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Do Not Go Gentle into the Post-American Era

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When the U.S. was a developing nation, we expended our efforts and capital in developing the infrastructure for industry. Our government provided incentives for the development and extraction of natural resources to be used as raw materials to build, not just products, but a thriving national economy.  And that’s exactly what China and other developing nations are doing today.

But, today, the U.S. is doing the opposite. Increasingly, over the past several decades, our government has been restricting the extraction of natural resources and dismantling the infrastructure for industry. Overregulation, combined with exorbitant and ever-increasing union demands, has succeeded in driving much of our industry offshore. If we want to recover our economy, we need to reverse that trend.

The recently published White House Plan to Revitalize Manufacturing, which focuses on federal funding for “green” technology experiments, is not likely to have a significant impact on our national productivity. This administration is thoroughly beholden to the unions and environmental lobbies. In true Chicago style, this administration has used the stimulus package to pay off political debts and, from every indication, will continue the trend of dismantling the economy in favor of political correctness and payback.

Every nation has a historical trajectory. This nation has apparently passed its apogee, and is now in decline. We no longer have the drive to overcome. We’ve become complacent and, instead of striving for ever greater industrial innovation and economic strength, we are focused myopically on the niceties that developing nations cannot afford to consider.

The problem is, there’s no such thing as stasis. A nation, a corporation, a species, an individual, must either advance or decline. That’s nature. And, as we sink into complacency, whining effetely about our declining economy, there will be others advancing to take our place as the dominant world power, industrially, economically, and (eventually) militarily. That’s a historical inevitability. The same pattern can be observed throughout nature and the history of civilizations. The only question is when.

At this point, we could still reverse that trend by, once again, becoming a developing nation ourselves — one can always develop further, if one is motivated to keep striving — but we, as a nation, lack that motivation. We’re apparently content to rest on our laurels as we sink into national senescence while other countries, like China, rise up on the international horizon. The world is always changing. It’s the nature of all things. The only question is, will we, as a nation, go gentle into that good night? Or will we rage, rage against the dying of the light? (Apologies to Dylan Thomas.)

Unfortunately, I believe I know the answer to that rhetorical question. History is being written even as we go about our daily lives. You can see it in our relations with other nations, as we make concessions that cede our sovereignty in so many minor ways. Stepping back and observing from a historical perspective, we see a once-great nation, that no longer has the will to sustain its rank as the leader of the free world, stepping aside and leaving the field open to whoever will step up and take its place. Sadly, there’s no way to choose our successor. Once we step aside, we can only watch and hope for the best. And if we don’t like the way the world is shaping up in the post-American era, we will just have to suffer the consequences.

About NotYourDaddy

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Cindy, I’ve seldom seen sarcasm used so deftly and to such great effect. Kudos.

    (And… ouch!)

    :-)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Of course, Jackson. Truth is a relational concept, a matter of coming to an agreement. Otherwise, when taken as an absolute kind of thing – accessible to all minds, large or small – it’s a useless concept from the pragmatic, practical standpoint.

    Haven’t you heard the expression “You can’t handle the truth”?

  • Jackson

    STM observed:

    “Of course, the other real reason we might have a post-American era in the short term is that Americans have lost sight of what they do best: making (or growing) stuff and selling it.”

    The real worth of money is created by successful production. As America slid into democratic socialism it eschewed production in favor of services which really do nothing other than redistribute money that has already been created by earlier producers. As its balance of trade turned into a negative cash flow, it made up the difference by way of inflation and the consequential devaluation of the dollar. Thanks to its control of the IMF it managed cover its balance of trade deficits with cheap dollars. China and the rest of the world seem to have awakened to the scam and are calling for a new international reserve currency.

    That is the bell signalling the beginning of the Post-American era.

    Unless, of course, America decides to throw off the shackles of socialism and get back to what she does best.

    I think that was NYD’s point.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Yes, Cindy had outdone herself.

