As A Thief In The Night

So comes the day of Reckoning.
James Eccleton remarked on how the mighty have fallen. “Brazil is becoming Argentina, Argentina is becoming Venezuela, and Venezuela is becoming Zimbabwe.” The question that always puzzles historians about the fall of great and rich countries is: ‘why didn’t they say it coming?’ How did they let disaster sneak up on them?

Adam Smith once remarked that “there is a great deal of ruin in a nation”. That is usually understood to mean that it takes a long time to break things...But it is more correct to say ‘a great deal of ruin’ means “it takes a long time to realize that things are breaking”.

The clue is the total finality of the crash when it comes. The victim when examined for postmortem is drained of blood; his organs are all twisted and perverted. The dead man was not ‘a little weaker than yesterday’ but in a far more fragile than was supposed. The damage was hidden as if the final day of reckoning was put off by eating the seed corn, pawning the family jewels and finally, selling the family members to buy the final meal — in a word as if everything was consumed to counterfeit the appearance of normalcy.

Thus, the collapse when it comes is unexpectedly complete. When National Intelligence Director James Clapper says Syria has become an ‘apocalyptic disaster’ it doesn’t simply mean that Syria is a little worse than in 2011, but far, far worse than we thought it was even in December 2013. The husk of Syria has not only consumed its final supplies of food, but also its reserves of comity, good will, human capital and luck.

The real damage was internal. A society can survive the loss of things, but it cannot survive without institutions or the destruction of culture. Culture is to nations what an immune system is to people. Nations under siege fall back on some atavistic condition. Thus, occupied Poland becomes more Catholic, as does Ireland, and as Egypt perhaps becomes more Muslim. They fall back on the known and the comforting. City Hall might collapse and the factory temporarily closed but if culture and identity survive these things can be reopened again.

The apocalypse of Syria means that many people don’t even want to reopen things any more. They hate their neighbors, individually and collectively.

The linked columnist, Richard Fernandez, is writing about a group of slow-motion trainwrecks around the world. And this comment about Argentina caught my eye:
Regarding the discussion on Argentina below, after traveling around the country a bit, my conclusion was that the root cause of its woes is institutionalized racism and exploitation. Remain in the city centers and you will see nothing but faces that could come from Barcelona or Milan. But take a bus out of town and you will view mile after mile of shanties filled with poor mestizos. The European elites don't give a rats ass about them, don't educate them, and don't value them even as consumers. How can you grow a prosperous industrial state when 80% of the population is on the dole and and lacks the basic literacy and math skills to be prosperous.
The author is obviously unable to connnect the human biodiversity-dots from what he saw firsthand but given the OP is PJ Media, it's about as candid a statement as you're likely to see.

Several decades ago, my father's rugby team played Argentina's Club Puerrydon. They were and are extraordinarily handsome and civilized people; rugby in Argentina is clearly an upper caste activity. Outside the southern European-style cities, Argentina apparently looks a lot more like Peru.

I don't know this, but I think the same thing that commenter observed playing out in Argentina is what played out in Syria. An urbanized, K-selected, Byzantine and Assyrian remnant lived their refined Mediterranean lifestyles while an r-selected, Sunni Arab underclass was quietly having all the babies and listening to Wahabbist sermons. The Assad nuclear family and their lackeys are not the most forward-thinking group, and they have been stealing, brutalizing and doing whatever else to feather their own nests for decades. Long term investment and planning are impossible in such a place. The high-g professionals and entrepeneurs have been streaming out, because that's what K-selected people do in environments which are so hostile to family formation: they withdraw or they shut down. All sorts of social and financial capital was being eroded and then, poof, the civil order vanished. I know Syrians who came piling over into the US when it happened. They didn't see it coming, and they still can't believe it. They think something will work out and they'll be back enjoying their easygoing lifestyles. They won't, not ever. The Syria they knew is gone.

