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Rime
Nov 2, 2011

Bad storm coming, better run to the top of the mountain.

Things have been getting pretty bad worldwide for about 17 years. Some would say that it really started as far back as the 1980's, and has only gained speed since then. I initially started this post with a huge bullet list of everything that's gone wrong in the past 40 years, and especially the past ten, lost it in a browser crash and goddamn it's just too much to type again.

Shits hosed. You know it, I know it, lets talk about how it's going to play out. So far we're tracking the Roman Republic pretty good, but we've got a lot more crazy technology this time around and our Caesar is a demented oompa-loompa.

Imagine that this is the climate change thread, except rather than moaning about how we're all very much going to die, we're moaning about how the fabric of our entire society is unraveling at the seams.

Good topics:
-> Rise of Authoritarianism in the west.
-> Decline and Vilification of Social Welfare.
-> Formation of international ultra-wealthy elite class with absolutely no geopolitical allegiances.
->Corporate conglomerates with no geopolitical allegiances.
-> Potential Balkanization of the USA & UK along ideological lines, and ramifications thereof.

I'll add more if anyone has suggestions.

Rime fucked around with this message at Aug 13, 2017 around 01:24

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Reveilled
Apr 19, 2007

Take up your rifles


I think analogising Trump to Julius Caesar--even in jest--does an extreme disservice to Julius Caesar. Trump seems more like Herod the Great: Had his title granted by a foreign power whom he was in the pocket of, established a new ruling family in his lands, created a new aristocracy around himself, and his main architectural achievement ultimately ended up being a big wall.

EDIT: oh, a new one, spearheaded a policy which put the lives of his nation's children at rist.

Rime
Nov 2, 2011

Bad storm coming, better run to the top of the mountain.

Eh, the parallels to Caesar are there as well: Populist pretty boy who rose to power in the republic by bribery and spectacle, and undermined the foundation of the entire system once he'd gained office.

Doorknob Slobber
Sep 10, 2006





Western democracy's unwillingness to change or be forward thinking in any way what-so-ever on pretty much every single major issue of our time is a pretty big problem. We have all these scientists saying poo poo like "Hey the climate is changing we're all going to die" and "hey if we utilize stem cells maybe we can cure cancer and regrow all sorts of poo poo" and "hey we're heading down a similar path as a lot of other failed societies" and governments in general are just putting their loving fingers in their ears going "NANANANANANANANA WEEEE CANNNNNT HEARRRRR YOUUUUUU" as they line their loving pockets with gold and oil or whatever.

The history channel website has this list of eight reasons why Rome fell or some dumb poo poo and the US checks off most of them with a little bit of extrapolation. I'll list a couple and their parallels with the US, though I'm no expert on Rome.

Invasions by barbarian tribes in the form of a bunch of stupid loving white rednecks who think that the enemy is brown people instead of all the rich vampire fucks literally sucking away their lives.

Economic troubles and how our economy pretty much relies on wage slaves to function.

Over expansion and military overspending doesn't even need to change.

Same with government corruption and instability. In the US the law essentially doesn't apply to white people who have money and 'justice' and 'law and order' have failed at so many levels of government that whenever a big corp does anything wrong they just pay a bribe and everything goes away.

Christianity. lol.

Doorknob Slobber fucked around with this message at Aug 13, 2017 around 03:06

rudatron
May 31, 2011



The fall of western civilization started with this thread, and it can't be stopped now. Good job OP.

Owlofcreamcheese
May 22, 2005

And the Lord said, Behold, the people are one, and all have one language: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.

Is America the only country you know about?

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012


Attempts to compare the United States and Roman Empire tend to reveal more about a person's ignorance of history than any lessons that are actually relevant today. It combines nihilism, anti-Americanism, and a lack of historical perspective.

There are superficial comparisons, like their international dominance and problems related to climate, but the analogy falls apart if a person thinks about it for more than ten minutes. The United States is not constantly besieged by barbarian tribes. It is not subjected to regular civil wars and pretender-led uprisings. The military is not an actor in the political process. As much as pundits would claim otherwise, the Senate is not a powerless body that can be cowed by whichever strongman appears to be on the rise. Inequality is encoded throughout the American political process, but the United States is not at a point where you have to be a descendant of one of the founding fathers to lead. There are problems with American cities, but they are not the filthy, noisy streets of Rome. Rome never had to contend with a globe of rivals and the United States has never been isolated from other large powers. There is no comparison between today's ideological battles and the disputes that divided Roman elites.

I could go on, but I'd like to end with a note that the "West" is more than just the United States. Even if, beyond all logic and reason, you think the United States is in a downward spiral, there's no reason to think that powers like the European Union would twiddle their thumbs and await death.

QuoProQuid fucked around with this message at Aug 13, 2017 around 13:09

Democrazy
Oct 16, 2008
HOLY SHIT AM I A PRETENTIOUS DOUCHEBAG OR WHAT?
AND NOW I'M OFF TO HARASS ASIAN WOMEN AT STARBUCKS WITH DERANGED HAIKU (PLEASE HOLD ME)


QuoProQuid posted:

Attempts to compare the United States and Roman Empire tend to reveal more about a person's ignorance of history than any lessons that are actually relevant today. It combines nihilism, anti-Americanism, and a lack of historical perspective.

