• Pragerisms

    For a more comprehensive list of Pragerisms visit
    Dennis Prager Wisdom.

    • "The left is far more interested in gaining power than in creating wealth."
    • "Without wisdom, goodness is worthless."
    • "I prefer clarity to agreement."
    • "First tell the truth, then state your opinion."
    • "Being on the Left means never having to say you're sorry."
    • "If you don't fight evil, you fight gobal warming."
    • "There are things that are so dumb, you have to learn them."
  • Liberalism’s Seven Deadly Sins

    • Sexism
    • Intolerance
    • Xenophobia
    • Racism
    • Islamophobia
    • Bigotry
    • Homophobia

    A liberal need only accuse you of one of the above in order to end all discussion and excuse himself from further elucidation of his position.

  • Glenn’s Reading List for Die-Hard Pragerites

    • Bolton, John - Surrender is not an Option
    • Bruce, Tammy - The Thought Police; The New American Revolution; The Death of Right and Wrong
    • Charen, Mona - DoGooders:How Liberals Hurt Those They Claim to Help
    • Coulter, Ann - If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans; Slander
    • Dalrymple, Theodore - In Praise of Prejudice; Our Culture, What's Left of It
    • Doyle, William - Inside the Oval Office
    • Elder, Larry - Stupid Black Men: How to Play the Race Card--and Lose
    • Frankl, Victor - Man's Search for Meaning
    • Flynn, Daniel - Intellectual Morons
    • Fund, John - Stealing Elections
    • Friedman, George - America's Secret War
    • Goldberg, Bernard - Bias; Arrogance
    • Goldberg, Jonah - Liberal Fascism
    • Herson, James - Tales from the Left Coast
    • Horowitz, David - Left Illusions; The Professors
    • Klein, Edward - The Truth about Hillary
    • Mnookin, Seth - Hard News: Twenty-one Brutal Months at The New York Times and How They Changed the American Media
    • Morris, Dick - Because He Could; Rewriting History
    • O'Beirne, Kate - Women Who Make the World Worse
    • Olson, Barbara - The Final Days: The Last, Desperate Abuses of Power by the Clinton White House
    • O'Neill, John - Unfit For Command
    • Piereson, James - Camelot and the Cultural Revolution: How the Assassination of John F. Kennedy Shattered American Liberalism
    • Prager, Dennis - Think A Second Time
    • Sharansky, Natan - The Case for Democracy
    • Stein, Ben - Can America Survive? The Rage of the Left, the Truth, and What to Do About It
    • Steyn, Mark - America Alone
    • Stephanopolous, George - All Too Human
    • Thomas, Clarence - My Grandfather's Son
    • Timmerman, Kenneth - Shadow Warriors
    • Williams, Juan - Enough: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America--and What We Can Do About It
    • Wright, Lawrence - The Looming Tower



By Enabling Leftist Misinformation, Twitter Helped Democrats And Their Media Allies Peddle Another Russia Hoax

BY: MARGOT CLEVELAND at the Federalist:

JANUARY 13, 2023

Devin Nunes at CPAC

Democrats, the media, and intel agencies all ‘melded into a giant, hideous propaganda apparatus with the single goal of deceiving the American people into believing something that wasn’t true,’ Nunes said.

Author Margot Cleveland profile


Top congressional Democrats and the corrupt corporate media falsely branded calls for the declassification of Devin Nunes’ memorandum on FISA abuse a Russia influence operation, internal documents from Twitter released Thursday reveal. And while Twitter executives knew the story was false, they allowed the narrative to grow rather than correct the record.

Soon after the then-chair of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes penned a classified Jan. 18, 2018, memorandum detailing abuses by the Department of Justice and FBI to obtain a FISA surveillance order on Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page, #ReleaseTheMemo began trending on Twitter. Within days, Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee, issued a press release announcing they had sent a letter to Twitter and Facebook requesting the tech giants “immediately conduct an in-depth forensic examination of the reported actions by Russian bots and trolls surrounding the #ReleaseTheMemo online campaign and how users were exposed to this campaign as a result of Russian efforts.”

