Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day memo to the U.S.

For several months I've been on a steady diet of what you could call "end of empire" books. From Niall Ferguson's Colossus: The Rise and Fall of the American Empire to Matt Taibbi's The Great Derangement, there's something about this sort of literature that captures my mind. I don't know about you, but I'm worried about my country --intolerant religion, imperial hurbis, broken government, corporate media and bad financing is a toxic soup for a nation with even the loftiest ideals.

As we approach the end of this Hobbesian decade one of the great oracles on the subject has been the thoughtful Kevin Phillips, author of and The Emerging Republican Majority and American Theocracy. In today's C-J, Phillips says the recent pessimism about America might not be as overblown as the super patriots from Team America think. He writes a warning Americans to stop thinking of themselves as the "city on the hill" and face the pending domestic and global crisis we're facing.

From the Courier-Journal:

More than 80 percent of Americans now say that we are on the wrong track, but many if not most still believe that the history of other nations is irrelevant -- that the United States is unique, chosen by God. So did all the previous world economic powers: Rome, Spain, the Netherlands (in the maritime glory days of the 17th century, when New York was New Amsterdam) and 19th-century Britain. Their early strength was also their later weakness, not unlike the United States since the 1980s.

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