The United States has marked differences from the precipice-of-dystopia England that Theodore Dalrymple describes, but we do well to look for echoes of our own experience:
Moreover, Britain already has many weaknesses and few strengths. It has a huge and persistent trade imbalance, because it does not produce enough of what the world wants and cannot easily be made to do so; it has a large national debt, about the same size as that of France, but without a highly functioning infrastructure such as France’s to show for it; its household debt is among the highest in the world. For many years, its economic policy might as well have been presided over by Mr Madoff; its social policy has been to smash up all forms of social solidarity or support for the vulnerable that do not pass through the state. The destruction of the little platoons has been very thorough: most large ‘charities’ in Britain are now dependent on government rather than on private funding, and hence are in effect departments of state.
Dalrymple also gives us the reason we in the United States should listen:
It would not take very long to turn Britain into a northern Venezuela: a Venezuela without the oil or the tropical climate.
It wouldn’t take very long to turn the United States into Britain, and two quick steps from devastation is not so much better than one quick step.