Great Ship-Scuttlers of History

Have a nation's rulers ever set out to destroy their own country?

Much of the writing in Scragged is founded on our belief that fundamental human nature doesn't change and thus that we can learn a great deal about what's going on in our world today by analysis of history.

Most everything which happens in politics, war, trade, and even business has a historical analogue, which can give useful insight as to the probable end result of what we're doing today - but only if you know about it.  As King Solomon put it, "There's nothing new under the sun."

For example, we can confidently say that importing countless millions of third-worlders will inevitably destroy the modern West because unlimited immigration led to the fall of Rome.  Unlimited immigration didn't do the original native Americans any good either as our Ivy-league elites are fond of pointing out.

We can also predict that, if our leaders permit chaos and violence to rule in our streets, eventually the frustrated and frightened middle classes will turn to a strongman who promises to give civil liberties short shrift.  That's not a dig at Donald Trump whose instincts probably lean more towards the importance of the Rule of Law than those of the current administration; it's merely a well-known lesson from history that we ought to bear in mind when watching the passing scene.

Whenever we see something strange in the political neighborhood, we search back through our dusty tomes to try to find a past example of more or less the same thing happening.

Yet we currently find ourselves stumped.  Despite our best efforts, we cannot find a single suitable comparison for what's going on with the mandarins of the modern West, who to all appearances are acting as if they're hell-bent on destroying their own countries and sowing the ground with salt.

What Is a Nation?

Throughout history, nationhood was mostly genetic, with a healthy dose of linguistic unanimity.  In other words, if a group of people looked mostly the same and spoke the same language, they were a nation.  That's how we got the modern English and the French.

This holds true even when the "nation" is divided politically.  For centuries, Germany and Italy each had common tongues and traditions, but were ruled by a patchwork of independent princes.  In the 19th century, they were finally unified, Germany under Kaiser Wilhelm I and Italy under King Victor Emmanuel.  Less than a century later, when East and West Germany were artificially separated during the Cold War, this division seemed deeply unnatural even though Germany had been a single political unit for only a short time.

Western thought and culture has given us another path to nationhood, with the United States being the first and greatest example: a unified ideology.  You don't have to be any particular color to be an American, nor is it absolutely essential for you to speak good English, although it helps.  It is, however, required that you believe in the precepts of the Constitution.  As so many falsely-naturalized Muslim terrorists are proving, if you don't believe in liberty, human rights, or freedom of speech, you aren't really an American no matter what your passport says.

The point is, though, for a group of people to be a nation there has to be some sort of unifying factor, whether it be race, history, language, or beliefs.

What happens if you don't have such a unifying factor?  Then you aren't a nation; you're an empire, which requires one particular nation, or unified group of people, to be the top dog that runs the show by telling other groups what to do.

The Roman Empire, for example, contained millions of residents who didn't speak a word of Latin or wear togas.  They had rights, and some of them like the Apostle Paul were even full citizens, but there was no doubt that the rulers of the Empire were virtually all ethnically, culturally, and linguistically Roman.  When this unity broke down, the other ethnicities asserted themselves and the Empire fell apart.

Similarly, the British Empire was run by a fairly thin layer of actual Brits, assisted by vast numbers of local bureaucrats with British training.  This empire was more like America and less like Rome in that you could become an honorary Englishman by attending the right schools and behaving with the proper manners - particularly since many of the most noted British imperialists wouldn't have considered themselves English at all but rather Scottish, Welsh, Cornish, or even Irish.

Co-opting millions of the best and brightest non-British helped the British Empire last longer than it otherwise might have done.  All this training in British governance also made it possible for many of the component parts to become successful countries in their own right when the Empire shut down.

Our Suicidal Elites

History teaches us one thing very plainly: although the Jews have been a belief-based nation for thousands of years, no empire lasts forever.  Everything ends eventually.

