Huntington should not be deified, and be wary of the clamoring “American collapse theory”

Translated from the Headlines (Toutiao 头条新闻)

Author: Contemplative Tocqueville(沉思的托克维尔)

Will the United States collapse? This is a prevailing problem in China today. At first, I believed in Huntington’s theory very much, but as my experience grew, I became more and more convinced that Huntington should not be deified. It is necessary to maintain a complicated and cautious attitude towards the collapse of the United States.

For a rising power, arrogant misjudgment is always a fatal risk.

  1. Must Huntington be right?

Among the various theories on the collapse of the United States, the most striking are Huntington’s “Clash of Civilizations” and “Who is the American”.

In the 1990s, when Americans were immersed in the victory of the Cold War, Huntington warned that the United States was in a severe civilized conflict and that the United States would face the threat of multiculturalism in the near future. Huntington worried that the influx of immigrants would destroy it. The American identity with Anglo Protestantism at its core has split the United States.

The series of turmoil in 2016-2020 seems to demonstrate Huntington’s predictions. Many people believe that the United States is irreversibly dying along with Huntington’s predictions. They believe that the election of Trump, the Freud incident, and the January 6th congressional riots represent the decline of the United States. Perhaps in 15 years, the United States will be divided into countless small countries, and then the U.S. hegemony will automatically end.

This logic seems impeccable, but today, loopholes in Huntington’s deduction can be found.

First of all, in Huntington’s prediction, it is not racial diversity but cultural diversity that really caused the collapse of the United States. Huntington is not worried that black Americans will destroy American identity. He is particularly worried about the influx of Latinos from the South. He is worried about Spain. The language society will replace English, the Catholic Church will replace Protestantism, and the United States will become a country with two cultures side by side, and will eventually split into two parts.

However, this situation did not happen in the United States. At present, Latinos account for 18.7% of the U.S. population, making them the largest minority ethnic group in the United States. However, so far, Latinos have not organized a huge parade, nor have they formed enough. In contrast to the powerful “anti-American” movement, Latinos are still among the best minorities in the United States. Many of them even support the Republican Party.

Bush won 40% of the Latino votes, Rubio, Cruz and other Latinos became the star members of the Republican Party. Even the racist Trump won 35% of the Latino votes and won twice. Florida.

According to data from the Pew Research Center, only 30% of Latinos believe that there is systemic racial discrimination in the United States and that the government structure in the United States should be completely changed. 58% of blacks and 18% of whites think so. If it is specific to whites On the left, 82% of white leftists believe that whites enjoy too much advantage, and 45% of white leftists believe that there is systemic racial discrimination in the United States, which is much higher than Latinos. Compared with the bitter hatred of blacks, Latinos do not think that the United States is a country with serious racial discrimination.

According to statistics from the Republican book “The Right State”, Latinos are still the ethnic group that emphasizes self-reliance most. In 2004, Republicans surprisingly discovered that Latinos are the ethnic group that most conforms to conservative expectations other than evangelicals. They found that Latino men have the highest labor force participation rate, the lowest labor union participation rate, and the degree of dependence on welfare. It is also very low. Only 17% of poor Latino immigrants live on welfare, while the figures for poor whites and poor blacks are 50% and 65% respectively.

Latinos are also the most family-oriented group in American society. They are most committed to starting their own businesses and leaving their property to future generations. The fertility rate of Latinos is the highest in the United States, reaching 2.5, and some of them are generally raised by new immigrants4 -6 children, the average income of Latinos is not high. The main reason is that many Latinos are new to the country and are very poor. With a large number of children, they have an average income, but they will soon be able to get out of poverty through struggle. By 2020, the poverty rate of Latinos Has been rapidly reduced.

They believe in Catholicism, value family, and do not rely on welfare. Latinos are far more in line with Huntington’s so-called Anglo-Protestant culture than white leftists. If Huntington’s American identity is only Anglo-Protestant, then I would like to ask someone who is not married, infertile, gay, and supports democratic socialism. Bai Zuo and a Latino who has a big family and believes in religion, which one is more in line with the so-called American spirit? According to Republican standards, it is obviously the latter.

(Which lesbian white leftist or Catholic Latino is more in line with Huntington’s Anglo-Protestant culture?)

It is precisely because of the overlap between Latino and conservatism that the Republican Party used to attract Latino as a policy. The author of “Right State” believes that the biggest mistake of the Republican Party is to reject immigration reform after Bush Jr. won the support of Latino, which has led to many Latinos. The descent is biased towards the Democratic Party.

In 2012, the four Republicans headed by Rubio once again proposed to welcome immigration reform and establish a multi-racial conservative alliance. After 2020, Rubio again proposed this idea, but the only comeback plan of the Republican Party was undermined by white racism. Radical Tea Party members still stubbornly reject Latinos. Even so, nearly 40% of Latinos support the Republican Party, and the Republican Party is still full of Latino lawmakers.

Compared with white leftists who support less than 10% of conservatism, Latinos are far more in line with Huntington’s so-called American tradition and American identity.

