Keeping civilization alive has fallen to us. A lot of us grew up believing that Democracy would deliver the best of all possible worlds, but that pleasant promise has become very obviously false. Rulership is not equipped to supply honest and humane living; what they are equipped to supply is ever-more rulership, aka, enforcement.
And so there’s no one to cultivate civilization but us, and we must do this. As briefly as possible, I’ll describe our situation, then move on to what we must do.
The Present Ruling Model
As I noted recently, there are two primary models for attaining a civilized, humane, high-trust way of life:
- Cultivate civilization within people.
- Enforce civilization upon people.
In the best of the old days, governments contented themselves to deal with exterior threats, leaving any number of religions and philosophies free to cultivate civilization within the populace.
Since the the 1970s, however, we’ve seen a hostile takeover of morality… of the enforcement of moral norms by the state. (Via the regulation or criminalization of everything.) Under this model, the state must enforce proper speech and sexual procedures; it must punish and repress the original sin of racism; it must enforce Green to prevent an apocalypse… it must eliminate threat after threat, ultimately bringing us to a promised land.
Ever-more enforcement is rulership’s path to paradise. And many people are pleased to believe such fantasies, coming, as they do, with no observable cost.
So, that’s where we are.
What, Then, Shall We Do?
What we need is to act on our own will and initiative. The good news is that we’re already doing just that. And as it turns out, we’re really good at it.
Our first job is to teach the next generation what is good and right. The enforcement complex will not do this (they’ll portray themselves as the ultimate standard of rightness) and so we need to teach the golden rule, tolerance, kindness, cooperation, integrity and so on.
The importance of this is extreme. I’m a bit more optimistic than historian Will Durant, but he had a point when he wrote this:
Civilization is not inherited; it has to be learned and earned by each generation anew; if the transmission should be interrupted for one century, civilization would die, and we should be savages again.
But again, it happens that we’re quite good at such things, provided that we undertake them directly, rather than handing them off to others in the name of convenience or in the name of specialization. There are no specialists who will teach basic decency to our children better than we can.
The ultimate training ground, of course, is the family. But again, that’s only useful if we do the work. The more honest, engaged and healthy our families, the more honest, engaged and healthy will be the next generation.
Civilization is also taught during the process of homeschooling. (Simultaneously keeping children from the toxic dogmas being pumped through government schools.) In the US, where the war on homeschooling remains at a fairly low level, 11.1 percent of American children are now said to be homeschooled. (So says the US Census) That’s a shocking number, and if it’s correct, it will bear noticeable fruit in not too many years.
Homeschool parents, whatever their shortfalls, are nearly always serious people, working hard to give their children the best education they can, including moral education. And if 11.1 percent of parents can do it, many more can do it as well.
In other places, particularly in Europe, homeschooling is barbarically persecuted, and so those of us in less-bad places should consider ways to help our oppressed brethren.
Past all of this, we have Bitcoin. This is money with civilization encoded within it. Bitcoin allows for no enforcer or overseer… has no handle for an overlord to grab. It is super-tolerant, in that censorship is very, very difficult and no one can be cut off because of their religion or anything else. More than that, Bitcoin has drawn to itself many of the most serious and morally-minded people.
What we need to do with Bitcoin is use it profligately. Bitcoin’s Lightning overlay (and dozens of Lightning-able wallets are available) accommodates any number of small purchases for trivial fees. We need to get this thing going. It’s freedom money, and thus morality money.
(Silver and gold could be used similarly, but that’s a post in itself. Hopefully soon.)
And so we have plenty to do. (And I haven’t mentioned things like talking to your neighbors, coworkers, people you ride the bus with, and so on.)
We’re on our own now… as perhaps we’ve always been. We need to do this. Pick a spot and start.
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2 thoughts on “Keeping Civilization Alive”
You seem to be using the word “civilization” to mean something good, rather than e.g. Wikipedia’s “organized densely-populated settlements divided into hierarchical social classes with a ruling elite and subordinate urban and rural populations …”
Yikes, I didn’t think Wiki’s definition was that bad. And you are correct. I use “civilization” as “a large group of people passing a (fairly) consistent set of ideas from generation to generation.”
I use the same basic definition for society and culture, but for smaller groups.
Addition: In this post I am implying Western civilization, and that it is worth keeping alive.
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