Andrew Bacevich, too, has lost faith — in the United States

© 2019 Peter Free


31 July 2019



In the past . . .


. . . Colonel-historian Andrew Bacevich seemed to think that the US was salvageable.


Not, we can infer, any more.


Writing an imaginary historical text (dated into the future), he said that:



[T]aken as a whole, the many indications of systemic and even planetary dysfunction received infinitely less popular attention than the pregnancies of British royals, the antics of the justifiably forgotten Kardashian clan, or fantasy football, a briefly popular early twenty-first century fad.


Of course, decades later, viewed with the benefit of hindsight, the implications of these various trends and data points seem painfully clear:


the dominant ideological abstraction of late postmodernity — liberal democratic capitalism — was rapidly failing or had simply become irrelevant to the challenges facing the United States and the human species as a whole.


To employ another then-popular phrase, liberal democratic capitalism had become an expression of “fake news,” a scam sold to the many for the benefit of the privileged few.


[T]he postmodern age was ending, though few seemed to know it — with elites, in particular, largely oblivious to what was occurring.


What would replace postmodernity in a planet heading for ruin remained to be seen.


© 2019 Andrew J. Bacevich, The Great Reckoning: A Look Back from Mid-Century, TomDispatch (23 July 2019)



I have been pessimistic, longer than he


A population of 327 million ignorant, and mostly apathetic people, cannot make (or hold onto) a self-aware democracy.


Without a modicum of national self-awareness, society blunders in down-spiraling circles.


With regard to the United States, too many people. Too much diverse empty-headedness. And way too many intensely selfish individualists.


Community is not, and never has been, a "white" American proposition.


Absent a sense of broad community, democracy fails. Even with reliably functioning institutions, which we lack.



The moral? — the American dream, such as it was, is over


What happens now is deepened autocracy.