Newton’s Third Law: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Coercion and violence generate a reaction, a countervailing pressure. They are historical constants, so like Yellowstone’s volcano, the pressure has been building for centuries, although not 6,000 of them. Like Yellowstone’s geysers, pressure-reducing steam has occasionally been released; coercion has abated and freedom briefly flowered. We know those periods as the times when progress mostly happened: the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution. However, the twentieth century marked a resurgence of pressure.
Their intellectual degradation complete, the coercive class meets any manifestation of countervailing pressure with still more coercion. The most pathetic case is the US government. Left at a zenith of power at the end of World War II, it has squandered its moral, military, and financial capital trying to squelch the forces that will inevitably topple its empire. After each disaster, it has sought new disasters. President Trump’s tripling down on Bush’s and Obama’s Afghanistan bets is yet another instance of the belief that force which fails can be “fixed” with more force.