Australia depends upon the United States for our defence in the event of a confrontation with China. The present state of the American nation is therefore an issue of vital importance not only for us but also for the world. What follows is a discussion of America’s present condition and the forces at work in threatening its greatness.
America is a very rich and powerful nation of about 330 million people. With the exception of about 40 million poor, the rest live well. Over the last 50 years Washington has directed $22 trillion to help the poor. It is no surprise that life in America attracts the world’s both the desperately poor and the ambitious.
Before the arrival of the Biden presidency the southern entry of foreigners seeking to live in the United States was firmly controlled. On taking the presidency, Biden immediately opened entry for all and sundry without any serious control of newcomers. The outcome to date has been a huge and still uncontrolled entry of a million adults and children from about 150 countries. In July 2021, for example, 212,000 people came through the southern border, a number that continues to grow with every passing hour.
Ninety per cent of all newcomers have not been formally registered. This continuing government-inspired flow of individuals is directed to the states, which are obliged to receive them. Tens of thousands have been placed in Florida for example, and some observers have suggested that the newcomers have been deliberately enticed so as to become reliable voters for the Democrats. Ironically, the northern border with Canada border is firmly policed and monitored.
Such events are indicative of a wider advent of change that has been steadily transforming America over the last 20 years or so. Public order and effective policing is fundamental to the maintenance of a well-founded society; but, in accord with Marxist theory, several cities of the American states have been overtaken by chaos, death and destruction and the steady loss of effective policing. This loss is accompanied by pervasive social theorising destructive of effective schooling, along with the elevation of ‘transgendering’ and the disappearance of ‘history’.
A sound democracy requires an honest electoral system. This issue arose in the recent presidential election when Mr. Trump claimed fraudulence of the process. That claim was dismissed by America’s mainstream media and suppressed by Big Tech’s control of social media, but the belief that Joe Biden entered the White House by means of electoral fraud remains widespread, adding a diminished faith in the ballot box to the perception of serious decline in public order, schooling and civil confidence.
An American oligarchy
Current events in America are notably unsettling; but behind these movements are deeper trends that are changing the economy (the national debt is $28 trillion-and-rising), and the distribution of wealth has changed markedly. There have been important changes through the advent of Big Tech. The outcome has been a fundamental shift in the location of power. Civil power in the hands of the ultra-rich and the capacities at hand in a colony of powerful organisations have already transformed life in America and the direction of its future.
US corporations social media giants enjoy near-unencumbered powers to curb free speech. They can block and stop whoever and whatever they choose, famously banning President Trump from Facebook and Twitter while those platforms even now allow the Taliban’s tweeters full access. Their combined power is immense and its scope is worldwide.
In a pamphlet published by America’s Hillsdale College in January 2021, Allum Bokhari , senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News, explored the powers of the companies mentioned above. After an extended investigation he concludes:
If Big Tech’s capabilities are allowed to develop unchecked and unregulated, these companies will eventually have the power not only to suppress political movements, but to anticipate and prevent the emergence of new ones. This would mean the end of democracy as we know it, because it would place us forever under the thumb of an unaccountable oligarchy.
If domination by the few is the curse of oligarchy, is this to be the fate of America? If so, what symptoms should we expect? What has been said immediately above is certainly a powerful warning. What else? Probably new centres of authority, and new centres of civil unrest. In the last 20 years or so America has seen huge growth in wealth and important changes in the character of its beneficiaries. This has been accompanied by changes in the middle class, the working class, and altered economic and demographic profiles of states. These events have attracted the notice of American sociologists and journalists.
In the September 2021 issue of The Atlantic, American journalist David Brooks writes
The creative class was supposed to foster progressive values and economic growth. Instead we got resentment, alienation and endless political dysfunction
He follows this with an extensive inquiry into what he calls the “bobos”, an elite new class:
Over the last two decades, the rapidly growing economic, cultural and social power of the bobos has generated a global backlash that is growing more and more vicious, deranged, and apocalyptic. And yet this backlash is not without basis.
The bobos or X people, or the creative class — or whatever you want to call them — have coalesced into an insular intermarrying Brahmin elite that dominates culture, media, education, and tech. Worse, those of us in the class have had a hard time admitting our power, much less using it responsibly.
Brooks goes on to enlarge the changes referred to above with the views of Raj Chetty, an economist writing on the ‘American Dream’ in August, 2019 of The Atlantic. He quotes the third part of the writings:
Third, we’ve come to dominate left-wing parties around the world that were formerly vehicles for the working class. We’ve pulled these parties further left on cultural issues (prizing cosmopolitanism and questions of identity) while writing down or reversing traditional Democratic positions on trade and unions.
As creative-class people enter left-leaning parties, working-class people tend to leave. Around 1990, nearly a third of Labour members of the British Parliament were from working-class backgrounds from 2010 to 2015, the proportion wasn’t even one in ten. In 2016, Hilary Clinton won the most educated counties in America by an average of 26 points – while losing the 50 least-educated counties by an average of 31 points.
Official power in the US is currently in the hands of the Democrats and its character and purposes are being revealed. President Biden’s ramshackle retreat from Afghanistan is one symptom. Then there is official indifference to ease the lot of those adversely affected by the catastrophe of those flooding through the southern border and the concerns of Hillary Clinton’s “deplorables” at home. The objectives at the moment, it seems, are to rule, to enjoy the protection of the press, to placate the nation’s enemies, and to relish the exclusive powers of oligarchy.
The America we cherish, it is hoped, will rediscover a resurgence of greatness and its immense capacities for achieving the good and the peaceful. But it is possible that external developments will overwhelm peace – and raise vital issues for Australia.
Barry Maley is a Senior Fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies