The Four Icebergs 1

Our ship of state, dodging deadly dangers.

A Parable by Vulpes Veterator

On the Bridge

The S.S. American Destiny steamed on through the night, its passage obscured by a thick mist. Then, all of a sudden, the wind shifted, and just as suddenly as it had come, the fog was gone. A bright, full moon illuminated the still, glassy seas ahead, and the liner’s classic and formal lines as well. Its four tall elegant funnels stood out clearly against the night sky. The funnels were black, except for the red, white, and blue stripes at their tops.

The captain took his glasses from their case, and raised them to survey the sea ahead. They were glasses of an antique type, but they were finely made, and they provided the captain with a clearer view than any of the newer models. Yes, the sea was still and smooth, but as he looked through the lenses, he could see four icebergs looming ahead like mountains in the night. They were all directly in his course, and the captain knew he must set his course carefully to avoid the threat they posed, and to bring his ship safely home. He knew that his ship, colliding with any one of them, could go down with terrible losses to all on board.

On each iceberg was engraved a name.

The First Iceberg – The Marginalization of the Blacks

And on the first iceberg was engraved the title, "The Marginalization of the Blacks". And the captain shook his head sadly, for he knew it was happening. He knew that for the first time in 400 years, the African American population had been displaced as the largest ethnic minority in the country.  Along with that, it was becoming evident that the Black population, especially its less advantaged elements, was withdrawing into itself. It was becoming more openly contemptuous of the traditions, history, and traditional arts, culture, and tastes of the dominant, mostly-Caucasian, population around it.

It was growing more insistent on maintaining a separate system of Historically Black institutions of higher learning. In university systems within the American community at large, Black students were pressing for forms of neo-segregation in graduation ceremonies and even dormitories. Major universities, including Harvard and Columbia, were willing to accommodate this trend without any sense of irony. At lower educational institutions, such as grade schools and high schools, teachers were all-too-familiar with Black students deliberately turning away from education as a show of disdain for White culture. At the same time, Black primary and secondary schools students were finding themselves in de facto racially segregated schools and neighborhoods. For the most part, this was the consequence of White, Latino, and Asian flight to more affluent – and safer – neighborhoods.

The well-documented breakdown of the Black family clearly was connected with greater poverty and poor job prospects for Black men, and this caused a feedback effect which aggravated their social and economic isolation. As if this were not bad enough, great influxes of Latino populations spurred sometimes violent confrontations between the two largest minority populations as each contended for neighborhood domination. While the American intelligentsia and communications establishment only admitted the existence this increasingly-violent rivalry with great reluctance, the general population knew it to be true.

As the Latino population grew steadily in proportion to the national population at large, a strange phenomenon made itself apparent. Despite the advantage of centuries of complete familiarity with the English language, the Black population found itself strikingly outpaced in financial success and even educational achievements by their Latino competitors.

For many decades, the Black population had been the focus of interest by politicians, especially among the Democrats. But now, the sheer numbers of the Latinos, and their growing financial "clout", was attracting more and more attention from ambitious politicians. Blacks no longer were the "minority du jour". The captain reflected upon this. The thought occurred to him that the Black Lives Matter movement, and the related violence and clashes with police forces that were causing so much attention and so much spilled printer’s ink, might actually have been an unconscious reaction against the ebbing political influence of the Black population.

Last but not least, the Black population found itself outpaced in the ultimate form of social integration, which is to say marriage. The Latino population was much more likely to marry into the White European population than were their Black counterparts. The situation was even more striking with the Asians. Within each generation, about 40% of their population married their White peers. Among the Filipino community, these figures approached or exceeded 50%. The long range consequences of this demographic trend would minimize the establishment of a coalition of minorities against White Caucasians, because all groups except the Blacks would be subsumed into the majority population. Instead of receding, the marginalization of the Black segment of the American population would only grow.

The Second Iceberg – The Death of Youth

And on the second iceberg was engraved the title, "The Death of Youth." Despite its size, this iceberg was crumbling before the captain's eyes. His First Officer saw it too, and asked the captain, "How can youth itself die?" The captain smiled wearily and said, "Youth dies when there is less and less of it being born, and when its members won’t surrender their roles and give way to their children."

Look at those we call Baby Boomers. This great demographic bulge of people has spent a half-century calling themselves, ‘The Young’, and they have refused to make way for those born after them. They have also refused even to reproduce as abundantly as their own parents. They continue to consider themselves as the 'cutting edge' of society, and thus they suffocate any real generation of novelty.

See how so many of their greying and wrinkled popular idols – the Rolling Stones come to mind – are still considered contemporary. See how a noticeably old woman continues to be a featured reporter on a news show. As soon as her program ends, a quiz show starts, featuring a truly engaging and attractive woman, but one who seems to have been on that very show since President Coolidge’s second term. The genre of rock and roll music has been with us for 60 years. That’s far longer than any popular genre that preceded it, such as big band, swing, 1920s jazz, ragtime, musical comedy, and so forth. Now, learned articles are being written on how to keep rock music current, and how to find new "stars". After a while, one has to ask oneself, won’t these 'Boomers', their tastes and their problems, ever go away? They have suffocated all of their potential successors and there is truly nothing new under the sun.

And not only that. They have, through their reluctance to have large families, or in many cases, any children at all, changed a demographic pattern that had existed from the start of American society. America had always been seen as a young society, a society with many young people, a society that welcomes young people and babies. But the very generation that spoke of itself as triumphantly youthful became obsessed with a specious 'Population Bomb'. They subvert their own fertility – which is the unique characteristic of youth – with an astonishing array of birth control measures. Now the damage has been done in greatly attenuating a replacement generation of youth. Fear of the population bomb has finally faded at last. However, it has been replaced by an abandonment of humanism, and a growing cult of subsuming human beings into the natural world around them. This view sees humanity as no more valuable than plants and animals or even inanimate objects such as rivers and mountains.

Increasingly, we live in a society of the old. Increasingly, we concern ourselves with maintaining pensions, social security, geriatric healthcare, and retirement accounts. Increasingly we even move into senior citizen communities, where a minimum age is a condition of eligibility for home ownership. And of course, such communities have no young children except as visitors.

To be continued...

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