There are superficial comparisons, like their international dominance and problems related to climate, but the analogy falls apart if a person thinks about it for more than ten minutes. The United States is not constantly besieged by barbarian tribes. It is not subjected to regular civil wars and pretender-led uprisings. The military is not an actor in the political process. As much as pundits would claim otherwise, the Senate is not a powerless body that can be cowed by whichever strongman appears to be on the rise. Inequality is encoded throughout the American political process, but the United States is not at a point where you have to be a descendant of one of the founding fathers to lead. There are problems with American cities, but they are not the filthy, noisy streets of Rome. Rome never had to contend with a globe of rivals and the United States has never been isolated from other large powers. There is no comparison between today's ideological battles and the disputes that divided Roman elites.

I could go on, but I'd like to end with a note that the "West" is more than just the United States. Even if, beyond all logic and reason, you think the United States is in a downward spiral, there's no reason to think that powers like the European Union would twiddle their thumbs and await death.

I always thought that, if you could slot America right now into any Roman timeframe, it would be comfortably after the Second Punic War. Still challenges to the east, but the dominant power; also, conservative Romans are started to complain that the lack of a mortal enemy like Carthage made Romans weak and decadent. No one's killing purely for political gain yet, but the newfound wealth brought on by conflict is slowly eroding democracy. It's still pretty tenuous, but we certainly are not near the Julius Caesar part, where there were already several civil wars.

Some Roman authors talk about the Augustan era as a time of irrevocable decline. We have no idea whether we are at our peak.

A Buttery Pastry
Sep 4, 2011

Delicious and Informative!


QuoProQuid posted:

I could go on, but I'd like to end with a note that the "West" is more than just the United States. Even if, beyond all logic and reason, you think the United States is in a downward spiral, there's no reason to think that powers like the European Union would twiddle their thumbs and await death.
That's definitely true. Recent history makes it very clear that when the US spirals, the EU goes in a straight line.

Pembroke Fuse
Dec 29, 2008


I think drawing direct parallels between two radically different societies is always prone to failure, given how different the systems of value and government are, but in a few places there are intersections.

- The ability of the ultra-wealthy to basically break apart whatever checks and balances exist in the political system for their own gain. This was a lot easier in Rome, given that you could just bribe the electorate or threaten them, but the slightly more subtle measures in the US are quickly catching up (controlling parts of the media in the form of talk radio and fox news, vast invisible contributions of money, corporations crafting model legislation via ALEC, etc).

- Imperial overreach and military spending. If the US actively engages on any more fronts, it's going to basically bankrupt itself. Even if it doesn't, the immiseration of the population will lead to serious social upheaval and continued erosion of civil government (continued warfare led the Romans to basically reject civilian government. The Imperator was initially a supreme general, after all).

asdf32
May 15, 2010

My mathematical ability approaches zero. Do not respond to me. My circuits are unable to compute properly.

Rime posted:

Things have been getting pretty bad worldwide for about 17 years. Some would say that it really started as far back as the 1980's, and has only gained speed since then. I initially started this post with a huge bullet list of everything that's gone wrong in the past 40 years, and especially the past ten, lost it in a browser crash and goddamn it's just too much to type again.

Shits hosed. You know it, I know it, lets talk about how it's going to play out. So far we're tracking the Roman Republic pretty good, but we've got a lot more crazy technology this time around and our Caesar is a demented oompa-loompa.

Imagine that this is the climate change thread, except rather than moaning about how we're all very much going to die, we're moaning about how the fabric of our entire society is unraveling at the seams.

Good topics:
-> Rise of Authoritarianism in the west.
-> Decline and Vilification of Social Welfare.
-> Formation of international ultra-wealthy elite class with absolutely no geopolitical allegiances.
->Corporate conglomerates with no geopolitical allegiances.
-> Potential Balkanization of the USA & UK along ideological lines, and ramifications thereof.

I'll add more if anyone has suggestions.

WWI and WWII were bigger material threats to western civilation that any bullet point on this list.

In general there is always going to be a bullet-point list of what seem to be almost insurmountable problems (name a time period in the past that was actually 'better'). The issue now is the potential death spiral of dysfunction, distrust, polarization and ideology that's choking off the system's ability to correct.

Jeza
Feb 13, 2011

The cries of the dead are terrible indeed; you should try not to hear them.


I think there are a lot of things at play, but overall the world continues to improve.

I will say that extreme levels of rising inequality and stagnation in quality of life for the majority leaves people with simmering resentment which often channels into blaming the 'other'. The alt right is certainly right about one thing which is that a very contented status quo of socially liberal but economically pro-free market politicians and leaders have with one hand lined their pockets and with the other have pushed down and silenced a racist and poverty stricken underclass who have now had a backlash in elections.

I can't speak for the US, but in the UK the Brexit vote was certainly influenced by a sense of a cosmopolitan and wealthy city being the only thing that mattered in the country. Nobody outside of London, other than university town pockets, was truly engaged by the EU agenda. Nobody loved the EU ever. It was either passive tolerance or active dislike. The fact that it came as a massive surprise just reinforced how clearly out of touch the media and politicians were with the rest of the country.

