With the on-going publication by The Brussels Journal of Steve Kogan's overview of Oswald Spengler, it may be relevant to mention the work of a present-day social scientist who has attempted to explain Western civilizational decline from a quasi-Spenglerian perspective. In The Population Cycle Drives Human History—from a Eugenic Phase into a Dysgenc Phase and Collapse (Journal of Social, Political and Economic Studies, Vol. 32, No. 3, Fall 2007) Dr. Volkmar Weiss of the German Central Office for Genealogy in Leipzig writes: “In his book The Decline of the West [Spengler] comprehended the essential elements of the downward spiral in a typological way, without proving his conclusions statistically.” However, “ In order to interpret this behavior and to predict its outcome, we need more insights than the analogies by Spengler of the growth and final decay of all cultures.” Accordingly, Weiss approaches the subject of decline from a bio-genetic perspective using population genetics, IQ, and demographic shifts as explanations.
Weiss begins discussing the Aristotelian “Cycle of Constitutions.” Offering an anecdote from his school days he writes:
“About 50 years ago, in the former Communist East Germany, I asked my schoolteacher what would happen after Communism? He answered: Nothing else, because Communism is the final stage of human history.”
Now, after the fall of the Soviet empire, his teacher’s faith in Communism strikes us as naïve. Yet Weiss contrasts the teacher's faith with that of current Western notions of the democratic ideal offered as a universal replacement for all peoples, regardless of their cultural or biological history. We observe concrete instances in NATO excursions into Afghanistan, the previous Balkan campaigns, and the United States invasion of Iraq. Nevertheless, the regime of Western democracies cannot be arbitrarily transferred, and in any case, permanence is never guaranteed. Weiss remarks on the Aristotelian conception of a hierarchy of governmental forms where the good or ordered constitution is followed by its opposite. Thus the progression from monarchy to aristocracy, and oligarchy to democracy inevitably leads to more degenerate forms. However, for reasons to be discussed, Western-style democracy cannot sustain itself and the cycle starts anew:
“Democracy inevitably degenerates into a corrupt government of the plebs and mobocracy. A dictatorship of the proletariat, which in the name of democracy redistributes without any constraints from poor to rich, from the brave and diligent to the paupers, destroys the economic power of the society in its roots. Finally, the people will hail an autocrat as savior, and after a complete breakdown the cycle starts again.”
For Weiss, examples are commonplace, but some, while known, are not intuitively obvious in their manifestation. For instance, he explains the history of Russia as being in abject decline from at least the late 19th century, wherein the era of Soviet Communism was just another step on the road to final decay inasmuch as the tyranny of Stalin was replaced by the “oligarchy of the Politburo.” Underlying the current political-social-cultural climate, one discovers the presence of a transforming demographic shift resulting in a definite qualitative decline within the population genotype. Associated with demographic shifting is the inexplicable lowering of birth rates to sub-replacement levels among the indigenous group . Weiss views the group as an organic entity, and as such the survival of any organism is primarily dependent upon its ability to reproduce. As Aristotle remarked in De Anima, only through reproduction can the individual participate in immortality. So too the civilization.
The political cycle is different for those groups not possessing the necessary intellectual capital to sustain the high level historically demonstrated within Western social political order, although the end is the same:
“States with only short phases of upswing and a low average IQ have no chance to reach the stage of fully developed democracy at all, but oscillate between oligarchy and tyranny, before they are drawn into the abyss.”
Hence the wrongheadedness of Western elite's attempts to impose the democratic ideal on peoples whose natures could never be accepting of the gift.
Weiss documents how Western economic practices inhibit the organic demands for population maintenance. For instance, the introduction of women into the workplace, and the general level of consumerism that allows people to “forget” their biological duty to the species as they work for “things” (consumables external to their biological nature), exacerbates decline. In a contradictory manner, the equalitarian ideology coupled with Third World immigration in effect lowers the “civilizational IQ” necessary for the maintenance of a preexisting technological base—the ordered ground of our externally oriented consumer society. This has the effect of taxing both the social and technological infrastructure to the point where it cannot be sufficiently maintained.
With regard to declining population Weiss writes:
“It is crucial to understand that...regulation of population density and behavioral changes being in a feedback loop, a full cycle requires the complete destruction of social hierarchy and a total disorientation of the female individuals— i.e., their diversion away from the successful reproduction and rearing of offspring. Today’s humans call such behavior 'emancipation' and 'feminism'."
For Weiss, it is the general introduction of universal political suffrage and the idea of equality against hierarchy that indicates the beginning of the point of no return. There does not appear to be any hope for the West, as we are, in this respect, very late into the game.
The upshot of his ecological-genetic analysis is simply that the lowered global IQ (really, the dilution of the Western genotype) must result in a commensurate inability to maintain a Western derived technological infrastructure. In turn, this inability will usher in an emerging “Dark Age.” He is not optimistic:
“A population with a destroyed hierarchy as a whole is becoming more and more incompetent and unable to act, and the individuals are fighting each other. In an overcrowded cage with rhesus monkeys we see murder and homicide, and with rodents apathy, sterility and cannibalism.”
In conclusion Weiss understands the historical cycle as a Spenglerian organic process that must play itself out. If this is so, then our best days are behind us, at least until the beginnings of the inevitable cyclic upswing.
Dr. Weiss' original journal article may be accessed at http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/6557/1/MPRA_paper_6557.pdf