Culture Wars/Current Controversies

No, the USA Is Not Headed Towards Civil War

Nor is the regime on the verge of collapse – Elite Theory, Threat Neutralization, and Turbo-America

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(request: please read the entire piece before inevitably freaking out about my classification in the graphic above)


(note: this is a work in progress)

I first visited Switzerland back in the summer of 1994 and was, like everyone who visits that country, completely blown away by its natural beauty. It has a beauty that is so overwhelming to the senses in that it easily distracts you from noticing the other great things about the country, especially upon first viewing.

Around a decade later, I had the opportunity to stay in the country for an extended period, and I naturally leapt at it. Being the curious sort, I immersed myself in the various local histories and cultures to try and get a sense of just who these people were, and why they were the way they were. One of the first things that I clued into was due to seeing this everywhere:

Firewood is stacked all over the country, not just to the side of a house or a barn, but also alongside roads. Many of these sites are unsupervised. The first time that this caught my eye, I asked my uncle (who had been working and living in Switzerland since 1981) “aren’t they afraid of someone stealing the firewood?” He replied: “No, as this is a high-trust country. This is their culture, and they won’t accept it any other way.”

“Good for them”, I thought to myself. Being from the Balkans, what was naturally left unsaid between the two of us was that in our part of the world, a woodpile like the one in the photo above would be pilfered by Gypsies….if not Gypsies, then by somebody else. That is the culture, and it is begrudgingly accepted as a permanent, unchangeable feature in that part of Europe.

You can’t have a country with a high level of civic duty if a high-trust society does not underpin it. Like Switzerland, the Nordic countries excel at this, particularly Scandinavian ones. This cultural bedrock serves as the foundation that allows civic duty to flourish, and creates the conditions for political stability. Upset the culture forming this bedrock, and you threaten all that rests upon it. Many European countries are now learning this the hard way.

The erosion of high-trust in a society is a negative indicator for its stability, particularly political. On the other hand (and contrary to the assumptions of some), that erosion is not a death sentence for a regime, as high-trust and civic duty is not a requirement for systemic persistence. It is precisely this point that brings me to the subject of this essay.

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