Will the End of the Empire Be Slow and Gradual?

Robert Higgs thinks so, and considers this to be a good thing. He explains why here. Higgs’ analysis is fairly similar to that of Martin Van Creveld. According to these thinkers, maintenance of the Empire will eventually prove cost prohibitive and the Empire will begin to recede. Perhaps the U.S. will eventually begin to look more like the European Union, militarily weak externally but increasingly totalitarian and ideologically-driven internally.

The major point of contention I have with Higgs’ analysis is the allusion to the Tea Partiers as representing the “threat of fascism.” Chomsky has made similar statements in recent times. All political, cultural, demographic, and generational trends indicate that left-liberalism is on the rise and “right-wing conservatism” is on the decline. We see even the younger generation of the religious right adopting the liberal line on issues like global warming and immigrants’ rights. The hysteria that some people push today concerning the “fascist threat” posed by talk radio, militias, Tea Parties, etc. is totally out of whack. Characters like Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity, etc. are more comparable to the politicized televangelist phenomenon of the 80s. Liberal interest groups raised dire threats about the threat of fascism represented by those as well. But where are they now? They’ve either died out, had their credibility eliminated through repeat scandals, or become increasingly marginalized or irrelevant. The current wave of talk radio loudmouths are a more secularized version of the same phenomenon, and they’ve already experienced a somewhat similar fate, e.g. Limbaugh’s drug addiction, William Bennett’s gambling addiction, etc. At best, the Tea Party/talk radio milieu is comparable to the enduring but marginal, disreputable, and largely unpopular right-wing nationalist movements in Europe, e.g. the BNP, the National Front, etc. If anything, the latter have more credibility than the former.

All the more reason why any serious or comprehensive analysis of the System desperately needs to include the critique of Cultural Marxism and the therapeutic state advanced by Gottfried, Szasz, etc.

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