Medium.com: I Lived Through Collapse. America Is Already There.

A water tower bombed by the Tamil Tigers in the final stages of the Sri Lankan civil war in 2008. Photo: Creative Touch Imaging Ltd./NurPhoto/Getty Images

The following is a post from last year by a person living in Sri Lanka. We’ve posted a few times in the past about the end of empires and slow collapse versus quick. I Lived Through Collapse. America Is Already There. talks about how the very slowness of collapse can go unnoticed.

I lived through the end of a civil war — I moved back to Sri Lanka in my twenties, just as the ceasefire fell apart. Do you know what it was like for me? Quite normal. I went to work, I went out, I dated. This is what Americans don’t understand. They’re waiting to get personally punched in the face while ash falls from the sky. That’s not how it happens.

This is how it happens. Precisely what you’re feeling now. The numbing litany of bad news. The ever rising outrages. People suffering, dying, and protesting all around you, while you think about dinner. If you’re trying to carry on while people around you die, your society is not collapsing. It’s already fallen down.

I was looking through some old photos for this article and the mix is shocking to me now. Almost offensive. There’s a burnt body in front of my office. Then I’m playing Scrabble with friends. There’s bomb smoke rising in front of the mall. Then I’m at a concert. There’s a long line for gas. Then I’m at a nightclub. This is all within two weeks.

Photos from two weeks in 2006, courtesy of the author

Today I’m like, “Did we live like this?” But we did. I mean, I did. Was I a rich Colombo fuckboi while poorer people died, especially minorities? Well, yes. I wrote about it, but who cares.

The real question is, who are you? I mean, you’re reading this. You have the leisure to ponder American collapse like it’s even a question. The people really experiencing it already know.

As someone who’s already experienced societal breakdown, here’s the truth: America has already collapsed. What you’re feeling is exactly how it feels. It’s Saturday and you’re thinking about food while the world is on fire. This is normal. This is life during collapse.

Collapse does not mean you’re personally dying right now. It means y’all are dying right now. Death is sometimes close, sometimes far away, but always there. I used to judge those herds of gazelle when the lion eats one of them alive and everyone keeps going — but no, humans are just the same. That’s the real meaning of herd immunity. We’re fundamentally immune to giving a shit.

It honestly becomes mundane (for the privileged). As Colombo kids we used to go out, worry about money, fall in love — life went on. We’d pop the trunk for a bomb check. Turn off our lights for the air raids. I’m not saying that we were untouched. My friend’s dad was killed, suddenly, by a landmine. RIP Uncle Nihal. I know people who were beaten, arrested, and went into exile. But that’s not what my photostream looks like. It was mostly food and parties and normal stuff for a dumb twenty-something.

Collapse is just a series of ordinary days in between extraordinary bullshit, most of it happening to someone else. That’s all it is.

If you’re waiting for a moment where you’re like “this is it,” I’m telling you, it never comes. Nobody comes on TV and says “things are officially bad.” There’s no launch party for decay. It’s just a pileup of outrages and atrocities in between friendships and weddings and perhaps an unusual amount of alcohol.

Perhaps you’re waiting for some moment when the adrenaline kicks in and you’re fighting the virus or fascism all the time, but it’s not like that. Life is not a movie, and if it were, you’re certainly not the star. You’re just an extra. If something good or bad happens to you it’ll be random and no one will care. If you’re unlucky you’re a statistic. If you’re lucky, no one notices you at all.

Collapse is just a series of ordinary days in between extraordinary bullshit, most of it happening to someone else. That’s all it is.

One day, I was at work when someone left a bomb at the NOLIMIT clothing store. It exploded, killing 17 people. When these types of traumatic events take place, no two people experience the same thing. For me, it was seeing the phone lines getting clogged for an hour. For my wife, it was feeling the explosion a half-kilometer from her house. But for the families of the 17 victims, this was the end. And their grief goes on.

As you can see, this is not a uniform experience of chaos. For some people it destroys their bodies, others their hearts, but for most people it’s just a low-level hum at the back of their minds.

What’s that buzzing sound you hear now?

Today I assume you went to work. Bad news was everywhere, clogging up your social media, your conversations. Maybe it struck close to you. I’m sorry. Somewhere in your country, a thousand people died. I’m sorry for each of them. A thousand families are grieving tonight. A thousand more join them every day. The pain doesn’t go away, it just becomes a furniture of bones, in a thousand thousand homes.

As a nation you don’t seem to mourn your dead, but their families do. Their communities do. Jesus, also, weeps. But for most people it’s just another day. You’ve run out of coffee. There’s a funny meme. This can’t be collapse, because nothing’s collapsing for me.

But that’s exactly how collapse feels. This is how I felt. This is how millions of people have felt, including many immigrants in your midst. We’re trying to tell you as loud as we can. You can get out of it, but you have to understand where you are to even turn around. This, I fear, is one of many things Americans do not understand. You tell yourself American collapse is impossible. Meanwhile, look around.

