Peggy Noonan seems depressed. She says that America is in trouble and that our elites are merely resigned. She writes that things are broken and that tough history is coming. Her piece in the Wall Street Journal, "A Separate Peace," is an interesting read. If you can't find it at the link there's a Fair Use copy in the first comment to this post.
Noonan thinks things have gotten too complicated, that the presidency and the government are overwhelmed, and that the people know it. Half the people won't trust the president and federal government, whe writes, to do what has to be done or to tell the truth in the face of something major like a terrorist event.
She cites an event from Christopher Lawford's book, "Symptoms of Withdrawal," in which Lawford quotes his uncle, Ted Kennedy, who, at a family affair of some sort reflected to the effect that he was glad he would not be around when the rest of the assembled group reached his age because "the whole thing is going to fall apart." Noonan's reaction: "If even Teddy knows..."
So Noonan is depressed, but she's not sure why. She opens her piece: "It is not hard and can be a pleasure to tell people what you see. It's harder to speak of what you think you see, what you think is going on and can't prove or defend with data or numbers. That can get tricky. It involves hunches. But here goes."
That's what strikes me the most. I think there's plenty of reason for depression if you pay attention to the world, but she's focused on things that don't really matter in the grand scheme. So the US takes a fall, so what? The Soviet Union did and the world went on. The United States could follow suit and the world would go on. I would not want that, but it would not be the end of civilization.
Unlike Noonan, who regrets that she can't back up her funk with numbers and data and has only hunches, my depression is backed up by the simple arithmetic of steady growth and its exponential implications (which are right there for anybody to see if they pay attention).
You're right Peggy. We're almost certainly fucked, but your blues-triggers are for nothing in comparison with the consequences of exponentiation against limits (to which you and your economist/capitalist/religionist ilk are blind).