“The woman Folly is riotous;
She is thoughtlessness, and knoweth nothing.”
— Proverbs 9:13
History is written by the victors. In losing, Herr Hitler had given a bad name to the old order. It would be a new era.
The new era brought a new level of prosperity to America. It lasted for a generation. In the parlance of behavioral science, that prosperity created a context of satiation . . . one that would turn hard-won prosperity into self-indulgent luxury.
Satiation is a state that results from excessive presentation of positive reinforcement (www.inescapableconsequences.com). Just finished a big meal? Want another? No? Satiation.
In a prolonged state of satiation, behavior tends to come under the control of adventitious consequences and their antecedents. Previously trivial events begin to acquire a new and potent power over people’s actions.
So it was with Americans. Her youth, especially, would begin to strangle the goose that was laying the golden eggs. Never having been exposed to the despair of deprivation during the 1930′s followed by the anxiety and fear of total war during the early 1940′s, by the 1960′s young Americans were turning against their own country in the name of peace, equality, “self-actualization”, random copulation, imagined identity between the sexes, and equality of outcome irrespective of merit . . . all of which combined now might be termed “Radical Maternalism” . . . all to be supported by the public treasury via newly-discovered “rights” and “entitlements”. Eventually, these so-called rights and entitlements would become extended to the extreme of non-human pets. (See the previous posting, “My Pet Is Your Peeve”.) The new American culture was being born. Progressives were acting as midwives.
The seeds of Radical Maternalism had taken root in 1920 with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment prohibiting the denial of voting rights based upon gender. Previously, although nothing in the Constitution had prohibited women from voting, all states but two, New Jersey then Wyoming, had done so. The Founding Fathers had left the matter to the individual states. After 1920, it would take almost two generations, for the consequences of universal suffrage to be revealed.
Obviously, women differ from men anatomically and physiologically. They also differ mentally. Women, for example, produce relatively low levels of testosterone and cycle menstrually as determined by continuously shifting levels of estrogen and progesterone. They tend to show increased aggressivity during the initial, estrogenic phase of the cycle followed by passivity and nesting in the latter, progesteronic phase. In contrast, men produce consistently high levels of testosterone, which builds muscular mass and generates relatively high and continuous levels of aggressivity. Social consequences stem from these biological differences.
Women tend to be maternalistic . . . men, paternalistic. Maternalism tends to place mercy before justice . . . paternalism, the converse. Optimally, society tempers paternalism with maternalism to achieve a balance of justice tempered by mercy . . . strength tempered by compassion. A paternalistic society without maternalism is strong but harsh. A maternalistic society without paternalism, compassionate but weak.
The extent to which biology coupled with universal suffrage has determined the modern American culture remains unknown. One consequence is clear. Women have gained authority and power to the point of sociologically emasculating the American male. Women possessing such power is a recent event by historical standards. Female monarchs notwithstanding, no modern society ever has had a matriarchal form of government. Whereas it seems just and fair for men to have given women the vote, the ultimate consequences of having done so will tell the tale.
As had occurred during the 1930′s, in the 1960′s Americans increasingly were bringing their behaviors under the control of antecedents instead of consequences. Again, the antecedents were hollow promises . . . promises echoing the Progressive voices of the past. The delayed consequences of such folly would be real and terrible . . . consequences filled with economic debt, military defeat, and social deterioration. They would amount to the destruction of American “exceptionalism”, in its best sense, and much of all Americans’ liberty and well-being.
What were some of the forms these antecedents, behaviors, and consequences took? How did they unfold over the years?
In 1964 with an overwhelmingly Democratic congress, LBJ intentionally misled the American people about North Vietnamese military activity in the Gulf of Tonkin and took America into a military conflict with neither a declaration of war by the Congress nor a determination to win. He was following in the footsteps of a Democratic predecessor, President Harry S. Truman (1884-1972), who similarly had taken America militarily into Korea but under the quasi-international auspices of a recently-created United Nations.
In Korea, the long-term consequences would be a continued, divided Korean Peninsula and a nuclear-armed North Korea led by self-serving, totalitarian Communists. The consequences in Viet Nam? Despite the economic costs, LBJ had promised America “guns and butter”. He delivered debt, defeat, and humiliation. The North Vietnamese general, Võ Nguyên Giáp (b. 1911), later would admit that his greatest strength derived from the anti-American activities of Americans themselves. Those “useful idiots”, as the Communists called them, frolicked joyfully in the will-sapping soup of satiation while thousands of their countrymen died in combat by order of a president whom the anti-patriots themselves had elected.
Also in 1964, not to be distracted totally by foreign affairs, domestically LBJ launched his “War on Poverty”, bringing millions of Americans into financial dependence upon the largesse of the federal government . . . a largesse that they could increase simply by voting themselves more. In addition, together with Senator Teddy Kennedy (1932-2009), a plagiarist and womanslayer, LBJ opened the floodgates of immigration to peoples of non-Western heritage. Contrary to the antecedent of Teddy’s promise, the consequence would be major cultural transformation of America. From a somewhat uni-cultural, Christian country mainly homogeneous and European in heritage, based upon solid old-English values, LBJ and his fellow Democrats transformed America into a multi-cultural, secular country of increasingly heterogeneous racial and ethnic heritages, based upon the mercurial values of Radical Maternalism.
