The Collapse of Western Civilization, Part I

Posted on March 15, 2018 by Robert Ringer


(The following article is an adaptation based on material from my 1983 book, How You Can Find Happiness During the Collapse of Western Civilization.)

No matter who controls the House, Senate, and executive branch of our government, the drive to disassemble American culture — and, on a broader scale, Western culture — continues almost unabated.  The pro-American voices of reason and civility are simply no match for those in the anti-American camp who relentlessly attack all those who disagree with their agenda with nonstop, hateful rhetoric and violence.

Which brings me to a hot summer day in Los Angeles in the late seventies.  I was standing in line at a neighborhood ice cream stand, with five or six people in front of me and about the same number lined up at an adjacent window.  As we stood quietly waiting our turns, a rather unpleasant mix of screeching musical instruments, shrieking voices, and nerve-shattering electronic pulses began filling the air.

As I and the other customers in line turned to see what all the ruckus was about, the intrusive sounds were practically upon us.  Crossing the street and heading straight for the ice cream stand was a scraggly‑looking teenager sporting one of those all-too-familiar “I’m a bad dude” looks on his face.

As if his gait and demeanor weren’t annoying enough, he was also armed with the ultimate punk weapon — a ghetto blaster that I doubt I could have lifted.  As Mr. Bad Dude sauntered up and attached himself to the adjacent line, the Zulu sounds blaring from his monstrous noise machine became overbearing.

Then, to my surprise, a most interesting thing occurred.  Just as I was expecting him to do the considerate, civilized thing — turn the radio down so as not to cause those standing in line any undue discomfort — he startled everyone by deliberately turning his ghetto blaster up.

The message was clear:  “I can do whatever the hell I want, and if you don’t like it, “Tough sh__!  I’m bad.”

All at once, it hit me.  This punk kid was absolutely right.  He could do whatever he wanted, and if I didn’t like it, he was right about that as well:  It was my tough luck.  His repulsive behavior made me realize something that had eluded me up to that time.

Specifically, I realized that the collapse of Western civilization that so many pessimists had predicted over the years was not an event that was going to take place all at once on some specific future date.  Rather, it was an ongoing phenomenon, an event that would take place over a long period of time ─ at least decades.

Which is why those who have been waiting for the long‑predicted collapse to occur would have to wait a long time, indeed, because the collapse was already well under way.  People have always assumed that the collapse would manifest itself as one momentous, cataclysmic event, so they are oblivious to the fact that not only has it been in progress for decades, it is rapidly accelerating before their very eyes.

During my unpleasant experience at the ice cream stand, it occurred to me that what I was witnessing in that repugnant teenager’s crude behavior was a manifestation of the destruction of the most civilized way of life the world has ever known, a way of life that has evolved over a period of many centuries in western Europe, the United States, and a number of other countries whose roots are chiefly European.

Collectively, these countries have come to be loosely referred to as “the West,” “Western Civilization,” or “the Occident.”  (It is worth noting that over the past 50 years or so, many Asian countries have also become increasingly more westernized, e.g., Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan.)

At its zenith, the Western way of life encompassed a unique blend of beliefs, characteristics, principles, and philosophies.  Numbered among its virtues were honesty, self‑discipline, non‑violence, self‑sufficiency, a strong work ethic, respect for elders, aggrandizement of achievement, planning for the future, respect for the property of others, a stable economic system, reverence for the family unit, courtesy and consideration toward others, and, above all, the right of the individual to be left alone.

Thus, when I speak of the collapse of Western Civilization, it is the literal destruction of this way of life to which I am referring.  Certainly, Mr. Bad Dude would have been gratified to know that at the very moment I looked at him, he served as a vivid symbol of the collapse of Western culture and its virtues, living proof that the deterioration of a once‑great civilization was already well under way.

Of course, Mr. Bad Dude’s thuggish theatrics at the ice cream stand represent but one small example from among a large body of persuasive evidence.  All one needs to do is listen to, or watch, the news or simply observe what’s going on around him day in and day out.

Worst of all, the cornerstone of Western Civilization, the family unit, has been disintegrating at a rapid pace.  Parents have learned that they need not be concerned with their children’s problems, because the government will take care of them.  Beginning with the day a child starts school and receives his first “free” government lunch, he’s taught to look to the government, not his family, for solutions to his problems.

