Ironically, if our society enters a revolutionary phase, liberals will find themselves in the role of the Islamists, defending a shopworn and reactionary ideology on religious grounds, because it is only their faith that holds their ideas together at this point.

The facts of the American decline tell us otherwise. We don’t need the contempt of Vladimir Putin to remind us how bad things are and that the seeming result of the end of the Cold War is that American presidents are now mocked by the second coming of the KGB (not that it was ever gone).

We all know the famous Chinese curse: May you live in interesting times!

We certainly are, and I am of two minds about it. Like so many Americans, I have lived a comfortable, privileged life, vastly so compared to most of human history.

But I am filled with foreboding about what’s to come, indeed about what is already here. When I look at the masses swarming in Tahrir Square, I am at once repelled and attracted, repelled because, to be honest, I find their culture more than a bit crazy, but attracted because I know something is seriously wrong, not just in Egypt but in the USA.