Tuesday, September 8, 2020

How to Live in an Age of Decline

One of the more frustrating aspects of being a political commentator with a good mind is that it is easier to see what is going on in America these days than to figure out what patriotic Americans should do about it. My blog’s relative neglect of the latter subject has had strange consequences. For example, some of my readers apparently think that I am saying that the “solution” to our national predicament, insofar as there is one, if for right-wingers to emigrate to Russia.

While Russia’s willingness to take a better position than the United States on a number of human rights issues has earned that country some favorable mentions on my blog, the truth is that I have only advocated actual resettlement there for a very specific (and rare) set of people – parents who are in child custody suits in which the other parent wants to raise the child as the wrong sex.

There are a number of reasons why Russia is, in my opinion, the best place to seek asylum if you find yourself in such a nightmare scenario. Russia is generally hostile to the LGBT agenda, is not bullyable by the US, and is the closest foreign country after Canada and Mexico.

But for literally anybody else, there is very little reason to go there. To begin with, the place isn’t exactly run by open-borders liberals who would be happy to let you in. And if you did manage to get legal residence, you would still be looking at a difficult language barrier: Russian is not easy to learn, owing in part to the fact that it has retained elements of the Proto-Indo-European case system which western European languages haven’t used since before Roman times.

Does the rarity of circumstances in which fleeing to Russia makes sense mean that it is a mistake for me to talk about that subject so often? Not at all. The fact that several hundreds or thousands of people have allowed their exes and/or the state to mutilate their children without at least trying to escape to a country with a less demented concept of human rights says something important about the present state of the American nation.

I have chosen to use the absence of US transgender child cases from the dockets of Moscow’s asylum courts as Exhibit A in my case that the American people presently suffer from an almost complete lack of courage. This is a big deal, because “complete lack of courage” isn’t a trait that you find in an imperial nation unless the imperial nation is well along in the process of decline and fall.

This raises an interesting question: if you are an ordinary American with no unusual circumstances that would necessitate emigration, what should you do about the American Empire’s ongoing decline and fall?

And this is a question which is not easy to answer. In fact, I don’t think that anybody has a full answer. But I can at least provide, and elaborate on, two useful insights.

1.      Learn To Alienate Yourself From The System

If you want to think realistically about America’s future, you have to admit the complete institutional dominance of the Left. The Left runs the universities, the media, the professional organizations (law, medical, etc.), the major corporations, and so forth.

One consequence of this is that the Left does not need to win elections in order to enact its agenda. Think back on the big victories which the Left has won over the last half-century or so: Legal abortion, a much-reduced role for religion in public life, de facto open borders, affirmative action, the re-interpretation of civil rights laws to penalize criticism of homosexuals, the normalization of sex-changes for children, etc. None of these required a legislative majority. (If they did, many of them would have gotten enacted anyway, they just would have taken longer).

I have talked before about how the American people are not innocent in allowing their democracy to be subverted. In short, if twentieth-century Americans had faced the challenges of their own time with as much courage as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, etc. did back in 1776, then America’s transformation from a democracy into an oligarchy, which began around 1933 and was essentially complete 40 years later, would likely never have happened.

However, that is not the world in which we presently live. Right now, we need to take a good, honest look at the present situation and admit that we are not going to vote our way out of it. And we need to admit that control of mainstream society belongs to the people who run the universities, the media, the professional organizations, the major corporations, etc. – i.e., to radical leftists.

Once you’ve recognized that these institutions are hostile, you will have some choices to make. Usually, your choices are between either (a) whining about it, or (b) detaching yourself from the system even though doing so makes your life harder.

For example, right-wingers who want to pass their values on to the next generation need to be choosy about where they send their children to school. Sometimes, this means choosing the right public school out of several that are available to you. Sometimes, it means going with a charter school, private school, or parochial school. Sometimes, it means homeschooling.

If you do not do this, it means that, at best, your children will grow up in almost complete ignorance of their own country’s history (and also of other countries’ histories, and of science, geography, etc). At worst, it means that they will be taught to hate their own race, and to doubt whether or not they were ‘assigned’ to the correct sex when they were born.

In addition to schools, you also need to be choosy about what media you let your children watch. And I’m not just talking about avoiding smut. Films like Zootopia or the new Star Wars trilogy may be chaste, but their basic ethos is anything but harmless.

