This is a recent post from /pol/ that is well worth reading, especially by those whose knowledge of history and the classics is less complete than might be desired. And it correctly points to the way in which the demoralization and denationalization of Western civilization is rooted in the decline of the Christianity that is one of its integral elements. Polybios would definitely be an early candidate for a second history-based Library subscription.
This was already noted by Polybios in the 2nd century BC, and he referred to his own society – the Hellenistic Greece. Polybios is recognized as “father of sociology”, and he witnessed his own civilization falling and being conquered by Rome.
Anacyclosis is the circulation of governmental forms: warlordship-monarchy-dictatorship-aristocracy-oligarchy-democracy-ochlocracy. Which follows with societal collapse and back into warlordship. The cycle starts anew. The cycle can skip one or more phases or go backwards, but it will never stop on itself.
The theory of anacyclosis is based upon the Greek typology of constitutional forms of rule by the one, the few, and the many. Anacyclosis states that three basic forms of “benign” government (monarchy, aristocracy, and democracy) are inherently weak and unstable, tending to degenerate rapidly into the three basic forms of “malignant” government (tyranny, oligarchy, and ochlocracy). They, however are disliked and not tolerated well, and people tend to seek the “benign” forms.
According to the doctrine, “benign” governments have the interests of all at heart, whereas “malignant” governments have the interests of a select few at heart. However, all six are considered unworkable because the first three rapidly transform into the latter three due to political corruption, and the latter three tend to collapse from violence.
Widespread Atheism is a sign of democracy transforming into ochlocracy – the mob rule – and Polybios himself witnessed that happening in the Hellenistic Greece. The rise of Materialism and philosophy had killed off the Greek Pagan religion, and it was nothing but an empty shell any more – he said nobody believed in the gods any more. The result was general hedonism, disinterest in upkeeping of the society, amassing of personal fortune and collapse of birth rates.
Polybios himself was a soldier, and he complained of the demoralization of the Hellenistic civilization in general. He lived through collapse of Macedon and defeat of the last king, Perseus, in the battle of Pydna 168 BC. Polybios stated that when a nation loses its faith on its gods, it loses its faith on itself and in the future. He also saw the Roman military, witnessed the Punic Wars and saw how Republican Rome was far less civilized than the Hellenistic sphere, but it was young and hungry.
Polybios considered democracy as the pinnacle of the anacyclosis. Yet in the same way that the descendants of kings and aristocrats abused their political status, so too will the descendants of democrats. Accordingly, democracy degenerates into ochlocracy, literally, “mob-rule”. In an ochlocracy, according to Polybius, the people of the state will become corrupted, and will develop a sense of entitlement and will be conditioned to accept the pandering of demagogues and Populist politicians. Essentially, government becomes a puppet show because a transition in power does not affect a civilian on a day-to-day basis.
This phase sees a widespread Atheism. People lose their faith in gods, and they lose their faith in the society and themselves and in the future. They rather concentrate on what they have here and now – and the result is widespread Hedonism, amassing of wealth and collapse of birth rates. Eventually an ochlocratic society will collapse – either into civil war and anarchy – or is conquered by an external conqueror. The cycle starts anew.
The same happened to Rome 400 years later with the Third Century Crisis. The Roman Polytheism was moribund already in the Early Imperial era, and it collapsed during the Middle Imperial. The Roman Empire was basically a religious vacuum – or a chaotic hotbed of religious competition – by the 3rd century, and the Empire tore in three parts by 242. Only the reconquest of Aurelianus and the reforms of Diocletianus saved the moribund empire and purchased it 100 years more time. But the Empire cleft in two in 395 and the Western Empire went bankrupt 476. Only the rise of a new religion – Christianity – consolidated the situation, and saved the Roman civilization in West and the Roman Empire in the East – the Eastern Roman Empire lasted for 1000 years more.
But also the fate of the Cordoba caliphate in Spain and its collapse is an example of anacyclosis, and the most striking example is the fate of USSR – and each and every Communist regime.
Not all Atheists are Communists, but all Communists are Atheists. The USSR was a acumen of an Atheist society, and Atheism was enforced on all levels of the society. The result was an Orwellian totalitarian dictatorship – the worst tyranny and oppression the world has ever seen, a genocide of millions of people and destruction od centuries of culture – and eventually collapse. USSR collapsed in less than three generations after it had been founded. The only way it could stay together was excessive use of lies, coercion and state violence.
Both Dima Vorobiev, Misha Firer and Dimitry Kosh can confirm my observations and tell how it was. They lived through the USSR. They have first hand experience of it all. And they can tell how it went and what happened to Atheism in the USSR.
Another way to inspect the deleterious effect of widespread Atheism in society are the fates of various ideal communities and ideal societies. All non-religious ideal societies, such as kolkhozes, kibbutzim, Hippie communities and Naturist communities, have collapsed in three generations at latest – due to internal disputes and strife – while religious ideal societies can last for millennia. The Hutterites are a primary example of this, but so are monasteries. Monte Cassino was founded in 529 AD and Heian in 711 AD, and both Christian and Buddhist ideal societies are still going strong. The only kibbutzim in Israel today are those which are religious.
There is also a third way to observe and confirm this phenomenon – that widespread Atheism is a sign of a collapsing society – and it is meme theory, 12 leverage points’ theorem and cultural evolution. The meme theory claims the cultural evolution is analogous to biological evolution – the nature works on analogies – and same principles apply. The meme theory insists that cultural evolution works on similar information carrying replication units as the biological, called memes – which form memeplexes like the biological evolution forms organisms and species. And for each species there is an ecological niche – and the same applies for memeplexes in the cultural evolution.
Religion is perhaps the oldest memeplex there is – it predates Homo sapiens, and can even be observed on some animals. There clearly is thus an ecological niche for it. An ecological niche can be vacated, but never destroyed. And when an ecological niche is vacated, it keeps getting re-occupied – the evolutionary race to occupy it starts anew.
In the 12 leverage points’ theorem, religion corresponds to the most powerful leverage point – the power to transcend the paradigm. Religion is the only thing which can overcome the Dunbar number, and it is the mortar which binds the individual human bricks of the society into a durable societal edifice. Religion is the basis of all ethics, social contracts, how we form the society, how we relate to society, to each other, what we value, what we shun, what we consider beneath our dignity, how we relate to work and labour and how we relate to outsiders. Every religion creates a society of its image. Not the other way – this was Marx’s tragic error. Lutheranism creates the Scandinavian model while Islam creates Talibanistan.
Atheism corresponds to an empty ecological niche. It is basically an all-bets-are-off situation. Remove the mortar, and all you have is a heap of individual bricks, which will collapse at the slightest push. An Atheist society cannot endure setbacks or violent challenges, while religious can.
And KGB knew all this. It did not know of memetics, but it knew of “cultural hegemony” by Antonio Gramsci, and it knew religion was the only force which could turn the Communist subversion back and restore the citizen society. This was the reason why anti-religious work was so important in the ideological warfare of the Communist world against the free world. By rottening the religion from inside, USSR aimed for the collapse of the free world. And it was a success beyond measure. But the irony of history is that USSR collapsed first.
There is also a fourth way to confirm these observations. Religions do not spread by conversion. They spread by breeding. Remember Polybios observed that widespread Atheism goes hand in hand with collapsing birth rates?
This is exactly what is happening in the Western world today.