The Systemic Risk No One Sees

by | Jul 1, 2021 | Headline News | 22 comments

Do you LOVE America?


    Thi article was originally published by Charles Hugh Smith at Of Two Minds Blog. 

    The unraveling of social cohesion has consequences. Once social cohesion unravels, the nation unravels.

    My recent posts have focused on the systemic financial risks created by Federal Reserve policies that have elevated moral hazard (risks can be taken without consequence) and speculation to levels so extreme that they threaten the stability of the entire financial system.

    These risks are well known, though largely ignored in the current speculative frenzy.

    But there is another systemic risk which few if any see: the collapse of social cohesion.

    President Carter was prescient in his understanding that a nation’s greatest strength is its social cohesion, a cohesion that America’s unprecedented wealth/income/power inequalities have undermined. Consider this excerpt from his 1981 Farewell Address:

    “Our common vision of a free and just society is our greatest source of cohesion at home and strength abroad, greater even than the bounty of our material blessings.”

    In other words, a nation’s strength flows not just from its material wealth but from its social cohesion–a term for something that is intangible but very real, something that doesn’t lend itself to quantification or tidy definitions.

    Here is my definition: Social cohesion is the glue binding the social order; it is the willingness of the citizenry to sacrifice individual gains for the common good.

    Social cohesion is the result of the citizenry sharing a common purpose and identity and working toward the common good even at personal cost. Social cohesion arises from a national identity based on shared values and sacrifices.

    To maintain social cohesion, opportunities to better their circumstances must be open to all (the social contract of social mobility) and sacrifices must be shared by the entire citizenry. If the privileged elites evade their share of sacrifice, social cohesion is lost and the entire social order unravels.

    The glue binding the privileged elites to shared sacrifice is civic virtue, a moral code that demands elites devote a greater share of their own resources to the public good in exchange for their political and financial power.

    Though no one dares confess this publicly, America is now a moral cesspool. As a result, the moral legitimacy of the nation’s leadership has been lost. Every nook and cranny of institutionalized America is dominated by self-interest, and much of the economy is controlled by profiteering monopolies and cartels which wield far more political power than the citizenry.

    Civic virtue has been lost. What remains is elite self-interest masquerading as civic virtue.

    In his Farewell Address, President Carter explained that “The national interest is not always the sum of all our single or special interests. We are all Americans together, and we must not forget that the common good is our common interest and our individual responsibility.”

    Social cohesion, civic virtue, and moral legitimacy are the foundation of every society, but they are especially important in composite states.

    America is a composite state, composed of individuals holding a wide range of regional, ethnic, religious, and class-based identities. The national identity is only one ingredient in a bubbling stew of local, state, and regional identities, ethnic, cultural, and religious identities, educational/alumni, professional and tradecraft identities, and elusive but consequential class-based identities.

    Composite states are intrinsically trickier to rule, as there is no ethnic or cultural identity that unifies the populace. Lacking a national identity that supersedes all other identities, composite states must tread carefully to avoid fracturing into competing regional, ethnic or cultural identities.

    Composite states must establish a purpose-based identity that is understood to demand shared sacrifice, especially in crisis. In the U.S., the national purpose has been redefined by the needs of the era, but never straying too far from these core unifying goals: defending the civil liberties of the citizenry from state interference, defending the nation from external aggressors, and serving the common good by limiting the power of special interests and privileged elites.

    We’ve failed to limit the power of privileged elites, failed to demand greater sacrifices of the wealthy in exchange for power, and so the moral legitimacy of the regime has been lost. And with the ascendance of self-interest and the elite’s abandonment of sacrifice, social cohesion has been lost.

    This loss is reflected in the bitter partisanship, the increasingly Orwellian attempts to control the mainstream and social media narratives, the debauchery of “expertise” as dueling “experts” vie for control, the fraying of social discourse, the substitution of virtue-signaling for actual civic virtue, the institutionalization of white-collar crime (collusion, fraud, embezzlement, etc.), the increasing reliance on Bread and Circuses (stimulus, Universal Basic Income) as real opportunity dissipates, and the troubling rise in shootings, crime, random violence and plummeting marriage and birth rates.

    The unraveling of social cohesion has consequences. Once social cohesion unravels, the nation unravels.

    What’s the solution? At the national level, all that has been lost will have to be restored: civic virtue, moral legitimacy, the social contract of opportunity, shared sacrifice that falls most heavily on the wealthiest and most powerful, and a renewed national purpose centered on serving the common good.

