Peter Turchin, End times: elites, counter-elites, and the path of political disintegration, 2023.
Turchin is one of the founders of the new 'science' of cliodynamics, a discipline which coalesced in the 1990s, statistical juggling 'facts' from the past, stitched together from bare bones (literally) of archeology, climate, geopolitics, crimes, arrests/ executions, wine imports, lots and lots of numbers. There's probably even a case for kitchen sinks. Think: weather forecasting. My favourite historian, Arnold Toynbee, when asked by a critic what the secret of history was, answered: Just one damned thing after another. Well, it seems Turchin has finally trumped the great master.
In Harnessing human nature Part I, we saw how natural selection takes place not only on the individual level, but on the group level. No man is an island. We are who we identify with, we make alliances, good and bad. The high point of any civilization is when its state, warrior groups conquer others, loot and occupy, and build monuments to glorify it all. In rare exception to this, sometimes civilizations just coast along under wise leadership. Andalusia under Muslim rule from the 8th to 15th cc was probably humanity's high point, though it came to a typically nasty end with the reconquista.
But what about the family? What role does it play in civilization, in shaping individuals, before they move on to their adult groups?
“This head scarf ban is directly targeting Islam, demanding that Muslims bow to secular demands, undermining their belief. The elite sees that Islam is the only faith that is robust, producing healthy, moral citizens. They fear that Europe will slowly be Islamicized as more immigrants come and shape European culture in moral terms away from its present moral decay,” Eric Walberg told IQNA.
Cosmopolitan -- 'world politics', 'world citizen' -- people of many races under a world empire. The word became a meme in the 1890s as British empire blossomed, supposedly the world now united around principles of the free market. Sounds cool. The market is the proven way to run economies. It is neutral, no favorites, harsh but just, making us work hard, the state ensuring people don't cheat and undermine the sacred system. For if belief in all this wavers, the loss of faith in the market would spell doom for all, equally. We are equal before the law, and we can vote. That's what democracy and freedom are all about, right?
But is the apparent real?
In 2018, a majority of millennials said boomers had ‘made things worse’ for their generation. They tried to liberate us, and instead of freedom they left behind chaos.
In all fields touched by the six boomers profiled here---technology, entertainment, economics, academia, politics, law---what they passed on to their children was worse than what they inherited.
Andrews is senior editor at The American Conservative, and her book is a jeremiad, with the flavour of Old Testament divine justice, a call for owning up to one’s sins. The sins are many and the style is refreshingly unapologetically angry. The boomers should not be allowed to shuffle off the world stage until they have been made to regret their actions… In a just world there would be cosmic retribution for taking Jobs’s life’s work and turning it to the most boomerish purposes imaginable.
Trying to have a good time without a car is challenging. There are lots of scenic bits in Ontario, in Canada for that matter, but the bike magazines just assume you have a car with bike racks and plan to drive 'there', park and bike. Sorry, but you're still part of the problem. And you should be going somewhere, like Amundsen. You can be the first cyclist to reach the South Pole only in your dreams, but you can find Everests, what's doable and a challenge, wherever you are. We have to reinvent tourism if we are to survive.
GO trains have been a godsend. When they added Kitchener (Berlin till 1914*), armed with my faux sleeping bag, I planned my next adventure: Berlin Paris Brantford Hamilton. Europe, colonialism all wrapped up together. Kitchener/Berlin was newly discovered land for Eric Cyclist, and biking from Berlin to Paris? Cool.
Over time I have accumulated 'my favourite Shakespeare hits' as doses of vitamin, my protein drink, as I ride. I love to find the bull's eyes and implant them, so they can come to my aid. Reciting aloud or in my mind is like playing Beethoven on the piano. Imitating speech (and song) is what makes us humans, gives us the miracle of speech. It's our primary learning engine. Parrots, mocking birds and a few others can, but no primates. It is speech that has turned the world into our world, transforming nature into ... No comment. But there is no wordsmith to rival the Bard. Maybe Dante.
Tolstoy didn't like Shakespeare: irreligious, amoral, teaches that in morality, like politics, you can’t establish any principles because life is too complex. The Devil is the main protagonist in Shakespeare's great tragedies, which suits me fine,
with Dan Kovalik. i'm on at 3:43 and 9:17
World News with Eric Walberg