A wonderful reflection on our country in the final two paragraphs of Conrad Black’s—who was received into the Roman Catholic Church on 18 June 1986—book, published in 2013, Flight of the Eagle: The Grand Strategies that Brought America from Colonial Dependence to World Leadership. Encounter Books: New York.
The United States is a country that takes less account of corruption and hypocrisy and is more susceptible, in Napoleon’s phrase, to “lies agreed upon,” than many other prominent nations (the Europeans and Japanese, after their appalling barbarism in the twentieth century, seem to have faced and accepted their guilt and shame). The United States remains incomparably the greatest and most successful country there has ever been. And though it is vulgar, banal, slovenly, and complacent, and most of its leadership cadres have failed it, it is neither lazy nor driven by a death wish. Historically, when the United States has needed strong leadership, it has found it. It does need leadership now, and it is not easily visible in the present sea of mediocre strivers. But America is threatened only by itself, and Americans, collectively, like themselves, and the country will come round. Someone will lead it on with a new purpose more galvanizing than just borrowing for the bovine satiety of fickle appetites, in politics as in consumer goods.
Richard Nixon was correct that only Americans can defeat and humiliate the United States, and eventually, when they see it plain and have some serious leadership again, they will recognize the impulse to self-destruction as un-American, and turn it into one of national renovation. God, Providence, fate, or the Muse have not withdrawn His or its blessing, and the Americans will return to the manifest destiny of being a sensibly motivated and even exemplary country again, long before they have forfeited to any other long-surpassed nation the preeminence in the world for which America long strove, which it richly earned, and which it has more or less majestically retained. (p. 699)