Democracy Collapses: Expect the Rise of a Caesar This Century
The New Modern Man | Spengler’s Decline of the West Series
As previously pointed out in this article about Oswald Spengler’s astonishingly accurate predictions for the Western world made a century ago, we are currently in the Winter of a declining Western civilization. Liberalism, enabled by economic interests that have corrupted the political structure, is attempting to destroy the foundations the society was built on in search of the civilization’s ultimate unattainable goal: a socialist Utopia.
Spengler speaks to how this cycle has played out in other High Cultures as the foundations of religion, myth and tradition no longer inspire a culture.
Again and again there appears this type of strong-minded, completely non-metaphysical man, and in the hands of this type lies the intellectual and material destiny of each and every “late” period. Such are the men who carried through the Babylonians, the Egyptian, the Indian, the Chinese, the Roman Civilizations, and in such periods do Buddhism, Stoicism, Socialism ripen into definitive world conceptions which enable a moribund humanity to be attacked and re-formed in its intimate structure. Pure Civilization, as a historical process, consists in a progressive taking down of forms that have become inorganic or dead.
In other words, the spread of the Final World Sentiment of Western culture from the year 1900 results from the culture having become completely inorganic in its Winter, and the new, inorganic culture forms attempting to destroy the older, organic culture forms.
However, if Western civilization survives the onslaught of the left, there will be an iron-fisted response to suicidal liberalism coming by the end of this century (perhaps sooner) as predicted in Spengler’s Decline of the West. We are perhaps seeing the first stirrings of this sentiment with the Trump candidacy and the growing wave of nonconformity to the Marxists’ political correctness narrative. Spengler called it Caesarism – the victory of bloody politics of force over a corrupt democracy run by a moneyed elite, and the return of man from living in a state of high ideals to his more animalistic nature.
New Vs. Old
Spengler noted that in every past high culture, the new eventually tries to destroy the old. This conflict reaches a crescendo at the end of a civilization. We can see this unfolding in the West with factions trying to destroy the traditions it was founded upon. The goal of a socialist Utopia, to Spengler, is Western civilization’s longing to fulfill the promise of the Prime Symbol that has motivated it for the last 1,000 years: the quest for infinity. It would represent the ultimate triumph of mankind over nature to achieve this; however nature does not operate in a vacuum. Each victory of man leads to a defeat in some other area in his struggle against nature.
This conflict between new and old, Spengler thought, happens as a key development in the evolution of a high culture, as it moves from the Spring and Summer Culture phases to the Autumn and Winter Civilization phases. A society stops looking for intrinsic fulfillment and increasingly turns to extrinsic fulfillment. Instead of tradition and ideals, the society turns to a life guided by economics and politics.
The Civilization phase represents the victory of extrinsic reason, economics, and urban life over intrinsic tradition and religion. Spengler maintained that a culture like Faustian (Western) culture would become ever more materialistic, over analytical, and irreligious as it moved through the Autumn and Winter of its evolution. It has become obvious that sacrificing one’s entire life to become a machine of economic growth is one of the reasons the West has lost the culture it was founded upon and now worships at the altar of consumerism and materialism. However, the society cannot continue to exist on economic growth, materialism, and consumerism alone. It cannot exist without the simpler, more intuitive (and biologically essential – like reproductive) ways of life represented in the Culture phase.
As seen in the West, as the culture shifts from intrinsic to extrinsic values, people can no longer come up with a reason to have children and the civilization sterilizes itself. Children become part of an economic equation instead of an intuitive part of life. Most, if not all, of the values promoted by the modern left in the United States are representative of this conflict of New vs. Old.
As a sort of “immune system” response to the new trying to destroy the old, as in the case with modern liberalism trying to take fascistic control of the West and destroy everything it was built upon, a society will eventually look for a strong man to solve problems that its democracy cannot. As the old ways are threatened, traditionalists and conservatives will become desperate to survive. From Decline of the West:
What stands is only the historical fact of an accelerated demolition of ancient forms that leaves the path clear for Caesarism.
The Enlightenment ideals of “Liberté, égalité, fraternité” are already beginning to break down as the checks and balances of a democratic system interfere with one another to create political polarization. Also, the ethnic groups that created Western civilization are being demographically replaced by foreign populations who have very different ways of life. The conflict between these ethnic groups – the native Western population and the immigrants who are replacing them – and liberalism destroying the traditions of the society will make compromise increasingly hopeless. The left will try to force its views on the right, and the State will become increasingly tyrannical in order to enforce these laws.
Those on the left are “Philistine World Improvers” in Spengler’s literature. By imposing fascist leftism on everyone, they are suffocating individualism and creativity with the power of the state. This is leading to an increasingly childlike population beholden to the state, and the death of freedom and tradition. Decline of the West says the inorganic, intellectual goals of the World Improvers are ultimately pointless:
…and all these doctrines of Monism, Darwinism, Positivism, and what not are elevated into the fitness moral which is the beacon of American business men, British politicians, and German progress Philistines alike – and turns out, in the last analysis, to be nothing but an intellectualist caricature of the old justification by faith.
