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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 21, 2005 / 12 Nisan, 5765

American decline?

By Victor Davis Hanson


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | For over a century European intellectuals have predicted the decline of the United States. The German philosophers Hegel, Nietzsche and Spengler saw Western democracy and capitalism as pernicious — the unfortunate wages of a classical civilization that had lavished upon natural man too much wealth and indulgence.

Later the Nazis bragged that they were descendants of untainted Germanic tribes of old, and promised that poorly-disciplined American "cowboys" wouldn't stand a chance against their Panzers. The Japanese militarists claimed that their ultra-nationalist Bushido code would give them an edge over the "decadent" GIs.

During the Cold War, hardcore socialists pontificated that the (soon-to-collapse) Soviet Union was ascendant, inasmuch as it had realized Karl Marx's triumphant New Man who was reborn from the ashes of capitalism.

In President Jimmy Carter's days of "national malaise," the state-subsidized industries of Japan, Inc. were supposedly making us all wage slaves to Sony and Toyota — until the Asian financial meltdown.

Now a new generation of pessimists is warning that it is the turn of the European Union, flush with trade surpluses, a small defense budget and a strong Euro. Larger in size than us, with a greater population, a better educated youth and a supposedly more humane social net, will Europe gradually nudge the United States from its world preeminence? Or does the new Asian axis of 2 billion in China and India instead foretell American decline?

Some long-term indicators here at home are indeed worrisome. The deficit is again spiraling. Our trade debt is enormous. The dollar is weak. Materialistic Americans are buying more consumer goods than their global scorecard might otherwise warrant — all predicated on borrowed money from Asia that could be recalled with little warning. Few of the huge container ships from China, Japan and South Korea that dock in California return to Asia stuffed with American exports.

However, such pessimism is premature. Other indicators generally point in our favor. Interest rates are steady. Rates of real economic growth are strong. Unemployment and inflation are both low.

Our rivals face their own social crises on the horizon. The Europeans await a demographic crisis, as their aging populations shrink and they become more reliant on unassimilated immigrant Islamic minorities. Even without a military, they cannot sustain the social entitlements promised to millions over 55. Many members are fearful of an anti-democratic superstructure that regulates everything down to the proper size of a banana.

As China and India embrace free markets, they resemble raucous America circa 1870. Vast imbalances in wealth, unregulated and untaxed, erode public confidence. Their governments have a rendezvous with unionism, environmentalism, minority rights and suburban malaise — the dividends of a newly affluent society that long ago were diagnosed and accommodated in the United States.

A better way to assess our relative health is simply empirical — to look and listen to what goes on around us. I spend three days a week in upscale Palo Alto, which surrounds the Stanford University campus. The other four days, I reside on a farm in one of California's poorest rural areas. Statistics would perhaps depress us that the former smaller population is highly affluent and educated and has a greater range of life choices, while the latter larger one is not so well served.

Yet new suburban homes are about 25 percent of the cost around my farm as they are near Stanford — and thousands of first- and second-generation immigrant families are snapping them up, with garages full of new cars. If households make a lot less in central California, their money also goes a lot further.

My optimistic rural neighbors may not shop at Saks Fifth Avenue, buy Mercedes or live nearby museums and opera halls. Yet Wal-Mart, brand-new Kias and an array of low-cost sporting events, fairs, state universities and junior colleges provide at least the semblance of lifestyle parity.

Even if Palo Alto has trendy shoppers in imported cars, to the naked eye they don't live all that much better than do immigrants from Oaxaca and the Punjab, whose homes, televisions, transportation and clothes look about the same — and are far better than in most places in the world I've seen.

What we miss in statistics about relative national strength are the extraordinary vibrancy and inclusiveness of American culture. It has an uncanny ability to assimilate minorities and newcomers. The United States allows freer access of information and bases decisions more often on merit rather than on nepotism or tribalism.

We engage in greater self-critique and seem to foster in our citizens a stronger desire for constructive emulation rather than useless envy of the more successful in our presence. The American Constitution is unique in safeguarding prosperity, security and fairness — as Europeans, the U.N. and Asians all have learned when they have tried their own less successful versions.

All in all, America is still in pretty good shape, whether in Palo Alto or south of Fresno — and far stronger than its perennial critics think.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and military historian at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. Comment by clicking here.


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