Having completed our short survey of what constitutes a well adapted civilization, we can return to our discussion of those features we will expect to find in the well adapted societies of the new age. To begin with, man is best adapted to his environment when he does not need to rely on the state to provide for his material welfare in any way whatsoever except in times of an extreme national emergency such as drought, famine, or threat of external aggression. Other than this, the common people and all other members of the society should be able to fend for themselves, i.e., assuming normal conditions.
Few have put this point better than Tom Paine in his Rights of Man, where he tells us: “The more perfect civilization is the less occasion has it for Government.” I am not saying that Paine actually understood the essentials of civilization, for in common with all other egalitarian thinkers, it would have been impossible for him to do so. But this fact does not invalidate the accuracy of the statement I have just quoted.
In this connection, we may note once more that the term civilization implies a highly developed culture; in other words, the existence of a specific group or groups which are free to pursue activities other than providing for their own sustenance and that of their family… As for the process of adaption within human societies, it is also greatly aided if no more is demanded of the understanding of the common people than is compatible with the limitations of their mental horizons.
Finally, equilibrium between town and country is also essential for a well adapted civilization. This means that many more people must live in the countryside than live in towns, and further, that for any sovereign territory there should not be many large towns (none at all if the territory is small), since large towns and cities encourage decadence and are breeding grounds for crime, poverty, disease, dilapidation, and shiftlessness.
As we indicated above, a society with a special destiny cannot at the same time be a well adapted society in comparison with a society which does not have a special destiny. The former will undergo change at a far more rapid rate than the latter and effort to improve upon previous accomplishments is always required of its members. Furthermore, such a society is highly vulnerable to internal turmoil and breakdown.
This is why, of the ancient societies, the early oriental ones can be said to have shown better adaption to their environment than the later societies of the West such as Greece and Rome. True, for the most part these oriental societies were almost culturally static, but this is the essence of adaption and as such should not be frowned upon. Some of these oriental societies, such as Babylonia and Assyria, were eventually to disappear without a trace, whereas others such as Egypt and Persia, have survived to see most of their original culture make way to accommodate the culture of successive waves of conquerors. Some remained almost culturally unchanged right down to the modern era, e.g., India and China.
It was under Feudalism that the western world was to experience its highest level of adaption so far. This was a type of society just as confident of its position in the universe and almost as timeless as the oriental societies of the ancient world. For most of its existence, the people of the feudal world had no particular goal, except to live in the manner of their forebears. Neither did they show much interest in the advancement of art, science, or literature. But it was a society of greater internal flexibility than the oriental societies of ancient times. The king was always considered as first among equals and not as a god among men, as was the custom in oriental civilizations. The result was a vigorous society which was both submissive and yet aggressive, a society very far from the slave societies of, say, ancient Egypt or Persia.
“Some people, although aware of the serious troubles of contemporary political institutions, refuse to believe that they have had their day. They seem to think that the root of the problem is that politics no longer attracts men of genius, and since our present day politicians are such a mediocre bunch, not much is to be expected of them. But no matter how brilliant a person may be, once he accepts the institutions of his age as appropriate vehicles through which to bring about change, he becomes subject to the limitations of his age and is likely to find himself re-echoing popular sentiment, or struggling vainly to keep an already hopeless situation from going totally out of control. This degradation of the finest intellects cannot be helped in a system such as ours, which demands that our so-called leaders regularly pander to the prejudices and fears of the uninstructed. No wonder why one wit once referred to democracy as the system by which the most unscrupulous are elected to office by the most incompetent….
“Modern politics is moribund; it is almost devoid of life. This applies just as much to contemporary political theory as it does to the contemporary practice of politics. Instead of the nation being mobilized to overcome great challenges, instead of one particular group holding opinions and principles for which they are prepared to die, we are daily treated to the feeble adversary politics of penny-weight politicians which we may observe in all its splendor from the visitors gallery…. Although responses to seeing our political leaders in action may vary, there is one thing we can be certain of: They will say nothing that is profound, nothing to disturb our smugness, nothing that causes us to lose sleep or to resort to serious contemplation, nothing to show that their insight into the workings of history is superior to that of the average man in the street….”
- Evans, on democracy and contemporary politics
“This legalistic age of ours, with its motto of justice for all, elevating the weak at the expense of the strong, is destroying life, not enriching it. The character of western man is being molded in a manner that emasculates him. His traditional vocabulary is no longer good enough, but must be changed to reflect new ideas of equality which are totally erroneous. He is expected to share household chores equally with his wife, he is no longer left in peace when away from home with friends, but is now forced to share what were his former sanctuaries with members of the opposite sex. Laws have been enacted to support these degrading changes. The last thing a society should want is for its women to act and think as its men, competing with men on equal terms. No society has operated that way in the past and no society could long survive if it attempted to operate that way in the future. Contemporary western society is already suffering as a result of the changes in the status and expectations of women; the achievement of total equality would be the final straw. It seems that those who advocate total equality for women cannot accept that men and women are physically and psychologically different, a fact that prevents them from ever being equals. The only reason why the women’s movement has done as well as it has, is that for the most part modern industrial society has been set in a “soft age”. The food supply has been superabundant, social mobility has been common and the emphasis has been on change rather than conservation. Thus, the cause of women’s liberation has been able to gain a high place on the list of “wrongs” to be righted.
In the new age, all this will be changed, those physical and psychological differences which distinguish men from women will once more come into prominence, the penchant of this age for the rights of women and others will be seen as a misunderstanding of the human condition. These days we speak about happiness as if it were the birthright of every man who lives, when in fact it is the birthright of no man be he rich or poor, brilliant or illiterate. The birthright of man is not happiness, but struggle and conflict with nature and with other men. This truism has receded well into the background but will one day return with a vengeance. The superabundance and lax social structure that characterizes western industrial society is, after all, just a brief interlude; it could never be a permanent way of life. The weak, the underprivileged and the indigent who expect happiness to be handed to them on a plate are living in a world of make-believe which is destined to be shattered. Not surprisingly, the strong-willed, independent-minded spirits no longer venture out in public. The one-sided stress of contemporary society on its fatuous attention to the needs of those least able to help themselves has worked hand in hand with our scientific materialism to denude our age of all those qualities which make for greatness. Instead, the popular ideals of contemporary western society embrace the most despicable and ignoble traits of mankind.”
- Evans, on gender equality and social welfare, etc.