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The Failed Society

by Rajani Kanth

For decades, the ‘failed state’ canard has been invoked to bring down governments perceived as hostile to the West, and/or to swipe their resources.

Not that the West ever really needed the aid of arguments.

Cannon, and chicanery, sufficed – amply.

It’s a hoary game.

For 400 years, no justification has ever been needed.

They went, they saw, they pillaged.

That’s the real saga of the ‘rise of the west’, cannily buried in pedantic, and otiose, academic discussions of ‘capitalism’, ‘modernisation’, etc., ad nauseam.

Substitute the more robust term ‘empire’, and one grasps the real truth: surely, and swiftly.

EM (EuroModernism is the specific form of Modernism institutionalised in Europe, after their putative ‘enlightenment’). Capitalism was the accidental by-product of empire: not vice-versa, as is widely believed.

Today, China has shown that a society can ‘rise’ – to real heights – without any of the above means/mechanisms.

It’s a lesson wholly lost – wasted? – on the present Masters of the Universe.

No: they would prefer to let that fact go unnoticed.

And, for owning the world’s media, they can even ensure that, easily.

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The US is a failed society, by real, anthropic standards.

What is a ‘failed’ society?

When the only connection between its constituents is raw self-interest.

Need I say more?

Yes.

Given that the aforementioned trait is basic to All EM capitalist societies, they are all doomed to societal collapse: depending only on the strength of the resistance of pre-EM cultural bondings.

If one wonders why denizens of EM societies seem ‘reconciled’ to their denuded state of being, it is because they have no direct experience of any alternate modes of co-existence (not dissimilarly, the generation growing up in the US now has to be inured to War, as a permanent condition of existence).

So, the stultifying alienations of EM are seen, merely, as ‘life’.

Here the Non-European EM societies have a decisive advantage: they do have a flourishing pre-EM culture, so they can comprehend the hollowness of the EM societal frame quite readily.

It is this that explains why the curse of Asocial Individualism has never really taken strong root in any non-European, but still Modernist, society (India, Egypt, etc.), even when they adopt the rest of the EM litany.

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As I have previously written,

the US is, also, the very first nation to move into the dystopia of an Amoral Society ( a contradiction, in terms).

Mind, I didn’t say ‘ immoral’.

For, to be immoral one has to know the difference between moral and immoral.

That distinction is no longer, widely or seriously, regarded, within/without the ruling orders in the US.

Whence the proud clamor of being, self-aware or not, in the Post-Truth stage of (d)evolution.

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Let me sketch the nature of the transition, at issue.

First, EM societies, at large, consolidated the noxious framework of Modernism (invidiously, claiming it as an index of ‘progress’), 16th-18th centuries.

It was the First Strike against the foundational logos of a real, anthropic, society ( I have listed the various ‘traits’ of EM society, and its antithetical tribal social forms, several times before: so won’t repeat them here).

Then, in the late 20th century, they ‘slid’ into Post-Modernism, an enhanced, and augmented, stage of nihilism : where ‘anything goes’, so long as consistent with the demands of an endlessly acquisitive state of being.

That was the springboard to the Amoralism, of today, where antic societal norms have ceased to operate, and the only limit to any and all forms of misanthropy is the residual instruments of the ‘law’ alone.

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What does this stage, which is the one prior to Unfettered Barbarism, the Last Stage and Terminus, signify?

It is where not merely the ruling elites, but vast sections of the populace, embrace sociopathic modes of behavior, as the norm.

It were almost as if the Hobbesian condition of bellum omnium contra omnes, which Hobbes had intended to describe a ‘state of nature’, has been achieved in a latter-day, modernist society: to the detriment of all.

As if in confirmation, social psychologists report that mutual empathy, amongst high-schoolers and the young, has lapsed by some 60% since 2000.

What is the provenance of such a historic devolution?

The source is in the active encouragement of Asocial Individualism (one of the important innovations of the so-called Enlightenment and the Reformation), which, analogous to the corrosive effects of money in a simple economy, dissolves societal ties – irreversibly.

Once those social (whence moral) bonds atrophy, we humans develop radical pathologies – such as rabid sociopathy – that are but stepping stones: to madness.

So, we live in not merely a ‘sick’ society, but in a growingly insane one.

Insanity is the anthropic consequence of being stripped of the healing benefice of the affective ties of community.

We are simply not designed to subsist as competing individuals.

And when that norm is enforced, we swiftly self-destruct into apathy, anomie, psychic disorder, and emotive decay.

Humans, stripped of the nurturing felicities of the affective life, suffer a disabling/disorienting corrosion of mind and spirit.

It is in that sense that, banal as it may sound to the modernist sensibility, love is the abiding leitmotif of the human condition.

Failing that, the Apocalypse.

Only such a genre of madness can insouciantly drop 40,000 bombs a year on innocents who have done the US no harm, years after year, without a second thought.

