American Paralysis and Decline

Victor Davis Hanson
American Greatness

“We can bear neither our diseases nor their remedies.”

So shrugged the ancient historian Livy (59 B.C.- A.D. 17) of the long decline of Roman national character that, in his age, finally ended the Roman Republic.

Like a patient whose medicine proves worse than the disease, Livy lamented that the Romans knew that they had become corrupt and lawless.

But the very contemplation of the hard medicine needed for restoration—and the furious reaction that would meet the remedy—made it impossible to save the patient.

America is nearing such an impasse.

We know that no state can long exist after opening its borders to over 7 million illegal aliens, requiring neither background checks nor legality.

The recent murder of a Georgia female jogger by an illegal alien and the savage beating of New York policemen by similar others hardly merit media attention.

Everyone knows that neither new appropriations nor new laws are needed to secure the border as it was in 2020.

Instead, we could just stop suicidal catch-and-release, deport lawbreakers, privilege the legal over the illegal immigrant, demand would-be refugees apply for asylum first in their native countries, finish the border wall, and pressure Mexico to stop undermining the territorial integrity of its northern neighbor.

But then we shrug, “We can’t do that”—paralyzed in fear of being smeared as “xenophobic,” “nativist,” or “racist.”

So this generation apparently feels that it can endure the collateral damage of daily assaults on American citizens, the near bankruptcy of our cities, and 100,000 fentanyl deaths per year—but certainly not the idea that it is somehow not politically correct or compassionate.

The same is true of the $35 trillion debt, now costing more than $1 trillion a year in interest payments—and growing. We all know it is unsustainable. Americans understand it will eventually lead either to destructive hyperinflation, suicidal renunciation of federal debt, or confiscation of private savings.

Yet we ignore the reckless spending and keep borrowing well over $1 trillion a year. Apparently, our generation prefers being praised as “virtuous” and “caring.” So it leaves the next generation to be smeared as “cruel” and “unfair” when it is forced to cut federal entitlements and bloated government or face civilizational collapse.

The crime epidemic is also similar. Everyone accepts that no society can long endure quasi-legalized shoplifting or green-lighting smash-and-grabbers and carjackers to be released without bail.

But we assume that such a civilizational implosion will never reach our own sanctuary neighborhoods or safe places of work—at least not yet.

We also know that restoring deterrence by arresting, convicting, and jailing repeat felons will return safety to our streets.

But again, we fear even more that advocating “law and order” will earn slanders like “racist” or “reactionary.”

Ditto the homeless. In an age of self-congratulation and hyper-environmentalism, we know that a million homeless defecating, urinating, injecting, and assaulting on our downtown sidewalks and storefronts is medieval.

We know that it is illegal to camp out on the street and publicly harass citizens or relieve oneself in public.

And we know the cure lies in building and staffing more mental institutions and providing areas far from public spaces where the homeless can find shelter, sanitation, and medical care.

But the very idea of removing anyone from his accustomed sidewalk spot, or the notion of the use of force to transport the mentally ill to proper and humane facilities, terrifies us.

So we walk around, step over, and ignore those on the street.

Is the assumption that the odds of being assaulted or sickened acceptable? Or do we just not wish to learn where the flotsam, jetsam, and human offal of the street end up?

Most accept that had Donald Trump just not run for president in 2024 or was a man of the left, he would not now be facing four different felony court cases.

Most accept that three of the four prosecutors have either in advance promised to get Trump or have proved grossly unethical.

Most know it is wrong to try to remove a leading presidential candidate from state ballots.

Yet many shrug that this new weaponization of America’s legal system is the flamboyant Trump’s own problem, not their own. So they ignore the third worldization of our political system, which they quietly acknowledge is otherwise leading us to a Venezuela-like mess.

The paralysis of American society extends to our foreign policy as well. We deplore the terrorism of Iran and its thuggish surrogates. But we fear more the nasty, costly business of stopping its aggression.

Societies do not always collapse from a lack of wealth, invasion, or natural catastrophes.

Most often, they know what is destroying them. But they are so paralyzed by their fear that the road to salvation becomes too painful to even contemplate.

So they implode gradually, then suddenly.

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119 thoughts on “American Paralysis and Decline”

  1. Libertysdefender

    It’s not just that we refuse to act. There is the near certainty that if we rise up to protect our lives and nation, the government will crush us under its hob nail boot. Most people are not totally corrupt but the government, at all levels certainly is. We realize, at some level, that when we act, there is no going back. Life as we know it can never be the same.

        1. Kurt Vander Weide

          The media are but only one virulent component of a vast, systemic, and potentially lethal infection.

    1. The American citizen, the dispossessed majority is not the problem. Those we look to to defend our great nation from illegal this and illegal that, has quit on us. They have forfeited their fiduciary responsibilities for profit. Even the spiritual protecrors, like the faith-based 501c3 NGOs have sold their patriotism for profit. The dispossessed majority demand a leader who will bring justice back to justice and rescue our Constitutional Republic before the so called “democracy” destroys us or Amercian citizens are forced to defend themselves.

