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The Next Warrior Age - Right Under Our Noses? - Anthony '58 - 06-19-2020

The Broken Windows Theory.  The death penalty for drug dealers.  Caning as a punishment.  High wealth inequality (their Gini coefficient is about the same as ours).  A one-party state in everything but name.  Free speech and a free press - so long as it isn't "seditious."

All concentrated in this tiny country - and coming to the whole world soon?

https://thebulwark.com/misunderstanding-singapore/

Misunderstanding Singapore

What the world gets wrong about the small, economic powerhouse—and its response to the pandemic.

Having lived in Singapore for the past ten months, on this my third trip here, I sometimes think the so-called Red Dot must be the most misunderstood country on earth. Its plight is owed to the outsized improbability of the place, hence its stubborn refusal to fit neatly into categories others have designed for the purpose of taming perceived “otherness.” Indeed, Singapore is variably misunderstood, the nature and degree of misunderstanding varying according to who is trying to cram it into which pigeonholes and why.

What the Chinese get wrong about Singapore

Mainland Chinese misunderstand Singapore because they assume that since nearly three-quarters of the country’s roughly 3.5 million citizens are ethnic Chinese, Singapore is a “Chinese country.” In some ways it is. In most ways that count it isn’t.

Singapore is the only majority-ethnic-Chinese country not geographically part of historical China. That is improbable. Like Hong Kong, too, its roughly 150-year history as a British colony and mercantile hub makes it different, institutionally and attitudinally, from China. In the 19th and early 20th centuries a small but significant minority of Chinese in Singapore sought actively to modernize by adopting many British institutions and manners, including English and sometimes Christianity. Meanwhile, in China efforts to modernize traversed the 1911 Revolution on a roughly similar trajectory, but soon detoured into chaos and then Marxism. The path dependency deviation between the groups matters.

Singapore was also thrust into sovereignty suddenly and against its will, yet another mark of improbability as history goes. Malaysia kicked it out of the newly formed federation in 1965, possibly the most fraught year in recent Southeast Asian history for a tiny, still mostly poor and virtually defenseless country to survive. Singapore survived anyway, its near-death experience profoundly shaping its sense of self in ways sharply divergent from the experience of mainland Chinese.


Most ethnic Chinese in Singapore, too, as also in other Southeast Asian countries, are descendants of minority dialect communities—mainly Hokkien, Hakka, Teochew, Cantonese, Hainanese, and the special category of Peranakan (a Chinese-Malay mixed group with a unique cultural style whose origins go back 15th-century Malacca). Collectively known as Nanyang (Southern Sea) or overseas Chinese, among themselves they are “Tang people” because it was during the Tang Dynasty (7th-10th centuries) that the ancestors of these groups migrated south before some headed out on Southeast Asia’s waves.

All this differentiates ethnic Chinese in Singapore from majority Han, Mandarin-speaking Chinese in China. But since 3.5 million people is less than the standard margin of error in the Chinese census, it is easy for mainland Chinese to misunderstand a thing so small that it seems almost negligible. When Singaporean diplomats and politicians insist to Chinese officials that Singapore is a multi-ethnic and multi-confessional society, as liberal an aspiration as a state is liable to adopt nowadays, Chinese officials typically smile and check their Rolexes. They are patient, and lately a little more insistent.

Singaporeans, meanwhile, understand China better than Chinese do Singapore, because they need to. This has led to muted schizophrenia. On the one hand, many Chinese Singaporeans feel proud to have tutored their big brother to the north on how to run an efficient, “smart” one-party state system, despite knowing that the sources and nature of the one party differ. On the other, many upscale Singaporean Chinese wince at mainlanders’ brusqueness, lack of worldliness, and the cloying nouveau riche behavior of wealthy Chinese whilst traveling abroad—including to Singapore’s spiffy Marina Bay Sands and Orchard Road shopping meccas
.

What Europe and the U.K. get wrong about Singapore

Many Europeans, and British if we count them separately, not only misunderstand Singapore, but some lately do so willfully. It’s been sporting to drag the country-cum-metaphor into the desultory but encompassing and protracted Brexit bust-up of the European Union. Both “remain” and “leave” factions in Britain, and diverse Continentals too, have over the past few years enjoyed tossing Singapore about by calling a would-be post-EU Britain a “Singapore on the North Sea” or a “Singapore on the Thames.”

What is usually meant by such epithets is that Britain will adopt beggar-thy-neighbor policies to get the better of its former partners. Some commentators, for example Pippa Norris in a recent Foreign Affairs essay, have specifically mentioned environmental standards, labor rights concerns, and food safety protocols. By implication, therefore, they suggest without apparently having thought it through that Singapore’s environmental standards are lower than, say, Indonesia’s; that its labor rights record, for citizens and permanent residents at least, is worse than Thailand’s; and that its food safety protocols are inferior to, say, Malaysia’s.

This is nonsense, of course. But it doesn’t matter when European scribblers do battle with each other. As with mainland Chinese not being bothered to look at real, existing Singapore, Europeans typically know little about how Singapore actually works.

Now, as far as imaginable beggar-thy-neighbor traits go, it’s true that banks in Singapore are typically more willing to ignore where large cash deposits come from, at least to a point, than is the case in the United States or Western Europe these days. After U.S. pressure on Switzerland some years ago caused changes in Swiss banking practices, Singapore moved carefully—as it turned out not carefully enough—to fill the vacuum thus created. Singapore’s government-owned DBS Bank got implicated in Malaysia’s 2015 1MDB scandal, after which the authorities backpedaled quietly but assiduously to relative safety.

It is true, too, that Singapore has a famed maximum-security private warehouse—so not a bonded warehouse within the jurisdiction of Singapore Customs—called La Freeport, nicknamed Singapore’s Fort Knox. La Freeport is for wealthy people to store and transit expensive items without taxes levied, customs fees collected, or questions asked about where the stuff came from. (Several countries have free-port facilities.)


It is true, too, that as the world’s largest maritime transshipment hub, officials know that the parade of ships lined up coming to and leaving the Port of Singapore Authority may be carrying cargos not fully listed on their manifests. But it would be extremely expensive to all concerned, if not impossible logistically, to fully inspect every ship in port, and carriers know that. So do the smugglers who pay kickbacks to some even as they bribe others into discretion.

Look, we’re talking here about a society heavily populated by overseas Chinese in a place that before World War II had a well-deserved reputation for over-the-top gambling, prostitution, opium dens, and more. The current generation, while hardly the same as their precursors, has not jumped completely out of its cultural skin. Boy Scouts they aren’t.

It is also true that corporate taxes are low in Singapore. But what attracts large corporations to site their Southeast Asian operations here is not mainly the tax rate or any banking “courtesies.” It’s the presence of ample talented human capital available to work for multinational enterprises, Singapore’s lack of “friction” (read: bureaucratic corruption), its safety, political and fiscal stability, and willingness to invest in itself.


Indeed, if one looks functionally at Singapore, it resembles less a typical country than a multinational corporation with global reach that just happens to have a flag, a U.N. seat, and an anthem. It doesn’t so much have an industrial policy, epitomized by the state-owned collection of sectoral-critical companies under the umbrella of Temasek, as it is an industrial policy. With assets of about $320 billion, Temasek’s only shareholder is the Singapore Ministry of Finance. That, too, is improbable.

