Monday, October 03, 2005

Future History: A Wikipedia Article From The 22nd Century

The Decline of the American Republic The decline of the United States was due to several factors which are obvious from the perspective of the 22nd century. However, even at the time, the weaknesses were well known; political and financial leaders chose to ignore the warning signs. America rose to economic, political, and military superiority at the end of World War II. European and Asian countries had been devastated by the damage to their cities and industrial base while the U.S., due to its relative geographic isolation, had suffered little harm. This, coupled with an educated populace, allowed their economy to achieve substantial growth, far outstripping its rivals. Allegedly, their great rival was the Soviet Union due to its nuclear capabilities and European client states. The economic "threat" of communism was far overblown since the Soviet economy was never more than a fraction the size of America's; the military threat of nuclear war was more serious but, since no sane leader would contemplate initiating a first strike under any circumstances, this horror was averted. The cost of avoiding World War III was the rise of the military-industrial complex in America. These generals, politicians, and large corporations helped launch a massive arms race which sought to deter the Soviet threat while making large profits for themselves. By the end of the republic, however, protection of the nation was forgotten and the system had devolved into little more than a method for funneling government funds into the hands of a few wealthy industrialists. With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, America appeared ready to enter a Golden Age. No longer burdened by massive military commitments, it seemed that the U.S. could afford to concentrate on its infrastructure and economic needs. Unfortunately, the founding fathers had not created a government able to handle the demands of a large and complex nation. From the beginning, the immigrant nation was beset by massive divisions of class and race. Class divisions were common to all nations of the period, but race differences and slavery, in particular, splintered the national identity. This lack of cohesion weakened loyalty and patriotism to the common good. Other nations managed to overcome these problems and accept diversity, but Americans could not escape their legacy of exploiting minority groups. Thus, when the oligarchy began their final attack on the lower and middle classes, average Americans could not organize themselves to battle this threat. The founders knew that corruption would be a constant threat to their democracy but they could not foresee how economic success would create an intellectually lazy and complacent populace. By various financial machinations, corrupt politicians increased the national deficit by issuing government bonds which would be paid by future generations. The voters were not immediately affected by this chicanery; the debt would be paid by their children and grandchildren. The populace eased their conscience by criticizing the morality and values of their offspring who "deserved" this financial burden. An honest accounting of the fiscal disaster would have required the voters to work for integrity in government and raising taxes, neither of which was popular. Deep down, Americans knew that their government was leading them astray. Wars of conquest and economic exploitation of third-world nations were commonplace and millions died as a direct and indirect result. This uncomfortable knowledge of war crimes was masked by rascism and Christian fundamentalism, i.e. "heathens" were subhuman and damned to suffer by God. Christian extremist leaders worked hand in hand with politicians to create this propaganda campaign. The efforts of religious extremists were also used to subvert and ultimately destroy the educational system. Science was no longer of value; faith and belief could "solve" all difficulties. The oligarchy found this particularly useful since an ignorant population was easier to exploit. Of course, the lack of educated workers led to the breakdown of the manufacturing sector and economic collapse. At the time of the final economic catastrophe, the U.S. military had been fighting yet another decades-long war of conquest in the Middle East in an attempt to shore up poor financial decisions and corruption by top government officials. The overstretched military was forced to send servicemen and women into tours of duty that lasted several years. Foreign mercenaries were recruited with the promise of U.S. citizenship. As a result, the military rank and file lost touch with mainstream America; the native-born citizens hardly knew their own country and the mercenaries were motivated solely by the promise of future economic rewards. When the government stopped providing basic necessities like body armor, transport vehicles, munitions, etc., the war became untenable. In desperation, a few highly placed generals decided the only solution was a military coup. *** So, what do you think? Total bullshit or scary stuff?

5 Comments:

Blogger Jeff Huber said...

True bullshit? AND scary stuff too!

Nice piece.

Jeff

10/03/2005 06:51:00 AM  
Blogger Tarantula Lady said...

I watch the History Channel too much.

10/03/2005 12:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A very valid and reasonable "future history" alternative, more compellng for its underlying truth.

Lurch

10/03/2005 07:12:00 PM  
Blogger Tarantula Lady said...

Thanks for reading this post.

I was tempted to throw in an invasion of Iran as the final war that broke the U.S. military/economy. I suspect that can't happen in the immediate future since Iraq has swallowed up the Army and Marines.

IMO, the biggest hurdle to the destruction of American democracy would be the breakdown of constitutional law. In my dystopia, I should have used the Patriot Acts I & II as the initial assault on civil rights which then leads to greater and greater violations of the Constitution. It was getting late, though, and I forgot to include it.

10/04/2005 10:47:00 PM  
Blogger Helmut said...

It is total bullshit because it ignores any reference to sustainability. (The myopic USAmerican view is taken for granted.)

Environmental science (not to be confounded with futurists' hopes and speculations) demonstrates that the overburdening of the planet by humankind is increasing through population growth and accelerated by economic growth.

Depletion of a variety of non-renewable resources is imminent - within one to four generations - if we don't radically reduce consumption and stop population growth.

Serious resource scarcities - including an habitual climate - will lead to resource wars that can set the whole world on fire. These ultimate wars will deplete the last resources and lead to widespread toxification.

The USAmericans will not be excempt from this miserable end of mankind.

Helmut Lubbers - ecoglobe.org 19 April 2007

4/19/2007 07:24:00 AM  

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