Our current civilization is fragile and could be shattered by a single, small group of enemies destroying the electrical grid, attacking the computers that govern the world financial system, or corrupted into mush by a single generation of selfish and self-destructive addicts of self-righteousness abolishing the laws and customs we need to survive. The safety belt of the extended family is mostly gone, the airbag of local loyalty and neighborly unity is mostly gone, the self-reliance of gun ownership and homeschooling is mostly gone, and the safety helmet of the charitable church is mostly gone.
What can be done to make the civilization more crashworthy?
Recovering from a civilizational collapse is a rarity in history. When Carthage fell, it did not rise again, nor do any traces of the Phoenician laws or customs remain; no Egyptian took up the building of new pyramids in the style and for the sake of the still viable religion of his ancestors; when the Hittites fell, they fell so completely that it required the invention of modern archaeological techniques to rediscover them. To my knowledge, it has happened only once: when the Roman Empire fell in the West, and the Christian civilization of late antiquity was under constant attack by Norse raids and Mohammedan jihads, the civilization retained its laws and customs, changed its basis, and restored itself from the dead.
The coin money system had broken down. The roads fell into disrepair. The standing armies disbanded. The Roman taxes had wiped out the tradesmen and the middle classes. All that was left were villas, where the ultra-rich lived, and peons living little better than slaves. And the Church.
What happened in the Middle Ages was a system whereby local and regional military governors, called a ‘rex’ from which we get our modern word for king, organized a shockproof system. Military service was personal, loyalty owed to a specific superior or liege, rather than to an abstraction such as the Senate and Republic of Rome, which the cynical men of those brutal day no longer believed in.
The slaves were freed, and given land. They could not be expelled from the land or evicted by their landlords, and so in that way were more secure than a slave, renter or freeholder, but neither could they leave the land. They were tied to it, and if the lease changed hands, the serf went with it willy-nilly, and so he was less free than a renter.
The social contract, if we may use that term, was that the serfs pooled their resources to maintain the lord in his villa, which evolved into a stronghold with motte and bailey, and the lord became a knight. Chivalry replaced coin money; the knight was not hired like a Roman soldier and paid a salary. He swore fealty to his lord for certain terms of personal service and received personal promises in return.
At first, these kings were not what a modern man would call a king. His power was limited to upholding and not making law, and he was usually one of the stronger barons in the area, an overlord among lords. The Church had jurisdiction over wills and estates, marriages, and other such matters, and, unlike in later centuries, the Church was not an arm of the royal power.
How crashworthy was this system? The Moors invaded Spain in AD 711, and when the Spanish successfully threw the last of the invaders into the sea in 1492, the year the New World was discovered, the Spanish retained their own culture, laws, and Christian faith. The Spanish Reconquista is also the only example in history of the remorseless Jihad being thrown back, rolled back, and undone.
More to the point, there were not large and extensive and fragile banking and corporate institutions each open to manipulation by local governments, and the failure of trade in one area would not cause a worldwide crash of the whole system. Contrast that with the current world, where the British manipulation of the credit system can turn a simple market correction into an empire-wide crises, and the Roosevelt Administration can prolong and spread the crises into the easily-avoided worldwide disaster of the Great Depression, one of the factors promoting the rise of Nazism and Communism. In our current year, China could, if she wished, puncture the entire American credit system and crash our economy.
So what can be done to put society on a footing to shockproof it against the next major war, disaster, or act of apocalyptic terror?
No one here is suggesting a return to feudalism. I am suggesting we examine what made feudalism crashworthy.
First, it was based on barter and, later, on hard currency. Usury was rare, or limited to kings and knightly orders. It was not a credit system of endlessly mounting debt.
Second, it was local, and based on local loyalties to persons one personally knew. It was small-town in outlook, that is, non-Urban and decentralized. With the Emperor gone, the society was decapitated, and locals took over.
Finally, its intellectual life was centered in the Church, which, for good or evil, was in agreement with the general mass of the people as to all basic questions of life.
This meant that the intense hostility, nay, the hatred of the intellectuals of the present day, socialists who hate freedom, feminists who hate men, race-baiters who hate colorblindness, perverts who hate everyone, was nowhere in evidence. The intellectual life was rooted in the common life: the intellectuals were not traitors to society, but upholders of it, and respected in return rather than despised as cowards, fools, and liars, as our intellectuals are.
There are three weaknesses to modern society, and they were the same weaknesses afflicting late Roman society: bad economics, bad laws, and bad customs. To undo these evils, there are three steps to take, which I call Defang, Decapitate, and Demesmerize.
