Sloppy and Decadent

Civilizations fall all the time.

Sometimes they take longer to do it than others, but generally they always end. And, they always seem to end in a certain way: they get sloppy and decadent – before being taken down by ‘the barbarians’ – whoever they are. It is a classic formula that every major civilization seems to want to follow.

I was reminded of this a couple of days ago while watching a documentary on life in prison in the US. I was appalled. I could not believe what I was seeing.

America has surrendered control of its prisons to the prisoners. Anything and everything goes on inside, and the guards and gatekeepers have been made virtually powerless to do anything about it. 

Why does this remind me of the fall of civilization?

We know what we have to do to fix the prisons, but we (as a civilization) lack the will to do anything about it. And, THAT is how civilizations fall.

It used to be, when barbarians pounded on the gates, we went out and stomped on barbarians. When barbarians where in our midst, we stomped on them too.

In short, we were willing to do what it took to make our society work, safely and securely.

But, not anymore.