    Is such a restoration of moral legitimacy and shared purpose even possible? No one knows. If history is any guide, such a renewal is only possible after the empire of rampant self-interest implodes.

    So what do we do in the meantime? Nurture our own social cohesion by living purposefully and sharing sacrifices and bounties with those we trust and admire–those in the lifeboat we chose to join.

    This essay was first published as a weekly Musings Report sent exclusively to subscribers and patrons at the $5/month ($54/year) and higher level. Thank you, patrons and subscribers, for supporting my work and this free website.


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      1. A loss of common culture, heritage, and degradation of morality is THE primary cause of loss of national and social cohesion. If the causes are not satisfactorily mitigated either the consequences will be a authoritarian State that will keep its boot on the neck of the people, as in the USSR. Then, when that boot becomes intolerable the nation will beak apart, again as in the USSR (though there are also other examples).
        The State knows this. However, it is busily creating the conditions of loss of national and social cohesion so as to use the chaos and loss of social order as a reason to initiate an authoritarian State. This is transparent.
        A simple example would be the fed. gov. declaring “white supremacy” as the number one threat to the US. Of course this is absurd, but State propaganda is powerful. The State says the only way to eliminate it is to reduce the ratio of whites in the population, and crush white Christian culture and unity. The real truth is that people of European heritage are generally the most anti-authoritarian and pro-Constitution. Therefore, the State reasons that conservative and/or Christian whites must be severely marginalized. This is how the State and it’s minions perceive MAGA people, and why they are so despised and vilified.
        The State will resort to ANY measure to maintain power and control, They will lie, cheat, deceive, steal national elections, and more. Who seriously believes JB is the best person to lead America. He’s not leading, nor is he able. A State(ist) cabal including nameless and faceless people / entities are the ones really in control. I believe the whole election of 2020 from beginning to end was a managed dog and pony show with the outcome decided before the “election” even started. Notice how the State is trying to prevent an audit of votes in various states. Trust me, they will not allow it all to come to light, even if illegal force and criminal action are required (call it treason).
        Many individuals and entities that comprise the State are known, but not commonly. Many are purposely hidden. This is because merely the public knowledge of the identities of these “elites” would reveal their collusion, motives, and goals.
        Using the USSR one more time as an example, as it broke apart a civil war(s) and revolutions were completely avoided. Rather, there was peaceful secession. It was once a nation (was in reality a construct held together by force and fear) that broke apart predictably along cultural, linguistic, and nationalistic boundaries. This is a lesson for us. Either we choose to allow a boot to step on our necks and submit to an authoritarian State, or secede to form our natural homelands. This is what it will all come to.

        • Most of our social decay probably revolves around feminism and birthright citizenship. Trump didn’t exemplify common culture, heritage, or morality, when waving the gay flag, excusing anchor babies, and making concessions to quota cases in the last sotu; white extinctionists were supposedly earning your place.

          • Trump is a modern day, real life, Jekyll and Hyde character. He talked the patriot walk, but he walked the globalist walk. Those people waving the MAGA banner listened to his rhetoric but did not watch what he was actually doing.

            If you remember nothing else, remember that Trump paid Bill Gates (GAVI) a billion (with a “B”) in public funds to develop the kill shot. Then he went “stumping” (public speeches) in support of getting the kill shot.

            He’s also a member of the zionist cult. In simple terms — that’s “Israel first”, America second.

            Trump may not be the total f**king scumbag that Biden is — but he is not very far behind. He needs to be on trial for his part in the covid false flag and murder of Americans.

          • Does the author actually think he’s droppin some knowledge here? It’s been unraveling visibly since the 60’s at least. The divide and conquer mentality is in full force and on full display. Gays vs straight, black vs white, abortion vs anti abortion, atheist vs believers rich vs “poor” etc etc etc. it’s all part of the plan. What surprises me though is that it’s taken this long to crumble, but it can’t be denied and it can’t be stopped. Buckle up folks, it’s gonna get really really ugly.


        • Lighten up my friend. What you are seeing is most likely the result of trauma.

          Guess where that comes from.

      3. ” … civic virtue, a moral code that demands elites devote a greater share of their own resources to the public good in exchange for their political and financial power.”

        As Marx observed back in the 19th Century and socialism professes today.

        Better the way it used to be when we were a Christian nation and simply ascribed to the same Biblically based moral value system whether we were Christian or not.

