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Declension Theory and the American Problem
Tags: politics
My uncle Robert said, "I do think that this country is in decline." Hmm. It's a problem for all post-industrial countries, like Germany and France, where innovations bump up the standard of living, which means that working-class folks are no longer in demand, and their wages fall. How many families are there where two incomes don't equal health insurance? Isn't that a tragedy?

It's the new American Problem, where I must refer to John Edwards' catchphrase, "The Two Americas." One gets the best schools and infrastructure (streets, plumbing, high speed internet access, etc.), the other gets 1930s version (or earlier), which prevents them from upward mobility; it doesn't matter if one has legal access to a university, for example. It's just culturally difficult for a young person born in a part of town that doesn't have a library to compete with the kids that have had structured soccer practice and well-paid teachers. The country's snowballing in the wrong direction. As Leonard Cohen says, "The poor stay poor, the rich get rich / That's how it goes / and everybody knows."

Further, the problem of the upper classes recalls the 1960s, where suburban youngsters gave up plans for the job, the mortgage, and the new GE appliances to tune in, turn on, drop out. It's hard growing up with everything; it makes you selfish, makes you think you're entitled. Kids don't work like they used to; ask the corporate recruiters. So, the American Problem is a double-edged sword: we neglect the young people that have the desire to succeed while we spoil the children of the advantaged. It's about snowballs and moving in the wrong direction.

Ezra Pound says it prophetically:
If a nation's literature declines, the nation atrophies and decays.
Your legislator can't legislate for the public good, your commander can't command, your populace (if you be a democratic country) can't instruct its 'representatives', save my language.
The fogged language of the swindling classes serves olay a temporary purpose.
Now, I must note Pound's anti-semitism: the "swindling classes". But aren't Bush, Cheney, et al, real "swindlers"? They sold a bogus war on bogus reasons and ran the war in a bunk way, and continue to lie about what's going on. And George Bush's ongoing battle with the English language is about as likely to end in "victory" as is Iraq. At some level, I'm convinced that politicians staying "on message" is lying, pure and simple. Story faking, one could call it. Narrative fiction. And we know what Marlow says in Conrad's Heart of Darkness:
You know I hate, detest, and can't bear a lie, not because I am straighter than the rest of us, but simply because it appalls me. There is a taint of death, a flavour of mortality in lies -- which is exactly what I hate and detest in the world -- what I want to forget. It makes me miserable and sick, like biting something rotten would do.
I've tried to put forth a number of reasons to back up a declension theory of the US republic (can we still call it that?). Forgotten kids, overpriveleged kids, dying middle class, language used a method of deceit. What do you think?
 
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