I've blogged about systemic collapse before, mostly relying on Joseph Tainter's work, The Collapse of Complex Societies (see my posts: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, and Part 6). Essentially, Tainter posited that societies become increasingly complex over time as they respond to threats or problems, but each ratcheting up of complexity reduces the resources available to combat a new threat or problem (essentially the law of diminishing returns) until one finally comes along that beyond the capacity of the society to endure at its level of complexity. At that point, the society will devolve into simpler forms until some homeostasis is reached, generally by the old society collapsing into smaller, more manageable chunks (i.e., the post Roman world), although sometimes the collapse can completely destroy the society (e.g., the late Mayan collapse or the collapse of the Chaco Canyon culture). We've been receiving a negative return on government spending for some time, and it may be that our debt-ridden society has reached the point of collapse due to the response to the coronavirus and subsequent economic shutdown.
But collapse will not necessarily be a peaceful process. I would encourage you to review a series of articles by a blogger calling himself Metallicman about the historical process carried out by progressive socialists when taking over a traditional society: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, and Part 6. The short version, however, is that it leads to genocides, ethnic cleansings, ideological cleansings, following similar steps:
- Demonize a class of people, and in the case of the United States this is white males, conservative Christians, or any others deemed to be "Deplorables".
- Promote that demonization into mainstream society.
- Normalize it to a point where pure hatred manifests (e.g., Black Lives Matter, Antifa).
- Create rallies and protests that will inflame the hatred.
- Then disarm the people so hated.
- Make lists and check them twice identifying the Deplorables.
- Round up the Deplorables or force them into cities (aka, ghettos).
- Torture, rape and/or kill the Deplorables and their families.
- Expand the imprisonment and killing to other segments of the population.
My personal belief is the result will not be a Soviet-style Amerika, but Balkanization. I have three reasons for this view. First, I believe that the U.S. will follow the trend line outlined about the Nephite nation in The Book of Mormon, which saw, prior to Christ's visit following his resurrection, the national leader assassinated by a secret cabal attempting to gain power. This cabal generated such antipathy, that they were driven out by other coalitions; but the damage had been done, and the Nephite nation fragmented along tribal lines.
Second, the United States is divided right now not only racially, ethnically, ideologically, and geographically (North East and Left Coast versus interior states, as well as urban versus rural), but there is also large economic divide between our elites ("the citizens of the world") and the working and middle class ("American citizens"). At best, these post-national elites are indifferent to nation-states or peoples; at worst, they are actively hostile toward Western civilization and white people. And for the very elite, they are so rich, so isolated from the human experience, that it is not clear whether they could identify with humanity even if they wanted. Trump tapped into this division between the elites and citizens, but it is now being overshadowed by certain of the other divisions.
Finally, in my opinion, the United States has become too large and complex to be governed by a single, central government at the same time as the people and states continue to cede power to the federal government. We had already entered a period of negative return on government and social spending, and probably have entered a Tainter-style collapse.
Anyway, below is my article from 2019. Enjoy.
Time to take a step back to the good old days: 1919. Although World War I ("The Great War") had officially ended, there was still widespread fighting throughout Europe, the Near East, and Russia as the Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman, and Russian Empires fell apart and new nations-states arose.
As part of the "Early Cold War," the Allies had moved troops into Russia to fight the Bolsheviks and support the White Russian faction, even as Communism was making serious in-roads into Western nations via both intellectuals at the top of the food chain and labor organizations representing people at the bottom. This initiated what has since been called the First Red Scare.
The Spanish Flu was still in full swing, and would eventually cause at least 50 million deaths worldwide, including 675,000 in the United States alone (out of a total population of about 103 million). Since the Spanish Flu mostly killed healthy young adults, that generation that was coming of age was particularly hard hit.
