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""How it might end": is "it" the USA, or civilization?" Topic

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Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP26 Sep 2021 8:46 a.m. PST


A wide-ranging and thoughtful essay: Just a teaser:

"Bagehot (writing in 1872) is a mild and companionable writer. But as his observation about the perils of progressivism suggests, there is a great deal in Physics and Politics to shock readers inclined to a pacific view of human development or a politically correct understanding of life. "Let us consider," he writes in a famous passage, in what sense a village of English colonists is superior to a tribe of Australian natives who roam about them. Indisputably in one, and that a main sense, they are superior. They can beat the Australians in war when they like; they can take from them anything they like, and kill any of them they choose. As a rule, in all the outlying and uncontested districts of the world, the aboriginal native lies at the mercy of the intruding European. Nor is this all. Indisputably in the English village there are more means of happiness, a greater accumulation of the instruments of enjoyment, than in the Australian tribe. The English have all manner of books, utensils, and machines which the others do not use, value, or understand. And in addition . . . there is a general strength which is capable of being used in conquering a thousand difficulties, and is an abiding source of happiness.

Doc adds: Bagehot emphasizes "discussion" -- free inquiry and exchange of ideas -- as the essence of freedom within civilization. We shall see how that plays out on this thread! I myself, like no doubt most or all who will read this, believe that "western" or "Christian" values require that the strong refrain from exploiting their superiority in various ways. But is Bagehot not correct that the superiority, as he describes it, is a FACT?

Tortorella Supporting Member of TMP26 Sep 2021 9:26 a.m. PST

I blame Deleted by Moderator! I blame Deleted by Moderator! Oops, knee jerk reaction.

How about we put this guy in the middle of the outback and let him roam about looking for a native with the skills he needs to get out alive? He can bring a book with him. Then ask him about native culture. He will find an abiding source of gratitude, I bet.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP26 Sep 2021 10:03 a.m. PST

Tort, of course a native to a harsh environment will have survival skills unique to that environment. That really doesn't address the issue of a GENERAL superiority in technology and social and political organization. Is it the concept of superiority itself that you reject?

Tortorella Supporting Member of TMP26 Sep 2021 10:22 a.m. PST

It's more about outcomes, whether survival or happiness. Powerful and greedy imperial eras have wrecked a number of otherwise happy cultures with our superiority, leaving no abiding happiness, which is not related to superiority, unless my understanding of the teachings Jesus is off.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP26 Sep 2021 11:17 a.m. PST

Indeed, I agree. But from a human perspective it is more about CHOIcE, or maybe absence of choice. I imagine you have read the Melian Dialogue in Thucydides. It is difficult, humanly speaking, to refute the Athenians' argument that the Melians only appeal to Right and Wrong because they are weak. "The strong do what they will and the weak suffer what they must." Of course the Gospel is utterly against that, see the Magnificat. But it still depends, doesn't it, on the superior power CHOOSING mercy? The weak has no choice in it. Just a realpolitik fact.

Legion 426 Sep 2021 11:32 a.m. PST

It depends how one defines civilization. E.g. the USA currently or Afghanistan now …

Tortorella Supporting Member of TMP26 Sep 2021 12:26 p.m. PST

Exactly Legion. I think I know how we feel about terrorist practitioners in that region today. But it also has other aspects of culture that are ancient and treasured.

Superiority is relative and bears no relation to happiness. We have the best armored vehicles. The other side has the best restaurants. We have money, the other side has beautiful lakes. Superiority of money, arms, political power, is fleeting. The parade of the rise and fall of the great powers is a long one. Spain once ruled the world. And enslaved thousands. Christian? Happy? Superior? How about now?

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP26 Sep 2021 12:48 p.m. PST

Anyone who defines Afghanistan as "civilization" has no use for things like equality for women, political organization higher than tribalism, and a lot of other things "we" (I myself certainly) prioritize. If they are a civilization, the word has no meaning.

As to "superiority", again, look at your own statements. The freedom to enjoy fine dining may rest on the power to defend the chefs and diners from theft and rape and other intrusions. It just does.

Of course particular nations, or cultures, or ideologies, may rise and fall in power. Does that mean military or technological superiority is no longer important? No, that is absurd. It means that MAINTAINING superiority over a long period is extremely difficult.

Talk to me about happiness when the lights go out and something is prowling out in the dark.

Tortorella Supporting Member of TMP26 Sep 2021 3:04 p.m. PST

Good grief! I am done here.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP26 Sep 2021 3:11 p.m. PST

Tort, don't go; instead explain your grief. Please.

Thresher0126 Sep 2021 4:31 p.m. PST

You forgot to add random murder as well, doc.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP26 Sep 2021 4:38 p.m. PST

You mean for Afghanistan, yes. I suppose Islamic law is all that keeps them -- to the extent it does -- from a Hobbesian state of nature. Even sharia is better than that, I suppose.

