A Culture in Collapse

Victor Davis Hanson
American Greatness

In the last six months, we have borne witness to many iconic moments evidencing the collapse of American culture.

The signs are everywhere and cover the gamut of politics, the economy, education, social life, popular culture, foreign policy, and the military. These symptoms of decay share common themes.

Our descent is self-induced; it is not a symptom of a foreign attack or subterfuge. Our erosion is not the result of poverty and want, but of leisure and excess. We are not suffering from existential crises of famine, plague, or the collapse of our grid and fuel sources. Prior, far poorer, and war-torn generations now seem far better off than what we are becoming.

What is happening to us is not due to an adherence to a too strict conservative tradition but is almost exclusively the wage of the progressive project.

In short, we are seeing fissures that America has not experienced in our cultural history since the Civil War. The radical Left apparently feels such chaos, anarchy, and nihilism are necessary to topple past norms and customs and thereby adhere to a socialist, equity agenda that no one in normal times would stomach.

Some of the decay is existential and fundamental; some anecdotal and illustrative. But either way, while decline came about gradually over decades, its sudden and abrupt chaos during the three years of Biden’s presidency has shocked Americans.

Financial Implosion

As long as interest rates were de facto zero, both parties ran up gargantuan debt. Now the national debt has hit $34 trillion. But two odd things have also happened under the Biden administration that are beginning to undermine the very existence of the U.S. financial system:

1) Interest rates have soared from de facto zero and are on a trajectory to 5.5%—meaning that the interest on the debt, in theory, in the not too distant future will require 20 percent of the annual budget, squeezing out both entitlements and defense.

2) Yet the upcoming rendezvous with economic Armageddon has not slowed a Biden administration intent on borrowing nearly $2 trillion in the current fiscal year.

The public is baffled: is the Left playing chicken with us? Is the strategy to “gorge the beast,” thereby demanding even higher federal taxes, which, combined with many state taxes, now exceed 50 percent of one’s income?

Is the goal massive “redistribution” by ensuring “equity” by gouging the middle class and rich? Or is the left’s goal more nihilistic: to force a remedy for insolvency by ensuring high inflation, renouncing government debt, or government appropriation of private capital?

Military Crises

Americans have lost deterrence abroad.

Confusion reigns among the public over why the Biden administration fled from Afghanistan, leaving behind billions of dollars of munitions and equipment in the hands of Taliban terrorists. Why did it allow a Chinese spy balloon to traverse the continental U.S. with impunity?

And why did Biden signal to Russia when preparing an invasion of Ukraine that our reaction would depend on the magnitude of Putin’s offensive? Why has military recruitment cratered, shorting the Pentagon of thousands of soldiers?

Why do Iranian proxies attack almost daily U.S. installations abroad and ships in the Red Sea, apparently without fear of reprisal? Why did Hamas slaughter Israelis on October 7? What explains our indifference or ennui?

Is the answer a deliberate effort to curb supposed American “arrogance” by once more leading from behind? Are we rebooting the Obama Administration’s bankrupt idea of empowering an Iranian crescent from Teheran to Damascus to Beirut to Gaza to ensure “creative tension” between Israel and the moderate Arabs and Persian-led theocratic Shiites?

Why do our officer classes rotate in and out of lucrative military consultantships, lobbying billets, and board membership on corporate defense contractors—as if their innate talents rather than their lifelong contacts with current serving procurement officers earned their exorbitant fees?

Why did our retired four stars with disdain violate the uniform code of military justice by serially and publicly trashing the commander in chief? Why has the Pentagon revolutionized the entire system of recruitment, promotions, and tenure in the armed forces by predicating them in large part on race, gender, and sexual orientation rather than merit or battlefield efficacy? Did we learn anything from the old Soviet commissariat system? Would we prefer to lose a war by promoting equity than win one by ensuring liberty?

Why did the top brass go after supposedly “insurrectionist” white males (who died at twice their demographics during combat in Iraq and Afghanistan) in the military, only to discover from their own internal investigations that no such cabal of “domestic terrorists” existed, and only to drive out thousands more of the maligned by stupidly requiring COVID vaccinations from those with naturally acquired immunity?

In sum, the U.S. will either undergo a post-Vietnam-like revolution in the military or, in late Roman imperial fashion, our armed forces will be unable to defend the interests or indeed, the very safety, of the U.S.


Why, when so-called non-white ethnicities and races were achieving parity with or exceeding the majority population in per capita income and when racial intermarriage was commonplace, did we blow up the values of the civil rights movement and revert to precivilizational tribalism? Who were the sophists who convinced us that racially segregated dorms, safe spaces, and graduations, or using race as an arbiter of admissions and hiring, was not racist?

When did we lump together an entire cadre of diverse ancestries, ethnicities, religions, politics, classes, and values and dub them all “white,” and then smear them collectively in stereotypical fashion? When did we calibrate race as the chief determinative factor in our identities? Have we become premodern tribal people—feuding clans right out of the Norse sagas, ghosts of the Balkans nursing ancient grievances and hatreds? Since when in history has a nation’s “diversity” ever been preferable to its “unity”?

The Sexes

Did anyone in, say, 2004 believe that in just twenty years, the Left would try to mainstream the previously rare medical malady of gender dysphoria into a transgendered civil rights issue by insisting on three rather than two sexes?

Would anyone have believed that leftists, gays, and feminists would have done their best to destroy a half-century of female athletic achievement by allowing biological males to compete in women’s sports and thereby erase the record performances of three generations of women?

