Decline Is a Choice

Credit: Charles Krauthammer of The Weekly Standard

The weathervanes of conventional wisdom are engaged in another round of angst about America in decline. New theories, old slogans: Imperial overstretch. The Asian awakening. The post-American world. Inexorable forces beyond our control bringing the inevitable humbling of the world hegemon.


On the other side of this debate are a few--notably Josef Joffe in a recent essay in Foreign Affairs--who resist the current fashion and insist that America remains the indispensable power. They note that declinist predictions are cyclical, that the rise of China (and perhaps India) are just the current version of the Japan panic of the late 1980s or of the earlier pessimism best captured by Jean-François Revel's How Democracies Perish.

The anti-declinists point out, for example, that the fear of China is overblown. It's based on the implausible assumption of indefinite, uninterrupted growth; ignores accumulating externalities like pollution (which can be ignored when growth starts from a very low baseline, but ends up making growth increasingly, chokingly difficult); and overlooks the unavoidable consequences of the one-child policy, which guarantees that China will get old before it gets rich.

And just as the rise of China is a straight-line projection of current economic trends, American decline is a straight-line projection of the fearful, pessimistic mood of a country war-weary and in the grip of a severe recession.

Among these crosscurrents, my thesis is simple: The question of whether America is in decline cannot be answered yes or no. There is no yes or no. Both answers are wrong, because the assumption
that somehow there exists some predetermined inevitable trajectory, the result of uncontrollable external forces, is wrong. Nothing is inevitable. Nothing is written. For America today, decline is not a condition. Decline is a choice. Two decades into the unipolar world that came about with the fall of the Soviet Union, America is in the position of deciding whether to abdicate or retain its dominance. Decline--or continued ascendancy--is in our hands.

Not that decline is always a choice. Britain's decline after World War II was foretold, as indeed was that of Europe, which had been the dominant global force of the preceding centuries. The civilizational suicide that was the two world wars, and the consequent physical and psychological exhaustion, made continued dominance impossible and decline inevitable.

The corollary to unchosen European collapse was unchosen American ascendancy. We--whom Lincoln once called God's "almost chosen people"--did not save Europe twice in order to emerge from the ashes as the world's co-hegemon. We went in to defend ourselves and save civilization. Our dominance after World War II was not sought. Nor was the even more remarkable dominance after the Soviet collapse. We are the rarest of geopolitical phenomena: the accidental hegemon and, given our history of isolationism and lack of instinctive imperial ambition, the reluctant hegemon--and now, after a near-decade of strenuous post-9/11 exertion, more reluctant than ever.

Which leads to my second proposition: Facing the choice of whether to maintain our dominance or to gradually, deliberately, willingly, and indeed relievedly give it up, we are currently on a course towards the latter. The current liberal ascendancy in the United States--controlling the executive and both houses of Congress, dominating the media and elite culture--has set us on a course for decline. And this is true for both foreign and domestic policies. Indeed, they work synergistically to ensure that outcome.

The current foreign policy of the United States is an exercise in contraction. It begins with the demolition of the moral foundation of American dominance. In Strasbourg, President Obama was asked about American exceptionalism. His answer? "I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism." Interesting response. Because if everyone is exceptional, no one is.

Indeed, as he made his hajj from Strasbourg to Prague to Ankara to Istanbul to Cairo and finally to the U.N. General Assembly, Obama drew the picture of an America quite exceptional--exceptional in moral culpability and heavy-handedness, exceptional in guilt for its treatment of other nations and peoples. With varying degrees of directness or obliqueness, Obama indicted his own country for arrogance, for dismissiveness and derisiveness (toward Europe), for maltreatment of natives, for torture, for Hiroshima, for Guantánamo, for unilateralism, and for insufficient respect for the Muslim world.

Quite an indictment, the fundamental consequence of which is to effectively undermine any moral claim that America might have to world leadership, as well as the moral confidence that any nation needs to have in order to justify to itself and to others its position of leadership. According to the new dispensation, having forfeited the mandate of heaven--if it ever had one--a newly humbled America now seeks a more modest place among the nations, not above them.

But that leads to the question: How does this new world govern itself? How is the international system to
function?

Henry Kissinger once said that the only way to achieve peace is through hegemony or balance of power. Well, hegemony is out. As Obama said in his General Assembly address, "No one nation can or should try to dominate another nation." (The "can" in that declaration is priceless.) And if hegemony is out, so is balance of power: "No balance of power among nations will hold."

The president then denounced the idea of elevating any group of nations above others--which takes care, I suppose, of the Security Council, the G-20, and the Western alliance. And just to make the point unmistakable, he denounced "alignments of nations rooted in the cleavages of a long-gone Cold War" as making "no sense in an interconnected world." What does that say about NATO? Of our alliances with Japan and South Korea? Or even of the European Union?