This is why I rail about low-g immigration and transfer payments so much, because those trainwrecks that we think only happen in other people's countries can happen here.


Gyan said…
There is indeed a great deal of ruin in a nation. See a wreaked India in 1947, a million dead, entire cities burnt down, and see now.

The r-K theory predicts too much. If there is on-going antagonism between r and K populations, then why did it break out into Civil War now and not 50 years or 500 years before?
Porter said…
Those trainwrecks that we think only happen in other people's countries can happen here.

It's really quite remarkable how alien this concept is to most (even high g) people. AG, I don't know how vocal you are in real life, but I am rarely confused for a liberal. And when the discussion turns to topics we routinely grind in these parts, it is almost without exception that I am asked incredulously: "You really think that could happen here?"

It is only through disciplined observance of decorum that I don't respond: "Of course, idiot. You think there's something magical in this dirt?"

Because so many can't even conceive of the macabre possibilities, their misery at any's arrival will acute indeed.
Bert said…
Argentina is a 90% white country. It has some lousy parts, but it will never get as bad as the rest of them.
Northern Refugee said…

Apparently, mall traffic is plummeting. I believe it. There is a nearby mall in a white area. It has become overrun with blacks and mestizos. The whites are fleeing (I haven't set foot in the place in months), taking their business elsewhere or online.

You are right. Whites are withdrawing.
Glen Filthie said…
That a collapse or a 'reset' is coming is common knowledge - the so-called 'preppers' are gearing and arming up for it as we speak.

My question is - what happens after the collapse? Protracted race war? Or one having socialists and against capitalists?

And how do I get out of this shit show? There is nowhere to go; the rest of the world has gone nuts too.
then why did it break out into Civil War now and not 50 years or 500 years before?

50 years ago, and certainly 500 years ago, r-selected groups lost significant margins to starvation and disease. Now they get foreign aid and welfare. That's how long it took them to breed to the tipping point.
@Porter - I can't emphasize this enough:

My Syrian friends never saw it coming. Three years and an ocean away, and they are still in shock. "We'll be back," one says. "Dream on!," yells an obviously Byzantine-descended Palestinian who's been here for several decades.

All that time, as the Sunni rabble grew to outnumber them five to one, they thought their lives of coffee shops, house parties, elaborate dinners and no taxes would never end.

Do you know what it's like living in a monoculture of your aesthetic-minded ethnic kin from an ancestral line stretching back millennia, my pluralistic, multi-cultural friend? "Like living in a big family house." Their exact words.

Then I had my own oh shit moment: What omens am I overlooking here?

You know that sick, sour feeling you get after making an ill-advised purchase? That's the sense I get when I watch the endless stream of Aztecs straggling up and down the sidewalks, in the strip malls, in the government offices with three kids in tow.

I hope like hell I'm wrong.
Unknown said…
I think the r/K paradigm assumes too much. If the K-selected are so smart, why do they not see what is coming? Many do see it. I'm one, and while I'm more K-selected, I also happen to be lazy. Smart, but lazy.
Porter said…
That was a poignant comment. And you're not wrong. I've spent about the last 10 years feeling as though I was living in a past that hasn't quite yet slipped out of sight.

If I had no stake in what was to come I'd probably do as so many others and render myself insensate with the many social narcotics available. But I have children, and responsibility for their welfare. And I cringe seeing the tomorrow of their lives. Some days I wish I didn't see it.
I think the r/K paradigm assumes too much.

It probably does. It's a mix of IQ, reproductive practices, time preference, cultural preference, voluntary choices, etc.

r/K is my shorthand, because I see the dichotomy across and within ethnic and racial lines.
Anonymous said…
Come back to MPC TZ. We miss you.
Northern Refugee said…
This is why California will be such an intersting test case. The center of our high tech industries is also our first majority r-selected state.
Anonymous said…
Argentines of Italian descent are overwhelmingly from the South. The decay and corruption are similar, product of the extended family and supremacy of tribal loyalties.