        But those days have passed and we have become a house divided, one that cannot stand much longer.

      4. I am not planning anything, especially. This is just rhetoric.

        We follow laws and taxes, which came from no one in particular, and it would not hurt my conscience, in the least, if the 99% stormed the bastilles, and put the anonymous, old guard, in the place of so many political prisoners.

        The gift-economy intended by communism…
        “Nurture our own social cohesion by living purposefully and sharing sacrifices and bounties with those we trust and admire–those in the lifeboat we chose to join.”
        ..always has more takers than givers, as a matter of human nature, fallen, since Adam.

        It will never hold, for so long as people have to put out their own fires and dispose of their own bodily waste.

        All of the social institutions, of all of history’s highest civilizations, will arise, again, to satisfy the social problems of the 99%.

      5. What is the benefit of being a citizen? Illegal immigrants can get vast amounts of social benefits endlessly for years, get free education including college, not pay taxes, not get arrested for serious crimes, allowed to get driver’s licenses in many states, allowed to vote in several states, can serve in office in some areas, even collect social security! All subsidized by the working people of this country.
        Consider the following facts. The State is the root cause for the diminishment of our standard of living and quality of life due to its intentional monetary and fiscal policies. The State is what is continuously trying to strip away our rights and freedoms. The State is what keeps starting wars that do not benefit the Americans citizens (but do benefit “special interests”, who have no qualms about pissing away the lives of our young people). The State is the entity undermining national and social cohesion with its policies. The State is the entity that refuses to control the border (though vast majority citizens want border control). The State is what is trying to alter the demography and culture of the US. The State is behind chem-trailing and ruining the weather and atmosphere. The State is what has created a two-tier system of justice so that the “elites” never pay for their crimes. The State is who conducts medical experiments and psyop experiments on the unknowing public (many which were/are detrimental to citizens). The State is converting public education into indoctrination centers, not centers of thinking and learning and free expression. The State is only concerned about moneyed interests and “elitists”, not citizens. The State is the entity that debauches the currency. The State (in association with big tech) is the entity that set up a vast and highly intrusive spy system against its own people. The State allows it’s associates and minions to act without consequence for that which would place citizens in prison. The list is endless, one gets the point. The State is THE problem.

      6. There will always be a certain percentage of the population that are psychopaths. They will naturally take control of everyone else and exploit and oppress others. This is reality and articles like this one simply refuse to face that fact.

        What’s the solution he asks? Anyone can think up a “solution” like he does. His solution is that psychopaths not exist or stop being psychopaths. If only things were different things would be different. What a solution!

        And this gem:
        “These risks are well known, though largely ignored in the current speculative frenzy.”
        The risks are well known and deliberately created and sustained. There is no ignorance or stupidity in this. Look at the chart at the bottom of the article. We’re supposed to believe the top 0.1% accidentally and ignorantly got filthy rich? Ridiculous.

        And always, always blame the victims. “We’ve failed to limit the power of privileged elites, failed to demand greater sacrifices…”
        Take a look at the Chinese officials in the photos, beaten to a bloody pulp and about to be executed. Why aren’t they limiting state power?! Why aren’t they demanding greater sacrifices?! But no they’re “letting” and “allowing” this to happen.
        The one and only way to limit power is with a necessarily greater power, which of course will also be run by psychopaths, that’s the nature of power.

        No, just another time-wasting fantasy article longing for the good old days. Well the good old days weren’t. The first step in living a good life is to accept and face reality head on.

      7. “Social Cohesion has been lost”…And here is why!
        I have been a witness to the change in our country and our society for 80 years. I grew up in the early 50’s, so I can speak from a position of real life knowledge and experience. Our nation was founded and grew from a base of people of the same customs, desires, religion and social “cohesion”. That was when America really was great. At that time America was number one in the world, in education, technology, medicine, the standard of living, and the advancement of civilization. People from all over the world wanted to come to America, and they did.
        Over several generations millions people moved in to enjoy our freedoms, opportunities and higher education. These people brought with them their own customs, religion, social structure, beliefs and morals. America was “supposed” to be the great melting pot of societies, and people still claim that title, but it is far from true. Granted, many foreigners did blend in and become Americans, but our open society was eventually invaded by those who never intended to BE american. They wanted to enjoy all the good things of our country yet remain true to the own home country while shunning American values, laws and morals.
        That was the beginning of the decline of America. This thing about “diversity is our strength” is pure propaganda lies. Our country is no melting pot, it is a country overrun with those who want to change it fit “their” lifestyles, religions, customs, laws and home county morals and beliefs. Communists, Muslims, Africans, Asians and Latinos all wanting our country to be the way they want it to be. There is no more “social cohesion”, only friction, infighting and struggles to remake American society completely different from the roots from which it grew. It is impossible to blend Christians, Muslims and Communists into one cohesive group. You cannot Force different people to change and live as one. America is not a melting pot, but a boiling pot, soon to boil over into a state of chaos and destruction, mainly because there aren’t many Americans left to carry on the great society we once were. I’m glad I was there to experience America when it really was great.

