Mass society has fragmented, globalization is going backwards, and America is largely AWOL. It's time to say goodbye to the past and face our problems with new eyes.
Thank you for the excellently laid out thought provoking article Andrew.
I have a different way of looking at the three main themes.
Society has always been fragmented in various degrees because it never coalesced permanently into a mass society, just temporarily and partially, in cycles. Change has been part of the human condition for time immemorial, as has disagreement.
Globalization, to me, is just a modern moniker describing the exchange of goods and ideas, either by free will, partnership, opportunity, or bullying. It may be moving backwards. It may just be in a low phase of a cycle while everyone digests the consequences of its recent manic phase in a burnt out depressed bliss, “on the land” as our Indigenous colleagues like to say and do, to regain harmony while the cycle corrects.
All three themes are under immense pressure due to population growth. That our population grew to 8.1 billion indicates to me that the three themes were in a highly successful manic phase, which nature may have not been pleased with digesting or allowing, so it’s putting on the brakes. We keep forgetting that “all we are is dust in the wind.”
The USA isn’t AWOL in my mind. It is just spread very thinly. It has 4.2% of earth’s population. Is it realistic to expect 4 people in the USA to police, bully or indoctrinate a group of 100 spread over various "tribal" lands and "tribal" systems? Nope. Neither the 4 or the 100 are going to be happy. The USA is very dynamic; but some assistance won’t hurt. Joe Biden is just the figurehead, who has a lot of competent people telling him what to do and say. Now, is Donald Trump a good listener? Nope.
Citizens don't like to be told what to do. They like to think all politicians' ideas are their ideas. Herding cats is hard, and that may be a good thing, or not.
Most historians consider 9/11 as the end of the 20th Century and have for many years now.
Brad DeLong wrote a book about this premise last year, Slouching Towards Utopia.
This seems like a nice (updated?) epilogue to your book "On Decline".
Well argued; I offer a counterpoint.
It seems almost inevitable that those who have worked to destroy the old ways in order to set up some nebulous libertarian ideology of governance will flounder as soon as it becomes clear that their preferred solutions do not offer us a credible way past the problems we face today.
At which point the authoritarian collectivists might have a go