Many attribute countries’ falls to a purposeful and scheming series of methods by individual actors. America, as it is today, has doomed itself. It would be easy to procure an easy argument by blaming trends on the baby boomers or the millennials (it isn’t them). Instead, I will blame Marx. I know. Let me explain.
A large portion of my thought here is rooted in Hannah Arendt’s text, “On Revolution.” Arendt talks about “the Social Problem” or poverty as being the leading cause for the French Revolution’s failure. America, on the other hand, had plenty of resources. As a result, the “needs” of the French people superseded their “wants”. These needs include the essentials in life: food, shelter and clothing. All derivatives of Labor or Marxian philosophy’s most pressing concern. Arendt believes that Marx’s focus on Labor was misguided because he only saw it as a historical element rather than a political one. His revolutionary thought did not wander into the dangers of Labor and need becoming political forces. Once the shift happened, it was too late. Quoting Robespierre, Arendt describes how they had come to a moment when a revolution could have led to a great “new” but instead France stayed the course for a new despotic leader in Napoleon.
Arendt saw America’s revolution as one that was nourished by plenty. America was not stretched thin for resources. Labor, as a political event, did not make its way into a political foray. Instead, the idea of freedom and nation building reigned. Clearly, not for the slaves who suffered shortages and plights abound but the “founding fathers” persisted. They succeeded where France fell short – a new and unique nation was born.
Today, how can we discuss the state of America without reintroducing Labor into the political front? The assault against people’s very basic needs is waged by modern political tyrants. Souls who only know wealth and never seem to have concerns about accessing America’s “milk and honey” are also the ones creating the assault against the basic needs of other Americans. Political operatives from the lowest valley to the highest echelon of America are seeking to take advantage of the massive wealth and power disparities to further garnish themselves. The Affordable Care Act doesn’t have a single sleep filled night since its incarnation. Anyone who has received government assistance for food or shelter has rarely escaped the stigmatization of having anything provided to them. Marx would cry for a revolution to normalize this instead of maintaining its heightened ostracization. Too late, Karl.
As a result of Labor being placed outside of the political spectrum, right’s language has faltered to keep up with it. French people bled, withered away, and died because of their “needs” not being met. Today that very thing is happening in America but instead of shame at not helping people live, the suffering is greeted with “I don’t believe that is a fundamental right.” France meets many of its people to insure that they can survive yet politicians in the Democratic and Republican world say “That is too big.” They don’t challenge because they find solace in their needs being met.
It is clear we stand at a precipice. I wish I could believe that we are not set to go reeling over the edge. But, it is hard to be optimistic when so many struggle to just survive. Volatility feels like what many American’s cradle and they cannot put it down. The American Way is so afraid of exercising a control and clear-mind that we only have one way to go: down.