Late, Great, American Republic: A Report from Mid-century
By Nigel Doowrite, as told to Ernest Partridge
A note from the "real" author: The following is
an imaginary essay by an Oxford University historian at mid-21st
century. It assumes a continuation of current political and
economic trends set in motion by the Bush Administration.
With a sudden and early awakening of sanity amongst the American
public, the media and the elites, which catalyzes effective
dissent, protest and reform, a far different future might
be realized. (Ernest Partridge).
Who could have imagined, at the turn of this century, how
quickly and completely the American republic would collapse?
Historically, the decline and fall of great empires normally
takes place over decades, and in the case of Rome, over several
centuries. The disintegration of the United States took place
in just a few brief years.
At the close of the twentieth century, the United States
was at peace and enjoying one of the most sustained and productive
periods of prosperity in its history - a prosperity that favourably
affected all segments of society. President Clinton, though
mercilessly harassed by his political opponents, was highly
esteemed by heads of state and ordinary citizens throughout
the world. The United States, despite its manifest faults,
was widely admired and envied by free peoples everywhere.
It was, to put it simply, a great time to be an American.
And then, suddenly, it all fell apart.
The American economy collapsed and the American leadership,
unlike the Roosevelt administration during the great depression
of the 1930s, lacked the insight and will, and the federal
treasury lacked the funds, to effect a rescue. The admirable
American system of constitutionally guaranteed civil liberties,
of a free and diverse press, of free enterprise and economic
opportunity, and of popularly elected government was, by the
close of the first decade, replaced by a despotic oligarchy
in total control of the permanently ruling Republican party.
Finally, the United States, through a unilateral abrogation
of its treaty obligations and a series of aggressive wars,
was transformed from "the leader of the free world" into a
rogue state. As we all know, the community of nations responded
to the new threat of American economic imperialism by forming
the alliances that are today the dominant world powers: the
Eurasian Union and Islamia.
Distrusted and isolated from the global community, the United
States withdrew into itself to become the pitiful and impoverished
third-world despotism that it is today.
The forces set in motion during the illegitimate Presidency
of George W. Bush that led to this decline and fall were plain
for all to see, and amazingly, however outrageous and contrary
to the most fundamental American political traditions, they
were not effectively resisted. When the American public came
face-to-face with the dreadful consequences of these regressive
and despotic forces, it was too late to resist and turn back.
The fate of the American republic was sealed.
The American Economy
Late in the twentieth century, twenty percent of the private
wealth in the United States was owned by the top one percent
of the population. At the turn of the century, that share
had doubled. Then, with abolition of dividend, capital gains
and estate taxes, the flow of national wealth to the very
few accelerated, so that in 2012, midway through the Jeb Bush
administration, eighty percent of the national wealth was
in the hands of the top one percent.
Of course, by that time, the United States was in the depths
of The Great Depression. By the beginning of George Bush's
second administration, the unemployment rate was above ten
percent and rising, eventually to reach one-third of the work
force when his younger brother succeeded him in 2009. Compounding
that disaster was the retirement of the "baby boom" generation,
which found that the Social Security and Medicare funds which
they had confidently expected, had been exhausted. Those retirees
who could not be cared for by their children often ended up
in the streets, for the only remaining social services - "faith-based"
agencies supported by federal funds" - were overwhelmed and
willing only to accept devout members of their various (usually
The primary cause of the depression was compellingly obvious:
with the wealth of the nation withdrawn from the population
at large, there was little disposable income remaining to
feed the cash-flow of commerce. First the "expendable" industries
- amusements, recreational vehicles, resorts, automobiles
- were bankrupted and their employees discharged, causing
the succeeding dominoes to fall and leading to the downward
spiral of depression.
