The Thin Veneer of American Civilization

The Thin Veneer of American Civilization, by Victor Davis Hanson.

Nine months ago, New York was a thriving, though poorly governed, metropolis. It was coasting on the more or less good governance of its prior two mayors and on its ancestral role as the global nexus of finance and capital.

The city is now something out of a postmodern apocalyptic movie, reeling from the effects of a neutron bomb. Ditto in varying degrees Minneapolis, Portland, Seattle, and San Francisco — the anti-broken-windows metropolises of America. Walking in San Francisco today reminds me of visiting Old Cairo in 1973, although the latter lacked the needles and feces of the former. …

Political violence emerges:

Once upon a time, trying to torch a federal courthouse would earn years in prison. And simply taking over a large chunk of a downtown to re-create Lord of the Flies was unthinkable. Not now. Today you can go to jail for reopening a gym that requires masks, social distancing, and constant cleansing with antiseptics. But you will not go to jail if you assemble en masse to riot, unmasked, armored with makeshift padding, umbrellas, and helmets, and you’re free to shout and spray in the faces of officers and fellow looters and rioters alike.

When will the normal people put an end to this nonsense?

Yet this is the hard phase, the Jacobin moment of the Revolution. And we have not seen the full extent of the ongoing counterrevolution that will thin out the violent in the streets and in some ways fall more heavily on those who have empowered it. There will be a counterrevolution because without one there is not much of America left. And about 250 million people liked the America prior to March 1 and finally, in extremis, won’t so easily give it up.

To almost every Jacobin tactic, from defunding the police to violent attacks on federal property, the people are opposed. …

What will the counterrevolutionary entail in areas beyond politics? I wager that the NBA, the NFL, and perhaps even major-league baseball will soon have a come-to-Jesus moment. Either they will continue with the kneeling, the left-wing sloganeering, the mock-heroic logos, and the finger-pointing at their audiences, and thus slowly grow shriller and more irrelevant as Americans refuse to subsidize insults to their persons and country — or they will quietly return to the pre-Kaepernick world (as the NFL, for example, had in 2019) when politics was seen as bad business in a business, for-profit sport. …

The veneer of unbiased media “reporting” is now completely ripped off:

Polls show that Americans by overwhelming numbers now believe that the media are hopelessly biased. NBC and other networks and cable outlets are laying off employees. The no-holds-barred arenas of the Internet and social media are replacing newspapers and televised news as sources of public information — not because they are more accurate or less biased, but because consumers can access their bias and inaccuracy at far cheaper prices. Woke journalists have bragged that they no longer need to be anachronistically disinterested in the age of Trump. So why pay a marquee reporter $200,000 when you can get a comparable flack to write the same stuff online for a tenth of the price?

The de-legitimization of US society proceeds apace. The upcoming election will be seen as a referendum on whether it should continue. Do you think the Marxist revolutionaries will accept a negative result?