many not have enough to eat, but you still rather buy shoe polish so that you look good. Impressions are everything, how you come across. The actual facts do not matter that much. Nobody trusts the system, but you trust your networks. Those matter, not the rest, let alone some strange alien people over there somewhere. Who are they to you? Why should they even matter?
Here in Finland we care about the Baltic sea. So we have been permitted to assist and partially fund some of the water treatment plants over there so at least a little bit less pollution would flow through the river Neva to the sea. I wonder what will come of this cooperation. The environmental values over there seem to be missing. You can see that with your own eyes just by crossing the border. Conquering may be fine, but maintenance is often neglected. That is also apparent in the way a formerly glorious Finnish city of Vyborg has turned out.
Finland, after the WW2 played the difficult game of how to coexist peacefully with such a neighbor. We managed to muddle through the Cold War without being occupied. The choices made were not always painless. But how do you live your life when next door you have a powerful neighbor who is prone to fits of violent outbursts, unreasonable demands, plays the music too loud, throws the garbage over to your side of the fence and is a nuisance in any way you care to imagine, and the police does nothing? You try to lay it low, not provoke much, but also maintain your own integrity and support your own interests as much as you dare, or think you can get away with.
But now you see the neighbor has burned down the house on the other side of him. You see his kids playing with the matches on the front yard. What do you do?
I know there very well may be no bright future ahead. I know even this relative affluence we have over here is a mirage. Hard physical realities will triumph at the end. Energy will matter very much, as well as farmland. The Empire will do what the Empires always do, and for everyone on the edges that can be nothing but bad news. But over here, right now, we have a beautiful thing going. It’s not a paradise, but it’s home. I would like to see it continue, and for my part, do what I can to help the others to see that a life with less wealth can also be valuable, meaningful and fun.
Bigger cycles care little for individual sentimentality, that I know. It’s just that the smaller entities such as we are quite detest being seen as pawns on a board on which the Empires play. Does not change the reality, of course.
Names for the managerial caste (of which I’m a member, sadly)…..
Decadent Class, Domineering Class, Dunce Class, all contract to “DC” quite nicely, while also evoking their current imperial hive.
Re lend-lease, Ukraine, and our obsession with WWII
In addition to the beer-wallowing, another image that comes to mind is Lovecraftian. It’s been a while since I’ve read At The Mountains Of Madness, but as I recall, there’s are part in the history recounted by the narrator of the Great Old Ones preparing to battle the spawn of Cthulhu and discovering that the old incantations didn’t work anymore. I think we’re in a similar situation here.
Thank you JMG! The blog that Moscow Exile posts on is:
The host is Mark Chapmam, a former member of the Canadian navy. His posts are informative as well as humorous!
They provide an unfiltered front-row seat on what is going on in Russia and Canada regarding global events and the history leading to those events.
Collapsnik, I expect Africa to do very well over the next millennium or so, and yes, the end of the “aid” is an important factor there.
Ecosophian, oh, I hope so!
Mark L, thanks for this. I’m familiar with the Columbia basin lava flows — my family used to camp in that part of Washington state when I was a kid — but I didn’t happen to know their tectonic origin. Come to think of it, if the nuclear waste is buried and then gets overflowed by a few hundred feet of lava, that would be a nice natural entombment…
Oskari, thanks for this; it’s worth hearing from a different perspective.
Leonander, fun! Okay, those are definitely contenders.
David BTL, if the Russians start broadcasting “Tekeli-li! Tekeli-li!” we’ll know we’re in very deep trouble. 😉
Observer, thanks for this.
For those who are interested, I just looked at the natal chart of France’s 5th Republic, which is Oct 5th, 1958 at 12:00 am (Nicholas Campion gives the date as Oct 6, 1958 at 6:30 pm – the approximate time of the fixing of the seal to the new Constitution.) Jupiter and Neptune were conjunct in Scorpio, with about 2 degrees of separation.
With the current election taking place on another Jupiter/Neptune conjunction, this could prove to be significant. Of course there have been many conjunctions of those two planets since 1958, but maybe having an election during one is a sign of changes to come?
Is there such a thing as a conjunction return?
@Curt #231 – thank you for replying in such detail. I’m not sure what you read, but the gist of my own comment on migration is that it is a “divergent” question – ie different people will weigh it differently. And of course, many of the issues you mention will be part of some people’s weighting of their own options.
The other thing I touched on, although in a more jokey way, is that even among the so-called “civilised” there are still many people (among whom I count myself) who are still more barbarian than civilised, both in their mode of existence, and in their sensibility… relying more on own resources, circle of people, and competences than on the shiny toys and baubles that are on offer in exchange for the learned helplessness of civilised peoples.
Best wishes to you.
@ Michael Mills #232 – I promise I will go back and comment on your blog, although it may be next weekend before I can manage to do so. Warning: Be careful what you wish for… 😉
JMG, I’m curious as to what you think is most responsible for Europe’s internal population shrinkage? (The main cause of its decline) The most common explanations are feminism, secularism, and consumerism/capitalism. Also, what parts of Europe do you think have the best chance of going against the tide you describe in your post, if any?
I will look forward to that post, if you write it. Thanks.
