In the fall of 2011 I read David P. Goldman's provocative book, How Civilizations Die: (And Why Islam Is Dying Too). The premise behind the book is that because of falling birthrates, world population will reach its peak in the middle of the twenty-first century, and then go into a long decline after that. For Europe, Russia and Japan, the decline has already begun; within a few decades, the Islamic nations will also level off, and then their communities will shrink even faster. In fact, according to Goldman's view, the two modern nations with the healthiest birthrate are the United States and Israel, so the future is for them, if they can survive the present.
Goldman writes a column using the name of Spengler, after the nineteenth-century historian and all-around pessimist. To spice up his book, he inserts one of his rules of history from time to time, what he calls "Spengler's Universal Laws." Now when I wrote my own theory of history, I finished by listing the ten most important trends of world history. Spengler's laws turned out to be very compatible with what I believe, so for your benefit, here they all are in one place:
Spengler's Universal Law #1: A man or a nation at the brink of death does not have a "rational self-interest."
Spengler's Universal Law #2: When the nations of the world see their demise not as a distant prospect over the horizon, but as a foreseeable outcome, they perish of despair.
Spengler's Universal Law #3: Contrary to what you may have heard from the sociologists, the human mortality rate is still 100 percent. (Even Jesus did not get off this world alive.--CK)
Spengler's Universal Law #4: The history of the world is the history of mankind's search for immortality.
Spengler's Universal Law #5: Humankind cannot bear mortality without the hope of immortality.
Spengler's Universal Law #6 (courtesy of Warren Buffett): You don't know who's naked until the tide goes out.
Spengler's Universal Law #7: Political models are like automobile models: you can't have them unless you can pay for them.
Spengler's Universal Law #8: Wars are won by destroying the enemy's will to fight. A nation is never really beaten until it sells its women.
Spengler's Universal Law #9: A country isn't beaten until it sells its women, but it's damned when its women sell themselves.
Spengler's Universal Law #10: There's a world of difference between a lunatic and a lunatic who has won the lottery.
Spengler's Universal Law #11: At all times and in all places, the men and women of every culture deserve each other.
Spengler's Universal Law #12: Nothing is more dangerous than a civilization that has only just discovered it is dying.
Spengler's Universal Law #13: Across epochs and culture, blood has flown in inverse proportion to the hope of victory.
Spengler's Universal Law #14: Stick around long enough, and your civilization will turn into a theme park. (The Romans treated Greece and Egypt this way.--CK)
Spengler's Universal Law #15: When we worship ourselves, eventually we become the god that failed.
Spengler's Universal Law #16: Small civilizations perish for any number of reasons, but great civilizations die only when they no longer want to live.
Spengler's Universal Law #17: If you stay in the same place and do the same thing long enough, some empire eventually will overrun you.
Spengler's Universal Law #18: Maybe we would be better off if we never had been born, but who has such luck? Not one in a thousand. (Compare this with #3 above.--CK)
Spengler's Universal Law #19: Pagan faith, however powerful, turns into Stygian nihilism when disappointed.
Spengler's Universal Law #20: Democracy only gives people the kind of government they deserve.
Spengler's Universal Law #21: If you believe in yourself, you're probably whoring after strange gods.
Spengler's Universal Law #22: Optimism is cowardice, at least when the subject is Muslim democracy.
Spengler's Universal Law #23: The best thing you can do for zombie cultures is, don't be one of them. (I believe a "zombie culture" is the same thing as the dysfunctional cultures I talked about on this page.--CK)