Decline Is A Choice

VDH & Mark Steyn on possibly not inevitable American decline. VDH walks us through the fall of Rome, natch, arguing that what made it collapse is not what you think after reading all those other Rome/America comparisons. Big conclusion is that Rome chose to fall, and possibly so will we.
The strange thing is that these wild swings in civilization are at their bases psychological: decline is one of choice rather than necessity. Plague or lead poisoning or famine did not destroy Rome. We could balance our budget tomorrow without a great deal of sacrifice; we could eliminate 10% worth of government spending that is not essential; we could create our own energy with massive nuclear power investment, and more extraction of gas, oil, and coal. We could instill a tragic rather than therapeutic world view that would mean more responsibilities rather than endlessly more rights. We could do this all right—but too many feel such medicine is worse than the malady, and so we probably won’t and can’t. An enjoyable slow decline is apparently  preferable to a short, but painful rethinking and rebirth.
Then Mark Steyn weighs in on The Seductions of Decline, comparing our end with the decline of New Rome (Britains). Like VDH, he notes the decline of distinctive American virtues:
Every time I retail the latest indignity imposed upon the “citizen” by some or other Continental apparatchik, I receive e-mails from the heartland pointing out, with much reference to the Second Amendment, that it couldn’t happen here because Americans aren’t Euro-weenies. But nor were Euro-weenies once upon a time. Hayek’s greatest insight in The Road To Serfdom is psychological: “There is one aspect of the change in moral values brought about by the advance of collectivism which at the present time provides special food for thought,” he wrote with an immigrant’s eye on the Britain of 1944. “It is that the virtues which are held less and less in esteem and which consequently become rarer are precisely those on which the British people justly prided themselves and in which they were generally agreed to excel. 
But he strikes if possible an even gloomier note, because Britain (and all of Europe) had the luxury of palming its greatness off on us, which hardly has a downside beyond loss of bragging rights:
in the geopolitical sense it can be marvelously liberating. You still go to all the best parties and have a seat at the top table – Britain and France are members of the UN Security Council and the G7 and every other group that counts – and even better, when the check comes, you’re not the one stuck with the tab. You can preen and pose on the world stage secure in the knowledge that nobody expects you to do anything about it.
He compares the entire G-15 to Leonardo diCaprio, which is hilarious, but for it being so apt. If we were going to give way to another great Western power --let's let the Aussies have a go-- that would be one thing, but to whom are we likely to give way? 
The good news is, none of the usual suspects is up to the job. China, Russia, the Caliphate? All implausible. 
The bad news is, none of the usual suspects is up to the job.
The most likely future is not a world under a new order but a world with no order – in which pipsqueak states go nuclear while the planet’s wealthiest nations, from New Zealand to Norway, are unable to defend their own borders and are forced to adjust to the post-American era as they can. Yet, in such a geopolitical scene, the United States will still remain the most inviting target – first, because it’s big, and secondly, because, as Britain knows, the durbar moves on but imperial resentments linger long after imperial grandeur. 
So, either America makes the choice to man up, or it's back to the constant wars of tribe and religion America was founded to prevent. Peace through strength as Reagan used to say. But can comfortable people man up?