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Modernization is change and change is feared by many. For better or worse, the US has led the modernization drive for most of a century now. There are many reasons put forward why America became the economic leader of the community of nations.

Some were geopolitical in that oceans encouraged only the brave or most discontent to settle the New World. Oceans again made it difficult for the European Imperialists to govern their empires. Oceans yet again served to protect America from attack by stronger powers. Abundant raw materials, by happenstance, enabled capital formation and commerce with other nations. As a trading nation, America rode the waves to riches.

On the political side, America was most fortunate to have military leaders who dared the British, and outlasted them, once, and then again. America was most fortunate to be the home of great thinkers, pioneering thinkers, not afraid to write a constitution that "set men free." People free to pursue a livelihood with opportunity for all began forging ahead economically and militarily. At the same time, the dismal record of Theocracy in Europe, was not only recognized explicitly by barring religion as social governance in the Constitution, but that recoginition enabled the development of science, engineering and their offspring, technology, to sprint ahead unfettered.

Wars upon wars followed: The Mexican War, the Spanish American War, World War I, World War II. With each win, America leapt forward, uninjured on its own soil.

So let us contrast the last 15 decades, two lifetimes, some six generations since our nation came of age. The state of our union in 1856 was:
  • The American economy was smaller than that of Britain,
  • America's armed forces were weaker than the French.
  • Germany and Italy didn't exist.
  • Das Kapital and The Origin of Species hadn't been written.
  • The petroleum industry had yet to be born.
  • Nuclear power, radio and television were beyond imagination.
  • American territory stretched from coast to coast -- with only thirty-one states.
  • Fifteen constitutional amendments were yet to come.
  • Slavery was legal and widely practiced.

Some things did not change, like Manifest Destiny. We are the last empire on earth. Nevermind that we won our independence from the greatest empire of its time on earth. But what does that say?

Are attitudes of dominance consistent with a peaceful world?

Where does this leave us?
Where is the moral high ground we once owned?
How can we get it back?

America is flexible still, but a slow but steady paralysis driven by extreme conservatism threatens our longevity, not to mention the freedoms being curtailed.

The last justified war was in Korea. Three major wars later: one was lost; the two in progess may never be won. None advanced democracy. What did we learn from Vietnam?

Is a society capable of guiding evolution, the direction of nature itself, incapable of directing itself?

Must "Winner For a Time" always be a rhythm of history?
We have the smarts to bring about world peace, but first, peace has to be our national goal and have support at the grass roots, for it cannot come quickly.


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