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How Bad is It?
Placing the Current and Upcoming Pandemics in Historical Context
Historically, for something to qualify as a plague—not speaking medically about a pandemic but rating the chances that the death toll will significantly impact culture and society—how bad must it be?
So far, we have already had “fear of death toll” impact Postmodern Western society at roughly the same level that the Black Death impacted late Medieval Europe.
The only real way to look at this is personally, how wickedly the plague wears on the life of the individual and those he knows. This means that it will be local and regional. For, we are determining how disease effects human behavior, values, morals and ideals.
The baseline, when considering if you have survived a plague of historic proportions is this:
Did everyone you know lose a friend, coworker or family member? Did everybody in your sphere of life know a person who was taken?
In a disease-afflicted setting, such as Medieval Europe, where most people die of disease before age six and most people die before they hit their 30-year prime, to lose 1 in 3 people caused a paradigm shift in economic and cultural life.
From this it seems that a loss of 1 third of humans from a modern population would shatter it in the way that the loss of 2 in 3 in the medieval population did, which seems to have been responsible for not only the economic and cultural paradigm shift but a religious shift as well, as the ripples of the Reformation, radiated in Europe out from the Black Death, which was seen by all to reflect God’s harsh judgment.
Looking at aboriginal North America a century after contact, being roughly A.D. 1600 with 40% of the population gone and some unknown quantity of the remaining population adopted Europeans, it is reasonable to infer that at most a third or a quarter of that population had been adopted in, possibly less, with the actual range per tribe running between 5% and 75% based on tribal demographics and the fact that some tribes were unknown pre-plague and were mixed tribe and mixed race refugee communities. Whatever the case is and we cannot know what it is, despite being reduced by 40% and having some unknown and variable portion of the population being racial aliens and tribal cousins adopted in, these societies maintained such high levels of cultural cohesion that they were more than 50% resistant to religious conversion and gave better than they got against military invaders. Further, these cultures were not experienced at all with epidemic disease, and yet maintained their identity.
By contrast, in the southern woodlands of the Mississippian Civilization, epidemic disease introduced by Soto’s entrada destroyed the culture and turned them either into hunter and gather refugee groups, or, in those tribes that remained settled agriculturalists developed a child sacrifice cult and degenerated, ceasing to increase their population but actually declining further.

Military Loss Models
From comparing these outcomes from these various lifeways, it seems that being civilized and sedentary is not just an indicator of greater biological vulnerability but an indicator for increased cultural, economic and religious dislocation. I would suggest this has to do with the greater fragility of hierarchy over community when under stress, which is present in the military cohesion scheme, in which chains of command are extremely vulnerable to the point of being the prime target in ancient, medieval and modern military operations and that smaller unit cohesion of bodies of associated men numbering Battalion strength and less [roughly 350 and less, which is the maximum number of people who an individual can really know] accounting for virtually all of the heroic last stands in martial history.
-Little Big Horn
-Imjin [Korea, a Brit battalion against Chi-Com divisions.]
Sieges such as Stalingrad do not count as last stands as flight is not an option.
While a hierarchal army usually breaks apart or collapses due to lack of confidence in, or the death of the commander, the “tribal” small unit sometimes soldiers on to the last man, maintaining its identity until the end. The best, most tribal, most community-based units are universally defined as those which will fight to the death. So the idea of the fellow-fighter, fighting shoulder to shoulder, was the currency of ancient heroics and martial [masculine] identity. Indeed, the identity of the Foreign Legion is built on such an event, a platoon fighting to the last man against a brigade. When the Legion was at last facing total, individual, defeat in Vietnam, at Den Bien Fu [I surely butchered this spelling] they left the besieged firebase and charged out hopelessly in order to preserve their identity. Indeed, a unit can survive as an entity for as much as 1,000 years, as one Roman legion did. There are many military units now with hundreds of years of life, when their individuals spend as little as 4 years and as many as 20 years in the ranks, and will maintain their cohesion and identity long after their parent army has dissolved due to cut communications, killed staff officers, a slain general or a decapitated king.
Interestingly, from the view point of this sub-discussion on military resistance to death toll, a typical, low cohesion unit, will dissolve at 25-30% losses, while only the most tribal units stand and fight to the last man, and notoriously poor formations, such as low-motivation conscripts, will falter and rout or surrender at 10%.
-Heroic units can sustain 100% casualties and operate, these being hyper-tribal.
-Elite units maintain effectiveness even past 50% losses, having a strong tribal identity.
-Typical units, having weak identity, lose effectiveness at 25% losses
-Sub-standard units lose effectiveness at or below 10% losses. This includes units with failed identity, such as most modern American units, which cease to operate offensively at optimum effectiveness after taking a single casualty per squad, as these units, filled with soldiers who expect to live to enjoy their university education, must virtually suspend operations to attend to their wounded. [I have seen numerous video documentations of this from Afghanistan, including the movie Above the Best.]
I suggest that if a typical all-male American military unit halts its progress at 10% losses, and that the American population is at least half female and a quarter sissy, that 2.5% losses would cripple the American Collective Mind into complete system failure.
I further suggest that 1% losses may well be enough to break the confidence in the existing hierarchy to an extent that profound economic, cultural and metaphysic changes would result.
Halving this again, I suggest that a 0.5% loss from a single cause will be enough to facilitate political realignment and population replacement, possibly including balkanization and the importation of replacement humans from less prosperous societies with lower survival expectations and comfort requirements.
Insert house of cards metaphor.
A military tribe, such as a battalion or company, or a band-strength unit such as a platoon, squad, team or crew, has increasingly more cohesion as it gets smaller and is a leadership unit, with officers from colonel down still coming under small arms fire in modern war, while generals have commanded from the rear since antiquity. The led unit, the community [and in the case of elite units a cult] of combatants, is much more resistant to casualties than the managed unit, or population of combatants, and is not hierarchal in spirit, only function, due to the tribal nature of leadership, that is risking first.

