The way the world ends, T.S. Eliot reminds us, is “Not with a bang but a whimper.” But our country’s seeming slide into the abyss is starting to feel like a roller coaster ride, if not one where the passengers end up safely back at the loading station.
As most readers will know, a few weeks back a Chinese diplomat cleaned Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s clock during the first high-level bilateral meeting between the new U.S. administration and China. After Blinken lectured his interlocutors on China’s questionable behavior at home and abroad, Chinese Director of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission Yang Jiechi basically told Blinken and his entourage to go take a good hard look in the mirror.
Citing Black Lives Matter, Yang said that “The challenges facing the United States in human rights are deep-seated,” and that “Many people within the United States actually have little confidence in the democracy of the United States.”
On that last count, Yang was not wrong. The problem which arises when a society routinely reverse-propagandizes itself as the United States does these days is that it demoralizes its own populace.
Our cultural self-doubt is exported and then tends to come back like a boomerang. This explains how China, the country of Uyghur concentration camps and a social credit system reminiscent of Orwell’s 1984, is adopting the woke talking points and cynically returns them to us in the form of a rhetorical missile every time it’s in the Communist Party’s interest to do so.
In the meanwhile, border crossings from Mexico into the United States have once more reached record highs, to the point where the CBP’s detention centers are bursting at the seams and at any rate are flaunting every COVID guideline imposed by the CDC. If the Karens who would yell at you on the bike path from 30 feet away for not wearing your mask have had anything to say about these facilities being filled to the brim in the middle of a deadly pandemic, I have yet to hear about it.
The media’s strenuous efforts to deny the obvious notwithstanding, everybody understands that the new administration’s laxity on immigration enforcement is encouraging more fortune seekers from Latin America to take a chance and make the journey north. They even tell the press as much when asked. But the Democrats’ spin on it is that — you guessed it — the current border surge is Trump’s fault.
We have to face a painful reality: Americans have, on the whole, become a meek and decadent people unhinged from their primal instincts. It seems that, as a nation, we can’t really be bothered by the important subjects any longer, so long as we are provided with our bread and circuses.
Our lethargy on things that matter is matched only by hysterical outrage about things that don’t.
Hence, we hardly utter a peep upon plunging ourselves further into debt in order to provide another round of government checks for millions of Americans, many of whom never lost a penny worth of income due to COVID. The federal government is spending like a drunken sailor with money it doesn’t have. Yet, even 59% of Republican voters support the latest two trillion dollar COVID relief act.
Needless to say, all this debt comes at the expense of future economic growth. And when inflation kicks in, which inevitably it will, interest rates will be raised to the point where the government won’t even be able to meet its interest payments on that mountain of debt, let alone pay it down. This specter hangs like the sword of Damocles above our economy.
Undaunted by these minor details, the Biden admin is gearing up for the next fiscal boondoggle already, described in typical fashion by a Washington Post headline as a “massive infrastructure bill with universal pre-K, free community college, climate measures,” as if these topics were logically linked. Somewhere along the way such practices became acceptable, and then normal.
On the other side of the equation there’s anger all around when Tucker Carlson makes a negative comment on women in the military which leaves some who would never watch his show to begin with feeling bad. Six works of Dr. Seuss (of all people) are canceled by his publisher under the slightest pressure from the Twitter mob. The MLB yanks its All-Star Game from Georgia in protest to that state’s new election law. And all this arrives as the nation just turned the corner on a four-year hissy fit over Donald Trump.
The hysteria these topics aroused is not commensurate with their importance. And worse, they detract from the bigger picture. Time is a scarce commodity. Just like every therapeutic women’s studies college course taken is a class not taken on Plato or Newton’s laws of motion, every minute spent by the nation’s news channels on Trump’s latest transgression, or spreading falsehoods and outrage about Georgia’s election law, is a minute squandered.
For the fact of the matter is that challenges of an entirely different magnitude are facing our country: China, immigration, and our national debt being the most important among them. Insofar as we talk about these topics, we don’t do so honestly.
“As the country moves forward from the past four years of harsh immigration policies,” one opinion piece in The Atlantic recently shrieked, “it must reckon with a history that stretches back much further, and that conflicts with one of the most frequently repeated American myths,” being that “There has never been a color-blind immigration system. It’s always been about exclusion.”
Such are the concerns not of serious but unserious people. While the chess masters in Beijing, Moscow and Tehran are pondering their next moves, we are bickering over the diversity of our immigrants.
I have a challenge for this Atlantic writer: try emigrating to China, or even our ally Japan, and becoming one of their citizens. And while you’re at it, see if their leaders are as susceptible to your woke ideology as ours are. Do you think you will make it as far as Ilhan Omar in her adopted homeland, and will be able to spread your radicalism in a fashion similar to hers?
Good luck. The Chinese will never allow themselves to be hampered by any feeling of guilt over their past or even present practices. China’s research universities don’t divert millions of dollars to vice presidents for diversity and inclusion. Its military will never fight wars with one hand tied behind its back for fear of inflicting collateral damage. In no way is Chinese foreign policy aimed at bringing about an “equitable” world. And you can be certain the ChiComs won’t let ideological dissidence poison the body politic from within as has happened in the West in recent decades.
As Victor Davis Hanson has repeated almost ad nauseam for years now, the Chinese, the Russians and the Iranians don’t view our gestures of goodwill as an extended hand to be reciprocated, but as weakness to be exploited.
While we fret about transgender girls in sports and rig up a billion-dollar industry to indoctrinate our corporate and government workers with critical race theory, around us the world keeps turning. And it’s less concerned about the secondary matters in life than our new Secretary of State or the staff at The Atlantic.
Unserious people invite serious consequences.