In fact, all deconstruction of American identity was initiated by the white left. Blacks, Latinos, and Asians were just the allies they were looking for. The essence of the American cultural dispute is not a dispute between whites and ethnic minorities, but white leftists. In the dispute between the white and the right, Huntington ignored this essential contradiction and simplified the complicated class, geographical, and economic conflicts between the white left and the white right into a dispute between Latinos and whites. The dispute between Spanish and English is suspected of shifting the contradiction.

(I have emphasized the division of Latino more than once, but many people still ignore it.)

At present, the Economist has published many articles calling for the United States to pay attention to the non-liberal leftists in universities, which shows that many Americans have realized that the essence of this tearing has always been an internal struggle among white people.

Just like the Civil War, the United States is faced with the question of where to go in the future. Whether to follow the pluralism and welfare state or stick to the American tradition, this obviously can only be decided by white elites. (The essence of the Civil War was the contradiction between the northern industrial states and the southern agricultural states (the liberation of slaves was just away), two routes)

To believe that the increase in ethnic minorities will definitely undermine the United States, and to stubbornly believe that even white leftists believe in American traditions more than ethnic minorities is itself a biased misjudgment. Huntington has been proved completely wrong in this prediction.

  1. Is the political tear in the United States irreversible?

After talking about Huntington’s predictions, let’s talk about the political tear in the United States. Starting in 2020, many people believe that the political tear in the United States has reached an irreversible level. Fukuyama also invented the term veto-based America to express American politics. Has lost the ability to compromise.

These analyses are of course true, but it remains to be seen whether this tearing has reached the point of destroying a country. No matter how chaotic the United States looks, so far, no movement has clearly proposed to separate from the United States, and no movement has formed a split organization. In a chaotic carnival, the United States has once again fallen into calm.

The seemingly mighty Freud demonstrations, apart from partially advancing the reform of the American police system, have no harm to the American political system. The decentralization of this movement is more like the vent of poor people’s emotions under the epidemic. One fact is Many blacks are not committed to sports but take the opportunity to snatch Nike shoes.

Except for taking the opportunity to grab some property and demanding more benefits, black people have no desire to subvert the American system. Those black leaders and Democratic politicians have returned to the framework of the representative system after the campaign, as long as such disputes are still limited to the representative system. Next, it’s hard to say that the United States will collapse.

Whether the movement is so destructive depends not on how many people marched and how chaotic the streets are, but on whether the movement has subversive goals and organizational power. Obviously, any movement in the United States today lacks these two characteristics. Today’s black movement is far less radical than the Black Panther Party in the 1960s, and the scale of today’s black movement is not even comparable to the 1992 Los Angeles Riot. The black movement is actually fading rather than improving.

(Compared to the Black Panther Party, today’s zero dollar purchase has almost zero subversion of the American political system)

Compared with the Freud incident, the congressional riots on January 6 are more threatening. It represents a group of people who no longer believe in the American democratic system. Republicans’ resistance to the epidemic also seems to show the severity of political tearing. Many Republicans are not only rejecting vaccinations because of vaccine conspiracy theories but because of their hatred of Democrats.

Not being vaccinated represents the attitude of resisting the Democratic Party. Just as a right-wing TV station’s conspiracy theory said: Biden’s mandatory vaccination is a conspiracy because Sichuan fans will oppose all the Democratic Party’s policies. Sichuan fans were killed by the virus, and the Democratic Party naturally won.

For Republicans, they and the Democratic Party are in the midst of a culture war. It determines which line will dominate the future of the United States. Compared with the conflict between whites and minorities, the conflict between the white left and the white right is more intense, just like The Civil War was essentially a struggle between two groups of whites.

The fundamental contradiction of this divergence lies in the fact that after globalization, the gap within the United States has infinitely widened, and the states are clearly differentiated, and it is difficult to extend the experience of one state to other states. Every federal policy will encounter the phenomenon of dissatisfaction.

For example, environmental protection. For states such as Vermont and New York that do not rely on energy industries, they can naturally sing environmental protection, but for states such as West Virginia that are extremely dependent on the coal industry, the Democratic Party’s clean power plan is tantamount to disaster. This contradiction also occurs. Between Beijing and Hebei.

(Manchin is a Democrat, but he often works with Republicans because West Virginia is a state that relies heavily on coal and believes in religion)

For example, homosexuality and abortion are naturally good policies in cities on the east and west coasts, but it is a bad policy for devout believers.

Another example is gun control. It is a disaster to own a gun in a big city, but in the sparsely populated southern wilderness, a gun is an indispensable tool for self-defense and livelihood (hunting).

There is also the issue of welfare and high taxes. Many people wonder why many Republicans are poor but do not support big government, high taxes, and welfare. In addition to religious concepts, most Republican states are poor states, and all states are poor. Under the circumstances, people here need more job opportunities rather than benefits. For this state with fewer wealthy people, the redistribution policy is obviously unattractive, which is completely different from California.

