Choose Your Decline

Illustration by Tony Millionaire


1. “There is a tradition in our not-too-distant past of fellowship and decency and shared commitment to fair play, a feeling that when the country prospers, everyone should prosper. That tradition has been slipping away.”

2. “The America we grew up in is gone. The unity and common purpose we had when we could together pledge allegiance to a flag that stood for ‘one nation, under God, indivisible’ is gone. In America today, the secession that is taking place is a secession from one another, a secession of the heart.”

3. “The American project was not about maximizing national wealth nor international dominance. The American project … consists of the continuing effort, begun with the founding, to demonstrate that human beings can be left free as individuals and families to live their lives as they see fit, coming together voluntarily to solve their joint problems. The polity based on that idea led to a civic culture that was seen as exceptional by all the world … That culture is unraveling.”

4. “The essential question is whether, in America, the people’s psychology has been so successfully warped, the individual’s spirit so thoroughly trounced, and the civil society’s institutions so effectively overwhelmed that revival is possible … Can the people overcome the constant and relentless influences of ideological indoctrination, economic manipulation, and administrative coerciveness?”

5. “In the last decade especially, we have spent so much of our time and energy—and the next generation’s money—fighting terrorism and indulging ourselves with tax cuts and cheap credit that we now have no reserves. We are driving now without a bumper, without a spare tire, and with the gas gauge nearing empty.”

6. “The truth is that America’s stock has been falling around the world for quite a while. At home, opinion polls register mounting disappointment … Simply proclaiming the superiority of the American model is not helping anyone’s credibility.”


A. Suicide of a Superpower
by Patrick J. Buchanan (2011)

B. That Used to Be Us
By Thomas L. Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum (2011)

C. Ameritopia
By Mark R. Levin (2012)

D. Time to Start Thinking
By Edward Luce (2012)

E. The Great Divergence
By Timothy Noah (2012)

F. Coming Apart
By Charles Murray (2012)

Choose Your Decline