America and the March of History
Consciously. Unconsciously? America is increasingly feeling trapped by its own inevitable historical process – that it is being eclipsed on the world stage – and thus, as the last century’s leader of the global historical process – it is trapped by its own decline.
While the United States still has military hegemony on the global stage (although this too is increasingly antiquated and out of touch with modern realities), its economic share of the global pie has been in a long slow decline since its statistical peak in 1972.
Where once America was 75% of the global economy it is now down to 25% and dropping year-to-year.
This was inevitable. As the emerging economies of Asia and South Asia got on their feet after their wars and revolutions and de-colonization processes – and as they built the necessary infrastructure to play the capitalist game – there was no way America could maintain the lion’s share of the pie.
Demographics alone would tell you that America cannot maintain, or sustain, its perch atop the economic mountain. America only has 5% of the world’s population. China has 20%, India another 22%.
But when you focus more on “who” is feeling most trapped in America by the newly emerging realities, you have to focus on socially conservative Americans.
Historically speaking, so-called conservatives have never done well in times of historic change. The ancient Greeks would rather sentence Socrates to death than listen to what he had to say about the changing times.
White Southerners would rather shoot Martin Luther King than share the pie with blacks.
Look at the history of religion: it has been about the clash between conservative and liberal views of morality, acceptance, and community. Jesus wasn’t crucified because he was a Jew. He was crucified because he called for change.
Conservative Americans have never had to seriously consider the idea of cooperating on the world stage. An Imperial Power only ever cooperates at its own whim.
But economic sovereignty is no longer for the American conservatives to decide. And their vented anger, seen daily on FOX News and in Tea Party protests, shows the world that American conservatives are feeling increasingly cornered in a rapidly changing world. They prefer to obstinately cling to the sides of the Titanic, and blame their demise on the colored people of the world. Or on unions. Or on un-Christian behaviors like same-sex marriage and the legalization of marijuana. Or condoms in high schools.
Conservatives never rationally approach the inevitability of historical change. And American conservatives will be no different.
Some have recently called for an armed march on Washington. Some are actively calling for violent civil disobedience. Some are saying it is time for a second American Civil War. Some want to secede from the nation. Some want to throw out the Constitution, in the name of protecting freedom.
Liberals dismiss these cries at their own peril.
Violence is brewing on the Plains of Sauron. And the Orks are increasingly beating the drums of war.
Liberal America is sadly unprepared for this.
And while the rest of the world – us Canadians included – like to laugh at all the silliness happening in America at the moment – we too will be dragged into this quagmire.
History always demands its sacrifices in the times of great change.
This century, inevitably, will be no different from the century just past.