Commentary: Will The United States Become A Third World Nation?

Is the United States becoming a Third World nation? This question has long been on the edge of polite conversation, but after former President Trump’s conviction in two New York courts, this question has been pushed to the forefront…

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he short answer is that while this slide was once unthinkable, it currently seems “unlikely.” Worse, all the trends point to the increasing likelihood. What generally defines “Third World” includes pervasive poverty, dilapidated infrastructure, lack of sanitation, inadequate modern healthcare, rampant crime, ineffective education and violent political instability often reflecting ethnic rivalries instead of democratic elections.

Law reflects the whim of the powerful; not following written precepts. Third world governments also have a penchant for crushing national debt and wild spending. Invariably, a very rich minority governs masses living in squalor.

What separates First World nations like the U.S. from Third World nations like Nigeria is not vast natural resources. Third World Nigeria abounds in natural wealth while First World Japan has little.

The key difference is human capital, a collection of multiple traits, especially brain power and a strong work ethic, and absent these traits, a modern capitalist economy cannot exist. Expats in Third World countries routinely complain “nothing works,” and the corrupt government cannot fix or maintain anything.

Countless outward signs of a typical Third World nation have recently emerged in the United States. Most visible is the physical decline of major cities: filthy streets, unsanitary homeless encampments, open drug dealing and use, unpunished crime, burgeoning slums “off limits” to ordinary people, and a general incivility. Add a growing multi-generational pathologically ridden underclass permanently dependent on government assistance. A Baltimore resident would be shocked by the contrast with his hometown if he visited Helsinki or Athens.

Less visible is the decay of public education manifested in declining test scores, rampant school violence, and replacing traditional education with radical racial ideology prizing self-esteem over merit-based academics. Meanwhile, innumerable students at elite colleges, disproportionately majoring in academically “soft” fields, not engineering or science, demand “Death to America” while exhibiting profound ignorance of world affairs. Tellingly, in intellectually challenging fields, American must increasingly import its brain power from abroad.

These Third World style conditions persist despite spending billions and huge ameliorative bureaucracies, especially for curing our social pathologies. Ironically, these interventions only seem to exacerbate horrible conditions so the more we spend on homelessness, the greater the number of homeless. Such failure can only suggest a deficiency of brainpower. Remember, First World nations, by definition, can solve problems, whether running subways or cleaning streets.

A key harbinger of a slide towards Third Worldism is an appetite for unsustainable debt that inevitably brings economic collapse when lenders refuse to keep lending, and the United States seems headed in that direction. Our national debt is now $34 trillion, and the consensus is that it is out of control and a potential economic disaster. Yet, the cravings seem insatiable. The “free lunch” mentality has become part of our politics.

This pattern also occurs locally. In Chicago, for example, the total debt is now $40 billion or $43,000 per resident, and given the city’s anti-business policies and already elevated local tax rate, it is unclear if the debt can ever be repaid. Then add fiscal wastefulness like the city’s “Green New Deal for Schools.” Consequently, half the city’s budget now goes to servicing the debt and pensions so vital services like policing and fire protection are sacrificed, and matters will only deteriorate as residents and industry flee. Chicago may soon be a de-populated monument to Third World policies.

Urban squalor and financial mismanagement are just outward signs of decline. Less obvious is the spread of identity politics that prizes skin color and gender over merit, so people are hired for appearances, not an ability to do the job. The results are disastrous despite all the yammer about diversity being America’s greatest strength. Charles Murray’s Facing Reality (Ch. 5) details the dreadful consequences of this box-checking mentality. Whether you are hiring brain surgeons or janitors, ignoring merit guarantees inferior outcomes that bring lawsuits, chaotic conditions and in some instances, death. Identity politics is the perfect ticket to economic decline, and while recent efforts to ban racial and gender preferences have had success, these practices persist. An incompetent applicant admitted and then graduated from medical school due to race today may ineptly practice medicine for the next 40 years.

Identity politics is explicitly anti-white and rejects the values held by white people. Jeremy Carl’s The Unprotected Class depicts how this ideology condemns as “white” hard work, objectivity, tenacity, the belief in reason, and similar values that undergird American greatness. One educator who trains teachers recently called the American flag a symbol of hate and extremism. Politically, those demonizing whiteness unashamedly demand a Third World country. This is not about civil rights or promoting equality, and champions of anti-whiteness have won significant victories in education and corporate America, even the military.

Also pushing America in the Third World direction is declining IQ. Intelligence, as measured by IQ, is at the center of human capital, and lacking brain power, all else is irrelevant. Unfortunately, all the evidence points in the direction of a decline in brain power. The movie Idiocracy depicts this dystopic future. According to one study with a sample of 400,000 respondents, while the average intelligence of Americans increased over the last century, a period of America’s greatest accomplishments, since the 1990s it has fallen on three of the four major intelligence domains—logic, vocabulary and mathematical, and visual problem solving. Only for spatial reason have IQ scores risen. As one California psychologist put it, “We’re all getting super lazy in our cognition because it’s getting super easy to do everything.”

These statistical IQ data are confirmed by “soft” data on grade inflation pervasive in American education, the declining intellectual levels of popular culture like movies and TV, and the explosion of social media featuring child-like ideas and gimmicky images. Attention deficit order on a grand scale. Professors who began their careers in the 1960s now complain about their shrunken, dumbed down reading lists and dismal student papers.

Further add massive immigration from Third World countries, and in today’s environment celebrating multiculturalism, Salvadorians’ habits may persist for generations.  Then there is a declining birthright among high IQ women who choose careers over motherhood. Statistics on falling labor participation rates suggest a declining work ethic. Sadly, it’s not easy to find any indicator showing the ascendancy of First World values.

Banana Republic politics centered around simple “us” versus “them” thanks to a less-than-brilliant populace. The idea of democracy with its complex principles of fair play and moderation is just too difficult. In its place, policy is decided by violent rioting, kidnapping, and military coups that make elections a rigged formality. Intellectual accomplishment no longer becomes a prerequisite for high office, and expropriating property and re-distributing to allies becomes normal. Trump’s two New York show trials may be a harbinger of things to come, and he rightfully worries about Third World creep. It is no accident that Wall Street is now generously funding his campaign, because billionaires know what happens to capitalists in Banana Republics.✪

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