  • Jackson

    Roger:

    What can be more pragmatic and practical than the Aristotelian tenet “The true cannot contradict the true”?

    The observation “You can’t handle the truth” is a judgment aimed at the individual confronted with the true, not the truth implicated. As it should always be, if applicable.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    It would seem that STM had made quite a valid point about the efficacy of “social democracy” in Australia. I would suppose, however, that your rather impersonal form of address – again, re-read my #152! – is directed at him.

    I suggest it’s better strategy to address the person directly. That’s what dialog is all about, one-on-one, rather than pontificating ex cathedra.

    Of course, you don’t have to take it.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    You fail to consider the realities. Aristotle wrote for posterity and his work will remain so. I don’t use these thread for this purpose. I want to win you over, not to pound things into you before your time.

    Consider the pragmatics of human communication. In fact, consider your own life experiences.

    Need I say more?

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    What can be more pragmatic and practical than the Aristotelian tenet “The true cannot contradict the true”?

    Ah, Aristotle. That interesting old fruitbat.

    He’d evidently never heard of that fascinating creature called the paradox.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I’m not certain of that, Dreadful, unless you’re being ironic. Surely Zeno belonged to the pre-Socratics.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I’m surprised, though, at your breath of exposure – philosophy, literature, common sense – especially since you’re only thirty-some.

    Granted, you never speak of your formal education – and why should anyone? – but you’re surely not just self-learned.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    To enhance on #159, of course Aristotle wasn’t as attuned to the the complexities of the paradox and the possibilities inherent therein as Plato was. He was, by and large a “naturalistic philosopher” whereby Plato, by this rather crude comparison, was more of a “mystic.”

    Hence the two main schools of philosophical thought. And it hasn’t changed much since.

    As Karl Popper once observed, all philosophy is but a footnote to Plato. (And one might include here Aristitle as well.)

    There’s a good reason for this simple ommision. Plato was Popper’s mortal “enemy combatant” – The Open Society and its Enemies. Aristotle was not.)

  • Jackson

    Without the loquation, Aristotle was a realist while Plato was an idealist. As you note, the difference continues today. That said, what sort of a pragmatic system can one develop relying upon a world of paradox?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Try Foucault.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Died and Went to Heaven

    151 (& 154),

    What sarcasm?

    :-)

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    oooops…

  • http://notyourdaddy.wordpress.com/ NotYourDaddy

    #163: Try Foucault.
    Léon or Michel? ;)

    Foucault was a mixed bag, to be sure. How can one be both a Marxist and a Nietzchean? — There’s a paradox right there! — But not really. If you take the progression of his thought into account. At the end of his life he declared himself a Nietzchean, but no longer referred to himself as a Marxist. To his credit, his conintual reexamination of his ideas eventually led him beyond that phase.

  • Jackson

    A distinct advantage of living in a philosophy of paradox is that one neatly avoids that pesky requirement of logic for consistency.

  • James G

    Arch Conservitive has pointed out that under capitalism people do not have a right to hold a job.He has correctly pointed out that that the individual must earn the right to work through skill and or effort.We must also keep in mind that even if a person is skilled and willing to sacrifice for a job,he or she is still not entitled to a job,if the potential employer is not willing to hier help for what ever reason.When we consider the fact that individuals do not have a right to employment,and then take into account the fact that capitalism has created a situation in which a large percentage of the population can not live without a job,it is then impossible to not see the one of the great fallacies of capitalism.The average individual living under capitalism does not even have a right to life ! Yet capitalists swear that capitalism is essentialy one and the same as freedom.The fact of the matter is this;without the right to live,”regardless of whether or not you are needed or wanted by the ownership class”you are not free !

  • http://notyourdaddy.wordpress.com/ NotYourDaddy

    This is a fallacious argument. What you are ignoring is that employers need employees as much as employees need jobs. That makes hiring an at will transaction between an employer who needs someone capable of doing a particular job, and an employee who can do that job, who needs employment.

