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The emptiness of American anarchy The US could learn from Japan's civil war

Forget Weimar Germany (Joseph Prezioso / AFP)


November 30, 2021   6 mins

With America still reeling from the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict, and the deadly car attack that followed a few days later, the country seems to be on the brink of a domestic crisis. As ever, in a desperate attempt to explain today’s chaos, it’s become commonplace to fall back on the past. Parallels drawn between the US and Weimar Germany, accompanied by warnings that there are national socialists lurking behind every corner waiting to grab power and then do who-knows-what.

But comparisons to Weimar are a dime a dozen in the West, and their explanatory power is incredibly questionable. Our modern historical lexicon often seems to be a book with all the pages ripped out, save for one or two badly smudged chapters on the European interwar period. And this is a shame, because there are many other historical periods that could do more to advance our understanding of current political events, both in the US and elsewhere. History is, after all, quite expansive.

More than any other, one particular moment, mostly unknown today, may have a lot to tell us about where the US is headed next: Japan’s bakumatsu period — the polarised and chaotic end period of the old Tokugawa shogunate.

To understand the bakumatsu, one should know what came before it. In 1600, Japan’s ‘warring states era’, or the sengoku jidai, came to a close with the Battle of Sekigahara. Soon afterwards, the victorious Tokugawa clan implemented a policy of almost total national lockdown, known as sakoku (literally: locked country). Generally, foreigners were forbidden from entering the country, and Japanese commoners banned from leaving on pain of death. Though there were some minor exceptions, Japan essentially closed itself off to the rest of the world.

There were a host of benefits to this, including more than two centuries of internal peace, economic growth and innovation in the fields of arts and culture. Under the surface, however, contradictions in Japanese society slowly built up. The samurai were now a caste of warriors without any wars left to fight, while low-born merchants grew in wealth, slowly undermining a society that assigned status according to birth.

Moreover, the divisions that led to the battle of Sekigahara were never really mended; Japan’s most powerful samurai magnates, or daimyo, were split into two different camps: the tozama, and the fudai. The former were descendants of magnates who had been neutral or against the Tokugawa in 1600, while the latter came from families that had been on the winning side. Still, the tozama remained quite rich and powerful, even later in the 19th century, but they were barred from almost every important post in the Government. Their resentment at this never dissipated, but merely simmered on a low boil for centuries, waiting for an opportune moment to roar back to life.

This brings us to the bakumatsu period itself. In 1853, the US Navy forcibly entered the bay of Edo (modern day Tokyo), and demanded that the country open itself up to trade. The Japanese, after their centuries of isolation, could do very little to defend themselves against Commodore Perry’s Black Ships. At gunpoint, the Japanese were forced to abandon a policy that had been the cornerstone of their existence for the last two centuries.

The immediate result of this shift in policy was the start of an extreme social and political chain reaction; abandoning isolationism at the hands of foreign barbarians upended not just Japanese public opinion, but the very basis of legitimacy for the Tokugawa shogunate. Meanwhile, uncontrolled foreign trade also led to a collapse of the Japanese currency system, which only inflamed public opinion further. Suddenly, Japanese society went from (a somewhat deceptive) placid calm, to rapid, uncontrollable polarisation. Street violence became common; there were attacks on foreigners by patriotic mobs, and armed violence between supporters of the Shogun and increasingly organised opponents of the status quo.

Sound familiar? Of course, elite consensus in 2016 America turned out to be, if anything, built on an even more precarious foundation than Tokugawa’s peace in 1853. Beneath the surface, all manner of social and economic ills had already built up; deindustrialisation was slowly choking America’s working and middle classes, while the wars in the Middle East were poorly run, costly, and corrupt. And, just as with Commodore Perry, the election of Trump merely served to topple the first domino, unleashing a chain reaction that was already primed into the system, inaugurating a period of intense polarisation that exists to this day.

What bakumatsu Japan and modern America share is a straightforward problem: that smashing an old, non-functional system to the point where it can no longer be repaired is not the same as building anything new. On the American Right, people today refer to the ‘dead consensus’ when they talk about political positions that everyone in the GOP had to hold to be taken seriously pre-2016. They do not talk about a ‘new consensus’, however, because no new consensus exists. And that doesn’t look like changing anytime soon.

To return to the bakumatsu, Japanese society eventually polarised into two broad factions; those who were loyal to the Shogunate, and those who supported the Emperor returning to political power (at this point, the Japanese royal family have been powerless figureheads for about 800 years). What followed was a civil conflict defined by its confused and contradictory nature.

The backers of the Emperor attacked the Shogunate for being too friendly with the West. But many of the most powerful backers of this putatively xenophobic, anti-Western faction had also been the most eager importers of foreign instructors and weapons, who had then managed to defeat opposition forces with their smaller, far more Westernised armies. And indeed, once they won the ensuing civil war, their post-unification agenda turned out to be… the abolishment of the feudal caste system, the disarmament of the samurai, and the rapid industrialisation and modernisation of Japanese society. Whoops!

While ideology always plays a part in civil conflicts, the bakumatsu is not so much a story of traditionalism versus progressivism as simply what happens when a large political vacuum is created almost overnight, and there’s no good alternative on hand. The result is a very chaotic period of political free-for-all, as old coalitions rapidly collapse and new ones form, and centuries-old grudges suddenly come rearing back to life. And the creation of that vacuum, and the polarisation that fills it, is precisely what we are seeing in America today.

In the case of America, the empire is clearly in a very deep, systemic crisis. The military machine is deeply broken, the policy of spreading liberal democracy is a total failure, and the globalised economy has now frozen and seized up. Nobody, whether they’re on the Left or the Right, really has any solution to these problems. The vacuum is simply too big. And thus, we are slowly beginning to see the same sort of political dynamic manifest in America as it did in Japan during the bakumatsu. In America, just as in Japan, political street violence proliferates, and people form into armed and organised political gangs.

Yet, if 19th century Japan offers some interesting parallels in terms of what has already happened in the last five years or so, it also gives us some hints of what is in store in America’s immediate future. First, the chaos that defined the bakumatsu suggests it’s probably foolish to expect American polarisation to cool down or improve anytime soon. If anything, it is likely to get a great deal worse, as nobody really has any sort of practical solution on hand to address the fundamental rupture introduced into the American political economy by deindustrialisation. This problem is especially acute, given the supply crisis that is now slowly choking producers and consumers. The current model is broken, but that breach is the result of decades of active policy choices. It can’t be unbroken in a week, and like a rotting tooth, it’s a problem that will keep spreading pain until it is finally dealt with.

Second, one of the most serious potential flashpoints in the years ahead is going to be the relationship between the federal government and various recalcitrant states. In the bakumatsu period, the Tokugawa government slowly lost control over the tozama magnates, who increasingly came to either ignore orders from Edo, or explicitly worked to undermine the Shogun.

In America, this sort of political brinkmanship is starting to play out. Recently, Oklahoma’s Governor, Kevin Stitt, brazenly defied Washington by firing the commander of the Oklahoma National Guard, replacing him with a man whose first order of business was to free Oklahoma’s guardsmen from any obligation to comply with the Covid vaccine mandates. Though its effect didn’t extend beyond state borders, it’s a fairly ominous sign of where things are headed; the weight of federal writ is clearly not what it once was in America, and if the country continues to polarise and experience economic crisis, these sorts of conflicts will become increasingly common, and increasingly serious. In a couple of years, for example, if federal agents are ordered to arrest or imprison a popular state governor such as Ron DeSantis after some vexing display of Floridian insubordination, nobody really knows what could happen as a result.

More than anything, the most important lesson of the bakumatsu is simply to expect the unexpected in the days and years ahead. Political hypocrisy, back-stabbing, the embrace of exceedingly strange bedfellows, rapidly changing alliances, and much more; these things are not just likely but more or less guaranteed in times like these.

Just like the Japanese weren’t actually fighting merely for or against modernisation, or for or against the Emperor, the figurative (and increasingly literal) battles inside America today aren’t really about race, or taxes, or personal autonomy. They are about the heart, soul, and future of the nation, about what gets to fill the hungry vacuum left behind by the Black Ship that conquered the country in 2016.


Malcom Kyeyune is a freelance writer living in Uppsala, Sweden

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Matt M
Matt M
2 years ago

Two great pieces in UnHerd this morning (and I still have two to go!)

The mention of Ron DeSantis reminded me of something I saw the other day. I had been hearing his name mentioned as a potential 2024 presidential contender and I thought I would have a look at some articles and videos to see for myself if he was the real deal.

I searched for his name – on Google and YouTube – and all the results were anti-DeSantis articles and videos! Page after page of links to hostile news sources. It took me a while to find some straight footage of one of his speeches and longer to find a proper interview. Normally I would put this down to the vagaries of algorithms but this looked to me like curated bias.

Anyway when I did watch him, I was quite impressed and if Google is going to the trouble of suppressing favourable content, maybe they think he is a threat in 2024 too.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt M

DuckDuckGo will return a more balanced viewpoint. Whether this division can persist between Google and Duck is the crux of the story.

Matt M
Matt M
2 years ago
Reply to  Hardee Hodges

I’ll check it out, thanks

Last edited 2 years ago by Matt M
Bryan Dale
Bryan Dale
2 years ago
Reply to  Hardee Hodges

Yes, although DuckDuckGo is also a liberal company. If you want to know what’s really going on in the United States, try the Russian search engine yandex.com.

Tom Krehbiel
Tom Krehbiel
2 years ago
Reply to  Bryan Dale

Yandex gives a very balanced selection, do they?

Warren T
Warren T
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt M

Hence the toxic division we have today. Someone else searching would see completely different results. Just watch “The Social Dilemma” and you will understand how these search engines are designed to utilize algorithms to maximize advertising. Purely evil.

Douglas McNeish
Douglas McNeish
2 years ago
Reply to  Matt M

De Santis’s Latino background cannot save him from the wrath of the Left, who scream “racism” and “bigotry” only when defending against criticism of one of their submissive followers.

Likewise, there was no leftist defense of renegade DĂ©mocrat Senator Kristen Sinema when she received death threats and was harassed by male leftists in public toilets for the unpardonable sin of voting against her party’s whip.

The left and their media allies dictate which members of “oppressed minorities” are deserving of victimhood and their protection.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago

With America still reeling from the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict”

I never saw any reeling – some CNN silly junk maybe, but it was nothing except for some University Lefties and some Marxist Street Rebellion crazies yelling into the void, maybe one domestic terrorist, but I have not heard, no normal people thought anything of it except the Jury was doing their job.

But the Japan thing – that is just ridiculous. I know Japanese history very well. The Japanese responded by a philosophy called ‘Adopt and Adapt’, take the new things which work, accept the new reality if must be – and adapt it to the Japanese way. That is why they were astoundingly successful, they are a cohesive society and when they adopt a new way they work it to its maximum potential and make IT fit into Japan. Pretty much like they did after WWII.

The difference between The Meiji Restoration and Biden’s America is bigger than any two other societies on Earth. You need to go back to your books…..

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

“With America still reeling”. Without hyperbole there would be nothing to talk about. Imagine if the article had started “I was talking to my friend last night..”.

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

The problem with many people is they often want to directly compare two different historical periods with little in common. Yes, they may have a few similarities, but there are also major differences between the two periods. Funny enough, the best comparison I can make to current America is 60’s and early 70’s America. Unpopular wars, lack of faith in politicians, street violence, distrust in institutions, and sharp political divides were hallmarks of this era. There are still too many important differences between then and now to reliably predict the outcome or make a direct comparison. Things could get completely out of control, tensions could fade away after a election cycle or two and some reform, or we could just keep this train rolling into the foreseeable future. Most of the tension here in America is related to the uncertainty.

Last edited 2 years ago by Matt Hindman
Warren T
Warren T
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

And the author lives in Sweden for heaven’s sake. This is worse than drive-by media.

Richard Pearse
Richard Pearse
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

Thank you GT! – so much wrong in this article without the botched and strained history and comparison. A Swedish (Marxist? – conservatives are fascists?) version of the dynamic that’s been raging in America since the early 1900’s progressives (Woodrow Wilson was president during WWI), bubbling up with FDR, LBJ and Obama (now the senile guy who they call the president).

Wilson went to study (Hegel, anyone?) in Germany and brought back these idiotic ideas, that directly contradict our constitution.

The author should focus on his Japanese history hobby, and read The Crisis of Two Constitutions (Kesler) and The Age of Entitlement (Caldwell) to get a glimpse of the forces that led to 2016 and beyond.

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
2 years ago

Sorry to be picky but I’m fed up with seeing the neologism ‘abolishment’ in otherwise learned articles. It’s ‘abolition’.

Andrzej Wasniewski
Andrzej Wasniewski
2 years ago
Reply to  Judy Englander

learned article” are we reading the same stuff?. The author is entirely ignorant of the US federal system and division of powers?

Judy Englander
Judy Englander
2 years ago

Point taken.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
2 years ago

Enlighten us please: tell us what IS relevant under this heading. It will add a good deal of interest to the issue for us EU folk..

Bryan Dale
Bryan Dale
2 years ago

Great article about Japanese history, but you clearly don’t understand American politics if you think there is no new consensus on the right. President Trump has called it America First. It includes small government, free market economics, sensible and controlled immigration and a respect for America’s traditions and liberties.

Galeti Tavas
Galeti Tavas
2 years ago
Reply to  Bryan Dale

As a MAGA, even maybe a WWG1WGA in spirit, I back Trump – because he is an outsider, be did not sell his soul to the political ‘Donor’ Elites to rise in the ranks, and is Patriotic – BUT hs also was a huge fiscal irresponsible, money printing to buy votes and influence, politico like all the recent Presidents. Trump with a economic Conservative basis would be great – but once in again he will spend like a drunken Biden to keep the voters in free stuff so they vote for him – just like the Democrats do….

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
2 years ago
Reply to  Galeti Tavas

…sounds like your situation is hopeless then? Any suggestions? Bernie and AOC form a 3rd way maybe?

Patrick Powell
Patrick Powell
2 years ago
Reply to  Bryan Dale

I rather think the Right is not as united in consensus as you make out. For rather too many, Trump was and is an embarrassment, but they are cowed into keeping quiet by the kind of ‘democrats’ who thought nothing of invading Congress and threatening the lives of politicians working there.
If that doesn’t concern you, you must be asleep.

Douglas Proudfoot
Douglas Proudfoot
2 years ago

Your analysis is completely off. The US is in a pre Civil War 1850’s period. The Democrats are trying to seize power by any means necessary. While they claim to be the force of democracy, Democrats are anything but that. After 4 years of attempted coup against the duly elected president by the intelligence community, FBI and Department of Justice, the Democrats have moved on to Latin American style riots and ruling by decree, based on fear mongering with Covid-19.

The key to understanding the situation is the Antifa/BLM riots. These riots have a banana republic quality to them. Democrats in control of local government order the police to stand down. They permit the rioting. If any rioters are arrested, Democrats don’t prosecute the rioters. They allow low bail, so the rioters are recycled back onto the streets. The mainstream media lies about the triggering event, like, “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot!” which was a complete fabrication. The intent is to incite riots.