To support their claim that the #ReleaseTheMemo campaign represented “Russian efforts,” Feinstein and Schiff cited the Alliance for Securing Democracy, or ASD, and its claim that the hashtag “gained the instant attention and assistance of social media accounts linked to Russian influence operations.”

Democrat Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Sheldon Whitehouse soon issued their own missive to Twitter, even though the internal communications released on Thursday revealed attempts by Twitter executives to warn senator staffers that the story of a Russian influence campaign didn’t stand. 

“We find it reprehensible that Russian agents have so eagerly manipulated innocent Americans,” the senators wrote, also relying on ASD’s view that the trending of the hashtag represented a Russian influence operation. 

But internal communications from Twitter made public in the latest Twitter Files thread by independent journalist Matt Taibbi reveal the #ReleaseTheMemo campaign was organic and Twitter had concluded that ASD, the only source for claims that Russian bots and trolls were behind the trending of the hashtag, had used a “flawed methodology.” 


“We should have a separate discussion about if/when/how we confront ASD privately with our knowledge of their flawed methodology/dashboard and seek to help them reorient in a more accurate direction,” one Twitter insider wrote after the Schiff-Feinstein press release dropped. 

Another Twitter executive seemed fine with going public, writing: “If ASD isn’t going to fact check with us, we should feel free to correct the record of their work.”

For his part, Yoel Roth, the former Twitter head of trust and safety, raised the question of whether it was “now the time to go public with the fact that any given user only counts once towards a trend?” Roth continued: “Given all the swirl around #releasethememo is based on [ASD], which is based on raw tweet count, we’d be able to broadly refute it without actually sharing anything too sensitive.” 

While Roth’s email didn’t explain why he believed ASD’s conclusions rested on “raw tweet count,” another Twitter exchange referenced the fact that unbeknownst to ASD, Twitter had “reverse-engineered” ASD’s dashboard. 

Notwithstanding Twitter’s belief that the #ReleaseTheMemo hashtag trend originated naturally and not as a result of Russian interference, and its assessment that ASD’s contrary conclusion stemmed from a flawed methodology, the internal emails published Thusday reveal Twitter decided against countering ASD’s Russian bot narrative. Rather, Twitter limited its on-the-record, for-attribution response to a statement that it “is committed to addressing malicious activity on our platform, and we take any assertions of such activity very seriously.” Twitter also told reporters, while refusing to allow the media to attribute the statement to Twitter’s spokesman, that it had “been monitoring closely since #releasethememo started trending late last week,” and that the hashtag “appears to be organically trending.” 

While “off the record,” Twitter “cautioned” reporters for why they “should be very skeptical of ASD’s claims, the tech giant did not say to the press what its insiders were saying to each other: that the entire Russian bot narrative relied on ASD’s flawed methodology. 

Likewise, while Twitter responded to the congressional inquiries by stating that, based on available data, it had “not identified any significant activity connected to Russia with respect to Tweets posting original content to this hashtag,” Twitter did not challenge ASD’s contrary conclusion.

By keeping quiet about ASD’s “flawed methodology,” as Twitter framed it, the tech giant allowed Democrat politicians and the press to push yet another Russia hoax. And as Nunes told The Federalist, in spreading the Russia hoax, “Democrat members of Congress were not legislating in the public interest, the media was not honestly informing the public, and the intelligence community was not defending Americans against foreign adversaries.” Instead, they all “melded into a giant, hideous propaganda apparatus with the single goal of deceiving the American people into believing something that wasn’t true.”

The irony here is that while, in response to the claim that the #ReleaseTheMemo hashtag was a Russian-influence campaign, Twitter professed it was “committed to addressing malicious activity on our platform,” by failing to forcefully, directly, and publicly counter ASD’s assertions of Russian involvement, the tech giant allowed Democrats to maliciously proliferate the Russian-bot narrative on Twitter. 