This is nonsense. But it is not harmless nonsense. It's nonsense with a point. It reflects a fundamental view that the only legitimate authority in the international system is that which emanates from "the community of nations" as a whole. Which means, I suppose, acting through its most universal organs such as, again I suppose, the U.N. and its various agencies. Which is why when Obama said that those who doubt "the character and cause" of his own country should see what this new America--the America of the liberal ascendancy--had done in the last nine months, he listed among these restorative and relegitimizing initiatives paying up U.N. dues, renewing actions on various wholly vacuous universalist declarations and agreements, and joining such Orwellian U.N. bodies as the Human Rights Council.

These gestures have not gone unnoticed abroad. The Nobel Committee effused about Obama's radical reorientation of U.S. foreign policy. Its citation awarding him the Nobel Peace Prize lauded him for having "created a new climate" in international relations in which "multilateral diplomacy has regained a central position, with emphasis on the role that the United Nations and other institutions can play."

Of course, the idea of the "international community" acting through the U.N.--a fiction and a farce respectively--to enforce norms and maintain stability is absurd. So absurd that I suspect it's really just a metaphor for a world run by a kind of multipolar arrangement not of nation-states but of groups of states acting through multilateral bodies, whether institutional (like the International Atomic Energy Agency) or ad hoc (like the P5+1 Iran negotiators).

But whatever bizarre form of multilateral or universal structures is envisioned for keeping world order, certainly hegemony--and specifically American hegemony--is to be retired.

This renunciation of primacy is not entirely new. Liberal internationalism as practiced by the center-left Clinton administrations of the 1990s--the beginning of the unipolar era--was somewhat ambivalent about American hegemony, although it did allow America to be characterized as "the indispensable nation," to use Madeleine Albright's phrase. Clintonian center-left liberal internationalism did seek to restrain American power by tying Gulliver down with a myriad of treaties and agreements and international conventions. That conscious constraining of America within international bureaucratic and normative structures was rooted in the notion that power corrupts and that external restraints would curb arrogance and overreaching and break a willful America to the role of good international citizen.

But the liberal internationalism of today is different. It is not center-left, but left-liberal. And the new left-liberal internationalism goes far beyond its earlier Clintonian incarnation in its distrust of and distaste for American dominance. For what might be called the New Liberalism, the renunciation of power is rooted not in the fear that we are essentially good but subject to the corruptions of power--the old Clintonian view--but rooted in the conviction that America is so intrinsically flawed, so inherently and congenitally sinful that it cannot be trusted with, and does not merit, the possession of overarching world power.

For the New Liberalism, it is not just that power corrupts. It is that America itself is corrupt--in the sense of being deeply flawed, and with the history to prove it. An imperfect union, the theme of Obama's famous Philadelphia race speech, has been carried to and amplified in his every major foreign-policy address, particularly those delivered on foreign soil. (Not surprisingly, since it earns greater applause over there.)

And because we remain so imperfect a nation, we are in no position to dictate our professed values to others around the world. Demonstrators are shot in the streets of Tehran seeking nothing but freedom, but our president holds his tongue because, he says openly, of our own alleged transgressions towards Iran (presumably involvement in the 1953 coup). Our shortcomings are so grave, and our offenses both domestic and international so serious, that we lack the moral ground on which to justify hegemony.

These fundamental tenets of the New Liberalism are not just theory. They have strategic consequences. If we have been illegitimately playing the role of world hegemon, then for us to regain a legitimate place in the international system we must regain our moral authority. And recovering moral space means renouncing ill-gotten or ill-conceived strategic space.

Operationally, this manifests itself in various kinds of strategic retreat, most particularly in reversing policies stained by even the hint of American unilateralism or exceptionalism. Thus, for example, there is no more "Global War on Terror." It's not just that the term has been abolished or that the secretary of homeland security refers to terrorism as "man-caused disasters." It is that the very idea of our nation and civilization being engaged in a global mortal struggle with jihadism has been retired as well.

The operational consequences of that new view are already manifest. In our reversion to pre-9/11 normalcy--the pretense of pre-9/11 normalcy--antiterrorism has reverted from war fighting to law enforcement. High-level al Qaeda prisoners, for example, will henceforth be interrogated not by the CIA but by the FBI, just as our response to the attack on the USS Cole pre-9/11--an act of war--was to send FBI agents to Yemen.

The operational consequences of voluntary contraction are already evident:

* Unilateral abrogation of our missile-defense arrangements with Poland and the Czech Republic--a retreat being felt all through Eastern Europe to Ukraine and Georgia as a signal of U.S. concession of strategic space to Russia in its old sphere of influence.

* Indecision on Afghanistan--a widely expressed ambivalence about the mission and a serious contemplation of minimalist strategies that our commanders on the ground have reported to the president have no chance of success. In short, a serious contemplation of strategic retreat in Afghanistan (only two months ago it was declared by the president to be a "war of necessity") with possibly catastrophic consequences for Pakistan.