  2. This is so true! We all see what the problems are, but we cannot address them quickly because of the many politically correct lawmakers and judiciary members who stand in the way. We will need to change this through elections and judicial appointments. That will be a long process.
    In the meantime, if Trump is elected, do you think he can make meaningful changes quickly or will he be blocked by the deeply entrenched leftist, globalist lawmakers and judges?

      1. Herbert Spencer

        When all the roads are closed you have to make a new one. Get a machete and open a new way for you and your descent!

  3. The British journalist Peter Hitchens has long written and spoken about the decline of British society in all aspects, economically, politically, legally, religiously. He has made a prolonged, strenuous and brave attempt to stem that downward spiral but a few years ago gave up any hope of reform or rejuvenation of British society. He continues to write as a journalist and commentator but only to record that apparently inexorable decline and regards his writings as “An Obituary of Britain”. The same could be applied to our country, the USA.

    1. Shawn Marshall

      The decline of the USA is principally due to three and Prof Hanson whiffs on it entirely and repeatedly:
      1)T he Federal Income tax must be repealed. It has reduced the entire nation to slavery. A Fair Tax collected by States and remitted to Feds could replace it. The Income Tax is the lifeblood of the Federal Leviathan. It is an unfortunate result of the War Against Slavery making slaves of us all.
      2) Term limits must be imposed on all elected offices and on federal positions such as Fauci abused for years. Without term limits the massive corruption of life long political hacks such as Pelosi, McConnell, Feinstein, Schumer, Bidens, Clintons et al ad infinitum will never be eliminated. They enrich themselves mercilessly
      while gorging at the public trough and anointing themselves as public servants.
      3) Universal suffrage must be eliminated. Only a net tax paying man and wife should have a single ballot to cast between them. The feministic nature of the women’s vote is destroying this country since they overwhelmingly support the DemoncRat baby killers.

      1. David Tambornino

        I agree with you and have felt this since 1980, a sophomore in high school. People would just laugh at me, or say to ignore me, that I’m Deaf and thus have no clue. While at the same time people, including my siblings, were submitting my papers and writing for their upper classes and college classes; the writing was on the wall. As ever it was thus.

  4. You wrote that “America is nearing such an impasse,” the point at which solving America’s illnesses require such aggressive treatments that the patient would never accept the treatment.

    I would say that America is well beyond that point. I can see no world in which a majority of the US public would support things like a return to balanced budgets, widespread institutionalization of the mentally ill, and increased institutionalization (and harsh institutionalization) of criminals today. I don’t see a majority supporting mass exportation of the culturally unassimilable, uneducated, unskilled, illiterate, innumerate illegal immigrants that have flooded into the country. The same is true of America’s other ills, a degrading military, an increasingly uneducated, illiterate, innumerate native population, an increasing share of the population reared without two parents, and without being instilled with the virtues, and mores needed for the sustenance of a peaceful society based on voluntary exchange of value between sovereign individuals…

    The only hope is that some pockets might form where people who are willing to live in such a virtuous society, as is happening, I think, in some of the red states. I don’t have faith, however, that these enclaves of civilization will be able to hold the barbarians at bay for very long..

      1. I agree, God is our only hope. This looks like we are living in biblical times, and if that is the case we know how it ends. We will all be given the opportunity to choose whom we serve and then there will be a separation between those who serve Him and those who do not. (The wheat and the tares) And then the end shall come. I am stunned at how oblivious people are to this – the signs are all around us yet we seem too absorbed with things that are distracting us (economy, election, wars, Covid etc). It seems that the constant barrage of more shocking headlines are to distract us as to the lateness of the hour. Put things in the proper perspective: God, family, country.


        God is not going to save us. We have to fight to save ourselves. It may take extreme actions – legal, rebellion, violence, etc. I am not advocating this but it was required for the founding of America and almost all nations and it may be necessary again.

        1. Herbert Spencer

          Right. From time to time mankind must resort to a rupture, a breakaway, a violent change, to get thing to zero and a new start.
          It is called a rebirth.

    1. I disagree. I think that most voters would support such things. Probably far more in rural areas than in the cities, but still overall a majority. This explains in part why Trump now polls ahead of Biden. The whackos are not a majority, but they have captured institutions and wield a lot of undemocratic administratice authority. And they run elections in most of not all states. But the window of opportunity has not closed.

      I suspect you live in a locality which is worse than average. I’m not whistling past the graveyard, much work must be done and we must find a way to get principled incorruptible people in office to represent us. That may be our greatest challenge, Rs constantly sell out their constituents. The RNC must be rebooted. Never give to NRSC or NRCC either. Give to specific candidates only.

  5. “So they implode gradually, then suddenly,” but we can stop it by turning out the vote in November and fighting back in the meantime, each in one’s own way.

    1. “turning out the vote” is irrelevant.
      WHY? you ask…..

      Because they who TURN IN the “votes” matter far more.

      this truth has slowly but inexorably coming into the light, despite massive coordinated efforts to the contrary.

      I realised the level of fraud and deception back when so many court cases were brought, and summarily dismissed due o “lack of standing”. Such a copout was so evidently fraudulent. MY vote was negated by some operative dumping hundreds/thousands of manufactured votes, of COURSE I was harmed directly, the factual basis of standing. Had this happened a handful of times in one or ten venues it could have been taken as a valid move. But dozens of times everywhere? Nah….