Remember The Biden Killing Of Our Keystone Pipeline?

January 13, 2023

Biden Is Coming for Your Gas Stove

By Harry G. Hutchison at American Thinker:

Compelling Americans to give up fossil fuels, gas stoves, and other gas-fired appliances is not a vice for the Biden administration.  Now more than ever, the administration’s climate change police are coming after cooks and Americans who heat their homes with natural gas.  Consistent with this prospect, the Wall Street Journal editorial board concludes that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is poised to ban gas stoves soon.

A puritanical war on fossil fuels drives this possibility.  It follows a destructive pattern designed to impoverish and control American citizens.

President Biden has consistently claimed that climate change is the greatest threat to American security.  He argues that Americans must embrace an ambitious climate action plan to prevent the cruelest impacts of climate change as part of the global transition to clean energy technology.  Spurred by the Biden administration’s climate change fantasy, the federal government is working tirelessly to make fossil fuels scarcer and more unavailable.  This wearisome campaign represents a surrender to far-left environmentalists, who are committed to making natural gas, petroleum, and all forms of fossil fuel more expensive for working people.  

This agenda is part of a deliberate effort to diminish Americans’ interests and elevate the shrill claims of the World Economic Forum (WEF), which demands that nations take action against fossil fuels to reduce the number of bearded lizards experiencing sex changes.  At the same time, the World Bank also seeks to reduce humans’ carbon footprint and emissions, no matter the cost to human lives.  

Given President Biden’s surrender to the tyrannical demands of global elites, it was no surprise that he acted during his first day in office by killing the Keystone Pipeline.  This pipeline was designed to bring oil from Alberta, Canada to the United States.  Recently the Biden administration released a study showing that Biden’s rash decision to kill the Keystone Pipeline cost the U.S. economy 59,000 jobs plus almost $10 billion in economic growth.

The war on fossil fuels has gathered additional momentum due to the archaic provisions of a federal statute, the Jones Act.  This statute requires goods shipped between U.S. ports to be carried on vessels built, owned, and operated by American shippers.  This means that unless the Biden administration grants a Jones Act exemption, the energy-poor Northeast must compete with Europe for scarce liquid natural gas supplies on the global market to fulfill its demand for heating oil.  The grant of an exemption would allow American energy products to be sold to Americans in the Northeast, even if natural gas liquids were shipped on non-American vessels.  

Despite the Northeast’s desperate need for energy relief, the Biden administration has refused to grant an exemption.  Rather than provide an exemption, the government has doubled down on its indifference to the Northeast.  President Biden and other Democrats promise to curtail American domestic oil production even though the Northeast faces a winter energy crisis.  The Biden administration’s policy ensures that energy remains expensive and scarce in the Northeast, thus advancing the climate change agenda.  The government’s policy shows its commitment to putting the ideological interest of global elites in Europe ahead of the American people.  The Biden administration’s energy policy failures are compounded by the ongoing war in Ukraine, thus straining European supplies.

Adam Schiff……A Champion Among Uncle Sam’s Foulest LIARS OF THE PAST CENTURY!

Rep. Adam Schiff’s un-American effort to silence critics on Twitter

  • by Susan Shelley
  • PUBLISHED: January 10, 2023 at 2:44 p.m. | UPDATED: January 12, 2023 at 4:30 p.m.

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., speaks as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol holds a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Rep. Adam Schiff, local congressman and national media darling, has surfaced in the Twitter Files. Independent journalist Matt Taibbi found internal company correspondence documenting that Schiff’s office pressured the social media giant to ban a journalist from the platform.

Separately, Speaker Kevin McCarthy confirmed that Schiff will be removed from his longtime perch on the Intelligence Committee. McCarthy told Fox News in November that Schiff has “lied to the American public time and again.”

