The current American cultural and economic transformation, which arguably started in the late 20th century, is now approaching its nadir. Americans will more likely mourn this transition than celebrate it. The United States has regressed in terms of the typical evolution of a country since roughly 1980. Rather than evolving into a higher level of civilization with rising incomes and an improved standard of living, the U.S. has reversed that desired trajectory, doing everything she can to become a developing nation. Historians, economists, and political scientists can point to mountains of data as evidence to this decline. Sadly, philosophers will only drive themselves insane as they try to explain the suicidal impulses that drove us to this ignominious end.
The United States’ formerly robust physical infrastructure once provided the basis upon which the world’s largest economy boomed. The American rail system offered commuters a convenient daily ride to work. For those going farther afield, a trip from New York to Washington or Boston once required travelers to analyze the price and time differentials of intercity rail travel versus flying that same short hop. Trolleys shuttled residents around vibrant cities such as Detroit, Little Rock, and Pittsburgh. Freight lines crisscrossed the North American continent to move both manufactured goods and raw materials at a cost only shipping over water could beat. American freight trains carried 750 billion ton-miles in 1975. While one might stand in awe at the 1.5 trillion ton-miles of goods moved in 2005, the compound annual growth rate works out to a mere 2.3 percent, far below the 3.7 percent compound annual inflation rate that shrank the American dollar over those same 30 years.
Former Vice President Joe Biden inadvertently warned of our approaching developing-nation status in a rare moment of blunt honesty during a 2014 Philadelphia speech: “If I took you and blindfolded you and took you to LaGuardia Airport in New York, you’d think, ‘I must be in some third-world country.’” As the crowd burst into indignant laughter—America, a Third World country?—Biden slapped them back into reality when he added, “I’m not joking.” I myself took offense at Biden’s politically incorrect accusation, but for entirely different reasons. In all my travels to Ecuador, Brazil, Mexico, and many other developing countries Americans like to scoff at, I have never had to wait for my luggage as long as I must wait every time I fly back into LaGuardia. Taxis at those less-developed airports form efficient queues, and their drivers speak the local language. Travelers at LaGuardia muscle their way through an anarchic rugby scrum of a taxi line before hopping into a Babel-on-wheels. Those who hope to reach their final destination must hyper-enunciate its location, louder and louder with each repetition, to drivers who can’t be bothered with English.
Navigating LaGuardia’s filthy, detour-ridden terminals, a product of its current multidecade renovation boondoggle, makes me long for the sleek 1960’s modernism of Rio’s Galeão International Airport or even the aggressive English-speaking time-share hawkers who hound arrivals at Cancún International Airport. Biden even went so far as to quantify his well-founded impression of America’s descent. “Just in the last decade, the United States has fallen 20 spots [in the World Economic Forum rankings] when it comes to the quality of infrastructure,” he remarked. “It’s embarrassing, and it’s stupid. It’s stupid.” It has only gotten worse since 2014.
Like a plastic surgeon injecting Botox with no aesthetic sensibility, the architects and protectors of our suicidal immigration policies have also hastened our transformation into a pathetic banana republic. Our condescending neighbor to the north, Canada, has the good sense to prioritize immigrants based on their level of education, ability to speak French and English, and years of work experience. By contrast, the United States prioritizes immigrants in two ways.
First, unskilled immigrants receive the overt support of agricultural lobbyists and service-industry executives, as well as the tacit backing of upper-middle-class voters desiring affordable household help. Agricultural lobbyists pander to American consumers. Why pay $5.00 for a pint of strawberries when you can pay $2.50?—for what Mexican laborers in their employ call la fruta del Diablo for the literally backbreaking labor its harvest requires. One California farm worker told the San Francisco Chronicle, “Working in the fields is hard, but working in the strawberry fields is hardest of all.” So maybe that is the one job Americans supposedly won’t do.
Second, the left also does its part to push for unlimited, and unqualified by Canadian standards, immigration. Well, “unlimited” as long as it comes from developing nations, maintains a general disdain for the English language and the antecedent American culture, and tends to lean left itself. Since we can’t move the continental American landmass to the developing South, the left has instead decided to bring the developing South’s inhabitants here to replicate the politically dysfunctional Trumpian “shitholes” they flee.
Our political discourse long ago surpassed even the crudest developing nation’s idiocy. Identity politics has pitted all against all and thereby transformed our fruited plains into rocky Balkan crags. American income and wealth inequality, in large part the result of rent seeking, tax preferences, and regulatory capture, turns Third World kleptocrats green with envy. Florida’s persistent inability to count its votes correctly, coupled with the latest voter-fraud accusations in North Carolina, make cynical American election observers long for the premodern electoral finger stains of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Sudan. In a December 11 Oval Office meeting with Sen. Chuck Schumer, the developer of New York’s Trump Tower, and Vice President Pence, Nancy “Crumbs” Pelosi belittled the President’s threat to shut down the government as revenge for Congress’s refusal to fund the border wall to keep out fruta del Diablo pickers. Crumbs childishly insisted the President’s border-security intransigence was “like a manhood thing for him.” Her feckless exclamation of such a non sequitur helps us understand why she and her far-left comrades persist in their delusion that Russian trolls single-handedly stole the election from their anointed savior Clinton in 2016.
Unfortunately for Crumbs and her nationwide mob of angry misfits, a sane electorate sniffs out a con man when it sees one. Let’s stop resisting the inevitable collapse. Starting now let’s take a page from the au courant world of meditation. Instead of singing the national anthem at public gatherings, from now on let us chant Chiquita’s catchy new brand motto, which is all too fitting for a developing nation like Los Estados Unidos: “We are bananas!”
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