As the world seems likes it’s going off the rails, it is time for people to question where we’re going in the first place. The West is likely on the verge of being completely destabilized. The idea of a direct war with Russia or a second civil war in America are developing into potential realities for in the near future. The threat of nuclear warfare that could extinguish all life on Earth still looms over us. So where are we, the people of the West, going?
PART 1: CARROLL QUIGLEY THE FORGOTTEN HISTORIAN
That video would be heartwarming if Bill Clinton’s favorite professor was not the most eerily prophetic historians of all time. Carroll Quigley earned three diplomas from Harvard, was head of the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown and a consultant for the Defense Department. Although he had a large framework of work his most well known and influential research focused on the evolution of civilizations and Anglo secretive round-table groups.
The former in my opinion was Quigley’s main passion. Quigley spent most of his life crafting a model for the rise and fall of civilizations. Examining the personality of Quigley one may infer that he obsessed on this issue for two reasons:
- His apparent innate desire to come as close to historical truth as possible and find a way of explaining the way that megalithic civilizations have come and gone.
- His desire to save our own “Western” Civilization which according to his model had fallen into an “Age of Conflict” that if not reversed would lead to the culture of Western Civilization eventually evaporating from history.
Quigley believed that truth could only attempt to be discovered only by contantly pursuing it. To explain the way the civilizations rise and fall Quigley invented his own theory, which I dub the “Quigley Model.” which is central to his works.
“Indeed the direction and coordination of scientific activities with respect to world problems requires guidance by persons with a wider perspective than that provided by specialization in the natural sciences alone. Such perspective can best be found in the study of the past. With such a perspective, the techniques I have described in this volume as instruments for the study of the past can be used to guide natural scientists and other workers in dealing with the problems of the present and future.”
Carroll Quigley. The Evolution of Civilizations. 1979.p. 422
In The Evolution of Civilizations Quigley defines a civilization as a society with an “instrument of expansion” or rather a way to create a surplus materially, agriculturally, scientifically, etc. He explains a model of the rise and fall of civilizations that goes
- Age of Conflict
- Universal Empire
He then detailed this model in relation to Mesopotamian, Canaanite, Minoan, Classical, and
Western civilizations. Readers should not think that Quigley or I believe that this model is riged as far as dates go. History is in a flow, each of these phases of the cycle are mixed in with one another. The model like most things in science is just the best way that determine a way to explain something. The thing of importance to us about the Quigley Model is that it claim that Western Civilization was currently(1961) in the Age of Conflict.
Quigley’s most iconic, almost legendary, work is his encyclopedic book Tragedy & Hope: A History of the World in Our Time. Published in 1966 the whooping 1300 page volume is mainly focused on the years of 1880-1963. The book has an extensive coverage of the economic development of Western Civilization and goes into intimate detail about the powers of financial and monopoly capitalism real activities in the lead up to the first and second World Wars and their subsequent activity afterwards. Largely the book can be taken as a plea to Western Civilization to reform itself out of the Age of Conflict.
From Tragedy & Hope:
“The hope for the twentieth century rests on recognition that war and depression are man-made, and needless. They can be avoided in the future by turning from the nineteenth-century characteristics just mentioned (materialism, selfishness, false values, hypocrisy, and secret vices) and going back to other characteristics that our Western Society has always regarded as virtues: generosity, compassion, cooperation, rationality, and foresight, and finding a increased role in human life for love, spirituality, charity, and self discipline.”
Tragedy and Hope p. 1310-1311
Perhaps most notoriously in Tragedy & Hope is Quigley’s expose of the secretive round-table groups lead by Cecil Rhodes and Alfred Milner which he alleges were running the British Empire and by extension the entire the Western economic system.
The book is jammed packed with insider knowledge of the way world power systems operate, and is jammed packed with powerful quotes. One of the most powerful and provocative is on page 324.
“In addition to these pragmatic goals, the powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences. The apex of the system was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basle, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world’s central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank, in the hands of men like Montagu Norman of the Bank of England, Benjamin Strong of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, Charles Rist of the Bank of France, and Hjalmar Schacht of the Reichsbank, sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world. “
On page 950 of Tragedy & Hope Quigley makes his most personal claim about the secretive Anglo round table group that worked behind the scenes of the British Empire.
“There does exist, and has existed for a generation, an international Anglophile network which operates, to some extent, in the way the … Right believes the Communists act. In fact, this network, which we may identify as the Round Table Groups, has no aversion to cooperating with the Communists, or any other groups, and frequently does so. I know of the operations of this network because I have studied it for twenty years and was permitted for two years, in the early 1960’s, to examine its papers and secret records. I have no aversion to it or to most of its aims and have, for much of my life, been close to it and to many of its instruments. I have objected, both in the past and recently, to a few of its policies (notably to its belief that England was an Atlantic rather than a European Power and must be allied, or even federated, with the United States and must remain isolated from Europe), but in general my chief difference of opinion is that it wishes to remain unknown, and I believe its role in history is significant enough to be known.”
This is a subject he covers even more extensively in his post-humorously published book The Anglo-American Establishment.
