Tuesday, April 20, 2021


Headlines trumpet that young Americans embrace socialism, not capitalism. Cities rip down historical statues, many of great beauty. Pundits disparage America’s Founding Fathers, though these giants have no equals among our nation’s current intellectuals.

How has it come to this? How has our country, which is the greatest force for good that the world has ever known, become the subject of debasement by its own citizens?

The roots of this crisis have been present throughout history. To understand the conflagration that is the United States is to speak of mice and werewolves. The answers begin not with the study of the human heart, but with analyses of mice, which were feted as if they had attained heaven. 

The eminent scientist John B. Calhoun studied animal behavior and its implications for humankind. Beginning in 1968, Calhoun began a series of experiments that garnered acclaim. America’s National Institute of Mental Health supported Calhoun’s study of four pairs of mice that were to be given everything. This became known as Universe 25. 

Calhoun set out to determine the effects of overpopulation in a static space. Bound by a large pit, the mice were provided with nirvana. Food, water and shelter were always abundant; only space was constrained, though the enclosure could support 3,840 mice.

Initially, the population doubled every two months, but on the 315th day something unforeseen occurred. The character of the mice changed irrevocably. Bereft of the struggle for food, water sex and dominion, the mice devolved.

Some mice lost interest in reproduction. Others expressed deviant behaviors. Still others became extraordinarily violent without cause ─ often turning to cannibalism. Another group was named the “beautiful ones.” Their lives were spent grooming and eating such that their coats became immaculate, for they cared for nothing but themselves. 

By the 600th day, the population of mice totaled 2,200, but there would never be another birth. In short order, the mice died, for without renewal, the extinction of a group is assured. 

Although Universe 25 was designed as a proxy to test the effects of overpopulation, none of the mice died or went insane due to this encumbrance. Calhoun would later describe the collapse of this heaven as a “spiritual death.” Devoid of the challenges that all life within nature must confront, this society disintegrated. 

Calhoun termed this phenomenon a “behavioral sink,” but averred that man’s conceptual space could provide an antidote to the fate suffered by the mice, for we employ a reflective equilibrium ─ where ideas are reconsidered to become better projections of the future. But what if even this space is taken from us?

Man cannot write nor speak, intelligibly, faster than he can think, but the Internet, with its algorithms and enmeshed reward systems for theatrical or convergent opinions, often supersedes our facilities to think or to reason, rendering our minds ever smaller. 

The youth of America, though they do not realize it, have more than any preceding generation, but in this abundance, they have less, for they are being deprived of the challenges and struggle intrinsic to life. The results are patent. Rather than set new, difficult tasks as did John F. Kennedy in his inaugural address, America caves to uncontested demands, which are met by handouts without end. We are kind, but are cruel, for we have striven to be nice, but not good. 

Damning, too, are accusations that, once levied, are determinate. During the early modern period in Europe, which lasted from 1500 to 1800, there was one crime that merited an execution more tortuous than even that meted out to a regicide or heretic. This crime was werewolfery. 

Consider the case of Peter Stubbe. In 1589, Stubbe was racked until he confessed to being a werewolf. His limbs were broken on a wheel, while his flesh was torn off with pincers. His daughter and mistress were executed, too, due to their association with this fiend.

Werewolves, however, only exist in movies; why was Stubbe committed to such a terrible fate? Werewolfery and the related accusation of witchcraft served a purpose. To assert werewolfery deprived the accused from any presumption of innocence under law or custom. Lands and possessions were confiscated immediately. The verdict was predetermined, given this transfer of wealth. 

Diversity is expressed as our national objective. It is not, but not for reasons that are obvious. The cloak of diversity hides a core of stifling homogeneity, to which only the most advantaged elites know reprieve. It is not diversity that serves the will of our government and our academic and business elites, but conformity and supplication. 

Though racism and racists do exist, the allegation of racism has become our century’s crime of lycanthropy. To say it, is to prove it. However, it is axiomatic that if everything is racist, nothing is racist.

How can we arrest these demons? First, we must make life challenging, not comfortable, for our nation’s youth. It is humbling that China and India both exceed us in their societal expectations placed upon their children. Second, we must abstain from loaded accusations meant to injure without factual consideration. Third, we must realize that individual tenaciousness builds self-respect.

The precept that God’s compact is with the individual is imperative, for only this conveys unfaltering dignity to each of us, no matter our accomplishments or lack thereof, for in this comprehension, we all wear a patch of cloth that is the raiment of our Creator.

• Richard Levine is a former deputy assistant secretary of the Navy for technology transfer and security assistance and a former NSC staff director for policy development and international economic affairs. His recent book is “America’s #1 Adversary And What We Must Do About It ─ Now.”

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