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A tear for America

Those born in Europe to parents who survived the horrors of the last world war have no trouble recalling the genuine admiration, and perhaps even reverence, that their parents held for the United States of America. A mere sixty seven years ago, at the war’s end, America possessed not only an unparalleled economic advantage but, more importantly, national virtue—the moral capital that fueled its great bourgeois culture of individualism, laissez faire and liberty. Lamentably, this is no more.

“The truth is that we simply no longer understand America,” writes Jakob Augstein in Der Spiegel. He explains: “Looking at the country from Germany and Europe, we see a foreign culture. The political system is in the hands of big business and its lobbyists. The checks and balances have failed. And a perverse mix of irresponsibility, greed and religious zealotry dominate public opinion.” He is not alone in such assessment. Most intelligent admirers of that old America who have witnessed its deliberate march on the road to ruin over the last few decades would readily admit that something, somewhere, has gone terribly wrong.

The “freedom” about which the American political class babbles incessantly is not even a distant cousin to the freedom from government coercion that its Founding Fathers sought to enshrine in the Constitution. To the modern Yank, the word has degenerated into a decadent demand to possess freedom from responsibility and freedom from the consequences of folly. It is no wonder that Americans had no real choice for their President. They had to choose between an intellectually vacuous neo-conservative charlatan and a Marxist demagogue committed to destroying whatever is left of the American way of life through divisiveness and radicalism. And in the end, we can be certain that Mr. Obama’s victory was not the result of some demographic change as much as the unavoidable consequence for any degenerate democracy: the rise and prominence of an unproductive and parasitic tax-eater class.

“Our Constitution, which was intended to limit government power and abuse, has failed,” said Ron Paul in his recent farewell address to the House of Representatives:

The Founders warned that a free society depends on a virtuous and moral people. The current crisis reflects that their concerns were justified. … If it’s not accepted that big government, fiat money, ignoring liberty, central economic planning, welfarism, and warfarism caused our crisis, we can expect a continuous and dangerous march toward corporatism and even fascism with even more loss of our liberties. … Restraining aggressive behavior is one thing, but legalizing a government monopoly for initiating aggression can lead only to exhausting liberty associated with chaos, anger, and the breakdown of civil society. … I have come to one firm conviction after these many years of trying to figure out the plain truth of things. The best chance for achieving peace and prosperity, for the maximum number of people worldwide, is to pursue the cause of liberty.

To that, we can only say “Amen.” But in the meantime, we shed a tear for America.

This article was previously published in Edelweiss Journal, Issue 10 (23 November 2012)

6 comments to A tear for America

  • Peter Wraith

    “The truth is that we simply no longer understand America,” writes Jakob Augstein in Der Spiegel. He explains: “Looking at the country from Germany and Europe, we see a foreign culture”

    I confess to being a little confused. Big Government, central planning, welfarism and an increasing hatred of the self reliant and productive surely makes America more recognisable, and thus understandable, to Europe today than ever it has been.

    “To the modern Yank, the word (“freedom”)has degenerated into a decadent demand to possess freedom from responsibility and freedom from the consequences of folly”

    Then the modern Yank would slot in absolutely effortlessly almost anywhere in Europe. Add to this the endless rhetoric about living ‘free’ from a corrupt soft totalitarian political establishment and, aside from experiencing a dodgy accent or two more than usual, our modern Yank would barely be aware of having moved.

    This being so, just what is it that Jakob Augstein sees as being so culturally ‘foreign’ about modern America?

  • I confess to being a little confused. Big Government, central planning, welfarism and an increasing hatred of the self reliant and productive surely makes America more recognisable

    It is the very fact that we have become more like the Europeans that makes us unrecognizable to those who knew us before.

  • Paul Marks Paul Marks

    Yes Peter – even Germany (one of the less something-for-nothing European nations) has a lot more in common with the modern United States (which has become a vile mockery of what America once was) than is admitted here. Although it can certainly be argued that the situation in Germany (economically and culturally) is not quite as bad as that in the Unted States.

    As for the account of the United States given here…

    One might argue over details – for example it has become clear from his comments after the election that Mr Romney is not as bad as it is claimed here (and he has, of course, been denounced for telling the truth – that the Obama voters voted for free stuff without asking themselves the question of how it would be paid for).

    However, the basis of the post is correct. The United States is bankrupt – not just financially but also CULTURALLY, in a way that Germany (or at least areas such as Bavaria) is not (at least not yet).

    Many on the left (and many on the nasty ethnic collectivist “right”) will laugh – but the correct response is indeed to weep.

    I do not know how sincere the writer is – but his words (whether sincere or not) are correct. One should weep – for America was great and wonderful.

    And America is gone – she really is.

    It is not a matter of money, or of a nasty Marxoid individual by the name of Barack Obama – it is a CULTURAL collapse.

    The majority of voters now want something for nothing. So much so that they will elect anyone who promises them free stuff – without even asking basic questions about who this person is (in background, associations, beliefs, intentions…..).

    They, the majority of voters, are degenerates.

    And it is pointless to pretend that they (and the culture that produced them) is not degenerate.

  • Paul Marks Paul Marks

    People who believe in the “demand fallacy” (i.e. that spending not production is what matters, thus showing no understanding of Say’s Law) are not just guilty of a failure of economic understanding – they are also guilty of a moral failing.

    Economics may indeed by a body of knowledge that is “value free” (Mises) but that does not mean that moral principles do not exist (as Mises would have been the first to point out). And to use the word “moral” as a sneer word (as Paul Krugman does – with his sneering at the Austrial theory of boom-busts as a “moral” theory is the sure mark of a degenerate, a just plain bad, person).

    Indeed those who believe in such dectrines as “negative interest rates” to “encourage spending” are more beasts than they are human beings.

    I will not pretend that the fate of such creatures bothers me – they will get what they deserve.

    However, they will drag the innocent down with them.

  • Doughtyman George Doughty

    The U.S.A. is seriously ill but not yet dead. There are millions of us working on how to reestablish constitutional government. Most of us expect to have to endure extreme conditions before any progress will be made. We will not give up. If we fail,we will try again. If we fail again we will try again until we succeed.
    The only way we will be stopped is if the statists kill us all. We are prepared for that attempt too. To this end we have pledged our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honour.

  • Paul Marks Paul Marks

    George Doughty.

    God bless you – and all like you.

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