Oskari, I seem to remember JMG had some suggestions for smaller countries who want to remain independent of more powerful neighbors. They mostly involved imitating Switzerland: strict neutrality, weapons training for everyone, and plans to make any invasion cost the invader far more than it was worth. Do you think there’s a possibility for such in your country?
I’m not terribly enthused with aggressive empires either.
It’s kind of a shame that Russia didn’t broadcast ‘tekeli-li, tekeli-li’ on April Fool’s day. It would probably confuse the pundits and make a lot of people laugh. The world could use a bit more laughter at the moment.
I had to google “Tekeli-li! Tekeli-li!” For some reason I thought it might be this:
(That Russian “tra la la ” guy)
JMG – Great essay! Loved the images and the captions. Thank you.
Re: little known history of African empires – When I was in high school (late 1960s), taking a world history class which covered the usual ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome, then Europe from the dark ages, Medieval period to the Renaissance, the ‘discovery’ and colonization of the Americas, etc. Some quick mentions of ancient China. For our final essay, students were assigned to do reports on a subject of our own choosing. My report was on (Sub-Saharan) African Empires, which I choose simply out of curiosity and because of a question I had: “what about the rest of world?”. I knew there just had to be something ‘out there’. I was fortunate to find some reference works, though slim but adequate pickings regarding African history, in the school library. In small back-water city in the southwest US. I received a good grade for the report, but only a mildly positive response from the other students. It seems to me that the general lack of interest in ‘the rest of the world’, has contributed deeply to many of the problems in this country and its clueless adventurism.
And on another subject:
Comment from Clare Daly, member of the European Parliament from Ireland.
@JMG, you said (#285): “NomadicBeer (referring to #268), that’s exactly the kind of study that I was thinking of.”
I would like to note that NomadicBeer has not (yet) provided a reference to any study at all about population replacement, nor have you. You are of course under no obligation to source your essays, but I must admit that at this point I am getting curious. Before reading this blog, I had never in my life heard the claim that the majority of the populations of Spain or Italy (or Gaul, for that matter) was replaced after the end of the Roman Empire.
Peter Heather AFAIK clearly states that the Germanic invaders were small minorities compared to the Latin-speaking population. Since you mentioned Ward-Perkins above, I got hold of a copy of his “Fall of Rome” and have read it with great interest. So far, from my layman’s perspective, he got everything right. He doesn’t seem very interested in genetics, but I found one passage discussing population numbers (p. 67-68):
“…the numbers involved in the invasions and migrations were substantial, but not overwhelming. A large Germanic group probably numbered a few tens of thousands, while regions like Italy and Roman Africa had populations of several millions. In the case of the Vandals, we are told that their leader Geiseric had them counted at the moment of their crossing into Africa in 429, and that they numbered 81 111, including children, the old, and slaves. This figure is almost certainly a considerable exaggeration…”
BTW, the horrible cases of rape that he mentions (ch. 2) all occurred in the initial wave of conquest, not too different from Central Europe in 1945. He nowhere suggests ongoing rape on a time scale sufficient for population-wide Y-chromosome replacement, which is not too surprising since in fact the Y chromosomes weren’t replaced!
So I am still completely at a loss where your idea of population replacement in Spain or Italy comes from, unless it derives from the old notion that in England, the Anglo-Saxon invaders killed or expelled all Britons. No living historian or archaeologist that I know of maintains this theory for England, but it was widespread in the past.
Hi John Michael,
Ah, thanks for the reply. That makes sense. Those are dangerous people for they perceive a world that is otherwise, and may lead us to dangerous places.
You wrote about the Ghost Dancers many years ago, and it seems appropriate that this is going on now. Hmm.
Hey, I’ve long been wondering how people seem to be getting by financially in these times. I have this odd hunch that right now real and social wealth is being consumed in order to prop things up. I guess it is the logical extension of the consumer mindset, they’re consuming. It’s probably not a good idea, but it is also consistent with your theory of catabolic collapse. Ook! I do wonder at what point does the culture turn, but it might go all the way down.
I can’t speak for your country, but down under younger folks can’t afford to purchase a home. And renting in Australia is a truly painful experience, not to mention the supply of housing is deliberately restricted so as to prop up house prices along with all that that entails.
If a stable environment becomes impossible, or very difficult to achieve, then the population will naturally decline. Economic policies, have real world consequences.
Jon, there aren’t conjunction returns in any sense that I know of, but it makes sense that a political entity founded during one conjunction would be potentially vulnerable to change during another.
K, it’s a normal event during the decline of empires — the contraction of the Roman Empire’s population during the later imperial period was much remarked on at the time, for example. Spengler discusses it, though as usual he doesn’t offer a theory of causation.
Pygmycory, that would have been funny!
Bei, nah, it has to do with this guy.
PatriciaT, interesting! When I was in junior high and reading omnivorously, the school library had a fine book entitled Great Civilizations of Ancient Africa by Lester Brooks. I read it, liked it, included empires based on it in the bad fantasy stories I was already writing in those days, and added it to the long list of things that the teachers and textbooks never talked about.
Aldarion, I’ve made a note to look into the subject when I next have some spare time. No, I’m not just thinking of England, either.
Chris, that’s exactly what I think is going on: real wealth is being consumed at a faster and faster pace to try to prop up the existing order. Catabolic collapse is the next stop on the line.