        • Same here – grew up in the early fifties.
          I remember my father walking us to church every Sunday,

          He was a Navy fleet champion boxer – My younger brother and I learned hoe to fight real well and real early. My Mother was a coal Miner’s daughter and tough as Nails.
          Everyone resected each other – I was taught to respect and look after my elders, If a cop had to speak to me – I was in big trouble at home.
          Both parents worked – I was a larch key kid and did not know any better
          This whole generation is lazy, self absorbed –
          Personally I don’ hold out too much hope for this country.
          We have allowed the liberal Democrats to indoctrinate and infiltrate too much of our forefather’s ideals and principles

        • I couldn’t agree more. Perfectly summarized. However, I don’t share the same nostalgic peace of someone who feels his days in this boiling pot are numbered. I’m no spring chicken but I have young kids that I am sick with worry about. Sweet 11 year old girl who has a heart of gold. What will become of her? An 18 year old young man who is trying to find a peaceful life but is bombarded by twisted immorality and hate and everything is upside down. So confusing. I’m deeply worried.
          All I can do is pray, prep, try to teach them to cling to the God of us all and trust in eternal life after this shitty earthly one.
          My life was good but theirs will be filled with strife, to say the least.

        • @ George C I am 76 so I grew up in the same America you did. Every thing we were taught that was right is now turned upside down. I agree that America will divide in parts. The book ” The Fourth Turning” spells out what happens to America every 80 yrs. One group will win completely and the other will be completely destroyed. All I can say is Pray for Almighty Gods guidance and blessing.

      8. Now for why the nation is in turmoil…

        Psalm 9:17 Those who forsake God will be turned to hell and even the nations….

        Need I say more???

        What was once a God fearing nation, a nation that revered God and served Him has become a empirical empire…yet why, mock if you will…yet it must happen for it was ordained by the Lord God from before He every formed the world.

        “The LORD hath prepared His Throne In the heavens; and His Kingdom ruleth over all” (Psalm. 103:19).

        The Lord God omnipotent reigneth. His government is exercised over inanimate matter, over the brute beasts, over the children of men, over angels good and evil, and over Satan himself. No revolving world, no shining of star, no storm, no creature moves, no actions of men, no errands of angels, no deeds of Devil—nothing in all the vast universe can come to pass otherwise than God has eternally purposed. Here is a foundation of faith. Here is a resting place for the intellect. Here is an anchor for the soul, both sure and steadfast. It is not blind fate, unbridled evil, man or Devil, but the Lord Almighty who is ruling the world, ruling it according to His own good pleasure and for His own eternal glory.

        “The disposings (margin) of the heart, and the answer of the tongue is from the LORD” (Prov. 16:1). Mark that the above declaration is of general application—it is of “man,” not simply of believers, that this is predicated. “A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps” (Prov. 16:9). If the Lord directs the steps of a man, is it not proof that he is being controlled or governed by God? Again: “There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand” (Prov. 19:21). Can this mean anything less than, that no matter what man may desire and plan, it is the will of his Maker which is executed?

        Get the Book here for free….to see and know the Lord God is the One in charge and works all things after the counsel of His will…

        Buckle up heathens, the ride to hell has just begun….Psalm 9:17

        And for those spreading false doctrine that God loves everyone…I would encourage you to read the book below to see God hates not only the sin…but the sinner, the worker of iniquity as well.

        Doctrine of Election:

        Eternal Punishment:

        Foreknowledge of God in election:–in-election-pinkarthurw

        God Sovereign over all His creation. Not one atom, not one stone, not one beast, not one man, woman or child can stand the will of the Lord God.

