Is America on the decline?
Victor Davis Hanson, possibly the greatest living American historian, said something that stuck with me:
“Science is dying; superstition disguised as morality is returning. And we’ll all soon become poorer, angrier and more divided.”
I’m sure VDH wouldn’t go as far as I would, but what he is describing is a descent into a modern version of the Dark Ages.
I don’t recall a period during my lifetime when the world had so much promise, prosperity, and potential, only to uniformly be burdened with so many terrible leaders who controlled so much power.
It is like going into a kindergarten classroom filled with kids of the rich and famous and dropping an open box of fragmentation grenades in the middle of the room for them to play with.
From the “meh” leadership of Europe and the UK to a Western Hemisphere “blessed” with commies, incompetents, and incompetent commies, the leadership cupboard is bare. All the members of the British Commonwealth, past and present, have gone nuts – Australia and New Zealand are firmly in the grip of ‘Mask Nazis’ and ‘enviofascists’. Of course, Putin, Xi and the Mad Mullahs have always been megalomaniacs and the Middle East under Islam has been a powder keg since the discovery of oil.
I guess this is what happens when Biden fulfills Obama’s “fundamental transformation” of making the US just one country of many.
Nothing exceptional, no super-power, just another kid in the class.
It is as if we were rocking along, going to space, curing diseases, creating prosperity and suddenly, we just lost interest. The world went from Albert Einstein and Richard Feynman to a sullen teenager who doesn’t want to do his homework and just wants to play Call of Duty all day.
There was a scene in 2015’s continuation of the Jurassic Park franchise, Jurassic World, after the genetically engineered Indominus Rex escapes containment that captures some of what we are facing with our next few generations. Chris Pratt’s character, Owen Grady, says:
“You made a genetic hybrid, raised it in captivity. She is seeing all of this for the first time, she does not even know what she is. She will kill everything that moves.”
Far from a plot device, it is a fact that animals raised in captivity lack the coping skills for a world outside the fences. A 2008 study conducted at the University of Exeter in England of over 2,000 captive animals (all carnivores) released from captivity found that less than a third of them survived even the first 6 months. Not only do the offspring of captive animals lose their ability to hunt and forage for themselves, but they also lose the ability to care for their own offspring – leading to entire generations incapable of independent survival in their natural environment.
The animal family becomes dependent on a third party for individual survival and eventually for the survival of their offspring.
In the early days of the animal rights movements, when animals were released into the wild after a life of captivity, many of the animals were quickly killed by predators or were oblivious to hazards that they had never seen, like those posed by roadways or automobiles.
The West, and America in particular, has essentially raised several generations of humans in an enclosed paddock, fed, clothed, and isolated them from the vicissitudes of the world, and just like the fictional cinematic dinosaur, they don’t even know what they are, so they perceive everything that moves as an enemy – or food.
This is what happens when intellect is given over to an emotion that wants things that are not possible, thinks just because they want something to be true, it is, and believes the stronger the emotion, the truer the truth. Rather than reasoning a way around impossibility, it is an intellect that becomes frustrated and just stops, shuts down and pouts.
That is the earmark of a world that has replaced a system of reason based on facts and reality with one based on emotion and fantasy.
It just seems so dumb – and it isn’t so much that communism is growing, although it is, it is that this form of communism is stupid, directionless, and feckless. It is so ridiculous and absurd, that it doesn’t even know what it is.
At least during the Cold War, the USSR was a serious and predictable enemy, so much so, even Democrats at one time understood the stakes. Today’s communism is the tool of a child, with the same variabilities and a two-year old in a candy store.
Cultures around the world have given over to superstition, unseriousness and fad, elevating emotion over logic – and the results are unfortunately, all too predictable.
There are so many parallels between today and the aftermath of the end of Pax Romana.
After Rome fell, the world fragmented into confusion and darkness for several hundreds of years. Science, literature, and human progress took a back seat to fear, poverty and loathing. One wonders if the end of Pax Americana will have the same effect.
In my opinion, the perfect storm of such terrible leadership around the globe might well produce one of two kinds of “dark ages”. One possibility is the one we traditionally considered, the one where civilization regresses for a time, falling back into more of a tribal existence, where going into survival mode inhibits learning and progress. The other possibility is that we become stuck where we are. We get to keep all our techo-gadgets, but our progress is mired in frivolous, unserious pursuits. Rather than regressing, we simply stop moving forward, we stop improving.
As in both cases, there will always be a class sitting on top that doesn’t suffer the way most of the world does. In my mind, that class is the WEF/Davos crowd. I believe the latter “dark age” scenario is exactly what they are planning and for now, there is nobody to stop them.
That “stopper” was once America.
We can be that again.
If we choose to be.