Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Decline and fall?

Fred Reed, whom we've met in these pages many times, isn't very hopeful about the future of the USA.  It's hard to gainsay the negatives he's seeing.

I am not sure why people write columns. Partly from boredom, I suppose, or lack of anything better to do. Partly from exasperation. Yet partly from the hope that if enough people collectively become aware of problems, they might, just maybe, do something about them. I can’t believe this any longer. Today’s crimes, lunacies, and decays  are too many, profitable, and intractable. We are racing out of control toward some as yet dimly limned catastrophe. Hang on and take the ride.

To begin with, America is no longer a country. It is a set of special interests occupying the same place: Corporations, races, ethnicities, faiths, ideologies, foreign agents pretending to be Americans, all at each other’s throats. No cure is possible.

Racial relations are a disaster. Blacks, fourteen percent of the country, are congenitally furious at whites. They neither assimilate nor want to. Whether they should doesn’t matter since it will not happen.

. . .

Hispanics, seventeen percent of the population,  have a much higher likelihood of assimilating, and are doing so, but it will not happen overnight and will never be complete. They face intense hostility from much of the white population. Add Somalis, North Africans, Jews, Asians, and various Muslims and you have more than a third of the country.  Their interests are their own interests. This cannot be changed.

Americans no longer have a shared identity, a common culture to hold them together. In 1950 America was overwhelmingly white, European, and Christian. How deeply one believed was not the point. Christianity was a matrix binding all, as Catholicism is in Latin America. Today Christianity is like marijuana–tolerated, barely legal, but better not to get caught. Whites are reviled by those of lesser capacity and, weirdly, by themselves. What do we now have in common? Almost nothing. This will not change before some strange looming denouement befalls us.

Government has changed irrevocably, and changes yet. It no longer consists of executive, judicial, and legislative branches. In  practice the branches are now the Presidency, Wall Street, the corporations, AIPAC, and the media, with overlap and interlocking directors. Elections are play toys to occupy the public. The levers of governance are no longer accessible to the populace. Governments gain power. They do not give it up. This will not change.

. . .

Overall, America declines into the Third World. The one percent own most of the country while the middle class declines. Retirement plans and health insurance evanesce. The police become more brutal and less accountable. Censorship intensifies. Impunity grows: Nobody went to jail for the subprime scam. Politicians pose in front of The Flag, trumpet democracy but do not practice it.  Surveillance quietly grows: TSA, tracking by cell-phone location records, NSA’s internal spying, social media recording everything we do, and now Alexa and voice-controlled televisions constantly listen in our homes. Civil unrest grows with street gangs of Antifa and BLM fighting white nationalists and defying police.

We know the foregoing, many of us. The takeaway is that none of it is preventable. We careen toward whatever epochal demise awaits us. Slow motion or all at once, it will be a doozy.

There's more at the link.  I very strongly recommend clicking over to Fred's site to read the whole thing.

I must admit, recent primary elections appear to confirm Fred's views.  Consider last night in Florida.  The Democratic candidate for governor is a "progressive", endorsed by Bernie Sanders from his socialist perspective.  The Republican candidate is endorsed by President Trump, a capitalist and (relative) conservative.  From what I can see, they espouse radically different positions, and offer radically different solutions to the voting public on how to deal with our problems.  It's an "either-or" situation, without much "meet-in-the-middle".  That's just one primary election.  Many others, in many other states, appear to offer the same conundrum.

As William Butler Yeats said, in another context:  "Things fall apart;  the center cannot hold".  Is there a "center" in American politics any more?  Is there a single common value around which both Left and Right can coalesce, rejecting the extremes?  If you can see one, please let us know in Comments . . . because the politicians certainly aren't offering one!



LindaG said...

Sadly, I agree. The America I grew up in, in the 50s, can/will never be again.

Hard to believe that 9/11 almost brought us back together.

Aesop said...

"We are racing out of control toward some as yet dimly limned catastrophe."??

