As NATO and Russia prepare for potential war, which could result in nuclear strikes and the death of millions, the public’s attention is not on Ukraine but rather on the personal life of pop singer Justin Bieber.
This morning the most viral news story in the world was about Bieber holding hands with his new girlfriend, actress Selena Gomez, despite the fact that NATO is preparing a military build-up in Eastern Europe after Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the world last week not to attack nuclear-powered Russia.
These tensions have only magnified over the weekend, rekindling the risk of nuclear devastation which existed during the Cold War, but the public at large could not care less.
Perhaps this is a sign of the delusion and decadence that besets a society before its collapse as was the case with both the Western Roman Empire and the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire nearly a millennium later, such as with the massacre of the Latins in Constantinople in 1182.
“… The infuriated populace plundered not only private houses, but also Latin churches and charitable institutions,” wrote Alexander A. Vasiliev in The History of the Byzantine Empire. “In a hospital the patients lying in bed were murdered; the lapel legate was insulted and beheaded, and many Latins were sold into slavery in the Turkish markets.”
A little over 20 years later, in 1204, Constantinople fell to Latin crusaders and the Byzantine Empire never fully recovered, so the 1182 massacre serves as an excellent example of how people can behave like animals during the decline of their society.
“Even the ancient Romans argued that their society would collapse because of their decadence,” James William Ermatinger wrote in The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. “This became a call for action in late antiquity to return to the idealized earlier days, when people supposedly behaved with more decorum and restraint.”
Many present-day Americans could benefit from that advice.
After the Seattle Seahawks won the latest Superbowl in early February, the team’s fans celebrated by lighting furniture on fire, damaging historic buildings and ripping down street signs.
“We burned couches, then [the police] came and they left; we burned more couches, and they came and then left,” said one of the rioters.
And when the crowd was asked why they were burning couches, they chanted “YOLO,” which stands for “You Only Live Once.”
“Whereas most of Europe has seen unrest over the last few years in response to austerity measures, rampant government corruption and a crumbling economy, Americans have remained completely docile; it seems the only thing that gets them excited enough to hit the streets is an ultimately meaningless football result,” Paul Joseph Watson wrote.
Such raucous behavior likely points to the decline of Western civilization, according to both the aforementioned ancient history and a NASA-funded study released in March which suggests that civilization is headed for “irreversible collapse.”
“The fall of the Roman Empire, and the equally (if not more) advanced Han, Mauryan, and Gupta Empires, as well as so many advanced Mesopotamian Empires, are all testimony to the fact that advanced, sophisticated, complex, and creative civilizations can be both fragile and impermanent,” the study’s authors wrote, adding that the rise-and-collapse of societies “is actually a recurrent cycle found throughout history.”
Unfortunately, it would appear that Western society is headed for collapse if the public’s preoccupation with football games and Justin Bieber are any indication, especially as the threat of global thermonuclear war grows.