The time is not yet:
There are days when I tell my self I am not just pathologically disposed to be an alarmist.  I am the world’s champion.  Even in the sunny days of nuclear war paranoia nobody really thought we were going to knock off everybody.  We had, and have, the nuclear capability to do so, but we could do the same thing with the number of available brickbats, and although that is a concern it is not an overwhelming one. 

So when the recent riots started in England I thought, “Is this the big one?”  The answer I think is, “No.”  Let me tell you my reasoning.

First let’s make a worst case argument.  Why might we believe that civilization is going down the siphon?

The “Arab Spring” refers to civil unrest and revolutionary fever in a number of counties in the Mid East.  Carried away with enthusiasm and a sense that history was justifying us, we started a war in Libya in support of the rebels.  The sense of great things happening was that intense.  And a number of other states in that part of the world also had disturbances, mostly featuring young people organizing with the help of social networks through their cell phones.  And of course the governments of the respective states have made an effort to get them to stop that sort of thing.  It led to a regime change in Tunisia.  A Dictator fell in Egypt but whether that really means a change in the power structure is still unclear.

Similarly young people in England have been doing things the government does not like, like rioting, burning, looting, denouncing the government and so forth.  And the government is making an effort to stop things there, too, while – I might add – continuing to bomb Libya for not letting their rebels take over the show. 

At the heart of each movement appears to be ethnic rivalry.  These tensions are quite ancient in the Mid East.  In Britain there are ancient tensions, but the ones that are at the heart of the present conflict are quite new.  Those ethnic groups were not having to deal with each other until ethnic diversity was forced on them by their own government.  And it is in the multi-ethnic neighborhoods where the problems have been worst.

Of course the government knew it was playing with fire.  So foisting the problem on the people was stupid to put it kindly.  Thirty years ago they were having race riots in England worse than what has gone on recently.  So they admitted their mistake, right?  No.  They have gone right ahead simply trying to make it work, not changing strategy.  There is a quote by Einstein that says insanity is, “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”  So the government of Britain, and those like us going down the same road, by now can clearly be called insane.  But insanity only gets you so far.  There must be a time when doing something bad, even by someone who is insane, must be called “evil.” 

The death penalty is used in this country but not in Europe.  The point out that it is irreversible.  But compare it to creating a society in which there are multiple ethnic groups.  That is just about as irreversible.  And besides it would be fair to say that most of the people executed in this country have committed serious crimes that have something to do with why they get punished.  With changing the social fabric of a country, it is the vulnerable who are being punished and not a single man jack of them has done anything relevant to why they are being treated that way. 

So we are looking at a society, ours as well as the British, which has morphed from stupid to mad to evil.  Since the problems caused by infertility include a decreased fertility among the more productive members with a falloff in their ability to offer able children (and I think I could make a case for the notion that it takes more than one generation to become the best possible practician in any field) who can run things as they have been run, maybe that’s why we are having these troubles.

But I don’t believe it. 

First, the demographic situation is all wrong.  The population in the “Arab Spring” is young, while in England it is old, even though the rioters themselves tend to be young.  If there is that great a demographic contrast, it is hard to see how demography could be the root cause of both.

Second, there are worse things than evil.  Words like “satanic,” “demonic” and “monstrous” come to mind.  In other words, nobody has actually been killed in England so far during these troubles.  Given the same provocation, I suspect any of the governments that have been challenged in the Mid East would have killed somebody by now.  If not, then they deserve much credit because England obviously has far more in the way of resources and trained people to deal with the problem.

Third, the level of violence on the part of the rioters is not commensurate with what one would expect during a regime collapse due to demographic collapse.  Without going into gruesome details, my impression is that it goes beyond life and death.  The hallmark of such a regime change historically has been the desecration of corpses.  We just aren’t there.

Fourth, it seems too early.  Without going through all the reasoning, my impression from history is that first you stir up the gene pool or let it get too large, after about 150 years there is a baby drought, by year 200 there is a social crisis, at year 250 the babies stop.  By year 300 the whole thing goes up in flames. 

Well the babies have not stopped.  They might.  Looking at the age of marriage of middle class women, the babies won’t stop for another 25 years or about 2035.  If the depression centered on 1935 was a baby drought, the final one is not due until 2035.  If the American Revolution started our own regime with independence in 1781, it should collapse in 2081 and babies should stop in 2031.  Besides, in vitro fertilization might buy us more time, up to a generation or thirty years.

So the time is not yet. 

I do not know why the troubles have afflicted England.  It seems like it’s just another of those bad things.  I reject the worst case argument I began with.  This is not the final plunge.

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