Does Mr. Reed have a mouse in his pocket?
Has he returned from his self-imposed exile to Trashcanistan*-on-the Baja (*this being the kinder and more printable of two names I use to describe Turd-world #&!!holes, the one I would have chosen being the one that rhymes with Spitholia)?
The one from whence he regularly lambastes us poor ignorant boobs about how we're doing it wrong, whereas his chosen um, Spithole having vastly better manners, healthcare, and all around good sense than the land of his birth, (provided we leave out mentioning the endemic corruption, impending descent into Venezuelan levels of socialism, the lamprey-like relation it enjoys with us gabacho gringos, the utter dependence upon our sufferance of those predations, the hypocritical stance it takes about its own immigrants as opposed to the one it regularly lobbies for with regard to its own under-educated criminal thieving murdering export to America's lands, and the random appearance of bodies hanging from overpasses and heads in duffel bags or alongside the odd ditch down there in Paradise?
Has he returned to the United States from Rancho del Self Righteousness to breath our air, drink our water, vote in our elections, and share in our plight as someone with skin in the game, rather than make mere occasional condescending forays up north, just long enough to tell us poor provincial boobs everything wrong with us, especially in contrarst to the glories of institutionalized corruption and socialism that makes the worst predations of Washington DC pale in comparison? And notice of which by him out loud would occasion his arrest and expulsion under draconian statutes, by a kleptocracy which would regard his gibes in their direction as invitation to expel him, or toss him in jail for a decade or so to contemplate the multitude of his political sins as a foreign dissident?

No? None of that has happened?
This is my shocked face.

So, it's just more "See here, ignorant norteamericano boobs, I, anti-Trumper Fred, so much smarter than you, know what you should do...", i.e. The Usual Tripe, served as warmed up leftovers?

He could invent a cure for cancer, and post the recipe on his page, and I'd sooner read the cartoon pages in the local bird-cage wrap than waste any more time on his mewling. Until he deigns to live among us, rather than extol the virtues of the Marxist utopia he's chosen, he's made his bed, let him lie in it.
And from it.

Or at least stop the pretense that he's an American in any manner whatsoever except his passport cover, when it's convenient for him, and drop that "we" malarkey.

You want to stand overseas and tell us what's wrong with the United States from a foreign land?
Take a number, and get in line, buddy.
You're number 7,000,000,003, and we're currently serving #2.

Jim22 said...

I used to have Fred on my list of bookmarks - until he started bashing the US military. I think he has become bitter because of his sight problems. He lives a rather idyllic life just south of Guadalajara in the gringo community around lake Chapala. He lives with what sounds like a beautiful Mexican woman, Violeta.

It is interesting, though, how one's vision of the United States is altered when an American lives in another country. Most news you get about the United States is from American and local news sources. We know they are less than totally truthful.

Navy91 said...

Willy Kanos, I agree with you, but don't forget that if he is posting to the internet he has access to all of the same news sources you and I do. Heck, even local news stations and newspapers have web sites now.

Unknown said...

I am disgusted by the author's insistence that all of this is unchangeable so we might as well "lie back and think of England", to quote the old, popular saying.

Times change. Cultures change. Life is about dealing with the changes

I find it interesting that there are now more Hispanics than Blacks. I guess that's because the Black women have taken control of their bodies and reproductive rights whereas many Hispanics are trying2B "good" Catholics by not practicing birth control. This will GUARANTEE the Death of American Culture

Unknown said...

I am ESMERELDAN which is what should have appeared, not "Unknown"

Roy said...

I am definitely with Aesop here.

Fred can be entertaining on occasion, but mostly he's become an embittered old expat journalist.

Paul, Dammit! said...

Unfortunately, none of that makes him wrong.
In fact, none of the complaints here address the fact that he might be correct. We just don't like being judged. But what if the judge is right? His being disconnected doesn't change that.

Old NFO said...

The center has become so diluted it effectively no longer exists... sigh

Jim22 said...

@Paul, Dammit... No, it doesn't make him wrong. Nor does it make him right. I will propose that Mr. Reed does not have the full picture. What is more, no one has the full picture - including both me and you. We are fed a steady diet of 'Facts' that are, or may not be, true. Each of us uses them to come to our own conclusions. The wise among us know that and try to reach our own. Mr. Reed is no different.

The trouble comes when the trusted sources are corrupted. We Americans have long believed that institutions like the FBI were dedicated to our protection. Lately we have learned that the FBI has been made into an arm of something other than us. Nowadays we have found that we cannot trust what comes out of any government entity. That is what people like Ayn Rand, Orwell, and others have warned about. It's being exposed but we don't know how long it has been operating.