I'm not totally despairing of the future, but I hope we relearn for the fiftieth time that you can't smother an idea in silence, you need to engage with hateful ideology and humanise what they are against. Oh, and you need to tackle inequality and use tax money to promote social cohesion. Unhappy people are angry people.

DarkCrawler
Apr 6, 2009


Ceasar is kind of anti-Trump. Money old as balls but he didn't have that much of it, at least in comparison to other patricians. Mommy issues instead of daddy issues. Actually gifted in everything, from political maneuvring to the art of war, from public speaking to prose, instead of loving terrible in everything except conning moron dupe retards. Handsome and charming instead of a repulsive toad alien from Planet Xyphus-1785 in the Anus Nebula. Nepotist, but his relative was the most gifted schemer in human history instead of a Large Adult Son. Actually managed to uproot the pre-existing political system and arguably make it stronger instead of just being an embarrassement who has cheapened and poisoned the prestige of United States to an entire generation. Stabbed to death by Senators for making GBS threads on them vs. getting his dick sucked by Senators for making GBS threads on them, etc.

EDIT: Gave his name to a term that means complete and utter political domination in public consciousness and several languages. Whereas Trump has given us a lot of memes

DarkCrawler fucked around with this message at Aug 13, 2017 around 15:20

ductonius
Apr 9, 2007
I heard there's a cream for that...

Rime posted:

Things have been getting pretty bad worldwide for about 17 years. Some would say that it really started as far back as the 1980's, and has only gained speed since then. I initially started this post with a huge bullet list of everything that's gone wrong in the past 40 years, and especially the past ten, lost it in a browser crash and goddamn it's just too much to type again.

Shits hosed. You know it, I know it, lets talk about how it's going to play out. So far we're tracking the Roman Republic pretty good, but we've got a lot more crazy technology this time around and our Caesar is a demented oompa-loompa.

Imagine that this is the climate change thread, except rather than moaning about how we're all very much going to die, we're moaning about how the fabric of our entire society is unraveling at the seams.

Good topics:
-> Rise of Authoritarianism in the west.
-> Decline and Vilification of Social Welfare.
-> Formation of international ultra-wealthy elite class with absolutely no geopolitical allegiances.
->Corporate conglomerates with no geopolitical allegiances.
-> Potential Balkanization of the USA & UK along ideological lines, and ramifications thereof.

I'll add more if anyone has suggestions.

Your title mimmics "Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire" and if you want to know how Western Civilization will play out you need to look into the history of the Roman Empire. Right now we're experiencing what the Romans experienced 400-500 years before the sacking of Rome by the Vandals. It's actually quite stunning how much Roman politics and economics directly parallels what we're seeing today.

-> concentration of wealth in few individuals who do not suffer negative consequences for bad economic decisions
--> In Rome, this was the concentration of land holding in a few individuals and the enrichment of the 1% today.
--> Wealthy Romans didn't care that grain harvests were falling, because they still ate well. Today, we have the divergence of Wall St. and Main St economies.

-> preference of the capital class to use non-citizen labour for production
-->Slaves were preferred as labour in Rome, today we use robots and overseas labour.

-> the necessary expansion of the welfare state
-->Bread and Circuses was an economic solution to the economic problem of unemployment. Today we have many welfare programs and GMI experiments.

->The unwillingness of the elite to directly defend the empire.
--> Romans ended up paying mercenaries (like the Vandals) to defend the borders (guess how well that turned out). Today we have Trump et al telling NATO allies they have to increase defence spending to defend American hegemony (guess how well this will turn out).

WampaLord
Jan 14, 2010



ductonius posted:

Today we have many welfare programs and GMI experiments.

Oh, yea, it owns being poor. I'm just loving living it up on my many welfare programs and GMI experiments!

Pembroke Fuse
Dec 29, 2008


WampaLord posted:

Oh, yea, it owns being poor. I'm just loving living it up on my many welfare programs and GMI experiments!

I think perhaps he means that if we had full employment, we wouldn't need quite so much welfare. A lot of welfare in the US comes about as a direct result of lovely minimum wages and no job protection. Technically full-employment, higher min wages and unionization would decrease the number of welfare recipients. Corporations underpay their workers partially because they can and partially because they know that the welfare state will pick up the difference (this isn't an excuse to get rid of it however).

Basically, welfare can be considered a barometer of dysfunction and more welfare can mean more dysfunction in general, not that the welfare should go away. However, it can go either way. States like Sweden and Norway, which have extensive and comprehensive welfare programs, aren't falling apart or seizing up like the US is today. Those states provide both improved worker rights in the form of better compensation and job protection and penetrating welfare systems like full health care coverage, maternity leave, mandated vacations, free education and other pieces.

There is also a difference in the types of welfare. The US system is largely composed of stopgap, last-minute, catastrophic welfare (food stamps, medicaid). Sweden, Canada, et al have lots of comprehensive, preventative welfare that addresses basic needs before they reach breaking point.

