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America is turning into revolutionary France Politicians are wilfully ignoring the omens

A pro-Trump protestor following last week's verdict (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

A pro-Trump protestor following last week's verdict (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)


June 5, 2024   5 mins

One of the most dangerous problems in the West today is its vulnerability to normalcy bias: the assumption that nothing will ever happen, things will turn out fine, and there’s nothing really to worry about. Put plainly, this predisposition is a product of our brains not being able to keep up with events. We only have so much brainpower to spare at any particular moment, so if unexpected things happen too quickly, many humans simply tend to freeze up. Even as the waters were slowly seeping into the Titanic, passengers were still milling about, unsure what it all meant.

Out in the real world, the way to combat the paralysing effects of normalcy bias is through training and preparation. If people do their fire drills before a fire breaks out, they are much more likely to be able to spring into action; the brain can simply act on what it already knows. Similarly, learning from history is a sure-fire way to prevent normalcy bias. The only problem is that few recognise this: most people believe history has nothing to teach us about the modern day.

Still, with America’s great divisions only getting greater, let’s assume it does for a second. If we tried to compare the position of the United States today with that of France on the eve of the great revolution of 1789, how would the former hold up? Is it in a more stable position than the France that collapsed into revolution, or is it actually worse?

Let’s start with the domestic and political situation. France in the late-18th century was bitterly inegalitarian. Economic inequality coexisted with social inequality — the old feudal caste system was starting to chafe against the realities of the early modern economy — and the political system itself had basically stopped functioning. Everyone knew reform was badly needed, but passing actual legislation was impossible. Special interests had the ability to veto every change, no matter how necessary, and as 1789 approached, total political gridlock became the order of the day. The French Revolution happened not because it was inevitable, but because the political system proved completely incapable of curing its deficiencies.

Does this seem a bit familiar? It should, because that is precisely the situation in the United States right now. An unequal political system has essentially seized up and stopped functioning, and is now stumbling towards election between the most unpopular president in modern history and the next-most unpopular president in modern history. One of those men is clearly fading rapidly, prone to slurring his speech or forgetting where he is; the other just became the first president to be convicted of a felony. Just as in France in the 1780s, violence, protests and disenchantment seem the likeliest conclusion.

But how is the economy doing? France in 1789 was famously bankrupt; in fact, the bankruptcy of the French Crown was the proximate cause of the entire revolution. It borrowed heavily to fund foreign wars and domestic spending, and before long, it had to keep borrowing even more money to pay off the interest on its old debt, only to borrow even more to pay for those loans, and so on. Finally, France could borrow no more, and the crisis began in earnest.

And yet, when it comes to fiscal impropriety, 18th-century France simply can’t compete with modern America. The US is by far the most indebted nation in the world today in absolute terms, gorging as it does on some $1 trillion in additional debt every three months. And unlike in revolutionary France, when public pensions and social welfare simply didn’t exist, America has a supplementary “shadow debt” of around $175 trillion, representing its commitments for future welfare.

“When it comes to fiscal impropriety, 18th-century France simply can’t compete with modern America.”

On top of this already miserable situation, the US has to contend with another problem not faced by early modern France: deindustrialisation. On the eve of revolution, France was remarkably self-sufficient, which is why it could so easily go from a political and economic basket-case in 1789 to dominating most of Europe in 1812. By contrast, America in 2024 is not self-sufficient; the old industries that allowed it to dominate following the Second World War have now been sold off for scrap, and the US today is dependent on exporting dollars and importing physical goods in return. If demand for dollars drops, those physical goods cannot be quickly replaced. A much more painful period of economic readjustment will have to be undertaken in the US, while France in 1789 essentially only had to rationalise the resources it already possessed to become powerful again.

So, the social and political situation in contemporary America is at least comparable to that in France in 1789, while the economic situation is actually a fair bit worse. What about the military situation?

