The Great Powers may make what stage-play they will, but they are not maintaining their incalculable armaments for aggression upon one another, for protection from one another, nor for fun. These vast forces are purely constabular creatures and creators of discontent phenomena of decivilization.
Compared with the action of this destructive solvent, that of all other disintegrating agencies concerned in our decivilization is as the languorous indiligence of rosewater to the mordant fury of nitric acid. Lively Woman is indeed, as Carlyle would put it, "hellbent" on purification of politics by adding herself as an ingredient.
One cheerful evidence of the decivilization of the Anglo-Saxon race is the late tendency to return to first principles in art, as manifested in substituting noise for music. Herein we detect symptoms of a rapid relapse into original barbarism.
"That's catastrophic decivilization. There is also decivilization by erosion, and while it's going on, nobody notices it. Everybody is proud of their civilization, their wealth and culture. But trade is falling off; fewer ships come in each year. So there is boastful talk about planetary self-sufficiency; who needs off-planet trade anyhow?
What the decline did involve everywhere was decivilization; the loss of letters, of laws, of roads and means of communication, the exaggeration of local colour into caprice. But on the edges of the Empire this decivilization became a definite barbarism, owing to the nearness of wild neighbours who were ready to destroy as deafly and blindly as things are destroyed by fire.
Civilized, he could have died for a moral consideration, say the defence of Judge Miller's riding-whip; but the completeness of his decivilization was now evidenced by his ability to flee from the defence of a moral consideration and so save his hide. He did not steal for joy of it, but because of the clamor of his stomach.