QuoProQuid
Jan 12, 2012


ductonius posted:

Your title mimmics "Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire" and if you want to know how Western Civilization will play out you need to look into the history of the Roman Empire. Right now we're experiencing what the Romans experienced 400-500 years before the sacking of Rome by the Vandals. It's actually quite stunning how much Roman politics and economics directly parallels what we're seeing today.

-> concentration of wealth in few individuals who do not suffer negative consequences for bad economic decisions
--> In Rome, this was the concentration of land holding in a few individuals and the enrichment of the 1% today.
--> Wealthy Romans didn't care that grain harvests were falling, because they still ate well. Today, we have the divergence of Wall St. and Main St economies.

-> preference of the capital class to use non-citizen labour for production
-->Slaves were preferred as labour in Rome, today we use robots and overseas labour.

-> the necessary expansion of the welfare state
-->Bread and Circuses was an economic solution to the economic problem of unemployment. Today we have many welfare programs and GMI experiments.

->The unwillingness of the elite to directly defend the empire.
--> Romans ended up paying mercenaries (like the Vandals) to defend the borders (guess how well that turned out). Today we have Trump et al telling NATO allies they have to increase defence spending to defend American hegemony (guess how well this will turn out).

I think it's more instructive to look for lessons in American history than to squint at different events from Antiquity until they resemble something like the modern day. The magnitude of inequality in Rome is not really comparable to the United States. Nor can globalization and mechanization be translated easily to slavery. The NATO comparison is nonsensical.

Sneakster
Jul 13, 2017


Jeza posted:

I will say that extreme levels of rising inequality and stagnation in quality of life for the majority leaves people with simmering resentment which often channels into blaming the 'other'. The alt right is certainly right about one thing which is that a very contented status quo of socially liberal but economically pro-free market politicians and leaders have with one hand lined their pockets and with the other have pushed down and silenced a racist and poverty stricken underclass who have now had a backlash in elections.
You're talking out of both sides of your mouth. You simultaneously ignore Trumps support is the upper class, say that politicians have betrayed the poor, and I'm willing to bet two more sentences and you'd say poor people are voting against their own interests if they don't vote for democrats who's only accomplishments post-LBJ has been slashing welfare and a medicaid expansion that was coincidental to robbing the middle class on behalf of capitalist interests. You have this mind numbing over simplification to the point of non-nonsensical of racism being the primary driver of people in ethnically homogeneous states, even when breaking hard for an actual leftwing choice for the first time in a generation and giving up after the choice got reduced to a racist republican lying about supporting social programs and a democrat lying about social programs who was willing to pander to the same homophobic and racism, border wall and everything, who's literally an extension of the administration that dismantled welfare.

If you don't come from money, roughly 18-24 and having gotten into a good college after having good preparation in high-school, any expectation of gainful employment is basically a fantasy. These people voted for the left when it had a chance and the left did everything it could to sabotage the choice after stomping on them and the only choice left was a criminal willing to pander and a criminal who already hosed them over while pissing on them.

The problem is capitalism, racism is a symptom. The bourgeois never hesitated to hire to the klan to strike break anyone that started noticing the capitalist class is a mutual enemy, and even now, as shown in the incoherence of your argument, will exploit racism to defend capitalism.

The_Other
Dec 28, 2012


It's from 2003, but author Matthew White did a comparison of the SPQR and the USA here.

Jeza
Feb 13, 2011

The cries of the dead are terrible indeed; you should try not to hear them.


Sneakster posted:

You're talking out of both sides of your mouth. You simultaneously ignore Trumps support is the upper class, say that politicians have betrayed the poor, and I'm willing to bet two more sentences and you'd say poor people are voting against their own interests if they don't vote for democrats who's only accomplishments post-LBJ has been slashing welfare and a medicaid expansion that was coincidental to robbing the middle class on behalf of capitalist interests. You have this mind numbing over simplification to the point of non-nonsensical of racism being the primary driver of people in ethnically homogeneous states, even when breaking hard for an actual leftwing choice for the first time in a generation and giving up after the choice got reduced to a racist republican lying about supporting social programs and a democrat lying about social programs who was willing to pander to the same homophobic and racism, border wall and everything, who's literally an extension of the administration that dismantled welfare.

If you don't come from money, roughly 18-24 and having gotten into a good college after having good preparation in high-school, any expectation of gainful employment is basically a fantasy. These people voted for the left when it had a chance and the left did everything it could to sabotage the choice after stomping on them and the only choice left was a criminal willing to pander and a criminal who already hosed them over while pissing on them.

The problem is capitalism, racism is a symptom. The bourgeois never hesitated to hire to the klan to strike break anyone that started noticing the capitalist class is a mutual enemy, and even now, as shown in the incoherence of your argument, will exploit racism to defend capitalism.

Nice meltdown, and also reading comprehension if you believe that post somehow was pro-Democrat or capitalism. drat these "non-nonsensical" DnD posters. I can't even follow this rambling screed.

CyclicalAberration
Feb 14, 2012


Western civilization survived the early 20th century, it'll survive the less severe historical rhyme in the early 21st century. The decline of civil virtue, morality, and local communities in our present era is concerning and interesting, but it also appears to be transient. The loss of a sense of community in particular is often a strong undercurrent I see when hearing reports about declining regions like Youngstown, OH and seems a source of much of their problems.