      1. Yes, the infamous “lack of standing” has been used repeatedly as a bludgeon (since the Obama fraudulent BC days, right through COVID, and the 2020 election) against “we the people”. It is an “in your face” response from the ruling elite against anyone concerned with Constitutional integrity.

      2. We agree about the mail in ballots, lack of verification, ballot harvesting & midnight dumps. The mail in ballot breathed new life into these corrupt, inner-city Democrat machines. The courts were not prepared to deal with these issues, and so they declined to rule on these cases.
        Until voter rolls are cleaned and we return to same day voting in person with ID, it seems the only way to deal with these issues is a massive turn-out for the November election with volunteers on site to monitor the situation. Other countries, like France, have returned to same day voting.

  6. “We can’t do that”—paralyzed in fear of being smeared as “xenophobic,” “nativist,” or “racist.”

    Why would anyone in their right mind care about being labled such these days?
    Maybe I answered my own question?

    1. Dennis Prager is spot-on when he says that in today’s America, “people fear the Left more than they fear God.”

  7. Donald E Vandergriff

    Thank you sir for your leadership and blunt, academic truth. I pray someone listens alongside President Trump. He seems to be doing it alone.

  8. Perhaps someone certainly not paralyzed by fear (for all his flaws) will keep fighting back and make it to start turning things around before gradually becomes suddenly.

  9. Paralysis is a normal resting state of our American democracy, Constitutional Republic and elected leaders. We are so much at rest that many have to manufacture crisis if only for the purposes of rhetoric and control. Why risk solving problems when there are no consequences for inaction? Only when we reach peak hysteria, essentialism, or credible threat do our leaders act and then with very little risk or impunity. When actions go wrong it’s simply because they had no choice or other options were worse or it was the fog of crisis etc., anything to retain power in the aftermath of poor decisions. Violence and crime are on the rise, but we haven’t reached the peak as in the late 19th century west, the 1920s and 30s, or the inter-city violence of the 70s and 80s. In our current state none of our leaders yet fear loss of power and none of our wealthiest fear loss of wealth. Until that happens nothing is likely to change. Although the one variable is war, often characterized as mans creation, but I do contemplate if it isn’t an unavoidable, natural cleansing beyond human control. A kin to brush fires, hurricanes, tornados, and earthquakes and about as diverse, equitable, and inclusive as can be.

        1. John Lawrence

          So do you really think the Conservative movement that is emerging under people like Matt Gaetz and his sauad of Conservatives is going to be the answer. That far right contingency is just as dangerous as the far left and their idiotic ideals, ideas, and policies. We can live and prosper with both sides of the aisle chimming in but the people, both left and right, have to have common goal of doing what is best for America rather then what we see today. Two parties governed by the fringes of their party, who have their own self interest, and power as the main motiviator for their actions. Remeber what our founders said, Ameirca is an idea for moral people, That morality is lacking in our leadership today at all levels of government and we the people have to lead the way back to morality and demand the same from our elected representatives at all level of government. Simply pointing fingers at the other side doesn’t work. If we have not noticed that yet we are not paying attentiion.

  10. The picture of the barn nearly symbolizes this nation. I say nearly since the flag should be turned over with the field of stars at the bottom representing a nation in distress!

  11. Robert H Deighton

    American ingenuity has always found a way to solve our problems. Often it takes outside the box thinking. I have developed such a program to help solve the “unsustainable” $35 trillion Debt Crisis. The debt has been declared a threat to our national security. Indeed, many great societies have been taken down by the destruction of their currencies. Patriotic Americans have always stepped up to overcome adversity. MFS Patriotic Capitalism is designed to unite all patriotic Americans – all ages and all incomes – from fortunate 1%rs to struggling students, ,in a common cause to Save the Dollar and Defeat the Debt. Sir, if you would send me an email address, I will send a brief introduction to MFS. The theme is WHEN IN A HOLE STOP DIGGING.

    1. I waould uch prefer to know his name. IN part to I can say Thank You. But also so I can tell my children and grandchildren WHO stood uo and took action. I love being able to tell of the individuals who took all, put it at great risk (“our lives, our fortunes, our sacred honour”) stepped up and carried the weight by standing strong and with great resolve. I am also convinced that were our gummit skelwz to begin requiring the reading and study of some of the accounts of that time, some young eyes would be opened and begin to put helm over to turn this Ship of State from her present course, surely on course at present for the reefs and destruction.

  12. Reminds me of T.S. Eliot’s famous line from The Hollow Men: “This how the world ends. Not with a bang, but a whimper”.

  13. Wow, nothing you say here surprised me Victor. You always amaze me with your incredible knowledge but this article hit me right between the eyes. It is so well done and describes the fear I have for this countries future. I regretfully have to agree that you are exactly correct in your assessment of our future. God help this country.

  14. There is no one that captures things and articulates them quite like you do, I read everything that you put out there and never miss a podcast. My annual renewal for full access to The Blade Of Perseus came due this month. Its the best $50 that I spend all year.

