The End of Western Civilization

So a couple of decades ago, Francis Fukuyama famously pronounced:

“with the ascendancy of Western liberal democracy—which occurred after the Cold War (1945–1991) and the dissolution of the Soviet Union (1991)—humanity has reached not just … the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such: That is, the end-point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government”.

Well, there’s one of those “didn’t age well” predictions. Frankly, after reading too much of the COVID-19 threads, and some other stuff about China and wokeness, I just had one of those moments: Western “civilisation” is done for. Undermined in its entirety and thrown on the scrapheap. Everything that the West has worked towards, on and off, for the last 2000 years or so, thrown under the COVID-19 bus. I’m posting this, I suppose, as a sanity check. Am I (as one poster suggested) stuck in a Russian propaganda loop? Just depressed? Or is this actually happening?

I’ve noticed a growing number of people - not just here but “out there” in the real world - who simply take The West for granted. They have no idea of the storied history and the winding path of philosophy that brought us freedom, technology, political stability, and relative peace. They are clueless about economics, science, math, ethics, or indeed any of the academic knowledge that dropped out of the Age of Enlightenment (and, to a large extent, the age of Socrates and Plato). In short, the West is about to descend into a new Dark Age of superstition, ignorance, fear, and demagoguery.

In the meantime, China is still on the ascendant. This really means only one thing.

They’ve won. It’s game over. All your base are belong to us.

Now, I would be slightly mollified if, somewhere in the back rooms, a letter from Xitler had made its way to various heads of State, along these lines:

"China has not forgotten, and today we will heap upon you the same ignominious defeat that you inflicted upon us, many years ago. Our nuclear capability is adequate to cause you great pain, and this we will do. We care nothing for our own people, who will in any case die willingly for the Motherland, and a nuclear attack on China would do little to make it look any worse. We therefore have no fear of your retaliation. You, on the other hand, have sentimental feelings for your subjects and will do anything to avoid nuclear war.

We therefore offer you the option of honourable suicide. You will destroy your own economies and societies, rendering yourselves incapable of supporting your own populations. You will then submit to us, and pay us fealty, as we paid you. You have your pretext, so we believe this will be easy. Now do as your emperor commands, and kneel before Zod."

But I don’t think any such letter was ever sent. Xi must be laughing his undersized bollocks off right now: never in his wildest dreams would he have imagined it was so easy. We did this, to ourselves.

Have I lost the plot? Or am I really staring at Lady Liberty keeled over in the sand?

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Me, I’m kind of an optimist, except about Global Warming- I think we’ll just squeeze by, but it’ll be a close-run thing.

The West is a shit show for sure but I’m actually less optimistic than you because I think it’s not just the West that is in secular decline but rather the world.

China has significant problems of its own that it goes to great lengths to try to cover up. Its propaganda machine is the best in the world right now but propaganda is like morphine. It covers up the pain but doesn’t heal the wound.

There are also major problems that are global in nature and no country is insulated from those.

As for the prospect of war with China, the US is still vastly superior militarily. It could easily take China out, even with conventional means, because China lacks the force projection capabilities it needs to win a major conflict. China’s geography sucks and the reason the Japanese lost WWII will be one of the reasons the Chinese are destined to lose WWIII if it comes to that.

Xi can bet that the US will be so dysfunctional that it won’t pull the trigger, but that’s Russian Roulette. And if Xi plays Russian Roulette, it means he’s not anywhere near as smart as some people seem to think he is.

The Chinese do love gambling though, so anything’s possible. But if Xi has trouble with Winnie the Pooh, I’m not sure he’s going to like Dirty Harry.

The West is beginning to soon face reckoning for its imperialism that produced a lot of problems we see lingering in the world today.
China on the other hand is not going to be the saviour because they have a lot of deplorable records on human rights that still linger on since Mao and the CCP took over Beijing.

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Are you doing this because I said you sounded like a nazi? :roll:

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No, I was pondering on this a couple of days ago. However, it was your (and hamlet’s) complete inability to understand a rather straightforward logical and ethical argument that prompted me to write something about it.

You can only win a war if you know that’re you’re fighting one. The Chinese haven’t even kept it a secret: they’ve repeatedly referred to the US as the enemy and a threat. They’ve been fighting the US with their standard toolbox, and IMO they’ve not just been succesful: they’ve won. And they did it without firing a single missile. The West has simply dismantled itself, in the same way the USSR did.

