Kalahari bushmen spend about a day gathering ten days of food by hunting and gathering, they then do what Kalahari bushmen do for the next nine days, which is pretty much what they feel like doing.They have a fairly rich social and cultural life passed down through oral tradition. Their technology is limited to basically what they need to get by.
These people are by all accounts are uncivilised.
So what does civilisation mean ? Classical civilisation depended on a cheap workforce that did nothing but work,this work enabled food to be grown to support a group of technocrats who raised the monuments, built the drains and tended to the sick. Greek,Roman,Chinese,Russian, British and American civilisation were all built on a class of slaves or serfs to toil in the fields to support the ‘freemen’ who enjoyed the good life and made the decisions. This class did not work one day on nine days off, their diet was poor and life expectancy equally poor. Yet they were part of a ‘civilisation’. The term can be used to define living in an urban context ( cives ) or that they were tamed people. The taming or civilising of the ‘brute savage’ usually cam about through some form of coercion either spiritual through religion or physical by the threat of superior weaponry.
In British History there have been only three major breaks in ‘civilisation’ in the last two thousand years, each of these breaks created a major leap forward in our notion of personal freedom counter balanced by a reaction by authority in the centuries thereafter.
The first happened towards the end of the fourth century, the Roman Empire in Britain became increasingly dependent on foreign mercenaries to maintain its military equilibrium. The usual form of payment for their services was land and gold. The sub rulers of Roman Britain, had plenty of the former but decreasing amounts of the latter. When the authorities defaulted the German mercenaries did not go to court in a civilised fashion, they took what they saw as their due in land. Some modern historians have tried to create a modern myth of peaceful integration which shows more about their 21st century political beliefs than the reality on the ground at the time. This was further compounded for the Romano-British, that there was a series of crop failures and famine due to poor summers created by volcanic ash, then a series of plagues that came in from the east. As there was virtually zero contact between the Romano-British and the incoming Germanic tribes, the plagues depleted only the civilised urbanised British.
The heroic Age of Arthur, Cerdic etc that followed was of small petty fiefdoms dependent on relatively independent farmers and a warrior class. Out of that maelstrom came a system of trial by a jury of your peers and much of our common law. As the Saxon state grew and Christianity reasserted itself, the civilisation created reverted to type with a reliance on slavery and serfdom.
This situation prevailed for nearly a thousand years until the black death. This plague was no respecter of rank and privilege. After the worst of the plague had occurred, and there was a general lack of labour available, the market started to assert itself and wages went up, despite repeated Royal decrees returning wages to pre black death levels, the serfs were throwing off their chains. From the mid fourteenth century to 1688, the country was a tumult of revolutionary religious and political ideas. The Paxton family went from smallholder to knighthood in two generations. English became the norm from the Bible to the courts. There was continual revolt by ‘the middling sort’ those that had benefited from collapse of serfdom. They did not want to return to being a class of drones. Our current belief in freedom stems from this period.
The last was the age of emigration, from 1607 to the early twentieth century hundreds of thousands left these shores for a better life of freedom and opportunity. The American Colonies created a new way of governing themselves by consent and created the American Constitution which is a contract between freemen (in theory at least), others created new lives and reality in Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. The difference in physical and mental outlook was visible within two generations. The colonist was a independent, tough and reliable. By the time of the Cardwell military reforms in the nineteenth century there were fears as to whether the poor physical specimens being presented could ever form an army.
Until 1914 it could be argued that the average British person lived a life that would entertain social mobility, the ability to work hard and reap the reward. Nearly a century of State socialism has created a class that needs to work six days to enjoy one day of leisure, social mobility is on the decline, education derided and the skill base eroded. This is a civilisation in rapid decline.
As in the last days of the sub Roman world we now cannot afford to defend ourselves without the help of foreigners. As in the days before the Black death there is social discontent and the resurgence of diseases of poverty like TB that were eradicated and are now being imported into the country again. To work hard is to share the fruits of your labour amongst your fellows who watch you and it is called social justice.
IDave invited you to vote for change, there has been little dramatic change towards a life of freedom, quite the reverse taxes are to go up, industry and enterprise penalised.
The inability to embrace change and carry on in the same way, means that change is usually forced upon you. The British State is at a cross roads, the wrong turn will see the best leave, and the old, the sick and indigent left in decaying towns and cities. This is civilisation. The world has moved away from the west it is rising now in the BRIC countries, we had start getting used to the idea.