Special Note: Please note that this scenario is meant to be read as entertainment, not as an accurate prediction of the future. Also note that the viewpoints and opinions that may come across in this scenario are not necessarily the viewpoints and opinions of the author.
The Second Dark Ages were an era where warfare and religion took precedence over science. Religion emphasizes faith, not reason. Great minds are not necessarily limited to talking about the economy and the price of gas on Facebook; as individual members of the human race, they are often concerned with matters of both personal morality and political philosophy. If they ask such questions and speak out, they are a threat to rouse the people. George W. Bush made it a "thought crime" to criticize the United States of America in any shape or form. Even private e-mails and telephone calls could be used to convict "potential terrorists."
During the period in which the United States of America held cultural and political power in the Western Hemisphere, unquestioning obedience to religious dogma was required. Freethinkers were often arrested for crimes against the state, denied important jobs due to "economic reasons," or denounced openly on cable news channels and Conservapedia; a website for conservative Christian schoolchildren.
The Second Dark Ages for most of the United States of America alledgely started on September 11, 2001 when the World Trade Center in New York City was destroyed and will probably not end until the year 2045 or even further when the Singularity become more than just a distant fantasy or an impossible dream. By then, unemployment won't be a concern at all because all humans will work from home. Conservative governments (practicing a semi-theocratic ideology partly hidden from immigrants that don't share the same beliefs as the majority of the country) managed to gain control of more than half the world's government during this time; promoting an agenda of stifling international trade in favor of local protectionism. They attempted to restore religion into an increasingly agnostic/atheist world (i.e., in school prayer and faith-based programs) without much success.
However, some people say that the Second Dark Ages began on September 2008 when the American banking system collapsed due to the subprime mortgage crisis, and other may have believed that the Second Dark Ages had began in 2005 with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, reelection of George W. Bush and the focus on the death of Pope John Paul II and the election of Pope Benedict XVI who brought back the Christian values of the European medieval period. With the best minds unemployed due to "lack of government funding", "lack of private sector funds," or stifled by the conservative newspapers of Washington, D.C., the country was utterly unable to achieve progress or prosperity.
In 2010 an open information organization called WikiLeaks started releasing "whistle blower" reports to the world's established media outlets and the "new media" of the day. Outrage was expressed by foes and allies. In the United States of the America lines were drawn between "patriotic" zealots then known as "teabaggers" and the new media independence advocates. Internet based attacks on Wikileaks servers and retaliatory attacks by neo(?)-anarchists(?) lead to arrests and censorship. In 2011 the US regulatory agency known as the Federal Communications Commission allowed a merger of huge media companies that, along with the decisions of the US Supreme Court to allowed unmeasurable sums of cash (hence, "speech" by that same court's definition...) into the election process.
The history of the United States after the shift in thinking from centre-left to far-right in the post-2012 mindset has been affected drastically by conservative Christianity. Tech firms looking to hire and university professors wrote in their statements that the U.S. was no longer a nation with scientifically progressive values. Technology companies increasingly saw American citizens as uneducated conservative Christians and scouted out employees from progressive areas like Canada, Western Europe, Japan and urban China instead. Independent thinking was stifled, scientific advance was non-existent, and dropping out of high school was rampant. Americans of early 21st century fell far below the knowledge level, standard of living, and life expectancy that had been attained decades earlier. They lost the education and job opportunities that the Baby Boomer generation period had experienced.
Beginning of the Central Regime
The twilight ages that began on 9/11/2001 finally faded to dark prior to the beginning of the "Roaring 2020s." The American government started referring to itself as the Central Regime and became a fascist police state. Just like Joseph McCarthy blamed effeminacy and homosexuality on Josef Stalin's USSR, the "good old boys" of Conservapedia blamed everything unmasculine, un-Christian and un-heterosexual on Vladimir Putin's "Eurasian Union;" even though the Putin has made a lot of effeminate things illegal for men to wear at all times.
By January 1, 2020 the fascist Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is given the greenlight in a rigged national referendum to increase security around airports; arresting mentally sick and/or disabled people who attempt to leave or enter the United States of America. The United States government seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. Ordinary citizens are often sought out by government agencies to inform on neighbors, monitor the movements of loved ones, report on views expressed in the workplace, intervene in cases of subversion and listen to suspect telephone calls (only applies if the person is a male and is over the age of 25; which is the age of majority in a conservative Christian America). American citizens (both young and old alike) will slowly fight back against the TSA, disbanding them by force in an Act of Congress that takes place sometime in 2049.