“One wintry afternoon in 1891, three men were engaged in earnest conversation in London. From that conversation were to flow consequences of the greatest importance to the British Empire and to the world as a whole. For these men were organizing a secret society that was, for more than 50 years, to be one of the most important forces in the formulation and execution of British imperial and foreign policy.
The three men thus engaged were already well known in England. The leader was Cecil Rhodes, fabulously wealthy empire builder and the most important person in South Africa. The second was William T. Stead, the most famous, and probably also the most sensational, journalist of the day. The third was Reginald Baliol Brett, later known as Lord Esher, friend and confidant of Queen Victoria, and later to be the most influential adviser of King Edward VII and King George V.”
The Anglo-American Establishment p. 3
In The Anglo-American Establishment he extensively covers the events that lead to the establishment of South Africa and most of Southern Africa as well as these groups influence on Britain’s development through the the mid-20th century and how the establishment of the post-Empire were to be organized.
In addition to these works Quigley had profound insight into the “Middle-Ages” and also very interesting theories about weapons and the political stability of societies.
Quigley’s work caught a lot of fame in a book by Gary Allen entitled None Dare Call It Conspiracy where he uses passages of Tragedy & Hope. The book caught on in anti-communist John Birch Society. Once finding out about these right-wing groups illegally copying his book(the plates were destroyed by Macmillan in 1968) Quigley eventually sold his rights to get a piece of the action. Quigley explained that in a Washington Post piece about his resurgence in the right-wing fringe, but the article and many like it have a way of dismissing Quigley’s profound research into a right-wing conspiracy theory. The left should be just as interested in Quigley’s finding as should anybody. One harrowing revelation by Quigley in Tragedy & Hope deals with J.P. Morgan and other Wall Street banksters infiltrating the left-wing movements and organizations of the United States.
“More than fifty years ago the Morgan firm decided to infiltrate the Left-wing political movements in the United States. This was relatively easy to do, since these groups were starved for funds and eager for a voice to reach the people. Wall Street supplied both. The purpose was not to destroy … or take over but was really threefold: (1) to keep informed about the thinking of Left-wing or liberal groups; (2) to provide them with a mouthpiece so that they could “blow off steam,” and (3) to have a final veto on their publicity and possibly on their actions, if they ever went “radical.” There was nothing really new about this decision, since other financiers had talked about it and even attempted it earlier. What made it decisively important this time was the combination of its adoption by the dominant Wall Street financier, at a time when tax policy was driving all financiers to seek tax-exempt refuges for their fortunes, and at a time when the ultimate in Left-wing radicalism was about to appear under the banner of the Third International.”
Carroll Quigley passed away in 1977 at the age of 66. Quigley died in growing obscurity survived by the fringes of the time and the elite he spent his life documenting and teaching. According to economist Gary North, None Dare Call It Conspiracy author Gary Allen received a strange letter.
“The sender said that he had been a friend of Quigley’s, and that at the end of his life, Quigley had concluded that the people he had dealt with in the book were not really public benefactors, as he had believed when he wrote it. According to the anonymous writer, Quigley had come to think of them in the same way that Allen did, and that Quigley had been very fearful of reprisals toward the end of his life. I believe the letter-writer.”
Carroll Quigley’s ideas about Civilization may be more obscure than Toynbee or Diamond but his theory is remarkable and his relationship with elites a tad scary.
PART 2: INTRODUCTION TO QUIGLEY’S CIVILIZATION MODEL
As stated before Quigley has a six stage model to the rise and fall of civilizations.
- Age of Conflict
- Universal Empire
These seven stages are thoroughly applied to the scientific model in Quigley’s The Evolution of Civilizations. While that work focused on applying the model to civilizations in general, Quigley much more extensively examined Western civilization with the model in Tragedy & Hope.
When Tragedy & Hope came out in 1966 Quigley ascertained that Western Civilization was in the Age of Conflict stage and could either go into Universal Empire or reform itself and see a new Expansion era. It is now more than half way through 2015 and it is my current conclusion, in light of the refugee crisis in Europe, that Western Civilization has officially entered the seventh and final stage: Invasion.
Before examining our own civilization I figured it is best to apply the model to one that has already vanished from time. This way it will be easier for me to explain the way that Western has run its course. I think the best civilization I could pick to explain this is what we would call Classical Civilization or Antiquity. Obviously history is a complicated subject and a model like this can seem too riged, but as with most things while you sometimes cannot make out the differences when looking too closely, looking at things the whole picture can appear you can make out rough borders.
Classical Civilization began in modern day Greece with a mixture of groups of people from around the Eastern Mediterranean, this took place roughly from 1200-900 B.C.E. After these groups mixed the process of gestation took place. For about a century an instrument of expansion was formed in this basin that allowed a surplus economically and an expansion of general knowledge and living standards. Classical antiquity’s instrument of expansion was slavery.
Please note that the slavery in the Classical Period was not like the plantation slavery in America or many other examples of slavery in other parts of the world at various time periods. Generally Romans had a more familiar relationship with their slaves, families would generally have a slave or two at least during the era of expansion that began in the 8th century B.C.E. It is during this period that we generally saw that huge growth in rate of expansion of ideas in philosophy and material wealth around Greece at a rate that was greater than before or after. This culture spread westward, eventually into what would become Rome. Quigley does point out that civilizations generally do leave their core and grow from a periphery that can become the core of the civilization.