In the last three months America has lost more people than Sri Lanka lost in 30 years of civil war. If this isn’t collapse, then the word has no meaning. You probably still think of Sri Lanka as a shithole, though the war ended over a decade ago and we’re (relatively) fine. Then what does that make you?

America has fallen. You need to look up, at the people you’re used to looking down on. We’re trying to tell you something. I have lived through collapse and you’re already there. Until you understand this, you only have further to fall.

Sovereign Man: It’s Started Already – “We Have a List”

Simon Black of Sovereign Man writes about the fall of empires in It’s Started Already: “We have a list.”

On September 18 of the year 96 AD, a fairly obscure and elderly politician named Marcus Cocceius Nerva was proclaimed Emperor of Rome by the Senate.

Rome was in chaos at the time; the empire had suffered from years of turmoil, economic decline, and oppression.

Most of the last several emperors– going back before the suicide of Nero in 68 AD– had been extremely destructive… plundering the treasury, waging expensive wars, and dismantling individual liberty.

The government was also extremely unstable; it was not uncommon at that point for emperors to be deposed or even assassinated.

In fact, Nerva’s predecessor– the emperor Domitian– had literally been murdered that morning.

Nerva was seen by many Senators as the ‘safe choice’ to take over the government. He was old, frail, and sick… so he wasn’t expected to last very long.

Most of all, Nerva was completely unremarkable.

He had spent his entire professional life in the service of the Empire, yet his name is barely mentioned in any historical record or associated with any major achievement.

But ‘unremarkable’ was exactly what Romans felt like they needed at the time: Nerva would be a break from the chaos. Or so they thought.

We know now with the benefit of hindsight that Rome would never fully recover.

There would be a few ‘good’ emperors along the way– people like Marcus Aurelius who were able to temporarily hold back the decline.

But the long-term trends were unstoppable.

Rome was slowly going bankrupt, destroying its currency, and rejecting the basic principles of its civilization that made it so powerful and prosperous to begin with.

And no politician was able to put the brakes on those big trends and reverse the inevitable decline.

This is a common theme throughout history: empires rise and fall, not because of a single individual, but from decades of major trends that gradually cause an inevitable decline.

These same trends keep surfacing over and over again across the centuries.

Economic mismanagement is an obvious one: empires in decline almost invariably hold an arrogant belief that they are exempt from the natural laws of finance.

In other words, they believe they can spend as much as they want, accumulate infinite amounts of debt, and debase their currency without limit, and somehow there won’t be any consequences.

Another trend is that the empire abandons its core values. Integrity, civic-mindedness, and hard work give way to corruption and entitlement.

And perhaps the biggest trend of empires in decline is that society frequently turns on itself. Civility ends, and rage takes over.

It goes without saying that these trends are alive and well in the West today, especially in the Land of the Free.

US finances have been in disarray for decades. Just this year alone, the national debt has grown by $4 trillion and the Federal Reserve has conjured another $3 trillion out of thin air.

And even before Covid struck when the economy was firing on all cylinders, the government was still adding more than $1 trillion each year to the debt.

Now there are entire factions of politicians that want to take those numbers to the next level.

In fact, there’s an entire school of economics now called “Modern Monetary Theory” which poses that governments can simply print as much money as they want without consequence.

This is pretty classic empire arrogance.

But, again, the even more powerful trend now is the growing rage that’s so prevalent.

We’ve seen it unfold in front of our very eyes– violence, arson, assault, looting, vandalism, intimidation.

And if the this angry mob isn’t out in the streets causing mayhem, they’re on social media trying to destroy someone’s life who committed the thoughtcrime of intellectual dissent.

The election results last week proved that this angry mob is still a numerical minority.

Unfortunately they are a very powerful minority that has taken over a number of important institutions.

They already control the media. Objective journalism doesn’t exist anymore– it’s just activism and propaganda.

(And if anyone needs any proof, look no further than a prominent CNN ‘reporter’ weeping tears of joy over the weekend on live television. How can these people expect to be taken seriously as objective journalists??)

The mob has also taken over education too.

Schools and universities are now filled with enraged Marxists who spend dozens of hours each week indoctrinating our children with their new woke religion.

They’ve even reinvented science, history, and mathematics to conform to the principles of critical race theory.

The mob also exerts extreme influence over major corporations.

You can’t watch a Disney movie, or an NFL game, or even a commercial for men’s razors anymore, without having identity politics shoved down your throat.

They also hold extreme influence over Big Tech, whose one-sided censorship policies have become so absurd they’re starting to rival the Chinese Communist Party.

Over the weekend, for example, Twitter was ablaze with activists who launched an ‘accountability project’ to create a database archiving every supporter, donor, staffer, etc. who supported the current Presidential administration.

