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America is back: No one Cares 02 Mar 2021 20:44 #11565

  • Chilton Williamson Jr.
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President Trump was loudly criticized during his four years in office for insulting our European “allies,”  and otherwise damaging the Western alliance. Now he is gone, and his successor in the White House is insisting—at equal volume—that “America is back” in the world at large, Europe especially. As it happens, now that Washington is once again begging to be exploited by its skinflint partners across the Atlantic, Europeans have concluded from last summer’s lawless rioting by leftist revolutionaries and anarchists, and the Democrats’ refusal to condemn it, that the American political system is “broken,” that democracy in America is looking like a failed experiment, that the United States is rapidly devolving into a second-rate nation, and that within a decade her role as the world’s dominant power will pass to the People’s Republic of China. Significantly, it is not Trump and the Republicans who are chiefly responsible for this altered perception of America abroad. It is the Democrats and the Resistance that deserve the blame by having exposed the thoroughly undemocratic nature of the Democratic opposition, its progressive wing in particular, and of modern American liberalism considered as a whole.  President Biden’s uncompromising–and unpromising–first month in office, during which he has worked to reverse his predecessor’s accomplishments almost exclusively by executive order, has only heightened Europe’s awareness of the extent to which democratic institutions in the United States are being weakened, dismantled, and destroyed.

Contemporary American politics are by no means solely to blame for the decline of American prestige abroad. The media, by encouraging and supporting the Democratic left while censoring and attacking the Republican right, have done as much to alter America’s international image by focusing almost exclusively on recent acts of mass violence and other acts of lawlessness in this country while implicitly presenting them as justified responses to the supposed pervasive evils –only one of which is “racism”—endemic to  American society and politics since the early 17th century. After American politicians and the American media, our almost wholly politicized culture —films, television, the internet, publishing, the schools, and the universities— is likewise complicit in purposively purveying impressions of a society dominated by anger, nihilism despair, cynicism, confusion, dissonance, contradiction, incoherence, and the moral and intellectual corruption lying beyond (or beneath) the political sort.

At least since 1917 Americans have cared as much, or more, for their democratic reputation abroad as they have for their democratic identity at home. This is so especially for Washington, D.C., which for more than a century has imagined America as the “leader of the Free World,” the democratic model against which every democratic nation, or nation aspiring to democracy, should measure itself. Today the Democratic Party, by its refusal to restrain the extremist ideas and behavior of its progressive elements, is destroying that reputation beyond repair. As the progressives, in their rush to establish a socialist system in the United States, appear not to care; and the Trump Republicans, whose chief interest is the restoration of America to something like her former self, haven’t given a tinker’s damn about the rest of the world for decades, it is likely that they will get the job done in short order.

It is unlikely, however, that the rest of the West will follow woke America into authoritarian illiberalism. For all their faults—bureaucratism, democratic socialism, secularism, pacifism of a temporizing sort, and the failure to resist “migration” from the Third World and the invasion of Islam—Great Britain, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, Poland, etc. are still far more coherent and healthy societies than the United States. While political correctness, the absurdist racial mania included, is firmly established in the U.K., Extinction Rebellion is insignificant in numbers, power, and influence by comparison with  Black Lives Matter in the U.S., whose British chapter is only is a pale imitation of the American original. The cancel culture and the woke business are thriving in Scotland and England, but Westminster has initiated a crackdown on both of them, the universities and the National Trust in particular. Across the Channel in France, where political correctness and feminism are viewed as symptoms of an ideological illness peculiar to the Anglosphere, a reaction against multiculturalism, Islam, Islamic immigrants has set in at last. Even President Macron– a nouveau libéral, former financier, and globalist–has begun a campaign against séparatisme: the growing division between Mohammedanism and France’s commitment to la patrie, Frenchness, and laïcité. Neither in Britain nor in France have revolution and anarchy taken hold as they have in the United States, nor are their citizens so angrily and violently divided–one half against the other half–as here. Riots of the kind  America has experienced since last May have not occurred in these countries. Britain and France are not coming apart socially, politically, and philosophically as the United States is doing today. The same goes for Spain, Italy, Germany, Slovakia, and Austria, despite their intense political divisions; Poland is actually growing more united in popular belief and sentiment: pro-Catholic, nationalist, democratic, and hostile to the overbearing, bureaucratic, and illiberal European Union.

Europe, the West, and the world no longer need the United States to lead, instruct, and patronize them in the defense of democracy and “democratic values”– things the American political establishment, the American intelligentsia, and (apparently) half of the American people no longer believe in, or care about. This is not to say that they will disclaim the role of  Defensor Fidei, as Henry VIII was known before he broke with Rome. Instead, they will maintain that claim in a prolonged display of cognitive dissonance: congratulating themselves that “America is back!”   while doing everything in their power unwittingly to encourage the rest of the world to push America away and turn its back on it. Except when Washington has its checkbook out, of course.
This post first appeared on my Chilton Williamson'
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