October 7, 2023 - 9:00 pm
One common denominator that explains why previously successful societies implode is their descent into fantasies. A collective denial prevents even discussion of existential threats and their solutions.
Something like that is happening in the United States. Eight million illegal immigrants have entered the United States by the deliberate erasure of the southern border.
Apparently, the Biden administration sees some unstated advantage in destroying U.S. immigration law and welcoming in would-be new constituents.
Yet, the more the millions arrive, the more President Joe Biden and his Homeland Security chief Alejandro Mayorkas flat out lie that “the border is secure.” They both live in a world of make-believe, passed off to the American people as reality.
And the more the Americans are lied to that the border is secure, the more they poll — currently 77 percent — that it is not.
Biden apparently has reversed course and begun using the former pejorative “Bidenomics” as a term of pride.
He now praises this three-year effort to borrow $6 trillion to $7 trillion, and spike interest rates threefold to 7 percent on home mortgages — even as prices on essentials such as food and fuel have spiked 25 percent to 30 percent since he entered office.
The more that Biden brags about what he did to the economy, the more people poll — more than 60 percent — dissatisfaction with his alternate reality of “Bidenomics.”
Do we remember the humiliation in August 2021 in Afghanistan?
The more retired Gen. Mark Milley, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and Biden assured that the American military presence was stable, the more swiftly it crumbled and descended into the worst mass flight of an American army since Vietnam.
Consider natural gas and oil. The Biden administration waged war on both by canceling pipelines, drilling on federal lands and entire oil fields.
When the price soared and the 2022 midterms neared, Biden suddenly begged formerly shunned illiberal regimes such as Saudi Arabia, Iran and Venezuela to pump all the hated oil they could to lower the price.
A desperate Biden drained much of the strategic petroleum reserve — he has yet to refill it — simply to lower the price of gasoline and thus win voters back to the Democratic Party.
When the midterms passed, Biden resumed his attack on once bad, then good, and now bad again fossil fuels — at least until the 2024 election.
Stranger still is the denial of the current crime wave in our major cities. Predators and thugs have turned once iconic downtowns into either war zones or ghost towns or both. Smash-and-grab swarming of stores and matter-of-fact shoplifting are destroying commerce in our major cities.
Unsustainable stores either leave or shut down. Communities who vote for politicians who defund the police blame the stores for leaving — but not the criminals whose brazen thefts made it impossible to do business in the inner city.
Now modern-day pirates with impunity storm, sink and rob boats of all kinds in the Oakland, California, marina and estuary.
Left-wing journalists and activists, and even Democratic politicians, who all supported defunding the police, now cannot escape the resulting street violence and unleashed murderous predations.
Everyone knows the culprit is the post-George Floyd effort — with Biden administration complicity — to defund the police, end cash bail, institutionalize catch-and-release of criminals and show more sympathy toward victimizers than victims.
Yet neither state nor local officials nor Biden himself even admits to a crime wave. The more the public is attacked and avoids major downtowns, the more it polls furor over the crime wave.
The more our officials, in gaslighting style, claim such alarm is all in our collective heads, the more they themselves are attacked by the very criminals their policies empowered.
Sometimes the fantasies extend to the trivial. Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., for months has dressed like an utter slob while on the Senate floor. As a gesture of approval, Democrats junked the dress code so he could wear his sloppy cut-offs and hoodie.
Americans were to assume his slovenly costume was normal apparel — and they were hypercritical for thinking otherwise.
Recently Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y., pulled a Senate fire alarm to disrupt and delay a vote on continuing the funding of the government. But he got caught on a Capitol surveillance video committing the crime.
Bowman whined that he got confused. He preposterously claimed by pulling the alarm he thought he was opening a door to go vote.
All of that was pure fantasy. The alarm was clearly marked. A sign in front of the door warned not to enter. And the door itself was placarded with cautions that any attempt to open it would set off emergency alarms.
No matter. Bowman assumed by calling his critics “Nazis” and using the race card, he could invent a virtual reality.
Despite our epidemic of fantasy, there remains reality. And we will soon rediscover it all too soon.
Victor Davis Hanson is a distinguished fellow of the Center for American Greatness and a classicist and historian at Stanford’s Hoover Institution. Contact him at email@example.com.