Would anyone have believed that a feminist and accomplished swimmer like Riley Gaines would be cornered, swarmed, threatened, and barricaded in at a university for the crime of daring to state the obvious: that transgendered women are still, in terms of their musculoskeletal physiques and frames, males and thereby have no business competing in women’s sports?

Would anyone have believed that a gay senate aide would have engaged in passive, unprotected sex in a public and hallowed Senate chamber, filmed in graphic detail his act of sodomy, had it circulated among friends and social media, and then, when outrage followed, claimed victimhood by accusing those offended of being homophobic toward him and his active homosexual partner?


We are witnessing the steady erasure of jurisprudence, both civil and criminal. Does the law as we knew it a mere decade ago still exist? Massive looting with impunity is now largely exempt from justice in our major blue-state cities. In Compton, a van slams into a Mexican bakery as waiting crowds swarm, loot, and destroy the business. And for what? Some free pies and cakes? Or the nihilist delight in ruining the livelihood of a hardworking family business?

Such smash-and-grabs rob stores of billions of dollars in revenue each year. Can we even comprehend that employees and security guards are now ordered to stand down, as if the apprehension of such thieves might in some way seem illiberal or racist?

Does anyone even care that pro-Hamas protestors—many in America as guests on green cards and student visas—shouted support for the October 7 massacre of Jews, screamed for the destruction of Israel and the Jews in it, shut down the Manhattan and Golden Gate Bridges, defiled the Lincoln Memorial and White House gates, and disrupted Christmas celebrations in our major cities with complete exemption? Is storming the California legislature, and disrupting it in session, now a felony in the manner of those convicted after January 6, or do we have two sets of laws, dependent on ideology, race, and party affiliation?

In one of the most chilling videos in memory, Las Vegas Clark County District Court Judge Mary Kay Holthus was recently violently attacked by an unshackled career felon defendant (with three prior violent felony convictions and facing additional new felony counts). The assailant, Deobra Redden, leaped over the justice’s bench with ease and began beating her and pulling her hair before two bailiffs, with great difficulty, managed to restrain him. Why was Redden out on parole given his violent record, and why was he not shackled given his toxic past? His self-admitted effort to kill the judge, his ability nearly to pull it off, and the record of past leniency accorded him are a commentary on a sick society.

But then again, in our major cities, George-Soros-subsidized prosecutors have all but destroyed civil society. They have been systematically releasing felons with violent criminal records on the same day they are arrested, freeing convicted felons early from prisons and jails, and sabotaging the law by arbitrary enforcement on the grounds that it is inherently either unfair or racist.

The post civilization civil bookend to that precivilizational subterfuge was a systematic legal effort, for the first time in American history, to remove in an election year the leading primary and general election candidate Donald Trump from various state ballots. The Soviet-like charge was that he was guilty of “insurrection,” a crime he has never been charged with, much less convicted of. Meanwhile, three state prosecutors and one special federal counsel—all leftists and some previously bragging in their own election campaigns of their intention to destroy Trump—have charged candidate Trump with an array of felonies. The vast majority of Americans agree Trump would never have been so charged had he just not sought to seek reelection—or had been a liberal Democrat.


In ancient times, the President of the Harvard Corporation was a signature scholar and intellectual, befitting Harvard’s own self-regard as the world’s most preeminent university. No longer.

Now-resigned president Claudine Gay’s meteoric career was based on a flimsy record of a mere 11 articles—the majority of them plagiarized. Her entire career was fueled by the tired pretext that the privileged Gay was somehow deserving of special deference given her race and gender.

Confronted with such corruption, the Harvard Corporation, its legal team, and 700 faculty sought to downplay Gay’s intellectual theft. Indeed, they smeared her critics as racist—only then to deal with her new billet as a professor of Political Science with a long record of plagiarism that was exempt from the sort of punishments dealt out to students and faculty for less egregious defenses.

How did Ivy League degrees so quickly become mostly certifications of ideological and woke orthodoxy? Or is it worse than that? Does a Stanford history major or Yale literature graduate know anything, respectively, about the Civil War or Shakespeare’s plays? Do they even know that we, the public, know that they don’t know?

Was Elizabeth Warren really Harvard’s first law professor of color? Was Claudine Gay truly an impressive and respected scholar of political science? Are the governing members of the Harvard Corporation the nation’s best and brightest?

How in less than five years did our elite universities destroy meritocracy, abolish SAT requirements, require DEI oaths and pledges, and mirror the worst commissariat institutions of the old Warsaw Pact nations and Soviet Union? How and why these elite universities blew themselves up in a mere decade will baffle historians for decades to come.

The End of Sovereignty

The Biden administration has shattered federal immigration law, as some 10 million illegal entries will have crossed unlawfully and with impunity in the first Biden term—all by intent. The southern border is not merely porous; it no longer even exists.

Did the Left want new constituents? New entitlement recipients to grow government and raise taxes on the clingers and deplorables?

Did it want a larger DEI base to replace the steady exodus of non-whites from left-wing agendas? Does it shun sovereignty, preferring a global village without arbitrary borders? Do these utopians in Malibu and Martha’s Vineyard similarly feel their own yards and grounds need no walls, no barriers, and no boundaries to deny the underprivileged their rights to enjoy what the predatory classes possess?

In this new America of ours, Joe Biden is hale and savvy, while Hunter did nothing wrong. Our heroes are Dylan Mulvaney, Gen. Rachel Levine, and the two Sams, Bankman-Fried and Brinton.

