Biden’s woke, Left-wing America is no longer a model for the world

Telegraph

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It was the land of capitalism, freedom, the melting pot and the American dream: its deep imperfections notwithstanding, I always held it to be a self-evident truth that there was much the USA could teach Britain. On visits during my teenage and student years, I was enthralled by the dynamism, the can-do attitude, the work ethic, the quality of life of the middle classes, the commitment to religious freedom and civil society, the brilliance of the universities, the romance of its great cities, and the lifestyle epitomised by the homes and cars of its suburbs.

Much of what Alexis de Tocqueville described in his brilliant, premonitory Democracy in America in 1835 remained correct: there were crippling caveats, of course, but the US was the greatest ever experiment in building a modern civilisation based around constitutionally limited government, individualism and mass participation in wealth and decision-making. Even America’s awful downsides, the hideous, shocking ways in which it deviated from its founding principles, some of which I witnessed first hand on an exchange programme at a horribly divided school in Baltimore, appeared to be slowly improving. It was still possible to hope that the despicable evil of racism, the appalling legacy of slavery and segregation, were finally on the way out, that progress was being made, that Martin Luther King’s dream of judging people on the content of their character, not the colour of their skin, might one day be reached.

America’s other horrors, not least rampant violence, were also in retreat: the fight against crime was liberating cities such as New York and ushering in an urban renaissance which other countries would eventually copy. There were other problems, of course, not least homelessness and poverty, but lesser versions of these were hardly absent in Europe, including the French banlieues.

A quarter of a century later, I still love America but the tragic reality is that today’s United States is no longer Ronald Reagan’s shining city on a hill. It is, instead, a Republic in decline, plunged into a moral, economic, philosophical and existential crisis that may yet destroy it. Joe Biden’s useless presidency will merely intensify the forces driving the nihilism that is eating away at America’s soul.

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