* In Iraq, a determination to end the war according to rigid timetables, with almost no interest in garnering the fruits of a very costly and very bloody success--namely, using our Strategic Framework Agreement to turn the new Iraq into a strategic partner and anchor for U.S. influence in the most volatile area of the world. Iraq is a prize--we can debate endlessly whether it was worth the cost--of great strategic significance that the administration seems to have no intention of exploiting in its determination to execute a full and final exit.

* In Honduras, where again because of our allegedly sinful imperial history, we back a Chávista caudillo seeking illegal extension of his presidency who was removed from power by the legitimate organs of state--from the supreme court to the national congress--for grave constitutional violations.

The New Liberalism will protest that despite its rhetoric, it is not engaging in moral reparations, but seeking real strategic advantage for the United States on the assumption that the reason we have not gotten cooperation from, say, the Russians, Iranians, North Koreans, or even our European allies on various urgent agendas is American arrogance, unilateralism, and dismissiveness. And therefore, if we constrict and rebrand and diminish ourselves deliberately--try to make ourselves equal partners with obviously unequal powers abroad--we will gain the moral high ground and rally the world to our causes.

Well, being a strategic argument, the hypothesis is testable. Let's tally up the empirical evidence of what nine months of self-abasement has brought.

With all the bowing and scraping and apologizing and renouncing, we couldn't even sway the International Olympic Committee. Given the humiliation incurred there in pursuit of a trinket, it is no surprise how little our new international posture has yielded in the coin of real strategic goods. Unilateral American concessions and offers of unconditional engagement have moved neither Iran nor Russia nor North Korea to accommodate us. Nor have the Arab states--or even the powerless Palestinian Authority--offered so much as a gesture of accommodation in response to heavy and gratuitous American pressure on Israel. Nor have even our European allies responded: They have anted up essentially nothing in response to our pleas for more assistance in Afghanistan.

The very expectation that these concessions would yield results is puzzling. Thus, for example, the president is proposing radical reductions in nuclear weapons and presided over a Security Council meeting passing a resolution whose goal is universal nuclear disarmament, on the theory that unless the existing nuclear powers reduce their weaponry, they can never have the moral standing to demand that other states not go nuclear.

But whatever the merits of unilateral or even bilateral U.S.-Russian disarmament, the notion that it will lead to reciprocal gestures from the likes of Iran and North Korea is simply childish. They are seeking the bomb for reasons of power, prestige, intimidation, blackmail, and regime preservation. They don't give a whit about the level of nuclear arms among the great powers. Indeed, both Iran and North Korea launched their nuclear weapons ambitions in the 1980s and the 1990s--precisely when the United States and Russia were radically reducing their arsenals.

This deliberate choice of strategic retreats to engender good feeling is based on the naïve hope of exchanges of reciprocal goodwill with rogue states. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that the theory--as policy--has demonstrably produced no strategic advances. But that will not deter the New Liberalism because the ultimate purpose of its foreign policy is to make America less hegemonic, less arrogant, less dominant.

In a word, it is a foreign policy designed to produce American decline--to make America essentially one nation among many. And for that purpose, its domestic policies are perfectly complementary.

Domestic policy, of course, is not designed to curb our power abroad. But what it lacks in intent, it makes up in effect. Decline will be an unintended, but powerful, side effect of the New Liberalism's ambition of moving America from its traditional dynamic individualism to the more equitable but static model of European social democracy.

This is not the place to debate the intrinsic merits of the social democratic versus the Anglo-Saxon model of capitalism. There's much to be said for the decency and relative equity of social democracy. But it comes at a cost: diminished social mobility, higher unemployment, less innovation, less dynamism and creative destruction, less overall economic growth.

This affects the ability to project power. Growth provides the sinews of dominance--the ability to maintain a large military establishment capable of projecting power to all corners of the earth. The Europeans, rich and developed, have almost no such capacity. They made the choice long ago to devote their resources to a vast welfare state. Their expenditures on defense are minimal, as are their consequent military capacities. They rely on the U.S. Navy for open seas and on the U.S. Air Force for airlift. It's the U.S. Marines who go ashore, not just in battle, but for such global social services as tsunami relief. The United States can do all of this because we spend infinitely more on defense--more than the next nine countries combined.

Those are the conditions today. But they are not static or permanent. They require constant renewal. The express agenda of the New Liberalism is a vast expansion of social services--massive intervention and expenditures in energy, health care, and education--that will necessarily, as in Europe, take away from defense spending.

This shift in resources is not hypothetical. It has already begun. At a time when hundreds of billions of dollars are being lavished on stimulus and other appropriations in an endless array of domestic programs, the defense budget is practically frozen. Almost every other department is expanding, and the Defense Department is singled out for making "hard choices"--forced to look everywhere for cuts, to abandon highly advanced weapons systems, to choose between readiness and research, between today's urgencies and tomorrow's looming threats.