In today’s America, Karin Jean-Pierre is truthful, while Alejandro Mayorkas is honest. An innocent and saintly George Floyd was randomly murdered; his death proof of systemic police racism. And defunding the police brought calm and quiet, in the way our border is secure and the homeless are mere victims.

Dr. Jill is an impressive academic. Oprah and LeBron are the downtrodden and victimized. Gen. Mark Milley is a brave maverick, and so is Adam Schiff. The flight from Afghanistan marked a brilliantly organized retreat.

The Chinese balloon really did not take too many pictures of sensitive areas. January 6 was an armed insurrection, preplanned by fiery conspirators and revolutionaries. Ashli Babbitt deserved to be blasted in the neck for entering a broken window.

Kamala Harris is a wordsmith. Russian collusion really happened. So did Russian laptop disinformation. Christopher Steele’s dossier was mostly true, in the fashion of Claudine Gay’s dissertation and Barack Obama’s memoir. And 51 former intelligence authorities bravely came forward to offer their expertise in certifying that Hunter’s laptop was cooked up in Moscow.

With all this, what do we think the Iranians, Putin’s Russians, the communist Chinese, the Houthis, Hezbollah, and Hamas now think of the United States?

That we are the nation that won World War II or fled from Afghanistan? Did the eight million who broke our laws and simply walked across our border respect us, fear us, admire us, or come here to manipulate and use us? Did Hamas appreciate the hundreds of millions of dollars we gave them, in the same way Iran was friendlier after we lifted the sanctions?

In sum, American civilization has been turned upside down, and we have a rendezvous soon with the once unthinkable and unimaginable.


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88 thoughts on “A Culture in Collapse”

  1. I slowly read and absorbed all of it. This is such brilliant writing and perfectly spot on. This should be required reading for everyone. When you finish reading this piece, you say “how can this be?” I am simply numb with fear at what has happened to American greatness and exceptionalism. Weep America!

    1. I always say to people…..in a couple of years from now, people will be sitting on the ash heap of what is left of their lives asking “How did we get here” This, this, what is happening now is how we will get there. We are sleepwalking into oblivion under this Godless, wicked organization.

  2. Thank you Victor for your courage to expose the rot in the biden “administration” and the hypocrisy of progressive marxists in general. Your Orwellian take on the logic reversal of progressives is, of course, brilliant! Soon intersections with traffic lights will become killing zones. Red lights mean you must stop – no, don’t you remember, they now mean go!

  3. Proudly Unaffiliated

    I think we have been quietly infiltrated, which is form of subterfuge. I am so thankful for President Trump and his team for seeing that this process was accelerated so we could see and feel it. You have very clearly and accurately pointed out the realities of our society. The people must, and I believe will, wake up.

  4. As we learned from the days of the Roman Empire. Great nations collapse from within. Your analysis outlines just that. While the final death throe may come from exterior forces, the way is paved by the collapse of internal systems.

    1. Remember this. All of Dr. Hanson’s enumerated malaise of our culture are not accidents but deliberate. Marxists can establish a totalitarian order without first tearing down Republic.

      Respectfully, Ted in Milwaukee

  5. Brilliant – total coverage of the Biden failure. Is he a president or a crook? How does he get away with never giving news conferences or facing any questions? I believe he is a lying, woke, freedom hating old man who should be in a care home. How can there be this much passive acceptance of our president’s incompetence? Our culture almost destroyed by ONE administration, in only 3 years. It is depressing, discouraging and makes me fear for the future of my children. Biden is any true American’s nightmare. Praying we wake up soon from his disastrous, borderline criminal, leadership.

    1. TWO administrations… Obama laid the ground work and transformed the various ABC agencies with Marxists. He continued to do his dirty work from a basement of a mansion in D.C., wearing “sweat pants and an ear piece.”

  6. Roger Berwanger

    VDH’s words are an excellent summation of America’s decline. Citizens must stop and reverse our decline before it is too late.

    Questions such as who will lead us, will voter fraud lead to our final death, will our enemies destroy us, will our lack of a border become permanent, will lawlessness become a mainstay in our society, will lawlessness lead to routine home invasions, and how long do we have before our enemies “move in” and conquer us without firing a shot?

    1. It is no coincidence that all this unimaginable thinking and chaos came out of our elites that run our education system. Their over inflated egos and desires to be our gods has created a system out of control and self destructive. Our spoiled and selfish youth are more concerned about video games and selfies than preserving the greatest society in the history of mankind. Climate control, a mith, is the only threat to mankind, ha ha! Mankind’s fear of man And the worshipping of the creation rather than the creator is the end of civilized mankind. Greed, power and money drive everything! A little fear of God would go a long way!

  7. Awesome summary and insight as always! So clear, we are left in wonder as to why, and can only conclude a globalist migration and central world leadership. One cannot ignore the Hunger Games imagery becoming reality.

  8. The really sad part is that there are so many people who, if they read the part after “In today’s America”, and didn’t read the disclaimer, would seriously agree with your ironic statements.

  9. Gerry Kirkpatrick

    Perhaps it is an over-cited strategy among political and social conservatives, but reading this makes me wonder if, intentionally or otherwise, the 1966 Cloward-Piven strategy(1) is finally taking root.

    Heaven help us all.
    1 First published in the Monday, May 2, 1966 issue of The Nation, the article was titled “The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty.”

  10. Bobbie Frankenfield

    Another beautifully written in-depth and thought-provoking summary by VDH. A highly-recommended read that clearly capsulizes our evolving society’s self-destruction.

  11. “Our descent is self-induced; it is not a symptom of a foreign attack or subterfuge.”

