On the drive to work, NPR airs a story about a transgender four year old. The S&P 500 hits a new high, but your coworkers’ adult children live with them. Your social media feed reveals a nonstop war of words over any issue. Not a soul in D.C. seems to want to fix anything. Berkeley’s streets look like a deleted scene from a Mad Max film. You go to bed knowing the next day will bring the same. It’s morning in Weimerica.
We live in a degenerate age that is sold as progress. Every boundary is pushed: divorce, illegitimacy, gay marriage, transg, soon to be followed by polygamy, bestiality, etc. This is not progress, just change. This is not new, only new on our shores. We live in the United States of Weimerica.
Germans of the Weimar Republic did this all with cruder technology. Gay bars were in bigger German cities. Marlene Dietrich stole her gender bending style from a short lesbian radio personality. Germany was full of burlesque parlors, tawdry films, and had a spectacular variety of prostitutes available even by phone. Weimar had plenty of men in wigs dancing in nightclubs.
How did we get here? How did Weimar get there? Weimar had a surplus of women by the millions and hyperinflation combined with mass unemployment. The economic problems were an ever-present, lingering concern. Sell yourself to eat, right? The gender imbalance was caused by millions of dead and maimed men from the Great War. A surplus of women will lower their price.
Consider family formation. Some sexual marketplace observers focus on the media’s framing of marriage and marriageable partners. When the media deems large swaths of men unworthy, they are effectively removing them from the dating pool. A gender imbalance ensues, creating a need for women to compete sexually for men. Combining this with third wave feminism’s sex positivism, we get the debauchery of modern dating. Weimar Germany had sexologists pushing for transgender rights nearly a century before America had sex advocates going to US campuses repeating Weimar lines.
Women are incredibly important beyond the sexual realm. Females were new voters in Weimar Germany. Outnumbering male voters by one million, they swung elections in Weimar Germany’s pell mell parliamentary system. Since 1980, women have been a bigger voting bloc than men in America. Our media pushes free birth control and gay rights as the most important issues right now.
Hollywood productions work to nudge voting in the right direction. The media elite in Weimar Germany did the same. The film Sundige Mütter portrayed the old order’s abortion and illegitimacy policies negatively. This is akin to every Hollywood movie portraying the 1950s as a stifling patriarchy. The 1926 film Women’s Crusade cast a heart throb as an abortion doctor and stressed the need for abortion reform. That film was heavy handed with every example of a sympathetic abortion seeker, similar to Hollywood’s portrayal of homosexuals during the gay marriage push. This media molding did have an effect on Weimar Germany as it does here now. Abortion reform did pass. The decriminalization of prostitution followed in 1927 with the break-up of state brothels.
Hyperinflation was early in the Weimar Republic and solved by the end of 1923. Hyperinflation was a boon to debtors as all debts were inflated away. Large corporations that earned foreign currency fared far better than smaller producers (like US based multinationals today). Lower wage earners saw increases through union negotiating power versus salaried employees. Salaried employees also could not qualify for Weimar’s new social welfare programs. Weimar’s middle class saw their savings wiped away in the inflation while lower class Germans had no savings to lose. It was a middle class squeeze. It would not be hard to recreate today.
Erosion of family life was a similar problem in Weimar Germany. Earlier, in 1922, Germany’s Youth Welfare Law expanded social safety net programs for illegitimate children. Weimar socialized the costs while subsidizing the behavior. These policies point to a problem economic decline + welfare create: class conflict where the upper end and lower end were helped to the detriment to the middle. Now I know you have heard that in modern America. Hillary Clinton made explicit in her campaign the Wall St-Underclass alliance. It is better now to have a child out of wedlock to collect government benefits rather than do the traditional thing and have a child within a marriage. Incentives matter, and such programs will anger the group that feels they are doing the right thing but the wrong thing is rewarded.
The media itself was far to the left of Germans like contemporary America. They were similarly reluctant to admit their control of the social and cultural atmosphere. The publishing house Mosse and Ullstein sold 50% of all papers. That publishing house proudly supported liberal policies as the German people rejected them. Right up to Hitler’s electoral victories, the Berlin papers were shouting the same progressive line. The entire intellectual elite of Weimar Germany was said to live in a bubble, separated from the common man. This bubble was not a major problem until the late ’20s crash and political fragmentation posed problems beyond their capabilities. Sounds too familiar and depressing as a modern American.
For now, we can delight in the hedonism and try not to sink in the despair that is Weimerica. Despair is real. Heroin, with its rising body count, does not become the hot new drug except in a nation that has given up hope. The desperate tone is between the lines of even those who gleefully enjoy the hedonism offered by Weimerica. The libertines secretly wish for order to return. Tinder users love the cheap sex era but long for what Gramma + Grampa had.
Weimar’s sexual, social and cultural chaos feels like our modern era, and Stefan Zweig wrote about the lame, hollow feeling of it all. Zweig writes, “everywhere it was unmistakable that this over-excitation was unbearable for the people,” and that what they secretly felt was a longing, “for order, quiet and a little security and bourgeois life. And, secretly it hated the republic, not because it suppressed this wild freedom, but on the contrary, because it held the reins too loosely.” Weimar’s decadent culture lived a short Gotterdammerung. Ours will too. Weimerica will come to an end, and when it does, someone must be there to restore order.