I wasn’t referring specifically to the US, though: it’ll take some time for it to fall apart. I was thinking more of the UK, since I know a lot more about its past and present. I’m also mainly talking about ideology - the philosophical underpinnings of Western Civilisation - not economics or military strength. That has been torn to pieces, and the corpse stomped on. COVID-19 put the final nail in the coffin.

Remember that one aim of a war is to destroy the enemy’s morale. To crush them psychologically as well as physically. That has been achieved. Or more precisely, we’ve destroyed it by ourselves without even being aware that that’s China’s goal.

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you can become a proud boy! they are self-proclaimed “western chauvinists”.
their words, not mine.

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eh?

I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.

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If anything, Western democracy is in a lull. The momentum is now with China and the world is gravitating that way unless people wake up and see things clearly. People get very sensitive about this, especially those from the US who grew up under American exceptionalism. US is a fucking pus-filled shitshow at present

But it’s short sighted to see things they way they are as how they always will be. Post COVID, if the West Wakes up and reform, we can come together and win.

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I don’t really see a coherent argument here. The West is a shit show to be sure, but I think it’s a bit premature to claim that the West has “simply dismantled itself” Soviet-style. This really minimizes what the collapse of the Soviet Union was.

I think your comment about ideology versus economics and military strength is curious and I also don’t get the UK reference, as the sun set on the British empire a long time ago.

Finally, I think you’re giving way too much credit to China. Yes, China has been engaged in a cold war that greedy politicians and elites in the West have been all too eager to enable. But China also relies heavily on the West and there’s very limited evidence that it has enough domestic demand to escape the middle income trap. Hell, “dual circulation” hasn’t even been tested.

All in all, I think right now it’s way too easy to underestimate the strength of the West and overestimate the strength of China. Western society is less focused on projecting strength and stability; the CCP on the other hand, is obsessed with this.

The coming years are going to be tense and difficult, but like I said, I think the biggest challenges are global in nature and what’s really at risk is our modern civilization, not the powerful factions that exist within it.

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I don’t condone the atrocities of the CCP, but I admire their vision for the future. I see good things, and with the peace MAD has given us, I also see lasting peace until we enter an era of plentiful resources for all. I don’t fear a descent into ignorance or superstition either.

:roll_eyes:

Yeah. A totalitarian dystopia is wonderful thing to behold.

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Watching the US now made me appreciate how well the UK handled the fall from empire, basically until Brexit. We made the right reforms and rewrote the social contract after ww2. We stopped teaching about the empire in the 60’s and kept stable and prosperous.

US hasn’t necessarily fallen , but needs to make drastic reforms and rewrite the social contract and the way you view yourselves in the eorld. Because what you guys are doing, isn’t working

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As a dystopia china is more brave new world than 1984. That’s not an endorsement, but an addendum

Totally agree. The US is an embarrassing mess right now. At the same time, the structure of government and society is such that disagreements about the future are aired in public, and not always in a pleasant way.

Of course, that doesn’t guarantee that the outcome of these disagreements will be good, but it’s the way the system works.

Trump’s departure on January 20 will be a good start, even though I’m not hopeful for Biden specifically.

I think it’s a bit of both. But there’s no doubt that China is a totalitarian state, however it’s maintained.

Totalitarianism is a concept for a form of government or political system that prohibits opposition parties, restricts individual opposition to the state and its claims, and exercises an extremely high degree of control over public and private life.

A lot depends on where you live in China, and what your ethnicity is. Brave New World for the Han, 1984 for the Tibetans, etc.

As long as you are ethnic Han it’s looking bright. Carbon free energy independence, the embrace of transgenic technology, quantum computing and the geoengineering of recovered natural infrastructure.

Sometimes being totalitarian comes in handy. You can tell the wankers to F### off and proceed with a science based agenda based on probabilistic risk assessment.

The problem with totalitarianism, though, is you’re not always going to have competent or quasi-benevolent leadership. And you can’t get rid of them.

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Say what you will about the west. We may have done a lot of bad but we are also responsible for pretty much anything good, including dismantling bad institutions and norms.

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Somebody has been breathing way too much Chinese air and drinking too much Chinese water.

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