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Home Important Posts A Tour of Our Decadent Civilization

A Tour of Our Decadent Civilization

Civilizations normally go through three stages; Barbaric, Vigorous and Decadent.

It's easy to find examples of barbaric and decadent civilizations. We can find all the barbaric civilizations to suit an entire faculty's worth of anthropologists in the Middle East. And then back home we can see the decadent civilization that employs their kind to bemoan the West.

Vigorous is what America used to be when it was moving west, producing at record rates and becoming a world power. Decadent is what it is becoming.

The barbaric civilization is the simplest of all. It runs on kinship. Pre-rational, it operates on explosions of emotion. It has no concept of enduring facts or objective reasoning. It holds life cheaply and kills casually. It loathes outsiders and has no universal laws. It is ruled by hierarchies which gain their position through brutality and trickery.

The decadent civilization has a million laws which it applies selectively. Its universal laws, inherited from a vigorous civilization, are so mired in legalisms as to be meaningless. The laws do not mean what they say. Instead they must be interpreted by a specialized caste. Everyone is always in violation of some obscure laws. Life depends on a lawless dispensation from the law.

The crucial task of the law is interpretation that keeps everyone from constantly being punished. This task is accomplished by lawyers, lobbyists and the politicians who are constantly adding more laws to fix the interpretations in the old laws creating a complex mass of contradictory information.

This holds true in every other area of life.

Interpretation is what the decadent civilization does best. While vigorous civilizations discover new things, decadent civilizations endlessly categorize and re-categorize them to accommodate intellectual fads.

The decadents are great categorizers. They know where everything should belong. They employ armies of bureaucrats to operate vast filing systems which never quite work as planned. They don't cure diseases. That's what vigorous civilizations do. But they do spend billions on medical record systems that never seem to be compatible with each other.

Decadents have a great deal of information and no idea what to do with it. The great task of decadent civilizations is a futile effort to organize all the information they have so that they can make use of it. The internet is the ultimate such mechanism and it is largely a failure as such. It has many entertaining and useful aspects, but it is actually becoming more disorganized with time, rather than less so. ObamaCare is another information organizational failure. So is the VA.

The decadent civilization is convinced that if it can amass enough information, its interpretations will be superior, but its information gathering techniques and its interpretative techniques are both fatally flawed by an inability to focus, by ideologically obsessions and societal corruption. Scientists may have more rapid access to more information, but the scientific community is more contaminated leading to worse results. Similarly, corruption undermines information gathering efforts from the start as projects are diverted to crony contractors by corrupt politicians.

Vigorous civilizations understand that a process must be kept clean by open debate. Decadent civilizations operate corrupt closed processes while convinced of their own innate superiority.

Decadent civilizations are less interested in discovering new things than in disproving old things. The corruption of the decadent civilizations handicaps its advancement. The middling talents at the helm rewrite history while justifying their misrule by denouncing the achievements of their vigorous ancestors.

Where the vigorous civilization disproves the old through its achievements, the decadent civilization considers the disproving of the old civilization to be an achievement in and of itself. Where the vigorous civilization outside its parent, the decadent civilization is still stuck fighting "Daddy".

If you examine our achievements today, they increasingly have much to do with the supposed social and intellectual progress we have made since the fifties. This progress is relative. It depends on how we view the fifties rather than what we actually have. Worse still, much of this progress is in outlook, rather than in reality. We are better because we are morally superior.

Despite the disdain for the past, decadent civilizations struggle to do more than deconstruct and then helplessly imitate the past. Chaotic deconstruction of past creative arts is followed by retro copying of them, first ironically and then earnestly. Nostalgia becomes the central industry of a civilization increasingly incapable of making its own culture.

The central cultural critique becomes updating older works to more politically correct forms. A classic character is made black or gay. Problems with diversity or sexism are tackled. The critic becomes a commissar whose job is to sanctify the transformation of an old politically incorrect work as politically correct. That is the role of the social justice warrior.

All this energy makes it appear as if there is cultural ferment when nothing is actually being produced. Instead older works are being "cleaned up" in keeping with new social values by a civilization that frantically chews up the past in a desire to forget the problems of the present.

People living in decadent civilization have a greater need for entertainment due to leisure time, extended adolescence and the breakup of the family. But their lack of meaningful work, family engagement and adult responsibilities leaves them increasingly less able to produce it. Instead they become children putting together pieces of stories that "Daddy" once told them while taking the credit.

