Even in its current malaise, the U.S. still soars above the global competition.
Germany’s first chancellor, Otto von Bismarck, supposedly once said that there was “a special providence for drunkards, fools, and the United States of America.”
Apparently, late 19th-century observers could not quite explain how the U.S. thrived when by logic it should not. That paradox has never been more true than today.
The U.S. government now owes more than $18 trillion in long-term debt. Even after recent income-tax hikes for the very wealthy and huge cuts in the defense budget, the Obama administration will still run an annual budget deficit of nearly $500 billion.
No government official dares to trim Social Security or Medicare. Everyone knows that both programs are fiscally unsustainable.
More than 11 million undocumented immigrants are residing in the U.S. as federal immigration law is reduced to a bothersome irritant. A record 92 million American citizens 16 and older are not working.
Red-state and blue-state animosities reveal a nation more divided than at any time since the 1960s — or perhaps the pre–Civil War 1850s.
The permanent bureaucracy is awash in serial scandals. The IRS, VA, GSA, NSA, ICE, and Secret Service have all deservedly lost the public trust.
Congress suffers from overwhelming public disapproval. President Obama’s approval rating hovers just above 40 percent.
Our new foreign policy could be characterized as managed decline. Three defense secretaries have retired or resigned under Obama. Two of them, Robert Gates and Leon Panetta, wrote memoirs in which they blasted the administration. From Russia to the Pacific to the Middle East, the world seems to be descending into the law of the jungle as the U.S. withdraws from its traditional role as a global overseer of the postwar order.
The Michael Brown shooting illustrates seemingly irreconcilable racial divides not seen in 50 years. Al Sharpton once was seen as a social arsonist and tax delinquent. Now he appears to be the White House’s most influential advisor on racial matters.
Student-loan debt has surpassed $1 trillion. Six years of college has become the new normal. Even then, more than a third of the students who enter college never graduate.
In such a depressing American landscape, why is the United States doing pretty well?
Put simply, millions of quiet, determined Americans get up every morning and tune out the incompetence and corruption of their government. They simply ignore destructive fads of popular culture. They have no time for the demagoguery of their politicians and the divisive rhetoric of social activists. Instead, these quiet Americans simply go to work, pursue their own talents, excel at what they do, and seek to take care of their families.
The result of their singular expertise is that even in America’s current illness, the nation still soars above the global competition.
Only in America can you find the sort of innovation, talent, legal framework, and can-do attitude needed to invent and refine hydraulic fracking and horizontal drilling. Just a few hundred thousand scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, oil riggers, and skilled craftsman have revived the once-ossified oil industry for 320 million Americans.
The United States is not running out of fuels — as was predicted over the last 20 years. It instead has become the largest gas-and-oil producer in the world.
The epitaph for Silicon Valley is written each year. Its tech industry is copied the world over. Yet seemingly each year a new American technical innovation — the laptop, Google, Facebook, the iPad, the iPhone — sweeps the world. Apparently, American informality, meritocracy, and top-flight engineering still draw global talent into Northern California, which sends back out the latest gadgets to be gobbled up by billions.
Neither drought, nor needlessly cumbersome regulations, nor unfair trade practices have stalled American agriculture. The farms of the United States — where less than 2 percent of the population resides — have never turned out so much safe, nutritious, and cheap food that is feeding the world and earning America hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign exchange.
The U.S. military — in which fewer than 1 in 100 Americans serve — is facing record cuts. The Navy will have fewer ships than the American fleet of World War I. The Air Force and the Marine Corps are shrinking. Yet superb American forces continue to ensure that the United States and its allies remain safe. Neither Vladimir Putin’s Russia, nor the Communist Chinese hierarchy, nor the Iranian theocrats are quite ready to take the on the U.S. military. All are rightly worried that to do so would be suicidal.
America is not saved by our elected officials, bureaucrats, celebrities, and partisan activists. Instead, just a few million hardworking Americans in key areas — a natural meritocracy of all races, classes, and backgrounds — ignore the daily hype and chaos, remain innovative and productive, and dazzle the world.
The silent few of a forgotten America have given the entire country an astonishing standard of living that is quite inexplicable.
© 2014 Tribune Media Services, Inc.
17 thoughts on “America Continues to Thrive”
what happens when this generation of “nose to the grindstone” americans retire and die off? we are supporting a huge parasitic class on borrowed money and yet this class is being grown larger by the year. pray for American principles and our constitution.
