Guest Post: Breaking Points: Recognizing The Signs Of Painful Cultural Shift

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Submitted by Brandon Smith from Alt- Market

Breaking Points: Recognizing The Signs Of Painful Cultural Shift

 

Through the ages, nations and cultures of spectacular proportion and prominence have risen to prosperity, and fallen to chaos, on very particular and fundamental principles. In some cases, these great and terrible declines have taken centuries to culminate (as was the story of the Roman Empire), and only a few years in others (the Soviet Union comes to mind). In every example of societal destabilization, however, there were many signs of danger long before the final plunge; some unique to each particular culture, and some common to all. One of the most enduring and frightening similarities between crumbling nations is an overwhelming belief amongst the people that they have somehow “advanced” beyond the need for concern. Each self-destructing society presumed itself invincible. Each country thought itself the pinnacle of human potential, only to discover yet again that in abandoning or subverting the principles of freedom, and the bedrock pillars of conscience, reason, and wisdom, they had become merely another footnote in a long marathon of footnotes.

Ultimately, the vast and sordid history of collapse could be summarized simply as a series of breaking points; moments at which opposing ideals and forces hyperextend the prevailing mechanics of a system, changing it entirely.

Some of these events have produced surprising strides of understanding and political progress, as prevailed after the American Revolution. Others led to dark and mindless collectivist nightmares that fog men’s eyes and hearts, as that which occurred after the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. The difference is one of focus. Imperialist (elitist) ideologies were deemed unacceptable in both revolutions, but the tides of each conflict leaned towards entirely separate values. Individual liberty in the West, and collective safety and sacrifice in the East. In America, the uprising was led by common men and the target was clear. In Russia, the uprising was led by elitists posing as common men, and the target was obscured. In America, much of the public assumed roles as arbiters and political engineers. In communist Russia, much of the public was oblivious to such responsibility, and only subject to engineering. Two revolutions in the name of ending tyranny with two entirely different initial outcomes…

I bring up these opposing paradigms not to spark another endless debate over the merits of communism versus capitalism, but to highlight a growing potential for a new brand of revolution in modern day America, now cutting through the surface, which may very well culminate in one of the two finales described above. More perhaps than any other time memorable, centralist and statist visions are today clashing with individualist and Constitutionalist pleadings for sanity. The air grows heavy and ripe for ignition. More even than any economic indicator, social indicators point in the direction of conflict and widespread malfunction. The question of “if” in terms of citizen dissent and the inevitable lashing response of government is no longer asked. Now, the question of “when” has risen to the surface.

To predict the exact timing of a breaking point is impossible, but there are signals to watch for; social and political attitudes to monitor and examine. After analyzing the shifts of multiple nations and cultures over thousands of years of human record, a pattern does, indeed, emerge. Similar developments in our times should not be taken lightly…

1) The Rise Of Moral Relativism

Inherent conscience is a vital artery to a healthy society. When that artery is cut, entire structures and peoples die. There is no way around this, as history has shown. Cynics, often utilizing a highly limited understanding of the processes of mass psychology and individual psychology, tend to confuse the word “conscience” with the concept of taboo. Taboos are man-made morals, and are commonly applied as a method of social control by oligarchs and collectives, just as many laws are created to appease sometimes dubious bureaucracies. Conscience is NOT man-made, but an inborn process that human beings draw from unconsciously, and which true honor, compassion, and sincerity are derived. Conscience is an intuitive product, not intellectual.

Moral relativism, by comparison, is a kind of emotional inhibitor which allows people to mechanize their thinking, and rationalize any activity no matter how despicable, as long as that activity is rooted in a “logical” framework. Logic, however, is limited…

Interestingly, there are some forms of theoretical mathematics which allow false conclusions to be presented as fact, and this same methodology of fuzzy logic is consistently used by moral relativists to achieve the “appearance” of reason. At bottom, intellectual prowess accomplishes little without the disciplines of experience, emotion, and insight. Cultures which widely abandon the guidelines of conscience always find themselves subject to collapse, whether economic or political. Without the ability to feel empathy for the victims of one’s actions, any disaster becomes possible.

