We Are a Nation in Decline

By: Inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

On the eighth anniversary of 9/11, a professor of mine made a comment that caused a lot of soul-searching for me. He remarked, quite casually, that the United States is in decline.

Those words angered me. Nobody likes to hear their country characterized in that manner. But ever since then I've been considering that casual statement.

I think it accurately describes the state of our nation.

We are a nation in decline.

We are in decline for a variety of reasons, some more controllable and some less so. Economic weakness has something to do with it, as does the popularity of anti-Americanism (thank you, George Bush). Misadventures in the Middle East and the rise of China also play a participating role.

But enough about why we are in decline. What can be done to stop it?

More below.

There are two courses for the United States to take, both of which can somewhat alter its path of late. The first is to pay less attention to the Middle East. After the 9/11 attacks, that region of the world drew the undivided attention of the United States; to this day, it is still obsessed with Iraq and Iran and Israel and Afghanistan and on and on.

Most would agree that the United States has been hurt by this obsession. Both Iraq and Afghanistan have and continue to drain its energy and finances. America's world image (and soft power) has been terribly damaged, strengthening those less friendly to it. Moreover, the Middle East has relatively little of value to offer, save for oil. And even that valuable resource does not justify excessive entanglements in a place that, more than any other part of the world, dislikes the concept of the United States.

The second bit of advice I have is to admit more immigrants. An immigrant is the best thing a nation can have. By definition, he (or she) is ambitious and hard-working enough to move thousands of miles, away from friends and family, to a place where he does not speak the language or know anybody. Very few people are motivated enough to do this.

Immigrants have created millions of jobs: the late 1990s technology boom was the product of Chinese and Indian immigrants who moved to Silicon Valley. Albert Einstein was an immigrant; Barack Obama is the son of an immigrant. For continued economic growth and national welfare, admitting more Albert Einsteins and Barack Obamas (the father, who had the same name as the president) is absolutely essential.

Every year the United States denies entry to an enormous amount of potential immigrants - the cream of the crop of humankind. Sadly, the immigration debate today is dominated by illegal immigration and nativist anger; it is unlikely that America's doors will crack wider anytime soon. What cost appeasing anti-immigrant sentiment does to the well-being of the nation as a whole is unknown, but it is certainly great.

Admitting more immigrants might not reverse U.S. decline, nor might limiting U.S. involvement in the Middle East. Superpowers - whether they be Spain, Britain, America, or China - do not and cannot last forever; in the end they all fall. But perhaps, if these two suggestions are followed, the United States might just last longer than most.

Tags: Afghanistan, china, decline, George W. Bush, ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION, immigration, Iran, Iraq, Middle East, Oil, United States (all tags)

Comments

52 Comments

Re: We Are a Nation in Decline

wow....what a naive post....

by BuckeyeBlogger 2009-11-13 11:22AM | 0 recs
Did someone say, "Jimmy Carter"?

The last time that "American Declinism" was in vogue was during the Jimmy Carter years. He mistakenly asserted that there was a crisis of confidence in the American people. It wasn't a crisis of confidence; it was a failure of leadership. It seems eerily similar to today, when many in power sneer at the record and concept of American Exceptionalism......when questioned about it earlier this year, Obama simply smirked and said "I'm sure that the Greeks think they're exceptional" Yet again, he demonstrated a very feeble grasp of American history.

Now that Mr. Obama has completed 3 different apology tours abroad, it's little wonder that people would be posting diaries about "America in Decline". In Europe, he spoke of an America that he saw as "arrogant...dismissive". In Cairo, he blamed us for "anti-Muslim colonialism". I guess his handlers failed to tell him about the war in Kosovo, our liberating Kuwait, and massive aid to Indonesia after the tsunami.

Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton both taught us that optimism is a quintessential American value. Long after Mr. Obama is gone, optimism and competence will return; America will once again be in ascendancy, not decline.

by BJJ Fighter 2009-11-14 07:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Did someone say, "Jimmy Carter"?

Agreed. I cant even begin to state how disapointed I am in The President. He talked about leadership and a new tone in politics during the campaign, but has shown little of either to date. My belief is that without a sudden dramatic improvement in the economy and the impact felt among average citizens, he will not win a 2nd term. He has the look and feel thus far of a one term President.  I still believe that Mark Warner is going to run as will Evan Bayh in 2016.....as for 2012...I think we are going to see a Republican in the White house...

by BuckeyeBlogger 2009-11-14 08:07AM | 0 recs
Re: Did someone say, "Jimmy Carter"?