Well, in 1789, things didn’t look particularly good. France faced at least two big problems: first, its military was suffering from low morale and high levels of dissatisfaction. This partly had to do with the intractable divide between commoners and nobles, and partly with a series of disciplinarian reforms that were very unpopular. The second had to do with foreign policy. In 1787, Prussia invaded the Netherlands, which was supposed to be part of France’s rightful sphere of influence. Many French people wanted their leaders to defend the country’s honour against the Prussians, but Louis XVI declined — for the simple reason that France was too broke to afford a war. This failure to act like a great power didn’t just have domestic consequences; it convinced other great powers that France was becoming the sick man of Europe.

While these weaknesses shouldn’t be underestimated, they are in an order of magnitude less serious than those faced by the current United States. If you wanted to draw a comparison, the French Army’s disciplinarian reforms probably caused about as much discontent as the US military’s Covid-vaccine policy; not exactly a good spot to be in, but not life-threatening either. The US military, however, has significantly more pressing problems: the recruitment crisis is now so bad that it is undermining the combat readiness of entire formations. “Ghost units” — that is, units that should technically exist but practically don’t because they have no men — are now slowly proliferating across the US Army. Meanwhile, the Navy has a massive problem with chronic sleep deprivation, because there simply aren’t enough sailors to crew the ships to their full compliments. On top of these problems, the US military is increasingly unable to source ammunition for its weapons, and the Navy cannot build enough ships to keep itself from shrinking, nor can it now really perform scheduled repairs on the ships it has.

In other words, the French military had a crisis of internal culture, while the American military has a crisis of internal culture and a massive recruitment crisis and a massive logistics and sustainment crisis. On top of this, the US military is tasked with several orders of magnitude more work than the French: it has almost 1,000 bases across the world. The French failed to show up in the Netherlands in 1787 because they didn’t have enough money to pay for it; America, by contrast, has tried and failed to wage proxy war against Russia over Ukraine, and tried and failed to stop the Houthis from blockading the Suez Canal. In April, the US Army built an aid pier in Gaza as a sort of show of force, an illustration that the US military — whatever else one might say about the rest of America — was still up to the task. On Tuesday, the pier fell apart and was washed away.

Taken together, then, it seems that the position of the US in 2024 is much worse than that of France in 1789. Does this mean a revolution will happen?

It’s always easy to come up with a reason for why things will continue like they always have. That is simply how our brains work: if you’ve done your fire exercises over and over again and you suddenly smell smoke, your brain’s first reaction is likely to be “A-ha! Fire! Time to head for the fire exit!”. If you don’t know where that exit is, if you’ve never really thought about the possibility of a fire, your brain is very likely to respond to the sight and smell of smoke with an “ah, well, it can’t be that bad, right?”.

And perhaps, you might say, that is indeed the correct attitude to have today. Perhaps things really aren’t “that bad”. To which I would respond: but things are worse than were in France in 1789. All that remains to be seen is whether that simple, incontrovertible fact about our current moment leads to something or not.


Malcom Kyeyune is a freelance writer living in Uppsala, Sweden

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Emre S
Emre S
13 days ago

Democracy’s big advantage is the ability to change who’s in charge without much friction. Put another way, a major danger to democracy comes from introducing friction to changing of who’s in power. The higher that friction, the more likely the violence. Incidentally, whether you love or hate Trump, he’s the forerunner to the presidential election, and convicting him of trumped up charges of felony does introduce that very friction putting that democracy at risk.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
13 days ago
Reply to  Emre S

You don’t really do irony, do you?

John Riordan
John Riordan
13 days ago

You really don’t do sanity, do you?

RA Znayder
RA Znayder
13 days ago
Reply to  Emre S

In theory, yes. However, a 2014 Princeton study from Benjamin Page suggests the US functions as an oligarchy. A lot of power structure are in fact trying to undermine democracy at every turn using methods like PR and lobbying. That said, if people finally do find unity and challenge the status quo, things can be changed. But it involves much more than just voting.

Last edited 13 days ago by RA Znayder
Kat L
Kat L
6 days ago
Reply to  RA Znayder

Sure but that’s for a homogeneous and cohesive society; that horse left the barn many moons ago.

