PALLADIUM 11: Social Apocalypse

PALLADIUM 11: Social Apocalypse is now available to all Palladium members. Subscribe today to receive your copy of our fall 2023 print edition.

Many parts of our society seem to be in decay: food, complex social infrastructure, cultural memory, education, and family life. We decided to investigate what ties it all together. Our conclusion: we are not witnessing a limited set of problems, but rather a full systemic breakdown.

There is no big fix in the wings. The correct strategy is to cultivate the seeds of new growth over which we have control. By grounding our institutions and social fabric on something better, we can fortify them and thrive on our own terms.

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Are Farm Antibiotics Destroying Our Health? by David Oks. Conditions from obesity to autoimmune diseases have skyrocketed in recent decades. Agricultural antibiotics are a likely culprit, but the food system itself is addicted to their use.

Complex Systems Won’t Survive the Competency Crisis by Harold Robertson. America’s complex infrastructure was built under selection for competence. Ideological goals have now taken over, and systems from air travel to energy face damaging consequences.

My Time on a Terror Trial Jury by Wolf Tivy. Increasing numbers of people fall into social underworlds that operate on alienated misery. To get them out, you have to find a way to call them to social duty.

Walter Kirn on How America Lost the Plot. Novelist Walter Kirn joins Matt Ellison to discuss the loss of cultural memory and what happens when even personal experience is mediated through synthetic narratives.

When Every Child Is a Choice by Ginevra Davis. Raising a child to succeed in life has become an optimized professional rat race. For some, it’s hard to see how they can even participate. Is another vision of good parenting still possible?

Industrial Civilization Needs a Biological Future by Adam Van Buskirk. Industrial civilization is consuming the core “WEIRD” population that maintains it. Unless they biologically assert themselves, advanced technological society may not survive.

School Is Not Enough by Simon Sarris. Modern society segregates children away from useful work until well into young adulthood. In order to bring up confident and able children, it’s necessary to bring them back in.

The Answer Is Better Gangs by Seth Largo. Young kids in groups want to win respect and watch each other’s backs. Criminal gangs cultivate those desires, and kids will keep entering them until there are better gangs around.

Don’t Learn Value From Society by Wolf Tivy. Behind the social apocalypse is a crisis of false value. The path to new growth begins with breaking away from these false idols.

Why I Live in San Francisco by Chris Robotham. Social crises get worse as they unfold, eventually engulfing all of society. In those situations, it’s a good idea to head upstream. And nowhere in America is as upstream as San Francisco.

The Triumph of the Good Samaritan by Ash Milton. Those engaged in parasitic behaviors hijack the language of charity and compassion to justify them. Charity’s true basis is a superior pattern of life that grows by raising others up into itself.