Great nations have fallen before and they will fall again and again. The principles are well known, but readers of this blog realize that Western civilization has made a very conscious choice to bury the knowledge and principles that caused it to once rise.
In the excellent note linked above (just before the end), Edmund Burke has this to say:
Men are qualified for civil liberty in exact proportion to their disposition to put moral chains upon their own appetites, — in proportion as their love of justice is above their rapacity, — in proportion as their soundness and sobriety of understanding is above their vanity and presumption, — in proportion as they are more disposed to listen to the counsels of the wise and good, in preference to the flattery of knaves. Society cannot exist, unless a controlling power upon will and appetite be placed somewhere; and the less of it there is within, the more there must be without. It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters."Their passions forge their fetters".
The passion to be entirely free from moral strictures, free from work, free from a need to live within our means -- "free" in the sense of "free stuff", ignoring the facts of even science that "there is NO free lunch". Everything has a cost, and that which appears most "free" often has the highest cost!
The passion for an earthly savior -- "Hope and Change", with whatever imaginary policy or progrom one may choose to project on such vacuous words. "Make America Great Again" is "Yugely" specific in comparison -- it asserts a specific nation, with "greatness" for a goal, a specificity far beyond "Hope and Change", however it is still irrationally imprecise.
The slogans of BO and now of Trump are very thinly disguised appeals to hand over the nation to a "strong man". BO has already crossed the rubicon of usurping the Constitution on immigration and EPA regulation (stayed by the court for the moment). Trump. Hillary and Bernie have all declared they will do the same on various topics -- guns, income, jobs, walls, etc.
We are absolutely a nation that has lost the internal controlling power of religion -- as John Adams said, "Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other"!
So deeply in debt, morally corrupt, and in mass, totally unschooled as to the the requirements of what keeping the nation bequeathed to us operating, we stumble toward an election which might provide us with the most vile alternatives in American history. It is a situation we richly deserve -- these things have been TOTALLY KNOWABLE for at least centuries, and to a significant degree millennia!!
We have no excuse!