George Venning
George Venning
12 days ago
Reply to  Emre S

Safety valves don’t work if you deliberately block them

Duane M
Duane M
12 days ago
Reply to  Emre S

Wasn’t it Trump who threw sand into the gears of the election process, back 2020? Wasn’t it Trump who asked Georgia’s secretary of state to find him enough votes to tip the balance in that state? And wasn’t it Trump who asked his vice-president to reject the ballots of the Electoral College? And encouraged a mob to invade the US Capitol on that day?

Emre S
Emre S
12 days ago
Reply to  Duane M

For all I know Trump is guilty here, and worse. The problem is they’ve been spraying him with these indictments impeachments accusations, and none was sticking so far. It diminished the seriousness of the whole thing, makes USA look like a banana republic trying to convict the leader of the opposition for anything that’ll work. Trump already has a bad-boy image, paying off a porn star off the books will likely only bolster his image. It’s the establishment that’s self-harming here by appearing like they’re playing dirty with the “rogue savior”.

Last edited 12 days ago by Emre S
Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
12 days ago
Reply to  Duane M

To “find” something, means to find what already exists. If he would have said, “make” me more votes, obviously that would have indicated creating more. Simple dictionary definition.

Kat L
Kat L
6 days ago
Reply to  Duane M

They didn’t indict him on any of that in 2020 because it was a nothing burger. The phone call you cite needs to be listened to in it’s entirety because they’ve been spinning that line forever without indictment. He also told the ‘mob’ to peacefully March down there.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
12 days ago
Reply to  Emre S

More so, the US presidency only has limited powers and is not a monarchy.
So the “lesson of history” isnt accurate.

James S.
James S.
12 days ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

I wish that were so, but the last 50+ years (or more, going back to FDR) have seen a gradual shift towards an “imperial” presidency, with a coincident decline in the power of the legislative branch. Look at the number of executive orders that the past 3-4 presidents have used in lieu of working with the legislative branch. That’s not to excuse the Congress for abdicating its responsibility to make law and check executive overreach.

Damon Hager
Damon Hager
12 days ago
Reply to  Bret Larson

The essay didn’t focus on the presidency; it addressed wider divisions within American society. Moreover, the powers of Louis XVI were also limited, in practice if not in theory.

But I agree that these comparisons are always patchy and problematic. It’s just a bit of fun (hopefully).

PS If we’re playing this game anyway, perhaps a better analogy would be with the prelude to the Spanish civil war. For several years before the explosion, the country was divided into two opposing blocs, which simply couldn’t stand each other.

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
13 days ago

Democracy is not a cure-all for what ails you, nor is it meant to be. It is assumed that a multitude of people will be more clever (on average) than a single brilliant leader. It is for the people to awaken from their slumber and enact the necessary changes to repair the nation’s ills. If they do not or cannot, the ship of state may founder indeed.

T Bone
T Bone
13 days ago
Reply to  Samuel Ross

Very well stated.

Michael McElwee
Michael McElwee
13 days ago
Reply to  T Bone

You’re right, well said, but is it to be hoped for? Does the demos have what it takes to pilot the USA ship? The USA is sinking into debt asymptomatically, while exactly no one wants to turn the spigot off. What is called for here is something like moderation, virtue. When was the last time that word was mentioned in public? Plato said that democracy is the best practical regime because philosophy is possible there, but he said also that democracy tends (inexorably?) toward tyranny.

T Bone
T Bone
12 days ago

It was a pretty limited form of Democracy that the Greeks were practicing. The benefit that the US has is that the Federalist system gives states sufficient power to check the Central Planner.

It’s hard for a Universalist Nationalists or National Socialists to mandate that resistant states implement their inflationary destabilizing policies across the board. We saw this during Covid. We see it today with the Red State rejection of green and woke policies.

The fact that people flee to Red States to get away from Blue State policies is a form of Migratory Democracy. Voting with one’s feet is a powerful message to bureacrats that see individuals as units of taxation. That migration makes would-be tyrants reconsider their approach.

Every tyrant prefers the Carrot to the Stick. They want people to voluntarily comply with diktats. Enforcement or “”Forced Compliance” poses risks that they’d prefer avoid.