With the very core of Western society, the family unit, relinquishing its place of eminence in the lives of most people, it’s no wonder adults in all walks of life — from waitresses to retail clerks, from repairmen to airline ticket agents — are increasingly disrespectful, rude, and hostile.

How did conditions in the Western world get so out of hand?  Through an insidiously clever process known as gradualism.  Psychologists and social scientists know that man does not respond well to abrupt change, but when it comes to gradual change over a long period of time, he has proven to be quite malleable.

This point has not been lost on the enemies of individual liberty.  It is to their credit that they’ve had the good sense to be patient.  They realize that one does not turn the world upside down in a fortnight.  A much more effective strategy, they have discovered, is to rotate it slowly so those on its surface scarcely notice they are moving.

Through the application of gradualism, people ultimately come to accept change as the status quo.  Ideally, a way of life that would have been considered unthinkable to one generation is ultimately regarded as perfectly normal by a later generation that grows up never knowing any other kind of existence.

And so it has been with the collapse of Western Civilization.  The fact that the collapse is both gradual and ongoing is a testimony to the effectiveness of gradualism.  People have become so accustomed to a world in crisis that they do not see the decadence and perversion that surround them as unusual or alarming.

In Part II of this article, I will discuss the causes of the collapse of the most civilized and remarkable way of life the world has ever known.

Robert Ringer

Robert Ringer is an American icon whose unique insights into life have helped millions of readers worldwide. He is also the author of two New York Times #1 bestselling books, both of which have been listed by The New York Times among the 15 best-selling motivational books of all time.

40 responses to “The Collapse of Western Civilization, Part I”

  1. drbsci says:

    Actually, Zulu sounds can be quite pleasant. Try Mbube (the original "Lion Sleeps Tonight",, Kazet (, or Thokozile ( OTOH, there's no accounting for taste.

  2. jhnrkr says:

    You nailed it!! The breakup of the family unit has had an enormously detrimental effect on our society. The chief reason is the absence of fathers of strong character. Boys don't mature into strong, decent men without some guidance. Mom can't do it alone.

    I lay the blame at the feet of those who created, funded, and pushed for the Great Society of the 60's. There has been the unrelenting march to meet the needs of boys and girls, men and especially women, with programs and funds supplied by their surrogate father—the federal government.

    • Jim Hallett says:

      Your assessment i s accurate. In the USA, our destruction can be traced to the 3 AWFUL periods of Wilson, FDR, and LBJ. These 3 were progressives on steroids and TOTALanti liberty, who promoted govt. control of everything, and the non thinking sheeple, dumbed down by horrid public school indoctrination and media LIARS, have meekly gone along with this destructive agenda.

  3. geneg says:

    Once again another excellent article and profound insight Robert! I think another factor along with gradualism that may in fact accelerate our downward descent is the normalcy bias. We have the tendency to think that things will pretty much always continue just as they have during our lifetime, or perhaps just the last five or ten years or so. So we in effect let our guard down and don't recognize the seismic shift that is taking place in our culture. It's not just a coincidence that when they took prayer out of the public schools and banned teaching the Ten Commandments, that we as a culture lost the overall magnificence that once was. I maintain that nothing short of prayer can save us now.

  4. kauai_mike says:

    As noted, the younger generations don't even know what they lost so don't miss it. I agree collapse is inevitable.

  5. Richard Dennis says:


    I played football – briefly – at the University of Oregon, back in the mid-60s. One beautiful summer morning in 1967, I took a walk.

    A few blocks from my fraternity was a park at the corner of University St and 24th Avenue in Eugene. A bunch of kids were playing football. All were probably elementary school age. It was obviously some kind of day care group. There were probably 50 kids altogether, plus half a dozen counsellors.

    I sat down on a mound next to the field to watch. I loved the game. And I liked kids. And these kids were obviously having a blast.

    Everyone in that group was black.

    The game ended.

    The counsellors gathered everyone together in a group, and they cheered. And then they began singing, led by the counsellors.

    And they were singing about "whitey." 50 kids, boys & girls, ages 6-12, singing very, very bad lyrics about whitey and what whitey had done to them and what they wanted to do to whitey.

    I was stunned. And very sad.

    Later, I did some investigation. This was a Black Panther day care group. And the "counsellors" were doing their best to teach all these children to hate with a passion.

    And I thought if those young kids were being taught and encouraged in such hatred, our country would have a very rough future.