Together with Singapore’s more conventional sovereign wealth fund, the GIC (Government of Singapore Investment Corporation), with estimated assets of $440 billion, a back-of-the-envelope calculation of Singapore’s deployable surplus financial assets comes out to around $218,000 in the black for every Singaporean man, woman, and child. (The exact numbers are not published so as to discourage currency speculation by local and international traders.)

A post-Brexit “Singapore on the Thames,” or for that matter any individual European Union member-state these days, should be so lucky—or so provident and economically competent—to have that kind of liquidity at the ready. They could really use it about now.


What the U.S. gets wrong about Singapore

So what of a United States, with a national debt of nearly $25 trillion—which translates into $75,757 per capita in the red? How do Americans misunderstand Singapore? Let us count a few of the ways.

Singapore is an authoritarian state, right? Well, Singapore is a one-party state, but not much less so than Japan has been since it re-emerged as a sovereign state in 1951. No one claims that Japan isn’t a democracy, so why Singapore? There are regular elections . . . which the People’s Action Party happens always to win.

Singapore is a “managed” democracy, and let’s be frank about what that means: The opposition is not going to win political power short of pigs flying and the moon audibly whistling “Majulah Singapura.” The system is subtly but effectively rigged—I mean protected—against that. So Singapore is not a liberal democracy by law or constitutional guarantee. There are limits on due process, for example, that Americans would not tolerate. But despite that, Singapore produces mainly liberal outcomes. Aside from its both principled and pragmatic quest for ever more multi-ethnic and multi-confessional harmony, people here are free to leave the country and return at will, to read anything they like, and to write and say anything they like so long as it doesn’t cross the line into potentially incendiary bigotry or intolerance. The line can move this way and that if the authorities think it needs to, so most critics self-police.

Once you’ve been here a while, you understand the reasons for this. Given its location and multi-ethnic composition, Singapore lacks the buffers of external security and social stability that America has typically—but obviously not always—enjoyed. For various reasons, Americans tolerate more individuated noise and ambient disorder than most people; Singaporeans, like most East Asians, place a higher premium on conformity and risk-avoidance. Americans demand political agency and voice; in Singapore those qualities rank lower on the priority list. Younger people sometimes chafe at this, but not enough yet to approach any significant tipping point. China will not pluralize its politics in a Western sense anytime soon, and Singaporean elites will not abandon their paternalist outlook either.

But Singapore has the death penalty! Yes, and so do thirty U.S. states. Singapore has not used that penalty much lately, and it still has virtually no violent crime or serious drug problem. It has no gun violence either, because tens of thousands of guns aren’t lying around.

But Singapore is a police state! Really? Then where are the police? Except during the famous annual Formula One race, where the cops are out in force to protect people against large numbers of drunken foreign chowderheads, you rarely see any. Maybe they’re sunk down in their cop-lairs watching the CCTV monitors that are ubiquitous here. Indeed, that might be why women of any age can walk anywhere, day or night, without fear of assault. And why there is virtually no graffiti or petty vandalism.

But the caning! Singaporeans did not invent caning as a punishment; the British did. I dislike the paternalism it represents, but I’m not a Singaporean so it’s none of my business. As for the infamous 1994 case involving then-18-year old Michael Fay, few Americans know that, beyond stealing road signs and squirreling them away in his room for no particular reason, Fay said “Fuck you” to the judge during his trial. Had he done that in, say, Kentucky or Texas, he’d have longed for a mere four switch swats on his asinine teenage ass.


But the chewing gum ban! That’s just Singapore’s way of implementing James Q. Wilson’s “broken windows” theory, which holds that public order is seamless and associative. It worked in the New York City subway system, and it works in Singapore.

Singapore and COVID-19

Ah, but efficient, technocratic, shiny, chip-on-shoulder Singapore has screwed up the COVID-19 crisis big time, hasn’t it? The U.S. media reports that number of cases has skyrocketed lately, and numbers don’t lie.

It’s true that numbers don’t lie, but it’s equally true that those who rely on numbers without sociological filters to tell them social truths are muttonheads. Recent U.S. press reports on Singapore’s handling of the pandemic have been misleading.


Let’s summarize the record. Singapore felt the foul winds from Wuhan very early in what became the pandemic. If Americans generally or the U.S. government had been paying attention to what was happening here, they wouldn’t have been caught with their britches down. But ’merkins, as Lyndon Johnson used to pronounce it, pretty much never care about, pay attention to, or deign to listen to foreigners—especially one from such a teeny little place as this. You play with and pet a cute little bunny, you don’t seek advice from it or respect its capacity to teach you anything.

The last public lecture sponsored by the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Nanyang Technological University, my host for the year, took place on January 31. I should know because I delivered it. From mid-January through mid-March, Singapore kept its infection curve fairly flat, as effectively as—if not more so than—Taiwan, South Korea, and Hong Kong, by using similar methods: temperature monitoring, testing, tracking, selective isolation, and a judicious use of masks. But schools and businesses remained open, and the economy hummed as usual. At the university, classes continued, as did smaller-scale meetings. I could feel some ambient tension, but trust in government and amid society—both earned from having endured the SARS ordeal in 2003, and some lesser public health scares thereafter—remained high.

By mid-March the pandemic had spread to Europe, the Middle East, and North America. So, like many countries, Singapore imposed international travel restrictions. Now, my wife and I experienced this shift in tactics personally. We had long since planned to visit Western Australia in mid-March, travel to Bali to mark a birthday, and then return to Singapore on March 25. We made it to Perth on March 15 just a half-hour before mandatory 14-day quarantine for all international travellers to Australia went into effect. We never made it to Bali; all our flights were canceled out from beneath our toes. So we hastened our return to Singapore and made it back to Changi Airport on March 19 about 15 minutes before Singapore’s 14-day mandatory quarantine kicked in.

Otherwise, frankly, the virus had its fortuitous uses: We enjoyed Cambodia’s Siem Reap in early February without having to vie for oxygen with the usual hordes of Chinese tourists, and we happily floated back and forth to Batam Island in Indonesia during the last week in February to visit a Bali-themed spa, and all but had the place to ourselves.

But by mid-March a large number of Singaporean students abroad, their semesters kyboshed by the virus, sought to return home. The government was not about to refuse them entry, but despite careful precautions, some imported cases made it through, and a small but frightening number of community-to-community cases inside the country eluded tracking.

As a result, the government rolled out its pre-planned “Circuit Breaker” intervention on April 6. The new restrictions emphasized social distancing. The government also distributed free masks to all Singaporeans, permanent residents, and work visa holders. While economic and cultural activity slowed, Singapore has never imposed the strict lockdowns characteristic of most Western countries that got a late start dealing with the problem. Buses and rail still run, though largely empty, and there’s traffic aplenty on the PIE (Pan-Island Expressway, the same one you saw in “Crazy Rich Asians”) that we can see here on the edge of the NTU campus.

The government has tried to ride the crest of the wave, keeping the infection curve flat without flattening the economy. The tracking and monitoring methodology has produced actionable near-real-time data, and the government has acted as the data suggested it should. It’s possible to fine-tune responses on a small island with a technocratic mentality, a good track record, and an adequate reservoir of social trust. Alas, size matters.

This fine-turning, close-to-real time reaction mode, has worked, too. The one glitch so far has concerned the foreign migrant-worker dormitories, where some 300,000 Bangladeshis, Tamils from India, and a smattering of mainland Chinese live. And this is the glitch that the U.S media has mischaracterized.

