Note: The emphasis that appears in the following is that of the author, Henry Grady Weaver, as he used in his book.
“Hunger has always been normal. Even to this day famine kills multitutdes in China, India, Africa and in the 1930s thousands upon thousands starved to death on the richest farmlands of the Soviet Union.
“Down through the ages, countless millions, struggling unsuccessfully to keep bare life in wretched bodies, have died young in misery and squalor.
“Then suddenly, in one spot on this planet, people eat so abundantly that the pangs of hunger are forgotten.
“Why did men die of starvation for six thousand years?
“Why is it that we in America have never had a famine?
“Why did men walk, and carry goods and other men on their straining backs for six thousand years — the suddenly, on only a small part of the Earth’s surface, the forces of nature are harnessed to do the bidding of the humblest citizen?
“Why did families lives for six thousand years in caves and floorless hovels, without window or chimeny; then within a few generations — we in America take floors, rugs, chairs, tables, windows, chimneys for graned and regard electric lights, refrigerators, running water, porcelain baths and toilets as common necessities?
“Why did men, women and children eke out their meagre existence — toiling desperately from dawn to dark, barefoot, half naked, unwashed, unshaved, uncombed, with lousy hair, mangy skins and rotting teeth, for six thousand years, then suddenly, in one place on Earth we find an abundance of such things as rayon, saftey razors, ice cream sodas, liptsticks and permanent waves?
‘It’s incredible — if we could but pause to reflect’!”
I will give you a clue. What did not cause this. Democracy did not cause this. And not the abundant natural resources. Which also existed in the “heartland of Europe”, Russia. Existed in Africa, which in many places has abundant natural resources. And you might also think that shortly after the end of the Second World War, the British Colonies in Africa had begun exporting food and hunger was disappearing. But after they acquired their on local rulers, this stopped and hunger returned. While natural resources did not suddenly disappear.
What caused the phenomena Weaver discusses is the relatively more individual freedom that existed in the early United States and the fact that people were individually and solely responsible for the result of their actions in life. Which the spread of democracy—of a societal system based on coercion—slowly began to end. When coercion arrived at the Pacific Ocean and there was no way for people to escape it by “moving west”.