We stand at a point in history where a lot of parentheses are being closed. Whenever humans try something new, we open a parenthesis in our minds, since we know that we will have to watch the results of this action to see what happens, especially in the long term, because only at the end of the night does the true character of a gesture emerge.
Many of these actions are only now revealing their true ultimate form, which means the state to which they adjust through equilibrium over time. Let us look at a few:
Democracy. It started by promising us power; it ended with large corporations called “governments” with huge bureaucracies that were so complex that decisions were made based on what the bureaucracy could do instead of what it needed to.
Entitlements. A variant of the socialist ideal, entitlements consist of taxing citizens to pay out directly to other citizens, and these result in raised prices because the taxes get passed down from multiple levels to the consumer, who also finds that his wages have stagnated.
Diversity. Originally, it seemed like the right way to end racism: force tolerance. Instead, it has simply made every group realize that it is competing for power, and whoever wins gets to oppress the rest of the diverse groups out there. Each group knows, then, that if it does not subjugate the others, it will be subjugated.
Consumerism. At first, this consisted only of selling labor-saving devices — cars, lawnmowers, dishwashers, refrigerators, clothes washers — to the herd. Then unions and government took their cut, and so entitlements were used to fund the poor to buy lots of junk products. Now, everything is junk, and no longer cheap, but there is no longer a huge audience without these things, so margins have collapsed and the easy money has gone away.
Industrialization. We are now able to make many more things more easily, and have better food and medicine. The high cost slowly being revealed is that pollution has made most areas on Earth toxic because pollution travels. Exhaust from internal combustion engines, plastics from manufacturing, and chemicals used to refine products are slowly killing us, absorbed from our air, water, and food.
Agriculture. Smart humanity found ways to make lots of food cheaply. Over time, it becomes clear that not only do these cheap fast calories make us obese and deprive us of essential nutrients, but that many of our miracles like glyphosate and neonicotinoids are destroying our environment.
Institutions. Pushing back against the chaos of disorganized subsistence society, in the West we invented the idea of having institutions, or dedicated services applied for the good of society which retained knowledge about specific domains. Over time, these became captured by the bureaucracy, and we learned to our horror that the quality of these institutions depended on the people running them; the same rules and procedures diligently written down in the past become re-interpreted for the convenience of the bureaucracy or the lesser people running it.
Entertainment. Once, culture was in the hands of a hierarchy who rejected most entrants, keeping quality high; now, culture is bought by the masses and made to that level of taste, so anything you hear, see, or watch in public is moronic and conveys destructive, libertine values.
Hegemony. The world seemed chaotic, so we imposed a standard of liberal democratic values, which has backfired as these go only one way, namely toward more individual freedom, and this erodes culture. Consequently, we have terrorist movements and guerrilla warfare everywhere.
Growth. Originally we thought that we could add more customers and grow in power, but it turns out that the more people we have, the lower the quality descends, and the “growth” to our economies consisted of people doing make-work to sell unnecessary junk to the credulous masses, leading to a gradually increasing permanent economic malaise.
Jobs. When our people transitioned from having homesteads where just about everyone was a farmer to jobs working for corporations, it seemed like a boon: be in an air-conditioned office and do easy work. It turns out that jobs invent work to fill all the available time, and so most “work” is done to look good to superiors and their superiors, with no relevance to real-world applications.
Urbanization. We wanted to leverage economies of scale and the efficiency of proximity, so we piled people into cities, then found out that having lots of anonymous and semi-transient neighbors made for an alienating experience, and efficiencies were limited by the sheer waste of minimum-wage workers and apathetic desk jockeys.
We lived in a postwar bubble: the consumer economy kept us wealthy, liberal democratic hegemony made the world stable, institutions kept the streets safe and orderly, industry made us comfortable, we worked in air-conditioned comfort, and we seemed to have truly “progressed” from our subsistence origins.
The postwar bubble has ended because it was, in the end, simply a bubble. The things that seemed to work only seemed beneficial because their high costs had yet to be revealed, or because we misunderstood what was needed to make them keep working.
Since the postwar era was built on civil rights, or the idea of extending forced equality by government worldwide, diversity serves as its poster child issue. When diversity goes, so do many of the illusions, since diversity was used to prove equality was working to all of us.
It turns out that resentments among different groups are too much to overcome, not because of who the groups are, but because of the power struggle that always arises when there are different groups in the same society.
We have, as a species, lost faith in diversity, despite the largest propaganda organ ever created championing it constantly in our ears. Like the Soviet Union, the liberal West is falling because it failed to achieve what it promised and brought a fatalistic lack of motivation instead.
Even more, we experience existential terror because we know that the path we are on is no longer the way forward, meaning toward a better life in some form. Ideology promised “progress,” but that turned out to be symbolic, and when applied to reality it missed enough details to invert itself, or deliver the opposite of what was promised.
Humans need the same thing that any intelligent creature would need. We have to believe that our society is at least not declining, but ideally rising; that our culture is good and whole; that we can have significant lives; and finally, that there is some meaning beyond the material and that something good awaits beyond the veil of death.
Modern society has failed in this, and as the bubble collapses, its flagship issue diversity is first to go. It turns out that Hitler was right in this regard (although not other areas), as was the Confederacy, and all of the ethnic wars in history.
Diversity is over. It has died in our hearts and we lack faith in it, just like the citizens of the Soviet Union lost faith in it. We are now simply awaiting the alternatives, ready to hop off and find ourselves a better life without this latest failed bubble.