For almost fifty years, Lebanon has been a byword for a dysfunctional state. Communal violence, civil war and foreign occupation ravaged the nation that hitherto served as a role-model for the Middle East. A comparison of recent trends in the USA and the trials endured by Lebanon is a necessary exercise in order for Americans to understand the cost of not correcting their country’s course.
Nations can endure hardship and demand self-sacrifice if they are united by ties of blood, history and faith. The quasi-miraculous survival of the Jewish people is explained by each of these variables playing an important role in strengthening Jewish identity. In America, each of these three variables has faded with every passing generation: Americans are ethnically less homogeneous than ever, they no longer share a common understanding of their history and – most ominously – are no longer united by a civic faith.
For generations, Americans were patriotic and proud of the “American way of life”: The faith in rugged individualism, fair play and merit allowed a society built by poor immigrants of all races and religions to flourish and serve as a light unto the nations. Alas, as this faith succumbs to recriminations and self-doubt, America no longer serves as a beacon for humanity.
The “1619 Project” peddled by the East Coast intelligentsia has undermined patriotism; the toppling of statues of the country’s founding fathers has made a mockery of national symbols; the mainstreaming of claims that the American economic and political model is “structurally racist”, followed by calls for gender and race to play a primary role in all job appointments pave the way for America’s decline. What a shame.
This decadence was perhaps inevitable. The American way of life hinged on the illusion that hard work would reward everyone with wealth or if not wealth, a decent standard of life. As globalization undermined the American middle class, the ideological glue of American society went amiss. These dynamics teach us an important lesson: When the strongest bond holding society together is monetary self-interest, as soon as profits fade societies start to fall apart.
The stimuli packages of Presidents Trump and Biden have made the national debt balloon. In a not too distant future, taxes will need to be hiked and expenditures slashed in order for America to remain solvent. If despite its economic bonanza in recent years, America has been riven by deep racial and social conflicts, what are the odds that she will unite to overcome the next economic shock?
Cisgender white males are routinely pilloried by academics and the mainstream media for every ill in America. It should not take long for a more conventional scapegoat to take their place.
World history suggests that the Goldene Medine may not remain one for long. Recent years have witnessed episodes of anti-Jewish violence and vitriol in America which had not been seen in decades. Antisemitism is nowadays the sole idea that unites the far-left and the far-right. The far-right resents Jews’ disproportionate contribution to challenging the American way of life; the far-left resents the fact Jews have been disproportionately blessed by this way of life. Both fringes are now represented in Congress.
When societies are no longer united by common values, the search for scapegoats begins. In America this search has already begun: Cisgender white males are routinely pilloried by academics and the mainstream media for every ill in America. It should not take long for a more conventional scapegoat to take their place.
It is for this reason that American Jews should remember that when push comes to shove the only place that will always welcome them is Israel. In times when it is fashionable to assume that antisemitism is an avoidable by-product of “the occupation”, “the settlements” and “the oppression of Palestinians”, woke Jews would do well to realize that the strength and health of Zionism is the best guarantor of their safety.
Lebanon today tethers on the brink of bankruptcy and chaos. The country that gave birth to one of the world’s most enterprising diasporas is now a sclerotic nation paralyzed by corruption and ethnic quotas. The ethnic groups that prospered fifty years ago Marronites, Sunnis, Shiites, Druzes, Armenians and Greeks are still around and suffering, except for one: the Jews.
Rafael Castro is a Noahide Yale and Hebrew University educated business and political analyst based in Europe. Rafael specializes in ghostwriting quality texts for entrepreneurs and politicians. Rafael can be reached at [email protected]