And for all those who see the doom of America sealed by moral degradation, have a look at the Roaring 1920s, the great national hypocrisy of Prohibition, etc. If you’re worried about self-indulgence, that’s a great place to start.
In my world, nobody is smart enough to accurately forecast the next three months, let alone diagnose an irreversible decline. All that stuff about the fall of Rome leaves me cold, frankly. After all, Gibbon, who wrote the magnum opus on the decline and fall of Rome, basically blamed it on the Christians. Others blame it on the lead goblets used to serve the wine.
So here’s my little message to the deep thinkers: in this life, there is no final victory. Enemies abound. We defeated the two monster totalitarian forces of the twentieth century, and we’re now under attack from the great jihadi totalitarians of the new century. We can certainly win. In the course of that fight we will make lots of mistakes, and we will have some very bad leaders. If we’re up to it, and if we’re lucky, we’ll also get some great leaders. (Don’t tell anyone, but the last two presidential elections haven’t given us very good options, but that could change. Change is the one dynamic constant in human history, remember.)
As for the moaning and keening Republicans, you’ve got an amazing number of governors, and some of them are doing spectacularly well. The Dems are stuck with New York, Massachusetts, and California, who incarnate true blue doctrines, and are in a mess. Events are likely to demonstrate the failure of blueness in this country, as they have abroad. So stick to your principles and don’t try to be “more like them.” Nobody needs pseudo-blues, if people want to vote left, they’ll vote for the real thing, not you-pretending-to-be-them-except-cuter.
There’s plenty of revolutionary zeal in America, and we are probably well into a period of great unpleasantness, domestically and internationally. Americans love a good challenge. That’s our history.
One more thing. Romney seems to be a sort of economic determinist. He thinks people who receive stuff from the state are automatically statist. But that’s false (for starters, I am on that list of “takers” — I get Social Security — and I’m no statist). Some number of those on government payments are unhappy; they’d like to get out from under. It’s wrong, politically and morally, to write them off as lost souls.
So we have to keep fighting, hoping things will get better. If we fight well, and fortune favors us, we’ll win. And then go on to the next fight.