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Social Organizing Principles and the Impending Return of the Dark Ages

March 30, 2015

“…we are dealing with a fundamental truth of all social life, including all organized power systems or organized force: any organization functions effectively only against organizations which operate in terms similar to itself, yet, in the final analysis, every organization functions only when it can influence or control the moment-to-moment lives of concrete individuals. It is, in fact, impossible for any organization to do this except to the extent that the society as a mass of people tacitly accepts and supports, not only the legitimacy of what is being done in any case, but the assumptions behind the organizing principles of the organization itself.”
Quigley, Weapons Systems and Political Stability.

I suspect that here in the US, at least in so far as government is concerned, we have begun to question both “…the legitimacy of what is being done…” and, “…the assumptions behind the organizing principles of the organization itself.” At the same time and perhaps in part its cause, it seems as though in America and Europe at least, society increasingly is dominated by banking institutions and corporations and not government. If so, then the fracturing of society into large private entities that control the livelihood of individuals who make up those organizations appears not only to be a possibility, but well advanced. If so, then government will be reduced only to providing that thin level of security that the banking and corporate entities are unwilling or unable to supply themselves.

This structure of society, privatization of the community and its culture historically have always been the hallmarks of what we call, “Dark Ages.” The European Dark Ages (600 AD to 1000 AD) the pre-classical dark ages in the Mediterranean basin and the Near-East (1100 BC to 600 BC) and just about all others that we know about are identified by the breakdown of cohesive societies with an organizing principle that includes an overall governing system that we have come to define as a State and its replacement with predominately private entities. This stateless system, usually accompanied by a decades and often centuries long depression, results in the disappearance or at least significant reduction in non immediately productive activities such as education, art, and science and their replacement with a rigorous focus on the rudimentary development of technological improvements to production, especially of luxury and military items. It also often signals a rise in religious fanaticism.

We are seeing, in the US at this time, wealth shifting (and in a way shrinking) from individuals as a whole to these private entities and those who control them while investments in basic education, arts, and science decrease. On the other hand, investments are still being made, at least temporarily, to expand productivity of existing technology especially of luxury and military hardware. Alas, this also may collapse when the sources of unearned wealth dry up. In the past this point occurred when climatic conditions or political ones ceased to allow acquisition of cheap resources by the society; that is when conquest and resource theft of less powerful societies became too costly, or productivity of these societies grew too low to make acquisition of their resources worthwhile.

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