Virtual riots (i.e., people complaining about the economy and the new Internet restrictions) that appeared on Facebook forced the United States Supreme Court to carefully monitor Facebook interactions that originate from legal U.S. residents. The reason behind this ruling: "Facebook has a tendency to incite anarchist behaviors and tendencies on American youths and unemployed American adults and senior citizens." By the start of the 22nd century, the United States of Earth implemented "net neutrality" over the entire planet; thus ending the Second Dark Ages on the Internet and the metaphorical adolescence of our human civilization.
In certain respects, organizations like United States of Europe, the United States of Earth, and the Republic of Sol are merely successors to the "prison planet" that housed many "police state" republics who desperately wanted to cure autism and make people "regular" again.
The fact that more than 90% of the world's scientists didn't believe in God disturbed the governments and the common folk of that even greater. Autistic people were at the mercy of their parents, relatives, legal guardians, and group homes until a cure was discovered sometime prior to the year 2023. Crime was starting to elevate but people were not sure whether more churches or more funding to police stations would end all crimes permanently. Even as we speak, conservative Christian Republican Congressmen are hacking into Wikipedia and replacing all the useful/liberal information about U.S. politics with useless/conservative information that teaches people to obey the Republican party and "disregard what they hear in the public school system."
The delay in transitioning from analog television to digital television came from Barack Obama running his country like it was Ethiopia, Kenya, or Somalia or having taxes similar to Norway or Sweden as opposed to one of the eight wealthiest countries in the world. It would take Jon Huntsmen's election in 2016 for America to finally turn around financially. In fact, countries such as Finland and New Zealand have more economic freedom than the United States.
This delay in eliminating analog terrestrial television in favor of digital would delay new channels and vital government services that would help restore confidence in the American government. The Canadians would eventually transfer themselves to digital terrestrial television by August 31, 2011 and get back into an economic boom by the end of the decade. However, this economic miracle alone wouldn't be enough to force the world out of Second Dark Ages singlehandedly. The conservative elements in the American government that caused the economic recession years in advance would try to prolong the recession in order to force Obama (and later Huntsmen) to divert all funding from scientific research and the space program into the armed forces and into faith-based programs for sexual abstinence and "preaching the End Times" that are "supposed to take place on January 19, 2038."
These people were left over from the George W. Bush administration and were lucky to be re-elected into the Obama administration. While the Second Dark Ages were threatening to make the automobile an unaffordable luxury because the price of automobiles started to exceed $140,000 USD, visionaries and futurists around the world were helping government officials jump-start the global economy. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were threatened with "being started with motorized vehicles and ended with horse and buggies." Many people thought that we would have to go back to horse and buggies (or at least back to the Bennett buggy) if all the manufacturing jobs left Canada and the United States for Mexico and other third world countries. The War in Afghanistan did eventually end shortly after the Canadians withdrew on December 2016.
Temporary Return to Arch-Conservatism
America as we know it in the early 21st century will eventually renounce its former status as a liberal democracy and become a Neo-Confederate fascist police state by the year 2020. Everyone under the age of 25 is forced to watch The Cartoon Network and The Disney Channel under the threat of a death sentence. Women who can't get married before their 31st birthday are forced to work at McDonald's for a meager wage until they die (or get married). Most conservative Christian Americans don't read books, enjoy nature, spend time by themselves, think independently or have meaningful conversations. Instead, they drive very fast, watch excessive amounts of television on wall-size sets, and listen to conservative talk radio and country music. Books are considered evil because they make people question and think; which is a liberal trait. The people live in a world with no reminders of history or appreciation of the past.
Free speech is prohibited and suppressed by the Firemen, corporations run the country with legalized slavery and have full access to everyone's information at all times, pollution is sold as food (resulting in the poor starting to become mutants), the CIA have been replaced by the freaking Ministry of Love, prisons are re-education facilities (not that it matters, as virtually everyone is sentenced to death). Crime -- especially youth-related -- is relatively low, thanks to the all-pervasive police force. Women have been reduced to second-class citizens, homosexuals are openly hated and prosecuted, virtually all government spending goes to the military, there is no immigration at all and anyone found in the country illegally is executed. Large corporations tend to be above the law, and use their financial clout to gain ever-increasing government benefits. Citizens must pay to enjoy Conservative Christian America's pristine beaches, the populace has developed a mortal fear of the woods, nudity is frowned upon, and scenic tours are unheard of after most environmental laws were abolished. Until nanobots were manufactured to scrub away all the world's pollution in 2025, America's toxic air pollution was extremely problematic; especially with the industries being extremely de-regulated.
The police will be allowed by an act of Congress to have a division that is literally called the Death Squad (who go around shooting at any and all criminals with M16 rifles and will execute anyone who surrenders to them). An "Achilles Heel" list was created with all the names of the women who have graduated with a bachelor's degree in university or above; they would not be allowed to stay in the United States for more than three weeks per calendar year. Visiting female professors will only be able to teach in zones approved for women professors: Los Angeles, New York City, Baltimore/Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Chicago.
