Are We the Last Americans?

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Sometimes nightmares end well. 

Sometimes they don’t.

Salon carries a depressing story for the lower 48 of North America. Author Alfred McCoy writes:

Despite the aura of omnipotence most empires project, a look at their history should remind us that they are fragile organisms. So delicate is their ecology of power that, when things start to go truly bad, empires regularly unravel with unholy speed: just a year for Portugal, two years for the Soviet Union, eight years for France, 11 years for the Ottomans, 17 years for Great Britain, and, in all likelihood, 22 years for the United States, counting from the crucial year 2003.

He proceeds to examine four scenarios that would turn the USA into a minor nation by the year 2025.

Is McCoy right?

He could be.  If our purpose is or becomes imperialism, then we are doomed. Deservedly so. Empires fall because they are unsustainable, to coin a phrase. Imperialism relies on continued spread of power.  Once there’s no place left to conquer—or the supply lines stretch too thin—the house of cards collapses.  Quickly, as McCoy points out.

On the other hand, if our purpose as a people is to protect life, defend and advance the cause of liberty, and to allow just men and women the unbounded opportunity to pursue happiness according to their will, then the disaster scenarios Professor McCoy details will be avoided.

The reason the Tea Party ideals continue to grow and spread is because those ideals begin with the people.  A government that serves the people who formed it and sustain it will be too weak to become an empire.  A government that lords over its people has already become worse than empire; it has become a tyranny.

“Men’s courses will foreshadow certain ends, to which, if
persevered in, they must lead,” said Scrooge. “But if the
courses be departed from, the ends will change. Say it is
thus with what you show me!”

The Spirit was immovable as ever.

                                                       —Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

 

No other nation was founded on a belief in such a profound truths as was this nation.  Our beliefs, brought to life through the Constitution and sustained by an informed electorate, produced wealth beyond our imagination. But that wealth and our power are by-products of the America Ideal, not its end.

Let’s make McCoy’s wonderfully chilling article serve us the way the Ghost of Christmas Yet to come served Scrooge. Let’s return our government and our people to those founding principles before it’s too late.