I just finished reading Martin Van Creveld’s The Rise and Decline of the State, a scholarly tome covering a good portion of world history. As a military historian, his themes are war and waging war is a primary goal of the state. But the state has peaked and is in decline; evidence for this is the abject failure of the most powerful states to successfully subjugate virtually stateless areas. The US lost in Vietnam and certain hasn’t won in Iraq or Afghanistan. The Soviet Union lost in Afghanistan. Even Israel — perpetually at war — finds the suppression of it enemies no better than a whack-a-mole project. The greatest tools in contemporary conflict — once the tank divisions are wiped out — remains a man with a rifle and a radio. Pretty low tech.
Creveld foresees powers afoot that supersede the state – everything from the rise of modern telecommunications and mass media to global corporations who shift money, resources and jobs around the globe with not a wink toward state based loyalty. In the European Union member states cannot even control immigration or commerce. The fate of the state does not look bright at all from this perspective.
However — and this is where it gets interesting — he does not portray a grand new order of things. Rather one in which the masters of this global order (those at the very top) will do quite well and those at the bottom will not.
He looks at the decline of state sponsored education, prisons (with privation), growth of Private Military companies (from prison guards, to rent-a-cops to Blackwater), the loss of universal military conscription (are professional soldiers mercenaries? Are mercenaries just retired soldiers working for the same government?). The growth of “user fees” in governmental functions including hunting licenses, access to parks, garbage collection, even public schools (the rich don’t send their children to public schools). Even the instruments of violence are no longer a monopoly of the state with the rise of gated communities, guard services, and the aforementioned security contractors.
And the state appears no more to be and arbiter of global forces (from CNN to the UN, from Google Apple and Ford to industrial farming). So within and without, the state is in decline.
In the end (which has been, and always will be, fast approaching) the little schmucks will get the shaft. I’ve talked about the end of the middle class for two decades — and it’s terminus is marked with the beginning of the decline of the State (which Creveld marks at 1975). Those great factory jobs are in China or Mexico and no, you really are not better off for it. And neither, by the way, are the displaced Mexicans or Chinese who toil for a hidden master stripped from their lands and farms and houses. Who makes the money? The rich get richer — it’s all moving toward the top 1%. It’s not moving toward the middle of the lower end of things and no, your life is not better because Walmart sell cheap stuff and your house a is bigger than your grandparent’s.
Is there hope? Yes, there is hope in chaos and rebirth.
Witness Europe — the bottom is dropping out of the European experiment as a global repository of progressive universalist thought. Self deceit is now face to face with the invading barbarian hordes. And they are deciding that “they” are not “us” and never will be. That is dangerous and healthy all at once. They “states” in Europe are all befuddled on what do to. The European Union rushed to surrender, the global corporations don’t give a rats you know what. What does that do for the average German, Swede or Frenchman? The little schmucks? They seethe in anger and it won’t go well.
Who will the state protect? Angry Germans? Or the invading hordes?
No, people really are not the same all around the world. I’ve lived around the world and there’s no place like the American I grew up in. It’s a special place, perhaps a product only of specific set of historical experiences, but men fought to create that special set of historical experiences and I think we will once again.
The “progressive” deceit, the American and European hubris — is that everyone wants to be like us and that we have the power to make “them” like “us.” This project is faring badly. They don’t want to be like us.
Part of American’s problems (at least the policy makers and university professors) is they believe their own lies and propaganda — no, not every Arab or Pashto woman wants to vote. No, they don’t necessarily want three branches of government or freedom of speech. But they are stupid either, they want to take advantage of everything Europe developed (like welfare) without becoming part of that civilization.
Once the sorting out starts it won’t be pretty. We really aren’t nice people when it comes right down to it — war is something Europeans excel at.
In the end, it is always us and them. It always has been and it always will be. That is how we are human. For the diversity crowd out there all I can say is that the only way everyone gets along is when one side loses — either they are exterminated or their culture is entirely subjugated. The “project” now against ISIS is both.
Find your tribe. Figure out how to bond and care for each other. Become more dependent upon your tribe because God knows the State won’t care for you nor will Google or Ford or Microsoft — we’re all two weeks away from being outsourced to the next cheapest labor source.t
As these states fail — and they are failing — the temptation of the bureacracies to turn against domestic “threats” will grow. Bureaucracies exist to expand their power. If they target isn’t outside any more, they’ll find targets at home to justify their existence. “Anti-government” folks are a good target because they aren’t going to be accuse of being “racist” or “Islamophobic.”
They won’t be going after black folks burning down midwestern towns (Ferguson) and they won’t be targeting Mexicans working for the cartels on the SW border. Those folks are “minorities” and “migrants.” Hate to say it, but we’ve got to stop believing this propaganda. You can figure out very well who the “anti-government extremists” will be and Americans have been conditioning to be at war against “extremism” since George Bush was president.
Find your tribe. Don’t apologize. Raise your children to be strong. Be prepared. Winter is coming.