The Way of the 21st Century: Going Nowhere While Very, Very Frightened

(Originally published in February, 2015)

We’re 14 years into a new century, which is typically how long it takes for a century’s unique characteristics to show up. The 20th century, for example, looked a lot like the 19th until 1914; from there on it looked a lot different. So I think this is a good time to take a look at our new century and see how it’s shaping up.

I see two particular things that are defining the mainline culture just now. Let’s go with the easy and obvious one first:

The 24-Hour Fear Cycle

Nothing makes humans easier to manipulate than fear. Get a group of Homo sapiens afraid of something and most of them will run wherever you want them to. Unfortunately, all the manipulators of our time know this and are maximizing their use of it.

On top of that, we have a 24-hour news cycle, and nothing rivets eyeballs to screens like fear. Good news, as we all know, doesn’t sell papers.

There have always been bad things happening on Earth. Take the truly horrifying stories that pop up here and there of women killing their own children. Sadly, these have always been with us, but they weren’t blasted on five or ten news channels 24/7. Likewise, horrifying stories from the Middle East or in Africa; these are very definitely nothing new. What’s new is using these stories as tools… tools to make Homo sapiens run to where you want them.

Here’s the reality:


Violent crime is decreasing, and significantly.

Deaths in fires are dropping:


Disaster losses are falling too:


I could go on, but you get the point. Lots of things are getting better in real life, but no one thinks so because everything’s getting worse on TV. Fear works.

One final example: Here’s a list of events from a year that generally inspires no fear in us—1970:

March 6 A bomb being assembled by terrorists explodes, killing three.
April 8 47 children are killed by (peacetime) bombs from a neighboring country.
May 4 Soldiers kill four American college students.
May 8 A huge mob of construction workers in New York attacks protesters.
May 14 Police fire on a crowd at a college, killing two and injuring 12.
June 9 A bomb explodes at New York police headquarters.
July 12 Two canisters of tear gas are thrown into the British House of Commons.
Aug. 7 Terrorists take a judge hostage in California, then kill him.
Sept. 1 An assassination attempt on the King of Jordan.
Sept. 6 Terrorists hijack four airplanes on flights to New York.
Oct. 5 Terrorists kidnap a British diplomat.
Oct. 10 Terrorists kidnap a Canadian Minister. He is found dead a week later.
Nov. 25 Terrorists seize the headquarters of Japan’s defense forces.
Nov. 27 An assassination attempt on the Pope.
Dec. 3 A major government caves and releases five terrorists.
Dec. 4 Spain declares martial law.
Dec. 7 A Swiss ambassador is kidnapped.
Dec. 13 Martial law is declared in Poland.

These events were accepted in 1970. People thought they were sad, but they didn’t panic over them. I don’t think that would be true now. We are living in a fear soup, stirred by the overlords of the age. And it’s working for them.

Going Nowhere

There’s a great line in the Bible that says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” And that is exactly what we’re being treated to from the mainstream culture. This is a second defining characteristic of our new century.

How many of us can answer this question in any positive way?:

Where is Western civilization going?

In this 21st century, we have no vision, no goal, no direction. And that’s a very bad thing.

Lots of modern people want to live healthier and longer, but to what end? So they can eat more fancy food? So they can have sex a few more times? To what great future does that lead?

Millions of 21st-century people want to get rich, but what will they do with their big pile of money? Is it just to look at? To salve their insecurities?

Money is a fine tool, but anyone who thinks it’s going to make them into some kind of superior person has a big surprise coming. The one thing they may get from it is status, but only in the eyes of shallow people.

At one time, the men and women of the West did have goals: they strove to attain righteousness, to love their neighbors and to eliminate slavery. (I’m talking about the early Middle Ages, by the way.) Was this universal and perfect? Of course not, but it was quite real and quite effective, no matter what pop history says.

Even during my youth, we had a vision: We were sending men to the moon, then outward from there. However poorly the effort was handled, it was a real goal, and one that positively affected millions of us.

Now there are no goals, no striving, no searching, no becoming. Instead, we have distractions, fears, and stasis.

Humans need goals, and we as a civilization currently have none.

The Current Necessity

So what do we do about this?

The common reflex is to “reform the system,” but I think that’s a tragic mistake. You can chase those rainbows for decades, but it ends up making no real difference. One day you’ll wake up and realize that you’re old and nearing the finish line… and that the system still sucks.

I recommend that you dump all of that and get busy changing the world directly. Forget the visionless 21st century culture and start creating your own vision. Read, learn, choose! And get busy doing.

Without a vision, we stagnate, we walk in circles… we perish. Don’t live in that trap.

Paul Rosenberg

This article was originally published by Casey Research.

3 thoughts on “The Way of the 21st Century: Going Nowhere While Very, Very Frightened”

  1. Very prescient. All of these trends that you observed in 2015 have only accelerated and had additional layers/components added over the ensuing 8 years. It wasn’t enough for the elites to make us fearful – that almost seems quaint now. Nowadays, they are mounting an all-out effort to completely tear down our reality and sanity and replace them with hollow false narratives and a constructed digital gulag intended to herd us into a neatly controlled institutional panopticon, where we are manipulated into fight constantly among ourselves over meaningless social issues – Racism! Trans! Team Blue! Team Red! – and intended to prevent us from ever disobeying and challenging the establishment ever again.

  2. Another thing overlooked is the fact that previous wildernesses are now populated. So even if the weather today were identical to the weather of, say, 200 years ago, there would be more weather-related disasters. It’s one of those “problems of success” resulting from more people able to live in more places.

  3. Not meaning to be cynical, but are people actually happier when they wouldn’t be fearfull? I mean, take slavery. A common fenomenon in the world. According to historians the folks who could not get out of their misfortunes with the help of their peers fell victim to loansharks. And as compensation got a new goal in life: work for sustainance and a place to sleep. For a master that is. Or they sold what was dearest to them, their children. Now that slavery is less common, misfortunate people are free to roam the streets on wellfare. The can’t seem to find a job they like. Or anything usefull for that matter. Ok, I live in an extremely wealthy country (the Netherlands) where poor folks still live in homes. But the problems feel the same. And the main issue with those people is that they do not value themselves, at all. Not saying that this led to slavery in the past. And then again…, wouldn’t it? Professionally I ask a lot of young people about their plans. Only to get a vague answer. And an empty smile. They only seem to be happy in front of a screen looking at the creativity of others. Without being inspired by that creativity. And seeing in a few years what life they end up with it seems to be the same treadwheel that actually feels like slavery.

    The question is how to inspire a sense of value in kids. So that their life may inspire others. Instead of playing dumber only to please the groups around them in fear of being left out. Or their life inspires their families. And awaken talents among family members. There are at least seven talents to choose from. If they discover what they are, forget the shortsighted view of the groups around them and hone in to one or two at a time you might see miracles. At least they will find out that there are others that have the same desire.


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