Societies evolve in a series of cycles, very much like children develop in an upward spiral, facing the same issues but at different levels. In the same way, societies go through a predictable cycle of evolution that continuously repeats itself. This awareness can be used to create political, economic, and social infrastructures that may help eliminate many of the negatives of any society.
The first stage of social evolution is one of freedom. Invention and innovation are its hallmarks. Economies are agrarian, gold and barter based. Military spending is small or nonexistent. Personal freedom is valued above all else. Communities are small and self-supporting, very much like those of the early colonial days in North America through the early period of Westward Expansion.
The result of the Freedom Stage is economic prosperity, social cohesion, and personal independence. As a result, people relax and they create administrative groups to manage or eliminate inconveniences and irritations. Micromanagement becomes the basis for nearly all economic transactions. The Administrative Stage is characterized by fire and police departments, sidewalks, financial associations and minor infringements on personal freedom and an increase of taxation and military spending, as seen in Roosevelt’s New Deal.
Once the structure of taxation and civil legislation is introduced, it grows and feeds upon itself, creating the Bureaucratic Stage. Planning committees become larger and more numerous, limited armies become imposing forces of power, and special interest groups of all types demand greater funding and impose greater limitations on personal freedom. Greed and deceit are the coin of the realm. Citizens find are they baffled and buffaloed on all sides, the trappings of wealth and ease only a thin veneer hiding the corruption that controls their lives and leeches them of their just rewards. Government officials hold the law in contempt and create wars for economic stimulation and personal aggrandizement.
Eventually, the masses will have tolerated as much as they can and fight back, often quite violently. This is the Revolution Stage. In this phase of social evolution, people break free from the chains of lost freedom and over-taxation either by refusing to participate or by rioting and destroying the establishment. People may burn down buildings, commit murder, withdraw, or succumb to depression. There are limits to what the human soul can tolerate. The falseness and deceit of the Bureaucratic Stage distorts and stretches reality until, abruptly, people snap. They lash out, often uncontrollably and inappropriately. They are maddened beasts of burden, throwing off the yoke, ignoring the lash they have suffered for too long and charging the crowd in their rage.
The cycle doesn’t end there. Once the flawed establishment is crushed, people resume their lives and their livelihoods, enjoying their personal freedom once again. After a time, the people get lazy and let others administer small aspects of society. Unfortunately, the individuals in power get greedy and want more power, until they’ve taken everything. Once everything is lost or too confusing, people revolt and destroy the social structure. And it begins again.
Awareness of this natural cycle of social evolution allows us to understand that society’s problems begin when citizens relinquish responsibility and control of their lives into the hands of others. If citizens actively and consistently demand that government be limited to the singular job of protecting the rights and property of its citizenry, the negative aspects of social evolution would be minimized and the periods of peace and plenty would be the norm. Responsibility is the price of freedom (Elbert Hubbard).