Thursday, October 27, 2016

Throwback Thursday: How Will It End?

The Truman Show, starring Jim Carrey as Truman, is a wonderfully original film about a man whose whole life, unbeknownst to him, has been lived in front of TV cameras. His life is a TV show. The story becomes a vehicle for many insights and questions about our own lives, the roles we play, our level of awareness as regards what is really going on outside our own little world.

One of the themes in the film is a pin Truman is wearing. "When Will It End?"

Despite the comic story line, amplified by Carrey's naturally inventive style, the film is serious in tone. And this question is not simply for Truman's audience, but for each of us as well.

We're all familiar with sayings like "it came to pass," with which we comfort ourselves during hard times or a cold spell. Nothing lasts forever, we say. Yet when we say this, we seldom apply this across the board. We generally live as if we ourselves are not going anywhere any time soon. And by extension, few of us can imagine a future in which the United States is no longer the United States.

So when we read books and articles about the fall of the Roman Empire, designed to teach us lessons about how nations and empires fall, how is it that we do not, almost cannot, relate it to our own nation, which is currently the world's strongest superpower?

Last Saturday I wrote about bread and circuses. Someone responded Monday by sharing an article with me from the Wall Street Journal that day regarding a prediction that the U.S. will be history by 2010. According to Andrew Osborn, a certain Igor Panarin has predicted for more than a decade that the U.S. will break up in a civil war due to economic and moral collapse.

This is no lightweight academic. Panarin is a former KGB analyst who is head of the Russian Foreign Ministry's academy for future diplomats. The factors that will bring us down include "mass immigration, economic decline, and moral degradation"... along with collapse of the dollar. His new portrait of our United States will be a breakup into six pieces, Alaska ultimately returning to Russian control.

The story sounds far fetched, but stranger things have happened. No one expected the USSR to unravel as quickly as it did when the Soviet empire began to implode. Would the Wall Street Journal print something like this if it were the rantings of a lunatic? The friend who forwarded this article found it on The Drudge Report.
There was a time when Britain basked in the glow of knowing that the sun never set on the British Empire. How long can the United States be so blissfully oblivious to the reality that all things must pass?

Which leads directly to my question. How will it end? Nothing lasts forever. We know that. So, what next? The evidence that America is in decline is all around. Predictions of decline have been heralded for some time. How serious is our sickness? Will the patient recover?

Is this all too far out? You tell me... because an inquiring mind wants to know.

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