Saturday, February 17, 2018

The "Genes" of Culture In Civilizations - 2

Is There Higher Ground?
I. Background

This series began in May of 2015 (The "Genes" of Culture In Civilizations).

At that time, among other things, I quoted a notable historian who at one time in modern history was the most quoted historian on some general interest subjects.

Nevertheless, he fell out of favor when he began to criticize current civilization.

After he had studied the rise and fall of twenty-six previous civilizations on Earth, he (the way I describe his criticism) began to indicate that our current civilization still had the "genes" of those civilizations that had gone down in flames ("committed suicide" or were "murdered").

And that is not good, because the picture he painted is looking more and more like an accurate portrayal of what we face now.

Here is a quote from his writings, along with a quote from Encyclopedia Britannica about his work:
"In other words, a society does not ever die 'from natural causes', but always dies from suicide or murder --- and nearly always from the former, as this chapter has shown." [Toynbee]
"In the Study Toynbee examined the rise and fall of 26 civilizations in the course of human history, and he concluded that they rose by responding successfully to challenges under the leadership of creative minorities composed of elite leaders. Civilizations declined when their leaders stopped responding creatively, and the civilizations then sank owing to the sins of nationalism, militarism, and the tyranny of a despotic minority. Unlike Spengler in his The Decline of the West, Toynbee did not regard the death of a civilization as inevitable, for it may or may not continue to respond to successive challenges. Unlike Karl Marx, he saw history as shaped by spiritual, not economic forces." [Encyclopedia Britannica]
(Stockholm Syndrome: The Declaration of Intellectual Dependence). The three "genes" I am talking about in today's post are: 1) "nationalism", 2) "militarism", and 3) "the tyranny of a despotic minority".

II. The Nationalism Gene

There are several facets, manifestations, and definitions relating to the concept of nationalism.

I want to keep in line with the characteristics of nationalism that Toynbee (and others) saw as self destructive to civilizations down through time (“The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilization.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson).

So, for now let's start with a description of American Nationalism as manifested in its current 21st Century characteristics:
"When the nation demands the supreme loyalty of its citizens, the freedom of the individual may be sacrificed to the welfare of the state. In this elevation of the state there is the concomitant denigration of the outsider and the temptation to advance the nation at the expense of other nations. As nationalism evolved in the nineteenth century, it assumed the ugly forms of imperialism, racism, and totalitarianism; it helped to stimulate world wars in the twentieth century."
(Defining "American" Nationalism, Encylopedia, emphasis added). Current acid tests which fit that description (to name a few) in US culture are: whether or not you believe that the USA is "exceptional," whether or not you want to keep others out via border walls, whether or not you favor halting immigration; whether or not you want to care for those with health needs,  whether or not you would favor engaging in nuclear war, and whether or not you elevate national economics over the environment necessary for all life to survive,

III. The Militarism Gene

A Canadian professor who passed away last fall wrote:
The US has established its control over 191 governments which are members of the United Nations. The conquest, occupation and/or otherwise supervision of these various regions of the World is supported by an integrated network of military bases and installations which covers the entire Planet (Continents, Oceans and Outer Space). All this pertains to the workings of an extensive Empire, the exact dimensions of which are not always easy to ascertain.

Known and documented from information in the public domaine including Annual Reports of the US Congress, we have a fairly good understanding of the strucuture of US military expenditure, the network of US military bases and the shape of this US military-strategic configuration in different regions of the World.

The objective of this article is to build a summary profile of the World network of military bases, which are under the jurisdiction and/or control of the US. The spatial distribution of these military bases will be examined together with an analysis of the multibillion dollar annual cost of their activities.

In a second section of this article, Worldwide popular resistance movements directed against US military bases and their various projects will be outlined. In a further article we plan to analyze the military networks of other major nuclear superpowers including the United Kingdom, France and Russia.

I. The Military Bases

Military bases are conceived for training purposes, preparation and stockage of military equipment, used by national armies throughout the World. They are not very well known in view of the fact that they are not open to the public at large. Even though they take on different shapes, according to the military function for which they were established; they can broadly be classified under four main categories :

a) Air Force Bases (see photos 1 and 2);

b) Army or Land Bases;

c) Navy Bases and

d) Communication and Spy Bases.
The main sources of information on these military installations (e.g. C. Johnson, the NATO Watch Committee, the International Network for the Abolition of Foreign Military Bases) reveal that the US operates and/or controls between 700 and 800 military bases Worldwide.

