Stepping back from the immediate debacle of the Afghan withdrawal, the wider picture emerging from the United States is of a country in retreat at home as well as abroad. We elect the leaders we deserve, so the saying goes, and Joe Biden appears to embody that sense of decline and decay which has permeated the very fabric of the country. Madeline Grant provides an alarming snapshot of a country seemingly torn from top to toe by weakness and division:
"From every angle, Biden embodies America’s weakness. His public statements mirror the country’s fragile state – exhausted, incoherent, inward-looking and no longer in control of events. Decades of sacrifice have been squandered in a matter of weeks, yet it’s as if Biden and his fans don’t care – or refuse to admit the scale of the disaster. He seems to have little to offer beyond his advisers’ notes and comforting platitudes typed on autocue.
Over the past decade, America has veered from one extreme to another; first Trump, the pugilistic loose cannon – now the crumpled and pathetically stage-managed figure of Biden. The nation seems not just rudderless but leader-less, a sickly patient with a dubious prognosis.
The problem is institutional, too. In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph last week, the writer Bari Weiss gave a pessimistic analysis of events. America’s elite institutions, she claimed, were effectively lost to the identitarian mob and would need rebuilding from the bottom up. Joseph Schumpeter, the economist who devised the concept of creative destruction, predicted that intellectuals would be central to its demise. The prosperity and intellectual freedom common to many capitalist systems, he noted, would produce “an atmosphere of almost universal hostility to its own social order”, by creating a lofty academic class removed from and opposed to the free market.
The identity politics championed by many members of elite institutions has spilled over into the riots and senseless violence of groups like BLM and Antifa. Mismanagement by hard-Left leaders has condemned cities like Portland to a state of constant civil unrest unlike anything seen in decades. Even the dynamism of the San Francisco Bay area – a place where you feel the future has already touched down – sits alongside massive social dysfunction and rampant homelessness."
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