What if the United States has already passed its peak and begun a slow decline?
Granted, that’s a mighty big IF. It’s impossible to read the future. But nothing lasts forever, and the United States will certainly cease to exist at some point. And when that time comes, historians will look back in an effort to identify and analyze the causes.
It’s impossible to know the future, but thoughtful speculation can enlighten how we understand the present. In that spirit, if the United States has turned a corner, I offer these four possible factors to explain its impending imperial decline.
Internal Political Dysfunction: Political dysfunction in the United States is a wide ranging problem. Among the many issues, partisan gridlock wrenching the federal government has received much attention of late, and rightly so.
However, from the marbled halls of Washington, D.C. to the modestly carpeted offices of municipalities, counties, and townships, the major overarching problem in U.S. politics is the corrupting influence of money.
Getting elected has become an increasingly expensive proposition everywhere. The necessity of raising substantial sums of money to win elections often leaves successful politicians beholden to various special interests. And as the lobbying industry bears more and more impact, it is beginning to recede into the shadows, away from the light of day that nourishes healthy democracies.
Of course the United States, like most places, has a long history of government representing elite interests. The founders created a republic that severely limited voting rights to the privileged and wealthy. However, notions of republican virtue and national interest, which used to play a prominent role in American political culture, seem to be on the decline. Politicians increasingly serve private and even ideological interests instead of the citizenry or nation. Read more »
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