Tom McLaughlin

A former history teacher, Tom is a columnist who lives in Lovell, Maine. His column is published in Maine and New Hampshire newspapers and on numerous web sites. Email: tomthemick@gmail.com

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Best Days Behind US?

Many feel that America’s best days are behind us, that our country peaked sometime in the late 20th century and has begun to decline. Maybe most Americans feel that way, I don’t know. Some point to disintegration of family. Others cite economic decline - that we don’t produce much anymore as manufacturing is outsourced. The old Yankee saying that we could “Make the thing, or make the thing that makes the thing,” doesn’t apply anymore. Still others point to welfare dependency and the rise of our big-government nanny state. While liberals still claim children go hungry in the US, the real problem is childhood obesity. The “poor” in America are too fat. Many lament that Americans have become not only fat, but dumb and lazy as well. It used to be so that Americans were too proud to accept hand-outs from government, but now they’re encouraged. Our US Department of Agriculture even recruits people in Mexico to come to the United States and apply for Food Stamps immediately upon arrival!

Others cite parallels to Gibbon’s “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire” repeating in the country which used to see itself as “the city on a hill.” According to Wikipedia’s description of Gibbon’s thesis, that empire declined because: “Romans had become ‘effeminate,’ unwilling to live a tougher ‘manly’ lifestyle.” It also cited Gibbon’s belief that Christianity’s ascendency after Emperor Constantine weakened the empire because: “Christianity created a belief that a better life existed after death, which fostered an indifference to the present among Roman citizens, thus sapping their desire to sacrifice for the Empire. [Gibbon] also believed [Christianity’s] comparative pacifism tended to hamper the traditional Roman martial spirit.”

While Gibbon cited the rise of Christianity as hurting Rome, still other Americans cite Christianity’s decline causing our decline. If America is indeed declining, then who is ascending to fill the global power vacuum? China? Radical Islam? God help us, but those would be the two leading candidates.

What’s life like in China? Well, it’s still communist. While it’s relaxing its historic demonization of capitalism, it’s maintaining, even increasing its big-government, dissension-hating oppression. For more than a generation, women have been allowed only one child. Get pregnant a second time and government will compel you to kill your child in utero, even if the pregnancy were concealed until eight months along. Criticize the government there and you disappear to a forced, re-education camp for indoctrination in political correctness. There, you might lose a kidney or even a heart to the black market in human organs - especially if you’re a match with a ranking Chinese Communist Party official who needs one.

How about life in a Sharia-compliant country like Iran - or what Egypt and Libya are likely to become? There’s the Iranian “Modesty Police” who arrest women on the street if they show skin or hair. Homosexuals are publicly hanged, and women accused of adultery - even if that “adultery” occurred as they were gang-raped - are publicly stoned to death. Those converting to another religion are “apostates,” and the penalty for that? Death.

Several writers on both left and right agree that American power is on the wane. Liberal former Newsweek editor Fareed Zakaria wrote “The Post-American World” in 2008 and conservative National Review’s Mark Steyn wrote “After America” in 2011. Zakaria purports that America’s decline is only relative because other countries like China and India are rising while we stagnate, and only the degree of our dominance is declining. He thinks America will just lumber along sharing global leadership with China and India.Steyn, however, is far more concerned; his subtitle is: “Get Ready for Armageddon.” He sees America becoming sclerotic with big government debt, bureaucracy, and regulation. In this way, he parallels Gibbon’s observation that Rome lost its vitality and so has America. Steyn sees American decline as imminent and precipitous; hence the subtitle. He purports that British decline and European decline were genteel because America alone carried western civilization in the last half of the 20th century as it fended off communism and other forms of civilizational evil. Indeed, “America Alone” (2006) was prequel to “After America” (2011). Steyn sees the twin demons of Chinese-style big government and fascist, theocratic Radical Islam waiting to fill the void after American collapse.I hope both Zakaria and Steyn are mistaken in their forecasts. If they’re not, I’d much prefer Zakaria’s vision for our future, but I’m sorry to say that Steyn makes the stronger case. Can our decline be reversed? We’ll get a clue about that in November.

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16 Comments:

Anonymous pinko said...

Bravo McLaughlin! It's been much too long since you've illustrated a column with pictures from your enormous stash of gay porn.

7/31/12, 8:09 PM  
Anonymous Rhonda said...

We are definitely in a decline. Can it be reversed? Maybe, but maybe we are going the way of all great countries who fall by the wayside, and get swallowed up by the countries that we help build. I still think that 1.3 million abortions a year, is the reason for all of our problems. If we had those 20 or so million people living today, plus their offspring, we would have enough tax payers to end the deficit. Just sayin...

8/2/12, 4:46 AM  
Anonymous buttercup said...

