"If I don't believe in solipsism, who will?" - Al Batt

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

From a Forefront to a Backwater?

As I read this it struck me that even now the balance has shifted toward Asia, and now America is in the process of transforming from a forefront to a backwater.

"The great English moralist of the Eighteenth Century, Dr Johnson, once said that public affairs vex no man.

So it is not astonishing, either, that so many of us in Europe continue our lives without noticing, let alone thinking about, the seismic shifts in world power that have occurred in the last two or three decades. In part this is because we have already lived with a seismic shift without really noticing it: the transformation of Europe from forefront to backwater. We in Europe are at the front end of nothing, except perhaps taking holidays. Not that I am against holidays: in fact, speaking personally, I rather prefer them to exercising power.

It seems to be an unfortunate fact about the world, however, that one can maintain one’s position in it, reduced as it might already be, only at the expense of effort. You cannot just coast along in the hope of remaining where you are. But our mentalities have not changed with the change in the world situation." continued


Margadant said...

I suspect we're going through the same trauma that the UK experienced after WWII -- being ushered from the front pews, back three or four rows. However, I'm not optimistic that we'll evolve into a nice comfortable welfare state. Right now I'm leaning toward betting we'll develop a peculiarly American brand of fascism to preserve our illusions and culture -- which may be tolerable, depending on whether its oligarchic or theocratic in nature.

Silk Hope said...


Since I live in an Oligarchy (California)I would not recommend it. Living with Union rule is highly overated compound that with being overun by the Mexican population that prefers to live here but have allegiance to another flag, it is quite something to see. As for a Theocratic gov., not on you life all religion does is cause Death and revolution.

In my way of thinking we are stretched way too thin. Like why are we still in Bosnia, Afganistan, etc? I site this: The minute the sun never set on the British Empire they were Doomed. Too many resoures and not enough money to pay for it. We are exactly in that position today.

As for China, a ticking time bomb. Once the masses get a hold real weath there is no turning back. There form of Gov. will have to radically change or die.

Gunnar you are suspiciously silent.

Gunnar Berg said...

All can add is, no matter how we get there, the cost of our military alone will sink us.

While the British Empire analogy is fine, the Roman Empire seems to have as many parallels.

Gunnar Berg said...

I have a borrowed pickup and I'm making brush runs to the landfill. Jack, you're in charge.

Mimbres Man said...

Interesting essay. Having lived 10+ years now in "revolution" in Venezuela, I have never felt quite so free. I love it and I hate it. Only recently have things come to a screeching halt due mainly to insecurities; rampant crime, and corrupt police. There’s always been crime and corrupt police, but it is turned to 11 now.

Before*, 2000 – 2006, it was a happy Helter Skelter of sorts and people loved it; especially people with money. I guess it is still that way, but now there is a different group with money and they're the thugs in charge that have been using the corruption and insecurity as a means of control. In 2007, Chavez ratcheted up his rhetoric and hate and things have been going downhill since.

Anyway, I think most American are really clueless when it comes to real freedom. I worked in a public school for 4 years, that's all I lasted before I was asked to leave. I wasn't fired exactly, just asked to leave due to a conflict of personalities between my view of ideals and education and that of the administration, primarily the principal of the school I worked at. I walked away with a good letter of recommendation from the superintendent of schools (who’s children were in my classroom). For four years, I pursued other things, but in my opinion, public schools in the USA is about teaching the students to be complacent, and docile, consumering sheep...at least that was my feelings about it in the early 90s. Damn the creativity!

I haven't taught in the USA since "No Child Left Behind" was enacted, but I hear it is a crock...a folly of the Bush administration but Obama seems to be okay with it and the state of education in the USA because as far as I know, nothing has changed NCLB is still in place. The USA keeps lagging behind the rest of the developed world in education. When will there be some kind of education freedom returned?

American freedom is a myth.

*Friends say that the pre-Chavez Venezuela was a paradise! Pure freedom. A pure laissez-faire economy and government. Obviously some people couldn’t handle that either. I wish I could have experienced that!

Silk Hope said...

No Child left behind is a Joke Barin. I have Daughter in 3rd grade and every teacher I know in Laguna Beach Unified hates it. It is all based on standardized testing virtually no creativity at all. As you said Sheep!

Gunnar Berg said...

I find it disturbing when I find myself in agreement with Jack. He's right. My wife is a grade school teacher and they all hate it. The way it's structured the only schools who can make the improvement bench marks are those starting at the bottom. More importantly, it's not in the students interest to be taught to tests. It's easy to define, involved parents, sensible sized classrooms, coupled with good teachers equals well educated kids. It's harder in practice. The pendulum swings, right now it's the fault of teachers. I have a lot of thoughts on this, maybe a posting some time.

Silk Hope said...

Gunnar don't get me started that was the abridged version.

Anonymous said...

Gotta love a country where bumper stickers all say "support our troops," but kindergarten teachers are compensated worse than crack whores.



Mimbres Man said...

I have a few typos in there, but I guess I got my point across.

I could have sued that public school for millions. I had a strong case against that principal which I could have won, but I was so rattled after the experience I just walked away.

The USA will continue to fall behind until NCLB is rescinded.

Gunnar Berg said...

NCLB is what happens when MBA trained politicians try to apply "metrics" to education. To "run it like a business." Education isn't a business, it's education. The politicians don't know what they're talking about and they should avoid applying their ineptitude to education. I'm getting very close to discussing politics here, so I'll shut up now.