Decadents confuse criticism and curation with creativity. They develop great sensitivity to everything from literary styles to foods. In a decadent society, everyone is a cultivated critic, but these critics value style over substance. Their criticism is a cultural signal rather than a mastery of technique. The decadent civilization is obsessed with taste as brand. It is sensitive to subtleties, but fails to see the large flaws in a work. Its creativity is microscopically innovative and macroscopically a failure. Its subtle refinements cannot compensate for the lack of vision.

In a decadent civilization, everyone can be a critic or a collector of something, even as no one actually produces anything new until there are more critics and collectors than creators.

The decadent civilization spends much of its time and effort in a battle against apathy. It is forever "raising awareness" about something or other. Its sophisticated messaging however creates apathy as quickly as it erases it. Its messaging becomes more short term and more hysterical. Everything is a crisis and every message is pitched at the highest possible level.

The outrage of today is quickly forgotten by the outrage of tomorrow. The organizers dream of sustaining awareness for real change only to dive into the next round of short-term messaging.

In a decadent civilization, everyone is always fighting a political battle, while the real changes are orchestrated by power groups behind the scenes and presented as fait accomplis to a bewildered public.And most of what is debated is a distraction from what truly matters.

Barbaric and decadent civilizations are both so dishonest that they are incapable of seeing their own lies.

The barbaric civilization simply does not understand the concept of a fixed truth. The minds of its people are capable of understanding it as an abstract notion, but not of holding it in their minds on a specific subjective matter of interest to them. A barbarian can understand that stealing is wrong, but not that robbing you is wrong.

A decadent however can understand that stealing from you is wrong, but not that stealing itself is wrong. The decadent civilization does not have fixed truths. Its people are trained to apply mores to subjective situations, much as barbarians do naturally. While barbarians can evolve from the fixed truth to the fixed value, the decadents have devolved by rejecting the fixed truth.

Fixed truths have been deconstructed and routed through a complex array of relativistic values. A decadent understands that murdering this baby right here is wrong, but can be taught that it is acceptable to trade parts of dead fetuses. For decadents in an information society, definitions are very important. Decadents and barbarians have an empathy that is triggered by cultural signals.

For barbarians, these signals are honor-shame kin-based. For decadents, the cultural signals are more complex group-based signals that are routed through complex intellectual justifications. These justifications naturally create their own unrecognized hypocrisies. Enemy civilians killed in a Republican's war are a horrific atrocity. Those killed in a Democrat's war don't exist.

Groups are politicized and every moral code is routed through an identity politics based on insecurity. There are no morals, only sides. Responses are emotional to shortcut rational reasoning. Decadents function like barbarians, not because they are barbarians, but because their minds have been wired in complex ways by brilliantly dishonest men in academia to reduce them to barbarians.

A major difference between vigorous and decadent civilizations is objectivity and long term thinking. Decadents are incapable of either while vigorous civilizations thrive on both. If decadent civilizations could engage in long term thinking, they wouldn't be doomed. If they could engage in objective reasoning, they wouldn't be slaves to the media machines under a lawless tyranny. 

The barbaric and vigorous civilizations speak little of sex and yet have high birth rates. Decadent civilizations are obsessed with sex and have few children. Perversions multiply in decadent civilizations, especially among the elites, who have the fewest morals, the most wealth and the greatest need for new taboos to violate. This is not a cause. It is only the symptom.

Gay marriage, like so much else, is the symptom of a decadent elite that confuses its own power and privilege with civil rights, that wants to legalize its illicit behaviors even though it only embarked on them because of their illicitness. In its perversity, it must find new taboos to violate each time an old one becomes socially accepted, before then embarking on a civil rights struggle to make its latest taboo socially acceptable so that one day it's gay marriage and the next it's men in dresses.

Barbarians have large families and a tolerance for limited personal space. They speak loudly, are more casual about the deaths of their children, and view success in terms of power. Decadents speak softly, have a high need for personal space, have small families while playing helicopter parents and view success in terms of their own unattainable happiness. Vigorous civilizations have medium sized families, speak loudly, view success in terms of personal accomplishment, are not too concerned about personal space and value their children while allowing them to take risks.

