History does not repeat itself. That is one of the first facts drilled into anyone who has studied history, and that statement holds true almost always. History cannot repeat itself as the conditions that man faced during the 1700s are totally different to the conditions facing mankind today in the 21st century. I repeat, history cannot repeat itself, but as we know, current events almost always look, smell and sound very similar to past historical moments in time.
It is my theory that the world is experiencing, and currently living through what seriously mimics the ‘Dark ages’. We are witnessing the birth pangs of a new era that will be very messy before some order is restored. Examples of the world slipping into the darkness are all around us and are happening at frightful speeds. Take for example the collapse of the empire that is happening right now. We are seeing the great American empire disintegrate before our very eyes.
America, much like ancient Rome, has reached its zenith. Just as the Romans were the masters of the then known world, we have the Americans being the master of our world today. Much like Rome the American empire survives and is feared/respected because of its awesome military might. Much like the Romans the Americans are the masters of soft power, so that foreigners look and hope with baited breath to become citizens of the empire. And much like Rome then, the American empire dominates economically.
However, much like its Roman predecessor, America is entering a period of terminal decline, the kind of decline that precipitated the ‘dark ages’. We see the once great and vibrant American economy now on its knees. It is now a country where half of its working population is hovering precariously above or live in poverty (earning $30,000 or less a year is the benchmark for American poverty). It is a nation of many disgruntled persons who are unsure as to why their standard of living has plummeted off a cliff.
Along with a “tanking” economy we witness social breakdown, a clear indicator of a nation slipping into the darkness.
America, remains the preeminent military might, and that is the key reason for it still remaining a powerhouse. The American military is strong, probably the strongest in the world, but again, like its predecessor Rome, the army is also eating away at the American empire even while they project their might.
Like the Romans, the American army is massive. But size is not the problem. The fact that it is an all-volunteer army is destroying it because the army firstly eats up over half of the budget. Now, I do not believe that the American army will go the way of the Roman army and have troops loyal to a general and not to the nation. However, much like the Roman army the volunteers are mainly from the poorer parts of the world and as such will think twice before going to war and collaborating with the enemy.
The fall of America is not however the only harbinger of our new ‘dark age’. A look at technology and how we use it also spells doom. The internet is the modern day printing press, and it is going through all of the birthing pains that the printing press went through. When the printing press was invented it saw an initial explosion of knowledge as books became more available to the general populace.
The internet, much like the printing press, is about to meet some hard times. People with vested interests will, are and already have, in some instances, put the brake on internet expansion and freedom.
Those people, much like their middle-age predecessors, do not like, want or desire the populace being informed and are working hard to stop it. Be it the ‘Great Firewall of China’ or the simple blocking of Twitter and Facebook by the Turkish authorities, we are seeing where the explosion of information has been tamed. Those actions mimic the actions of the monarchs and clergy of ancient times who put a brake on the expansion of knowledge by regulating the printing press.
Just like the middle ages (dark age) we are witnessing a mass movement of people as persons flee failing nations, escape wars, to just make a better life. This mass migration during the middle ages caused much distress and played no small part in keeping the world ‘dark’. In the middle ages this mass migration resulted in both new nations and the re-configuring of others. While we are yet to see the birth of a new nation due to migration, we have witnessed the destabilizing and re-configuring of existing nations.
A casual glance at western Europe confirms this view. We have nations like France, Germany and the BENELUX countries all experiencing serious demographic shifts as members of the old colonies displace the native populations. They experience this when the native populace continues to have a low birth rate while the migrants retain the high birth rate along with them coming in en mass.
Just as the middle ages saw the Magyars enter the Hungarian plains we see the Congolese enter Belgium or the man from Ivory Coast lands at Marseilles. And just like in the past we see where the newly arrived rapidly change the face of the nation in ways that are violent or through the gradual wearing down of the existing status quo (as seen in the UK where sharia law is used in some legal cases).
One way we are also entering some ‘dark age’ is the retrenching from globalization. Just as in the middle ages we are witnessing a world with countries looking more inwards rather than outwards. We see this in action with the demagogues who are either in power (Donald Trump) or through the labour unions that demand some isolationism as they seek to rebuild a manufacturing sector.
This retreat from each other was also a hallmark of the middle ages and played no small part in the conflicts that erupted during those times. We are seeing nations retreat from each other and starting to be more insular and as a result we are seeing nations act in ways that could inevitably lead to a conflict that would dwarf any past conflict we have witnessed as a species.
Finally, another harbinger of the age we are approaching is the war and thirst for conflict. The west, led by the Empire, has been at war for 16 years and it doesn’t seem like it will end anytime soon. The nations are bleeding their coffers to remain at war (against an idea) at the expense of their populations’ well-being and we are witnessing the fruit of that blossoming.
The nations are spending billions yearly to conduct these wars and they are fast becoming bankrupt as a result. The wars that the west is waging are playing a large part in the ‘dark age’ that we are witnessing. As the military becomes the be all and end all of a nation, it does so at the expense of the citizens in that country. Just as no one during the time realized they were living through the 100 Year War which broke Europe in terms of manpower and expense, so too are we are living in our own “hundred year war”, and we will not know it until decades later when we have long been broken and poor.