In remarking on James Piereson’s book, Shattered Consensus, Michael Goodwin touches on themes I’ve sounded here from time to time. I believe the dissatisfaction in the United States now is higher than at any time I can recall including during the 1960s. Indeed, I think the dissatisfaction is as great as it’s been other than during a very few periods including the lead-up to the American Civil War.
However, unlike Mssrs. Piereson or Goodwin or my blog-friend Mike Lotus with his America 3.0 hypothesis (look it up), I don’t think that America has a revolution in store or even, in what might be better diction, a paradigm shift. Revolutions, real or figurative, aren’t started by the poor. They’re fomented and led by the middle class, the intelligentsia to use the Russian phrase, and our middle class are so thoroughly dependent on Things As They Are I suspect they’ll defend them to collapse and beyond.
What I expect is the Detroitification of the United States, an ongoing slow motion decay in which things just aren’t quite as good for this generation as they were for the last and things just aren’t quite as good for the next generation as they were for this, accompanied by a general lack of optimism. Look to Chicago and Illinois as Ground Zero.
If, within a generation, Chicago introduces either a) a major decentralization of power and a reversal of the high tax, corrupt, government-centric style that has prevailed here for the last sixty or seventy years or b) has a socialist revolution, I’ll be proven wrong. If, on the other hand, Chicago’s political leadership continues to pursue the same old policies regardless of their efficacy and the people of Chicago keep right on voting for them, it will strongly suggest I am right.