Our Parasitic Generation By Victor Davis Hanson for Town Hall
Yes, there is a lot of ruin in great nations. But even America is by now running low on it.
“Be assured young friend, that there is a great deal of ruin in a nation.”
— Adam Smith
Are we sure that there is all that much ruin left in the United States?
We are $31 trillion in collective debt. The new normal is $1.5 trillion budget deficits. The military is politicized and short of recruits. We trade lethal terrorists for woke celebrity athletes as if to confirm our enemies’ cynical stereotypes.
Our FBI is corrupt and discredited, collaborating with Silicon Valley contractors to suppress free speech and warp elections. We practice segregation and racial discrimination and claim we do not because the right and good people support it and, anyway, the victims deserve it. The country has seen defeat before but never abject, deliberate humiliation as in Kabul, when we fled and abandoned to the terrorist Taliban a $1 billion embassy, a huge, remodeled air base, thousands of friends, and tens of billions of dollars in military hardware—and hard-earned deterrence.
We are witnessing the breakdown of basic norms essential for civilized life, from affordable food and fuel to available key antibiotics and baby formula. Old Cairo seems safer than an after-hours subway ride or stroll at dusk in many major American cities. Medieval London’s roadways were likely cleaner than Market Street in San Francisco. Speech was freer in 1920s America than it is now.
The Breakdown of Basic Society
Our California always is a preamble to America’s future. Our present is likely your tomorrow.
Each summer here we impotently expect forest conflagrations. Millions of acres of flames pour more millions of tons of smoke and carbon and soot in the skies. Tens of millions of hated combustion engines cannot begin to match the natural blankets of aerial dirt.
The state seems to shrug it off, saying wildfires are both inevitable and natural. Old-fashioned forest management and fire-fighting strategies, honed over centuries, are deemed obsolete by our green experts. So, we let fiery nature take its better course. What is the implicit message to those in the way of fires that devour homes and trees? Nature’s way? Natural wood mulch? Or that such fools should not build their cabins or homes where they are not wanted?