The Last Bastion of Civilization: Japan 2041, a Scenario Analysis
a book by Andrew Blencowe
(our site's book review)
The Amazon blurb says: Trump, Brexit, Putin: Where Are We Heading?
If you’re a contrarian, or simply wish to imagine a radically different future, The Last Bastion of Civilization: Japan 2041, a Scenario Analysis will challenge your current world-view.
Written as a series of letters and short essays, each of the 18 chapters attacks a present-day assumption with a counter-punch argument of its own.
Sometimes controversial, always challenging, it’s a future to consider given today’s world affairs.
Andrew Blencowe is the CEO of an international software company and writes alternative fiction thrillers. He lives in Japan.
Originally from Melbourne, Australia, Andrew Blencowe discovered at an early age what it was like to live on the edge of life. During his high school years he dropped out to become a motorcycle racer. Smitten by computers in his early twenties, he went on to become founder and CEO of an international software company with offices on five continents. It is his international perspective and a drive to challenge assumptions that influence his writing interests. As a weekend student of history, one point he noticed over and over was how a seemingly trivial action had such immense consequences. Regarding this point of minute actions, it is akin to a 1,000-ton boulder balanced precariously on a steel knife edge; at present still, but with the smallest nudge, an army of men cannot stop the monolith from rolling down the hill. Another reoccurring point was how people's time frames are always myopically short; Zhou Enlai, when asked in the early 1970s about the significance of the French Revolution, was reputed to have answered, "Too early to say".
A seemingly trivial action can have immense consequences is the theme of the butterfly effect—the idea that one butterfly could eventually have a far-reaching ripple effect on subsequent historic events; See Butterfly effect
"Chaos theory is a branch of mathematics focusing on the behavior of dynamical systems that are highly sensitive to initial conditions. 'Chaos' is an interdisciplinary theory stating that within the apparent randomness of chaotic complex systems, there are underlying patterns, constant feedback loops, repetition, self-similarity, fractals, self-organization, and reliance on programming at the initial point known as sensitive dependence on initial conditions. The butterfly effect describes how a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state, e.g. a butterfly flapping its wings in China can cause a hurricane in Texas." (Source: Chaos theory, Wikipedia)
According to Conrad Lorenz, Chaos can be defined simply: When the present determines the future, but the approximate present does not approximately determine the future.
Blencowe sees the destruction of the intellect via interruptions and distractions—like smartphones
This myopia (people's time frames are always myopically short) and lack of foresight is daily becoming worse and worse as the destruction of the intellect by mobile "telephones" accelerates. Combined with iPads and other electronic reading devices, the ability of the human mind to think and ponder disturbance-free is being destroyed one interruption at a time. These are some of the main threads in Blencowe's novels - the arrogance and massive overconfidence in the new (blithely and wrongly considered better); the panoply of quick fixes rather than a thoughtful analysis of the unexpected consequences of these often dangerous modern expedients. So Blencowe sees the destruction of the intellect via interruptions and distractions—like smartphones, but he is not alone. See Neil Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business.
With the smallest nudge, an army of men cannot stop a 1,000-ton boulder from rolling down a hill
Blencowe discloses in this book his belief (with which we concur) that most history written in the last 500 years is biased and inaccurate. Thousands of authors have written books disputing the high school textbook version of history and the mainstream media version as well, a.k.a. the CW (conventional "wisdom"). For confirmation of this point, read almost anything by Noam Chomsky or read The Concise Untold History of the United States or American Conspiracies: Lies, Lies, and More Dirty Lies That the Government Tells Us. Above all, read the best book of the 21st century: Requiem for the American Dream: The 10 Principles of Concentration of Wealth & Power which sums up everything about power and wealth and how they fit into history and how the ongoing robbery of the nonrich by the rich happened right under our noses and no one even blinked.
The ongoing robbery of the nonrich by the rich happened right under our noses and no one even blinked
The ladder of class mobility has been rigged by the rich!
Western Civilization is currently going down a path leading to it's demise. The book is divided into eighteen chapters which present a well-rounded perspective of Western society's decline. Food, water, automobiles, tire companies, and mining, among many other things, make up the parts and pieces which push Japan to the top of the world. Japan, over the last 25 years, has risen to replace the U.S. as the dominant world power by 2041. Based on events in history that have happened in the past and that are unfolding today, the author paints an alternative, futuristic, dystopian picture of what tomorrow may look like. Blencowe attempts to change your opinion on Western culture and it's stereotypic idea of success.