Spengler’s predictions tell us traditionalists and conservatives will respond with anti-intellectualism which will push back against the academic left, which now dominates Western society’s educational institutions. Traditionalists and conservatives will also begin promoting a second religiousness, and assembling private, mercenary armies.
Multiculturalism and diversity will be discredited as ethnic tensions increase, and whites are increasingly scapegoated for all the ills in society. Tensions between groups supporting the new versus the old (liberalism versus conservatism) will lead to the breakdown of democracy. Each group will begin to look out for its own best interest instead of the good of the society as a whole. As chaos results, people will demand the corrupt, broken democracy be destroyed and replaced by the leadership of a strongman.
Caesarism is a civilization’s way of trying to restore itself, an immune response to runaway liberalism. As Western civilization is crippled by economic powers ruling the political structure instead of ideals and liberalism debasing the society, the traditional population which forms the foundation of the West will become increasingly desperate to survive.
Indeed, the tendency (especially over the last 50 years) in American politics has been towards increasing power in the hands of one man. This concentration of power in the executive branch is escalating now that squabbling factions within the democracy are rendering Western governments increasingly ineffectual. As confidence in in the state continues to decline, the final shift to Caesarism will be realized when armies shift their allegiance from the state to a charismatic strongman who promises reform and swift and decisive action. Professor Thomas Sunic ties the predicted shift to Caesarism with the deep corruption in democracy as it is hijacked by a moneyed elite:
Spengler contends that the rise of Caesarism must be viewed as a natural fulfillment of the money-dictatorship as well as its dialectical removal.
Another historian, “Galteeman” summarizes the shift to Caesarism:
People become increasingly aware that their “democracy” is not that at all and is in fact a sort of plutocracy where the strings are being pulled by the richest behind a façade of cynical self aggrandizing opportunists posing as statesmen, whose real purpose is the accumulation of power for power itself and treating politics as a sort of game to be indulged in for the pleasure of it.
The parties on the ballot paper are mirror images of each other, peopled as they are by cynical game players who can be bought by the money men, be they socialist or conservative their “policy differences” are mere window dressings and the true policies are in essence the same for both sides, the continuation of the status quo and victory for the personal, financial and power gains and “jobs for the boys.”
The masses, aware of their powerlessness resort to a purely passive role as spectators of the suffering of others on TV so long as it doesn’t affect them directly. They are supplied with a reasonable standard of living and shallow entertainments (bread and circuses) in return for keeping their heads down and their mouths shut, and for going along with the status quo at election time or abstaining as more and more do.
In any case the “free media” which goes along with democracy is essentially in the power of money also and increasingly resorts to a sloganeering form of ranting, whether either right leaning or left leaning it is just another form of entertainment to titillate the viewers without any real substance.
Slowly the cynicism builds and builds until one day, sick to the teeth of the corrupt, bogus and empty institutions of state and the utter meaninglessness of a isolated and empty existence, the people cry out for a savior in the form of a great and heroic leader who will smash the rotten edifice of democracy and purify the world.
This synopsis fits the world America and Europe are heading into in the 21st century perfectly.
The Struggle Continues
As Spengler saw it, the idea of a Utopia like the one envisioned by today’s left is ridiculous. To him life is about struggle, conflict, and man’s Will to Power – his ability to impose his will creatively or destructively. Civilization dulls his true nature. He viewed optimism about changing man’s condition as cowardice. Spengler details the process of Civilization returning the Culture back to the earth from which it sprang:
But Civilization, the real “return to Nature,” is the extinction of Nobility – not as physical stock, but as living tradition – and the supplanting of destiny pulse by causal intelligence. With this, nobility becomes no more than a prefix. And, for that very reason, Civilized history is superficial history, directed disjointedly to obvious aims, and so becomes formless in the cosmic, dependent on the accident of great individuals, destitute of inward sureness, line, and meaning. With Caesarism history relapses back into the historyless, the old beat of primitive life, with endless and meaningless battles for material power, such as those of the Roman soldier emporers of the third century and the corresponding “Sixteen States” of China (265-420) which differ only in unessentials from the events of beast life in a jungle.
In this view, the arrival of a Caesar as democracy crumbles returns man to his natural state: dominance hierarchies, battling each other for control of turf and booty. Not returning to an uncivilized state would ultimately enfeeble man according to The Heroic Vitalists, including Nietzsche, who influenced Spengler’s work.
The Heroic Vitalists feared that the recent trends toward democracy would hand over power to the ill-bred, uneducated, and immoral, whereas their belief in a transcendent force in nature directing itself onward and upward gave some hope that this force would overrule in favor of the strong, intelligent, and noble.
This force, seen in the historical cycles of the High Cultures, is a reversion to Caesarism and a return to the more animal-like nature of man. It may well be that there is no alternative to a Caesar, as we are seeing in our own democracy as its machinery breaks down. And, given the choice between Caesarism or destruction of Western culture at the hands of the Socialist left, it is reasonable to think people will choose order, however temporary, even if it is given to them by a dictator.
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