Amerika

Quotable (#7)

From an article about the blazing futility of Utopianism, disguised as praise of it:

Both books seek to capture the spirit of what Jennings calls “a long, sunny season of American utopianism”—a period of about a century, roughly bookended by the optimism of American independence and the butchery of the Civil War.

History occurs on a long scale timetable, such that the delay between and cause and its effect can be centuries or longer. In the case of America, some Western European colonists did their best to limit the influences of democracy.

Since nothing went too wrong in the immediate aftermath, they assumed that they were out of the woods, and had achieved stability. This prompted calls to reform what they had, but the interesting thing is that these recalls went further in the direction of democracy since it, despite being limited, was presumed to be the source of their success.

It turns out they were wrong. Not only did these Utopian communities self-consume, but so did America. Their empire of freedom, democracy and equality led them into a disastrous war, and they had barely begun to recover when a series of World Wars hit them like a stack of bricks. Sure, the Americans won… but at what cost?

We are still in the democracy bubble. It only became formally recognized in the late 1700s after being the subject of several centuries of “intellectuals” theorizing. Once adopted, it was assumed to be stable, but now after the tragedies of the twentieth century have continued into the present, people are not so sure.

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