Tuesday, May 03, 2005


One of the marks of decadence in an empire is intellectual decline. This does not mean the occasional brilliant thinker might not arise - like Plotinus in late Roman society - but has more to do with the general intellectual level of the populace. In order to survive, every civilization needs a "middle level" of scientists, technicians, and writers. These need to be as well informed as possible. When this group shrinks in number or descends into superstition and irrationalism, the society is in trouble.

We find this in late Rome, where Plato and Aristotle were traded for religious cultism. Germany in the 1930's was seized by a group of pseudo-intellectuals imbued with modern superstitions like "race science" and eugenics. A similar process has been going on in the USA. According to polls 40% of the population think the world is only 6000 years old. About half the population reject evolution.

This is pure decadence. The US rulers have used superstition as a means of social control and now it is backfiring on them. Contemporary states need people to be as well educated as possible and by dumbing down the population in this manner, the US has fallen behind dramatically.

The level of irrationality found in the US is not found in any other developed country. Bible-literalist cultists make up a tiny proportion of the population in Europe, and in Asia, there has hardly ever been such disputes between science and religion. For the USA this could be a disaster in the making. Half the population have, through their beliefs, blocked themselves from careers in science. How can anyone be a physicist, biologist, geologist, or astronomer when indoctrinated with a belief system out of the Dark Ages?

But then again, for the neocons, maybe it doesn’t really matter. They are exporting all the jobs to India and China anyway. They probably think that the resulting development of a “middle class” in these countries will sop up the consumer good sales lost to the impoverished Western ex-middle class, who will now be living on minimum wages – if they can find a job.


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