If you have a sneaking suspicion that the remainder of 2021 (and likely all of 2022 as well) is going to make 2020 seem like it was a walk in the park, you are not alone. Both long term foolishness and short term stupidity seem to be converging into a political, economic, and cultural storm that will likely be remembered as we remember 1968 or 1860: a moment of national crisis that leaves a lot of anger, confusion, and irreversible changes in its wake.
And few will be happy with the outcomes.
We are, first off, heading for an economic train wreck. The money that the Biden administration dreams of spending will, if actually approved by Congress, mark the end of the last vestiges of what remaining fiscal sanity still exists in Washington, D.C., so it is unlikely it can wend its way through a razor thin Democratic majority in both the House and the Senate.
However, if Biden’s spending bonanza is not passed, we will still face a stern reckoning. Decades of governmental mismanagement and misspending have been brutally exposed by the extraordinary economic damage inflicted by the shutdowns and lockdowns during the past sixteen months of Coronavirus craziness. This is the moment when no amount of stalling and wishful thinking can forestall the inevitable. Fifty bizarre years of government as Santa Claus will come to a dreary and dispiriting end that is going to make business as usual—borrowing and spending before borrowing and spending some more—a financial impossibility.
The end of the Fiscal Follies in Washington and most of our nation’s state capitals will have obvious political reverberations because of one simple fact: Money is power. Without the ability to spend heedlessly, politicians are left naked and defenseless when facing infuriated voters who have grown accustomed to goodies and giveaways from the government.
Democrats, who have never met a dollar they did not want to spend, are going to be howling mad. Republicans will try to be a voice of reason regarding the new spending constraints, but they too will likely be swept along by desperate pleas for dollars from every corner of our country. In the end we can look forward to federal and state budgets that will please no one while all manner of sneaky—and not so sneaky—tax hikes will be implemented in order to keep various constituencies at least somewhat placated. All of this is going to ratchet up political and regional conflicts as the haves and the have-nots have at it. It will be very, very ugly.
The next problem on the list is going to be dealing with the fervent adherents of Progressive dogma who now occupy prominent positions in government, journalism, education, business, and the military. Their plans to remake the American economy, root out what they believe to be systemic racism, codify new definitions of gender, open America’s borders, defund police departments and close prisons, compel an unworkable switchover to a non-carbon economy, and make “free” the default cost of many life necessities—all in the name of social justice—dominate every discussion today.
Given that their expansive agenda is stupendously revolutionary and deeply disruptive, major stresses on America and Americans are naturally to be expected. However, the larger problem is that this revolution and its goals are expensive beyond all belief and will require trillions upon trillions upon trillions of dollars that are simply not to be had in an age of catastrophic national debts and deficits.
American-style Marxism will, unsurprisingly, require a ready reservoir of lovely capitalist cash if it is to succeed, so we will at least be somewhat entertained by the spectacle of woke billionaires, wealthy celebrities, and super-rich athletes demanding that taxpayers foot the bill for the revolution. If nothing else, the next few years should be a wonderful case study in clueless irony.
The collision of ardent Progressive dreams and dismal fiscal realities is going to produce angry demands for the sort of supremely confiscatory taxation policies that will, should they be enacted, turn every business in America into a state-run enterprise far removed from the free market principles that have historically reigned in our nation’s economy. Confrontation, caustic words, and breathless speechifying is on the national agenda going forward, and bipartisanship might seem a very distant hope in the weeks, months, and years ahead.
Differences of opinion and philosophy are, of course, not the end of the world in a vibrant and functioning democracy. Throughout American history there always have been conflicting priorities when it comes to public policies and expenditures, so necessary and sometimes awkward political compromises have been the norm since the founding of our nation. Whether this was hashed out in public debates or closed door conferences, there was typically enough common ground to enable those involved to arrive at a solution amenable to all. Whether in peace or war, America’s elected leaders have in the past remembered that their primary duty was the wise stewardship of our country in accordance with its laws and values.