And that’s true. For example, in March 2017, Schiff declared that he had seen “more than circumstantial evidence” that then-President Trump had colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election. There was no such evidence, but Schiff repeated the lie for years. The congressman, who was chair of the Intelligence Committee at the time, intentionally misled the press and the public.https://2cf96615b75a2f877caa04487cbec436.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-40/html/container.html?n=0

He was able to use his position on the Intelligence Committee to fool people by implying that he knew secrets that would be revealed to the public in due time.

“Your willingness to continue to promote a demonstrably false narrative is alarming,” wrote the nine Republican members who served with Schiff on the Intelligence Committee in a March 2019 letter that called for Schiff to step down as chair. The letter cited his “repeated public statements, which implied knowledge of classified facts supporting the collusion allegations.” The GOP members also noted that Schiff’s statements “occurred at the same time anonymous leaks of alleged intelligence and law enforcement information were appearing in the media.”

Former congressman Trey Gowdy, who served on the intelligence committee with Schiff, said the California Democrat leaks “like a screen door on a submarine.”https://2cf96615b75a2f877caa04487cbec436.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-40/html/container.html?n=0

Schiff’s media manipulation efforts, it has now been revealed, included a pressure campaign by his office to coerce Twitter into censoring content and banning journalist Paul Sperry from the platform.

“This would explain why Twitter could never give me a reason for suspending my account, even though I had broken none of its rules,” Sperry wrote Friday in the New York Post. He related that he came back from a vacation to find an email from Taibbi, one of the reporters invited by Twitter owner Elon Musk to review and reveal internal company correspondence. The Twitter Files reporting has documented a disturbing and widespread effort by the U.S. government to suppress freedom of speech. You can read all the material at twitterfiles.co/archive.

Taibbi uncovered a November 12, 2020, emailabout a request “from the House Permanent Select Intelligence Committee (HPSIC) Rep. Adam Schiff’s Office” accompanied by an “attached analysis” requesting that Twitter suspend “many accounts,” including Paul Sperry’s, which Schiff’s office accused of “promoting false conspiracies.” The congressman’s office sought the removal of “any and all content” about staffer Sean Misko and other committee staff, including “quotes, retweets, and reactions to that content.”https://2cf96615b75a2f877caa04487cbec436.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-40/html/container.html?n=0

A Twitter policy executive who reviewed the request wrote, “We don’t do this.” However, even though Twitter did not comply with the demands from Schiff’s office at that time, Sperry was banned from the platform three months later, without explanation.

One of the requests from Schiff’s office asked Twitter to “stop the spread of future misinformation” about “committee staff who are not public figures and who were not central actors in impeachment inquiry or the 2020 presidential election.”

What’s that about?

Since When Has Dem America Ever Taught HISTORY?

January 12, 2023

January 6? How About Some Real Dates in American History?

By Steve Feinstein at American Thinker:

History aficionados enjoy noting the passage of significant dates.

They serve as reminders of important events that have shaped America’s past, contributed to our culture and made our country what it is. Unfortunately these days with the rise of wokism, CRT and other ill-intended progressive-sponsored initiatives, traditional American history is being pushed aside and replaced by fake dates and deceptive milestones. Exhibit A, of course, is the crowd control failure incident at the Capitol on January 6.

What we really need is for Americans to know the dates of some of the most meaningful occurrences in our past and truly understand and appreciate how those incidents affected our development as a country.

What follows is a short (but by no means inclusive!) list of important episodes in American history. Some of these are easily recognized, some far less so, but they are all important and worth knowing.

July 4, 1776

The Declaration of Independence is ratified by the Continental Congress, asserting the independence of the United States from Great Britain. Most younger people know that we observe a holiday on this date; not all of them can explain it, however.

September 3, 1783

Britain formally recognizes the independence of the United States with the signing of the Treaty of Paris. This could be thought of as the day America became an undisputed sovereign country.

April 12, 1861

Confederate artillery fires on Fort Sumter in South Carolina’s Charleston Harbor, signifying the start of the American Civil War.

