The American Crisis Without Alternativenby E. Christian KopffnThe most important event of the waning years of the 20thncentury is the collapse of the last of the great national socialistnpowers whose rise and fall dominated the generations afternWorld War I. The Axis easily defeated their liberal and imperialnopponents, but were crushed by the national socialistnregimes of the Soviet Union {alias communism) and the UnitednStates (alias liberalism). The Soviet Union and the UnitednStates then dominated the globe in a symbiotic hostility thatnstmctured their ideologies and economies for some four decades.nThe collapse of the Soviet Union, weighed down by imperialnobligations and domestic deficit spending, has removed the putativenraison d’etre from America’s regime. It too is sinking fastnunder the weight of the same burdens that ruined Spain,nbankmpted England, and disrupted the Soviet Union. Our victorynis like the one that ends Rocky U. The winner is reeling tonthe canvas even as the referee announces his opponent’s defeat.nThe question thoughtful Americans are asking themselvesnin 1992 does not concern the presidential campaign, which cannscarcely effect matters at this late date, but rather the naturenof the regime that will follow the collapse of the one installednby President Roosevelt. We cannot afford to be caught like thenRoman Senate after the assassination of Caligula, debating thenfuture while the Praetorian Guard escorts Claudius to thentroops to settle matters. What are we going to do when the governmentncollapses? Do we want to restore classical republicanismnor accept the principle of recrudescent nationalism?nThe United States may not remain united, any more thannthe republics of the Soviet Union. Those who dwell in New “ferknand Washington may be impressed with the homogenizationnof American society. Examples abound from around thenworld. My son made friends in his Italian preschool by marchingninto class waving his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle toy (purchasednhere for about three dollars and worth six times that muchnin Europe) and proclaiming “Ecco Michelangelol” The culturalnunity implicit in this incident has economic and political implications,nbut Italy’s future lies with the hegemony of a federalistnGermany dominating a Europe where language and cul-nE. Christian Kopff teaches Greek and Latin at the Universitynof Colorado in Boulder.nture will keep the divisions as real as the very real economic unity.nA similar economic unity with cultural division will probablynreign in the states of the former Soviet Union. Those whonlive in the land mled from Washington and New %rk know thatna superficial homogenization exists side by side with profoundnsectional, cultural, social, and racial divisions.nThe partition of the former United States into republics, withnthe states maintaining the minor role that they currently play,nis not unthinkable. The Rocky Mountain states may join withnthe Northwest. Texas may attract the Southwest. The Southnis still a unity in many respects. California and Quebec may gontheir own ways. Economic unity there will still be, but politicalnunity may not survive the breakdown of order that may follownthe collapse of public credit. Anticommunists liked to saynin the waning years of the old Soviet Empire that everybodyntalked like good Communists, but “nobody believed in the system.”nThe serious sectional and racial divisions of today’snAmerica are nonetheless real because they are not discussed bynour “free press.”nAny government that hopes to succeed the current regimenafter its economic collapse has to take into account the divisionsnof American society. The lessons of history indicate that proclaimingnrestoration is the soundest basis for founding a lastingngovernment. Compare Augustus with Pericles.nPericles dominated Athens in the middle third of the fifthncentury, B.C. By the time he rose to power the Athenianndemocracy had already formed its distinctive institutions andnhad used its role in the national opposition to Persia to createna maritime empire that dominated the eastern Mediterraneannand controlled the grain trade from the Crimea. Pericles wasna realist, who used the tribute from the Delian League not onlynto maintain Athenian naval supremacy, but also to paynthe Athenians to perform their duties as citizens and to financenmajor public works projects. (They got the Parthenon; wenget Mapplethorpe.) He proposed a law to limit Athenian citizenshipnto those born of citizens on both sides. There isnreason to believe that he openly spoke of Athenian hegemonynover other Greek cities as a “tyranny.” He did not pretend respectnfor the moral and religious ideals of Athens. He left hisnwife and took a foreign mistress and then tried to get citizennnnJUNE 1992/23n