Pembroke Fuse
Dec 29, 2008




I think you guys are saying the same thing, more or less. Economic failure of the capitalist system for some segments of society and betrayal of the working class by their supposed center-left defenders contributes to racism. I guess I would say on Nov. 8th, the actual support for racism came from a variety sources however, most of them being lower middle class.

ductonius
Apr 9, 2007
I heard there's a cream for that...

WampaLord posted:

Oh, yea, it owns being poor. I'm just loving living it up on my many welfare programs and GMI experiments!

What the gently caress is context?

Welfare is an economic solution to an economic problem, just like Bread and Circuses was. Roman citizens were unemployable because slaves were available and didn't have those pesky rights that Roman citizens had. Hungry people with nothing to do tend to riot, so the Romans came up with a solution. Today we have the same situation where an increasing amount of our unemployment rate is attributable to automation and low wage labor overseas. Welfare is the solution to this problem, and with the problem only growing, GMI is now being experimented with.

I don't know how the gently caress you got that I was somehow attacking welfare.



You could have provided examples of what you meant from American history, and elaborated on your other points instead of just saying "you're wrong", but you didn't.

Sneakster
Jul 13, 2017


Jeza posted:

Nice meltdown, and also reading comprehension if you believe that post somehow was pro-Democrat or capitalism. drat these "non-nonsensical" DnD posters. I can't even follow this rambling screed.
Writing more than two sentences about how the poor have no real options isn't hard to follow or a meltdown.

Pembroke Fuse posted:

I think you guys are saying the same thing, more or less. Economic failure of the capitalist system for some segments of society and betrayal of the working class by their supposed center-left defenders contributes to racism. I guess I would say on Nov. 8th, the actual support for racism came from a variety sources however, most of them being lower middle class.
Is it maybe, just possible, that you're describing disengagement from a system that's proved itself completely antagonistic to the poor, and you're desperately trying paint them as immoral villains of democracy rather than alienated victims?

Black people don't vote Republican because they're racist, not because the Republican party is actively hostile in terms of policy and engagement. That's so stupid that nobody that's not a Republican would actually say that, but if you kaleidoscope the poor into being the foot soldiers of racewar, you're able to come up with justifications that are completely insane and nobody bats an eye if it suits a political narrative in which you aren't effectively in league with villains

If you really think about it, the landless, the slaves, and the debtors are what caused the collapse of Rome.

Sneakster fucked around with this message at Aug 13, 2017 around 17:42

Pembroke Fuse
Dec 29, 2008


Sneakster posted:

Is it maybe, just possible, that you're describing disengagement from a system that's proved itself completely antagonistic to the poor, and you're desperately trying paint them as immoral villains of democracy rather than alienated victims?

Black people don't vote Republican because they're racist, not because the Republican party is actively hostile in terms of policy and engagement. That's so stupid that nobody that's not a Republican would actually say that, but if you kaleidoscope the poor into being the foot soldiers of racewar, you're able to come up with justifications that are completely insane and nobody bats an eye if it suits a political narrative in which you aren't effectively in league with villains.

I don't know why you're attacking me. I'm not trying to paint the poor as anything. Economic dislocation and disengagement definitely leads to a variety of terrible outcomes, including racism. That said, "the poor" are not a monolith and not free of agency. Some poor white people have made a specific set of decisions about how they're going to disengage from the system and in what direction they're going to go. Instead of becoming more radically leftist, they chose, to a certain extent, to become more radically right-wing. Alienation does not necessitate listing towards fascism and being a victim of the economic system does not preclude you from becoming a foot soldier in a race war. The SturmAbteilung recruited heavily from the working classes as well.

Also, I didn't really make this point, but racism in the US spans all class boundaries. It's a fundamental identity of many white Americans, rich, middle class and poor, going back several centuries. You can say that it was started as a divide and conquer strategy by the wealthy after Bacon's Rebellion in 1676 (and it was), but it's been ingrained ever since. Americans, regardless of their economic class, live in a state deeply inscribed by racist culture and practices.

tl;dr Economic and political alienation is a strong factor in WWC racism, but it's not the only factor. The WWC isn't free of agency and being a member of the WWC doesn't preclude you from acting in your own best interests. Being at the intersection of culture, politics and economics makes everyone both a victim and an actor.

Doorknob Slobber
Sep 10, 2006





The_Other posted:

It's from 2003, but author Matthew White did a comparison of the SPQR and the USA here.

