Law, Order, Duct Tape and Empires
Human stupidity, ego and inflexibility (rather than cosmic cyclicity) are behind the fall of large empires and civilizations. There are many proximate manifestations of dysfunction such as-
Legalism, Stagnation, the ‘ponzi’ like nature of civilizations, inability to change, mindless brutality, downstream effects of effects of complexity– culminating in general disenchantment and loss of social cohesiveness.
Today, I will talk about another issue- the role of law and order systems in propping up a failed system.
When empires start to decline, their elites always try to maintain status quo through more internal repression and law/order bullshit. However such pathetic and short-sighted attempts to keep their gravy train running for a little longer ultimately ensures that the final fall is fatal and irreversible.
Law and order are often used to temporarily cover up cracks in the system instead of real changes and evolution. Duct-taping a broken system is always a temporary solution to problems. The catch-22 is that any real change will put those who benefit from the current status quo out of business. Therefore duct-tape is used at an increasing frequency and in ever larger amounts till the system is held together by nothing but duct tape.
Systems held together by duct tape may feel and behave OK until they are stressed by an external or internal stress beyond their ability. At this point the system starts to come apart in a most “unexpected” manner – much to the consternation of elites. Moreover, it cannot be put back since it was never really functional since anybody can remember.
It is much easier to gradually replace real connections and parts with duct tape than create a working system from damaged and dysfunctional parts- regardless of the amount of duct tape used- IF you can still afford it. Therefore the fall of empires is functionally irreversible.