Prominent so-called "conservative" theoreticians in the first
decade, such as Grover Norquist, with the full support of
the George Bush administration, called for the virtual elimination
of all government services and functions, federal, state,
and municipal, with the exception of the military and "Homeland
Security" which soon evolved into the Federal Police. Of course,
the obvious fact that no civilized and industrialised nation
has ever functioned without a central government, did not
concern these theoreticians. Consumed by dogma, they had no
inclination to be "confused by the facts." And so, their stated
objective of "drowning the government in the bathtub" and
"bankrupting" state governments was achieved, with disastrous
The public schools and universities closed and, unable to
afford the tuition of the remaining private schools, most
of the children were deprived of an education. Similarly,
private college and university enrollments plummeted. Literacy
rates fell and the pool of trained and competent workers evaporated.
Attempts to privatise the infrastructure - roads, bridges,
electrical grids, pipelines, etc. - failed dismally, and with
the governments bankrupt, no funds were available to bail
them out. And so, these facilities fell into useless ruin,
which further crippled the national economy.
Due to widespread evictions, single-family homes and apartments
became crowded communes when only the combined resources of
three and four families could pay the utilities, rents and
mortgages. And these were the lucky ones, as millions of Americans
were forced to live on the streets or in tent cities.
The United States of America, once the powerhouse of the
world economy, was headed hell-bent toward the third-world
status that it has today.
The World Economy
When the United States was the predominant economic power
in the world, economic policy-makers used to say that when
the US sneezes the world gets a cold, and when the US gets
a cold, the world gets pneumonia. So when the US economy collapsed
in 2006, this had serious global repercussions. And yet, to
the amazement of all, the world economy fared far better than
expected. By employing the sort of cooperative and collective
policy and planning despised by the American "conservatives,"
and free of interference by American corporations, the global
economy soon recovered and went on to prosper.
The greatest shock to the world economy was the sudden announcement
by President Jeb Bush that the United States would no longer
recognise its three trillion-dollar foreign debt. A resulting
collapse of the world economy was averted when the governments
of the leading industrial nations agreed together to absorb
the debt - a policy that accelerated the emergence of the
With the American credit-rating thus reduced to zero, the
United States was effectively isolated from the world economy.
The Americans then discovered that they were in desperate
need of raw materials that were unavailable within their borders.
The world at large, on the other hand, enjoyed resource-independence
from the Americans. The Americans suffered most acutely from
the severe shortage of petroleum, upon which their once-thriving
agricultural industry depended. And so the spectre of famine,
unimaginable in the previous century, haunted the unfortunate
Americans. (See "The Oil Trap" [gadfly.igc.org/eds/envt/oiltrap.htm]).
In the 20th Century, America's primary contribution to the
world economy was its advanced technology, as young students
from around the world flocked to its excellent universities
to acquire advanced degrees and to engage in cutting-edge
research and development. With the closing of the public education
system and the end of federal research funding (except, of
course, for the military), superior centers of scientific
and technological research appeared in Europe and Asia. First
to depart was bio-medical research, severely crippled by the
United States ban on stem-cell research. But this was only
part of the story. The manifest contempt for science, by the
Bushes and their corporate and fundamentalist supporters accelerated
the demise of the scientific and technological pre-eminence
of the United States.
Finally, with the United States government in the complete
control of the petroleum industry, the Bushes had no inclination
whatever to build a bridge to the post-petroleum age - with
predictable and disastrous results. In stark contrast, the
Eurasian Union clearly foresaw the coming emergency, and made
massive preparations for it. Thus, today, in Eurasia the remaining
petroleum reserves are being properly utilised for their petrochemicals,
while the combination of biomass, solar, nuclear fusion and
other sources, and the hydrogen fuels produced thereby, offer
abundant energy to the peoples of Eurasia and Islamia. The
United States, with no exportable commodities or technologies
of any worth, and bankrupted by the tax policies of the George
and Jeb Bush Administrations, is unable to enjoy the advantages
of these innovations, except, of course, out of the largesse
of humanitarian aid from Eurasia.