U.S. troops were returning from France to a nation that was going into recession as war contracts evaporated and the economy contracted. Decades of immigration had seriously strained ethnic relations in the United States, while promoting poor wages and working conditions that drove often violent labor disputes. Anarchist terrorists were setting off bombs across the nation. And to further strain labor and ethnic unrest, hundreds of thousands of Blacks had migrated from the Old South to Northern and Mid-Western industrial cities at the same time that Democratic President Woodrow Wilson was working to re-segregate the federal government (which had been integrated since Reconstruction).
One of the consequences of this unhappy state of affairs is what is termed the "Red Summer", "a series of approximately 25 'anti-black riots' that erupted in major cities throughout the nation in 1919, including Houston, Texas; East St. Louis and Chicago, Illinois; Washington, D.C.; Omaha, Nebraska; Elaine, Arkansas; Tulsa, Oklahoma; and Charleston, South Carolina." (See also here). The video below gives a pretty good summary of the situation:
Today, the "Red Summer" is described as unwarranted attacks on blacks led by "white supremacists." According to a Time Magazine article on the topic:
During that season, there were at least 25 major riots and mob actions across the country, according to Cameron McWhirter’s Red Summer: The Summer of 1919 and the Awakening of Black America. Hundreds of people, most of them black, were killed, and thousands were injured and forced to flee their homes.One of the worst riots was in Chicago, which ultimately left twenty-three Blacks and fifteen Whites dead.
The situation in Chicago was ripe for trouble.
So many newcomers [from black migration] at once strained the city's resources. "At the time, people in Northern cities—especially Chicago—saw it as an invasion," says John Russick of the Chicago History Museum.In Chicago, as well as other communities, Black troops, who had mostly fought under French commanders and with French soldiers, were returning from the war in Europe with a sense of "Liberté, Equalité, Fraternité" and a willingness (and the training) to fight back. “By the God of Heaven,” W.E.B. Du Bois said of returning veterans, “we are cowards and jackasses if now that the war is over, we do not marshal every ounce of our brain and brawn to fight a sterner, longer, more unbending battle against the forces of hell in our own land.”
The South Side neighborhoods to which black Chicagoans had been traditionally relegated were bursting at the seams. There was fierce competition for the existing apartments and homes, even though many of them were substandard.
Although modern sources seem to downplay the role that Communism played in these riots, it is clear that the belief that Blacks were conspiring with Communists played a role in the events that transpired. (And I'm not so sure that there wasn't communist or socialist influence since communists were active among French soldiers during World War I, and it is clear that by the early 1920s there was a close association between communist groups and black civil rights groups (see also this article and this article, the latter of which describes the Communist work in Alabama in the late 1920's)).
The spark that set off the Chicago riot was the drowning of a black youth named Eugene Williams. Williams had been swimming in Lake Michigan and had ridden a raft into an area reserved for whites to swim. A man on the shore started throwing rocks at Williams and he was struck by one, falling into the water where he drowned. Police that responded refused to arrest the man who had stoned Williams. Then, "[o]ne especially distraught black beachgoer pulled out a gun and fired into a knot of police. He was shot dead immediately."
The tale of Eugene's death and the shooting that followed angered groups of young white men. Some climbed into cars and began racing through major streets in the city's black neighborhoods, randomly firing at homes and businesses. Others armed themselves with guns, sticks and rocks and began marching up 35th street, assaulting any black person unfortunate enough to cross their path.But Blacks fought back, with groups of returning soldiers breaking into an armory to obtain weapons. The result was rioting, fighting, burning and looting that lasted almost two weeks. As Wikipedia summarizes:
Violence between mobs and gangs of both races lasted thirteen days. White mobs were led by ethnic Irish. The resulting 38 fatalities included 23 black people and 15 whites. The injured totaled 537, and 1,000 black families were left homeless. Other accounts reported 50 people were killed, with unofficial numbers and rumors reporting more. White mobs destroyed hundreds of mostly black homes and businesses on the South Side of Chicago; Illinois called in a militia force of seven regiments: several thousand men, to restore order.These dry facts don't really do justice to the actual situation. However, Harry Haywood's account, in his autobiography Black Bolshevik gives a bit better of a picture. He wrote:
... I went up to the Regimental Armory at Thirty-fifth and Giles Avenue because I wanted to find some of my buddies from the regiment. The street, old Forrest Avenue, had recently been renamed in honor of Lt. Giles, a member of our outfit killed in France. I knew they would be planning an armed defense and I wanted to get in on the action. I found them and they told me their plans. It was rumored that Irishmen from the west of the Wentworth Avenue dividing line were planning to invade the ghetto that night, coming in across the tracks by way of Fifty-first Street. We planned a defensive action to meet them.There seems to be a belief among some preppers that armed conflict, short of a civil war, would be near impossible; and that a civil war is extremely unlikely. For instance, the author of the Z Blog recently commented on the possibility of armed conflict in the United States, concluding that "[w]hen you start to puzzle through it, the probability of an old fashioned civil war is close to zero, while armed rebellion is in the single digits." He reasons:
It was not surprising that defensive preparations were under way. There had been clashed before, often when white youths in 'athletic clubs' invaded the Black community. These "clubs" were really racist gangs, organized by the city ward heelers and precinct captains.
