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After the State: The Coming of Neo-Medievalism and the Great Decentralization

An Epic length essay of mine in which I lay out my theory of history and why briefly summarized: The Age of the nation state is almost certainly coming to an end under the corroding forces of decentralizing military technology and institutional decay.

The future will not resemble post French Revolution centralized governments asserting their control over each other, but rather will slowly come to resemble the Greek City states (misnomer) or the Holy roman empire's vast network of thousands of polities and war making entities.

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I think you’re leaving out that everyone wants services from a ‘big state’- stable currency, long range security, access to markets on favorable terms, etc. And America has, quite helpfully, lots of medium sized governments with major economies attached which can fill the void- bigger state level governments.

The median outcome for the federal government’s decline into irrelevance is federal assets defecting to Texas, California, etc which then become regional hegemons and solidify into major countries on their own right by cannibalizing nearby smaller communities. The ‘civil war’ then looks like conflicts defining the edge of each SOI. In the long run this is probably likely enough that it would be foolish for bigger state governments not to have specific plans to capitalize on it. But it being particularly likely in the next decade or so as opposed to the US being in for a rough couple decades? Maybe. I think we probably have enough assabiyah to pull together through another major crisis or two, and if rural areas have increasing control by non-state actors the system can deal with it in practice. I wouldn’t count out balkanization when the social security bill comes due either, but I still think you’re looking at regionally hegemonic empires which happen to be smaller than the current expanse of the USA.

Yeah, reading this post and encountering the section about the HRE, I'm surprised that Kulak did not simply predict that the US would devolve into a patchwork of "tollbooth kingdoms" just like what the HRE became.

Fundamentally, I think the challenge for the US in the future, and the solution to said challenge, ultimately comes down to culture, cf. the Noah Smith complaint about us not being a culture that builds. I think where I diverge with Kulak on this whole concept of "US dying of DEI globohomo" is that I think it eminently possible for culture to shift and for the US to get on some sort of "healthier" path of governance, of ditching unproductive ideas and ideological frameworks, before the US has to ditch them the hard way via total collapse.

I agree. The thing is, Kulak craves a collapse, he yearns for it. I've seen this before 100 times on /r/collapse and many other places on the right and the left. They couch it in concerned terms but what they really want is total collapse quickly so they can step out of their boring lives and into whatever post apocalyptic power fantasy YA literature has lead them to believe.

All roads lead to collapse in Kulaks eyes, because that is what he wants to happen. Zerohedge and Michael Burry and Silverbear, peak oil, clathrate gun, rapture, global warming, hard core preppers -on and on and on; they all suffer from the same sickness.

Sometimes it is because they build their brand and their income on it, sometimes it is just a wish for a different more exciting life free of the normal drudgery, sometimes it is because, "My ideology will arise triumphant from the ashes of the old world". It never happens like they predict, even when things get shitty in this world, it happens slowly in a larger area or quickly in an isolated location like a war or natural disaster.

All this is true. And yet, collapses actually happen, have happened recently, and are likely to continue to happen.

With a worldwide technologically advanced society, it is a much different ball game. It is exceedingly unlikely that everything will collapse everywhere all at once. If that doesn't happen it is more of a setback rather than a collapse, unless you're the one getting collapsed on I suppose.

Consider Rome and the "Dark Ages", and likewise the Bronze Age collapse. It's happened before, and it will likely happen again. Will it happen soon, as in before 2030? I wouldn't bet on it, but I wouldn't bet strongly against it either. It seems like a distinct possibility, especially given the obvious trends in weapons technology. The tech that enforces our current peace is badly senile, and it looks to me like there's a lot of overhang for a really serious military disaster that I'm not sure the existing order could survive.

Those were under entirely different circumstances and the whole world would have to collapse at the same time to really set humanity back, not just one empire somewhere. We can't forget our technology, too much is recorded.

"Collapse" as in a rapid slide into warlords and mad max is just a fantasy for people who don't like how things are, don't understand how terrible that would be, and think they would be king of the ashes. Collapse aware people are just a secular doomsday cult. They always say "next year" when the appointed disaster never arrives.

I would like to agree with you, but I absolutely must push back on something:

We can't forget our technology, too much is recorded.

We can and we most certainly fucking will unless something is done in the near-ish future. Right to Repair is somewhat of a live issue now, and that it's a live issue at all is a sign of deep trouble--same with video games. We will actively create new problems or un-solve solved problems simply because it helps enrich the pocketbooks of executives. If anything, I expect a collapse to push us back to anywhere between the 1980's to the early-to-mid 2000's in terms of what technology will be left, and that's assuming things aren't quite so total that we can still set up factories and maybe reverse-engineer the more proprietary stuff.

I'm not terribly, 100% convinced that we'll see the collapse of the USA in our lifetimes, but I can easily imagine that it will start, not directly via fire, explosions, coups, civil war, or turnkey tyrrany, but it will start with numbers on balance sheets and lines on charts going down, which will cause a cascade of various services mysteriously (heavy sarcasm tone indicators optional) becoming unavailable, as people in suits order servers to be shut down, following a cold, contextless logic driven by numbers and lines.

I was at my parents for easter and my mother had found her 8th grade science notebook. She wanted to show me becauase it was actually a very neat and comprehensive guide that she had created. I literally joked, "We could rebuild society from this thing if the end times come".

I mean shit I have all of wikipedia saved. Sure we might fuck up supply chains and some manufacturing, but the knowledge of how to retool and rebuild will be absolutely everywhere in the world, plus the whole thing isn't going down at once, or maybe not at all. Even an all out nuke fest wouldn't do it.

In terms of lines going down, that has happened catastrophically many places before, but tech and humanity grinds on and improves.