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June 20, 2024

PI Newsletter #116

1. America’s Fin de Siecle: How Unbound Liberalism Has Brought the Country To Its Knees

What makes the burden of the American fin de siècle misdiagnosis so heavy today is that these past three decades sowed the seeds of conflict and it is unlike anything we have seen.

Much like America in the late twentieth century, Europe in the last decade of the nineteenth century seemed to be at the peak of its power. Its empires ruled over vast colonial dominions unlike any in history, while its culture set the standard for the world to emulate. Although there were occasional warning signs that established power centers might be tested in years to come, and that various collectivist ideologies had begun to stir beneath the surface, the dominant sense was one of enduring confidence that the extant power structure was sound and that Europe’s global civilizing mission would continue unabated. And yet, only fourteen years into the twentieth century the world was on fire, with the shocks of the Great War crippling France, sapping British resources, and setting Germany—though defeated—firmly upon a revanchist trajectory. In a mere four years the grand civilization of imperial Europe had committed collective suicide in the trenches on the Somme and in the fields of Tannenberg, which pushed the totalitarian impulses of communism, fascism and Nazism into the role of a midwife barely one decade after the war. After twenty years of interwar armistice, Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia set the world ablaze yet again, propelled by a drive to replace what remained of the old world with one defined by a set of collectivist absolutes that produced Stalinist and Nazi horrors, killed millions and completed Europe’s devolution from being the center of the world’s civilization into the ultimate prize in Cold War great-power competition. Today, America is feeling the impact of what its elites unleashed during its own “fin de siècle” of the 1990s after our victory over the Soviet Uniondriven as in the past by an unprecedented ideological hubris that spawned a revolutionary change in the economy, the recompilation of our class structure, and ultimately an emerging shift in global power distribution. Much like earlier in Europe, the American fin de siècle sowed the seeds of a grand ideological upheaval, as globalization, the off-shoring of manufacturing to China and the consequent deindustrialization of the country deconstructed the societal bonds and drove the recompilation of American national identity. Not unlike the industrialization of the imperial era in nineteenth-century Europe, globalization fractured established communities, with the ever-greater polarization of wealth and influence between the haves and have-nots in full view. The decision to offshore manufacturing in the 1990s in order to take advantage of cheap labor in Communist China set in motion what is today in effect the “feudalization of America.”  In 2015, the middle class became a minority and has been losing its standing ever since, sinking into impoverishment as coronavirus lockdowns wreak havoc among the country’s small business and wage earners. The second powerful driver of change at work in America since the 1990s has been the deconstruction of a shared American national identity, with the centrality of citizenship and an attendant sense of the mutuality of obligation fast vanishing from public life.

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2. China has done human testing to create biologically enhanced super soldiers

WASHINGTON — U.S. intelligence shows that China has conducted “human testing” on members of the People’s Liberation Army in hope of developing soldiers with “biologically enhanced capabilities,” the top U.S. intelligence official said Friday.

John Ratcliffe, the director of national intelligence, included the explosive claim in a long Wall Street Journal op-ed in which he made the case that China poses the pre-eminent national threat to the U.S.

“There are no ethical boundaries to Beijing’s pursuit of power,” wrote Ratcliffe, a Republican former member of Congress from Texas.

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3. Hungary Amends Constitution To Recognize Parents as Male and Female

In an effort to protect traditional Christian values amid the world’s rapidly evolving mores, lawmakers in Hungary amended the definition of family in its constitution Tuesday to stipulate that a mother is a woman, and a father is a man, effectively banning adoption by same sex couples.  The ninth amendment to Hungary’s constitution now also “protects a child’s right to identify with their gender at birth,” and right to “an upbringing based on Hungary’s constitutional identity and Christian culture.”

The government-sponsored amendment passed with 134 votes in favor, 45 against, and with five abstentions.

Article L.1 previously read: “Hungary shall protect the institution of marriage as the union of a man and a woman established by voluntary decision, and the family as the basis of the survival of the nation. Family ties shall be based on marriage and/or the relationship between parents and children.” This was replaced by the following: “Hungary protects the institution of marriage as the community of life or family formed on the basis of voluntary decision as the foundation of the survival of the nation. The basis of the family relationship is marriage and/or the parent-child relationship. The mother is a woman, the father is a man.”

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