Our rendezvous with oblivion

That anyone thinks of Hillary Clinton as presidential is the genuinely most astonishing outcome of the American election. She can only be viable if the problems that beset the United States are invisible to the majority of the people who will be voting. She offers no solutions to any existing problems, she has failed to deal with every major political issue she has ever faced, and she has no policies that would in any way address any of the issues that are confronting the United States and the Western world.

Victor Davis Hanson has written another piece trying to alert others to the catastrophic future that lies right before us if Hillary is elected. I am now astonished at the meme that has developed about how awful the two candidates are, as if one is as bad as the other. That is a Democrat talking point that is aimed at those who might vote Republican. Why bother? Trump is just as bad as her, so what’s the difference? Might as well vote for Hillary.

All I can say is that if you don’t know what difference it will make, you are about as dumb as any of the people described by Hanson, who are our predecessors from the past. His article is titled, America’s civilizational paralysis. Here’s the analogy – this is us:

Given the hardship and sacrifice that would have been required to change the late Byzantine mindset, most residents of Constantinople plodded on to their rendezvous with oblivion in 1453.

It is, to mix metaphors, step by step until we are over the waterfall. He is filled with a kind of weariness about our collective attitudes that will be our doom.

Under the Obama administration, the old postwar order led by the security guarantees of the United States abruptly ended—the vacuum filled by ascendant regional (and often nuclear) hegemons. Russia is expanding control, or at least influence, over the old Soviet republics and Eastern Europe. China carves out a new version of the old Japanese Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere at the expense of the democracies in Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, and Australia. Iran is on the path to be the nuclear adjudicator of the Persian Gulf’s oil depot. Radical Islamic terrorism has made the Middle East a wasteland.

America’s “lead from behind” abdication is variously explained by financial weakness, anti-imperial politics, or simply exhaustion. But the result is not so ambiguous: to restore deterrence as it existed before 2009 could be in the short-term as hazardous and costly as the long-term consequences of appeasement are fatal.

What would once have been seen as radical neglect of our existential problems is now the normal way of getting by one more day. What destroys civilizations are not, as popularly advertised, plagues, global warming, or hostile tribes on the horizon, as much as self-indulgence, self-delusion—and, finally, abject paralysis.

But here is David Gelernter with the now typical Republican, pass the smelling salts and vote for Trump. How pathetic this is:

I’ll vote for Mr. Trump—grimly. But there is no alternative, no shadow of a responsible alternative.

Mr. Trump’s candidacy is a message from the voters. He is the empty gin bottle they have chosen to toss through the window.

Are there no positive reasons to vote for Trump? Is there nothing in his policies or ambitions that overlap with the kinds of things you want? He mentions Trump’s stand on open borders and migration as if it’s just a fluke that he was the only candidate who wishes to do something. So in the end, this is what he writes:

There is only one way to take part in protecting this nation from Hillary Clinton, and that is to vote for Donald Trump. A vote for anyone else or for no one might be an honest, admirable gesture in principle, but we don’t need conscientious objectors in this war for the country’s international standing and hence for the safety of the world and the American way of life. It’s too bad one has to vote for Mr. Trump. It will be an unhappy moment at best. Some people will feel dirty, or pained, or outright disgraced.

But when all is said and done, it’s no big deal of a sacrifice for your country. I can think of bigger ones.

It’s better than saying it will make no difference, but only by a bit.

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