America is Becoming a Third-World Nation

Over about a 150 year period, starting in 1776 with the American Revolution, hastening in 1792 with the French Revolution, and concluding around the end of World War I in 1918 with the abolition of the German, Russian, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman monarchies, the Western world transitioned from monarchial government to democratic government.

But just because most of the old monarchies were swept away did not mean the world ceased to be run by a small, wealthy elite.

Monarchy and aristocracy are not problems, but rather symptoms of problems.

In other words, monarchy and aristocracy are not the reason human civilization for so many centuries was ruled by the wealthy. Monarchy was merely the means by which a small wealthy elite ruled over and deprived the largely poor and powerless masses.

Monarchy only came about as a way to cement the permanent rule of a small, wealthy elite.

Getting rid of monarchial government did not get rid of the elitist vision for society to be ruled by a small, wealthy elite, though. It did not usher in an era of true “democracy,” meaning rule by the people.

It only made the wealthy and powerful have to adapt. It did not rid the wealthy and powerful of their sense of inherent superiority; it did not make them realize that monarchy was wrong. It did not disabuse them of the notion that they and they alone should be in charge.

It merely forced them to be more sneaky and sophisticated about maintaining their monarchial control. They would now have to pay lip service to the idea of democracy, and call the shots behind the scenes, rather than from a throne room.

Just because your nation’s leader doesn’t wear a crown does not mean your nation isn’t effectively under monarchial rule.

By now it should be increasingly clear that in America and most of the Western world, democracy is a sham. We are a democracy (or a “constitutional republic”) in name only.

Whatever we truly are–neo-feudalist, crypto-monarchial, a corporatist state, a kletpocracy, an oligarchy, etc.–it should be obvious by now that the people are not in control.

Whether we ever truly were a democracy, or if it has always been a sham, is up for debate, but for my part, I do actually believe the Founding Fathers were genuinely pro-democracy and wanted America to be different. There are two simple reasons for that: the first amendment and the second amendment. If the Founding Fathers secretly didn’t want us to be free, then they never would have enshrined the right to free speech and the right to bear arms in the US Constitution.

Of course, there was never a time in US history where we were a perfect democracy. There has always been a wealthy and powerful ruling elite calling the shots, the question is to what degree are they calling the shots now compared to in the past?

I personally believe elite power is much greater today than it was in the past, although the Internet has been a tremendous equalizer in terms of the spread of information and ideas. This is why the elites are currently trying to censor the internet.

In my view, there are five main non-negotiable pillars of a free, democratic society:

  1. The right to free speech: You are not free unless you can freely criticize the government. As George Orwell put it, “Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four.”
  2. Free and fair elections: This one should be self-explanatory. You do not live in a free, democratic society if you cannot choose your own leaders. Elections are also necessary because they provide a peaceful alternative to war and bloodshed deciding who leads.
  3. Law and Order: Deviants who present a threat to society are punished and jailed, while honest, upstanding citizens walk freely. The law is applied equally to everyone, no matter who they are, and the law is applied fairly.
  4. The presence of a large, thriving middle class: Being a part of the middle class means you’re economically sustainable. It entails the ability to earn an honest living and provide for your family, as well as the ability to own land and a home. Owning your own home and your own plot of land makes you the master of your own domain.
  5. The right to bear arms: If only the government has guns, then you are not free people, you are subjects. Let’s call it what it is: the right to bear arms is the right to revolt if all else fails. Guns give the people a fighting chance against a tyrannical government. If all the above 4 pillars of a free and democratic society fall, the right to bear arms is the last resort–the failsafe.

Anyone with a functioning brain can see that all five of those things are under attack in America. The elites want to censor us, take our guns away, rig the elections, corrupt the legal system, and erode the middle class so that it’s a wealthy elite ruling over a great mass of powerless poor people, all dependent on the government to survive.

Now it’s obviously more complex than just five things being the key to a free and democratic society. There’s more that goes into it. For instance, separation of powers, federalism, bodily autonomy (i.e. the right to make your own medical decisions), freedom of conscience, freedom of association, freedom of movement, etc.