1. Defang the Vampires
We live in an economic nightmare where the federal government not only has the power to run without a budget, but to spend without any limit. There is no tab too large to pass onto our grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who will be living lives of austerity to pay for our current, utterly insane and utterly reprehensible, reckless spending spree.
This feast of the vampires not only allows but requires large corporations to become the incestuous Siamese twins of Big Brother, with the rich bribing and paying protection racket money to the powerful in return for staying alive and keeping competition unfairly squeezed out of the market; and the tyrants need the money to bribe voters and buy votes, without which they cannot stay in power.
Both are vampires draining the blood, lifetime, dreams, ambition and effort away from the productive taxpayers and flooding the money into tax-eaters, both welfare cheats among the poor and corporate welfare cheats among the rich. And the welfare cheats high or low are addicted to the system, since to leave it invites immediate punishment by the powers that be.
Both are slave to the other. How to break these chains?
First and foremost, a return to the Gold Standard is needed. Not allowing the government to spend money it does not have would defend against the kinds of Keynesian idiotics and easy credit policies that gives China now and Britain in the 1920s the ability to collapse the whole infrastructure of the economy at once.
For many years, in America under Jackson, and in Great Britain for decades, there either was no central bank, or the central bank was operated independently of political control, removing the temptation from kings and congresses to spend money they did not have.
There was not a complete separation of economy and state in the halcyon days of the Nineteenth Century, but there was a sufficient separation that worldwide depressions were not a commonplace occurrence, and in the United States, before the income tax, no government had the ability to track, punish or compel specific forms of economic activity. Big government was unimaginable because it was starved for cash.
Without the ability to create debt at will, the vampire Elite that currently rules our civilization would not be able to spend endlessly to buy votes, prop up failing businesses, suppress successful businesses. Nor would they have the power to create infinite amounts of rules and regulations concentrating all power into the hands of an ever shrinking circle of bureaucrats, plutocrats, and opinion-makers.
Returning to a hard currency would undermine their entire power structure, and put the world economy on a footing that could not only withstand shocks, it would actually reward anyone who anticipated and corrected for a shock before it came.
An abolition of the Welfare State is necessary, but how such a thing can be accomplished, I do not know. Whether or not it is politically possible to eliminate the Nanny State without first removing the voting franchise from women is an open question.
2. Decapitate the Tyrants
Urban centers are a prime target for terrorist or military attacks, and the anonymity of large urban centers is a breeding ground for the kind of discontented loser who becomes either a socialist, feminist, or jihadist, or, worst of all, a news media figure. All are bent on the destruction of civilization, and must be obliterated, and the intellectual fever swamps aiding and abetting them drained.
The easiest thing for an individual to do is move to the country. Learn how to grow your own food on your own land. Plant a victory garden and move away from where the riots will be. Stock supplies like a survivalist. Get a generator and stockpile fuel and ammo. Make friends with your neighbors. Develop a small town mentality that mistrusts strangers. Rediscover the power of male friendships. Buy a gun and learn to use it safely, and teach your children likewise.
The move away from cities is as natural, given the information age, as the move toward cities was natural during the industrial age. But, like the enclosure laws, certain laws could be enacted, or, better yet, repealed, to do away with any barriers hindering the process.
The permanent underclass of the permanently unemployed is a creation, perhaps a deliberate creation, of the Democrat Party after LBJ. It is his vision of a Great Society: the poor addicted to the government welfare in return for votes and periodic riots to keep the middle class scared, obedient and overtaxed. Eliminating the Democrat Party and all their works and all their ways and eschewing all their pomps and vanities, will go a long way to accelerating the shrinking of urban American into a more healthy and more rural population.
The easiest way for the government to aid in this process is to get out of the way.
Politically, getting out of the way means abolishing each and every federal program, bureau, and racket that is not specifically authorized by the US Constitution.
It means abolishing the popular election of senators and returning to the original system of having them appointed by the states. It means impeaching any Supreme Court Justice or lower court judge who interprets the Commerce Clause to grant any power to the federal government whatsoever, rather than merely forbidding the states from erecting internal trade barriers. And if the courts persist in awarding the federal government more and ever more unconstitutional powers, the impeachments should be followed by public hanging of the judges as traitors to the Constitution and betrayers of their oaths of office.
3. Demesmerize the Braindead Zombies
The main enemy facing civilization and making us weak and helpless before our enemies is, of course, the intellectual class that corrupted and killed our media and academia, and turned them into undead mockeries of what they once were.
The intellectual class has been engaged in a decades-long program of abolishing learning and reasoning from the young, and with astonishing success. Americans are stupider than ever, and will believe nearly anything they are told, provided only it comes from an anonymous source, and confirms their bigotries and preconceptions.