Go to the movies these days, and what you most often see is a tale in which the young, inexperienced protagonist saves the day on the basis of his or her righteous enthusiasm and inborn specialness, while traditional authority figures are shown to be clueless and/or morally compromised. Think of that scene from Star Wars VIII in which Luke gets in an argument with the girl he’s supposed to be training, and shortly afterward the ghost of Yoda shows up and burns a library full of ancient Jedi texts while telling Luke that they hold “nothing that the girl does not already possess.” I could name plenty of other examples if I had time.

Childhood gender-changes and the George Floyd Riots are just two of the many things that our country is presently experiencing, at least in part, because we raised so many children on this dreck.

Can America’s decline be reversed if the Right makes a decision not to let its own children’s worldviews be shaped by such forces? No, it can’t. People who care enough to act are a small minority. But your own family will be better off if you are a part of that minority.

2.     Learn To Get By With Less

Right-wingers need to become comfortable with downsizing and economic decline, especially on the personal level.

I know that this idea is probably even less popular with doctrinaire conservatives than what I said about the schools and the media. But if we make it a plank of our ideology that people can or ought to expect constant material enrichment, then we’re dooming our cause.

To begin with, if people believe that the measure of whether something in politics is ‘good’ or not is whether it makes them richer, they will never do things like go on strike to protest the firing of a colleague who said the wrong thing about homosexuals or BLM or whatever. For much the same reason, none of the world’s revolutions have been fought by economic libertarians. Rather, successful revolutions are the work of people like Sam Adams who, motivated by a desire to defend their people’s collective rights, are willing to do things that temporarily wreck the economic fortunes of themselves and their fellow citizens.

But here’s the thing: even if you never decide to put your career on the line by defying the Left, you will likely still face hard times in the future.

Early in 2019, I remarked that the real, median income for an American household – once you uncook the books on inflation – was only 65 percent of what it was in 2000. (Note: it’s gotten worse in the year-and-a-half since then). One may debate the causes of the collapsing fortunes of the middle class, and there are good reasons to believe that unbalanced trade arrangements, open borders, overregulation, rent-seeking, a slackening work ethic, loose monetary policy, and peak oil have all played a role. But whatever the causes may be, decline is the order of the day, and the decline will continue for the foreseeable future.

Now, the good news is that, even today, people in most parts of the world manage to get by just fine on an income level much lower than what a typical middle-class American family makes.

There are a number of reasons for this. One is that Americans spend so much of their money servicing their debts: college tuition is expensive, and most degrees won’t pay for themselves; most Americans live in bigger houses than they need to, and so forth. At the structural level, the American economy is set up so that it’s impossible for the average person to not be deeply in debt. However, this does not require any particular individual to be a debtor, and if you live frugally enough, you’ll be fine.

Choose your profession carefully. If you are young, it is generally a good idea to learn to work with your hands, as a carpenter, mechanic, farmer, etc. The immediate benefits are a lower debt load and a much-reduced risk of being fired from your job at the behest of the SJW mob. The downside is that, at the present time, those professions are on the bottom of the economic heap.

But when the US dollar ceases to be the global currency – which I expect to happen sometime in the next 20 to 30 years – that will change. The United States will no longer be able to finance a huge trade deficit, and Americans will have to get used to mainly consuming the goods which their own country can produce.

The upper classes will see this as a tragedy because their standard of living will go down. But for the working class, it will be a good thing, because it will mean that, without cheap foreign imports to compete with, there will be a better market for their labor.

After the phase change, America’s workers will still be poor compared to the present-day American upper-middle-class. (This is because the upper-middle-class lifestyle depends on unequal economic arrangements viz a viz the rest of the world, as well as the rapid drawdown of nonrenewable resources like petroleum. It probably can’t be made sustainable for anybody in the long term).

Nevertheless, people who produce tangible goods for a living will generally be better off under the new system than the old one, provided they make the right changes in their own lives to equip themselves to get by on fewer expenses.

If you live in a place where it is practical to travel by bicycle, do so whenever you can. It is much more efficient than driving. Also, take good care of your health: don’t smoke, be careful about what you eat, and so forth. Doctors are going to get more expensive before they get cheaper. Alcohol, in addition to its potential ill effects on your body and mind, is also expensive. Thus, you should only drink it in moderation, preferably when somebody else is paying for it.

Erotic entanglements, especially those which produce offspring, can lead you to incur huge financial expenses at unexpected times, and they are a big part of the reason why most of the poor stay poor. The solution is as simple as it is unpopular: don’t have sex with anyone you’re not married to, and teach your children to do the same.