However, I am not at all certain this is still possible today, and I would be unsurprised if we were not heading for protracted and painful government shutdowns punctuated by the most vicious invective from our supposedly sane leadership. Why do I believe this is what lies ahead? Simply put, we now are trying to find compromises between two fundamentally irreconcilable views of our nation’s past, present, and future.
The laws demanded and values celebrated by Democrats and Republicans have diverged past the point where bipartisanship is any longer possible. Extremists viewpoints that were once confined to the hothouse atmosphere of college seminar rooms have become mainstream practices across America that are being rapidly written into the very laws of our nation.
It is hard to know where to start.
Mathematics is apparently racist, and insisting on a “correct” answer to a math problem is even more racist—or so we are loudly told. American education has flipped into indoctrination, which is causing yet another crisis as parents and students push back against it.
Women are now called “birthing people” in official government documents, and we are teaching grade school children about the importance of “choosing their genders” before they even have an opportunity to master tying their own shoelaces.
Orwellian thought control via social media censorship is both routinely practiced and officially mandated, and public burnings on Twitter that shred our national unity are now a routinely horrific endeavor of today’s hi-tech witch finders.
According to many leading politicians and professors at elite universities, rioting, looting, and arson are acceptable forms of political expression, and the police who still attempt to serve and protect are demonized while trying to battle a tidal wave of criminality.
But a generation ago, abortions were permitted only during the first trimester—except under the most extreme circumstances.Today, abortions are legal up to the point of actual live birth in states like New York and Illinois. This is, we are told, a dramatic step forward for our nation’s women, but opinions vary regarding whether women are being liberated or children are now the victims of state-sanctioned murders. Regardless, this is all supposed to be free of charge—courtesy of America’s taxpayers.
School and college curriculums have now been rewritten in order to present America as an irredeemably racist and evil country. A U.S. Congresswoman recently stated that the United States government is no different than the Taliban. The President of the United States cannot even be bothered to honor our military with a tweet on the anniversary of D-Day. Patriotism is officially out of favor in our nation’s capital today, but we can be grateful that many Americans still do not adhere to these toxic beliefs.
The list of “opposite day” dysfunctions that now afflicts America is endless, We are through the looking glass, and daily reality is up for grabs in a way that is perhaps unprecedented in American history. The degree to which ideas that are anti-American, anti-Christian, and anti-Capitalist have captured the imaginations of those in so many elite institutions and branches of government is startling to behold, and this reduces the areas where common ground can be found to practical non-existence. Those who wave the flag, attend church, protect America, and work hard to feed their families are now the suspect class in our nation.
The battles over how to rebuild our broken economy, make our streets safe, educate our children to succeed in a competitive global workforce, provide for both border security and national defense, fulfill our obligations to the sick and elderly, care for our military veterans, support our families and communities, celebrate our country’s diversity, and pay our nation’s bills are going to be complicated by these opposing ideologies. Endless conflict has been predetermined from the onset of any attempts at dialogue or negotiation.
These cold and bitter words and actions will become worse with each day leading up to the 2022 midterm elections, which will determine the direction of America for a generation—and likely far beyond.
Should the Republican Party prevail, the policies most associated with the Presidency of Donald Trump are certain to make a quick return. Should the Democrats come out on top, it will likely signal the ascendancy of the ideas of the Socialist Democrat wing of their party. The closely split legislative branches we now suffer are unlikely to remain so because we seem to be hurtling toward some final ideological reckoning that will clarify the question of whether the leftist ideologues who today control so many of our leading institutions represent only the itchy Twitter fingers of our country or are truly a harbinger of a major shift in American beliefs, lifestyles, politics, and culture.
We are now, to put it bluntly, engaged in an all-out civil war of ideas.
As with all wars, it is important to understand why this started. However, how it ends will be of far greater consequence. We should have a much clearer idea by November of 2022, but this will certainly not mark the end of a protracted American conflict that is regional, generational, philosophical, and technological.
Hold on tightly and prepare for the worst.