In this regard, Hugh d’Andrade and Bob Wing’s 2002 Map 1 entitled “U.S. Military Troops and Bases around the World, The Cost of ‘Permanent War'”, confirms the presence of US military personnel in 156 countries.

The US Military has bases in 63 countries. Brand new military bases have been built since September 11, 2001 in seven countries.

In total, there are 255,065 US military personnel deployed Worldwide.

These facilities include a total of 845,441 different buildings and equipments. The underlying land surface is of the order of 30 million acres. According to Gelman, who examined 2005 official Pentagon data, the US is thought to own a total of 737 bases in foreign lands. Adding to the bases inside U.S. territory, the total land area occupied by US military bases domestically within the US and internationally is of the order of 2,202,735 hectares, which makes the Pentagon one of the largest landowners worldwide (Gelman, J., 2007).
(Global Research). The US also has more mass killings than the other nations put together, and the most guns to do it with (Why the US has the most mass shootingsHow US gun culture compares with the world in five charts).

See also Will The Military Become The Police?, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11.

Technically, this all boils down to neo-feudalism (American Feudalism, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11).

IV. The Despotic Minority Gene

This suicidal state of affairs is not what the founders envisioned:
Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied: and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. The same malignant aspect in republicanism may be traced in the inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and in the degeneracy of manners and of morals, engendered by both. No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare. Those truths are well established.
(Stockholm Syndrome on Steroids? - 2, quoting James Madison). The state of war is what the despotic minority has envisioned  (War is the Highway 61 of the 1%).

V. We Are "Killing It" Is An American Saying
That Means "Doing Exceptionally Well"

Meanwhile, the odds are killing it unexceptional:
"A recent study of World Health Organization data published in the American Journal of Medicine that found that, among high-income nations, 91 percent of children younger than 15 who were killed by bullets lived in the United States.

And the trends are only growing more dire.

On average, two dozen children are shot every day in the United States, and in 2016 more youths were killed by gunfire — 1,637 — than during any previous year this millennium."
(Washington Post, emphasis added). The despotic minority won the last national election with the help of our preznit's favorite leader's operatives.

Our preznit suffers from nationalism, militarism, and a lust for praise from the despotic minority that elected him (The Shapeshifters of Bullshitistan, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12).

Go figure.

VI. Conclusion

As a culture, we have been taught the falsehood that we have, as Americans, exceptional genes above the genes of all others.

That is pure myth (On The Origin of Genieology, 2, 3).

Our culture is infected with the three "genes" discussed in today's post.

Which is how we citizens become infected, if we do not develop antigens (Hypothesis: The Cultural Amygdala, 2, 3, 4).

The previous post in this series is here.

"The word 'wild' applies to the words 'you' and 'me' ... " - Wild Life


  1. There are also over 153 known torture bases and secret holding facilities operated by the United States. This is no small number and has an enormous influence upon how Empire is perceived and feared.

    This figure is also highly inaccurate: "In total, there are 255,065 US military personnel deployed Worldwide."

    The actual number 1.2 million, which makes a lot more sense when you compute the sum total of all the different facilities, locations and bases in the world - and how the Empire has managed to stay more or less successful. You could not do that with a quarter million.

  2. The Canadian professor who wrote most of this years ago died late last year.

    Thanks for the note of adjustment.

    Readers, please take note.

  3. "After Parkland school shooting, hundreds attend nearby gun show in Miami" (link)

  4. It's not the guns, it's the people using them to kill other people that's the problem.

    It would be nice if we didn't even NEED a military, guns, bombs or missiles, or police - but that's not the case for humanity, who can't seem to control themselves or raise their collective consciousness to the point where that kind of negative behavior is eradicated. Unfortunately, we're a violent species (and apparently proud of it). We're also totally messed up by our consumerist culture, unhappy, uncooperative,with no real direction, no idea what we're doing or why, and it's leading us to a violent end. The "human condition" is appalling.

    1. "Guns don't kill people, people kill people"
      "Nuclear weapons don't kill people, people kill people"

      Hmmmm ... sounds similar ... so N. Korea has a right to keep and bear nukes?

  5. Randy: if WE do and Israel, Pakistan, India, Russia and China all have nukes, why can't N. Korea? Do you still think we're the "good" cops of the world?

    1. ... my point is that the saying seems to be weapon specific rather than principle specific ...