What is the End of the World? Does it have to be the total destruction of the planet or might it be the end of a worldview?
For the Soviet system, the world did end in 1989. This was remember a cultural system based on an ideology strictly enforced and top down. A small elite controled the system.
Prior to 1989 powerful economic forces rooted in the costs of empire has eroded the base of this system. The Soviet economy and society had to keep pace with America spending on defence. It could not do this and was bankrupted as a result. It had to show off its imperial power and had a major adventure in Afghanistan. Where it was soundly defeated.
All that was needed was a tipping point moment.
Are we in the west in the same place now?
We too have a totalitarian regime in control of an ideology. We did not know that until 2008, when the regime became exposed. Since the meltdown, the regime is now in full sight of most people. Our illusions of living in a democratic state have been shattered.
Like all totalitarian regimes, the power of the elite has been maintained by offering us an eternal crisis with enemies to fight. So the regime in the guise of protecting us, takes away our domestic liberties and involves us in massive foreign wars. The defence budget is seen as essential.
Meanwhile, as in the Soviet Union, austerity is the new reality. The people pay and pay.
I think that we will be able to look back and see 911 as the start of the end. 2008 as the time when the full vision of the regime became obvious to too many people to ignore. I think that the preconditions for a bifurcation are here now.
More and more people feel that the contract between them and the government is broken. On the left, people look at the DOJ and see how it persecutes people like Aaron Swaz and leaves the bankers alone. This is seen as being illegitimate. On the right, the gun folks look at gun control and see that too as illegitimate. There is a weird intersection of opinion about legitimacy taking place.
When the end comes it does not have to be a big event. The system is so brittle now. And when it comes, there will be no going back. The illusion will shatter for all and the regime will be left exposed on the balcony. This is how it happens.
All the king's horses and all the king's men will not be able to put Humpty together again.