Yes, from shortly before the revolution, around 1750 until 1960. Two Hundred ten years. Author Charles Murray makes a very strong case in “Coming Apart” that American Exceptionalism ended November 21, 1963, the day before President Kennedy was assassinated. Close enough.
Murray’s book “Coming Apart” is well worth reading as are all of his books, especially “The Bell Curve”. They are highly researched, well written and worthwhile for any library. He concludes in “Coming Apart” that America will come thru the current problems. He sees hope for the future and provides facts, analysis, reasons and almost everything needed to prove his thesis that American Exceptionalism will weather yet another storm. I don’t agree. Murray fails to identify the depth of the evil values and virtues of the American left. He does offer evidence that Marxism is behind the decline of America. One vivid example of the decline of Western Civilization is Europe. Another is the growth of the American Welfare State with it’s attendant new laws, regulations and welfare recipients. To me that proves the American project is dead. Welfare, especially a culture in which welfare is supported by such deep rooted values is impossible to reform.
I would like be wrong. That’s not going to happen. America is far to the left and going economically and intellectually more left. Children today have far less freedom than my generation but having been fed the lies of the communal culture they don’t know it. They are content, even happier with their diminished individual freedoms. Just like the Europeans, most Americans want to live with as little work as possible.
Every person has their basking price, the amount of money and services with which they are fulfilled. They neither want nor need more. After that they bask in the sun. Murray spends time explaining ideas like self-satisfaction, self-gratification and envy will eventually stop the decline of America.
Consider this. Why work to buy a yacht if you can ride one for nothing? Why own a cell phone when you have one without paying for it? Human nature is not the same for everyone. There are exceptional people who can and will achieve regardless of the limitations on them however they will accept the limitations. That characteristic and those achieving people will continue to be exploited, not by people like Murray but by people like President Obama, the Democrats and the intellectual elite. Many will exploit themselves out of guilt. Those two types of people include probably 99.5% of the people. They are the ones who don’t need nor want the American Dream.