Last edited 12 days ago by T Bone
Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
12 days ago
Reply to  T Bone

Thank you, T Bone.

T Bone
T Bone
13 days ago

Thomas Paine help stir up both the American and French Revolutions but only the French Revolution descended into widescale sectarian carnage after the fact. There’s a reason Paine was only effective in America where he resorted to citing scripture and etc. The Jacobin mentality was radically different from the American colonist. 

Not to say the American colonists were angels. They had plenty of issues too.  But they did not resort to the same tactics to achieve power because they had different values. The American cause was based on the pursuit of individual liberty and freedom of conscience not social inclusion and guarantees of material security. 

That’s not to say there’s no value in those things but those things are not fundamental principles for designing a society.  You don’t start from the proposition that everyone is worthy of equal outcomes, you start from the proposition that everyone is of equal worth.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
13 days ago
Reply to  T Bone

“you start from the proposition that everyone is of equal worth”
Are you absolutely sure that is how America got started? How about you think about that a little and come back to us?

John Riordan
John Riordan
13 days ago

Why don’t you construct a coherent argument for your own position instead of this tedious sniping from the sidelines that you always do?

It’s a rhetorical question of course, I already know why.

Liam F
Liam F
12 days ago
Reply to  John Riordan

..perhaps they had a bad day at the cave…i wouldn’t expect anything cogent

Sisyphus Jones
Sisyphus Jones
12 days ago

If you were to do a parody of a Champagne Socialist, would we be able to tell the difference? How about you think on that a minute and come back to us?

T Bone
T Bone
12 days ago

I am. The framing documents were dynamic and set in place a straight forward argument to abolish slavery.

It’s fair to critique the contradictions in word vs deed. The Northeast colonies needed the support of the South. Champagne Socialism was still highly prevalent in the deep south Post-Revolutionary War. Plantation owners wanted to collect funds without doing any work so the Abolition of Slavery was unfortunately not actualized for another 80 years.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
13 days ago
Reply to  T Bone

In many ways the American War of Independence was re run of the English Civil War, conflict between a centralised power, the King and elective body, Parliament. Under Elizabeth I she conducted monarchy in the Anglo Saxon method of consultation to achieve consent and travelled widely in the country, listening to people. Elizabeth and Burleigh believed in minimal taxation in order to let money fructify in people’s pocket. The Stuarts introduced the French concept of the Divine Right of Kings, hence conflict with Parliament and misspending the Ship Tax money. In France and Russia the monarchs believed in the Divine Right of Kings, the aristocrats and Church were exempt from much taxation and other laws. China was lawless and ruled warlords, hence support from communism.
In summary the belief in Divine Right or Infallibility of rulers, over taxation and misspending of tax money, corruption and nepotism, and classes of people exempt from taxes and rules will create conflict.
I would suggest a society where there is one law for   all, freedom of speech, minimal taxation, the taxes are seen to be spent wisely for the benefit of the nation, people are appointed to positions of authority based upon competence, industriousness, courage and honesty;  in any battle the wealthy  lead from the front and have the highest death rate of all classes produce a table society such as Athens,  Rome, Florence in Renaissance,  Low countries, Britain the USA.

T Bone
T Bone
12 days ago
Reply to  Charles Hedges

Great post.

Was King Louis XVI related to the Stuarts? I believe he was but I’m having trouble confirming it. I thought I recalled that Louis was researching Charles’ execution while the pitchforkers had him trapped in the Palace.

Damon Hager
Damon Hager
12 days ago
Reply to  T Bone

You’re right: Louis XVI studied the execution of Charles I prior to his own trial and execution.
And yes, he was related to the Stuarts via Charles I’s marriage to a French princess. (Charles II of England, consequently, was a cousin of Louis XIV.)

Michael McElwee
Michael McElwee
12 days ago
Reply to  T Bone

Your thesis is one Hannah Arendt wrote about in her “On Revolution.” The French Revolution descended into resentment and slaughter. The American Revolution did not. Or, given recent developments, should we say “not yet?”

