History is full of ruined nations – nations that rose upon their summer blush to heights of great and sometimes incredible power, only to fall back in winter to an early, quiet, or a continuously shallow, complacent grave. In the course and passage of history this is the way of things. The way things have always been, and the way they shall always be. Or is it?
Rome rose, benefactor of, and contender with, both the Greeks and the Jews, then fell, eventually in both the East, and the West, at the hands of barbarian hordes, yet in both spheres it gave birth to Christendom. Eventually Christendom rose from babe to maiden and gave birth to Europe. The peoples of Europe then in their various turns delivered up the Age of Exploration, like Christendom less a nation than a worldview of nations. And although Christendom is not thought of anymore as a political sphere of influence, it still exists, and in many ways is far more widespread and influential across the globe that at any point in her past.
There are no more colonies or lands to explore or stake by ship or sea, yet Europe too still exists, and might even be mighty in our own day had she not squandered all her virtues in the countless and often ill-conceived and vice-filled wars of those squabbling tribes we moderns now call nation-states. The Age of Exploration that Europe fathered likewise gave birth to many things, including eventually the realms of the Americas and onwards from there to our present home, to the United States of America. What then will the United States of America give birth to? What will we bear and what will we parent? And will what America generates replace her, or merely continue on along beside her, she and her children running parallel and co-prospered through future time?
In the United States we often see ourselves as the culmination of the inexorable grind of the forces of
historical progress. And so we are, although as with all things, all events, all ages, all nations, all peoples, we are as full with our own, and sometimes indistinct and unobserved flaws, as we are pregnant with untapped, unexplored, and unexploited potential. But we sit upon the pinnacle of history at this point in time, at this age of modernity. Uneasily we sit, but then again we have always sat uneasily upon the height of power, for we have a different view of the responsibilities, and benefits, and luxuries of power than most any other nation has ever had in the history of the world.
And because of this we are different, in many respects, in many important respects, than any who have come before us, be they Babylonian, Persian, Chinese, Greek, or Roman, or Jewish, or Frank, or French, or Italian, or German, or even Byzantine or British (those with whom we have shared the most in common politically and militarily in respect to our view of the world, and our place in it). Our work in history is different, is less easily defined, more nebulous, and yet in some respects more vital than any who have come before us along the path of recorded time.
We are Judeo-Christian in our spirit, Greek in our philosophy, Roman in our pragmatism and methods of administration and expansiveness, British in our technologies, German in our innovation and science, Byzantine (in both the good and bad senses of the term) in our politics (both internally and externally) and military capabilities and apotheosis of warfare, European in our laws, and unlike anyone else at all, ever, in the profound nature of the immense amalgamation of peoples, civilizations, languages, and ideas and ideals which formulate and comprise our culture. And yet within this body, this unlikely organism of various and assorted traits we are also — at our soul — wild-men, frontiersmen, people along the edge of the world. What can you say of such a people other than they are a marvel the likes of which has never before been observed, and that they are a danger unlike any other peoples who have ever existed?
Yes, the United States of America is indeed a danger. Read the rest of this entry »