Friday, February 18, 2011

The fall of America

Consider that the last time the United States won a major war was 1945 - Korea was a stalemate, Vietnam a defeat; the first Gulf War failed to topple Saddam Hussein; Afghanistan and Iraq have become prolonged quagmires. Total victory has become alien to us.

A small example of how far we have fallen, how pampered and coddled we have become, was the decision by the NFL this week to postpone the game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings in Philadelphia. Football players are supposed to be the closest thing Americans have to modern Roman gladiators. The game exemplifies the rugged individualism and grit at the heart of the American character. The reason for the delay: Philadelphia was expecting 11 inches of snow. By comparison with historical Northeast winters, this was a minor storm - something previous generations simply shoveled and plowed through as they got on with their daily lives.

If 11 inches of snow brings America’s gladiators to a halt, it is clear we have lost our resilience.
This is evident, too, in the kinds of leaders we elect. Conventional wisdom holds that Mr. Obama is the antithesis of his predecessor, former President George W. Bush. Mr. Obama is a liberal Democrat. Mr. Bush was a conservative Republican. Mr. Obama is a cosmopolitan internationalist, while Mr. Bush was a unilateralist cowboy. In fact, they have much more in common than either the left or the right would like to admit. Mr. Obama is simply continuing -and intensifying - many of the disastrous Bush policies.

The 19th-century German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche claimed “God is dead.” Nietzsche’s point was that the loss of faith would constitute our civilization’s seminal cultural reality. The passing of the Christian West signifies the end not only of a worldview, but of a character type - one based on honor, family, self-help, blood-and-soil patriotism, personal responsibility and a God-centered moral order. Self-indulgence and self-expression have filled the vacuum. Life is no longer about sacrifice and duty; it’s about maximizing pleasure and self-fulfillment.

Most Americans can no longer endure pain. This is why unemployment benefits keep being extended. This is why nearly every industry is “too big to fail.” It is the inevitable consequence of statism: the transformation of freeborn and productive citizens into de facto serfs who look to Uncle Sam for handouts. Decades of liberalism have led to the servile state.

In the 2000s, as we became soft, self-indulgent and mired in foreign interventions, a new great power emerged: an ultranationalist China. During the past decade, Beijing became the world’s No. 1 manufacturer and automaker, premier exporting nation and No. 2 economy. China is engaged in a massive military buildup and menaces its neighbors. It owns much of our public debt. It is to America what we once were to Great Britain: the rising force in the world.

All civilizations rise and fall. Ancient Greece, Persia, Rome, medieval Europe, the great Italian city-states, the Ottoman Empire, the vast European empires - the past is littered with the corpses of once unparalleled and dominant powers that are now a distant memory. So too has America passed its zenith.

Jeffrey T Kuhner in The WashingtonTimes. More Here. 

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