This is a neat read, this part specifically is pretty interesting:

quote:

Step 1: First ask yourself, do you really want an empire? Empires are a lot of trouble, and maybe you can get what you want without the hassle of watching your back and executing all your close family members; however, if your country has just come out of a civil war that will probably start up again as soon as you're gone, maybe empire is the way to go.
Step 2: Remove foreign policy from Congressional oversight. All it would take is a couple of dry, technical amendments that wouldn't even arouse public debate because they wouldn't affect the voters personally. This means that the President could do anything he wants, anything at all, to the 95% or so of the world that doesn't carry American citizenship. If America has already conquered most of this 95% percent, this alone makes you master of mankind.
Step 3: Put yourself on the Supreme Court. Think of the power a Supreme Court Justice has even without monkeying around with the constitution. First, he's appointed for life. Second, there's no appeal from a Supreme Court decision. And there's no law that says the President can't be Chief Justice at the same time. Or if there is such a law, you're on the bloody Supreme Court; you can change it.
Step 4: As the other Supreme Court Justices retire, accept appointments as ambassadors, or meet with tragic accidents, neglect to replace them, until it's just you on the big bench.
Step 5: Sure, the Supreme Court is a great gig, but it's essentially a passive role. If you want active executive power, you have to hold on to the presidency. Repeal the 22nd Amendment.
Step 6: Get control of the Electoral College. Pack it with family members. Appoint your father, George HW, your brother, Jeb, your wife, Hillary, your sons John John and John Quincy. No one will care. No one ever pays attention to who the actual Electors are. Technically, Electors are chosen by the states in proportion to their Congressional representation, but I'm sure that if there are any irregularities in the Florida votes, the Supreme Court will support you.
Step 7: Every four years, get reelected.
Step 8: Chill. As tempting as it might be to micromanage the lives of your citizens like puppets, in practice, the less you do, the better. Let the masses keep their dignity. Let Congress debate trivial policy changes. Let Leno make fun of your bald spot. The less dangerous you are to the majority of the people, the less they'll conspire to assassinate you.

A lot of it is silly, but you can do the things the steps seek to do without doing something preposterous like trying to literally put yourself on the supreme court.

Sneakster
Jul 13, 2017


Pembroke Fuse posted:

I don't know why you're attacking me.
Really, really, really not intentional. I think my writing style comes off as accidentally aggressive.

Pembroke Fuse posted:

I'm not trying to paint the poor as anything. Economic dislocation and disengagement definitely leads to a variety of terrible outcomes, including racism. That said, "the poor" are not a monolith and not free of agency. Some poor white people have made a specific set of decisions about how they're going to disengage from the system and in what direction they're going to go. Instead of becoming more radically leftist, they chose, to a certain extent, to become more radically right-wing. Alienation does not necessitate listing towards fascism and being a victim of the economic system does not preclude you from becoming a foot soldier in a race war. The SturmAbteilung recruited heavily from the working classes as well.

Also, I didn't really make this point, but racism in the US spans all class boundaries. It's a fundamental identity of many white Americans, rich, middle class and poor, going back several centuries. You can say that it was started as a divide and conquer strategy after Bacon's Rebellion in 1676 (and it was), but it's been ingrained ever since. Americans, regardless of their economic class, live in a state deeply inscribed by racist culture and practices.

tl;dr Economic and political alienation is a strong factor in WWC racism, but it's not the only factor. The WWC isn't free of agency and being a member of the WWC doesn't preclude you from acting in your own best interests. Being at the intersection of culture, politics and economics makes everyone both a victim and an actor.
That's still incredibly fallacious reasoning. West Virginia was founded on avoiding slavery and went left when it had the chance, and the left pulled away. The democrats pass nafta, cut welfare, and propped up segregation, but not voting for them is against your own interests. At what point were the poor given a political choice that they didn't take the better one on? How is WWC racism a larger factor than middle and upper class racism? Why is it the poor are held in contempt while the bourgeois have violent hostility to integration despite the closest-to-left wing politics pandering to their interests?

Why are the moral failings of the system somehow made contingent on those who have the least stake in it? They voted for the left most candidate available and the bourgeois did everything possible to remove that choice, yet somehow the poor still take the blame. The poor somehow take the lions share of responsibility for the crimes of the bourgeois.

Rime
Nov 2, 2011

Bad storm coming, better run to the top of the mountain.

Yeah, the point of this thread was definitely not to be America centric or to get caught up in comparisons to Rome (my bad). While discussing America seems unavoidable, as it's currently declining significantly faster than other western nations and its multi-decade stranglehold over the world makes that a big issue, there's plenty of meat to be had in the EU or peripherals such as Canada.

Poland is swinging hard to the right, seven years after the assassination of most of their executive branch. The UK may very well disintegrate post-brexit. Canada is drowning in debt, and buckling under the corrosive influence of all that geopolitically-unaligned capital. Crop failures are becoming more of a thing, as are extreme weather events.

We've got a lot of threads for independent nations, or independent trends which may or may not result in major crises (climate change, global economic collapse 2.0, rise of authoritarianism, etc). I envisioned this as a place to bring those different threads together, discuss how they impact each other, and weave from them the potential tapestry of our demise.

Sneakster
Jul 13, 2017


Rime posted:

Yeah, the point of this thread was definitely not to be America centric or to get caught up in comparisons to Rome (my bad). While discussing America seems unavoidable, as it's currently declining significantly faster than other western nations and its multi-decade stranglehold over the world makes that a big issue, there's plenty of meat to be had in the EU or peripherals such as Canada.
Sorry for any hi-jacking, I just thought it was weird cause it seemed an analysis doomed to failure by describing as the system via the assumed motives of those with the least agency in it.