Rome, as we mentioned before, fell largely because of unhindered illegal immigration.  The illegals took all the essential grunt jobs that didn't require much training, particularly soldiering.  After a while, the immigrants realized that they were all the soldiers and there was no longer any particular reason why they should listen to an Emperor from a totally different culture and race.  They promptly stopped, and that was the end of the Roman Empire.

The British Empire died through extreme blood loss which resulted from the impossibly vast expenditure of lives and treasure that the two World Wars took out of England's hide.  It's a testimony to its fundamental strength and fantastic leadership that the British Empire's eventual end mostly arrived peaceably and in generally good order by historical standards of falling empires.  What's more, we see that England today, shorn of its empire, is for the moment a viable country with a fair degree of global residual power, which is more than can be said of Rome for sure!

The only thing worse than barely winning a World War is losing one.  Hitler's Thousand-Year Reich, Hannibal's Carthage, and Napoleon's France came to abrupt ends at sword point, with their opponents being determined to make sure their enemy didn't bother anyone anytime soon.  Once again, the tale of Napoleon's Hundred Days shows the underlying competence of the British system - in just over three months, England was able to fully re-mobilize, re-assemble its allied armies, and conclusively defeat the greatest, most gifted general of the era.

Napoleon, Hitler, and Hannibal fought with all their might; they were simply outnumbered in the end.  The fall of the Byzantine Empire shows another path to military defeat: by the time the end came in 1453, the walls and army which had successfully defended Constantinople for centuries were in disrepair because the funds for maintenance had been embezzled by greedy bureaucrats.  The same sort of bureaucratic theft led regularly to the fall of Chinese dynasties as Confucius documented in his writings and we discuss in our new book.

There's a valuable lesson to be noted: in all these cases - the top leadership tried their best to defend their nations.  They were unsuccessful for various reasons: lack of numbers, self-serving bureaucracies, or national exhaustion, but they didn't lose their nation for lack of trying to hold it together.

What a contrast with our modern Western governments!  Poll after poll and the rise of anti-immigrant political parties show that the people of America and Europe are very well aware of the dangers of illegal immigration, particularly but not exclusively Muslim, and have a strong desire to see it stopped regardless of cost.

Yet in defiance of both the popular will and ample recorded history, our elite mandarins, regardless of party, continue to blindly preach the nonexistent virtues of multiculturalism.  Is this mass delusion or conscious suicide?  In Europe, the rulers are even defying the laws of evolution, genetics, and every cultural more known since history began, by seemingly not minding that their own nation's women are being brutally attacked and taken advantage of by alien foreigners that they willfully invited in!

The same effect is clearly visible in economics.  It is an axiom of finance that, in order to borrow money, you have to have somebody to borrow it from.  America has borrowed so much money that there's not that much more money left in the world to keep us supplied.  The Chinese have been making noises about putting on the brakes for some time now, and they'll do it as soon as they have enough domestic consumption to keep their factories running.  Despite this clear handwriting on the wall, our leaders refuse even to consider a reduction in the rate of increase of spending, never mind actual cuts, much less a balanced budget.

We could go on down a litany of obvious, transparently destructive policies - putting women into ground combat roles despite ladies being at least 10% weaker than gents; subsidizing academics explicitly dedicated to the destruction and dissolution of American culture and political traditions; stirring up a race war; and, for that matter, setting out with malice aforethought to destroy the very foundation of modern technology and our lifestyle, cheap energy.

Which brings us to our opening question: has there ever before in history been a nation or group of nations whose leaders were not merely corrupt, not merely feckless and incompetent, not merely negligent and greedy, but actively, as a group, united in efforts to destroy the country, culture, and society under their leadership?

We can't think of a single historical precedent for the deliberate destruction of a nation and culture, which leaves us at somewhat of a loss.  So we put the question to our Gentle Readers.  Can anyone think of one from which we can glean and share insights?