Thresher0126 Sep 2021 5:43 p.m. PST

Actually no, I was referring to the random murder of diners in the USA, in addition to other attacks on them, as well as on other law-abiding citizens by criminals who prey on them.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP26 Sep 2021 6:51 p.m. PST

Yes, we are moving in a bad direction.

Gorgrat26 Sep 2021 9:31 p.m. PST

This is a tough one, and though I generally take the conservative approach, in this case I have to say that it is only because of the superiority of western civilization that we now have the power to destroy it, and are doing so with a will!

Say what you like about old creepy, fat Karl. He was, it is starting to seem, THE ultimate product of Western civilization.

And he is what is destroying it

Gorgrat26 Sep 2021 11:32 p.m. PST

Btw Tortorella, the fact is that many of those enlightened cultures that the evil white guys took down were not really so enlightened.

Witness the number of Aztec tributary States that joined with the Spaniards quite readily because they found the annual tribute of still-beating hearts to Huitzilopochtli a little tiresome.

Humanity is a bunch of jerks the world over.

Legion 427 Sep 2021 9:35 a.m. PST

Interestingly … the actual Afghan Ambassador to the UN was to give a speech. But did not. While the Taliban have one of their leaders[who may actually be charged with war crimes, etc.] at the UN. To be the new terrorist/jihadi actual ambassador for the new fundamentalist islamist "state".

IIRC about 12 or more of the new A'stan jihadi gov't are wanted for crimes against humanity, war crimes, etc. At least four of which were released from Gitmo during the Obama Admin.

I'd think most in the UN would not vote to make this terrorist, jihadi, war criminal mob an actual state. However, I don't doubt the PRC/CCP, Putin's Russia, the Paks and maybe a few other islamic nations will want to vote these criminals, murders, troglodytes in to becomes a nation. That is already failing. These are savages with little to no knowledge of running an actual country. As opposed to leading murder, rape, etc., at the hands of their mob.

They recently made it clear they will follow Sharia Law and the executions and amputations will continue …

They sub-humans actually should be considered nothing but targets …

lkmjbc327 Sep 2021 9:37 a.m. PST

"It" doesn't end… if the "It" is either civilization or the United States. What does end is our current conception of freedom and Liberalism.

I view the current forces at work as a class struggle. This is the same struggle that destroyed Communism. Now it seems it will destroy Liberalism as well.

The end result will be a fascist government. The only question I see is whether that fascism will be a hard fascism or a soft degenerate one. Both are possible, as is a cycle between the two.

Joe Collins

Legion 427 Sep 2021 10:43 a.m. PST

I view the current forces at work as a class struggle.
I agree … With race playing a big part unfortunately.

Tortorella Supporting Member of TMP27 Sep 2021 12:28 p.m. PST

Did I say evil white guys? I have no interest in that kind of political posturing. Evil can be anywhere. I said a number of happy cultures were taken down.

I mentioned Spain They were greedy, they enslaved people. Not very Christian. I never mentioned the Aztec culture, although I agree with you. Two superior cultures capable of barbaric behavior. You would not want them doing their superior thing in your English village as you tried to enjoy your own indisputable superiority down at the pub.

Joe, I wish you were wrong…..

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP27 Sep 2021 12:56 p.m. PST

Tort, yes and no. The Spanish Christians should have been better. And eventually were, thanks to Las Casas.

But the Aztecs were a bit behind the ancient Egyptians (no wheels) and so were, what, maybe 3000 years behind the Spanish?

lkmjbc327 Sep 2021 3:05 p.m. PST

I wish I was wrong as well. The current situation however points otherwise. I had hoped in the US for some type of mid-American revival. The changes in population, culture, and scale now work strongly against that.

The same forces that destroyed the Soviet Union now destroy us. I can read Marcuse railing against the same forces as Limbaugh…


Joe Collins

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP27 Sep 2021 3:28 p.m. PST

Though my only real hope is in God, I am not prepared to give up on America. I too fear we will become an empire, like Rome, wearing the dead skin of the old republic. But if we can undo a generation of decay and outright wickedness in our educational establishment, there might be a chance. A slim one.

Legion 428 Sep 2021 11:18 a.m. PST

I am not prepared to give up on America.
I plan on being the last man standing. Maybe not standing … but in a wheelchair ? old fart

Tortorella Supporting Member of TMP28 Sep 2021 4:47 p.m. PST

They wont take me alive! Whichever they we are talking about.
I plan on re-reading Bruce Catton, Ian Toll, John McPherson, Rick Atkinson etc. instead of watching any more phony news networks and low order politicians.

Legion 429 Sep 2021 10:51 a.m. PST

😁 Go for it !!!!

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP29 Sep 2021 12:12 p.m. PST

That is called "the Benedict option" and is widely considered. It may be harder to find a Skellig Michael these days, however.

Personal logo doc mcb Supporting Member of TMP29 Sep 2021 12:17 p.m. PST


Of course things like republican government and natural rights philosophy are not identical to Christianity, but the strategy is similar.

Anyone watching FOUNDATION now on Apple TV?

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