    Of course a person doesn’t have a right to any particular job. If there’s someone else who can do it better, or is willing to do the same work, of the same quality, for less money, the employer will naturally hire them, instead. When business is bad, the employer may have to lay off employees or risk going out of business, which would cost many other employees their jobs as well.

    Nobody has a right to have a job (especialliy if he isn’t willing to, or capable of, doing it well). But the flip side is, no employer has a right to have employees. (That would be slavery.) And an employer needs good employees every bit as much as the employee needs a job. Unless the business is so small that he can do the entire job himself, good employees are critical to success.

    An employee who is highly skilled and motivated is in great demand, and employers will compete for his services. If an employee doesn’t like the terms of employment with a particular emplolyer, he is free to not take the job. There are plenty of other employersout there. If the employer feels that employee would benefit his business more than another employee, he will offer him better compensation. It’s a mutually beneficial, at-will arrangement. If either party doesn’t like the terms, they are not compelled to participate.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    NYD,

    Why should I have to play that game to begin with–the employer, employee game? By your rules I need a job. By my rules I don’t need a job, I need land to grow food and have a home so I can live the way I want to live, free of you and your rules.

    So, this employer/employee thing, what is the reason for forcing me to go along with that? If I can be forced into be in a position where someone can claim that I ‘need’ a job, who does that situation benefit? Is that in the interest of my freedom and liberty? How am I free and liberated if I don’t want to be a part of your game?

    In other words, whose interest is benefited by stealing the land that would make me free and then telling me that I ‘need’ a job?

    (That is how slavery is accomplished while everyone is crowing about how free they are. Someone has very effectively pulled the wool over your eyes. You don’t see you have been convinced that slavery is liberty.)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    And that’s a paradox, Jackson.

  • http://notyourdaddy.wordpress.com/ NotYourDaddy

    Cindy, I don’t say you need a job. Do what you want. It’s nothing to me. Just don’t ask me to support you.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    173 -

    I’m not sure you are getting the larger point NYD. I’m talking in a collective sense. The ‘me’ that is everywoman. Not me personally. Get it?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    Of course you get it. You are sidestepping the point.

  • http://notyourdaddy.wordpress.com/ NotYourDaddy

    Cindy, I don’t believe in the “collective sense.” I believe in individuals. I am an individual. You are an individual. Yes, there are characteristics by which people can be collectively classified. But so what? IMO, every individual should be dealt with as an individual, on their own merits, and should take full responsibility for themselves.

    I don’t owe you anything. I don’t owe “everywoman” anything. Nobody owes me anything. Your on your own, baby. Deal with it.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    holy fucking shit!!! my head will explode if i read anything more of this stupidity!!!! how can you be so dense????

    it is grammar, as in the ‘collective you’ (which means all of you as opposed to you in particular).

    by the collective me, I am using a device where I am speaking for ‘the worker’ in general.

    how fucking stupid can a person be??????

  • Jackson

    Roger:

    There’s no paradox involved. Cindy simply assumed her own conclusion.

    Her complaint was that IF the land were free, she would not have to engage in employment to acquire the means to acquire the land that had somehow been stolen from her. I can only comprehend that in terms of an assumed underlying collective right to the land which is apparently a birthright.

    We have simply gone full circle in our dispute as to whether there is a right to private property.

  • http://notyourdaddy.wordpress.com/ NotYourDaddy

    #176: “it is grammar, as in the ‘collective you’ (which means all of you as opposed to you in particular).”

    Yes, I’m aware of the usage of the plural form in grammar. What does that have to do with anybody’s “collective rights”?

    You assume “everywoman” wants to live off the land without owning it. That’s a fiction. There are individuals, such as yourself, who have that fantasy. Most individuals have other aspirations. You’re simply ascribing your own desires to an imaginary group of hypothetical people just like you, who have the same desires and the same imaginary rights to which you feel entitled.

