The Evidence of America’s Deep Decline is All Around Us
“When the group or a civilization declines, it is through no mystic limitation of a corporate life, but through the failure of its political or intellectual leaders to meet the challenges of change. The challenges may come from a dozen sources, and may by repetition or combination rise to a destructive intensity...The concentration of wealth may disrupt the nation in class or race war. The concentration of population and poverty in great cities may compel a government to choose between enfeebling the economy with a dole and running the risk of riot and revolution. Since inequality grows in an expanding economy, a society may find itself divided between a cultured minority and a majority of men and women too unfortunate by nature or circumstance to inherit or develop standards of excellence and taste. As this majority grows it acts as a cultural drag upon the minority; its ways of speech, dress, recreation, feeling, judgment, and thought spread upward, and internal barbarization by the majority is part of the price that the minority pays for its control of educational and economic opportunity. As education spreads, theologies lose credence, and receive an external conformity without influence upon conduct or hope. Life and ideas become increasingly secular, ignoring supernatural explanations and fears. The moral code loses aura and force as its human origin is revealed, and as divine surveillance and sanctions are removed. In ancient Greece the philosophers destroyed the old faith among the educated classes; in many nations of modern Europe the philosophers achieved similar results.” -- Will and Ariel Durant
“The miracle of liberal democratic capitalism is not self-sustaining. Turn your back on its maintenance and it will fall apart. Take it for granted and people will start reverting to their natural impulses of tribalism. The best will lack all conviction and the worst will be full of passionate intensity. Things will fall apart.” – Jonah Goldberg
If you’re a fan of mixed martial arts, there’s a pattern you’ll see repeated over and over again if you watch long enough. Some fighter will come along who will be an absolute killer. He’ll wreck almost everyone that steps in front of him until he gets to his early to mid-thirties. At that point, he’ll look the same, sound the same and appear to fight the same, but suddenly, he’ll lose almost every fight he has. Why? It’s usually hard to say exactly. Did he just lose a little bit of that animal energy people in their early twenties have in abundance? Did too many injuries accumulate and slow him down? Has he just gotten too set in his ways and not kept up with the way the fight game evolved? Maybe it’s just that people have been watching his fights so long that they know all of his weaknesses and know how to take advantage of them. Whatever the case may be, those guys tend to go on long, ugly slides. It often gets to the point where even if they’re one of your favorite fighters, you just want to see them retire so you don’t have to watch them get knocked out by guys who could have never beaten them a few years ago.
Nations tend to fall apart in a roughly equivalent way. They have a breakdown here, a breakdown there, make some bad policy decisions, their government gets too big, regulations get too plentiful, and nobody quite recognizes how bad things are because the country still seems to be limping along, with most people believing things are fine just like they’ve always been, until some major shock to the system hits. At that point, their weakness, fragility, and inability to adapt leave them unable to handle the challenge they’re facing and the whole thing falls to pieces.
Americans in particular tend to be blind to our country’s weaknesses because liberals tend to see our nation as a magical money store with unlimited wealth that was bequeathed to us by our primitive, inferior ancestors who didn’t even have personal pronouns. Meanwhile, conservatives are so focused on defending America from the slander aimed at it by terrorists and woke socialists that we often paper over issues that should concern us. Yes, America is #1. So was Mike Tyson until Evander Holyfield beat him twice in a row and he never became heavyweight champion again.
So, are we still the America that saved the world in WW1 and WW2 and led the free world to a victory over the Soviet Union in the Cold War? A hyperpower that is more militarily and economically powerful than any nation in history? A country that takes pride in freeing millions and spreading our incredible culture all over the world? Are we still that “shining city on a hill” that Reagan talked about?
There was a time when American culture embraced a Protestant work ethic, merit, Christian ethics, and the rule of law. Back then? Almost the entire planet would have benefitted from adopting our culture. Today, we have a toxic, decadent culture that celebrates victimhood, nihilism, and putting race above individuality. Having a culture like ours is something that you’d wish on an enemy, not something you’d want for a friend.
We take pride in the ways that we’re better than previous generations of Americans. Certainly, we’re richer, less racist, and much better educated. Great, what about everything else? Are we more physically fit than previous generations? Do we have a better work ethic? Are we more moral? Are we having more or fewer children? Are we more or less likely to get married? How about staying married? More polite? Are we softer or stronger? Are we more cowardly or more courageous? Do we have more or less practical skills? Nobody was having trouble figuring out what their gender was or what bathroom they should be using 50 years ago, that’s for sure. I think about my grandfather. He never went to college, but he did fight in WW2. He was also able to build part of the house he lived in, fix a car, butcher a hog, grow crops, and hunt for food. Yes, I can do a lot of things he could never do, but it doesn’t escape me how much less capable the average American, myself included, is than many members of the “Greatest Generation.”
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