Every good thing comes to an end. Since our founding -- based on ideas and principles rather than race or nationality -- America grew to become the world's most dominant power by the end of World War II. By the 1990s, once we won the Cold War, there was nobody else even close. Now we are completely falling apart. Our situation is so bad that it could be time to start debating whether we have, in fact, peaked as a country and as a world power. I sure hope not.
Some aspects of our decline can be measured in numbers. Our economy is still the world's biggest, but others are catching up fast. Our economic growth rates -- even prepandemic -- are way down over the past decade than they were in earlier periods. Our debt is now bigger than our entire economy. But the numbers, as horrible as they are, aren't the biggest problem. The bigger problem is huge swaths of our country seem to have gone absolutely nuts. This is true on the left and on the right. The questions of what's causing this and how we fix it are tough to answer. But they are also the single most important questions, and they are questions you almost never hear debated.
On the right, huge numbers of people now buy into the QAnon conspiracy theory. QAnon is actually many conspiracy theories all joined together. Though the movement began in 2017, it includes conspiracies dating back to the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the 9/11 "truther" movement. Those were the people who believed that 9/11 was an inside job cooked up by the government to get us into a war. It's a pretty evil allegation and one with no factual support, but it caught on a little. Amazingly, QAnon believers think that our government and the top levels of our society are run by pedophiles and child sex traffickers. President Donald Trump is bravely fighting against these people, according to the conspiracy. QAnon is led by a user (or multiple users) named Q who posts anonymously online.
Nobody knows how many QAnon supporters there are, but estimates go up to the millions, and their numbers now include Republican Congressional candidates. The Republican party leadership has largely stayed silent in the wake of this rise. Trump was asked about it, but instead of calling it out for the insanity that it is, he largely dodged the question. The good news is, crazy as it is to think our entire country's leadership is motivated by pedophilia, it has not led to any widespread violence to date. We don't really know just how dangerous QAnon actually is, if at all, but the FBI has identified the conspiracy as having the potential to grow into a domestic terror threat.
Left-wing insanity, on the other hand, has grown way past the "potential threat" point. In numerous cities around our country, there is serious violence and looting with some regularity. This violence and looting grew out of legitimate protests over racial injustice and law enforcement. In many cities, the peaceful protestors are regularly losing control to radicals hoping to hurt the police, burn down buildings and cause other chaos and violence.
In recent months, as numerous American cities burned, most of the corporate media and the Biden campaign were desperate to pretend it wasn't happening. The protests were "mostly peaceful," we were told. They even showed peaceful images as proof -- as if the fact that the violence hadn't hit every single block of a given city made it all OK.
Joe Biden has finally denounced the violence in clear terms. He should be commended for that, but it's also fair to ask what took him so long. This has been happening for months. In that time, we have allowed lawlessness to grow so out of control that the murder rate has skyrocketed in numerous cities. This isn't some sort of political game. Real people are being killed on our streets, and they are disproportionally Black. If Biden is sincere in his denunciation of the rioting and violence, he also needs to answer for his numerous staffers and his chosen vice presidential candidate, Sen. Kamala Harris, paying legal fees and bail to get rioters out of jail and back on the streets to continue their attacks. It's hard to take Biden's denunciations seriously after his team has subsidized the destruction.
The irony in all this is it may end up saving Trump. The numbers indicate that Trump was likely headed for defeat -- and he may still be -- but things are starting to tighten up. Here's a shocker: Americans don't like chaos and violence. They don't like watching old people attacked and knocked to the ground. They don't want people attacked for attending a political convention. They don't like watching police attacked by kids with bricks and lasers and even guns. They don't like people losing businesses they have spent their entire lives building, and they don't like anarchy and murder. The corporate media can try to hide it or downplay what's happening with the "mostly peaceful" canard, but the internet has made that impossible. The word is getting out. The left may have just given Trump new life through the callous disregard for the innocent Americans being hurt every day.
Whether it's Trump or Biden, though, the first order of national business is to ask why so many Americans are cracking up. How can potentially millions of Americans believe, with no evidence, that our entire country is dominated by a pedophilia ring? And if it's possible to be worse than that, how can so many left-wing kids think it's OK to attack innocent people? It really doesn't matter who is president if we don't start addressing these questions.
Neil Patel co-founded The Daily Caller, one of America's fastest-growing online news outlets, which regularly breaks news and distributes it to over 15 million monthly readers. Patel also co-founded The Daily Caller News Foundation, a nonprofit news company that trains journalists, produces fact-checks and conducts longer-term investigative reporting. The Daily Caller News Foundation licenses its content free of charge to over 300 news outlets, reaching potentially hundreds of millions of people per month.