Civilisation: Paying It Forward
In this piece we explore a new paradigm: the short-term vs the long-term society, as well as the concept of 'Forward Duty.'
The past is the present is the future. We are inextricably linked through time with our ancestors and our descendants. Our ancestors’ story is our story, just as our story will be our descendants’ story; and our ancestors have shaped our reality, just as we will shape our descendants’ reality. This link is unbreakable, but it hasn’t stopped the powers of the present and immediate past from trying to sever it - to disconnect us from our history and our future.
If there’s a hallmark of western society today it is, above all else, that we have become a short-term focused society. From politics, to the economy, to our values, most of our decisions and actions are geared towards short-term gain at the expense of long-term unity, prosperity, and order. This wilful trade-off, in addition to being foolish and short-sighted, carries high costs that will extend far into the future, long after you and I are gone. Are we to wash our hands of this and ignore the consequences of our actions? Or can we and should we explore alternatives to a system that betrays us and our descendants?
In this piece we’re going to explore a new paradigm: the short-term vs the long-term society. The former is what we have now, and the latter, I believe, is the superior and much needed alternative. If adopted, it could help us better resolve our challenges, and create a more robust and sustainable civilisation and future.
Let’s get into it.
The Short-Term Society
Whether you want to call it the blind leading the blind, or the wolves leading the sheep, our society today is being lead in a way that increasingly guarantees a future of civil conflict, poverty, and moral decay. Our leaders - political, economic, and cultural - are either short-sighted, self-serving, reckless, weak, incompetent, or sinister. It’s hard to feel that there’s serious or even noble people in the control room of our civilisation.
This is evident when we examine the short-term society they preside over. Let’s look at some elements of it: one economic, one political, one cultural, and one demographic.
I’m going to use the UK and the US as examples here. In the UK, the latest official debt figures up to the first quarter of 2022 put us at 99.6% of GDP, which is £2.365 trillion pounds.
This debt will continue to increase through time, for e.g. our deficit or shortfall for the first quarter of 2022 was £15.8 billion pounds or 2.6% of GDP.
In the US, the national debt stands at $30.9 trillion dollars, which is 124% of GDP.
The debt here also is increasing. For example, in the current federal fiscal year ending 30th September 2022, the deficit so far is $726.12 billion dollars.
So the current debt situation and the continuing trends are bad. This could be called economic mismanagement, but it really stems from a philosophy of ‘getting yours’ now at the expense of future generations. At some point this house of cards will come crashing down and our descendants will be left to deal with the consequences.
Many call our current political system, ‘democracy.’ I prefer to call it party politics. This is because it’s parties who are in power and they often serve their own interests rather than those of the people whom they claim to represent. Their main interest in ‘the people’ tends to be that they get their vote once every 2, 4, or 5 years, or whatever the term is.
This becomes the time horizon of their problem solving and decision making, because there is no guarantee they will be in power long enough to properly execute things, or that another leader or party won’t gain power and change their plans only to start the whole cycle over again.
As for accountability during those short years, in practice a party only needs to give the appearance they are doing something good, or at least the appearance they are doing (or would do) the least damage, in order to get votes. It’s always a contest of the ‘least worst option,’ and people really don’t have a meaningful choice.
In truth, parties and politicians get rewarded more for just being in power, than actually doing something that’s important, bold, visionary, or that will have a long term positive impact on society. Winning the next election gets them money, influence, esteem, and a job they can’t be fired from for a number of years. Where as focusing on the long term is fraught with political risk and danger, with little or no personal payoff.
This system then, in addition to being messy and confusing, is pathologically short-term focused to the detriment to us all.
The dominant culture of the establishment today is Wokeism. This is a divisive ideology that seeks to pit citizen against citizen, child against parent, and even nature against humans. It exploits any differences between people (real or imagined) in order to divide us and make us hate one another.
Despite this, it is pushed onto us by government, corporations, academia, the media, the entertainment industry, and all the other usual culprits. No regard is given to the results wokeism produces, for its adherents and proponents are more interested in serving the ideology, rather than the good of society.
It doesn’t take a god like foresight to see where all this leads. When you indoctrinate children and youth with beliefs that run completely contrary to reality, it sets them up for serious problems. Either reality will break them, or they will try to break reality, aka our society. And indeed that is what is happening today.
