So this is how it happens: American global hegemony ending not with a bang, nor with a whimper, but with shoppers in homemade facemasks wondering why grocery shelves are half-empty.
In the United States, shelves are always supposed to be chockful. People of Plenty is the title of a book that the noted historian David Potter published in 1954. And so we have always been in our own eyes and in the eyes of others around the world. Or so at least we and they have come to believe and expect.
Abundance, according to Potter, has “exercised a pervasive influence in the shaping of the American character.” (p. 208) It was abundance, he argued, that made freedom and democracy as practiced in the United States possible. Here was the nation’s “revolutionary message:” that in a world where scarcity had historically been the norm, abundance was achievable. “We supposed,” Potter wrote, that our revelation was ‘democracy revolutionizing the world,’ but in reality, it was ‘abundance revolutionizing the world’.” (p. 134)
Now with the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic, abundance has become a memory for tens of millions of Americans. The People of Plenty are sitting at home, fearful if not terrified, confused if not utterly baffled, and isolated if not altogether lonely. The wheels have seemingly come off the American Dream.
Read the full article here in RealClear Defense.