Decadents want emotional rewards without commitments. As a result they are constantly unhappy. They pursue happiness as if it were a quality that could be permanently obtained through the right techniques, rather than a shifting response to the rigors of daily life. The more decadents do this, the more unstable they become, obsessively self-medicating and attempting to otherwise set the conditions of their happiness by controlling its application, and blaming others for their failure.

The more deranged decadents search for those who deny them their right to happiness by failing to accept them, reward them or otherwise please them until they find meaning only in attacking others. Behind their venom is narcissistic self-pity, they are searching for revenge against a cruel world when they are the authors of their own unhappiness. 

The decadent civilization senses inwardly that it has no future. It becomes obsessed with apocalypses. Its people are always fixated on the next great threat to their health individually and the next great disaster that will bring their civilization to its knees. While vigorous civilizations boldly stride forward into the unknown, decadents are nervous and unsure. They veer between comfort zones and ritualized displays of destructive behavior that accomplish nothing except the illusion of freedom.

Vigorous civilizations pursue meaningful risks. Decadent civilizations pursue meaningless ones. For a vigorous civilization, adventure ends with an accomplishment. For a decadent civilization, risk is the accomplishment.

The decadent civilization obsessively manages risk. Its layers of government are mainly dedicated to that task. Accomplishment in a decadent civilization becomes a difficult task because of the many lawyers of corporate and government risk management standing in the way of getting anything done.

Fear is the true currency of the decadent civilization. A corrupted fear that is used to expand a vast bureaucracy that claims to manage risk, but in reality manages who is allowed to circumvent it. Groups are stampeded into accepting new tiers of fear government and fear authority based on the risk that something might happen. And yet the source of the fear is never dealt with.

A vigorous civilization rushes out to deal with threats. A decadent civilization imprisons itself out of fear.

Decadence in a civilization can be reversed. While the barbarian civilization must evolve upward, the decadent civilization must undo the damage that is devolving it. This is easier than it seems. Unlike the barbarian civilization, the decadent civilization has most of the same infrastructure, physical and mental, of the vigorous civilization. Only its ideas have become corrupted.

And even this deeper corruption is largely limited to the elites and the professional classes, while the rest of the civilization has experienced only a surface corruption that is easily wiped away.

The difficulty is however structural. A decadent civilization becomes more top-down with each year. And the source of the corruption is at the top. Removing the source of the corruption requires either removing all or almost all of the elites, and sizable sections of the professional classes as well. Or a campaign of ideas that transforms them as fundamentally as they were transformed.

Either is a daunting proposition. Both require a fundamental transformation, but the former transformation is structural, a revolution that changes how a civilization is run, displacing elites across all the tiers of society, while the latter is a revolution of ideas.


  1. Anonymous2/8/15

    There are three types of classes and three types of civilizations: upper people, middle people, and bottom people. Elites are just as deluded as the bottom people, we live in a Matrix and reality only becomes transparent in Death.

  2. Only a balanced adherence to the buoy of the ten commandments can maintain an eternal vigorous society, this making Judaism the only source carrying it's phoenix of a lasting civilization for those following it's moral code.

  3. An excellent article. Thank you for the read.

  4. The term Decadent is more apt than Liberal, Progressive, Marxist, etc. and covers all bases.

  5. Anonymous2/8/15

    I'd be interested to hear which present countries you would consider vigorous. Perhaps Switzerland, and those countries which emerged from the Iron Curtain such as Hungary. And are the South Americans finally getting their act together? Singapore would have to be vigorous and probably Malaysia as well.

  6. Anonymous2/8/15

    This brief essay packs a millennium's worth of insight and wisdom. A brilliant and potent distillation, Daniel. Bravo.


  7. Anonymous2/8/15

    There is a simple path back to vigor.

    A civilization can become decadent only when decadence becomes mainstream enough for the marginal decadents to drop their masks. Until then, the marginals might speak of and plot their perversions among themselves but they will always do so constrained by doubt over whether the door is truly tiled.

    Pinochet showed us the way. For anyone who wants to admonish me for saying so, Pol Pot showed us the alternative.

  8. Quite excellent and timely. Very thought-provoking. Thank you. :)

  9. Anonymous2/8/15

    the decadence is spoken of in the Torah in the Sodom story...the gays are the great corrupters...Called arch deceivers and arch villains by the sages they corrupt everything they get involved in...at war with Judaeo values which bans their behavior they are considered followers of false principles by the sages...no one is more wicked than the sodomite says Rabbi Meir...back to the Sodom story.. the ten righteous men does not only speak of a minyan but is telling you that society had been totally corrupted by the sodomites...this is important in understanding our problems of today...it is a sodomite problem...