Take, for example, missile defense, in which the United States has a great technological edge and one perfectly designed to maintain American preeminence in a century that will be dominated by the ballistic missile. Missile defense is actually being cut. The number of interceptors in Alaska to defend against a North Korean attack has been reduced, and the airborne laser program (the most promising technology for a boost-phase antiballistic missile) has been cut back--at the same time that the federal education budget has been increased 100 percent in one year.

This preference for social goods over security needs is not just evident in budgetary allocations and priorities. It is seen, for example, in the liberal preference for environmental goods. By prohibiting the drilling of offshore and Arctic deposits, the United States is voluntarily denying itself access to vast amounts of oil that would relieve dependency on--and help curb the wealth and power of--various petro-dollar challengers, from Iran to Venezuela to Russia. Again, we can argue whether the environment versus security trade-off is warranted. But there is no denying that there is a trade-off.

Nor are these the only trade-offs. Primacy in space--a galvanizing symbol of American greatness, so deeply understood and openly championed by John Kennedy--is gradually being relinquished. In the current reconsideration of all things Bush, the idea of returning to the moon in the next decade is being jettisoned. After next September, the space shuttle will never fly again, and its replacement is being reconsidered and delayed. That will leave the United States totally incapable of returning even to near-Earth orbit, let alone to the moon. Instead, for years to come, we shall be entirely dependent on the Russians, or perhaps eventually even the Chinese.

Of symbolic but also more concrete importance is the status of the dollar. The social democratic vision necessarily involves huge increases in domestic expenditures, most immediately for expanded health care. The plans currently under consideration will cost in the range of $1 trillion. And once the budget gimmicks are discounted (such as promises of $500 billion cuts in Medicare which will never eventuate), that means hundreds of billions of dollars added to the monstrous budgetary deficits that the Congressional Budget Office projects conservatively at $7 trillion over the next decade.

The effect on the dollar is already being felt and could ultimately lead to a catastrophic collapse and/or hyperinflation. Having control of the world's reserve currency is an irreplaceable national asset. Yet with every new and growing estimate of the explosion of the national debt, there are more voices calling for replacement of the dollar as the world currency--not just adversaries like Russia and China, Iran and Venezuela, which one would expect, but just last month the head of the World Bank.

There is no free lunch. Social democracy and its attendant goods may be highly desirable, but they have their price--a price that will be exacted on the dollar, on our primacy in space, on missile defense, on energy security, and on our military capacities and future power projection.

But, of course, if one's foreign policy is to reject the very notion of international primacy in the first place, a domestic agenda that takes away the resources to maintain such primacy is perfectly complementary. Indeed, the two are synergistic. Renunciation of primacy abroad provides the added resources for more social goods at home. To put it in the language of the 1990s, the expanded domestic agenda is fed by a peace dividend--except that in the absence of peace, it is a retreat dividend.

And there's the rub. For the Europeans there really is a peace dividend, because we provide the peace. They can afford social democracy without the capacity to defend themselves because they can always depend on the United States.

So why not us as well? Because what for Europe is decadence--decline, in both comfort and relative safety--is for us mere denial. Europe can eat, drink, and be merry for America protects her. But for America it's different. If we choose the life of ease, who stands guard for us?

The temptation to abdicate has always been strong in America. Our interventionist tradition is recent. Our isolationist tradition goes far deeper. Nor is it restricted to the American left. Historically, of course, it was championed by the American right until the Vandenberg conversion. And it remains a bipartisan instinct.

When the era of maximum dominance began 20 years ago--when to general surprise a unipolar world emerged rather than a post-Cold War multipolar one--there was hesitation about accepting the mantle. And it wasn't just among liberals. In the fall of 1990, Jeane Kirkpatrick, -heroine in the struggle to defeat the Soviet Union, argued that, after a half-century of exertion fighting fascism, Nazism, and communism, "it is time to give up the dubious benefits of superpower status," time to give up the "unusual burdens" of the past and "return to 'normal' times." No more balancing power in Europe or in Asia. We should aspire instead to be "a normal country in a normal time."

That call to retreat was rejected by most of American conservatism (as Pat Buchanan has amply demonstrated by his very marginality). But it did find some resonance in mainstream liberalism. At first, however, only some resonance. As noted earlier, the liberal internationalism of the 1990s, the center-left Clintonian version, was reluctant to fully embrace American hegemony and did try to rein it in by creating external restraints. Nonetheless, in practice, it did boldly intervene in the Balkan wars (without the sanction of the Security Council, mind you) and openly accepted a kind of intermediate status as "the indispensable nation."

Not today. The ascendant New Liberalism goes much further, actively seeking to subsume America within the international community--inter pares, not even primus--and to enact a domestic social agenda to suit.

So why not? Why not choose ease and bask in the adulation of the world as we serially renounce, withdraw, and concede?

Because, while globalization has produced in some the illusion that human nature has changed, it has not. The international arena remains a Hobbesian state of nature in which countries naturally strive for power. If we voluntarily renounce much of ours, others will not follow suit. They will fill the vacuum. Inevitably, an inversion of power relations will occur.

