Do not give in to pessimism and despair

With the electors having cast enough votes to make Biden president-elect, Trump-supporters are feeling existential gloom about their and America's prospects.  This pessimism should have no place in the great American experiment.  Pessimism?

The writing of the late historicist, Sir John Glubb, is relevant.  In his essay The Fate of Empires and Search for Survival, he describes consistent patterns and stages in the rise and fall of great nations:

  • The age of pioneers
  • The age of conquests
  • The age of commerce
  • The age of affluence
  • The age of intellect
  • The age of decadence

The first two stages are characterized by an abundance of exuberance, enthusiasm, and optimism.  There is a strong "can-do" spirit that leads to successful growth and bountiful gains.  That forms the basis for the growth of commerce, which leads to wealth, bringing affluence and time for leisure and development of intellectual pursuits.

Eventually, life gets too easy, and the sense of focus and unified purpose of preceding generations becomes diluted and dissipates.  Sir John attributes negative characteristics to this stage:

  • Defensiveness
  • Pessimism
  • Materialism
  • Frivolity
  • An influx of foreigners
  • The welfare state
  • A weakening of religion

(See Cal Thomas's new book, America's Expiration Date, which uses Glubb's essay as its primary organizing thread.)

Glubb also notes that, albeit with exceptions, great nations or empires typically last about 250 years, which is close to America's age — and clearly, we see the patterns of decadence in today's America.  Don't despair yet, though.

It's important to square in our minds that America's founding was the outgrowth of Europeans wanting to free themselves 17th-century Europe's decadence and political and economic sclerosis.  The colonists, freed from their homelands' administrative bureaucracy, necessarily disciplined themselves to organize a minimalist social and political schema.

By the time the King Georges began to view the colonies as a convenient cash cow exclusively beholden to the crown, the colonies were already success stories in managing their affairs, sans the blessings of the royal ring and scepter.  And by the time they declared their political independence, they were already functionally independent.  The king may not have liked it, but he was substantially irrelevant to their business.

That was the foundry of limited government and the American can-do spirit, which served the new nation well, as Americans formed an empire, ocean to ocean.  The rest is history, and America has become the shining city on the hill, a jewel glistening and refracting a rich, radiant spectrum over the entire planet.

I suggest that the decadence began starting with the 1950s and 1960s, though it was tempered by the sweatbox that was the Cold War.  When the Iron Curtain ripped into a zillion shards, the free-for-all could begin.

There were other challenges, but Life Got Easy, and easy enough that Americans began to expect luxury attainable without sweat equity.  We just need the right constellation of government programs, don't you know.  "Ask not what you can do for your country, but what your country can do for you."

Abundant pathologies took root.  For one, we expected high wages and low prices for consumer goods.  The unions, once paragons of useful reform, became an organized "gimme" movement.  Companies folded or moved offshore.  As companies became interested in China, China took a wolf's interest in America, and the steel belt became the rust belt.  Government money ruined college affordability, as the colleges became spawning vats for useless "studies" programs and warped "realities."

We finally got to the Obama years, and that president used his golden voice to snake-charm a gullible citizenry into a flawed vision that America's best days were over.  He would kindly and mercifully manage the decline, as a sort of "hospice care" for a nation.  Had Hillary won in 2016, that decline would only continue, as the left's nihilist cancer metastasized.

But in came the Trumpster, and he broke the snake-charmer's spell.  Within four years, even with the WuFlu invasion, the nation staged a stunning turnaround.  And 80 million people — and their kids and their grandkids — took notice.

Eighty.  Million.  People.

Oh, did they notice!

Enthusiasm was suddenly reborn, and it's not likely to evaporate.  If the Biden/Harris imposter presidency sticks, decadence and decline will undoubtedly continue.  What comes may be long and painful.  Biden warned of a "Very Dark Winter," but that may be truer and broader than what he intended if the Democrats' toxic policies set their talons.

An aging, spiritually confused nation will not spontaneously explode into greatness.  It will take a spark, like the one that drove the early colonists.  Phoenix rising from the ashes, so to speak.  However, with a YUUUUGE population priding themselves in America's true formula for success, that spark is waiting to emerge.

Hope for the best, prepare for the not-so-best, and watch for the spark.

IMAGE: The New Spirit of 1776 by Andrea Widburg on Pixlr, using The Spirit of 1776 by Archibald Willard (public domain) and a YouTube screen grab.

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