Here comes the latest from the herd dynamics: strong men create good times, good times create weak men, weak men create hard times, hard times create strong men. It is off-base because it assumes that external forces, and not our internal spirit toward heroism and virtue, are what is necessary to restore a quality civilization.
In fact, this meme is downright toxic. It essentially says that our problem was not the bad decisions that we made, but that we prospered, forgetting that it is possible — although none have done it — to choose to prosper without becoming distracted by wealth and comfort. It would require eliminating the weak from among us, probably through exile to the third world.
The Eternal Human Problem plagues us as individuals and civilizations. Our tendency is to see ourselves as the center of the world, creating a mental virus that we spread to others by socializing, eventually creating a hybrid mob-gang-cult-herd that demands egalitarianism so that all individuals in it feel protected against the possibility of being wrong, having lowered social status, or facing unpopular truths.
This meme plays right into that. The problem is not that we lost sight of our purpose and pursued what made most people feel warm fuzzies instead, which is what humans always do. Oh no; our problem is that we lived in good times. The solution is to wait for times to get hard enough and then, people will magically “become hard” (brah) and make good times again.
Instead we should look at reality through a more nuanced lens. We succeeded, so we faced new problems; instead of confronting those, we fell to fighting among ourselves, and then the lower castes took over, as happens in every failing society. We lost sight of our purpose, and through that, stopped valuing our inner traits like intelligence and virtue. We flaked out and chased our own egos instead of what was right.
On the optimistic side, this means that our task is relatively simple: we have to stop doing the stupid thing, and start doing what it was a reaction to, and then improve on that. Before we went down the path of individualism, we were committed to the realistic and transcendental at the same time because we were in love with and reverent toward our world. That is where we must pick up and start again.
But what stands in the way of that is reasoning based on the external. We cannot do this, much as we cannot buy a stationary bicycle for exercise and force ourselves to be healthy, by using external forces to compel internal change. Instead, we must make internal change — become good, virtuous and honest, most of all — and from that, external change will follow through our work and bravery.
These reasons show why this meme, while well-intended, is the exact opposite of what our people need to hear now.