What the Coming Collapse May - and May Not - Look Like
We know it'll happen, just not what form it'll take.
The perennial topic that seems to keep coming up over and over in Dissident Right circles is that of the coming collapse. Will it happen? If it does, what will it look like? Once it’s done, what will the results entail? Burning questions, one and all. I’ve been known to talk about this question myself over the years in conjunction with applying Turchin’s demographic-structural theory (DST) to Current Year America. Honestly, it’s on everybody’s minds specifically because it is obvious that the current system is so broken that it cannot continue much longer.
Yet, there are always a few folks who don’t like to think about it, and thus don’t like for you to think about it either. A good example of this was one I saw on Twitter yesterday via a tweet from Mystery Grove Publishing,
Now, I was actually kind of glad to see this because - being honest here - my creative well was running a little dry this week and I was struggling to come up with something to write about. Mystery Grove has admirably stepped into the gap to provide some assistance. So let’s get crackin’.
The first thing I’d like to note in discussions about this topic is that it doesn’t matter a whit whether you want it to happen or not. Collapse, in whatever specific form it takes, is going to happen. We have enough reliable historical data from the past 3000 years or so to be able to say that when a large empire such as ours is at the end of its secular cycle there will be a collapse phase, and we can almost assuredly say that there will be “decentralisation” to one degree or another. The original poster was entirely right to point out that there is this weird nominalist streak in large Dissident Right “thought leaders” (Scott Greer is another one who does this) that leads them to downplay or reject the possibility of collapse and which causes them to think that doing so can somehow head it off. This is most likely because their current gigs depend on the present system continuing more or less as is, even if just so they can keep criticising that system.
But it won’t continue indefinitely. The specific manner in which the present system collapses, of course, will be almost impossible to predict in detail. As I’ve noted before, collapses (and secular cycles in general) are complex, non-linear phenomena. As such, Mystery Grove is correct in presuming that we won't necessarily know what would be the one or a few things that might “touch off” some kind of general conflagration that brings down the system, or if that's even the route our cycle will take. There are too many feedbacks in action, too many moving parts, to draw some kind of linear assumption. However, for this same reason, trying to argue against collapse on the basis of superficial comparisons to earlier historical examples (which often existed in vastly different social, political, geographical, and economic circumstances) as Mystery Grove did below, is also not a feasible approach.
Here he is trying to use the early Soviet Union as a counterexample. He also drew upon the American Civil War as well (but unfortunately the tweet appears to have been deleted before I could screenshot it). For reasons I’ll detail below, neither of these are very good arguments against collapse, national divorce, or even civil war.
Taking the American Civil War first, we should note that this war was not actually the result of collapse at all. Indeed, it took place while the United States were still in their growth phase and the conflict was essentially between two elite factions that happened, due to the underlying economic issues of slavery and free trave/protectionism, to be divided along largely economic lines. Aside from that, there are also few genuine comparisons that can be made. In 1860, the dissident faction (the South) was at an extreme disadvantage in basically every way - their free population (and hence their armies and militias) was much smaller, the North had a huge advantage in industrial productivity and rail mileage, and strategically the South was easily “surroundable” by Northern forces. None of these apply to the potential bloc of states that would conceivably be involved in divorcing the Left half of the country today.
Regarding the example of the early Soviet Union, we should note that the Russian Revolution was also not really an example of collapse in the demographic-structural sense of the term (the Revolution[s] represented a stagnation phase competition between elite factions as well). Further, for a number of reasons I’ll discuss below, while there really is not much of a parallel between the early Soviet experience and our own, there is actually a great deal of similarity between ours and the late-stage Soviet situation. Keep in mind that “collapse” involves a broad system failure, not “just” political violence or social conflict. Collapse doesn’t just happen because things “get bad enough” but because the system structure decays due to systemwide failures at multiple stress points, something which the Regime’s current acceleration is making happen in spades.
Often these folks will argue that the current control over our institutions enjoyed by the Left essentially precludes any kind of collapse or national divorce. But that’s the kind of normalcy bias that rather misses the whole point. When collapse comes, most institutions - and especially those such as the media, universities, etc. that are dependent on “soft power” for their sway - really aren’t going to count for much. Only those that can project hard power will matter, and it’s not at all apparent that the federal government and the Left have a monopoly on this. If a real shooting war were to actually start, does the opinion of CNN’s 8,000 viewers really matter? What are a bunch of email jobbers in Woke Capital going to do about it?