Will K
Will K
12 days ago
Reply to  T Bone

I believe the proposition was that all men were created equal (not that they remained equal).

Samuel Ross
Samuel Ross
12 days ago
Reply to  T Bone

Well said, sir.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
13 days ago

I just don’t see the mechanics of a revolution. How does it actually unfold? People may be upset today, they may be polarized, but they are well fed and spectacularly wealthy compared to France.

Champagne Socialist
Champagne Socialist
13 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

And the “revolutionaries’ are overweight morons with no money. I think America will be fine once it shakes off its current silliness.
The far right will remain but perhaps they will find a leader less ludicrous than the one that Jim claims to hate but slavishly follows on every single point.

Charles Hedges
Charles Hedges
13 days ago

It takes very little to disconnect cities from food water, sewage, electricity, gas, petrol, telephone lines and then let inhabitants fight over what they have. The French, Russian and Chinese civil wars shows the side better at the violence wins. In the major cities, the affluent effete types would soon become victims of the violent people from the run down areas.

Point of Information
Point of Information
13 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Good point in the main but you mean “compared to France in 1789”. The French are far better fed now and have a much better quality of life than Americans (on average).

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
12 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Good point. On top of that there’s a near total lack of the personal fatalism that is required to throw oneself into anything like combat and which was always so evident in human history. We live in an age of economics, logic and planning, with life goals and metrics to keep track of them.
Of course obedience has brought many men to the battle but it seems to require a real mania/fury to make them actually fight.
(In WWII studies were done. Since riflemen were issued a certain number of rounds and required to turn in unused ones when the fighting stopped, the researchers could see that many men spent days out in the middle of fierce fighting and never used more than a few rounds. Some never fired a single shot. And that was 80 years ago. We’ve all gotten even more cautious since then.)

Paul
Paul
12 days ago

Wouldn’t the cautious person fire every round, to raise the odds of killing the guy on the other side before he kills you? I’d never want to be a passive target.

LindaMB
LindaMB
10 days ago
Reply to  Paul

Except for zealots, most people -normal people- are reluctant to kill another person.

Dennis Roberts
Dennis Roberts
12 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Yes, the author doesn’t mention that the French were literally starving in 1789. The US, along with the rest of the West, may be on the road to revolution but for now there are plenty of bread and circuses.

ChilblainEdwardOlmos
ChilblainEdwardOlmos
13 days ago

A revolution to what end? Unfortunately a totalitarian police surveillance state or a corporate-Technofeudalist dystopia are the more likely result.

John Riordan
John Riordan
13 days ago

Interesting line of argument: if I say that I find it all a bit histrionic and implausible, the author would doubtless say “ah, you’re a perfect example of the person who hasn’t done the fire drill and would decide to sit out the fire instead of escaping.”

It’s a bit like when you deny something only to be told you’re in denial, thus being rhetorically deprived of the personal agency to maintain that sometimes, the reason people deny something, is that it is actually untrue.

That’s an aside, though. Even without the sleight-of-hand I mention the above article has some fair points: there is little doubt that the USA is in a multiplicity of crises, some unforced and self-generated, some resulting from external change that it cannot significantly control. I remain one of the people who say you should never underestimate the American capacity for change, growth and adaptation, but i can see that this capacity is in the middle of being tested harder than at any time in living memory.

Last edited 13 days ago by John Riordan
Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
12 days ago

During a recent tv interview, the First Lady said, “I believe Americans are going to choose good over evil.” Imagine going on a major television network and essentially calling half of the country, half of your countrymen, evil. And this from the wife of the guy who talked a big game about being a great uniter, the same husk of a man who later gave a speech on a set that looked like nothing one would expect of a democracy or a republic.
ï»ż 

Alex Colchester
Alex Colchester
13 days ago

It will be led by money. Or more precisely it will be led by a lack of liquid money. US banks are in a very perilous state. Far more perilous than they are letting on. When the ATMs stop working, if only for a few hours ‘due to technical difficulties’, then you know it has begun.
The US stock exchange just had a major glitch. Berkshire Hathaway down 98% in intra-day trading. Real difficulties, excused as ‘Technical’ difficulties.
The Titanic had technical difficulties, and then things got Real, real fast

Last edited 13 days ago by Alex Colchester
Arthur G
Arthur G
12 days ago

The Fed can supply infinite liquidity. The only reason FDIC insured banks could ever fail is due to incompetence within the Federal Reserve system.

