It seems inevitable to me that, given enough time, the United States of America is doomed to an end state similar to that facing Germany after it's recently ambiguous election.

The late economist Mancur Olson argued that the downfall of democracy would be its tendency to calcify into special-interest gridlock. Germany's extensive welfare state has created millions of voters who fear the loss of any benefits. Combine that with voters in eastern Germany who cling to outmoded notions of state support and you have an formidable challenge to bring about real reform.

"The lesson for America is do not go down the road as far as Germany has," says Horst Schakat, a German who created a series of successful businesses in California for 30 years but retired to his native land in 2001. "You may find yourself unable to go down a different but correct path once too many people have become dependent on the state."

Occasional revolution is required to break up this calcification, though it need not be violent if undertaken in a timely manner. However, were there political will to foment a liberty-enhancing, non-violent revolution, then perhaps such a thing would not be needed at all. More likely America, the oldest republic on the planet, will eventually stagnate and be overtaken by the nations just now emerging from under the boot of totalitarianism.

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