Antifa/BLM riots killed dozens, injured hundreds and destroyed billions of dollars worth of property. The riots were intentional political violence, to intimidate Republicans and make Trump look impotent if he did nothing, and authoritarian if he tried to intervene.

When Trump called Antifa/BLM riots an insurrection, many state and local Democrat authorities defended their right to permit riots locally, without federal interference. Democrats also have sacturary cities where federal immigration law isn’t enforced. However, they scream bloody murder if Oklahoma refuses to order vaccine mandates, which were not authorized by law, and are of possibly questionable legality unless the Oklahoma National Guard is federalized. In normal times, the Oklahoma Notional Guard is the state militia, under the command of the governor.

The riots in Kenosha started after a knife wielding black man was shot and wounded by police. He had violated an order of protection by assaulting his former girlfriend in Kenosha. Democrats controling the Kenosha police ordered them not to intervene in the riots. Kyle Rittenhouse was present on the 2nd night of rioting.

If anyone resists Antifa/BLM rioters, like Kyle Rittenhouse, they are prosecuted to the full extent of the law and beyond. It was obvious to anyone who knew the facts, or watched the trial on TV, that Rittenhouse should never have been charged. Rittenhouse drove to his job in Kenosha from his mother’s house in Antioch, IL the morning of the shooting. After work, he spent time cleaning grafitti off of schools in Kenosha with friends. The gun was purchased and stored in Kenosha. Rittenhouse’s father, grandmother, aunt and uncle live in Kenosha. He was planning to stay over at a friends house in Kenosha that night.

The mainstream media in the US lies to support the Party, Democrats. I call them the Pravda Press, because that’s how reliable they are.

The Capitol Riot is being used like the Reichstag Fire as an excuse to curtail civil liberties of Democrats’ political opponents. Hundreds of people were arrested and held without bail until a federal appeals court ruled that bail had to be granted to nonviolent offenders. This is an exact parallel to Weimar Germany.

There’s absolutely nothing like Japan going on in the US. The 2nd Amendment makes the US unique. The Rittenhouse prosecution was an attempt to nullify the right to self defense. It failed. Gun sales are way up, because it’s obvious that government isn’t reliable when it comes to protecting us from riots and violent crime. Unlike other countries, the US has a tradition of armed self defense. For an example, look up the vigilantes of Montana. It will horrify British sensibilities.

Last edited 2 years ago by Douglas Proudfoot
Patrick Powell
Patrick Powell
2 years ago

“After 4 years of attempted coup against the duly elected president by the intelligence community, FBI and Department of Justice, the Democrats have moved on to Latin American style riots and ruling by decree, based on fear mongering with Covid-19.”
And your proof of an ‘attempted coup’ against the duly elected president?

Douglas Proudfoot
Douglas Proudfoot
2 years ago
Reply to  Patrick Powell

The Steele Dossier was a complete fabrication cooked up by the Clinton Campaign. Read the 3 Durham indictments and the 17 “mistakes,” all in the direction of justifying surveillance, in the Horowitz Report. The Mueller team found no admissible evidence of cooperation with Russians to steal the election. Mueller himself testified, under oath, he got every piece of evidence he asked for from Trump. That doesn’t sound like obstruction to a rational person. The whole Russia Hoax was an attempt to remove, or functionally cripple, a duly elected president by illegal means. If you think not, please explain why not in detail. I would really love to shred your argument.

Democrats, and you, need to pick a standard of evidence and use it in all cases. For vote fraud, Democrats say that evidence not only has to be admissible in court, it has to be accepted by a court. For allegations against Trump, the whisper of one anonymous source is considered enough to solidly prove any case, no matter how far fetched.

If we are using Democrats’ Trump rules of evidence, there is plenty of on the record evidence of both a Wuhan lab origin for Covid-19 and for widespread voting irregularities in 2020. On both Wuhan virus and vote fraud there is sworn testimony before Congress.

