And it's just gotten started
We live in interesting times. As the saying goes, it's a curse. In the 21st century, the post-war order is breaking down, America has lost its goddam mind, and we're sailing into climate change like a bat into hell. God knows we need a change, but that god is Shiva The Destroyer. This century is going to be super fucked.
The Post World War II Disorder
What we call a post-war order is actually the shrapnel of World War II, loosely duct-taped together. Now that's all coming apart.
The first thing to understand is that World War II didn't end in 1945, it just ended for white people. After crossing dicks in Berlin, the US and USSR continued fighting each other for another 45 years. The Cold War was plenty hot for us in the global majority. Millions were killed and countless countries destabilized and couped. They only call it cold because that's white people's hearts. When the USSR peacefully imploded in the 1990s it at least seemed over, that there was a final victor, but nope.
The United States was like a dog that caught a car. They had no idea what they were doing with their lone superpower status and just became even worse bullies. America spent trillions murdering Muslims for 20 years, and have now eagerly restarted the Cold War with China. They're even using propaganda and travel bans to attack Chinese vaccines, something they didn't even do in Cold War I. This is already getting millions killed in the global majority, again. Cold War II is already a hot mess.
America Is Going Fascist
At the same time, the United States is going full fascist and collapsing from within. I've gone into it in detail, but America is looking like pre-Nazi Germany, showing all the signs of rising totalitarianism with even less resistance. Americans really think their institutions are going to save them while its institutions are literally on fire. The fact is that America was a white supremacist totalitarian state for most of its existence and is rapidly returning to form. That's what Make America Great Again means.
Even more ineptly than Weimar Germany's Social Democrats, America's antisocial Democrats have filibustered themselves into irrelevance. Meanwhile the fully racist/fascist Republican Party is organized down to the mob and militia level. "The best lack all conviction, while the worst, Are full of passionate intensity," and Americans aren't sending their best. As you can learn from the Weimar Republic, this is fertile ground for fascism, just waiting for a few financial crashes to turn it into a landslide. And those shocks are surely coming.
Unlike the implosion of the USSR, which was democratic and peaceful, America's democratic institutions seem weaker and the place is far more inclined towards violence. As much as the evil empire deserves to go down, it will of course fall down on the poor and vulnerable within and cast god knows what global damage. When a superpower goes supernova, the shrapnel hits us all.
After centuries of fucking around, the west is about to find out. The unchecked greed of colonialism has just morphed into capitalism and now completely exhausted the Earth. It's important to understand that this is one trend, stock markets were founded in the 1600s to profit from the exploitation of the global majority and this is what multinationals are doing today. Only this time it's not just brown and black bodies and land, they're taking the whole Earth and ending life as we know it. Ask anyone oppressed under the first IPO, the VoC; the stock market going up is a ticker of doom.
Climate collapse is already happening right now and it won't be a linear process. As Ernest Hemingway said, climate collapse will happen "gradually, then suddenly." We will hit a bunch of tipping points (like entire ice sheets melting) leading to rapid changes like monsoons stopping, 100-year floods every year, and god know what else. Rich people won't do anything except PR stunts because they just want to keep making money. They'd rather end the world than have a bad quarter. So there is no way to stop or even slow this without revolution, which unfortunately can go fascist as easily as the other way.
All of this environmental collapse is going to trigger unpredicatable second-order chaos, migrations, famine, war, basically all the horsemen of the apocalypse in diesel-powered monster trucks. People really underestimate the long-tail risk involved with climate change. We will rapidly go from abnormal disasters to disaster being normalized. We underestimate both the violence of climate change and the violent second-order effects it will cause.
The Vain Hope
The weird thing is that I have a vain hope for this future. Like the same time last century, we're at a time of great ideological change, of revolution even, and that's a hopeful thing. Violent shocks can shake the sclerotic old order loose, and that's a change that needs to come. The US deserves to go down. The post-war order needs to change. However, I know enough history to know that's not how it works. History falls down on those that least deserve it—the already vulnerable, the poor. Things can become much worse before they ever improve.
When new sprouts grow, it's usually out of a completely slashed and burnt Earth. Thomas Piketty talks about how the physical destruction of capital helped lead to post-WWII decreases in inequality in Europe. That is to say, nobody gave up their wealth. Everything was just bombed to the ground.
This all goes against the new western thinking of eternal, linear progress and growth, but it's not a new idea. Hindu philosophy is in fact built around this cyclical nature of time. Time is divided into yugas which are a cycle, not linear progression upwards and onwards. We're technically in the Kali Yuga of decline (the worst) which started 5,000 years ago and ends in roughly 425,000. This seems long, but if you consider the time it takes for a climate to stabilize, may actually be generous. I say this not as prophecy but simply a way to look at the world, as a cycle.
The Hindu Trinity is a Creator, a Preserve, and a Destroyer, each with their place. The view is not that destruction is bad but part of the cycle. Shiva the Destroyer is often forgotten, but he always arrives. And he is necessary. Old ways must die for new to emerge. People must die, either generationally or accelerated by bloody hand. This is underestimated by western minds.
Empires have to fall. Wars have to be fought. Mass extinctions have to happen. This idea of linear progress with a few minor adjustments is folly. We're a fart in the historical wind, thinking we're the shit. We just track the Y-axis of GDP going up and ignore that the X-axis of the environment is flooding, burning, and shifting violently beneath our feet. Life isn't two-dimensional, it's multi-dimensional, unpredictable, and does not give a fuck about our plans.
We are fooling ourselves to look at the major problems of our day and thinking that they have minor solutions. That we're going to just switch to electric cars or green energy and that'll be enough. It's not enough. We have to have complete ideological shifts to match the complete climate shift that has already begun and it will not be easy. Old leadership will not go easy and the new leadership may be worse. There will be blood. This century is going to be super fucked. Go vegetarian, meditate on a mountain, and ask Shiva for a boon. Gods know you'll need it.