Temple Grandin would be institutionalized and her books would be burned by an elite group of firemen. Even if she were a male, Dr. Grandin's humane ideas of cattle ranching would be ridiculed by the food companies that would pass off pollution/processed food off as "vitamin, nutrient and mineral-rich meals and snacks." The populace harbors a fierce hatred of the metric system, almost all of Conservative Christian America's water is piped into the country from abroad for exorbitant prices, the people are famous throughout the region for their bleached-white teeth, and retail stores offer sales every hour on the hour. Books are considered evil because they make people question and think; which is a liberal trait. The people live in a world with no reminders of history or appreciation of the past.
Government/private sector funding
However, the necessary measures to successfuly create a second golden age of prosperity were being assembled by the leaders in the scientific community, heads of the automobile industry, and believers in space colonization. Eventually, science and space exploration would end up having their full funding restored (although help from the private sector was always appreciated from then on). Massive labor-intensive farms with blue-collar labor were replaced by in vitro meat farms with white collar technical jobs that paid more than cattle farm laborer jobs. However, they required at least a Bachelor's degree in biology (four years in university) and not suitable for most ex-farmers.
It will become illegal for the cost of electricity and food to be raised above prevailing inflation rates. If inflation is negative, then the cost of electricity and food must come down. Everyone will develop the right to have a home. Governments must assist people who cannot pay their rent, mortgage, utilities, or property taxes. Homeless people will be rounded up and placed in residential work units for ten years. The right to have free mass transit service between towns and cities with a population of at least 20000 people will be created by the elite liberal government who takes over from the Conservative Christian Republicans.
If the person's line of work was not based out of his or her home, then all of these employees were required to use mass transit to commute to work - automobiles are seen as stodgy and elitist in the 21st century as horse and buggies were seen in the 20th century. That way, the traveling to work would actually reduce the carbon footprint that people made. Many people in the year 2025 would tell people that they "take the high-speed train to work" as opposed to saying that the "drive their vehicle to work." This is especially seen in the city of Hamilton, Ontario where one million people will live, work, and play in by the year 2030. Spaceports would eventually allow leisure travel to other planets in addition to immigration for work reasons in addition to marriage, escape from persecution, etc..
Land that is not suitable for residential development or other human purposes were "re-wilded" or transformed back into pristine woodland. The downfall of the big cattle and pig farms would come into reality sometime between the years 2025 and 2045. By then, researchers finally succeeded in making in vitro meat affordable to everyone during that era. It could be said that the in vitro meat hamburger from the year 2050 tastes a lot better than a "dead cow" hamburger from the year 2010. Traditional farming methods has begun to become over-reliant on fossil fuels and were abandoned in favor of in vitro meat and vegetable/fruit/grain farming through the use of vertical skyscraper farms.
2034 would see the dawn of an elite liberal American government that would finally lighten up the Second Dark Ages; helping to bring it to a swift end. This new American adminstration will pardon transgendered, homosexual, bisexual and androgynous people that were labelled as mentally sick and/or perverted from 2024 to 2033. Government officials were banned from using Facebook and DMV record keepers became fully automated with no human involvement allowed.
By the year 2039, the Second Dark Ages become a just a blip in the radar of human civilization as prosperity from the Universal Peace Charter of 2037 would come after a five-year economic depression caused by the complete automation of the world's armed forces. It would be in that era that a high school diploma or G.E.D. would become mandatory for all adult residents in developed countries. The discovery on planets near Barnard's Star, a solution to the ever-pondering minds of scientists since the 20th century, also provides a need to hire more scientists.
Television would be criminalized in 2040 due to the graphic violence and strong sexual content found in "conservative" movies and television shows, forcing the cable news people to migrate to digital AM radio.
Eventually, a matriarchal society will be formed out of the ashes of an arch-conservative America as it is forced to merge with Canada to become Canadamerica. Love and romance will be declared redundant as the government develops an AI system that automatically appoints two local people of the opposite gender to marry on their 21st birthday. Both spouses would share common background along with belonging to the same socioeconomic standing and political preferences. This will basically nationalize the services that a website like EHarmony.com does now for Americans and makes it mandatory.
By the year 2105, women will hold all the government positions, dominate the intelligentsia, and become the legal head of their households. Men will be forced to become househusbands and they will not be allowed to vote in elections or hold a political office.
Husbands will adopt this mantra in their lives: I am subordinate to my wife because she is the head of the family; just as philosophy is the head of scientific endeavors. A man is never to be independent of female authority. First, he is under his mother’s authority, and then under his wife’s authority. A widower would be under his daughter’s authority, or, if he had no daughters or his daughters were young, he would return to his mother’s authority unconditionally.