These are dormitories for temporary contract workers, so it’s close-quartered housing. Far be it from me to defend the way the government and the less-than-diligent managers of the dormitories have tended to treat these workers over the years, who in the main do construction and landscaping jobs. But the workers themselves mostly consider themselves fortunate to have the work considering their alternatives. Once the virus made it into the dorms, it spread fast and wide, accounting for the sharp spike in the raw number of cases. The government made haste to limit the contagion once its extent became known, and the number of new dormitory-related cases has come down.

The key piece of information here that the U.S. media failed to report is that the foreign temporary workers live and work mainly separate from the rest of the population, and they have not functioned as infection vectors into it. Because they are overwhelmingly healthy young men, their cases have been asymptomatic or mild. None has died from COVID-19 or even required ICU care, and only a few have required hospitalization. The number of new cases per day in the general population has actually fallen since the workers’ dormitory problem erupted. The number of ICU cases as a whole has remained steady or has fallen.

Total deaths from COVID-19 in Singapore went from 2 on March 21 to 23 as of May 28—out of a total of about 5.7 million people on the island. The result is that Singapore’s record, measured by deaths per million to date, stands at 4. The number for the United States at present is 306. Yes, numbers don’t lie.

Seeing Singapore for what it is


We all know how people like to describe their closest friends—informally, endearingly—as “crazy.” We know what that really means: that we know someone well enough to see and appreciate their unique idiosyncrasies. That’s part of the wonderment of real friendship.


Something roughly similar, if less intimate, happens with countries. You can’t really appreciate them, for better and not, until you know them well enough to see their unique characteristics. Once you do, the boxes that people back home say they fit into begin to look shabby and all but silly. Singapore is more improbable than most countries, true; but the same observation applies, I think, in the round.

Luckily or not, this year I’ve experienced Singapore both in normal times and now in the throes of COVIDaggedon. And from this perch one degree north of the equator I can look, virtually at least, upon my own country and city—Washington, D.C.—and what I see fills me with dismay. I don’t fear the planned trip home in about seven weeks’ time. I fear what kind of semi-stunned society I’ll find once I get there. The virus is almost incidental.

Adam Garfinkle is the founding editor of The American Interest. He is spending the current academic year as a distinguished visiting fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.


RE: The Next Warrior Age - Right Under Our Noses? - pbrower2a - 06-19-2020

Sarkar suggested that most of the West was approaching the end of the Age of Acquisitors as economic inequality intensifies, culture becomes depraved, the system turns out horrible leaders who fit the worst deeds of rapacious plutocrats (what could better fit that than Donald Trump?), "society" unravels in economic and social atomization, and everyone seems to run away from any sense of responsibility. People look for easy money...but few people are creating wealth unless they are under abject fear of rapacious plutocrats and their agents. Rationality recedes into the background as many believe that they can choose their own reality.

Chaos erupts... and the only people who still have any knack for organization, the enforcers of the Acquisitive Age, the soldiers and police, are in the best position in which to establish any semblance of political or administrative structure. Society begins to resemble a barracks in which people have less freedom but far more security. Consider of course that hunger is not freedom, an open window upon opulent splendor that most people can only find offensive is not a scene of beauty. This is not to say that we are in for a series of coups or revolutions; it is possible that the post-Crisis era is one in which leaders find ways in which to keep people from needing a revolt just to gain or recover some sense of dignity.

The Age of the Soldier is one with simple rules and much more conformity -- but also a time of less economic disparity. Even if leaders are elected democratically they will fit the pattern. Incomes will show a reversal of the trend of intensifying inequality. Regional and ethnic differences in result will become less blatant.


RE: The Next Warrior Age - Right Under Our Noses? - TnT - 06-22-2020

(06-19-2020, 11:56 AM)pbrower2a Wrote: Sarkar suggested that most of the West was approaching the end of the Age of Acquisitors as economic inequality intensifies, culture becomes depraved, the system turns out horrible leaders who fit the worst deeds of rapacious plutocrats (what could better fit that than Donald Trump?), "society" unravels in economic and social atomization, and everyone seems to run away from any sense of responsibility. People look for easy money...but few people are creating wealth unless they are under abject fear of rapacious plutocrats and their agents. Rationality recedes into the background as many believe that they can choose their own reality.

Chaos erupts... and the only people who still have any knack for organization, the enforcers of the Acquisitive Age, the soldiers and police, are in the best position in which to establish any semblance of political or administrative structure.  Society begins to resemble a barracks in which people have less freedom but far more security. Consider of course that hunger is not freedom, an open window upon opulent splendor that most people can only find offensive is not a scene of beauty.  This is not to say that we are in for a series of coups or revolutions; it is possible that the post-Crisis era is one in which leaders find ways in which to keep people from needing a revolt just to gain or recover some sense of dignity.

The Age of the Soldier is one with simple rules and much more conformity -- but also a time of less economic disparity. Even if leaders are elected democratically they will fit the pattern. Incomes will show a reversal of the trend of intensifying inequality. Regional and ethnic differences in result will become less blatant.

Something that interests me ... in the U.S. most of the higher ranks in the military get sent to the "War Colleges" where they receive what can only be said to be an extensive "liberal education."  They study a lot of subjects besides military science.  The result of this is that many come out as legitimate thinkers who can analyze, dissect and make sense of complex circumstances facing our society.  I once subscribed to Parameters, the research journal of the war college at Fort Leavenworth.  A very interesting publication.  The papers could be coming out of any state university.

The foot soldiers, on the other hand, it is said that they are the Donald Trump fans.  One wonders what might happen if a military coup became the only option for civil order in the U.S.  How would that play out?  Who would shoot at whom?  Do they line up the nanny-state bureaucrats, the "liberal" college professors, and the registered Democratic Party members and shoot them?  

Or do the well-educated officers bring order to the country by some more civilized means?  And can they count on their troops?


RE: The Next Warrior Age - Right Under Our Noses? - Isoko - 06-24-2020

I have always said that the future of the West is basically Putinism at its core. Liberal democracies have now become plutocracies and are now entering the age of Caesarism, as so aptly pointed out by Spengler. Which is basically Putinism. A strong government or leader that essentially reigns for several decades, establishing strong Conservative rule that usually gets the economy back on track, solves the anti-social disorder crisis and brings safety back onto the streets. I think for the West it is inevitable but the question remains first - will the West collapse like the Soviet Union did before Putinism starts to take hold or will the system snugly evolve into it?


RE: The Next Warrior Age - Right Under Our Noses? - User3451 - 06-24-2020

(06-24-2020, 11:37 AM)Isoko Wrote: I have always said that the future of the West is basically Putinism at its core. Liberal democracies have now become plutocracies and are now entering the age of Caesarism, as so aptly pointed out by Spengler. Which is basically Putinism. A strong government or leader that essentially reigns for several decades, establishing strong Conservative rule that usually gets the economy back on track, solves the anti-social disorder crisis and brings safety back onto the streets. I think for the West it is inevitable but the question remains first - will the West collapse like the Soviet Union did before Putinism starts to take hold or will the system snugly evolve into it?

