Americans are now entering uncharted, revolutionary territory. They may witness things over the next five months that once would have seemed unimaginable.
Until the Ukrainian conflict, we had never witnessed a major land war inside Europe directly involving nuclear power.
In desperation, Russia’s impaired and unhinged leader, Russian President Vladimir Putin, now talks trash about the likelihood of nuclear war. A 79-year-old U.S. President Joe Biden bellows back that his war-losing nuclear adversary is a murderer, a war criminal, and a butcher who should be removed from power.
After a year of politicizing the U.S. military and its self-induced catastrophe in Afghanistan, America has lost deterrence abroad. China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia are conniving on how best to exploit this rare window of global military opportunity.
The traditional bedrocks of the American system — a stable economy, energy independence, vast surpluses of food, hallowed universities, a professional judiciary, law enforcement, and a credible criminal justice system — are dissolving.
Gas and diesel prices are hitting historic levels. Inflation is at a 40-year high. New cars and homes are unaffordable. The necessary remedy of high interest and tight money will be almost as bad as the disease of hyperinflation.
There is no southern border.
Expect more than 1 million foreign nationals to swarm into the United States this summer without audit, COVID testing, or vaccination. None will have any worry of consequences for breaking U.S. immigration law.
Police are underfunded and increasingly defunded. District attorneys deliberately release violent criminals without charges. (Literally, 10,000 people witnessed a deranged man with a knife attack comedian Dave Chappelle onstage at the Hollywood Bowl last week, and the Los Angeles County DA refused to press felony charges.) Murder and assault are spiraling. Carjackings and smash-and-grab thefts are now normal big-city events.
Crime is now mostly a political matter. Ideology, race, and politics determine whether the law is even applied.
Supermarket shelves are thinning, and meats are now beyond the budgets of millions of Americans. An American president — in a first — casually warns of food shortages. Baby formula has disappeared from many shelves.
Politics are resembling the violent last days of the Roman Republic. An illegal leak of a possible impending Supreme Court reversal of Roe v. Wade that would allow state voters to set their own abortion laws has created national hysteria.
Never has a White House tacitly approved mobs of protesters showing up at Supreme Court justices’ homes to rant and bully them into altering their votes.
There is no free speech anymore on campuses.
Merit is disappearing. Admissions, hiring, promotion, retention, grading, and advancement are predicated increasingly on mouthing the right orthodoxies or belonging to the proper racial, gender, or ethnic category.
When the new campus commissariat finally finishes absorbing the last redoubts in science, math, engineering, medical, and professional schools, America will slide into permanent mediocrity and irreversible declining standards of living.
Remember, all these catastrophes are self-induced. They are choices, not fate. The United States has the largest combined gas, coal, and oil deposits in the world. It possesses the know-how to build the safest pipelines and ensure the cleanest energy development on the planet.
Inflation was a deliberate Biden choice. For short-term political advantage, he kept printing trillions of dollars, incentivizing labor nonparticipation, and keeping interest rates at historical lows — at a time of pent-up global demand.
The administration wanted no border. Only that way can be politicized, impoverished immigrants repay left-wing undermining of the entire legal immigration system with their fealty at the ballot box.
Once esoteric, crack-pot academic theories — “modern monetary theory,” critical legal theory, critical race theory — now dominate policymaking in the Biden administration.
The common denominator in all of this is ideology overruling empiricism, common sense, and pragmatism. Ruling elites would rather be politically correct failures and unpopular than politically incorrect, successful, and popular.
Is this not the tired story of left-wing revolutionaries from 18th-century France to early 20th-century Russia to the contemporary disasters in Cuba and Venezuela?
The American people reject the calamitous policies of 2021–2022. Yet the radical cadres surrounding a cognitively inert Biden still push them through by executive orders, bureaucratic directives, and deliberate cabinet nonperformance.
Why? The left has no confidence either in constitutional government or common sense.
So as the public pushes back, expect at the ground level more doxxing, cancel culture, deplatforming, ministries of disinformation, swarming the private homes of officials they target for bullying, and likely violent demonstrations in our streets this summer.
Meanwhile, left-wing elites will do their best to ignore Supreme Court decisions, illegally cancel student debts, and likely by this fall issue more COVID lockdowns. They will still dream of packing the Court, ending the filibuster, scrapping the Electoral College, adding more states, and flooding the November balloting with hundreds of millions more dollars of dark money from Silicon Valley.
When revolutionaries undermine the system, earn the antipathy of the people, and face looming disaster at the polls, it is then that they prove the most dangerous — as we shall see over the next few months.
Victor Davis Hanson is a conservative commentator, classicist, and military historian. He is a professor emeritus of classics at California State University, a senior fellow in classics and military history at Stanford University, a fellow of Hillsdale College, and a distinguished fellow of the Center for American Greatness. Hanson has written 16 books, including “The Western Way of War,” “Fields Without Dreams,” and “The Case for Trump.”