  15. spot on, what can I do to help, beside vote, cause We feel like there gonna cheat like there doing now. Tell me how I can help turn our country around, we sure need all of us to do something. If you were a Dr. and thought I was going to die for sure, what would you say,beside we need to do something!!!!!!!!

  16. Professor Hanson, Thank you for your courage to address the problems and clearly explain the solution. It’s refreshing to hear truth! Please keep up the good work and help each of us know what our role or duty is to help our country, our citizens, our neighbors, our families and ourselves. May God help us!

  17. When 26% of Americans think that biden is doing a good job, how can there be any hope for us? It is impossible to me to think that anyone is paying so little attention to anything that they would be part of 27%.

    Is it because they have not been harmed physically, and many others have, that they are just numb to it all and just change the channel from the View to catch up on CNN????

    Now with all of Putin’s rhetoric, could it be more than talk? Is he really ill and ready to take the whole world with him as that is what a nuclear action on his part would do. Ever since the Carlson interview he has been gaining “steam” with his bluster.

    Another 6 months of an open border is only more chaos and death and more armed vigilantes to deal with if the election turns Trump’s way and the left loses their minds. The death of America will be broadcast on the 200 Soros’ owned radio stations thanks to our sleeping FCC. It is hard to see America winning the pennant with the way things are with the FBI and the DOJ and republicans talking and doing nothing.

    1. When two people married can’t live together any longer, they better break apart if they don’t want to end killing each other.

  18. Robert H Deighton

    What is the reason my comment asking Dr. Hanson to review MFS Patriotic Capitalism? Did he have the opportunity to respond? It may be very important to solving the “unsustainable” $35 trillion Debt Crisis. Academics sometimes talk to each other, but neglect simple solutions.. The “experts” have filed to solve the Debt Crisis. What’s that definition of Insanity???

    1. I have seen you promoting this idea on a number of other sites I read regularly. You got kicked off of one of them. Perhaps it is not as wonderful as you think it is?

  19. Victor, as usual spot on .. why do the citizens keep voting in those that wish to destroy the fabric of society on the East and West coasts? One has to pray for strong leadership to be elected which will get us out of the trajectory we are on.

  20. Maybe Rome hasn’t fallen completely. Maybe only parts of Rome has become brittle, like the Western leg of the Roman empire. Maybe Rome is now combining into a single world power, the Eastern leg, Constantinople. Maybe Rome has never really gone away but adjusted over time to what we see today. We are no longer living in a East-West balance of power. The East has taken over while the West was asleep.

  21. Victor another prescient observation.
    I would ask your thoughts on a resolve for our situation.
    As I see our apathetic populous wandering down to the path to ruin I wander along not wanting to participate, yet ask, what can be done.
    Activism is necessary, but what form and direction would be the most beneficial?
    Best Regards,
    Kevin in Wyoming

  22. “…they are so paralyzed by their fear that the road to salvation becomes too painful to even contemplate.
    So they implode gradually, then suddenly.”

    America’s epithet.

  23. As one of the Lost Children of the Enlightenment, I know that Citizens are also entitled to equal protection under the law. As a lawyer, I also took an oath to up hold the Constitution of the United States, and I will full fill my sacred duty to do so!

  24. Such a succinct, genius recap of our society’s illnesses.
    Thank you VDH and Jack even if it does bring some heavy emotion. Better to know than die ignorant in the dark.

    For many years the decline and fall of civilizations was a curiosity of youth to be studied and pondered. How and why? How could those Germans have allowed Hitler and his supporters to dominate? How could those Cubans have allowed Castro to take over, etc., etc.? China evolved to a Republic in 1911, how could they allow Mao into their homes in a mere ~40 years?

    It is still a fascinating area of knowledge, though now the answers to those questions are painfully obvious. Warnings of this some 30 or 40 years ago were ignored, even scoffed at.

    The pattern is predictable.

  25. Biden and his despicable minions are relying on the ignorance of too many of the American people. How that lying bastard Biden can say the border is OK, and any problem with the border is Trump’s fault. The border was in it’s best shape ever under Trump, and Biden undid Trump’s successful policies on day one of his regime.

  26. San Francisco Mayor London Breed said of the Nov 2023 city cleanup prior to the APEC meeting between Presidents’ Joe Biden and Xi Jinping – “because we’re expecting thousands of press from around the world, that will give them a chance to experience San Francisco”.

    San Francisco was cleaned up in days. Notice that London Breed has no concern about giving San Francisco residents “a chance to experience San Francisco”. No, sir – we have no responsibilities to our tax paying residents – no, sir.

    These Democrats could end all this nonsense in a veritable heart beat – but they won’t – they have got to go.

  27. So very sadly prescient… Glad to have known a time of pride and prosperity that our predecessors enabld us to have, but the precipice of the end seems near … and Victor’s words stir my heart.

    1. Carole W Serling

      Phil, I too am old enough to remember having lived in an America that was prosperous, relatively safe and calm, the standard bearer of Biblically-based values……..a nation mostly knit together by shared love of country, family, law and order. But now I only feel sadness that my son, his wife, and future children will live in a physical place called America, but it will bear no resemblance to the country envisioned by our founders. We are not just in decline, we are on life-support. And even that is visibly collapsing. There are those, like VDH, who are sounding the alarm, and loudly, but not enough people in power want to listen.