I've mentioned this in other threads, and I've been rummaging over starting a thread on it, but it seems relevant to here: I think the future might be essentially the rise of city states. If I'm wrong, please correct me, but my impression of history is that wealth has always congregated in cities and that despite the Americana suburban dream, the reality of the US being a wasteland outside of major cities mirrors the UK being kind of a shithole outside of London, I imagine the same applies to pretty much any country with wealthy urban centers and farmlands largely populated by a serf class that is always down and out to do agricultural labor with cities as trading hubs.

The entire planet is urbanizing, and technology is reducing labor necessity, so one question I have is can you really consider the fall of western society as something besides the re emergence of a city-state-centric model of power?

(please dismantle my stupidity if I'm completely wrong)

A Buttery Pastry
Sep 4, 2011

Delicious and Informative!


Rime posted:

Poland is swinging hard to the right, seven years after the assassination of most of their executive branch.

Pembroke Fuse
Dec 29, 2008


Sneakster posted:

Really, really, really not intentional. I think my writing style comes off as accidentally aggressive.

Got it. Thanks for explaining that.

Sneakster posted:

That's still incredibly fallacious reasoning. West Virginia was founded on avoiding slavery and went left when it had the chance, and the left pulled away. The democrats pass nafta, cut welfare, and propped up segregation, but not voting for them is against your own interests. At what point were the poor given a political choice that they didn't take the better one on?

I agree with this analysis, but the question still remains about why they decided/were compelled by alienation to join extra-political organizations like right-wing militias instead of left-wing militias, communes and the like. They were betrayed by the "left" and the right, but still tilted in a specific direction.

Sneakster posted:

How is WWC racism a larger factor than middle and upper class racism? Why is it the poor are held in contempt while the bourgeois have violent hostility to integration despite the closest-to-left wing politics pandering to their interests?

Why are the moral failings of the system somehow made contingent on those who have the least stake in it? They voted for the left most candidate available and the bourgeois did everything possible to remove that choice, yet somehow the poor still take the blame. The poor somehow take the lions share of responsibility for the crimes of the bourgeois.

This is a good point, but I don't think I was arguing that they should take on a larger proportion of responsibility here. Middle-class racism is probably worse in many cases because the middle class votes and holds many of the putative levers of power. It tends to drive the majority of the social agenda and works as a great booster for upper-class economic agenda. Middle and upper-class racism are also worse in some ways because they're more insidious and hidden. I think that's why more people put the blame on the WWC for their racism, however. It's far more visible and in your face than the middle class voting repeatedly to cut taxes and social assistance programs that disproportionately help PoCs. It also doesn't make them any of less of an imminent and physical threat (as much as say upper class machinations make them a political threat).

Pembroke Fuse
Dec 29, 2008


Rime posted:

Poland is swinging hard to the right, seven years after the assassination of most of their executive branch.

Please stop peddling conspiracy theories here. I think the majority of Poles, except for the hardest right-wingers in PiS, agree that this was an accident. Unlike say the shooting down of the MH-17 (in which it is clearly complicit), Russia basically provided full co-operation and allowed Poland and the international organizations to investigate the scene and all flight recorders. All bodies, including Polish investigators, reached the same conclusion.

Pembroke Fuse fucked around with this message at Aug 13, 2017 around 19:36

Pembroke Fuse
Dec 29, 2008


Sneakster posted:

Sorry for any hi-jacking, I just thought it was weird cause it seemed an analysis doomed to failure by describing as the system via the assumed motives of those with the least agency in it.

I've mentioned this in other threads, and I've been rummaging over starting a thread on it, but it seems relevant to here: I think the future might be essentially the rise of city states. If I'm wrong, please correct me, but my impression of history is that wealth has always congregated in cities and that despite the Americana suburban dream, the reality of the US being a wasteland outside of major cities mirrors the UK being kind of a shithole outside of London, I imagine the same applies to pretty much any country with wealthy urban centers and farmlands largely populated by a serf class that is always down and out to do agricultural labor with cities as trading hubs.

The entire planet is urbanizing, and technology is reducing labor necessity, so one question I have is can you really consider the fall of western society as something besides the re emergence of a city-state-centric model of power?

(please dismantle my stupidity if I'm completely wrong)

I certainly think that things are moving in this direction. Some city-states will emerge as the dominant centres of power. Unfortunately, cities actually need a significant amount of countryside to provide energy and food, and the logistics to deliver and distribute the goods. Any serious upheaval threatens the survival of cities simply because they're such complicated organisms. If the food shipments stop coming, everyone in the concrete jungle starves. If power lines are cut, cities stop functioning. So, if they can survive the upheavals and build up enough sustainable infrastructure, cities can flourish. If they can't, it's back to the farms for the survivors (at best).

asdf32
May 15, 2010

My mathematical ability approaches zero. Do not respond to me. My circuits are unable to compute properly.

Pembroke Fuse posted:

I think you guys are saying the same thing, more or less. Economic failure of the capitalist system for some segments of society and betrayal of the working class by their supposed center-left defenders contributes to racism. I guess I would say on Nov. 8th, the actual support for racism came from a variety sources however, most of them being lower middle class.

