Private Frazer from Dad's Army, with his famous catchphrase.
It's quite vogue these days to say that the West is doomed; doomed to follow the same pattern of the Roman Empire, doomed to misery and squalor and final 'invasion by the barbarian hordes from the East'. Various bloggers around the androsphere are happy to promulgate this view that the West will follow a the strict pattern of Empire that Glubb proscribed in his book The Fate Of Empires and Search for Survival, which ends in doom and gloom for the natives of the West. Of course this, unsurprisingly, provokes different people to react in two different ways:
- one camp is fatalistic and accept that decline is inevitable ergo you should 'enjoy the decline', and enjoy the fruits of civilisation but don't lift a finger to save it. cf. Captain Capitalism, Heartiste for bloggers in this camp.
- another camp is reactionary and refuses to accept that the decline is inevitable, ergo you should fight it tooth and nail! cf. Vox Day (Breaking the chains, winning the games, and saving Western Civilization) and the various neoreactionaries for bloggers in this camp.
Thankfully though not everyone falls into these two knee-jerk, reactionary camps, because not everyone takes Glubbs predictions (and they are only predictions not truths) as gospel. Glubb, like Oswald Spengler (author of the Decline of the West), like Will Durant (penned the famous quote 'Empires are destroyed from within before they are destroyed from without'), was over-focussed on pessimism and cycles. You could say that Glubb's worldview was dominated by cycles. Because Glubb allowed his mind to be dominated by this one view of the world (the view of cycles) he was blind to the fact, the empirically provable fact, that there are cultures, civilisations, that don't fall into his pattern of Empires. There are and have been cultures which have different end-game scenarios to the doom-and-gloom one that occured to the Roman Empire. This is the point that I'm trying to stress: just because one academic observed one culture (the Roman Empire) succumbing and dying in an ignominous way doesn't mean that your culture, ergo you, will succumb to the same fate; you have more than one option available to you, and you have the ability to choose any one of those options.
Fatalistic preaching is immoral. God gave you Willfulness, God gave you Freedoms beyond what petty-minded fatalists could even conceive of. He gave you every thing that he had, and then he gave you the ability to do whatever you want. That's what God gave you. He gave you freedom, not fatalism. So the next time you read someone preaching 100% fatalism, denying you the ability to choose another way, know that they are preaching the doctrine of perpetual misery; know that they are wrong.
Finally, to illustrate the point that cultures do not always follow the same pattern that Glubb wrote about we will look at some lesser quoted/referenced cultures throughout time and space (or history and the world, if you prefer to phrase it differently) and see how they ended, if indeed they did end:
Phrygian Empire (1200 - 700 BCE)
- The place of the famous King Midas (as in the phrase 'the Midas touch'). It went out with a bang! There capital city was burnt to the ground by Cimmerians. They didn't succumb to cultural decay or immigration, it was just plain and simple destruction.
Hellenic Empire (323 - 31 BCE)
- The numerous city-states continued as a province of the Roman Empire rather than being destroyed. They continued on with cultural excellence, well, until the Christians decided to close down the Academy where Plato, Aristotle and others had taught. Christianity eh, where would we be without it?!
- It's had various ruling dynasties over the millenia, quite often transitioning peacefully proving that strife between new and old rulers is not inevitable. It's culture (confuscianism) and population (Han Chinese) are still going strong. So strong in fact that there are ~1.4 billion of them. Hardly the same cultural decay and population decline that Glubb predicted.
Napoleonic Empire (1804 - 1815)
- It was destroyed by war. After conquering most of Europe he thought that Russia would be easy enough. How wrong he was. After failing to capture Moscow and then losing 500,000 men (when feminists claim that 'men had it easier than women') on the long march back to Paris.Defeat at the hands of the Germans and English at Waterloo shortly after in 1812 led to the destruction of the Empire. It wasn't invading barbarians or cultural degradation as Glubb predicted.
Soviet Empire (1917 - 1991)
- It ran out of money after the arms race during the Reagan Era, and then Gorbachev reformed the government basically allowing the provinces to govern themselves. It certainly didn't suffer from a gluttonous, un-fertile proletariat in the same manner as the Roman Empire did. Nor did it suffer from immigration, population displacement or invading hordes, it just fell apart.
So as you can see, it's not all fixed and pre-determined like Glubb would have you believe, there are more than one options available to you.