Mr. Reed does not have any solutions. Neither do I. We should be preparing for the worst in order to survive. For me that is more important than someone barking in the night.

The Lab Manager said...

If we were not importing turd worlders even if they do have education and higher level jobs skills, it is no wonder we are not more cohesive.

Both the leftards, conservatards, and open border libertardians are oblivious to the issues.

I have friends from other countries, but small doses only please.

Glenda T Goode said...

Be careful to not read too much into the socialist label for the democrats. Politics is a game of contrast. You have a slate of candidates and they seem to be mirror images of each other. One democrat. The other republican. Both are from 'the establishment' so you know both are big machine politicians. Vote for one or the other and it does not matter much because nothing really is going to change.

Now, put a candidate in the mix who talks different and acts different. Now there is a huge 'apparent' difference between them. When you vote you can see one as an establishment candidate and the other as a 'new way of being' candidate. This time you apparently have choices. The reality is that the socialist will end up falling into line if they are elected, just like the other candidate.

Democrats have always been socialists. They just never admitted it before. Well, I take that back. A rare few would admit it before . This election it is getting trendy to say you are a socialist.

The results of the election in all races is not as important as how deeply embedded the government is in everything in our lives. Urban folks and Suburban folks do not see the problem because the government serves them as far as roads, waste removal, community activities and practically every aspect of their lives outside of their homes and perhaps inside as well.

Rural folks have none of the big government indicators in our lives and we see the government as a source of annoying intrusions as opposed to providing needed services. To us, our reaction to a socialist is a 'no thank you very much' as we can take care of ourselves. To a city dweller, the government is everything.

The only common denominator that is not being discussed is 'freedom'. I am not talking about the freedom to get welfare and healthcare and day care and schools. I am talking about the freedom of choice. No one is talking about that. If you were to look for the biggest difference between conservatism and socialism it is freedom. Economic freedom.

The left has the masses convinced that it is impossible to become wealthy for the average person. The system is stacked against you. The only things stacked against someone were created by the left. Excessive rules for businesses. Regulations as to land use and transportation all serve to restrict business. These are all left wing constructs. They will say they are good for society but when you get down to it, they limit freedom.

A candidate who can articulate well and can inspire people to 'aspire' to be successful on their own will be far more electable than an establishment republican when facing an avowed socialist. Freedom. Freedom. Freedom.

Tal Hartsfeld said...

Society's little more than an incubator for social viruses.
Just like a classroom or an office building, everyone seems to catch whatever's "going around".
Just living in the society alone will make you vulnerable to catching whatever diseases are prevalent in said culture.

Uncle Lar said...

The aftermath from the Florida primaries seems to fall mainly with apologists in the media and the usual pundits either trying to turn the Republican winner's comment about socialists monkeying around in American politics into a racial slur, or trying very hard to convince listeners that all these self avowed socialists really aren't socialists, just caring politicians.
In other words same scheiss different day.
Of course as any good socialist knows it has to be the perfect political system, all knowing, all caring, freebies for everyone. The fact that every time it's been tried it fails with lethal results just means it's never been done right. But this next time will be different. Just wait and see.

Will said...

Contrary to Aesop on this subject, I think Fred and a few other US citizens living and blogging outside the confines of the country bring a useful perspective. Living in an area of noxious odors, one eventually stops noticing the smell. It's just part of life there. Become a visitor instead of resident, and that sort of thing becomes, and stays, apparent and obvious and memorable.
Fred is sort of a remote coal mine canary. He gets the atmosphere piped to him, instead of going to it.
Remains to be seen if the canary is safer doing this.

Tom Grey said...

"Governments gain power. They do not give it up. This will not change."

What the NeverTrumpers hate about Trump is that ... he IS changing this. He is, very slowly, reducing regulations and taxes.

Regulations and taxes, the two main ways gov't gets more power. We mostly need to reduce them. Folk support taxes in order to get "free" gov't benefits. We need to reject more gov't benefits.

Big tech, thru advertisements, has gained a huge amount of data on many individuals. Free individuals probably need to support a bit more gov't regulation over FB and Google.

Colleges are indoctrination centers, subsidized by gov't loans.