True or False
Decline is inevitable?
Decline is a choice?
The answer is to both questions is true. For an individual physical decline is a certainty. The mind, however, can be sharp as a tack until death. For a nation decline is a choice. Individual aspects of any culture or economy will decline, ebbing and flowing like the tide. But a nation, a culture, an economy can choose to reinvent parts of itself and grow to prosper again and again. Or it can choose to give up.
The American people, at least a vast swath of them have not chosen decline, however, many of our political and cultural leaders have.
In a fine exercise in thinking the incomparable Charles Krauthammer wrote recently for the Weekly Standard "Decline is a choice". He is without a doubt correct.
The question of whether America is in decline cannot be answered yes or no. There is no yes or no. Both answers are wrong, because the assumption that somehow there exists some predetermined inevitable trajectory, the result of uncontrollable external forces, is wrong. Nothing is inevitable. Nothing is written. For America today, decline is not a condition. Decline is a choice. Two decades into the unipolar world that came about with the fall of the Soviet Union, America is in the position of deciding whether to abdicate or retain its dominance. Decline--or continued ascendancy--is in our hands.
Not that decline is always a choice. Britain's decline after World War II was foretold, as indeed was that of Europe, which had been the dominant global force of the preceding centuries. The civilizational suicide that was the two world wars, and the consequent physical and psychological exhaustion, made continued dominance impossible and decline inevitable. The corollary to unchosen European collapse was unchosen American ascendancy.
We--whom Lincoln once called God's "almost chosen people"--did not save Europe twice in order to emerge from the ashes as the world's co-hegemon. We went in to defend ourselves and save civilization. Our dominance after World War II was not sought.
Whether the U.S. sought to be a super power all these years later is beside the point, we are. The people in power from the mayor of the wealthy suburb all the way to the current President don't think we should be anymore. There is a belief in all corners of " liberal" worldview that not only is there nothing exceptional about America, but there is a undercurrent of thought that we are undeserving of being a pinnacle nation because of our inherent unfairness, racism, sexism and the whole pantheon of isms.
Facing the choice of whether to maintain our dominance or to gradually, deliberately, willingly, and indeed relievedly give it up, we are currently on a course towards the latter. The current liberal ascendancy in the United States--controlling the executive and both houses of Congress, dominating the media and elite culture--has set us on a course for decline. And this is true for both foreign and domestic policies. Indeed, they work synergistically to ensure that outcome. The current foreign policy of the United States is an exercise in contraction. It begins with the demolition of the moral foundation of American dominance. In Strasbourg, President Obama was asked about American exceptionalism. His answer? "I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism." Interesting response. Because if everyone is exceptional, no one is.
Interesting indeed... I would vote against any politician who uttered such a phrase. Every parent knows regardless of how exceptional the child really is it is their job to be a cheerleader in the presence of the child or not. I honestly get the sense that President Obama has zero pride in this country. His only pride evolves from a government program and not the resourcefulness of the citizenry. He proves this everyday and in every way with policy proclamations that would shackle that resourcefulness and replace it with another inept government solution.
Words can't describe how much I dislike Obama's vision for America.