World War II total deaths 60 to 80 Million. Source.
Today, amidst the nihilism of the postmodern era and collapse of mores, some predict an imminent collapse of European civilization, others of Western civilization, and yet others of the entire Modern World. Such talk conjures images of the fall of the Roman Empire, which took centuries to spread through Europe, while the Eastern Roman Empire flourished. We might think of civilizations of Mesoamerica which ended with the arrival of the conquistadores. Or the recent violent overthrow of various multinational cultures such as the Nazis and imperialist Japanese in World War II. Or the murderous conquest of Christian civilizations of Anatolia, Levant, North Africa, and Spain by Muslims.
If we live within an endangered civilization or culture, the foremost question we ask ourselves is, “Will it happen in my lifetime?” Then we remember the infamous words of England’s Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain on 30 September 1938, after concluding an agreement with Adolf Hitler, “My good friends, for the second time in our history, a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honor. I believe it is peace for our time… Go home and get a nice quiet sleep.” Less than a year later, on 3 September 1939, Britain and France declared war on Germany when Hitler reneged. Six years later, the butcher bill for WWII was 60 to 80 million. 83% of the dead were defenders, 17% were aggressors. Over 3% of the population of the entire earth died before the aggressors were defeated. My childhood spanned this war. I know what happened. I’ll never believe the aggressors were adequately punished.
It is healthy for us to cast a skeptical eye upon soothing words from politicians, and to manage our lives in such a way that we are not wholly dependent upon central government to protect us and loved ones. Nonetheless, despite my resolve to protect and provide for my loved ones, my generation has watched government strip us of long-standing constitutional rights, one-by-one. My government, and those of essentially all advanced nations, have grown into behemoths whose primary interests lie in pursuing an elitist agenda, and preserving their own continuance and invulnerability to demands of their citizenry.
Let’s look at the top issues, whether real or imagined, that now confront us:
- Irreconcilable grievances and grudges fuel unending warfare.
- Sectarian terrorism is overwhelming immoral politicians.
- Government leadership is now the most lucrative career.
- Monolithic, elitist government is self-serving in all its actions.
- Government does not seek to serve its citizens.
- Anthropogenic global warming is a massive, criminal fraud.
- Political correctness movement is unlawful coercion.
- It’s a myth that diversity produces any public value.
- Global elites subvert national identities to gain power.
- Public education is now a government mouthpiece.
- International trade is useless as a peacemaker.
- Government debt cannot be repaid without hyperinflation.
- The citizenry in developed countries is now rebelling.
- Cultural mores valued for millennia are discarded leaving a vacuum.
- Zero or negative native population growth in Europe, Japan, China, and United States.
- Widespread introduction of automation (including robots) in workplaces and homes.
- Two dominant world religions, one of which intent upon imposing world domination.
You could add an equal number of issues to this list, and undoubtedly disagree with some of my issues. But I hope that we can recognize that the long-term simultaneous existence of all these issues is unsustainable. Whether the changes to a more stable “new normal” will come about with or without major violence is probably far beyond my and your forecasting abilities. Whether the changes are done gradually or rapidly, peacefully or violently, doesn’t depend upon us. One natural mega event could start it, such as solar flares knocking out the electrical grid, or an asteroid striking the earth, or a huge series of tectonic shifts (an earthquake storm), or a global plague could be the catalyst to bring it all down.
Keeping this in mind, it would be profitable for us to look at what happened 3200 years ago, which did indeed bring down the most advanced, multinational, diverse, wealthy, autocratic, class-structured, cooperative, multi-religious, family-oriented, and intercontinental civilization in the world. Within about 100 years, all the progress since the last glacial maximum (which we have been studying for the prior 100 blog posts) came down like a house of cards. In the place of this great and productive international network, all that archaeologists can say about the following 300 years is that it was a Dark Age. Only Egypt emerged out of the darkness – the others gone—and Egypt never recovered its former strength.
I introduced the subject last week with the recent video lecture (2016) about the Luwians. I now present a more comprehensive view of the Bronze Age collapse via two videos (2014, 2015). In the first, Dr. Eric Cline rapidly delivers virtually all the facts in a televised docudrama that I feel should both entertain and educate you with an overview. The second video records Doctor Cline’s presentation to an audience of the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute professionals, donors, docents, students, and public. I strongly urge you to watch both videos in the suggested order: (1) docudrama, and (2) lecture.
Hopefully, you will recognize this as the most extreme example of a historical, large-scale, multi-civilization collapse. You can now apply this as a baseline for your thinking about how our current world order will reestablish itself to mitigate hazards while better satisfying its stakeholders.
Thanks for visiting,
R. E. J. Burke