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other articles by Petrarch or other articles on Politics.
Reader Comments

If I correctly understand,you are asking for precedents for the purposeful destruction of a society and culture from within. Or are you asking for examples of blind destruction of same? Maybe I am not all that bright, but as James Dale Davidson noted, history does not repeat itself, but is more like a corkscrew in certain patterns repeat in a similar, but not identical manner. I think there are numerous cases in which existing habitats did not object to the initial arrival of foreigners aka "immigrants."

May I ask you to be a little more cleardefine what it is you are looking for?

January 12, 2016 1:57 PM

@John V

We're sorry not to have been clear. We agree with you that there are countless examples how immigration didn't work out well for the original inhabitants; that seems to have been the normal pattern throughout history.

There are many examples of empires falling because of incompetent leadership, generally spread over several generations because, as someone said, "There's a heap of ruin in a country." In all the cases we can think of, the last few rulers tried their best to keep their system going, but failed.

Sometimes they knew it was coming, as when Louis XIV said, "After me, the deluge."

What we can't think of is a situation where the ruling elites deliberately decided to destroy their nation / culture / customs. What we see Western leaders doing is so counter-intuitive and so destructive of the nations and cultures they lead that we can't think of any examples.

Either they're all sufficiently disconnected from reality that they belong in rubber rooms OR they are deliberately wrecking their societies.

Can you help us figure out which it is? If they're doing it on purpose, can you think of previous examples?

January 12, 2016 2:55 PM

Well, my example would be America during the Civil War! The nation broke in two over the issues of States Rights and Slavery. Southern states dropped out, the majority northern states said No, via the pre-existing Federal government, but both sides actively tried to destroy the pre-existing status of the Union.

January 12, 2016 5:07 PM

I disagree that it's a clear and purposeful destruction. Politicians, of all shapes and sizes, tend think their ideas are good for the country, or at least won't do it any significant harm that it can't afford. Big Tent Republicans, who like open immigration, really do think it's a better policy - nation of immigrants, diversity builds intelligence, etc. Hillary famously opined that she had loads of ideas; we just couldn't afford them all yet.

As far as examples of purposeful destruction... The only one that comes to mind is the Cloward-Piven strategy but that was by academics, not politicians.

January 12, 2016 5:07 PM

Democracy is not going to work unless we bring the decision making down a couple of levels. We had one congressman for every 1021 registered voters when slaves and women couldn't vote. in 2012 there was 1 representative for 296,748 voters. We need another level of discussion groups down a factor of about 100.
The government is dysfunctional due to special interests which are spending a lot of money on a few people. The extra level of discussion would mean that each representative would have 100 or so grass level advisors who wouldn't write laws but hold something like large town hall meetings maybe once a quarter. There would be a algorithm to choose these people from the solid citizens of the country. They wouldn't be elected and therefore hopefully would be attracted and honored to give their inputs to the governing of our country.
There are a number of details to go with this proposal, but there is too much money per judge, representative, senator in our system. The common good is losing relevance. When that happens common people might decide to change the system themselves.

January 12, 2016 6:50 PM

What ones to mind is Mao's Cultural Revolution and its attacks on academics, history, and political incorrect thought. The difference: This is more passive aggressive. Mao ordered the killing of opponents, these elites invite others in to do the deed.

January 13, 2016 6:45 PM

Didn't Pol Pot do the same thing even more thoroughly in Cambodia - throwing everyone with any education out of the cities and into the rice paddies to starve and die? That would amount to the same thing.

January 13, 2016 7:10 PM

@Patience - I think Pol Pot sincerely believed that he knew how society should be organized, but that he would not be able to convince all those intellectuals of just how smart he really was. He could not convert them, so he had to kill them.

Mr. Obama has the same contempt, not only for Republican politicians, but for voters who aren't smart enough to see how brilliant he is and who insist on disagreeing with him.

Our soldiers swear to uphold the Constitution, so they might not be willing to attack citizens, but cops don't take that oath. It's a good thing so many of us are clinging to our guns.

January 14, 2016 10:51 AM
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