  28. I do believe we are approaching the Howard Beale moment, to wit, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any more.”

    1. Agree. How much can they expect the living citizens to take? It’s as though they’re pushing and pushing and provoking us to react (i.e.: J6?).

  29. William Thompson

    The implosion is in progress and we see it daily. Germany in the late 1930s is the model for our future unless we can wrench the Left from power this cycle and return our culture and nation to the proper path.

  30. America’s Paralysis and Decline is marinated in the principle of “reap and sowing.” America was founded on a dysfunctional theology and a doctrine of discovering and taking land that was already occupied. Man’s basic human nature has an affinity for selfish pride, greed, and evil deeds. These diseases we cannot bare; but the remedy hasn’t negated the affection for the disease.

    Instead of confronting the primary issue which is the dysfunctional man in the mirror, we heirarchy the problems resulting from man’s inability to address his internal issues and conflicts. So he blames the immigrants, LGBTQ, Blacks, POC, Congress, the President, Women Rights, etc. as the primary causation of woes in America. This scapegoating only creates a revolving or a regurgitation of paralysis that have been posted since 1492.

    Trump is facing prosecution because he brought his unethical practices, amoral character, rogue credentials into the White House. His Waterloo will be tied to a conspiracy theory although he made the bed that he will lay in. These same attributes will permeates the foreign and domestic policies of any country experiencing paralysis. We actually immulate the terroism that we claim we deplore.

    Societies never collapse due to the lack of wealth, invasions, or natural catastrophes but by degenerate and devolving nature of man. Often, man is not aware of what is destroying him. Salvation of man requires transformation or a renewing of the mind. This the primary issue.

      1. So correct ..Mr Thomas is one of the few but vocal bunch that turn a deaf ear and blind eye to reality!! Why do people hate Trump so much that they will tolerate Anything, which certainly is supported by many of your comments.. I firmly believe he wants a better America, he’s just not a politician and has to handle it the way he knows best .

    1. Kip Dellinger

      you are a perfect example of the rot of our country. not those who you slander. you are a brain-washed fool. go. away. we have no need of your ilk.

    2. Sir, you are frankly ignoring history. Common factors in the collapse of once thriving civilizations include failure to control its borders, failure to assimilate and fiscal irresponsibility. All of these issues are on glaring display in the United States.

