It’s a term that most people have probably never heard of. But history shows that it looms over us all. So what is anacyclosis and kyklos? And how does it relate to the modern day United States or other Western nations?
Let’s first discuss the history. Anacyclosis and Kyklos both describe the same thing: the cycle of governmental collapse. How the different government forms constantly recycle themselves throughout history.
Kyklos was first described in Plato’s Republic. Aristotle also worked heavily on the theory behind Kyklos.
Then, along came Polybius who theorized and refined the cycle but called it “Anacyclosis”.
They both speak on the same topic but differ on the structures and titles. We’ll start with Kyklos.
Plato first introduced the concept of Kyklos through the “five regimes” model.
Within Plato’s Five Regimes, the government cycles through various forms of government as it progressively degenerates. It is as follows:
Aristocracy is said to be the government of Plato’s preference. However, over time the aristocracy degenerates into a timocracy due to miscalculations on the part of the aristocrats. So, the rulers children inevitably fail to maintain this beneficial form of governance.
From there the elected begin to show a much greater appreciation of money. Over time, this appreciation turns into corruption. The elite and the wealthy want to ensure their continual control and power. Thus restricting the government and ensuring an oligarchy forms.
In this imaginary society, the oligarchs eventually lose control due to popular revolt or through lessening the grips by the oligarchs. This ushers in the new wave of democracy.
Finally, democracy degenerates because society becomes weak, order is not being maintained, and degeneracy plagues the country. The people desire a return to order and elect a tyrant to allow it to be restored.
Over time, the people reject the tyranny the authoritarian brings and desire a return to faithful ruling. Thus, the tyrant falls and aristocrats take over.
Then it repeats. Again and again.
This is Kyklos.
Aristotle also believed and worked on the theory of Kyklos. His was similar in nature to Plato’s but he believed it started with monarchy and ended in anarchy. This is close to Plato where monarchy is not too far off from what the aristocracy is. They are both dictator-ish regimes. Additionally, the revolution at the end of tyranny is naturally an anarchy-type state for a while. The minor differences are small and insignificant in the grand scheme of the overall idea.
So we know Kyklos now. What about anacyclosis?
Ancient historian Polybius theorized the most advanced form of the “cycle of collapse”, titled “Anacyclosis” in his book “Histories” (Book VI).
Polybius took Plato and Aristotle’s work and used history to build the version that still rings true to today. These Greek political thinkers analyzed hundreds of city states to come up with what we would call modern-day statistical trends. That is why their theories are still so impactful to this day. There’s even an institute about it.
Anacyclosis is no different.
It begins with monarchy, similar to Aristotle’s theory mentioned above. However, Polybius correctly noted that kinds and queens nearly always turned to tyrants through their genetic lineage. Eventually, the rule of king was the rule of an iron fist.
Over time, aristocrats would seize control. So “a few” would rule instead of one. This made sense and was positive for the people and the aristocrats. Most individuals welcomed this change over the rule of a tyrant.
However, the aristocracy fails due to the exact reasons Plato mentioned (Polybius skips the middle step as it is relatively short-lived, usually) and the country descends into the hands of the oligarchs. The “few” become “the rich few”. While the middle class and the poor take a financial hit.
People get tired of the oligarchs and demand representation, eventually throwing the previous aristocrats out. Ushering in the age of democracy.
However, democracy is weak and susceptible to coercion. Ochlocracy takes hold (mob rule) and the elites/rich take control of the democracy. Further using it to attack political opponents and robbing the country of the original democratic nature.
Eventually, the mob rule elects one person to bring order. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Straight to monarchy.
History Repeats Itself. Think About Your Own Nation
History repeats itself. Look at the history of your own nation. You will find the exact same sequence mentioned above.
Sometimes, we call things by different names than what Polybius did. “Monarchy” is a benevolent or “voted-in” dictatorship. Ochlocracy is degenerative socialism. Communism is tyranny (or mob-rule, depending). Representative and parliamentary systems are just fancy words for democracy. So on and so forth.
A few examples:
“Communism” under the Khmer Rogue in Cambodia was simply a tyrannical regime under Pol Pot. Zimbabwe was a democratic nation turned “benevolent” dictatorship until Mugabe screwed up the economy-then straight to tyranny. The United States was a democracy (under the “representative” title) and is now descending into an ochlocracy.
For a speed run of government types, look no further than Venezuela. They went from a democratic nation to an ochlocracy to a monarchy/tyranny (under “socialism” circa Hugo Chavez) and are now knocking on the door of Aristocracy. All in under 50 years. Whew.
Many things come and go with this cycle. Fascism (monarchy-tyranny) tends to have a high level of nationalist sentiment, so a lessening of degenerate behavior. Democracy tends to have a tremendous amount of individual liberty until it descends because of the problems of too much liberty. Fascism builds strong men to fight the tyrants; socialism builds weak men dependent on the governments tit. These traits all fall in a similar line dating back from Rome, to Sparta, to France, to China, to Istanbul, and every other nation on this planet.
Once you are aware of this cycle and how history repeats, it changes your entire political perspective. The small-scale things we typically fight about no longer matter. All that matters are the political issues that directly impact the cycle or the key components of the shifts (economy, power, government size, constitutional changes, culture, etc).
What does it matter if your political party wins when your entire system is built on top of sand provided courtesy of anacyclosis? If democracy cannot hold, you must fight the cycle instead of the politics. When you truly understand this aspect, your entire political beliefs will shift.
How Do We Stop The Cycle?
It’s obviously not an easy answer. The ancient philosophers had many ideas, such as:
- Resistance to even minor changes in the law. (Given enough time, even minor changes would cause a complete transformation).
- Mixed government forms
- Short-term rulers
- Large middle class
- Strong men
And many others. I agree with some of them while I disagree with others. They placed some heavy emphasis on concepts that are no longer of importance or even a consideration in the modern era. Things such as kingship rules (who even wants a king in the 21st century?).
That is why we need an updated version of anacyclosis and methods to resist it. So, I’m writing a book on it which will be out in mid-2020. Stay tuned to more Enclavism articles and join our newsletter: you’ll get a free copy of the book when it comes out!
Did you analyze your country’s history? What are your thoughts on Anacyclosis and methods to stop it? Let me know in the comments below!