If you insist on evidence being at least admissible in court, there was no admissible evidence introduced in either of Trump’s impeachments. There was no admissible evidence of Russian collusion either. So far, there’s no admissible evidence of Trump’s tax fraud, or any other crimes. By the vote fraud standard, you have NO EVIDENCE on Trump at all.

So pick a standard of evidence and live by it. Saul Alinsky says Democrats have to live by their own rules of evidence.

Douglas McNeish
Douglas McNeish
2 years ago

All the smoke and mirrors stripped away nicely to expose, as you say, “The Democrats are trying to seize power by any means necessary.” They have shown a willingness to compromise any and all principles in that pursuit.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
2 years ago

Wow! Now I understand: you explain it perfectly! Not through your assertions (which clearly are laundered garbage) but by reading between the lines. Very informative input: adds considerably to the issue. I for one am grateful for your input – it confirms much of my fears for the future of America …sadly. You guys are doomed! Pity..

Douglas Proudfoot
Douglas Proudfoot
2 years ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Yes, your comment explains everything perfectly. On one side we have a detailed explanation. On the other, we have smug voodoo knostic mystic nonsense while police are ordered to allow riots for political purposes.

Trump offered the Capitol Police 10,000 Maryland National Guard soldiers on January 4 for crowd control. Nancy Pelosi, who controls the Capitol Police, turned them down. That tells you everything you need to know about the anarchy in the US. It’s sponsored by Democrats for their own political purposes. Another example is Charlottesville, VA. The cops had a deal to keep the counter protesters away from the Neo Nazis. The cops didn’t keep the deal. Local goverment Democrats ordered the cops to withdraw, causing the riot.

Douglas McNeish
Douglas McNeish
2 years ago

Spot on.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
2 years ago

The history part is interesting. The comparison part is like bending history to make the argument. The effect today of instant communication has to be factored in somehow.

Suppose the shoguns had arranged a Zoom meeting and arrived at a cunning plan to allow themselves to gain – like on UnHerd – but designed to make to make the masses, the Herd, suffer.

The summary in the penultimate paragraph after many, many words says it all – “perhaps we should expect the unexpected”.

Last edited 2 years ago by Chris Wheatley
JP Martin
JP Martin
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

Yes, the comparison between very homogeneous, cohesive Japan and very fractured, fissiparous United States is hard to accept.

Dr Stephen Nightingale
Dr Stephen Nightingale
2 years ago
Reply to  Chris Wheatley

There’s only one Shogun at a time, so a Zoom meeting would be unnecessary.

Andrzej Wasniewski
Andrzej Wasniewski
2 years ago

With America still reeling from the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict, and the deadly car attack that followed a few days later,”
I wonder if the car will plead guilty or not guilty?. Reading just one sentence tells you everything you need to know about the author. He is clueless.
Then  MALCOM KYEYUNE proceeds to demonstrate that he has no understanding of how the US constitution separates the powers of the federal and state governments. Spending too much time in airports watching CNN clowns?

Patrick Powell
Patrick Powell
2 years ago

Er, Andrzej it was the ‘attack’ which was ‘deadly’ not ‘the car’.
That makes me thing that is someone is clueless, it’s not Kyeyune.

Liz Walsh
Liz Walsh
2 years ago

Agree that the author gives a good impression of being clueless about the USA, its laws and culture. His Procrustean attempt to make his Japanese analogy fit the current events is pretty way out there. Seeing Trump, approve of the former President or not, as “the Black Ship” seemed like such a reach that it verged on the hallucinatory. Not quite the level I expect from Unherd.

Dustshoe Richinrut
Dustshoe Richinrut
2 years ago

America, when will we see you again?
When will we share precious moments?
When will we see you again?
When will we see you again?

– here inspired by those Seventies darlings, The Three Degrees so. (Should I have said sweethearts?)