  31. I’m not scared to be called “xenophobic,” “nativist,” or “racist.” Cut ’em off without a dime, watch most go back.

  32. 𝙄 𝙪𝙨𝙚𝙙 𝙩𝙤 𝙡𝙞𝙨𝙩𝙚𝙣 𝙩𝙤 𝙂𝙚𝙤𝙧𝙜𝙚 𝙋𝙪𝙩𝙣𝙖𝙢’𝙨 𝙧𝙖𝙙𝙞𝙤 𝙨𝙝𝙤𝙬 𝙙𝙪𝙧𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙝𝙚 ’90𝙨. 𝙃𝙚 & 𝙖 𝙘𝙖𝙡𝙡𝙚𝙧 𝙛𝙧𝙤𝙢 𝙎𝙤𝙪𝙩𝙝 𝘾𝙚𝙣𝙩𝙧𝙖𝙡 𝙇.𝘼., 𝙏𝙚𝙧𝙧𝙮 𝘼𝙣𝙙𝙚𝙧𝙨𝙤𝙣 (𝙬𝙝𝙤 𝙚𝙫𝙚𝙣𝙩𝙪𝙖𝙡𝙡𝙮 𝙜𝙤𝙩 𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙤𝙬𝙣 𝙧𝙖𝙙𝙞𝙤 𝙨𝙝𝙤𝙬 𝙤𝙣 𝙎𝙪𝙣𝙙𝙖𝙮 𝙣𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩𝙨) 𝙙𝙚𝙙𝙞𝙘𝙖𝙩𝙚𝙙 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙞𝙧 𝙡𝙞𝙫𝙚𝙨 𝙩𝙤 𝙥𝙪𝙩𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙖𝙣 𝙚𝙣𝙙 𝙩𝙤 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙞𝙡𝙡𝙚𝙜𝙖𝙡 𝙖𝙡𝙞𝙚𝙣 𝙞𝙣𝙫𝙖𝙨𝙞𝙤𝙣. 𝙂𝙚𝙤𝙧𝙜𝙚 𝙬𝙖𝙨 𝙤𝙛𝙩𝙚𝙣 𝙘𝙖𝙡𝙡𝙚𝙙 𝙖 𝙧𝙖𝙘𝙞𝙨𝙩, 𝙗𝙪𝙩 𝙞𝙩 𝙬𝙖𝙨 𝙝𝙖𝙧𝙙 𝙩𝙤 𝙘𝙖𝙡𝙡 𝙏𝙚𝙧𝙧𝙮 𝙖 𝙧𝙖𝙘𝙞𝙨𝙩, 𝙗𝙚𝙘𝙖𝙪𝙨𝙚 𝙝𝙚 𝙬𝙖𝙨 𝙖 𝙗𝙡𝙖𝙘𝙠 𝙢𝙖𝙣 𝙞𝙣 𝙖 𝙗𝙡𝙖𝙘𝙠 𝙣𝙚𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙗𝙤𝙧𝙝𝙤𝙤𝙙 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙬𝙖𝙨 𝙗𝙚𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙩𝙖𝙠𝙚𝙣 𝙤𝙫𝙚𝙧 𝙗𝙮 𝙥𝙚𝙤𝙥𝙡𝙚 𝙬𝙝𝙤 𝙝𝙖𝙙 𝙣𝙤 𝙧𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩 𝙗𝙚𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙞𝙣 𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙘𝙤𝙪𝙣𝙩𝙧𝙮 𝙩𝙤 𝙗𝙚𝙜𝙞𝙣 𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙝. 𝙋𝙧𝙤𝙥 187 𝙬𝙖𝙨 𝙥𝙖𝙨𝙨𝙚𝙙 𝙤𝙫𝙚𝙧𝙬𝙝𝙚𝙡𝙢𝙞𝙣𝙜𝙡𝙮 𝙗𝙪𝙩 𝙬𝙖𝙨 𝙧𝙪𝙡𝙚𝙙 𝙪𝙣𝙘𝙤𝙣𝙨𝙩𝙞𝙩𝙪𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙖𝙡 𝙗𝙮 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙡𝙚𝙛𝙩𝙞𝙨𝙩 𝙘𝙤𝙪𝙧𝙩𝙨. 𝙄 𝙧𝙚𝙢𝙚𝙢𝙗𝙚𝙧 𝙨𝙚𝙚𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙨𝙩𝙪𝙙𝙚𝙣𝙩𝙨 𝙛𝙧𝙤𝙢 𝙚𝙡𝙚𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙩𝙖𝙧𝙮 𝙩𝙝𝙧𝙤𝙪𝙜𝙝 𝙝𝙞𝙜𝙝 𝙨𝙘𝙝𝙤𝙤𝙡, 𝙬𝙖𝙡𝙠 𝙤𝙪𝙩 𝙤𝙛 𝙘𝙡𝙖𝙨𝙨 & 𝙢𝙖𝙧𝙘𝙝 𝙩𝙤 𝙘𝙞𝙩𝙮 𝙝𝙖𝙡𝙡 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙖 𝙥𝙧𝙤𝙩𝙚𝙨𝙩 𝙧𝙖𝙡𝙡𝙮. 𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙘𝙝𝙞𝙡𝙙𝙧𝙚𝙣 𝙬𝙚𝙧𝙚 𝙤𝙧𝙜𝙖𝙣𝙞𝙯𝙚𝙙 𝙗𝙮 𝙨𝙘𝙝𝙤𝙤𝙡 𝙖𝙙𝙢𝙞𝙣𝙞𝙨𝙩𝙧𝙖𝙩𝙤𝙧𝙨. 𝙉𝙤𝙗𝙤𝙙𝙮 𝙬𝙖𝙣𝙩𝙚𝙙 𝙩𝙤 𝙨𝙩𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙪𝙥 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙨𝙤𝙫𝙚𝙧𝙚𝙞𝙜𝙣𝙩𝙮 𝙤𝙛 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙐𝙣𝙞𝙩𝙚𝙙 𝙎𝙩𝙖𝙩𝙚𝙨 𝙗𝙮 𝙚𝙣𝙛𝙤𝙧𝙘𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙗𝙤𝙧𝙙𝙚𝙧𝙨 𝙪𝙣𝙩𝙞𝙡 2016, 𝙬𝙝𝙚𝙣 𝘿

    1. There was another man with a radio show around the same time, Michael Savage. He used the phrase, Borders, Language, Culture, He predicted what is happened back then. He was also criticized, just like anyone was if they had common sense solutions for the problems. This is the radicals strongest weapon, ridicule, and it has kept us silent for decades.
      Even in the late 60s early 70s, when they were beginning the revolution they started their psychological babbling about prisoners were only locked up because they were mistreated as children. I almost fell for it but I was young back then, and I soon realized that a lot of children were mistreated and they still followed the law. It’s amazing how all these decades later they’re letting prisoner out of prison and jail.
      I think the only way we save America is to wake up those that are under mind control and don’t know, or believe, anything that doesn’t come from the leftist media. Without them we can’t even have a fair election. I don’t know how it can be accomplished, especially when some of them have been indoctrinated for 60+ years.

  33. I see that Dr. Hanson is borrowing from “The Sun Also Rises.” Hemingway’s novel contains this dialog, which could be a fitting epitaph for the USA:

    “How did you go bankrupt?” Bill asked.

    “Two ways,” Mike said. “Gradually and then suddenly.”

  34. When I was young and reading about the Roman Empire , I used to think that if only they had known what was happening they could have fixed it. I was shocked when looking deeper into the history that they had known exactly what was happening and would not fix it. Livy framed the issue perfectly.

  35. Dear Professor Hanson
    Greetings from Cape Town South Africa. Your article is very sobering and hopefully it will be read widely because it is indeed an urgent wake up call not only for USA.