    • Jim Hallett says:

      Unfortunately, the folks in Eugene are still peddling that crap. Along with other Libtard havens, the voices of liberty and reason are given no voice (as a side note, Oregon is my favorite place of the 50 states I have visited, but it sure has lots of stinkin thinkin going on!)

    • Jay says:

      Jackson said there would be no forgiveness.

    • sam239 says:

      Wow, didn't know that was being preached back then. There's a similar hate group that "preaches" every weekend at the rundown dumpy bus station they have here – ironic since the area could be improved if they would follow some of the tenets of western civilization, namely taking responsibility for your own situation, even if others have wronged you. They won't do that so the area will slink back into a third world hellhole. The city probably have to start importing aliens from Latin America or the Middle East, like the Baltimore mayor encourages – if European civilization is so awful, maybe they will be surprised by their taste of other cultures.

    • Serge says:

      We mustn't forget the church that BHO attended under rev. Wright.

  6. Mike Miller says:

    I read your 1983 book and your observations then and now are on target. There no longer seems to be anyplace to hide.

  7. Rocketman says:

    Robert, once again you are absolutely right. It started from my standpoint about the time of the Vietnam War back in the 1960's when the U.S. government sent hundreds of thousands of unwilling soldiers that had been drafted over there. The ones that came back alive to the states came back disgruntled, depressed and spat on by protestors. Some came back without limbs. When the latter tried to find work and they were asked where they had been injured, they replied that they were in Vietnam. That was enough for the prospective employer who would throw their applications away as soon as they left the building. Something happened to the generation that went through this trauma and it changed them for the worse.

  8. Patricia says:

    I am old enough to remember Khrushchev and the shoe banging incident. Sadly, he was correct.

    • John Eslinger says:

      Greetings Patricia, I was just discussing this very event yesterday with some OLD friends. Yep k's crowd has followed through with his promise and that day is getting closer and closer. Glad I'm 73. Hope I miss the day of reckoning! This is one case I wish I was wrong.

  9. notpropagandized says:

    Right on! So what do we do about it?
    Is there a peaceable way to fight back and win?
    Or shall we form a tiny patriotic remnant and impose Western Civilization upon the millions of fools tearing it down?
    I'm told the Revolutionary War was comprised of 3% of the populace. That's not enough to kinetically move the slop that is forming in our midst.

  10. Rick G. says:

    Here it is, folks! The book I have recently mentioned in the comments section of some of Robert Ringer's former recent articles, namely "How You Can Find Happiness During the Collapse of Western Civilization", a true masterpiece to say the least I have enjoyed so much and read over and over numerous times. I truly love this book. It is the book, aside from "Looking Out For Number One", that has made the greatest impression on me. I am so glad we are bringing it back as articles, because it has so much relevance today. I just wish it had been kept in print over the years and subsequently updated. When I first began reading this article, I knew Mr. Bad Dude would reappear (yeah, joy!) along with "gradualism". That shows you how many times I have read this book.

    Anyhooo, things were getting bad, really bad, throughout the last several decades, and they are accelerating at a breakneck speed. I presume the process of cultural entropy is taking place whereby things are always in the process of breaking down and disintegrating. And we can see it right here firsthand going on in western culture, sad to say. And if you don't believe that western civilization is collapsing, you are no awake. Just open your eyes and ears and take in what is going on all around you everywhere, especially in day-to-day dealings with people, on the internet, and in the news media. The moral fabric of our culture and society is rapidly deteriorating and coming apart at the seams.

    Everyone should the book. It is available on Amaxon. I have several copies of it in my Robert Ringer collection.

    • Rick G. says:

      Everyone should read and own the book.

    • Stephan F says:

      @ Rick

      Quit stoking the embers barely burning inside my pea-sized brain. Cut it out.

      "How You Can Find Happiness…"is indeed a great work and I'd have to say it's the most underrated of Robert's many contributions (IMO). Why this book didn't receive more popularity & praise over the years is baffling… and practically a crime. I'm sure Robert would probably just write it off with a "that's life" response. I doubt I could be that gracious.