        It is clear from Scripture, then, that the angels, good and evil, are under God’s control, and willingly or unwillingly carry out God’s purpose. Yea, SATAN himself is absolutely subject to God’s control. When arraigned in Eden, he listened to the awful sentence but answered not a word. He was unable to touch Job until God granted him leave. So, too, he had to gain our Lord’s consent before he could “sift” Peter. When Christ commanded him to depart—“Get thee hence, Satan”—we read, “Then the Devil leaveth Him” (Matt. 4:11). And, in the end, he will be cast into the Lake of Fire which has been prepared for him and his angels.

        The Lord God omnipotent reigneth. His government is exercised over inanimate matter, over the brute beasts, over the children of men, over angels good and evil, and over Satan himself. No revolving world, no shining of star, no storm, no creature moves, no actions of men, no errands of angels, no deeds of Devil—nothing in all the vast universe can come to pass otherwise than God has eternally purposed. Here is a foundation of faith. Here is a resting place for the intellect. Here is an anchor for the soul, both sure and steadfast. It is not blind fate, unbridled evil, man or Devil, but the Lord Almighty who is ruling the world, ruling it according to His own good pleasure and for His own eternal glory.

      9. No problem they say. Who needs social cohesion when you got woke diversity.

        Bye Bye Miss/Mr American Pie…Don McClean (transgender version).

      10. The State will never voluntarily fully lift the covid “pandemic” lockdowns, nor eliminate all the accompanying mandates because: -without lockdowns and mandates there is no state of emergency, and -without a state of emergency the experimental vaccines are not allowed.
        Hence, if the covid “vaccines” are not allowed: -the State will be unable to justify digital passports and impose more authoritarian control over the citizens, and -the State’s Pharma partners will lose billions of dollars.
        The lockdowns, mandates, vaccines, more authoritarianism, and digital passports will continue. In fact, there is presently a lull in this pandemic business right now. But I believe this is only because the State is assessing all the measures it mandated over the last year to determine how effective the control measures were (socially and politically, not necessarily medically). Standby later this year for new rounds of the “even more contagious and dangerous” variant covid viruses, and new restrictions. For our own good of course.
        Future lockdowns will include very restricted travel, mandated vaccines for absolutely everyone including “passports”, no social gatherings, censorship of everything covid – only officially approved covid information through the MSM will be allowed, and shutdown of businesses. I said it here.
        The State is absolutely determined to acquire more and more power and control; whether legal or illegal, legitimate or illegitimate, or right or wrong, it is irrelevant. For the State the ends justify the means.

      11. I thought about it, I couldn’t give a sh*t less about social cohesion. You know what else is breaking down? Family cohesion. I read the majority of women in the US in the age group 18 to 35 want to eventually marry and have children, but 70 % of males in the same age group not married, and it’s likely that at least 50% of the men in that age group will never marry. That means a lot fewer children, or a lot of single mothers. Presently, there are millions of women who will want marriage, but will never find a husband.
        I’ve dated a lot of women, and have even been proposed to. I just take what I want from the relationship and when I tire of it I just tell them it’s over. For many women, if they know a guy has had a vasectomy they likely aren’t interested in dating him, even if he checks everything else on her list, especially the women in their thirties. I know this is true because when I want to end the relationship I find a way to let them learn about my vasectomy, and they usually get angry at me for not telling them sooner. For some reason I keep forgetting to tell them this little fact about me. Besides, they’ve never asked, so I let them assume what they want. I know a lot of people don’t like what I do, but you don’t marry women, you use them.
        Hey guys, life can be good, just stop being a beta male. I don’t even think about trying to meet society’s expectations, yet am doing better than the vast majority of guys in every way. Stop thinking about your place in society, make the place you want, it’s there for the picking.

        • @ QL You sir are a miscreant.

      12. My comment contained no foul language, insults, or violence but it was censored apparently just because it showed the lack of clear thought by the author. This happens to me only once per web site.

      13. We have to consider what is happening in the world. Every year that passes, the great civilisational population – white Europeans – are dwindling in numbers, while non-civilisational people – black Africans – are growing exponentially, mostly using wealth and food donated from the West.

        This is not sustainable. While in Europe and the US, order on the streets breaks down. Communities are no more.

        In order to preserve civilisation, we need to pull apart the races and allow them to thrive separately. Blending does not work. We need to end uncontrolled immigration and replace it with transactional, win-win migration where wealth and skills are shared.

      14. @ QL You sir are a miscreant.

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