The time when America stopped being great

A good article from the BBC (thanks again, Yadu). I remember at the end of the Cold War wondering with friends what would happen to unity in the US without the existential threat of nuclear Armageddon.  Also the lid that was kept on the powerful, of those seeking power.  We saw the collapse first in the Soviet Union and cheered at the splintered politics, substance abuse, falling life expectancy and rising oligarchy of our former enemy, not realizing we were just two steps behind them.

The time when America stopped being great


3 thoughts on “The time when America stopped being great

  1. This article reads much like a chapter out of Peter Turchin and Nefedov’s book secular cycles. It is the phase of the secular cycle where resources become tighter for the elite. So what happens next in the cycle? When government become paralyzed due to the infighting the nation fails to react well to catastrophes. However Turchin and Nefedov gave expanded analysis of pre-industrial revolution societies, and thus left out the variable of reinvention.

    The elite class in the United States over represents the Pacific Coast and Puritan Nations [Woodard] and with wealth disparity has also come cultural disparity. The Souther strategy of Nixon, repeated by Reagan, and now the Trump strategy of appealing to the marginalized Nations, has put government on notice to ‘not forget us’. It is a natural thing to occur in a free democracy – for marginalized people to represent an opportunity for an underdog or an outsider to pick up votes.

    The Puritan and the related Pacific coast nations have always looked down upon the Appalachians, Deep Southerners, and Midlander. This is because they know that education and ‘high culture’ is the way forward. And not surprisingly, a cultural narrative became part of that education, and that cultural narrative contained that resentment. Such marginalization is the consequence/symptom of wealth disparity. No one wants to be a poor minority, so of course their votes will reflect that.

    America is reinventing itself again. We need to rethink how we can create wealth without leaving out whole American Nations. AI applied to government might well be the invention that dives the next integrative cycle.

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  2. I enjoyed America Nations and the ideas of regionalism. I do wonder if this is changing due to the urban / rural divide, which used to be regional, but really isn’t now. Atlanta, Houston and Dallas are some of the biggest urban centers in the country, yet are part of the ‘rural’ south. I suspect this is part of the story.


    • Woodard did describe cultures moving. The Midlanders, for example, started on the east coast. .. and the data supports you on your observation here. If you look at the ‘Souther Strategy’ results from the prior election, cities tended to be exceptions. The Puritan heritage folks, of both east and west coasts, with their strong belief in community and education are prospering more than the people of the other cultural ‘nations’. Consequently are being increasingly represented in cities.


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