Well, it took a while to get to, but it finally appeared: the required "equivalence disclosure" in every single one of these articles, whereas we are told solemnly that, yes, the Left has made mistakes, but the Right has made just as many. This apparently absolves these writers from putting the heat where it really belongs: the toxic, grotesque, embrace of the Woke agenda that has infected every one of our institutions. No, the Right is NOT equally responsible for this societal collapse--it is almost exclusively a result of suicidal Progressive politics.

All this helpless hand-wringing is just fiddling while Rome burns. The emerging alarm by Leftist moderates had better lead to a change in voting patterns, plans, alliances, etc--or else.

Expand full comment

I don’t even know what to say. The comment RW left sums it up pretty well. I recently moved back to small town America and have definitely noticed a more love of God and country. The deplorable fly over states seem to have figured out that the federal government is a joke. I have learned of community, of gathering to actually talk and connect with neighbors and that all men are created equal. It doesn’t matter that we are different colors and backgrounds, we try to get along because it’s the right thing to do. I hope at some point that the rest of the country realizes that we are being pitted against each other and we finally come together to be better in spite of what the elites are telling us. Put down the phones America and get to know your neighbors, it’s been an awakening for me.

Expand full comment

In past years, I too have wondered where the leadership was, and not necessarily in government but just about everywhere. Living in a northeast state and surrounded by 'blue elites', I have seen time and time again, situations where leaders of all kinds in industry and colleges and universities abdicate their responsibilities to inform the young and upcoming of eternal values, like 'honor, respect, and such a thing as hard work' and that so-called 'rights' are often earned. I have been in more gathering and meetings, where I have been told to keep my mouth shut, to let the young and 'becoming woke' to 'speak their truths' a la Oprah-style, and yet never supplying context to how those 'truths' play out in the greater society. I even had a college trustee put her fingers up to her mouth as if to 'shush' me, so that I would not challenge said 'truths'. I see failed leadership all around me and although I may like these people, I certainly do not admire them. These elites around us have failed on every level.

Expand full comment

Such a powerful piece of writing. EVERY American should read this article.

"Then we discovered that almost everyone under 30 had no idea what we were talking about. This was when we knew we were in trouble."

Expand full comment

We are foundering because we don’t have truths anymore. We only have my truth or your truth. But there are absolutes, which is what the left is tearing down.

Thus we get a doddering old man who has never been right on anything blaming everybody else for his precipitous actions. And that’s truth. The media covers for him and helps disperse the blame when the truth is the generals, advisers and Biden are more than incompetent.

Having no border is a bad thing. Having illegals and drug cartels and sex and people trafficking is a bad thing. There is no morality or equivalence to this. It is bad. Period.

Biden is responsible for the inflation. Period. His actions in the last seven months have done everything to take a good if not great economy and create rampant inflation and rising prices.it’s the truth.

The left has dumbed down our schools to the extent Oregon really doesn’t want kids educated anymore, it’s the truth. CRT is a destroyer.

The left pits black against white, right against left, men against women. It’s the truth. Diversity inclusion and equity keeps blacks down and tries to put everyone at the level. It’s the truth.

Mental illness is celebrated not treated. Women and girls are terrorized by men taking over their spaces. California male inmates can ID as women and be placed in their prisons. Those who allow this and celebrate this are complicit in the mental illness. It’s the truth.

Where are the leaders? They are out there being dismissed and canceled and ridiculed by leftists and the media. Just as I have no doubt I will be by others here.

Expand full comment

A great piece of writing by Peter Savodnik! I hope I have taught my children (now grown-up) well and given them a firm foundation. They all appear to be solid citizens with a good moral compass. My grandchildren are still a work in progress, and I will be trying to teach them until the day I die. Leaders are not born that way......they are taught to be that way. Our failings as a country have everything to do with our failings as parents. We became lazy, undisciplined with a lack of moral strength. Most importantly, we stopped teaching our children right and wrong. We were too busy working and playing. I was guilty of that, also, but knew from my upbringing that teaching my children had to be done. We MUST get back to the basics, stop trying to be friends with our children, and stop letting other people teach them or, worse, teach themselves. Each of us needs to make a promise to ourselves that we will positively influence the young and do our best to teach them the values we know will create a better country and world. Acting on that promise is the way to create the leaders of the future we so desperately need!

