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I preminisce no return of the salad days

Another Ironbear masterpiece of commentry that needs to be moved out front here.

There is no going back. We live in post-America now, and have for quite some time. We can’t go back to the America of the Founding any more than we can go back to the bright, shiny, thriving, hopeful and optimistic America of the ’50s. There is no time machine that will take us there.

Conservative thinkers like Smith, Codevilla, and the rest err in thinking that there is somehow some way to dismantle and excise the degeneracy of Progressivism while keeping the worthwhile parts of what Codevilla calls “Republican America”.

There is not.

Post-America is not going to somehow revitalize and go back to being America. We’re in the degenerate phase of a decadent civilization, and, to date, to the best of my knowledge, there has never been a degenerate civilization that has reversed course and revitalized into a thriving, growing, and vital civilization.

Breakup and partition is inevitable at this point. Empires always fall apart.

What grows out of that is no more going to resemble the America of George Washington than the Western Civilization that grew out of the breakup of the Roman Empire resembled Classical Rome.

The primary question at this point, and the one that thinkers like Smith and Codevilla refuse to face squarely – because that would require admitting that they’re spinning their wheels – is whether the breakup and collapse will be slow and gradual over centuries like Rome, or fast and bloody like Yugoslavia.

I don’t believe that quick and peaceful like Czechoslovakia or even the Soviet Union is in the cards for us.

The secondary question is: What comes next? What grows out of rubble?

Smith and Codevilla can’t answer that for the same reason I can’t: the caterpillar can’t envision the butterfly.

Yup, that’s about the size of it. I myself am frequently guilty of using phrases like “restoring America” and the like, despite knowing that such a thing not only won’t happen, it in fact CAN’T happen. We’re walking on uncharted and extremely dangerous ground now, and the destination is uncertain at best.

11 thoughts on “I preminisce no return of the salad days

  1. I was going to leave a comment in response to the comment, but it’s better here.

    It’s my opinion the breakup is not going to play out over Romanesque centuries. There is an undercurrent of dissatisfaction, perhaps it will get walked back and play out over a longer period of time.

    The outcome of of the fake virus is as yet unknown. While the perpetrators were successful in using it to take Trump out, the end is nowhere in sight. There are other ramifications to the virus and the perps are not smart enough to understand everything they unleashed. There are a great many more people now aware of just how rotten the public school system is for starters. Multiply that effect forward and something will have to break and soon.

    Ironbear does describe things masterfully.

    1. Yeah, I think it’ll happen gradually, and then all at once myself, with the “gradually” playing out over a span of ten to twenty years.

      The cultural acceleration that makes socio-political generations of the 20th century 10-12 years rather than equal to the 20-22 years of genealogical generations means that everything else is probably accelerated as well.

      And given the U.S. Left’s insanity and incompetence, it’ll burn fast and hot when it does go up.

      But – I could be wrong. It could be a slow and gradual collapse like that of all of the other major civilizations throughout history, where high trust becomes low trust, and things just stop working – and there’s fewer and fewer people who know how to repair or rebuild.

      Who knows for certain? My crystal ball’s been in hock for the past thirty years. 🙂 We’ll see when we get there.

  2. Wow. Usually when I comment that we’re in post-America now, it tends to just fall into the thread with a dull *thud* and everyone careful steps around it while pretending not to notice. 🙂

    Yup, that’s about the size of it. I myself am frequently guilty of using phrases like “restoring America” and the like, despite knowing that such a thing not only won’t happen, it in fact CAN’T happen.

    Severian over at Rotten Chestnuts (He of the famed 20 regular readers) refers to it by the acronym “AINO”: America in Name Only.

    Aside from the Con Inc. pundits like Smith and Codevilla, whose paychecks depend on them not seeing it, I think that a lot of people don’t see it because they’re immersed in it. It’s like the fish not noticing water.

    I had the unpleasant shock of coming back to the US in late 1982 after having been away for a year and a half – it happened that damned fast, one year I was growing up in the tail end of America, and not two years later I was in AINO – and saw that the place I grew up in had irrevocably changed into something I barely recognized.

    Most people have either never had that sudden culture shock, or, like Gen-Y and Millenials and mid-eighties immigrants like Hoyt, never experienced America so they don’t realize the change. They don’t see post-America because they never saw America That Was.*

    *I’ve stated before that I was born into the very last generation that lived in America and experienced actual American culture. I stand by that statement.

    We can’t restore it, Mike. It ain’t coming back. We’re going to have to survive the collapse, and then steal a page from Sarah Hoyt and build anew around, up, and over.

    If we live long enough.

  3. We certainly are not ever to recover what was lost, even the idyllic mythology that many believe in. What we can and must do is learn from the mistakes and hope for a better future for our posterity, a future that many of us won’t live to see.