    Go ahead and imagine yourself as part of some collective group of victims, and blame the rest of the world for your collective victimhood. That’s fine with me. — As long as you don’t demand that the government extort from me what I have earned to support you in your fantasy that the world owes you something.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    NYD,

    You don’t seem familiar with how the poor live throughout the world and including in this country. Nor with the USA’s attempts to privatize the common lands throughout all of Latin America for Capitalist domination. Nor with other cultures with more egalitarian practices. Nor with the fact that homelessness is a result of not having land use. You analyze the world as if everyone were a white American male. You don’t seem to be capable of even imagining that another pov can exist. You even killed off all the hunter-gatherers earlier. So, it seems, you are limited in your ability to comprehend because the world starts and ends with you.

    Maybe that is why you fail to recognize the point. The point is, how can you be for liberty and freedom, if you only support my liberty and freedom to live the way you chose, not the way I choose. Jackson is likely a person I disagree with. However, it seems s/he understands the point.

    Each person should have the freedom to define her/his own way of life as a birthright. If this is not so, then people are not free. You are not free and I am not free. Being forced to live according to what some rich dead guys wrote years ago is what you have agreed to call liberty and freedom. It is not the only scenario imaginable. It is not what I call liberty and freedom. You do not stand for liberty and freedom. You support a govt that uses laws to force me to live the way you choose. Just like all right-wing so-called ‘liberty’ people do.

    That should be clear enough.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I wish it were so simple, Cindy. Unfortunately, most Americans still believe in “the American way,” be they black, red, or yellow. The dollar is King and that hasn’t changed for most of us.

    Fortunately, there are different cultural enclaves. And it’s these differentiated cultures that offer to a great many of us a kind of refuge. Of course, these cultures also render its members “dysfunctional” (with respect to being able to attain American ideals.) A mixed blessing, really.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    They can be for ‘the American way’ if they want. They really should shut up though re the BS liberty and freedom propaganda.

    They have had the notion USA way of life = liberty and freedom drummed into their heads since they could talk. They often can’t think outside that box.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    But I’m talking about poor, innocent people, Cindy. They’ve been indoctrinated and they’re uneducated. There really know no better.

    That’s the crime of it all.

  • http://notyourdaddy.wordpress.com/ NotYourDaddy

    Cindy, I would wager that I have traveled the world a bit more than you have. I’ve traveled on four continents. I’ve seen many cultures up close, and studied many forms of governemnt. I also lived in a ghetto in NYC thirty years ago, and I’ve seen poverty up close. I went so far as to allow homeless people to sleep in my living room back then.

    You are making a lot of assumptions about how other people live in other places, as well as about the reasons for poverty and homelessness in this country. You seem to be locked in your own imagination, projecting your perspectives on the rest of the world.

    I’ve gone out in the world and experienced these things for myself, not in my imagination, but in reality. I suggest you try that sometime. It might broaden your perspectives.

    Cindy: Each person should have the freedom to define her/his own way of life as a birthright.

    How about people who choose to live by stealing from others, or who think it’s OK to rape, assault, or kill people? Do they have a “birthright” to live the way they want?

    I support your right to live however you want, as long as you don’t infringe on the rights of other people. If that’s not enough liberty for you, tough. Other people have the right to choose their way of life, also. Even if they choose to earn a living.

  • Jackson

    The demise of the hunter-gatherer system of social existence came about long before the appearance of capitalism. As soon as agriculture was discovered, the inefficiencies of hunter gathering doomed it as nothing but a last ditch survival technique.

    Under the hunter-gatherer system, the high plains supported bands of unsophisticated primitives not much removed from the cavemen and in many instances not much removed from coyotes. Those same high plains devoted to agriculture support a 1/4 of the world.

    The vast forests from the Atlantic to the Great Lakes supported nothing. Cleared and rendered arable, they support a nation.

    All a matter of what works.

    It would really be great for the poor of the world if we sent out notice that the U.S. would not export food but they were free to support themselves by hunting and gathering.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Good grief, Jackson, you sound exactly like the worst kind of 19th century industrialist. Exactly like one.

