Resources are exploited ever more recklessly. Class warfare becomes more and more ruthless. Stupidity and illusion are embraced ever more enthusiastically as people deliberately tune out reality. The brain actually starts to rot even while the body is still alive.
The essay is titled This Time We're Taking the Whole Planet With Us. An excerpt:
As societies become more complex they become inevitably more precarious. They become increasingly vulnerable. And as they begin to break down there is a strange retreat by a terrified and confused population from reality, an inability to acknowledge the self-evident fragility and impending collapse. The elites at the end speak in phrases and jargon that do not correlate to reality. They retreat into isolated compounds, whether at the court at Versailles, the Forbidden City or modern palatial estates. The elites indulge in unchecked hedonism, the accumulation of vaster wealth and extravagant consumption. They are deaf to the suffering of the masses who are repressed with greater and greater ferocity. Resources are more ruthlessly depleted until they are exhausted. And then the hollowed-out edifice collapses.
Not that anyone would suggest any similarity between that and what we're seeing now. Nor would anyone suggest that we ought to be disentangling ourselves from the myriad tentacles binding us to any of these decaying colossi.
(H/t Lorne at Politics and its Discontents, and through him, Mound of Sound at The Disaffected Lib.)
Update: God help me, I can't not add this ...