Do we really want to live under unknown, untested, shifting multipolarity? Or even worse, under the gauzy internationalism of the New Liberalism with its magically self-enforcing norms? This is sometimes passed off as "realism." In fact, it is the worst of utopianisms, a fiction that can lead only to chaos. Indeed, in an age on the threshold of hyper-proliferation, it is a prescription for catastrophe.

Heavy are the burdens of the hegemon. After the blood and treasure expended in the post-9/11 wars, America is quite ready to ease its burden with a gentle descent into abdication and decline.

Decline is a choice. More than a choice, a temptation. How to resist it?

First, accept our role as hegemon. And reject those who deny its essential benignity. There is a reason that we are the only hegemon in modern history to have not immediately catalyzed the creation of a massive counter-hegemonic alliance--as occurred, for example, against Napoleonic France and Nazi Germany. There is a reason so many countries of the Pacific Rim and the Middle East and Eastern Europe and Latin America welcome our presence as balancer of power and guarantor of their freedom.

And that reason is simple: We are as benign a hegemon as the world has ever seen.

So, resistance to decline begins with moral self-confidence and will. But maintaining dominance is a matter not just of will but of wallet. We are not inherently in economic decline. We have the most dynamic, innovative, technologically advanced economy in the world. We enjoy the highest productivity. It is true that in the natural and often painful global division of labor wrought by globalization, less skilled endeavors like factory work migrate abroad, but America more than compensates by pioneering the newer technologies and industries of the information age.

There are, of course, major threats to the American economy. But there is nothing inevitable and inexorable about them. Take, for example, the threat to the dollar (as the world's reserve currency) that comes from our massive trade deficits. Here again, the China threat is vastly exaggerated. In fact, fully two-thirds of our trade imbalance comes from imported oil. This is not a fixed fact of life. We have a choice. We have it in our power, for example, to reverse the absurd de facto 30-year ban on new nuclear power plants. We have it in our power to release huge domestic petroleum reserves by dropping the ban on offshore and Arctic drilling. We have it in our power to institute a serious gasoline tax (refunded immediately through a payroll tax reduction) to curb consumption and induce conservation.

Nothing is written. Nothing is predetermined. We can reverse the slide, we can undo dependence if we will it.

The other looming threat to our economy--and to the dollar--comes from our fiscal deficits. They are not out of our control. There is no reason we should be structurally perpetuating the massive deficits incurred as temporary crisis measures during the financial panic of 2008. A crisis is a terrible thing to exploit when it is taken by the New Liberalism as a mandate for massive expansion of the state and of national debt--threatening the dollar, the entire economy, and consequently our superpower status abroad.

There are things to be done. Resist retreat as a matter of strategy and principle. And provide the means to continue our dominant role in the world by keeping our economic house in order. And finally, we can follow the advice of Demosthenes when asked what was to be done about the decline of Athens. His reply? "I will give what I believe is the fairest and truest answer: Don't do what you are doing now."

Charles Krauthammer is a syndicated columnist and contributing editor to THE WEEKLY STANDARD. This essay is adapted from his 2009 Wriston Lecture delivered for the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research in New York on October 5.

5 comments (Add your own)

1. zkohbjanhn wrote:
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Sat, September 10, 2011 @ 4:29 AM

