Kingdoms Rise and Fall
The Ottoman Empire ended with WWI. Before that it had been styled “the sick man of Europe”. Before before that again the Roman Empire based in Constantinople had at one time been a flourishing and powerful civilisation, But by the time of the Muslim invaders had lost its inner vitality and fell.
Then in the Middle Ages, the centres of learning, of science, mathematics and philosophy were all in the Muslim East. But then they declined and the West advanced and with the Industrial Revolution completely dominated.
In England one can visit ruins of centrally heated Roman villas and baths that indicate a level of comfort at least that was not regained until the nineteenth century.
Perhaps in centuries to come history will say the same things about our time. Perhaps they will talk of the Anglo-American era, or use some other name for what will seem to them a tiny blip of “democracy”, middle class wealth, prosperity, health and scientific achievement. It may be millennia before what we enjoy now is regained – if ever.
Think for a moment what we take for granted.
Rule of law: this is fundamental to universal prosperity. It is in itself a superlative “good”. It is part and parcel of a free society. Historically it has not been common, let alone the norm. Even in our time, few third world countries enjoy it (that one reason for their poverty in places that abound in natural resources or rich soil). China as I write is sweeping away the last vestiges of rule of law as Xi Ping tightens his grip on power. Even Western nations are dallying with progressive socialist notions that “the end justifies the means” to discredit it.
Freedom from poverty: True “the poor are always with us”, but it is relative poverty, not the absolute poverty of the third world! We live in a time of wealth, not for the few but for the masses.
Good housing, clothes enough to keep us warm, food – not just for survival but in vast choice and quantity such that obesity is a common health risk! Natural energy for heating, cooling, lighting, labour saving machines and transport. We forget just how well off we are.
Science and technology. I can't even begin to catalogue the technologies that would have astounded our forebears even two hundred years ago! In the field of health alone we understand so much about disease that we can take effective preventative measures. (sewerage systems are possibly the biggest lifesavers ever). We have diagnostic tools that for most people are beyond our comprehension – bringing the danger that we simply equate them with the “voodoo” of folk medicine. We have surgery that improves and prolongs lives. We have antibiotics – but we risk loosing the race against microbes becoming immune to them. We have mass vaccination – but risk loosing communal immunity by pseudo-science convincing people immunisation is bad. And the politicisation of science we are currently seeing in the West risks destroying the core integrity essential to it and in turn destroying our ability for scientific achievement.
Freedom of speech, and religion. We have recently had a plebiscite on “same Sex Marriage” in Australia. 80% of voters responded. Of them 61.6 were in favour and 38.4 against. The only electorates where there was an overwhelming “No” vote were the predominantly Muslim enclaves. Firstly we have here illustrated why Muslims see us as decadent and irredeemably immoral, giving us some insight into why Islamist terrorists can recruit among home-born Muslims, and portending ill for the future. Secondly it shows that Judeo-Christian values have been rejected by the majority. Thirdly it is becoming apparent that this was not an end in itself but largely desired as a device to suppress freedom of speech and the suppression of Christianity. Time will tell how this plays out.
Education. Never has information been so readily available. The printing press was revolutionary in this regard. The internet is orders of magnitude more so. But information alone is not education. Training in the tools of “reading, writing, and arithmetic” is a big part. Learning a framework – whether of history, science, literature and so forth so that one has something to “hang” pieces of information on” and analytical tools to sift truth from error – or downright falsehood are essential to “education”. Discipline – then internalised as self-discipline, the duties we owe as well as the rights we should enjoy are all part of the socialisation that rounds out the education process. True we have universal schooling, we have a high rate of literacy (not universal – I found it Common in a farming community that wedding applicants would have the girl fill in the form because the boy only literate.)
But …. Asian countries are leaving us behind in the levels of training they are achieving. Not a good sign for our future. Worse, we are failing to teach the basic tools – in physics for instance not teaching the basic laws and how to apply then to new problems. In discipline … we have failed utterly and this is already coming back to bit us! Worst of all, Marxists, who have been infiltrating our education systems and training colleges for the past century have triumphed! Kids are being indoctrinated not educated. Socialist dogma is fed to them all the way through their school (and university) time. We are turning out young people convinced of the truth of socialist politics but ignorant of the devastating effect it has had on the lives of people and the wealth of nations wherever it has been implemented.
But wait there's more: Marxists are now using current tide in favour of homosexuality to introduce destructive teachings that even Marxist countries would stamp out – though of course their introduction into free societies to facilitate social destruction and revolution are part of their play-book. Homosexuality is being pushed to the extent that normal kids are being made feel they must be homosexuals. Gender fluidity is being pushed. (My wife yesterday had lunch with an old school friend who told her that one of her daughter's friends had just had a baby and the couple have announced that they will let the baby choose its own gender!) Boys and girls are being made to doubt that they really are male or female – and even have sex change operations at young ages when they cannot comprehend what they are doing and have not yet experienced the normal hormone rush of puberty. This is so terrible I do not have words to express my feelings! But it is happening in our schools!
My conclusion is that we have been living in a golden age – but also in a fools paradise. We are neglecting to do the hard things necessary to retain let alone improve what we have enjoyed.
As olden day civilisations succumbed so shall ours unless there is awakening.