It is this gap in development between regions that have caused the root of the tear. The California leftists believe that a good thing is completely untrue in the southern states. This kind of consideration of local interests has made the struggle in Congress intensified. At present, this kind of tearing The rift still cannot be resolved, but for every big country, internal gaps and tears are inevitable. It is just that some big countries can suppress it through strong centralization, but this does not mean that there is no contradiction.

Although there are various tears, we still have to see that the two parties can still reach a consensus on many issues.

In the field of diplomacy, both parties advocate that the United States should move from Europe and the Middle East to the Indo-Pacific, and believe that the core task of American diplomacy is to confront China. No matter how lofty Biden is, there is a unilateralism in his diplomacy. The harm that AUKUS has done to France is a classic example.

Biden, like Trump, did not abolish tariffs on China, and both advocated bringing key supply chains back to the United States and claimed to represent American workers and the middle class. Biden’s middle-class diplomacy is not fundamentally different from Trump’s American priority. Some people describe Biden’s diplomacy as Trumpism without Trump.

In the internal affairs field, although the Republicans opposed many of the Democratic bills, in the infrastructure bill, 13 Republicans voted in favor and passed the bill with a large score of 67:32, which shows that the two parties can still reach an agreement.

Regarding the epidemic, both Biden and Trump have adopted a policy of releasing water. Although all Republicans opposed Biden’s economic bailout bill, they privately boasted that the bailout was their own credit. Obviously, their opposition was sometimes political skills rather than political skills. Real attitude.

The political tear in the United States is serious, but it is not so true that many people say that it will lead to the collapse of the United States. If you compare it vertically, the tear in the United States today is far less than the Civil War and the civil rights movement in the 1960s, perhaps just like the author of New York Time Midnight It is said that the crisis facing the United States today is far less than the Great Depression of the 1930s, and the current crisis is not enough to unite Americans and reach a consensus that breaks through American traditions in the 1930s.

The tear will always exist, but whether the tear is enough to cause the collapse of a country remains to be seen. Other problems, such as the gap between the rich and the poor and the high government debt, are not the reason for the collapse of the United States. (The U.S. state government has a lot of surpluses and debts to the federal government, and the basis for the United States to issue bonds is financial and military hegemony. If these two do not fall, it will be difficult for the debt to knock down the United States.)

  1. Relative decline cannot be equated with collapse

In fact, the fundamental reason why the theory of the collapse of the United States is so raging is that our country has developed too fast in recent years.

Compared to China’s rapid development, the United States has indeed been slower, but this slowness is relative to China. If compared with Europe and Japan, the United States is still the most economically dynamic country. If China is left behind, the United States’ economy, technology, and military are still unmatched, the United States remains the most potential developed economy.

In July 2021, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Thursday sharply raised the U.S. economic growth forecast for 2021 from 4.6% in April to 7.0%. The epidemic did not stop the U.S. economic recovery, and the U.S. is still the world’s economic growth. Engine.

In 1992, there was a Los Angeles riot in the United States that was several times more chaotic than the Freud demonstration, but the Chinese at that time never dared to imagine the collapse of the United States, because China was too poor at that time and was not in the same order of magnitude as the United States. Now that China is strong, and it is about to surpass the United States, it will exaggerate the US riots and regard it as a signal of the collapse of the United States. It is China that is changing, not the United States.

The American collapse theory is a manifestation of the Chinese people’s self-confidence in the new era, but if this self-confidence is not restrained, it is likely to become defiant arrogance and cause irreparable losses.

In the 1970s, seeing the United States suffered the humiliation of the Vietnam War and the chaos of the civil rights movement, Brezhnev announced in a high-profile manner that the Soviet Union’s victory was just around the corner, and announced a series of policies to expand exports and improve welfare, and invaded Afghanistan at the end of 1979. , Opened the prelude to the decline of the Soviet Union from prosperity.

Similarly, the Plaza Accord in the 1980s was not simply forcing Japan by the United States. Japan itself was confused by the dream of surpassing the United States. It is believed that the appreciation of the yen could promote the internationalization of the yen. Later, Japan adopted a more radical financial policy, which eventually led to The collapse of the bubble economy in the 1990s.

For a rising power, his greatest enemy is his own arrogance. Many rising powers fell on the last mile. They deceived themselves and summed up various general trends that seemed destined, expecting their opponents to collapse on their own, and finally ignored them. In response to his own problems, he made countless radical and wrong decisions.

Many big chess parties dream about grand strategies that seem to be all-encompassing and make various grand predictions like gods. However, success or failure in reality often depends on specific decisions. A bad decision may destroy all previous results. .

Before the victory is achieved, there must not be a trace of arrogance. The final victory is a hundred times more important than temporary vanity. The final winners have excellent fortunes and a real spirit of seeking truth from facts, as opposed to exaggerating the American collapse theory. Instead, it’s better to focus on solving your own problems. The arrogant and irrational theory of the collapse of the United States should end.