If we didn't spend more than the rest of the world combined on "defense" we'd have enough money to end the deficit and provide health care for all, Rhonda.

US global military imperialism is the reason our empire is in decline. Forcing women/girls to serve as involuntary incubators is hardly a solution.

8/2/12, 7:27 PM  
Blogger Tom McLaughlin said...

I can see you're not too good at arithmetic Buttercup. Most of our federal budget is social spending.

Military imperialism? Please. We were the only intact country after WWII and we didn't take over the world even though we had our military spread all over it and could easily have done so.

What did we do instead? We helped our enemies rebuild and have been defending them ever since.

Military imperialism indeed. Read a history book will you?

8/2/12, 7:54 PM  
Anonymous Alex said...

Rhonda and Mr. McLaughlin,

I've asked this question several times, and I don't think I've gotten an answer yet: how would more children born to mothers that don't want them improve our crisis? I think you've pointed out, Mr. McLaughlin, that a lot of the abortions carried out in this country are to young, naive, poor, single mothers in urban areas. It seems like 20 million children born into these situations would only increase the demand on our already weak social programs. We have a job crisis as it is. More people doesn't equal lower unemployment.

I am not saying I'm in support of abortion, I'd just like an honest answer to this question, please.

8/3/12, 2:48 PM  
Blogger Tom McLaughlin said...

Alex, volumes could be written in answer to your question. I'll try to make it brief.

Our entitlement programs beginning with the first: Social Security, require a ratio of taxpayers to retirees, which existed in the 30s. It doesn't now. Birthrates have plummeted. People are living longer. SS is a Ponzi scheme now.

We're importing illegal immigrants who eat up social services at twice the rate natives do.

Since the sixties, we've separated sexuality from pregnancy as if they're only remotely related. A growing segment of our society has abandoned societal norms for sexual behavior or marriage or family.

Human life begins at conception. It's not above my pay grade to know this. A woman becomes a mother when she conceives. What does it do to a mother when she then kills her child? What does it do to the culture that fosters and protects abortion so that a million mothers a year kill their children? What does it do to the political party, the Democrats, to whom enabling abortion is the highest value?

We have a jobs crisis because the most pro-abortion president in history is trying to take over our economy. Capitalists are withholding investment due to the uncertainty of Obamacare and whatever else might in the regulatory pipeline. They know what Obama's agenda is even if the rest of the voting public doesn't.

Maybe I shouldn't have attempted to answer your question. When all around us mothers are killing their children by the millions, it's difficult to maintain hope for our future.

8/4/12, 8:25 AM  
Anonymous info warrior said...

.........."Instead, Let’s just apply common sense. According to the BLS, there were 163,000 new nonfarm payroll jobs created in July. This figure is about 13,000 more jobs than is needed to keep pace with population growth. Therefore, the unemployment rate should have declined fractionally. Instead, the unemployment rate (U3) rose from 8.2% in June to 8.3% in July.
In case you missed the point, new jobs, a net figure, rose and so did the unemployment rate!
Moreover, the alternative, but much less reported, jobs report from the Household Survey found that the economy lost 195,000 jobs in July.
The government that lies to you about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, about Iraq’s al Qaeda connections, about the Taliban in Afghanistan, about Osama bin Laden, about Libya and Gadhafi, about Iranian nukes, about Syria, about Pakistan, about Yemen and Somalia, about Bradley Manning, about Julian Assange and Wikileaks, indeed about everything under the sun, also lies to you about jobs, unemployment, economic recovery, GDP growth, 9/11, the “terrorist threat,” everything. Try to find anything that the government has said over the past 6 presidential terms that is not a lie.
Other than some minor insignificant detail, “your” government has been consistently lying to you about everything of importance....."

8/4/12, 9:21 AM  
Anonymous info warrior said...

......"“Your” government lies to you, because “your” government has an agenda that it most certainly will not tell you about, because if you knew what it is, you would revolt. Putting down the revolt would divert the government from its agenda. It would also alert the rest of the world to the fact that the US government has an undeclared agenda of world domination, despite the costs to the American people and every other people. World War III looms.
Nuclear annihilation is the necessary outcome of the neoconservatives’ drive for US world hegemony. Syria can fall, and Iran can fall, but Russia and China are unlikely to accept their reduction to puppet state status. As both are nuclear armed and as the crazed criminals in charge of the US government are wallowing in hubris, nuclear war seems inevitable.
The world’s most mortal enemy is Washington. If Washington prevails, the world will be dead or in slavery to Washington, including all American subjects, whether Democrats or Republicans.
Don’t let it ever be said that your enemy, whatever your country, has not been identified..."

http://www.prisonplanet.com/bureau-of-labor-jobs-report-more-lies-from-“our”-big-brother.html

Rhonda, my advice? Wake up. Stop playing this silly game with guys like Tom and see the truth, it's pretty evident with open eyes. Anyone denying the blatant imperialist neo con war mongering agenda is a fool.
Anyone claiming that they object to abortion because they find life so precious, yet won't blink an eye if an innocent Muslim child is murdered by a robotic drone in a country we aren't even at war with is someone to stay far away from. And finally anyone dumb enough to keep playing the democrat vs republican game deserves everything they get.. Guys like Tom are scared shitless of true freedom, which is why he rants about the sixties.
He thinks the answer is an a history book for crying out loud!! Who do you think "wrote" out history?!?! Hahaha.