  4. We can’t return to the past. We can’t vote ourselves back. The choice isn’t to progress though, it’s to restore. And restorations have worked, but it requires the courage to remove all (and I mean all) of what has led us to this.

    But the restoration won’t be voted in.

    1. Before the restoration must come the elimination of the wreckers, John. Otherwise it’s building on sand with the tide coming in.

    2. Well said. I wish we could get all on our side to believe that we are not without options.

      We are not passive objects adrift in the stream. We are the authors of our future.

      If we refuse to write, we have only allowed others to author our future for us.

      Cause & effect exist.

      Tools exist.

      We can effect changes with known tools. But it requires a concerted effort, & yes, as John alludes & most people by now understand, it requires doing things that won’t be pretty. The Founders understood that & provided a framework for us to use. Tools. Mental maps. Tools which no other civilization has had access to. We’ve added to that toolbox in the time since. We are not without options. We are not powerless to but sit & watch the collapse. Not of civilization or Western civilization leastways. Of a corrupt & illegitimate government that does not have the consent of the governed? Oh absolutely. That is a prerequisite, & the first stage, of any restoration.

      No one really thinks we’re going to clone the 1950’s & reinstitute them. I don’t know of anyone who is seriously suggesting that.

      Restoration simply means focusing on restoring the fundamentals of Western civilization which made us uniquely successful in the world, disproportionate to all others. We know what those things are now, & we didn’t used to. That’s the restoration people speak of. It’s part of our culture & it’s in our DNA. Literally. It’s hardly something that’s out of reach for us.

      We know & understand more about how to restore those things than we ever have before.

      We have more tools than we’ve ever had before. Those tools mean something. They provide opportunity. Opportunity for cause & effect.

      We know more about ourselves, as a people, & as a culture, than we ever have, including why we were disproportionately successful compared to all others. We have the tools & the knowledge to restore those things to primacy. No other civilization has had those advantages. But it does require us to do the work. Starting with mentally believing it can be done. Without that, we can’t possibly succeed.

      Yes, the grifters will bloviate. That’s what they do. And they ignore the tools & knowledge we need to leverage for restoration. Our mistake is listening to them. They have no answers & no solutions. A wise people would push them aside & do what needs to be done with the tools needed to do it.

      Yes, things are unquestionably broken now, undeniably, unequivocally. That’s the reason for calling for restoration; putting back into primacy the fundamental things which made our civilization successful.

      For that to happen, we have to be willing to do the work, & believe it can be done.
      Otherwise, we fail because we don’t believe, & so don’t try.

      Leaving the work for future generations & pretending everything is going to magically be ok is an escapist’s fantasy. It won’t be ok. We’ll be conquered & exterminated. There is no coming back from that. It’s up to us, here & now, to do what needs to be done. There won’t be a future to rebuild from, for us, if we decline. That will be someone else’s future. And it will likely be brutish, ugly, & devoid of what we would consider civilization. There’s a reason why Western civilization thrived & was able to maintain while no others were. And all evidence suggests when those reasons & that civilization are gone, so shall civilization as we know it be gone.
      So we can shrink from doing something here & now for a million and one reasons that we may convince ourselves of, but that only ushers in our certain defeat.

      We most certainly can win & restore, but we have to be willing to do the work. Leaving it for future generations is just giving up. Waiting for a “collapse”, is just giving up.

      The little engine that could is a parable for a reason.

      If we don’t believe we can win, & so don’t try, then of course we cannot succeed.

      That pessimism & lack of belief will suck everyone dry of the will to fight.

      We are the authors of our future. If we choose not to write, we choose not to exist.

  5. Hi Mike,
    After all this time, …Finally!! someone has seen thru the smoke and mirrors… The “Curtain is pulled back!!” … thank you Toto!!!…”10-4… there’s no ‘Going Back!!'”.. Norman Rockwell’s America is HISTORY!!.. Only what lies ahead,”Ain’t gonna’ be easy to figure out???”
    BUT, I got a feelin’!!.. Lookin’ at the recent past.. I think what will happen here,”Because there is a gun behind every blade of grass!!!!” we will make “KO-SO-VO!!!” look like cub scout day camp!!! …. Quit laughin’ fool!! ,, start loadin’ mags!!… Remember the original,”RED DAWN!!!!” only there won’t be troops on a playground swing at the end!!!
    (Guess who I copied that from???????)

  6. First rule of holes: Stop Digging

    In our current state, I think that means shoot, hang or exile everyone holding a shovel. You folks have taught me a lot but I have a hard time planning for the other side of the needed purge.

  7. Have often quoted Dietrich Bonhoeffer:
    “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless.Not to speak is to speak.Not to act is to act.”

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