Paul
Paul
12 days ago
Reply to  Arthur G

But what would “infinite liquidity” look like? It puts me in mind of the great German hyperinflation of 1923.

Arthur G
Arthur G
12 days ago
Reply to  Paul

If it’s a liquidity crisis, the expansion in money need not be permanent. You’re just tiding over the banks until they can sell assets or raise capital.

Alex Colchester
Alex Colchester
12 days ago
Reply to  Arthur G

’The Fed can supply infinite liquidity’, will be filed by future historians alongside ‘the Titanic is unsinkable’, in the ever expanding Hubris section of the celestial library. Someone has to buy the debt- if you consume it yourself things go south real fast. Ever heard of the wise drug dealers adage- ‘don’t get high on your own supply’? It applies to even the largest cartel out there
 the mighty FED.

Last edited 12 days ago by Alex Colchester
Arthur G
Arthur G
12 days ago

In a crisis they can literally print money. No one has to buy the debt. You’re effectively taxing all existing dollar holdings to pay for it.

Andrew McDonald
Andrew McDonald
12 days ago
Reply to  Arthur G

For how long, before the supply of wheelbarrows to carry the daily shopping budget runs out?

LindaMB
LindaMB
10 days ago

Nice reference to the Weimar Republic, we know the convulsion that followed that scenario

Chris Whybrow
Chris Whybrow
13 days ago

If the US military was half of what it was, it would still be more powerful than everyone else’s put together. They only lose the wars they stop caring about.

RA Znayder
RA Znayder
13 days ago

The author presents an interesting hypothesis that is somewhat the opposite of Naomi Klein’s “disaster capitalism”. Klein discribes that the Western population is actually constantly kept on edge in order to push for policies that are disadvantageous for the majority of the population.
That said, I do not think the US, and by extension the West, are close to a revolutionary state just yet. To start, before French revolution the poverty among the 99% peasant class was extreme; people were actually starving. Revolution is always only a few meals away after all. We also had a lot of (often forgotten) revolutionary activity in the 19th century and during the interwar period. There were a lot of socialist revolutions throughout Europe and huge labor uprisings in the US. I do not see such determined movements based in strong coherent ideology yet. In fact, everything seems very incoherent.
Moreover, the current US economy cannot be compared to France’s ancien regime. The US does not borrow, they print money – and as long as the USD is the world’s reserve currency they can pretty much do this as long as there is somewhat of a demand for dollars. That, of course, brings us to the problem that money manipulation is pretty much all the West still does. We do not have an industrial base anymore, which the author also recognizes. The origin of this system is of course the abandoning of the postwar consensus in favor of neoliberal doctrines. This essentially turned the US (back) into an oligarchy. But the ‘culture war’ does not challenge this status quo. On the contrary, I feel it a big part of how it survives. The system is indeed unstable and we have to see how it ends. Will we get popular revolts, authoritarianism or will the oligarchs allow a return to the postwar consensus?

LindaMB
LindaMB
10 days ago
Reply to  RA Znayder

Starving people don’t revolt it’s the well’ fedmiddle class’ that do. Only they have the time to navel gaze, the starving, poor & downtrodden are too busy looking for their next meal. The current waves of resentment and entitlement are coming from the (mostly) college `educated’ middle class

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
13 days ago

Maybe the US just de-federalising is a more likely outcome than an old fashioned revolution. Separate states and vast areas subject only to the laws of their armed inhabitants.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
12 days ago

You would have thought that Covid would change this weird bias in the population – but it didn’t. I’d encourage people to read prepper blogs – you don’t have to agree with them – but they do notice things. It was pointed out there that US Army advertisements were suddenly showing exclusively white men again. Not one blue haired non-caucasian lesbian in sight! Given that this administration is devoted to identity politics it really signifies that things are at crisis levels.