    The picture of the derelict barn draped with a ragged Stars and Stripes is a dramatic metaphor. Being a painter I looked for the artist – seeing no attribution may I ask if I may use the picture as a resource for my next painting minus the flag? Please let me know. With kind regards. Dr Irvine Eidelman Cape Town

  36. Pamela Schmidt

    A brilliant summation, perfectly timed, as I struggled to explain to my grown, apparently woke son, why the Trump administration was better for all of us.

  37. Jim j Hoffmann

    Dear Victor: another paragon of perspicuity on your part as always. Not a day goes by that I do not look up to the heavens and pray for divine intervention for our once great country. I do thank God for being born and raised in the US, however, I now feel the ‘New World Order’ of things is destroying the foundations of what made our country great. The pseudo-intellectuals on the left are responsible for all the insanity and the lack of leadership at all levels of our government boggles the mind. I am an independent voter and although I am neither a Biden nor Trump fan, who is the lesser of two evils now? A vote for Biden is a vote for immorality, personal financial ruin and the ongoing embarrassment he and his lemmings bring to our society on a daily basis.

  38. There is nothing to fear from fixing these problems. Most Americans recognize that the chaos being foisted on this country has nothing to do with virtue and everything to do with bringing down this land of liberty.

    Most painful will be fixing the federal debt. This will require trade offs; some not so hard like closing bloated useless government departments. The other problems such as homelessness, open borders, crime and weaponized federal agencies are fixable with changes in policy. They have little to no real constituency beyond the radical liberals who have momentarily seized power. They are about to be hounded out of power by vote, or should they steal another election, by patriots.

  39. Robert W Lewis

    Robert Louis Stevenson said, “Sooner or later everyone sits down to a banquet of consequences.” We have quite a feast coming our way, if we don’t change now! Thank you for your clarity and Intelligent analysis of all of the mayhem that’s trying to ruin our great country. What a blessing you are in these confusing times. You’re making a difference in these crazy times. God Bless you Sir!

  40. Eventually a redline will be crossed and 1% of the nation will be forced to rescue the other 99%…….again. It would be a relief to somehow not let it come to this, however, the violent left seems to be insisting. Seems about every 100 years or so, we have a reckoning . 1776, 1860, 1960……. we are due.

  41. Our Canadian government received interesting news this week: the majority of immigrants – legal and illegal – find the country unlivable (schools, health care, housing, cost of living, etc) and over-hyped. More than 30% off landed immigrants never bother to get citizenship and an increasing percentage, particularly of the well-educated and skilled, are leaving.

    Like the U.S. and most other western countries, we refuse to see/deal with the issues.

    What to do about it? We raised our kids to seek reality and truth and to understand that the world is competitive and not a fair place. No guarantees, but they both launched and have that going for them.

  42. I know Victor Davis Hansen from “Life, Liberty, and Levin”. His presentations are always interesting & well organized.

  43. I don’t understand why we have this motto ” ……. but names will never hurt me” and then live our lives terrified of being called names . Calling people xenophobes , racists , Nazis et cetera is so easy to do . Best to not even deny it . Just ignore it . Give such a person a sigh and an eye roll of pity . ” What should we do about Racism ? ” ” STOP talking about it ! ” ( Morgan Fairchild ).

  44. Agree w VDH. As anyone with an ounce of sanity, we have no choice and very soon we will have to cross the Rubicam. Not only for our sake but children. Although it may look like the end times, we cannot assume that. God only knows. Therefore we need to do the next best right thing and vote And fight. So Gird your loins , Put your tray up and fasten your seat belts.

  45. Every time you call America a democracy
    You drive a dagger into the Heart of our Republic.
    In order to save our libertarian Republic,
    We must destroy our equalitarian democracy.

  46. This country is far too precious for us to lay back on our sofas and watch it die. No, I cannot do that. I would rather die than lose my country. It’s that simple.

    Without freedom we have nothing.

  47. Yup, the USA experiment is terminal. Gradual entropic decay to the final sudden critical mass event and eventual ash-heap to which all empires eventually succumb. This 77 y/o drafted ‘Nam VFW, living “red county rural”, gunned, gardened, System-D simplified, still active/UNmediated sez: time for ‘nutha [not-so] :civil bloody ugly. BRING IT w/ “JC always before me” cuz every next day is juz ‘nutha day “closer to Home”.

  48. Leonard Claude Wright

    Good points. The deficit is highly understated however.

    The last 2 years before a $1.5T in 22 and a .5T adjustment up for Veterans affairs is:

    9/30/23 Spending of $7.661T vs. 9/30/22 Spending of $7.420T of spending.

    9/30/23 Liabilites of $42.898T vs. 9/30/22 Liabilities of $39.022T.

    Liabilities are rising at almost $4T per year.

    The United States Financial Statement. Read it on pages 8,9 and 14 of the below pdf from the United States Government website.

    So much worse than what anyone perceives.

    And instead of the Beatles “It’s Getting Better Everyday” It’s simply not getting better every day.

    But then, does anyone in media really care, except for people like Victor?