But a large percentage of poor and working class people supported Trump who has zero to offer them. That's the thing to look at. The particulars of the problems we face aren't anywhere near as interesting as they seem because problems are inevitable (and especially problems of power concentration).

The question is whether the political system as a whole can adapt and to a large extent that depends on whether voters can make coherent choices or not. Selecting Trump was a failure, the next few elections will show whether any lessons have been learned or not. If not, democracy has failed, not capitalism.

Rime
Nov 2, 2011

Bad storm coming, better run to the top of the mountain.

Pembroke Fuse posted:

Please stop peddling conspiracy theories here. I think the majority of Poles, except for the hardest right-wingers in PiS, agree that this was an accident. Unlike say the shooting down of the MH-17 (in which it is clearly complicit), Russia basically allowed Poland and the international organizations to investigate the scene and all flight recorders. All bodies, including Polish investigators, reached the same conclusion.

Meh. The country has gone to hell since that event, and is currently attempting to strip the judiciary of independence. This follows having cracked down on the media, limited public gatherings, and the usual list of bullshit you associate with authoritarian eastern european failed states. The decline in internal affairs can't be hand waved away.

Pembroke Fuse
Dec 29, 2008


asdf32 posted:

But a large percentage of poor and working class people supported Trump who has zero to offer them. That's the thing to look at. The particulars of the problems we face aren't anywhere near as interesting as they seem because problems are inevitable (and especially problems of power concentration).

The question is whether the political system as a whole can adapt and to a large extent that depends on whether voters can make coherent choices or not. Selecting Trump was a failure, the next few elections will show whether any lessons have been learned or not. If not, democracy has failed, not capitalism.

By its very nature, Capitalism undermines democracy. See Peter Thiel, Ayn Rand and the Dark Enlightenment in general.

Pembroke Fuse
Dec 29, 2008


Rime posted:

Meh. The country has gone to hell since that event, and is currently attempting to strip the judiciary of independence. This follows having cracked down on the media, limited public gatherings, and the usual list of bullshit you associate with authoritarian eastern european failed states. The decline in internal affairs can't be hand waved away.

I was referring to the part where you stated that President Lech Kaczyński, his wife and General Staff had been assassinated (presumably by Russia). That's a conspiracy theory actually peddled by the far right in Poland.

I'm not hand-waving away what PiS/Law and Justice is doing, which is terrible and needs to be stopped by the coalition.

A Buttery Pastry
Sep 4, 2011

Delicious and Informative!


Pembroke Fuse posted:

I was referring to the part where you stated that President Lech Kaczyński, his wife and General Staff had been assassinated (presumably by Russia). That's a conspiracy theory actually peddled by the far right in Poland.
Yeah, it's really not a good look. Like, where do you get your information from to make you think it was an assassination?

Sneakster
Jul 13, 2017


Pembroke Fuse posted:

I agree with this analysis, but the question still remains about why they decided/were compelled by alienation to join extra-political organizations like right-wing militias instead of left-wing militias, communes and the like. They were betrayed by the "left" and the right, but still tilted in a specific direction.
They weren't betrayed by the left, they were stomped on by the capitalist class. Normal people do not join militias or communes. Women and children at the edge of survival aren't the ones spending thousands on guns.

asdf32 posted:

But a large percentage of poor and working class people supported Trump who has zero to offer them. That's the thing to look at. The particulars of the problems we face aren't anywhere near as interesting as they seem because problems are inevitable (and especially problems of power concentration).

The question is whether the political system as a whole can adapt and to a large extent that depends on whether voters can make coherent choices or not. Selecting Trump was a failure, the next few elections will show whether any lessons have been learned or not. If not, democracy has failed, not capitalism.
The poor overwhelmingly supported Sanders, the political class did everything it could to remove that as a choice, and the poor largely dropped out after that point with old people being exceptionally gullible but between two capitalists who both pandered to the same ugliness (don't you loving dare pretend Clinton didn't support a wall, didn't pander to homophobia, and didn't cut welfare and campaign against expanding it).

You're projecting middle class support for colluding with capitalist interests as the poor supporting people in elections they ignored after the bourgeois stamped out any chance of reformist candidate.

You're calling into question the right of the poor to vote for liberals engineering fascism as the only alternative, and that in and of itself was supported by the bourgeois.

-> Poor people support socialist candidate
-> Bourgeois stamp that out
-> Poor people lose hope of reform and ignore election that holds nothing for them
-> Bourgeois vote for fascists
-> Conclusion: poor people being allowed to vote is the problem.

This is insane reasoning. You're projecting capitalist propaganda and expecting a worth while analysis. Apparently the digger revolution didn't work out because of racism, and it turns out the people with the most power and exploitative role in the system are truly the victims of lumpenprole supporting them. If you think about it, the heroes are white middle class liberals. Everyone else is a victim to be saved or a deranged mob.

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sitchensis
Mar 4, 2009



The world of tomorrow will look a lot like the world of today, except with more technology and less civil rights.

I'm not sure I would call it "fall"; more like stagnation.

I have more to say but I'm phone posting and will effort post later.

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