Great questions. It is indeed quite unclear exactly how the links between democracy, human rights, and scientific technology will develop. Societies can try to separate them. As Valenzuela notes above, China is trying to do scientific technology without democracy. Many left wing utopians seems to think they can keep democracy and human rights and return to a pre-technological society.
There is a logic that links them. I like way Jonathan Rauch develops this logic in his book “The constitution of knowledge”. But it isn’t inevitable that they stay linked or that they succeed in keeping dominance. My suspicion that they will win the competition in the long run is rooted in a perception that many of today’s extremist shouting matches are performative self-advancement games. These advantage a certain kind of shallow minded entertainer and manipulator, but much of their advantage goes away when actual crises and conflicts are immediately pressing down on a society. Although each generation of information distribution technology seems to unleash a new wave of manipulation, also at each stage, people in democratic and free societies seem most able to adapt and learn what works for advancing their interests. The climate crisis and the rise of China are big challenges but are not yet immediately pressing. In Ukraine we have a pressing crisis but the longstanding democracies are sitting on the side. We will see what happens.
@aldarion #314 – Forgive me if you’re already familiar, but here’s a couple of sources you might find helpful for discussions of European population genetics, though perhaps with a mostly older focus than the time period you’re looking at:
Greg Cochran and Henry Harpending (westhunter.wordpress.com) – co-authors of “The 10,000 Year Explosion”, this blog contains a lot of information on ancient genetics. Harpending has died, but Cochran still blogs there. Perhaps most on topic would be his review/critique of David Reich’s “Who We Are and How We Got Here”, here’s the post on Europe: https://westhunt.wordpress.com/2018/05/01/who-we-are-9-europe/ . If you’re unfamiliar with Cochran, he’s quite curmudgeonly and contrarian, so steel yourself and have some salt on hand when needed.
This study used recent genetic samples from folks whose grandparents were from the same place they were in the UK and then used some statistical analysis to cluster their results. I can’t remember off-hand if it speaks to replacement or not, but it does seem to map to historically attested cultural/population groups: https://www.nature.com/articles/nature14230 (pay-walled, unfortunately, it might be available through other sources)
Hope you find these interesting and/or helpful!
“K, it’s a normal event during the decline of empires — the contraction of the Roman Empire’s population during the later imperial period was much remarked on at the time, for example. Spengler discusses it, though as usual he doesn’t offer a theory of causation.”
Its the Antonine Plague, Plague of Cyprian and the Bubonic Plague:
Deaths 5–10 million
Fatality rate 25 percent
The number of deaths is uncertain. Some modern scholars believe that the plague killed up to 5,000 people per day in Constantinople at the peak of the pandemic. According to one view, the initial plague ultimately killed perhaps 40% of the city’s inhabitants and caused the deaths of up to a quarter of the human population of the Eastern Mediterranean. Frequent subsequent waves of the plague continued to strike throughout the 6th, 7th and 8th centuries, with the disease becoming more localized and less virulent
JMG, re this business of the western Roman collapse, when I was a young feller I would believe what I read on the assumption that if the writer was published then his writing must have solid factual basis.
As I got older I started having doubts about a lot of stuff, religious teachings first, then about many other things that were generally accepted as factual, like medical and dietary advice, and also historical accounts.
People would say that the Christian religion is all magic and ghosts and that biblical writings have no evidence backing them up. Maybe nothing except the sheer existence of a global religion that had its start somewhere, somehow. While the books of the bible may have only the testimony as provided by the writers, written testimony still is evidence, maybe not strong, maybe not like that in a physics lab, but still evidence.
But what of other historical evidence? A lot of it looks to me as thin as that of biblical accounts, maybe some coins with the face of an emperor, maybe one or two writings telling of some event, maybe a smattering of other archeological leavings, or maybe none at all but the ancient writing itself. Do we believe the writer? How much stock do we put in such stuff?
So, what DID happen in the fifth and sixth centuries? IMO the picture is pretty sketchy, ie nobody really knows. We know that the empire was there, we know that at some point it went away. We have some writings, but not all that many. I mean, after all, a lot of time has passed since the events in question and papyrus doesn’t last forever. The archeology sez little about a violent takeover of territory, but we do have some hard, physical evidence of new peoples in the form of their cultural and other physical artifacts.
One account I read said that it appears that the Germanic peoples that purportedly overthrew Roman rulers were already long resident inside the empire, but there’s next to nothing that indicates violent revolt like the destruction of cities, burning etc. So was Odovacar real? Did he really shoo away Romulus Augustulus? Should 476 AD really be the line in the sands of time that divides historical eras from one another?
Maybe it was like the demise of the eastern European communist regimes. People stopped believing communist bull-‘shale’ (I think is the druidic word), and even the communists stopped believing it. So, one day they’re in power, one day they’re out, a rapid collapse, mostly non-violent. It’s like Lenin said, for decades nothing happens, and then in days, decades happen.
You only have power if people do what you tell them. If people stop listening, then you have no power. Maybe that’s what happened 1,500 years ago. Maybe people had had a good and proper belly-full of Roman overlords, stopped listening, stopped doing what they were told, and started making alternate arrangements. And it spread like wild-fire, Roman bosses getting cordial invitations to buzz off or otherwise smelling the coffee and making a run for it. Maybe something like 30 years ago. Just a thought.