April 9, 1865

Confederate General Robert E. Lee signs the surrender paper to Union General Ulysses Grant, bringing the deadliest war in American history to a close. In terms of war deaths as a percentage of the country’s population, the four-year Civil War is by far the worst. (The war’s 600,000 deaths were 2% of the total population in the 1860s, the equivalent of more than 6 million people today!) It’s also the most damaging war that America has fought on its home soil in terms of the impact on the economy, and both the country’s physical infrastructure and social order.

February 15, 1898

The U.S. Navy battleship Maine blows up in Cuba’s Havana Harbor. No definitive cause is ever discovered, but an outraged America blames it on Spanish sabotage and the event is a central catalyst to the start of the Spanish-American War. The Maine incident is significant as being perhaps the first perceived foreign terrorist act against American interests and personnel with no known, provable perpetrator—a precursor of events that would become all too frustratingly common a century later.

December 7, 1941

Japan attacks the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor Hawaii, sinking or disabling eight American battleships, killing over 2400 U.S. military and civilian personnel and plunging the U.S. into World War II. The attack is masterminded by the brilliant Japanese admiral Isoroku Yamamoto.

April 18, 1942

Reeling from a series of bloody, humiliating defeats at the hands of the Japanese following Pearl Harbor, Colonel Jimmy Doolittle and President Franklin Roosevelt plan and execute an improbable air counterstrike against Japan by American Army bombers, modified to take off from a Navy aircraft carrier. With only 16 American bombers, the size of the attack is too small to be militarily significant, but the Americans achieve complete surprise, bomb the Japanese capital of Tokyo and send the morale of the American public through the roof. It was an incredible example of American derring-do and courage.

April 18, 1943

The result of amazing intelligence work, meticulous planning and incredible skill and bravery by American pilots, a flight of P-38 Lightning fighter planes, flying at the very limit of their range over the vast expanse of uncharted Pacific Ocean, intercept and shoot down the Japanese planes carrying Admiral Yamamoto, the man behind the Pearl Harbor attack. It’s an incredible psychological triumph for America and a crushing loss for Japan.

August 15, 1945

V-J Day, Victory over Japan Day, ending World War II. When I worked in Rhode Island, V-J Day was recognized as an official State Holiday and all businesses and schools were closed. My younger co-workers had no idea what this was all about. None. When I explained it to them, I was met with blank stares and glazed eyes.

September 30, 1954

The world’s first nuclear-powered submarine, the USS Nautilus, is commissioned into service with the U.S. Navy. Free from the limitations of air-breathing engines and weak rechargeable batteries, the Nautilus ushers in a new era of weaponry that will forever change the nature of international relations and national security.

May 5, 1961

Alan Shepard becomes the first American astronaut in space when he pilots the Mercury capsule he’d named “Freedom Seven” successfully in a non-orbital flight of approximately 15 minutes. America was now psychologically (if not quite technically) “even” in the space race with the Soviet Union, after lagging behind Russian cosmonaut Yuri A. Gagarin, who’d completed an orbital flight around the earth in April of 1961.

July 20, 1969

In the climactic event of the so-called space race, American astronauts make a successful landing on the moon, with Neil Armstrong famously saying, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Viewed in retrospect, using equipment and computers that were absolutely archaic by today’s standards, it was an unfathomably incredible feat.

March 8, 1971

Joe Frazier beats Muhammad Ali in The Fight of the Century. This match epitomized the cultural divide that existed in the country at the time (the Establishment vs. the anti-war hippie generation), and it also heralded in the age of big money sports. Paying each fighter a then-unheard of purse of $2.5 million each (over $18 million today), this fight forever changed the standards and expectations about the role and worth of entertainment and sports in American society.

November 4, 1979

Iranian militants storm the American embassy in Tehran, Iran and take 52 Americans hostage, a crisis that wouldn’t be resolved until January 20, 1981. This action, more than any other, gives rise to the visibility and notion of “Muslim terrorism” in the eyes of the American public.