You're right on, Buckeye. I think the most ignored story in politics today is the void in "the sensible center". It's so wide you could drive a truck through it, as both parties are lurching to the fringes. The Repubs are busy trying to chase successful people like Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina---ex CEO's of Fortune 500 companies---out of their party in the name of ideological purity. And the Dems are embracing record deficits, adopting a "blame America first" world view, and wasting an historic opportunity to reform our entitlement programs.

One party will eventually wake up and embrace the center....and that's when you'll get a genuine realignment. Contrary to what team Obama believes, it hasn't occurred yet.

by BJJ Fighter 2009-11-14 08:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Did someone say, "Jimmy Carter"?

get a room

by QTG 2009-11-14 09:06AM | 0 recs
You two crack me up

by ND22 2009-11-14 07:11PM | 0 recs
Haha

Carly Fiorina drove a once-great company into the ground.  Apparently your ignorance of history and politics extends to business affairs as well.

by JJE 2009-11-21 07:04AM | 0 recs
America will always be a superpower

and her "empire," which really means leading the globe to and in greatness will never die

by Lakrosse 2009-11-13 03:25PM | 0 recs
There is a word for this blind sentiment.

That word is hubris.

by JDF 2009-11-15 05:25PM | 0 recs
who can overtake us?

Chinese or Hindi are too difficult languages for people in other countries to learn like English. That is why English is the most spoken language in the world overall (native + non-native speakers). Russia has been thoroughly discredited since the failure of Communism and the fall of the Soviet Union. The EU is took fractured to act as one to be a superpower. Also, America has by far the biggest economy, and defensively, it has amongst the best positions in the world. It will take a lot for America to cease to be the world's guiding light.

by Lakrosse 2009-11-17 11:21AM | 0 recs
Re: who can overtake us?

Mandarin Chinese's grammar is incredibly more simple than English's.

by the mystical vortexes of sedona 2009-11-18 08:47AM | 0 recs
sorry, but when a language takes

two years to get thru the 100 level in college, its not gonna be a hegemonic language. Even if syntax is easy, there are too many characters, and for most people, whose languages do not consist of characters, it would be too difficult. There is a REASON why English is considered very easy to learn for communication purposes and is the world's number 1 overall (native + second language) language.

Its like you're looking for ways to put down this great land.

by Lakrosse 2009-11-19 06:00AM | 0 recs
Re: We Are a Nation in Decline

I agree with you--we are in decline, but for reasons other than what you point out.

First, 40% of our voting age population thinks a magic flying Jewish zombie is going to show up any day and fix all the shit that's fucked up.  They have no sense of future planning.  On the other hand, those people have always been around.

The real problem is that our public education system is inadequate at every level.  Based on my looking into it, there is not a single other industrialized nation that's responding to recession by laying off teachers.  Here we had a financial crisis caused by borrowers not being able to read and understand standardized loan documents and bankers not having tools available to measure the risk involved with them.  It's simpler than it sounds--people cannot read and do math well enough to meet their economic challenges.

It's at every level.  EVERY level.  Why in the hell are businesses complaining that college graduates can't write?  Why are students graduating high school and can't even name the first three Presidents?  There was a time when you couldn't graduate the 8th grade without having read the King James Bible (not that I'm a fan of the Bible, but you get my point).  1/3 eighth graders can't even get through Charlotte's Web.  Idiots on top of idiots, and we respond by laying of teachers.  We're screwed beyond screwed and too ignorant to know it.

Look at how many illiterates we have.  People who were shocked to learn about health care reform being on Obama's platform, people who don't know Medicare and Social Security are government programs.  I worked with a lady who thought George Bush was pro-choice.  I just had another person tell me how terrible our country's drug problem is.  He was floored to find out that our last two Presidents are admitted former coke-heads.  He voted for them both.  It's a veritable moron parade every goddam day.

We are a nation in decline.  We're circling the bowl as we speak.  We're chock-full of functional morons and we let them vote.  I'd be tempted to say Fuck America but we're already fucked.

by SuperCameron 2009-11-13 05:00PM | 0 recs
Re: We Are a Nation in Decline

I agree wholeheartedly with you on the issue of education.  Like everything else, higher education has become an industry in this country (with serious efforts to make it so at the elementary and secondary levels as well).  Universities have done a disservice by admitting illiterate and unprepared students simply to keep its revenues flowing.  There was a recent report here in NY that students admitting to the city university could not do very basic math (converting fractions into decimals, calculating percentages, etc.).  This is shameful and we have no plans to correct this wrong.  I think we are going to see a spate of law suits by students who were admitted and passed along without requisite skills suing for fraud in inducement.  Something needs to be done to reverse course and there's no public desire to do so.  

by orestes 2009-11-14 09:55AM | 0 recs
Re: We Are a Nation in Decline

"There was a recent report here in NY that students admitting to the city university could not do very basic math (converting fractions into decimals, calculating percentages, etc.)"

