I was born into collapse in Sri Lanka. It only ended when I was nearly 30 years old
I lived through Sri Lankan collapse. It took forever. I feel that Americans are really underestimating what’s going down, and how long it will take.
First off, yes, America has already collapsed. You can’t just step over your newly dead and poor. America has already lost more lives than in WWI and Vietnam, combined. The economic contraction is the worst in your recorded history. The rest of the world has stopped accepting your passports. Worst of all, this is all self-inflicted. Your leadership and 40% of the population drove off a cliff, and they’re still hitting the gas.
If this isn’t collapse, what is?
Second, Americans have completely unrealistic expectations of, well, many things, but specifically how long recovery will take. You think you’re going to vote this away in a few weeks? Lol, no. Speaking as a recovered collapse addict, recovery doesn’t take months, quarters, or even years.
Recovery takes generations.
You don’t just lose 200,000+ people and vote it all better again. You don’t crash your economy and recover right away. This is the work of generations. Other people — people not yet born — will have to clean up your bloody mess and, honestly, it will never be the same.
Sri Lanka lost ≈100,000 people over roughly 30 years and it was deeply traumatic. We’re still not well. I do not understand how America can lose multiples of this and try to walk it off. It’s just… do you process death differently? Like, not at all? It doesn’t… you don’t just move on.
And please don’t tell me per capita, I know that America is 15X bigger. But people don’t die per capita. They die per family, per friends, per communities. You’re doing this a thousand times, per diem. This is heavy trauma. You don’t understand. It doesn’t go away. They say you live as long as the last person that remembers you. That’s how long pain lasts as well.
When I wrote American Collapse Is Already Here, people asked me how it ends, like I’m them, from their future. But I’m not. In that analogy I’m not you at all. I am your child.
You’re where my parents were, 38 years ago. At that point, I was a babe in arms. My parents were probably like ‘oh shit, hope this’ll blow over in a few years’.
The analogy breaks because we’re from very different places, but human death is the same. No society can recover from such heavy trauma quickly, whatever the cause. No society where this is self-inflicted is just going to be fine. Frankly, it is too late for you. You have got to start thinking about your children.
America has 99 problems and pandemic is just one. To be honest, even talking about recovery is a joke while you’re still going down, and hitting the gas. As John Oliver said, you’re at the end of a generational battle and you lost. Sri Lanka’s rebels tried to overthrow the government. Your Republicans just took it over, looting and destroying from the inside. Far more effective.
Americans don’t use this word on themselves, but your government is corrupt. That’s the word you’re looking for.
I’ve seen corruption, but never like America today. I was at the Tourist Board once and the director casually mentioned promoting his own hotel (he was a shareholder). I thought this was beyond the pale, but your President takes it to another level.
No one here would funnel business to a hotel with their own name on it. Yet your President does. And that’s just the corruption you can see. However, your media does not call it this, because corruption is for brown or black people, not white. Instead Trump and his merry men ‘violate norms’ or have ‘conflicts of interest’ or whatever word salad the ‘enhanced interrogation’ guys at the NYTimes torture you with. You’re overcomplicating things to the point of lying.
We’ve all seen this before (though, honestly, not this bad). It’s just corruption.
Just look for a minute, with an outside eye. What Americans call capitalism is literally just corruption now. Why don’t rich people pay taxes? Why does the government bail out private companies? How the hell did you spend $6.4 trillion bombing some of the poorest places on Earth? Where did that money go? This is unusual, to say the least.
America is not corrupt on an African or Asian scale, America is wildly corrupt. It’s off the scale, American (and the UK) make the most craven dictator blush.
Corruption, once you have it, is like lice. It doesn’t just come out in one wash, believe me. We battled head lice on our daughter for months, and the lice didn’t control the Supreme Court. You can see the rot in your Postal Service, your CDC, your basic institutions. Now imagine what you can’t see. Across your institutions, good people have fled and rats are running the ship. Clearing out this mess won’t take months, or even years. Centuries of institutional knowledge is just gone. Especially with your apex court, recovery will take generations.
I think Americans are used to movies where you drop a nuke on your problems and go home. Nothing works like this. These movies are dumb. Big problems require hideous amounts of time. You literally need to have sex and generate new human beings to solve these problems, and God has to accept the old returns. This takes forever.
As Max Planck said, new ideas only prosper when old scientists die. It’s the same for politics. If you break your politics there is no quick fix, it simply takes time, on a scale which people attuned to iPhone release cycles cannot perceive. It takes, in a word, regeneration. New human beings.
To get a sense, just hold a child’s tiny hand in yours, and you’ll begin to understand. You are not holding them. They are holding you.
Americans are simply thinking about this all wrong. You are thinking about yourselves, how this affects you, how you can get back to normal life. I’m sorry, but that’s all gone. My parents never got their (relatively) carefree life back, but their grandchildren did.
You have got to start thinking generationally. This may actually help your mental state because — while difficult — generational change is at least not impossible. You’re trying to change everything right now and the only thing that’s going to give is your brain.
Yes, you probably can’t do shit now, but what example will you set? No, the bastards won’t disappear in one election, but how are you raising your children? This is all possible. You need to start thinking about your children. If you’re lucky they’ll remember the lives you lived, and not the news.
Do you know how long Sri Lanka’s collapse took? My entire life. I was born into chaos, grew up with it and only got out — quite disoriented — around thirty years old. You are thinking that you’re going to fix America, but it’s not about you. You broke the damn thing. Just don’t break it anymore and help future generations.
That’s how this works. Human society doesn’t follow quarters or years, this is literally astrology. We follow generations. My grandparents’ generation started the fire. My parents’ generation put it out (with artillery). My generation can thus indulge in flame wars on Twitter. That’s how long it takes, and America is nowhere near the end. You’re at the beginning.
Families do not recover in quarters. Nations do not heal in years. Societies do not transform even in decades. This is the work of generations, something which you, young American nation, need to understand. If you saw anything prescient in my earlier piece, know this. I am not speaking for you. I am speaking for your children.
So please, do not think of yourselves. This is both useless and hopeless. Think of a baby, in your arms. This is both terrifying, and full of hope.
I guess this is now a trilogy of collapse. Here’s part 1 and 3. You’re on 2