On a private visit two weeks ago to the USA, my first since 2008, I was able to enter and leave the country with no personal problems, but on a two-hour tour which a friend gave me of a major American city, devastated by the recent economic downturn, I observed some daunting social problems:—
As we drove towards the city past a handsome housing estate in the country, he said, “You see all these expensive-looking houses? They are in fact poorly built, cookie-cutter houses, way over-priced, bought with money out of nowhere from the Clinton era (1992–2000), by people living in a dream, from paycheck to paycheck, in a false paradise of high credit, materialism and excessive spending. If they lose their jobs, as many are doing, they will be lucky to get half their money back on their houses. The men have no real skill or trade. Theirs is a world of slick tongue nonsense . . .
“They are mostly white people who have fled from the inner city suburbs where we are now arriving. Look around you at all the houses boarded up, abandoned, dilapidated, with huge gaps in between where the housing has been destroyed to give the illusion of prosperity. But the lost jobs will not come back, so there is no real basis for a return to prosperity. The neat houses you do see have been repaired or re-built with Government money borrowed by the broke city in accordance with unreal housing projects, because the neat houses will not usually be cared for, but will soon be dilapidated again. There is a kind of Government aid which can do more harm than good to the people it is supposed to help, by trapping them in their dependence on it . . .
“Now we are coming into the downtown where you see tall handsome buildings, but also few people circulating. The buildings go back to the 1920’s when this city was a great industrial centre, but after World War II the USA began to lose its industrial pre-eminence. Around the Reagan years (1980–1988) began, as I see it, a false stimulus by the credit card being made available to the common man. In the 1990’s a non-white mayor was elected here who did his serious best to bring business back to the city, and some of these handsome buildings are due to him, but he was voted out by his own people because he was not like one of them . . .
“The economy is hanging on a thread, yet most people think everything will be fine in a year’s time. They think it is lovely if the Government just prints or digitalizes more and more money. Five per cent of the people, or less, understand just how grave the situation is, and less than one per cent see religion as playing any part in their country’s downfall. People look only for band-aids, not for deep or real solutions. The whites have allowed themselves to be given a huge guilt complex, and they have caved in without admitting it. There is a huge problem that everybody senses and knows, but they are too afraid to talk about it . . .”
Yet within 50 miles of this city thrives an SSPX parish and school, unknown or disdained, yet embodying the one true solution: God.