I agree 110%

by QTG 2009-11-14 10:00AM | 0 recs
Re: We Are a Nation in Decline

There was a recent report here in NY that students admitting to the city university could not do very basic math (converting fractions into decimals, calculating percentages, etc

My father went to a CUNY school in the late 1960's and they had the same problems then.

by ND22 2009-11-15 07:10PM | 0 recs
Re: We Are a Nation in Decline

Recent accomplishments proving America's decline:
NASCAR, Sarah Palin, FAUXnews, da Lottery, concealed-carry, Libertarians, Republicans, chicken-hawks, 'best health-care system in the world', rap 'music', Madoff 'investors'.

I'm glad I'm old.

by QTG 2009-11-14 02:06AM | 0 recs
Re: We Are a Nation in Decline

How does Nascar provide an indication of America in decline?

by BuckeyeBlogger 2009-11-14 08:11AM | 0 recs
Re: We Are a Nation in Decline

It's a freak show.

by QTG 2009-11-14 10:02AM | 0 recs
Re: We Are a Nation in Decline

Really? That freak show includes 60 percent of viewers and attendees who area between $50-100K a year and include a cross section of American including democrats and republicans. They are factory workers, executives and carpenters.....so what your saying is American is a freak show? Apparently your better than they are?

by BuckeyeBlogger 2009-11-14 10:24AM | 0 recs
Re: We Are a Nation in Decline

That idiot refers to NASCAR as a freak show, and then probably wonders where the term "liberal elites" comes from.

by BJJ Fighter 2009-11-14 03:43PM | 0 recs
Ah yes, liberals love diversity

as long as such diversity comports with their idea of what's politically correct. Those who like auto racing (and country music, I'll bet) aren't welcome in liberal-land.

by BJJ Fighter 2009-11-14 10:37AM | 0 recs
Re: Ah yes, liberals love diversity

get a room

by QTG 2009-11-14 11:12AM | 0 recs
Re: Ah yes, liberals love diversity

Uhm...that's the second time you've made this comment. Senility creeping in? We're used to you being a little more creative with your insults.

Or maybe you're just getting grouchy, given how badly your boy is stumbling these days.

by BJJ Fighter 2009-11-14 03:24PM | 0 recs
You want creative?

Why don't you and your "centrist" friends fellate each other on RedState.

how's that for creative?

by ND22 2009-11-14 07:19PM | 0 recs
Re: You want creative?

Once again, we see that you can always depend on liberals to elevate the tone of a discussion.

by BJJ Fighter 2009-11-15 09:19AM | 0 recs
Who would want to have a discussion with you?

by ND22 2009-11-15 09:20AM | 0 recs
Obviously, you do

or else you woundn't be posting your silly comments, you stupid ass.

by BJJ Fighter 2009-11-15 11:51AM | 0 recs
No, I'm just saying what everyone else is thinking

it's fun pointing out ignorance and stupidity, that's my only reason to respond to you.

by ND22 2009-11-15 04:41PM | 0 recs
Re: No, I'm just saying

"They" cannot felate each other. "They" are probably the same person.

by JDF 2009-11-15 05:27PM | 0 recs
So have some ribs removed

just stop trolling. lol

by ND22 2009-11-15 07:09PM | 0 recs
Re: We Are a Nation in Decline

I agree that we are in a state of decline, but don't think its irreversible.  We have poor education, health care, life expectancy, limited opportunities for a decent living for most Americans.  If we decide as a society that it is important to address these issues, we can reverse course.

I don't know that I agree with your comments about immigrants.  We admit a significant number of immigrants each year.  Have the policies changed and I missed it?  Also, I think you have confused exceptional immigrants (the Einsteins, etc.) with the average.  I don't mean any slight to anyone, but most immigrants who come here are looking for better opportunities than those at home.  They tend to be less educated and less skilled.  There's nothing wrong with that, but I don't think most immigrants are responsible for important developments.  I'm interested in being corrected if I am wrong.  Do you have facts to back up your claims?

by orestes 2009-11-14 10:01AM | 0 recs
Re: We Are a Nation in Decline

We do admit a significant number of immigrants each year, and we've been very effective at assimilating them - their contribution is part of the reason the U.S. became the world's superpower.