But those five things I named above are the foundation of a free society. I believe they are the most important aspects.

So what does any of this have to do with America becoming a third-world nation?

Well, we tend to think the difference between a first-world nation and a third-world nation is material wealth, the standard of living. And to a large degree, that’s true, but it also has a lot to do with freedom as well. It’s about the way a society is structured and run as well as material wealth.

In fact, in many ways, material wealth can trick the people of a country into believing they’re more free and better off than they truly are. Consumerism has become a part of modern day “bread and circuses”–a way of superficially appeasing and distracting the populace so that they don’t take notice of what’s really going on.

In other words, for a long time, Americans were largely okay with the erosion of free speech, the perversion of the rule of law, the constant encroachment on the right to bear arms, and the occasional (perhaps frequent?) corruption of the election process, as long as they were materially comfortable.

But now, material comfort may no longer be placating the masses like it used to.

This chart is nearly a decade old, but already by 2013, we can see that the wealth of the elite in this country has reached Gilded Age levels again:

It’s probably even higher than that today.

And the wealth of the middle class is declining:

It’s probably even lower today.

The rich are getting richer, and the middle class is shrinking.

Around 1980, the bottom 90% owned about a third of the wealth in this country, while the top 0.1% owned around 7%.

Today, the top 0.1% owns more than the bottom 90%.

As I was saying above, I personally think being a first-world country is about more than just material wealth. I think it’s about freedom and democracy as well as material comfort.

For many years, Americans ignored the erosion of their freedoms due to the fact that their material comfort level was at least adequate.

But that’s increasingly no longer the case.

And you don’t need a chart to realize it, either. You can see the standard of living in this country deteriorating in real-time just by stepping outside.

Victor Davis Hanson, who I often refer to as “The GOAT” of all political commentators, has a new article out in American Greatness entitled “Third Worldizing America

In a recent online exchange, the YouTuber Casey Neistat posted his fury after his car was broken into and the contents stolen. Los Angeles, he railed, was turning into a “3rd-world s—hole of a city.”

The multimillionaire actor Seth Rogen chastised Neistat for his anger. 

Rogen claimed that a car’s contents were minor things to lose. He added that while living in West Hollywood he had his own car broken into 15 times—but thought little of it. 

Online bloggers ridiculed Rogen. No wonder—the actor lives in multimillion-dollar homes in the Los Angeles area, guarded by sophisticated security systems and fencing.

Yet both Neistat and Rogen accurately defined Third Worldization: the utter breakdown of the law and the ability of the rich within such a feudal society to find ways to avoid the violent chaos.

The rich are always going to be okay. It’s the people that will bear the brunt of their nation’s descent the most.

After traveling the last 45 years in the Middle East, southern Europe, Mexico, and Asia Minor, I observed some common characteristics of a so-called Third-World society. And all of them might feel increasingly familiar to contemporary Americans.

Whether in Cairo or Naples, theft was commonplace. Yet property crimes were almost never seriously prosecuted.

Check.

Look at this sign recently seen in the Bay Area, in the shadow of the Golden Gate bridge:

It’s a warning that if you park your car there, the windows will probably be smashed and all your valuables stolen.

That’s what America does about theft. We warn people to avoid areas where theft is common rather than cracking down on the crime.

This is downtown San Francisco nowadays:

The government doesn’t do a damn thing about it. Because that would be racist of course.

In a medieval-type society of two rather than three classes, the rich in walled estates rarely worry that much about thievery. Crime is written off as an intramural problem of the poor, especially when the middle class is in decline or nonexistent. 

Violent crime is now soaring in America. But two things are different about America’s new criminality.

One is the virtual impunity of it. Thieves now brazenly swarm a store, ransack, steal, and flee with the content without worry of arrest. 

Second, the Left often justifies crime as a sort of righteous payback against a supposedly exploitative system.

