“Consider America today. By comparison with Japan, China, Korea, it is a barbarity, a dumpster, an asylum, an abattoir, an astonishment”
BY FRED REED
As the sentient have presumably noticed, the United States is in crisis, the country’s problems are profound, intrinsic, without solution, and worsening. When a population reaches the point of despair, even desperation, when it sees a darkening future for itself and its children, people yearn for a strong man who will forcibly put things right. Yet it is unlikely that helicopters of Marines from Quantico will descend on the White House and announce the dictatorship of some general. Military officers are too well paid and comfortable to worry about the country. It is hard to imagine an American Mussolini. Trump is a caricature and no one else comes to mind. Yet “unrest” –less euphemistically, “chaos” on the order of Mr. Floyd’s massive riots, is possible. We have seen it. We can see it again.
Consider America today. By comparison with Japan, China, Korea, it is a barbarity, a dumpster, an asylum, an abattoir, an astonishment. San Francisco loses conventions because of needles and excrement on the sidewalks. Almost weekly we see multiple shootings in stores, high schools and, now, grade schools. Murders of whites by blacks run at thirty a month, the news being suppressed. In cities across the country crime is out of control, the tax bases moving out, bail abolished so criminals are freed in hours. Stores leave to escape undiscouraged shoplifting and robbery. Seven hundred homicides a year in Chicago, 300 in Baltimore, and at least twice as many shot but survive, similar numbers in a dozen cities. For practical purposes, law does not exists in these ungovernable enclaves. Sexual curiosities, once called perversions, flourish with American embassies hoisting flags in support of transsexualism. Mobs topple historical statues. Many tens of thousands live on sidewalks and a hundred thousand a year die of opioid overdoses. The country drops math requirements and English grammar in schools, AP courses, and SATs as racist. The economy declines, jobs have left for other climes, medical care is beyond most people’s means, government is corrupt and incompetent, and wars are unending. There is actual hatred between racial, political, and regional groups. Ominously, gun sales are up.
How is this going to end well? How did we get here?
America has never been a nation in the correct sense of the word, a people sharing values, language, a culture. Rather it has been, and is, a collection of peoples having little and common and, often disliking each other. West Virginia has nothing in common with Massachusetts which has nothing in common with the Deep South which has nothing in common with coastal California which has nothing in common with Cavalier Virginia which has nothing in common with Latinos who have nothing in common with blacks.
Until perhaps the early Sixties, the regions got along with each other reasonably well because there was little communication between them. Roads were poor, the internet was not even on the horizon. Radio stations and newspapers were local, reflecting the surrounding culture and taste. The central government was remote and had little influence locally. Each region lived as it wished.
Providing a degree of commonalty was that the country was overwhelmingly white, European, Anglophone and, at least nominally, Christian. It was socially conservative, largely consisting of small towns.
The resulting culture was unsophisticated but civilized. In the suburbs of Washington (I was there) you really could leave your bike anywhere and it would be there when you came back. In summer children really could play great sprawling multiblock games of hide-and-seek after dark and no one worried. In high school in rural Virginia (I was there too) the boys had guns for hunting deer and shooting varmints in the bean fields and you could leave your .410 in the back seat of your jalopy in the school’s parking lot. Nobody thought of shooting anyone. It wasn’t in the culture. If a thing isn’t in the culture, it doesn’t happen. You don’t need policemen. The boys didn’t use bad language around the girls or vice versal and nobody even thought of disrespect to teachers. There were class clowns (I may know somewhat of this), but no real misbehavior. It wasn’t in white, technically Christian, semi-rural culture.
Then many things happened. In no particular order:
The reach of the federal government grew and grew. Washington, which had been a distant city concerning itself with foreign policy and the economy, could now impose its values on remote society. It did.
Washington discovered the “separation of church and state,” which had lain unnoticed in the Constitution since 1789. In regions of deep religiousness, it became illegal to recite the Lord’s prayer, to have creches on the town square at Christmas, or two sing carols on the public streets. It had nothing to do with meticulous adherence to the Constitution, but everything to do with the discovery by angry minorities that they could impose on majorities. In short, like many movements to come, it was a revenge operation. It has become a de facto program of de-Cristinization, weakening a source of social cohesion and leading to anger.
The federal government began to dictate what could be taught in local schools. Teachers were forbidden to mention Creationism because a judge in Philadelphia, who appeared to have the scientific grasp of a potato chip, said this transgressed the doctrine of separation. The decision had little practical relevance as there was no likelihood that hearing of Genesis would turn students away from the study of biochemistry. It was, however, an early manifestation of class snobbery against what was seen as primitive Christianity that would later coalesce into hostility toward the Deplorables.
