At the very moment the Chinese Communist Party is “ostentatiously trying to replace America” as the global superpower, says Douglas Murray in The Sunday Telegraph, the US itself is a complete mess. Crucially, the quality of city and state governments is at an “all-time low”. Take San Francisco, which has collapsed under the weight of drug problems, rife homelessness and much else. What are local authorities busy seriously discussing? “Distributing reparations for slavery, which ended two centuries ago.” Entire states – notably California – are “taxing themselves into poverty”, chasing out the super-rich and “slowly strangling the goose that laid the golden egg”.
Part of the problem is that the country’s intellectual class has largely been replaced by the kind of “noisy huckster pundit” who throws out incendiary claims about “the iniquities of the country” and trousers a hefty salary for doing so. But it’s everywhere – Supreme Court judges can’t say with any confidence what a woman is; law students walk out of classrooms at prestigious colleges for fear of hearing an opinion they might disagree with. And this is all watched over by a president who is “clearly, visibly ailing”, but pretends he’s going to stay in office for another six years. What’s strange is that when you look at America’s economic spreadsheets, the country is doing considerably better than the UK and Europe. Inflation is down, and fuel prices with it. But travelling city to city, it’s obvious the world’s leading democracy is driving itself mad – “you only have to look out of the window”.