Lawrence Auster has been wrestling with the idea of what and who is “America”. Is “America” over with? Is the “United States” different from “America”?
Any nation, country, commonwealth, or what have you, will inevitably consist of people of different classes, occupations, and interests. It may also contain different religions, national groups and languages. For the unit to function as a whole, it must have some workable way of managing the conflicts between groups. The method of governance doesn’t have to be just, fair, or moral, it just has to work.
The US is and always has been composed of groups quite hostile to each other and who have struggled for supremacy. The North was able to force the South to end slavery, but in the aftermath the South was able to prevent the North from establishing black equality. The South was able to protect its interests through Congress for another hundred years, so it was satisfied. Victorian reformers were able for some time to make alcohol illegal; that eventually failed, but Victorian reformers have plenty of other projects so they are kept busy.
Massive European immigration eventually became a serious issue for small town America, which partly led to Prohibition, and eventually to the 1920’s immigration restriction. The New Deal created a broad political coalition of big business, labor and government for a managed economy.
Since the 60’s the power has all been with the left. Blacks gained political power, in a proportion far greater than their proportion of the population. The new Third World immigrants and women became new interest groups. Government workers, aided by unionization, became more powerful. A whole new class of essentially moral and religious workers in the educational establishment are included in this. The judicial system became a new place to reward and punish political opponents and judges and lawyers gained power.
The people not benefiting from this, broadly speaking white middle-class people not engaged in government professions, don’t like being excessively dominated by these groups. They don’t mind them having power but don’t want to be browbeaten or humiliated. But the system is not willing to admit any limits to its power, and it has a big enough coalition so that it doesn’t have to listen.
For a bare majority of Americans, America is a place to loot. All societies at all times have endured parasites, but not to this extent. This would all work fine except that it can’t pay for itself. The system can’t tax farm enough from productive citizens to support itself, and while it can go on for a few more years, the end is there somewhere.
A nation is built on some kind of a durable bargain, if that bargain is only that the slaves will endure and hope for something better in the next life. America’s basic bargain is not between citizens, but between the system and its lenders. The system promises to keep the cow alive and providing milk to pay the lenders back. Notice that the cow is not consulted in this. The lender is placing his final trust not in any word of the system, but the condition of the cow.