Western Civilization is currently going down a path leading to it's demise
In the book, Japanese mothers realize the importance of rearing their children themselves. They help their children have strong character and feed them the purest forms of food, resulting in stronger bodies. Blencowe foresees Western countries failing from lack of character and being physically weak because of the foods they are eating. The Western diet—for many—is unhealthy and results in unnecessary diseases and infirmities. More about character: The Responsive Communitarian Platform, The Content of America's Character, A Nation of Victims: The Decay of the American Character, and Seedbeds of Virtue: Sources of Competence, Character, and Citizenship in American Society.
We let Dubya create a Patriot Act that got the NSA to light our Constitution on fire and that killed a lot of our rights, including our privacy
Obozo violated a lot of people's rights and privacy as well as imprisoned and persecuted lots of patriotic whistleblowers while lying to us about not being spied upon
In the book, societies including those of the Western world have virtually collapsed due to greed, corruption, weakness, and stupidity which have all played a significant role in Japan’s rising. Blencowe says we must stay alert for signs we are losing our freedom and our right to make decisions. Oops! That ship has sailed. We let Dubya create a Patriot Act that got the NSA to light our Constitution on fire and that killed a lot of our rights, including our privacy, Obozo violated a lot of people's rights and privacy as well as imprisoned and persecuted lots of patriotic whistleblowers while lying to us about not being spied upon, and now here's Trump, with his greedy Republican rightwing extremist accomplices, demolishing democracy as he ravages the environment and the regulations that protected us and the environment. See Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right.
Trump, with his greedy Republican rightwing extremist accomplices, is demolishing democracy as he ravages the environment and the regulations that protected us and the environment
Blencowe wrongly puts a large part of the blame for American decline on women entering the workforce in droves, as well as the rise of the welfare state. Whereas American families are increasingly fractured and distant, Japanese families have always been and still are cohesive, nurturing, and very devoted. His point is well taken that inadequate nurturing is leading to myriad social and psychological disfunctionality in our nation. However, women working is not the culprit. Inadequate upbringings is the culprit and the blame falls just as much on men as on women—both of whom are equally responsible for family wellbeing. His sexism does not lend credibility to his themes, but rather seriously undermines them.
Blencowe wrongly puts a large part of the blame for American decline on women entering the workforce in droves—and here we thought the lame 50s nostalgia era was over!
It was unfortunate that the author looked back at 1950s nostalgia and lamely decided that women stuck at home, barefoot and pregnant, cooking and cleaning, was better. This is sexist nonsense. On the surface it was much better for men, but it wasn't healthy for anyone. This sexist, rightwing, misguided nostalgia for the good old days of the nuclear family showed ignorance and lack of research that clashed with other aspects of the book that were obviously well researched. See The Way We Never Were and The Way We Really Are. For a pretty good band-aid for the inadequate childcare situation, see Smart Mom's Baby-sitting Co-op Handbook. For a solution, see The Big Answer and MCs—Frequently Asked Questions.
The author looked back at 1950s nostalgia and lamely decided that women stuck at home, barefoot and pregnant, cooking and cleaning, was better—which is sexist nonsense
Robert Theobald says that following right-wing advice to restore the past would be one of the worst moves we could make, since things have changed so much that what worked then cannot work now. Besides, it didn't work then, for women. It only worked for men.
The “Leave It to Beaver” ideal was a new invention of the 50s, NOT an example of "tradition." Solutions lie not in berating people for abandoning past family values, but finding ways “to build the institutions and social support networks that allow people to act on their best values rather than on their worst ones. . . . Many modern Americans are ready to discard the myth that nuclear families ever have been or should be emotionally self-sufficient . . . no sooner did this idea begin to dominate family relations than its inherent instability reveal itself. Acceptance that the couple relationship should be the sole source of emotional . . . intimacy made an unsatisfactory relationship seem increasingly unbearable.”
U.S. kids are foolishly taught to try to fill all their social needs in one place—to put all their eggs in one basket; the parents try it and fail, so they pass the idea on to kids who will also try it and fail
Throughout most of human history, mothers have devoted more time to other duties than to child care and have deligated substantial portions of childrearing to others. (Flat-gradient nurturing is the historical norm, and will be the future norm, and the steep-gradient nurturing of a few dozen countries now is merely an anomaly arising from ignorance.)