Expansion never lasts forever and slowly as slavery began to turn more into an institution in the Classical world there was a slow down in overall expansion. This is where the age of conflict began in Antiquity, beginning in the core part of Greece around 450 B.C.E. and spreading to the Western part in 250 B.C.E. Although this certainly does not mean that no “expansion” taking place after this. It simply means that overall expansion began slowing down. I’ll let Quigley himself explain.
“Other sources of ambiguity in demarking the two stages from each other arise from closely related conditions. The ending of geographic expansion and of the growth of knowledge is difficult to establish in the core of any civilization as long as that civilization is continuing to expand in its peripheral areas. In fact, the expression “geographic expansion” can apply only to the society as a whole and could never be established for some limited portion of it. On the other hand, it does seem likely, although the evidence is not available, that the growth of knowledge, for the ordinary Greek, ceased to increase in the fourth century. The wars, insecurity, and general confusion that became endemic in Greek life after 430 B.C. must have made it increasingly difficult for the ordinary Greek (that is, the one who lacked the leisure provided by slave ownership) to obtain information.”
P. 305 Evolution of Civilizations
As slavery began to resemble American Plantation slavery in the Western part various more nationalistic and militaristic mentalities won out and so did the battle of ideas that favored the plantation oligarchy of Rome. The establishment of Rome as the center of the Classical world around 146 B.C.E. began the era of Universal Empire under the Romans. Eventually becoming the truest form of empire when it completely established itself as the Roman Empire versus Roman Republic in 27 B.C.E.
While the Roman Empire was certainly an impressive body the era of real expansion was over. Slowly the Empire began to decay from the inside out. This process had surely started by 200 A.D.
By A.D. 200 Classical civilization had reached its period of decay. With the end of continual warfare and the clear inability of Rome’s military forces to extend its frontiers further, the supply of both slaves and booty ceased. The unfavorable balance of payments of Italy became more acute. Trade began to decrease sharply, and a tendency for each province, even each large estate, to move toward economic self-sufficiency began.
People began leaving the towns to the country side and slavery decreased drastically. This weakening of Classical Civilization set it up for Invasion. A great shift began happening at about the 4th Century. Instead of Roman troops invading barbarian territory barbarians began invading Roman territory. There was nothing that the Romans could do because the institution of slavery had decayed the Classical economy so much that they could not grow enough grain to convert their army into a Calvary force to repel the other institution of the Roman Legion into a Calvary force. These two former instruments of Classical expansion eventually made for their own downfall when they became so entrenched that they were institution of themselves.
Symbolically Classical Civilization ended in 410 after the Fall of Rome, but this invasion lasted for quite awhile mixing groups all around the Classical World that would create three other civilizations in the future Islamic, Orthodox, and Western.
PART 3: WESTERN CIVILIZATION TO 1900
“Expressed in this way, these patterns in the life cycles of various civilizations may seem confused. But if we tabulate them, the pattern emerges with some simplicity.
From this table a most extraordinary fact emerges. Of approximately twenty civilizations which have existed in all of human history, we have listed sixteen. Of these sixteen, twelve, possibly fourteen, are already dead or dying, their cultures destroyed by outsiders able to come in with sufficient power to disrupt the civilization, destroy its established modes of thought and action, and eventually wipe it out. Of these twelve dead or dying cultures, six have been destroyed by Europeans bearing the culture of Western Civilization. When we consider the untold numbers of other societies, simpler than civilizations, which Western Civilization has destroyed or is now destroying, societies such as the Hottentots, the Iroquois, the Tasmanians, the Navahos, the Caribs, and countless others, the full frightening power of Western Civilization becomes obvious.”
Tragedy & Hope Page 8
Now it is time to apply that model to Western Civilization some 41 years after Quigley’s last remarks on the state of Western Civilization.
Quigley remarked that the Age of Conflict began in 1914. Symbolically with the outbreak of World War I triggering the official beginning of the Age of Conflict, but the transition really happened between 1900 and 1914. At the time of his writings Quigley was unsure if Western Civilization was going to transition into the next stage Universal Empire or subvert the cycle and transition into another era of Expansion. He later said in a 1974 interview that Western Civilization was done for.
There are three things that can happen in the Age of Conflict.
- A new instrument of expansion is created circumventing the institutions at be. Relatively straight forward. During the West’s first Age of Conflict the institution of Feudalism was phased out by the new instrument of Capitalism.
- An institution can be reformed where it can once again be an instrument of expansion.
- Reaction, the institution(s) at be are able to prevent reform and circumvention and the cycle continues to a Universal Empire.
Before I can explain what I believe happened to Western Civilization after Carroll Quigley’s death the past needs to be explained in terms of the cycle. While it was unclear if Western Civilization would enter another era of expansion before 1975 I think it is clear that Western Civilization entered into the Universal Empire stage under the United States during the 1980s.
