USA is on the brink of …… something

A blogger named Fred Reed sees parallels between the United States today and France on the eve of the French Revolution.

I know three young women of exceptional intelligence and talent, all of them mature and disciplined.  They cannot find jobs.  It is not from lack of trying, far from it.  One of them is married to a hard-working man in a highly technical field usually associated with wealth.  He is paid a low hourly wage and forced to work on contract, meaning that he has neither benefits nor retirement.  His employers know that if he leaves, they can easily find another to take his place. They have him where they want him.

[snip]  In numbers that a half century ago would have seemed impossible, the American young live with their parents, being unable to find jobs to support themselves.  Waitressing in a good bar pays better in tips than a woman with a college degree can otherwise earn, assuming that she can earn anything at all.  Employers having learned to hire them as individual contractors, they move into their thirties with no hope of a pension for their old age.

Desperation and hatred are close cousins.

Meanwhile, Jeffrey Bezos of Amazon makes spaceships and buys the Washington Post as a toy and the newspapers have reported that a Croesus of Wall Street has bought a Modigliani, it may have been, for $55 million dollars.

[snip]. The homeless in San Francisco are now described as “a plague.”  There seem to be ever more of them.  But not to worry.  Never worry.  The stock market remains exuberant.  In nearby Silicon Valley, a man buys a new Lamborghini every year.

[snip]  Today the African population of America is openly insurgent, the middle class sinks, jobs continue leaving under the stewardship of the rich, the government either will not or cannot enforce its laws, the borders are open, half of the country seethes in fury at the other half, and the sale of guns is at record heights.

When people realize that they really have no country, only a collection of rapacious interests, history becomes…creative.

Source: Fred Reed | Fred on Everything


5 Responses to “USA is on the brink of …… something”

  1. Vincent Says:

    . . . not to mention a maladaptive Constitution?


  2. Vincent Says:

    Perhaps I should expand the previous. I meant that the things which are patently wrong in America are too entrenched to be changed by the democratic means currently holding sway. Empirically speaking. It was thus with France’s ancien régime. And Russia’s. Wise heads must now ponder the art of the possible. Will Hillary or Donald offer the best space? How much worse do things have to get, before a concerted push to make them better? How do we get out of here now?

    For its part, England avoided revolution. It was feared of course, but never close during those centuries. Yet in the long road that led to now, there was much misery—more than in the States over the same period, I think.

    My point about the Constitution was provoked by the above reflections. In summary, democracy has to evolve, can’t be hemmed in by inaccessible citadels of power.


    • philebersole Says:

      The 18th century American Constitution is maladaptive in many ways. No modern-day Solon would write a new Constitution with the equivalent of our Electoral College or our Senate.

      But the Constitution is the both basis of American nationality and the foundation of our freedoms. Without loyalty to the Constitution, the United States would not be a nation and certainly would not be a free country.

      The histories of most nations consists of a people, such as the Anglo-Saxons, Gauls or Teutons, coming together as a nation based on common ancestry, heritage and language.

      We Americans are a conglomeration of peoples whose representatives came together at a specific date in history and ratified legal documents that constituted the United States as a nation.

      Loyalty to those documents (strange as it may seem to people of other nations) is the basis for American patriotism. Naturalized citizens swear to uphold, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. So does the President of the United States and all other federal officers when they are inducted into office. So did I when I did my military service many years ago.

      That’s why Mirza Khan is as much an American as someone like me, whose ancestors came to North America in the 18th century.

      The Constitution embodies the principle of liberty under law. The original Constitution guaranteed the right of habeas corpus and forbid ex post facto laws and bills of attainder. In other words, the government has no legal power to harm me unless I violate a known law that was in existence at the time of my action.

      The Bill of Rights further upholds the right to life, liberty and property and to due process of law.

      As long as we Americans are united by a common loyalty to those principles, we can work around procedural problems.

      I don’t think the deep divisions in my country are procedural problems. I don’t think they would be cured by having a different structure of government.


      • Vincent Says:

        I accept they are not procedural problems, but rather related to entrenched power, hence the thought of revolution. One would wish for a Constitution that would balance or limit powers more beneficially, as our Magna Carta of 1215 was designed to do. But it’s not a constitutional document today, we don’t have such a thing. Instead when loyalty is to be sworn, on the occasions you’ve mentioned above, it’s to the Queen—a mystical idea but it has worked till now.

        My thought was not that the deep divisions could be patched procedurally, only that revolutions result when power structures cannot adapt. Anyhow, please forgive my ignorance. I learn much from your posts.


      • philebersole Says:

        Vincent, I appreciate your thoughtful and generous comments and largely agree with them.

        A Constitution, whether written as in the US or mostly unwritten as in the UK, is not a safeguard if leaders and the public choose to ignore them.

        I was radicalized when the so-called USA PATRIOT Act was enacted in 2001, and fundamental principles embodied not only in the U.S. Constitution, but going back to the English Bill of Rights and Magna Carta, were simply wiped off the blackboard and most Americans seemed to take this for granted.

        I was further radicalized after I voted for Barack Obama in 2008 in the hope and expectation of a return to normal, only to discover that there was a new normal that was not what I thought it was.


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