The civilization is successful, regardless of the misery of its members. Rome was successful—a military and economic behemoth that bent the ancient world to its will. The American empire is successful, too, inasmuch as it is wealthy and its war machine is unmatched. This is not a moral position. The fact that America is so flush with money and resources and might and is, yet, unable to serve the basic needs of its most vulnerable members is a tragedy.

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Editor, Humungus. I won two James Beard Awards once for an essay about Taco Bell. Let’s be friends.

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