Lets start with what the core of Western Civilization is and what a core of a Civilization really is for reference.
“The core area of Western Civilization (A.D. 400 to some time in the future) has been the northern half of Italy, France, the extreme western part of Germany, and England; the semi-peripheral area has been central, eastern, and southern Europe and the Iberian peninsula, while the peripheral areas have included North and South America, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and some other areas.”
—Tragedy & Hope P. 4
Western Civilization begun by the mixing of groups of people in the Western Part of Europe after the Fall of Rome during the 400s.
” In this particular case it was a mixture resulting from the barbarian invasions which destroyed Classical Civilization in the period 350-700. By creating a new culture from the various elements offered from the barbarian tribes, the Roman world, the Saracen world, and above all the Jewish world (Christianity), Western Civilization became a new society. ”
Tragedy & Hope P. 8
This mixing of ideas of and cultures lasted until about 700 when the foundations of society began being laid in place. During the time period of 600-950 society went through a rapid organization process. The mixing of ideas resulted in the a new way the society of this core went about agriculture, defense, religion, community organization, etc.
Notable cultural inventions that arose during this time period that became some of the most iconic features of Western Civilization. The mounted infantryman, castles, the complete adoption of Christianity in religious and community life, and the debate between master and servant all arose from the feudalism economic system.
“It was followed by a period of gestation of about two hundred years. The two periods together had to achieve three tremendous tasks: first, to bring into existence the new Christian society by creating relationships between groups and individuals and by establishing patterns of ideas and activity that would permit a new society to survive; second, to repel invasions of non-Christian cultures or to enforce conformity to the new Christian patterns by those who could not be expelled; and, third, the accumulation and investment functions of the instrument of expansion must begin to operate. These three tasks were achieved in the order in which we have listed them, the first in the period of mixture, the third in the period of gestation, and the second bridging over both periods.”
Evolution of Civilizations P. 351
The economic formation of Feudalism brought about an instrument of expansion.
FIRST ERA OF WESTERN EXPANSION(970-1250)
The predecessors of our culture had survived through the invasion period mixed up and formed a new society all their own. Out of the dark ages game the first era of Western expansion, in every sense of the word.
“Its instrument of expansion was the feudal system in which a small minority of fighting men and clergy were supported by a great majority of peasants. The contributions of the latter to the former were far greater than the costs of protection and justice they received in return, so that surpluses accumulated in the possession of the upper class. At first these surpluses were used for political ends, to build castles or to rebuild older timbered fortifications in stone. But soon investment in economic activities began. This appeared either in agriculture or in the encouragement of long-distance commerce in luxury goods. The agricultural expansion was extensive, and took the form of establishing manors in unfilled areas by clearing wastelands or forests or by draining swamplands. When this was done by secular lords, the new manors were generally similar to the older manors of the self-sufficient, balanced three-field type. But increasingly the manors spread by clerical, above all by monastic, groups were of a new type producing still the basic needs of their own inhabitants but adding to this an increasing surplus out-put of some product for sale off the manor.”
Evolution of Civilizations P. 359
In this first era of expansion began the rapid rise of Western Civilization over the past 1000 years and brought about beginnings of the middle class, an interest in a variety of goods from around the world, a developing commerce system, and a booming town life. These developments represented a revolution in Western Society.
“The revival of commerce, especially in the twelfth century, gave rise to a new social class isolated from the agricultural process, and living in towns rather than on manors. This new middle class, or bourgeoisie, created such a demand for the necessities of life that a new kind of commerce, of local origin and concerned with necessities, appeared. These three innovations — commerce, the middle classes, and town life — represented a social and economic revolution in Western society. They led to increased literacy, support for the revival of public authority, new ideas, new morality, and acute religious problems. Taken together these provide a fairly typical example of Stage 3 in a civilization. The usual characteristics of Stage 3 are easy to identify in the period 1270-1300: increased production, growing population, geographic expansion, and increased knowledge. To a lesser degree, and somewhat belated, can be seen the growth of science, but democratic elements, while present, were unable to develop far because of the continued supremacy of specialized weapons. These kept power securely in the hands of a minority. “
Evolution of Civilizations P. 360
Although remarkable this era of expansion like them all was born in its own destruction.
FIRST AGE OF CONFLICT(1270-1440)
“At the end of this period, the organization of society was becoming a petrified collection of vested interests, investment was decreasing, and the rate of expansion was beginning to fall. Accordingly, Western Civilization, for the first time, entered upon the Age of Conflict. This period, the time of the Hundred Years’ War, the Black Death, the great heresies, and severe class conflicts, lasted from about 1270 to 1420. “
Tragedy & Hope
These vested interests of feudal lords and their almost greedy demand to keep control of the populace lead to their being a general slow down in economic activity. They institutionalized themselves as Chivalry and era of chaos and confusion largely replaced an era of economic growth and philosophic emergence. This was the time of the Black Death, the 100 Years War, and general class conflict and revolt.
The tide of Universal Empire under England or Burgundy seemed imminent. However the expansionary period before hand had led to developments that would circumvent the institution of Feudalism.
