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Lessons for the Future Republic
J.B. Shurk

Victor Davis Hanson and Dennis Prager are keen observers of American society.  Like honored physicians who examine the body politic for disease, they expertly diagnose what ails our country.  What they say and write matters.  It is significant, then, when both reach the conclusion that the United States is disintegrating.  

In an essay entitled “American Paralysis and Decline,” Hanson begins by quoting Roman historian Livy: “We can bear neither our diseases nor their remedies.”  He then walks us through America’s open border crisis, unsustainable debt, epidemic of crime, and weaponization of the criminal justice system.  In every instance, he argues, Americans know that the disease is killing us, yet we lack the courage to choose the proper remedy.  Instead, our tormentors bully us into submission with meaningless taunts that we are politically incorrect, racist, nativist, uncaring, cruel, or bad Christians.  As the Roman Republic collapsed in Livy’s time, Hanson worries that the American Republic will fall during his.  When societies “are so paralyzed by their fear that the road to salvation becomes too painful to even contemplate,” he concludes, “they implode gradually, then suddenly.”

Within days of Hanson’s essay, Prager published an essay entitled “The Left-Right Divide Is Not Bridgeable.”  Whereas Hanson’s essay diagnoses America as suffering from a state of “paralysis” in which we are unable to confront what is destroying us, Prager recognizes that even if we were able to snap into action, we are entirely too divided to heal ourselves.  “Millions of Americans,” he begins, “harbor a wish that something or someone can bridge” our ideological divisions.  That wish is “understandable” but a total “fantasy.”  He then takes us through a compendium of symptoms that spell doom for the Union.  Americans sharply disagree about such fundamental issues as biological sex, colorblind meritocracy, Hamas terrorism, childhood sexualization, law enforcement, free speech, respect for opposing points of view, and the nature of democracy.  “Today’s left-right divide is at least as great as the North-South divide before and during the Civil War,” Prager laments.  “The only thing that remains the same is that it was the Democratic Party that opposed freedom then, and it is the Democratic Party that opposes freedom today.”  

Note the common warning from both Hanson’s and Prager’s respective diagnoses: American society is showing identical symptoms to societies that disintegrated into civil war.  Both are plainly saying that, although we have detected the cancer destroying us, we have failed to treat it in time.  The options still available to us are grotesque: amputation, debilitation, or even death.  It is no longer clear that the patient can be saved or, if it is saved, whether it will resemble anything like its former self.  Will the American Republic, like the Roman Republic, become a dictatorship and a slowly dying empire?  Many would say we are already far along that path.  Will Americans descend into such bloodshed as to destroy the Union for good?  Many might agree that the U.S. government’s aiding and abetting of the criminal invasion at our borders has already precipitated so many drug-related or violent deaths as to constitute civil war.

If we expand our scrutiny to various corners of the collapsing West, symptoms of self-destruction are metastasizing.  There are “gender doctors” who wish to diagnose parents who oppose their children’s sterilization and bodily mutilation as suffering from “mental illness.”  U.K. police recently threatened a man standing on his own property for telling a bunch of pro-Hamas activists waving foreign flags, “This is England!”  His crime?  Apparently, correctly identifying his homeland is now deemed “racist.”  A former Mexican congressman has been convicted of “gendered violence” for refusing to accede to a male lawmaker’s delusional belief that he is actually a woman.  Just as FBI director Christopher Wray once dismissed Antifa-directed arson and violence as a shapeless “ideology” without an official “organization,” a European Union official has claimed that Hamas is simply “an idea” that can’t be killed.  While Google’s new A.I. interface deletes white people from history, the Anti-Defamation League continues to redefine left-wing violence as “right-wing” for purposes of statistical record-keeping.  Los Angeles is hiring foreign nationals in the country illegally to police U.S. citizens.  Canada is well on its way to criminalizing Christianity and conservative speech.  Daycares in Germany have shockingly adopted  “sex rooms” for curious toddlers.  The Biden regime is locking up journalists for daring to report the truth about the J6 protest for fair elections.  And at the same time that “woke” segregationists in London are dividing theater audiences by race, a young British father has been sentenced to two years in prison for opposing illegal immigration and handing out stickers that say, “Love Your Nation,” “White Lives Matter,” and “It’s OK to be White.”  Wherever you look in the West, there are signs of widespread social disintegration and rapidly advancing State tyranny.  Things are definitely not all right.   

Amid all these symptoms suggesting impending Western death, Hanson and Prager offer sober predictions: the future will bring upheaval, pain, and violence.  If that is the case, then the task before us is twofold: we must do our best to save America (as the peoples of other Western nations must work to save their own), and we must prepare for a new beginning on the other side of chaos.  If the worst were to really happen and the Union collapses, then it is essential to know what we want going forward.

Some see the science fiction dystopia rapidly materializing before our eyes and assume that nothing can be done.  Censorship, surveillance, oppression, and tyranny will take root, and docile Americans will be summarily caged in “fifteen-minute cities” and kept forevermore tranquil on a diet of drugs, bugs, and propaganda.  Artificial intelligence will control what we can read and think, and militarized police forces will brutally repress dissent.  Those most inclined to accept this fate believe that those who resist will be quickly eliminated, while those who yield will be kept permanently subdued.

I tend to think the totalitarians will not construct their planned dystopia so easily.  After all, most of their “new world order” plans have actually come in response to technologies that have given the individual more freedom and power.  Western governments would not be openly pursuing censorship today if ordinary citizens had not first utilized the internet as a platform for mass communication beyond the control of the State’s information gatekeepers in the corporate news media.  Central banks would not be rapidly pushing for a transition to a universal digital currency under their continued dominion if alternatives such as Bitcoin were not offering citizens a means to bypass sovereign currencies.  Intelligence agencies would not be so flagrantly spying on their own citizens (often in explicit violation of their own national constitutions and laws) if they did not fear that the opinions and speech of ordinary people could threaten their continued hegemony.

To the contrary, I think the coming conflict has been baked into the Western cake for quite some time.  As technology evolved to give individuals greater control over their own lives, it became inevitable that a tremendous clash would arise between the State’s authority and personal freedom.  If people can trade, communicate, and build futures without depending on huge government bureaucracies to act as economic, political, and cultural middlemen, then the State’s power withers.  

I think this is a good thing.  If we must one day build our world from the ground up, we should start from simple precepts.  A nation run by spies, cartels, regulators, and central bankers will always collapse upon its own corruption.  For free peoples to maintain long-term peace, they must habitually starve the State.  These are the costly lessons for any future republic.



J.B. Shurk is a proud American from Daniel Boone country.

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