In marked contrast to the list above—every one of which is a real and consequential event in America’s past—there is one date that is getting a lot of undeserved, totally unmerited attention recently: January 6, 2021. An event that was blatantly fabricated by the Democrats and liberal media for the most disingenuous and risably partisan political reasons imaginable, the completely fake Progressive “insurrection” hoax doesn’t even deserve to be legitimized by any recitation of the dozens of factual counter arguments. Suffice to say, the unfortunate reality that this date is pushed as being “important” while actual important dates like August 15, 1945 or July 20, 1969 fade into non-recognition is an all-too-sad-but-true commentary on where the social awareness and collective conscience of this country is headed.


The vital nation

Can America rediscover what made it great?

January 11, 2023 | 10:17 pm


Written by:

by Christopher Buskirk at the Spectator:

What happens when progress stops? That’s an important question in a country whose self-understanding is deeply tied to the idea of progress — material, technological, political and social. America’s first three centuries were characterized by physically pushing its border across the continent, west to the Pacific and then across nearly 2,500 miles of open ocean. It would not have been obvious to early Americans that Hawaii, a tropical archipelago far away from the California coast, would become the nation’s fiftieth state, joined in a political union with the far-distant original states facing the Atlantic. While the country was expanding in size, rapid progress was made in many other areas: science and technology extended the average life span, elevated living standards and promoted social mobility and broad-based prosperity. Americans have come to expect upward movement to continue: GDP will keep rising and science will make us healthier and wealthier, while political and cultural movements will make us better, happier people.

But progress has slowed, stalled or even reversed in recent decades. Technology is still advancing, but primarily in the digital world. People get married later and have fewer children; life span stopped increasing and has actually declined in the past several years, even before the onset of Covid-19. It now takes two incomes to support a family of four in the middle class; one income was sufficient as recently as the 1980s. Self-reported levels of happiness have dropped. Social trust is diminishing and the social consensus is badly frayed. Distrust of gatekeepers is widespread. The institutions responsible for protecting and advancing the interests of the nation — political, cultural, academic — have failed in their core mission and have become self-interested to the point of sociopathy. In short, America has not been moving upward.

The uncomfortable fact is that civilizational progress doesn’t happen by some law of nature and is not guaranteed to continue indefinitely. Civilizations can rise, achieve greatness and then fade, leaving behind evidence of impressive ingenuity. To the modern mind, it is disorienting to realize that earlier civilizations could have been just as prosperous, secure and happy as our own — perhaps more so.

But the trajectory of civilization is not somehow upward by definition. Decline and decay are just as possible as progress. In fact, decay is the default: it’s what happens when you just do nothing. Political scientist Samuel P. Huntington famously argued, following a classic understanding of national cycles, that every nation is in either a state of development or decline. I would offer a modification that gets to the heart of the matter: there is an invisible force that drives development, which I call vitality.

The vitality of a nation can be judged in two ways: by the private life of its people and by its public life. In the private sphere, a nation is successful if the people are physically secure in their lives and their property; if families are being formed and are free, generally prosperous and self-sustaining; and if those families produce at least enough children to maintain a stable population. That sounds simple, because it describes the basic conditions for personal independence, physical security, social continuity and a general sense of wellbeing. Add to this a broadly shared worldview supported by religious piety and practice and one has the conditions for a vital civilization. Rome and Athens had this. America used to have it too.

In the public sphere, civilizational vitality is shown in a capacity for collective action, which is rooted in what the fourteenth-century Arab philosopher Ibn Khaldun called asabiyya. This concept can be understood as social cohesion, national or civilizational purpose, a feeling of being in it together and for the same reasons. When asabiyya is high, societies grow prosperous because high social trust supports complex trade relationships along with specialization and division of labor, allowing for innovation and the production of luxury goods.

Just as personal vitality grows from a strong sense of identity and purpose, civilizational vitality springs from a shared identity that unites people, legitimizes the state and explains its place in the world, and inspires great societal achievements. America has undertaken big projects in the past, from taming the frontier to the early space program, but our ability to accomplish great things as a nation has waned in recent decades. One reason is a fading sense of national identity and purpose.