Watch the clip of US troops, provided by Assange (for which he is now being tortured by the Brits: in characteristic display of the double-standards, and hypocrisy, of the Brutish Isles), mow down civilians in Iraq, whilst laughing, to get a sense of the casual depravity.

That event can be multiplied n times over, in all of the genocidal playgrounds of the West: Libya, Afghanistan, et. al.

Such overweening, homicidal, ardor! – incurable, apparently, for centuries on end.

Remorse, anyone?

No, the Amoral Society has none, knows none.

So the West, i.e., the US and the EU, can calmly stand by and let the wretched millions of Yemen go to the wall, in famine, death, and disease, while faking high concern for the Uyghurs of China.

Touching, this empathy for human suffering.

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The US is not the only failed society around.

The UK, it’s historically bonded twin, is another: though owing to its still functioning working class mores, and the residual survival of affective Celtic cultures, the rot is not as far advanced.

The US began its history, of predatory settler colonialism, devoid of any such grounding roots.

Another way to say this is that the UK is not, yet, an Amoral society.

The UK admitted its own ‘failed society’ state of becoming when it, recently, appointed a “Minister for Loneliness’.

Endemic loneliness, that is the classic EM condition: it’s the other, dark, cost, side of the revered ‘GDP’ ledger.

Ever met a Masai, or a Bushman (still living within their tribal culture) who was lonely?

Loneliness, like resource-deprivation, and despair, are uniquely Modernist creations.

Within that matrix, there is no cure for it.

As an aside, it is this very interminable angst, and existential despair, that creates the frequent surges of powerful art, music, and literature – although that high efflorescence, of spirit, cannot even begin to fill /soothe the void.

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Why is any of the above, I mention, important now?

Because an Amoral Society can, and will, see to certain planetary extinction, if unchecked, being coolly indifferent to the fate of the Other(s).

This Other is other cultures, other peoples, other faiths; and, finally, the Planet itself, which is itself viewed as some ‘external’ backdrop to the regime of crass greed and inveterate cupidity.

In their carpe diem world, there is no tomorrow to worry about.

The current US admin has displayed the above traits candidly, and super-abundantly, minus the usual, politic, dissemblings of prior admins.

Let there be no doubt as to why the world, at large, today, faces breakdown of societal and ecological balances.

No, it’s not just the US: blaming the US is a frequent European ploy, to evade their own mighty culpability as willing, and dutiful, poodles of their TransAtlantic Master.

Certainly, there are differences of interests that arise, between the US and the EU (and Canada and Australia) but they band together, en generale, when it comes to the conjoint pillage of Non-European, and usually defenceless, societies.

Consider the US-NATO in Afghanistan, as a case in point.

The mightiest forces in the world, from the wealthiest of nations, callously occupying and terrorising a land of rag-poor tribals, for 19 years (and yet unable to ‘pacify’ them).

It is, to my mind, analogous to the frequency of police terror in the US, where so-called ‘law enforcers’ gang up in numbers, to murder a helpless, often handicapped, victim: with wholesale impunity.

What profiles in valor!

Breathtaking.

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How can all this be turned around?

The only redress we have is to restructure our lives, and livelihoods, self-consciously, from below.

Change is only effected by living differently. By building affective ties and communities, outside of the Matrix (of monetary and financial networks). The gradual erosion of the larger, macro, ‘system’ will follow, then, in due course.

For the macroscopic ‘nation-state’ is another, emblematic, EM entity, forcibly foisted upon the world.

It is artificial, and imposed: held together by a combination of bribery, force, and propaganda.

As anthropic beings, we cannot, in any meaningful manner, ‘relate’ to such alien, counterfeit, constructs.

We can, it would appear, only express, and realise, our human nature, in small, face-to-face, gemeinschaft communities.

Notice that the salve is neither economic, nor political: but, societal, and cultural.

EM ideologues, of left and right, fail to grasp this, for being trapped in the vapid philosophy of materialism.

Even EM ‘socialism’ – albeit well-intentioned, if myopic – went no further than aiming at a bigger bowl of goulash.

Had it pursued affective, communitarian, goals, instead, its fall from grace, and favor, might have been less calamitous: or, may have not have occurred at all.

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I have done 3 books, thus far, that provide foundational theory for the thesis (and many related theses) above.

Chronologically, Breaking With the Enlightenment (1997); Against Eurocentrism (2005), and Farewell to Modernism (2017).

One could do worse than have a peruse?

I wouldn’t wait for the movie.

N.B. My critique of Modernist Society (deriving from European roots) is a transcendent one, bypassing the internal and immanent criticisms, such as have been handed down now for generations, from all sides of the Modernist spectrum of opinion. In that sense, it stands apart, and alone, from all extant critiques.

[© R.Kanth 2020]   

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Professor Rajani Kanth, Author of Coda,, A Day in the Life, and Expiations, is Trustee of the World Peace Congress

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