Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Where Did It All Go Right?

A post at Social Matter asks Where Did It All Go Wrong?. It mocks the endless debates about where, in history, things went wrong. If we could pinpoint a moment or moments, then we'd have a good idea of what not to do moving forward.

Although it can turn into a pointless exercise, it's ultimately useful. Evolution works. More attention should be paid to what went right though, because evolution works. The reason why Exit is so attractive is because we already have great templates.

As for where it went wrong, I don't know what time frame is appropriate, but I suspect the generational cycles (4 according to Strauss & Howe) is probably a good approximation for tracing most problems. Many things we'd call problems today are also cyclical in nature, such as decadence. Every civilization has seen it at the top. These should be ignored or dealt with. They won't disappear as long as human nature exists in its present form.

Some ideas survive generational cycles. Egalitarianism and universalism have existed about 400 years as extant ideas actively shaping the Western (now entire) world. Christianity has existed for millennia. The individualism that can be traced back at least as far as the Jutes, Angles and Saxon invaders who were organized by boat and made their own settlements, repeated more than 1000 years later by the Mayflower, will be repeated in the future when our descendants colonize space.

The Alt-Right is acting on the generational time scale. A key event has been identified: the 1965 immigration act. Either this is rolled back or not. If yes, proceed to the next step. If not, fail.

NRx is looking farther back, looking at deeper issues such as egalitarianism. Correcting it will take many generations, particularly to do it right. Doing things quickly usually means doing it badly. Communists tried to kill everyone who didn't like sharing. They ended up destroying all morality and creating some of the most corrupt nations on Earth.

There's probably no need to go back more than 400 years. What proceeds before are cycles of the same. What is constant has lasted millenia, and will stand or fall on its own.

The longer the problem has existed, the less effort it will actually take to undo it. If egalitarianism is turned back, it will be through philosophy, religion, literature. A few men writing meaningful works will slowly change minds over generations. For problems nearer in time, such as those identified by the Alt-Right, more effort is required.

If egalitarianism is false, then it will be defeated as surely as rock gives way to water over the centuries, as long as someone starts taking a piss on it. Rolling back the 1965 immigration act will require much effort and the odds of success far lower.


  1. One event significant enough to mention - the invention of the printing press.

    1. The Internet is a modern day version of the printing press, unleashing similar forces. Gatekeepers everywhere are being destroyed.

      Birth control another one. For the future, gene modification.




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