SECOND ERA OF WESTERN EXPANSION(1440-1680)
The growth in Western material, social culture, and philosophical culture during the previous Expansionary Era and formation of monetary systems in the Age of Conflict meant that people could trade goods based off the demand of money. This allowed a new instrument to rise up and begin expanding Western society, Commercial Capitalism. The cities and families of Florence, Bruges, Venice, Nuremberg can be seen as the heroes that circumvented the powerful feudal monarchy institutions.
“It is very familiar to all students of history and is frequently called the ambiguous term “Renaissance.” Even a neophyte in the study of history is aware that this period possessed the qualities we have listed as typical of any Age of Expansion: increased production, rising population, geographic expansion, growth of knowledge, and intermittent impulses of science and democracy. Except for geographical expansion and science, all these were probably less extreme, in a quantitative sense, than history textbooks might lead us to believe, but I think there can be no doubt that they existed sufficiently to justify the name “expansion” for the period as a whole. The two most dramatic aspects of the period, however, are to be seen in science and in exploration and colonization. In science the period from Copernicus, or even Leonardo, to Newton is recognized as one of the most brilliant in all history, while in geographic expansion the age of Vascoda Gama or Magellan is no less famous. In both of these fields, and in the others as well, the period of a century or more after 1690 is one of much more modest achievements. Only in the nineteenth century, with the surge of a new Age of Expansion, were the achievements of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries generally exceeded.”
Evolution of Civilizations P. 368
The era of expansion was nothing short of remarkable when looking at the growth of science, the growth of democratic ideals, the advancement of art. The most impressive of course is Geographic wise where for the first time ever the the Continents of North America, South America and Australia were known to the Old World plain. The Second Era of Western Expansion can be said in one word “Renaissance”
SECOND AGE OF CONFLICT(1690-1815)
Eventually this form of capitalism began to turn into mercantilism when the new vested interests became too entrenched, especially in terms of defenses and military spending. It may seem hard to believe because of the continued growth during this period, but an actual examination of it shows a large increase in wars and a stagnation in geographical exploration.
“The geographic expansion that had spread in such a phenomenal way in the period 1450 to 1650 began to hesitate. In North America the colonies remained east of the Appalachians or, in some areas, below the fall line; in South America the incredible explorations of the earlier period, which, for example, had seen the continent crossed from west to east by way of the Amazon, were not repeated until the nineteenth century….The same cycle can be seen in legislation, which devoted itself, after about 1650, to the defense of the status quo or to the effort, by political action, to obtain a larger share for oneself of what was regarded as a static and unexpandable body of the world’s wealth. This can be seen in the navigation acts that the English colonies in America so resented in the period after 1765 but that were first enacted after 1649. These acts sought to prevent economic innovations in the colonies and to force their trade and commodities to go through England and English hands whatever their ultimate destination. At the same time, within England, technical innovation was discouraged, work became an end in itself, and laws were made to preserve existing markets as they stood. “
Evolution of Civilizations P. 377-378
Even though Western society would reform itself there was a sign that it could have transitioned into universal empire. This would have been under Napoleon, and I think it shows a good example of how even if a civilization goes into universal empire there is usually a period of growth because the society is united in its politics and conflicts that tend to slow up growth are vanquished. This unity under the universal empire is what leaves the civilization susceptible to decay.
THIRD ERA OF WESTERN EXPANSION(1800-1914)
The reform of capitalism into a industrial capitalism is what lead to the circumvention of the old institutions of capitalism and dynastic monarchies. A rapid acceleration took place which lead the 19th century perhaps being the greatest period of growth that mankind has ever experienced.
” Two revolutionary events of the later eighteenth century contributed a good deal toward the new Age of Expansion. These were the transportation revolution, which began about 1750, and the population revolution, which began about a generation later. The transportation revolution consisted of a series of innovations that provided (a) an effective traveling coach; (b) hard- surfaced, all-weather roads; (c) canals; (d) telegraphic communication; and (e) rail- roads. All these appeared in the century 1750-1850. In the following century the revolution in transportation and communications continued with the advent of (f) high-speed printing presses; (g) the internal-combustion engine, leading to automobiles and airplanes; and (h) electricity, leading to radio, the motion picture, and television.
The population revolution began about 1780 with the use of vaccination for smallpox. It continued with the discovery of germ infection and the invention of antiseptics by Pasteur and Lister, as well as improvements in surgery such as the discovery of ether. Advances of this kind have continued with accelerating rapidity and have given rise to a population “explosion” resulting from a drastic reduction in death rates far sharper than the slight decreases in birthrates. The transportation and population revolutions occurred most conveniently between the agricultural and Industrial revolutions in Western civilization, each of the four providing a sound basis for the next. This was quite different from the experience of the non-Western world where these, and other, revolutionary advances diffused in a quite different sequence that was far better fitted to raising problems than to solving them. “
Evolution of civilizations P. 392
At the beginning of the 20th century it appeared that the West take over the entire globe and very well beyond it. But these vested powers of financial and industrial capitalism would lead this civilization into decreased expansion and then stagnation and decline. With the outbreak of World War I it is clear that Western Civilization entered a new Age of Conflict. Although there were plenty of opportunities for it to circumvent or reform the vested interests of the capitalists super-elites Western Civilization went into Universal Empire under the United States.
