In a survey released this week in USA Today Americans were asked to name the world’s largest economy. More than half of them named China. That answer isn’t just wrong, it’s wrong by a mile. America’s economy remains more than two and half times the size of China’s and their per-capita wealth has yet to surpass Albania’s.
That answer reflects a quality in our culture even more basic than our adorable ignorance of the rest of the planet. Without a clear, external challenge we are as sad and lost as an orphan in a Dickens story.
We crave an enemy.
The challenge of our time is administration. It is complexity. That’s a gift people in previous generations suffered heavily to grant us. It’s a better class of problems than any human culture has ever been privileged to face. And we don’t want it. We can only stand to think of who to fear.
We must figure out how to responsibly operate a beautiful machine we did not build and are steadily ruining. We are rebelling against the challenge with pathetic fury. We are manufacturing conspiracies and straw enemies because it is so much easier for a culture with collective ADD to hate an entertaining villain than to solve a problem.
The hard, grown-up job of administration in a capitalist economy is something we would expect conservatives to be uniquely suited to. What are we doing? Fighting to stop Islamic Terrorists from infiltrating CPAC. Yea, that’s right. The Muslim Brotherhood has allegedly infiltrated CPAC. And we want to be taken seriously.
We desperately need some grown-ups in the room. We need someone to bring some reason and intelligence to our debates over policy. We probably need this more urgently than we need new birth certificate requirements.
China is not yet a serious world power. Islam is not a threat to our sovereignty. The gays, the Mexicans, the secret Kenyans, the Tides Foundation, the Bilderburgers, the Hamburglers – they are entertainment. They are not a threat. Here and now we are the most prosperous and powerful nation on Earth.
We are the only people on the planet with the power to destroy us.
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