Joni Mitchell issued the single "Big Yellow Taxi" in 1970. Her focus was on nature and our not so humble reshaping of our environment to suit our whims. The entire refrain in the song is "Don't it always seem to go that you don't what you got til it's gone. Paved Paradise, put up a parking lot."
I was a mere 21, about as naive as they come. My education in adulthood was only beginning. I was prey to all sorts of fads, fashions and fantasies1 . The so-called "sexual revolution" shaped a cavalier attitude toward sex. It didn't help that I was an agnostic at the time. I wasn't the only one.
Even "adults" were pretty naive. I was deeply moved by the book "Against the Crime of Silence", particularly the hardbound edition, which included photographs of people who suffered from napalm and cluster bombs. Agent orange, used in that war, led to deaths from cancer years later, including that of a friend of mine. The so-called "domino theory" was used to justify US involvement in the Vietnam War. The Communists (e.g. Pol Pot2 ) sometimes reacted in blind rage. Buddhist Monks protested with self-immolation3
President Eisenhower was satisfied with a stalemate in the Korean War. Today, South Korea is a very prosperous nation, while North Korea is a poor nation with nuclear ambitions. Presidents Johnson and Nixon were determined to beat the forces of Ho Chi Minh and the Viet Kong. Unfortunately for them, they were backing a notoriously corrupt South Vietnamese regime. Afghanistan proved to be similarly intractable.
If you're reading this, you are undoubtedly familiar with the term neocon - short for neoconservative. As the Wikipedia article on neoconservatism4 explains, neoconservatism originated among Democrats who rebelled against those in their party who became disenchanted with the war in Vietnam. They supported Richard Nixon's candidacy in 1968. Until Ronald Reagan came along, they dominated the Republican Party. Then they reestablished their foothold with one term of George H. W. Bush from 1989 to 1993, lost to William J. Clinton (who held 2 terms), narrowly came back in 2001 but held two terms. George H. W. Bush's son, George W. Bush narrowly defeated Clinton's VP (Albert A. Gore, Mr. Climate Doomsday Prophet) President Barack H. Obama kept them out of business from 2009 to 2017, when Donald J. Trump won in a surprise upset agains Hillary R. Clinton. They are still a major factor in the Republican Party.
Trump, however, is not a neocon, and this has upset them a great deal. Even though he was opposed by House Speaker Paul Ryan and his successor, Nancy Pelosi, he managed to eke out some major successes in foreign and domestic policy. He led the battle to reduce taxes and to reduce regulations, to oppose China's theft of intellectual property, to encourage domestic oil production... all of which resulted in a booming economy with all segments of society benefiting. He inherited the war in Afghanistan and made plans to end it by pullings US troops out of it if he won a second term. Had he won, his policies would have continued the advancement of American prosperity, peace in the Middle East, building a stronger military while avoiding wasting it on neocon adventures.
Alas, the "geniuses" of big tech and big media (with the exception of Fox News) backed Joseph R. Biden, whose administration has succeeded in frittering all of that away. Although Biden's presidency has broken records of unpopularity, primarily due to the impact of his policies on inflation and secondarily on weakening our power profile in the world, big tech and big media still collude to keep the Democratic Party in power.
Alas, all of this has given China an opportunity to surge ahead economically and militarily. If all of these trends continue, they will soon overtake us. They don't even have to attack us militarily. All they have to do is continue to corner the market on key investments and to keep a strong currency while we continue on an inflationary spiral that will soon take the US Dollar out of the running for the world's dominant reserve currency.
I leave the rest to your imagination.
- 1For example, "The Harrad Experiment", by Robert Rimmer, made sense to my highly impressionable mind.
- 2See Khmer Rouge for details.
- 3Buddhists were persecuted by the Catholic president of South Vietnam, Ngô Đình Diệm. Thích Quảng Đức, a Buddhist monk was the first to protest in this ghastly manner.
- 4See Neoconservatism.
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