If the current moment of anti classical liberalism wins out in this 4T, we will likely move toward a 1T with some sort of Politburo ruled by self appointed white savior's and certain portions of the most oppressed members of society, or more likely

The mob is coming for conservative culture but won't stop when they move into and beyond liberalism. We would go full third world

The nytimes has already been coopted, and the same thing could happen everywhere

f Trump wins then I could see a Putin style plutocracy emerge


RE: The Next Warrior Age - Right Under Our Noses? - Bob Butler 54 - 06-24-2020

(06-24-2020, 02:34 PM)User3451 Wrote:
(06-24-2020, 11:37 AM)Isoko Wrote: I have always said that the future of the West is basically Putinism at its core. Liberal democracies have now become plutocracies and are now entering the age of Caesarism, as so aptly pointed out by Spengler. Which is basically Putinism. A strong government or leader that essentially reigns for several decades, establishing strong Conservative rule that usually gets the economy back on track, solves the anti-social disorder crisis and brings safety back onto the streets. I think for the West it is inevitable but the question remains first - will the West collapse like the Soviet Union did before Putinism starts to take hold or will the system snugly evolve into it?

If the current moment of anti classical liberalism wins out in this 4T, we will likely move toward a 1T with some sort of Politburo ruled by self appointed white savior's and certain portions of the most oppressed members of society, or more likely

The mob is coming for conservative culture but won't stop when they move into and beyond liberalism. We would go full third world

The nytimes has already been coopted, and the same thing could happen everywhere

f Trump wins then I could see a Putin style plutocracy emerge

You are missing a few things. In the US, where the conservative rural party has the advantage though most turnings, enough real problems build up that the new values take firm hold over the old for a time. The old values, be it adherence to kings, slaveholding, dictators or racism never really recovers. Also, there is a tendency towards ‘a new birth of freedom’. This time around, police racism seems to be the primary target, but it likely won’t end there.

I do not doubt that we will see a strong government for a few years. The crisis will be handled. The people will accept that loyalty to the community sometime overwhelms hedonism. No matter how much joy one gets from not wearing a mask, other’s lives just might count for more. Those who think otherwise will be shamed into submission. Did I mention that the crisis would be handled? This will not be forever, but it will be for long enough.

Yes, The NY Times has seen it early, as did the abolitionists in their time, and certain patriot publishers in theirs. If you have not really got to know the new perspective, one ought to. It is apt to hit like a ton of bricks. Um, I don’t think you ought to resist. You are apt to get assimilated.


RE: The Next Warrior Age - Right Under Our Noses? - Isoko - 06-26-2020

This happens to all democracies eventually. If the rot grows too deep, they become like Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire that switched to long term Caesarism. If it is just a crisis but society itself relatively intact, then the Caesarism runs on the scale of Lincoln and Churchill, that is short term affairs.

Looking at the current prognosis for the West, I would say that we are in for a long period of Caesarism these time around. The societies in these countries are starting to fragment and slowly collide into major civil strife, meaning that this is going to be a long, drawn out affair requiring strong leadership in order to turn society back around again into something more functional.

Now whatever happens after the Caesar period, whether classical democracy returns to full point or the eventual civilisation collapses is another question entirely.


RE: The Next Warrior Age - Right Under Our Noses? - pbrower2a - 06-26-2020

(06-22-2020, 05:20 PM)TnT Wrote:
(06-19-2020, 11:56 AM)pbrower2a Wrote: Sarkar suggested that most of the West was approaching the end of the Age of Acquisitors as economic inequality intensifies, culture becomes depraved, the system turns out horrible leaders who fit the worst deeds of rapacious plutocrats (what could better fit that than Donald Trump?), "society" unravels in economic and social atomization, and everyone seems to run away from any sense of responsibility. People look for easy money...but few people are creating wealth unless they are under abject fear of rapacious plutocrats and their agents. Rationality recedes into the background as many believe that they can choose their own reality.

Chaos erupts... and the only people who still have any knack for organization, the enforcers of the Acquisitive Age, the soldiers and police, are in the best position in which to establish any semblance of political or administrative structure.  Society begins to resemble a barracks in which people have less freedom but far more security. Consider of course that hunger is not freedom, an open window upon opulent splendor that most people can only find offensive is not a scene of beauty.  This is not to say that we are in for a series of coups or revolutions; it is possible that the post-Crisis era is one in which leaders find ways in which to keep people from needing a revolt just to gain or recover some sense of dignity.

The Age of the Soldier is one with simple rules and much more conformity -- but also a time of less economic disparity. Even if leaders are elected democratically they will fit the pattern. Incomes will show a reversal of the trend of intensifying inequality. Regional and ethnic differences in result will become less blatant.

Something that interests me ... in the U.S. most of the higher ranks in the military get sent to the "War Colleges" where they receive what can only be said to be an extensive "liberal education."  They study a lot of subjects besides military science.  The result of this is that many come out as legitimate thinkers who can analyze, dissect and make sense of complex circumstances facing our society.  I once subscribed to Parameters, the research journal of the war college at Fort Leavenworth.  A very interesting publication.  The papers could be coming out of any state university.

The foot soldiers, on the other hand, it is said that they are the Donald Trump fans.  One wonders what might happen if a military coup became the only option for civil order in the U.S.  How would that play out?  Who would shoot at whom?  Do they line up the nanny-state bureaucrats, the "liberal" college professors, and the registered Democratic Party members and shoot them?  

Or do the well-educated officers bring order to the country by some more civilized means?  And can they count on their troops?

The lower-ranking officers typically have their focus on such matters as logistics, scheduling, communications, and military technology... and what in civilian life would best be described as 'supervisory skills'. In the military those must be applied rigidly to avoid local disasters.  The senior officers may be involved in things that junior officers do not do, such as diplomacy. As I put it, any child can make a sweeping movement across a map, nut it is the senior officers who effect such a sweeping movement across a map. The senior officers typically set occupation policy, which may include drafting an arrest list in the event that enemy figures have done something particularly nasty such as genocide, slavery, pillage, or mistreatment of POWs. 

Junior officers may win the battles (a narrow focus), but the senior officers need to win the peace (a broad focus). They may have economic decisions to make, such as how to get the local food supply working again (as in send the POWs to the rice paddies in Japan to ensure that there be a crop of rice in 1945 that prevents mass starvation of the Japanese) or what changes will need to be made in the educational system. Oh, the personality cult of the former Great Leader must be shattered?,  Senior officers may need to re-organize a judicial system, which may include purging corrupt judges and prosecutors who have innocent blood on their hands.  Field engineers may have the responsibility to improvise bridges for fording rivers, but there might be a need for industrial engineers to get the steel works that your air force recently bombed into smithereens back in operation -- and that is not for the field engineers.  Senior officers are more likely to need to rely upon civilian authorities who do not do things the military way.That includes elected officials in one's own country.  

OK... so you are Omar Bradley and you have huge responsibility in occupied Germany. You will need Germans to do the raw labor of construction work, but you will need to find German administrators who are both competent and trustworthy. There will be plenty of poseurs and even more ex-Nazis. Whom can you trust? The rebuilt or newly-built bridge across the Rhine will be a German bridge soon enough, and it will have to fit German needs, including the local railway gauge. The military bridge built to get troops across the Rhine built cheaply and quickly under military conditions for military purposes might be built too low for allowing the usual river traffic, and it will need to be replaced once river traffic can be restored.