‘Unexplained’ infertility is on the rise – I have personal experience unfortunately, steadily trying for 3 years now and nothing, not even a miscarriage etc (zero signs of implantation), and my partner and I are both young (under 30) and healthy.
And people simply can’t afford and don’t have the time to have as many kids. When you need two people working to pay rent and when extended families no longer live together (and boomers don’t want to look after their grandchildren) etc., having children becomes difficult – I’ve read so many articles about how the declining birth rate is a sign of women’s empowerment, but I think that’s ‘myth of progress’. There was a survey recently (I wish I could find it to link it here) which indicated that many people want more children than they have or will end up having (I wouldn’t call that empowerment). I also wouldn’t call forcing women into the workforce, stipping the home economy bare and diminishing the motherhood role as empowerment, but that’s just me.
Most wealth in today’s society is completely fictitious, tied up in ‘equity’ such as the family home. I mean you need a home and if you sell the home, you’ve got to buy one in the same equally inflated market so it’s just made up wealth that you can’t do anything with.
@pygmycory Personally I think the way of Switzerland would wise for Finland. Unfortunately we have blown the ”strict neutrality” part long ago. Instead it seems very likely we’ll soon turn in the Nato application form which, to me, is equivalent to maximizing the risk for conflict.
Yes, that was the plan for quite some time, to remain neutral. For such a small country, we do offer some reasonable resistance in the form of the conscript system and the active army reserves. NATO or not, those will be further amplified. It all worked well enough until the neighbor started making noises that sounded much like an intention to challenge that neutrality. Then with Ukraine, it became apparent that the only laws that the neighbor is ready to observe are the laws of physics.
Thus the sentiment has shifted more towards attaining those required physical variables.
We are well aware it can be a Faustian bargain. But then again, when the going got rough the last time, the only friend we could find at that time was Hitler, when we were faced with Soviets equipped with weapons and gear provided by the US. For a small country it can be a very delicate game of balancing the scales of destiny, where if you lose, you lose it all. At the end we fought the Nazi Germany too to drive them off our land to Norway, as required by the peace treaty with the USSR.
You take what you have and make the best of it. All we really want to do here is to live in peace, do our thing and maybe contribute a little to the international community with the stuff that we are good at. But we can not make such choices alone.
Yes of course now this Ukranian invasion changes all the political views in Europe !
“Tekeli-li” is, undoubtedly, the code phrase the Russians will use to launch Operation Fhtagn.
+@JMG – do you think it’s likely that this war will reach American soil? Or would it remain strictly European, even if we do intervene? I really don’t see Putin as fool enough to pull another Pearl Harbor on the USA, knowing how the original got the US up in arms.
A masterful, most insightful, pithy post, JMG. One of your very best. Your “compare and contrast” with World War I and its aftermath is superb, and I really learnt something there.
My one niggle is that you have once more committed a stylistic atrocity by enclosing A WHOLE PARAGRAPH within parentheses. Doing that de-emphasises it, JMG. Did you want me to read that paragraph or not? In future, no more paragraph apartheid, please?
@ Aldarion # 293 – “Scotlyn last week defending her descendants’ freedom to choose”
Hmmm – that doesn’t sound like my comment at all, primarily because I do not think people (by and large) “choose” their languages, cultures, religions, worldviews (ie – what makes up, for each person, a “world”). Although in times of disruption, it is true, there are bifurcations which present a choice, and there will be people with a foot in both worlds – just like migrants, whose children gravitate towards the new world when there is little to hold them to the world their parents left.
What I would say is that I do not feel so attached to my world as to deny the possibility that my descendants, who may be born into entirely different worlds to the one I inhabit, will, for the most part, live the ordinary lives of ordinary people who have each their own individual challenges and lessons to learn. And that I cannot see this as a tragedy, since it is so obviously the case that I, too, am not living in the same world as my ancestors. Change happens, and (as King Canute is said to have demonstrated), our views on whether we would like this change, or not like it, are irrelevant. We are THIS wave, our descendants will be THAT wave, and each of those waves will sink into the sand and be forgotten. (Still, it is fun, and glorious BEING the wave… 😉 ) But, life is for the living. When I am dead, I will not be consulted, nor should I be.
@ Ganv #318 – thanks for answering my questions. “It is indeed quite unclear exactly how the links between democracy, human rights, and scientific technology will develop…. There is a logic that links them.”
Although you mention an author, who you think does a good job of linking them, I wonder if you might say more, about what you yourself see as the logic that links them. This logic does not appear to me to be straightforwardly self-evident, and this is why I asked.
@Mots – thanks for the kind invite. My “telegraph” remark was somewhat of a joke, but when I get my HAM license, I’ll be sure to keep your group in mind.
It’s awfully phony that the US withdrew from Afghanistan and suddenly, not less that 5 weeks later, there is another problem on the other side of the world: Ukraine. I want to see the list of top 20 most expensive pieces of crap that caused several defense contractor families to become billionaires. I want to know what each of the 20 accomplished in Afghanistan, side by side what the US middle class can expect the top 20 to accomplish in Ukraine.