The New Despotism
The American democracy died with the invention and complete
implementation of paper-less computer voting. But this was
a coup-de-grace, delivered to a body politic critically
injured by the rigging of the 2000 Florida presidential election,
engineered by Jeb Bush and his accomplices, and the subsequent
vote of five Republican operatives on the Supreme Court in
the notorious ruling, Bush v. Gore. The winner of the
2000 election, Al Gore, meekly acceded to this judicial coup
d'etat, and the public followed his lead.
Encouraged, if astonished, by this passivity of the public
and the "opposition" party, the victorious George Bush administration
proceeded to snuff out the civil liberties of the American
people, until the final lights went out halfway through the
Jeb Bush administration. This twilight of the American democracy
was accelerated by the terrorist attacks of September 11,
2001 upon New York City and Washington, DC, whereby a stunned
public and Congress accepted without protest a draconian attack
on the Bill of Rights, cynically named the USA PATRIOT Act.
Soon after the re-election of George Bush in 2004, and the
"uncovering" by the CIA and FBI of an alleged plot by al Qaeda
to set off a nuclear device in New York Harbor, "Patriot Act
II" was enacted by the Republican Congress. With this, habeas
corpus, and the constitutional rights of citizens to open
trials by juries, access to counsel, were all suspended. On
the assumption that "you are either for us or against us,"
as articulated by George Bush soon after the September 2001
attacks, critics of the government were regarded as "traitors."
Mere hours before their intended arrests, dissenters Noam
Chomsky and Paul Krugman escaped to Canada and thence to the
faculties of Oxford and Cambridge. Democratic presidential
aspirants Howard Dean, John Kerry and Dennis Kucinich were
not so lucky, and have not been heard from since their disappearance
in the summer of 2004.
Quite possibly these dissenters joined millions of others
in the Alaskan Gulag, perchance to work in the oil fields
of ANWR and Prudhoe Bay. Or perhaps they were impressed along
with the millions of the unemployed to toil as farm laborers
when, due to the acute petroleum shortages, the farm machinery
was shut down and it became impossible to transport sufficient
food for the starving masses in the inner cities. "You work
or you starve," was the stark choice given to the unfortunate
unemployed. Sadly, many who remained in the cities did, in
fact, starve or, weakened by malnutrition, fell victim to
the great plagues of the "twenty-teens."
Despite these catastrophes, the Republicans have been the
sole ruling party in the United States throughout the 21st
century to this date. Typical Congresses have contained about
80% Republican seats. The Democrats exist at the sufferance
of the Republicans, as unpersuasive "window dressing" to preserve
at least the appearance of democracy. Republicans congressmen
who show any independent tendencies are marked by the Party
bosses for defeat in primary elections, or in the general
elections by designated compliant Democrats.
Observers from abroad regard American elections with the
same contempt as historians show toward "elections" in Nazi
Germany and the Soviet Union. Informal polls (conducted with
great difficulty and at great risk) show a residual opposition
to the Republicans, and often an overwhelming majority preference
for the Democrats. But no matter. The official results issuing
from the paperless voting machines are uniformly just what
the Administration desires. As always, the voting machines
are manufactured, and the secret software codes are written,
by corporations completely controlled by the Republicans (as,
indeed, are all corporations). Exit polling is banned. Advance
polling by organisations such as Gallup accurately predict
the final results. But, of course, the Gallup organisation
was acquired in 2006 by the Murdock corporation.
Ninety percent of the media are owned by the three interlocking
corporations of "The First Amendment Consortium." The remaining
ten percent are licensed by the federal government. Independent
newspapers or magazines that dare to criticise the government
are soon absorbed in "hostile takeovers" by the Consortium.
Of course, independent broadcast media no longer exist in
the United States.
In 2005, Rupert Murdock acquired full ownership of the Internet,
whereupon dissenting ("unpatriotic") websites were banished
from the Net.
A tragedy, to be sure, but not unforseen. As early as 2003,
the journey to this dreadful destination was well-embarked.
The stolen 2000 Presidential election, well known to those
who cared to study it, was two years in the past. The PATRIOT
Act had been enacted and several American citizens were being
held incommunicado, in violation of the Constitutional rights.
