My takeaway from Victor Davis Hanson’s latest Works and Days (1) offering can be summarized in these few similarly themed phrases throughout:
“…the world will shortly become an even scarier place… In short, we will be back soon to about 1937. The old rules are disappearing… soon, we will learn what we learned last time in 1941…The world by 2016 will be a very dangerous place…”
And, while I readily admit to more selfish concerns (as you will see below), I take absolutely no comfort in his more urgent timelines with respect to “shortly”, “soon”, and “2016”. The grand charade that has dominated recent news cycles has done little to soften the sentiments I had as we were similarly…and oh so cynically…set-up back in April. I humbly resubmit that diary in its entirety here:
A Curse Reserved
Note: The theme of this little commentary has been bouncing around in my head for quite some time without ever really coming together. Some will say is still hasn’t…but as I worked through the Introduction and Prologue of “America Alone”(Steyn) early yesterday morning I realized that, while framed within a different and probably more appropriate context, he was hitting on things I wish I could say. And so I will…
In short, the various man-made financial crises afflicting various centers of the civilized world are quickly dragging us all toward some very dark places and now is the time for the United States to act like the world’s adult…that begins by putting our own house in order. We are the only liberty-based superpower capable of doing this so we must…I repeat must…take the lead. Furthermore, while in that pursuit, Americans must understand the real risks and consequences involved.
First, to put into words what everyone should by now surely understand:
“…different countries reacting to their own particular domestic circumstances will impact in destabilizing ways on the international scene” (1)
Look no further than the dealings of the western powers between last century’s world wars (I recommend Lords of Finance – The Bankers Who Broke the World by Liaquat Ahamed) to understand the knife edge we are balancing on today. Resisting the “herding cats” reference, a strong leader is needed. Furthermore, that lets the cat out of the bag for where this is heading (emphasis added…and where it says “Europe” think a little closer to home):
“No one can give serious thought to Europe’s democratic deficit, unaffordable entitlements, and declining human capital and think it’s the way to go. It’s the end of history, not in the sense of reaching the top of the ladder but only in history sliding back down the chute to start anew – raw, primitive, and bloody.” (2)
Bloody. It is the necessity of adding that last word in order to make this sentiment accurate that has been gnawing at me for quite some time. I won’t pretend here to completely understand the exact depth of societal regression the author was implying but the point is clear…extended world-wide financial instability, uncertainty, and overbearing disorder may eventually lead to recessions, depressions, societal collapses, and even dark ages but, before you get too deep into that list, this type of situation leads rather quickly to wars. Big wars. World wars.
My main point here is that, while the new found (elected) seriousness with respect to fixing America’s checkbook by a few inside the American power beltway is refreshing, the consequences involved with inaction or insufficient action continue to be sold as merely heaping horrendous dept and taxes on our children and grandchildren. This soft peddling of the consequences allows for what erroneously appears to be legitimate debate between the fix-it-now and rabid pragmatist factions within the serious party. As a dedicated member of the former, I certainly do not hate those in the latter. I do disagree with them and fear that their timid practicality can only result in an inadequate response to the growing catastrophe…under their “leadership” the Armageddon of western culture will be just a little sunnier.
For those in both parties that oppose any meaningful reform…well, no, I don’t hate them either…yet. (That is such a strong word.) I do however reserve the right to hate them in the future. As a father on two young children…in particular a three year old boy on track to be of draft-able age in the blink of an “evolving-world-conflict” eye…I fear much more than the exorbitant tax rates the current crop of Modern Progressive Left and pseudo-Progressive Right are cultivating for them. Their world is on track to be bloody…very bloody.
(Yes, I am selfish that way. If my son must go to war in 2028 because some son-of-a-b***h must defend public financing of cowboy poetry in 2011 then…well, that is the way I am going to be.)
Maybe things are already unfixable…maybe they have been for quite some time. Maybe things like this happen as unavoidable events within complex cycles of societal and cultural relations. But, to pick one example, to spend valuable time at the critical juncture arguing over a couple tens of billions of dollars in one year’s budget in the face of monumental…and predictable…financial catastrophe smacks of un-seriousness on a massive scale. This level of misguided ignorance…not to mention petty Presidential politics unworthy of our executive even in the best of time[s]…is unforgivable in national leadership.
No doubt it will be seen as unseemly to curse and berate 95-year-olds long since retired from (and well compensated for) elective public “service” when “The War” necessitated by their incompetence (or worse) comes over the horizon…so I wish to collectively address them now in all of their unserious, undeserving glory:
Damn you, damn you all.
(1) “America Alone – The End of the World as We Know It” by Mark Steyn, pg 24.
(2) From the introduction to the 2008 paperback edition of “America Alone – The End of the World as We Know It” by Mark Steyn
Alas, my contempt for most inside the beltway remains intact.
Proud Redstate Member since April 2006…?