Civilization represents an agreement between people to give up some freedoms in exchange for the efficiencies of scale that organizations offer. At some point, this goes too far, and the method becomes the goal, at which point civilization is in decline.
Our civilization encountered its problems by succeeding, which exposed it to new troubles that no one had faced before. This also meant that there was no precedent by which to recognize these problems.
When the method became confused with the goal, our civilization mistook taking care of its citizens for the original goal, which was taking care of those who contributed. Soon people were accepted merely for being alive, and this created a majority of people without purpose who promptly took over and used civilization for their own ends.
Their triumph, a series of individualist ideas from the Renaissance through the Obama presidency, seemed unstoppable until…
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