Further, focusing on institutional support underestimates the rapidity with which terminal collapse can come once the structural underpinnings of a system have rotted away. Derelict systems can still seem sound for quite a while until some triggering event, some Seneca point, causes it to all come crashing down. Institutions and the power they buttress can seem unassailable…until one day you wake up and they’re not.
Overestimating the importance of “soft” institutional power is a ploy that distracts away from the fact that the Right does, in fact, possess a great deal of “hard” power. Indeed, as I noted in a response to (another) now-deleted tweet, the Right is actually in a better position to assert itself in a national divorce type of situation than it basically ever has been. As I observed above, the South during the Civil War had several systematic weaknesses that (sorry Dixie bros) more or less precluded it from winning an extended contest of arms against the North. This is not the case with Red America today. We have large states and the necessary population. We have a majority of the armed and militarily-trained population (and that does matter - if it didn’t, the Regime wouldn’t be trying to disarm us). We have the bulk of what industry remains in country. We have an internally contiguous transportation system that the Blue states would not have. We have friendly governours who are renovating their state military forces.
Couple this with the fact that FedGov’s hard power is not as formidable as people often think. In a genuine shooting war situation, having masses of federal agents won’t matter because it’s not like they’re just going to be able to roll up unopposed on individual homes in the middle of the night anymore. As for the military, keep in mind that a significant chunk of the force which the federal government calls upon when it wants to exert military power on the ground is drawn from state National Guard units which are federalised, something that could stop being an option for at least half the states. The remaining standing forces that haven’t been thoroughly shaniquanised would suffer from loyalty issues (from FedGov’s perspective) that would degrade its operational efficiency. As for the Navy and the Air Force, they’re not going to be blockading or bombing anybody for very long once their fuel and supplies start being cut off, as would almost surely happen in any type of situation where the homeland is convulsed by an internal armed conflict.
But wait a second - who even said anything about starting a shooting war? Certainly, collapse and decentralisation don’t require this. Indeed, a shooting war is always going to be the suboptimal choice in any situation (which is why it will almost assuredly be the Left that fumbles us into one, not the Right, given how incompetent and insane they are). However, the American federal system is perfectly set up for us to try to avoid that kind of unpleasantry IF both sides really don’t want violence. This is why we have states, rather than provinces. States already possess a good deal of political and institutional legitimacy and would quickly gain even more in a terminal collapse type of situation. If a large bloc of Red states were to simply decide to band together and leave (and avoid shooting at a federal fort this time…), what would stop them short of the Left forcibly trying to make them stay, which is an iffy proposition at best?
This is where comparisons to the late-stage Soviet experience take shape. The Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s was a decrepit, collapse phase society not unlike our own. Its institutions were collapsing, its geriatric ruling elite increasingly engaged in socially degradative competition as they looted what remained of the Soviet economy. Yet, the Union limped on for a couple of decades, outwardly appearing strong and unassailable. I mean, who in 1987 would have thought that dissidents could have ever truly challenged the Soviet status quo? Then it all started to terminally fall apart in 1989 and was lost completely by 1991. The Soviet party leadership lost control of its institutions and then its territorial integrity - and this happened largely without violence as Russia’s collapse phase worked itself out in decentralisation, precisely as the vast majority of other historical collapse phases have worldwide.
In short, don’t ever let anyone tell you that the current imperial Regime’s system is either permanent or impervious to challenge. This is simply not the case. Its appearance of strength is much more of a brittle façade than anyone likely imagines. This is only going to become more and more the case as the Regime ramps up its acceleration in the face of intensifying domestic opposition. Certainly, the Regime is going to try to keep the lid on the pot - and do so violently at times - but it’s almost assuredly going to be a futile effort. But our side doesn’t need to initiate a shooting war - the Seneca point will come sooner or later and will do the heavy lifting for us. The point to organising, training, being ready is so that our side can deal with the aftermath of this terminal collapse, protecting our homes, families, and communities while also providing the reservoir of hard power that will enable our side to assert itself out of whatever ensuing chaos ends up occurring.