JMG – David Brooks over at NYT is catching on……https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/08/opinion/globalization-global-culture-war.html
@jenxyz – In JMG’s book “Decline and Fall,” which I recently reread, he noted that when an empire loses or defeats its biggest enemy,it promptly goes shopping for another. Maybe this is what’s happened here.
OT: NOT about the current war. But — my Albuquerque daughter and her family are pulling up stakes and moving to Colorado, up around Boulder, near Denver, where one of my nephews and his family lives. Getting out of Albuquerque feels like a very good idea to me right about now. And here comes –
Thanks to everybody who has engaged on the historical background! I do think that looking at the historical evidence for population replacement bears on what to expect for the future, which is why I have insisted so much on getting the evidence right.
@Jeff Russell #319: Thanks for these links! I was in general aware of what Cochran is discussing there, but it is always good to have it directly from an expert. Over recent years, many people have spoken of the substitution of much of European male ancestry with lineages from the Black Sea region (this is mentioned also in the Spain link I cited above). I am not entirely sure if that is the whole story, but there sure is quite a bit of evidence in that direction. Maybe this is was what inspired JMG’s assertion that Spaniards are descended from people from today’s Ukraine. However, if it did happen, it happened ~3000 years earlier than the Goths’ migration, when there were no states, no writing and a much lower population density in Europe.
@Roger: There are quite a bit of contemporary sources on what happened in Italy and in Southern Gaul all through the end of the empire, but you are right that the sources for other provinces are much more sparse. Some support for your “Romans go home!” theory would be the long string of counter-emperors (or “usurpers”) sallying forth from Britain, Gaul and Spain after the Western emperors moved their main residence from Gaulish Trier to Italian Ravenna in 380 CE.
Apart from these would-be emperors, I think any self-help and self-determination would have been mostly local, at most the size of a city with its hinterland. The provinces did not have much of a corporate identity, as there were no representative provincial assemblies. There was probably quite a bit of such local self-help and self-determination going on (Ward-Perkins’ Fall of Rome and also Guy Halsall’s Barbarians and the End of the Western Roman Empire discuss the bagaudae), but it seems it was mostly unsuccessful. The Life of St. Severinus (also discussed at length by Ward-Perkins) shows how local populations were forced to self-help as best they could.
In the end, it was the barbarian kingdoms who ended up slowly developing proto-national identities like “Franks/French”, “English”, “Hispanic” etc. Interestingly, Guy Halsall suggests that Clovis, the founder of the Merovingian kingdom, had been a high-ranking officer in the Roman Loire army who picked up the reins in the power vacuum after the empire retreated from Gaul.
@Scotlyn: Sorry for putting words in your mouth! I was thinking of the specific case of people at a bifurcation, who can choose whether to continue their parents’ way of living or not, but your comment last week was of course much broader and encompassed descendants without such choice.
Aldarion, about population replacement:
I read that in multiple places. I know Ugo Bardi mentioned it in the past.
After doing some quick research, I tend to agree with you. I did not find anything for Italy but for Romania, 30% (Y chromozome) and 40% (mitochondrial) of the population is STILL genetically the same as the people living there 25000 years ago.
Given the amount of population movements in that part of Europe, this is to me amazing.
For the Y chromozome, almost 50% of the population remains the same as BEFORE the Roman empire conquest. Given the bloody war and the enslavement of the remaining people (estimates go as high as half or 2/3 of the locals being killed or sold as slaves) this again is unexpected.
So it does seem that imperial collapses, migrations and language changes are just a shallow cultural layer on top of a long lasting genetic stability.
I was wrong above – the population of Romania that has stayed in the same area for 25000 years (genetically) is more than 50%.
So it took 25000 years, innumerable empires, migrations and populations movements to replace half of the locals.
That is incredibly stable!
The article proposes as explanation all the mountain ranges in SE Europe and the Balkans which served as “fortresses” where people survived. Whatever the reason, this is very interesting to me, so thanks Aldarion for pushing us on this!
I am constantly being asked about this “Twilight’s Last Gleaming”, some folks here claim that JMG received a”vision” and put it loosely into a book. I did not read this book but the young woman from Trzcianka (the person who told me about this blog and the ideas discussed here) that I know said that it reads almost like a prophecy. Foreign adventurism of the West leading to conflict with another resurgent sovereign nation, the other sovereign nation not backing out leading to doubling down.
American economy going into a nosedive, massive crysis of legitimacy in the Western nations, saber rattling leading to almost WW#, end of the reserve currency and the final crash.
She said that she is fond of interpreting dreams as a “premonitions” trying to see the future.
As a Christian I know that many catholic saints often received premonitions in dreams and meditations was this the case? Or was it a coincidence (call me crazy but i don’t belive in coincidences)
Because if this blows up in the face of the modern establishment then there will be a crisis of legitimacy like never seen before. For almost two mounths now we have been hearing contradictiory,
Insane claims (first weak russia, then strong russia now genocidal russia etc.) When I ask people do they belive what the see in television and the anwser more often than not is “NO”
The only result of this is that many people are behaving like robots, many more did the sensible thing and stopped watching here in Ujście the news!!! (you just have enough of the endless war, death, explosions people are getting tired and depressed by it and it is so obnoxious that I cannot describe)
I am afraid what is going in the minds of the people who are manufacturing this stuff.
