Americans should not despair overmuch about the decline of their nation. As Machiavelli observed in his History of Florence, a society reaching a pinnacle of power is inevitably followed by a subsequent decline.
It may be observed, that provinces amid the vicissitudes to which they are subject, pass from order into confusion, and afterward recur to a state of order again; for the nature of mundane affairs not allowing them to continue in an even course, when they have arrived at their greatest perfection, they soon begin to decline. In the same manner, having been reduced by disorder, and sunk to their utmost state of depression, unable to descend lower, they, of necessity, reascend; and thus from good they gradually decline to evil, and from evil again return to good. The reason is that valor produces peace; peace, repose; repose, disorder; disorder, ruin; so from disorder order springs, from order vitue, and from this, glory and good fortune.
Hence, wise men have observed, that the age of literary excellence is subsequent to that of distinction in arms; and that in cities and provinces, great warriors are produced before philosophers. Arms having secured victory, and victory peace, the buoyant vigor of the martial mind cannot be enfeebled by a more excusable indulgence than that of letters; nor can indolence, with any greater or more dangerous deceit, enter a well-regulated community.
Cato was aware of this when the philosophers, Diogenes and Carneades, were sent ambassadors to the Senate by the Athenians; for perceiving with what earnest admiration the Roman youth began to follow them, and knowing the evils that might result to his country from this specious idleness, he enacted that no philosopher should be allowed to enter Rome.
The bad news is that Americans, forgetful of history, were not wise enough to keep out the philosophers. The current disorder that was the inevitable consequence of their wicked influence will be followed by ruin. The good news is that order and virtue will eventually rise up from the ruins.