Another night with very little sleep. My asthma has really been acting up lately, especially at night. I've been spending most of my Fridays with doctors lately.
I wake up this morning with a despairing feeling that stupidity and malice will enjoy yet another overwhelming triumph over all things reasonable, just, and charitable with crowds cheering and bells ringing.
There are times when I think our future is 17th century Spain. A globally dominant power is too proud and arrogant to adapt to changing circumstances (in the 17th century, Spain was slow to adapt to changing patterns of global commerce and naval technology). Its rivals take advantage of its short-sightedness (England and the Dutch Republic quickly undid Spain's dominance of the seas). This former power becomes more and more turned inward, focusing on internal conflicts (17th century Spain saw a successful rebellion by Portugal, and an unsuccessful rebellion by Catalunya, the end of the Spanish Hapsburg Dynasty with a war for the succession). Spain began the 17th century as the dominant imperial power in Europe, and ended the century isolated, backwards, and poor, a condition that would not begin to change until toward the end of the 18th century, and would not be fully overcome until the end of the 20th century.
All empires go bankrupt. Rome went bankrupt in the 3rd century. The British Empire emerged from World War II to find itself bankrupt. Perhaps this is the moment for our empire. Decline is the price of empire, and if you don't want decline, then don't create an empire. I couldn't care less about the American Empire, but I'm worried that the American Republic might disintegrate with it. I'm worried that we are about to march cheering into a future of growing isolation, increasing division, falling wages, falling living standards, and perpetual war in unresolvable conflicts. I'm not exactly rejoicing at the prospect of China stepping into the power vacuum we leave behind as we leave the world stage.
Pardon the bad morning anguish.