    1. Anonymous4/8/15

      Worthy anecdot:
      There is a satirical midrash on sadom pepole thet shows the absurdum of their laws, funny and very sharp.

  10. Dave2/8/15

    Sir John Glubb lists the stages as Outburst, Conquest, Commerce, Affluence, Intellect, and Decadence, and describes each one in detail:


  11. Good article, clear and spot on as per the usual. Got a laugh about the information systems, having lost the real me trying to track down all the other me's out there. Apparently, I can be all things to all people in many states at the same time. I am now a quantum particle.

  12. Anonymous3/8/15

    Great, thought-provoking read, as usual. The only other topic I would have liked to have been addressed, is faith, or religion.

  13. Anonymous3/8/15

    Someone is quoting Sir John Glubb as in Pasha Glubb, the leader of the Arab Legion? Here? Pasha Glubb was a pig, an izlamic nazi pig who sought the destruction of the state of Israel in '48'. In his native Britainistan he was nearly indicted on charges of treason for his work on behalf of the Arab Legion.

  14. Isaac Asimov's 'Foundation' books begin with a description of a large civilization in decline. I often find myself seeing things in our society that remind me of those books. You mentioned a few, including:
    1. The obsession with categorizing and reinterpreting the scientific work of the past and calling that science. A society with an inward and backward focus who see the greats of the past as superhuman giants and somehow different from themselves, doing things that could never be accomplished today.
    2. The increasing focus of the governing elite with power maintenance and wealth hoarding. Also,the increasing focus of the governing elite with the suppression of dissent and the widespread monitoring of citizens and the emergence of a secret police.
    3. The emergence of an aristocracy. Your connections to and hierarchical place in the aristocracy mean everything.
    4. The breakdown of infrastructure. Lack of development of new technology.
    5. Worship of the past, fear of the future.
    6. Chaos on the borders that is never dealt with - mainly through lack of will. The chaos creeps inexorably inward and eventually overruns the society.

    I assume he was exposed to all that in Russia and Eastern Europe early in the last century. Odd to see it happen here.

  15. In the book of John Glubb, islamic nazi pig he might have been, the link which Dave provide, he gives an overview of the various empires through the millennia all coming to a more or less 250 year life-span cycle from raise till downfall. If America would not show to be a statistical deviant, no matter how much we in the free world would dislike it, it's bye bye time........

  16. People know what they're doing is wrong, in the decadent society. The damage is both superficial, and in the core. They support the decadent ideas because these encouraged them to engage in morally questionable behavior, and excuse them from it, and therefore they must protect them, because or else, they believe they are at war with themselves. A war of ideas will be seen as a war against them, because to avoid calling decadent ideas evil actions, and face themselves they must identify with them. They are already fighting the war, lashing out at whoever presents an idea contrary to their twisted "values", because they can feel like good people through this, and affirm to themselves that they are making the world progress by demanding others change, pass the buck of regression off and avoid looking at their own descents.

  17. American culture is not exactly free of barbarism, either. I'd say we have a working alliance between the barbarians and the decadents.

  18. US used to be both vigorous and barbaric. Moving West resulted in the genocide of native indians here on this continent. THings are never as black and white as 'vigorous or barbaric'

  19. I think genocide of native Americans is bit of old Soviet propaganda, picked up and used by the Left in their shared desire to destroy America. To the degree that 'Indians' died in large numbers in both North and South America (and that is postulated, because no one knows how many were ever here), it was almost certainly by disease and before the USA even existed.

    The Indian Wars of the late 1800's killed thousands, maybe tens of thousands, but nothing like millions or anything approaching genocide. There's no evidence for that.

  20. It's not irrelevant that the catchphrase of the first decade was, "it's all good." In a society in which "equality" is the goal, then the very act of making distinctions becomes anathema. As it is in the US today. The only comparison charts allowed today are on the latest of the mirrors of Narcissus ... i.e. the "mobile device."

