How Advanced Societies Decline

Obama Halo

Victor Davis Hanson has an interesting piece at National Review about how advanced societies declined. They became too successful. The politicians saw a big pot of money to spread around to the masses. The societies went soft and the next thing you know they were overcome by outside forces. Here in the US in this day and age, we don’t even need outside forces to take us down. We’re committing national suicide. (Although a good number of us object. But apparently we’re outnumbered because the masses are too busy looking at their iPhones and watching reality TV.)

Yet we don’t talk confidently about capitalizing and expanding on our natural and inherited wealth. Instead, Americans bicker over entitlement spoils as the nation continues to pile up trillion-dollar-plus deficits. Enforced equality, rather than liberty, is the new national creed. The medicine of cutting back on government goodies seems far worse than the disease of borrowing trillions from the unborn to pay for them.

In August 1945, Hiroshima was in shambles, while Detroit was among the most innovative and wealthiest cities in the world. Contemporary Hiroshima now resembles a prosperous Detroit of 1945; parts of Detroit look like they were bombed decades ago.

History has shown that a government’s redistribution of shrinking wealth, in preference to a private sector’s creation of new sources of it, can prove more destructive than even the most deadly enemy.

The quote above is from page two of the article, but you really need to read page one to put it in context. Then read this WSJ piece if you can. If there were bread lines like we had back during the Great Depression, perhaps people would know what dire straights we’re in. But the devastation of the Obama economy has been largely hidden. Food stamps now just look like regular old debit cards.  You can sign up for unemployment online. No lines there.

These moves weren’t done just to remove stigma, they were done to make the government look better. Life is now a reality show, and we can’t let reality get in the way of the story Obama wants to tell. So his abysmal economy is hidden from those who aren’t seeking the truth.

By all measures – unemployment, underemployment, number of people on disability, number of people on food stamps – President Obama has failed miserably. But thanks to a compliant media and a dumbed-down populace he’s gotten a complete pass. This is how democracies fail. We have some enemies who have managed to inflict a few wounds on us. But the mortal wounds will be self-inflicted.

Update: If you don’t believe me, just look at the cities of Detroit, MI and Chicago, IL. Detroit is a boarded up shell of what it once was, even after the multi-billion dollar  federal bailout of Chrysler and GM. The city was thriving during WWII, then the unions took over. Hiroshima has failed better, even after a nuclear bomb. Then look at Chicago. It’s a city that’s been in the hands of corrupt Democrats for years. Now it’s the murder capital of the United States, despite strict gun laws. So good luck with the expansion of these progressive policies to the rest of the US.