It occurs to me that Russia may nuke Helsinki.
Pipleyzad (no. 328),
Hi John Michael,
I agree. Have you considered writing an updated post on your theory of catabolic collapse?
Our local news sometimes provides decent analysis of news from afar, and I thought you might be interested: Inside Sri Lanka’s worst economic crisis, people are dying in line for fuel.
In Kenya they would refer to wealthy and corrupt government officials as the WaBenzi, i.e. people who could afford to drive a Mercedes Benz.
Perhaps we could update it a bit and refer to the comfortable classes as the WaTesli.
JMG – “controlling the narrative is what people do when they can no longer control the facts”
It strikes me that this is a MUCH more succinct way to make the points I was making to Michael Mills in relation to global standards and monitoring systems… 😉
Before this week slips away, I just want to thank you for this post. It was exactly what I was hoping for, and I’ve incorporated several of its ideas into my conversations this week (with less pushback than I would have expected).
BTW, is “The Ring of the Nibelung” the same as “The Ring Cycle?”
The Honens internation piano competition revoked invitations of Russian pianists https://www.classical-music.com/news/russian-pianists-banned-from-international-competitions-following-invasion-of-ukraine/
Their statement issued on 8th March, said “following lengthy and in-depth discussions, the Board *felt* it necessary that Honens make a strong statement in response to this catastrophic and unconscionable humanitarian crisis. Honens acknowledges that there is no perfect outcome in this case and regrets that it is the six young pianists who will bear the brunt of a decision based on the brutal actions of the Russian government.”
Thus they admit in their own statement that their decision was discriminatory, and based on *feelings* of members of the Board, rather than anything rational.
The Dublin International Piano Competition said “the DIPC will be *unable* to include competitors from Russia in the 2022 Competition”. This specific language is interesting. Are they suggesting that the decision to refuse Russian entries was forced on them by someone else, or is this just standard corporate speak of “unable” meaning “we don’t want to”?
Excuse my nasty suspicious mind, but I wonder if the Americans faked the signals that the Ukrainian army was going to invade the Donbas in order to force Putin’s hand and lead to his invading Ukraine. If so, it will go down in history as one of the all-time great deception operations.
I know this is a post about Europe, but I have to share this. If you want to see an absolute dystopian nightmare, it’s in China. Shanghai residents have been locked down in their apartments for a week.
Video shared on Weibo shows a drone flying over residential buildings after some people went on their balconies and sang to protest the lack of supplies during the lockdown. “Please comply with COVID restrictions,” the drone says, “Control your soul’s thirst for freedom. Do not open your windows and sing.”
The residents are running out of food, and they are going mad. At night they open their windows and howl and shriek.
It sounds like the screams of the souls of the damned or a zombie apocalypse starting:
As bad as it is, I am glad I’m in America and not in China, however great their future may be.
I know I’m commenting rather late, but just wanted to add – our Foreign Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar told an American journalist who was trying to needle him about our stand on the conflict in Ukraine that “I prefer to do it my way and articulate in my way”.
I have nothing more to say.
Info, other societies ravaged by pandemics saw populations bounce back afterwards. The Roman world didn’t. That’s a distinction worth noting.
Roger, that was certainly part of it, but we do have written testimonies from the fifth and sixth centuries, you know, as well as a great deal of archeological evidence. For every relatively blank spot such as post-Roman Britain, where the course of events has to be reconstructed from fragments, there’s a relatively well-detailed area such as Gothic and Byzantine Italy, where the political and military dimensions of history aren’t at all hard to work out in fair detail.
Djalmabina, only for those who weren’t paying attention.
David BTL, no doubt!
Patricia M, no, not at all. The Russians are too patient for that.
Pipleyzad, when I make a parenthetical remark I put it — wait for it — in parentheses. I’m not sure where you get the idea that this is a stylistic atrocity; it strikes me as a good way to indicate that a given paragraph is an aside to the reader. Also, I don’t crowdsource my prose style; doubtless I could reduce my writing to complete pablum by worrying about what other people will think of how I write, not to mention what I write about, but that somehow doesn’t interest me. So thank you, etc., but I’ll use parentheses when and how I choose.
Jenxyz, did you think that the world would be without crises if defense contractors weren’t involved?
Dander, thanks for this; I wonder if I can find it somewhere that isn’t walled off.
Patricia M, I hope she doesn’t need to re-relocate too soon. They’ve been having some hellish fires in Colorado.
Wer, please mention to the people you know that no, I didn’t write Twilight’s Last Gleaming on the basis of any kind of visionary experience. I worked up a plausible scenario for how the United States could crash and burn in a relatively short time frame, and posted that in five parts on my old blog; a publisher asked me to turn the results into a novel, and I did so, after doing a bunch of research to fill in the various gaps. I still think it’s quite plausible, for whatever that’s worth.
Chris, I’ve considered doing a full-length book on the subject of catabolic collapse, for what it’s worth. Thanks for the data from Sri Lanka — yes, I’d heard about that.