When the frontier closed, American national identity was largely set, and the nation’s restless energy then went out into a global project — which now seems to have run its course. Will the engine that propelled this country simply burn out? The past few decades in America have been characterized by five major phenomena: globalization, financialization of the economy, science and tech stagnation (despite advances in digital technology), managerialism and risk aversion.

Taken together, these developments have brought us to a crossroads. Numerous indicators of societal health have been trending downward, often reinforcing each other. Some trends owe to factors outside our control, others resulted in part from earlier decisions that were made in good faith and would have seemed right to most smart, informed, well-intentioned people at the time. Now it’s time to reckon with those errors and correct our course.

Many one-time-only advances were made in an earlier era: discovering electricity, preventing polio and other communicable diseases, developing antibiotics. These singular advances brought great material improvements to people’s lives, and the benefits were widely distributed. Let’s look at the average American home in 1900: by the best estimate, only 1 percent of homes had indoor plumbing. There was no electric light, no refrigerator, no telephone, no washing machine, no television, no car parked outside. All these things were standard in the average American home by 1960. The typical home of 2023 wouldn’t look greatly different: the TV is probably a large flatscreen with many more channels; there are multiple phones and maybe no land line; there’s a PC or some laptops and tablets with internet. But the differences aren’t as dramatic as those between 1900 and 1960.

Things were changing fast and for the better before 1960. America was growing, people were living longer and healthier lives, and living standards were rising. There was a lot of momentum behind American expansion, and when progress slowed down it wasn’t really noticeable for a while. But science has been advancing more slowly and at greater cost, resulting in slower development of new technology that improves living standards, a slower increase in productivity, and lower real economic growth.

This is what Tyler Cowen called “the Great Stagnation” in his 2010 book. A decade later, few people seem willing to accept the idea. Acknowledging that we’re in a period of stagnation seems like a form of heresy, even if its effects are all around us: stagnant wages, a widening wealth gap, a shrinking middle class, endless cycles of debt that trap people in what economic anthropologist David Graeber called bullshit jobs —  “a form of paid employment that is so completely pointless, unnecessary, or pernicious that even the employee cannot justify its existence even though, as part of the conditions of employment, the employee feels obliged to pretend that this is not the case.” Obesity and chronic inflammatory diseases have become more widespread. Loneliness and alienation have been rising since before Robert Putnam wrote Bowling Alone in 2000. Social cohesion is weaker and political polarization is sharper. Americans have even stopped having enough children to keep the population steady, let alone expand it, one consequence of which is that the median age of Americans has climbed from 28.1 in 1970 to 38.3 in 2020. As American society has grown older, it has also become more risk-averse, less willing to take on big challenges that could lead to a more prosperous future.

The main consequence of stagnation is a loss of social mobility: the promise of modern American liberalism has been that if you work hard and play by the rules, you will do better than your parents, and if you go to college, a secure place in the middle class should be a near certainty. Now each new generation is doing worse than the one before it; many find themselves running just to stand still. At every stage of life, Generation X has owned a smaller share of the national wealth than baby boomers did at the same median age, while millennials own even less.

It’s easy to see why millennials are sometimes characterized as a Lost Generation and why sociopathologies — including high rates of drug use, sexual dysfunction, depression and other mental health issues — are so much in evidence among them, along with radical politics. They are a large part of American society, but because they hold such a small share of national wealth relative to the preceding generations at their age, they are more alienated from the system and resentful of the status quo. As a result, they look for answers. They’re not just asking, “Why are things the way they are?” but, “I’m an adult now, how do I get my rightful share?” Since the political mainstream appears to have failed them, many are inclined to seek answers outside it. One way to understand the rise of bitcoin is as an end-run around the existing financial system, which remains disproportionately controlled by boomers. The millennials and zoomers who see little hope for success within it are building an alternative.

