When you get in an automobile accident, time suspends for the duration of events. You remember having been in a state of completely normal activity, then something went wrong, and after that, your brain was concerned with survival.
In the days and months after the event, you replay it through your head more an algebra problem than video. Something was happening, something else happened, and this ended up a startling result. You did not intend the accident, but now it has happened and cannot be undone.
For us on the cusp of vast historical change, we feel the suspension of continuity that happens right before an accident. We thought we knew what was going on, but our trajectory has changed, and now we must interrupt routine to deal with the unexpected.
This means that we will see a new type of change. We are accustomed to centralized change, where government makes a treaty or a law and now, all must obey, trickling down from the most connected to the least involved. That is what we might call the “revolutionary model.”
Sea change on the other hand occurs when independently, or by unspoken assent, people start doing something differently everywhere. Not everyone has to do it, only enough. When that critical mass is reached, the new behavior becomes a normal and ordinary sight, and it grows.
We are looking at sea change on the question of “what is civilization?” Sam Huntington tells us that instead of political entities, humans group into civilizations, which are tribes comprised of a mosaic of religion, culture, ethnicity, and region.
During the Enlightenment™ era, civilizations were defined by nation-states which used political, economic, and legal systems to group together people. At first these groups were highly genetically related, but over time, expanded to include economic opportunists.
Those years showed us moving away from a tribal mentality that would fit a wandering band of people to a mentality based around defense of a national area, which inevitably led to the State. This replaced our kings and aristocrats with a management class whose job was to keep order, or in other words, avoid having lots of people step out of line with a simple agenda of working, paying taxes, and voting.
Foreign invasions — Muslim and Mongol — forced the most dramatic of these changes because in the face of large adversaries, small tribes do not fare well. They do not unite and oppose the enemy together, and instead fall separately.
Consequently, the West began following the Mongol model, which was to tie together huge groups of people by a lowest common denominator that they shared, namely the Idea. For the Muslims, this was religion; for the Mongols, it was the idea of a society where anyone could be accepted regardless of religion so long as they did what the administrative-managerial state needed.
This meant that the centralized model took over the world. A society based on accepting individuals, facilitating their dreams, but in exchange demanding ideological obedience and participation in an economic, legal, and military model took over from the hierarchies of the past.
Over a thousand years, this model took root in the West, accelerating after the medieval period once the “wisdom of the East” was assimilated. It found its philosophy first in The Enlightenment™ and second in the peasant revolts, combining individualism and collective action into one ideal.
We might call this ideal utilitarianism because while it aims for “the best according to the most, with none losing” in practice it assesses this through demotic means such as voting, consumer purchasing, and social popularity.
These converge on a lowest common denominator which declines every year because when you lower a standard one year, the next year in order to find an average, you have to include even lower numbers because the lowest outliers have descended further.
More accurately, we might call it mass mobilization, or the idea of quantity over quality. Instead of having hierarchies based on competence, the theory goes, you simply need lots of people and some strong motivation — fear, greed, lust — to unite them.
This saves the overhead required to maintain culture, customs, heritage, historical consistency, and future orientation, and uses that saved energy to fuel an ideological central command and the bureaucracy that it demands.
Our rebellion against the utilitarian has long been coming. First, our most sensitive, intelligent, insightful, future-oriented, long-term-oriented, and morally capable people found the results of “mass culture” appalling and crass.
It was easy to ignore them; after all, they are a percent of a percent of our population. Then, the discontent spread to the middle classes, but these easily avoided the problem by — in the time-honored method of shopkeepers everywhere — buying their way out of the problem.
Buying peace is the libertarian idea. Generate more money, get out of the city, and live in the nice suburbs while paying for private healthcare, insurance, and education to replace failing government-managed versions of the same. The middle class chose the path of least resistance and dodged the bullets coming their way, but this cleverness merely meant that soon the middle classes found themselves surrounded by a force much stronger than they were.
At this point, we are seeing a revolt by the upper half of the middle class which realizes that the days of buying its way out of problems are over. The Chinese have infiltrated the DNC; Obamacare has bankrupted most of the middle classes, who are living on credit cards; taxes (property, income, sales, fees) have piled up to the point where amassing wealth is no longer possible. And for what? To fund an underclass that continually burns our cities, does a mediocre job at work, and creates a mass culture of promiscuity, permissiveness, libertinism, and pointless hedonism.
This means that class warfare has boomeranged. The middle classes supported it at first because it meant more customers, and those would have lower standards, so higher margin products — cheaper stuff sold more expensively because of its novelty, currency, or risky nature — could make bigger middle-class incomes.
Now the middle classes realize that class warfare has come for them. The rich will not be affected, because they buy their way out of the problem by funding Leftist parties, but the ordinary person who wants off of the work-tax treadmill some day has no escape.
Impending sea change consists of several revelations:
Naturally these realizations mean that everything we are doing now is wrong, and that we will have to change radically in the future in order to have any kind of prosperity. We are reversing the Asiatic doctrine behind The Enlightenment™ and the atomized society that it produced.
In return, we are looking instead toward unity of purpose and similarity of people, as well as having the naturally talented rule, as a means of securing our future.
Sea change of this nature always comes as a surprise, and seems improbable right up until the point where it becomes normal. Currently, the people who benefit from the old system are fighting back, but even they see that their power is waning, and a new order rises on the horizon.
Tags: populism, sea change