Tuesday, May 23, 2023

The Slow Strangling of the American Ideal

“The percentage of Americans owning homes - the modern equivalent of the founding ideal of land-owning an empowered citizens is again declining.  The average net worth of Americans at retirement is also plunging.  About 40 percent of American adults can only make minimum payments on their mounting credit-card debt.  Such stagnation occurs at a moment the federal government is is borrowing trillions of dollars for the greatest array of redistributive entitlements in history.

All these statistics have consequences for the nation as a whole.  The ages at which Americans marry, have their first child, or buy a home have risen to new highs.  American fertility rates reach new modern lows.  The native-born population of the United States shrinks and ages.  In circular fashion, once middle-class viability erodes, an ever-expanding government is asked to subsidize Americans in vain attempts to provide some of the entitlements that citizens once confidently earned themselves.

The result is the very government-induced dependency about which the nineteenth century Americanophile Alexis de Tocqueville once warned: an ennui of prolonged adolescence replacing the pride and dynamism of the self-reliant citizen.”  

Victor Davis Hanson - Western Citizenship

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