C hina and the United States are locked in a battle for world supremacy economically, militarily and socially. At this time, they are winning in every sphere, and we must face the fact that unless we change what is happening in this country today, we will lose to them. Chinese leaders have to be watching what we are doing to ourselves and smiling at our determination to self-destruct as a society and world power. While they are socially, politically and culturally unified, we are divided in each of those spheres. While they have a firm belief in their destiny, we are destroying the core beliefs of our society and culture. While they have a broad and definitive plan for their future and what that future will look like, we cannot see beyond the next election or crisis that will further divide us. While they build their economy, we are doing everything to destroy ours. While they are building their military, we are giving away our most closely held secrets and technologies in the guise of internationalism. While their businesses are thriving at our expense, we are wallowing in cooperate self-flagellation on the altar of social justice. The current fad in this country is climate change (formerly global warming) and we are h----bent on destroying what is left of our economy after we attempted to commit economic suicide with the COVID-19 shutdowns. The Chinese have no intention of restricting their economy for any reason. Our obsession with climate change has become so intense and narrowminded that we can’t see what we are doing to ourselves. Does anyone believe the Chinese will abide by any restrictions placed on their carbon consumption or carbon-dioxide emissions? Does anyone really believe China will alter their environmental practices? Does anyone have any idea how we, or the rest of the world, can force China into compliance if they choose to ignore international treaties related to the environment? At one time, this country was the industrial power house and economic engine of the world. We had the most powerful industries after World War II, because we were the only combatant nation that was not economically destroyed by the war. All the heavy industry and most of the financial institutions in Europe were either destroyed or left in shambles at the end of the war. Before the war, Japan was the economic engine of Asia, but by the end of the war, it was devastated in every way. It no longer had any industrial infrastructure after the American bombing campaigns. At that time, we took great pride in the fact that our smokestack industries kept the world safe for democracy. Through our industrial and economic power, we stopped the Nazis and Japan’s Great East Asian empire. The two great foes were soundly defeated and we recognized that our industrial infrastructure and financial power could control the world economy for generations, if we so decided. We took great pride in our ability to manufacture anything needed better than any one else could. GM, Ford, US Steel, Bethlehem Steel, the mining industry, the petrolchemical industry (DuPont), the railroad infrastructure and the financial soundness of the country put us at the top of the world economy. We proudly displayed our strength with pictures of our factories belching huge plumes of smoke. Everything that propelled our industry spewed smoke — steel mills, car factories, steam engines, foundries, manufacturing plants and our ships. Our higher education was without exception the best the world had to offer. We prided ourselves on the education we offered all our citizens. Our elementary and secondary schools put out fairly well-educated young people who filled the work place with people capable of sustaining our factories and military. The one-room school houses were being replaced with newer and bigger schools. (I had five cousins who went to the last one-room school house in Walworth County, Wisc.). New high schools were popping up as fast as they could be financed and built. Our higher education institutions expanded to accommodate the massive number of veterans taking advantage of the post-war benefits of the GI Bill. We had the largest merchant marine, the biggest steel mills, the strongest airline and railroad industries. Our mines produced more raw materials than any other country in the world (with the possible exception of the Soviet Union, whose mines were very productive while using slave labor; but that’s another subject). We were unrivaled and we knew it. We knew what it took to hold our place in the world, and that was strong industries with a strong economy. There was nothing to stop or slow our power in the world except our own actions. And that’s exactly what happened, and it started with a book published in 1962 by Rachel Carson, titled The Silent Spring. Her book awoke our awareness of the environment and the harm DDT was causing. DDT was an insecticide synthesized in 1874 by an Austrian chemist, Othmar Zeider, followed in 1939 by Swiss chemist Paul Hermann Muller’s finding that it was a powerful insecticide. It’s use became so common that we overlooked the potential harm it was causing, in particular to birds. Carson’s book, in a very detailed manner, showed what DDT was doing to the environment. With her book, we became aware of the harm we were inadvertently causing the environment, and the modern environmental movement was born. Following the banning of DDT and the trend towards protecting all the environment, we went from admiring our smokestack industries to becoming disgusted with anything that may harm the environment.

TO BE continued next week.

BERNARD LESLIE is a beekeeping expert who lives beside Kentucky Lake in the northeast corner of Henry County. His email address is bleslie0515@gmail.com

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