Ayn Rand said the U.S. was more fragile than it looked . . . back in 1957. She also had a pretty good idea of why that was so. Writers and commentators have recycled her arguments for years, usually without attribution and usually without delving into deeper causes. Victor Davis Hanson does the same, but this article won’t take you as long to read as Atlas Shrugged. At least he cited Adam Smith. From Hanson at amgreatness.com:
Like a stunned adolescent whose reckless incompetence totaled the family car, the Left seems shocked that America proved so fragile after all.
Our elites assume that all our nation’s past violent protests, all its would-be revolutions, all its cultural upheavals, all its institutionalized lawlessness were predicated on one central truth—America’s central core is so strong, so rich, and so resilient that it can withstand almost any assault.
So, we can afford 120 days in 2020 of mass rioting, $2 billion in damage, some 35 killed, and 1,500 police injured.
Certainly, we can afford to restructure all our universities, eliminate free expression and speech, and institute Maoist cultural revolutionary fervor in our revered institutions of higher learning—once the world’s greatest levers of scientific advancement and technological progress.
We can jettison merit in every endeavor, from banning the world’s great books to grading math tests to running chemistry experiments. And still, a resilient America won’t notice.
We assumed that our foundational documents—the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution—our natural bounty in North America, our cherished rule of law, our legal immigration traditions that drew in the most audacious and hardworking on the planet, and our guarantees of personal freedom and liberty led to such staggering wealth and affluence that nothing much that this mediocre generation could do would ever endanger our resilience.