Painful Truth: What’s the plan for after the lights go out?

What happens when – eventually – a big modern empire like the United States falls?

What was it like, living in Britian 1,700 years ago, somewhere around what is now London?

Well, things probably weren’t perfect. No one had the faintest idea what an antibiotic was, slavery was legal, and democracy was very much not a thing.

But, by the standards of the ancient world, there were worse places to be. What is now England was part of the Roman Empire. There were roads, and actual baths with hot water, and art and imported wine and literacy.

And then it all went away. Rome fell, and the next couple hundred years are more archeology than history when it comes to Britain. Written sources and hot baths were in short supply for a while.

I’m thinking about this partly because Canada is, in many ways, a kind of appendage to the world’s larger powers.

I don’t think that the United States is going to suddenly collapse, or that Europe or China are about to rupture. But history has never recorded a powerful society that didn’t eventually fall.

So even if Canada ticks along just fine, we’re at the mercy of the rest of the world. And there are a few troubling trends out there.

Forget all about Donald Trump for a moment. (Ah, isn’t that a pleasant sensation?)

In the U.K., Brexit is making the future impossible to predict. Hard-right parties are solidifying their rule in Poland and Hungary. Racist political parties and organizations are going public in multiple countries. Russia, which looked semi-promising in the ’90s, is embracing low-grade war, hacking, and oligarchy. Central Asia is riddled with petty dictatorships. The president of China is giving himself powers even more dictatorial than those he had before.

I don’t pretend that this is all adding up to a certainty. But trends towards increased xenophobia and centralized rule have not traditionally been good things.

So what happens when – not if – things go bad outside of Canada’s borders?

Hopefully, we won’t have to find out. But someday, our descendants will.

Just Posted

VIDEO: Burn scars now a ‘badge of honour’

White Rock woman shares story of survival after a terrible accident in 1978

Langley Demonstration Garden: Bee there or bee square

The opening day of the season for the public garden featured a bee theme.

Langley boxer’s represent at ‘Turmoil on 200th’

Langley Event Centre hosts first ever pro boxing show

VIDEO: Walnut Grove Secondary students host Gator Music Festival

All proceeds will benefit children with special needs from Langley

Letter: Extend large item garbage collection to Langley townhouses

A townhouse resident would like the same pick up option that’s given to single family dwellings.

VIDEO: Pro-pipeline rally hosted by Langley family

The new organization Suits and Boots held the rally to support the resource sector.

Giant beer tanks arrive in new B.C. home city

Molson Coors tanks finish river journey and move to overland trip in Chilliwack

B.C.’s Ryan Craig, Vegas Golden Knights chase history

Local product behind bench for expansion team’s incredible championship run

CP rail workers give strike notice

Employees could walk out as early as Tuesday at 7 p.m. PT

Vote points to abortion being legalized in Ireland

Voters asked whether to keep or repeal Eighth Amendment to Roman Catholic Ireland’s Constitution

COLUMN: Women’s breasts really aren’t that big a deal

A follow on some Princeton, B.C., students gained considerable exposure when they dropped their bras

Canadian soccer officials talk up World Cup bid at Champions League final

Current bid calls for 2026 World Cup games to be staged in the U.S., Canada and Mexico

B.C.’s devastating 2017 wildfire season revisited in new book

British Columbia Burning written by CBC journalist Bethany Lindsay

Most Read