Sunday, 1 April 2018

On Our Current Crisis

(Neil’s Note: It’s very rare that I feel the need to elevate a comment I’ve made on someone else’s site to a full post. But this comment is a bit special. I made it here: I’ve slightly adapted it to make it stand alone.)

Societies ebb and flow. Ancient Egypt, the Minoans, Chinese dynasties, the Persians, classical Greece and Rome, the Moravian empire and many others, have risen and fallen. In more recent times, the British and other European colonial empires have failed, as did the Soviet Union. And their replacements, the American empire and the EU, are teetering on the brink of their own declines. Maybe the Chinese will be next in line?

But I think there’s more going on than just this. We as a species have also been through several mental and attitudinal changes, particularly in the last few centuries. And these have left their marks. I think in particular of the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution, and the modern computer and communications revolution. Each has given us a push forward, and none of them could have happened without the earlier ones. But all of these revolutions are, as yet, incomplete.

Now, the top-down, collectivist political system we suffer under today has its roots way back in ancient Greece. And its modern form, the Westphalian nation state, comes out of a 16th century attempt to shore up the power of the French king. It should hardly come as a surprise, then, that the system is set up to favour the powerful, their minions and their rich cronies at the expense of everyone else. So it’s plain, to me at least, that the current political set-up – of states, nations, arbitrary borders, politicians, sham “democracy,” bad laws, lies and propaganda, bureaucracies, taxes and wars – is way past its last use by date. And that revolutionary change is necessary, and soon.

What sets our current crisis apart from earlier ones is that it is global in scope. That means that the solutions, too, have to be global in scope. But the current political system is by its nature unequipped to do anything on a global scale, except making war. (Indeed, it is by its nature unequipped to do anything nett constructive at all). So the only “solution” that seems to be on offer from the establishment and their cohorts, is a world-wide green socialist totalitarianism. Something like a combination of the worst features of the Soviet Union, the EU and the UN. That isn’t acceptable to any free thinking human being.

There are a number of strands to the problem. The environmental, the political and the financial, at least. Now, I’m highly disinclined to believe any of the green hooey. I’ve looked into the “climate change” scare closely enough to know that it’s a fabrication. I know that overpopulation is a non-problem except, perhaps, in some Muslim countries and in Africa. Globally in 2016, only 105 countries out of 224 had fertility rates above the replacement level. I don’t fear resource depletion, in the short term at least. For I see human ingenuity and the market price mechanism as sufficient to spur better ways of obtaining resources (e.g. fracking), or at need the development of alternatives. As to endangered species, I see an immense lack of hard, trustworthy facts to back up the scare. And none of the species I have contact with seem to be endangered! The one “environmental” issue that is genuinely worrying is the parlous state of the power grids in much of the Western world. Yet this has been directly caused by bad energy policies, that in turn were spawned (intentionally?) by bad green politics.

And there’s a lot of hubris among the ruling classes. After all, they are the beneficiaries of a system that doesn’t hold them responsible for the effects on others of what they do. They also encourage misleading information, misperceptions and ignorance. Indeed, propaganda, lack of clarity and suppression of the facts seem to be characteristic of failed and failing systems.

The instability of the world financial system is another problem. But this, also, is down to failure of the current political system. For it allows its favourites to treat finance as a glorified gambling game, in which they can’t lose in the long run. If anything goes wrong, they will be bailed out with wealth stolen from the masses. The problem is, if continued, eventually there will come a point when no-one has any wealth left to bail them out. In my view, this and power grid failure are the only two of the popular scares that are really worth worrying about.

In the words of Lenin, “What is to be done?” The only answer I can come up with is, “Whatever each of us can.” The visionary part of me foresees that we can get through this Problemenzeit. But huge changes will be necessary. For the future I foresee, not one giant, complex society, but many small, simple ones, networked in a web of trade. I foresee a move, from today’s top-down command-and-control style societies, to bottom-up ones which allow far more freedom for, and take far more account of, the individual.

Perhaps I may be unduly optimistic. But I see a good possibility of change, soon (indeed, it may be already partly here), of a similar kind and scale to the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. Perhaps it can help us get back on track, and complete the earlier revolutions? But the only way such a change can come about is through the changing of minds; which, in its turn, can only come from thought, writing and the dissemination of same.

Revolution begins in your mind.

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