Expand full comment

On the note of losing sight of what it means to lead: this semester, at a university that shall remain nameless but fits a certain paradigm, Spring '20 we were obligated to give A's to everyone -- even students who'd never bothered to withdraw from the class. At the same time, faculty had to bone up in a hurry on transferring to online teaching OR ELSE. This semester, we are to practice "trauma-informed teaching," which basically assumes that many students will be showing up this term mired in anxiety and other mental health issues related to the pandemic, therefore, we must not impose deadlines, and go easy on the grades...BUT, for a year faculty had twice the usual number of students in their classes because, you know, we all have to rally around to save the school...what is my point? There are different rules for adults and different rules for adults that are still considered children by some adults. And those adults still considered children by some adults will learn via "trauma-informed teaching" that they do not have to soldier on when the going gets tough. They are owed an A for staying at home in their pajamas, not turning on their cameras because they don't want to...this is infantilization on a mass scale and, frankly, anyone who thinks that the squad and these other powderpuffs running the show are bad --JUST WAIT TILL YOU SEE WHAT'S COMING UP THE PIKE.

Expand full comment

“The identitarian right wonders aloud why America should absorb the Afghan interpreters who helped us prosecute a 20-year-war in their country.”

Excuse me?!

I am aware of no credible or authoritative source (right or left) advocating that we abandon interpreters and other Afghans who aided us or our NATO allies.

This is an effort to create moral equivalency out of thin air and it fails miserably.

Expand full comment

"...we are governed by weaklings whose weakness has enabled all species of moral relativism." Or perhaps the moral relativism that has come to dominate the culture in recent generations has created weaklings. Thinking of C.S. Lewis and the first chapter of his book The Abolition of Man, "Men Without Chests." "We make men without chests and expect from them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honor and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings to be fruitful.”

Expand full comment

Thank you. I'm awake at 3:00am because I am so worried about everything you just articulated. I know there are so many of us who feel helpless watching the shallowness of our country accelerate while trying to raise children of substance.

Expand full comment

This is heartbreakingly beautifully written. I felt every word deeply. I wish I could be optimistic about my 18 & 22 yr old kids’ futures, but it’s really hard. We are no longer a serious people and I feel as though the fall of the nation is here.

Expand full comment

The title to Peter Savodnik's article says it all. Readers of History know that many of our nation's leaders have been incompetent and self-interested - that's nothing new and yet somehow we've persevered as a nation. What's different this time is the accelerating degradation and politicization of our education system, coupled with the vitriol and echo-chamber tribalism of digital and even mainstream media. Perhaps I'm just old and cranky, but when I talk with Gen Z'ers about current events their lack of knowledge and ability to reason is surpassed only by their conviction and defensiveness. From educational outcomes (see our PISA scores vs. other countries) to corruption and ruling class hubris to even our military's ability to execute a coherent mission (thanks mostly to politician decisionmakers), the U.S. has all the hallmarks of a civilization in decline. RW's post echoes my own thoughts. It gives me no pleasure in saying this, and I feel a sense of guilt for the mess we are leaving future generations.

Expand full comment

Beautiful and eviscerating.


This moment carries an invitation for all Americans. To choose a different path, for ourselves and our nation. Leadership instead of punditry. Humility instead of cleverness. Integrity before rightness. Silent service over grandiose puffery.

The rub is that our culture, tech, and media is wired to celebrate and promote punditry, cleverness, rightness, and smack-downs. You don't get ahead (at least in the short term) through gritty gentleness and humble servant leadership.

So the invitation toward a better America hinges on a personal choice that we all make daily. Do I want what is easier and carries definite short-term rewards and built-in applause? Or will I choose the hard road of integrity, of doing good but allowing others to take the credit—of turning the other cheek for the betterment of the whole—of building things for the future instead of fortifying my own little empire?

Our national character is the sum of our individual characters. We can't live personally selfish, decedent, sloppy, and callous, and then expect our country to be otherwise.

It isn't easy.