At the end of 2019, America was just beginning to find an even keel again. Hills had been swatted away in 2016. Even the President in late 2019 was hardly the talk of the town, such was the new calmness.
Then a particular virus rode into town, or moved into the calm waters of the bay. This particular shark was determined that America could relax or go back into the warm waters of contented and rolling-along capitalism and freedom.
Consternation! Collapse!
Like the Roman Agent in Asterix and Obelix, the Viral Agent is what set off Americans being at loggerheads, all as red as Vitalstatistix when he’s-a-raging’-and-a-shoutin’.

Did Japan ever look back with fondness for a particular time after Captain Perry’s Black Ships sailed into Tokyo Bay? It seems not. The twentieth century was known as The American Century. Americans have much to be proud and fond of. Why try to do all that down now? If there had been no “American Century”, I dread to know what would have become of the world.

Last edited 2 years ago by Dustshoe Richinrut
Dustshoe Richinrut
Dustshoe Richinrut
2 years ago

That America could relax? I think I meant should not relax and go back into the warm waters.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
2 years ago

Of course, lock & load will be mainly by one side who generally have more than one gun per person against those who disdain guns as evil creatures (not objects). Perhaps a skirmish between armed criminals and even more armed citizens as normal law erodes. The sentiments of a young Rittenhouse wanting to protect his city writ large.

James Joyce
James Joyce
2 years ago
Reply to  Hardee Hodges

Exactly. This is one likely possibility of how the coming civil war will start.

Warren T
Warren T
2 years ago
Reply to  Hardee Hodges

Seeing guns as evil creatures vs. a hunk of metal and plastic is a clear sign of a disorder. Are knives, automobiles and pitchforks also creatures in your world? Please seek professional counseling quickly.

Earl King
Earl King
2 years ago

I’m not sure I see this authors position on America other than agree there is a massive amount of polarization. The American Empire is being challenged is ways not imaginable 30 or 40 years ago. Within, there is an antipathy towards America and its institutions its culture that hasn’t ever quite happened before.
When you hear of “racial issues” in America you should really think “poverty”. This struggle by one side is simply about being poor. It is mostly about African American poverty. The dichotomy that there are millions of successful Black Americans living and prospering in America and that there are millions still living with the chains of slavery in poverty is hard to reconcile.
One of the biggest critics of America and White Supremacy is Jemele Hill. Once an outspoken moderator on ESPN. She recently appeared on a reality TV show aboard a Super Yacht….Think $150,000 for a weeks stay. How does she explain that America is such a horrible place but that she can afford to rent that kind of yacht? She can’t. She can’t explain how that horrible America elected a black president twice? Nor can she explain the success and generally loved black athletes and entertainers that America has. That black activists become University Chairs of Departments or that someone like Neil Degrasse Tyson becomes a universally loved astrophysicist? 13% of our population is African American. About 20% give or take live in poverty. Coincidentally, married Black Americans have a similar poverty rate of married White Americans. Apparently money doesn’t solve much…for if you listen to Lebron James America is still terrible place for Black Americans…The reality is that the 20% who still live in poverty are really the driving force between the populations. That is problem in search of a solution. You cannot buy success. Our war on poverty only goes so far…,about half way.

Colin M
Colin M
2 years ago

What a moronic opening line. Most sane people in the US were reassured that the verdict was fact-based, fair, and correct. Democrat judge too. I was happy that a show trial had been avoided (mostly because of the learned judge). “Still reeling” my rear end.

T Doyle
T Doyle
2 years ago

Interesting article but the fundamental difference between the USA and Japan is the latter is a homogeneous society and this makes the dynamics very different.

