A frightened, bloated, heavily-armed thug sits nervously in his well-protected home fully aware the neighborhood is changing; his influence waning.
He still has dominion on the block but his former gang members are detecting signs of weakness and calculating ways to exploit his deficiencies.
He still has the most guns but contenders for his authority increasingly refuse to let him dictate the rules of engagement; they refuse to fight him on his terms.
He hasn't lost his swagger but now, for those who pay attention, it appears he spends a lot of time preying on the small and weak so he may continue to feel good about himself, to feel significant.
Full of bluster and braggadocio, he is more inclined to parade before sycophants than attend to the repercussions of his attempted domination of the neighborhood. Deliriously self-important he is inherently incapable of taking seriously the self-empowerment of neighbors organizing in opposition to his primitive assertiveness.
At one end of the block the Chinese, already solidifying their alliance with the Russians, are making energetic overtures to the Indians.
They are well aware that despite the tough guy's armaments his human resources are miniscule while they collectively number more than one-third of the entire population.
Capable of looking forward in a manner unavailable to one who presumes historical significance is determined by the length of his gun barrel, this burgeoning alliance realizes it possesses the human resources necessary for the sort of ultimate victory mere firepower can never ensure.
Further, they know they can isolate this aging usurper though he will continue to strike out in the short term in a manner typical of petty criminals: mugging, burglary, the rape of natural resources, intimidation.
Others on the block are surely preparing a similar association on the tough guy's opposite flank. Like the great Chinese civilization under temporary control of the Mongols, these Old World sophisticates of the European continent bridle at a physically intimidating lowbrow despot fumbling about like a lout in a library.
The Western Europeans, Scandinavians, and Eastern Europeans, like the East and South Asians, appreciate the enduring significance of the arts and sciences whilst the plunderer confronting them is threatened by cultural enlightenment.
Though surrounded by an ever-evolving world of aesthetic and scientific advancement this aggressor prefers immersion in the primordial. Antediluvian in his worldview, he demands his household embrace notions of demonic possession, angelic intervention, the viable entreaty of any number of influential deities, and the efficacy of amulets and incantations.
The threatened have seen the atavistic rule through force in the past. Now they await the inevitable self-destruction of history's latest manifestation of human primitivism, which seeks to control by force that which it is inherently incapable of comprehending: civilization.
Cultured in a way the currently dominant predator cannot appreciate, these peoples know the future is theirs for he who threatens them forcibly repudiates aesthetic and intellectual growth, the arts and sciences, in his own home.
Because science texts are debased through the forced inclusion of religious mumbo jumbo his children cannot hope to compete with their intellectually unencumbered neighbors. His family can only continue to rule by force.
Intellects encouraged to respond to scientific and mathematical elegance are likewise ennobled through exposure to and the expression of the fine arts. A household denied these apotheoses of human achievement is doomed to failure.
In truth, the worst of this impulse toward self-destruction takes place within his home. Daughters, though mature, find themselves faced with an abrogation of their right to self-determination.
Even as his domination of the neighborhood is rendered finite by his primitivism and thuggery he redoubles his efforts to dominate his family. These daughters may have achieved some degree of emancipation in the past but, as in all things, he is determined to turn back the clock.
So it is that he turns his various family members against each other in order to maintain his household dominance. Though they have struggled for decades to achieve harmony he knows full well it is better to rule a house divided than to lose his final seat of power.
Such ruthlessness has been the bane of history. It is happening again and only because we allow it to continue. He works for us.
R.H. Joseph is a longtime employee of the News Daily. His column appears on Wednesdays. He may be reached at (770) 478-5753, ext. 252, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.