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Victor Davis Hanson Op-ed: The third worldizing of America


Commentary By Victor Davis Hanson, Op-ed contributor | Monday, December 06, 2021

Read more at https://www.christianpost.com/voices/the-third-worldizing-of-america.html/

carjack theft burglary
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In a recent online exchange, the YouTuber Casey Neistat posted his fury after his car was broken into and the contents stolen. Los Angeles, he railed, was turning into a “3rd-world s—hole of a city.”

The multimillionaire actor Seth Rogen chastised Neistat for his anger.

Rogen claimed that a car’s contents were minor things to lose. He added that while living in West Hollywood, he had his own car broken into 15 times, but thought little of it. Online bloggers ridiculed Rogen. No wonder: The actor lives in multimillion-dollar homes in the Los Angeles area, guarded by sophisticated security systems and fencing. Yet both Neistat and Rogen accurately defined Third Worldization: the utter breakdown of the law and the ability of the rich within such a feudal society to find ways to avoid the violent chaos.

After traveling the last 45 years in the Middle East, southern Europe, Mexico, and Asia Minor, I observed some common characteristics of a so-called “Third World society.” And all of them might feel increasingly familiar to contemporary Americans. Whether in Cairo or Naples, theft was commonplace. Yet property crimes were almost never seriously prosecuted. In a medieval-type society of two rather than three classes, the rich in walled estates rarely worry that much about thievery. Crime is written off as an intramural problem of the poor, especially when the middle class is in decline or nonexistent.

Violent crime is now soaring in America. But two things are different about America’s new criminality. One is the virtual impunity of it. Thieves now brazenly swarm a store, ransack, steal and flee with the merchandise without worry of arrest.

Second, the left often justifies crime as a sort of righteous payback against a supposedly exploitative system. So, the architect of the so-called “1619 Project,” Nikole Hannah-Jones, preened of the riotous destruction of property during the summer of 2020: “Destroying property, which can be replaced, is not violence.”

Third Worldization reflects the asymmetry of law enforcement. Ideology and money, not the law, adjudicate who gets arrested and tried, and who does not.

There were 120 days of continuous looting, arson and lethal violence during the summer of 2020. Rioters burned courthouses, police precincts and an iconic church. And there was also a frightening riot on Jan. 6, when a mob entered Washington, D.C.’s Capitol and damaged federal property. Of those arrested during the violence, many have been held in solitary confinement or under harsh jail conditions. That one-day riot is currently the subject of a congressional investigation. Some of those arrested are still — 10 months later — awaiting trial. The convicted are facing long prison sentences.

In contrast, some 14,000 were arrested in the longer and more violent rioting of 2020. Most were released without bail. The majority had their charges dropped. Very few are still being held awaiting capital charges.

A common denominator to recent controversies at the Justice Department, CIA, FBI, and the Pentagon is that all these agencies under dubious pretexts have investigated American citizens with little or no justification — after demonizing their targets as “treasonous,” “domestic terrorists,” “white supremacists,” or “racists.”

In the Third World, basic services like power, fuel, transportation and water are characteristically unreliable. In other words, much like a frequent California brownout.

I’ve been on five flights in my life where it was announced there was not enough fuel to continue to the scheduled destination. The plane was required either to turn around or land somewhere on the way. One such aborted flight took off from Cairo, another from southern Mexico. The other three were this spring and summer inside the United States.

One of the most memorable scenes that I remember of Ankara, Old Cairo, or Algiers of the early 1970s were legions of beggars and the impoverished sleeping on sidewalks. But such impoverishment pales in comparison to the encampments of present-day Fresno, Los Angeles, Sacramento, or San Francisco. Tens of thousands live on sidewalks and in open view use them to defecate, urinate, inject drugs, and dispose of refuse.

In the old Third World, extreme wealth and poverty existed in close proximity. It was common to see peasants on horse-drawn wagons a few miles from coastal villas. But there is now far more contiguous wealth and poverty in Silicon Valley. In Redwood City and East Palo Alto, multiple families cram into tiny bungalows and garages, often a few blocks from tony Atherton. On the main streets outside of Stanford University and the Google campus, the helot classes sleep in decrepit trailers and buses parked on the streets.

Neistat was right in identifying a pandemic of crime in Los Angeles as Third Worldization. But so was Rogen, though unknowingly so. The actor played the predictable role of the smug, indifferent Third World rich who master ignoring — and navigating around — the misery of others in their midst.


Originally published at The Daily Signal

Victor Davis Hanson is a classicist and historian at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and author of the book The Second World Wars: How the First Global Conflict Was Fought and Won. You can reach him by e-mailing authorvdh@gmail.com.

Making Harding Look Good. The Obama administration has tarnished nearly every major federal agency.


Obamacare

By Victor Davis Hanson ~

Harding and Obama (Library of Congress; Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Victor Davis Hanson

Imperial President ObamaMany have described the Obama departure from the 70-year-old bipartisan postwar foreign policy of the United States as reminiscent of Jimmy Carter’s failed 1977–81 tenure. There is certainly the same messianic sense of self, the same naïveté, and the same boasts of changing the nature of America, as each of these presidents was defining himself as against supposedly unpopular predecessors. But the proper Obama comparison is not Carter, but rather Warren G. Harding. By that I mean not that Obama’s scandals have matched Harding’s, but rather that by any fair standard they have now far exceeded them and done far more lasting damage — and without Obama’s offering achievements commensurate with those that occasionally characterized Harding’s brief, failed presidency.

The lasting legacy of Obama will be that he has largely discredited the idea of big government, of which he was so passionate an advocate. Almost every major agency of the federal government, many of them with a hallowed tradition of bipartisan competence, have now been rendered either dysfunctional or politicized — or both — largely because of politically driven appointments of unqualified people, or ideological agendas that were incompatible with the agency’s mission.The list of scandals is quite staggering. In aggregate, it makes Harding’s Teapot Dome mess seem minor in comparison.lasting

obama-border-is-open-378x257There is now no Border Patrol, at least as Americans have understood the agency whose job was enforcing federal immigration statutes. It died as an enforcement bureau sometime in 2013, not long after the reelection of Barack Obama, in a way that it could not have before the election. Instead, in Orwellian fashion, at a time of plague and terrorism abroad, it is now the Border-Crossing Enabling Service, whose chief task is facilitating the illegal entry of thousands from Latin America and Mexico, largely to further the political agenda of the Obama administration, contrary to the law, the will of Congress, and the wishes of the majority of the American people. Mention the phrase “immigration law” or “Border Patrol,” and Americans sigh that neither any longer exists. Yet such a perversion of the mission of a federal agency for political purposes has become thematic of this administration. Perhaps the end of border enforcement is emblemized best by Obama’s own uncle and late aunt, who in open defiance broke federal immigration law and did so with impunity, resided illegally in the United States, broke various state laws, and ended up either on public assistance or mired in the U.S. judicial system.

No one quite knows how to deal with the deadly threat of the Ebola virus. We can assume, however, that the Obama administration’s policy will be PC-Rider-590-LIpredicated foremost on some sort of predetermined ideological concern. Unlike many European countries, the United States still allows foreign nationals from countries with pandemics of Ebola to enter the country freely. What the administration has so far told us about Ebola — that a case here was unlikely, and then, after it happened, that probably only a handful of people had been exposed — was almost immediately proven false.

If this seems a harsh judgment, consider the policy of restricting flights to and from foreign countries because of national-security concerns. During the controversial Gaza War, the FAA ordered U.S. airlines to suspend flights to Ben Gurion Airport — the best protected airport in the world — supposedly because of a rocket that exploded in the general proximity of the facility. Hamas claimed the step as a psychological victory and proof of the efficacy of its strategy of targeting Israeli civilian centers, and as further evidence of growing U.S. anger at Israeli war conduct. In contrast, the FAA has not shut down flights to and from African countries in which Ebola has reached pandemic status. Which threat — a deadly virus or a stray rocket — posed the greatest danger to the American public? Perhaps if infected Liberian nationals send their child to Sidwell Friends, radical changes in FAA policy will follow; or, in contrast, if Israel had been gripped by an Ebola pandemic, then Americans might have been allowed to fly in and out of Ben Gurion.

Obama's IRS GestapoThe combination of Lois Lerner’s taking the Fifth Amendment and Barack Obama’s characterizing the IRS’s partisan targeting of conservatives as involving not a “smidgen” of corruption sum up the current status of the tax agency. So far no one has been held accountable for the corruption. Most Americans now assume that any high-profile political activity or contribution deemed inimical to the Obama administration will earn an audit or at least additional IRS scrutiny — a Machiavellian gambit that has discouraged contributions to conservative candidates. The agency that relies on voluntary tax compliance now holds taxpayers to standards of transparency, record-keeping, and honesty that it cannot itself meet. That too will be a lasting legacy of the Obama administration.

Eric Holder has politicized the Justice Department in a way not seen since the scandals of Nixon appointee John Mitchell. Holder’s prior ethical lapses – notably, as deputy attorney general in the Clinton Eric Holderadministration, the disreputable eleventh-hour pardon for fugitive (and Democratic contributor) Marc Rich — were well known. But in less than six years, he has managed to trump them. Holder was held in contempt by Congress for withholding subpoenaed documents about the Fast and Furious scandal, and he editorialized on pending criminal cases, such as the Trayvon Martin and the Ferguson cases. He arbitrarily chose not to enforce existing laws, whether elements of Obamacare or immigration statutes. He was forced to pay back the government for using a Gulfstream to junket to the Belmont Stakes with family and friends. He sought to try terrorists in civilian courts, and he demonized the idea of Guantanamo, which earlier, when it was politically expedient, he had praised. He caricatured his critics and made race essential rather than incidental to his tenure (e.g., “my people,” “nation of cowards,” and the false charges of racism against critics of the administration) in a way that would have gotten anyone else fired. Had any other attorney general monitored reporters’ communications as Holder did those of AP reporters, and, even more so, James Rosen, he would also have been summarily dismissed. Even the media will not be able to prevent Holder’s legacy from being seen as one of the Justice Department’s no longer enforcing the law without prejudice, but instead choosing haphazard compliance in order to advance partisan ideas of social justice.

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