8/4/12, 9:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Zeitgeist, The Movie


Watch it..Every American should. Especially you Tom. Unless you don't like challenges?

Netflix or YouTube

8/5/12, 9:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Imperialist? Nah, we just like killing brown people.

.....Welcome to the beautiful and surreal reality of life under American corporatism, under a Congress that churns out thousands  and thousands of pages of (often contradictory) legislation a year.
If providing material assistance to al-Qaeda is illegal under the National Defence Authorization Act (2012), and Obama and Congress are sending $25 million of aid to al-Qaeda-affiliated Syrian opposition, aren’t Congress and President Obama violating their own law? Should Obama (or at least the Justice Department) not be using “all necessary and appropriate force” including “the power to indefinitely detain” to prevent Obama and Congress from assisting al-Qaeda? Did anyone in Congress or the Obama administration even bother to read the law that they were signing? Do Federal laws no longer apply to lawmakers?

The only question left from this abrupt and absurd turnaround — from funding bin Laden’s mujahideen thirty years ago, to ten years ago declaring war on al-Qaeda, to today sending them material assistance — would appear to be whether or not Obama will pull a 1984 and claim that “we have always been at war with Eurasia“.

http://www.prisonplanet.com/should-obama-and-congress-be-arrested-under-the-ndaa.html

8/5/12, 9:04 AM  
Blogger Tom McLaughlin said...

"Imperialist? Nah, we just like killing brown people."

Oh, please. No wonder you remain anonymous.

8/5/12, 1:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is the word agenda treated like it was something evil. Have we become that stupid?

8/5/12, 2:25 PM  
Anonymous Winston Smith said...

"oh,please?"....are you denying it? Seriously?

Better yet please explain how a Christian condones the murder of innocent women and children? I'd love to hear the justification...for every drone strike Barry soetoro authorizes he kills an average of nine women and children. Please, please justify this oh compassionate lover of life!!


Count the number of troops we have deployed around the globe. The ones we know about anyway, and then tell me we aren't an imperialistic nation. Please.

By the way 268 drone strikes in Pakistan alone by Barry. In case you missed it we aren't at war with them. Again, oh Christian soldier, explain to me how it's ok to kill innocent women and children and consider them collateral damage? How is that no imperialism?
And, anwar alwaki, he was an american and so was his kid. Both murdered with no due process. I didn't like him. But we have laws....

Do you not like freedom and liberty? Cause you seem to advocate ending it

8/6/12, 8:49 AM  
Anonymous Winston Smith said...

How about address everything else mentioned other than the brown people comment? NDAA? Al quaeda, Syria, etc???

8/6/12, 8:52 AM  
Anonymous Winston Smith said...

Here you go......more from your government...


...."Senior Council on Foreign Relations fellow Ed Husain has hailed the presence of Al-Qaeda terrorists in Syria, praising their fighting prowess in aid of FSA rebels while also lauding the increasing number of successful bombings carried out by Al-Qaeda fighters.

In case you didn’t get the memo – Al-Qaeda – the same group the United States accuses of carrying out the most devastating terrorist attack on U.S. soil in history, is now our ally in Syria.
Terrorist attacks carried out by Al-Qaeda in Syria are inherently moral and good. Down is the new up.
Winston, we were never at war with Eurasia!
“The Syrian rebels would be immeasurably weaker today without al-Qaeda in their ranks. By and large, Free Syrian Army (FSA) battalions are tired, divided, chaotic, and ineffective. Feeling abandoned by the West, rebel forces are increasingly demoralized as they square off with the Assad regime’s superior weaponry and professional army,” writes Husain, a Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Studies with the CFR....."

Wake up

Continued at

http://www.prisonplanet.com/cfr-strategist-praises-al-qaeda-bombings-in-syria.html

8/7/12, 7:57 AM  
Anonymous buttercup said...

That's incorrect, Mr. McLaughlin. Nearly half of every tax dollar goes to the Dept. of Defense. The same Pentagon that can't account for trillions of the dollars that have been diverted to them.

Speaking of history, one of the things that broke the former Soviet Union was their military spending. They tried to keep up with the US, to the detriment of their economy and their infrastructure.

Sound familiar?

8/11/12, 12:12 PM  

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