Vail Daily letter: America’s toast |

Vail Daily letter: America’s toast

Peter Bergh
Vail, CO, Colorado

Paul Kennedy’s “The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers” continues to be one of my favorite histories, and I have read and referred to it many times. Kennedy traces an accurate account of the reasons great societies have come and gone over time and the parallel to where the United States stands today is sobering.

What has in the past given me a degree of hope for our collective future is that the United States is structurally unlike any other society the world has ever known.

When faced with grave threats to our very existence (the Revolution, the Civil War, World War II, for example) a leader has come forward (Washington, Lincoln, FDR) to steer us away from the brink of disaster, and the country has eventually emerged even stronger and more united then we were before the crisis manifested itself.

However, for the past decade or longer, it is starkly evident that across the board, the lack of competent leadership in Washington has been failing us badly, and the grave threats including the debt, deficits and divisiveness we are now faced with are, sadly, largely of our own making. With Romney now the presumed challenger to Obama this fall, and both houses of Congress locked in sophomoric food fights, I am afraid that the white knight that many of us have been so anxiously looking for is still loping along somewhere over the horizon.

Given the current state of affairs, it appears to me that several things are self-evident. Too much government is detrimental to a society; socialism is a very slippery slope and should be avoided assiduously; government must be taught the discipline to live within its means; without a healthy economy and near full-employment, there is not the revenue to defend the nation, build and maintain the necessary infrastructure required by a modern society and to provide an adequate safety net for those unable to care for themselves.

History clearly reveals that a nation divided against itself cannot stand, and this is precisely where we find ourselves today.

Peter Bergh


Support Local Journalism