I would suppose that the more militaristic a society is, the less that a senior military officer must make compromises to meet the realities of  civilian life. The more market-oriented the society, the less it is a command society, and the less it acts as if a military hierarchy.


RE: The Next Warrior Age - Right Under Our Noses? - Bob Butler 54 - 06-26-2020

(06-26-2020, 03:08 PM)Isoko Wrote: This happens to all democracies eventually. If the rot grows too deep, they become like Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire that switched to long term Caesarism. If it is just a crisis but society itself relatively intact, then the Caesarism runs on the scale of Lincoln and Churchill, that is short term affairs.

Looking at the current prognosis for the West, I would say that we are in for a long period of Caesarism these time around. The societies in these countries are starting to fragment and slowly collide into major civil strife, meaning that this is going to be a long, drawn out affair requiring strong leadership in order to turn society back around again into something more functional.

Now whatever happens after the Caesar period, whether classical democracy returns to full point or the eventual civilisation collapses is another question entirely.

By Caesarism you seem to mean strong and competent leadership.  Yes, you have to be strong and competent to solve a crisis.  This is necessary for the duration of the crisis heart, but has recently relaxed with the cycles over the following turnings.  

It seems the prototype Grey Champion has to be willing to listen to his experts, who are in many past cases generals, but who may this time be doctors or police chiefs or city mayors.  He must have a vision of how it has got to end up, what the new birth of freedom must include.  He must have the ability to communicate that vision, that his people will contribute to it.

I will note Caeser lived in the Agricultural Age.  Autocracy was the norm.  Yes, a few Greek city states and Rome under the senate flirted with variations on democracy, but for the most part kings or autocracy was the norm.  Lincoln and Churchill lived in the Industrial Age, in culture where democracy was much more the norm.

Your leader must be strong and competent enough to handle the crisis, but the government is not so strong or competent again until the next crisis.

Now I have used ‘autocracy’ much as you have used ‘Caesarism’.  To me it means a culture has not fully grown out of the Agricultural Age and taken full advantage of the Enlightenment values of human rights, equality and democracy.  They have not really grown into the full Industrial Age format.  They are still addicted to the old pattern, leadership of, for and by a few elites.

And autocracy is a bug, not a feature.  It means the culture is behind.  It will struggle to compete against other cultures.

But this does not imply that during a crisis one doesn’t or shouldn’t do what you have to do.  We will for a time have a strong and competent crisis government.  We will handle the crisis.  If not we will keep getting stronger and more competent until we do solve the crisis.

And then, thus far, we have relaxed into the high mentality, and we are not so strong and competent again until the crisis comes around.

I would just watch yourself basing your pattern of how things work on the Agricultural Age.  As a progressive, I view the cultures of the time as badly flawed, and most of the crises that have happened since removed flaws that used to be an accepted common practice.  It was a struggle to get rid of kings, slave owners, dictators, etc…. Don’t assume that it is a nature of civilizations to revert to the bad old days.  We are still growing out of it.  The rejection of racist violent policing is a example of how and why elements of the old days will suddenly be focused on and removed.  That is what ‘a new birth of freedom’ is about.

Autocracy and being like Caesar are bad signs.  They have to be stomped on when the chance comes round.


RE: The Next Warrior Age - Right Under Our Noses? - David Horn - 06-27-2020

(06-24-2020, 06:16 PM)Bob Butler 54 Wrote:
(06-24-2020, 02:34 PM)User3451 Wrote:
(06-24-2020, 11:37 AM)Isoko Wrote: I have always said that the future of the West is basically Putinism at its core. Liberal democracies have now become plutocracies and are now entering the age of Caesarism, as so aptly pointed out by Spengler. Which is basically Putinism. A strong government or leader that essentially reigns for several decades, establishing strong Conservative rule that usually gets the economy back on track, solves the anti-social disorder crisis and brings safety back onto the streets. I think for the West it is inevitable but the question remains first - will the West collapse like the Soviet Union did before Putinism starts to take hold or will the system snugly evolve into it?

If the current moment of anti classical liberalism wins out in this 4T, we will likely move toward a 1T with some sort of Politburo ruled by self appointed white savior's and certain portions of the most oppressed members of society, or more likely

The mob is coming for conservative culture but won't stop when they move into and beyond liberalism. We would go full third world

The nytimes has already been coopted, and the same thing could happen everywhere

f Trump wins then I could see a Putin style plutocracy emerge

You are missing a few things.  In the US, where the conservative rural party has the advantage though most turnings, enough real problems build up that the new values take firm hold over the old for a time.  The old values, be it adherence to kings, slaveholding, dictators or racism never really recovers.  Also, there is a tendency towards ‘a new birth of freedom’.  This time around, police racism seems to be the primary target, but it likely won’t end there.

I do not doubt that we will see a strong government for a few years.  The crisis will be handled.  The people will accept that loyalty to the community sometime overwhelms hedonism.  No matter how much joy one gets from not wearing a mask, other’s lives just might count for more.   Those who think otherwise will be shamed into submission.  Did I mention that the crisis would be handled?  This will not be forever, but it will be for long enough.

Yes, The NY Times has seen it early, as did the abolitionists in their time, and certain patriot publishers in theirs.  If you have not really got to know the new perspective, one ought to.  It is apt to hit like a ton of bricks.  Um, I don’t think you ought to resist.  You are apt to get assimilated.

Good reference to the Borg, which, thankfully, will not happen here.  It's not the case that we Americans are so high and mighty that we're immune to dictators and oligarchs.  It's really structural.  4 years of rule by a nut job is insufficient to kill our institutions entirely.  Suppress them? Yes, Trump's done that, but only that.  The Deep State exists, and you may wish to thank your chosen god for that.  Non-governmental institutions are also stronger than they appear, and for the same reason.

If this middle state between democracy and dictatorship continues for 15 - 20 years, worry then ... a lot!  Until then, we're making things worse before they can get better.  It's the American way.


RE: The Next Warrior Age - Right Under Our Noses? - pbrower2a - 06-27-2020

(06-26-2020, 03:08 PM)Isoko Wrote: This happens to all democracies eventually. If the rot grows too deep, they become like Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire that switched to long term Caesarism. If it is just a crisis but society itself relatively intact, then the Caesarism runs on the scale of Lincoln and Churchill, that is short term affairs.

All social orders are prone to rot -- social, economic, and moral. It is true for democracies, but even more for despotic and totalitarian regimes. you might be interested at some point in reading Toynbee's monumental  A Study of History that documents the history of the world with the civilization as a unit. Societies emerge from barbarity in a pioneer phase in which people easily establish informal institutions that cost little to maintain yet achieve much. Over time, complexity increases to the extent that it overpowers the ability of the common man to deal with it. In come the experts, and in a short time the experts become an exploitative elite that, although losing its creative talent, is able to enforce its dominance that allows it to abuse and exploit the masses. In the end the elite frustrates all efforts to reform a rotten order. Even if the elites are able to do inpressive things they have made talent for doing anything else superfluous. The system consumes its old resources in rearguard efforts to preserve itself, but for a society in that stage the game is done.   

Quote:Looking at the current prognosis for the West, I would say that we are in for a long period of Caesarism these time around. The societies in these countries are starting to fragment and slowly collide into major civil strife, meaning that this is going to be a long, drawn out affair requiring strong leadership in order to turn society back around again into something more functional.

