Jimmy Carter’s presidency is starting to look not so bad after all.
The 39th US President’s four years in the Oval Office were not a happy time for America. Abroad, the United States was humiliated by a series of foreign policy debacles. At home, energy costs and inflation soared. Things got so bad under Carter people started to believe in America’s inevitable decline.
Japan, they said in the late 1970s, was going to overtake America economically. The Soviets were supposed to prevail around the world. America had lost her sense of direction, and her enemies were emboldened.
Something very similar is happening right now.
Whether you agree with the US withdrawal from Afghanistan or not, it is hard to imagine a worse way of handling it than the Biden administration managed last week. Artificial deadlines for the US departure were announced. Precious few plans for an orderly evacuation were made. Tons of US taxpayer military equipment was left for the Taliban.
A recent arrival in the United States, over the past seven months I have often found it hard to find any objective news or analysis about the Biden administration. Mainstream journalists seem so partisan that what they tell us often says more about their own personal preferences than it does about the achievements of this administration.
Last week that changed. Not even the most partisan apologist for this administration could ignore the images of the disaster unfolding in Kabul.
If Washington’s politicians are so inept at extricating the US from Afghanistan, what about their judgment on everything else? What confidence can we have, for example, in the billion-dollar boondoggle Biden & co have conjured up known as the Green New Deal?
Having spent eye wateringly large amounts of money, the government has caused inflation. This inflationary effect, officials insist, is only transitory. Really? How can we have confidence that an administration unable to see two weeks ahead in Afghanistan knows what lies on the economic horizon in the months and years ahead?
Wealth taxes, the radical progressives insist, are essential. Only by redistributing America’s wealth, Washington insiders say, can they provide us with the public services we want. I am not sure I would trust this lot to run a bath, let alone to know what public services people in Mississippi want.
At times like this, it is easy to give in to despair. Federal officials seem so hopeless and those that preside over public policy seem so inept, it is easy to become despondent. But remember this; no one ever won by betting against America.
If we feel that the American Republic is under pressure at home and abroad, imagine what it must have felt like in the 1940s or the late 1970s? Then the challenges America faced must have seemed overwhelming. Yet the United States came through.
America will find a way through these challenges. Foreign policy drift will be replaced by resolve. High tax and spend policies will pave the way for a return to good economic housekeeping.
The key to reviving America’s standing in the world and overcoming the legion of domestic problems created by big government intervention is to stay true to America’s Founding ideals.
America is unlike any other country in the world because she is, and she remains, an experiment in self-government. Under the US Constitution, government remains limited, power is constrained. Those that make public policy are held accountable to the people.
Provided the United States stays true to those principles, this period will pass. It will be morning in America again.
This opinion piece by Douglas Carswell, President & CEO of the Mississippi Center for Public Policy, originally appeared in the Northside Sun