In such a society, there is only one route left — each stratum, each caste, must prey on the one below it, punching it down further, for the illusion of prosperity to appear. Bang! Already, perhaps you see the problem: now, such a society is descending into the abyss. There is nowhere to go but lower when everyone is pulling the next now down a little further. Where is the bottom, exactly?
Many of the world’s richest seem to earnestly believe that some kind of apocalyptic “event”  is coming, and have prepared accordingly. You might have read about this before — such as in the New Yorker’s deep dive  back in January 2017 — but billionaire doomsday preppers are back in the news again thanks to a new viral article penned  by professor and media theorist Douglas Rushkoff. In it, Rushkoff gives some insight on the grave manner in which some of the business elite are going about preparing for a doomsday, which he learned first-hand after receiving an invitation to speak with some one-percenters.
But like all resurrections, something must die, for old America to live again. And that thing is new America. And that, my friends, means that democracy is the brief period American had in between two dark oceans of apartheid and authoritarianism
12 Reasons Why People Refuse To Address The Idea That We’re Headed For Near-Term Societal Collapse, By Jem Bendell
As I have been talking with people about this topic over the past few years, I’ve become aware of the barriers accepting near-term societal collapse and therefore barriers to rigorous and creative thinking and discussion about what we might do about it, personally and collectively. I have also become aware of the barriers I had for a few years to avoid addressing this topic with the seriousness it merits. So before outlining either the analysis of our environmental predicament or the new agenda this opens up, it may be useful to outline some of these barriers to useful dialogue. I do that as part of my invitation for you to either avoid – or momentarily suspend – such responses and adopt a “what if” perspective on societal collapse. Only then can one explore what a deep adaptation agenda might mean for oneself, one’s work and wider society.
Do Americans really understand what’s at stake in the midterms? Now, before you cry, “of course they do!”, perhaps it’s worth considering in a little more detail. Why? Because at every juncture of American collapse so far, the risks of, well, all this happening, have been vastly, fatally, lethally understated — minimized, denied, pooh-poohed away. Haven’t they? It’s not just that not a single mainstream pundit or thinker (go ahead, think about it) didn’t predict any of this — it’s that they actively refused to allow even the possibility, mocking and taunting those who did predict it. Instead, election season was spent pretending Trumpism was a joke, and the next year, sternly warning from on high that you and I mustn’t use words like “fascism” and “authoritarianism.”
What do imploding middle classes do? They turn to fascists. Who blame their woes on scapegoats, turning grief into grievance. Fascists promise the downwardly mobile that they will be “great” again — that they’ll rise culturally, triumph socially, be symbolically reborn, and economically renewed. It’s a powerful appeal, to people who, suddenly, are shocked, that they are falling out of what appeared to be a clear blue sky. Who will save them? Who’ll rescue them? To understand fascism, Yyu have to understand that the minds of a large part of this stratum of society simply stop working. Those minds brim over with grievances, hated, imagined enemies, who are persecuting them, victimizing them, who are hunting them into nonexistence, who they need to destroy first, exterminate — not anything resembling coherent thoughts, logical reason, or moral sanity
What is not widely recognized, though, is the underlying germ that makes the politics of division so viable. Our culture teaches us in subtle but countless ways that division works – that it is necessary for creating safety and enabling control. We soak up this lesson, learning first and foremost how to divide the self. That lesson is stressed and locked into our bodies by our public schools: achieving success there means suppressing the body’s intelligence and sitting still (and you’d better learn to throttle the body’s energy, or you’ll get in trouble) so that you can fill your head with the right facts and lessons.
This is who we’ve always been, a nation of madmen and sociopaths, for whom murder is a line item, kept hidden via a long list of semantic self-deceptions, from “manifest destiny” to “collateral damage.” We’re used to presidents being the soul of probity, kind Dads and struggling Atlases, humbled by the terrible responsibility, proof to ourselves of our goodness. Now, the mask of respectability is gone, and we feel sorry for ourselves, because the sickness is showing.