Martin, thank you for this! WaTesli — yes, that works. If I recall the details of Swahili accurately, kiTesli would be the language of the WaTesli — that is, the babbled jargon of the comfortable classes. In the immortal words of Gene Wilder, “It….could….work!”
Scotlyn, just one of the services I offer. 😉
Grover, thanks for this. Yes, the Ring cycle is also the Ring of the Nibelung.
Mawkernewek, that’s just sad.
Ecosophian, I’ve been hearing about that in the alternative news. That’s very strange — I wonder if what’s behind it is more than meets the eye.
Viduraawakened, good for Dr. Jaishankar!
@Foxhands # 129
Regarding emigration to Russia, I suggest you read Hal Freeman’s Blog Between Two Worlds. Mr Freeman is an American who, while working in Russia in the early 2000s, married a Russian woman, and returned to the US. Over the next decade, he converted to Orthodoxy, and became disillusioned with the direction of the US. They chose to move to Russia in 2016 for the future of their children, and he started writing his blog. Sadly, his wife died last summer, but he’s established in the small town where her parents still live. He seems to write fairly clearly what life is like in a small Russian town, the frustrations of the Russian immigration bureaucracy, and how he is treated.
That means of course, that he’s really a FSB plant, and is a tribute to the ability of the Russian educational system to make their plant sound just like an American…/snark.
“Please comply with COVID restrictions,” the drone says, “Control your soul’s thirst for freedom. Do not open your windows and sing.”
Can’t ask for a better summary of the 21st Century.
See the book, The Way It Spozed To Be, by James Herndon. PMC are the Dumb Class!
Why would it seem so strange that the CCP be doing their ‘zero-covid’ umm, er ‘strategy’ to contain the containless? It jives, in my mind at least, with the authoritarian controlfreak nature of which they’ve created, to keep THEIR citizens in check .. with powerfreaks all across this blue rock of an orb taking judicious notes!
‘scream, wail, sing .. die anyway!
@ Ecosophian re # 348
That video sounds so weird. Like something out of the movie Network where everybody goes to the windows after watching Howard Beale have a meltdown screaming “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!”
Grover (no. 345) ” BTW, is “The Ring of the Nibelung” the same as “The Ring Cycle?”
Yes. This is a “cycle” of four Wagnerian operas, inspired by a medieval epic poem called the “Song of the Nibelungen” (Nibelungenlied). And German nationalism. And Wagner’s notion of combining all the existing art forms into one. It inspired the well-known Bugs Bunny / Elmer Fudd cartoon “What’s Opera, Doc?”
Slighty tangential to the post, but also very related to all the crazy world happenings, do you think the myth of progress will ever crack? I don’t know how people can believe the, largely technological, crud that comes from that camp anymore. I know I’m the less crazy one, but the continued bombardment of advertisement, mantras etc from that camp (despite all evidence the evidence that that camp is oblivious) makes me wonder what I missing and if I am the crazy one.
Sorry that was a bit of a rant.
Polecat, it’s costing them a huge amount of money and pushing an already fractious population toward the brink of revolt — and China has a very, very long history of uprisings against the central government. It strikes me as strange that they’d run that risk.
Anon4sec, the mere fact that they’re having to push it so frantically leads me to think that the myth of progress is already cracking.
“…and Europe itself will have spent many centuries in its pre-imperial condition…” ~ JMG (from the article)
You mean, POST-imperial condition, yes?
“Info, other societies ravaged by pandemics saw populations bounce back afterwards. The Roman world didn’t. That’s a distinction worth noting.”
That’s true if the pandemics are pretty infrequent. But when it comes back again and again with enough frequency and severity. It would tend to retard recovery as in the Roman World:
“it began with the Plague of Justinian in 541 and continued until 750 or 767; at least fifteen or eighteen major waves of plague following the Justinianic plague have been identified from historical records. The pandemic affected the Mediterranean Basin most severely and most frequently, but also infected the Near East and Northern Europe. The Roman emperor Justinian I’s name is sometimes applied to the whole series of plague epidemics in late Antiquity, as well as to the Plague of Justinian which struck the Eastern Roman Empire in the early 540s.”
The population collapse in Mexico is another example of this:
“China has a very, very long history of uprisings against the central government. It strikes me as strange that they’d run that risk.”
That’s indeed the issue of super-centralized strong bureaucracies. They do very often end up treating people like cattle to be abused.
The Qin Dynasty did pioneer many of those things:
Shang Yang wanted to create “a condition of complete good government” in which “husband and wife and
friends cannot abandon each other’s evil, cover up wrongdoing and not cause harm to relatives, nor can the people mutually conceal each other from their superiors and government servants.”
To achieve this goal, the Qin state introduced mutual surveillance so that “those whose businesses were connected should have different interests.” Based on the household registration system, the Qin state held households of five collectively responsible for any member’s transgressions; at the same time, the state offered handsome rewards for family members and neighbors to report on one another.
Shang Yang applied the same technique to state officials who were in charge of overseeing the people. While the stated goal of linked liability was to create a condition in which “deserters from the ranks[had] no resort and stragglers [had] nowhere to go,” the actual consequence was far more penetrating. By instilling mutual mistrust in the most basic social ties – between husband and wife in the family, between neighbors in the local community, and between colleagues in the workplace – even the mildest dissent could be nipped in the bud.
