America’s ability to compete in the world was alsonaffected by its high rates of violent crime. By 1985 it had fiventimes more homicides, ten times more rapes, and 17 timesnmore robberies than Japan. New York City had twice asnmany homicides as in all of Japan. In the five years of thenearly 1980’s, United States business had to hire 602,000nsecurity officers just to keep people from ripping them off.nThis crime wave was costly both to the citizens’ psyche andnto the efficiency of the economy.nBy 1986 Japan’s taxpayers supported 50,000 inmates,nincluding pretrial detention inmates, while the United Statesnsupported 580,000 adult prisoners. If you were to take allnthe prisoners in the United States in 1986 and put them innone place, it would have been a city larger than Detroit.nThat city had two suburbs — West Probation and EastnParole — that contained another 3.7 million people. Onenout of 35 American males in 1986 was on probation or onnparole. Such figures were hardly conducive to qualitynproducts.nThe United States spent 7 percent of its gross nationalnproduct on defense, whereas its international competitorsnspent far less. A nation with minimal defense spending cannafford to concentrate its public and private capital onninternational competitiveness. Seventy percent of US researchnand development testing and evaluation programs innthe I980’s went to the defense industry. About 40 percentnof all their engineers and scientists were involved in militarynprojects, while virtually all their competitor scientists andnengineers were engaged in bolstering their domestic economy.nThe United States spent proportionally less of itsneconomy on nonmilitary research and developrrient, andngradually all the radios, the television sets, the videonrecorders, the automobiles, the textiles, the steel — virtuallyneverything except military products — were made abroad.nBy 1986, of the 17 Western industrialized democracies,nthe United States ranked first in military spending as anpercentage of gross national product but last in productivityngrowth, last in manufacturing growth, and last in fixedninvestments as the share of gross national product. Bynskewing its economy toward the military and away from thendomestic economy, it weakened its ability to competeninternationally.nWhile devoting so much of its energies to militarynhardware, the United States neglected more vital aspects ofnits defense. As Daniel Patrick Moynihan observed in 1965:nFrom the wild Irish slums of the 19th centurynEastern seaboard to the riot torn suburbs of LosnAngeles, there is one unmistakable lesson innAmerican history: a community that allows a largennumber of young men (and women) to grow up innbroken families, dominated by women, nevernacquiring any stable relationship to male authority,nnever acquiring any set of rational expectationsnabout the future . . . that community asks for andngets chaos.nThere was a terrible breakdown in the American family.nThe United States had a divorce rate 25 times that of Japan.nFifty percent of all black births were illegitimate. Fiftynpercent of all Hispanic youth never finished high school.nThese numbers were a social time bomb. America soon hadntwo jealous, angry, underutilized, undereducated, frustrated,nand volatile minority groups existing unassimilated andnunintegrated within its borders. Large numbers of thesenpeople were largely outside the mainstream economy andnthe world of jobs.nTo make matters worse, the United States refused toncontrol its borders. It persisted in the naive illusion itncould accept all the “huddled masses yearning to breathenfree.” That was demographic insanity. By 1986 one out ofnten people in Los Angeles was an illegal immigrant and 67npercent of all births in Los Angeles County hospitals werenchildren of illegal immigrants. Large concentrations ofnSpanish-speaking people refusing to learn English grew upnin various parts of the United States. Linguistic ghettosndeveloped in most of the big cities. Demands for culturalnparity and a bilingual, bicultural society arose, furthernadding incredible divisiveness to a country already rent by anmyriad of social problems. By 1986 a large, underdevelopedncountry of some 40 million people existed within Americannborders.nThe pressures from outside the United States werenimmense. In 1984, Mexico with 76 rriillion people hadn300,000 more babies than the US had with 240 millionnpeople. Massive numbers of illegal immigrants from Mexico,nthe Caribbean, and Latin America came to the UnitednStates.nShortly after the year 2000, California became thenUnited States’ first Third World state. People who had theirnorigin in Third World countries became a majority there.nA de facto system of apartheid developed in California,nTexas, and Arizona. In California Anglos and Asians ownednmost of the property, had the good jobs, good education,nand spoke English. The blacks and Hispanics had the poornjobs, lacked education, owned little property, spoke mostlynSpanish, and were largely unassimilated. Diversity becamendivision.nIn short, the United States of America simply lost toonmuch of its ability to work hard, to sacrifice. Like earlierncivilizations, it was seduced by luxury.nIn the end, more than they wanted freedom theynwanted security. They wanted a comfortable lifenand they lost it all — security, comfort, andnfreedom. When the Athenians finally wanted not tongive to society, but for society to give to them;nwhen the freedom they wished for most was thenfreedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased tonbe free.nGibbon’s description of Athens might have been anprophecy of the American decline. Perhaps it is one of thenconstant dilemmas of democracy.nAs Henry Grunwald reminds us, we want the fullest kindnof freedom in democracy. But does freedom destroy theninner disciplines that alone make freedom possible? Fornfreedom to be workable as a political and social system,nstrong internal controls and a powerful moral compass arennecessities. But Americans lost the work ethic, discipline,norganization, and creative drive that had been responsiblenfor their success. As Juvenal put it, “Luxury is more ruthlessnthan war.” <^nnnFEBRUARY 1989/19n