Would a latter-day Gibbon describe today’s America as “decadent”? I recently heard a prominent, and pro-American, French thinker (who was speaking off the record) say just that.
He was moved to use the word after watching endless news accounts of U.S. President Donald Trump’s tweets alternate with endless revelations of sexual harassment.
I flinched, perhaps because a Frenchman accusing Americans of decadence seems contrary to the order of nature. And the reaction to Harvey Weinstein et al. is scarcely a sign of hysterical puritanism, as I suppose he was implying.
And yet, the shoe fit. The sensation of creeping rot evoked by that word seems terribly apt.
The author of the opinion piece places a lot of the blame on Trump but I think Trump is actually a symptom more than a disease. In my opinion Trump is actually the first president in my lifetime that is an accurate representative of the masses. He’s crass, he lacks of mastery of the English language, he feels the need to publicly retaliate against even more most insignificant slights. In other words, he’s very much like an average American and that’s the problem.
More and more America reflects Idiocracy. Education is severely lacking. Part of this is because so many parents send their children to government schools, which are little more than propaganda centers. But a more significant part of this is the fact that so few seem to value an education. Being stupid is almost seen as a badge of honor to many. When you have stupid Americans you shouldn’t be surprised when they elect a stupid president or stupid members of Congress.
I agree with the author’s sentiment that the United States is in its collapse stage. I don’t know whether the collapse will take a decade or a hundred years. But it shares too many similarities to collapsing empires of history for me to think everything is going to be fine.