The use of paperless computer ballot machines was widespread
and growing. The FCC successfully ruled in favour of media
conglomeration, and dissenting liberal opinions were severely
restricted on television, and virtually non-existent on the
radio. Finding no resistance, the triumphant Republicans proceeded
and by unopposed increments destroyed American democracy.
The New World Order
A fundamental rule of politics, well-known to Aristotle and
political philosophers since, asserts that alliances are formed
out of the shared perception of a common threat. Thus, in
the mid-twentieth century, the United States, England and
the Soviet Union joined forces against Nazi Germany. Following
the defeat of Germany, that alliance fell apart, as the NATO
alliance arose to meet the Soviet threat.
The unification of the Eurasian continent, long assumed to
be a fantasy, was brought about by the shared perception of
a threat by the "rogue" American imperialists. The American
neo-conservatives could not have been clearer in their intention
that the United States would go it alone in the world. Following
their statement of this intention in such documents as the
"Project for the New American Century," the George Bush administration
proceeded to follow this guideline to the letter, abrogating
treaties at will, invading defenseless countries on patently
false pretenses, and in general earning for itself the fear
and contempt of the global community.
In the face of this, the once-inconceivable unification of
Europe and Asia became an inevitability.
Similarly, following the invasion of Iraq in early 2003,
and thence of Iran in the spring of 2004, the Islamic nations
united to form the Federation of Islamia, which now stretches
from the Atlantic, across north Africa, all the way to Indonesia.
The unity of Islamia was enhanced by the expulsion of the
American forces from Iraq in 2005, followed by the establishment
of a Shi'ite Islamic republic. As in neighboring Iran, Iraq
suffered through a period of fundamentalist repression, until
the fanaticism consumed itself and was replaced by a moderate
semi-democratic government. So it has been throughout Islamia,
as the member states, faced with a choice between religious
fundamentalism and technical-economic development, have chosen
the latter option.
The overwhelming American military, the budget for which,
at the turn of the century, almost equaled the sum of all
other military budgets combined, proved to be of little use
to the United States. Nuclear blackmail would not work since,
of course, the Eurasia was also a nuclear power. And as Viet
Nam and Iraq proved, the strategically astute response to
a technologically overwhelming force is to absorb the force
and then bleed it white with a thousand cuts. (The Russians
used the strategy successfully against Napoleon and Hitler.
The Americans, typically, learned nothing whatever from this
Furthermore, the Eurasians and Islamics wisely understood
that even if the an opposing nation's military is invincible,
it does not follow that the nation itself is invincible. It
might be vanquished non-militarily. And this, of course, is
exactly what happened. The United States, starved of resources
and credits, weakened internally by the fiscal insanity of
the Bush brothers, blinded by dogma to the insights of science
and scholarship, collapsed from within. (See "The Vulnerable
After their military had suffered several defeats in Islamia,
the United States withdrew, whereupon the military was put
to use by the Department of Homeland Security to put down
insurrections, to protect the few oligarchs in their gated
communities, and to keep the masses confined to their gated
ghettos in the inner cities. In this capacity, aircraft carriers,
submarines and ICBMs proved to be of little use.
And so, the world beyond the shores of the United States
has gone on to an era of prosperity and enlightenment which
the Americans cannot share - excepting, of course, those fortunate
American who manage to escape from the despotic Republican
regime and are welcomed immigrants in the Global community.
The growing community of American expatriates, who have contributed
so generously to world science, scholarship, literature, art,
industry and culture, have also brought to our world the vivid
memory of the magnificence of the first two centuries of the
American Republic - and the undying aspiration for its restoration
in that once-blessed land.
In the American diaspora, the spirit of Washington, Jefferson,
Madison, Lincoln and Roosevelt survives and flourishes.
May it soon return to its home.
Dr. Ernest Partridge is a consultant, writer and lecturer
in the fields of Environmental Ethics and Moral philosophy.
He publishes the website, "The Online Gadfly" www.igc.org/gadfly
and co-edits the progressive website "The Crisis Papers" www.crisispapers.org.