But America is no more immune from collapse than were some of history's most stable and impressive consensual governments. Fifth-century
Red America and Blue America are spiraling into divisions approaching those of 1860, or of the nihilistic hippie/straight divide of 1968.
Currently, some 27 percent of all Californians were not born in
Yet widely unchecked immigration comes at a time when the country has lost confidence in its prior successful adherence to melting-pot assimilation and integration. The ultimate result is a fragmenting of society into tribal cliques that vie for power, careers and influence on the basis of ethnic solidarity rather than shared Americanness.
History is not very kind to multicultural chaos -- as opposed to a multiracial society united by a single national culture. The fates of
Does the unique American idea of federalism still work, with state rights and laws subordinate to federal law? We fought a Civil War that cost more than 600,000 lives in part to uphold the idea that individual states could not override the federal government.
Yet sanctuary cities declare that they can freely nullify federal immigration law.
States such as
The national debt has almost doubled over the last eight years and at nearly $20 trillion is unsustainable.
Entitlement spending rose even as new taxes increased. The have-nots claim the haves make far too much money; the haves retort that they pay most of the income taxes while nearly half the country pays nothing.
Most Americans agree that the present levels of borrowing and spending cannot continue. But many believe that the tough medicine to cure the disease of chronic annual deficits and mounting debt is unacceptable.
America's infrastructure and military are vastly underfunded, even though some voters want more subsidies for themselves and apparently others to pay for them.
America's once-preeminent colleges and universities are fatally compromised. Universities charge far too much, resist reform, expect exemption from accountability, and assume their students must take on huge amounts of debt. Yet campuses can't guarantee that their graduates are competently educated or that they will find jobs.
Illiberal attempts to end free speech, to sanction racial and gender segregation, and to attack rather than argue with opponents are disguised by euphemisms such as "safe spaces," "trigger warnings" and various -isms and -ologies.
Behind the guise of campus activism and non-negotiable demands is the reality that too many students simply are unprepared to do their assigned work and seek exemption through protests in lieu of hard studying.
America barely survived the Civil War of 1861-65, the Great Depression of 1929-39, and the rioting and protests of the 1960s. But today's growing divides are additionally supercharged by instant internet and social media communications, 24/7 cable news, partisan media and the denigration of America's past traditions.
All Americans need to take a deep breath, step back and rein in their anger -- and find more ways to connect rather than divide themselves.
They should assume their opponents are not all sinners, and that their supporters are not all saints.
Things are bad now. But our own history suggests that if we are not careful, they can get even worse.