2) The Displacement Of Cultural Subsections

A society that maintains healthy appearances by purposely displacing and marginalizing certain belief systems or political stances is by its very nature self-destructive. For progress to be made, inclusion of ideas is paramount. Ideas must be allowed to stand on their own merit and not be victimized by the biases of an elite minority, or in some instances, an ignorant majority. Strong and meaningful ideas must be given space to thrive while bad ideas must be allowed to fall to the wayside. This happens when open discussion is given fair play. Suppression of discussion, whether by force or by stealth, leads to an inability of the people to form a true identity. Forced consensus ends not in stability, but in madness.

3) Distraction Over Substance

Distracted people are uncaring people. A nation distracted by its own immediate desires over the concerns of the future is completely incapable of acting in its own best interest. Distraction comes in many forms, from vapid entertainment, to disinformation, to war and economic uncertainty. While most people are more than able to produce their own distractions, often governments will lend a helping hand in order to dissuade the masses from participation in the decision making processes. This includes the dilution of educational options and/or the co-option of the educational system altogether.

You will find that in nearly every collapse of modern times, the citizenry found themselves surprised and shell shocked despite numerous and easily identifiable warnings. You will also find that the stunned populace was usually obsessed with any existing method to avoid involvement in the workings of the system in which they lived. They were caught off guard because, in the end, they were more comfortable not knowing the details. Comfort at the price of vigilance ends in devastation.

4) When Law Becomes Tyranny

Law, at least as far as the fundamentals are concerned, is designed to protect citizens as well as authorities from undue actions and accusations. At its best, law shields us from our own follies, which may include the allowed ascension of poor leadership. At its worst, law is no longer used as a tool for protecting the public from error and malice, and is instead used as a tool for enslavement.

When a culture elevates and worships law over the contents of their own consciences, the abuse of law for the sake of control is imminent. Law does not trump heart, yet many past societies have been convinced to follow immoral laws all while mistaking their actions for “civic duty”. When law becomes infallible, fallible government becomes god, and no nation will ever be able to sustain such a delusion of grandeur for very long without reaping catastrophe.

5) Force Over Reason

Force is used only in two instances within a domestic political environment; when a controlling entity seeks to acquire or maintain power after fear and disinformation have failed, and when a rebellious public seeks to undo the wrongs done and reason has gone ignored. A nation run by dishonest men is already a supreme candidate for extreme collapse, but when despots turn to violent policies to silence dissent, you can be sure that conflict is soon to follow. The level of this tension will be readily visible in the militant presence of the government in public buildings, on the roads, and even in the neighborhoods of the citizenry. A standing army upon the soil of a country, regardless of supposed rationale, is a recipe for a breakdown that goes far beyond the more manageable effects of financial distress and into the realm of lasting and vicious war.

6) False Paradigms And Mistaken Enemies

A country near bedlam is usually filled with people seeking not just answers, but someone, anyone, to blame. This need for “justice” can be very misguided, and results in the projections of our own terrors onto innocent bystanders. Collapse is very often preceded by a swelling wave of attacks, usually directed at groups contrary to the majority belief. Political parties become factions. Ideals become battle cries. Fervor for retribution takes over. All the while, the true culprits (who are normally not a part of either side) sit back, relax, and turn the public in on itself. A frantic nation is an easily manipulated nation. Divided and fragile, such systems degrade while the source of the problem remains hidden.

7) Desperation And Loss Of Will

A culture on the verge of sliding into full spectrum disintegration is generally not very chipper, however, when this despair results in the handing over of personal liberty for the sake of so called “security”, an avalanche of regret and wild compensation in the form of moral relativism results. No matter what the state of a nation and its people, the will to move forward and to act for the betterment of the future can and does change everything. The blackest days of dread and ill omen are no match for man’s ability to endure when he holds the truth dear. No obstacle is insurmountable. No enemy unbeatable. But, when that will is lost, so too is everything else.

The concentration and frequency of the above elements can easily reveal the point at which a country is in respect to collapse. America now has many of these diseases at one stage or another, and in certain ways, has surpassed historic examples to form a never-before-seen dynamic for global turmoil. Currently, citizens are turning in greater and greater numbers to activism and protest, but the focus has moved away from the elites (central bankers and globalists) who deserve the largest portion of the public’s ire. We have allowed deflections to go unchecked for too long, and the unwillingness of arbitrarily delineated sides (false Left and false Right) to reconcile at least until the larger threat is removed is setting our culture in motion into the depths of a nightmare we are not ready to handle. Such loss has happened before, and, through courage, understanding, and tenacity, it has also been undone before. The choice is ours. It always has been.