    The high plains and the North American forests before the arrival of European settlers did not, indeed, support a quarter of the world’s population – because they were not needed to support them.

    It was massive agriculturalisation and industrialisation of the kind that took place in North America which allowed the global human population to expand to its present numbers.

    All a matter of what works.

    As I’ve explained before, the hunter-gatherer system works perfectly well – if a population does not become too large to support it.

    And we’re seeing with our own eyes today that a large population does not necessarily benefit the species.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I shouldn’t have resurrected the two. I had hopes for Jackson, but I realize now I was wrong. So in accord with proverbial wisdom, ;et sleeping dogs lie.

    No mas.

  • Jackson

    The economic message that has become remarkably clear and which was the topic of NYD’s article is that industrialization works for the greatest number and delivers the greatest efficiency. So I am an industrialist.

    The dreamers on the other hand propose a return to hunting and gathering with a wildlife population that will not support the meager caveman societies that our pre-agricultural lands would. It would of course be nice if we still lived in the Garden of Eden but alas that is not the case.

    Yes, you could employ death camps, ration health care, impose abortion, whatever, but I have to ask what is going to be the standard for deciding who survives?

  • http://notyourdaddy.wordpress.com/ NotYourDaddy

    Dr. Dreadful: “It was massive agriculturalisation and industrialisation of the kind that took place in North America which allowed the global human population to expand to its present numbers.”

    Not to mention modern medicine, which cures and/or prevents the virulent diseases that used to thin the herd, reduces the infant mortality rate, and prolongs life through organ transplants, chemotherapy, defibrilators, etc. I suppose you’d prefer such things had never been invented.

    I alwasy wonder why liberals like to refer to themselves as “progressives,” when so many of them are so opposed to progress.

    Roger, the ability to concede with grace is a mark of a true gentleman.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Jackson, NYD:

    I never expressed any preference to return to hunter-gatherer systems or to uninvent modern medicine (which is a byproduct of industrialization).

    My main objection was to Jackson’s neo-Victorian “Thank God we cut down all the forests and ploughed all the prairies, because the native Americans were wasting them”.

    Why do you assume the lands were theirs to waste?

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    NYD,

    How about people who choose to live by stealing from others, or who think it’s OK to rape, assault, or kill people? Do they have a “birthright” to live the way they want?

    See, you DO get it! That is what I said.

    1) Owning the earth is stealing from others.

    2) One in three female soldiers is raped in the US military by male US soldiers. That is the US govt figure.

    3) The US is busily recruiting children to become murderers and consider it some sort of honor. They teach children murder is fun, like a game. The US is currently murdering people all over the world. It has also always achieved domination through murder of innocent civilians. See, John Stockwell, ex-cia, who was in a top level position in several wars against civilians perpetrated by the cia.

    See? We agree after all NYD! The US govt is a criminal organization. It creates rapists, murderers and thieves. It trains people to be stupid, so they’ll accept the status quo.

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    But I’m talking about poor, innocent people, Cindy. They’ve been indoctrinated and they’re uneducated. There really know no better. That’s the crime of it all.

    Everyone is indoctrinated in a culture, Roger. Being educated may be as big or a bigger problem than not. You seem to be still stuck on that (indoctrinated) view that the education offered in this culture is the means by which people are freed.

    The last class I took in 2007, the professor did not know how to reach his indoctrinated students. He experimented with class structure to try to create a transformational experience. He still had only minimal success.

    Again, let me bring up the Argentina worker-run factory movement. The males of that culture, especially at lowest income levels, might be expected to value machismo. Yet there they are forming egalitarian communities side by side with women (who help educate them in such).

  • http://thingsalongtheway.blogspot.com/ Cindy

    I don’t think anyone suggested we return to hunter-gatherer society. Egads! How would we run the IMAX?

    I have no problem with an industrial society, Jackson. I like technology.

  • blaziermissy

    The lamest excuse for blogging I’ve ever seen. All of it only examines our problems inside of the box of media appointed ideology.