2. Ghuruprasad wrote:
I. INTRODUCTIONIn the following notes want exrolpe, as a practical ideal, the notion of factories in the countryside run on part-time jobs. By in the countryside I mean in areas out beyond the exurban fringe of our existing metropolitan areas. And by run on part-time jobs I mean that most of the people working in these factories – those doing routine wage-work would be employed 18-to-24 hours per week. Now whether such factories would be profitable is, of course, an interesting question. In many ways it is the most interesting question, since on the answer everything else must ultimately depend. But for the moment at least what interests me more and what should interest my readers are not the factories themselves so much as the new kinds of towns that might develop around them, and the new lifestyle that would become possible for the men and women who reside in those towns.The lifestyle itself is easy to imagine. Being employed only part-time outside the home, ordinary working people will have a lot more free time at their disposal than they do nowadays: time which they could use to construct their own houses, cultivate small gardens, cook and eat at home, and care for their own children instead of placing them in daycare to be cared for by strangers. In other words people could start doing a lot more things for themselves and each other – directly and with their own hands – which now they pay others to do for them. You could call it a compromise or better yet, a trade-off between the age-old longing for the simple life and the economic imperatives of a modern industrial society. But whatever you choose to call it I would like to take a few moments to sketch what I think are some of its natural advantages: ways it would enable ordinary people to make a more efficient use of their limited time and resources to satisfy their needs and desires. These are the “soft paths” to which my title refers. ii.First and most obvious of course are the advantages to the individual. She (or he) will have much more personal freedom than has traditionally been the case along with an enlargement in the scope and variety of activities that compose a working day. Instead of being bound to the daily routine of a nine-to-five job repeating the same set of actions week in and week out she will find herself spending half her working life as her own person, leading a far more varied and independent existence than is possible today: an existence much closer in spirit to the one in which we evolved as a species, and to which, I presume, we are adapted by nature. *I’ve often wondered whether it was to something like this that scripture refers, where it is written:“Thou hast left thy first love; remember, therefore, from whence thou art fallen?”And is it really just a coincidence that those areas of our modern economy which have most stubbornly resisted the techniques of mass-production or else have yielded to them with inferior results – the building of our homes, the preparation of our food, and the care of our children are also the areas of activity that offer us the greatest intrinsic rewards: which afford us opportunities to satisfy our instincts for workmanship, to express ourselves with the works of our hands, and to exercise our manifold capacities for reciprocity and affection?I do not know the answer to these questions. But I do know that the new way of life I am proposing is one that will make the pursuit of happiness a far more agreeable enterprise than it is for most Americans nowadays, and one with better prospects of success.iii.Let me turn next to the family, which not only is oldest and most universal of all human institutions but also the one primarily responsible for the transmission of our culture and civilization. What effects would this new lifestyle have on the family? To begin again with the obvious it is clear that parents would start spending a lot more time with their children and each other than is possible today, and that they would be doing something besides watching TV while plunked on the couch. Home and hearth would become again what until recently they always have been: scenes of domestic activity where every family member has useful roles to play and real responsibilities to meet. There certainly will be no shortage of quality time in the sense of opportunities for parents to interact with their children: to talk, joke, and play around with the as they share in the daily chores of life, or engage in more serious conversations whenever the occasion seems appropriate. Thus would the human family to be restored not only as a functioning economic institution but in its age-old role of nurture and support. iv.Something similar can be predicted for the institution of marriage, which not only is the biological basis of the family but also the foundation of its stability. The bonds of matrimony will certainly grow stronger once the earnings from two part-time jobs together with the contributions of two adult sets of hands are required to support an independent household. Contrast this to the typical situation today where we find that both parents are employed full-time outside the home and can thus afford to live by themselves if they are so moved. Small wonder so many marriages now end in divorce! But under the terms of the new household economy I am proposing walking out of a marriage becomes a much less convenient option than it is now which means that fewer couples are likely to go through the traumas of divorce, with all this implies for the happiness and emotional security of their children, to say nothing of themselves.v.We should also consider the possibility of a return to a more traditional, three-generation form of the family not under one roof necessarily, but perhaps under two, at opposite ends of the garden. The advantages are manifold. For one thing grandparents, once they live close by, will be in a position to help look after their grandchildren – during the period they are still infants and toddlers especially on those occasions that inevitable arise when both parents need to be away from home at the same time. And by the same token, later on in life when the grandparents themselves have grown old and are no longer able to live by themselves, their children and grandchildren will be in a position to help look after them.As an alternative to daycare and nursing homes alone this old arrangement deserves our consideration. For not only does it offer a more natural and humane way to deal with these age-old problems of care, but one that is infinitely more affordable as well, at least for most working-class families.vi.Let us now turn to the issue of retirement. We have all read those stories in the newspaper about how Social Security is going to go broke and may not be there for the next generation. The aging of the baby-boom generation, as we all know by now, means that the ratio of people who are drawing money out of the Social Security system is growing to fall in relation to the number of people who are paying money in, a trend that seems destined to continue. What this portends, the experts keep telling us, is one of three things: either a reduction in Social Security benefits, a rise in the future age of retirement, or an increase in taxes on future workers’ wages. None of these is an attractive alternatives politically speaking, to say the very least.But under the arrangement I am proposing this dilemma largely disappears. Once work and leisure are integrated into the fabric of everyday life, people will no