22. DECLINE AND FALL OF PAX AMERICANUS
The domestic and global decline of America is hard for many Americans to grasp. In part, the 1980 Presidential victor was elected on the promise of restoring American influence and respect at home and abroad. However, increasing the incentives to speculate for inflationary returns will not rebuild a depressed economy, nor will resurrection of American prestige come from arming to the teeth and projecting the image of an international bully. These tactics did not prevent the decline and fall of Rome with its parallels to contemporary events.
Rome declined when its primary economic policy-making process solved fewer and fewer of Rome's problems in preference for the problems of a few Romans. Whether then or now, the advent of capitalism for a fewer few comes at the expense of capitalism per capita. Today, the short-sighted politicians have engineered a political process that is not geared to human problems as whole; in other words, the U.S. does not have a problem-solving process for the nation, but a national process for a special few.
The eminence of Rome coincided with how well it organized its people to improve the lot of the victor and the vanquished. The peak of Roman power was the Augustan Age in which the first emperor still had the benefits of a republican organization from which to collect information after having an internal competition that resulted in the best military organization in the Western world. Similarly, the peak of U.S. power was after the second World War when the domestic economy was not only intact in a weakened world, but more robust than ever; through the Marshall Plan, both victor and loser entered new eras of prosperity.
Unfortunately, Augustus sought to further the viability of Rome--and perhaps his own glory--by attempting to cultivate a successor without utilizing a process that selected the best Roman. As a result, his successors were less and less the products of a process that involved a survivor of the fittest who was honed on a wide range of skills. Increasingly, the roles of nepotism, bribery or campaign-solving (military) alone were the key ingredients in choosing successors. These three trends are rampant today in all policy-making hierarchies.
In Rome, people became dependent on the over-centralization of decision-making; the populace expected others to solve their problems instead of facing the problems themselves; true then and now. A commercial gladiator class arose which was patronized by the public decision-makers: true then and now. Taxes were illogically assessed with the over-taxed abandoning production which was in turn acquired by those less subject to taxes; true then and now. A privileged class, exempt from most taxes, eventually controlled most forms of production and allowed the least profitable to cease production--deserti agri; true then and now. The fields of education dissipated; true then and now.
These conditions contributed to the fall of Rome. They exist today and are being magnified by modern telecommunications to precipitate a more rapid decline of America than Rome experienced. The election of image conscious politicians could not occur so rapidly and repetitively if people had only the written word from which to know the candidates. Telecommunication packages candidates and delivers the image unbidden, without specific request or action on the part of the viewer. Modern telecommunication, the super-gladiators come into being and financial theft occur instantly. With telecommunication, bad education can be multiplied in ways that could not be rapidly disseminated in the past.
The basic trends destroying the American economic system of production are parallel to the trends of deterioration in Rome. An objective assessment of contemporary policy-makers without partisan bias indicates that America will sadly go the way of Rome: decline and fall.
If one realizes the parallel trends between Rome and today and knows the subsequent fate of civilization, a certain question may come to mind: How dark will the next Dark Ages be? If the present decline is not stopped, the state of man will regress to a less humane, more animalistic existence.
Increased productivity in essential goods and services played a role in the humanization of homo sapiens. If one ranks the various species of animals according to intelligence, one will find a correlation with the amount of time the animal has to spend acquiring the basic, essential necessities for survival. For humans, the less time one has to spend producing the essentials needed for survival, the more time one has to think about a more varietal, civil life. Over recorded history, the time-savings of improved essential productivity showed up in numerous ways for average person:
busydays reduced to eight hours, not twelve or more hours,
The above trends of fewer lifehours spent as busyhours (in order to survive) correlate with the civil trends of humanization, for man had more opportunities to develop to higher levels ... if the newly gained free time was used for productive reasons. Recently, the free time has been wasted, and previous gains in productivity have been lost. The humanization trend has ceased; the re-animization of humanity has commenced.
Humankind is becoming re-animalized because more lifehours must be spent each day in order to have the essentials for basic survival. The inflationary price changes in the cost of food, clothing, housing, health-care and energy all translate into having to work more workhours for essential products. With each passing month, the average person must work longer in order to have a level of essential survival that previously took less of one's daily lifehours. Whether one recognizes it as such, inflation in the essential products marks a regression toward a more animal existence. This regression is the inflationary cheapening of human time.
Re-animization is more than having to spend additional time in order to have the essentials. It shows up in personality changes, for people have less free time to think about what makes life more humane and civil. When man's opportunities to think are reduced, the behavior of man drifts toward that of an animal ungifted with the possession of thought. The distractions from free thought, in order to fulfill basic biological needs, regress the level of one's thinking, behavior and personality: re-animization. Economic collapse performs functional lobotomies on humanity.
One can see the evidence of re-animization not only in the contemporary crime statistics that rise with economic upheaval but in historical parallels. If there was one thing that demoralized and desensitized the German people to the excesses of Hitler it was inflation and its accompanying symptoms: unemployment and overtaxation. As rising inflation pushed the daily cost of survival, in time, beyond the length of the work day, people became less and less humane. They became more and more concerned with basic biological and animal survival.
