You may not know this, but Medieval China was the world superpower in the first centuries of the second millennium. Yes, Southwest Asia and some of the Mediterranean and North African states had influence and wealth (Europe was in the Dark Ages for much of this period, and America had yet to be invaded by we honkies), but China dominated the civilized world, militarily and economically. Until the early part of the fifteenth century, that is.

In that time, China suffered several economic setbacks that threatened their economy and indeed the very state itself. So they pulled back, abandoned the empire they had spent centuries building, and embarked upon an isolationist period that would last for around 500 years. And during that time, Europe and the Middle East pretty much took over the world that the Chinese used to run: indeed, they took even more of the world and ruthlessly ruled and exploited it. Now China wants its old role back, and is having a hard time accomplishing that feat: because, while they slept, we took the planet and have no desire to hand it back to them.

Why is this interesting? Because America in 2013 is a lot like China in, say, 1423: having spent many years being bold and innovative, building and exploring, daring to do great things in the past, there is now a movement to haul ass backwards, or at least to hold still.

Look at our media figures and politicians: far too many of them preach a gospel of fear, ignorance and falsehood; Lies and panic-mongering, media manipulation, and hardly anyone talks about how destructive this is to our nation.

When this writer was a wee lad, America went to the moon. Yes, we did that. We did brave things, bold things, things that mattered to the world, things that were investments in our future.

Nowadays, America is being ruined by a load of greedy, cowardly, short-sighted poltroons. We couldn’t do an Apollo today, folks. We can’t even keep our roads paved properly or our bridges up in the air. We can’t even keep Grandma fed or Junior safe in his school. America is stuck.

And, just like China in the past, America is choosing to be left behind by the nations who still have a pair. We are dooming ourselves to has-been status. Many of our “leaders” aren’t leading us forward: they are doing the exact opposite, if they are in fact leading at all.

The supreme irony? China, having learned from its mistakes, is leaving America in its dust. Because America not only didn’t learn from China’s mistakes: we are repeating them.

Forward? No, backward march. Double time.

Mr. Blunt and Cranky