Remote anonymous committees in New York wrote highly ideological textbooks imposed on distant states which did not share those ideologies. The effectiveness of this relied on the principle that outraged parents in Arkansas would have no idea how to oppose distant bureaucracies of whose existence they were unaware and whose phone numbers they could not find. American government is democratic while not allowing the people to exercise power. It is a brilliant system, until it explodes.
Compulsory racial integration, as distinct from desegregation, was an untarnished disaster. Few wanted it, and few want it. The people who imposed it did not, and do not, send their children to black schools. The races transparently do not want to live together. If blacks move into white neighborhoods, “white flight” occurs and if whites move into black neighborhoods, blacks furiously complain of gentrification.
When two cultures have utterly different views of acceptable language, dress, behavior, study, and curricula, mixing them does not work. In the schools, academic standards fell. Discipline became a problem. Across America, cities burned because of conflict between black populations and white police. Eurowhite culture, it turned out, was incompatible with Negro culture. The potential for yet greater disaster seems great, and no one has a solution. There probably isn’t a solution.
The Constitution, which once brought political stability, withered, being ignored or interpreted into unrecognizability by judges or made irrelevant by changes in technology and society. Freedom of speech, which meant that I could say that the President was a fool and should be removed from office, became freedom of expression, meaning that porn sites, accessible to children of nine years, could upload videos of a German Shepherd copulating with a beautiful blonde tied down to a bed. Some doubted that the writers of the Constitution had this in mind when providing the Bill of Rights, but none could gainsay the Supreme Court or the federal power.
The behemoths of the electronic media imposed political censorship. Being private enterprises, they could not be disciplined. They became more and more an arm of the central government, which became more and more the property of the Northeastern coastal elites. Entities with names like Google, Twitter, and Facebook cleansed themselves of content thought inappropriate, websites delisted, credit card accounts closed. People disappeared by the electronic media were almost as disappeared as those disappeared in Latin America, though less bloodily. The intention and effect are the same.
An unexpected effect of censorship was that those doing the censoring also censored themselves. The media, talking to each other, reading each other, having no contact with or interest in the silenced and deplorable, had no idea of the anger out there. This brought us Floyd and Trump as deep wells of undetected anger exploded. The media are doing it again.
The current regime in Washington appears deliberately and intensely divisive. Biden has attacked the South, supporting renaming of military bases in deliberate affront. A thorough racist, he frequently denounces whites. He denounces Trump and his supporters, nearly half of America. He has ostentatiously chosen black women as justice of the Supreme Court, member of Federal Reserve, Vice President, and White House spokeswoman. While these may or may not be competent, he announced them as diversity hires. He is poised to assault owners of guns, sure to provoke fury, has involved America in another war, and wants a federal Ministry of Truth to prohibit ideas he doesn’t like. Profoundly partisan, he makes no attempt to calm things or promote tranquility.
The universality of the internet made difficult or impossible the maintenance of distinct values or mores. It became impossible for the cultivated to inculcate in their children manners, good English, and appreciation of learning when the electronics bathed them in not only the traditionally low culture of America but also the anticivilization of the ghetto. America undergoes both enforced peasantrification and homogenization. Anger grows.
Congress and the Constitution largely ceased to function, leaving Presidents to rule by executive order, this not being entirely distinguishable from dictatorship. This included the making of war, which became both common and beyond public influence. The legislature no longer governed but was the storefront for special interests of immense power. There remained no body interested in the wellbeing of the country. This led to offshoring of jobs, poverty in Appalachia, the Rust Belt and rural Deep South, the impoverishing influx of cheap Mexican labor, Donald Trump, and intense regional hatred. Here we are.
This can’t last. The hatreds are intense, the guns everywhere, anger growing at crime, something akin to economic desperation appearing. Washington will leave nowhere alone, will not address national problems, will always give priority to its military, its wars and its empire over domestic needs. The hostility that fueled the Floyd riots, the burning cities, the looting and vengeful vandalism, are still there. She’s going to blow. Watch.
FRED REED describes himself as [previously] a “Washington police reporter, former Washington editor for Harper’s and staff writer for Soldier of Fortune magazine, Marine combat vet from Viet Nam, and former long-haul hitchhiker, part-time sociopath, who once lived in Arlington, Virginia, across the Potomac River from the Yankee Capital.”
His essays “on the collapse of America” Mr. Reed calls “wildly funny, sometimes wacky, always provocative.”
“Fred is the Hunter Thompson of the right,” seconds Thomas E. Ricks in Foreign Policy magazine. His commentary is “well-written, pungent political incorrectness mixed with smart military commentary and libertarian impulses, topped off with a splash of Third World sunshine and tequila.”
Hardboiled is back! (The exclamation point is to arouse wild enthusiasm int the reader, a boiling literary lust.) Gritty crime fiction by longtime police reporter for the Washington Times, who knows the police from nine years of riding with them. Guaranteed free of white wine and cheese, sensitivity, or social justice.