    I think I’ll disagree about that. Our nation has been under attack for well over 60 years. A foreign invasion by illegal ‘immigrants’ and some of the legal ones as well. Since shortly after World War 1 there has been a rapid increase in eastern European academic and ‘intellectuals’ who have had great influence on the core structure of the country.

    Radically different values, morals and ethics have changed much of the general character of the country and especially that of our elitists. As a nation, we’ve been convinced that a college degree is imperative to provide even a comfortable life and a very large number of those academics, recently imported, obtained positions in our colleges and universities. They provided a different path and greatly different values for the teachers who would go on to teach our young. This is only one element of their changes.

    The foreign attack wasn’t swift but it is certainly deadly, as we can see every day. The character and acceptance of morals passed from generation to generation, coupled with our ideals of freedom, have weakened until we’re at the point of near total confusion and lack any valid response to counter what’s happening.

    1. Lots of truth in this analysis, although, it’s still kind of self-induced at the core, no?

      .. yes, just like Rome’s decline, but massively accelerated via ‘monetary policy’ and technology addiction .. why?

      here’s one reason .. the obsession with useless College degrees continues on, even now .. even from conservative families, who knowingly, and absolutely must send their kids to the colleges we’ve been hearing about lately .. the same ones their stated ideology is desperately against ..

      enter into the ‘noble’ trades? nah, that’s beneath my kids ..

      Day trading, and other forms of legalized ‘speculation/gambling’ are evidently honorable business pursuits though .. BNB it!

      Selfish, mentally lazy people, with very low emotional quotients

      Southpark has an episode on some of this called the Panderverse .. might as well get a laugh out of it, cause you’re paying for it ..

      Add to that, the boomer’s need to be their child’s friend vs. parent, and watch that legacy handed down until now .. sex/love and drugs, man! .. yep, that’s the formula to produce well adjusted children with a strong sense of self that go on to be productive members of society .. mos def!

      Now, everyone’s podcasting guys like Yuri Bezmenov .. you know, taking advantage of demoralized societies with low sense of individual worth, lack of morals, values, character, etc., and raising the useful idiots

      Cold war stuff, well over 75 years old now, but yet and still, nobody’s listening ..

      tisk tisk tisk

  12. I could give a reply to each paragraph, but that would only result in a complex and lengthy comment. We are a culture in collapse, and the reason is very simple. Human nature never changes, overtime or distance. On another note, I drew a very different opinion than yours, while listening to a lecture about your book “A War Like No Other”.

  13. The final descent is the collapse of the USA court system is in process, it began in a serious nature with the starting of the January 6th trials in Washington D.C. and their completely biased jury pools. District court judge packing by Obama and now Biden has also had a serious effect, as well as the attacks on Conservative Supreme Court members, especially Justice Thomas. These final attacks on the Supreme Court will bend the opinions of some of the newer Conservative members, as they did during FDRs reign. You should watch the final scene between Spencer Tracy and Burt Lancaster in the film “Judgement at Nuremburg on Youtube. That explains what is happening now. Napoleon had his “Whiff of grapeshot” moment on the streets of Paris that broke the Royalist counter-revolution. The USA District of Colombia court system is using its 20-year whiffs of prison rot moment to break the American Republic’s attempted counter-revolution. Robespierre would be proud of what is happening now to Trump and his MAGA movement. In my opinion, Napoleon’s “Whiff of grapeshot” was kinder sentence. Welcome to fascism, if not a resurrection of Jacobinism! SAD! Victor, you have become the ‘Energizer Bunny’ pounding the drum for Republicanism. Please do not put down the drum.

  14. My previous comment should have read “The final descent of the USA is the collapse of the USA court system, which is now in process. It began in a serious nature”. . . .
    Typing on a cramped laptop keyboard can be problematic.

  15. Nothing like counterpoint or asymmetry, as Victor would say, to prove a point. We need to turn out the vote this year, especially considering the unverified mail-in ballots & ballot harvesting by Democrat machines. There should be a sense of urgency.

    1. I don’t think it will help. The Democrats will never allow another Republican in the WH to derail this train, to interrupt their reconstructing of America.

      1. The traditional Democrat city/county machines seem to be the main problem, their usefulness being reinvigorated by the unverified mail-in vote. Plus, the MSM which is documented to be owned and/or controlled by liberal interests tries to brainwash people. The weaponization of IRS, DOJ, FBI, CIA & other intelligence agencies working with social media companies takes the collusion to an even higher level of subterfuge. We need a fighter with animal energy, like Trump who knows how these people operate, to clean house. Meanwhile, we have to turn out the vote in massive numbers, so please redouble your efforts to save our dear country from near destruction.

  16. Prof. Hanson’s dire words presage an upcoming calamity for the USA. Not ten years from now, or five. More likely, this year or perhaps next. Not necessarily the ultimate fall into nothingness, but perhaps passing the breaking point where there is no turning back.

    It seems like American society is on the brink of annihilating itself. The government is literally at war with it’s own citizens, or at least half of them. Perhaps not surprisingly, it’s the attitudes of the Old South, racist to their core but now disguised in contemporary mumbo jumbo like “anti-racism”, that are at or near the heart of the nihilist fantasy.

    “we are seeing fissures that America has not experienced in our cultural history since the Civil War”

    Is this the End of Everything?

  17. Donald E Vandergriff


    I love your work, and admire you as a leader and person. I listen to almost all your videos. My question is: where do we find realistic solutions to the these problems. Is there any hope? My forecast is that even if Trump wins in 24, the Democommunists will call on their “Brown Shirts” to repeat 2020 riots. I do believe this time, as they push them out to suburbs and the rural areas, people will fight back. Or, the have their illegals they are letting in, to conduct a series of terrorist attacks, attacking power grids and water treatment plants.