Alan B
Alan B
12 days ago

It’s a lot like France in 1789 –except for nukes and rockets and drones and cinema and broadcast media and digital media and the carbon economy (and carbon emissions) and women’s suffrage and managerialism and Bretton Woods and transatlantic flights and bioengineering and the legacies of 20th century mass ideologies. I mention all these differences in the spirit of the author’s commitment to history, not in spite of it. Thought provoking piece!

Mark epperson
Mark epperson
12 days ago

Interesting analogy. There will be forms of insurrection no matter who wins the Election in November. It will depend on the response and the appetite of Americans for reform and what that looks like. The legal travesty in New York with Trump, and the continuing lawfare cases have awoken a great many folks who are questioning if American governments are using their legal entities for political interests on a mass scale. These events remind me of the old adage of “waking a sleeping giant”. Something is going to break, it all depends on how much gets broken.

Rachel Taylor
Rachel Taylor
12 days ago

It is a nice idea, but I find the idea of revolution totally implausible. It seems much more likely to be a long, slow, decline. In 100 years, we might expect the US to be more like Argentina than the Soviet Union.

B. Timothy S.
B. Timothy S.
12 days ago

By contrast, America in 2024 is not self-sufficient; the old industries that allowed it to dominate following the Second World War have now been sold off for scrap, and the US today is dependent on exporting dollars and importing physical goods in return.

Except for food. And energy. And raw materials. And being the second largest industrial producer in the world.
North America is easily the most self-sufficient region of the rich world, bar none. And it’s really not close. Hell, we lose wars and don’t even notice. Other people pay for our mistakes.

Last edited 12 days ago by B. Timothy S.
UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
12 days ago

This article should simply not be published – it honestly reads like an amateurish blog post from second year Politics student (anecdotal, extremely shallow analysis, factually inaccurate, poorly written). I expect more from this publication than this garbage.

Paul
Paul
12 days ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

You may be right, but specific examples would be helpful.

Dave Canuck
Dave Canuck
12 days ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Agree, having read alot about the French revolution, this comparison is absurd, life in France was brutal, nasty and short. No comparison to today, more nonsense from the unreal internet world

Arthur King
Arthur King
11 days ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

You are missing how angry people are with being ignored by elites.

Tony Kilmister
Tony Kilmister
12 days ago

The case put forward in this piece is undermined in its opening sentence: ‘One of the most dangerous problems in the West today is its vulnerability to normalcy bias’.

A, to say the least, contentious assertion – normalcy bias is among the most dangerous problems in the West – is sneaked in as a premise on which everything that follows relies.

Even at the micro-level where normalcy bias is said to be confirmed – such as responses to official warnings of hurricanes, floods and the like – the evidence is invariably infected by the desire of observers to see what they are looking for. To railroad this dubious concept, which could reasonably be reframed as a refusal to panic, into interpreting world socio-political developments is laughable.

Mr Kyeyune should get himself a set of Tarot cards and join a travelling circus.

Damon Hager
Damon Hager
12 days ago
Reply to  Tony Kilmister

Well, journalists have to eat too, and this was an amusing bit of fluff for us history buffs.

Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
12 days ago

The biggest difference between pre-revolutionary France and the US today is that most Americans are adequately nourished whereas famine was widespread in 1789.

LindaMB
LindaMB
10 days ago
Reply to  Jeff Butcher

Nourished?, or fed? High glucose corn syrup which seems to have been shoehorned into every food and drink product is not nourishment, but the corn lobby is very happy

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
12 days ago

Informative and alarming piece, but remarkable in that nowhere in it is there reference to the fundamental practical situation: mass public anger represented by the illustrating photo at the beginning.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
10 days ago

Great article!

William Brand
William Brand
12 days ago

America is bankrupt and condemned by God. Revelation 18 shows it being destroyed as the w***e of Babylon. It has abandoned Israel and God is about to dump America.