August 01, 2021

The Decade of Our Discontent


Perhaps we should call it "death creep." Slowly, slowly, America drifts towards its end. We all feel it on a daily basis: a pandemic that looks like it's here to stay; China rising, replacing us step by step; a high suicide rate among our armed forces, in the context of stupid and meaningless wars; the widening gap between rich and poor; direct human relationships supplanted by digital/virtual ones; and so on (it's a long list). It is said that yes, Rome was invaded, sacked, but the real fall of Rome took the form of imperial overstretch (our problem as well) and what some historians have called "the death of a thousand cuts." It's possible, or even probable, that we shall see another 9/11, or another 2008 (economic crash); but the real work of History tends to be glacial. Millimiter by millimiter, we are going down the drain. Who could have imagined, even 10 years ago, a scenario in which one American tells another to put on a mask, and the offended individual takes out a gun and shoots the first one? And that this scenario would be played out repeatedly? Has it really come to this? Meanwhile, the smartest in the land, the pundits at the NYT and elsewhere, keep telling us that this is temporary; that we shall pull through this. Only a few Cassandras--very few--say the obvious: that by the end of this decade, America will be unrecognizable, a very different sort of country (with or without Trump). Meanwhile, the great mass of people live in a fog, oblivious to an end-of-civilization process that has been repeated many times in the past.

Something I have been arguing since 2000, when I published The Twilight of American Culture: There are two, and only two, ways out: you can leave the country, or you can become a New Monastic Individual. There is no bright future for the US. The lights are slowly going out, and by 2030, things will be very dim. Recognizing this, as very few do, is called Reality.