    Not really, it’s beyond comprehension so people choose not to think about to their peril

  49. The inevitable collapse of the ‘Federal” United States ( as in government) is a foregone conclusion, it is simply a matter of when. This should be celebrated, for it is the only way We the States can be free from the centralized tyranny that has grown unfettered since Lincoln’s waged war on the confederate states to keep the North from financial ruin and in the process effectively ended Federalism

  50. Most of this is happening in all the western countries also, so what exactly is it? I know Trump getting us out of some global agendas is why they’re trying everything they can to stop him.
    I just don’t know how they organized something this huge.

  51. MultilingualMob

    Methinks that the American paralysis and decline is due to the elite American Left’s embracing of Globalism. Not from some home grown internal political schism. They think that it’s cool.
    Good luck to all!

  52. Susan Schrenzel

    Are there too many people on this planet Earth?
    Can no one see that our planet cannot sustain its current population?
    And, hasn’t been able to for the past too many decades ….

  53. Thomas O'Brien

    Victor, I think the majority is ready to act, smears be damned.

    They voted in a “disrupter” in 2016, and again in 2020 (in my view). But by this second (2020) election the Left was no longer going to take the chance that the people would elect such a man. Never, did they believe he had a chance in 2016, but come election night realized they totally underestimated Trump’s appeal to the electorate.

    So, in 2020 they dealt with the “Trump problem” in a different way — election fraud. Sadly, the courts copped out and did not want to hear the legal claims of Trump and his allies. This left seventy-five million people having serious doubts about the integrity of our system. It did not have to be this way.

    So, now we are at the 2024 election. Again if votes are counted with the integrity that once characterized American elections — Trump will win BIG. My fear though, is that the clever Left, will again snatch this election. I really, really, hope I am wrong on this.

    Regardless, the majority of the people are ready to take the distasteful medicine that Victor describes in order to save our country. But will that be enough?

  54. Jesus Christ did not come to bring peace but a sword, dividing the just from the unjust but most would rather watch in terror as their friends, family and neighbors drill holes in the boat.

  55. I can’t believe all the corruptocrats who must be taking consideration from the CCP. The commies operate here with impunity. After Barry, the military was corrupted. They’ll use them against the citizens (the way they use the FBI-type alphabet agencies and the unelected administrative bodies such as the EPA.)

  56. Joe Brockmann

    The commitment to provide humane care and treatment of the mentally ill costs more than our current society is willing to spend.
    The daily care of such unfortunates is often of such physical and mental stress that only the callous will work with them for the usual dismal compensation, leading to indifferent care or outright abuse.
    The not for profit agencies involved tend to provide lavish salaries and benefits to the board and administrative staff, at the expense of direct support staff.
    The result is a gradual return to the “snake pit ” institutional model of care.

  57. Have you ever experienced a tragic nightmare, awaken, thinking it was only a dream, and then fall back asleep?

    …Only to face the cold, hard dawn with the waking knowledge that your nightmare is reality.

  58. The answer is to devolve programs to the states to administer as they see fit and take them off the federal budget.

    The easiest place to start is with those that are already being administered by the states, like Medicaid and housing. Just give the states a declining block grant that reduces to zero over a period of 5 to 10 years. The states that want to continue the programs tax their own people and businesses to pay for it. The states that cut the programs don’t. Businesses and people flee the blue states (likely certain cities and counties first). The rest of us need to let them fail and not bail them out. Only by going bankrupt can they emerge in a more solvent, trimmed-down form; their unions will prevent it from happening any other way.

    It will take a couple of painful decades to work out, but in the end we will have a new compact of federalism where the federal government is forced by fiscal reality to return to its Constitutional role.

  59. “Pray. Hope. And don’t worry.”  —Padre Pio

    “Hand me my weapon [ the Rosary ]”  —Padre Pio

    “Pray the Rosary daily”  —the Queen of Heaven, her
     —and Heaven’s —weapon of choice.

    H U N D R E D S of comments [ prayers ] aimed at Heaven — the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit —through the hands of the Queen of Heaven and Earth.

  60. The decline of the United States, that Victor Davis Hanson describes, accelerated under President Obama. Remember well Obama’s comment about “a phone and a pen” to implement policy without the Constitutional process requiring the two houses of Congress. This was also with the knowledge that the Judiciary moves very, very slow.. Unchallenged, the dictatorial and unitary State has brought us to our current condition of decline and paralysis.
    The United States is very vulnerable to capture at this time.

  61. I love all the prognosticators and opines making comments on an article like this.

    I’m sure It makes you feel better or important to identify the predators that threaten you, but what is the point if they kill and eat you anyway.

    While you continue to keep signing those 1040’s to pay them to do this to you.

  62. We constate the same phenomena in Europe and in France, the country is just on the way of full destruction. Macron, the tiny president is an agent of Washington who impose to the UE’s countries to fellow the same program than you.
    People, everywhere, are lost, separated, submitted by fears the system organised durint long time through média’s propaganda.
    Occident is over but people refuse to see the reality. In spite of this unbelievable propaganda, the future is with the Eurasia’s countries. Poutine and his Chineses allies is winning this strange and mortal 3rd world war.

  63. 7 million? You mean just this year?

    The left is notoriously dishonest about how many illegals have been allowed in. The actual number is between 20-30 million, at least.

  64. From Livy at the top to Hemingway at the end, VDH delivers a perfect description of our sorry state. Thanks, Professor.

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