  21. Y. Ben-David3/8/15

    Another great piece, but I have doubts about Daniel's claim that decaying civilizations can rejuvenate themselves. I would appreciate it hearing about some examples. I have been influenced by David Goldman's book "How Civilizations Die' and Charles Murray's "Coming Apart". Goldman points out that many civilizations, including ancient Greece and Rome simply reach a point of no return and the rot feeds on itself. The society loses the desire to live and that is their end. As Daniel points out, decaying societies talk a lot about sex but stop having children. That is happening today in Europe and to a lesser extent in the US. What can turn things around?

  22. "Removing the source of the corruption requires either removing all or almost all of the elites, and sizable sections of the professional classes as well."

    No great loss as we have the worst ruling class ever.

  23. I am unsure how I stumbled upon this but it was worth the time.

    Excellent analysis from beginning to end.

    Many thanks.

  24. Anonymous3/8/15

    Daniel's unique intellect never fails to provide a few gems that focus like a laser, and make me want to scream out...yes! YES!!!! I've been collecting my favorites for years now.
    And today, speaking of the decadent civilization: "Its creativity is microscopically innovative and macroscopically a failure."
    Something I've spent paragraphs trying to say, all said in just a few brilliant words.

  25. In another essay, could you develop the thought and suggest the steps how "Decadence in a civilization can be reversed" ? Thank you.

  26. Anonymous3/8/15

    No great Sherlock Holmes fan here either - but I was a bit miffed about the rebranding of Watson as a woman. Where is their integrity?

  27. Anonymous3/8/15

    "Quote"1. The obsession with categorizing and reinterpreting the scientific work of the past and calling that science. - See more at: http://sultanknish.blogspot.com.au/2015/08/a-tour-of-our-decadent-civilization.html#comment-form"Quote"

    @Mike: I'm not sure that I follow your train of thought.

    Aristotle called - he wants his interpretations back.

  28. Anonymous4/8/15

    And the earth was corrupt before G-d's countenance, and so the earth was filled with violence (Genesis 6:11).

    The earth was shachet (corrupt) and filled with chamas (violence). Shachet denotes "ruin" in the sense of "corruption," rather than "destruction." Shachet impedes the progress of something that is meant to flourish, and transforms success into failure, thereby ruining a healthy, sound condition. The basic meaning of shachet is "a pit." But the person who digs such a pit does not do so for good - i.e. for preservation or storage; rather, his intention is to deliberately place an obstacle in someone's path, in order to prevent that someone from proceeding to his destination. The intent is to bring others to ruin.

    Shachet is related to shached (bribe). The idea is that one who offers or gives a bribe digs a pit in the path of a judge who is on his way to deliver a just decision or verdict; a bribe serves to blind the eyes of the judge and stops him in his path, prevents him from reaching his objective, by placing a stumbling block before him.

    Chamas, while often translated "violence," is not violence as we are used to understanding it. Chamas is robbery (gezel) that cannot be recovered through legal means. One who perpetrates chamas is not penalized by any human court; but if committed over and over again, chamas gradually leads to the ruin of one's fellowman:

    Said R' Chanina: Chamas (violence) refers to what is worth a perutah; gezel (robbery), refers to what is of less value than a perutah (a perutah is the smallest coin). And this is what the people of the age of the flood used to do: When a man brought out a basket full of lupines [for sale], one would come and seize less than a perutah's worth and then everyone would come and seize less than a perutah's worth, so that he had no redress at law . . . [Bereshit Rabbah 31:5].

    Our Sages teach that if a vine sheds unripe grapes, it commits chamas against the fruit. The chamas is not committed all at once; rather, the fruit's drawing of sustenance from the vine is slowly stopped, until the fruit drops off.

    The verse says: "And the earth was corrupt before the countenance of G-d, and so the earth was filled with wrongdoing." First came moral corruption, sins about which society in general is not too concerned. People seem to be of the notion that even if the young are rebellious and disrespectful and married and family life deteriorate, trade and commerce can still flourish and all of our business relations will still proceed honestly. However, once the world is corrupt before G-d Himself, all the laws and institutions of a civilized society will be powerless to prevent society from going to utter ruin.

    The world will never be filled with gezel, outright robbery and violence; society has penal codes and prison terms for such crimes. But chamas - wrongdoing facilitated by cunning - destroys a society by a thousand cuts, as it were. There is no protection or redress against chamas, so long as a man's conscience fails to admonish him before G-d. Is it not moral corruption that deadens and eventually destroys the conscience, and thereby a society is ruined by chamas; because of chamas, society becomes chometz - and is therefore destined to sour and to decay.

