Several decades ago the distinguished sociologist Daniel Bell wrote: “The real problem of [American] modernity is the problem of belief. To use an unfashionable term, it is a spiritual crisis, since the anchorages have proven illusory and old ones have become submerged. It is a situation which brings us back to nihilism, lacking a past or a future, there is only the void.”
The world stage is trembling with emerging challenges, challenges so deep and potentially fracturing that the globe may never be the same again. This is 1789, 1848, 1917 and 1941 wrapped in one momentous year. Wherever one turns, chaos reigns and, in large part, this dislocation is due to a United States’ reluctant to play its post-World War II role as the “great equalizer.” From the Middle East to the Far East, from London to the Levant, U.S. withdrawal physically and emotionally is having a profound influence on diplomatic calculations.
There was a time not so long ago when I could select my own doctor. There was a time when I could choose my health insurance company. There was a time when everyone believed Marxism was a failure, an idea relegated to the ash heap of history. There was a time when class warfare occurred in other places far away, but Americans believed in opportunity, not sponging from others.