Your Curmudgeon isn’t sure what he’s hearing.
Some voices are elevated in anger, furious about events in Afghanistan and seemingly resolved to expel the villains and incompetents in Washington who are responsible for the debacle. Many of these are persons who’ve expressed similar intentions for some time. But other voices speak in the dreary cadences and tones of resignation, as if to say “Now that our decline from greatness is undeniable, let’s all sit back and enjoy it.” And among those are some who once expressed the same resolve as those in the former camp.
Where does America stand?
It was hard to tell after the fall of South Vietnam, too. At the top, we went from an inept caretaker elevated by the fall of his predecessor to a clueless peanut grower more concerned about getting people to like him than about mastering the job to which he’d been elected. Congress, needless to say, was no better; read William E. Simon’s books A Time for Truth and A Time for Action for the details. The ascension of Ronald Reagan appeared to reverse the trend toward decline, but the events that followed make that reversal seem more illusory than actual.
So where do we stand? What does the future hold for the Land of the Formerly Free?
We can no longer trust electoral processes. The nation is still half-paralyzed by fear over a disease only slightly worse than a bad cold. The Usurpers have strangled our energy production, emasculated our military, and are busily destroying our currency. Our “allies” around the world – they’re actually our client states, but that’s a story for another time – are in terror that what’s just happened to Afghanistan could soon be visited upon them. And dozens of outright political prisoners are being kept in solitary confinement in some Washington sub-basement, for the heinous crime of taking selfies in the Capitol building after having been invited in by the door wardens.
The Founding Fathers would most certainly have been shooting by now. Indeed, the bodies of Usurpers and quislings would be stacked like cordwood. Yet Americans appear to be waiting for someone else to solve the problem. (Israel, perhaps?)
That’s a rather plain indicator. It indicates that the problem is We the People.
Hearken to a cri de coeur more than twenty years old:
Over the past century, liberty has been flensed away from Americans, slice after thin slice. That’s the way to subordinate a free people. Get them used to bending the knee and tugging the forelock in little things first, things that don’t appear to be relevant to them personally. Get them thinking that only antisocial curmudgeons would raise a fuss over matters as trivial as zoning restrictions, or licensing requirements for hairdressers. Better yet, get them thinking that anyone who would resist these “obviously desirable” new requirements of the law must want to do them harm.
With each slice of lost liberty has gone a little of the defiance that animates a free people. We’re closing in on the point of no return, the threshold that, once crossed, will become an impenetrable wall that forbids us a backward step.
In parallel with the loss of personal defiance has gone a slackening of the national will toward foreign enemies. The recent contretemps with the Chinese is an important harbinger of things to come. Few have dared to suggest that, when America puts young men and women into uniforms and weapons into their hands, it’s preparing them to risk their lives for some purpose beyond a trade agreement. Few have dared to suggest that a country whose government dares to take Americans hostage, to stake their lives and freedom as counters in a game, has committed an act of war, an act to which a country with dignity could respond in only one way.
We have become comfortable with subordination at home and humiliation abroad.
The red and white stripes wobble and weave. The starry blue field softens and begins to run. The borders dissolve, the colors blend, and soon there is only a uniform dull brown. The color of mud. The color of failure, The color of the loss of hope. And the hand that holds liberty’s banner aloft slackens, and fails, and becomes cold.
Is there another way to view things?
Your Curmudgeon feels a fog enclosing us. He senses a deepening of national malaise, a slow but steady descent toward irrevocable resignation. The imperatives of personal and familial survival take up all our time and energy. No one seems to have the will to fight. Perhaps we’ve decided that there’s no point to fighting, that subordination and humiliation are our inevitable lot.
Your Curmudgeon reports; you decide.