by Mike Meyer ~ Honolulu ~ September 27, 2020
When structures become old and unstable, a point in time comes that further maintenance and modification are more costly than starting over. With a building, this may result in bulldozing the whole thing for new construction or, if the walls and foundations are still sound, it may be gutted and rebuilt. Either approach produces a unique structure adapted to new conditions, materials, and technologies to meet changing social needs.
Except in very old or important structures, nothing is ever replaced or rebuilt with the same form. Even in historic and culturally essential restorations that maintain the original appearance, infrastructure, and new technologies are used behind the scenes. Japan is an excellent example of both approaches. Thousand-year-old wooden temples are periodically rebuilt using the same sophisticated carpentry techniques. Still, Tokugawa era castles now exist with the same appearance but in concrete, not wood and stone.
I know of only one historical example that did not make changes in rebuilding. In the archeology of the Harrapan culture, at the original sites of Mohenjodaro and Harrapa, they rebuilt sections of the cities exactly. Over time, the rebuild became sloppier, and, probably due to drought, they moved on, leaving only ruins. Negligent maintenance and attempts to rebuild are historical signs of a collapsing culture.
Homo Sapiens have reached that point in time with our planetary civilization. We have never come to such a moment before. Great cultures worldwide rise, decline, renew, and fall, being abandoned or replaced by new leadership or new cultures. Never have we had to face this on a planetary scale. There are some very different conditions this time that prevent the use of any previous solutions. Understanding and acting on that is what is destroying cultures in significant parts of the planet today.
The differences are becoming well understood, and the critical need to build a new human society must start immediately and must complete within thirty years based on climate change projections. If not satisfied, we risk the loss of large scale human civilization and the death of billions that has already started and will accelerate over future decades.
This scale is a significant issue as it is difficult for many people to grasp and easy for others to reject, assuming it is not their worry. We are out of time. What do we need to do?
There are immense scientific studies and millions of words on what is happening and will happen in the climate disaster. It is happening around us every day in all of its mind-numbing diversity. 2020 and 2021 are the beginning years of climate amplified pandemic. As of this date, we are entering the second wave of this pandemic, and those are, historically, the worst, but current estimates show that this pandemic may never end.
My focus here is on infrastructure change rather than the damage we will suffer or reactions to specific climate disasters. Right now is the point in time when we must become proactive and begin demolishing, rebuilding, gutting, and restoring our civilization for a new age and new reality. Failure to do this will bring destruction and death.
I’m not going to build a project plan in a thousand or so words here, but we need to focus on planning and redesign. We’ve wasted decades crippled by failing political and economic systems that are entrenched. The majority of the human population and the great majority of the people in the more prosperous and more educated countries are becoming desperate to see action to understand both the reality and the need.
Everyone’s attention is on the increasingly deadly disasters in the largest countries, but these national disasters will not produce solutions. They are the death throes of the old national system. While potentially violent and deadly, they should be avoided and, as much as possible, ignored. It is necessary to control the damage and violence from fascist oppression that seems to be the primary form of death for the most radical nationalist states. Fighting the symptoms of these death throes is pointless.
The decisions must begin to be made to demolish the structurally unsound or to gut and rebuild in the shells of the salvageable. We must start thinking in precisely these terms. We must abandon some things, bulldoze others for immediate replacement, or mark for later modification to whatever extent is required to be useful in the new age.
Thinking about our current range of social structures to determine what to demolish, rebuild, restore, or abandon will begin to pull us out of the hopelessness as reactionary groups fight to hold onto what is already gone. The US is an excellent example of the counterproductivity of dealing with the death throes of the original 18th-century nation-state.
In a full cultural collapse, a significant portion of the population is subject to opportunists preaching chaos and the return to a halcyon golden age that never existed. The primary purpose of this is gaining the chance to plunder great wealth from the wreckage while satisfying everything from simple greed to revenge and satisfaction of sadistic sociopathological urges. We see all of that at the center of the failed Trump regime.
The immediate levels of outrage at the announced placement of a cult religionist programmed for fascism to subvert and destroy the Supreme Court will accomplish nothing. Why waste effort on a structure best abandoned as it has no ongoing usefulness. People are beginning to realize that we are well beyond repairing these two-hundred-year-old vestiges and need to implement cultural triage. Just as in a significant medical disaster, resources need to be used efficiently and not wasted on those structures that will not survive.