So, the architect of the so-called 1619 Project, Nikole Hannah-Jones, preened of the summer 2020 riotous destruction of property: “Destroying property, which can be replaced, is not violence.” 

Rich Democrats have somehow convinced their voters that crime is, if not a good thing, then an acceptable thing. Because racism.

Third Worldization reflects the asymmetry of law enforcement. Ideology and money, not the law, adjudicate who gets arrested and tried, and who does not. 

There were 120 days of continuous looting, arson, and lethal violence in summer 2020. The riots were variously characterized by the burning of courthouses, police precincts, and an iconic church. 

And there was also a frightening riot on January 6, where a mob entered the Capitol and damaged federal property. 

Among those arrested in the latter Washington, D.C. violence, many are often held in solitary confinement or under harsh jail conditions. That one-day riot is currently the subject of a congressional investigation.

Some of those arrested are still, 10 months later, awaiting trial. The convicted are facing long prison sentences. 

In contrast, some 14,000 were arrested in the longer and more violent rioting of 2020. Most were released without bail. The majority had their charges dropped. Very few are still being held awaiting capital charges.

A common denominator to recent controversies at the Justice Department, CIA, FBI, and Pentagon is that all these agencies under dubious pretexts have investigated American citizens with little or no justification—after demonizing their targets as “treasonous,” “domestic terrorists,” “white supremacists,” or “racists.”

Allies of the ruling regime are not subject to the law, while enemies of the ruling regime are always punished to the maximum possible extent.

In the Third World, basic services—power, fuel, transportation, water—are characteristically unreliable: In other words, much like a frequent California brownout. 

I’ve been on five flights in my life where it was announced there was not enough fuel to continue to the scheduled destination—requiring either turning around or landing somewhere on the way. One such aborted flight took off from Cairo, another from southern Mexico. The other three were this spring and summer inside the United States.

America is now so corrupt and incompetent we can’t even successfully get planes from Point A to Point B. We are regressing as a nation.

One of the most memorable scenes that I remember of Ankara, Old Cairo, or Algiers of the early 1970s were legions of beggars and the impoverished sleeping on sidewalks. 

But such impoverishment pales in comparison to the encampments of present-day Fresno, Los Angeles, Sacramento, or San Francisco. Tens of thousands live on sidewalks and in open view use them to defecate, urinate, inject drugs, and dispose of refuse.  

You’d think that, as rich as America is, we’d be able to figure out a way to prevent people from living on the streets. But we’re not actually a wealthy nation. The ruling class is wealthy. Everybody else? Not so much.

In the old Third World, extreme wealth and poverty existed in close proximity. It was common to see peasants on horse-drawn wagons a few miles from coastal villas. 

But there is now far more contiguous wealth and poverty in Silicon Valley. In Redwood City and East Palo Alto, multiple families cram into tiny bungalows and garages—often a few blocks from tony Atherton.

Atherton, California, in the Bay Area, is one of the wealthiest zip codes in the United States.

On the main streets outside of Stanford University and the Google campus, the helot classes sleep in decrepit trailers and buses parked on the streets.  

Neistat was right in identifying a pandemic of crime in Los Angeles as Third Worldization. 

But so was Rogen, though unknowingly so. The actor played the predictable role of the smug, indifferent Third World rich who master ignoring—and navigating around—the misery of others in their midst.

The reality of America slipping into the Third World is that it only really affects the masses. The rich are fine no matter what.

Being a third-world country is not simply a function of being poor. There’s more to it than that.

It’s a byproduct of incompetent and corrupt rule. You may be a third world nation because you’re poor, but you are poor because you have poor leadership.

There are many reasons why the various nations of the world vary greatly in terms of wealth: geographical size, for one, has a lot to do with it. Large nations generally dominate smaller nations.

Natural resources has a lot to do with it as well: nations that possess a lot of oil are generally wealthier than nations that don’t have oil, for instance.

Location is another big one as well: being a land-locked nation is an incredible impediment to your ability to trade with other nations, but having access to the seas enables you to have robust trading relationships with other nations.