Regardless of one's religion, the quality of the spiritual soul is correlated with the quality of the secular comfort. A rising standard of living permits the possibility of using one's surplus, disposable time for pondering and accepting more practical things to do. Moral truths have little effect upon behavior unless these truths are pondered for their practical benefits and are made a part of one's life. With forethought, one's likeliness to error or sin, to his and others' detriment, is reduced. This is civil existence.
Civil existence is predicated upon people knowing the practicality of long-standing moral tenets which require time to understand. Most of us live a "rat race" existence because we choose to give little time to considering the nature of civil humane existence. A thoughtful, questioning existence is less and less possible in a re-animating society.
With a decrease in free thinking time--from necessity or by choice--one increasingly commits counterproductive acts, naively, ignorantly or deceitfully. Can the reader recall hearing, from within or without, that if forethought had transpired, some undesired event would not have occurred? If one magnifies the incidents of "If only I'd known ..." by the time consumption, loss and destruction due to inflation, then one can understand the declining morality and rising violence that are symptoms of economic collapse.
Increasingly, people in an inflation-plagued economy just do not have as much time to think about what is the better life. Millenniums ago this association of taking time to think about the quality of life was stated as
the unquestioned life is not worth living.
As the opportunities to question life decrease, the quality of life becomes less and less worth living: Re-animization and dehumanization occur.
Re-animization is showing up in many ways. In terms of production, there is the fall in productivity per capita and the unavoidable drop in consumption per capita. The worldwide drop in production of essentials is showing up in many ways. One is the continual drop in the food reserves, half what they were two decades ago. Another way is how some individuals and nations are maintaining their previous levels of consumption by reducing others, e.g., monetary colonialism. Another way, more domestically obvious than the sign of falling productivity in essentials goods, is the re-animization of how much time the average American has to work in order to survive. This gradual re-animization, measured in lifehours, shows up in different ways.
The amount of each busyday that must go for essential products of survival has increased;
the busyweek is longer as more and more people have to seek additional busywork in part-time or full-time second jobs;
the busyyear grows longer as people forego vacation time out of necessity;
the busylife is reextended as indicated by the lifting of mandatory age retirement so elderly producers can try and make ends meet; and
parentless children arise from necessity as both parents must seek busywork in order to survive.
The re-animization which the above represents does not have to be, nor does its exacerbation a year from now have to be. But it will be unless enough people take their remaining free time to educate and organize. Re-animization from necessity is preceded by re-animization by choice, where people chose not to use their free time to conserve and improve productivity so that free time can expand, not dwindle.
The re-animization of humanity ultimately affects all people, the productive and the not-so-productive. Our soaring prison populations index this potential and its actuality. When there is less meeting of the minds, less sharing of ideas, the kinetic level of humanity recedes from the potential productivity and potential morality of humanity. With re-animization, not only is the more of our bodies being denurtured but so is the more of our minds, hearts and souls. Who is going to stop the decline?
The politicians? The decline of civilization--by even one iota--emanates from the lack of productive leadership in solving problems. From the politicians' commercial legisflation and personal behavior, we have the immorality of a "dig-me, give-me" generation. Compared to the "great mixing pot," no nation had the human resources for leading the rest of the world. Only a collection of corrupt, incompetent clowns could have bungled the lead that America had after World War II. As failing public officials, they have allowed the private sectors to repeatedly usurp their power and responsibility as the top policy-makers; they have allowed the parts to despotically dictate the whole. The politicians will not stop the decline.
Financiers? Will they lead in reforming America? The American financiers are more than an embodiment of the original meaning of finance: "to ransom, to forfeit." Anyone that looks to the American banker or broker to finance a better future is ransoming and forfeiting their remaining days. Financiers bribed and bought the politicians, for themselves, not for civilization.
Necronomists? Will they provide our salvation? Your jest!
Educators? Tenure in academia has bred a confederacy of dunces that parallels the corruption and incompetence from incumbency and cloning in the American political process. Academia is a intellectual salted field, once fertile with meaningful questions; however, too many encrusted decision-makers have sterilized education into merely rehashing the original thoughts of archaic thinkers. With tenure came redundant centralization of decision-making, and forward momentum was converted into lateral repetition and restatement of past accomplishments.
Nowadays, education is regressing like all decision-making hierarchies that institutionalized the Peter Principle. The existing members of academia will not provide leadership in the days ahead. Rather, they will attempt to survive by publishing some more rehash. Ineffectually, like many other irrelevantly educated sufferers of inflation, they will protest in the streets. Academicians will attempt to get something for nothing to mitigate rather than solve their ignorant suffering.
Unions? Another moribund mockery of democratic organization that mimics the political circus: of cronies, by cronies and for cronies.
All the major institutions in America are a virtual confederacy of dunce when it comes to solving problems and saving people's time. The decision-making, policy-originating hierarchies have positions filled on the principle of "who you know" and other factors irrelevant to the solution of the problems for which the hierarchies arose.
If the decline is to be stopped, the average citizen must engage in self-education as to know what is right and wrong; he cannot rely on the politicians, necronomists or others. After doing this initial "right" thing, the citizen must continue to do right thing that he discovers and castigates those who participate in the re-animization of life. Not trying to stop the trends that dictate another dark ages is to concede away the future for oneself and his loved ones. To try, however, is to have a glimmer of hope.
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