Thank you, Bari, for the weekly wealth you send to my inbox. It is worth far more than I pay for it.

Expand full comment

The author is saying US lacks leadership. I agree. But is it surprising? Both parties and their supporters haven't argued against the other side, they have sought to discredit the other side... They have each done a fine job of discrediting the other. The problem is in the mirror.

To get its way, the left, since the Reagan years, have accused the right of being racists, homophobes, xenophobes, and “white privileged”. When the right attempts to slow down change the left says:

- If you vote republican you’re a racist (meanwhile the nation keeps advancing)

- If you vote republican you’re a homophobe (meanwhile we legalize Same Sex Marriage)

- Everyone that wants to control immigration is a xenophobe and racist

- If you own a business, you didn’t build it

- The nation started slavery in 1691 (100 years before its actual birth)

- The death penalty kills innocent people (meanwhile killing 800,000 unborn is ok)

- Cops unjustifiably kill dozens of blacks (meanwhile killing 800,000 unborn is ok)

- Business in America is not fair

- Taxes in America are not fair (meanwhile 50% of americans pay no income tax)

- Christianity does not belong in the public domain

- We hear black millionaires telling us blacks can’t make it in America

- There are too many white NBA coaches and owners (ok that NBA players are 90% black)

- The nation that broke the back of tyranny and Monarchies was never that great

- There was nothing special about the founders that started the spread of global democracy

- American poverty is inexcusable, replace capitalism (meanwhile give trillions in welfare)

- Republicans want to stop minority voting (meanwhile you need an id to checkout a book)

It is easy to see why a large portion of the nation can’t accept anyone in the republican party as a potential leader. That leaves the left. The left say things like we NEED to:

- defund the police

- replace capitalism with socialism

- open our borders to anyone

- empower the federal government

- redistribute wealth from whites to blacks, Hispanics, and native americans

- allow abortion without restriction

- "free" abortion

- “free” college

- "free" housing

- take all firearms from citizens

- constrain all communications deemed non-factual (no opinions allowed)

- stop all use of fossil fuels NOW

- let anybody vote (how about as many times as they want?)

- stop using words that categorize a person (age, color, size, sex, etc.)

So, it should be easy to see why the right can’t view any leftists in America as a potential leader…

I don’t know how to fix it. I do know what we need to stop:

- Manipulation of the constitution, bill of rights, supreme court, long standing senate rules

- Rewriting history (we need some updates for sure, but within context of the whole)

- Stop vilifying other americans that disagree with us. Use logic and data, not emotions.

- Stop calling everything a “right”. Rights are in the Bill of Rights. Equal wealth is not a right.

- Stop denying that adults have some responsibility for their condition

- Stop using law to “fix” human nature

- Stop acting like people with other views are your enemy

- Stop acting like enemies aren't enemies (plenty of people will take away your freedom or life)

- Stop seeking equality of outcomes or results and focus

- Stop acting like the purpose of democracy is to "take care of the citizens"

- Stop acting like non-citizens are citizens

- Stop acting like you have nothing when you don't get 100% of what you want

Expand full comment

Beautifully written. But do not despair.

America and her people are strong.

For the most part, keep doing what you've been doing. Work hard and with a purpose. Keep informed. Continue to teach your children and grandchildren that America is a special place; to be loved and cherished. Stay strong and fit. A tough people are hard to push around. Take a martial art. Learn weapons. Do not be cowed.

What else? Reject and mock those who deprecate our nation. Stand for our principles. Be ready to take to the streets. To demonstrate against this feckless and imbecilic Administration. Get in the faces of school boards, election boards, activists - anyone who looks to overturn our American values. Stay strong. Stay resolute. Stay with the course. God bless America.

Expand full comment

Thank you for this piece. Since news broke of the events in Afghanistan, I had been overwhelmed by a sense of pessimism. This pessimism comes partly from sadness for those in Afghanistan who once believed in and supported American efforts. Part of the pessimism also comes from a deep sense of fear at the realization of the true lack of competency and foresight from the powers that be. My kids are the same age as Mr Savodnik’s. I want to remain hopeful, but I worry about their future.

Expand full comment