We could be. The corruption of democracy is the first step to despotism such as Caesarism. I don't see the rot so set in that it can be undone without Caesarism. On the other hand, when representative institutions of government represent wealth and bureaucratic power (think of Mussolini's Corporate State so designed), it practically takes a Caesar to at best slow the rot. Solving inequality at the expense of political freedom and freedom of cultural creativity is a raw deal for a society.

Quote:Now whatever happens after the Caesar period, whether classical democracy returns to full point or the eventual civilisation collapses is another question entirely.

It may not be classical. Note well that we have three trends going that can make a mess of everything:

1. the prospective end of scarcity in which methods of command and control associated with the Industrial Era are no longer effective.
2. The Singularity, when machine intelligence surpasses that of the most creative and intelligent people.
3. Anthropogenic global warming (AGW) , which stands to cause great food shortages and mass uprooting and dislocation of hundreds of millions of people.

I look at the maps of projections of AGW, and I see the worst effects coming into play around 2100.


RE: The Next Warrior Age - Right Under Our Noses? - Isoko - 06-28-2020

Pbrower,

I have read Toynbee and his analysis does seem to fit in with Spengler and his theory. Overall I think that what we are seeing is the return of Caesarism and Donald Trump is in essence the first step, as is Brexit. If I'm honest, I think after Trump and when Brexit is finished will be more demands from the general public to take a strong hand on policy making, particularly as the economy continues its slow spiral downward.

I already know that in Britain, the main opposition is now the right wing in terms of what I call 'dissident thinking'. Its something in between civic nationalism and basic alt right ideas, without the ethno-nationalist jargon thrown in. I see non-white right wingers siding with the white right wingers basically asking the same thing: End mass immigration, stop political correctness, bring back family values, stop aiding the third world, banish Islam, etc, etc.

Looking at the UKIP phenomenon where that party was able to heavily influence the mainstream Conservative Party into running the Brexit referendum in the first place, I fully expect under the FPTP system, new right wing parties start to win seats, pressure the mainstream to act and the society goes even further right wing as a result.

I think the vandalising of Churchill's statue and the Cenotaph just went too far for the Brits to stomach. 

The end result though is more Caesarism for the UK. Europe is pretty easy, they'll just vote for the Identitarian parties that I predict will actually start to get mainstream powers this decade. The continent tends to do 'revolution' more than the Brits.

My overall thoughts on the end result tend to be a belief that easily tapped resources are going to start running out or hitting major peak extraction this century, bringing an end to the industrial age we have lived under. Less resources means less global travel, less production of consumer goods and more focus on local communities in order to survive.

I wouldn't be surprised if the global village experiment starts to die out later on this century with most people living lives similar to their ancestors. I predict a huge boom in farming as the main economy sometime down the road.

Either way, Caesarism is going to be there to make sure the people adapt to these changes as suddenly not being able to buy a car or fill your shopping basket with lots of items like before is going to drive alot of people mad.

As for AGW, if I'm honest I think the changes won't be as fast as predicted. I'll doubt we'll see the Netherlands under water in 100 years if I'm honest. But what I think is going to happen is the climate is going to get warmer and this could lead to ecological implications for many countries, particularly in agriculture. Europe will get greener and be good for farming but winter will die out as we know it. Russia though will still have colder winters but better temperature for farming.

As for mass migration, if it continues, you end up with a Eurabised/Africanised Western Europe with the remaining natives fleeing into Eastern Europe and Russia. What happens then is basically a new version of the Middle East drama played out in Europe with Russia and EE as Israel and the once West as Palestine.

Basically a new century of war in Europe. So let's hope for the sake of the environment, world leaders can come up with concrete solutions on how to tackle this crisis in the long term.


RE: The Next Warrior Age - Right Under Our Noses? - pbrower2a - 06-29-2020

(06-28-2020, 10:54 AM)Isoko Wrote: Pbrower,

I have read Toynbee and his analysis does seem to fit in with Spengler and his theory. Overall I think that what we are seeing is the return of Caesarism and Donald Trump is in essence the first step, as is Brexit. If I'm honest, I think after Trump and when Brexit is finished will be more demands from the general public to take a strong hand on policy making, particularly as the economy continues its slow spiral downward.

I already know that in Britain, the main opposition is now the right wing in terms of what I call 'dissident thinking'. Its something in between civic nationalism and basic alt right ideas, without the ethno-nationalist jargon thrown in. I see non-white right wingers siding with the white right wingers basically asking the same thing: End mass immigration, stop political correctness, bring back family values, stop aiding the third world, banish Islam, etc, etc.

Looking at the UKIP phenomenon where that party was able to heavily influence the mainstream Conservative Party into running the Brexit referendum in the first place, I fully expect under the FPTP system, new right wing parties start to win seats, pressure the mainstream to act and the society goes even further right wing as a result.

Just think of Trump in America and Bolsonaro in Brazil, except that those are comparatively racist within their own countries. Both are disasters due to COVID-19.

Right-wingers normally have the objective of ensuring an abundant supply of cheap, unorganized, expendable labor to which the owners and executives owe nothing. To be sure, Trump did not give the American Hard Right what it wished for in eviscerating unions, destroying welfare, and privatizing the public sector to monopolistic gougers. That will take someone else.  


Quote:I think the vandalising of Churchill's statue and the Cenotaph just went too far for the Brits to stomach. 


Churchill had his faults; he was a racial bigot and he was very wrong on Indian independence. On the other hand, the UK was one of the few European countries to come out of WWII with its Jewish population intact. Churchill did read Hitler right.


Quote:The end result though is more Caesarism for the UK. Europe is pretty easy, they'll just vote for the Identitarian parties that I predict will actually start to get mainstream powers this decade. The continent tends to do 'revolution' more than the Brits.


Probably not. The generational cycle is in operation in the UK, and as in the USA it tends to force the country to be what it needs to be at the time and keeps it from going too far in one direction. A society that gets stuck in a Crisis Era that it can never shake off is the real-life Soviet Union, the high-tech feudalism of Flash Gordon serials, the fictional Oceania of Nineteen Eighty-Four, the monstrous First Galactic Empire of the Star Wars saga,the vile aftermath of an Axis victory in The Man in the High Castle.  Get stranded in a 3T (Degeneracy/Unraveling), and you have a society going increasingly corrupt, inequitable, and depraved so that when a Crisis comes the political order is ill-prepared for it and collapses (Roman Empire?) An extended Awakening allows a society to descend into mysticism and intellectual speculation while neglecting what makes prosperity possible. An over-extended 1T? One gets a technological marvel devoid of humanistic values with numbing conformity.

To spoof the "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition" sketch -- nobody expects the cycle to turn, but it does. People are ill prepared for it, but that makes the responses genuine.   


Quote:My overall thoughts on the end result tend to be a belief that easily tapped resources are going to start running out or hitting major peak extraction this century, bringing an end to the industrial age we have lived under. Less resources means less global travel, less production of consumer goods and more focus on local communities in order to survive.

We also have recycling. Our technology requires lesser material to do the same things. Mass is a good surrogate for the cost of raw materials and labor, and most obviously transportation costs; let's put it this way. You can actually carry a 25" flat-screen TV easily and could put it in the trunk of your car... but you could not carry a 25" console TV that needed a case to protect the vulnerable cathode-ray tube. Around 1980 one could get a 25", bare-bones console TV for about $600... and you can get a 25" flat-screen TV for about $100. The contemporary 25" TV is a far better machine than the expensive one from 1980. I have seen people praise vintage audio, but not vintage TV's.  