PART 4: WESTERN CIVILIZATION IN ITS CURRENT WORLD SETTING
Up in until now the posts have been trying to summarize and explain Carroll Quigley’s work on this subject. We are now 38 years past his death and the world has changed a great deal. This part will be my interpretation and theory about the Quigley Civilization Model now that it is 2015 and why I believe that Western Civilization has entered the Invasion Phase.
First lets recap the import thing, the cycle.
- Expansion Era
- Age of Conflict
- Reform or Circumvention of institutions and return to stage 3
- Reaction, Proceed to stage 5
- Universal Empire
THIRD AGE OF CONFLICT(1900-1980)
Western Civilization began entering its Third Age of Conflict in 1900. Although expansion still continued for quite awhile, even till today in some aspects, the capitalist institutions had complete control of the entire financial and economic systems of all parts of Western Civilization. I’ll allow Quigley to explain this transformation.
“This situation arose from a number of factors. During the nineteenth century, production had been emphasized in such a way as to distort the economic system as a whole, since such a system must also include distribution and consumption. Moreover, within the productive system the pursuit of profits had been emphasized to the neglect of any of the other necessary parts of the productive process. Put briefly, profits had become an end rather than a means. One consequence of this failure in coordination of the economic system as a whole and the even greater failure to coordinate the economic system in the civilization as a whole had been the growth of a very inequitable distribution of the wealth produced by the economic system. Such an inequitable distribution of wealth was a very excellent thing as long as lack of capital was prevalent in the economic system, but such a maldistribution of income ceases to be an advantage as soon as the productive system has developed out of all proportion to the processes of distribution and of consumption.”
Evolution of Civilizations P. 407
Financial control over the Western dominion was completely solidified during the course of World War I with the indebtedness of all Western countries ensured. All industries were solidified during the era of Monopoly Capitalism that began in the run up The Great Depression.
Here are some of the signs that Quigley gives that show a society has entered an Age of Conflict.
“(a) it is a period of declining rate of expansion
(b) it is a period of growing tensions and class conflicts;
(c) it is a period of increasingly frequent and increasingly violent imperialist wars;
(d) it is a period of growing irrationality, pessimism, superstitions, and otherworldliness. “
Tragedy & Hope
While Quigley thought that the West could reform itself by reforming the capitalist institutions to embrace inclusive diversity among the buffer fringe of the world, I maintain the theory that it was virtually impossible for the West to emerge from this Age of Conflict because of the rapid growth of the public relations industry after 1914. The rise of a science in manipulating public opinion is something I don’t think the human mind is capable of overcoming. Where most people in the labor movements around Europe and America thought a huge, obviously pointless, war would make the citizenry revolt it was shown that the use of carefully crafted propaganda could get the population to do almost anything. The use of ‘public relations’ was embraced by the elite of the time. The godfather of this new industry was Edward Bernays(nephew of Sigmund Freud) who wrote a manifesto about the rise of public relations and the need for it to control the population. In Propaganda Bernays writes
“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democracy society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. … We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. … In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons…who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.”
Walter Lippman who advocated a policy that journalism and PR should be a medium for the elites to communicate with the public won the battle of ideas taking place and PR and Journalism was subdued and used as a medium versus its muckraking glory days of 1890-1920 where it can be credited with helping the new middle class emerge from the Industrial Revolution.
There were a few ways that Western Civilization could have reformed or circumvented the business institutions. During the beginning of the 20th century there was one emerging instrument that I think could have circumvented the capitalist institutions: Anarcho-syndicalism
Anarcho-syndicalism was an organizational system and theory that was very popular among the working class up until World War I. This circumvention by the labour movements that were writing about it through the early part of the 20th century would have eliminated the state, which was and is necessary for the capitalist institutions existence. This diffusion of economic and political capital could have lead to real inclusive diversity in the buffer fringe that Quigley believed was crucial for Western Civilization to maintain itself and have another prolonged period of expansion.
Anarcho-Syndicalism was probably a possible option for Western Civilization until 1972 when it became rather clear that Western Civilization would become a Universal Empire under the United States. I have two primary reasons for this.
1972 marked the last year United States would have a positive trade balance, this meant that workers were much less important than when the United States had a manufacturing economy.
The ability of capitalist institutions to subvert uprisings of the 1960s and the dissolution of most of them after the Vietnam War.
Taken from Steward and Steward
1942 marked a point when Western Civilization looked as if it was going to enter Universal Empire under Germany in 1942, but this was stopped because the United States(then still on the fringes of the West) was called in to quell the invasion along with Orthodox Civilization.
Quigley in the 1960s thought Western Civilization could reform itself by embracing “inclusive diversity” and that by allowing the former colonial domain of the West, what he calls the “Buffer Fringe” to share the same economic comfort and values the West has it could begin a new Age of Expansion.