The project’s tagline is “Remember what they did,” and “We must never forget. . .”

And they’re targeting “those who elected him,” and “those who funded him,” referring, of course, to the President and the 70 million people who voted for him.

One reporter from the Washington Post deemed that everyone archived “should never serve in office, join a corporate board, find a faculty position, or be accepted into ‘polite’ society.”

She concluded her thinly-veiled threat by saying, “We have a list.”

Twitter, of course, did not see fit to censor this shining example of objective journalism, which now has 40,000 likes.

It’s a pretty blatant sign of decline when people start keeping ‘lists’ of political opponents they want to punish. And this madness is just getting started.

Fr. John Peck: Why Sexual Morality May be Far More Important than You Ever Thought

Why Sexual Morality May be Far More Important than You Ever Thought by Kirk Durston over at Fr. John Peck website is somewhat of a review or condensation/distillation of the book Sex and Culture. That book is a six hundred page summary of research by social anthropologist J.D. Unwin.

One winter afternoon I was relaxing with a half-dozen fellow graduate philosophy students discussing theories of law and punishment. About an hour into the discussion, it occurred to me that some moral laws are necessary because, although they might limit pleasure and enjoyment in the short term, they actually minimize suffering and maximize human fulfillment in the long term.

A few days ago I finished studying Sex and Culture for the second time. It is a remarkable book summarizing a lifetime of research by Oxford social anthropologist J.D. Unwin.[1] The 600+ page book is, in Unwin’s words, only a “summary” of his research—seven volumes would be required to lay it all out.[2] His writings suggest he was a rationalist, believing that science is our ultimate tool of inquiry (it appears he was not a religious man). As I went through what he found, I was repeatedly reminded of the thought I had as a philosophy student: some moral laws may be designed to minimize human suffering and maximize human flourishing long term.

Unwin examines the data from 86 societies and civilizations to see if there is a relationship between sexual freedom and the flourishing of cultures. What makes the book especially interesting is that we in the West underwent a sexual revolution in the late 1960’s, 70’s, and 80’s and are now in a position to test the conclusions he arrived at more than 40 years earlier…

I have prepared a 26-page collection of quotes from his book that summarize his findings; but even that would leave you with a significant under-appreciation of the rigour and fascinating details revealed in data from 86 cultures. Here are a few of his most significant findings:

  1. Effect of sexual constraints: Increased sexual constraints, either pre or post-nuptial, always led to increased flourishing of a culture. Conversely, increased sexual freedom always led to the collapse of a culture three generations later.
  2. Single most influential factor: Surprisingly, the data revealed that the single most important correlation with the flourishing of a culture was whether pre-nuptial chastity was required or not. It had a very significant effect either way…

Unwin found that when strict prenuptial chastity was abandoned, absolute monogamy, deism, and rational thinking disappeared within three generations of the change in sexual freedom…

For the first part of the 1900’s, mainstream Western culture was rationalist and experienced enormous technological advances — from horse-and-buggy to cars; from hot air balloons to supersonic flight and spacecraft landing people on the moon; from slide rules to computers. Unwin’s three main predictions — the abandonment of rationalism, deism, and absolute monogamy — are all well underway, which makes the ultimate prediction appear to be credible … the collapse of Western civilization in the third generation, somewhere in the last third of this century…

Click here to read the entire article at Fr. John Peck.

Every Kingdom Divided Against Itself

From Raúl Ilargi Meijer at The Automatic Earth:


Charles Sprague Pearce Lamentations over the Death of the First-Born of Egypt 1877In Matthew 12:22-28, Jesus tells the Pharisees:

Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.

…While Americans believe so strongly in their supremacy, and have grown so accustomed to the idea, that they no longer see having the best weapons as a matter of survival for the nation. They have come to see their superiority as something automatic and natural.

The attack on Syria is seen as a sign of weakness. Because there was no need for it. Because the evidence is flimsy at best. Because the world has international bodies to deal with such issues. Because there is no logic in allowing the blood to flow in the Gaza and Yemen but cite humanitarian reasons for bombing alleged chemical facilities elsewhere.

What the world sees is bluster emanating from a deeply divided nation (and we haven’t even tackled Britain). It sees that less than 48 hours after the airstrikes, a former FBI chief talks about his former boss in terminology that nobody would dare use in most countries, and throughout most of history,

James Comey is beyond Shakepeare. And in America, the issue is who’s right in the Comey-Trump conflict. In Russia, China et al it’s not. They see a house, a country divided. A weak country has no diplomacy.

That’s how all empires end. Complacency and division. That is what North Korea sees when it watches America, what China, and Russia see. And they may even know how Jesus put it. He didn’t just say a kingdom divided would become less powerful or wealthy, he said:

Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation.