Falling Down the Stairs

Pusher Robot stairs

Spend some time hanging around dissident circles online, and you'll soon be introduced to the concept of the Collapse. Though formulated by philosophers of history a hundred years ago, the idea that civilization now faces a great decline is popular with ex-Trump supporters discouraged by the MAGA program's failure. Embracing the Collapse, they say, is the ultimate red pill.

Not that you can really blame them. A fixed characteristic of our age has been Clown World's baffling resilience in the face of every mitigation effort. The Tea Party failed. Attempts to take back old media failed. Online movements failed. Building new platforms failed. Sending Trump to reform the system failed--and spectacularly, in a frenzy of election fraud that effectively ended representative government.

The heralds of the Collapse see these signs and correctly conclude that the current system is broken beyond repair. Or perhaps, a system originally designed to enact the will of the people has slowly been replaced with a machine engineered to squeeze all value out of the middle class and siphon it to the elite.

Mistaking the problem for mere corruption was where Conservatives went wrong. Corruption denotes that an institution has been perverted from its original purpose. There's still time to set it back on the right track. Our present kleptocracy was conceived to immiserate us. 

When someone replaces your La-Z-Boy with a torture rack, no amount of adjustment will turn it into a recliner. Such a system cannot be reformed from the inside. That is why every self-styled reformer Republicans send to Congress immediately becomes a uniparty stooge.

Another disastrous mistake Conservatives make is assuming the gangster state is the cause of our woes and not a symptom. They should know better, too. The Founding Fathers warned us what would happen if the people's moral character dipped below the minimum level needed to maintain the system. You can look out your window and see the results.

The truth is, barring a miracle we don't deserve, the divine chastisement we've richly earned will come upon us. It's gonna happen. You can't stop it.

Now, most people speak of the Collapse as falling off a cliff. A look at history shows that's not how societal decline happens. Wiser heads than mine have observed that civilizational collapse is more like falling down the stairs. It's a long flight, but you only tumble a little ways before there's a sudden stop. 

People mistake this respite as a return to normal, but it's really just one of many landings on the descent. A people can stay on one of these plateaus for a while, but eventually they tip over the edge again.

What does this process look like in real life? Not like Mad Max--not at first.

The first thing to go is social trust. Shared understandings and the ability to trust one's neighbors are the fuel societies run on. "They took our jobs!" was exactly the kind of lame economic argument Conservatives were conditioned to lose with. The real threat posed by diversity was the documented erosion of social trust and cohesion evident in neighborhoods as they diversified.

If you're Generation Y or older, you remember how neighborhoods where men borrowed each other's lawnmowers and kids played outside after dark gave way to blighted tracts of rentals with barred windows. Now magnify that to a civilizational scale.

We're already seeing processes everyone took for granted slip out of the sphere of knowledge. It's more than Apple stripping features from each new iPhone. Planes are falling out of the sky, and ships are plowing into each other at sea. We could not go back to the moon if we wanted to.

See Author David Stewart for more on the coming Dark Age:

Even the loss of social trust is just an instrumental, not a primary, cause of the Collapse.

Before we lost faith in each other, we lost faith in God.

Just as Jesus Christ remedied the original and worst Fall, He alone can save us from the loathsome state we've dug ourselves into.

It's all downhill from here unless we each stand up, take up our cross, and make the penitential climb back toward the state of grace.

How far could we fall before we repent? For a vision of the post-Collapse future that's proving more accurate every day, read my mecha thriller Combat Frame XSeed

Combat Frame XSeed - Brian Niemeier


  1. "Mistaking the problem for mere corruption was where Conservatives went wrong. Corruption denotes that an institution has been perverted from its original purpose. There's still time to set it back on the right track."

    If the five stages of grief can be applied to civilization death, would this be bargaining?

    1. They're still in denial.

      As one wag recently tweeted, "The 'Left' could etch, 'We're in charge; you're not,' on the face of the moon, & Conservatives would just say, 'Is that enumerated in the Constitution?'"