In response to your question - some immigrants may be less educated, some may be more educated. But, by definition, all of them are extremely ambitious, motivated, hard-working people because they're willing to travel hundreds/thousands of miles away from home, to a place with a very different culture that often doesn't accept them, just to do better in life. How many of us are motivated enough to do that?

by Inoljt 2009-11-14 10:39AM | 0 recs
Re: We Are a Nation in Decline

I don't disagree that many immigrants are hard-working, etc. but your logic is faulty.  Just because someone travels a great distance for better opportunities does not mean they are necessarily hard-working, ambitious, motivated, etc.  You are making that correlation solely on a value system that you are interjecting into the facts.  

by orestes 2009-11-15 11:42AM | 0 recs
Re: We Are a Nation in Decline

Immigration is not easy. The simple act of immigration requires those very charactersitics, at least to some extent. It is an assumption based on the nature of immigration itself.

by JDF 2009-11-15 05:29PM | 0 recs
Re: We Are a Nation in Decline

That is a false assumption based upon a false correlation.  For example, one could emigrate to the US and stay with family who are established here and move into a job that has been set up for him/her.  Sure, you have to deal with integrating into a new culture, but some people thrive on that.  It is just assinine to make such sweeping assumptions about drive, hardwork, etc. on the basis of nothing.  It's akin to the following:  College graduates are all very hardworking and driven because it is inherent in attending college that you have to work hard to achieve.  So, college graduates are a driven, hardworking group of people.  Do you see the silliness in making assumptions now?

by orestes 2009-11-16 09:21AM | 0 recs
Re: We Are a Nation in Decline

My last post on this topic:

Well...I do think college graduates are a driven, hardworking group of people. Otherwise they wouldn't have graduated from college.

I don't see anything wrong with that assumption.

This nation needs more college graduates, just like we need more hardworking, driven immigrants.

Anyways, my original responses were made in the hope of convincing you guys that immigrants help, not hurt, the United States (instead of starting an argument, which is usually what happens).

I now see that was probably impossible.

Anyways - Orestes, from reading your posts, you appear a very smart, intellectual person. I hope, in the future, you try to understand the viewpoint of an immigration advocate. There's a good argument to be made for it.

by Inoljt 2009-11-16 11:33AM | 0 recs
Re: We Are a Nation in Decline

Inoljt,

I do not mean to argue with you on the value of immigration.  It is a haallmark of American culture.  I just think that by overstating your point you lose some of the force of your argument.  When you make sweeping statements which romanticize a group of people your argument remains too abstract (and you invite picky people like myself to debate your statements and not the underlying cause).  You can highlight the benefits of immigration without gilding the lily, in my view.  

Or perhaps you simply have a rosier view of people.  (I certainly don't think so highly of college graduates sui generis.)  

Peace

by orestes 2009-11-17 06:11AM | 0 recs
Re: We Are a Nation in Decline

The immigrants who come here today by and large dont represent the work ethic and love for this country that those who come in the early 20th century did...

by BuckeyeBlogger 2009-11-14 10:25AM | 0 recs
Re: We Are a Nation in Decline

You're right that some immigrants may be conflicted between their native country and their adopted country. That's quite natural. If you immigrated to Britain, would you still hold American patriotism? I certainly would.

Fortunately, it's not the immigrants who matter - it's the children. And the children of immigrants have always assimilated very well into America. If that wasn't true, the concept of an "American" would not exist. Your ancestors were probably immigrants who may not have been completely loyal to the U.S. (unless you're Native American) - and, by golly, you're probably a patriotic American, just as I am.

You also talk about work ethic. I assume by this you're referring to Hispanic immigrants (correct me if I'm wrong).

I think many Hispanic immigrants have the best work ethic in this country. Think of the work they're forced to do. California's Central Valley depends on Hispanic laborers picking fruits in 100+ temperatures, working 12-hour days, and being paid minimum wage (or less.) Yet Hispanics voluntarily do this work - just to get a better life. Are you willing to do this type of work? If you are, then congratulations - you have the same work ethnic as these Hispanic immigrants. As for myself, I certainly couldn't do the work; in that respect, I'm certainly less hard-working than these immigrants.