Alison Tyler
Alison Tyler
2 years ago

The fact that they are almost all heavily armed is a great worry. But what an interesting and plausible great peice of analysis, thank you.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
2 years ago

Pre-Covid, factions in liberal states organized ‘sanctuary cities’ which defied federal/national immigration law by harboring illegal and even criminal alien non-citizens. They still call to disband ICE, the federal police force which rounds up illegals. The LEFT was the first to contravene national law which in turn gives the RIGHT permission to do the same with vaccine mandates. To the RIGHT, it is always about following laws and freedom. However, since the 1960’s, the LEFT has wanted to rewrite the Constitution and pack the Supreme Court to get their own undemocratic outcomes, which was done with abortion rights and gay rights. Instead of letting the people decide through state courts they forced the Supreme Court to legislate social policies, denying citizens the right to weigh in. With the abortion issue, this will smack them in the face with the new case in front of the court. This is good. It’s important for the people to decide issues and not the courts. Seems like we might get to democracy by smacking down intolerant, forceful and undemocratic leftist impulses.

Last edited 2 years ago by Cathy Carron
Patrick Powell
Patrick Powell
2 years ago
Reply to  Cathy Carron

For a hodge-podge of barely understood principles and simplistic thinking, your piece really is a paradigm. Take this for example (which you apparently believe in all seriousness): ‘The LEFT was the first to contravene national law which in turn gives the RIGHT permission to do the same with vaccine mandates.’
You blandly proclaim the Left contravened national laws, but give no examples. Furthermore, that is an ‘opinion’, not a ‘fact’.
Even so it does not follow that if A behaves badly, B this also has the right to behave badly: this is sheer nonsense (though I doubt you would even understand why).
You also seem wholly to have missed the essential point of Kyeyune’s essay above: the current (and it seems growing crisis) in the US has nothing to do with ‘progressives’ and ‘conservatives/reactionaries’ — the problem is the ever-growing vacuum there is nothing to replace what is being destroyed.
For several years I’ve quietly wondered whether it really is possible that the US might split into its constituent states, but thought I would be regarded as mad if I ever wondered such out aloud. Then recently my brother admitted the same had occurred to him. So I was intrigued to read this above 
“Oklahoma’s Governor, Kevin Stitt, brazenly defied Washington by firing the commander of the Oklahoma National Guard, replacing him with a man whose first order of business was to free Oklahoma’s guardsmen from any obligation to comply with the Covid vaccine mandates. Though its effect didn’t extend beyond state borders, it’s a fairly ominous sign of where things are headed; the weight of federal writ is clearly not what it once was in America, and if the country continues to polarise and experience economic crisis, these sorts of conflicts will become increasingly common, and increasingly serious.”
It seems my thought was not perhaps as outlandish as I feared.
All empires come to an end, some faster than others. And it really does worry me that for all its faults — many blacks STILL get a very raw deal in the US — the US is on the brink of ceding its role of ‘the world’s leading superpower’ to the China which, in my view, has a rather longer list of faults a democrat might care to tolerate.

John Shaplin
John Shaplin
2 years ago

As Octavio Paz once wrote: ‘Commanders and bishops are summoned to suffer the same fate; for what awaits them also is the anonymous and universal Great Yawn, which is the Apocalypse and Judgement Day of the society of the spectacle.’

Last edited 2 years ago by John Shaplin
Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
2 years ago

I find this article a bit of a solution desperately seeking a problem to fit it. The differences in time, ethnicity, previous history is wide enough but then there is the inward looking Japanese model of the time versus the world domination aspirations of the US. If parallels do emerge I believe they are likely to be more concidental than truly aligned.
Notwithstanding, I do believe the US is a greatly confused society with utter ignorance, fakery and arrogance very strong forces. Were they issues in the Bakumatsu? Was the blatant and shameless impoverishment of low and middle income groups at the expense of of tiny cabal of degenerate, greedy, narcissists a factor? He doesn’t say.
The notion that downfall brings chaos isn’t quite the revelation for me that he clearly thinks it is. But who knows.. maybe the common aspects are more valid than I imagine?
FeichimĂ­s.. (we’ll see in Gaelic)..

Campbell P
Campbell P
2 years ago

In short: short on facts, analysis, and judgement. But at least it prompted some facts, analysis, and judgements which make a good deal of sense!