By fashioning “a people who would of their own accord enforce the legal dictates of their masters,” the Qin court could simultaneously maximize surveillance, minimize resistance, and lower the costs of domination. In short Shang Yang achieved “the ultimate dream of domination: to have the dominated exploit each other.”
-pg 186, Victoria Tin-Bor Hui, War and State Formation in Ancient China and Early Modern Europe
Which Stalin also did to hold people in fear and hence quell uprisings:
And now with Globalization. I suspect Tyrants everywhere know of those methods and will be finding out about it through reading the Chinese Classics and are looking to China on how to implement them. Thereby to crush Democracy and Republicanism in their own areas when it comes to it.
Lockdowns and the model it created began in China and have been implemented Worldwide for example. Including QR codes and other Surveillances.
As well as Mandatory Quarantine Facilities.
JMG, Polecat — About the Shanghai Lockdown,
I read this interesting piece on NC. https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2022/04/speculating-about-the-botched-shanghai-lockdown.html
The whole piece (and the comments) is worth reading in full. The TL:DR version of my hypothesis is that Shanghai has always been closer to the West than the rest of China, owing to the historic trade links and high finance. Beijing sees this as a threat, and wants to use this lockdown as a contrivance to scapegoat local authorities and put them in their place.
The goal of chinese Communist in Shanghai is destroy global capitalism’s capital in the china.
I don’t think Shanghai citizens have the capability to against CCP.Those people who are starving in Shanghai are the people obey CCP.
when lockdowns start they refuse to hoard food,Curse those who question the party’s orders,and believe CCP will give them food and necessity.Just like the modern western intellectual elite.I don’t think urban intellectual will rebellion like the old chinese farmer.
@ Bei Dawei
Re opera (Wagnerian and otherwise) and classic cartoons
“What’s Opera, Doc?” has always been my personal favorite Bugs Bunny cartoon, followed closely by ” The Rabbit of Seville”.
Thanks for the trip down the lane of fond childhood memories!
David, by the lake (no. 364), it’s nice to run into somebody who appreciates the classics of Western civilization!
I have seen some Asian commenters suggest that Xi is cracking down on the Jiang Zemin faction in Shanghai.
I think this is probably a more accurate description than the more Eurocentric description of being “closer to the West”.
I think maybe hope Europe will be deporting a lot of refugees migrants and the like, maybe before its too late for both sides . The UK under Bojo (ironically himself a Turk) is making an arrangement with Rwanda of all places the goal being to make it too costly to enter the UK and to reduce smugglers,.
I am told Norway is thinking the same thing.
Might not work , probably not but I expect to see mass death from war and famine anyway and if anything this war may do in Europe is awaken Wotan. That’s not always good, Europeans can’t afford brother wars but there are plenty of incoming targets.
However the cultures there will change no matter what, even if 100% of immigrants were teleported away somehow largely everywhere the only people who have sizable families are either a few rich sort of conservatives (like Elon Musk) high fertility people (secular/spiritual but with many children) and the hetrodox religious like the Amish and Orthodox Jews
Its so nuts in the US that in theory the majority of the US population of the US could be Amish in 200 years , a plurality in 150
No more religion of progress Scotty and his Albucurrie Drive heading to the stars , its Amos Yoder and his horse cart.
I’ve heard rumors about parts of Canada with “ultra conservative” populations and Sweden. The Swedish one comes with an odd bit that the government being very uncomfortable with the Nationalists having babies has been under reporting them a fiar bit.
The Amish takeover is not going to happen in that way of course, demographics is not linear and the Amish are tied somewhat to the current system but this will have a profound effect on the culture, very much a “we were like this before”
When I’ve messed about with my own “Post Industrial” SF I tried to take that into account though I admit to including a highly unlikely pagan fertility boom just for rule of cool . For the most part alas pagans tend to secular fertility rates and Heathens , maybe Conservative Secular. The Varg Virkenes Heathens of this world with many many kids are quite rare AFIAK
By reading this article, I got a very clear and unpleasant insight of how being European influences my character; looking from the bird’s perspective. It’s how I want to conquer, triumph, rob and being a missionary in daily live. How I am seriously of the opinion, every country is waiting for me, my wisdom, my intelligence; how I expect admiration, worship, compliance and a warme welcome. How I am shocked and offended if it does not happen this way.
It’s this thing about wanting everything: Enlightenment, worship, lots of money of course, safety and freedom. That I am entitled to own all this, no matter how I behave. That I have, in the same time, to fight constantly for everything. It feels like being in the age of three or four.
As being German, I got a basic feeling of guilt and shame as well. I got an urgent need to make everything right, and the movements in my character, that don’t match with this need.
You often end up in sheer desperation.
Now how to look on all this with love? It’s a hard lesson.
Being a German, I do not have any problems with history.
It is what is, cannot do anything about it, but you need to learn from it.
This is what drives me nuts nowadays:
Mainstream Germans behave exactly the way they behaved 1933++, be it C19 accepting all “measures” or supporting the newest war in the East.
People behave like Stasi/Blockwart, wanting to be part of the Volksgemeinschaft.
History repeats as a farce.
Seems there is something our national character, that makes us lean towards a totalitarian state. Sad enough….
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