At some point we pass the point of no return. The division and hatred will set like concrete, and that inevitably means handing our descendants a future of conflict and chaos.
If wokeism is one dividing force, immigration without integration is another one. Today, since western leaders have no confidence in their history or culture, and stand for nothing besides empty platitudes, they allow or in fact encourage enormous amounts of legal and illegal immigration into our nations without a care as to if or how these immigrants will culturally integrate.
Many people come here who are running software (that is, beliefs and culture), that is at odds with western history and culture. Moreover, since they find us in a state of cultural confusion and lacking any real convictions, besides that men can be women, they just hold on to their own culture - the very one which produced the poor results that made them leave or escape their country in the first place.
So what we end up with is multiculturalism, which is hailed by our leaders as a strength, but is actually a long-term weakness. It may dawdle along today whilst these other cultures are numerical minorities, but as they grow in number, the risk of having multiple major competing cultures within the same borders, whose group members have little else to bind them to out group members apart from economic self-interest (however long that lasts), could lead our descendants to religious or ethnic conflict.
So these are some examples of how the short term society operates, and of the poor legacy it leaves for future generations. Let’s now look at the long-term society.
The Long-Term Society
I’d like to introduce here the concept of forward duty. In so far as I know this term has not been used before, so I’m not stepping on any toes.
If the short-term society is characterised by a focus on present payoffs (real or perceived) and is more inclined towards extreme individualism - the kind that places one’s own interests above all else regardless of the societal consequences, then the long-term society is defined by an acceptance and embrace of a duty to serve not just ourselves today, but also our descendants who will inherit and build on the legacy that we leave them. It is viewing life and civilization as an unbreakable continuum through time and space, and acting with care and responsibility toward the future: this I call fulfilling our forward duty.
If we refer back to the examples from the short-term society, it would mean having an economic system that is sustainable long-term, a political system that is just as focused on the future as it is on the present, a belief and value system that is positive and uniting, and if we’re going to have immigration, a system of cultural integration that is strict, robust, and unapologetic. These things are not impossible or even out of reach, it’s just that it’s hard to have them when you’re operating within a short-term system and with a short-term mindset.
Or consider things that are out of reach right now - like becoming a multi-planetary civilisation. How will we get there via the short-term society? We’re more likely to collapse civilisation on earth for stupid reasons then we are to achieve this grand feat. It will take hundreds of years to make this a reality at a modest level, so it will require a coordinated and collective effort through time. Our descendants, though unborn, are depending on us to have the foresight and courage do what is right here.
Forward duty then requires a solidarity with the future that unfortunately many today lack. If as a society we’re only interested in the now - in getting what we want at the expense of the future - then we are no different to a junkie. It’s all about our next high. Damn tomorrow. Damn your children. Damn society.
Our leaders in particular are most guilty of this. We cannot therefore regard them as serious people, or as suited to lead this next stage of civilisation. They have created, or allowed to fester, too many civilisational failure points, some of which we have explored already.
In the end then it really rests on us. No one is a spectator; we all participate in what comes next. But to take the right action, we must recognise where we are, and acknowledge the signs of a transitioning civilisation. The spread of anti-human and anti-reality ideologies like wokeism, are a sign that our current civilisation has exhausted itself. It no longer cares for the future. It lives for the now. Whether it’s running up massive debts on the national credit card, or blindly worshipping a short-sighted political system, or bowing to the rainbow flag of the woke, or treating our borders as inconvenient, and countless other examples you can think of, this is all really a combined wrecking ball. We haven’t reached the pinnacle of life and civilisation in the 21st century, we have entered a void between a dying civilization and a new one - and the wrecking ball is clearing the way.
So will we perish in the void? Or will we make it out? And if we do emerge, what next for our civilisation? So far there have been three broad stages of the West: the Classical West, the Medieval West, and the Modern West. The first two are gone, the third is ending, and we need to decide what stage 4 will look like. And whilst we can all debate what it should or could be, I believe it must have as a core tenet, a forward duty. It must be a long-term society. For just as no man is an island, no generation is an island either - we are all linked. We are all a part of a great and mysterious journey that extends beyond our individual lifetimes.
If we’re to fulfil a greater destiny in this universe, then it’s time we grow up and start acting like we’re meant to be here, like we’re not just an accident.
Written by Arcadius Strauss.
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