We are doing more with less material. That is practically the definition of technological progress. 


Quote:I wouldn't be surprised if the global village experiment starts to die out later on this century with most people living lives similar to their ancestors. I predict a huge boom in farming as the main economy sometime down the road.

One of the trends suggesting economic progress anywhere is that fewer people are farmers and farm laborers. To be sure, corporate entities have been squeezing out family farmers by making farm families offers that they can't refuse: that in return for land from which one gets a sub-par return one gets the funds with which to move to the Big City or its suburbs and send the kids (who do not want to be farmers anyway) to college so that they can be accountants, veterinarians, nurses, engineers, etc. ... Back-to-the-farm movements have typically had disappointing results. 


Quote:Either way, Caesarism is going to be there to make sure the people adapt to these changes as suddenly not being able to buy a car or fill your shopping basket with lots of items like before is going to drive alot of people mad.

A Caesar comes into play when the system is already in irrevocable failure. I infer from Toynbee that the Roman Empire was always a society always rotting, perhaps with some semblance of rousing itself from built-in rottenness that had appeared during the latter two centuries of the Republic. Toynbee sharply dismisses the idea that the Roman Era was a time of lost greatness; it at most offered an Indian Summer of sort-of-OK times such as the near-century era of the Antonine emperors. Then along comes Commodus to start the inevitable decay.


Quote:As for AGW, if I'm honest I think the changes won't be as fast as predicted. I'll doubt we'll see the Netherlands under water in 100 years if I'm honest. But what I think is going to happen is the climate is going to get warmer and this could lead to ecological implications for many countries, particularly in agriculture. Europe will get greener and be good for farming but winter will die out as we know it. Russia though will still have colder winters but better temperature for farming.

It is up to Humanity to slow the questionable advance of global warming. We are doing a poor job at that as a species. Motor vehicle use many be flat-lining in the US, Canada, western Europe, and Japan, but it is growing in Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia, China, and Russia... 

If you are to say "turn up the air conditioner", then waste heat pumped out of buildings as well as the energy used in pumping out the heat together intensify AGW. Air-conditioning a house in Dallas in July costs more than heating a house in Minneapolis in the winter. Minneapolis is just north of the zone in which people can get away  without air conditioning, but about a 3 C (roughly 5 F) increase in the July mean St. Louis, which has oppressive summer heat.      


Quote:As for mass migration, if it continues, you end up with a Eurabised/Africanised Western Europe with the remaining natives fleeing into Eastern Europe and Russia. What happens then is basically a new version of the Middle East drama played out in Europe with Russia and EE as Israel and the once West as Palestine.

The biggest contributors to any mass migration will be from South Asia and China. 

Quote:Basically a new century of war in Europe. So let's hope for the sake of the environment, world leaders can come up with concrete solutions on how to tackle this crisis in the long term.

Again, I see the harshest effects of AGW happening just in time for the Crisis of 2100.


RE: The Next Warrior Age - Right Under Our Noses? - Bob Butler 54 - 06-29-2020

(06-29-2020, 09:36 AM)pbrower2a Wrote: Churchill had his faults; he was a racial bigot and he was very wrong on Indian independence. On the other hand, the UK was one of the few European countries to come out of WWII with its Jewish population intact. Churchill did read Hitler right.

I read a story once that Churchill had a daydream in his youth that he would someday save the British Empire from a great evil that would threaten civilization. When Hitler came around, he recognized him, and sort of positioned himself to become that hero...


RE: The Next Warrior Age - Right Under Our Noses? - pbrower2a - 06-30-2020

(06-26-2020, 09:52 PM)Bob Butler 54 Wrote:
(06-26-2020, 03:08 PM)Isoko Wrote: This happens to all democracies eventually. If the rot grows too deep, they become like Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire that switched to long term Caesarism. If it is just a crisis but society itself relatively intact, then the Caesarism runs on the scale of Lincoln and Churchill, that is short term affairs.

Looking at the current prognosis for the West, I would say that we are in for a long period of Caesarism these time around. The societies in these countries are starting to fragment and slowly collide into major civil strife, meaning that this is going to be a long, drawn out affair requiring strong leadership in order to turn society back around again into something more functional.

Now whatever happens after the Caesar period, whether classical democracy returns to full point or the eventual civilisation collapses is another question entirely.

By Caesarism you seem to mean strong and competent leadership.  Yes, you have to be strong and competent to solve a crisis.  This is necessary for the duration of the crisis heart, but has recently relaxed with the cycles over the following turnings.

Strong leadership with constitutional and ethical restraints is good enough -- and perhaps better. Consider Sir Winston Churchill in Britain during the consummate danger of the Blitz: he got nearly dictatorial powers, but not those to kill rivals and dissidents or to rob his country blind. Churchill had bigger concerns that either enriching himself or suppressing potential opposition once things got normal. 

Beyond any question Trump falls far short of what most of us consider strong and competent leadership. The only good thing to say about the Trump Presidency is that it shows us what can go wrong and why the normal assumptions of our political tradition remain valid. Trump may be the most despotic personality that we have ever had as President, the classic right-wing authoritarian who causes the world to blow up if he gets his way, but along come the checks and balances. Having lost credibility, he is in command of nothing.     


Quote:It seems the prototype Grey Champion has to be willing to listen to his experts, who are in many past cases generals, but who may this time be doctors or police chiefs or city mayors.  He must have a vision of how it has got to end up, what the new birth of freedom must include.  He must have the ability to communicate that vision, that his people will contribute to it.

The common thread is "smart, knowledgeable people whom we can trust with such authority as they get". The best Presidents are typically attorneys, and before you say "Truman" or "Eisenhower", then consider that Truman is exactly the sort of person who would have gone to Law School had he been born sixty years later, and Eisenhower would have been a fine attorney... except that we are fortunate to have had him planning D-Day so that there would be room for appellate courts in an America that conquered Tojoland and most of Hitlerland instead of being conquered by them. Eisenhower at the least knew who the experts were on the biggest issues of his Presidency, and he deferred rightly. 

The attorneys are the generalists, but they at their best know their limitations. They can do many things, but they know enough to leave generalship to generals, accountancy to accountants, engineering to engineers, research science to research scientists, medicine to physicians and officials of public health, agronomy to agronomists (and farmers!), marketing to business, and the arcane areas of academia to academics. They may be able to arbitrate between conflicting visions. Attorneys and courts are expensive ways to get things done, but they are at least definitive.     


Quote:I will note Caesar lived in the Agricultural Age.  Autocracy was the norm.  Yes, a few Greek city states and Rome under the senate flirted with variations on democracy, but for the most part kings or autocracy was the norm.  Lincoln and Churchill lived in the Industrial Age, in culture where democracy was much more the norm.

...and we may be entering a post-industrial age. But that is no excuse for pathological leadership. 

Trump is nearly the antithesis of a Grey Champion, someone unable to mitigate disputes between people with conflicts. He stifles vision instead of seeking it, and he really has no vision other than his primitive drives. To be sure, most great leaders have some level of narcissism, and that is true of Lincoln, FDR, and Churchill. Trump is simply off the chart with his narcissism, so far that he has entered the dark zone of sociopathy.     


