IN December 2020, I wrote an article for TCW in which I described the election of Joe Biden, who had just been declared the next president of the United States, as ‘America’s biggest mistake’. Nothing since has persuaded me otherwise. Indeed, I now realise I knew only the half of it.
Rather than the ‘polite and orderly caretakers of America’s decline’ that Florida Senator Marco Rubio had predicted, Biden and his minions are neither polite nor orderly and have helped bring about a precipitous, chaotic, and possibly irreversible decline of a nation whose contributions to world civilisation are difficult to overstate.
Who can forget the humiliation of the fall of Kabul, Afghanistan, in August 2021, a debacle that resulted in the loss of hundreds of innocent lives, including 13 American soldiers blown to pieces by an Islamic State suicide bomber as they prepared to leave? And the state-of-the-art weaponry worth more than $7billion left behind by the retreating Americans, much of which fell into the hands of terrorists who wish to do harm to the United States and her allies?
Nothing says you are a declining superpower and have lost your will to maintain your position on the global stage more than what happened in Kabul. No wonder Putin felt empowered to attack Ukraine six months later; and Chinese diplomats, representing a nation that incarcerates undesirable minorities in concentration camps and forcibly harvests the organs of prisoners and other marginalised people for profit, felt entirely at ease lecturing their US counterparts on human rights and how poorly America treats its citizens of African heritage.
To be sure, America’s decline did not begin with the arrival of Joseph Robinette Biden in the White House. The ideas which are driving the current decline and have brought about this dreadful cultural malaise in the nation of my wife’s birth trace their origins to the 1960s, when the liberal-left began its long, orderly and successful march through the institutions of American life.
I first heard the phrase ‘political correctness’ in 1989, if my memory serves me, and well remember leftist colleagues threatening to leave the country if Ronald Reagan were elected in 1980 and in 1984. Reagan won on both occasions but I don’t recall anyone leaving. They never do, sadly. While it could be awkward to express conservative views in those days, especially in the academic and artistic circles in which I often found myself, Americans seemed far less overtly political, preferring to keep their opinions to themselves. What a far cry from 2023 when more and more people, mostly those who lean left but not exclusively so, are defining their identities through their political outlooks, causing friendships to end and family members to be estranged.
One by one, veritable institutions fell to highly respected and often well-heeled progressives, united in their contempt for American history and tradition and their desire radically to transform the culture of the United States. Few if any of those institutions offered resistance, and those which did hold out for a time, such as the Boy Scouts of America, eventually caved, a tendency that has continued at an alarming rate under President Biden.
Indeed, it is the dizzying speed of changes which distinguishes life in America now, and before Biden. What everyone thought a year or two ago is now evidence of domestic terrorism. Traditionalist Catholics who revere the Latin Mass, as did my late father, are being investigated by the FBI. Parents concerned about their children being exposed to pornography and divisive racial and gender theories are under scrutiny, as are those who pray outside abortion clinics.
It is as if Biden’s presence in the White House has acted as an accelerant to fires which had been burning steadily for decades. The controlled fires of yesteryear have become a conflagration, and America finds itself embroiled in a cultural revolution which threatens its very existence as a viable nation-state. If recent American history were a play or a film, one might see the current intensification of elements which have been long percolating as the ‘denouement’ in which the elements of the plot converge and matters are explained or resolved, but I fear this is not what is taking place in Biden’s America, rather that this is the beginning of something very nasty indeed.
Why do I say this? Let me enumerate the reasons.
As regards the dire state of the economy, which negatively affects those who live on the economic margins, I refer to a brilliant analysis by Rodney Atkinson recently published in these pages.
Economies can be fixed, of course, deficits reduced, inflation lowered; cultures are altogether different.
Not since the Civil War a century and a half ago has the United States been so divided. A surprising number of Americans on both sides of the political divide talk of another civil war. Certainly, the nation is involved in a cultural civil war and has been for quite some time. Biden spoke of unity in his Inaugural Address, using the word nine times and urging his fellow Americans ‘to see each other not as adversaries but as neighbors [and] . . . treat each other with dignity and respect’. Fine words indeed. But despite calling himself ‘the unifier in chief’, he has done nothing but further divide the American people since taking office, demonising those who oppose his destructive policies and labelling those who voted for Trump in 2020 (just over 74million) ‘a threat to democracy’.
Meanwhile, America is in a terrible state, not only thanks to Biden but made infinitely worse by his presidency: her cities are crime-ridden and befouled; her borders virtually non-existent; her criminal justice system corrupted by ideology and working hand in hand with the administration against those who hold a different vision for America or are in any way associated with Trump; her military have been humiliated on the field of battle, its personnel sissified, demoralised and subjected to the latest ideological fads from that intellectual cesspool called academia, and is missing its recruitment goals by 50,000 recruits; her public schools are plagued by violence and no longer able to teach the basic literacy and numeracy that young adults will need to function in an advanced industrial democracy, let alone basic morality and decency, resorting instead to sexualisation and Woke indoctrination.
I could list many more examples of the civilisational decay to which this nation is subject – the debasement of her letters and arts, for example – but I have said enough for now. No doubt I’ve inherited from my Irish father, who came of age during the Irish Civil War of the early 1920s, what the Spanish writer Miguel de Unamuno called ‘the tragic sense of life’. Some days I completely despair at the madness that is possessing my adopted country and imagine that I’ll end my days at a re-education facility in Montana.
I jest, of course. America isn’t quite there yet and, please God, will never be. But the totalitarian impulse is out there among the most respectable and highly educated people, trust me. If my fellow Americans don’t find a little courage and the ability to say ‘no, that isn’t right, that is objectively false and contradicts all tenets of truth and everything that decent and honest men and women hold dear’, I fear all is lost.
There’s an adage that America gets the president she deserves. If that is true, and I hope I am wrong, then heaven only can help this last best hope of mankind.