The Decline of Western Civilization (Part 2: Bankers, Barkers and Religion…)

Christian God

Christian God

But first my Sunday confession, Father: I’ve been called Communist and I’ve been called Jihadi. Liberals call me a Conservative. Conservatives call me a Liberal. It’s all true. I’m a contrary son-of-a-b*tch, known to act as the devil’s avocado, barely ripe, slippery when wet, but not merely for the sake of argument, I swear, but to try to reach some higher truth, later if not sooner, and for all our sakes, not just my own. When I lived in Berkeley I WAS conservative. When I lived in Mississippi I WAS liberal. Doctrines are there to be challenged, and dogma is there to be run over by karma…

Now we all know how stupid are the tea-party wing of America’s Republican political party, but that doesn’t mean that Democrats are all geniuses (genii?). The difference between conservatives and liberals, or republicans and democrats, which basically defines the power relationships in the world, is basically the difference between the two types of people in the world: those who save their money—or resources—and those who don’t. Please note, Republicans, that I didn’t use the word ‘lazy’ and I don’t intend to, as I don’t think that is the fundamental issue.

The fundamental issue between those who save and those who spend is probably as fundamental as any theoretical construct of psychology, and may very well fall into the categories described by ‘anal retentive’ and ‘anal expulsive’. And I’m not going to judge as to which is better, as that would be like judging between religions: Buddhism or Christianity (Muslims please note: I consider Islam no less, and possibly the best, in principle, only that Buddhist and Christianity better define a clear distinct dichotomy).

Buddhism is largely a religion of passivity and notably includes few of the major world powers, China and Japan most notable as at least partially or historically Buddhist. Christianity, on the other hand, includes most of the world’s major powers, in greater or lesser degree of adherence, and especially that one who is the worst offender in the categories of consumerism, militarism and environmental degradation—the USA. Special note: it could be—and IS—argued that China and Japan can only copy whoever is at the top, incapable of actually leading the world economically, they merely ‘rolling it out’… hmmm, dunno…

It’s interesting that of the current major players, arguably the most successful countries are #’s 3 and 4—Japan and Germany, the two most known for their industriousness and rate of savings. It’s lonely at the top. In Western countries, the German influence in industry, business and finance goes way back, beyond the Hanseatic League, to the upstairs/downstairs nature of English society in which immigrant Germans run the economies while native Celts do most of the work.

In Southeast Asia Chinese immigrants run ALL the local economies, simply because they know how to manage their money and have family connections as infrastructure. Their savings goes beyond mere savings, though, and into classic intuitive models of business growth: buy two, sell one, buy two more, and so on pyramidically, FROM THE BOTTOM UP (as opposed to Ponzi schemes which are pyramidal from the top down, an entire upside-down candy cane blown up from a spoonful of sugar.

Note that the Chinese classic model requires no credit, or bankers, and compares to American hyper-capitalist models like natural selection compared to GMO’s; ’nuff said. That the managers and administrators aren’t necessarily the creators, often just the opposite, gets carried to ridiculous extremes in the American model, and the money-men can become an oligarchy, “job creators,” a distinction maybe partly justified, but not much more.

Therefore, for the good of all, moral judgments are best not made and cooperation is the best business model IMHO.  Better yet: it might be a good time in our collective history to roll back the Industrial model in favor of a renewed Artisan model, in which fewer items are produced and consumed, but a renewed emphasis on quality and esthetic appreciation is encouraged. The junkyards are already full. Let’s make things of intrinsic beauty that are worth keeping.

Bottom line: the New Dark Ages don’t have to be so dark. The meek will inherit the Earth, remember? Civilization survived before and it can again, with a little help from our friends, i.e. each other, and a few good books, and Internet, and… and… Religion’s always gotten a bum rap from the intelligentsia and the faux cognoscenti and certain well-meaning but misinformed individuals collectively known as ‘atheists’, BUT…

As before, after the fall of Rome and the rise of rivers, as roads fell into misuse and horses came upon the scene newly improved by stirrups and padded seats… religion has an important role to play, more than just ‘opium for the masses’, and it’s probably time for a new one, or maybe a recombination of the old ones, something larger and more inclusive and maybe complete with poly-rhythms and extended set times. Hey, you gotta’ believe in somethin’…