One of the guys from the regiment took us to the apartment of a friend. It had a good position overlooking Fifty-first Street near State. Someone had brought a Browning submachine [sic] gun; he'd gotten it sometime before, most likely from the Regiment Armory. We didn't ask where it had come from, or the origin of the 1903 Springfield rifles (Army issue) that appeared. We set to work mounting the submachine [sic] gun and set up watch for the invaders. Fortunately for them, they never arrived and we all returned home in the morning. The following day it rained and the National Guard moved into the Black community, so overt raids by whites did not materialize.
Ours was not the only group which used its recent Army training for self-defense of the Black community. We heard rumors about another group of veterans who set up a similar ambush. On several occasions groups of whites had driven a truck at breakneck speed up south State Street, in the heart of of the Black ghetto, with six or seven men in the back firing indiscriminately at the people on the sidewalks.
The Black veterans set up their ambush at Thirty-fifth and State, waiting in a car with the engine running. When the whites on the truck came through, they pulled in behind and opened up with a machine gun. The truck crashed into a telephone pole at Thirty-ninth Street; most of the men in the truck had been shot down and the others fled. Among them were several Chicago police officers—"off duty," of course!
I remember standing before the Angeles Flats on Thirty-fifth and Wabash where the day before four Blacks had been shot by police. It appeared that enranged Blacks had set fire to the building and were attacking some white police officers when the latter fired on them.
Along with other Blacks, I gloated over the mysterious killing of two Black cops with a history of viciousness in the Black community. They had been found dead in an alley between State and Wabash. Undoubtedly they had been killed by Blacks who had taken advantage of the confusion to settle old scores with these Black enforcers of the white man's law.
Even if you can conjure a scenario in which a group revolts or the ruling class splits, resulting in a civil war of some type, it’s hard to imagine it being violent. For starters, rebelling against the local police department, much less the military is laughably implausible, given the disparity in firepower. Even small town cops these days have been militarized. They have assault units, armored vehicles, drones and electronic surveillance equipment. America is literally a police state now.And perhaps he is correct that an organized rebellion would be nigh impossible. But widespread and violent rioting? I think that easily within the realm of possibility. And like 1919, it may require neighborhoods to conduct armed patrols and ambushes to protect their inhabitants. It is silly to dismiss the possibility of organized violence even if you think that civil war is unlikely.
Rebellion would have to be guerrilla war, turning the weight of the surveillance state against itself. Instead of blowing stuff up, the rebellion of the future will be placing racist material in strategic locations, forcing the police to spend hundreds of man hours looking for invisible Nazis. More sophisticated tactics will require infiltration of ruling class assets, so rebels can easily and surreptitiously throw sand in the gears of the custodial state. The war will be fought in cubicles, not the streets.
Update (9/23/2019): One of the things that I forget to point out was that while the Chicago riot was described as being "whites" attacking "blacks," the reality is that it was Irish immigrants controlled by the Chicago political machine that attacked blacks.