What I think we are seeing today is a complete perversion of Quigley’s idea. This is because while the West claims to support human rights and democratic development beyond itself throughout 20th century and into today there is a consistent track record of the West dismantling, subverting, and destroying democratic and economic developments throughout the world. This has always been done to protect the capitalist institutions of the West that would be threatened by economic and democratic development that could challenge it. Yet at the very same time the West has developed an official policy of multiculturalism where all other cultures are placed into the West sometimes forced upon the native population of the West.
This could actually be a literal perversion of Quigley’s ideas by the way. Carroll Quigley was a very influential person at this time that was able to go into even the most elusive parts of the elite to observe their records. He was head of one of the most prominent public policy and international relations schools in the country where he would do consulting work for the department of defense. He was in with the Council on Foreign Relations whose prominent membership probably gave a lot of Quigley’s work a glance through.
As his stated favorite professor Bill Clinton has probably read Tragedy & Hope in its entirety. It would be pretty sad if he never did. In Clinton’s autobiography My Life he touches his time in Carroll Quigley’s class
“Two of Quigley’s insights had a particularly lasting impact. First, he said that societies have to develop organized instruments to achieve their military, political , economic, social , religious, and intellectual objectives. The problem, according to Quigley, is that all instruments eventually become “institutionalized ”—that is, vested interests more committed to preserving their own prerogatives than to meeting the needs for which they were created. Once this happens, change can come only through reform or circumvention of the institutions. If these fail, reaction and decline set in.
His second lasting insight concerned the key to the greatness of Western civilization, and its continuing capacity for reform and renewal. He said our civilization’s success is rooted in unique religious and philosophical convictions: that man is basically good; that there is truth, but no finite mortal has it; that we can get closer to the truth only by working together; and that through faith and good works, we can have a better life in this world and a reward in the next. According to Quigley, these ideas gave our civilization its optimistic, pragmatic character and an unwavering belief in the possibility of positive change. He summed up our ideology with the term “future preference,” the belief that “the future can be better than the past, and each individual has a personal, moral obligation to make it so.” From the 1992 campaign through m y two terms in office, I quoted Professor Quigley’s line often, hoping it would spur my fellow Americans, and me, to practice what he preached.”
David Rockefeller who is one of the most influential policy advocates alive with influence spanning decades and who today is still honorary chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations I reason has definitely read it.
As stated Quigley was very prominent at his time, and I think his decline in relevance mostly has to do with his unwanted association with various right-wing fringe groups. This 1975 Washington Post Sunday Magazine article somewhat explains this relationship. But I think there has been a real effort to marginalize the professor due to his influence in the fringes. His work must be contained and to the outer-fringes of the right and categorized there. The specifics of this are probably best left to another post.
So Western Society reacted, the institution of Capitalism was further entrenched with the adoption of Chicago-Style Economics and Neoliberal Philosophies. Which occurred after expansion slowed down so much that during the late 1970s every Western Economy was basically stagnant. The adoption of these policies lead to the West transitioning into Universal Empire under the United States during the 1980s.
UNIVERSAL EMPIRE UNDER THE UNITED STATES(1980-2007)
The West entered into a Universal Empire under the United States when it became clear during the 1980s that the United States military power completely overruled that of other Western States and that economic institutions based mainly out of the United States and England were so powerful that they controlled most of the world’s economy. The growth during this time is showing that the Universal Empire had set in. The rapid military expansion in the United States during the 1980s left it far stronger than any of the European states where as before the military build up in the United States America and Europe were on relatively equal footing. Reagan’s military build up in the 1980s increased the size and technical prowess of America’s Air Force and Navy to such a degree that its military spending and portion of the economy dwarfed most other countries combined.
Additionally the fact that other Western States became even more entrenched with the United States after the collapse of the Soviet Union and then began an expansion of NATO may show that NATO was actually the military of the Universal Empire of the West as opposed to a defensive agreement between “free” countries. Even today the United States is pushing for even further NATO expansion.
It would be nice to say that the United States’ shear military strength was the core of the Universal Empire, but in reality financially the West’s capital was London.
My five main arguments for the West being in Universal Empire mainly under the United States are that
The cohesion of Western Powers fighting wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Former Yugoslavia. Disregarding the second Iraq war which was based on such ridiculously dubious fabrications that it was easier for the United States to let Germany and France sit it out.
France’s rejoining NATO, meaning that it had given up trying to be on some equal footing with the United States.
The application of a Global spying network by the United States which it uses on Western allies and coordinates with most of.
The attempt at expanding NATO.
The rapid growth in neoliberal free trade deals where the boundaries of business institutions have been disappearing.
The main contextual reason I have the West going under Universal Empire are that the threat of Communism threatened the West’s comfortable material culture and individualism. Before the eve of a real Communism threat the West had the most comfortable material standard of living the world had ever experienced. The totalitarianism that the West witnessed in the Red World under Stalin and Mao scared the most Christian Conservative and radical liberal alike. The very thought of being integrated into such a collectivist setting scared the West to its very core causing it to defend itself so much that political units saturated and ideas were condensed.