The potential Trump theft of yet another election will, if it happens, begin the final stage of the nation’s death. But even if that theft fails, the frail Biden-Harris group will only reduce violence and racist oppression. While this is positive and important, it will do nothing to demolish and rebuild beyond greenwashing the failing structures of the nation-state and powerful capitalist police state that are destroying our planet.
Very large and autocratic nation-states such as the United States, Russia, Brazil, India, and others have become cancerous in their control by powerful capitalist elites. These elites will not stop the destructive exploitation, production, and oppression of minorities as captive markets. They cannot survive in their present form in a sustainable planetary economy. And we must have a sustainable planetary economy to survive beyond 2050 with any hope of wellbeing. Need I point out that is only thirty years away.
Attempting to retain the large nation-states is wasted effort. Most people feel comfortable with greater trust in smaller administrative units such as metropolitan areas at the largest or even smaller suburban and sub rural communities. Years of surveys have shown this in functional states. The problems of oppression, loss of human rights, exploitation come from the old national governments.
The reality also includes the problem of local governments falling into the hands of racial elites who maintain racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, and abusive social standards. The original benefit of effective national governments was implementing and defending universal civil rights to protect the entire, diverse population of modern cultures. This defense needs to move, as understood for decades, to the planetary level. To be clear, this is the nature of redesign, rebuild, replace, or abandon. We must leave the nation-state, make local administration under the direct democratic control of the population of that area, and move the judicial protection of universal sentient rights to the planetary alliance level. Note that I use the term alliance and not government.
It makes no sense with the tremendous crisis we face that will destroy food resources and push over a billion people, at least, into refugee status to attempt to rule eight billion mobile people from some vast bureaucracy. Ruling even 300 million over a continent has proven impossible with failing antiquated systems of government.
Even China, with a very autocratic but uniquely efficient system of control, is struggling to stave off social outrage and another stage of an imperial break up into smaller states. The struggle with Hong Kong and the complete failure to lure Taiwan into China plainly shows their future is fraught.
India is already disintegrating but held together by its educated population providing neoliberal support of the planet. But that must be gutted and rebuilt. At that point, the value of the vast national and increasingly oppressive national government will disappear.
The promise of a share of great capitalist extorted wealth as a justification for oppression, and autocratic rule must end. Whether that could continue to increase wealth on a limitless planet is a fool’s question. We don’t live in such a world and have no such planets within range to plunder.
In the troublesome large nations above, we have the rise of old-style fascist autocracy seeking absolute control enabled by technology. The old elites recognize that they will be overwhelmed by the climate crisis, related pandemic, and resource loss that will force the movement of hundreds of millions of people. Food shortages will expand, and millions will search for ways to survive. The militarized police will beat them back into submission. At least that is their desperate hope.
Walls are what the oligarchic rulers are using, whether physical, legal, or technical, to isolate and dominate. They can see no other way than to wall off their levels of privilege because the changes needed will destroy that privilege, and that is not acceptable.
Beyond the recognizable forces of oppression and autocratic rule in large areas of the planet, we have to change the way people think about how they manage their societies. What characteristics of a well managed urban, suburban, and distributed population that is sustainable and supportive of our growing diversity do we need?
That need is a complicated question that will be answered increasingly through technological support but must be debated and decided by people, not by representatives that work for the old failed elite. At this stage, it seems clear to me that we can begin to answer that with what we do not need.
We must remove any officials who are defined by any of the old ideologies. However, those may have once worked have failed and are pulling us into an era of endless disaster. Sustainable livelihoods, universal rights, elimination of military force, and a focus on our future are the criteria to judge managers. These cannot be rulers in the old sense because the ultimate rulers are the people themselves in direct democracy. That is technically possible now in reasonable sized administrative areas.
We must remove the threat of the old religious dogmas as justification for oppression and bigotry. We see this used again as a reason to deny fundamental rights and to imprison millions for the benefit of a ruling elite. We are racing into a new spiritual age based on recognizing sentience independent of one biological species. Not only are the old political systems of control and economic structures of exploitation finished, but the ancient religions of dogma and willful ignorance must disappear from public life. We fast-evolving alternatives that are personal and powerful.
Removing these things and building new will be brutal and harrowing but must be based on education and direct self-rule. Extreme minorities can be the seat of dogma and always seek to take control to meet their desires. We know that is death for the type of society we must have to survive. We are watching large and affluent nations die before our eyes today. Unless we act quickly, it will get unbelievably worse.