Yes, I know that trying to get a kid to remain a virgin until his or her wedding night is often a fool’s errand, and I know that the whole of the mainstream media will be working at cross-purposes to you. (For what it’s worth, I think that telling young people that casual sex is “safe” if they use the proper protection is the moral equivalent of telling them that it’s safe to drive drunk if they are wearing a seatbelt. The latter is clearly less bad than driving drunk without a seatbelt, but that’s not saying much.)

Even so, the benefits to your child’s life if he or she listens to you – in terms of freedom from disease and surprise pregnancies, less emotional distress from failed relationships, and a lower chance of divorce once married – are enough that it is worth at least trying to get the point across.

So that is my advice for people living through the decline of the American empire who aren’t in the tiny minority for whom fleeing to Russia is the most sensible option.

Will taking this advice lead to an immediate turnaround? No. But you need to remember the constraints within which we are working – the vast majority of today’s right-wing Americans do not have the courage for a revolution.

That can change over long timescales. Hard times, extended over many generations, tend to toughen people up. Also, the day will come when the regime in Washington no longer has the resources to keep order, and locally-organized militias, in whichever towns prove capable of organizing them, will be the only government that’s left.

What you do right now will determine the probability that you or your descendants will be involved in the building of new civilizations on the American continent.

If you want that probability to be high, then first, remember that the system does not share your values, and do what it takes to alienate yourself and your family from it, in terms of education, media, and so forth. And second, learn a profession that will have value during an age of economic decline, and live your life in the expectation that money and other resources will always be tight.


  1. Here's my general objection to this essay, which in many ways is very sensible.

    No one knows the future. The American Apocalypse may come in 25 years ... or it may come in five. Whatever, we need to be organizing now for a situation in which the social order has broken down, and the state is no longer able to fulfill its functions. (We have had a little peep into the future over the last few months, courtesy of the gentle souls of AntiFa.)

    A big military humiliation at the hands of a rising China -- which doesn't have to involve bloodshed -- followed by, or at the same time as, a big depression -- and we might see a replication of the shock that took the Nazis from 2.5% of the vote in 1928, to 37% in the spring of 1933.

    Some people -- most notably the 'Preppers' and 'Survivalists' have understood that while today is usually like yesterday and tomorrow will usually be like today ... that indefinite linear extrapolation of this progression is very foolish. And good for them.

    The main problem of most of these people is that they mainly concentrate on their own personal, individual survival: stock up on food and ammo, get a cabin in the mountains, learn to live off the grid. And, for the moment, send your childen to decent schools, or home school them. Ride a bicycle. Grow your own green beans.

    There is nothing wrong with these things per se, but ... our thinking must be: how can we rescue the Republic from the coming chaos? This does not necessarily mean a Republic whose boundaries are the same as the present American Republic.

    No one knows the future. Maybe the American people will finally recoil from the rot, and change course. Maybe the Left will become so strong, and the pro-civilization forces so weak, that we will all go down -- whatever form that plunge takes -- together, with never a chance for patriots to reconstitute a viable country.

    But there is a chance that we will be able to intervene in the process, and return a large fraction of the country to its original foundations.
    And for that we'll need to do more than grow our own carrots and homeschool our children.

    Do not go gentle, into that good night. Rage, rage, against the dying of the light.

    1. Doug,

      I sort of get where you're coming from. And this isn't the first time that we've clashed on account of your seeing my views as too pessimistic!

      What we seem to disagree about is not whether the United States is in a state of decline and will eventually break up (hint: at the end of the day, all empires decline and fall). Rather it is simply a question of on what scale civilization can be preserved.

      You think that, at some point, there will be a massive change in consciousness leading one or several states to secede from the Union in an organized fashion and set up a new government on the lines of what Washington, Jefferson, etc. believed in. I see such a scenario as wishful thinking, and my belief is that, after a slow and informal descent into anarchy - which will take at least half a century to play out - a small minority of Americans will manage to revive democratic government on the town level, a la CherĂ¡n.

      So the disagreement is on the scale at which revival is possible, and the amount of hard times/anarchy that America will need to experience between now and then. Hence the reason for my belief that preparedness starts with doing whatever you can to make sure your children are a part of that future minority that is capable/desirous of reviving democratic government.

  2. Gentleman, I share your gloomy prognosis for the USA. Predict a break up into several New political units. Wrote about this in my trilogy of dystopian novels starting with The Noah Option. Tinyurl.com/noahoption

  3. If interested, I’ll send you a copy in return for an online review?