April 25, 2022

On the non-role of social media in imperial collapse, whether its cultural or political symptoms

I wrote an in-depth thread responding to Jonathan Haidt's new article in The Atlantic about social media's purportedly crucial role in the political unraveling of the past 10 years. That's tech-determinism, which I have always rejected. It's about imperial rise and collapse instead. I elaborate why in that wide-ranging thread. Would you expect any less from here?

Also, would you expect a proper standalone post to treat such a topic? Of course not, especially if it's react content that I have already discussed earlier. That stuff belongs in a long series of comments to a totally unrelated post about rhythm, dance, and female singer-songwriters from the early 2000s. :)

But since I know some of you weirdos won't read it unless it's in a post of its own, I'll at least link to it, beginning with the comment here and on. Add any comments to this post, not the original one.


  1. what do you think about the possibility of a european imperiogenesis as "Europe" / EU? of course currently its a US vassal organisation, but every status quo has its antithesis naturally baked in as obvious focal point. in the vacuum after US collapse, with the hated ex-liegelords to the west, the non-european evil Russians to the east, and the MENAs to the south/southwest. or are the meta-ethnic frontiers at the margins of geographical Europe too soft? maybe only until after another expanding central asian empire will have gobbled up russian/ eastern euro/ balkan lands (again) and the front is clearer?

    the future never turns out as predicted by eggheads, so how about the image of the future empire of the Socialist Union of Europe refering to the certain imperiogenetic attempts of a certain Austrian painter/socialist as "70% good, 30% bad" à la Mao? I would have liked to see the current western elites turn in their graves in a future like that

  2. For "Europe" as a whole to undergo ethnogenesis as a single European people, and then imperiogenesis as an expanding state, an empire outside of Europe would have to be threatening the whole of Europe. Maybe more intensely along a meta-ethnic frontier, and less so on the interior, but still, threatening to advance over all of Europe.

    Or maybe you would just limit this to "Western Europe", but same idea.

    That is not happening any time soon -- there is no New World empire expanding to the east across the Atlantic, there is no empire in central Eurasia expanding to the west, and there are no empires in the MENA region expanding to the north.

    Moreover, most of those places are the sites of decaying empires, which means the positive feedback loops are at work, and they will pose less and less of an expansionist threat against Europe over time.

    In the New World, America is a declining empire. To Western Europe's east, Russia is a declining empire. The Balkans, Anatolia, Levant, Mesopotamia, and most of N. Africa are part of the ruins of the Ottoman empire.

    China could start expanding after awhile, but they have never gotten further west than Central Asia, so they pose no threat to Europe.

    India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan have never pushed west either, let alone all the way to Europe. Those empires all moved from Persia to the south and east, or from Central Asia due south, or were native to South Asia.

    Iran is closer to Europe, and their last empire has been over for awhile. But they've never expanded to Europe -- at most, to the rest of the MENA region.

  3. Central Asian nomads could always resurface, although that assumes they themselves are being pressed against by some other expanders.

    But just assume that China pushes back into Central Asia to recover their Qing losses, Afghanistan and/or Iran pushes up into Central Asia, and Russia settles and develops more land around Novosibirsk to the north of Kazakhstan, or tries to make vassals of Kazakhstan.

    Over a long time, that could force the Turko-Mongols to cohere again, and push out westward toward Europe.

    However, every time the steppe nomads have done this, it has only caused empires to form in Eastern Europe -- Bulgaria, Kievan Rus, Lithuania (Grand Duchy), and Russia.

    That's because Eastern Europe is part of the Great European Plain, and trivial to run over if you're coming from the steppe. Whereas Western Europe is hilly and mountainous, making it harder to blitzkrieg on horseback. Nomads would rather do the easy work of raping, pillaging, and enslaving people from the flat plains.

  4. Even if Turko-Mongols took a southern route through Persia and Anatolia, that would only repeat what happened with the Ottomans. Empires in Anatolia have only triggered empires in Eastern Europe -- the Byzantines acted as triggers for the Bulgarian and Lithuanian empires, and the Ottomans triggered the Habsburg Austrian empire (and to a lesser extent, the Russian empire).

  5. The closest thing to a pan-Western-Euro empire was the Carolingian empire, triggered by the expansion of the Romans over the Alps and into most of W. Europe.

    Even the places they did not colonize, like just to the north / east of the Rhine, were still a strong meta-ethnic frontier. And of course the Franks originally came from the Germanic areas (but became non-German through their ethnogenesis in ancient Gaul / today's France).

    The Carolingians did not control Iberia -- that was occupied by the foreign Moors. And they only controlled the northern part of Italy, not the central area including Rome. And they did not control Britain. So it was basically today's France + Germany -- still, a very large and powerful entity.

    But even if there were another Mediterranean empire pushing northward into Europe, it would probably only unite France and Germany, not Britain, Scandinavia, or Iberia.

    The Roman empire had most of Britain, France, Italy, and Iberia -- but not Germany, and that's a huge component of what we call European or just West European.

    Looks like uniting Western Europe organically -- not as mutually suspicious vassals of America or whoever -- is simply impossible.

  6. Jarad Petroske5/2/22, 4:55 PM

    Just expressing my gratitude. This blog continually has the best analysis on the net. Also, you're right on the other meta theme of this blog: if you can't dance to it, it ain't music.


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