longer feel the same need to retire the do todayy. Instead they can gravitate towards easier kinds of work as they grow older and towards an even shorter workweek: 12 hours behind a check-out counter, for example, instead of 18-to-24 hours on the assembly line. And when they eventually do reach a point in life when they are no longer able work at all, they will not have to rely on their monthly Social Security checks alone to meet all their material needs, as we have already seen. This means that their monthly benefits could be lower without compromising the quality of their lives. And finally, at the very end of life, when death finally approaches as it inevitably does, instead of being carried off to a nursing home somewhere at enormous public expense the dying person can stay at home, where hospice services can be provided at a fraction of the cost, in which specially trained nurses would come to the house for an hour or two each day to assist the family with the physical and medical care of the patient. How much better to die that way, at home in one’s bed, surrounded by the voices of loved ones, than all alone in a hospital room or in a warehouse of strangers?vii.Let us turn next to the local neighborhood community, which, after the family, is the second oldest of all human institution, corresponding as it does to the primitive band and to the ancient and medieval village. What new sorts of neighborhoods might become possible, and how might they differ from the ones most of us grew up in?One thing is for sure. We are going to see many more adults up and about during the regular course of the day. With half their working lives centered around the home grown-ups are bound to be round on a regular basis, tending their gardens, doing routine choirs around the house, or engaged in some other useful pursuit – whether something as simple as painting a porch swing or mending an appliance, or some- thing as complex as a major home improvement project. But what- ever they might happen to be doing the point is that these new neighborhoods of the future will no longer be the “deserted villages” most of us know, in which adults typically get up in the morning, climb into their automobiles, and drive away to work until the end of the day.For the children this will have certain obvious advantages. They will be exposed to the adult world of work to a much greater extent than is possible in today’s society, where most real work is done away from home and out of sight of the children. Being the naturally curious creatures they are, children in the neighborhood will inevitably be drawn into the world of work: at first by looking, then later by asking, and finally by helping and thus in the natural course of growing up will acquire a certain amount practical knowledge and a number useful skills, things which nowadays completely pass them by. Another obvious advantage is that the same adults who are out working in their yards will be well-positioned to keep a collective eye out on the children in the neighborhood as they run and play among the houses, warning them away from danger and keeping them out of mischief, thus providing a useful extension to the family itself. Friendly faces in friendly places, it is easy to predict, will make the neighborhood a safer and more congenial place in which to work or play.viii.Nor should we overlook the many other possibilities for sharing. With so many adults at home during the day it becomes a simple matter of convenience to go next door to borrow a cup of sugar or to ask for a helping hand from the neighbor down the street. Visiting and casual hospitality are sure to be more common occurrences once one’s friends and neighbors begin to avail themselves of some of their new-found leisure.Or consider such a simple thing as a neighborhood post office instead of individual mailboxes in front of each house. Not only would this save the postal service a good deal of time and expense but it would provide a convenient spot where neighbors are likely to run into one another, exchange gossip, and pass along any news that might be of local interest. Neighbors might even elect to go in together to purchase a small neighborhood tractor which that they could all share in the spring to turn over their gardens. Or they might organize house-raising parties in the old Mid-Western barn-raising tradition: a useful as well as a very pleasant way to get through some of the earlier and heavier phases of construction. And, of course, there is the possibility of picnics on the 4th of July, a sure way to create a sense of local feeling and neighborhood solidarity.ix.Let me now say a few words on the subject of neighborhood planning. What would be the best way to arrange the houses in as neighborhood if we intend to take maximum advantage of the new possibilities for sharing?Here I think we have something to learn from the Traditional Neighborhood Movement, as it is sometimes referred to, which is already underway in a number of places in the United States. One opportunity, in particular, stands out: a chance to get away from the contemporary practice of arranging our houses along both sides of the street like so many beads on a string. The alternative is to arrange them around a central open space a village green which would serve both as a neighborhood park and a playground for kids (see Figure 1).Plan for a Hamlet from The Art of Building a Home, 1901. This was the earliest suggestion of grouping various combinations of houses and a break in the building line. It was intended to give a unified impression from the standpoint of a traditional village green, which was supposed to serve the same communal gathering purpose out-of-doors that the two story living room did for the family inside. The thought was to draw people to a place so that favorable and positive things might begin to happen to them. As you can see from the figure a second habit we might get out of is that of placing our houses back from the street with large lawns in front. Instead we could arrange our houses close to the street, facing the park, and give them front porches, as was commonly the practice in most towns in America before the age of the automobile. This arrangement would make for easy line-of-sight communication between the house and the park, and between the porch and any pedestrians who might happen to be walking by on the sidewalk that runs in front of each house.Of course if the houses are set forward like this it means that the gardens will have to be located behind, in the long back yards that would stretch from the rear of each house, with the grandparents' quarters being located at the far end of the garden, but accessible by a small alleyway that runs across the back of each lot. The advantage of this arrangement is that it would define a space bounded by the larger house in front and the smaller one behind of relative peace and quiet: a place not open to the street, where a person could sit and meditate, or think, or sing the baby to sleep, and not be bothered (see Figure 2). It has been computed by some Political Arithmetician, that if every Man and Woman would work four Hours each Day on something useful, that Labour would produce sufficient to procure all the Necessaries and Comforts of Life, Want and Misery would be banished out of the World, and the rest of the 24 Hours might be Leisure and Pleasure. What occasions then so much Want and Misery?” Benjamin FranklinSign in | Recent Site Activity | Terms | Report Abuse | Print page | Powered by Google Sites