      Of course an even larger injustice occurred with Robert's magnum opus, "Restoring the American Dream". This masterpiece is one of the great works of all time. Although it was on the ny times bestseller list soon after publication, it has gone virtually unrecognized by those within the freedom movement over the years (forget about statist's reading it, not a chance). I suppose this is due to the fact it was written in a such a style that everyday common people could read & understand it with ease, and because Robert did not come from an academic background. There are many terrific authors out there with tons of great literature on the subject, but if one has not read R.T.A.D the odds are that person is lacking key knowledge in the area of economics, government, & philosophy. Just saying…

      • RealitySeeker says:

        Yes, Stephan, I agree that that book was ahead of its time by about four decades…

        And when the final stage of collapse finally arrives, I think it'll be even worse than we all thought is was going to be back then….

  11. Bill Mitch says:

    Thank you for this timely article, Mr. Ringer.

    I think you are absolutely correct in describing this process as "Gradualism" much like a frog gradually being boiled in water until it's fate is sealed. I think this process has been coordinated at a much higher level than Psychologists and social scientists. I believe they are merely foot soldiers for the privately run think-tanks that dictate public policy behind closed doors with no public consultation. I think the larger agenda to destroy Western Civilization is code named as "Population Replacement". In a UN report entitled "Replacement Migration: Is It a Solution to Declining and Ageing Populations?" issued March 17, 2000, the Globalist's plan was laid bare under a patina of addressing increasingly larger ageing populations:

    The Report's conclusion (which was probably arrived at decades before and only being gradually released under this pretense) argues for massive influxes of third world immigrants into the first world which we see playing out today across the western world. "In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way." – Franklin D. Roosevelt

  12. larajf says:

    Can we gradually turn the tide back? I hope so.

    • Jim Hallett says:

      We CAN, but will we? I think some kind of massive collapse will be the only way to expose the liars who have promoted this junk, and allow people to realize how they have been deceived all these decades! The controllung elites and all their cronies have the power and ear of the masses, so the slow boil of the frog can occur without him being aware his freedom and very soul are being boiled to death.

  13. Jack says:

    TR said it best over 100 years ago ' There are no hyphenated Americans'. Our breakdown begin then.

  14. Richard Lee Van Der says:

    I took my B.A. at Michigan State U, Dec 1959. I returned for summer Grad work during the early 60s. Campus HAD BEEN so quiet, orderly, etc. But there in the 60s, the dorms were blazing light and rockin'! No one in there could've been studying. They were partying, and noisily! That was when I realized that the America I had known was GONE!

  15. psychhacker says:

    It's not collapse folks, but it is change. Change is hard. Nothing stays the same. The majority of people remain good decent folks. Unfortunately, we have a lot of loud mouthed idiots on both sides screwing things up. The trouble is more likely freedom without restraint or responsibility and individualism without responsibility. The good old days were not all that good for those kept in societal chains….this sounds like the last gasp of white men. Sorry, I am not even close to be a liberal loon, but this is hyperbole at its most extreme. Do enjoy your books though.

  16. Wally Conger says:

    The 1983 book deserves to be resurrected in book form, or at least as an ebook. It’s terrific.

  17. John Pettimore says:

    Gradualism explains how, but I do not understand why. Virtually everything that's taking place works directly against people's self-interest. So why? What impulse is driving this?

  18. James Parker says:

    I must disagree with Mr. Ringer's claim that the "family unit" is the cornerstone of Western Civilization. Rather it is the individual.Those who attempt to view family — rather than the individual — as primary provide most of the tools used by religious and governmental "authorities" to subjugate the masses. Those who recognize this and recognize the individual as primary basis of civilization take those tools away from those promoting group thinking and with that, their power.

    • Richard Lee Van Der says:

      Yes, I accomplished EVERYTHING, and it was a lot! after I rectified my "young man mistake of marrying and fathering children". Once on my own, and in more free relationships with women, I was able to ACCOMPLISH as NOT BEFORE when I'd mistakenly "tied my hands". Had I devoted EVERYTHING OF ME to THEM, and considering their beliefs, my sacrifice would have been just about for nothing. Yes, no, mine may not be a popular view, but I too believe a free ambitious active individual is who or what makes things pop n snap, makes things happen, not the guy who is tied down as a "family man". Yes, no, maybe not a popular opinion or belief, but, that's how it went down during my life!

    • Rick G. says:

      Rushing to Robert Ringer's defense as I normally do, the "family unit" is made up of "individuals".

  19. Max says:

    Mr. Ringer is correct. Or that's the idea anyway, and probably has been for a long time, again as predicted by Mr.Ringer. But I for one, will not sit by the wayside, idle and just watch these modern monsters create everlasting mayhem and chaos. Western civilization has lots of power, support, and ways to turn this around. We too have the effect of gradualism in our toolbox, and we are intellectually and physically much better equipped than our adversaries – and yes, it is becoming more and more evident – they are the enemy and we need to treat it that way if we are to climb out of this rabbit hole.