Steep-gradient nurturance is when a single caregiver tries to be kids' sole resource in a context of isolation—the attempt will fail and is unhealthy for mom and kids alike
We got a kick out of the hypothetical occurrence he created—the combining of the US and Mexico into one country, and Canada self-protectively building a wall to separate itself from the U.S. Great satire! Trump wouldn't like it, so it must be right!
Why not just take the Trumpian fiasco—the wall—and move it lock, stock, and barrel north to the Canadian border?
"Though it nominally focuses on Japan, the book directs attention at other nations too, apparently for the sole purpose of criticizing their social structures and blasting ethnic, religious, and sexual minorities, including women and black people. Such prejudices severely limit the book’s potential audience, detract from its cohesion, and confuse its purpose. Japanese culture and values come to seem something of a false front. . . . The book sets up and destroys straw man after straw man, from black people to feminists to Latinos. Alternative perspectives are absent." (Source: The Last Bastion of Civilization: Japan 2041, a Scenario Analysis, Anna Call)
The book focuses on Japan as the best and most powerful country on the planet in 2041
The essays in The Last Bastion of Civilization: Japan 2041, a Scenario Analysis provide hints at solutions and possible resolutions, such as addressing social issues like illegitimacy, rising populations, violence, gangs and intellectual decline. Some essays reveal how countries have joined together to aid each other while others take on the important subject of robotics. But the author's biases and ignorance about racism and sexism taint such solutions and possible resolutions of various social issues.
The Internet seems like it is ruining young brains
This democracy is likely to turn into an 'idiocracy' within a mere generation
The young are Smartphone Zombies (at least they aren't growling or drooling) wrapped in a digital cocoon of texting and games and videos and chats—but what happened to reality?
Our young are using tech for social networking, which tends to keep them in a fantasy state of eternal adolescence and away from the very knowledge and skills that would help them successfully enter the adult world
This, then, is one of the requirements of new technologies: for us consumer suckers to spend like drunken sailors. Humanism be damned—this was capitalism at its best: Invent new tech and sell it, then invent new software to operate on this tech and sell it, then create apps and sell them, then sell peripheral devices like DVD players, thumbdrives, earphones, and webcams, with each entrepreneurial success spawning dozens more. Do the techno-mess orgy and its accomplices create a better life for us? A busier, more expensive life full of TV/laptop/cell phone sound and fury but signifying nothing, to be sure. But a BETTER life? Ouch! See Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology.
Your first instinct upon seeing this questioning of life quality is to mentally list all the great tech stuff you have. And that's Neil Postman's point—culture HAS surrendered to technology—we're all running around chasing shiny objects. We're addicted. Every day we shoot up another tech fix and have little idea what we'd do with ourselves if there wasn't tech to distract us—surely we'd tremble and shake and scream for a fix, as addicts usually do. As Postman says in Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business, When Everything Becomes Entertainment, Where Does the Serious Stuff Fit In?
We are all being distracted away from knowledge and wisdom and serenity and integrity, so that we end up not pursuing truth but instead chasing shiny objects
"Coupled with the rise of Japan is the fall of Western society in the wake of massive riots, depressions, and an overall decline in the quality of life. Widespread unemployment, rising illegitimacy, and moral and spiritual decline have led the formerly great United States into a period of extreme mob-driven violence. Europe meets a similar fate, coupled with a decline in the euro and the defaulting of banks. As a work of speculative fiction, The Last Bastion of Civilization: Japan 2041, a Scenario Analysis offers a critically insightful look at a possible future, a future that will not seem far off from the truth. . . . a futuristic [dystopia] where the difference between haves and have nots is so huge. A gap that leads the haves to think of the have nots as animals and they are pushed into the less desirable parts of the world." (Source: Review – The Last Bastion of Civilization: Japan 2041, A Scenario Analysis by Andrew Blencow, Ivory M.)
The difference between haves and have nots is so huge it leads the haves to think of the have-nots as animals and they are pushed into the less desirable parts of the world
Haves think of the have-nots as animals and they are pushed into the less desirable parts of the world where it's dog eat dog