Home > Uncategorized > For nearly the last 45 years the US has taken the wrong road

For nearly the last 45 years the US has taken the wrong road

from Ken Zimmerman (originally a comment)

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost.

Frost’s poem is usually interpreted with a positive spin. I give it just the opposite interpretation here.

Commenting today on the world around us is difficult because for nearly the last 45 years the US has taken the wrong road. On the economic side the US has tried to force a brutal neoliberal agenda down the throat first of the world’s poorest nations, then the USSR after 1990, then the developed nations, and finally every non-wealthy American citizen. That effort increased world poverty, especially among children, even in the US, destroyed the US as a manufacturing nation, put the final nails in the coffin of the American middle-class and decimated American workers, deeply embittered three generations of Americans, and facilitated the rise of China as an economic, political, and military world power.

Also, on this road America took a neoconservative path.  A ‘Real Politick’ path. The US focused on direct power and control. Often military. For example, the dozen wars in which the US has engaged since 1975.  Particularly,  the US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan and the 20 year wars following the invasions. Neoconservatism is about projecting threat to and fear for America’s enemies, foreign and domestic. It firmly believes that power flows from the barrel of a gun. But would be appalled to know Mao Zedung wrote this in his ‘little red book.’ Said another way Neoconservatives are both grossly ignorant and grossly arrogant.  Proven to be a dangerous combination. Mostly for their victims. All this fits well with the same version of democracy as that of the men who wrote the Constitution. Only white men can vote or hold office. The only legitimate political power is white power.

And you wonder why more folks don’t feel like speaking up.

  1. November 23, 2021 at 8:46 pm

    BUT KEN, You forget — no matter how much damage Neo-liberalism does to Americans, we still live in THE GREATEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD — -right??? (so isn’t that enough? who needs clean water, air, jobs, health care, democracy???)

    • robert locke
      November 23, 2021 at 11:52 pm

      it is not the greatest, but the stupidest, i wriite this after returning from europe to live again in the us.

  2. pfeffertag
    November 23, 2021 at 11:58 pm

    There is a relevant cartoon version of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s theory that stupidity is more dangerous than malice here

    It concludes saying that people need to be released from their stupidity. I agree but it is also important that stupidity be slapped down in the name of decency. Enlightenment—Saul becomes Paul—is nice but coercion is what stupid people understand. The opposite is happening in the US today—authority figures encourage them.

    In yesterday’s NYT Michelle Goldberg writes an overview of the crumbling US democracy: Biden is only a temporary reprieve; gerrymandering is out of hand; people despair that America will recover. See

  3. pfeffertag
    November 23, 2021 at 11:59 pm

    I apologise for the grotesque graphics in that post. Had I known that would happen, I would have spiked the links.

  4. Meta Capitalism
    November 24, 2021 at 3:53 am

    America is a backsliding democracy heading for a bizarre incarnation of fascism that is a monstrous hybrid slurry of conspiracist beliefs, religious and market fundamentalism, and angry racist white supremacy. America has been mainstreaming extremism in many forms since Ronald Reagan demonized government as THE problem and Newt Gingrich weaponized extremist hate rhetoric into the mainstream politics of the GOP. Dog whistles are no longer needed; blatant racist rhetoric does just fine now, to wit the concluding remarks of the defense in the trial of the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, a modern day case of lynching, when they go so low as to speak about his “dirty toenails” as if he is to blame for being black and jogging in the neighborhood. Angry white men with military assault rifles have now been given the green light to engage in violent vigilantism as they please, as evidence by the acquittal of Kyle Rittenhouse.

    And it is not just the right that is suffering from the Dunning-Kruger effect, many are just as willfully ignorant thinking they know more than the experts from watching a YouTube video of some cryptocurrency huckster selling fear and lies and half-truths and misinformation. You cannot teach the unteachable. And when the unteachable gain the reigns of power a civilization is doomed.

  5. Chuck+Willer
    November 24, 2021 at 6:37 am

    Ken, I would amend your indictment regarding “facilitated the rise of China as an economic, political, and military world power.” China was destined to be a power no mater what path the U.S. took. One could reference such works as ReOrient: Global Economy in the Asian Age by Andre Gunder Frank. But, I once saw a statement about salmon canneries on the coast of Oregon before WWI. The writer said something to the effect of “with abundant salmon in the coastal streams all one needed to open a cannery was Chinese labor to make the cans.” That statement, whether true or not, has stuck with me as I’ve watched the rise of China for the past thirty years.

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