In this year 2020, the U.S. Government reaches nearly everywhere, politicizing everything; God, religion and reality are out of fashion. Societies that reach a certain arrogance and governments that reach a certain size begin to resent sources of limits such as religion, God and reality. That resentment grows with government power. Political power is a zero sum game: government power can swell only as the power of the citizens is diminished. Today’s government stops and searches travelers, restricts or shuts down enterprises, institutions and churches and confines people in their homes as it pleases. Particularly telling, most government employees earn more than the private sector equivalents whose taxes pay their wages. God and His Judeo-Christian churches on the other hand, are not doing so well. Atheism and agnosticism are increasing; ordering peoples’ lives is becoming a less tolerant government’s monopoly. Government, filling a vacuum, is anointing itself Godvernment over supplicant citizens entitled to dependency in return for obedience, an impressive reversal of America’s founding vision.
God is a believer’s term for the otherwise inexplicable source and sustenance of our universe. Non-believers are unwilling to admit God’s existence, thereby rendering themselves unable to account for their own. Meanwhile, the universe and humanity within it, somehow continue. Philosophically, Homo sapiens is a biological machine: stochastically variable individually, physically and mentally relatively unspecialized, versatile and well adapted for life on earth and perhaps, elsewhere. The prodigious capabilities of his groups is challenged by his equally prodigious drive toward individual maximization; the resulting need for compromise is a troublesome variable that both underlies his need for government and challenges his ability to provide it. Whether in spite of or because of this design, mankind is so far, inordinately successful in the Earth environment. An intractable limitation on the species’ continued success remains the innate difficulty with which individuals confront the reality of a universe where the costs and benefits of effort/progress are unequally distributed, though the variability of individuals capabilities and experiences guarantees that. This characteristic illuminates the endings of both periods of progress and of governments; humanity lurches forward spasmodically, in tune with the degree to which its current social model permits confronting reality.
While individual humans must compromise their interests to retain membership in groups, this regulator is not inherent in relations between groups. It may not exist at all between competing or unrelated groups and is very one-sided between government and the governed. America’s founders set God above government, made it beholden to the governed and reinforced that with elections. They protected the independence of the churches to institutionalize Judeo-Christian behavior and the flow of sovereignty outside of government. With the churches in eclipse, those restraints are as well; social change has become a primary political tool. Presently that tool is devoted to the enhancement of government with the diminution of the citizens. Free and independent citizens are annoying to a governor but demand respect. Obedient dependents are much less annoying … and much less respected. They also tend to be less innovative, less ambitious, less entrepreneurial and absent respected religion, less honest. Add those up and you have: much less productive. You have also the primary difference that has existed between the advanced civilization of the West and those of the rest of the planet. Historically, it is those others that seem to represent humanity’s default condition, one toward which the West appears to be returning.
The advance of the West is ending. New technologies have outrun management by current social organization; the numbers and capabilities of U.S. workers are a declining match for the increasingly automated, technical and/or specialized nature of available work. Western society has been stabilized by its common Judeo-Christian churches and by the arrival of the historically enormous economic middle class that resulted from the politicization of the price of labor. However, the resulting economic imbalance vis a vis the rest of the world invited competition from both lower priced foreigners and from efficient machines. In defense of their living standards, middle class housewives have diluted the labor force, further increasing pressure upon wages. Facing the foreign competition, U.S. employers imported cheaper foreign workers. The most expensive labor was naturally replaced first, decreasing the job market for the increasing numbers of candidates coming from higher education now regularly indentured by student loans. Most of the erstwhile middle class has rejoined the dependent proletariat.
As working mothers began to replace housewives, they were handed the first practical, convenient female contraceptive: The Pill. The subsequent massive change in female behavior has fronted the devaluation of marriage, the family and the churches. As the middle class lost its’ economic and abandoned its social stabilizers, ambitious politicians and educators have sold Godvernment into a developing market. Innate human behavior always leans toward dependency until its costs hit home.
The U.S. and most of the world’s significant governments are engaged in an orgiastic destruction of their currencies and economies with runaway money printing, unsustainable debt and the imposition of productivity paralysis, currently in the name of a pandemic. This is a record setting economic depression awaiting its incipient financial collapse and over that hangs an iconoclastic U.S. presidential election. A centrist, populist maverick faces an apparently senescent, corrupt political hack; the decision is supposed to be provided by voters relying heavily for the first time, upon the U.S. Postal Service. The political Left has been producing nationwide street riots and behaves as though it feels entitled to single party rule. The Right is intimidated. Quietly, government and businesses have been assembling the elements of the high tech social control system already expanding in China. Calling this mix explosive might be a considerable understatement; major historical turning points have hinged upon less. Potential instability is lubricated by declining reverence for the U.S. Constitution and likely to be accelerated with the impending arrival of hard times.
We must note that for the first time, the world’s governments, organizations and individuals are linked by a common communications system with effects that are only beginning to be realized. This is the real globalism: Nearly everyone everywhere can reach and hear from nearly everyone else. The results are incalculable. It is probably safe to predict that the planet’s governments, business and lifestyles will acquire greater uniformity and that fewer languages will be widely used. Such trends already exist. Will President Trump’s government as a reality show using social media feedback to reinforce election supplant China’s use of social media as propaganda outlets for ordering behavior? Accelerating censorship suggests t hat the Chinese model will prevail, at least for a while.
The confluence of government preeminence, religious retreat and economic mismanagement is falling over most of the developed world, the home of most of the significant democracies. A severe and probably protracted economic adjustment seems likely, and soon. To these, most governments have added sharp restriction of many economic, most public and many private activities in the name of what appears to be a comparatively mild pandemic. This novel response is producing some unrest, particularly in Europe. As the impending economic readjustment becomes recognized, unrest will likely become widespread, supporting imposition of technological and procedural individual control measures. Simultaneous reduction of old style policing will ease acceptance of the new regime as Western government methods converge with those of China
It is difficult in a time of growing political corruption to imagine the endurance of large democracies while both votes and money are reduced to invisible arrangements of some elementary physical particles. It is not only that we don’t know who counts the votes or the money; it is impossible to verify the count when we do know them. Add that presently, both those processes are controlled by elected politicians whose interests are best served by the citizens’ ignorance. An increasingly authoritarian state, a politically crippled economy and an abandoned socio-religious model that is no longer a counterweight to corruption appear set to define the near future. Economic privation will add volatility. The financial system will be addressed at great cost. . Government imposed stasis will serve as calm within which society will rediscover its Source and commonalities, gradually or violently regenerating some counterweight to government. Significant economic improvement will await sufficient government withdrawal from the economy, another infrequent and uphill event. This will probably be a long and in human terms, costly progression. When it has completed, bringing society, the economy and government back into an optimum productive balance, the next cycle of extraordinary human progress may begin and continue until it too falls victim to the strains it will create. Augmented of course, byy Homo sapiens’ eternal, wistful search for a free lunch.