    1. William Thompson

      Your forecast regarding significant resistance by those in the “suburbs” to organized lawlessness is accurate. We are not a docile people, by culture, history, or temperament. It is usually a matter of numbers in such conflicts. Small concentrations of lawless hooligans can be effective in densely populated environments such as cities. When the population is dispersed, as in suburbs and rural areas, the numbers reverse. Small groups of lawless miscreants lose the advantage of “hit and run” tactics to sheer geographical space and the inhabitants of such areas are much more likely to be armed, competent, and savvy in local advantages of terrain, etc. Count on it.

      1. Thank you, my thoughts as well. Further, for some time, I believe these inner-city thugs won’t know what hit them, if they continue on with this lawlessness. Armed civilians will clean house, if the government doesn’t step in and restore order.

  18. Now that we are aware of what has happened, we must fight back. We must try to recover by taking the exact first step “The New Left,” of the late 1960s took. We must start with education. The New Left captured the intellectuals and made them into dictators, penetrating the minds of children and our students. A patient progress to fundamentally change America.
    How does one break a culture? By attacking its history and foundations (creating over time a coalition of student protestors, race activists, radical feminists, and counterculture figures; Christopher F. Rufo). By teaching young minds that America is not beautiful and is an enemy to the people who live within it. By teaching Americans to be ashamed of who they are. China is an enemy to America, but America must also take responsibility that Americans have created this chaos. We have Americans that live within America that hate our country and our way of life. Every day we have leaders who betray America. Our border is a great example. If we know we are being invaded, why is it taking us so long to remove Mayorkas, a man who gets on national tv and lies to Americans by saying our border is secure? Only America has the capability of hurting itself, and we are doing a good job of it. We the American people must fight back. We cannot blame another country. We must take responsibility for what has happened.


  19. Continued

    If we as Americans collectively do not look out for the betterment of all of America and its people, and we do not wake with a constant fighting spirit of liberty, then liberty will perish, as we are witnessing. We are a broken America. One where some Americans can see all the lies, and others don’t care to know the truth. But with all the chaos, change is not far away.

  20. Continued
    If we as Americans collectively do not look out for the betterment of all of America and its people, and we do not wake with a constant fighting spirit of liberty, then liberty will perish, as we are witnessing. We are a broken America. One where some Americans can see all the lies, and others don’t care to know the truth. But with all the chaos, change is not far away.

  21. This is how milk boils, isn’t it? Slowly at first, and then all of a sudden. While the above questions indeed have merit, there is one underlying thread that connects each of them. This is all being done purposefully, and being done from within. The current speed of the change was perhaps instigated by a Donald Trump victory in 2016, which indicated that unless the reins were taken over once again, and tightened, control by the management/ruling class would be lost. But the question still remains….why? Surely the descendants of those in power today will also suffer from the future that is being designed for us. We are coming to the precipice of the Soviet Union in 1991, where everything is destroyed and needs to be rebuilt. That is the vision of ‘build back better’, except that the vision of what they wish to put in its place is something quite different than what the framers had in mind. If it’s any consolation, it appears that it is only the West and its allies that are succumbing to this new vision. Eastern Europe, who has been through tyranny before, appears not to be on board. Much of the rest of the world is eager to join BRICS. The west’s ‘rulers’ are preparing the next crisis, in which to frighten its citizens. Let’s hope that the last pandemic taught us a lesson. Make an individual choice: do not comply. Let God give us strength in our numbers.

  22. Sharp and incisive as ever, VDH. I thank God you are not a voice in the wilderness, and I pray your voice and more like yours continue to build an ever-widening, rational, and motivated audience.

  23. Is American society facing the same situation that Alan Seeger faced during 1916? Let us hope not. He died shortly thereafter in the Battle of the Somme.

    I Have a Rendezvous with Death
    Source: A Treasury of War Poetry (1917)

    I have a rendezvous with Death
    At some disputed barricade,
    When Spring comes back with rustling shade
    And apple-blossoms fill the air—
    I have a rendezvous with Death
    When Spring brings back blue days and fair.

    It may be he shall take my hand
    And lead me into his dark land
    And close my eyes and quench my breath—
    It may be I shall pass him still.
    I have a rendezvous with Death
    On some scarred slope of battered hill,
    When Spring comes round again this year
    And the first meadow-flowers appear.

    God knows ’twere better to be deep
    Pillowed in silk and scented down,
    Where Love throbs out in blissful sleep,
    Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath,
    Where hushed awakenings are dear …
    But I’ve a rendezvous with Death
    At midnight in some flaming town,
    When Spring trips north again this year,
    And I to my pledged word am true,
    I shall not fail that rendezvous.

  24. What do we do Victor?? I fear we are too far gone! The level of ignorance of the public, corruption of the political class, judiciary, power brokers and the media to name a few, is overwhelming! If they can’t keep Donald Trump from becoming the next president by any means, they will steal it anyway they can, and call it the big lie! The elites who have fallen in line with Haley are not to be trusted!! The biggest threats to the radical left’s agenda, DeSantis and Vivek they are burying them. I’m sorry I ramble on but I look forward to my first grandchild and while overjoyed I am terribly concerned for the future. So I ask what do we do??
    Thank you for your voice and all that you do!

