One of the fictions propagated in American history courses – of the order of Washington throwing a dollar coin across the Potomac – is the theory that America always comes up with brilliant leaders at a time of crisis. Witness Washington himself, and Lincoln, Wilson, or Franklin Roosevelt (Republicans will throw in Reagan for balance). This was supposed to have something to do with the genius of the Constitution and the American political system’s ability to surface political talent.
A time of crisis is certainly upon the US, and the entire globe for that matter. The financial system is ratcheting itself down step by step into a total, catastrophic collapse, bringing default and ruin to over-leveraged borrowers everywhere. The global economy’s dependence on petroleum is more and more seen as a point of extreme fragility which could, like the corrupt financial order, bring economic growth to a complete halt. The nations of the world cannot agree what to do about global warming, and this failure alone seems to show we are incapable of setting aside personal gain for the common good, even when the survival of so many species (including our own) is at stake.
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