We’re seeing a pattern of downward mobility and a proletarianization of the American people. There are declining prospects for individuals, increasing precarity, and more social dysfunction. There is more inequality and more polarization, both contributing to institutional decay. These symptoms have been much remarked upon, but the underlying malady has gone undiagnosed. If we want to arrest the disintegrative trends, we need to start by recognizing that the decay is further advanced and far deeper than either the left or the right will admit. It also cuts across the left/right political dialectic that has prevailed since the end of World War Two.

As much as these things are discussed, their causes are often misunderstood. Adding to the slowdown in science,  structural demographic forces  combine to create an environment ripe for conflict. The symptoms of societal decay are typically seen through a narrowly ideological lens. Political liberals blame billionaires, greed and bigotry for growing inequality, and call for redistributing wealth from billionaires to everyone else — which would not solve the underlying problem. Some conservatives see insufficient devotion to the cause of liberty behind the country’s malaise, while others identify a spiritual crisis leading to cultural degradation. While I’m quite sympathetic to the idea that there is a spiritual deficit in America, it is only part of the problem I’m describing here.

Many of the problems facing America today can be seen throughout the developed world, but the solutions will need to be distinctly American. A prerequisite for recovering national vitality is to regain a national purpose and identity. In this age of heightened awareness of group identities, the national identity that binds us together is given short shrift when the very concept isn’t being decried as oppressive. When a people loses its sense of itself and its place and purpose in the world, it disintegrates from within.


After World War Two, the Cold War played a similar role to the frontier. Now the postwar American hyperproject has run its course. The factories have been exported, and proletarianization is trickling up from the American working class to the professional managerial class. Even the merely rich are being left behind by the superrich. Industrial agriculture has exacted a great cost on the family farm and the environment. American pop culture, while still a powerful global phenomenon, is increasingly rejected by people in central and eastern Europe, across Asia, in the Indian subcontinent, and elsewhere in favor of homegrown culture that better reflects local sensibilities. Since 1941, the American military has never been completely at peace. After World War Two came the Cold War and interventions in Korea, Vietnam, Africa, Colombia, Nicaragua, Grenada, Iraq, Kuwait, Bosnia, Somalia, Iraq again, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen and so on. Our military interventions have become a tragic farce that undermines our security, bleeds our young people and distracts attention from problems at home. The Great Power competition of the nineteenth century gave way to the ideological conflict of the twentieth century and is now being replaced by rivalries between civilization-states, particularly China, India and Russia.

These are big changes in the way the world works, yet American elites still cling to a worldview born in the 1940s. It’s past time to rethink the national project and identity, and then move forward boldly.

One prerequisite for moving in a positive direction is to recognize the value of accepting risk. That may seem counterintuitive when any number of studies demonstrate that most people will choose security over freedom, justice, equality, or almost anything else. In fact, it’s difficult to accomplish normal things like raising a family when you have too much risk in your life, especially the wrong types of risk: There’s a big difference between the risk of taking Oxycontin and that of starting a homestead on the edge of civilization.

The mitigation of risk is perfectly human and generally beneficial, but it also breeds complacency and a reluctance to take on big challenges that can move us forward. Looking back at the successes of the past several generations, it’s too easy to assume that progress is simply natural, when in fact it results from bold and courageous action.

Taking risks was a defining part of the American culture from the time the Pilgrims crossed an ocean to settle in a strange land, through the era of pioneers in covered wagons venturing into the wilderness, to the day that astronauts landed on the moon. Ironically, our society’s present risk aversion puts us in a very risky situation because it has caused stagnation, which increases social dysfunction and political conflict, and makes us less equipped to meet emerging global challenges. We need to recognize the danger we are in and be willing to take on risks to reverse the forces of decay. We can all have a part in restoring the national vitality that benefits all Americans.

This is an edited excerpt from America and the Art of the Possible: Restoring National Vitality in an Age of Decayout now from Encounter Books. 

By Christopher Buskirk