  25. Thank you Victor for your exquisitely insightful commentary and appraisal of the condition of our Republic. Your analyses are truly unequalled !
    Peter Manzo

  26. Olivier Knowles

    “Kamala Harris is a wordsmith” made me laugh and reminded me a great skit on Babylon Bee titled: Meet Kamala Harris’s 6-Year-Old Speechwriter.

    If you haven’t seen it go watch it on youtube.

  27. Professor, truer words than I have read anywhere else to date. Many of us U.S. Citizens have pondered a number of these points, but I haven’t encountered such an all-encompassing description as this. You are absolutely correct in your analysis of each arena described. I am the same age as you, raised in a family of farmers, and am educated to an advanced college degree. I also wonder what was so terrible about the values of our time. It has been determined that meritorious advancement in employment, academia, and the military is no longer of necessity in order to develop useful leaders. When disinterest in advancement based upon merit ceases to exist, how can a society be expected to advance, even remain, to be the leader of the free world? I think it to be impossible. Thank you again for your wisdom and insight in expressing the thoughts of many like-minded American citizens.

  28. Great, comprehensive summary of the upside down world in which we now live. Chances of our survival as a species is rapidly declining. Even if we win back the US Presidency and just one house of Congress, our recovery will ultimately be blocked by the newest generations of Americans who have been profoundly brainwashed by our educational institutions and “popular culture”.

    1. Possibly.
      But once elected, the vast majority of politicians completely lack distance vision.
      Recently, we witnessed only eight in the House with such vision and they were hammered.

  29. The final paragraphs comprise one of the best conclusions I’ve ever read. Thanks. Facetiousness works. Ridiculing the imposters works. Forcing us to see the mess we are in works. We need no further context. We are in the context. We are enveloped, encircled and in the process of being suffocated by the context.

  30. Another in a succession of profound and truthful missives. Thank you, Professor Hanson.

    “Culture in Collapse” is to me most disturbing personally. As a 90+ year-old, I had the privilege of growing up in the greatest nation on the planet. One that sacrificed blood and treasure to rid the world of the evil Axis powers of World War II. One that unfolded its culture, history, and opportunity for Post War Americans to live in an idyllic Norman Rockwell country with life, liberty, and justice for all. This is not to dismiss our challenges along the way including Korea, Vietnam, and more recently the Muslim middle east. But, except for the fiasco of a withdrawal in Afghanistan, we persevered. However, now to see the questionable election of Biden set the stage for America’s collapse, as Professor Hanson so sagely observes, is simply intolerable for Americans.

    So, do we simply abandon our sinking ship of state or can we sound the alarm loudly enough for American Patriots to answer the call once again and banish the ‘Woke, DEI, Inept, corrupt, Green idiots’ from our midst for the last time? Donald J. Trump again in 2024 seems our best, PROVEN, opportunity to right the ship. GO AMERICA!!!

  31. Rather than asking Why? perhaps it’s time to say the truth and admit that the US is not the country we thought it was. It’s very hard to face that what one once thought was wonderful has been in fact criminal and cruel and stupid and corrupt. Whoever we are as individuals we have been living in, benefiting from and depending on, a fantasy-land of goodness and strength and generosity and intelligence. We have been blind to the full realities of our lives.

    1. Judy, Judy, Judy, to coin a phrase. What color is the sun in your world? I’m guessing black. Did you just graduate from an “ivy league” hate America propaganda factory? Maybe a 4.0 in the “DIE” class? Do you even realize you just made VDH’s brilliant point.? I was lucky enough to grow up when truth was taught in schools. The streets were safe. Brought our guns to school so we could go hunting turkeys after school. Not one time did anyone get shot, nor did the idea even cross our minds. Your ideas could not be farther from the truth and are an excellent example of why our country and culture are collapsing. As Regan said (paraphrasing) the US is the last best hope for the world. The shining city on the hill. The world will find out how thin the civilizational veneer is when we have collapsed. I hope and will pray that you learn the truth before that happens.

    2. Not to be presumptuous but I must believe you are of a younger generation than I am.
      I grew up in the greatest idea of a country one could imagine. Certainly we were not without our mistakes but the US Constitution clearly states “in order to form a MORE perfect union”. The founders knew that slavery was a blight on “all men are created equal” but realized they had to delay resolving that issue in order to form a nation governed by the people. Hence the great US Civil War.
      As mentioned in a previous comment, Vietnam and possibly the Korean wars were not our best outcomes and clearly the war in the Middle east has become a total fail. Those do not dismiss that their are those who came before us and still some among us willing to fight, and often die, for what is right.

      It would appear we have become soft as a nation, much in the ways of the Roman Empire and other once great nations. VDH has presented this fault on numerous occasions.

      The question now is are we going to permit the nation to self destruct or are we going to fight to keep the Republic? I have grandchildren who deserve to live in Liberty and Freedom. I believe we owe future generations that legacy.

  32. Another brilliant essay from VDH. It is scary time to be an American. Buy real assets and keep the ammunition handy.

  33. VDH provides the scholarly analysis that supports the work of other brave people out there putting out the truth about the Disinformation Industrial Complex such as Michael Schellenberger, Matt Taibbi, Jay Battacharia, even Glenn Greenwald.

  34. Excellent summary of the Nation’s ills.

    By any metric the decline observed by others, significantly, some serious enemies; appears insurmountable if the Dems/rinos take another national election.

  35. Great summation of our current situation. It seems like it came about all of a sudden but I think revolutionaries have been quietly working on this since the 1960’s. It is hard to believe that there are Americans who want to destroy our civilization but it is reality.

