by Frank Li
This is the fourth article of the series: “Towards An Ideal Form of Government”.
Previously, I asked this question in a written post (Pyramid Theory I), and answered it thusly: “America, as a country, has two corner stones: capitalism and democracy, which are now on a collision course … we have sacrificed too much capitalism for democracy.”
My answer remains unchanged. In this article, I will explain the answer more thoroughly from a different angle: history.
1. America: how was the country formed?
The bottom line version: many “disgruntled” Europeans sailed to this land, occupied it by any means, including killing many natives (i.e. the American Indians), and finally formed their own country, ultimately becoming “the United States of America”.
If you are an idealist (e.g. a true human rights activist or a real democracy proponent) and if you are an American, you must denounce your American citizenship first before pursuing your cause passionately. Why? Because America, as a country, is totally illegitimate - America was built on occupied land appropriated from its rightful owners, the American Indians.
I am not an idealist. So I accept America as it is, with one critical condition: America will be reasonable with China and many other nations (e.g. Syria and Iran) on such issues as human rights and free elections - let them work these complex issues out by themselves, over time! For more, wait for my next article: “Brainwashing in communism and in democracy”.
2. America: what was it built on?
Once again, America, as a country, has two corner stones: capitalism and democracy.
(1) Capitalism: American capitalism was solidly built on rugged individualism, with two key characteristics as follows:
b. Future! “Even if I must struggle, my children will be better off.” Speaking from my own experience, I know this is the reason many immigrants came to America. I believe my two sons are now able to take advantage of the best opportunities in the world, in America. We love America!
Additionally, and very significantly, America was built on a huge geographic area that was not only rich (i.e. basically un-farmed), but also replete with natural resources (e.g. coal and oil). The same thing can be said about America’s two sister countries: Canada and Australia. But neither of them is close to being a beacon like America, largely because America became independent from the British much earlier!
3. America: how did it do over its first 225 years (1776-2000)?
Very well! America succeeded over all other countries to rise to the top!
What happened to Europe? Europe was rising throughout the 19th century, but America was rising faster and better. Continuing through the 20th century, Europe became very self-consumed with WWI and WWII, while America kept moving strongly ahead. Europe, especially Germany, did come back strongly after WWII, but it was too little, too late to compete against the rising and relatively unharmed America.
What about Asia?
(1) China was self-destructive throughout the first 200 years of American history (1776-1976), in addition to being badly beaten by the Europeans and Japanese, militarily as well as economically.
(2) Japan thrived for about 100 years from 1840 to 1940, before it made the huge mistake of attacking the U.S. at Pearl Harbor. Like Germany, Japan also came back strongly after WWII. But again, it was too little, too late to effectively compete against America.
After WWII, America dominated the world for two main reasons:
(1) America’s two major economic competitors, Germany and Japan, destroyed themselves during WWII and became America’s “colonies” afterward. In fact, today, 67 years after WWII ended in 1945, there is still substantial American military presence in both Germany and Japan.
(2) The entire East, led primarily by the Soviet Union and seconded by China, self-destructed by adopting communism, which proved to be a total disaster.
Bottom line: the 20th century was America’s century!
4. America: what happened after 2000?
A steep decline! Today, the entire West is on the verge of bankruptcy. Several European countries are already there, with more to follow, including America. Why is that? The rise of China and the self-destruction of America (as well as the West)! The former is inevitable, but the latter is not.
4.1 China’s rise
America must be very concerned about the rise of China for two main reasons:
(1) Economically: Unlike America’s former competitors (e.g. Germany and Japan), China has both the size and weight to provide real competition for America.
(2) Politically: Unlike the East vs. the West before the Cold War ended in 1989, the Chinese political system today is, overall, slightly better than the American political system, in my humble opinion.
To learn more about China, read: 10 Lessons the U.S. Can Learn from China.
America still has two huge advantages over China: abundance of natural resources and vastly more advanced capitalism. However, these two advantages may be inadequate to compensate for the inferiority of the American political system. For an in-depth understanding, read: Democracy and Communism: Are They Really The Same?
4.2 America’s self-destruction
Simply put, America has already sacrificed too much capitalism for democracy! It’s time to re-balance with more capitalism and less democracy! For details, wait for my article “American democracy: what went wrong and when?” in two weeks.
Here is a quote:
“America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”
Who said it? Abraham Lincoln!
Lincoln was right!
Rome was not built in one day, nor did it go down in one day. Where is America today as compared with Rome a few thousand years ago? Read: Debt slavery: why it destroyed Rome, why it will destroy us unless it’s stopped.
About the Author
Frank Li is the Founder and President of W.E.I. (West-East International), a Chicago-based import & export company. Frank received his B.E. from Zhejiang University (China) in 1982, M.E. from the University of Tokyo in 1985, and Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in 1988, all in Electrical Engineering. He worked for several companies until 2004, when he founded his own company W.E.I. Today, W.E.I. is a leader in the weighing industry not only in products & services, but also in thought and action.