What is left of Western Civilization finds itself in liminal space, knowing that we are no longer on the path that we once trusted, but uncertain of what comes next and when. This brings the terror associated with political change because it means that we must change our thinking and behaviors, which carries a risk of personal failure.
As we sift through the ashes of the COVID-19 debacle, it becomes increasingly clear that not just government but our entire society bungled this one. The experts followed what they were told, and did research and found figures to back it up, the doctors made recommendations based on that, and government forced it upon us. Many profited.
Now that we can officially admit that what looks like a worldwide recession is shaping up from our response to COVID-19, a disease that did not produce the heaps of bodies promised but mostly carried off those with 2.6 average comorbidities, it has become clear that democracy is no longer working as promised.
This is how ideological societies function: we make an assumption, and whatever supports that assumption is seen to be good, so we choose the facts that support that argument and pretend they are the whole truth, at which point everyone else imitates that and expands upon it in order to be participating in the present trend.
What people want to believe makes them happy and therefore, not just an ideal product but a winning political statement and a popular thing to say at the local pub, so it takes over, and everyone else argues for it in order to advance their own careers and popularity.
Ideology means taking what is popular, making a symbol for it, and then forcing others to either endorse it or reject it. That way, you can bully everyone else into supporting what you want out of guilt and fear of missing out, since if it is trending, those who do not get with the trend become social losers.
In an ideological society, we all rationalize — justify what we want or believe in terms of — from the assumption of what is good, which since it must be super-simplified, takes on primitive socially popular notions like altruism, love, compassion, empathy, and tolerance.
With COVID-19, the blank cheque handed to those in authority was panic and the ability to defend the “vulnerable” from a virus by requiring that the economy shut down so we could all hang out inside wearing masks. Now that the pandemic stands revealed as a non-event, we see how this did us a bad turn.
This shows us the problem of weak power. Unlike its opposite, weak power relies on the support of the herd. Revolutions form with the support of the herd, but after that, it knows its power, and its leaders have to pacify it with handouts, righteous indignation, lush emotions, and moral symbolism.
Strong power on the other hand requires no consent of the governed, nor does it respond to their short-term concerns like trends. It has no need to justify itself or pander; it simply acts when necessary, but mostly leaves the course of nature intact, since it gains no symbolic advantage by asserting control.
For centuries the West has played out the conflict kicked off by the struggle between shopkeepers and kings. The shopkeepers wanted to get beyond the idea of society having a goal and bring about a bourgeois era where culture, history, and order were thrown away in favor of more consumption.
This culminated in the society of the Revolutions, which ironically only took over in America after a civil war so vast and destructive that it scars us to this day. The Revolutions brought about the reign of mob rule, and now the mob has removed the naturally talented and replaced them with actors and shopkeepers who carry out the pretend leadership of democracy.
That instability allows mass freakouts like the COVID-19 panic of the 2020s to take over, and because everyone rationalizes from the basic assumption that a pandemic is coming on, cherry-picking of data and false conclusions at every level.
In addition, because egalitarian societies make people powerless and adrift, the pandemic freakout unleashed the desire in each person for power, which they acted out through absurdly dictatorial mask mandates, forced vaccinations, economic shutdowns, and censorship.
Democracy showed us its true face. It promises one thing, but because that thing is unrealistic, it never happens that way in reality. Instead, with democracy you get a herd running between trends and panics, a bureaucratic class in control, and culture replaced by commerce and popularity.
In the end, the individualism that motivated the shopkeepers — me first, and let us ignore the issue of maintaining civilization — has produced a society of non-stop drama. To get noticed, you must be dramatic; to advance your career, you must tap into panic, rage, or maudlin projection.
However, that age is coming to an end. People in the first world are not reproducing at replacement levels; their nations are bankrupt; pollution and the urban heat island effect are kicking in; world wars seem imminent. Democracy has joined the dustbin of history like Communism, National Socialism, Fascism, and theocracy.
We are heading into an era that replaces individualism with a sense of goal. That is, we want civilization back and to be able to function at a higher level than the neutered, powerless, and meaningless modern existence that has us sacrificing real life for optics and products.
It may be a nihilist era where people decide to do what works for them and let nature deal with other people. Tolerance for wealth redistribution, which promised to end poverty and racism but intensified both, seems to be fading away just like the thronging belief in democracy, equality, and diversity.
The subsidy era, with its need for artificially manufactured “consensus” in order to keep the Revolution at bay while still maintaining a mob rule power structure, seems to have ended with the faith in democracy. We are now adrift, waiting for what comes next, terrified but hopeful.