In other words, a lot of a nation’s level of wealth is determined by circumstance.

But not all of it. In fact, a lot of it is controllable. Nations are not merely victims of circumstance.

Let’s take Singapore, for instance.

Singapore is a tiny nation located at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is only 281 square miles in size, but has a population of 5.4 million, which is about equal to Norway, a country that is about 148,000 square miles in size.

Singapore is almost entirely urban, and has no real natural resources to speak of. It’s almost impossible for a nation that small to have any natural resources. It’s literally just a city.

But this has not stopped Singapore from becoming one of the wealthiest nations in the world. Singapore’s GDP per capita right now is about $64,000, not far behind the US’s $68,000. There are very few nations in the world that have a higher per capita wealth than Singapore.

Singapore was not always rich, though. It actually used to be quite poor. According to Singapore’s National Ministry of Development, the country was in rough shape not all that long ago:

When Singapore gained independence in 1965, it was dominated by kampongs, haphazardly constructed squatter housing, and shophouses that were overcrowded. Living conditions were deplorable, and building structures were unsafe.

Kampongs were the way of life for early settlers in Singapore. Occupying the rural and coastal regions of the island, kampong dwellings were stilt houses built with wooden walls and thatched roofs made with palm fronds, also known as “attap”.

A family would rent a parcel of land from a landlord and be responsible for building the house to reside in, along with the bathroom and toilet, which was usually located outdoors.

Size, roof and flooring material depended on the financial ability of the occupants. Some families had access to a common standpipe for water, but many relied solely on wells, which they dug themselves, for their water supply. Electricity was uncommon, and kerosene lamps were the main source of light. Households used firewood and charcoal for cooking.

The renters could use the land as they wished. Fruit trees and vegetables such as jackfruit, rambutan, papaya, guava, tapioca, sweet potato, yam, leafy greens and poultry were commonly grown and raised to supplement the family’s meagre resources.

Here is a picture of one of those Kampong slums:

That’s what Singapore used to look like.

Now it looks like this:

It used to be a slum where electricity and running water were rare, now it’s a glittering first-world metropolis.

Singapore is clean, advanced, safe, wealthy and beautiful. This is the Singapore Botanic Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage site:

In 1965, Singapore had a GDP per capita of just $517. By comparison, the US in 1965 had a GDP per capita of $3,828.

Now Singapore is right there with the US in terms of GDP per capita. It is the only Asian nation with a AAA credit rating.

But how?

How did Singapore go from being a third-world nation to being a first-world nation?

Leadership.

And largely through the leadership of one man, Lee Kuan Yew. The man is an absolute legend, and one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century without a doubt.

He was Prime Minister of Singapore from 1959-1990, and essentially oversaw the entire process of Singapore’s transformation.

Just look at the legacy:

As prime minister from 1959 to 1990, Lee presided over many of Singapore’s advancements. He oversaw Singapore’s transformation from an island nation with a high illiteracy rate and no natural resources into a developed country with a high-income economy within a single generation, commonly termed (from his autobiography) as ‘From the third world to the first world’. Singapore’s Gross National Product per capita rose from $1,240 in 1959 to $18,437 in 1990. The unemployment rate in Singapore dropped from 13.5% in 1959 to 1.7% in 1990. External trade increased from $7.3 billion in 1959 to $205 billion in 1990.

In other areas, the life expectancy at birth for Singaporeans rose from 65 years at 1960 to 74 years in 1990. The population of Singapore increased from 1.6 million in 1959 to 3 million in 1990. The number of public flats in Singapore rose from 22,975 in 1959 (then under the Singapore Improvement Trust) to 667,575 in 1990. The Singaporean literacy rate increased from 52% in 1957 to 90% in 1990. Telephone lines per 100 Singaporeans increased from 3 in 1960 to 38 in 1990. Visitor arrivals to Singapore rose from 100,000 in 1960 to 5.3 million in 1990.