Thu, August 30, 2012 @ 11:49 AM

3. Martin wrote:
now the Internet, television, neppeawsrs . wantonly sun gun , sun guns Newton.li is used, LMPN physical theories of military thinking, the world and the nation of guns and the army said: people's army people's guns should be used to protect the people and interests of public safety, used to protect a good social system and to help reform a bad social system tools. Rather than using it to protect the very small number of people and their interests, let them endanger the safety and interests of the masses, that is, take it to maintain a corrupt dictatorship? Take it even killing people. So newton.li made more special to say: In addition to weapons and modernization of the armed forces, the most important head of the army and the military, but should be modern and scientific? Order for social, ideological, cultural, moral, science to progress, the State was able to develop, people will be strong, the world will be peace! Is this the beginning of the 21st century it is not a military strategy of human ideas.Newton.li physicists often say: the universe constituted by the things, the state formed by the people, not by some ignorant or deliberately. With a virtual dictatorship to imagine the universe to build a mystery, to build an empty country. And these people thought, consciousness, ethics, behavior, out of all things, from the people. And always try to use guns with army of these two tools and means to establish dictatorship, so that the people's material wealth, money, benefits, basic rights, high levels of deprivation, concentration and control to a very small number hands, as long as people are not satisfied, use these tools to suppress and kill the people, not only the violation of human morality, it also goes against LMNP theory of everything, power, money, material and interests, should be conducted with the co-normal points , the theory of liberal democracy and law. Instead of guns and army of these two tools to implement and vigorously on a central dictatorship. Many areas of the world is full of mystery and darkness . Natural conflict, suffering, conflict and war in the world and can not be avoided, so that the world can not be peace . Are these actions not to be material interests? What mysterious military theory and strategic thinking, materials and objects can be separated from the theory? Run to the moral? It is necessary to use the material theory of guns , army of these two tools, instructions and definitions of morality? All again in a test of our individual morality, conscience and wisdom? Newton.li物理学全球和平的军事战略新思想说道现在总是有不少人在网上,电视上,报纸 .大肆“晒枪”“晒炮……”Newton.li则用,LMPN物理学理论军事新思想,对世界各国和民族的枪和军队说:【人民的军队人民的枪】,应该是拿来保护人民大众的安全和利益,拿来保护一个好的社会制度和帮助改革一个不好的社会制度的工具。而不是拿去保护极少数人和他们的利益,让他们去危害人民大众的安全和利益,也就是拿去维持一个贪污腐败的独裁制度?甚至拿去屠杀人民。所以newton.li更特别提出要说:军队除了武器现代化之外,最重要的是军队和军人的脑袋,更应该进行现代化和科学化?才能让社会,思想,文化,道德,科学才进步,国家才能够发展,人民才会富强,世界才会和平!这难道它不算是21世纪开始的人类军事战略新思想。Newton.li物理学家常说:宇宙由万物构成,国家由人民所组成,而不是由某些人无知或故意的。用虚拟的“独裁”想象来构建神秘的宇宙,来构建空洞的国家。而让这些人的思想,意识,道德,行为,脱离万物,脱离人民。而总是想用“枪炮”用“军队”这两个工具和手段,来建立独裁的,让人民的物质,财富,金钱,利益,基本权利,高度的被剥夺,集中和操控到极少数人手里,只要人民不满意,就用这两个工具去镇压和杀戮人民,不但违反人类的道德,更违反LMNP理论的万物,权力,金钱,物质和利益,都应该,进行正常的分与合,之自由民主的理论和规律。而用“枪炮”和“军队”这两个工具去推行和大搞独裁的一个中心论。让世界不少地区总是充满神秘和黑暗……。自然矛盾,苦难,冲突和战争在世界不断,无法避免,让世界无法和平……。难道这些行为不是为了得到物质的利益?还有什么神秘的军事理论和战略思想,能脱离开物质和物学理论?去有道德的运行?所以有必要用物学理论对“枪炮”,“军队”这两个工具进行道德的说明和定义?无不又在,考验着我们每一个人的道德,良知和智慧?

Wed, October 10, 2012 @ 6:02 AM

4. zrqazvrh wrote:
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Wed, October 10, 2012 @ 6:00 PM

5. Sandra Taumanis wrote:
I read through this website and was quite impressed by the general ideas of the Vernon K. Krieble Foundation. I am especially impressed that Mr. Vernon Krieble's son, Robert Krieble was so active and considered a prime mover in the effort to eventually topple the Soviet empire so many years ago. And also his leadership in the long-term efforts to education people behind the iron Curtain about freedom and democracy. I am directly involved with this as I came to America as a small baby of immigrant parents who escaped from becoming behind the iron Curtain in the early 1940's. I was actually born in Germany, where my parents waited for 6 years before the U.S. opened their quotas to let my parents and the other Latvians into America. I heard about the oppression and all about Communism all of my life and my parents were never happy what communism did to their country and other countries in Europe. So this really touched me when I read that the owner of Loctite and son of the discovered of Loctite was also involved in advocating for freedom and democracy for our country here in the U.S. Of course, now this is again becoming relevant as Russia is moving in to take more countries again in Europe, and starting with Ukraine. Would there be anything now the Vernon K. Krieble Foundation would be able to do to prevent these terrible actions? I would very much like to hear from you on these matters and be able to be in contact. Thank you. Sandra Taumanis

Thu, May 1, 2014 @ 10:52 AM

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