  20. Tim says:

    Plain & simple: we can attribute most of the negative changes in our society to negroes! They are at the root of just about every modern-day problem in the United States!

    • Richard Lee Van Der says:

      But NOT ALL. For myself, I try to take every person on an individual basis. But yes, I agree, there are the STATISTICS. But, to repeat, NOT ALL of any race.

  21. karllembke says:

    One of the issues in the science fiction community is that of Codes of Conduct and Anti-Harassment Policies. It's reached the point where science fiction conventions all have such codes, some of which are quite lengthy. And there are a number of big-name authors, artists, and others who have declared they will refuse to attend any convention that doesn't have a written policy on harassment.

    It seems to me we are now trying to codify, using written codes and policies, what used to be internalized while growing up as "just plain good manners".

    The "legalification" of social conduct has transformed manners into a matter of "if it's not covered by a written policy, it's OK to do" and "If you don't like the loophole I found, it's up to you to fix it."

  22. Rick G. says:

    I eagerly await Part II.

  23. Harry Hagan says:

    Excellent essay except for the missing Christian dimension, which is near or at the very top of why we're going down the toilet.

  24. Robby Bonfire says:

    Some quantum leap (for the other side) societal shock waves…

    1. Homosexual marriage, with its contempt for nature as well as for historical world-wide convention.
    2. Legalized soft drugs in some states, now.
    3. Accredited illegal immigration with the collapse of our borders and national identity.

    4. Our passively responding with ground troops in Iraq and Afghanistan to the bombing of the World Trade
    Center. (Our Pearl Harbor attack response was a bit more aggressive, patriotic, unapologetic and
    5. The demolition of freedom of dissenting speech (via "political correctness); and freedom of choice via
    rental and hiring quota mandates.

    6. The mind-numbing glorification of violence drummed into young people's heads via video games.
    7. Technology run amuck with the harvesting and commercial redistribution of everyone's most private
    personal information.
    8. The coordinated unabashed trashing of a U.S. President's character and policies with the goal of
    dissenting party power, rather than the best interests of the United States of America being implemented.

    9. The desecration of any remaining standards in our society – standards of speech, dress, and education – to
    where the basics of math and spelling are sneered at; basic healthy nutrition sacked on the altar of the fast
    junk food industry expediency and profit; family and worship values openly desecrated; and our flag and
    national anthem openly disrespected and vilified by influential athletes and theatrical types.

    10. Finally, we have an ongoing media – educational conspiracy to reduce youthful indoctrination to
    bottom-feeder dumbed-down docility and imbecility.

    I think the guerilla forces in our midst have won the war, Robert. The outcome of the few remaining
    battles has already been determined by their sheer, ever-increasing numbers, as this never ending onslaught upon the last vestige of what was our great western civilization and heritage routs the rest of us into virtual oblivion.

  25. 1911Kimber says:

    In the mid 80's I was returning from Jamaica to MPLS MN. It had been the trip from hell as the charter flight (think full 727) had to stop and go through customs in Miami then a mechanical left us at the gate for a few hours before finally making the 3.5 hour journey to our destination. Needless to say the entire group of passengers were in a less than sunny mood. Upon our arrival and subsequent trip to baggage claim, again with delays, some punk lights up his boombox at the top volume possible. I didn't hesitate as PC and over zealous lawyers were still a thing of the future. I walked over to Mr boombox, looked him levelly in the eye and said "turn that sh-t off". He correctly accessed me as someone willing to follow through on an assertion and turned it off. I got a round of applause from everyone at the baggage claim. I am now 66 and have a lot more to lose ($) with a beatdown of some punk, however, that will not deter me from speaking/acting up when some reprobate decides to terrorize civilized folks.

  26. William Morris says:

    I read the original collapse of western civilization book in 1984. It emphatically predicted that cash will turn out to be a capital black hole, stocks a capital question mark, and gold a capital certainty. Well, from 1983 to 2003 gold was the worst possible investment one could make. I went from around $600 and ounce to $250 an ounce during that 20 year time period. How many people lost a lot of money following his lousy advice? Does he ever admit that huge mistake? I doubt it. I never hear about it.