Quote:Your leader must be strong and competent enough to handle the crisis, but the government is not so strong or competent again until the next crisis.

Unless COVID-19 mutates into something even more insidious (more contagious or lethal), then the Crisis of 2020 is much closer to its end than to its beginning. Of course it is easier to see into the past than into the future. I well have known people as old when I was born (1891) as I am now, and I do not well know the current infants. I hope that I will live long enough that infants born in 2020 will get to know me and get to have a positive image of me... the latter is less certain than the first, by the way. Based on all but one of my grandparents and both parents living into their eighties (the other was a diabetic who somehow lived to age 67 -- and she had it bad), people born in 2020 may know me in 2084 as they do not know the infants of 3084. But back to this Crisis Era. After Trump (and he will not be re-elected), we will have leadership far more competent. If Joe Biden isn't barking out commands like a Grey Champion he will be able to get several Grey Champions to establish themselves in their areas of expertise and competence. That may be the best that we can ask for -- and that may be adequate. When the answers to the Crisis are provably adequate and the wider community accepts those, then the Crisis is clearly in its end stage. 

Today the lethal enemy isn't Hitler or Tojo. It's a damned virus. Forcing Hitler and Tojo out of office (by driving the latter to suicide and making Tojo a failure even to his own clique) is adequate for the denouement. Defeating SARS-2 (the technical name for the virus) will require extermination of the virus -- which may be trickier. This said, we can all see behaviors likely to  kill or cripple people and behaviors that stop the spread of SARS-2. No noble and necessary deed spreads SARS-2. In principle we are all warriors in a struggle against what I predict will be the "Entity of the Year" of 2020, an insidious and dangerous disease: 

Just don't contract or spread it!       

Nobody must charge any machine-gun emplacements. No Rangers need climb Pointe du Hoc to get mowed down by Nazi machine-gun fire until the Nazis run out of bullets and must then surrender. Nobody needs work an oil tanker with the knowledge that he will be burned alive if the tanker is struck by a torpedo. Nobody needs face anti-aircraft fire that can cause one's fighter or bomber aircraft to crash and burn. Nobody needs fear being worked to death on starvation rations on the Burma Railway on behalf of Japanese thugs trying to consolidate their short-lived conquests. Nobody needs fear, if Jewish, that if captured by the Wehrmacht that he will be turned over to the SS for summary execution or shipment to a murder camp.

Yes, the COVID-19 world is a lonely, boring, frustrating world. But we all know what is worse: getting COVID-19 and being scared of a horrible and pointless death. The last large living group of American soldiers -- those of the Vietnam era -- now face a danger far greater than what the Vietcong and North Vietnamese Army ever posed. Viruses do not kill as quickly as mines (and that accounts for many of the "missing in action) or bullets... but they are more subtle in their kills.      


Quote:Now I have used ‘autocracy’ much as you have used ‘Caesarism’.  To me it means a culture has not fully grown out of the Agricultural Age and taken full advantage of the Enlightenment values of human rights, equality and democracy.  They have not really grown into the full Industrial Age format.  They are still addicted to the old pattern, leadership of, for and by a few elites.

Note well that Germany and Japan were industrial societies in the 1930's, and they repudiated the virtues of the Enlightenment. I am cutting no slack for the Japanese, who did get a strong exposure to the western Enlightenment, even getting a taste of liberal democracy and accepting the relevance of Western art (actually the Japanese had an influence upon Western art) and classical music while adopting European- and American- style industry. 

Germany and Japan both reverted to the Enlightenment values that their leaders rejected in the Crisis of 1940. I can say this: I would trust the Germans and Japanese on the whole far more than I trust those Americans 

[Image: 220px-Children_with_Dr._Samuel_Green%2C_...C_1948.jpg]

who just three years after America defeated the gangster leadership of Germany and Japan showed their similar contempt for Enlightenment values. Yes, I have far more in common with a Japanese liberal than with an American fascist. Better the sutras of Buddhism than the Kloran of the KKK, let alone a kimono than a KKK robe.


Quote:And autocracy is a bug, not a feature.  It means the culture is behind.  It will struggle to compete against other cultures.


The autocratic bug does not go away. It returns, and it can exploit the economic stresses of a post-industrial world in which the comforting certainties of the industrial world are no longer available. Just think of Donald Trump in the last country in which one would expect a dictator. 


Quote:But this does not imply that during a crisis one doesn’t or shouldn’t do what you have to do.  We will for a time have a strong and competent crisis government.  We will handle the crisis.  If not we will keep getting stronger and more competent until we do solve the crisis.

The generational cycle brings us as a society out of the rut that we cannot stay. Those who stay in the rut contrary to the collective that sees no viable alternative become irrelevant and eventually die off. 3T ways will absolutely not lick COVID-19. Freeing ourselves from COVID-19 will take Crisis-style behavior, including economic regimentation, structural reforms, and great personal sacrifices. Just think of what might have befallen us had we not done what was necessary for defeating Hitler and Tojo:

[Image: th?id=OIP.Bcus4rWSsdVa90hn1nqjMwHaFj&pid...=136&h=102]

(Auschwitz)

perhaps translated from German Newspeak to English Newspeak  as "WORK FREES YOU", but as usual words transformed into lies in their own right. Orwell learned as much about Newspeak from the Nazis as from the Stalinists... Work no more freed inmates of Nazi concentration camps than did labor on a plantation in the slave-era South. This said, the slave-masters of the antebellum South never pretended that toil would ever free a slave. Nobody got freed from Auschwitz until the Soviet Army reached it.


Quote:And then, thus far, we have relaxed into the high mentality, and we are not so strong and competent again until the crisis comes around.

I beg to differ -- it looks more like an attempt to revive the 3T mentality. It's when people recognize that the 3T mentality leads only to more or worse Crisis that we are headed into the 1T and can soon let our guard down in a time that operates under very different rules that everyone recognizes are different and necessary. 


Quote:I would just watch yourself basing your pattern of how things work on the Agricultural Age.  As a progressive, I view the cultures of the time as badly flawed, and most of the crises that have happened since removed flaws that used to be an accepted common practice.  It was a struggle to get rid of kings, slave owners, dictators, etc…. Don’t assume that it is a nature of civilizations to revert to the bad old days.  We are still growing out of it.  The rejection of racist violent policing is a example of how and why elements of the old days will suddenly be focused on and removed.  That is what ‘a new birth of freedom’ is about.

No culture is without its flaws. No subculture (just think of people with Asperger's syndrome who have a subculture of their own, and it is definitely not for any other people -- and who would ever want to join it! It is lonely, inscrutable, and frustrating... and offers only one positive, to wit that we are less likely to be dependent on drugs or alcohol) is perfect. 

It is safe to assume that the Germans and Japanese are not reverting to the Bad Old Days. The problem here is that Donald Trump seeks to lead us into Bad New Days. He is as much a revolutionary as Samuel Adams...  but Samuel Adams at least had more rationality and more virtues. Trump offers the wrong revolution for America.

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Autocracy and being like Caesar are bad signs.  They have to be stomped on when the chance comes round.

If we do not stop autocracy here, then someone else will need to extinguish it here with great loss of human life -- perhaps greater than the loss of human life in World War II. We are responsible for our political choices in a representative democracy. Mercifully we have checks and balances that we have used against a would-be despot.