Im a millienial (sic) and I don’t buy into this socialist stuff. Nor do many of my friends, and their friends. The propaganda mass media makes it seem that way, we aren’t doomed, we have just been given that perception, but it isn’t the reality. I love this article. It gives me hope and it is based on facts. America will survive this I believe. I just hope Obama will get what he deserves one day.
Do I summarize correctly? Although the governing process is broken, due to select economic, agricultural, and military superior performance America is saved. Pretty thin stuff. Is this the sort of rhetoric one would use to highlight and celebrate the good things which the author believes make America not just good, but great?
Actually what I believe he is saying is in spite of a governing class that has as a motive the economic and physical destruction of America for their own reasons (whatever they may be) the average American is doing an above average job of keeping this country afloat through their hard work and determination. Quite simple really and very much on point…although it will never be shared by those in the media.
Or, rephrased, “We aren’t dying at the rate envisioned by our enemies in the Central Government.” Hard headed lot, we Americans. 🙂 I raised several boys who seem to be just as hardheaded as I am. You all do the same and we may surprise everyone and survive, after all.
The only explanation that makes sense to me, is that the American people are by and large, able to exercise their God-given rights, as protected by their government, to life, liberty and the pursue of happiness. As long as those rights are not perturbed in any way, Americans will continue to push forward and march onward to fulfilled their dreams and aspirations for themselves and their families.
Hell yeah, rock on brother. America the Great! I hope it lasts a thousand years or more. (Im not being sarcastic, Im sincere).
I have to say, this bit of hope is a comfort. I’ll spread it far and wide.
Whistling in the dark, boys. America: 5% of the world’s population, 25% of people imprisoned; America: 5% of the world’s population, 50% of the lawyers, gobbling up 1.8 trillion of GDP (10%). America where prosecutors win (“We never make mistakes”) 99.5% of their cases. Lived in the States for four years. Love the country. Love the fact that you guys are foremost among those Westerners fighting for Judeo Christian cultural values.
But there’s plenty of work to do, and self-congratulation at this stage may be a just a tad premature.
When I graduated FSC 1956/taught HS ag in Visalia in 58-59…Sierra ditch water was more than plentiful on the East side of the San Joaquin Valley..well water tables were 100-150′ or less.
Vic, my point/Q is this..stay in the West/Califiornia/Kingsburg even:
When does the piper get paid to keep “America Thriving” when “Thriving” is based on digging up and selling for private profit the nation’s unrenewable natural resources and pumping dry the nation’s water/petroleum aquifers?
Since your comments are invariably negative about VDH’s columns, why do you continue reading them?
Why don’t you just take a nap dude. Regain your thoughts and come back.
My comment is meant for Ted not Don.
The only problem here is that all these hard working Americans, as marvelous as they undoubtedly are, have been so engrossed in their own daily pursuit of their own interests that they’ve become complacent, over confident, that government, especially at the federal level, is a well oiled machine capable of running the country without their input other than one day, every two years to elect a republican or democrat depending on which way the political winds are blowing and their own individual circumstances at the time. They did not elect republicans because of a strong commitment to conservative principles but because of a feeling that there has been a steady increase in a malaise that has been gripping the country under Obama’s leadership; Obama, who still commands an approval rating slightly above 40% and was elected not once but twice despite, a tumultuous, troubling and duplicitous first term full of broken promises and questionable competency. How is that even remotely possible given a politically engaged society.
Whenever I hear the statements, “where the wind blows” I know this is liberal talking points, like you guys go to the same communist school to learn your phrase words and what to say because you can’t think for yourself. Little kids, aren’t you cute. Grown ups need to rule the country now ok, daddy let you drive the wheel a little bit, but your running off the road. That’s what your liberal ideas are….little kids Disney cartoon images of the world. Grow up, or else. You mention Obama won twice,…what a fool you are, yeah he won…cheating all the way, dudes a straight up con artist. What Prof. Hansen is talking about is that even though you lil kids try your best with your liberal ways, you still can’t change the powerhouse of the world that is America. Here’s your blankey now baby go lie down.
You speak truths Professor. I love your words, they give me hope and optimism. This great country is the shit! I hope it at least lasts as long as the Roman Empire and longer with good blessings. Maybe once Obama and his ilk are gone we can become truly powerful and more prosperous,….and use or prosperity and power to help the other countries of the world (yet still keep them in good check). I love your post Mr. Hansen, don’t think for a minute that you are silent or only telling a few, we hear and listen to you.
A good case can be made for limiting the right to vote to people who pay taxes to the federal government. Then, to expand the franchise, all’s you’ve gotta do is dump the income tax and pass the Fair Tax. Viola!