And if you're talking about Asian immigrants, well - for all the negative stereotypes of Asians, lazy is not one of them.

by Inoljt 2009-11-14 10:55AM | 0 recs
Re: We Are a Nation in Decline

No I am talking talking about european immigrants like my grandparents who came here, worked hard and loved this country. Their loyalty through 2 Wars against thei native land was America. My father has told me howy Grandfather would be almost in tears hearing about American losses in WWII at the hands of German soldiers. They came here and learned to speak and spoke the language at home and in public. Contrast that with those who come here and basically refuse to learn and speak english and demand that we speak their native language to them. Absurd.......I am not againts immigration, but the idea that we need more immigrants is ludicrous.

by BuckeyeBlogger 2009-11-14 11:26AM | 0 recs
Re: We Are a Nation in Decline

Times change. We don't speak 'Injun", for instance.

by QTG 2009-11-14 11:51AM | 0 recs
Re: We Are a Nation in Decline

Your right times change and if people coming to this country dont want to speak and learn the language...they shoudnt come

by BuckeyeBlogger 2009-11-14 12:20PM | 0 recs
Re: We Are a Nation in Decline

You speak with forked tongue, kemosabe.

by QTG 2009-11-14 01:43PM | 0 recs
My great-grandparents emigrated here in 1922

and never spoke a word of English in their lives...didn't have to, they stayed close to fellow immigrants of their nationality so they never had to.

so don't act like this is a new thing or that every immigrant nowadays does it. Clearly you don't live among immigrants.
 

by ND22 2009-11-14 07:14PM | 0 recs
Re: We Are a Nation in Decline

Growing up, I knew a few older people who couldn't speak English.  They were were Italian-Americans.  Today, I live fewer than 100 miles from the Mexican border.  I don't think I've ever encountered anyone here who can't or "refuses" to learn English.  

That said, if making a Spanish language ballot or legal document will help someone, I say go for it.  It's just sounds we make with our mouths.  

by sneakers563 2009-11-14 08:33PM | 0 recs
and only the european immigrants I suppose


No I am talking talking about european immigrants

and only them I suppose since all the immigrants from other contienents were truly Manchurian Candidates secretly plotting our doom.

Their loyalty through 2 Wars against thei native land was America.

As opposed to today where no immigrant is loyal to America. Nope, not the 69,000 immigrants who serve in the Armed Forces...they're only there for a free ride, or a green card, or...something. Those 100+ immigrants who died wearing an American uniform in Iraq and Afghanistan cannot hold a candle to the European <ahem>white<ahem> immigrants of the past. Truly, today's immigrants are fighting for Mexico or whatever country they come from. They don't love America like MY ancestors did.

They came here and learned to speak and spoke the language at home and in public.

BuckeyeBlogger's grandparents clearly did not live in New York City where the English language was nonexistent in immigrant neighborhoods in the early 20th Century.

I am not againts immigration, but the idea that we need more immigrants is ludicrous.

so to clarify, you don't oppose immigration, you just don't think anyone should actually immigrate.

by ND22 2009-11-14 09:53PM | 0 recs
Re: and only the european immigrants I suppose

Lou Dobbs is to News what NASCAR is to Sports.

The effect that watching has on their Fans is tragic. Thank goodness such crap mainly seems to effect stupid bitter white men, who can't take responsibility for their own failings in life, but blame Immigrants and the dreaded 'elites' for denying them what God had intended they should have, like dominion over everything.

by QTG 2009-11-15 07:37AM | 0 recs
Re: We Are a Nation in Decline

Just because you might be unwilling to do hard labor, do not assume that all Americans feel the same way.  That's a bit selfish and self-delusional.  Most people will do whaetver they can to get by.  If you are uneducated, don't have marketable skills, and don't speak the language, your opporunities are limited.  I bet that each of those workers picking fruit in Cali would take an easier position if it were available to them.  Although well-intentioned, your view of the noble immigrant only serves to objectify people, which I think is disrespectful.  

by orestes 2009-11-15 11:49AM | 0 recs
they terk ur jerb?

by JJE 2009-11-15 11:58AM | 0 recs
Re: We Are a Nation in Decline

Wow...stay classy Buckeye. That is quite the "observation."

by JDF 2009-11-15 05:31PM | 0 recs
feh.

haven't been here for a while - seeing some of the responses here makes me realize i  haven't missed much.

by canadian gal 2009-11-16 04:08PM | 0 recs

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