There are two fundamental beliefs held by most Americans, both of which are patently false. First is the belief that most, if not all, people around the world are desirous of freedom, and second is the belief that freedom is synonymous with representative government.
In the Genesis story of the Exodus from Egypt, the Torah debunks the first belief and, in fact, tells us something diametrically opposed about our human nature the way it really is. No matter how much the Egyptians oppressed the Israelite population in their midst, up to requiring that all male newborns be disposed of, the Israelites had to be dragged from slavery to freedom by the sheer willpower of a guy by the name of Moses, willpower that on many occasions had all but forsaken him. Once underway, their unleavened bread not even having been eaten, the Israelites set upon a campaign of kvetching that would do anyone proud. They wanted nothing to do with their newfound freedom and independence. What they did want was to go back to the meat and onion filled stewpots they had back when they were slaves.
Coming to the borders of the Promised Land, they learned that it was indeed, as advertised, overflowing with milk and honey, but, perhaps less promisingly, it was also found to have been well-defended by a highly civilized people residing in well-fortified cities. Not at all undaunted by the prospect of having to fight for their patrimony, the Israelite slave-born generation balked and earned itself a lifetime of wandering in the desert, waiting to be replaced by a much hungrier and feistier generation that would be willing to take that which had been promised to them forcibly.
There is truth, fundamental truth, in the Biblical Exodus account. By default, people prefer shackles and a full trough to freedom coupled with nutritional uncertainty and the need to fight for one’s next meal. There are clear echoes of that in America today when Americans who shout from the rooftops how much they hate big overbearing government is lining up to receive pitiful handouts from the same government they profess to abhor.
These Americans cling to the ridiculous notion that the handouts are made necessary by the COVID pandemic, even when the numbers show that less than 4% of them have been affected by the lockdowns and various other restrictions on business and when the equity and housing markets have done nothing but go up and with them the net worth of the vast majority of Americans.
Perhaps because truly free people, meaning people who consciously make the hard choices required by freedom, are so rare today, most Americans believe that they are free because they get to vote for this guy or that every couple of years. This is a simply laughable notion on the face of it for any number of reasons. Historically, only the tiniest minority of people who have ever lived could vote for anything, and that only during a few exceedingly fleeting periods of time. This does not mean, however, that the vast majority of mankind has never experienced freedom. An American living before 1776 may have never voted, but he was freer than any American now living could imagine. These Americans could say what they wanted anywhere they wanted to say it. They could sell anything they wanted anywhere they wanted to sell it, and they could hire anyone they wanted for as much, if anything, as they wanted to pay, as long as the potential employee was agreeable. These people could travel anywhere with no documentation of any kind as long as they could afford it and spent their entire lives rarely if ever, encountering government authorities.
We tend to mock elections held in places like China or Iran and before that in the USSR as “sham” elections because the candidates are preapproved by the communist party or by the high council of ayatollahs. Still, we forget to notice that the situation is no different in America. A candidate like Laura Loomer, who tried to run unapproved by the establishment, gets denied access to every public forum and gets labeled as beyond the pale, making it all but impossible to be elected. If through some error on the part of the establishment, a rogue candidate like Trump gets through one time, the error is corrected, and a second term is denied to him no matter how many votes he might have gotten.
Perhaps systems that allow the pretense of selecting their leaders by popular vote are preferable to various meritocratic oligarchies, which, like China, do not engage in such pretense. Still, this advantage does not stem from keeping their people freer. On the contrary, this advantage derives only from giving the populace of the so-called “democracies” and “republics” the delusion of being free, making them so much easier to enslave and manipulate.
The apocalyptic atmosphere that permeates pro-Trump America today is so amusing and simultaneously sad to watch precisely because it results from tens of millions of Americans finally coming to the realization that their so-called “votes” amount to nothing and never really have. This realization is particularly hard on people because voting and even more so the belief that your vote counts for something were the only differentiators left, as far as freedom is concerned, between Americans and the rest of the world’s population. Back in the day, Americans used to be freer than the rest of mankind because they were more skilled, enterprising, and simply braver than everyone else. Today, having lost all of these advantages, they came to rely on nothing but their “votes,” which, as it turns out, amount to nothing at all.
In places like China or Russia today and throughout most human history, smart people have viewed the government as they view nature; sometimes, rather infrequently, it is kind, and crops do well. Most commonly, though, it is in one way or another disastrous and requires “dealing with.” But at no time is it controllable. This is the crucial part, a part that has caused untold millions of people to die in futile “revolutions” that changed one type of government for another, only for things to remain the same as they have always been. The so-called “American Revolution” was successful precisely because it wasn’t really a revolution, but a nativist rebellion, which took power away from a distant and disinterested government and placed it in the hands of locals who had some significant skin in the game.
America today is governed just like China is, i.e., by a meritocratic elite infested with a high degree of nepotism. Unfortunately for America, this is where the similarity stops. While the Chinese elite has a strong concept of China as a nation and acts only in its national interest to the degree that it perceives it, the American elite has no concept of America as a nation. It acts only in its own perceived interests. This is what makes American elites, whether in government, in business, or academia, so easy and cheap to buy. The price of selling out is directly proportional to the sense of betrayal, self-loathing if you wish, that is incurred by the selling person. Since American elites are shameless, they are very cheap dates indeed.
The recent vilification of China and specifically the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) by the pro-Trump crowd is both misplaced and dangerous, even if it is also understandable. America is being, let’s face it, roundly beaten by China everywhere it counts. In less than a quarter of a century, America has managed to lose its status as the world’s sole superpower and is continuing its ever-accelerating downward trajectory. But it is important to remember that America was not beaten; its collapse is not the result of any foreign action. Rather, it is the sole responsibility of the American elites and the American people. It is not because of China that it costs ten times more to get an engineering degree in America than it does anywhere else in the world. Even if China is supplying fentanyl to America, it is not China that creates in America the hopelessness that leads people to become addicted to such substances, nor is it China that allows these dangerous and addictive drugs to be prescribed by every profit-driven physician with hardly any oversight. And finally, China didn’t force leading American businesses like Apple and Boeing to transfer their manufacturing to its shores. However, it (wisely) mandated that to do so, they must disclose their intellectual properties.
Trump supporters rail against America spending money overseas, bribing Pakistani officials under the auspices of “gender equality” or jointly developing missile defenses with Israel.
And it is the same Trump supporters that bemoan China’s rising geopolitical and technological influence, never realizing that it is precisely money spent overseas that enables this rise and that should America stop its overseas spending, it will facilitate China’s rise even further. Too many Trump supporters want America to be strong but are unwilling to pay for it, nor do they understand that the handouts they get from the broke American government depend on America’s status as the world superpower and the dollar being the world’s reserve currency. This level of ignorance is indefensible, and it never fails to lead to extinction-level events.
Being in the midst of such rapid change, it is difficult, not to say impossible, to predict the future. Still, my prediction is that America under the Biden administration will attempt to rejoin, in a leading position, the group of democratic socialist countries comprising the European Union and the British Commonwealth. More or less united, this coalition will have to find some equilibrium or at least a modus vivendi with resurgent China, always vying for ad-hoc alliances with countries and regions like Russia, Japan, Eastern Europe, South America, and the Middle East. Americans will have to adjust to being just one of the gang, no longer exceptional in any way, but that’s ok because freedom is found elsewhere.