    Excellent article!

  29. Anonymous5/8/15

    The only solution to decadence is a return to morality and virtue, via spiritual revival and transformative action based upon Biblical Principles, i.e., being born again. One soul at a time. (See Judah under King Josiah, Israel during the time of John the Baptist and Christ and America in the 1880's.)

  30. Anonymous5/8/15

    Israel was always attacked and taken captive whenever the nation fell into sin and never reformed until the people of G-D returned to the Book of the Law, and their hearts were pricked and convicted of their sin.

    Isaiah 10:5 says Assyria is a rod of discipline in the hand of the L-RD.
    Isaiah 30:15 says Repentance and Rest is the salvation and strength (of Israel).
    Isaiah 31:8-9 says the sword of man cannot defeat Assyria, only the Sword of the L-RD.

    II Chronicles 7:14 tells the criteria for reform from decadence:
    if my people who are called by my name
    humble themselves, and pray and seek my face
    and turn from their wicked ways,
    then I will hear from heaven
    and will forgive their sin
    and heal their land.
    These are immutable principles required for reform.

    Historically and spiritually, that is the only way a reign of wickedness, decadence and hardness of conscience is ever healed and restored - divine surgery by the Holy Spirit - using the Sword/Word/Law of G-D. The Word is powerful and alive and able to accomplish this.

    Sibyl S.

  31. Anonymous5/8/15

    Glad I started following Daniel's blog last week. Brilliant article and a great idea for a book.

  32. This is a more generalized (and hence, idolatrous) attempt to interpret what I recently discussed in my article discussing how anarchists are nascent communists, and libertarians are Conservative atheists, here:




    Well, first off, my children, there are no such things as 'trends' - individual humans are behind this, too!


    These days, most if not ALL elected politicians are statists who always want to grow government to reward followers, who are more concerned with the 'rights' of their own groups (parties) than with any of their constituents, because if the other members of their party cause it to fall, they fall too.

    Similarly, they will therefore also protect their own political CLASS - members of BOTH parties - lest they all fall as one, too.

    The reason corporazi globalist traitors can puppetize the politicians is because the divisive interest-conflicted political party gangs exist at all. If there were NO funds allowed, no campaigning, but only platforms posted on free websites, and where the people could DIRECTLY appoint the elected politicians to their cabinet positions, the power of corporate money to influence elections would be reduced to near-zero.

    Each politician would then be beholden ONLY to the people who elected them, not to group-rights loyalty conflicts.

    Bad (“positivist,” “defensively pre-emptive”) laws are crimes because they attack first, by slandering individual citizens as criminals, and so also insisting that they have no inherent right to self-defense.

    Unfortunately, there’s only so many symptoms of The Golden Rule of Law (which simply defines all situational morality as “Do Not Attack First!”) one can address with lesser, circumstantial “laws” of morality, only so many right answers, before one must veer off into exploiting the almost infinite number of sorta almost right,(but really wrong) answers, in order to keep up the pretense that the legislators are actually doing something responsible to earn their pay and to continue to enjoy the right to govern others – a point which, after whence reached, societies decline into criminality and empires fall into ruin.

  34. And their fear is addictive, too, so they must protect their power: their false right to irresponsibly and prejudicially slander everyone else as guilty until never proven innocent! If they can't extort you into defending yourself from their lies, then you might be able to gain the time and ability to counter-attack them in self defense! Oh, the horror! Their right to attack you first must be maintained at all costs - to you!

    "Governments" always know what they're doing when they decide to ignore and pretend to not understand any given situation - because criminal negligence is their reason for existing!

    Politics has been defined as "the art of ignoring problems until the reason for addressing them have become irrelevant."

    After all, their real motto always seems to be:

    "There's No Money In Solutions!"

    But why do such "leaders" and their gangs exist? Because we let them! And here's both how and why we do:

    This political contest is really always between masochistic cowardly group-might selling slanderous victimologists (criminal extortionist gangsters, who insist "we need government for everything!") and civilized law-abiding, hard-working individualists (who assert "we never need government, for anything!").

    People have been trained to prefer to defer their rights and responsibilities to think and do for them selves to "expert authorities" ('government') who they think they are paying to do their thinking for them. Problem is, that decision also by implication pretty-much only tells those they've hired, that they also don't consider them SELVES to be worth thinking about, so then those they just hired can quite logically be expected to act accordingly, by acting selfishly and throwing them to the wolves every time!

