Pick Your Apocalypse

Slate‘s interactive End of America site presents 144 possible ways the U.S. could meet its demise and lets you choose your favorites. We’ve covered quite a few of them on this blog — media piracy, obesity, cars — though in a considerably less apocalyptic context. Apparently this blog is way out of step with the pessimistic mainstream. [%comments]

Johnny E

Our demise will probably come about when our trading partners realize that the US no longer produces anything of intrinsic value (except for porn and cheeseburgers according to Letterman) so they'll just go somewhere else for their purchases.

It will be when foreign mining companies get the rights to strip-mine public lands at bargain-basement rates, when foreign companies own our toll roads, when foreign companies own our shipping terminals, when China owns our debt, when OPEC owns our oil companies, when sovereign wealth funds (foreign governments) own our financial institutions, and Americans no longer invest in education.

Wait a minute, we're already there!!! We're starting to show all the characteristics of a Third World country.

Johnny E

Our demise will come about if we get public-funding of elections. All that lobbying money that stimulates the economy will disappear.


The day when China surpasses the US in total GDP, there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then Americans will slowly get used to the idea of not being #1, and rachet up immigration and the welfare state, and go the way of Europe. The most productive, of course, will seek out the opportunities in Asia.

Space Pirate

America is just an idea, the notion that our infrastructure or goverment somehow encapsulates that is misguided. If our 'nation' ceases to exist the free thinking ideal will not. It will simply take another form, perhaps in another place.

Johnny E

Corpoate conglomerates controlling all media outlets so the vibrant unfettered free-press is a thing of the past.

Johnny E

A natural disater like a small asteroid, a killer quake in San Francisco, or a big hurricane running along the coast between Miami & Norfolk which will drive all the insurance companies and government into bankruptcy


America will fall when people wake up and understand we are being lied to on a daily basis, and expose the truth. The revolution will be televised! lol seriously, we are already on a fast track to no longer being the #1 country.

Eric M. Jones

At @7 -O

"...seriously, we are already on a fast track to no longer being the #1 country...."

We are the #1 country? Really?


I'm distressed that their "Arab-Israeli War" scenario has a Jewish Star rather than an Islamic Crescent.

Tony Petros

America is being taken down the road to disaster faster than you can say . . . "we don't need domestic oil drilling".

There are enormous amounts of crude oil in ANWR and in the midwestern states of Montana and Wyoming and the Dakotas. Yet we are being prevented from drilling there because the "enviormentalists" have decided that America should not survive as a powerful country anymore.

Walk On


Very succinct.
Very true.
All too sadly the reality of a nation, and an ideal, which passed without notice more than a generation ago because the name was not changed.

Brother Mouzone

We will all, collectively, choke on pretzels.

Eric M. Jones

I have to agree with Alexander Demandt, the German historian. There are hundreds of reasons the Roman Empire fell, and (my favorite...) Rome wasn't even the capital in CE 476 when Constantine moved the seat of power to Constantinople, where it survived another THOUSAND years. Italy is still there, and they still make fast cars, so what the heck? America will remain, but we'll pay taxes to someone else.

My notion is that America will "fall" with the very gradual dissolution of the nation-state. Countries and borders and flags didn't always mean what they do now. The main drivers of this change will be travel, the internet, video, music, travel, expat-communities, trade, scientific and cultural exchange, etc. I know this is an optimistic view, but we'll see enormous strife and warfare along the way.

And along the way we'll see the terrible results of what Dave Barry says: ""When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution and is willing to take command. Very often, that individual is crazy."

I think keeping America "AS-IS", is a fool's game. One can't really stop time and change, nor can one deduce what result an action will have in the long term.

If I haven't yet gone too far, then let me do so--We have no need to worry about what "WE" will do when the Sun goes out in several billion years. Our decendants will no more be "Human" in several billion years than our ancestors were several billion years ago. And then they were just green slime.



I vote for destruction by the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man...


Far more fun than the rest to the ideas...though many are spot on.

B Haynes

Wow, they came up with 144 possibilites and not one mention of Zombies. Everyone knows America will be destroyed by the coming uprising of zombies.

James V

What was so great about being perceived as great in the first place? Is this bizarre mental construct that everyone has allowed themselves to weave around this particular geographic area really worth all of the difficulties that are born from it?

Space Pirate (#4) has it in one.

"America" is just one more decendant from the great parent of Liberty and Democracy that came before us and as long as the human spirit endures, will be born again somewhere else.

Whatever the future brings, we should be proud that were were able to carry that torch with the idealism it deserved, even for just a little while.

James V

Oh, and in reference to my previous post (#14), we'll all need those moral reserves when the aliens take over.

James Timmer

When America "comes to an end" nobody will be paying attention: Instead, they will be commenting on blog posts, trying to further their own ideologies.


Little green men...


Our natural resources are gone. Water is our last resource and it is vanishing at an astonishing rate. There is talk of invading the great lakes to send the water to California. Education is failing to produce people who can create, innovate or think. Technology is increasingly developed in China or India. But don't worry about any of this silliness because probably some idiot will steal a bottle of smallpox or some other insane war-derived weapon. Geologic catastrophes are events that have repeatedly snuffed 90% of Earth's population in the past. The Cosmos is full of big rocks that want to hit us. As French is to Canada, Spanish is to the USA. Hell, don't worry about it. We will not be able to sustain the present population much less the future population the way we are going. And, don't pay any attention to me. I'm just kiddin' with ya.