Then came 1971 and something of a replay in reverse of FDR’s confiscation of gold a generation earlier. President Richard M. Nixon (1913-1994) renounced the by-then largely defunct gold-standard, allowing a now-baseless U.S. dollar to “float” against other currencies. The consequence was a frightened Arabia and a gigantic rise in the price of oil coupled with severe shortages. Despite a subsequent reduction in the percentage of energy derived from imported oil over the years, Big Oil would retain a grip on the economic throat of Americans, unwittingly aided by self-appointed “environmentalists” also known as “watermelons”, green outside and red inside, against every form of alternative, economically viable energy.
The year 1971 also ushered in a so-called War On Drugs. It represented a giant extension of the Harrison Act of 1915, originally intended to regulate opiates not to persecute physicians and imprison addicted patients. The consequences have been a serious erosion of civil liberties and the incarceration of tens of thousands of otherwise law-abiding citizens . . . all for nothing in terms of the stated goal of reducing the traffic of illicit drugs.
Today, the USA has the highest rate of incarceration in the world, mostly for drug-related offenses. In terms of unstated goals, however, the related laws allowed federal authorities a previously unrivaled invasion of individual privacy, declared wartime excepted. With the end of the Cold War, the “War On Drugs” would establish a context for an unchallenged America to demand foreign countries violate their own laws regarding governance by the providing of private information about all Americans and others. It even would serve as a pretext for an American military invasion of Panama with the killing of four thousand Panamanians and the kidnapping of its president. Subsequently, a so-called War On Terror would escalate the invasion against constitutional rights domestically and American extra-territorial demands internationally.
Meanwhile, what had become of LBJ’s shooting war in Viet Nam? Following national riots in 1968, newly-elected President Nixon had promised “peace with honor”. He delivered defeat with dishonor. In 1975 with her forces in Viet Nam de-funded by a Democratic Congress, America conceded defeat for the first time in her history and beat a hasty, disorganized retreat. The USA would have won handily were it not for the new cultural context symbolized by her feckless politicians and her Big Media promoting the propaganda of the anti-patriots. Playing to the same mob, those same politicians then proceeded to de-fund partially the entire U.S. military. America was trading her proud and winning culture from the nineteenth century for a self-loathing and losing one into the twenty-first.
Then in 1979, President Jimmy Carter (b. 1924) withdrew American support for her long-time ally, the Shah of Iran; directly leading to his abdication. In his stead, Iran welcomed a Mohammedan theological fanatic, Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (1902-1989), whom Mr. Carter jubilantly but wrongly heralded as an emissary of democracy and peace. Facing terrible economic “stagflation” and incapable of rescuing American diplomats imprisoned in their own embassy in Tehran, Mr. Carter lost the election of 1980.
By 1981, the consequence of the economic policies of the 1960′s and 1970′s was that the USA formally had became the largest debtor-country in the world, theretofore having been the largest creditor-country. Since passing that shameful milestone, her national debt has increased under every president if one includes liabilities deceitfully deemed “off-budget” by the politicians.
In keeping with escalating debt, since the 1960′s America steadily had been losing industrially to foreign countries paying low-wages . . . thereby destroying her own manufacturing base previously paying high wages. American politicians defended this trend by waving the banner of “free trade” advocated by Adam Smith. Their deceit camouflaged an unacknowledged problem . . . the trade was not truly free. It was one-sided against America, allowing free flow of goods in from countries blocking the free flow of goods out. The consequence would be higher debt, lower wages, and increased unemployment for Americans.
The antecedents for these trade-related deals were politicians’ promises that the deals would be good for American consumers, ignoring the fact that consumers not dependent upon governmental largesse also would become unemployed workers. Yes, the deals meant a temporary, lower inflation. Also, they meant higher debt. Real incomes fell. By the end of the twentieth century, it would require both parents of the average American family to be working in order to earn the same income as earned by only the husband-father thirty years previously. Then again, husband-fathers were becoming archaic.
Sociologically, America witnessed the concomitant rise of the previously ostracized “single mom” and unsupervised “latchkey-children”. The politicians reassured voters not to worry. Their maternalistic government would breast-feed those in need via more “food-stamps” (originally an agricultural program to aid farming not a social program to promote illegitimacy) as well as increased Medicaid, SSI, “earned income tax-rebates”, subsidized telephonic service, etc. Their message was FDR’s amplified many fold. Trust government . . . Depend upon government . . . Government knows best.
All was not gloom, however. By the end of his second term in 1989, President Ronald Reagan (1911-2004) had accomplished what few had said could be done . . . defeat of the Soviet Union without a shot having been fired. The Democrats in America, many of whom had expressed sympathy for the Soviets’ professed intent if not their committed acts, minimized Mr. Reagan’s role in defeating the totalitarian “evil empire” . . . however, the Eastern Europeans who had suffered and died under that ruthless realm hailed the American President as a hero.
So ended the “Cold War” and with it the era of Post-Wartime. In hindsight, compared to the first half of the twentieth century, the second half better might be termed the “Long Peace”. The consequence of President Reagan’s magnificent feat would be a reconfiguration of international politics and socio-economics. Meanwhile, salivating American politicians anticipated an economic “peace-dividend” to be used furthering their buying of votes. The peace-dividend would be short-lived. Their buying of votes would not.