  36. I read a book about German fighter pilots in WW2. Towards the end of the war, when they knew that defeat was inevitable, a common comment that they frequently shared was “Enjoy the war, the peace will be terrible”.
    All that I can do is enjoy as much as possible the present because the future is bleak.

  37. As a young person I was swept into a peace joy and happiness “cult”. In the 1970’s these popped up in response to Vietnam, race riots, church reforms and assassinations. Mind control was utilized to shift our reality and force loyalty
    to the “holy” head of the organization. Membership and submission guaranteed our “salvation” from the chaos of the culture.

    Mind control is a powerful weapon. Can the human mind be weaponized? Yes. I look around at people professing hatred toward others over superficial distinctions, lies, and deception. I realize that they have no idea that their minds have been weaponized. Their own minds have destroyed the experience of peace, joy, fulfillment and much more in their life. Their minds are weaponized against all the ideas, systems and structures that have provided American citizens with incredible opportunities to learn, grow and create.

    Thank you to VDH for his thorough documentation of our tragic trajectory. I believe that recovery is possible once the deception is revealed.

  38. Another in a succession of profound and truthful missives. Thank you, Professor Hanson.

    “Culture in Collapse” is to me most disturbing personally. As a 90+ year-old, I had the privilege of growing up in the greatest nation on the planet. One that sacrificed blood and treasure to rid the world of the evil Axis powers of World War II. One that unfolded its culture, history, and opportunity for Post War Americans to live in an idyllic Norman Rockwell country with life, liberty, and justice for all. This is not to dismiss our challenges along the way including Korea, Vietnam, and more recently the Muslim middle east. But, except for the fiasco of a withdrawal in Afghanistan, we persevered. However, now to see the questionable election of Biden set the stage for America’s collapse, as Professor Hanson so sagely observes, is simply intolerable for Americans.

    So, do we simply abandon our sinking ship of state or can we sound the alarm loudly enough for American Patriots to answer the call once again and banish the ‘Woke, DEI, Inept, Corrupt, Green idiots’ from our midst forever? Donald J. Trump again in 2024 seems to me our best, PROVEN, opportunity to right the ship. GO AMERICA!!!

  39. As a cuban born American citizen I saw the attack on this country from within in 1971. The Vietnam “police action” was a total failure and our soldiers were humiliated. Sadly, what you have so eloquently laid out started long before. I pray that it is not too late to save this great nation.

  40. It’s true that we have a culture in collapse and you provide a significant number of examples to support your conclusion. In my opinion the cause was human nature displaying its dark side. We can hope that concerning culture and cultural differences: nothing good or nothing bad lasts forever. I recall you stating that a multinational, culturally and racially diverse population was fragile. Given the fact that we have a corrupt and therefore dysfunctional government maybe this is the beginning of the end. If we don’t take proper actions, the Chinese saying:”There can be only one sun in sky” may be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  41. And here we all sit reading and praising your absolutely spot-on reporting and analysis of the “state of our union” and feeling totally powerless — what can we do about it? How can we save our dear America? We still must be the majority of the population, don’t you think? What can we do? Nothing? just sit around and watch as our country collapses around our ankles? Are we really impotent and mere voyeurs in this ultimate tragedy? Will it take a century of living under tyranny for some brave patriots to rediscover what liberty, rule of law, respect for merit and private property once meant and fight to overturn the soviet warlords? We won’t know — we won’t be here. But isn’t there a way that today’s patriots can DO something to stop this road to demise?

  42. I read everything I find that you write. I listen to everything I find that you say. I too love history and what history teaches. I too am shocked and horrified at what I see happening before us. I too am from the Valley and have been watching the total destruction of California. I too have lost a daughter and I, myself, have felt I could not go on. However, the only choice anyone in this life has is to remain rock solid and take the next best, good and right step forward, whatever that is. I pray we figure it out very soon. Time is always of the essence.

    To sprinkle a little levity, not only is Jill an impressive academic, she is a connoisseur of high couture. Thank you for your work, Victor. Always helps to have the situation spelled out so well.

  43. Everyone has too much free time now. Almost no one has to feed the chickens, milk the cow, pick vegetables or tend to the crops every day. GrubHub and DoorDash are a mere few taps away.

    Academia is completely captured by grade inflation and scholastic erosion? Or is it far worse? Seems like there’s no scholastic anything left in the Ivory Towers which has been replaced by something very insidious. Everyone receives multiple degrees and trophies now for participation.

    Both sides don’t even pretend to pay for any federal government spending from taxes. MMT is the correct answer now. Printing money via keystrokes has never been easier.

    All state and local governments should operate and survive only on taxes collected yet virtually no one talks about the impacts of federal grants, subsidies made possible via MMT.

  44. It took over a century to arrive at this moment, and our betters foresaw this day, but probably not in the way it has unfolded. Those who have a serious desire to understand can read THE SECULAR REVOLUTION: Power, Interests, and Conflict in the Secularization of American Public Life, Christian Smith-General Editor, Univ. of California Press, 2003. Secularism does not bring a utopian “heaven on earth,” but a nihilistic dystopia. America, you’ve arrived, complements of the liberal Democrat Progressive Party.

    “…we do well to recall that political correctness does not acknowledge limitation and does not lend itself to the reasonable resolution of the grievances that it champions. On the contrary, the very notion of reasonableness, and even that of reason, comes under its attack (postmodernism). The concept of victimization that it validates is not relative and defined with regard to a Just Order. It is absolute, and defined with regard to an unattainable ideal. Thus, it legitimates a war against everything that exists and even everything that could exist, all of which will always fall intolerably short and deserve to be destroyed. Ultimately, its spirit is ‘nihilistic.’ This should give us cause to question the conviction of righteousness with which its aims are often pursued.” Society Against Itself: Political Correctness and Organizational Self-Destruction, Howard S. Schwartz, p. 48.

