Home | Campaigns | About Us | Join Us | Store | Login

The Decline
Saturday July 16th 2005, 5:37 pm
Filed under: General,politics
Written By:

Lately I’ve been on a sci-fi kick. I’ve been reading through the Ender series by Orson Scott Card (highly recommended). He’s a master at characterizations and somewhat of an intellectual. He tends to deal a lot with science, religion and politics. Right up my alley, ne? Anyway, I just finished

    Shadow of the Hegemon

, a speculative novel about one of our planet’s possible futures. I won’t go into the novel here, because what I want to talk about is something he says in the appendix. At the end of the book, he writes a bit of an essay on socio-political speculative fiction and what he feels are the major challenges of pursuing such a story. Semi-interesting stuff if you’re interested in becoming a writer. But, in this essay, he states something, almost in passing, that really got me thinking. He said, almost matter-of-factly that America is in decline, and that the reason we are in decline is that we haven’t had a decent leader in a very long time and seem to have no interest in finding one. Of course, I’m paraphrasing. You can dig up the book yourself if you want a direct quote. It really got me thinking, though. Are we in decline? Seems to me like he’s not the only one to say it. And if this is true, how much time do we have? What will happen to us when the end finally does come? Is there any way to stop it? If there is a way, should we even try?
I personally am of the opinion that we are in decline, and the main reason for this is that no one in a position of power seems at all inclined to do anything about the increasing problems our nation is facing. The middle class is still dwindling. The rich are getting richer, and the poor are increasing in number. More and more, the issues that are taking the forefront in politics are increasingly irrelevant to the real problems that we all face. Big business is gaining more control over us by the minute, and nobody in power seems to be of a mind to put a stop to it or even slow it down. The whole situation is downright depressing. I really don’t blame those of us who are more inclined to ignore politics and world events and focus their energy on insignifigant and innane pursuits.
Thinking about all of this, I am reminded of exactly what it is that got me into activism in the first place. Personally, I don’t believe we as a country and as a people have very much time left before total collapse. The chaos and terror that will follow are unavoidable. But, the damage that is done to the average person, tho ones usually hurt the most by these sorts of things, can be minimized. I’m not talking about building a bomb shelter and saving up canned goods, or whatever. I’m talking about learning to fend for ourselves. Some of us should learn how to grow our own food. Others should learn quick and effective ways to build houses and furniture. Still others should come up with viable alternatives to capitalism. We all need to stop depending upon the government and big business for all the things we need to survive. That way, when and if the unthinkable occurs, we won’t suffer needlessly. And, even if things aren’t as bad as they seem, learning all of this stuff will help us become more well rounded individuals. Heck, we may even affect real change and end up saving the country by empowering people everywhere.
Who really knows what the future holds. I just think it’s a good thing to be prepared.

2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

I’m just as bearish about the entire economy as you are. The United States is basically bankrupt. The only reason we still operate, is because the gov’t is cash flow positive. How is this? Borrowing. Who are we borrowing money from? Japan and China. Happen to read any news lately about China? They’ve basically told Bush they would use nukes on us if we stepped to China if they try to take back Taiwan. The U.S. is on a clear decline from superpower status. The comfortable, paper-pushing middle management jobs are going overseas. The party has been sustained the past 3-4 years from massive personal and gov’t borrowing. The housing boom allowed people to pull out tons of cash to buy SUVs with ‘Support Our Troops’ stickers on them. Now they will be left upside down in massive mortgages, as their homes decline in value.

Build an Arc – the waters are about to flow.

Comment by hyperlexic 07.18.05 @ 2:42 pm

A decline of the US is ok by me, if that means evolution. I go back to one of my favorite quotes. Thomas Paine once said – “Independence is my happiness, and I view things as they are without regard to place or person. My country is the world; and my religion is to do good. All of mankind are my brethren.” In this light, this country may decline while at the same time my country – the world – may transform for the better.

Any definition of successful progress to a new system of social order must first break the boundaries of its predecessor. So if as a country, the United States, is the place where that boundary will be broken it is all the better for us and it makes sense that it would be here first. We have the resources to survive such an event.

I do relish the idea that the reason why we are declining is because of not having a strong central leader. I believe that our strongest leaders are ourselves – that we are born to govern ourselves and that when we are at our best we are capable of it. However, I am of the mind that there are still many chances to avoid a decline and instead involve ourselves in a transition from the excesses and abuses we are currently bemoaning as progressive minded people.

In fact that is our responsibility as people of privilege. I would challenge that our luxury and knowledge provide us with the ability to really look into the questions that are put forward here. Not only in preparation for a disastrous decline, but also a transition to a more life centered value system (as opposed to a monetary value system). I remain convinced that this transition can not come from a single strong leader. It is a transition that must be created by each of us.

During Gandhi’s revolution, people took on the simple act of learning to make their own clothes and their own salt. He knew that the experience of doing for one’s self would teach both self reliance and responsibility. More than this it created a sense of empowerment on a very basic level.

A big leap here – but related – I think before dismissing “corporate” systems we should note that there is much more viability in terms of a global community inherent in models of business than in the more archaic models of government. I have recently picked up a book called Collaborative Entrepreneurship – it espouses the closest thing I have ever seen to a functioning anarchistic yet highly productive and socially responsible. It is as clear a next step as I have seen.

I for one am tired of lack of imagination in both the existing governmental models as well as in the rebel anarchists who would tear things down. We are here. We have worked hard to get here and there is much good in building from here. So yeah let’s learn some new skills and make this transition as quickly, as painlessly and as responsibly as possible.

Comment by andrei 07.18.05 @ 7:16 pm

Leave a comment
Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>