Americans are so stupid that if you tell them Bruce Jenner is a woman, or that a sodomite marrying a sodomite is a marriage, or that White America is a Rape Culture but that Muslims organizing mass rapes in Germany is not, or that George Zimmerman is a ‘white Hispanic’ and a racist rather than the victim of a gay-bashing homophobic robber and petty felon, they will believe you.
And they will vote for laws forbidding you to call anyone by any but his preferred pronoun, and also from buying sugary drinks; but they will protest ultrasound, on the grounds that it makes little human beings inside a mother’s womb look like human beings.
The motto of America once was E Pluribus Unum. No longer. Now it is A is not-A.
Thanks to our intellectual class, we are the Republic of Unreason. The most obvious and insolent self-contradictions are not merely unchallenged and unquestioned, but are enacted into law.
The information age is eroding the power of the brain zombies of the media and the jackals of academia, but this process must be accelerated to the point where the word ‘reporter’ immediate evokes the same shame was the word ‘gigolo’, and the idea of believing one of these paid, professional liars is seen as absurd as the idea of a priest marrying a whore. And the word ‘tenure’ will be words spoken only by sailors or soldiers out of the earshot of women and children, as swearword referring to an abomination.
Academia is beyond repair or redemption: the only thing I could even imagine that might pull the education of the young out of the hands of the dedicated cadre of the enemies of Western Civilization would be to privatized the whole system from top to bottom, and prevent any public moneys whatsoever from being offered to any schools of any level. Outlawing all schools not run by ferocious Roman Catholic nuns, making corporal punishment and prayer in school mandatory, might be useful first steps, and returning control of every college founded by a religious group or order to the control of that group or order.
And the Spanish Inquisition would have to be authorized to police the campuses for any socialists, feminists, Jihadists, or political correction mavens, and to burn them alive on the quad. Affirmative Action will be laughed out of existence. Even such measures, however, would only slow the rot, not correct the disease that grips our intellectual class, which is a deep and abiding hatred of all things real, true, beautiful and rational. They have to be shipped to Gitmo, one and all.
I am kidding, but only partly. An elimination of the public school system is an absolute necessity, however. The historical record is pretty clear on the point that the American public is more poorly educated than we were in the Eighteenth Century, when all schooling was private. The public school movement was a lie based on a lie, and all it did was make the generations stupider.
Now, a clear eyed observer may note that the three things I recommend for shockproofing society are exactly the things that the Progressive crusades in the time of Woodrow Wilson were attempting to create: centralized banks, popular election of senators, votes for women, tyrannical control over education and over the brains of the young, all in the name of peace and freedom and equality.
Well, we were lied to. It was a ‘Hands up, Don’t Shoot’ level of lie, that is, an absolute lie.
The Progressives, no matter what their intentions were, did everything they did in order to eliminate self-reliance, local governments, families, friendships, education, and Christian faith.
The only Progressive mandate that was rolled back in a timely fashion was Prohibition. It all needs to be driven back. Progressivism was poison from the start, because it was a religion, not a political stance, and it was a religion incompatible with the Christian religion and opposed to it.
Whether or not liberty and protection of human rights is possible in any social system where the Christian religion is absent is a topic for another day: that in history there has never been a non-Christian yet free society is fact.
And again, whether or not any non-Christian society is capable of surviving a crash is questionable; whereas the fact that the only society on record to do so was Christian is fact.
Unfree societies are fragile. The slaves and the lazy masters alike in a Mandarin-run corruptarchy are unable to act to protect themselves or adapt to the sudden changes. Unfree societies break like glass: look at how quickly the Soviet Union fell.
And the only cure for this fragility is a return to liberty, and only cure for the fear and hatred of liberty that afflict our intellectual class is a return to Christ. So before any defanging, decapitation or dezombification is done, we need one thing done:
This nation must do what Nineveh did, and repent her sins, and mourn in sackcloth and ashes, praying ever to the Lord of Light to save us from our own wickedness, cruelty, and folly.
The fate of Nineveh, which lived, or the fate of Sodom, which died, are the only two options.
Read Part I in this series.
Photo by wasantistock/Getty Images
John C. Wright is a retired attorney and newspaperman who was only once hunted by the police. He is a graduate of St. John College (home of Mortimer Adler’s “Great Books Program“). In 2004 he foreswore his lifelong atheism and joined the Roman Catholic Church. He has published over 10 SF novels, including one nominated for a Nebula award, and was described by Publisher’s Weekly as “this fledgling century’s most important new SF talent.” He currently lives in fairytale-like happiness with his wife, the authoress L. Jagi Lamplighter, and their four children.
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