I am the apocalypse, so when I approach you will shiver with fear, and lay down your soul to me. I am of purest destruction – I will dominate and desecrate for all eternity. I am the master of destruction – demonseed I am. I show no mercy for the ones I hate – you will see. I crush the angelic host as the knights of the order of the seraphim is chained with ice. Until the day the stars burn out and their souls will be as black as mine. These lovely lyrics come from Master of Destruction a song written by, Thomas Backelin, and Niclas Pepa Andersson. The song was performed by the Swedish Metal group Lord Belial and released on their 1999 album, Unholy Crusade
I hate to say it, but it almost seams as if the apoc
alypse is upon us. All countries go through good times and bad periods. God knows that I have seen a few. Since I was raised on a college campus, the defining moments of my youth were the VietNam war and Watergate. I can say for sure that this was not a pretty period. Watching people fleeing the embassy in Saigon from the rooftop right after seeing the President of the United States, quit, cry and then fly away really did not lead to a great deal of confidence in the government.
At the same time, we were seeing inflation so high that we were all eating meat substitutes (yup this was when Hamburger Helper and its cousin Tuna Helper came on the market in response to meat shortages), waiting in line with our vinyl covered Chevy to get super expensive gasoline, and watching as all of the heavy industry in the country seemed to go belly up. And by the way, no conspiracy theory here, but the President between 1974 and 1977 was actually not elected but rather appointed
Of course, things did improve. Love them or hate them, the period during the presidencies of Ronald Regan, George Bush (the elder) and Bill Clinton was one of significant improvement and growth for the country. Inflation was actually whipped, the Federal budget was balanced, the country actually won all of the military actions that it was involved in, and the Ford Pinto was retired from service. I’ll leave it to individual taste as to if big hair and new wave music were a plus or a minus during this period.
Following the Clinton presidency, the next three choices were, to say the least controversial. Again, love them or hate ’em, George Bush the younger, Barack Obama and Donald Trump will probably not stand with Lincoln, Washington and Jefferson on the Pantheon of the nation’s leaders. Rather than seeing the economy soar, it faltered, entering the worst recession since the early 1980s, followed by the slowest recovery ever. Rather than winning military conflicts, the country became entangled in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria (at least those are the ones we know of), the initiatives that were passed in Washington had terrible unintended consequences, and decorum completely broke down among both the political classes and Americans themselves. Its hard to think of a time when the country was more divided – maybe 1968, maybe 1900, or maybe 1861.
We have now entered a time much like the period when I grew up. The situation in Afghanistan is seemingly worse than in VietNam. At least it took the South two years to fall, and today the US and the Vietnamese have civil, if not good relations. I seriously doubt we will ever be taking tours of Tora Bora with Taliban guides. Like the 1970s, inflation is really out of control. This is not a transitory thing like the Federal Reserve wants us to believe. Inflation comes about when there is too much demand in an economy and not enough supply. That is exactly what is happening now, and it will get much worse if Congress rams through a grotesque $5 trillion deficit spending package where everything is earmarked for increased consumption and lower production. While there are no gas lines (yet), the hacking of the Colonial Pipeline showed just how strained the country’s infrastructure system is, and even high shipping costs are not likely to lead to huge increases in infrastructure capacity under current conditions. And yes, love him or hate him, the current occupant of the Oval Office has not shown much to make one feel confident.
Societies rise and fall. China rose, it fell, it rose again, fell again, and is now back on the upswing. Rome went through cycles, as did Persia, Egypt, Britain, and now America. Just like the country did not collapse during the 1970s, just like it survived the 1860s, and like it powered through the world’s greatest war, the United States will likely rise again. But this will not happen until the population demands it. A country cannot stand on consumption rather than production, on a weak rather than a sound currency, and an education system geared toward learning rather than indoctrination. More importantly, the country will not rise out of this as long as individuals cannot get along and accept their differences be they racial, sexual, or political.
As Alexis de Tocqueville said in his epic Democracy in America, The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults. Let us hope that we can do this before the Master of Destruction is able to dominate and desecrate for all eternity.