Epidemic Models
To look at four examples of disease striking:
-Medieval Christendom typically took 1 in 3 to 2 in 3 losses in the Black Death and half of Christendom abandoned its religious identity over the centuries of reoccurring plague.
-The Aztecs took 9 in 10 losses virtually overnight, and abandoned their religious identity almost completely in one generation.
-The Mississippian Civilizations suffered 9 in 10 as did the Aztecs and either adopted a child sacrifice cult and stagnated or reverted to hunting and gathering, in either case abandoning their faith.
-The Sacred Ravens [Crow] tribe lost 7 in 8 people in a single year and maintained their faith and identity.
The two highest density cultures above fared the worst.
The more dispersed medieval societies fared better than the Amerindian Civilization, though the later did take greater proportional losses by far, but were also more hierarchical.
The only tribal society faired the best having taken a much higher proportion of losses than the second most successful society.
From this small sample I would suggest that the following negative effects of epidemic disease:
Increase in severity along with heightened states of:
-population concentration
-social stratification
So, how bad is it?
Below are six basic steps down into the bio-apocalypse:
-1. Everyone you know has lost someone: shakes up your World like the 1919 Spanish Flu
-2. One or two out of ten people you know are dead: wrecks your world on a dysgenic basis like WWI to the French, or WWII for the Soviets, Japanese and Germans, or the Korean Conflict for North Korea as more proactive and altruistic people suffer higher levels of death helping others and cowards, criminals and manipulators hide, survive and thrive in droves.
-3. A third of the people you know are dead: transforms your World like the Hundred Years War or Thirty Years War with a new political and/or religious order.
-4. Half the people you know are dead: opens your world up for peaceful invasion like the introduction of smallpox did to Eastern North America. A peaceful invasion develops more power to erase your world than a military invasion, which at least preserves your identity in a secondary oppositional capacity. This is why American Pop-Culture memory remembers the Plains Indian and not the Eastern Woodlands Indian.
-5. Most of the people you know are dead: renders your world incapable of defense, just like the Inca, Crow, Blackfeet and New England tribal impact of Smallpox epidemics which placed formerly militarily dominant tribes at the mercy of new and existing enemies.
-6. All or almost all of the people you know are dead: erases your world like the Aztec and Amazonian civilizations or turns it into a post-apocalyptic horror show like the Mississippian.

If you are civilized, it is worse.
If you are living in crowded centers, it is worse.
The higher the level of economic stratification in your society the worse the economic, cultural and spiritual effects of the epidemic will be.
Roughly, I would suggest that Postmodern America has 10% of the resistance to the effects of loss of life as the hardier populations discussed above, so that a Spanish Flu magnitude die off today would cause as much economic, cultural and metaphysical dislocation as the Black Death did in Late Medieval Europe.
We are so materialistic, that for a postmodern person to lose his job effects society as harshly as the death of a person did in medieval times.
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Add Comment
NCApril 22, 2020 2:52 AM UTC

This Scamdemic is just that, a scam by the Vampire class (Highest of the parasites) to suck more power, wealth, satisfaction for them selves. If any truly cared, they would volunteer to be the 1st to go. Here is all my wealth, I'll wander the earth as a beggar.
responds:April 22, 2020 1:57 PM UTC

Vampires—I respect the drinkers of us.