Notably, these economic accomplishments were achieved in large part due to Lee’s stewardship of public administration through relevant and targeted public policy; Lee introduced measures to jumpstart manufacturing of finished goods for export (export-oriented industrialization) and sought to create a conducive business environment in the trading nation to attract foreign direct investment (through the establishment of the Economic Development Board, EDB). Lee also forged a symbiotic and mutually dependent relationship between the People’s Action Party with the National Trades Union Congress, whereby the governing political party received certain input from the labour grassroots, whilst the national trade union centre is led by prominent PAP party politicians who usually have ministerial portfolios within the Government. The Government’s tight control over trade union activities and industrial relations, ensured near-total industrial peace, that was assessed to be a prerequisite for rapid economic development.

Lee was a staunch promoter of economic globalisation and a vocal opponent of protectionism. A co-inventor of “Asian values”, Lee’s rule has been described as authoritarian (particularly authoritarian capitalism), especially in the West. Critics accuse him of curtailing press freedoms, often imposing limits on public protests which prevented further occurrences, restricting labour movements from strike action, restraining wage growth of skilled workers in order to be competitive with developing countries, overseeing the widening and high levels of income inequality along with wealth inequality (relative to other developed countries), encouraging an elitist mindset and filing defamation lawsuits against political opponents (political libel). However, supporters argued in retrospect that his actions were necessary for the country’s early development, and various international political analysts note that Lee’s governance was generally pragmatic and benevolent. During the three decades in which Lee held office, Singapore grew from a developing country to one of the most developed nations in Asia and the world. Lee said that Singapore’s only natural resources are its people and their strong work ethic.

There’s a reason he’s known as the Founding Father of Singapore.

Lee is truly an incredible man, and if you couldn’t already tell, he’s one of my very favorite historical figures. Just listen to the man speak, he’s a leader in every sense of the word:

“Whoever governs Singapore must have that iron in him! Or give it up!

This is not a game of cards! This is your life and mine!

I’ve spent a whole lifetime building this!

And as long as I’m in charge, nobody’s gonna knock it down.

When you become leader of a nation, you have a choice: you can become a petty, plundering tinpot strongman, or you can become a Lee Kuan Yew.

The reason so many nations remain stuck in the third world is because so many of their leaders choose to plunder and oppress, rather than to build, uplift and chase out corruption.

You do not need to be rich in natural resources to become a rich nation. Singapore participates in what’s known as entrepôt trade, where they import goods and then re-export them to other nations. You’re basically serving as the middle-man. This is generally done because tariffs prevent two nations from trading with one another without a middle-man.

Lee used Singapore’s location to its full advantage and turned the country into a trading hub.

In addition, he opened his nation up to foreign investment from rich nations like the US and the UK. He turned Singapore into a tax haven to entice foreign corporations to set up operations there.

He made English the official language of Singapore so that its people would be able to do business with Americans, and he invested heavily in education to develop a skilled workforce.

It can be done. A nation can rise up from its bootstraps and transition from the third world to the first world. You just need strong leadership and you cannot tolerate corruption.

But as we’re seeing now in America, a nation can also backslide from the first world to the third world through a combination of corruption and incompetence.

But most of all, it must be by design.

In other words, the Third Worldization of America is a conscious choice made by our ruling class.

They know they’ll be just fine, but they want us proles living in third-world conditions.

Why? Because then we have to rely on the government for subsistence.

They want to return us to feudalism.

They want this nation to be 99% poor, 1% rich. And they want the rich to own all the land, all the homes, all the businesses–everything. They want us to rely on them for everything.

It’s not a coincidence that the pandemic has been, in the words of CNBC’s Jim Cramer, “one of the greatest wealth transfers in history.”

It’s why BlackRock is buying up the suburbs and driving up home prices out of the reach of average Americans: they want to turn us into a nation of renters, beholden to them for everything including even the roofs over our heads.

Third world nations are synonymous with many things–corruption, poverty and crime most notably.

But they’re also synonymous with dictatorship.

That’s why the elites want to turn America into a third world nation.

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