    Because when you give up your responsibilities to masters, you also give up your rights to be personally responsible to your selves, to them. And the instant you do that, you have also given them the right to give up being responsible to you - leaving them with only the right to use the state force apparatus (police and armies) to defend them selves from you, to have only a responsibility to them selves to protect them selves from such criminally negligent peons as your self.

    You have granted them the power to have rights over you without responsibility to you, so they will do nothing for you ever again, and in stead are only obliged to defend them selves from you: by lying to you, pretending to do the minimum things for you, by avoiding any responsibility to make any decisions until the need for them has past and the problems have become irrelevant, usually from having been replaced by worse problems which they will also ignore. Such is the nature of all group-rights (and so also no individual responsibility) "politics."


  35. This great article demonstrates the (perhaps) unwitting overall strategy, while these ones show the tactics:






    Corruption is when individual humans are tempted to try to take the easy way out by pretending to be perpetual victims, and then try to justify it by blaming their own victims and by tempting others to do so, too.

    So, "decadent" rebellious individual selfishness (anarchism) quickly leads to "barbaric" group-rights extortion (communism).

    After all, "it isn't evil crime if and when we all do it, too" - right? Whee!

    But once the barbaric are entrenched, they must again become decadent to maintain their false right to remain irresponsibly wrong.

    Seems the only way back to "vigorous" is through revolution of thought &/or action.


  37. Well, I like your model, however, your prescription for curing decadence - "Removing the source of the corruption requires either removing all or almost all of the elites, and sizable sections of the professional classes as well." - is basically the Pol Pot solution.

    Maybe give it another think.

  38. Anonymous9/8/15

    Authoritarianism is the direct result of decadence. However, authoritarian states can collapse in two different directions: a rediscovery of personal freedom and happiness, or overthrow by a totalitarian movement, fueled by collective anger and hatred of the previous regime and its supporters.

    Where authoritarianism works from the top down, totalitarianism begins at the bottom up. Supporters -- real or suspected -- of the previous regime are singled out for persecution. First through mob violence, then by the machinery of the state.

    Where the authoritarian state needs fear, the totalitarian state needs hatred. By creating an atmosphere of mutual suspicion, the totalitarian state destroys the personal bonds of love and family, and fills the void with the superficial bonds of group solidarity.

    Individuals often find it difficult to hate individuals, but when the members of another group are reduced to the lowest common denominator -- as a race, class, nation -- then people are no longer seen as people, but as cogs of a larger machine. Cogs are easy to hate.

    Where an authoritarian state is decadent and corrupt, totalitarian states -- at least until they too eventually succumb to human nature -- are marked by efficiency, smooth operation and rapid progress, at the expense of liberty, happiness, and millions of innocent lives.

    In the near term, the chances of a truly totalitarian regime taking over the United States are low, but as more Americans are indoctrinated with collectivism and groupthink, it becomes a long term threat.

    1. Anonymous18/8/15

      Exceptional statement, truly. What's your solution? And for the record, Mr Greenfield's article and your comment scared the shit out of me.

      Do you believe a second American revolution is possible, probable, unlikely, inevitable or not possible?

  39. Exellent observation and ever so true. The damage is done, and the government is the problem, and the voter created this mess by being totally uninformed as the truth has been manipulated to no end. Dump politicians and enact term limits is the only way to end this destructive path we are all forced to take given the masses of clueless asses who voted for the current fraud in office. PERIOD

  40. Anonymous23/9/16

    This is simply one of the best essays I have ever read. Brilliant.

  41. Anonymous4/11/18

    ...+that the voters caused this is the bottom line...I remember predicting "he'll never get elected... he's too far left." I underestimated the complete lack of curiosity about his actual background and views, the gullibility of those who thought "hope and change" (without even knowing what we were changing TO) was enough, and skin color.

  42. Maryellen13/6/19

    I am so delighted to have bumped into this article. I haven't seen anyone else articulate these particular comparisons with such clarity. The similarities between the Barbarians and Decadents is remarkable and true. AND.....frightening. But what causes just SOME of the people to be trained to think this way and others are not? If we have been educated/programmed, why aren't we all the same in today's world?

  43. This article is especially relevant in 2019. Amazing how things have evolved in only four years.


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