  45. Cultural decline diagnosis?

    If this was a disease of the mind or body, the country, as an organism, is at Stage 4, decline .. next step, Stage 5, convalescence, then death

    Stage 1, the ‘counter culture’ starts in the 60’s .. Forest Gumps stuff .. Professor Hanson an undergrad at UCSC .. the incubation period

    Stage 2, the prodromal period, starts in the early 80s .. music and entertainment shifts from Magic Carpet ride and Bee Gees, to throwback 50s, mixed in with new drugs and videos like Fast Times, Rambo, and Star Wars, MTV, along with technology now available to adolescents and teenagers .. the grooming begins .. hadn’t gotten into Gangsta Rap, NWA, explicit lyrics yet, but Hollywood got futuristic, ridiculously violent and degenerative .. so, instead of sex/love and drugs, you have sex, violence, drugs and technology in it’s infant stage

    Phase 3, early 90s .. violent lyrics, OJ chase, LA riots, violents movies, Waco, Oklahoma, etc.

    Bill Graham’s death, accident of course, music moves to LA .. LA is a creepy place w empty souls .. entertainers become Iconoclasts .. run by people you wouldn’t trust your dog/kids/teenagers with .. Hollywood, making propaganda film since WW2, has the experience .. first Boomer President .. repeatedly brings questionable morals/values to the office ..

    Phase 4, early 2000s .. Bush/Obama .. social division, uniparty, social technology, massive money printing, military/industrial, welfare, and decision (558 U.S. 310)

    Prognosis? Meh ..

  46. Sad that it took only 3 years to do all of this. What kind of a Certificate of Accomplishment do the dems deserve?

  47. America was great because she was good. But America is no longer great, because she has ceased to be good. America has become a corrupt and decadent nation. She has become the biggest exporter of bad ideas.

  48. thebaron@enter.net

    Just remember-it didn’t happen overnight. It didn’t happen just with the begin of Obama’s administration.

    We are simply in the latest stage of a process that goes back at least to the 1880s and the importation of the Statist ideas that sparked the progressive movement. And some of it goes back even further, to the growth of the federal government in the Civil War, and to ideas on organizing public education that go back to the 1830s and 1840s.

    And as Professor Hanson has pointed out in his works, there are themes or cycles that repeat throughout history. Maybe not exact repeats, but in terms of themes.

    I point these things out to argue that fixing the problems won’t happen overnight, either. If they can be fixed.

  49. We speak of moral depravity, but is it really something more basic? Like having stupid people in leadership positions everywhere? If we promote the dumbest, then what do we expect? What if we instead had the smartest, most able people in important positions? People who made decisions that are the best for our society and our country. Eliminating the Claudia Gays of the world is a start. Firing Austin would be the next step. Taking Fani off the board would be an improvement. It is not about race. Who thinks our WH spokesperson has any brains? It is about incompetence versus excellence. There. I’ve said it. Do you agree? We must rid ourselves of the idiots in important positions in our society. The incredibly infantile, incompetent elephant in the room is our President. How did we end up with this idiot at such a critical time? Is our system broken beyond repair?

  50. It is sad and very worrying to see how the USA has changed in less than four years. I emigrated to the
    USA from the UK in 1979 and returned to the UK for family reasons in 1992. I grew to love the USA for its great qualities and for its unselfconscious motto ‘In God we trust’ and patriotism, the buoyant and varied religious life rooted in Christianity. The confidence, the good will and generosity, sense of responsibility , etc., even a certain ‘Noblesse Oblige’. And much more. Now things are very different, and I sense that the USA is losing its soul. Above all it is no longer rooted in the Christian faith and is becoming decadent, corrupt and self-destructive, like many previous great civilisations but with far more resources to do so.
    Not that the UK is a paragon of virtue and nobility. Far from it, and it is on the same self-destructive path. We did have a wonderful monarch in the late Queen Elizabeth who epitomised virtue and nobility and much more. Her life was rooted in the Christian faith. IMHO America must revert to its well-known confession of faith : In God We Trust.( I wish the UK would adopt that motto.) God is our nations’ only hope now.

  51. We let our guard down in many ways and will surely pay a severe price in the future.

    Our only hope at this late hour is to reinstate Donald Trump to the presidency and hope that it is not too late to salvage what is left of our country. God bless America.

  52. China flew that balloon over our nukes to get the the data. They got it and now they have delayed our launch if we launch by 6 min. Soon war will erupt in every city and town. Then China will invade and kill every man woman and child. They want none of us left here. Not even as slaves. This is our last few months. By November, it’s over.

  53. If you don’t lock your doors, start. If you don’t carefully watch your spending, your diet, your job security, your health, and your relationships, . . . start. If you carry a pocket knife, get it as sharp as you can. We appear to be in an ‘all hands on deck’ situation / with alarms just about to go off. The enemy has momentum now; the cold winds are blowing. No sense if being afraid, we will win in the end. But this fight is coming fast and furious and right now it’s starting with an enormous FOG. So far it’s not the fog of war, it’s the fog of a slow and constant drum beat, indicating we need to prepare. Store some food. Pray. Double check your vehicle, put up more lights outside. Be ready to help others in an emergency. Decide you have courage, decide you will help, know you have the capacity to do the RIGHT THING, and be brave when the time comes.

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