“We must defend our selves at all costs” this fatalistic idea has proven to be absolutely insane because it has shown to hurt the West time after time. And because of the West’s paranoid campaign of the destruction since 1945 is currently bringing about its own destruction. The West’s defense mentality and paranoia about the development of other countries causing it to attack others when it can perceive itself being threatens(even though these threats are mostly to business institutions the average person is not affected by) it finds a way to solve the problem by violence and oppressing the other.
Additionally in the aftermath of the self-inflicted mass misery the West caused itself during 1914-1921, 1938-1945 and in America 1962-1972 made the West reflect upon the mass destruction it can cause. This reflection has increasingly input an idea in Westerners that the West is evil and ought not expand.
After the 911 Attacks America really went into Empire mode by placing more internal restrictions and operating spying networks all over the world. Today it maintains an air empire that monitors the skies of Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq. This empire could not last long in the West and now it has become almost obvious that the West has hit its economic breaking point.
For all of the West’s power its decay set in suddenly. After the financial crises of 2006-2010 it became clear that the West’s had reached it’s maximum girth. Today its economic systems are largely propped up by massive deficit spending in America and by relatively healthy Economies(Germany, Scandinavia, Scotland) in Europe.
“Decay” might sound harsh for the recent economic stagnation this past decade but what I offer up as evidence is that the United States economy has not grown since 2007 because all the “GDP Growth” since 2006 can be attributed to deficit spending.
Disappointingly and unsurprising I can’t seem to find anything about this in any economics or business publication, but the math checks out and I can demonstrate it.
In the above chart that I made I found out what percentage of the GDP was deficit spending and then compared it to the overall growth rate. Each and every year since 2006 the United States economy has gone into debt to keep its GDP growth above water.
GDP = C + I + G + (X – M)
If G is Government spending then deficit spending is the only reason that the United States economy can be considered growing. In actuality I’m even being generous since I do not take into account the roughly 7% of the Federal budget that goes to paying interest on the debt the United States has already accumulated.
Today as the West continues to decay economically, socially, and culturally there are an influx of refugees and already a demographic shift in Europe where the cultural make up of Europe is likely to be completely different in a generation or two. Right now Europe is receiving 8000 “refugees” daily, and unlike what the media would have you believe most of them are fighting aged men a lot of them are not even from Syria.
When you consider that 54% from Syria+13 Afghanistan=67% make up the largest chunk of countries of origin it becomes apparent that about a third of these “Syrian Refugees” are actually coming from all over the world. Being Syrian is now a commodity and it is sad because the country has been almost completely destroyed, with plenty of help from the West. Most of the terrorists in Syria are funded by Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States, which the United States does not object to because it has an almost stated aim to remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power. So while the West is having to accept an almost endless stream of migrants where about half are Syrian it is currently bombing Syria and has been helping arm terrorists for years now. I’m also under the belief that most Syrians want to go home to a peaceful country.
Granted most of the ones from Syria are likely sick of living in a tent in Turkey or Jordan. But this combined with the fact that foreign born populations in Europe are reproducing at a rate much higher than the native populations. Just how the West wasn’t under Universal Empire in the classical sense under the United States the West isn’t being “invaded” in the classical sense either. But the astonishing demographic shift in Europe is important enough to be called what it is, I want to stress that this is just the beginning and that 40 years from now descendants of Europeans of a generation ago can likely be a minority. What this means can not be determined, but it is my best guess that as the native and more Western(culturally) population of Europe decreases as a percentage we will see Europe change fundamentally in the way it operates economically, culturally and likely on a governmental and legal level.
Meanwhile the United States is pretty much on the brink of civil war, at an ideological divide reminiscent of the 1850s to 1880s. If the 2016 elections do not go very smoothly America, which is filled to the brim with guns, it could resemble a massive version of Syria or Ukraine.
So here we see the destruction of Western tradition in America since it will likely either break out into a civil war or become a totalitarian police state, which frankly a lot of people think it already is.
So what now?
This potential end of Western Civilization leaves a lot to be answered. The way I see it a few things could be happening.
- The destabilization of Western states results in wars throughout the world. At the moment the West could enter into warfare with Russia at any moment. This combined with the potential of a civil war in America means that the threat of nuclear warfare is ever present. This could easily lead to all life on the planet being destroyed(nbd).
- The West continues to decline economically and culturally. It is worth noting that even though we are beginning the “invasion” of Western Civilization we could also be beginning a “mixture” period of a new civilization.
One last lingering aspect of the end of the West is what will happen to its institution, Capitalism. Quigley detailed the different phases and forms capitalism has gone through during every time period of the West has had capitalism taking a different form from early commercial capitalism built on trading foreign goods and art through industrial capitalism and monopoly capitalism. Quigley died before the “globalization” of the world really took off during the 1980s, so I would categorize capitalism in its current form as “Global Capitalism”
It’s my opinion that the institution of Capitalism has out grown the West and now operates independently. While the living standards of the West stagnate and decline the people at Davos and who run transnational corporations will continue to operate. This is also I believe why we still see an increase in consumer technology.
The changes and challenges that will face the people of Western countries are going to be dramatic. But if the West is really evaporating from time the least we can hope for is that cultural aspects of it like democracy, individuality and the pursuit of reason do not evaporate with it.